March 31, 2011

Conference early-bird rate ends April 5

NOW really is the time to register for WERC's 34th annual conference so you can take advantage of the $125 savings off the standard registration rate. You get ahead of the crowd and save money — what's not to like? Go to www.werc.org or follow us on Twitter @WERC and #WERC2011.

April and WERCouncil events


Will Japan affect your supply chain? The answer is clicks away
Like everyone, our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the events unfolding in Japan. An incredible set of events have combined to create one of the worst, widespread and far-reaching natural disasters of our generation. But in the wake of the destruction, business leaders also must assess the effect that these types of world events have on their stakeholders including customers, employees and suppliers. As an example, Boeing said recently that its Japanese suppliers for its next-generation 787 Dreamliner haven't been seriously affected by the earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan. But more recent statements cast some doubt.More

Propane-fueled forklifts catch a (tax) break
DC Velocity
Proponents of propane fuel like to point out its benefits for forklifts: It lets them maintain consistent power, it enables them to travel at higher speeds than trucks using other energy sources (under certain conditions), and it's cleaner than gasoline and diesel, they say. Now advocates can add "lower fuel costs" to the list of benefits. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 included a propane fuel tax credit of 50 cents per gallon through Dec. 31, 2011. The credit is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, but there's a catch: To receive the retroactive credit, forklift fleet operators must register with the Internal Revenue Service as an "alternative fueler" and file a one-time claim no later than Aug. 1, 2011, says Brian Feehan, vice president of the Propane Education and Research Council.More

Latest 'State of the Freight' report finds shippers expect big rise in trucking costs, shifting more freight to rail and intermodal
Supply Chain Digest
The latest "State of the Freight" report is out from the market analysts at Wolfe Trahan, and it not surprisingly shows shippers are expecting a sharp increase in truckload shipping costs due to both rates and fuel, and as a result are planning to divert more freight to rail and intermodal. Each quarter, Wolfe Trahan surveys several hundred shippers across many industries on a variety of logistics issues, with the report based on those responses usually released about two months after the end of the quarter. The Q1 2011 report, issued in March, summarized data collected toward the end of the fourth quarter 2010.More

State bills against workplace bullying gain traction
Los Angeles Times
Kathie Gant knew the relationship with her new boss was bad, but she didn't know how bad until the woman, a Maryland attorney, hurled a bundle of pencils at Gant, her administrative assistant. "You just don't sharpen my pencils for me!" the boss raged, punctuating each word with exaggerated enunciation and the zing of a pencil across the office toward Gant. Months later, Gant was in a storage closet in the courthouse where she worked when the lights were shut off. "I turned toward the door and she was standing there," Gant said of the supervisor. "I tried to say 'Hey, I'm in here!'" Her boss stared back, shut the door, and locked it from the outside, trapping Gant in the pitch-black space.More

51 ways to reward employees without money
American Express OPEN Forum
Sure, many companies feel strapped right now and may duck their head and run in the other direction at the mere mention of bonuses. But tough times don't mean that you should just forget about rewarding your employees. There are many ways that you can reward employees without handing them money, and many of these are things you can do right now, with very little effort. The following are a whopping 51 things you can give your employees that don't include cutting them a check.More

2011 Industry Outlook: Optimism shines
Modern Materials Handling
After three years of hoping for economic bright spots to report in Modern's annual Industry Outlook, it looks like there's finally more bloom than gloom. While we're not back to pre-recession numbers yet, materials handling industry experts across the board are reporting growth in 2010 and expect it to continue in 2011 and 2012. That positive feedback tracks with the nation's overall economic news. In the first quarter of 2010, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew 3.7 percent. In the second quarter it grew 1.7 percent, and in the third it was up 2.6 percent. With the GDP expected to rise over the next two years, it appears the upward trend will continue.More

Andy Chou: Liabilities of the expanding software supply chain
In an increasing number of industries, development organizations are using less of their own code developed in house and more codes that come from third parties or open-source projects. The extended software supply chain is a business necessity, as go-to-market times are shortened and customer demand for new device features has increased. But this extended supply chain can also turn into a liability if third-party code is not properly tested for defects. Take the example of the Android kernel that Coverity Inc. scanned in November as a part of EBN's annual Scan Open Source Integrity Report. The Android kernel code base is derived from the Linux kernel. Google developers then add on their own code and modify some of the existing Linux code and publish the result to mobile OEMs, the ultimate integrators in the mobile supply chain.More

How to build sustainability into your supply chain
Incorporating sustainability into any company's operations is a hefty issue. But it's also an increasingly popular shift to make. "It's an increasing liability to not do it," says Summer Rayne Oakes, co-founder and CEO of Source4Style, the online fabric marketplace, which is based in New York City. "There are a lot of companies out there that understand that they won't be leaders within the field, but they don't want to be laggers either." Today's global marketplace is forcing many companies to re-evaluate, reconstruct and even collaborate their efforts just to keep up with demands of the industry. While many leading supply chains already have dedicated years of research and figures to develop data, initiatives and solutions to the movement that seems to be steering the industry, some still are trying to decide why they should.More

Diversity helps bridge talent, generation gaps
Material Flows
Most of the managers in the material handling and logistics field are a part of what I call Generation O (for "old"), based on the responses to our recent 2011 Salary Survey. Well over half — in fact, 61 percent — of the respondents are at least 50 years old. And not too surprisingly, when asked what is the biggest challenge facing the industry today, a frequently heard response was: "developing Generation X and Generation Y employees into managers." "The oldest baby boomers are retiring now, and the industry's near-future U.S.-born talent pool is shrinking at an alarming rate," says Dan Boos, principal of Boos Consulting Services, who led a half-day seminar on "The People Side of the Supply Chain" at ProMat in Chicago.More

Caterpillar Logistics is put up for sale
Material Handling & Logistics
Caterpillar Inc., a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, is examining a range of strategic options for its 3PL business, which is part of its wholly owned subsidiary, Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. The company believes the 3PL business is a unique and attractive asset that has excellent growth potential. Options under consideration, according to Caterpillar Group President Stu Levenick, include a potential sale of the 3PL business or structuring it as an independent business within Cat Logistics.More

Dematic, Crown collaborate on warehousing solutions
Material Handling & Logistics
Dematic, a supplier of logistics systems for the factory, warehouse and distribution center, and lift truck manufacturer Crown Equipment Corporation announced an alliance to collaborate on the research and development of new products for warehousing and distribution. The first product resulting from the alliance was introduced at ProMat in Chicago: LaserTrucks+. This is an integrated product that applies Dematic's picking and voice software suite and Automated Guided Vehicle guidance technology to a Crown PC 4500 Series rider pallet truck.More

Pharmaceutical counterfeits dilemma grows globally
Healthcare Packaging
Around the world, counterfeit meds are becoming ever more vexing. Smartphone apps and new technologies could offer help.More

German label manufacturer boosts shipments
RFID Journal
Since implementing a real-time location system last June, Herma, a German manufacturer of adhesive labels, has increased the number of pallets that it ships daily by 67 percent, to 500, while also reducing the quantity of shipping errors reported by its customers each month from 50 down to 7. The solution that helps the company accomplish this improved efficiency and error reduction, provided by Ubisense, does so not by tracking the locations of pallets loaded with product as they move through the facility to awaiting trucks, but rather by tracking the forklifts that transport them.More

How to stop workplace drama and promote engagement
American Express OPEN Forum
When Marlene Chism was an employee, she thought leadership looked easy. She couldn't wait to get out of the factory to share the "inside scoop" with leaders about what works and what doesn't work. Fast forward past 13 years of experience working with leaders at various levels, and she published a book titled "Stop Workplace Drama" to explain what drama is, how it manifests and what leaders can do to stop workplace drama.More

Mark Kelly: Improving supply chain collaboration
Aerospace Manufacturing and Design
The model based enterprise offers great promise for collaboration in the extended supply chain. The vision of taking a 3-D solid image of a product, flowing that image to virtually any source and feeding it into a machine that almost magically spits out perfect hardware is an intriguing concept. The visionaries who promote this potential see complex systems coming together in a fraction of the time — with dramatically reduced cost. They see seamless collaboration around these digital product images that extends to every level of the supply chain. While the vision is admirable, it is still just that.More

Managing up: How to do it effectively
Face it: You need to manage up. At least if you want to succeed in Corporate America. It's as important as getting the job done. Managing up gives your leaders a way to see the work you do in a way that will benefit you. It also creates job security. And let's be honest: When layoffs hit, the boss' favorites never get cut — regardless of their skills and talents. The following are five ways to manage up that will put you in line for raises, security and a fulfilling career.More

Researchers find biologics not harmed by RFID RF signals
RFID Journal
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida Polytechnic, with assistance from Abbot Laboratories, has found that pharmaceutical products containing biologics (medicinal products created by biological processes), such as insulin and vaccines, were not adversely affected by 24-hour exposure to 8-watt RF signals, at frequencies typically employed by RFID readers and tags.More

Spacesaver rolls out new storage system
Modern Materials Handling
Spacesaver Industrial rolled out its new space-saving storage system at ProMat 2011. Literally. At a product demonstration held in the company booth, Ken Bowman, Spacesaver Industrial vice president, and Bryan Knott, director of marketing, showcased the features and benefits of the new ActivRAC mobilized storage system. With this storage solution, otherwise stationary (or fixed) rows of pallet racking are mounted on carriages and mobilized. The carriages, which can be equipped with shelving and cabinets, travel on wheels mated to a rail system.More