Apr. 11, 2013

Don't miss the 2013 WERC Conference!

The WERC Conference app is available for download from your App Store. Check out the stellar program set for April 28 to May 1, and join us in Dallas.

WERCouncil Events

  • April 11, Cincinnati WERCouncil Spring Supply Chain Forum, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • April 18, Tennessee WERCouncil Future Electronics Tour, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • April 18, WERCouncil North Carolina: The Role of Supply Chains in Building Market-Driven Differentiation, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • April 18, Southern California WERCouncil Dinner Presentation — Business at a X-Roads, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • April 19, Northern California WERCouncil Annual Symposium and Urban Outfitters Tour, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • April 23, Philadelphia/Delaware Valley WERCouncil Aluminum Shapes Tour, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • April 25, Michigan WERCouncil Lean Processing, Increasing Efficiency & Profitability, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • April 26, Arizona WERCouncil Chapter Networking Event, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • More

    Conveyor technology: Are you thinking differently?
    Modern Materials Handling
    Conveyor and sortation systems are the foundation of any automated materials handling solution. If there is only one piece of automation in a facility, it is likely to be a conveyor. And, if it goes to more than one location, a sorter is sure to be associated with the system. Those are givens. With new distribution requirements and an unprecedented level of investment in automation underway, are end-users thinking differently about how they use conveyors and sorters?More

    More than a century later, rail carriers once again in logistics sweet spot
    Supply Chain Digest
    You could argue that that that the high point of the U.S. rail system was in the late 1800s, before automobile and truck transport started to eat into both passenger and freight volumes. That ultimately led to decades of decline in the late 20th century, with rail carriers losing millions annually and seeing some of the lowest returns on invested capital of any business sector in the U.S., hitting bottom probably sometime in the 1970s.More

    Standards group set to improve machine to machine communications
    Material Handling & Logistics
    A new special interest group is being formed to develop standards for the exchange of information between machines, and between machines and supervisory systems. According to ODVA, the automation association in charge of the initiative, the resulting standards will provide data models and network services to improve the exchange of machine information for applications such as production, condition monitoring, business intelligence, batch and recipe management, and multimachine-line control.More

    Get published in WERCWatch
    In an effort to enhance the overall content of WERCWatch, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of WERC, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.More

    Practical solutions that will improve DC throughput, productivity
    Distribution Digest
    Based on surveys and interviews with DC operations managers, many claim they are constantly under pressure to find low-cost alternative methods to improve throughput and productivity within their order processing operations. But, according to some managers, well-established (ingrained) processes can be very difficult to change. It appears that one of the most common deterrents is the feared "domino effect." That is to say changes to one process likely will necessitate unplanned changes to associated processes, setting off a chain reaction creating additional complications and cost.More

    How corporate strategy affects your supply chain
    By Robert V. Stein
    Your supply chain is one of the most important aspects of your business. It keeps your customers satisfied, workers employed and business doors open. Although many outside influences can affect your supply chain, one of the greatest effects on your supply chain that you can control is your corporate strategy. In this article, you can read about how your corporate strategy can positively, and negatively, affect your supply chain.More

    Input, commodity costs mostly flat in Q1 — lowest rise since 2010
    Supply Chain Digest
    Even as the U.S. stock market was soaring 10 percent in the first quarter, commodity and input costs were generally flat, as overall global demand remains soft in most categories and supplies are strong. That represents a change from the past several years, when stock and commodity prices mostly have moved in lock step.More

    Design ergonomic risks out of equipment
    Material Handling & Logistics
    Purchasers of work stations must focus on space planning to reduce exposure to hazards and design out ergonomic risk, according to Josh Kerst, vice president at Humantech, and author of a new e-book, "Six Ways to Apply Ergonomics in Design." Furthermore, ensuring products and equipment are designed "ergonomically" should be the responsibility of the user's engineering team, not the equipment supplier, he contends.More

    New York budget cuts imperil future of nonprofit logistics subcontracting firm
    DC Velocity
    The New York legislature has cut $700,000 in state funding to The ReHabilitation Center, a nonprofit group that hires disabled individuals to work in various industries, notably the logistics field. The action will make it harder for the group to find work for severely disabled people, according to one of its top executives.More

    Your least engaged employees might be your top performers
    Harvard Business Review
    Some of the most engaged employees in your organization are your worst performers. And some of the least engaged are your highest performers. This conclusion comes from new research by the consulting firm, Leadership IQ. The study "matched engagement survey and performance appraisal data for 207 organizations." According to CEO Mark Murphy, "We had long suspected that high performers might not be as engaged as has traditionally been assumed. But seeing that, in 42 percent of cases, high performers were even less engaged than low performers was a bit of a shock."More

    The new mission of the Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation
    Richard Bank and Lisa Harrington, directors of the Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation, bring us up to date on the group's efforts to introduce third-party verification of companies' sustainability programs.More

    C&A expands RFID usage to track inventory
    RFID Journal
    German clothing company C&A is expanding its radio frequency identification system from what was initially a trial involving five of its stores in Germany, to cover 25 locations. C&A, which manufactures its own apparel and footwear for men, women and children, is testing whether the technology can improve its supply chain visibility and in-store inventory, to ensure that at all times, certain goods are on the shelves for purchase at each of its stores.More

    Pallet pools: It's all about logistics
    Modern Materials Handling
    The plastic pallet market traditionally has been an owned asset market, not a pooled market. While CHEP and Peco created pools for the 48-by-40-inch wooden pallet favored by the grocery, consumer packaged goods and retail industries, plastic pallets were traditionally owned by the food, pharma and assembly manufacturers that are the largest users of plastic pallets.More

    Fleet tracking: Top 4 common misconceptions
    By Ryan Driscoll
    Despite the benefits of GPS tracking, many companies are hesitant to implement a fleet-tracking solution because of some common misbeliefs. One of the biggest worries when it comes to implementing GPS tracking is that your drivers will feel they are being unfairly watched, or that they are not trusted as faithful employees.More

    New 'SuperTruck' may improve diesel mileage by more than 50 percent, make big dent in logistics costs
    Supply Chain Digest
    In 2010, the United States Energy Department awarded $187 million of grants to companies for research on more efficient and clean transportation-related technologies. That included $53 million to engine maker Cummins as the prime contractor for development of a so-called "SuperTruck" that would be significantly more fuel efficient than current designs.More

    The attack of the gypsy moths — and other supply chain frights
    Chain of Thought
    Tom Andel writes, "1950s science fiction movies had an effect on me, as evidenced by the above headline. But it's not a far stretch of the truth to say that moths could delay shipments this year. Inchcape Shipping Services announced a little while back that U.S. and Canadian authorities intercepted a large number of ships infested with Asian gypsy moth egg masses arriving in North America last year. That inspired the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canadian Food Inspection Agency to issue regulations for vessels arriving at North American ports this summer from Far East Russia, Japan, Korea and Northern China."More