April 14, 2011

Network at WERC's Annual Conference 2011 in Orlando

Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create or act upon business opportunities. Several prominent business networking organizations, such as WERC, create models of networking activity that, when followed, allow the business person to build new business relationships and generate business opportunities at the same time. Register online or call us at 630-990-0001 and we'll get you signed up.More

Change rules in your supply chain game
Material Flows
The need to source and sell globally is running up against rising transportation costs. However, necessity being the mother of invention, I believe rising oil prices in the next year will result in shippers being able to take advantage of some game-changing supply chain options. We already are hearing how logistics service providers are offering ways to help clients get around the "pay me now, get your goods much later" requirements of overseas suppliers. For example, Amerinada Distributors LLC, a U.S.-based hydroponics supplies and accessories company, sources 60 percent of its annual inventory from a single Chinese supplier. This supplier requires payment upon order fulfillment, which can tie up Amerinada's working capital for weeks while their goods travel to them on a slow boat from China.More

European Commission issues framework for measuring, mitigating RFID's privacy impact
RFID Journal
The European Commission has joined with commercial stakeholders, supply chain standards organization GS1, privacy watchdogs and the European Network and Information Security Agency in signing a voluntary agreement to establish guidelines for all companies in Europe, in order to address the data-protection implications of RFID technology prior to RFID tags being placed into the market. In certain respects, Europe has led the way in RFID adoption. The technology is used by postal systems, transportation agencies, libraries and, increasingly, retailers across the European Union. And this strong adoption rate has been matched by coordinated efforts to ensure that the use of RFID does not erode Europeans' personal privacy, or the protection of personally identifiable information.More

Priming the pipeline for the next generation of supply chain professionals
Because of an increasingly collaborative environment, interpersonal skills and leadership have become highly desirable for companies looking for supply chain professionals. Despite global economic challenges and a slow road to recovery on a broad scale, there has been seen any decrease in the demand for top-tier talent in the area of supply chain management. In fact, in many ways, economic factors have accelerated the pace at which supply chain continues to gain more attention from corporations and senior management. The strategic aspect of supply chain as a critical part of an organization, as well as a function that can present significant cost savings, has caused the value associated with talented supply chain professionals to skyrocket.More

How to evaluate, select, negotiate and acquire a WMS
MWPVL International
The warehouse management system market is now roughly 30 years old and approximately $1.6 billion in total revenue. Much has changed since the 1980s when the early pioneers were developing the first software systems to automate distribution operations. Highly customized WMS projects have more or less become a thing of the past as the market has matured. Today, WMS solutions are functionally sophisticated, productized, and architected with amazing technology platforms to maximize flexibility. Having said all of the above, the software industry is and likely always will be a "buyer beware" shopping environment.More

Environmental sustainability gaining ground
Material Handling & Logistics
According to a report from the Material Handling Industry of America, 48 percent of respondents to a recent study currently have a sustainability initiative under way and 88 percent say that sustainability will be of even greater importance over the next 18 to 24 months. The findings of the study, "Sustainability in Warehousing, Distribution and Manufacturing," were taken from an email survey conducted by Affinity Research Solutions and based on 368 qualified responses. The findings indicate that an overwhelming majority of respondents, 78 percent, cite social responsibility as the driver behind sustainability initiatives while 63 percent cite resulting efficiencies.More

Argentine medicine wholesaler uses RFID technology to keep tabs on containers
RFID Journal
By employing an RFID system with tags applied to its reusable containers, Argentinean medicine wholesaler Monroe Americana has increased its efficiency and reduced the number of containers that end up missing. The system, provided by RFID solutions company BDEV, provides the firm with visibility into the number of empty containers that are returned from each pharmacy, and also frees up employees who previously had spent hours each day counting containers unloaded from trucks. Monroe Americana, Argentina's second largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, delivers drugs and personal-care products to 5,000 pharmacies nationwide, as well as 1,500 in the Buenos Aires area alone, with a fleet of approximately 50 trucks.More

Art Petty: Supporting the rise of the informal leader
Management Excellence
Want to know where to find your best and brightest emerging leaders? Here's a hint: You'll have to use your peripheral vision to see them because they are moving sideways at a high rate of speed.More

Continental: RFID tags keep tabs on parts for tire assembly, help reduce waste
RFID Journal
Continental Tire of the Americas has deployed an RFID system to help it reduce the time its staff spends searching for containers filled with components needed for tire assembly, as well as decrease the amount of waste by providing alerts when parts need to be used before becoming too old. The technology that is helping the firm to achieve this goal includes AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags and MobileView software. The system went live in early 2010 at the company's assembly plant in Mount Vernon, Ill. Continental Tire of the Americas is a subsidiary of Continental AG, which makes tires at 13 facilities worldwide, for all major automobile and truck manufacturers.More

Coalition supports truck weight bill
Material Handling & Logistics
The Safe & Efficient Transportation Act would let states raise interstate weight limits for specially equipped vehicles, with the idea that shippers would be able to safely utilize more truck space. This Federal truck weight reform legislation has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. The bill number is S. 747. Like identical companion legislation pending in the House of Representatives, SETA is a proposal that gives each state the option to selectively raise interstate weight limits from 80,000 pounds to up to 97,000 pounds.More

David Peck: 5 ways to lead with trust
The Recovering Leader
There's nothing worse than behavior from your boss that says he or she doesn't trust you, particularly if you don't deserve it and they don't intend it. Failure to give you responsibility along with authority, not introducing you to a VIP, and micromanaging are all simple and avoidable ways a leader may be sending a motivation-killing signal on the trust front. To lead effectively you need to have people you can trust, and to show you trust them. Simple, right? Yet even when you intend to trust your people, it's easy to communicate the opposite.More

How will you prove you're green?
Material Flows
According to a recent Material Handling & Logistics Reader Quick Poll, to many of you, LEED certification isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Some think it's a scam to make the lefties in the "Green Conspiracy" a little greener — financially, that is. Another sizable number of you don't even know what LEED is. Then there are those of you who've spent a considerable sum to get this piece of paper, to either please or win green-conscious customers or to live up to your own company's commitment to environmental sustainability. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it's a program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to "provide building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions."More

Market, budgets for RFID technology in 2011 said to be 'healthy'
ABI Research via SupplyChainBrain
The most recent edition of ABI Research's annual survey of RFID end users has found that about one-fifth of responding organizations spent more than $1 million each on RFID in 2010. The great majority of respondents — nearly 75 percent — spent less than $500,000 on RFID, while a few "big spenders" currently using, deploying or piloting RFID paid out more than $10 million each. Taken together, says research director Michael Liard, "These numbers provide strong evidence that the RFID market is growing at a healthy pace." Expectations for RFID budgets through 2011 also are encouraging, says Liard: "The positive news is that the majority of respondents are concentrated in the 'increase' category. Even better is that only 4 percent of all respondents reported no budget planned for RFID in 2011."More

Julie Rains: 7 easy ways to motivate anyone
American Express OPEN Forum
There are two types of leaders: those who believe that you can motivate people, and those who believe that motivation comes from within. I reside firmly in the second camp, so, for me, discussing ways to motivate — and easy ones in particular — may seem odd. But it's not. When we try to motivate people, what we really are doing is encouraging people to act on already-present motivation, ideally in a way that furthers the organization's mission. How do we do that?More

Leading older employees
Harvard Business Review
The litany of leaders who've founded and built their companies in their 20s and 30s is long and storied. It's hard to read much of anything in the news these days without Mark Zuckerberg, Biz Stone or Andrew Mason weighing in. But more and more today, even the average young professional, the millennial, is taking on increased responsibility at work, and managing and leading others far older than themselves. Being a leader is tough enough when you look and sound the part, when you have the war stories to prove you've toiled in the trenches and earned your way to the top. But leading without that authority, managing employees 10 and 20 years older than you, receiving a mandate from the top but lacking the backing of the troops in the middle and at the bottom of the organization — that is a real challenge.More

Robert J. Bowman: Another disaster, another supply chain disruption — Will we ever learn?
The 2000 movie "Memento" features a character who's suffering from an extreme version of short-term memory loss: He can't remember anything that happened to him more than 15 minutes ago. I wonder whether global manufacturers are cursed with the same condition. How else to explain the fact that so many of them were caught short by Japan's earthquake and tsunami? I don't mean that they were unable immediately to shift their sourcing to other countries without any interruption to their supply chains. That would be too much to ask. I'm talking about the lack of any workable risk-management strategy at all.More