May 12, 2011

Can your organization help?

In the wake of past weeks' devastating storms and flooding, the American Logistics Aid Network is working with its relief agency partners to identify crucial needs and communicate them to concerned members of the supply chain community. Go to WWW.ALANAID.ORG for more information.More

Survey shows driver shortage starting to pinch
DC Velocity
A shortage of qualified truck drivers is affecting, or may affect, the operations of 70 percent of truck fleets polled in a survey released today by an industry consultancy. The quarterly survey of 52 fleets conducted by CK Commercial Vehicle Research of Columbus, Ohio, also found that 42 percent of those surveyed currently are experiencing problems filling empty seats as well as adding units to meet demand. Another 32 percent said they currently are unaffected but believe they could be affected in the future by a dearth of qualified drivers.More

When disaster strikes: Avoiding a hit to your supply chain
CIO Network via Forbes
The catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan has produced a ripple effect on global business that reaches far beyond any seismic wave. From natural disasters and political unrest, to turbulent commodity prices, business on a global scale brings never-before-seen risk. The electronic and automotive industries are highly dependent on supplies that come from Japan, and even the most forward-thinking companies, like Apple, have seen supply chain disruptions due to the disaster. To avoid future production setbacks, today's CEOs have made managing uncertainty a top priority.More

6 ways to motivate your employees on a budget
American Express OPEN Forum
An incentive is nothing more than a factor that encourages a specific course of action. Any economist will tell you that incentives play a major role in world markets and economy, and any manager worth his salt will tell you that you can start using incentives as an effective management and leadership tool. You can use them to shape human behavior. Because of the economic connotation, you might think that this is a strategy that will break the bank. Sure, money can be involved if you want — raises and bonuses are classic incentives. But there are still plenty of ways to incentivize your workers with no or little money involved.More

Younger bosses, older underlings
Message to younger bosses: It's not that your older staffers don't understand how to use computers to communicate; it's that they prefer face-to-face contact. "A younger boss tends to think that older workers are not as technologically savvy, not as quick," says Cam Marston, president of consulting firm Generational Insights. The truth is, baby boomers understand top-line messaging and Twitter but see technology as an adjunct rather than a necessity. These baby boomers are continuing to work even as they reach retirement age, and many find themselves reporting to younger people.More

Nice work if you can get it
DC Velocity
Job satisfaction in the United States reportedly hit a 20-year low last year, but the word apparently hasn't reached the logistics professionals who read DC Velocity. Nearly 9 out of 10 respondents to its latest career and salary survey say they love their work and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the logistics profession to someone entering the job market. And the money's not bad either. The average salary of the 1,138 readers who completed the online questionnaire in February was comfortably in the six figures — $100,502, to be precise. And it appears that the recession-era wage freezes are starting to thaw. Nearly 60 percent of the survey respondents indicated their compensation had risen in the past 12 months, while only 11 percent reported a drop.More

ALAN to improve links in emergency supply and demand
Material Handling & Logistics
The American Logistics Aid Network has been awarded two sizable grants that promise to help streamline the humanitarian relief process substantially. ALAN, a nonprofit organization that engages the supply chain community in support of humanitarian relief efforts, will receive $25,000 from The UPS Foundation and $50,000 from the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, Project on Supply Chain Resilience. Funds will be used for a new database mapping initiative that will help to automatically identify potential donors with the resources to address specific relief needs. Contacts in existing databases of ALAN association partners will be categorized according to their member companies' key product or service offerings and geographic footprints. These lists will support links to the National Donations Management Network so that needs are better matched to potential resources.More

Raymond jumps into automatic vehicle game
Modern Materials Handling
A lot of the buzz at this year's ProMat was around the introduction of new automatic guided vehicles by traditional materials handling vendors manufactured by lift truck partners. Not to be left out, Raymond, announced recently that they are developing an automatic guided lift truck that will use vision guided technology from Seegrid. The technology first will be available on a standard Raymond Class 3 lift truck or tow vehicle that can operate with or without a driver. According to Frank Devlin, Raymond's marketing manager for advanced technologies, the vehicles will be manufactured at Raymond's facility in Muscatine, Iowa, and should be available early in 2012. Devlin added that the partnership with Seegrid will be exclusive to Raymond, at least initially.More

Packaging's role rockets into outer space
Healthcare Packaging
A recently published article indicates that as the duration of NASA shuttle missions lengthens, pharmaceutical packaging will gain importance in astronaut safety and health. "The use of pharmaceuticals during space shuttle missions is common with crews taking more than 500 individual doses of 31 different medications during the first 33 flights." That's according to a research article, "Evaluation of Physical and Chemical Changes in Pharmaceuticals Flown on Space Missions." How on Earth did this subject land at Healthcare Packaging? An in-pharmatechnologist.com story, "Space, the final frontier for drug stability says NASA study," led to the research article.More

In a slowly recovering economy, managing the daily ebb and flow of orders is key
Distribution Digest
Most DCs are operating daily with the minimum level of associates and in some cases with reduce hours. Recently, during an interview with a logistics executive, Distribution Digest asked a question relative to handling peaks and valleys in orders received and volumes shipped. The response received could be characterized as wishful thinking: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if order volume was predictable and steady?" This was understood to be a rhetorical question. But, it makes one think.More

Study examines accidents in the energy supply chain
Disasters such as the massive BP Gulf oil spill and the gas pipeline explosions in Pennsylvania, California and Texas have shown that accidents related to energy supply can be enormously costly — in terms of human lives, environmental degradation and the economy. In fact, analysts estimate that the national cost of energy supply accidents over the past decade exceeds $50 billion, mostly from oil spills and electric power outages. But no research has thoroughly examined the full scope of costs from U.S. energy supply accidents — until now.More

Understanding lean implementation in the supply chain
Supply Chain Digest
The landscape of distribution centers and manufacturing environments are changing and companies are looking for opportunities to optimize people, processes and technology. Today's business climate calls for companies to deploy lean principles to all aspects of their operations. This frees up employees to focus on more value-added work and to drive similar improvements throughout the entire value stream. So why do some businesses thrive in a lean culture, while others struggle with lean implementation?More

Conveyor orders, shipments up in March
Material Handling & Logistics
The Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association reported that its March 2011 Booked Orders Index was 192, up 23 points or 14 percent from February 2011’s Index of 169, and an increase of 44 percent over the March 2010 Index of 133. The March Booked Orders Indexes were 295 for Bulk Handling Equipment and 159 for Unit Handling Equipment. The Twelve-Month Index for Booked Orders was 146 in March, an increase of 4 percent from February 2011's Twelve-Month Index of 141.More