Aug. 18, 2011

2 great shows — 1 great location

AIM Expo is the annual automatic identification and mobile IT industry showcase highlighting solutions using bar code, RFID, RTLS and mobile computing. For 2011, AIM Expo has teamed up with PACK EXPO Las Vegas to deliver more: education, hands-on exhibits, and networking. Visit www.aim-expo.com for more information.

WERCouncil events

  • Sept. 8, S. Cal WERCouncil Hong Kong: Regional Logistics Hub – the Asian Link in your Global Supply Chain, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 9, N. Carolina WERCouncil Lenovo Facility Tour, 12:30 to 2:45 p.m.
  • Oct. 12, NorthTX WERCouncil 10th Annual Warehousing Resource Convention, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • More

    Fuel economy: It's not just for cars anymore
    The New York Times
    The Obama administration recently issued fuel economy standards for medium and heavy trucks, the first time the government has regulated vehicles over 8,500 pounds. The vehicles in this category range from the very largest SUVs, and pickup trucks that are too big to be household vehicles, all the way to 18-wheelers, which have a maximum loaded weight of 80,000 pounds. But in one sense the economics are the same for a 4,000-pound car or a truck weighing 20 times that much: Better fuel economy usually means paying more for the new vehicle but also saving money at the pump. One argument for government fuel economy standards is that car buyers almost always focus on the purchase price as opposed to the total cost, including the operating cost.More

    Pentagon seeking out supply chain weaknesses
    Aviation Week
    A Pentagon review of the defense supply chain is under way in an effort to find the weak points where funding needs to be applied to prevent the loss of critical capabilities. The sector-by-sector, tier-by-tier assessment is an effort to map the anatomy of the supply chain and increase understanding of subtier connections between programs. In addition to building a detailed database, the S2T2 initiative is expected to result in targeted actions to shore up areas where there are only one or two key suppliers and a risk of companies exiting the market or being sold overseas.More

    Using visibility to target supply chain inefficiencies
    Supply chain visibility is no longer just about having a ready answer when customers ask, "Where is my stuff?" That problem has been conquered and companies now are using visibility solutions to identify hidden pockets of inefficiency in the supply chain, says Steve Hensley, president of Blue Sky Technologies. More

    RFID improves supply management for Brazil's army, air force
    RFID Journal
    More than a year after its launch, the Brazilian army's RFID Adoption Program has improved its process for receiving Class II products, consisting of such items as uniforms, tents, helmets and boots. The system was provided and installed by RFID solutions firm Seal Technology, at the army's 21st Supply Warehouse, located in São Paulo, with assistance from GS1 Brazil, which provided the Electronic Product Code numbers and consulting services. The Brazilian military commenced its RFID adoption program in 2005, when Luiz Antônio Silveira Lopes, an associate professor at the Military Institute of Engineering, led a project tracking army parachutes via EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags.More

    Fewer boxes lost at sea than thought
    The number of containers lost at sea is a lot lower than past estimates, according to new research. The World Shipping Council found that, on average, 675 containers are lost at sea each year. Of this number, 325 are lost in catastrophes, which the WSC defines as a loss overboard of 50 or more containers in a single incident. Past estimates suggested that around 10,000 containers were lost at sea each year.More

    Green is the new color of the supply chain
    Area Development Online
    One advantage of the global economy is that universal information and transportation networks make it possible to procure expertise and goods from anywhere in the world at practically any time. For most end users, the originating locale for the labor and products they consume has historically been neither known nor considered at the point of sale. This is changing, however, as is supply chain management.More

    Pharma sets few supply chain environmental goals
    Environmental Leader
    Pharmaceutical companies are "all over the map" in terms of their environmental goals and transparency, but largely don't set targets for their supply chains, according to a new report. Green Research found that major pharmaceutical companies have between five and six public environmental sustainability goals, each on average. There is also much qualitative variation between the goals.More

    Report: Transport community sees no cause for alarm
    DC Velocity
    In a world seemingly gone haywire, with macroeconomic conditions weakening, the Eurozone coming apart at the seams, U.S. sovereign debt being downgraded, and triple-digit gyrations in the equity markets becoming the norm, the transport unit of investment firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. said the transport marketplace is trying to keep its head. In a report issued Aug. 12, the Baltimore-based firm said that while uncertainty has been ratcheted up because of recent political and economic turmoil, those in the trenches — namely shippers, privately held truckers, and third-party logistics companies — are not seeing anything that would make them anything more than cautious.More

    7 ways sustainability 'embracers' blaze a trail for the cautious
    Practically all companies nowadays recognize the many benefits of sustainability tactics, from making facilities more energy efficient to offering products that save people money. Some companies, though, are taking aggressive steps to make sustainability core to every part of their operations, showing the path businesses that want to be successful need to follow. From the results of the second annual Sustainable and Innovation survey and research interviews, MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group lump companies in two categories: embracers and cautious adopters.More

    Learn to speak the 3 languages of leadership
    Harvard Business Review
    Tony Golsby-Smith writes, "I know a senior executive at a large corporation who has a big problem. John is smart and knows the business backwards, but people don't believe in him. They don't say anything directly to him. Instead, they complain to each other. Some say he is controlling; others say he is not a 'people person.' John holds positional power, but he lacks the personal authority of a real leader. If you took away his title and his multimillion-dollar salary, nobody would follow him. He probably will end his career as a very wealthy man, but nobody will remember him as a leader who helped them grow."More

    Health care execs seek cure to supply chain pains
    Material Handling & Logistics
    Health care executives in the U.S., Europe and Asia are seeing both risks and opportunities as the pace of change in the health care industry accelerates globally, according to a new UPS survey. Facing unprecedented demands to reduce costs, keep up with fast-changing regulatory requirements and ramp up innovation in the age of patent expirations and increased competition, executives are making investment plans and looking to protect their intellectual property and market share.More

    Buyers review new kinds of supply chain risk coverage
    Business Insurance
    Insurance buyers are looking beyond traditional supply chain insurance for a coverage that encompasses nonphysical damage-related events that may disrupt their supply chain. While interest among risk managers has increased and supply chain exposures top the list for many C-suite executives, take up of supply chain insurance that can be triggered by an event that is not limited to physical damage or loss is quite slow, brokers and insurers said.More

    Winning value propositions
    DC Velocity
    Art van Bodegraven and Kenneth B. Ackerman write, "We tend to think of business strategy as essentially timeless, but that's not necessarily the case. A lot of times, yesterday's paradigms are worth about 20 cents. But these days, we're hearing some new themes. So what does this mean? Have cost, quality, creativity, and processes fallen off the radar? Not at all."More

    On his menu: Disrupting the supply chain
    The Washington Post
    As a restaurant owner, Kash Rehman noticed a disconnect between the food supply and restaurant business. He found that it was difficult to compare prices among several food distributors and it was largely a pen-and-paper task. Trying to upend the status quo, Rehman started Foodem.com where bulk food buyers can compare prices from multiple distributors and place orders electronically. Foodem.com currently operates in Washington, D.C., and Rehman hopes to capture this market before expanding to other cities.More

    Don't try this at work
    Material Flows
    Our blog on the dangers of using lift trucks to tow heavy objects caught Bruce Pelynio's attention. He's president and CEO of Heli Americas, the Memphis, Tenn.-based U.S. representative for Heli, a leading lift truck brand in China. He called me the other day to share another dumb thing he's seen done with lift trucks. Ever hear of jousting? Early in Bruce's career, long before YouTube started publicizing the stupid things people managed to do with lift trucks, he found out about what some of the warehouse employees of one carpet company client were doing with their rug-ram attachments. He found out because this company was calling the dealer in on a pretty frequent basis to fix broken carriage rollers.More

    Is item-level apparel tagging going strong, fading, or just catching its breath?
    Supply Chain Digest
    After the trials and tribulations of RFID/EPC programs in the consumer goods to retail value chain, leading ultimately to Walmart's unsuccessful program and similar disappointments at such retailers as U.K.'s Tesco and Germany's Metro Group, it appeared that in the past two years the RFID industry finally had found its white knight in the form of item-level tagging in apparel, shoes and other soft goods categories. Here the primary driver is not so much greater efficiencies in the full supply chain but rather improvements in in-store management of the inventory, such as being able to do cycle accounts in just seconds and performing them far more accurately than manual counting or bar code scanning can deliver.More

    Decoding intuition for more effective decision-making
    Harvard Business Reivew
    It turns out that intuition is not really intuition at all. Just like the invisible, inseparable quarks that underlie the protons and neutrons in the nucleus, rules of thumb are the fundamental, sometimes invisible, particles of CEO decision-making. They are the building blocks that underlie what CEOs describe as "intuition" or "gut feel." Ask an experienced CEO how she/he made a major decision and their typical response is "intuition" or "gut feel." Yes, analysis also plays a role, but intuition was found to be a major or determining factor in 85 percent of 36 major CEO decisions studied. Some were good decisions, some were not, but regardless, intuition seemed to always rule the roost. But what is it?More

    Dan Gilmore: There and back again?
    Supply Chain Digest
    Most of you who have real jobs may have been able to somewhat insulate yourselves from the market and economic turmoil of late by staying busy at what you do, but not me. At our relatively small business I have the luxury, of a sort, of keeping CNBC on in the background as I do what I do. It was on most of this week — it obviously wasn't pretty, but I couldn't turn it off. Given all that, I just can't get my head around core supply chain topics this week, and am going to offer some perspective on what is going on in the economy and markets, and try to tie it to the supply chain impact at the end.More

    Saddle Creek opens DCs in Chicago and Jacksonville
    Material Handling & Logistics
    Saddle Creek Corp., a third-party logistics provider, is expanding its nationwide network with the addition of two new distribution centers in Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla. The expansion is part of Saddle Creek's strategic plan to grow both organically and through new business. From the Chicago facility, Saddle Creek will manage the integrated logistics needs of a major recreational vehicle manufacturer, utilizing approximately half of the 416,000-square-foot facility. The remaining space will be available to accommodate business fluctuations and the needs of other customers.More

    HP finds 56 percent rise in cost of cyber crime
    Despite widespread awareness, cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common. As remarkable as it sounds, a new study from HP and the Ponemon Institute found that over a four-week period, the organizations surveyed experienced 72 successful attacks per week, an increase of nearly 45 percent from last year. Of course, the financial impact of a cyber attack can be devastating. The Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study also revealed that the median annualized cost of cyber crime incurred by a benchmark sample of organizations was $5.9 million per year, with a range of $1.5 million to $36.5 million each year per organization.More