Oct. 7, 2010

WERC publication PICK THIS! — Now 25 percent off

WERC is offering a 25 percent discount off the PICK THIS! publication for a limited time. Check it out at the online store at www.werc.org. The guide outlines the elements of a piece-pick system, explains equipment choices and possible picking methods and provides a step-by-step approach to determine the best option for your application.

WERCouncil events
Plenty of local events to choose from: Northern California, Philadelphia/Delaware Valley, North Carolina, Portland and Atlanta.

Maximizing Warehouse Space seminar coming to Chicago area
Attend this seminar, which will take place Nov. 8 to 9 at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago Oak Brook, to learn key rules of thumb and hundreds of ideas that will help you to maximize the space in your warehouse and improve productivity.More

'Goods to person' puts a different spin on order picking
DC Velocity
Back in the day, there was one thing about order fulfillment operations you could pretty much take for granted. When it came to gathering items for orders, the people did the walking and the equipment stayed put. That's no longer a safe assumption. Today, a growing number of companies are taking the opposite tack. Instead of sending workers out to retrieve goods, they're using automated material handling equipment to deliver items to order pickers who remain in a fixed spot. This approach, known as goods to person, isn't new. In fact, it's been around for several decades. But it's attracting increased attention these days, particularly from high-volume operations that do a lot of piece picking.More

3 benefits of green fleet management
According the Environmental Defense Fund, there are three compelling reasons to adopt a green fleet management program for your fleet. Operating a cleaner, greener fleet means more than counting the number of hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles you put on the road. Successful management means actively measuring and reducing your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions over time. There's no need to wait. You can get started today with relatively minor changes — vehicle selection, maintenance schedules and driver education — that add up to significant improvements in fuel economy, operating costs and emissions.More

New guidance on work platforms
Material Handling Management
Statement of Best Practices of General Training and Familiarization for Aerial Work Platform Equipment reminds readers why regular inspections are so important. The American National Standards Institute, which creates voluntary consensus standards to ensure safety, mandates that aerial work platform equipment that has been in service for at least three months, be inspected every 90 days. The mandate applies to owners, dealers, users, operators and trainers of all types of lift equipment including boom lifts and scissor lifts.More

Container shipping companies collaborate to combat piracy
Although we haven't seen much national press about it recently, piracy remains a formidable threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Obviously, the risks are particularly acute for shippers that routinely traverse those waters, and now the world's three largest container shipping companies have decided to join forces in hopes of combating the problem. CMA CGM, MSC and Maersk Line announced recently that they have formed a new partnership.More

RFID news: GS1 issues new guidelines for pallet tagging
Supply Chain Digest
GSI EPCGlobal recently released new guidelines for tagging pallets with ECP-based RFID tags. The issue is an interesting one because there are two primary purposes for pallet tagging. The first, primarily for reusable pallets, is to track and manage the logistics asset itself. The second is to track the goods on the pallet. This means that potentially two identifiers are needed: one for the asset and one for the load at a given point in time. At other times, reusable pallet companies may care only about the former, while shippers may care primarily about the latter. However, in many cases both sets of data will be useful.More

7 ways to communicate your commitment to sustainability
Small Business Trends
You don't need to have a big company to embrace sustainability. Smart and committed small businesses are adopting sustainability practices, too. They are incorporating recycled goods in their manufacturing supply chains. They are requiring their transportation fleets to be more efficient. They are reducing their energy consumption in day to day operations. Incorporating sustainability into your business is an important step. But it is equally important to communicate your commitment internally among your team, and externally to business partners, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.More

Safeguard the pharmaceutical supply chain
The 21st Century Supply Chain
Companies in the life sciences industry now see tremendous growth opportunity around the world. Consequently, many of them are expanding aggressively into these markets with new global and outsourcing strategies designed to keep costs low and bring products to market faster. One of the problems, however, is that as the supply chain grows more complex, it correspondingly becomes more difficult to know where drugs, for example, and their active ingredients originate. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, up to 80 percent of the active ingredients used in U.S. drugs now are made overseas, and, in many cases, often in countries where regulatory oversight does not meet U.S. standards.More

3PL CEOs identify top supply chain industry trends
A continued commitment to sustainability, industry restructuring and more vigilant business practices are among the top logistics trends identified by 31 3PL CEOs canvassed in the 17th Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics Providers. The findings of the report, conducted by Robert Lieb, professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, and sponsored by Penske Logistics, were presented at the annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.More

Half your brain tied behind your back ISN'T fair
Material Handling & Logistics
Too much supply chain talent is operating on half a brain. That's not meant as an insult; it's just the challenge of our human condition. It's about hemispheric dominance. Most of us are left brained because that's what our school systems reinforced in us. Let's face it: Technical analysts eat better than most poets and artists. But if you believe educators like Stanley Fawcett, a professor at Georgia Southern University, a logistics professional has to be as good a choreographer as a business manager. A choreographer gets people to work closely together. He teaches them the right steps then gets off the stage and lets them perform.More

Shifting to a customer-centric value chain
Inside Supply Management
In a quarter century, much has changed in the industrialized world. The large, monolithic city factories with their localized supplier bases are mostly relics in the shadow of lean, distributed global organizations. While globalization has rewritten the rules of market access, production processes and logistics schemes, it also has introduced greater interdependence and higher risk throughout the value chain. Organizations understand, however, that these are the operating conditions to compete internationally. Where opportunities exist is in value chain architecture that integrates flexibility with market demands.More

Starbucks: The next generation
DC Velocity
Since summer 2008, Peter D. Gibbons has been focused on transforming Starbucks Coffee Co.'s once-struggling supply chain into a successful enterprise that can stand the test of time. Just two years later, the supply chain overhaul is largely complete. But Gibbons, the company's executive vice president of global supply chain operations, is not stopping there. He already has embarked on the next and perhaps most ambitious and crucial phase of his grand design: recruiting the best young people to run that supply chain after he and his peers are gone.More

Trucking Conditions Index continues upward trend
FTR Associates via SupplyChainBrain
"Conditions for trucking are positive in spite of sluggish growth in the overall economy because manufacturing, which generates freight, is growing much more rapidly than services," said Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates. His comments came as his company's Trucking Conditions Index edged higher in August to a reading of 2.3. The index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies; and the August reading, which is the sixth consecutive reading in positive territory, reflects a healthy environment for trucking.More

Pink lift truck reminder of breast cancer fight
Material Handling Management
Barclay Brand Ferdon, a material handling equipment distributor for New Jersey and New York, has parked a pink Yale lift truck on its front lawn. This is a reminder that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is also a good way to raise money and awareness through the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk in Woodbridge (N.J.) Center on Oct. 17.More

Staff Jeans to introduce RFID-enabled customer services
RFID Journal
Staff Jeans, a Greek clothing company that already employs RFID to track apparel at the item level in its factories and DC, is expanding its use of RFID to include value-added services at the point of sale at the company's biggest store, in Athens. The firm is adding an intelligent-shopping function that works with RFID-enabled in-store video screens, as well as an RFID-based checkout system and an RFID-based product-authentication solution for returns. The company initially implemented RFID in late 2008 for warehouse management — specifically, to automate receiving, picking and shipping processes at a distribution center in the city of Larissa — according to Panos Dimitropoulos, the managing partner of SENSAP, the project's integrator.More

Why happy employees are good for business
Looking for new ways to improve your financial health? You might try spending more time and energy focusing on your employees' happiness, suggests a new study. The report from Hewitt Associates found employee engagement with their employers at its lowest level in the 15 years the human resources consulting and outsourcing firm has studied the issue. "This highlights the growing tension between employers — many of which are struggling to stabilize their financial situation — and employees, who are showing fatigue in response to a lengthy period of stress, uncertainty and confusion brought about by the recession and their company's actions," observed the study, which tracked more than 900 organizations globally.More