WERCWatch
Oct. 28, 2010

ALAN call for aid

The American Logistics Aid Network is closely monitoring the cholera outbreak in Haiti and working with volunteer agencies that have alerted us they need medical supplies and transport for those supplies to Miami for transport to Haiti. The situation is critical, and any support you can provide is greatly appreciated!

WERCouncil events
North Carolina, Nov. 5 — Tour and lunch at the Angus Barn where you'll see how they deal with the perishables logistics challenge of monthly handling 22,000 steaks and all the trimmings.
Portland, Nov. 11 — Learn how to leverage knowledge of generational attributes to understand your workforce and achieve higher retention rates and higher levels of communication.
NE Ohio WERCouncil & APICS, Nov. 11 — Warehouse Management: Leading the Way to Performance and Profitability: Hear about how best to set up a warehouse and best warehousing practices.
NorCal Meyer's Fairfield DC tour, Nov 11 — Join the Northern California WERCouncil for lunch and a tour of Meyers Corporation's state of the art AS/RS facility with 300-plus square feet of warehousing.More

Item-level RFID is bullish economic indicator
Material Flows
It looks like the struggling economy has ended the struggle of supply chain managers who have been trying to get their CEO's attention. According to James Tompkins, president and CEO of Tompkins Associates, and a member of Material Handling & Logistics' editorial advisory board, the recession has given CEOs a taste of what happens to the bottom line when supply chains go awry. Tompkins and his firm soon will be releasing a position paper illustrating a "Supply Chain Value Framework," demonstrating how supply chain professionals drive value tied directly to their companies' goals and objectives.More

After declining last year, commercial warehousing in US predicted to hit $50 billion mark in 2010
Armstrong & Associates via SupplyChainBrain
Commercial warehousing revenue in the United States will reach $50 billion this year, according to a report by Armstrong & Associates Inc. Contract and public warehousing combined are expected to exceed 2008 revenues by 2 percent after declining in 2009. The contract and public commercial warehousing market now constitutes 45 percent of the total U.S. market. Details of these segments by vertical industry are provided, as well as lists of the top dry and refrigerated warehousing providers.More

Clouds thicken over the supply chain
DC Velocity
A cloud seems to be descending on distribution, and that's probably a good thing for companies looking to save money. The cloud in this case is not a mass of water particles, but cloud computing, the latest development in information technology. A new report from the research and advisory group Gartner suggests that companies increasingly are turning to cloud-based solutions for supply chain applications and that by doing so, they're shaving beaucoup dollars off their information technology expenses. What's cloud computing, you ask?More

What is a portable voice picking solution and why does it matter?
Supply Chain Digest
Portability is one of those IT-oriented topics that at first glance doesn't seem to be that important compared to the basics of voice-enabling the warehouse workforce. But portability drives to the issue of long-term flexibility and cost. When the voice software is not portable, then future choices are limited — and whenever choices are limited, costs are difficult to contain. Smart executives make decisions today that don't foreclose on their options for tomorrow. Above all, they seek ways to avoid vendor lock-in, knowing that having choices in key areas will give the enterprise motivated suppliers.More

Mastering the shared destiny of the modern supply web
SupplyChainBrain
The weakest link in a chain determines its reliability and performance. Supply chain technologies only recently have started to focus on strengthening point-to-point connections, viewing the world as a straight line between raw material and final consumer. This linear view ignores the new reality of the supply web, a much more complex three-dimensional network of partners, customers and suppliers that requires the same point-to-point excellence of execution as the supply chain but has the added advantage of flexibility and transparency. Nothing embodies today's interconnected 24/7 world as well as the modern supply web.More

RFID boosts store turnover by nearly 10 percent in Italian pilot
RFID Journal
The University of Parma's RFID Lab recently announced the results of RFID's impact on operational efficiencies and sales in an end-to-end supply chain study. The lab reports that store sales increased by nearly 10 percent during the pilot, because of increased replenishment, and that labor efficiencies and data accuracy also improved throughout the supply chain. "The results of this pilot show unequivocally that passive UHF RFID technology can increase labor efficiency, improve data accuracy and lead to more sales," says Antonio Rizzi, the RFID Lab's founder and director.More

Carbon labeling coming on strong in UK, likely in US before long
The Green Supply Chain
The concept of "carbon labeling," in which the level of carbon emissions used to create and deliver a product are identified on those products in some way, is said to have started in 2007. While there has been little real action in the U.S., a recent article in the Financial Times of London says the movement has gain significant traction in the U.K. According to the article by the FT's Environment Correspondent Fiona Harvey, U.K. consumers purchased some $3 billion dollars worth of carbon labeled goods last year, a big number given that the first carbon-labeled product appeared in March 2007 on one version of Walkers crisps (crackers).More

How do you measure innovation?
CIO
For too long now innovation has been viewed as a black art. Business journals, such as Business Week and Fortune, that regularly publish their lists of the most innovative companies, select top performers based on surveys of CEO/business executives, not hard data of performances. Similarly, few managers have the required metrics to make informed decisions about their innovation programs. Therefore, managers of all types, and IT managers especially (because they are often out of the strategy decision-making loop), have only a vague sense of the innovativeness of their company and their department; they have little or no means to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of a particular innovation program.More

Why the supply chain leader should care about the rise in social commerce
Supply Chain Shaman
It is called the socialgraph: the complex interconnection of social relationships. It is a new type of network. One that has the power to redefine the shopping experience allowing companies to anticipate, personalize and energize the shopping experience in new ways. Untapping the potential of this technology shift will make the vision of customer-centric value chains today's a new reality. Many new technologies are converging simultaneously. It resembles the wild, wild west. For many companies, so many things are happening simultaneously, that it is hard to chose how to get started.More

Bill DuBois: You get what you pay for — Is cost containment your main SCM goal?
The 21st Century Supply Chain
Is cost containment your main supply chain management goal? If so, do you think you've paid a price for taking that approach? Given today's business climate, I believe those are two valid questions. What's more, if you think your company — or supply chain — has suffered as a result of focusing primarily on cost containment, you aren't alone. An article that recently ran in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design reports on the findings of a recent KPMG International survey of nearly 200 senior executives from the aerospace, metals, engineering and conglomerates sectors. Nearly two-thirds of the executives surveyed reported that cost containment remains the top priority in managing their supply chains.More

Clifford F. Lynch: 2010 — A safety odyssey
DC Velocity
When it comes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 initiative, there's no such thing as a consensus opinion. Some have hailed the program as a bold step toward making America's roads safer. Others have characterized it as potentially the most damaging regulation in the trucking industry's history — one that could result in a critical shortage of drivers. The lack of consensus hasn't stopped the FMCSA from pushing forward with plans for implementation. The regulations are scheduled to take effect this year, although it appears they won't be fully implemented until 2011.More

From where should we lead?
Harvard Business Review
As the "Fasten Seatbelts" sign goes off in the global economy and CEOs step out of their crisis-control command centers, they must now decide: Should we go back to leading from atop the organizational pyramid, or should we stay in the eye of the storm? The value zone has shifted to the frontlines, where employees interact with customers. CEOs can no longer afford to lead from a distance, so they should move to a place that is at the core of those interactions and yet, is quiet. That idea brings to mind the British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, one of the world's greatest leaders.More

Report: You can no longer be blind to shipment details in inbound transportation pipeline
Aberdeen Group via SupplyChainBrain
Increased visibility is vital to successfully managing global inbound transportation, says a report from Aberdeen Group. The report, International Transportation: Optimize Cost and Service in a Global Market, documents processes and capabilities of 181 companies surveyed between June and July 2010. "Customer demands for high delivery performance, and the increased demand for accurate delivery status information are driving the need to ensure shipment integrity and enhance internal and external communications across the entire supply chain," said Bob Heaney, senior research analyst of supply chain management at Aberdeen.More

Mold in them thar pills?
Material Flows
The timing of the most recent Tylenol recall couldn't have been better for providers of plastic pallets. As Material Handling & Logistics reported recently, Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit is recalling a product lot of Tylenol 8 Hour caplets from store shelves after receiving complaints of a musty or moldy odor. You would think after one of these recalls the company would have gotten to the bottom of this, however, 12 recalls later, we still are reporting on the problem. In our reports, McNeil linked this moldy odor to the presence of trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole.More

Will health care reform drive compliance packaging?
Healthcare Packaging
Health care reform seems to be moving toward rewarding medical professionals for patient outcomes. Could that lead to greater use of compliance-prompting packaging? In a late-September e-mail survey, Healthcare Packaging readers answered this question. Here is a sampling of their responses: "This will drive costs up overall," commented a raw materials supplier. "I can see the more expensive compliance packaging in terms of cold chain products packed in the 2- to 8-degree C range," added a pharmaceutical respondent.More