Dec. 1, 2011

Renewal time for lots of members

The fast and easy way to renew is online at www.werc.org. Click on the RENEW WERC MEMBERSHIP link.

And what about mentoring an associate?
A mentoring membership is only $150 and provides FULL benefits for a FULL year. It's a great way to develop a high-potential employee or connect a colleague to the network of WERC members. View detailed information online at www.werc.org. The mentoring membership offers special rates for proteges. A mentor must be a dues-paying professional member in good standing.More

Phonies threaten supply chains
Material Flows
Gibson Guitar and the federal government have something in common: Both of their supply chains are plagued by counterfeits flowing through them. Obviously, the ramifications of phony electronic components in strategic weapons systems are a lot more serious to this country's population than a shipment of phony electric guitars, but the consequences are just as dire to Gibson's existence. During a recent session of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., noted that the committee uncovered more than 1,800 incidents of counterfeiting, totaling more than 1 million counterfeit electronic parts in the defense supply chain. "It begs the question: If 1 million counterfeit parts were caught in the supply chain, how many were not?" the senator asked.More

Automation: Materials handling on fire
Modern Materials Handling
Bob Trebilcock writes, "A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit three materials handling equipment suppliers in Chicago. They produced different products and had different geographic reaches. All three, however, were having strong years and are anticipating good things in 2012. At the same time, Modern and Logistics Management just completed two surveys of readers that indicate the end user community is taking a very cautious approach to 2012."More

Survey looks at forklift buyers' priorities
DC Velocity
Even in the toughest of times, companies still will buy forklifts. Fifty-one percent of the 600 or so respondents to Crown Equipment Corp.'s proprietary Forklift User Survey said they had increased the size of their fleet over the past three years. Fewer than 10 percent reduced their fleet during the same period. As for the future, nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents plan to expand their forklift fleet during the next three years, while 50 percent expect their fleet will remain the same size. Less than 5 percent expect their fleets to shrink.More

Delayed metrics visibility inhibits improvements
Material Handling & Logistics
In most manufacturing companies, employees do not have visibility into performance to change outcomes during their work shift, or even at the end of it, according to Tony Christian, director of Cambashi, an industrial research firm. In a presentation to the MESA European Conference, Christian provided a sneak peek based on the first 100 responses to an online survey, "Pursuit of Performance Excellence: Business Success through Effective Plant Operations Metrics."More

Are you holding your supply chain data hostage?
The 21st Century Supply Chain
Are you holding your supply chain data hostage in siloed software solutions or data warehouses? It's time to use all of that data to your advantage. Organizations work hard at collecting all of the data but what happens next? Yes, that's right: nonvalue-added activity extracting data, merging information between systems, waiting for results and guessing at decisions.More

Slowly, warehouse space overcapacity is turning, and rates heading upward
Supply Chain Digest
The financial crisis and recession delivered a powerful blow to distribution center developers and owners, as demand plummeted and many companies consolidated existing facilities into fewer buildings. Developers building on "spec" came to a literal halt, and rates naturally fell sharply, making it a buyer's market for companies looking for new space or to renegotiate existing leases. But despite the wobbly economic recovery in the U.S. ever since, the market is quietly recovering, and soon will have absorbed all of the millions of square feet of space left idle during the recession, a new market analysis from real estate company Grubb & Ellis recently found.More

Cliff Holste: Managing future logistics operations will require ability to navigate through uncharted waters; simulation key
Supply Chain Digest
With an environment of volatility and unpredictability likely to last for years, should logistics and distribution management look to greater adoption of simulation and emulation tools to cope with these dynamics? While the current down economy drags on, the one thing we know for sure is that business conditions will improve at some point in the future as they always do. But that doesn't necessary mean that business will return to normal, i.e., a robust job creating economy. In fact many economists say that a job growth rate that is barely enough to keep up with population growth is the "new normal."More

Shipping pallets: Costco says a better pallet really is, well, better
Modern Materials Handling
Laszlo Horvath, the new director of the Center For Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech, has an interesting observation about pallet users. Most end users pay attention to the design of their pallet after they have problems. Earlier this year, Costco Wholesale turned that model on its head, revamping its pallet spec to improve operations and avoid problems. Since Jan. 11, Costco has received merchandise from suppliers only on block pallets — and most of those are rental pallets from CHEP, PECO or iGPS. How's it working out? To find out, Bob Trebilcock talked to John Thelan, Costco's senior vice president for depots and traffic.More

Great Wolf Lodge combines storytelling with RFID
RFID Journal
Great Wolf Lodge, which operates 11 indoor water park resorts across North America, provides a variety of entertainment features for children, including an RFID-based MagiQuest interactive game, first installed in 2009. This fall, at Great Wolf's site in the town of Scotrun, located in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, the company installed a new interactive game known as Story Explorers, designed for its younger guests, and offering a storytelling experience personalized via RFID. Creative Kingdoms is the provider of the MagiQuest and Story Explorers systems.More

When should you cube and weigh?
DC Velocity
In today's high-velocity distribution centers, there's no room for guesswork. That's particularly true when it comes to the size and weight of products stored and handled at the site. Having accurate weight and dimensional data can help you calculate outbound shipping costs correctly, determine your exact storage and material handling system needs, and catch mispicked orders before they go out the door. But where and when should you gather cube and weight data?More

Who will handle your hazmats?
Material Handling & Logistics
There are fewer carriers in the market today in all modes. That deficit may hit shippers of hazardous materials a bit harder than other shippers. On the carrier side, just finding or developing qualified hazmat drivers is a challenge. Many carriers are driving away from hazmat handling for that reason alone. However, hazmat shippers often make that decision easier for the carrier by being difficult to serve in other ways.More

Treehouse Labs unveils iPhone RFID system for locating people, things
RFID Journal
Treehouse Labs, a startup product-development firm based in Austin, Texas, is releasing a wireless technology solution that enables an Apple iPhone to locate items or individuals via the use of the company's BiKN (pronounced "beacon") platform, which includes an iPhone application, an RFID reader built into a case that snaps onto the phone, and battery-powered 2.4 GHz RFID tags that could be attached to people or things. With the consumer applications, users can utilize their phone to send alerts, locate persons or objects, or set up a virtual leash. The solution is set to be formally launched and displayed Jan. 8, 2012, at the Consumer Electronics Show. The tags are made with NXP Semiconductors' JN5148 transponder chip, which complies with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard.More