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Sept. 24, 2009
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Timely News You Can Use

The new WERCWatch, a free, opt-in e-mail resource providing comprehensive weekly news briefings of interesting stories important to the warehousing industry, is a way for WERC members and supporters to stay informed in a timely manner. WERCWatch contains articles gathered from an expansive list of sources, including news from the association and leading industry publications. It’s a great way to keep informed. The electronic publication can be easily read in your office, home, or via your mobile phone or PDA.

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In the News

Factories Produce Hopeful Signs as Industrial Output Rises
from The Washington Post
The nation's factories boosted their output in August for the second straight month, the latest confirmation that an economic expansion is likely underway. Meanwhile, consumer prices rose last month, but mainly due to higher prices for gasoline. Industrial production rose 0.8 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday, following a 1 percent rise in July. The July increase had been the first since October 2008, and the report is among the strongest evidence yet that the economy made a shift this summer from contraction to expansion, at least as measured by gross domestic product. More

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Conveyor Shipments Down 18.8 Percent in First Half
from Material Handling Management
Overall industry shipments for the first six months of 2009 dropped 18.8 percent compared to the same period in 2008, with total shipments of $3.18 billion. CEMA estimates industry orders of $2.89 billion in the same period. In the bulk conveying area, orders were down 25 percent, and shipments were down 14 percent. Unit-handling orders were down 26 percent, and shipments were down 23 percent. More

Obama Tries to Smooth Over Trade Spat with China
from Reuters
President Barack Obama promised China's President Hu Jintao on Tuesday that the United States would stay committed to free trade, as he sought to ease friction over a decision to slap sanctions on Chinese tires. "The tire issue came up. The Chinese remain concerned about it," said a U.S. official, who briefed reporters on talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. "The president noted that we had differences on the issue and said that the U.S. remains firmly committed to free trade and resisting protectionism," the official said. More

DC Costs Trending Down
from Material Handling Management
Distribution center costs as a percentage of revenue are trending downward compared to last year, according to the Core Benchmarks Report from the Supply Chain Consortium, a group of companies that share resources and best practices. Tompkins Associates collects data, conducts surveys and writes reports for the Consortium. “Companies have put a lot of effort into cost savings,” says Bruce Tompkins, executive director of the Consortium and author of the report. “And, with supply chain costs and transportation costs increasing, distribution is an area where companies are able to alleviate some of the financial strain.” More

Getting Logistics Asset Lifecycle Management Right
from Supply Chain Digest
Most companies have opportunities to improve the full lifecycle management of their logistics assets, such as hardware and software systems. That was the massage, in part, from Wayne Carlston, Director of Supply Chain Systems Development for OC Tanner, a provider of employee recognition programs, who says that too often logistics managers don’t put enough thought into how to best maximize long-term performance of those assets after they have been purchased and initially deployed. “Buying and owning are two very different things,” Carlston said in a presentation this week at the Material Handling and Logistics Conference in Park City, Utah, an annual event sponsored by HK Systems. Carlston offered recommendations along both the “buying” and “owning” dimensions. More

Strawberry Grower Deploys RFID to Fix Temperature Troubles
from the RFID Journal
Bionest, a Spanish grower of organic strawberries, is deploying an RFID solution enabling the company to view the temperature of the strawberries packed at its processing facility, as well as record temperature fluctuations in a truck while the berries are transported, and monitor the temperature in real time once more at a retailer's distribution center in Germany. Bionest seeks to resolve some "big temperature troubles during transport," says Thomas Cera, the strawberry grower's sales manager. Bionest piloted the technology on a limited number of shipments during the 2009 Spanish strawberry season (February to May), and intends to install it as a permanent deployment for the 2010 season. The solution was provided by Dutch RFID firm Ambient. More

Free Trade Agreements Pose Threat to U.S. Growth, Says Industry Group
from IndustryWeek
Free trade agreements in Asia, particularly by South Korea and India, pose a threat to U.S. manufactured exports that will continue to be subject to relatively high tariffs, according to a new study. The July 2009 Korean Free Trade Agreement with the EU will give a price advantage to European exports, which are already larger than U.S. exports to South Korea, according to the author of the report. In addition, he says Indian FTAs concluded with South Korea and Singapore, and currently being negotiated with the EU and Japan, pose a similar threat to U.S. exports to the rapidly growing Indian market. More

U.S. Wholesale Inventories Lowest in Nearly Three Years
from Forbes
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers in July fell to their lowest level in nearly three years, declining for the 11th straight month after sharp drops in furniture and metals stocks, government data showed on Friday. The Commerce Department said total wholesale inventories dropped 1.4 percent to $387.2 billion, the lowest level since September 2006, after a revised 2.1 percent decline in June, previously reported as a 1.7 percent slump. More

Survival Strategies for Logistics Professionals
from DC Velocity
With mass layoffs, business closures, and restructurings, the bad news from the employment front just keeps coming. And as we have learned by now, logistics/supply chain jobs are as vulnerable as any other in this recession. All this turmoil may have you worried about keeping your job or, if you have already been laid off, stressed about your prospects of landing a new one. But there are steps you can take to survive the recession with your sanity, if not your career, intact. A few tips are outlined in the linked article. More

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