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Logistics, Transportation and Distribution

  • The Art of Transportation and Logistics

      2018

    The Academy of Art University’s (AAU) transportation department manages a fleet of more than 40 vehicles that provide shuttle services to an average of 2,500 riders every day at 18 bus stops serving nearly 40 buildings around east and central San Francisco.......Read More

  • Transportation Gets Creative

    • Elizabeth Rennie
      2018

    Transporting goods is a vital part of supply chain and a key economic concern for organizations today. Effective logistics, transportation and distribution professionals are addressing this challenge by tapping into enhanced visibility with sensors, mobile devices and automation — particularly for last-mile challenges. ......Read More

  • Lessons in Effective Negotiating from the Pawn Shop Stars

    • Mark S. Miller
      2018

    The best supply chain managers are also effective negotiators. Sure, negotiation skills are essential to purchasing — but they also play an important role in inventory management and transportation and logistics. Interestingly, some of the most essential negotiation skills also happen to be displayed each week on those reality TV shows about world-famous pawn shops. If you’re unfamiliar, basically, the programs depict a pawn shop staff’s interactions with customers, who bring in a variety of artifacts. Viewers watch as the players haggle over price and debate each piece’s historical background.......Read More

  • Smaller Shipments, Bigger Challenges

    • Dave Turbide
      2017

    As more manufacturers pursue online sales direct to the end user, supply chain management professionals are challenged to fulfill a growing number of individual, small shipments. Operations that are structured and staffed for cases, pallets or full truckloads are simply insufficient. Traditionally, manufacturers considered logistics, transportation and distribution to be necessary evils — they were required, but didn’t really offer any great business opportunities. The rise of e-commerce is making these competencies integral; yet many companies are ill-prepared to handle them.......Read More

  • Blockchain in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution

    • Ron Crabtree
      2018

    A growing number of logistics, transportation and distribution companies have begun using blockchains to solve transaction-related headaches. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the technology is that no one company has control of all the data. Rather, all parties contribute to the chain of information in real time, so the need for reconciliation of each other’s internal records is removed.......Read More

  • A Case Study of 3PP in Action

    • V.G. Venkatesh
    • Clark Luo
    • Yangyan Shi
      2018

    Third-party logistics (3PL) business ABC is based in China and works with a leading automotive manufacturer that has hundreds of service dealers. In the past, the client company would place service parts purchase orders (POs) directly from the parts manufacturers to be delivered to its dealers’ service departments. Unfortunately, delivery was sporadic, and customers often had to wait days for their repairs to be completed. Even though the dealers typically kept about one month’s worth of spare parts inventory, this still proved to be inadequate. ......Read More

  • An Emerging Procurement Offering Inspires Customer Loyalty

    • V.G. Venkatesh
    • Clark Luo
    • Yangyan Shi
      2018

    Third-party logistics (3PL) companies play a key role in heightening global supply chain efficiency. Yet many of them tend to provide a narrow range of offerings — generally just transportation and warehousing — which constrains supply chain opportunities and leaves these businesses with pricing as their only competitive weapon. Meanwhile, purchasers at many organizations face tremendous pressure to control costs, most often due to a lack of purchasing power and insufficient volume. These professionals are seeking innovative ways to manage procurement more effectively.......Read More

  • Optimizing Assembly: A Case Study

    • Michael A. M. Bork
    • Peter J. Sherman
      2018

    Proterra Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of zero emission heavy duty vehicles, which are in high demand. With the goal of 100 percent customer satisfac tion, delivery dates can be rigid and aggressive, leaving little room for inefficient flow of product through its assembly processes.......Read More

  • A Primer on Attaining High-Impact Flow

    • Peter J. Sherman
    • Michael A. M. Bork
      2018

    Creating optimum flow is one of the core principles of lean philosophy. Effective flow enables companies to deliver products and services in a shorter period of time, have significantly less work in process (WIP), and be more flexible and adaptable with changes in customer specifications. There are two types of flow: pull and push.......Read More

  • How REI Built a LEED Platinum Distribution Center

    • Rex Magadia
      2018

    As a young professional, I always value the opportunity to learn from more experienced supply chain managers. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Best, divisional vice president of supply chain operations, and Tiffany Thompson, supply chain strategy manager, at specialty outdoor retailer REI. Since finishing graduate school with an MBA in global supply chain management, I began working at REI part time and have enjoyed learning about the inner-workings of this unique company.......Read More

  • Truckers Shine Light on a Hidden Crime

    • Elizabeth Rennie
    November/December 2017

    Kendis Paris is the executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a nonprofit that trains members of the trucking industry to fight human trafficking. Elizabeth Rennie, APICS magazine senior managing editor, recently spoke with Paris about TAT and how APICS members — particularly those in logistics, transportation and distribution — can help address this global crisis.......Read More

  • Sales and Operations Planning from an Omnichannel Perspective

    • Patrick Bower
    July/August 2017

    White Plains, New York-based personal care company Combe is fresh off the battlefield of the recent launch of its first consumer-facing omnichannel portal for the Just for Men hair care product line. The following case study highlights the major challenges, strategies and lessons learned, particularly with regard to the company's S&OP process.......Read More

  • 12 Essential Questions to Ask Potential Shipping Clients

    • Chandler Magann
      2017

    When bidding on a shipment or looking to add more companies to your client roster, the more you know about a prospect’s needs, goals and challenges, the better your chance of securing the contract. Here are 12 questions you should ask – and why – when speaking with a new prospect.......Read More

  • A Historical Look at the Silk Routes

    • Richard E. Crandall
    May/June 2017

    Even in their earliest days, the Silk Routes made up a complicated trading network. The flow of goods could be helped or hindered by political and environmental factors. To fully understand the complications, it is necessary to look at a number of factors, including the actual trade routes, the products traded, political and religious differences, and even the biological disruptions that affected trade.......Read More

  • Reinventing the Silk Routes of Eurasia

    • Richard E. Crandall
    May/June 2017

    Trade routes between Asia and Europe date back at least 3,000 years. At that time, the center of civilization was in Mesopotamia, an area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that roughly corresponds to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish-Syrian and Iran-Iraq borders (Mark 2014). These routes, known as the Silk Routes—because they moved silk from China to other parts of Eurasia—thrived during some periods but, at other times, were blocked or destroyed by invaders. Now, centuries later, China is looking to rebuild the routes to improve international trade.......Read More

  • Drones, Hyperloops, and Automated Trucks Carve Their Distribution Niches

    • Jennifer Storelli
    May/June 2017

    In the last two centuries, planes, trains, and commercial trucks changed the distribution industry and improved the way goods are transported. Now, a new era of innovation is ushering in a second generation of these delivery vehicles, namely drones, hyperloops, and automated trucks. ......Read More

  • When Technologies Intersect

    • Jennifer Storelli
    May/June 2017

    Although drones, hyperloops, and automated trucks each have the ability to improve the distribution industry on their own, they also can make contributions when combined with each other and other modes of distribution into innovative systems.......Read More

  • Logistics Trends and Transformation

    • Elizabeth Rennie
    March/April 2017

    Supply chain management professionals cope with constantly escalating challenges that create both risks to be managed and opportunities to be maximized. Heightened customer expectations, evolving business models, and intense productivity requirements are key issues facing the industry. Meanwhile, promising new technologies aid in collaboration and efficiency yet often lead to even greater levels of complexity. A wait-and-see approach is unwise in such a taxing marketplace; businesses must prepare now and respond tactically.......Read More

  • Metrics Drive Lean 3PL Management

    • Ron Crabtree
    January/February 2017

    With the aim of identifying potential areas for cost savings and heightening service levels, a manufacturing company recently underwent a rapid assessment of its multi-million-dollar spend for third-party logistics (3PL) services. This firm had already adopted lean operations best practices, and decision-makers now wanted to extend that lean thinking into their 3PL activities.......Read More

  • Win the Logistics Race with Natural Gas

    Fueling the decision to make the switch
    • Scott Perry
    November/December 2016

    These days, most people at the pump are celebrating the continuation of inexpensive oil. However, many transportation and logistics professionals are cursing the low prices because they complicate the choice between diesel and natural gas as well as related fleet equipment-purchasing decisions.......Read More