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About: yamilfalcon

Recent Posts by yamilfalcon

Developing a Less-than-Truckload & Ecommerce Focused Shipping Strategy

Omnichannel v Siloed Channels

Omnichannel is “in.” Siloed channels are out.

Customers expect to get whatever they want, whenever they want, at the prices they want and the ability to change their minds up to the delivery time.

It sounds like a shipping nightmare, and in some respects, it is.

Shippers cannot hope to fulfill every possible demand at all times, but they can help ensure positive experiences.

This will require a less-than-truckload (LTL) and e-commercefocused shipping strategy.

In other words, shippers will need to combine their approaches to handling e-commerce and LTL.

Shippers need to know the benefits of combined strategy and a few best practices to develop a winning LTL and e-commerce plan.

Benefits of Combining LTL and E-Commerce Shipping Strategies

Omnichannel means the ability to serve customers across any channel and blend all channels to create seamless experiences for customers.

Up to 60 percent of all transactions, including online and brick-and-mortar sales, involve the use of the internet at some point in the shopping journey.

As a result, companies must embrace the combined nature of omnichannel to realize its benefits, and the same is true of combined LTL and e-commerce shipping strategies.

Some of the top benefits of combined LTL and e-commerce include:

  • More time for customer service and filling orders.
  • Reduced paperwork errors.
  • Increased accuracy in freight quoting, reducing accessorial or after-the-fact fees.
  • Efficient processes.
  • More revenue for customers.
  • Lowered carrying costs through additional shipping models.

Best Practices in an LTL and E-Commerce Shipping Strategy

Gaining the benefits of omnichannel-based LTL and e-commerce is excellent, but the path to full realization is not necessarily clear.

Shippers should follow these best practices to create a comprehensive, cost-saving strategy:

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  1. Refine LTL and e-commerce solutions’ provider bidding practices. How shippers submit RFPs to carriers and solicit new services can have a significant impact on pricing and timeliness of response. Since time is everything in the capacity crunch, those that refine processes by advising of expectations in the RFP and defining the review process can streamline carrier expansion.
  2. Expand LTL transportation networks. Using multiple carriers is likely the best and only way to access a global customer base in the age of e-commerce. Shipments outside of a carrier’s designated area will naturally require another carrier, and the global market of e-commerce means every option must be on the table. The alternative is to refuse sales or delivery to certain areas.
  3. Integrate LTL and e-commerce freight management platforms, explains Deborah Lockridge of Trucking Info. Integrated platforms had the natural effect of self-verifying information and automating the freight tender process. Moreover, integrated solutions provide better traceability and reduced costs than trying to manage multiple systems independently. Shippers should also integrate the ELD and labor management systems to gain true end-to-end visibility, as well as the whole scope of warehouse management technologies and platforms.
  4. Consider DIM pricing. Dimensionalizers automatically measure freight to ensure dimensions are within the carrier limitations, as well as provide information for calculating DIM weight versus actual weight.
  5. Remember the impact of tariffs and new taxes. Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in early 2018, the likelihood of new taxes and tariffs levied in the coming year is great. Shippers should consider the impact of tariffs and potential changes to laws in making all decisions.
  6. Maximize efficiency by eliminating empty backhauls, asserts Supply Chain 24/7. Empty backhauls are wasted space and lost money. It’s that simple.
  7. Partner with a freight broker, like a 3PL. Freight brokers can help SMBs access volume discounts, expand carrier selection, take advantage of value-added services, such as invoice auditing and even cargo insurance.

Putting It All Together

Shippers have to meet e-commerce customers’ needs.

Delivering as expected will require the use of new technologies and convergence of LTL and e-commerce management platforms.

Shippers should follow the tips listed above to bring harmony to their systems and streamline shipment processing.

Of course, shippers must also work to build positive experiences for customers up to delivery, installation and customer service, if necessary.

In a sense, the reputation of less than truckload service has evolved and grown more important, especially in the age of social media.

Related: Applying Vital Less-than-Truckload Capacity Best Practices When Freight Volume is Tight

Applying Vital Less-than-Truckload Capacity Best Practices When Freight Volume is Tight

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The State of & Pricing Outlook of the Less than Truckload Shipping Market
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What Larry Culp GE’s New CEO Brings to the Company

H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, GE

GE announced today it named H. Lawrence Culp Jr. as its new chairman and chief executive.

H. Lawrence Culp Jr., 55, served as CEO of Danaher Corporation. He joined the GE board in April this year.

“It’s been a privilege to be asked to lead this iconic company,” Culp said.

“GE remains a fundamentally strong company with great businesses and tremendous talent.”

GE said that GE businesses were performing on track with the exception of GE Power.

The company announced that a decline in the Power unit’s business outlook led to a “shortfall relative to 2018 guidance.” GE will take a non-cash impairment charge related to GE Power.

GE also reiterated that it remained committed to establishing its GE Healthcare business “as a separate independent entity and fully exiting its 62.5 percent interest in Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in an orderly manner.”

Culp joined the GE board of directors together with Thomas W. Horton, former chairman, and chief executive of American Airlines. Horton, 57, now becomes the board’s lead director.

“Tom and I will work with our board colleagues on opportunities for continued board renewal,” Culp said.

“We will be working very hard in the coming weeks to drive superior execution, and we will move with urgency,” Culp said.

“We remain committed to strengthening the balance sheet including deleveraging. We have a lot of work ahead of us to unlock the value of GE. I am excited to get to work.”

GE’s $500,000,000,000 Market Wipeout

As reported by Bloomberg, GE is on the verge of a staggering milestone: a half-trillion dollars in market value wiped out since that all-time high 18 years ago.

The iconic American corporation is now worth just under $100 billion, its stock at around $11 at Friday’s close, and investors are signaling they don’t expect things to get better.

While the stock surged Monday after the announcement of the change at the top, the shares – and the company – have a massive hole to dig out from.

Even longtime GE observers bears are stunned. “Wow,” said Steve Tusa, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst who has followed GE since 2001, when asked about the half-trillion figure.

GE’s CEO Change Could Mean the Company is Doing Worse than Expected

General Electric’s sudden CEO change may have gained the market’s vote of confidence, but to CNBC’s Jim Cramer, it suggested something more serious.

“When you boot a CEO after just 13 months, the presumption is that the company’s doing far worse than you think,” Cramer, host of “Mad Money,” told viewers. “Otherwise, why not let Flannery muddle through, right?”

“We learned, once again, that GE is doing far worse than we thought, that the power division is even more of a disaster, and there’s no easy fix whatsoever,” Cramer continued.

But with a “brilliant manager” like Culp, a GE board member who was CEO of science-and-tech colossus Danaher, GE can at least “put an end to the negative surprise chatter” associated with the company’s overhaul efforts, the “Mad Money” host said.

“I do feel bad for John. He was trying to deal with the hand that Jeff Immelt left him. The hand was too hard,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Even so, Culp “was fantastic at Danaher,” Cramer said. “So I think the company is in better hands.

GE’s $500,000,000,000 Market Wipeout Is Like Erasing Facebook

Related: How Advancing Technologies Challenge the Position of a Company Chief Executive Officer

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The Difference between a Traditional Warehouse and an OmniChannel Warehouse

What Is an Omnichannel Warehouse?

An omnichannel warehouse is different from a traditional warehouse in that it handles incoming orders from online, brick-and-mortar, and all other possible channels.

Let’s take a closer look at omnichannel warehouses, why they’re necessary, and how they impact warehouse management and operations.

The Problem: Single Ecommerce Warehouses Cannot Handle All Orders

Part of the reason warehouses continue operating as traditional, single-channel warehouses, lies in the lackluster use of warehouse management technology.

In omnichannel supply chains, orders come in from all directions, including in-store orders, replenishment for existing stores, ecommerce orders, and even the occasional customer service-assisted orders.

In the age of Amazon, handling all e-commerce orders in a single warehouse is impractical, and it will result in lost opportunities.

Streamlining returns is an integral part of developing an omnichannel warehouse, and, with up to 30% of all e-commerce purchases returned, reports Business2Community, warehouse managers must include returns capabilities in existing warehouses.

This reduces logistics spending, but in standard warehouses, this also implies a 30% increase in workload without a corresponding increase in revenue.

Therefore, an omnichannel warehouse is the only solution.

The Solution: Converting All Warehouses to Omnichannel Warehouses Is Key

Staying competitive with Amazon is already difficult, as Amazon has an advanced, dedicated plethora of systems that speed order processing, picking and pulling, packing, and shipping.

Even though the company brick-and-mortar shopping centers are in infancy, simply being able to receive items at an Amazon pickup location makes Amazon a go-to preference for millions of customers.

Amazon’s abilities lie in its dedication to developing technologies and processes that expand shipping options while moving product faster.

According to Datex, operating an omnichannel warehouse requires, at a minimum, an integrated warehouse management system, an order management system, a package optimization system, and a variable shipping rate shopping tool, such as a dedicated transportation management system.

Warehouse managers should begin the process by converting all existing warehouse and distribution centers into omnichannel warehouses.

Furthermore, storefronts can be used as an additional means of order fulfillment, taking advantage of shelf products to reduce the distance between customers and order fulfillment centers.

The Reward: Operating Multiple Omnichannel Warehouses Offers Key Advantages

Companies have multiple warehouses in operation, and even storefronts can be used as mini-warehouses for the purposes of fulfilling more orders.

Additional advantages of embracing an enterprise-wide adoption of omnichannel warehouses include:

  1. Reduced delivery times, enabling competition with Amazon and Walmart, which are offering free, two-day, next-day or even same-day shipping options on certain purchases.
  2. Better collaboration between storese-commerce and order fulfillment.
  3. Expanded shipping options, such as click and collect delivery options, as explained by Olivia Riant of Generix Group.
  4. Greater variety of products, offering to customers more options and requiring greater attention to detail in warehouse management.
  5. Improved order accuracy through integration, improving perfect order percentages and boosting brand value.

Move Toward Omnichannel Warehouses to Stay Competitive

The days of an ecommerce-dedicated warehouse are over. Warehouse managers must understand the necessity of new systems and processes to create omnichannel warehouses, with the added benefits listed above.

About the Author

Jason Rosing is the founding partner of Veridian; a valued Manhattan Associates partner and technology leader specializing in user-friendly, robust and flexible automated testing and configuration management solutions designed to meet the ever-changing challenges of the omnichannel landscape.

Related: 9 Attributes Redefining the Warehouse of the Future

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It’s Almost October and the Holiday Hiring Has Arrived for the Transportation & Logistics Sector

The Holiday Hiring Season

The time for holiday hiring has arrived, with three of the biggest households in the freight transportation and logistics sectors-UPSFedEx, and XPO Logistics, each making announcements to that effect over the last few days.

The need for extra help, in form of staffing, is not a new, or novel, approach by any stretch of the imagination.

Instead, it is something that is required and needed, in order to keep up with the heightened demand that this new age of e-commerceand related last-mile logistics efforts, brings with it.

And when you factor in the holidays, well, it becomes quickly apparent that every one of these additional hires, even if temporary for the most part, are truly needed and serve as vital cogs in the fulfillment, distribution, warehousing, and delivery processes for each of these three companies.

Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO Logistics said it plans to hire 8,000 North American-based logistics staffers for the peak holiday season.

This looks to be a good decision at a good time, as the company said that its retail logistics volume through August is up around 20% compared to 2017, with the gains paced by consumer-demand for e-commerce and omnichannel retail fulfillment.

“We’re ramping up for the holiday season and another significant increase in e-commerce activity,” said Troy Cooper, XPO president, in a statement.

“We expect to add 8,000 seasonal jobs before November – a significant increase over last year’s holiday hiring. Our modern warehouses are filled with automation that is an attractive choice for workers and helps us to be as productive as possible for our customers.”

UPS, as usual, announced a significant seasonal staffing increase, with an expected 100,000 seasonal staffers to support what it described as its anticipated package volume increase from November through next January.

Big Brown said these seasonal positions are both full- and part-time, mainly for package handlers, drivers, and driver-helpers.

What’s more, it noted that these seasonal roles have long served as a springboard to full-time employment, as was as the case for UPS CEO David Abney and other senior UPS executives as well. UPS also said that over the last three years, 35% of the seasonal staffers it brought on became full-time staffers once the holiday season wrapped up.

“Every year, we deliver the holidays for millions of customers,” said Jim Barber, UPS chief operating officer, in a statement.

Jim Barber, UPS Chief Operating Officer

“Every year, we deliver the holidays for millions of customers”Jim Barber, UPS COO

“In order to make that happen, we also deliver thousands of great seasonal jobs at our facilities across the country.”

Lastly, when announcing the move for its FedEx Ground subsidiary to up its U.S. operations to six days a week, Memphis-based FedEx announced it plans to increase hours for some existing staffers and hire roughly 55,000 positions for the holiday season.

It also noted that FedEx Ground again plans to run six- and seven-day operations through the holiday season and also continue six-day operations throughout its U.S. network on a year-round basis.

FedEx said it expects a record influx of volume for this year’s holiday season and beyond, too, due to (you guessed it) increasing e-commerce demand. And FedEx made it clear that the rise in demand for e-commerce goes beyond peak, observing it is a “year-round phenomenon” and FedEx is prepared to meet that demand.

No matter how these companies word it, the fact remains that more e-commerce activity means more package volume, which means more staffers are needed to fill.

While unemployment is low, it stands to reason that these seasonal jobs may not be as easy to fill as they may have been in the past. But the opportunities are there, to be sure, and as in the case of UPS CEO Abney can potentially open the door to a bright future in the logistics field.

Buoyed by decent economic fundamentals and people shopping more than ever from the “virtual mall,” it is clear this is more than a trend and has been that way for more than a while, too. That will likely play out in the form of growing package volumes and the constant need for seasonal help.

6 Ways Companies Can Ready Their Supply Chains for the Holidays

“Because of the rise in the number of e-commerce orders during the holiday season, there is a big increase in transportation requirements for everything from last-mile packages delivered to a consumer’s home to inbound shipments coming into a distribution center,” said Dan Clark, Founder and President of Kuebix.

Read: It’s Almost October – Time To Get Ready For the Holidays!

  1. Give customers visibility to their orders. Using technology, retailers can provide Amazon-like experiences by tracking shipments in real-time and alerting customers if orders will be delayed. Carriers can house shipment information letting suppliers and customers know where their goods are and when to expect them to arrive at the next destination. With complete visibility, businesses can get more details on bottlenecks or specific incidents if there is an issue such as product damage or late delivery.
  2. Prepare to use the spot market to make up for excess demand not covered by carriers. Shippers can leverage their negotiated rates from their existing carrier relationships, and compare the full depth of market pricing across the spot bidding marketplace to find the best rates for the best service or to find the extra capacity to meet excess demand.
  3. Get more rates by connecting with more carriers. Connect to a global community with thousands of carriers, then compare all their rates side-by-side and choose the best carrier for each shipment, leading to substantial cost savings and better customer service.
  4. Get products as local to customers as possible. Many retailers are acquiring new, smaller warehouse space closer to their customers to shorten delivery times and journeys. Also, orders can be fulfilled from storefronts with end-to-end visibility of inventory. The shorter the distance from where inventory resides to the end customer, the faster the delivery and the lower the cost.
  5. Integrate internal systems like ERPs with transportation management platforms. The ability to integrate purchase orders automatically from an ERP system directly into the TMS cuts out paperwork and admin hours. Since the integration is two-way, shipment data is populated back into the ERP system for record-keeping and to provide stakeholders with complete visibility. This enables information down to the SKU level to be leveraged in claims management, meaning the shipper always has the information they need to protect their company’s interests. Shippers can also better understand the true landed cost of goods to make smarter decisions regarding their company’s bottom line when they integrate purchase orders directly from an ERP system.
  6. Get a TMS or replace legacy TMS platforms. Look for a TMS system that is modular and scalable so that it can expand as needs change during the busy holiday season. A cloud-based platform means faster implementation before the busy season and will have lower support costs. Actionable analytics from the TMS will help businesses make smarter shipping decisions and foster continuous improvements ahead of the holidays to ensure the supply chain is fully optimized.

“Black Friday, Cyber Monday and numerous holiday promotions all add to the huge spike in demand. Shippers need to keep operations flowing and use tools to handle the upsurge while keeping customers satisfied” said Clark.

Getting ready for the demand spikes imminent with the holiday season will keep businesses on track to meet customer expectations. Rising demand during the holiday season will ‘make or break’ businesses; a little preparation will separate those with winning strategies from those without.

Source: Kuebix


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FedEx Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Hub, ‘Big Implications’ for Logistics Delivery Efficiency

FedEx & Hyperledger

According to a press release published September 26, and as reported by FreightWaves, FedEx the giant US courier company, proactive adopter of blockchain technology and Blockchain in Transport Alliance BiTA member, has joined Linux hosted open-source project Hyperledger to further advance the use of distributed ledger in logistics and transportation.

Hyperledger, which was started in December 2015 by The Linux Foundation and now has 270 members, was set up to enable member organizations to build blockchain-based industry-grade applications, platforms and hardware systems in the context of their individual business transactions.

FedEx Proactive Blockchain Adopter

Fred Smith, FedEx CEO said earlier in the year he believes that blockchain is the “next frontier” for global supply chains.

In February this year, FedEx joined BiTA, and Dale Chrystie told FreightWaves:

“We want to work on developing common standards around blockchain technology in the transportation industry, and we continually try to enhance the customer’s experience, and blockchain is tied to that.”

Kevin Humphries, Senior Vice President of IT at FedEx Services told that blockchain technology has ‘big implications’ for supply chains, logistics, and transportation.

Distributed Ledger Technology

Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf has previously stated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) will diminish the power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. In today’s press release he said:

“We are gaining traction around the world in market segments from finance to healthcare and government to logistics. This growth and diversity is a signal of the increasing recognition of the strategic value of enterprise blockchain and commitment to the adoption and development of open source frameworks to drive new business models.”

Hyperledger is a multi-project, multi-stakeholder effort that includes 10 business blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

Hyperledger enables organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms, and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases.

The latest general members to join the community are: BetaBlocks, Blockchain Educators, Cardstack, Constellation Labs, Elemential Labs, FedEx, Honeywell International Inc., KoreConX, Northstar Venture Technologies, Peer Ledger, Syncsort and Wanchain.

Blockchain Meets Supply Chain

Blockchain, the technology for crypto-currencies, may soon start to have supply chain benefits in areas like tracking fresh foods. Because Blockchain uses distributed ledger technology, which can store transactions among many trading partners in a secure, immutable way that’s easy to view for authorized partners – giving it the potential for chain of custody over the movement of goods.

According to a survey last fall of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) from Penske LogisticsInfosys Consulting and talent advisory firm Korn Ferry, 30% of 3PLs and 16% of shippers see blockchain as having potential supply chain application. Shanton Wilcox, a partner with Infosys Consulting, says traceability of goods such as fresh foods, high-value items, or items subject to the risk of counterfeiting, are likely applications.

Late last year, IBM, Walmart, and Chinese retailer launched a Blockchain Food Safety Alliancecollaboration to improve food tracking and safety in China. Additionally, IBM and Maersk are working on a joint venture to apply blockchain to global trade, while the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) is working on blockchain standards for the freight industry.

Read the Article: Is Blockchain in the Supply Chain Coming of Age?

Wilcox estimates that it will be 24 to 36 months, however, before blockchain starts being used by supply chains. First, says Wilcox, pilots need to prove out the value, and consensus needs to be reached about what type of data will be shared – as well as the tricky issue of who will pay for storing data.

“Once a major company and its supply base gets operational with blockchain, or it starts to happen within a product category, companies can use that as a template, and that will propagate the momentum.”

Supply chains need to assess whether blockchain is a better way of controlling chain of custody versus more established technologies like bar codes and messaging between systems, Wilcox acknowledges. However, he contends that it promises value to extended supply chain networks because there’s no integration to iron out between systems.

Related: Unlocking Blockchain’s Potential in Your Supply Chain

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Ecommerce Continues to Focus on Omnichannel Supply Chain Strategies: Demands Continuous Improvement

Omnichannel Supply Chains

Omnichannel supply chains are increasing in complexity and prevalence and for a very good reason.

Omnichannel customers have a tendency to spend more than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, explains Digital Commerce 360, making them an ideal way for retailers to stay competitive and reach more customers.

As 2018 progresses, Warehouse Managers need to understand the risk of not going omnichannel, why demand is increasing, and a few tips to meet such demands.

Warehouse Managers Avoiding Omnichannel Supply Chain Strategies Will Lose Competitive Ground

Competitive advantage is based on the ability of companies to offer products or services at reasonable, competitive prices.

Although pricing plays a big part, it also depends on the ability to offer unique services.

Today, more than half of the nation’s 140 retail chains in the top 500 offer omnichannel shipping and pickup options, and 72.1 percent of retail chains offer in-store returns of merchandise purchased online. Those that do not offer these options will lose competitive ground.

Demand for E-Commerce and Integration of Supply Chains Will Continue to Dominate 2018

As explained by Derek O’Carroll of Multichannel Merchant, some driving forces behind the demand for omnichannel supply chains include:

  • The creation of social storefronts.
  • Increased speed in warehouses.
  • Adoption of real-time commerce technologies.
  • Use of automated technologies for omnichannel supply chains.

How to Prepare for Increasing Supply Chain Demands Throughout 2018

Warehouse Managers must embrace omnichannel supply chains and their associated technologies.

The easiest way to move toward an omnichannel strategy lies in following these tips:

  • Re-evaluate inventory-optimization techniques and systems.
  • Increase focus on returns’ management in omnichannel supply chains. According to Sender Shamiss of Forbes, processing returns remains one of the highest costs for such retailers, so aligning data and systems is key to keeping costs in check.
  • Automate warehouse and supply chain management systems.
  • Make your case to consumers.
  • Consider new ways to reduce shipping costs and risk, such as the new packaging suspension service Amazon is using, reports the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
  • Integrate inbound and outbound logistics and supply chain management systems.

Put Your Organization on the Path to Success With a High Focus on Omnichannel Supply Chains

The remainder of 2018 will lead to big changes in supply chain management, and the role of omnichannel supply chains will increase.

The gradual encroachment of the Amazon Effect, as well as political issues, will force supply chain executives and leaders to rethink their strategies, including automating systems and implementing a strict policy of continuous improvement.

About the Author

Jason Rosing is the founding partner of Veridian; a valued Manhattan Associates partner and technology leader specializing in user-friendly, robust and flexible automated testing and configuration management solutions designed to meet the ever-changing challenges of the omnichannel landscape.

Related: Focusing Too Much on Ecommerce Shipping Practices? A Reminder Logistics Fundamentals Still Matter

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Predictive Analytics & Omnichannel Supply Chain Management

Predictive Analytics

Knowing what will happen in the future of omnichannel supply chain management would be fantastic, and it would eliminate all concerns over inventory location and customer shopping habits.

Clairvoyance is not possible, but the next best thing, predictive analytics with omnichannel supply chain management, is.

Warehouse Managers need to take a predictive analytics mindset in all decisions and focus on how they can understand the possible issues and outcomes that may or may not occur in the future, says Halo Business Intelligence.

The Problem: Predictive Analytics Can Involve Almost Any Issue

As explained by Bernard Marr of Forbes magazine, the possible application of predictive analytics can range from order fill rate improvements to monitoring adverse weather conditions.

The variety is what makes predictive analytics challenging in application.

Warehouse Managers may lack the resources to manage and use information gleaned from predictive analytics to achieve the best outcome.

Instead of focusing on hundreds of smaller issues, Warehouse Managers must use predictive analytics to focus on the big picture.

The Solution: Predictive Analytics Streamline All Practices in the Omnichannel Supply Chain

According to Dale McClung of Supply Chain Brief, predictive analytics are part of managed analytics.

Managed analytics allows for the identification of opportunities to create value for customers, optimize supply chain visibility, reduce spending, and boost performance.

Moreover, this information can be used to analyze the current “health” of omnichannel supply chain management, how it affects customer service, and when to expand or contract operations to provide the best possible experience for consumers.

In other words, predictive analytics provide the ultimate “what-if” scenario forecasting that is essential in a supply chain that bends in on itself, is comprised of countless channels and must work together to act as a single unit to the customer.

The Reward: How to Use Predictive Analytics to Boost Omnichannel Systems and Processes

To gain insights through predictive analytics in the omnichannel supply chain, Warehouse Managers must follow these steps:

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  1. Integrate systems.
  2. Track and measure performance.
  3. Use standard reporting to identify what happened.
  4. Quantify the issues.
  5. Drill down into the issue.
  6. Implement alerts to automatically notify others when issues occur.
  7. Determine what type of scenarios may help the situation.
  8. Identify what will happen if things continue unchecked.
  9. Recognize what will happen with different stimuli.
  10. Optimize the path toward a better outcome.
  11. Consider all possible locations, channels, and customers affected by a decision.
  12. Share information and insights with those affected.
  13. Automate the process.
  14. Use dashboarding to simplify reporting.
  15. Never lose focus, and repeat.

Predictive Analytics Will Build on Efficiencies and Save Big Money

Predictive analytics with omnichannel supply chain management make up one of the most in-demand topics in modern supply chain management.

However, predictive analytics only function when a thorough, integrated process for data collection, identification, and analysis exists.

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Warehouse Metrics Supply Chain Execs Should Track
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Amazon Orders 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans for New Last Mile Delivery Program

Last-Mile Delivery Services

When e-commerce powerhouse Amazon announced in late June it was rolling out its Delivery Service Program, in an effort to increase its package delivery and logistics service capabilities that it said will enable entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses to deliver Amazon packages, it drew a lot of attention, as it typically does, and interest.

That interest was renewed recently, with the company announcing it has ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans to be deployed for the new package delivery offering.

A report in the Seattle Times said this order is more than four times higher than what Amazon initially anticipated this summer, adding that these vehicles will be used for last-mile delivery services, which Amazon often has UPS, FedEx, the United States Postal Service, and contractors do for them.

But the report explained that Amazon’s initial expectation of ordering 4,500 vans was pushed higher as it received 10,000 applicants for the delivery program and resulted in a higher order number.

As previously reported in Logistics Management, an owner of an Amazon package delivery franchise can earn up to $300,00 in annual profit, with startup costs starting at $10,000, through operating a fleet up to 40 delivery vehicles.

What’s more, it added that owners will be able to leverage delivery volume from Amazon, access to the company’s sophisticated delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on a suite of assets and services, including vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance.

And they will also have access to various “exclusively negotiated discounts” on resources for a delivery business, including branded uniforms, fuel, and comprehensive insurance coverage, among other options.

Looking to the future, Amazon explained it wants to bring in hundreds of in-house delivery partners that would, in turn, hire tens of thousands of U.S.-based delivery carriers, whom would work in tandem with the company’s existing base of traditional carriers, in addition to small-and-medium-sized businesses that currently staff thousands of drivers delivering Amazon packages.

“We have great partners in our traditional carriers and it’s exciting to continue to see the logistics industry grow,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, in a statement made in late June.

“Customer demand is higher than ever and we have a need to build more capacity. As we evaluated how to support our growth, we went back to our roots to share the opportunity with small-and-medium-sized businesses. We are going to empower new, small businesses to form in order to take advantage of the growing opportunity in e-commerce package delivery.”

When Amazon initially introduced its delivery service program, a Wall Street Journal article noted that this move is viewed as another push by Amazon to gain more control over its own deliveries in a “continued quest” to build a vast freight and parcel shipping network.

What’s more, it added that Amazon has said it needs to expand its internal delivery service offerings to keep up with the number of orders made online that UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service cannot.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations

“We have great partners in our traditional carriers and it’s exciting to continue to see the logistics industry grow”Dave Clark, SVP, Amazon Worldwide Operations

And taking that a step further, the report, citing analyst estimates, pointed out that orders made via account for more than $4 or every $10 spent online in the United States, with 2017 deliveries topping 1 billion.

“It’s an incredible buy for vehicles that amazon will lease out to owner-operator firms, much like Fedex Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, Airborne Express, and others have done at some point,” said Jerry Hempstead, president of parcel consultancy Hempstead Consulting.

“Buying that many gets them purchasing leverage to get the cost down per unit and control over the brand image. The drivers of the vehicles, however, are not Amazon employees. In light of the financial woes of the USPS, Amazon is just taking care of Amazon.”

Rob Taylor, co-founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Convey, a cloud-based technology provider that helps shippers connect disparate data and processes from parcel to freight and first to last mile, said this announcement lends further credence to the ongoing emergence of last-mile logistics.

“If this news confirms anything it’s the immense volume of untapped latent final mile capacity in the market that isn’t part of mainstream delivery and logistics networks,” Taylor said.

“Amazon has been clever to identify and unlock this potential. It remains to be seen how quickly and effectively their delivery service partner program begins to show results for its various stakeholders, financially and otherwise.”

Related Article: Real-time Management from Warehouse to Logistics Fleets

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Kuehne + Nagel Deploys Blockchain Technology for VGM Portal and Container Weighing Requirements

Kuehne + Nagel for the first time leverages the benefits of blockchain technology in a large scale operational environment with 800,000 transactions per month while upgrading its well-established Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Portal.

The enhanced solution provides shippers with new features that improve the ease of doing business as well as the degree of transparency on the VGM status of all customer shipments and the history of persisted information.

All information submitted via the portal is stored on-chain, which allows for using native blockchain interfaces for data exchange with third parties, removing the need for additional off-chain communication channels.

Kuehne + Nagel designed the solution to strictly fulfil industry requirements of confidentiality and data privacy, adding to blockchain’s natural features of immutability and traceability.

Martin Kolbe, Chief Information Officer Kuehne + Nagel International AG said:

“The list of promises related to the use of blockchain in the logistics industry is long, but actual real-world applications are hard to find. The Kuehne + Nagel VGM Portal solution jointly developed by our seafreight experts and our IT team allows us to get a true hands-on experience with blockchain technology in an on-premise production environment and with a high number of transactions. Our customers benefit from a tamper-proof solution for information exchange with third parties with improved efficiency and higher transparency. Kuehne + Nagel engages in a number of blockchain projects with customers, suppliers and governmental bodies addressing industry challenges in various domains, as the full potential of blockchain can only be exploited when collaboratively working together with business partners. Our involvement in a consortium engaged in the digitalisation of bill of ladings for seafreight is the best example. Operating the VGM Portal on blockchain in an operational high volume environment delivers valuable learnings and expertise for the development of joint blockchain applications.”

The first version of the Kuehne + Nagel VGM Portal went live in 2016 to give shippers a convenient solution for filing their VGM declarations as being required for seafreight shipments in consequence of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Now, the use of blockchain technology further facilitates data exchange between the different partners.

FreightWaves reported that the International Maritime Organisation, the main regulatory body for shipping, introduced VGM just over two years ago. The rule requires that the weight of loaded containers must be verified before being placed on a ship.

It was put into effect after several marine accidents were believed to have stemmed from mislabeled container weights and cargo shifting during voyages.

In 2013, the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines-owned MOL Comfort suffered a crack that eventually led to a fire and the ship’s sinking, along with the loss of over 4,000 containers. Container weights were said to have been a factor in the casualty.

Related: How Will Blockchain Ledger Technology Impact Shippers?

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Top Supply Chain Challenges for Manufacturing Companies

The variety of products available through a growing number of distribution channels is truly amazing. Competition between brick and mortar and e-commerce retail channels, often within the same company, has led to a proliferation of products and services.

In fact, on a recent trip to a Nike store I explored the NIKEiD program they launched a few years ago that allows customers to customize their footwear. Once configured, your customized shoes are produced and delivered to your house in a matter of a couple of weeks.) I can’t wait to receive my Michigan State themed shoes – GO GREEN, GO WHITE.)

Delivery of ‘make to stock’ products to a home or business is now available within hours of making a purchase. A growing number of connected, smart devices that have the capability to anticipate the need for a product are available for purchase.

Consider the smart refrigerator that orders a gallon of milk based on the quantity of milk in the refrigerator and its average consumption. Consider the smart printer that orders replacement ink cartridges based on amount of ink remaining and an average use rate.

Furthermore, 3-D printers are becoming more common allowing companies and consumers to make their own products on-site. What’s next? Products beamed right into your house. Beam me up Scotty!!

Back to reality, today’s manufacturers face a long list of difficult supply chain challenges including increasing demand variability, inventory proliferation, manufacturing capacity constraints, increasing risks both nature and human based, more environmental compliance regulations, intense global competition, increasing customer expectations and a shortage of talent.

To survive in today’s highly competitive global environment, manufacturers need to piece together the many parts of the supply chain puzzle to lay the foundation for more mature capabilities in the future.

An estimated, 75% of available supply chain data originates from outside the ERP system. Complexity opens risks of miscommunication and disruptions, often from incorrect or incomplete data.

Clean and consistent data is required to harness the power of investments in analytics, digitization, optimization, machine learning, big data and other advanced supply chain capabilities. A supply chain Master Data Management (MDM) solution provides consistent, harmonized, standardized and actively managed data from across the extended supply chain.

Accurate demand forecasts lay the foundation for an effective supply chain. With greater forecast accuracy comes greater predictability ensuring downstream supply chain processes run smoother at less cost.

To be successful at demand planning requires an in-depth knowledge of your business, experience forecasting your products, and an advanced demand planning solution. Demand planning solutions use science to automatically apply a variety of forecasting methods in an unbiased way to create forecasts for all stages of a product’s life cycle.

Manufacturing facilities are pressed by market demand to provide greater product variety and shorter delivery times. Shifting to production lines that are more flexible and closer to customer demand helps produce a greater variety of products with shorter lead times with smaller batch sizes and more frequent change overs.

However, multi-plant sourcing and scheduling increases complexity and the need for enabling technology to develop an integrated plan for both aggregated levels of production and site level production to meet customer orders.

Eliminating excess and obsolete inventory is a priority for many manufacturers. Effective inventory reductions are best achieved by synchronizing demand forecasts, inventory quantities, and supply capacity throughout the extended enterprise. Multi-echelon inventory optimization replaces rules of thumb with science to optimize where and how much inventory should be held across the extended supply chain.

Many manufacturers find it extremely challenging to align supply capacity to variable demand, while meeting corporate objectives. Marketshare can be won or lost based on how well a company predicts and reacts to demand shifts. A well run Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process supported by an advanced IBP solution can mean the difference between success and failure. Companies that take a spreadsheet driven approach spend too much time manipulating data and not enough on value-adding activities.

Manufacturing supply chains have many moving parts, each with their own challenges and potentially conflicting objectives. Only a scalable, interoperable supply chain planning and optimization platform can ensure a company’s supply chain performance is optimized.

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