PR LOGISTICS is pleased to be able to provide you with an accurate and timely rate for the shipping of your goods.

Use the form below to send us all information pertinent to your shipment.

To insure a prompt and accurate rate, please provide us with all the following information:

 

Skip to Content

Category Archives: Manufacturing

Omni-Channel Solution Enables Industry Disruptor Canyon Bicycles to Pioneer US Ecommerce

April 25, 2019 · By 24/7 Staff · 

SEKO Logistics’ Omni-Channel Solution

Unlike competitors, Canyon Bicycles are exclusively sold online – cutting out the middleman and offering consumers a technologically-advanced performance bike for 20-30% less cost.

With Canyon’s computer-aided development, highly-qualified engineers, creative designers, top professional riders and passionate cyclists, the brand is sweeping the globe as a leading industry disruptor pioneering bicycle eCommerce in the 21st century.

Canyon’s entire global operation was originally built around their sophisticated design, sales, operations and engineering team in Koblenz, Germany, but their desire to expand and become a global company scaling rapidly in the US led them to partner with SEKO for an outsourced logistics solution they could trust to speed up their demand chain whilst maintaining their reputation for cost efficiency.

Recognising the highest growth opportunities on the West Coast, including California, as well as in New York and Miami, Canyon opted for SEKO’s proposal that their Chino, CA, operation acted as a single facility to meet orders from their large customer base on the West Coast and to provide the capability to ship bikes across North America.

In Chino, SEKO has accommodated all of Canyon’s requests by developing a truly customized solution – transforming their warehouse into a facility to support supply chain fulfillment, quality control, and team integration.

SEKO also integrated their SEKO 360 WMS (Warehouse Management System) platform with Canyon’s ERP and CRM systems to provide full stock and demand chain visibility and facilitate same-day order processing to increase shipment velocity.

SEKO also met and exceeded Canyon’s requirement for members of their award-winning, technology-driven design team to work at the Chino operation to maintain quality control of their patented technology, implementing a Canyon-leased portion of the facility that incorporates a Wi-Fi firewall, individual phone lines, customized inspection stations, break rooms and even a test track.

Brian Bourke, VP of Marketing of SEKO Logistics, said;

“Canyon Bicycles is a ground-breaking company and as they prepared for their US launch, they needed a partner with the capability to bring the same level of innovation, design, operations and technology solutions to their demand chain, which is why they came to SEKO Logistics. From day one, based on our service level agreement for all orders to be processed the same day, our focus has been to provide Canyon with increased efficiency, improved time in transit and, most importantly of all, which gets their outstanding bicycles into their customers’ hands as quickly as possible. Upon import, SEKO offloads the containers, tags them into inventory, puts them on Canyon’s customized shelving, and picks and packs daily as needed. This complete, end-to-end solution and our seamless partnership have helped Canyon surge into the US market and pave the way for future growth.”

Blair Clark, President of Canyon Bicycles USA, said: “SEKO has been a great partner for us as we launched in the United States. They focused on continually improving the logistics process as we were building and growing our volumes, which allowed us to focus on marketing and selling our innovative bikes and accessories to the USA market. From installing wider racking to speeding up order processing for online orders, they’ve always found ways to make the process more efficient, which has given us the ability to focus on our core business. The USA is now a key market for Canyon Bikes and we’re excited for our continued growth in this market for years to come.”

Related: Using a Single Third-Party Logistics Provider to Support Worldwide Supply Chain Operations

Using a Single Third-Party Logistics Provider to Support Worldwide Supply Chain Operations

Related Papers & eBooks

Download the Paper

Ecommerce Delivery – What Do Your Customers Want?
This paper includes 3 real delivery scenarios and the supply chain and logistics needs, case studies, of London’s Portobello Road MOU company, the iconic Lulu brand, and Escalade Sports. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Ecommerce Logistics Revolution
In this special issue, the editorial staff of Logistics Management has compiled feature stories that encapsulate the software, technology, and processes that are helping today’s retail and manufacturing professionals exceed ever-increasing customer demands – whether in B2B or direct to consumers. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Guide to International Shipping
There’s a lot to think about before you can launch internationally, so, we’ve put together our three steps to international shipping for eCommerce retailers to help you plan your strategy. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Don’t Damage Your Retail Brand by Breaking Promises with Your Customers
Whether they’ve been made explicitly or implicitly, failing to keep any promises you make as your customers travel through the purchase journey with you could have a significant impact on your brand. Download Now!


More SEKO Logistics Resources

0 Continue Reading →

Walmart’s Doug McMillon: What I’ve Learned Since Becoming President & Chief Executive Officer

April 24, 2019 · By Doug McMillon 

Note: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon’s letter to shareholders is republished here from their 2019 annual report.

Clear and constant.

Know what else is constant at Walmart? Change. As I visit with our associates all over the world and ask, “Other than our purpose and values, the only thing that’s constant at Walmart is …” and they respond: “Change!” It’s a powerful mindset, and our people have it.

These past five years in this role have passed quickly, and it has been an exciting time to be at Walmart. Looking back, I’m not sure I could have imagined some of the things we’re doing in our business today but, at the same time, it feels like we’re just getting started.

Our customers and Sam’s Club members are being served by associates who are better equipped to create new ways of shopping and put today’s technology to work. Our goal is to make it easy, fast, friendly and fun to shop with us. Consider:

A busy mom can shop on our app or get through the store faster by finding the items on her list, thanks to the map feature on her Walmart app. She can make purchases with Walmart Pay and go digital to skip the pharmacy line and pick up a prescription.

Outside our stores, customers can pull into a pickup spot, have their personal shoppers put their order in their trunk and off they go. eCommerce has finally come to the food business and in a big way.

We’re putting technology to work with an autonomous scanner that checks our side counters to help us improve in-stock levels, and an autonomous floor cleaner that carries a camera to gather data on our product features to share with a FAST Unloader system in the back room that prioritizes items for restocking.

Our Sam’s Clubs are becoming more digital. With our Scan & Go app, customers bypass the checkout line and pay for items on their mobile device, and now we’re testing computer vision instead of barcodes to make the process even faster. Our new Membership Express can cut the time it takes to sign up from eight minutes to fewer than 60 seconds.

The ways we can use technology today and in the future are exciting, but our business is still a people business. We are people-led and tech-empowered, and that makes investing in our associates a strategic priority. On any given day, our associates may be attending one of our new training academies in the U.S. or entering our new fast-track leadership program for Walmart International. They may be benefitting from our expanded parental-leave policies or beginning their careers at Walmart with a starting wage 50 percent higher than it was four years ago. And they may be extending their education with a $1-a-day college degree through our Live Better U program. We’ve made a lot of changes with respect to opportunities for our associates, and there’s more to come.

No doubt the pace of change continues to increase. Recently, I was visiting with a group of students, many of whom are joining our company, and one of them asked me what I had learned during my five years in this position. Surprises? Revelations? It’s a good question, and I’ve been giving it some thought.

These five lessons came to the top of the list:

  1. Leadership – You can’t push a rope, but you can pull it. In other words, sometimes you just can’t lead from behind. You can’t muscle or push things along. As a leader during transformation, you have to be out in front – show that you want to learn, be curious, introduce new ideas, ask questions. Our people are talented, competitive and have a sense of urgency. When they hear about a better way of doing things, they engage, learn and act.
  2. Risk – There is no growth without change, and there is no meaningful change without risk. So, get comfortable with an intelligent level of risk. Otherwise, the law of diminishing returns sets in as always doing the same things the same way takes over. We invested substantially in wages, associate education, pricing, and eCommerce. We acquired FlipkartJet, and others, and we partnered with global technology companies in places like China and Japan. We don’t know what Sam would have done in these moments, but we know he would have been adapting – and he would have been aggressive. We’re drawing on that legacy today and tapping into that DNA.
  3. Time Horizon – We’re playing the long game. Our priority is to position our company for long-term success. History has shown us that companies that focused too much on the short term were doomed to fail. Managing our business on a daily basis is important, but our most important strategic decisions are made in light of what we want our company to become for the next generation.
  4. Our Associates – People will surprise you. Several times a week I see or hear about something creative our associates have done. It’s inspiring to see their ingenuity and pace. Around the world, Walmart associates feel more comfortable taking risk. They’re launching minimum viable products to test and learn from. These have enough function to satisfy early adopters, whose feedback informs future design. Result: We go from Product 1.0 to Product 2.0 a lot faster. This is a powerful unlock. We’ve always said that our people make the difference. We’re certainly seeing that today.
  5. Trust – It’s a challenge to have the broader world know the Walmart we know. As we strive to make our company better, we will also look for ways to build trust by communicating the good work our people are doing and its impact. Included is the work we are doing to strengthen our culture of integrity and improve our compliance talent, processes and systems. In our supply chain, we are eliminating waste, using more renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and making our items and the packages they come in healthier and more sustainable. Of course, we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. But, if the world could see all of the hard-working, well-intentioned people inside our company who are making things better in their communities and in the world, I’m convinced they would be moved by it all. I am.

The progress we’re making is reflected in our results. Last fiscal year, we increased total revenue by 3 percent to $514.4 billion, and we generated $27.8 billion in operating cash flow. Breaking it down, Walmart U.S. grew comp sales 3.6 percent, excluding fuel – the highest annual growth rate in a decade – and eCommerce sales increased 40 percent, nearly doubling the sales of that business over the past two years. And the momentum continued at Sam’s Club with comp sales growth of 3.8 percent, excluding fuel.

Walmart International posted positive comps in eight of our markets, including the four major markets, as we also see our digital transformation and innovations taking hold outside the U.S. In Mexico, many of our customers don’t have bank accounts, so the team there launched a new app called Cashi that acts as a digital bank account. At our stores, customers exchange cash for an electronic deposit onto their mobile device then use the app to shop in the store, online, and even to pay their other bills.

In many parts of China, same-day delivery really means same-hour delivery. To meet that demand, we invested in a crowd-sourced delivery platform, and now customers in some locations can receive their merchandise within an hour of placing the order. We are also making good progress on omnichannel initiatives in places like Canada and in Japan where we are partnering with eCommerce leader Rakuten to offer grocery delivery.

India has 1.3 billion people and an economy approaching $3 trillion, yet its eCommerce business is less than 3 percent. With our acquisition of Flipkart, we have positioned ourselves for growth in one of the top three markets in the world.

We are deliberate about where and how we operate. For example, we finalized the majority sale of the business in Brazil, and we continue to explore ways to best serve our customers around the world.

This is a period of significant change at Walmart. I think the pace and magnitude of our changes are critical to the company’s future as we adapt to an environment that is changing more quickly all the time. We are changing how we work and what we do without changing our purpose and our values. To our customers, thank you. We’ll continue to work hard every day to earn your trust and business. To our associates, we are proud of you. Keep it going. To our shareholders, thank you for your interest in our company and your continued support.

Doug McMillon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Walmart Inc.

Doug McMillon
President and Chief Executive Officer
Walmart Inc.

Omni-Channel Logistics Leaders Papers

Download the Paper

Omni-Channel Logistics Leaders: 5 Key Insights to Improve Inventory Performance New!
This joint research study, conducted by LEGACY Supply Chain Services and Adrian Gonzalez of Adelante SCM, examines and provides insight into leading inventory management challenges, opportunities, and best practices. Download Now!


Download the Guide

Keeping Up with the Retail Consumer
6 supply chain disciplines retailers must master – developed by Adrian Gonzalez, founder and president of Adelante SCM and LEGACY Supply Chain Services, with a foreword from Rick Blasgen, president and CEO, CSCMP. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Evolving a Large U.S. Retailer from Good to Great
LEGACY executed a comprehensive startup project plan to fully transition operational control of LSR Inland Empire operations, discover how this solution was executed with zero disruption to the business. Download Now!


More LEGACY Supply Chain Services Resources

More LEGACY Supply Chain Services Resources
0 Continue Reading →

C.H. Robinson Announces Bob Biesterfeld to Replace John Wiehoff as CEO

February 13, 2019 · By Jeff Berman · 

C.H. Robinson Chief Executive Officer

A change at the top is coming soon for Minneapolis, Minn.-based global logistics services provider, and freight forwarder C.H. Robinson.

The company announced that as part of a “long-planned succession process”, effective May 9, Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld, will become Chief Executive Officer, as well as being nominated to stand for election to the company’s board of directors.

Biesterfeld will replace C.H. Robinson Chairman and CEO John Wiehoff, who will continue as Chairman of the Board when Biesterfeld becomes CEO.

C.H. Robinson also announced that Scott Anderson, current C.H. Robinson Board member, will become the Lead Independent Director, also effective May 9.

“Our success at Robinson has always been driven by our people, processes, and technology,” Wiehoff said in a statement.

“The Board and I are confident Bob is the right person to lead our accelerating investments in each of these areas. During his almost two decades at Robinson, Bob has consistently demonstrated deep industry knowledge, strategic vision, and a passion for delivering results. He has been the driving force behind our digital transformation efforts, accelerating the pace of innovation and technology deployment across our platform. He is an established leader with the right experiences and skills for the next chapter of Robinson.”

Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld

Biesterfeld will have large shoes to fill, as, under Wiehoff’s leadership at C.H. Robinson CEO over the last 17 years, total company revenues have increased more than 500% to $16.6 billion, with annualized total shareholder returns of 13% over the past 17 years.

An accomplished industry veteran, Biesterfeld has been with C.H. Robinson for 20 years. Before being named COO in March 2018, he served as President, North America Surface Transportation and prior to that he served as Vice President, Truckload and Vice President, Robinson Fresh, where he started his logistics career path in 1999.

Biesterfeld is a graduate of Winona State University and serves on Board of Winona State University Foundation in addition to the board of the Transportation Intermediaries Association.

Earlier, Logistics Management/Peerless Media Group News Editor Jeff Berman caught up with Biesterfeld to discuss his new role as CEO and industry trends and themes. A transcript of their conversation follows below.

What are your expectations and objectives in your pending new role as C.H. Robinson CEO?

We have had a senior leader in John Wiehoff, who has been in the CEO chair for most of the past 20 years or so.

As for what looks different on May 9, I think the really good news for our people and organization is that John’s tenure as CEO has been nothing short of spectacular. In the industry changes that have occurred over the last 17 years, with competitive and macro forces and the cyclical and secular changes of our history, C.H. Robinson started in a leadership position, at the beginning of John’s tenure as CEO, and will end his tenure as CEO in a leadership position as well.

Over the last four years or so that I have served as the company’s president of North America Surface Transportation or COO, with accountability for the company’s five business units and shared services as well, John and I and the rest of the senior leadership team have really been co-developing and co-owning the strategic direction of C.H. Robinson.

As John exits in May, there will not be a sharp left or right turn, in terms of our strategic priorities or how we invest our capital or how we show up in the marketplace. There have been a few chapters of the company’s history over the last 115 years, and one of the interesting things is that John is not the only long-tenured CEOs.

Going back to 1963, prior to my being appointed in this role, we have only had three senior leaders since then. I think it really shows the stability of our company and that we have continued to invest across multiple generations of supply chains, as we established our foundation and determined what we ‘want to be when we grow up’ so to speak.

Our roots began as a production company, evolving into being more of a full logistics provider in North America post-deregulation. We then got into the next chapter of international and global expansion, where we invested heavily in growth overseas in Asia and Europe, as well as the first instances of Navisphere, our technology platform.

When thinking about where we sit today, we have this great combination of North America and have spent more than $1.5 billion on M&A and investment into our global forwarding network. It was really about streamlining that investment and bringing it all together. 

Where do things go from there?

A lot of it has to do with turning the page to a more digital future, where we are very focused on the three core components of people, process, and technology, with technology continuing to be a more important piece of that overall puzzle.

That is how I am thinking about it directionally, and our senior leadership team is focused on that strategy.

Staying with technology, given all the attention to logistics technology in the form of things like blockchain, AI, IoT, Cloud, and others, how would you describe the state of supply chain and logistics technology?

There is no doubt that the logistics technology space is growing faster than ever, with change never slower than it is today.

The way that I think about it is that everyone has algorithms, and, years ago, everybody talked about proprietary technology and now everybody has it in some way, shape, or form. And all the leading companies in the logistics space have their own data scientists and algorithms. There is kind of this level set across technology, and there can only be so many differentiators, with everyone pursuing the same goals.Collaborative Supply Chain Intelligence

June 24 – 26, 2019 • The Broadmoor • Colorado Springs, CO

Collaborative Supply Chain Intelligence

Keep up-to-date

Full details coming soon!

Technology on its own is, really, I don’t think, the solution. We think about our investments in technology, and they really support the two other pillars, people and process, and where we think those three things come together, and what separates us in that space…is experience and scale. When we think about that fact that we have had 115 years of experience, we have learned a lot of things along that journey.

That experience does not come with just time; it comes across multiple industry verticals, continents, and modes and services. When we aggregate those experiences, the other thing we are aggregating is data, and we have all these data points that we are able to bring together on a global basis across what is viewed as the world’s largest supply chain platform.

That really starts to become scale, and our IT people that are building programs and cool algorithms have a really big competitive advantage, because we have more data, and we have more data because we have more loads. 

How does that data translate into the market?

When a small motor carrier comes to us, 15%-to-20% of its miles are driven empty and are non-revenue-generating miles. The biggest thing a small motor carrier wants is more miles to get more money, and, chances are, we have a load closer to that carrier than anybody else does.

If a shipper comes to us, we can offer them a broader base of capacity than anyone else does and we are more likely able to provide a service for them that is on time and meets their needs.

Another thing specifically around technology is that many of the new technology entrants, or tech-enabled brokers, or disruptors, disruptors, are really pushing customers to integrate and operate only on their platform.

What is C.H. Robinson’s approach?

We want Navisphere to be the easiest supply chain platform to use in the industry.

If you would like to operate in Oracle or SAP or whatever your ERP system is as a shipper, or JDA as a carrier, or use your off-the-shelf Transportation Management System, we can work with you, rather than pushing customers only on to our systems.

We want to meet our customers where and how they want to buy, as opposed to pushing them.

Shifting gears, C.H. Robinson is a very big player in a very competitive and crowded brokerage market. In this environment, what are you trying to do as a company to distance yourselves from the competition, given such a finite carrier base?

Looking at the customer lens is where we try to start all of our conversations.

We serve such a broad and diverse group of customers, from the smallest micro shipper making something in a garage and doing a residence pick up and shipping a parcel, to the world’s largest companies that are fully integrated with Navisphere, like Microsoft, for example, that uses our technology to power their supply chain.

We have a whole continuum of customers, from the smallest of the small to the largest of the large, and I think what has been important for our customer go-to-market strategy is to ensure that we have aligned our value to the needs of those customers.

Can you provide an example of that?

We are not going to go to a small manufacturer and ship once a month and sell them on our data and analytics capabilities or our robust reporting.

So, for that small shipper, we will ensure they have the easiest system to access and have access to the best rates for parcel, LTL, and truckload and that they can come online, get a quote, book a shipment, swipe a credit card, and within an hour have someone there picking that shipment up to bring it to the final destination in full.

But a Microsoft does not want to deal with using a credit card. They need robust reporting and real-time visibility through things like IoT and sensors and the Cloud, which shows them where their entire inventory is, in motion or at rest, to be able to ensure there are no supply chain disruptions for something like the next launch of an Xbox.

We are focused on providing value for a wide variety of segments. If you think about specific verticals like oil and gas, they have very specific needs…so we really work to customize that solution for that sector. It takes smart people and supply chain engineers to do that, and it goes back to having the people, process, and technology to do that.    

Looking at the current state of the market, what is different now compared to a year ago?

What is different now compared to a year ago is the cycle repeats itself again and again and again. It started with the hurricanes, which drove capacity constraints and things [were crazy], with very few trucks and many loads and that led to an industry reset and everyone re-priced.

In our Managed Services business last year, I think our average tender for a truckload shipment was 3.5, meaning that loads went through the routing guide to the third or fourth carrier before it was bid on and this is for the $4 billion worth of freight in our industry.

Today, it is now about 1.4, so what happened was that everyone went out to market…and people locked in capacity at higher rates and when that happens the spot market dries up, as it is comprised of unplanned demand. Loads that were supposed to go through the tracking process fall back in and that drives spot market pricing down and resets rates at a higher rate.

If you look at public motor carrier earnings, they are talking about mid-to-high single digit rate increases for 2019, which I believe to be an effect of the rate pricing they did in 2018. The rates now are a combination of a mixed shift with contractual freight making up a higher percentage of our portfolio combined with declining annual spot market rates.

How do you view the last-mile logistics and the e-commerce driven supply chain?

There is no question that e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment have changed a lot about the supply chain, in terms of inventory position, order cycles, and other things.

Beyond that, the experience we have on our mobile devices that we get used to when we order something online, or the personal experience, is now transferring into our business experience. We now need to know where everything is all of the time.

In terms of our position, there are a couple of things that have driven change to our model. One thing is that we are working with a lot of shippers in Asia that want to position inventory through things like Fulfillment by Amazon and other seller networks to move products out of Asia, and that works really well for our ocean and air business. We certainly are not one of the largest providers of the inside home delivery type of business.

The biggest part of our business directly related to e-commerce exists with our managed services business, where we are using Navisphere to provide large global shippers with complete supply chain visibility across everything from ocean freight to parcel shipments.

We are touching it in a lot of different ways, and in the last few years or so we are seeing it in the average length of our truckload movements.

How is that?

In 2013, the average mileage per truckload was about 780 miles and it is now 620 or so.

The impact through the shortening of the length of haul is a function of inventory being placed in different parts of the country.

It allows for the order cycle to be shorter and enables us to move things when and where we want it in a different way.

What are some of the key things happening in the ocean market from a C.H. Robinson perspective?

When we look at our ocean business as a forwarder, we are a much bigger player there than we are on the air side.

Our focus in ocean has been to continue to strengthen our TransPacific eastbound business, as we are the largest NVO in that lane and also into Australia.

When we acquired Phoenix International in 2012, we really doubled the size of our overall global forwarding business and somewhat turned the keys over to the Phoenix leadership to continue to build on their model.

In the ocean business, we are continuing to build out density in our trade lanes and we will continue to look for ways to grow in that space both organically and through acquisition.

What about the air forwarding market?

2018 was a really important year for us in that space as we invested heavily into it. It is a complex market.

You cannot just sit on a trade lane; you need to focus on gateways, assets, and people, and it continues to be a strong growth vehicle for us.

Related ArticleC.H. Robinson CEO John Wiehoff Talks Transportation Trends

C.H. Robinson CEO John Wiehoff Talks Transportation Trends

Related Resources

Download the Paper

Why eShipping Selected the SMC³ Platform for Transactional LTL API Connectivity New!
In this case study, Chad Earwood, CEO of eShipping, describes how they integrated the SMC³ platform for transactional LTL API connectivity, and by using the analytical APIs RateWare XL and CarrierConnect XL they are able to obtain immediate LTL rates and audit LTL pricing. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Strategic LTL Bidding for Minimum Cost & Maximum Efficiency
This paper details how SMC³ designed Bid$ense for complete procurement transparency, and how you’ll move ahead with ease and confidence toward best-choice carrier qualification and truly strategic LTL procurement. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Case for a Re-Indexed LTL Benchmark Pricing System
This paper takes a deep dive into SMC³’s CzarLite XL, an advanced pricing system solution that gives shippers, logistics service providers and carriers a new neutral benchmark choice when negotiating LTL shipping rates. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Single Source for LTL Pricing & Transit Information
The SMC³ Platform empowers 3PLs and Shippers of any size to successfully navigate and optimize the LTL shipment arena, choose the level of computing power based on your specific needs and operating environment with a technology platform offering the best of all worlds. Download Now!


More Resources from SMC³

Article Topics Trends  Business  Leadership Leadership Logistics Services Provider Transportation Management Systems All topics

Comments Be the first to post a comment. 
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics ManagementModern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman Latest Business NewsC.H. Robinson Announces Bob Biesterfeld to Replace John Wiehoff as CEOFebruary 13, 2019 ·         C.H. Robinson has announced that as part of a “long-planned succession process”, effective May 9, Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld, will become Chief Executive Officer, as well as…
Want To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like KingsFebruary 8, 2019 ·         From day one, Amazon observed its customers, asked for their input, anticipated their wants and needs, and treated them with complete trust and respect.
Are Graduate Degrees Leading to Less Job Options?January 31, 2019 ·           The economy is humming all cylinders, employers say they can’t find employees with the right skills, yet graduate students report a tough job market. Are Advanced Degrees Taking Students Backwards in…
People Are Your Organization’s Most Valuable AssetJanuary 4, 2019 ·           During several of the industry conferences last year, I had multiple conversations about what many are now calling a “labor crisis” in the supply chain industry.
 More Business

24|7 Pro Team Picks

Reconfiguring Nanostore Retail Supply Chains to Combat the Nutritional Food DesertNavigating the Complex Regulatory Environment within Healthcare & Pharma PackagingThe Logistics of Canadian eCommerceUsing a Single Third-Party Logistics Provider to Support Worldwide Supply Chain OperationsWant To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like KingsTechnology’s Role in a Logistic Service Providers Strategy and Value PropositionState of Logistics Industry: Recent Reports Indicate Logistics to Excel in 2019 in Key WaysThe Emerging Business of Supply Chain Risk ManagementPreviousNext

NextGen Supply Chain Conference

Attend the premier educational conference that answers the question “What’s next in supply chain management?” NGSC is dedicated to preparing executives for the coming technologies that will have the most transformative effects on business. Learn more or register.This year’s
conference focuses onRoboticsArtificial
IntelligenceBig DataSave
the date!April 16-17at the landmark
Chicago Athletic Associationin Chicago

24|7 Company Profiles

Transplace is a non-asset, North America-based third party logistics (3PL) provider offering manufacturers, retailers, chemical and consumer packaged goods companies…

Shippers Collaborate on Truckload Consolidations to Improve Capacity Utilization & SustainabilityWhat happens when a logistics leader helps shippers work together to redefine “the perfect load?” Read about the immediate and substantial…PreviousNext

24|7 Resources

Research & DownloadsOptimizing Performance of the AutoStore Goods-to-Person Storage…AutoStore continues to gain traction in the market by delivering high-density storage,…

Special CoverageSpecial:
Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous vehicles have great potential for improving existing, high-demand transportation services, moving everything from passengers to packages. While most attention is focused on cars and…

Company ProfilesCompany Profile:
Tapestry Solutions

Leveraging three decades of experience, Tapestry Solutions is a global provider…

Photos & MediaSATO Launches Next-gen IoT Mobile PrinterNew rugged mobile combines high speed and expandability optimized for retail, logistics and more.

Transportation

Warehouse/DC

Supply Chain

Technology

Business

Resources

Popular

About Us · Contact Us · Advertise · Privacy Policy · Newsletters · RSS© SupplyChain247.com is owned and produced by Peerless Media, LLC., a Division of EH Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

February 13, 2019 · By Jeff Berman · 

C.H. Robinson Chief Executive Officer

A change at the top is coming soon for Minneapolis, Minn.-based global logistics services provider, and freight forwarder C.H. Robinson.

The company announced that as part of a “long-planned succession process”, effective May 9, Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld, will become Chief Executive Officer, as well as being nominated to stand for election to the company’s board of directors.

Biesterfeld will replace C.H. Robinson Chairman and CEO John Wiehoff, who will continue as Chairman of the Board when Biesterfeld becomes CEO.

C.H. Robinson also announced that Scott Anderson, current C.H. Robinson Board member, will become the Lead Independent Director, also effective May 9.

“Our success at Robinson has always been driven by our people, processes, and technology,” Wiehoff said in a statement.

“The Board and I are confident Bob is the right person to lead our accelerating investments in each of these areas. During his almost two decades at Robinson, Bob has consistently demonstrated deep industry knowledge, strategic vision, and a passion for delivering results. He has been the driving force behind our digital transformation efforts, accelerating the pace of innovation and technology deployment across our platform. He is an established leader with the right experiences and skills for the next chapter of Robinson.”

Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld

Biesterfeld will have large shoes to fill, as, under Wiehoff’s leadership at C.H. Robinson CEO over the last 17 years, total company revenues have increased more than 500% to $16.6 billion, with annualized total shareholder returns of 13% over the past 17 years.

An accomplished industry veteran, Biesterfeld has been with C.H. Robinson for 20 years. Before being named COO in March 2018, he served as President, North America Surface Transportation and prior to that he served as Vice President, Truckload and Vice President, Robinson Fresh, where he started his logistics career path in 1999.

Biesterfeld is a graduate of Winona State University and serves on Board of Winona State University Foundation in addition to the board of the Transportation Intermediaries Association.

Earlier, Logistics Management/Peerless Media Group News Editor Jeff Berman caught up with Biesterfeld to discuss his new role as CEO and industry trends and themes. A transcript of their conversation follows below.

What are your expectations and objectives in your pending new role as C.H. Robinson CEO?

We have had a senior leader in John Wiehoff, who has been in the CEO chair for most of the past 20 years or so.

As for what looks different on May 9, I think the really good news for our people and organization is that John’s tenure as CEO has been nothing short of spectacular. In the industry changes that have occurred over the last 17 years, with competitive and macro forces and the cyclical and secular changes of our history, C.H. Robinson started in a leadership position, at the beginning of John’s tenure as CEO, and will end his tenure as CEO in a leadership position as well.

Over the last four years or so that I have served as the company’s president of North America Surface Transportation or COO, with accountability for the company’s five business units and shared services as well, John and I and the rest of the senior leadership team have really been co-developing and co-owning the strategic direction of C.H. Robinson.

As John exits in May, there will not be a sharp left or right turn, in terms of our strategic priorities or how we invest our capital or how we show up in the marketplace. There have been a few chapters of the company’s history over the last 115 years, and one of the interesting things is that John is not the only long-tenured CEOs.

Going back to 1963, prior to my being appointed in this role, we have only had three senior leaders since then. I think it really shows the stability of our company and that we have continued to invest across multiple generations of supply chains, as we established our foundation and determined what we ‘want to be when we grow up’ so to speak.

Our roots began as a production company, evolving into being more of a full logistics provider in North America post-deregulation. We then got into the next chapter of international and global expansion, where we invested heavily in growth overseas in Asia and Europe, as well as the first instances of Navisphere, our technology platform.

When thinking about where we sit today, we have this great combination of North America and have spent more than $1.5 billion on M&A and investment into our global forwarding network. It was really about streamlining that investment and bringing it all together. 

Where do things go from there?

A lot of it has to do with turning the page to a more digital future, where we are very focused on the three core components of people, process, and technology, with technology continuing to be a more important piece of that overall puzzle.

That is how I am thinking about it directionally, and our senior leadership team is focused on that strategy.

Staying with technology, given all the attention to logistics technology in the form of things like blockchain, AI, IoT, Cloud, and others, how would you describe the state of supply chain and logistics technology?

There is no doubt that the logistics technology space is growing faster than ever, with change never slower than it is today.

The way that I think about it is that everyone has algorithms, and, years ago, everybody talked about proprietary technology and now everybody has it in some way, shape, or form. And all the leading companies in the logistics space have their own data scientists and algorithms. There is kind of this level set across technology, and there can only be so many differentiators, with everyone pursuing the same goals.Collaborative Supply Chain Intelligence

June 24 – 26, 2019 • The Broadmoor • Colorado Springs, CO

Collaborative Supply Chain Intelligence

Keep up-to-date

Full details coming soon!

Technology on its own is, really, I don’t think, the solution. We think about our investments in technology, and they really support the two other pillars, people and process, and where we think those three things come together, and what separates us in that space…is experience and scale. When we think about that fact that we have had 115 years of experience, we have learned a lot of things along that journey.

That experience does not come with just time; it comes across multiple industry verticals, continents, and modes and services. When we aggregate those experiences, the other thing we are aggregating is data, and we have all these data points that we are able to bring together on a global basis across what is viewed as the world’s largest supply chain platform.

That really starts to become scale, and our IT people that are building programs and cool algorithms have a really big competitive advantage, because we have more data, and we have more data because we have more loads. 

How does that data translate into the market?

When a small motor carrier comes to us, 15%-to-20% of its miles are driven empty and are non-revenue-generating miles. The biggest thing a small motor carrier wants is more miles to get more money, and, chances are, we have a load closer to that carrier than anybody else does.

If a shipper comes to us, we can offer them a broader base of capacity than anyone else does and we are more likely able to provide a service for them that is on time and meets their needs.

Another thing specifically around technology is that many of the new technology entrants, or tech-enabled brokers, or disruptors, disruptors, are really pushing customers to integrate and operate only on their platform.

What is C.H. Robinson’s approach?

We want Navisphere to be the easiest supply chain platform to use in the industry.

If you would like to operate in Oracle or SAP or whatever your ERP system is as a shipper, or JDA as a carrier, or use your off-the-shelf Transportation Management System, we can work with you, rather than pushing customers only on to our systems.

We want to meet our customers where and how they want to buy, as opposed to pushing them.

Shifting gears, C.H. Robinson is a very big player in a very competitive and crowded brokerage market. In this environment, what are you trying to do as a company to distance yourselves from the competition, given such a finite carrier base?

Looking at the customer lens is where we try to start all of our conversations.

We serve such a broad and diverse group of customers, from the smallest micro shipper making something in a garage and doing a residence pick up and shipping a parcel, to the world’s largest companies that are fully integrated with Navisphere, like Microsoft, for example, that uses our technology to power their supply chain.

We have a whole continuum of customers, from the smallest of the small to the largest of the large, and I think what has been important for our customer go-to-market strategy is to ensure that we have aligned our value to the needs of those customers.

Can you provide an example of that?

We are not going to go to a small manufacturer and ship once a month and sell them on our data and analytics capabilities or our robust reporting.

So, for that small shipper, we will ensure they have the easiest system to access and have access to the best rates for parcel, LTL, and truckload and that they can come online, get a quote, book a shipment, swipe a credit card, and within an hour have someone there picking that shipment up to bring it to the final destination in full.

But a Microsoft does not want to deal with using a credit card. They need robust reporting and real-time visibility through things like IoT and sensors and the Cloud, which shows them where their entire inventory is, in motion or at rest, to be able to ensure there are no supply chain disruptions for something like the next launch of an Xbox.

We are focused on providing value for a wide variety of segments. If you think about specific verticals like oil and gas, they have very specific needs…so we really work to customize that solution for that sector. It takes smart people and supply chain engineers to do that, and it goes back to having the people, process, and technology to do that.    

Looking at the current state of the market, what is different now compared to a year ago?

What is different now compared to a year ago is the cycle repeats itself again and again and again. It started with the hurricanes, which drove capacity constraints and things [were crazy], with very few trucks and many loads and that led to an industry reset and everyone re-priced.

In our Managed Services business last year, I think our average tender for a truckload shipment was 3.5, meaning that loads went through the routing guide to the third or fourth carrier before it was bid on and this is for the $4 billion worth of freight in our industry.

Today, it is now about 1.4, so what happened was that everyone went out to market…and people locked in capacity at higher rates and when that happens the spot market dries up, as it is comprised of unplanned demand. Loads that were supposed to go through the tracking process fall back in and that drives spot market pricing down and resets rates at a higher rate.

If you look at public motor carrier earnings, they are talking about mid-to-high single digit rate increases for 2019, which I believe to be an effect of the rate pricing they did in 2018. The rates now are a combination of a mixed shift with contractual freight making up a higher percentage of our portfolio combined with declining annual spot market rates.

How do you view the last-mile logistics and the e-commerce driven supply chain?

There is no question that e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment have changed a lot about the supply chain, in terms of inventory position, order cycles, and other things.

Beyond that, the experience we have on our mobile devices that we get used to when we order something online, or the personal experience, is now transferring into our business experience. We now need to know where everything is all of the time.

In terms of our position, there are a couple of things that have driven change to our model. One thing is that we are working with a lot of shippers in Asia that want to position inventory through things like Fulfillment by Amazon and other seller networks to move products out of Asia, and that works really well for our ocean and air business. We certainly are not one of the largest providers of the inside home delivery type of business.

The biggest part of our business directly related to e-commerce exists with our managed services business, where we are using Navisphere to provide large global shippers with complete supply chain visibility across everything from ocean freight to parcel shipments.

We are touching it in a lot of different ways, and in the last few years or so we are seeing it in the average length of our truckload movements.

How is that?

In 2013, the average mileage per truckload was about 780 miles and it is now 620 or so.

The impact through the shortening of the length of haul is a function of inventory being placed in different parts of the country.

It allows for the order cycle to be shorter and enables us to move things when and where we want it in a different way.

What are some of the key things happening in the ocean market from a C.H. Robinson perspective?

When we look at our ocean business as a forwarder, we are a much bigger player there than we are on the air side.

Our focus in ocean has been to continue to strengthen our TransPacific eastbound business, as we are the largest NVO in that lane and also into Australia.

When we acquired Phoenix International in 2012, we really doubled the size of our overall global forwarding business and somewhat turned the keys over to the Phoenix leadership to continue to build on their model.

In the ocean business, we are continuing to build out density in our trade lanes and we will continue to look for ways to grow in that space both organically and through acquisition.

What about the air forwarding market?

2018 was a really important year for us in that space as we invested heavily into it. It is a complex market.

You cannot just sit on a trade lane; you need to focus on gateways, assets, and people, and it continues to be a strong growth vehicle for us.

Related ArticleC.H. Robinson CEO John Wiehoff Talks Transportation Trends

C.H. Robinson CEO John Wiehoff Talks Transportation Trends

Related Resources

Download the Paper

Why eShipping Selected the SMC³ Platform for Transactional LTL API Connectivity New!
In this case study, Chad Earwood, CEO of eShipping, describes how they integrated the SMC³ platform for transactional LTL API connectivity, and by using the analytical APIs RateWare XL and CarrierConnect XL they are able to obtain immediate LTL rates and audit LTL pricing. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Strategic LTL Bidding for Minimum Cost & Maximum Efficiency
This paper details how SMC³ designed Bid$ense for complete procurement transparency, and how you’ll move ahead with ease and confidence toward best-choice carrier qualification and truly strategic LTL procurement. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Case for a Re-Indexed LTL Benchmark Pricing System
This paper takes a deep dive into SMC³’s CzarLite XL, an advanced pricing system solution that gives shippers, logistics service providers and carriers a new neutral benchmark choice when negotiating LTL shipping rates. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Single Source for LTL Pricing & Transit Information
The SMC³ Platform empowers 3PLs and Shippers of any size to successfully navigate and optimize the LTL shipment arena, choose the level of computing power based on your specific needs and operating environment with a technology platform offering the best of all worlds. Download Now!


More Resources from SMC³

Article Topics Trends  Business  Leadership Leadership Logistics Services Provider Transportation Management Systems All topics

Comments Be the first to post a comment. 
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics ManagementModern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman Latest Business NewsC.H. Robinson Announces Bob Biesterfeld to Replace John Wiehoff as CEOFebruary 13, 2019 ·         C.H. Robinson has announced that as part of a “long-planned succession process”, effective May 9, Chief Operating Officer Robert (“Bob”) Biesterfeld, will become Chief Executive Officer, as well as…
Want To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like KingsFebruary 8, 2019 ·         From day one, Amazon observed its customers, asked for their input, anticipated their wants and needs, and treated them with complete trust and respect.
Are Graduate Degrees Leading to Less Job Options?January 31, 2019 ·           The economy is humming all cylinders, employers say they can’t find employees with the right skills, yet graduate students report a tough job market. Are Advanced Degrees Taking Students Backwards in…
People Are Your Organization’s Most Valuable AssetJanuary 4, 2019 ·           During several of the industry conferences last year, I had multiple conversations about what many are now calling a “labor crisis” in the supply chain industry.
 More Business

24|7 Pro Team Picks

Reconfiguring Nanostore Retail Supply Chains to Combat the Nutritional Food DesertNavigating the Complex Regulatory Environment within Healthcare & Pharma PackagingThe Logistics of Canadian eCommerceUsing a Single Third-Party Logistics Provider to Support Worldwide Supply Chain OperationsWant To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like KingsTechnology’s Role in a Logistic Service Providers Strategy and Value PropositionState of Logistics Industry: Recent Reports Indicate Logistics to Excel in 2019 in Key WaysThe Emerging Business of Supply Chain Risk ManagementPreviousNext

NextGen Supply Chain Conference

Attend the premier educational conference that answers the question “What’s next in supply chain management?” NGSC is dedicated to preparing executives for the coming technologies that will have the most transformative effects on business. Learn more or register.This year’s
conference focuses onRoboticsArtificial
IntelligenceBig DataSave
the date!April 16-17at the landmark
Chicago Athletic Associationin Chicago

24|7 Company Profiles

Transplace is a non-asset, North America-based third party logistics (3PL) provider offering manufacturers, retailers, chemical and consumer packaged goods companies…

Shippers Collaborate on Truckload Consolidations to Improve Capacity Utilization & SustainabilityWhat happens when a logistics leader helps shippers work together to redefine “the perfect load?” Read about the immediate and substantial…PreviousNext

24|7 Resources

Research & DownloadsOptimizing Performance of the AutoStore Goods-to-Person Storage…AutoStore continues to gain traction in the market by delivering high-density storage,…

Special CoverageSpecial:
Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous vehicles have great potential for improving existing, high-demand transportation services, moving everything from passengers to packages. While most attention is focused on cars and…

Company ProfilesCompany Profile:
Tapestry Solutions

Leveraging three decades of experience, Tapestry Solutions is a global provider…

Photos & MediaSATO Launches Next-gen IoT Mobile PrinterNew rugged mobile combines high speed and expandability optimized for retail, logistics and more.

Transportation

Warehouse/DC

Supply Chain

Technology

Business

Resources

Popular

About Us · Contact Us · Advertise · Privacy Policy · Newsletters · RSS© SupplyChain247.com is owned and produced by Peerless Media, LLC., a Division of EH Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

0 Continue Reading →

Navigating the Complex Regulatory Environment within Healthcare & Pharma Packaging

Bringing Products to Market

As consumer goods companies are dealing with increasing regulatory requirements, market fragmentation, risk, and demand for late-stage product customization, they are extending their reliance on external suppliers to help bring products to market.

With short lead times and high SKU proliferation, the production environment is already complex for these external packagers and manufacturers, but within the heavily regulated pharmaceutical and healthcare market, the burden of proof is even higher.

Those who are able to demonstrate proper product handling within regulated industries stand to profit from double-digit industry growth. Growth in contract packaging is largely being driven by the pharmaceutical and healthcare market.

The sector is expanding at around 15% per year, a trend which is expected to continue at least through 2021.

“We are seeing business growth with our Rx pharmaceutical customers, so staying compliant with pharma regulations, particularly Part 11 regulations, is a huge mandate for us,” says Jennifer Squillante, Quality Manager at Unette, a contract manufacturing company.

Anyone hoping to profit from that growth has their work cut out. The packaging of pharmaceutical and healthcare products involves more responsibility than ever. A plethora of regulations, compliance protocols, warning labels, protection standards, and security requirements places a tremendous burden on contract packagers.

A survey by the Contract Packaging Association revealed that 70% of contract packaging and contract manufacturing companies are concerned that the regulatory environment could negatively impact business in the coming years.

Those looking to stay ahead of the evolving regulations must stay diligent. “We are regulated by the FDA and the DEA, and as such, we are always reviewing new white papers and guidelines to continuously improve our processes,” comments Sarah Faison, Director of Sales & Marketing at Praxis, contract packager to pharmaceuticals and health and beauty brands.

On top of heightened regulatory control, brand customers are demanding a more agile supply chain to drive out costs in response to tighter margins. They expect suppliers to harness sophisticated quality control and compliance systems. There is no longer any room for manual processes, delays in information relay, or general supply chain inefficiency.

How are successful contract packers and manufacturers rising to the challenge? Here are some of the ways they are coping with burgeoning requirements and gaining ground in these fields:

Following GMP

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines from the FDA encompass the manufacture, processing, and packaging, as well as any other activity that could impact product quality or safety. The goal of GMP is to ensure that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.

Those following these practices minimize production risks that can’t be eliminated through testing of the final product. They cover raw materials, premises, equipment, software, training, personal hygiene, and more. It also lays out detailed record keeping for every aspect of manufacturing, packaging, storage, and product delivery. Contract packagers are advised to adopt software with workflows that adhere to GMP and other industry standards.

Jennifer Squillante, Quality Manager at Unette:

“To stay on top of the evolving compliance and quality requirements, I regularly visit the ORA FOIA Electronic Reading Room to avoid pitfalls of other companies have fallen victim to. I also subscribe to FDA electronic notifications — MedWatch, Cosmetic and Dietary Supplement news and such — so that when there are changes or issues we need to be aware of in the industry, I can immediately take action.”

Electronic Records

Rules are being strictly enforced in the U.S., Europe, and around the globe concerning Electronic Record and Signatures (ERES). Electronic records must demonstrate that manufactured product data is electronically captured, manipulated, extracted, and coded precisely. A complete audit trail must exist. Electronic signatures must be carefully managed. All modifications, deletions, or transmissions of ERES data must be recorded and managed responsibility. Business applications used by contract packagers should seamlessly address EREC requirements.

Squillante:

“We have been operating our legacy system for many years, and migrating towards Nulogy’s electronic signatures, and mobile devices, has been a paradigm shift as our team was used to pen and paper recording. There is a challenge in helping our employees embrace the change of an electronic system rather than a paper-based system. There is also a challenge in purchasing a service from a third party to control our electronic records, in that the burden of proof is on our company, as the end user, to ensure that the product was designed and developed in compliance with 21 CFR part 11.”

Automated Batch Records

The sheer volume of electronic data handled by contract suppliers necessitates the creation of batch records. Contract packagers in regulated industries must demonstrate the proper handling of consumer products via batch records. This can be a tedious and error-prone process if done manually.

Faced with short lead times, high SKU proliferation, and growing complexity, contract packagers in healthcare and pharmaceuticals are realize the importance of digitizing and automating the creation of batch records. They need systems that auto-populate critical product information into the batch records as part of ongoing operations. Information is extracted directly from the production environment, providing evidence of safe product handling. Manual data entry is eliminated along with associated risks.

End-to-End Traceability

Many systems do a good job of recording transactions, signatures, and electronic records. The weak links, however, are the individual touch points that data passes through as part of the compliance and supervisory process, and those places where data is moved from one system to another. In response, many contract packers and manufacturers are gravitating toward systems that offer digital quality checks and seamless digital sign-offs. With the right product information received at the correct touch points and all the data flowing through one system, accountability is guaranteed.

The Time is Now

The time has passed when contract packagers and manufacturers could survive by clinging to traditional paper-based or home-grown systems. Their environment has become one characterized by short production runs, shrinking lead times, and high SKU proliferation, where automation is needed to stay agile. Software solutions must make compliance quick and easy by providing audit trails, automated batch records, electronic signatures, and a quality control workflow that’s integrated within the production environment. The ability to harness technology to stay agile and fulfill orders on-time, in-full, and without compromising on quality will determine the winners and losers.

Related White Papers

Download the Paper

How to Strengthen Your Position With Consumer Packaged Goods
Whether you are a manufacturer, co-packer, or 3PL, one of your most sacred assets as a contract packaging service provider is the relationship you build with your customers.Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Agile Customization Platform
Nulogy’s cloud-based Agile Customization Platform allows consumer brands to respond with ease and speed to a volatile retail and consumer environment while reducing waste and costs. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Activate Efficient & Agile Operations
Nulogy’s solutions for Suppliers help you efficiently manage complex, variable workflows, increase production speed and provide enviable customer service.Download Now!

0 Continue Reading →

Using a Single Third-Party Logistics Provider to Support Worldwide Supply Chain Operations

Ember Technologies, Inc.

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway into what was once a piping hot cup of coffee or tea, only to have it go cold on you.

But what if you could customize that drink’s temperature as you consumed it, vary the degrees to see how it affects the taste, and enjoy your hot beverage right down to the last drop?

That’s exactly what Clay Alexander was pondering back in 2010, just before founding Ember Technologies, Inc. (Ember), a design-led temperature control brand that’s now creating a new category of consumer products.

It all started with Alexander’s scrambled eggs, which he, of course, preferred warm versus cold. “I think I can make a heated plate to keep my eggs warm,” the serial entrepreneur said to himself.

If the idea sounds far-fetched, think again. An inventor, Alexander holds over 100 patents worldwide and is the inventor of General Electric’s LED light bulb, the GE Infusion. He started his first company, Radiance Lightworks, in 1999 at the age of 23. Radiance has since become one of the top lighting design agencies in the country with a client list that includes Universal Studios, Mattel and 20th Century Fox.

It didn’t take long for Alexander to solve his cold breakfast problem, but that discovery sparked another question in his mind: What if he could use the same technology – a combination of radio-controlled batteries, heating elements, and sensors – to keep coffee, tea and other drinks hot? Would it be better than those heated, coaster-like mug warmers?

“And with that, Clay set off to invent the world’s first temperature-controlled coffee cup,” says Phil Poel, Ember’s COO.

Breaking the Mold

The company’s first product was a travel mug, which a team of Ember engineers presented to Starbucks – a company that puts great effort into growing, hand-picking, and roasting its coffee beans, only to have the final product poured into a paper cup.

“We put some Starbucks coffee in one of our mugs and asked them to set it at the desired temperature,” says Poel. “They enjoyed their drinks right to the last drop…it went over really well.”

Starbucks put Ember’s travel mug on its shelves for retail sale in 2016. “They sold out in a couple of weeks,” says Poel. “Then they asked for coffee mugs versus travelers. That request transformed our company from ‘startup’ to ‘real company.’” Best Buy jumped onboard not long after, with both partnerships boosting Ember’s sales from $1 million to $14 million “basically overnight,” says Poel.

With the unexpected boost in sales came new manufacturing and distribution challenges, the likes of which the company hadn’t experienced before. “When you have two customers and a few SKUs, the logistics are pretty easy,” says Poel. “The next thing you know, we were making and selling accessories and a variety of different colored mugs.”

When Ember signed Apple as a customer in 2018, the need for a streamlined, reliable logistics and transportation setup became even more important for the innovative manufacturer.

“We knew we needed a great third-party logistics [3PL] partner to handle projects like launching in Apple stores in 26 different countries, and in a single day, opening global e-commerce channels and supplying to TMall China. That in and of itself tells the story of why we needed a reliable logistics partner on our side.”

Up to that point, Zachary Horton, Ember’s shipping and logistics coordinator, says the company was using several different 3PLs to get its products delivered to its large retail customers. “None of the systems were integrated,” he says, “so after exploring our options, we made a conscious decision to make SEKO Logistics our primary 3PL.”

Miguel Garcia, Operations Manager, SEKO Logistics and Phil Poel, COO, Ember Technologies, Inc.

Left to right: Miguel Garcia, Operations Manager, SEKO Logistics and Phil Poel, COO, Ember Technologies, Inc.

To make that all-important decision, Ember got its finance, operations, logistics and Asia-based procurement team involved in the process. “We got together a good cross-section of departments in order to get a good view of what the 3PL had to offer and how that aligned with our organizational goals,” says Poel.

Value-Justified Cost, Please

In 2017, Ember decided to bring its entire distribution chain under a single umbrella. The relationship started with Ember’s connections to SEKO’s Hong Kong team and its primary manufacturing locations in Zhuhai, China, and has since extended across its entire supply chain.

After spending about three months setting up the system, the two companies officially began working together in April of 2018. “We put time into making sure everyone was aligned, teaching SEKO about our brand,” says Horton, “and making sure we all understood our respective roles.”

Poel says that the time that went into the setup process was well spent. “Our 3PL spent a lot of time with us to gain a better understanding of our brand and our goals and didn’t just say: ‘Yes, we can ship your product,’ or ‘send us a box and we’ll ship it,’” Poel explains. “In total, we probably had six different meetings with SEKO – two in Hong Kong and four in the United States – before getting started.”

During those meetings, Poel brought up the “value-justified cost” of working with a single 3PL. In fact, he wrote those three words on a whiteboard to reinforce Ember’s goal of making sure all of its logistics moves are value-justified. “Typically, when you go into these relationships, you wind up negotiating freight rates, weights as well as dollars and cents,” Poel explains. “The process gets pretty convoluted, with companies selecting one provider in order to save two cents here or a penny there.”

Clay Alexander, Founder and CEO, Ember Technologies, Inc.

Going against that convention, Ember decided not to discuss price. And while it did crosscheck the 3PL’s weights and costs (and learned that they were indeed competitive), the manufacturer was more interested in the total cost of ownership of the new relationship.

“We told SEKO that we wanted them to bill us based on value-justified cost,” Poel recounts. “At that point, the whole conversation just stopped and SEKO’s commercial officer looked at us and said: ‘That’s the best answer I’ve ever heard.’”

Streamlining the Supply Chain

Before moving to a single 3PL, Ember was using one warehouse for e-commerce fulfillment and a separate facility to supply its retail customers. That setup required two completely different sets of inventory, communication modes, and fulfillment approaches.

Today, the manufacturer’s 3PL handles all of its global e-commerce and retail shipments from three locations (U.S., Hong Kong, and the UK) that are all fully integrated.

Having retail and e-commerce distribution under a single system allows Ember to “ebb and flow with demand,” says Horton, “and to ensure that it has all of the necessary pieces in place to deal with sales spikes.” In some cases, those spikes appear at the wee hours of the morning.

Recently, for example, Ember needed to get a shipment from Hong Kong to the United States by 8 a.m. the next morning. “We were on the phone with SEKO at 2 a.m.,” Horton recalls, “and they got our stuff ready to ship and on the plane within six hours and made it happen.”

By using a 3PL that provides this type of over-the-top customer service will be critical for Ember as it continues to grow, both in terms of adding new customers of its own and on the product expansion front. “We’re growing quickly and we need a logistics partner that can go with the flow, so to speak,” says Poel.

“SEKO has been extremely flexible and is always standing by ready to provide new solutions, come up with new approaches, and work with us to solve our logistics issues. That makes them a great partner for us.”

According to Poel, other key benefits include strong global collaboration between Ember and the 3PL’s teams in the United States, Asia, and Europe, and the way in which the logistics provider’s warehouse management system (WMS) seamlessly integrates with the manufacturer’s own systems. “They came in and taught us how to use the WMS,” says Horton. “That was a huge win for us.”

Moving to a single 3PL also helped to streamline outbound shipments and the related communications that, in the past, involved numerous different providers. “Using just one form of communication has been a lot more efficient for us as we’ve grown and expanded,” says Horton, “and without the need for a lot of our own internal systems.”

Crystal Clear Alignment

To shippers that are in expansion mode and looking for a 3PL to help them manage their global supply chains, Poel says that the best approach is to bring all of your issues and lay them out on the table in front of the provider. Then, take the time across several meetings to ensure “crystal clear alignment” between your operations and the provider’s capabilities.

“You want a 3PL that can pick your issues apart and show how it can help you work through them – someone that offers real solutions, not just lip service,” says Poel.

“You’re going to run into multiple 3PLs that say they can do this or that for you when a better approach is to tell them what your challenges are and let them offer solutions. That will save you a lot of time and minimize headaches.”

Related: SEKO Logistics Acquires Chicago-based Forwarder and Compliance Specialists GoodShip International

SEKO Logistics Acquires Chicago-based Forwarder and Compliance Specialists GoodShip International

Related Papers & eBooks

Download the Paper

The Guide to International Shipping New!
There’s a lot to think about before you can launch internationally, so, we’ve put together our three steps to international shipping for eCommerce retailers to help you plan your strategy. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Don’t Damage Your Retail Brand by Breaking Promises with Your Customers
Whether they’ve been made explicitly or implicitly, failing to keep any promises you make as your customers travel through the purchase journey with you could have a significant impact on your brand. Download Now!


Download the Paper

eCommerce Delivery – What do Your Customers Want?
When it comes to the delivery of goods bought online, consumer expectations are becoming ever more demanding. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Ecommerce Logistics Revolution
In this special issue, the editorial staff of Logistics Management has compiled feature stories that encapsulate the software, technology, and processes that are helping today’s retail and manufacturing professionals exceed ever-increasing customer demands – whether in B2B or direct to consumers. Download Now!


More SEKO Logistics Resources

0 Continue Reading →

Want To Be Like Amazon? Treat Your Customers Like Kings

Exciting and Delighting Customers

While many companies consider Amazon to be the ultimate competitor, Amazon didn’t become the trillion-dollar retail and distribution behemoth it is today by focusing on what its competition was doing.

Instead, it focused on exciting and delighting its customers.

Remember, Amazon started out selling books.

Bookstores were its main competition. Amazon did not aspire to beat bookstores at their own game. Instead, Amazon created an entirely new game.

In a talk at The Economic Club of Washington back in September, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told his audience;

“The number 1 thing that has made us successful by far is an obsessive-compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor.”

Leadership Principles

In fact, customer obsession is the very first of Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles: “Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”

It’s this unrelenting drive to address customer needs that’s made Amazon “the everything store.”

From day one, Amazon observed its customers, asked for their input, anticipated their wants and needs, and treated them with complete trust and respect.

Amazon has been able to build – and scale – its legendary customer service by paying attention to customer behavior and delivering on promises so well that it changed the meaning and importance of “customer expectations.”

Amazon makes its customers “king.” They’ve proven the validity of this strategy by lapping up 50 percent of US e-commerce sales in 2018, per TechCrunch.

Nowadays, customers demand Amazon-like services, a trend known as “the Amazon effect.”

Customers want to know where their orders are when they will arrive, and if there is a delay. Amazon does all that – and your business can too with the help of technology.

Meeting Customer Needs

To be able to meet customer needs, Amazon uses technologies to track and optimize shipments, giving visibility to customers so they know what is happening to their orders all along the supply chain.

To make customers king, businesses need to offer a technology-driven experience that gives visibility into transportation processes from order entry to proof of delivery.

Shippers use TMS like Kuebix to find scarce capacity, analyze freight rates and secure transportation.

With Kuebix TMS businesses can compare carrier rates side-by-side and choose the best rate that the shipment demands, ensuring quick and efficient deliveries to their customers.

They can also provide their customers with real-time tracking and a level of visibility that can only be gained with technology.

Download the Report: The TMS Buyer’s Kit | Learn | Build ROI | Decide

Related Article: Improving the Customer Experience in the Age of Ecommerce

Improving the Customer Experience in the Age of Ecommerce

Related White Papers & eBooks

Download the eBook

The Art of the Inbound: 11 Ways to Improve Your Inbound Shipping Operations
This ebook provides a guide to benchmark your company against best practices in the transportation and shipping industry and helps to put together a strategic approach to capitalizing on the opportunities to manage the “art of the inbound.” Download Now!


Download the eBook

Driving Supplier, Carrier and Customer Collaboration
This ebook describes how through the use of collaboration portals with various stakeholders, you will be able to effectively manage your cost of goods and consistently meet the expectations of your internal and external customers. Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems
There is almost no limit to how a Transportation Management System can benefit your unique supply chain, but the key to success is finding the right one for your goals, so, before selecting a TMS, use the 12 questions in this buyer’s guide to find the best solution for your company. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Effectively Managing Big Data in Your Supply Chain
In this white paper, we’ll explain what the term “big data” means to the typical supply chain, introduce effective strategies for managing and leveraging that data, show how one grocer is using predictive analytics to harness its own big data, and explain the “first steps” that companies need to take down the path to effective management of their big data. Download Now!


More Resources from Kuebix

0 Continue Reading →

Technology’s Role in a Logistic Service Providers Strategy and Value Proposition

The Role of Technology in a Logistics Partner’s Strategy and Value Proposition

In this informative discussion with Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics, Sonny Catlett, Sr. Vice President of Operations at HNRY Logistics explains how this newest operating company of YRC Worldwide is bringing together the right people, with a large network of assets and a strong Transporation Management Systems (TMS) technology partner to make direct-to-carrier shipping simpler for its customers (watch video to the right).

Catlett explains that the top reason HNRY Logistics chose 3Gtms was that of its robust rating engine and flexible platform.

“We needed to support five lines of service through our brokerage operation and 3G’s robust rating engine provided the power and flexibility to support all of our lines and present rates back to our customers through our myHNRY portal.”

myHNRY portal

Remember that time you said, “I wish there was an easier and more affordable way to ship and manage my freight?” Well HNRYLogistics made your wish come true.

With myHNRY, finding the best prices and brokerage options is as easy as searching for airline flights or hotels. And with our backend technology and customer account management portal, managing your shipments after they have been booked is easier than ever.

And with a wide network of available carriers, we can offer the pricing, services, and options to fit your needs.

HNRY Logistics

Catlett goes on to explain that for HNRY Logistics, the build or buy technology decision for getting a brokerage operation up off the ground came down to selecting a TMS platform that would be fast to market, allow them to get up and running quickly, yet remain agile to support our fast-growing business.

“We wanted to buy a solution from a TMS vendor that would grow with us and be a long-term partner for business.”

In addition to a robust platform and strong partnership approach, what advice does Catlett have for other Logistic Service Providers?

  • Fully embrace technology and support it with smart people and the right partners.
  • Have a firm grasp on your business strategy, where you want to go and what the solution is going to be.
  • Be agile and prepared to augment your business as you go.

Click on the video above to hear the full interview and learn more about the role of technology in a logistics partner’s strategy and value proposition.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Tell It’s Time to Replace Your Transportation Management System

3 Ways to Tell It’s Time to Replace Your Transportation Management System

What Does Your Ideal Transportation Management System Look Like?

A Transportation Management System (TMS) can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution.

Download the 2019 TMS RFP Template!

It must have the flexibility to adapt to your unique business complexities and enable you to work creatively to achieve company objectives – but this requires a level of intimacy that cannot be uncovered with a traditional corporate buying process.

A TMS is a core part of your operations; and like other supply chain execution software, operations usually can’t be described by checkboxes or summarized in a statement.

There is just too much complexity and too many variables.

The 3Gtms 2019 TMS RFP Template

With our 2019 RFP Template for transportation management systems, we’ll help you think beyond whether a TMS has a capability and toward how that capability will potentially work for your operations.

In other words, our TMS RFP Template is designed to help you uncover the what and the how of a transportation management system.

Download the 3Gtms 2019 TMS RFP Template Now!

0 Continue Reading →

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

White Paper

Download the eBook

Orchestrating a Successful Digital Transformation New!
Few companies succeed in transforming themselves for the digital age, in this paper we describe how the leaders beat the odds. Download Now!


More Leadership Resources

0 Continue Reading →

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

 

Related White Papers & eBooks

Download the eBook

Driving Supplier, Carrier and Customer Collaboration
This ebook describes how through the use of collaboration portals with various stakeholders, you will be able to effectively manage your cost of goods and consistently meet the expectations of your internal and external customers. Download Now!


Download the eBook

The Art of the Inbound: 11 Ways to Improve Your Inbound Shipping Operations
This ebook provides a guide to benchmark your company against best practices in the transportation and shipping industry and helps to put together a strategic approach to capitalizing on the opportunities to manage the “art of the inbound.” Download Now!


Download the Paper

The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems
There is almost no limit to how a Transportation Management System can benefit your unique supply chain, but the key to success is finding the right one for your goals, so, before selecting a TMS, use the 12 questions in this buyer’s guide to find the best solution for your company. Download Now!


Download the Paper

Effectively Managing Big Data in Your Supply Chain
In this white paper, we’ll explain what the term “big data” means to the typical supply chain, introduce effective strategies for managing and leveraging that data, show how one grocer is using predictive analytics to harness its own big data, and explain the “first steps” that companies need to take down the path to effective management of their big data. Download Now!


More Resources from Kuebix

0 Continue Reading →

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 Cointelegraph.com 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 JD.com 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

Unlocking Blockchain’s Potential in Your Supply Chain

Related Blockchain White Papers

Download the White Paper

Bridge to Blockchain: A Platform for Orchestrating Multi-Enterprise NetworksNew!
In this white paper, you will learn why blockchain platforms vary widely in terms capability, disclosure, confidentiality, anonymity, the cost to use, and speed, and why companies need to leverage more than one blockchain network to realize game-changing business models. Download Now!


Download the White Paper

Can Blockchain Revolutionize the Supply Chain?
In this white paper Ranjit Notani, One Network CTO examines Blockchain’s powerful potential as well as a major problem and whether and how Blockchains can revolutionize the Supply Chain. Download Now!


More Resources on Blockchain

0 Continue Reading →