Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't Just Cut Waste: Create Value | 2010-01-13 | Modern Distribution Management

Don't Just Cut Waste: Create Value | 2010-01-13 | Modern Distribution Management

Great article on supply chain management and creating optimal excellence with communication. Our clients take pride in our high value of communicating and managing your inventory. Keeping your end-users happy is your goal and that makes it our goal. As this article says,
It's about increasing communication. If you are not communicating more today with your strategic partners than you were last year, you will be forced into someone else's cost-cutting measures instead of sharing in them and creating value.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meet our People!

United Warehouses' great staff are the talent and brains behind our great customer service and innovative logistics offerings.

To find our more about our Pacific Northwest Storage facilities like our Portland Oregon warehousing location, please feel free to contact us at (206) 682-4535.

We'd be happy to listen to you supply chain needs!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How do Importers and Exporters use trade data?

The following is a guest column from Kevin Palmstein of Zepol.

While most readers are transportation service providers, it is important to understand how their customers utilize the same information that they use in their businesses to find new leads. Importers and Exporters use trade data just as much as their 3PL partners to create new opportunities and make better decisions in a quickly changing international market.

While there are many uses for Bill of Lading data, I’ve put together the top 5 ways that Zepol’s customers are using the data.

1. Competitive Intelligence: This is the most obvious and common use of the data. The Bill of Lading details provide windows into what competitors’ supply chains look like, their upcoming product releases, and how much product they are bringing in. I have worked with companies that have even found their competitor’s prototype shipments months before the products hit the shelves of retailers. That is pretty powerful for any company.

2. Lead Prospecting: Finding customers is at the center of almost every company, but for companies working with customers that do international trade, this data is the most targeted source of leads available. Because the data is robust, they can concentrate only on the leads that fit their requirements. However, beyond list building is where the data can have the most impact for sales professionals.

3. Supplier Sourcing: Users of Bill of Lading data are able to see who the supplier/manufacturer was for almost every shipment. This allows them to both find new suppliers for their products and monitor their current relationships. By finding new suppliers they can diversify their supply chains in case of supply disruptions, regional shipping cost increases, and natural disasters to reduce overall supply chain risk.

4. Market Analysis: Analysts and consultants across industries access this data to develop supply side analysis at a company level. While other types of data provide high level statistics by country, like the United Nation’s data, Bill of Lading information allows for market share assessments for very specific products. Because the data is so detailed, many users have been able to do research into individual types of product and get more accurate results than high level HTS data sets.

5. Legal and Brand Protection: There are two ways that users of this data enhance their brand protection and legal efforts. The first is fighting counterfeiters with the counterfeiter’s own Bill of Lading information, which could include researching the shippers and consignees from seizure notices or ensuring their brand names and trademarks are not being used by unauthorized parties. Secondly, other users have used the data to establish jurisdiction in cases and provide evidence of relationships in court.

To view the article, please click here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vote United Warehouses on the 3PL Excellence Survey!

Click here to Vote for this year's Top 100 3PL's!

Inbound Logistics' 3PL Excellence Survey page says:

“Each year, in its July issue, Inbound Logistics publishes the most definitive resource on third-party logistics and the outsourced logistics market. If you are already a subscriber, you know that we ask our readers which third-party logistics companies provide excellent service, and publish the results. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can get a list of this year's Excellence Survey winners, as well as the Top 100 third-party companies in the world, by checking the box below.

We're now conducting next year's 3PL Excellence Survey. The results will be presented in the July 2010 3PL issue. Give us your input and we'll express our appreciation by entering you in a drawing for a free 18-carat gold Parker pen, which includes a coupon for free engraving."

If you need more information on United Warehouses, please visit our website or check out the following quick informational links on services like Pacific Northwest Storage and Portland Oregon warehousing

Monday, December 28, 2009

Supply Chain 2010: Building on the lessons learned

The recession may be coming to a close-at least officially. But the effects of that painful period linger on. Supply chain managers need to learn from the lessons of the past as they rebuild the foundation for a brighter future.

Sean Murphy, Associate Editor -- Logistics Management, 12/22/2009

With the recession in full swing, 2009 was a wild ride for some companies-and their supply chain managers. In a survey of more than 500 CFOs conducted by Basware in cooperation with Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and the University of Navarra's IESE Business School in Spain, 64 percent cited "reducing direct costs" as their top priority. It was, for many companies and their supply chain managers, the year to stay alive.
Fortunately, while many who are out of work would dispute word that the economy is improving, statistics from monthly reports from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) have pointed to growth in the non-manufacturing sector, and even stronger growth in manufacturing. Findings like these have prompted many analysts to declare that the economy has not only finally ended its downward slide, but is on the way to recovering.

Recovery or not, one thing remains clear: The corporate world, and by definition the supply chain, has been changed forever. In this article, we discuss key trends that will impact the professional lives of the supply chain manager in 2010. These trends are grouped into four categories: education and professional development; technology; risk management, and global strategies. In each of these areas, the recession's lingering presence is plain-and supply chain managers would do well to heed its lessons.

"Renaissance" Education Needed: The recession saw, among other things, a massive cutback in staffing at most companies. Experts say there's a good chance those employees won't be hired back anytime soon. As a result, the employees that remain, including supply chain managers, must seek out new skills and expertise in new areas. In short, according to Kathleen Hedland, Director of Education and Research at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), they must become renaissance people-if not reinvent themselves altogether.

And Hedland said companies are asking their people to expand on their knowledge and skills even more, and that will continue into 2010. In particular, Hedland said employers are finding short-term education most attractive, as it doesn't keep employees out of the office as much. Hedland said they are seeking out workshops and online self-study courses offered by organizations such as CSCMP. "Companies are slimming down. They've got a lot less people. They can't justify them being out of the office even for a full day," she said.

Some private options for online education have emerged in recent years. For example, Terry Nulty, executive director of Accenture's Supply Chain Academy, said his firm has offered staff training and schooling to corporate clients for the past six years. Originally, Nulty said, clients wanted overall, general supply chain knowledge. "That still hasn't changed," he said. But starting in early 2009, clients began seeking more focused training on specific supply chain processes and topics, such as inventory management and procurement. Nulty expects Accenture to be adapting its curriculum to the client's needs more and more often, with the one-size-fits-all approach no longer being the norm.

Once again, the recession seems to be the impetus. Nulty said the academy's clients are demanding more focused training due to their creating new key performance indicators. Those KPIs, Nulty said, are usually based directly on problems emerging during the recession.

But education is not just for professionals already in the working world. More colleges and universities are expected to expand on their degree offerings in 2010. Simon Croom, professor of supply chain management at the University of San Diego, said his school has just introduced a new undergraduate minor in supply chain management, an MBA program in supply chain management, and a Master of Science degree in supply chain management.

The reason, Croom said, was simple: more students want these programs. Just three years ago, supply chain management-related classes at his school were at 60 percent capacity. Today, they are full. "We're seeing more students taking the courses now then they ever have," he said.

The long-term benefits of supply chain management degrees are obvious, too. Croom said each year, an average of 60-70 graduates who studied supply chain management are finding jobs.

Online or in the Classroom?: The "which is better" debate between online and in-classroom course offerings may never be resolved. In 2010, look for more and more courses to be available online, and more people preferring online education. Yet the good old-fashioned classroom setting, it seems, will never go out of style. Whether you seek education online or in a classroom will depend on who you are, sometimes where you are, and definitely on what you need. ...

To keep reading, check out the full article here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Railroad shipping: AAR reports volumes are down 8.9 percent for the week ending November 14

WASHINGTON-The Association of American Railroads reported this week that total volume for the week ending November 14 was down percent 8.9 compared to the corresponding week last year and 17 percent from the same week in 2007.

Last month, AAR officials said that they will be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year-over-year comparisons for 2008 and 2007 from this point on, because at this time a year ago is when the economic downturn began to take hold.

Weekly carload freight, which does not include intermodal data, was 281,218 carloads, which topped the week ending November 7 which hit 274,486 carloads and the week ending October 31 at 275,349. Carloads were down 8.2 percent in the West year-over-year and 14.1 percent compared to 2007. And in the East, carloads were down 10 percent year-over-year and 21 percent compared to 2007.

Intermodal container and trailer volumes-at 208,056 trailers and containers-were down 7.7 percent year-over-year and are also up on a sequential basis compared to 206,890 for the week ending November 7. Intermodal volumes are up the last three weeks, and the week ending November 14 matches up favorably with the week ending October-the highest week of the year, which hit 208,941. Intermodal container volume was off 1.5 percent year-over-year and 8.3 percent compared to 2007, while trailer volume was off 30.2 percent year-over-year and 38.3 percent compared to 2007.

As LM has previously reported, while intermodal volumes remain down, there continues to be steady improvement in recent weeks compared to pre-Labor Day volumes, which were in the 189,000-200,000 range. In recent weeks, these volumes have settled into the 200,000-to-210,000 range.

In recent weeks, the AAR, railroad executives and industry analysts have stated that rail volumes continue to reflect the overall economy and also pointed out that volumes appear to be stabilizing and not getting incrementally worse.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Green logistics: Industry expert cites ways of going green and cutting costs at the same time

WALTHAM, Mass.-It's possible to save money and the environment at the same time, and if you need proof, just look at the Green Machine.

That was the message Jack Ampuja, president of the consulting firm Supply Chain Optimizers, and executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Excellence at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., was trying to get across at a Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) New England Round Table event in Waltham, Mass. Tuesday night.

The event featured, among other things, a description of a new type of tractor for hauling freight, which Ampuja dubbed the "Green Machine" because of its environmentally-friendly design.

The tractor, he said, was conceived and built by a number of former trucking industry workers and veterans in Michigan. The tractor, Ampuja said, contains a long list of "green" enhancements, including nitrogen-filled tires (ordinary air escapes through the rubber over time), carbon-fiber springs, and a special hydrogen injector system for the engine.

Right now, companies like office furniture maker Hayworth, along with Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch and other companies, are expecting to save thousands of gallons of fuel per truck per year, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by amounts measured in metric tons.

But Ampuja was selling a point, not a truck: for all the cutting-edge improvements and patented design, Ampuja said the tractor is built out of off-the-shelf parts, and therefore costs the same as any other tractor on the market, so using them will not cost extra. If anything, Ampuja said, using them will save money long-term.

And that, Ampuja told the packed room, is the reality of the green movement in the corporate world.

"They (cutting costs and helping the environment) are not at odds," he said. "They complement each other."

Ampuja cited a recent study by the Aberdeen Group which found that leading companies are "greening up" by, among other things, redesigning logistics systems and redesigning packaging.

In addition to technological advances, Ampuja challenged the audience of supply chain managers, consultants and vendors to look to their own operations for other ways to go green and save money. Network optimization applications, he said, will be another major component of a green plan in the future, especially with oil prices expected to rise.

This week, prices passed the $80/barrel mark, and the room was silent when Ampuja asked if anyone thought prices would fall anytime soon. That will become a big problem, he said, for unprepared companies with poorly-organized supply chains.

Read the rest of the article here.