Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

The Food Supply Chain: How Will the Food Modernization Act Impact It?

The food supply chain can be a lot like a car.  When all of the parts and processes are working and in rhythm, all is good; however, when a problem occurs in any single, isolated piece, it can spell trouble for the entire vehicle.  A flat tire, a dead battery, a failing transmission.  All of these issues can keep a car firmly parked until the issue is addressed.  The multiple exchanges within our food’s supply chain increase the potential problems between the farm or factory and our plate or pantry.  In 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law, with the focus of preventing contamination, instead of reacting to it.  The December issue of Inbound Logistics discusses what this means going forward in terms of food logistics.  To read more, click here.

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Athletic Apparel Distribution: The Advantage of Flexible Automation

Flexibility means being able to adapt to stress without breaking, but rather, by bending.  It has its advantages in sports, as well as everyday life.  If you continually broke under pressure, you would more than likely not last long on a sports field, or in most careers.  Those who continually succeed are the ones who are able to manage stress and adapt on the fly.  Your supply chain is no different.  Without flexibility, too much stress can break it. In the December issue of Modern Materials Handling, the cover story details the flexible automation system for a yoga wear retailer.  Read about the benefits and details of their processes here.  

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Home Electronics Fulfillment: Overcoming Logistic Challenges

Everything poses its own unique challenges.  It’s these hurdles and obstacles along the way that separate competitors.  With home electronics manufacturers making large strides in technology, affordability and accessibility, industry revenue is at record levels.  Consumer Electronics Association projected 2% growth for 2014, bringing revenue to an unprecedented $211.3 billion.  However, this uptick in sales and production has not come along without its challenges.  Increased competition and growing consumer demands are making it difficult to maintain market share and profit margins.  Creating a supply chain that keeps costs low, products moving and customers happy is increasingly important.  Here are four common logistical challenges and two strategies to increase home electronics supply chain efficiency.

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Fulfillment Goals for the New Year

We are only a few days into 2015 and for most of us are hard at work, making sure our New Year’s resolutions do not fall by the wayside.  The goal of a New Year’s resolution is to improve oneself and a central theme typically revolves around health.  The most popular resolutions are to lose weight, stop smoking, have a healthier diet and spend more time with family.  Similar goals can (and should!) be set for your fulfillment operation.  Logistics Viewpoint recently published an article listing some important supply chain resolutions for 2015.  You can read them here.   

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Improving Logistics and Customer Service: The Social Media Effect

In world where people are more connected than ever before, social media can be used for much more than reconnecting with friends from high school and sharing pictures of your dinner.  In fact through this technology, many logistics providers and shippers are using social networks to enhance customer service efforts.  Leveraging this high level of visibility and communication to meet growing consumer demand is becoming a key differentiator for an industry with a fairly strong adoption rate. 

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Sporting Goods Fulfillment: Automation for Multi-Channel Logistics

There is a massive number of products in the sporting goods industry.  For example, a single little league baseball bat design has hundreds of variations based on length and weight.  Each variation is unique, and must be tracked as a separate item.  Just check out this Buying Guide on how to select a little leaguer baseball bat.  You can see how complex the industry is considering the thousands of iterations for this single product line.  

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Perishables Logistics: Racing the Clock

Food manufacturers are constantly battling time.  In most industries products are sellable, even after they have “gone out of style”.  Food producers must play by a different set of rules, governed by the expiration date.  Once the expiration date is reached, that product is obsolete.  In a 2012 report done by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 43 billion pounds of food were wasted at the retail level alone in 2008!

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Online Shopping and Fulfillment: Who Really Pays for Free Shipping?

We all learned in high school economics that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.  The buck has to eventually stop somewhere, whether it’s coming from your pocket or someone else’s.  This economic principle begs the question, “is free shipping really free?”

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3PL in the New Year: Fulfillment and Logistics Trends for 2015

As you look back on 2014, think about what your supply chain looked like a mere 12 months ago.  There is a good chance that many things have changed.  To help you prepare for a stellar new year, we have compiled 6 trends that will influence and challenge your fulfillment and logistics operations in 2015. 

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The Proliferation of Supply Chain Technology

Most of us can still remember a time when pay phones dotted parking lots and street corners, and an atlas in your glove box was the best way to find directions.  Now it’s hard to imagine leaving your driveway without your phone, music library and GPS in one small device resting in your pocket.  Supply chain technology, once very inflexible seemed more of a burden than an actual tool. In today’s world supply chain technology has developed into a streamlined process that is necessary to remain competitive in the fast moving logistics industry.  Tom Kozenski recently shed some light on the strides that supply chain technology, like WMS, has taken over the years.  Read more here

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3PL Technology: Transportation Management Systems in the Cloud

We are a mobile society. 

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E-Commerce Purchase Taxation Looking Less Likely

Over a year ago, a bill was drafted to neutralize one of the many advantages that e-commerce retailers have over traditional, brick-and-mortar outlets.  As part of the Marketplace Fairness Act, states would be given the authority to make online retailers collect sales tax at the time of purchase.  With fears that voters would look at this new law as a tax increase, however indirect, the likelihood of it being passed seems to be dwindling.  Logistics Management has more on what could, or could not be, a key issue for e-commerce retailers and shoppers.  Click here to read.

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