Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

Warehouse Technology: How Robots are Saving Companies Money

It is no secret that time and money are two of the most essential resources for any business and this holds true for e-commerce companies.  With the holidays quickly approaching any advantage that can create more time and/or save money will be a welcomed differentiator.  Now, something that does both has arrived and it comes in the shape of a robot.  Not necessarily the robots you see in movies, but these can be just as impressive; and they are changing the way warehouses operate.  A recent article Yahoo Finance details the growing robotics sector.  Read the article on new warehouse technology here.

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Food and Beverage Supply Chain Technology Security

Think of all of the different passwords you type each day. One for your work email, personal email, bank account, to get into your phone and don’t forget about logging into Facebook, Pandora and Netflix. There is no denying the importance of data security today with the massive amounts of personal information we store and access electronically. It has become fairly routine, simple and effective to manage our personal access points on our different devices, but when it comes to the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), supply chain management is much more complex.

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Investing in Supply Chain Technology

There is always something new to invest in if you are trying to grow your company. Investment can take many forms: infrastructure, human capital, training, the list goes on. In recent years, technology has been the crux of new investments, driving companies to search for flexible solutions to business problems. The goal when investing for most companies is to invest in scalable technologies that can keep pace with your company’s sales growth. Currently there are some major changes that are influencing supply chain technology and spurring new investments. A recent article from Logistics Viewpoints outlines these latest developments. Click here to read more.

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Fulfillment Operations: Improving Picking with Wearable Technology

It’s amazing how much our vision can be enhanced. If you haven’t been to an optometrist in a while, you may not even realize what you’re missing. Even the slightest tweak in your prescription, or an upgrade to polarized sunglasses, can have a tremendous impact on your comfort and performance. Now imagine if you could add the power of a computer to your vision. In an effort to improve picking performance, a DHL facility in Europe did exactly that. A recent article from Logistics Viewpoints explains how utilizing resources like Google Glass increased productivity. To read more, click here.

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Supply Chain Technology: Leveraging Location Awareness

If you misplace your phone, there is an app available to discover which couch cushions it fell between.  If you forget where you left your keys, there is a device that can beep to help you find them.  If you go to a ballgame and don’t recollect where you parked, your phone can lead you right to the parking spot.  For your supply chain, similar technology can help you track and determine when and if a delivery will arrive on schedule.  A recent Logistics Viewpoint article breaks down the growth of location awareness applications.  Read more here

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Fulfillment and Logistics Technology: The Digital Impact

The digital breakthroughs that have occurred over the past decade have revolutionized our everyday lives.  The massive bookcase in your home that once held hundreds of CD’s and movies can now be used for books.  Well, maybe not books because your Kindle, Nook or iPad can now hold an entire library.  As a result the cost of publishing and distributing music, photography and literature has been significantly decreased.  This creates value for producers and benefits for consumers.  A $9.99 album download would have been an $18.99 CD several years ago.  The development of digital technologies is not only limited to more efficient and less expensive entertainment.  It also has practical applications within supply chain technology.  A recent article from Logistics Management explains the importance of recognizing this value and how to utilize digital platforms.  Read more here.

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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 Assessment: 4 Key Areas of Evaluation

In an effort to keep up with industry and consumer demand, 67% of logistics executives intend to increase their IT investment in 2014, according to a joint survey conducted by EFT and HP. The number one reason for the investment in technology is to make operations quicker and more efficient.  In the Eyefortransport North American 3PL Market Report, they found that 92% of US third party logistics providers saw better IT solutions as a key to new growth opportunities.  There is no denying the role that technology is playing as a catalyst for industries and markets across the board.  This is why it is critical that companies find a 3PL partner that embraces the opportunity to drive profits through technology, competency, and initiatives. When considering a 3PL company, make sure they are in the aforementioned 67% of companies that will be investing in IT for 2014. Additionally, we have listed four key areas to consider when evaluating a 3PL’s technological performance:

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3PL Data Security: How Safe is Your Information?

Utilizing new technologies is undoubtedly a great way to increase the efficiencies that today's competitive market demands.  Wireless implementations and cloud computing are allowing companies to trim costs, increase productivity and offer new service channels.  A study in the North American 3PL Market Report showed that 92% of United States third party logistics providers felt that providing better IT solutions was the key to new growth opportunities.  However with the influx of new technologies and electronic capabilities, unfortunately, comes the threat of data compromise and information loss.

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How Mobile is Your 3PL?

There is an undeniable pressure on supply chains across all industries to increase efficiencies and lower costs.  The onslaught of new technologies providing consumers with more capabilities and higher demands has made it nearly impossible to abide by the manual processes of yesterday and survive.  The 2013 Third Party Logistics Study done by Penn State University shows that 47% percent of shippers believe that their 3PL can’t offer innovative solutions.  Nearly half of the outsourced fulfillment providers surveyed are having a difficult time creating opportunities to streamline their operations in response to these new demands.  A key place to begin is through mobile, or wireless, technologies within the supply chain.

Implementing new technologies within the distribution center is a vital element to maintain accuracy, effectiveness and to stay ahead of the curve of customer and client needs.  Wireless initiatives also respond to the mounting burden of improving efficiency and lowering distribution costs.  These challenges are offset by enhanced transparency.  Being able to track fuel consumption, labor costs and distribution center activity allows for adjustments to be made and costs to be precisely managed.  Wireless products and applications designed specifically for the logistics and fulfillment industry are the tools that make these improvements possible.

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Investing in Technology Has Its Rewards

Up against tough competition, Barrett Distribution Centers is honored to win The Technology User of the Year award. On October 18th, Barrett Distribution Centers won an award from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council as The Technology User of the Year in Massachusetts. The Council recognizes outstanding performance in 10 categories. Barrett won in the Technology User/Implementer category, going up against some very tough competition from much larger and more recognized companies, including:

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