DictionaryWe’re ending the first month of 2014 with our first Logistics Glossary Week post of the year. As you may already know, these posts focus on increasing your logistics and supply chain industry vocabulary as well as awareness about our industry. This month we’re going to focus on terminology that you might see at the border. This is Part I of our series on Border Crossing Logistics Terminology!

Border Crossing Logistics Terminology – Part I

This part will focus on the Importer of Record documents that are needed when crossing the border, for example an inbound shipment from the United States to Mexico. Now, depending on the border different documents might be necessary but this serves to give you an idea of what you would need to pay attention to.

Importer of Record

Definition: The Importer of Record is the person or company responsible for payment of duties and taxes and the maintenance of Customs records. For example, if your company was a US car parts manufacturer and wanted to ship to a car manufacturing plant in Mexico, you would be the Importer or Record and would need the following documents listed below.

Importer Tax ID

Definition: The importer tax ID is the identification needed for import duty purposes, where import duty is a kind of tax on levied goods which are being brought into the country. The duty to be paid depends on the country of origin of the goods as well as the type of goods. Rates can differ though, for example a standard rate could be 20%, but certain goods can be eligible for a reduced rate of 5% while some can have a no duty rate (0%).

Importer Product Specification

Definition: The importer product specification serves as a document that can be referred to when checking products at the border. This document allows the importer of record to define the custom product specifications of the goods that will be traveling across the border (i.e. the custom product specification group and product specification items to attach to any product). Attaching specifications with products need well-defined product specification groups and items for shipment security and risk mitigation practices.

Carta Encomienda Permits

Definition: The carta encomienda permit serves as the letter of appointment of the customs broker. The customs broker in charge of import operations must be able to present this this document (assigned by the importer of record) to Mexican authorities.

Other forms of documentation are needed, but we feel that they are pretty self-explanatory. These are the honourable mentions of what you need as an importer of record to cross the border: Voter’s registration, business registration, and address verification.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The world of logistics is a dynamic and constantly evolving industry; while some major pressures and worries of last year carry over onto this year, there are always new trends of focus for the industry as a whole all along the supply chain. This week we’re going to reveal three trends that we think the industry will be taking a closer look at this year.

These particular areas of focus are unique, as we’ve mentioned there are areas in the logistics industry those still needs to be addresses, such as the need for particular talent along the supply chain (e.g. truckers). These issues on the other hand, stem for studies and events (like changes in the industry with regards to consumer demands and/or technology) that have motivated companies to exert effort into improving.

1 – It’s All About Risk

During the second half of 2013, there was a surplus of articles addressing the need for companies to pay more attention to supply chain risk and to take steps in mitigating said risk as a way to address logistic challenges such as the 24th annual State of Logistics report predicting slow growth.

Many disasters struck last year, urging supply chain executives to tackle things like tsunamis, floods, and hurricanes. A survey by the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) suggested that while all this talk was happening, companies are struggling to address the issue effectively. About 83% of respondents reported that in the past year, they were caught off-guard by unexpected supply chain disruptions. We expect that efforts will be taken by affected companies to come up with ways to properly mitigate the effects of such large disasters. To see the white paper on this issue, click here.

2 – Returning the Private B2B Marketplace

Spend Matters released a post last week predicting that the private B2B marketplace will return in the logistics industry this year to accommodate for a supply chain revolution. The private B2B marketplace began in the early 2000s:

Independent electronic B2B public marketplaces gave birth to the software to run them, which then gave birth to the brick and mortar companies that wanted to control their own destinies to use such software to run industry consortia marketplaces. But, they found the technology lacking in deep support for much beyond things like reverse auctions, simple directories, and equally simple catalogs and order management.

Because of new technology needs and the realization that deeper support was needed for these complex processes, these marketplaces died off. But there is a strong chance for their return as these types of companies have begun to think more broadly about the extended supply chain and technology. Thus, there is a hint at the return of the marketplace with the transition into cross-industry supply chain Platforms as a Service (PaaS).

3 – Sourcing Hub Implementation

Research & Development (R&D) Magazine also released a blog post last week suggesting that the ‘Sourcing Hub’ could create a more efficient supply chain. Two papers co-written by University of Illinois expert Anupam Agrawal. He explored how the lack of communication between the big players at the beginning and end of the supply chain spectrum does not allow for gaining efficiencies in costs, design, and materials. Agrawal proposes a supply chain sourcing hub as a potential solution for this issue and defines it as:

… A collaborative center involving the firm, its suppliers and raw material suppliers as a mechanism for capturing and deploying sourcing knowledge of the raw material—would be beneficial.

In this way, Agrawal suggests that buyers and suppliers can congregate and evaluate what is best for all parties involved. It will be interesting to see if companies will be partaking in efforts to organize a trial sourcing hub in order to see how well it will perform.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

We hope that everyone has had a great start to the year so far! Now that we’re getting close to halfway through our first month, we thought we would feature some great infographics that we thought would motivate you for a great start to your year in the logistics and supply chain industry.

1 The Supply Chain Job Hunt

If you or anyone you know is looking to get into the logistics and supply chain industry. Here’s a great infographic that gives you the breakdown from how people in the industry maintained their position and what they thought about the current job market. Not surprisingly, in-person networking and word of mouth were the most common ways to land a position, but thankfully online job sites and postings from the employer’s sites show great outcomes as well. This is a great sign as it shows that our industry is adapting to today’s trends in recruitment strategies.

Source: Canadian Manufacturing
Source: Canadian Manufacturing

2 – The Struggling Supply Chain

Capgemini released an infographic on the struggles along the supply chain processes in preparation for the holiday season. It’s no surprise that the same challenges carry over for this year: a lack of talent and processes among key challenges.

Source: Capgemini
Source: Capgemini

3 – The Top Gadgets of 2013

A great way to move forward is to look back and see what’s been happening, and our last Industry Focus Week post on Hardware Technology showed that this coming year gadgets are the thing to look out for. We’re personally keeping an eye out for both wearable technology and miscellaneous gadgets! What are you looking forward to seeing developed?

Source: Finances Online
Source: Finances Online

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Source: Deviant Art

Our team at Morai Logistics hopes everyone has had a great holiday season! We decided to kick the year off our blog by focusing on the logistics and supply chain industry that is predicted to radically shape the face of the industry for 2014: Hardware.

Both Forbes and Director of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, have deemed that 2014 is the start of the tech industry, especially the start-up crowd, to move away from the cloud and digital product and services and to move onto concrete real world devices that we can interact with.

While this presents a new challenge for these start-ups and veteran tech companies, primarily due to considering factors that haven’t been looked at thanks to the rise of digital services blooming in the tech market, the logistics industry can rejoice! Many potential opportunities are opening up for the logistics and supply chain companies, predictively those in 3rd party logistics, due to the need for these new hardware devices to be sent out to consumers. Warehousing and transportation services are looking to be in demand for the tech industry for 2014 and onward as these new hardware ideas come into fruition.

The Opportunities

LittleBits
LittleBits

There are a couple of factors that have made entrepreneurs in the tech industry strive for manufacturing devices and indeed the first and foremost is the increase in the practicality of computing devices. As can be seen in most of our pockets and purses, we currently are surrounded with an extremely powerful computer that fits in the palm of our hands. If anything is a great example of today’s advancement in hardware technology, one need not look further than that. Our cell phones have reached a point where we really can use it for most of our digital needs and conveniences.

Another potentially strong factor that has given rise to new ventures in hardware and straying from software is the fact that a lot of start-ups really tried to jump on the app bandwagon. Nowadays we are nearing app saturation and a culture has been created within the community where users are starting to become more conservative when it comes to downloading new apps. This hard resulted in a downward spiral as app developers need to feed themselves and have resorted to creating in-app purchases and reserved ad space which decreases the quality of user experience.

Thus developers now have taken to hardware, as it is assumed that hardware is something that should be paid for by consumers. It makes the work that the developers put in much more predictable with regards to their profitability.

The Challenge

It seems that while these opportunities have presented themselves for the logistics and supply chain industry despite the predicted slow growth in the industry for the coming years, it isn’t without some challenges.

The primary obstacles that these new tech companies are facing are where to manufacture these goods. China seems to be the standard option because of the readily able workforce and experience in tech development, but it seems more and more that nearshoring is the way to go. Places like Mexico offer an equally ready workforce and is much closer to the majority of these tech startups (primarily US). Meanwhile, manufacturing hubs in within the US itself are starting to trend as well.

The biggest concern though is logistics. Our industry faces a major problem of staff shortage when it comes to transporting goods. Nowhere is that more present that with our trucking workforce, as recent statistics have shown that 17% of the current truck driving population is under 35 and a larger proportion is close to retirement. Thus, should the demand present itself, our industry will have to come up with solutions to get these new digital goods across.

On a lighter note, the advent of 3D printing might have an impact on the way devices are manufactured in the future. Thoughts?

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! Have a great rest of the New Year week, we hope for a great start to 2014 for all of our readers!

Source: WEConnect Canada
Source: WEConnect Canada
On our last blog post, we wrote about the WeConnect Canada’s Opening Doors conference. WeConnect Canada distributes the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification for majority owned, and controlled women’s businesses. The conference is about how certifications such as the WBE is a great strategy for creating opportunities to provide a competitive edge for bidding on corporate contracts as part of supplier diversity programs.

But what is supplier diverstiy? According to WeConnect Canada:

Supplier diversity is all about building relationships and trust to enable business opportunities between corporations and historically under-utilized groups, like women business owners.

In essence, Supplier Diversity programs were creative to give minorities an opportunity to secure contracts with government agencies, major companies and corporations as qualified small business owners. This has come about a reaction to minority and women owned businesses being classified as under-utilized small business owners in order to promote balance and diversity for participating organizations.

In the United States, the Supplier Diversity program was conceptualized in 1953 along with the establishment of the Small Business Administration. The federal government’s efforts to create opportunities for often underrepresented small businesses was a natural segway into providing those same opportunities for minority groups, such as women-owned businesses.

These days a majority of large companies are indeed looking into how to incorporate minority-owned businesses into their partnership agreement and this is especially the case in the logistics and supply chain industry. The biggest challenge is discovery; large corporations have trouble identifying women-owned businesses. Hence the creation of certifying networking organizations such as WEConnect.

These types of certifications allow large corporation to find these companies and take advantage of the following benefits:

A Ready and Capable Force to be Reckoned With

Women-owned businesses are an untapped force to be reckoned with. There are 6.5 million majority women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.1 million people according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Large corporations agree that there is a strong business case for investing in women; a recent McKinsey & Company survey results showed that 35% of senior executives reported efforts to empower women in emerging markets led to increased profits with an additional 38% reporting an increase in profits in the future. This is even more emphasized in the world of logistics, a well known gentleman’s club but is slowly changing due to the benefits that partnering with diversity suppliers can provide, which brings us to our next point:

Unique Opportunities from Unique Expertise

Businesses that are primarily female-owned are often noted for their ability to have a unique view of the industry and can offer a fresh take on not just the ideas involved in the process but the along every step along the business process. Traditionally only seen in the service sector, women-owned enterprises are now in many specialized industries such as manufacturing, construction, and other industrial fields. This is evident in the efforts that large corporations like Cisco are taking steps into providing the most sustainable means to empower women through supplier diversity and inclusion.

And that’s all for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! To find out more about WEConnect and getting certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), visit their site at www.weconnectcanada.org

BONUS: Check out Inc.com’s Top 10 Women-run Companies!

DictionaryFor this week’s Logistics Glossary Week post, we’re going to focus on hubs! What exactly is a hub? Well, it actually has many definitions. In the computing sense, a hub can refer to a common connection point for devices in a network. For example, a web hub was one of the initial names to what we now refer to as a portal. But what about the logistics sense? We see articles today that are discussing possible new logistics hubs for manufacturing or where the best logistics hubs are per region. So we thought that for this month’s blog post, we’d give you the breakdown on the logistics ‘hub.’

Logistics Hub

Definition: In logistics terminology, a ‘hub’ is a reference for a transportation network as a “hub and spoke.” The term is commonly used in the airline and trucking industry. A hub in the logistics sense serves as the focal point; its purpose is to handle the flow of good and other resources between the points of origin to destination in order to meet transportation requirements.

Logistics hubs can be mainly one form of transportation such as trucking terminals, rail hubs, or even a hub airport. All refer to the same idea. For example, a hub airport serves as the focal point for the origin and termination of long distance flights (flights from outlying areas meet connecting flights at the hub airport). But, it can also be a…

Multimodal Logistics Hub

Definition: A logistics hub that has more than one mode of transportation (truck, rail, sea, air, etc.) that handles the flow of goods and resources between the point of origin to destination in order to meet transportation demands and requirements.

Value Proposition

Definition: value proposition is particularly important to the definition of logistics hubs because in order for a logistics hub to be truly effective, there has to be value in using a particular location as a hub. Ideally the proposition is two-sided; meaning that the hub is a benefit to both buyers and sellers.

Hubs can be created organically due to pragmatic solutions stemming from a particular location. For example, logistics hubs can be near or around many manufacturing plants and companies that offer warehousing solutions. Furthermore, it could also be easy access between different modes of transportation such as truck and rail. This provides easy intermodal exchanges, like transporting goods from truck to rail. Because of this, routes are created and these hubs offer the benefit of convenience and potential cost savings for both suppliers and consumers.

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a happy Halloween and a great weekend! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! See you in November!

Mexican-manufacturingBack in August, we created an Industry Focus Week post on Mexico and how it has the potential to be the new logistics hub for the North American supply chain. Recent North American manufacturing trends on nearshoring and bringing logistics needs closer to home have made Mexico an attractive option for many manufacturers, large companies, and even start-ups looking to solve their supply chain needs.

Mexico is not yet at the point that it can compete on every level with China, the king of logistics outsourcing. It has yet to achieve the manufacturing prowess that China has spent many years building up. But Mexico is becoming seen as a more and more attractive option due to its capable workforce and proximity.

The 3PL Business is Looking Good

Today, the Penske sponsored 20th Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics Providers CEOs was released. The most interesting report is that North American CEOs are optimistic about their company’s growth (with an expected increase in revenue of 14.6% in the next 3 years).

Survey results have also indicated a growing preference for 3PL providers to migrate towards near-shoring from Asia-Pacific to Mexico. The biggest complaint of CEOs being the rising wage costs in China, causing even Asia-Pacific oriented CEOs to move to lower-priced geographies like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, a whopping 87% of the North American CEOs interviewed reported providing 3rd party logistics services in Mexico (with and average revenue of 9.3% in the US, projected to increase to 12.5% in 3 years). Joe Carlier, SVP of Sales at Penske Logistics comments that:

As companies begin shifting their product origins to local regions, they will look for a third-party logistics provider that can strategically navigate through the new normal in the supply chain industry… This includes the shift in supply chain length, changes in speed and demand for warehousing and transportation along trade corridors.

Case: Automotive Manufacturing to Offer New Opportunities for Third Party Logistics Providers

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reuters recently released an article on how the Mexican auto industry is about to experience a $10 billion factory building spree. German and Japanese (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen & Mercedes Benz to name a few) manufacturers have already began developments in Mexico, looking to produce primarily for the United States.

These could potentially open up opportunities ripe for 3PL providers as companies are starting to look to outsourced expertise to provide some insight from companies who know the industry on this side of the globe and to take advantage of their network.

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a great weekend! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!

Last Friday was the second annual Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Co-produced by Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in an effort to:

… addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t.

The goal for MFG Day, with the support of industry sponsors and willing participants, is to work together and address the most controversial issues known to the manufacturing industry and to offer insights and solutions in order to ensure the ongoing success of the industry as a whole. Issues such as skilled labour shortages, connecting with future generations, and taking charge of the public image of the manufacturing industry are just a few examples.

Below is our effort to continue the trend and help increase the awareness of the best logistics and supply chain related event that you’ve might not have heard of.

The History of Manufacturing

Epic Systems, Inc. has given a great breakdown on the history of US manufacturing for MFG Day in the form of an infographic:

History of US Manufacturing Infographic
Source: Epic Systems, Inc.

The manufacturing industry contributed $1.87 trillion to the US economy in 2012 and is arguably the backbone of the US. From the humble beginnings of supply and demand to the boom that the Ford’s Model T introduced in the rise of mass production and American economic prosperity, manufacturing has become integral to not only the United States, but most of the world.

Educating Future Generations to the Manufacturing Industry

What we felt were the greatest examples of Manufacturing Day were the efforts made by various cities to educate the future generations of the manufacturing industries potential workforce. Students today are face with an influx of options for careers and yet the world of manufacturing seems to still be enshrouded in mystery. Asking students about aspects of the logistics industry as a whole, never mind manufacturing, still leaves them with very little to say.

Which is why we felt that MFG Day is a great plan if not just for this very purpose alone! We thought we would present our favourite educational events that happened during this year’s Manufacturing Day as our small contribution to increase the awareness of both the manufacturing industry and of Manufacturing Day!

In an effort to increase awareness to youth about what is involved in manufacturing for MFG Day, Pasco-Hernando Community College has given engineering students in high school an opportunity to meet and learn with manufacturing companies. Accuform Signs, Alumi-Guard, Emery Thompson, AME, Time Wise Mobile Outreach Skills Training and Intrepid Machines have prepared various activities for high school students to learn about what happens in the manufacturing industry and what kinds of responsibilities they could be doing if they happened to work for their companies.

Students were offered tours, demonstrations from testing and crafting special types of paint, packing accessories with hardware, etc. to a skills training computer software demo. The demo involved teaching the students the basics of manufacturing skills needed today, such as welding.

In another instance of creating awareness, The Manufacturers Resource Centre (MRC) of the Greater Lehigh Valley worked with the DaVinci Science Centre, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in order to organize a set of events for students to attend manufacturers who have opened their doors post-plan hours to see what manufacturing is like.

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a great weekend! If you’re from Canada, please enjoy the long weekend and Happy Thanksgiving! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!

DictionaryWelcome to our first Logistics Glossary post of the Fall season! This week’s focus: factors that affect trucking costs! One of the things that we’ve written about before is the difference between calculating the lowest rate and the lowest total cost when quoting a delivery from point A to point B. Today, we can provide a real concrete example of factors that can make calculating a basic rate misleading. Any good third party logistics (3PL) providers can provide a rate for transport, but to be able to consider these factors below to generate a lower total cost (even though it is not the lowest rate in the market) is what makes them great! But let’s start with the definition of what getting a rate is in the logistics sense:

Rate/Pricing

Definition: In logistics terminology, getting a rate or pricing from a 3rd party logistics provider simply means that you are being given the established charges for the transport of certain goods.

So, if I want to transport a package from New York City to Mexico City, the rate would simply mean how much the service would cost to move these goods from origin to destination. But that doesn’t really cover all aspects for what your total cost could be. What is usually being calculated is the line haul cost.

Line Haul Cost

Definition: What is usually given to you when you as for a rate from origin to destination. Exclusive to trucking terminology, it is incurred in transporting goods over a route but not including costs of loading and unloading. Line-haul costs vary directly with distance.

Sometimes, because rates are Below we’re providing a list of some common, additional costs that should be taken into consideration when getting rates to have a better idea of total cost.

Loading/Unloading Costs

Definition: In logistics terminology, loading and unloading is the process of putting shipments into or taking shipments out of containers respectively. The main reasons that these costs apply to your shipments is primarily because initiatives taken to minimize problems that may occur during these phases, especially the loading phase. Problems such as inadequately sized docks and rough terrain can lead to load damage and more costly delays.

Fuel Surcharge

Definition: A fuel surcharge is an additional charge for motor carriers like trucks to cover fuel costs and is dependent on the line haul. There is some controversy with how fuel charges work as having a line haul cost and the fuel surcharge in flux makes it hard to calculate total freight spend and makes carrier relationships more difficult to maintain. There’s an old blog post from Inbound Logistics Magazine that gives great insight into the standardization of fuel surcharges.

Stop-Off Charge

Definition: A stop-off charge is an additional cost to cover trucks having to make specific stops between origin to destination. In some cases this ‘stop-off’ might be conveniently on route to the destination, but it is not necessarily always the case. These factors obviously affect the cost for the line haul as we affect the distance and the route that trucks have to travel through. The main reason stop-off charges happen is primarily due to packages in the truck having to be delivered to more than one location (i.e. Toronto – Montreal, but with a stop-off in Ottawa). But another common reason is due to warehouse space capacity issues. Sometimes the destination has an overflowed warehouse and a stop-off is needed to accommodate for it.

Bond Fee

Definition: A special type of storage fee for ‘legal’ reasons and is usually seen in cross-border shipments. A package ‘in bond’ means that the goods under customs control (for clearance, inspection, or other form of legal involvement) either until import duties or other charges are paid, or to avoid paying the duties or charges until a later date.

We hope after looking at some of these cost definition you have a better appreciation of our earlier statement:

A good third party logistics (3PL) providers can provide a rate for transport, but to be able to consider other cost factors to generate a lowest total cost (even though it is not the lowest rate in the market) is what makes them great!

If, for example, I wanted to take a load from Vancouver to San Francisco and I have been given Rate A at $100 and Rate 2 at $120 from just the line haul cost. I could obtain estimates on the additional cost factors and find out that other charges are similar except Rate A has a high fuel surcharge of $50 and a bond fee of $30, while Rate B has a those costs at $20 and $10 respectively. We can see that Rate A actually has a total cost of $180 while Rate B has a total cost of $150. Thus the lowest total cost would be Rate B. This is something to definitely keep in mind when getting rates for transport. It pays to know your logistics terminology!

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a great weekend! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!

There have been some exciting new developments in the world of logistics this year; the news of a predicted slow growth in the industry for the next five years hasn’t stopped innovation. The logistics industry has been creating exciting new developments along all the stages of the supply chain. From 3D printing to robots that organize your warehouse.

This week we’d like to focus on two new potential modes of transportation that can drastically change the future of what we perceive to be core tenets of the logistics industry today. Namely, one that stems from the military and one that has long been forgotten from the golden age of flight.

From the Military to Your Front Door

The first of the two new modes of transportation being explored is the commercial applications of the military drone. Drones, by definition are unmanned aerial vehicles (or systems). They are, according to Chris Andersen (creator of DIY Drones and co-founder of 3D Robotics):

“Aircraft that have the capability of autonomous flight, which means they can follow a mission from point to point (typically guided by GPS, but soon this will also be possible through vision and other sensors)… Usually drones carry some sort of payload, which at a bare minimum includes cameras or other sensors as well as some method to transmit data wirelessly back to a base.”

Source: Wikipedia Commons
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Recent developments in technology have made the production of drones quite cheap. You can actually purchase your very own drone with cheap models ranging from the $350-500 range with fewer features or in the $1000 range you can get one with many of the non-weapon based features that come with military grade drones.

Unfortunately for the North American market, the US Federal Aviation Administration is currently in limbo and won’t be testing out commercial transport drones until at least 2015. But that doesn’t mean other countries haven’t already taken the initiative to make it happen.

One of China’s biggest delivery companies, SF Express, has already received government permission and is testing their drones with the intention to deliver goods to remote areas. But it seems that drone delivery might be useful for more than just remote areas, some experts suggest that drone delivery can be extremely useful in congested city centers. Drones are said to have the potential help alleviate both traffic and pollution problems in China’s major cities.

Bringing Back the Zeppelin

The Aeroscraft in construction
The Aeroscraft in construction
Zeppelin’s have not had the best reputation ever since the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, but over 75 years later have we developed enough as an advanced society to bring it back? Worldwide Aeros Corp. thinks so. Founded by Igor Pasternak, the company has introduced their first zeppelin for transporting commercial goods: the Aeroscraft.

With the intention to not just be another mode of air transportation for transporting goods across the globe, the Aeroscraft is actually intended for making humanitarian relief and military missions easier and more practical. Worldwide Aeros Corp. boasts that their zeppelin is not only cost effective and more environmentally friendly (it uses approximately one third as much fuel as a cargo plane), but also more practical as it doesn’t require airports or roads. The lack of need for airports is actually a unique key feature of these zeppelins as it really adds convenience with regards to delivery sites.

So what do you think of these two new developments?

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services. We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!