Hello everyone! This week we are going to focus on what it takes to stand out when you’re thinking about going into a career in the logistics and supply chain industry. I’ve been to cocktail parties where there are still people who are unsure what I do as someone who runs a third-party logistics (3PL) provider company.

We hope this eBook helps you see the massive amount of options and opportunities available to you in this “little” niche of a field!

Getting Started on Your Logistics Career

Morai-Logistics-Career-in-Logistics-ebook

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Social-Networking

Social media and social networking are two key trends are reshaping how businesses conduct their affairs, communicate with vendors and customers, and even their organizational structure. However, the logistics industry has largely been slow in adopting these technologies and strategies, despite many studies indicating that supply chain managers acknowledge the importance of doing so.

In a 2013 study conducted by Adrian Gonzales, 45 percent of the supply chain professionals surveyed said that “social networks will make supply chain processes more efficient, responsive, and cost effective” over the next five years. Another 30 percent said that “social networks will transform supply chain processes (for the better) in ways we can’t imagine today”. A similar study conducted by Fronetics Strategic Advisors found that of its respondents, 68% reported that their company has realized benefits by participating in social media.

Although the positive attitude toward social networking is there, of the supply chain managers surveyed, 30% of the reported blocking access to social media sites. From the supply chain professionals that responded, 62% said that their companies hadn’t implemented a social networking solution yet, while another 27 percent didn’t know.
The study concludes that the cognitive disconnect between supply chain manager believing in social networking, and the action of moving towards greater adoption has to do with the inability for companies to quantify the business value of using social networking technologies.

There’s a similar finding in the Business Opportunities: Social Media 2013 paper which found that transport and storage companies are underutilizing these technologies the most, whereas other segments such as airline transportation make more extensive use of social media and count some interesting and innovative initiatives and projects in place.

Proactive or SMART use of Social Networking?

As mentioned, the biggest barrier at the moment to greater adoption of social networking is that it’s very difficult to quantify its business value.

There are two contradicting philosophies when it comes to this topic.

The first one, as described by the aforementioned study by Adrian Gonzales, is that trying to measure the direct ROI of something as ethereal as social networking technologies is the wrong approach all together.

It cites the example of GE, which took a proactive approach to social networking by creating a platform that they “can track usage, adoption, how people are using the system, and what their connections are”. What it doesn’t do, is create the direct correlations between usage and business numbers that are needed for ROI. And according to its CEO Ron Utterbeck, “Going and spending money on ROI would be, honestly, in my opinion, just a waste of money because your true value of this is people are coming back”.

The second philosophy is that of the SMART method which involves having specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timed goals as they relate to social media and social networking.

The Benefits of Expanding Social Networking Efforts

The research found in the Business Opportunities: Social Media 2013 paper lists a number of opportunities that logistics companies could benefit from if they used the tools for “expert collaborative communities”.

  • Managing procurement and logistics using Social platforms, which allow instant communication between different parties on complex supply chains.
  • Improving organizational performance by streamlining communications and enhancing collaboration, both internally within the enterprise and outside with contractors, partners and suppliers.
  • Facilitating collaboration and co-creation, reducing the time spent in unnecessary in-person meetings, and helping share internal knowledge and best practices.
  • Accelerating the integration of new staff, contractors and outside partners into teams.

If the logistics industry is to better adopt and grow its social media presence, it will, as an industry, need to change any misconceptions it has toward the key trend.

“Social networking is not really about socializing, but about facilitating people-to-people communication and collaboration” writes Adrian Gonzalez, “social media can – and should – play a central role in supply chain management”.

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!

Morai-Logistics-Jurassic-Park

Source: Forbes

The long awaited Jurassic World (the latest installment in the Jurassic Park film series) opened last Friday to generally favorable reviews from both critics and audiences. The consensus among both groups is that although it lacks the inventiveness and imagination of the original, the spectacle of seeing 65 million year old creatures revived on the screen provides the thrills to make the film worth watching.

As this is a blog about logistics, we’d like to focus on one of the most interesting parts of the series (other than the dinosaurs of course). How would such a place need to operate to turn a profit?

Twitter Gets on the Case

Back in November when a teaser trailer was released for Jurassic World, two friends used the Twitter hashtag #realjurassicparkproblems to call out some (hilarious) barriers an actual Jurassic Park would encounter. What followed was that the hashtag exploded into a popular meme on the social media platform as more and more people started using it as well, including real life paleontologists who also joined in on the fun.

Here are some of tweets:

“We have all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo”

This line by Ray Arnold in the original Jurassic Park summed up the basic problem that a real life Jurassic park would face (other than the impossibility of resurrecting creatures long extinct).

At 30,500 acres (approximately the same size as San Francisco), and with an annual attendance of over 55 million, the Walt Disney World Resort is the closest real world equivalent to the theme park side of a real Jurassic Park.

Both the day to day and annual logistical hurdles for the smooth operation of the Walt Disney World Resort are extensive as a then-Walt Disney World president Al Weiss revealed in a 2004 Orlando Sentinel article. Some of the details he mentioned were:

  • More than 5,000 cast members are dedicated to maintenance and engineering, including 750 horticulturists and 600 painters.
  • Disney spends more than $100 million every year on maintenance at the Magic Kingdom. In 2003, $6 million was spent on renovating its Crystal Palace restaurant.
  • The streets in the parks are steam cleaned every night.
  • There are cast members permanently assigned to painting the antique carousel horses; they use genuine gold leaf.
  • There is a tree farm on site so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.

Given that the movies, Jurassic Park is set on the fictional Isla Nublar, an isolated islet located near Costa Rica, the park would have the extra logistical problem of transporting supplies by sea which can have its own obstacles in itself.

The other logistics problem the park would face is with the animals themselves. Nevermind the massive budget it would need to even create and maintain the technology needed create the technology needed to produce the creatures in the first place, it would also effective logistical management to take proper care of the creatures.

Chesterzoo.org explains the barrier when discussing modern zoos,

Record keeping is essential for effective management, particularly when considering the many different species in a zoological collection, and the need for consistent monitoring of individual health, welfare, breeding and mortality. It is therefore vital that all animals are individually recognisable (e.g. markings, features, tags) and permanently identifiable (micro-chips)

Now imagine that level of record keeping and the cost of specialized personnel required to take care of creatures so “exotic” that the Earth has not seen their kind since the late Cretaceous.

That’s a logistics management position we wouldn’t envy…

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-3D-Printing

Last week, Frost & Sullivan published the 2015 Supply Chain Foresight report which analyzed key megatrends impacting (or predicted to impact) industry stakeholders. More importantly, the survey
A key point of the survey was that the findings were based on how the industry leaders who participated felt about the impact (or possibility of impact) the emerging megatrends would have on their supply chains, businesses and industries.

3D/4D printing and copying was given a low ranking, whereas technology innovation, the rise of African and Asian economies, device connectivity and big data, e-commerce and robotics were cited as the most pressing megatrends.

In our view, the assessment and ranking of the emerging megatrends by the study’s participants isn’t incorrect. However, we feel that it lacks some imagination and that the full implications of this technology is not being fully appreciated from a supply chain and logistics perspective.

3D/4D Printing’s Effect on Manufacturing & Transportation

One of the many appeals of the potential of 3D/4D printing as a technology is that if it were to continue its drop in price, it would then be financially feasible to incorporate into a manufacturing facility in mass. Such an action could effectively localize the entire production process, affecting the transportation and manufacturing sectors in profound ways.

“While manufacturers benefit from the operational efficiencies 3D printing can bring, transportation providers may take a revenue hit if they aren’t fully prepared. Global commercial transportation lanes are particularly at risk since more products will be manufactured locally. A recent analysis found that as much as 41 percent of air cargo business and 37 percent of ocean container business may be affected. About 25 percent of over-the-road (OTR) trucking business is also at risk, due to the potential reduction in goods that start as air cargo or as containers on ships” says an article from Load Delivered (quoting statistics from Strategy&).

3D/4D Printing as it is today

Although it is likely that it’ll be several years before the potential for 3D/4D printing to be fully realized, the technology has however resulted in logistical innovations.
The militaries of Britain, America, and China have already started using 3D printing on the field to replace equipment parts, and to print out surgical instruments and protective masks directly in war zones.

NASA has also experimented with 3D printing as an economical alternative to sending tools and spare parts into space to fix delicate equipment. Rather than using the limited space in a shuttle to transport a wrench to use on the International Space Station, NASA can simply email and print the wench on the station itself.

Other Implications of 3D Printing

The problem with trying to list all the ways that this technology will affect the supply side logistics industry is that the far reaching implications, consequences, and innovations it affords is mostly uncharted territory as there’s nothing like it. It’s ability to collapse the space of manufacturing and transportation of goods is similar to the automobile and will potentially have just as great as an impact on the industry overall.

As mentioned, although the far reaching implications of this technology is murky at best, there are some implications that are generally agreed upon . According to an article on Manufacturing Global Magazine, they are the following:

  • Easier prototyping
  • Easier customisation
  • Greater creativity and efficiency
  • Improved consistency
  • Reduced lead times
  • Lower prices

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Supply-Chain-MGMT-Software

Good Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a critical part of any firm. It boosts customer service by ensuring that the right product assortment and quantity are delivered in a timely fashion, and it makes those same products available in the location that customers expect. Good SCM also improves the bottom line by managing fixed costs and improving cash flow through smoother deliveries.

It is no surprise then that “SCM software”, which include: warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), procurement, strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management (SRM), contract lifecycle management, demand planning and supply planning, is such a popular topic of study for businesses large and small.

Software Advice, a company that connects supply chain management system software buyers with vendors, recently published a report that analyzed 200 prospective supply chain management (SCM) software buyers.
The key findings of the study were as follows:

  • Small businesses (those with annual revenue of $50 million or less) are willing to spend a rather hefty amount—$30,000, on average—for new SCM software.
  • Midsize and large businesses (those with annual revenue above $50 million) are willing to spend an average of $171,000 for new SCM software.
  • Twenty-seven percent of larger businesses cite the need for stronger integration as a reason for seeking new software, compared to just 16 percent of small businesses.
  • Only 6 percent of small businesses are currently using commercial supply chain management software, compared to 21 percent of midsize and large businesses.

Is this the Right Time for Your Company?

The last key finding isn’t all that surprising according to Forrest Burnson, a market research associate at Software Advice who gave an interview regarding his research.

Many of the businesses we speak to are growing and expanding their operations, and are, therefore, investing in these types of solutions for the first time. On top of that, many smaller businesses may be unaware of the solutions that are out there, so they’re just in the preliminary phase of their research.

Burnson also points out later in the interview that although there are several cases of small businesses being successful without SCM software, they will eventually need it as their business grows and expands if they wish to not be a victim of their own success.

[Burnson responding to a question about small businesses meeting their SCM needs without the appropriate software] They’re generally using some combination office productivity software (e.g., Excel), a legacy database system and/or basic accounting software to conduct their day-to-day operations.

Although SCM software can help improve efficiency in a business through the improvement of data flow integration between their different business processes, and streamlining compliance, the big reason that small businesses should look into SCM software is that the technology is ready for it.

“As with other things in technology, SCM has seen big advantages thanks to social, mobile, cloud and analytics,” said Boris Kontsevoi, president and founder of Intetics, a software development company quoted in the conclusion of the study.

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!

In recent years, the growing trend with many U.S. companies has been to relocate some or even all of their off-shore production back to North America. China no longer holds the sway that it used to, but countries such as Mexico are quickly becoming the much more attractive option. Here are 12 reasons why you should consider near shoring in Mexico.

The Right Time to Consider Nearshoring Strategies to Mexico

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As foreign investment in China stalls, Mexico’s foreign investment continues to grow. As a result, demand for facilities and land is beginning to drive up. Thus, the best time to invest in Mexico for your manufacturing or sourcing potential for your organization is now.

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Nepal

Recently, Nepal has been hit by a second major earthquake in less than three weeks. It had 7.3-magnitude and it killed 65 people and more than 1,200 injured.

The human cost in lives and injuries is hard to calculate at the moment, but between this new earthquake and the April 25th earthquake (7.8-magnitude) just a couple of weeks prior, the estimated death toll is currently over 8,065 with over 19,200 injured. These causalities don’t take into account those killed in the adjoining areas of Nepal, or by the subsequent avalanches it triggered on Mount Everest and in the Lantang Valley.

As catastrophic as the two earthquakes have been on human life, Nepal’s pre-disaster limited infrastructure means that recovery and aid for the afflicted groups in the area could in fact take weeks to years for some of the more isolated communities.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Alex Marianelli, senior logistics officer for Asia at the United Nations World Food Program and one of the directors of the effort that is bringing medicine, food and other supplies to the battered, impoverished nation, had this to say “Logistically, this particular disaster—because of the geography and the mountainous terrain and poor roads—is probably the most difficult response I have ever had to implement”.

Other issues that have hindered aid groups and relief supply chains are the country’s customs requirements, congestion, and transportation difficulties.

The Nepal Crisis

The Nepali government wanted to tax the relief materials like ordinary goods which in turn has led to Nepalis expressing doubt as to the effectiveness of the government in sending aid where it’s most needed.

The country only has one airport in Katmandu that can handle the larger aircraft needed by relief groups. However strict weight restrictions and the capital’s 4,600-foot elevation and relatively short runway make landings difficult.

Both UPS and FedEx Corp. have committed resources to helping Nepal. UPS has announced that it would give $500,000 to aid which in combination with in-kind support to enable the provision of urgent relief supplies, as well as potential on-the-ground logistics support for long-term recovery needs. FedEx’s announced support was for approximately $1 million in cash, transportation support and a chartered flight to deliver critical medical aid and supplies to Nepal.

There had been some progress in alleviated Nepal’s most affected areas as several international bodies (both public and private) were working on more long term solutions which would’ve addressed the country’s unique geographic situation. However, yesterday’s earthquake has put that work into question.

Thousands died in the initial April earthquale. Hundreds of thousands more were left homeless, and centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu. The new earthquake only added to the misery and will stretch already thinned supply lines even further as things begin to settle.

After the initial search and rescue operations, focus will shift toward shelter, water, and medical supplies. Hopefully, the logistics of the situation can improved soon as food is already an urgent need for many thousands in the country, and it’ll become even more pressing once the heavy rains start and new area fall victim to avalanches.

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Pan-Am

With over 10,000 athletes from 41 different nations competing in 36 different sports, the 2015 Pan Am Games (TO2015) which are set to take place in Toronto, are looking to be a big win for Canada this summer.

Although the Pan Am Games is impressive in its own right as a major international sporting event, it is also something of a minor logistics marvel.

Aside from the numbers mentioned earlier, the organizers of this year’s event need to also take into account that over 250,000 visitors and media personal will be attending the event. More than 30 venues in and around the city of Toronto will host the main event with an additional be 13 non-competition venues and 15 training sites for the athletes. Because of the major logistics demand this will entail, the 2015 Pan Am Games teamed up with Schenker of Canada, an international logistics company.

DB Schenker has pledged to provide 6,968 square metres (75,000 square feet) of warehouse space, warehouse operations (including staff and equipment), freight transportation and freight distribution operations, venue and Athletes’ Village logistics operations, as well as customs clearance and freight forwarding according to an earlier press release.

In fact, DB Schenker has estimated that 2015 Pan Am Games will require twice the number of products used during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

A Fully Stocked Event

In a bit of creative and proud self-promotion, DB Schenker posted a list of the items they’d be providing for the event–back in 2013. The intent being to market themselves as the official logistics support for the event. Here is the highlights of that list:

  • 1,000,000 items with 5,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) to keep track of them in the warehouse
  • 6,250 folding tables (stretched end to end would run the entire length of the Pan Am equestrian cross-country course)
  • 22,500 folding chairs (the equivalent of 12 fully loaded 16-metre tractor trailers)
  • 7,500 metres (25,000 feet) of barrier tape (almost 14 times the height of the CN Tower)
  • 7,600 beds and mattresses
  • 950 pairs of track spikes
  • 920 swimsuits
  • 700 wheelchairs
  • 400 bicycles
  • 250 boats (sailing, canoe/kayak, rowing)

The company also committed to picking up the equipment and luggage of the participating athletes from the Toronto Pearson International Airport and transport to and from the event.

Events such as the 2015 Pan Am Games are about the coming together of different people from different nations in the spirit of friendly competition. But these events can only come to be if there’s a strong, organized, and well planned logistics structure behind it. Ian Troop, chief executive officer of TO2015, had this to say on the matter, “A great logistics team means our athletes, officials, volunteers and staff can perform with ease and confidence when the world is watching in 2015″.

The Pan Am Games will be held between July 10th and 26th, with the Parapan Am Games between August 7th and 15th.

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Drones

A little under two weeks ago, the Federal Aviation (FAA) granted approval to e-retailing giant Amazon.com to test-fly their new advanced drones, under certain provision, for potential delivery. This latest petition received quick approval from the FAA compared to past efforts this year, such as the six month delay in approving an earlier prototype for which the FAA received a lot of criticism.

“We’re pleased the FAA has granted our petition for this stage of R&D experimentation, and we look forward to working with the agency for permission to deliver Prime Air service to customers in the United States safely and soon,” said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president for global public policy.

The FAA said Amazon was one of 30 exemptions the agency granted a day earlier for commercial drones, bringing the total to 128 according to this RTT News article.

The article is one of many recent stories involving drones. An increasing number of industries outside of logistics and e-commerce are looking at drones as the technology of the future.

Danny Vogel of JUDSPURA Business Advisor outlined some examples from other industries that have already started to seriously consider utilizing drones:

  • Law enforcement agencies have shown strong interest in using drones for surveillance and public safety while other government agencies have found drones useful in fighting fires, search-and-rescue missions or catastrophic events
  • Construction companies have already begun using drones for mapping sites and monitoring progress, and mining companies have used drones to map the insides of mining tunnels
  • Media companies have also begun testing drones for filming reports and news coverage

What it all means for logistics reliant businesses

Back in February of this year, a number of articles reported on Amazon’s inability at the time to get approval from the FAA to test their drones on American soil. At the same time, one of the company’s major international competitors, the Chinese online giant Alibaba, was ready to test their own drone delivery program by delivering tea to 450 of its Chinese customers in a trial run.

The reason why both companies’ drone delivery programs were so heavily compared to one another was because since Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, publicly revealed the Prime Air program in late 2013, Amazon has been in the press as the main proponent of utilizing drones for commercial purposes. Although many companies since then have started their own drone testing, seeing a competitor such as Alibaba made the public all the more aware of how far drone delivery programs have come in two short years.

Many news articles, industry discussions, and blog posts related to logistics discussed how drones would be a hot item discussion in 2015. However, with each passing month it becomes more and more apparent that the discussion around the requirement for drones was settled even before the start of the calendar year. Instead, the real discussion is centering around which companies will come up with the best solution to the problem of possible collisions and best marketing strategy.

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!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Nearshoring-vs-Reshoring

In the past, we’ve written about the benefits of near-shoring over off-shoring. However, something we haven’t discussed in much detail is re-shoring.

A recent article on EBN discussed the findings of Cushman & Wakefield’s 2015-2017 North American Industrial Forecast. In the article, writer Jennifer Baljko highlights the differences between the praise reshoring has gotten in the media versus Cushman & Wakefield’s findings and in doing so, asks an important practical question of manufacturing and logistics companies: “Where will you put your factory?”.

Before going any further, it’s important to properly define the terms re-shoring and near-shoring as they are sometimes used interchangeably despite them having very different meanings.

According to a Forbes article on the topic,

Re-shoring refers to manufacturing that was previous done outside of America and has been moved back to America. Near-shoring refers to manufacturing work that has returned closer to America in countries such as Mexico.

Cushman & Wakefield’s findings, as Baljko points out, makes fining quality and affordable space for factories and warehouses one of the biggest challenges for companies who decide to move back home.
“A lack of quality space remains one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers in the U.S. Emerging technological advances, such as improved measuring/process control, advanced digital technologies and sustainable manufacturing, have made many older facilities functionally obsolete, opening the door for more speculative construction to take place within the next few years,” the report noted.

How Does Near-shoring compare?

Although Cushman & Wakefield’s study advised caution for companies considering re-shoring their manufacturing, their findings did indicate that near-shoring to Mexico might be a more prudent long-term strategy.

“Major drivers of industrial real estate activity continue to reflect the prominent role of distribution and logistics sectors. They include large renovations, like Kuehne+Nagel’s 341,000 sf at O’Donnell Logistics Park, or expansions, like Walmart’s 132,000 sf at Parque Industrial El Convento” they write.

The reason for this is that is because of the competitive land prices the country offers. “Average industrial land costs range from $638.08 psf to $231.85 psf for private industrial parks sites and raw land respectively” they write in their report.

Manufacotring in Mexico also has other advantages that we’ve written about elsewhere, but according to Cushman & Wakefield’s, “Generally, Mexico is increasingly developing a pool of high-skilled workers and rapidly integrating its manufacturing industries with global production lines. Also, in addition to a successful macroeconomic reform agenda, an ambitious investment program by the federal government is expected to bring further improvements to Mexico’s transport and logistics infrastructure” they highlight in their findings. “Given such factors, Mexico’s industrial real estate market is forecast to continue growing and benefiting from increased demand from a diversified range of industries” they conclude.

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!