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.

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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!

Globalization has broken through several technological, political, and geographic barriers to supply chain logistics. However, while its been documented that companies that include more women at the top levels of leadership tend to outperform those that don’t, there is still a noticeably large gender gap when it comes to the logistics industry.

Although there has been a great deal of progress in the last few decades in closing the gender gap, this infographic shows that there is still a lot left to do.

Closing the gap for good shouldn’t be thought of as barrier for those of us in logistics, but rather an opportunity. An opportunity for logistics companies, as Shalu Shigram puts it, ‘to maintain a competitive edge by utilizing all human resources and potential capital.”

Top 10 Facts Exploring the Gender Gap Around the World

Morai-Logistics-Infographic-Looking-at-Gender-Gap

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-Epidemic

Last week, an article in The Verge covered Bill Gates’ statements concerning the lack of preparedness the world saw when it came to the Ebola epidemic that ravaged Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. What Gates suggests is needed, is for preparations for epidemics be similar to preparations for war, “war games” and all.

“It’s useful to compare our preparations for epidemics with our preparations for war. Defense budgets and investment in new weapons dwarf investments in epidemic preparation. NATO has a mobile unit that is ready to deploy quickly. Although it’s not a perfect system, they do joint exercises where they work out basic logistics like how fuel and food will be provided, what language they will speak, what radio frequencies will be used. When soldiers sign up to serve, they know what the risks are and who will take care of them if they’re injured or killed. Few if any of these things exist for an epidemic response.” the article quotes Gates, who originally wrote this in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Gates isn’t wrong in his assessment.

When You Play the Game of Infectious Diseases…

A research paper written by Thomas K. Dasaklis, Costas P.Pappis, and Nikolaos P. Rachaniotis in the International Journal of Production Economics which looked at epidemics control and logistics operations highlighted the importance of logistics supply in controlling epidemics.

“Logistics operations play a crucial role during the containment effort of an epidemic outbreak as they strengthen the ability of all the parties involved to promptly respond and effectively control the situation,” they wrote. “Even at a long-term level, strategies adopted in commercial supply chains could be also adopted in the case of emergency and/or humanitarian supply chains in an effort to match supply with demand”.

The researchers continue their paper with clear examples of the necessity of a strong logistical network to combat an epidemic,

“The flow of essential medical supplies, transportation activities and demand for medical personnel are some of the logistics-oriented features that depend on the available information regarding disease’s progression. At the same time the management of materials flow during the containment effort necessitates its own stream of information. Highly sophisticated systems in business supply chain and relevant technologies like RFID could also be adopted in the case of epidemics containment”.

This is not say to say that there is a one-to-one comparison to more traditional logistics models, ” Such supply chains have much in common with commercial supply chains but at the same time they pose significant challenges as they operate under uncertain, and many times, chaotic conditions” the researchers clarify.

The paper’s conclusion is similar in some aspects to Gate’s words when it finds that there are “a plethora of gaps and discrepancies in the literature regarding epidemics control and logistics operations”.

As The Verge article, quoting the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention points out, over 25,000 across Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia have been infected with Ebola as of March 15th, and 10,000 people have died.

With the virus still spreading, and 116 new cases confirmed in the week before March 8th according to the World Health Organization, perhaps Gates’ suggestion that the Ebola epidemic (and really epidemics) be treated as serious as war is treated isn’t a bad one.

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-West-Coast-Ports

With the worst of the West Coast dockworkers strike effectively ended last month, now is a good time to take a step back and assess the costs, consequences, and repercussions to all of the stakeholders that were affected in the nine month strike.

Optimism from Mayor

Political stakeholders have been the most optimistic about the future of the West Coast port and its ability to meet the massive backlog that has accrued over the protracted labour dispute.

” Business should return to normal at U.S. West Coast ports in about three months, and long-term damage from a nine-month labor dispute should be limited, said Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Later in the article, he admits that some business may have been permanently lost to East Coast ports, but remained confident that they would regain the vast majority of the business.

Zepol report

A report put out by Zepol concerning the impact of the West Coast port strike puts forth a less optimistic view than Mayor Robert Garcia. Some of the highlights of the report are as follows:

  • Total U.S. container imports are down over 5 percent this year, compared to January and February of 2014.
  • The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which make up a combined 40 percent of U.S. container imports, declined by 19 and 20 percent so far in 2015.
  • East Coast ports have increased container imports by 8 percent this year.
  • Total U.S. imports by TEUs (twenty-foot containers) dropped from 2.93 million in January through February of 2014 to 2.78 million in 2015.
  • Combined, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have declined by over 230,000 TEUs compared to the first two months of 2014.
  • The port of New York/Newark grew by over 34,000 TEUs. The port of Savannah increased 20 percent with an increase of over 40,000 TEUs and Houston rose 29 percent, by nearly 31,000 TEUs.

Canadian fallout

Although Canada wasn’t as heavily affected by the strike as its southern neighbour, however retailers north of the border still felt the impact of the situation, in particular, Ontario’s automotive plants.

An article on OurWindsor.ca discussed the potential and actual impact of the west coast strike at the time. Instances of Honda Honda Canada Manufacturing plants sometimes running at 60 % capacity, congestion at B.C. ports, shipping containers running five to 10 days late, and a trickle-down cost to consumers from additional costs incurred from said congestion were all issues that this article brought up.

As previously mentioned in this article, the worst of the strike seems to be over. However, there’s still a chance that even with the most optimistic of predictions and outcomes, more complication will arise. Especially when the five-year deal still must be approved by the 13,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s rank-and-file.

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!

This past Sunday was International Women’s Day. In tribute to celebrating women globally, we would like to dedicate this week’s post to showcasing the major milestones in recent development for the state of women in the logistics and supply chain industry.

Last year we posted an infographic that the logistics community wholeheartedly enjoyed and we thought we would continue the trend and release an update, this time in the form of an eBook. We have come a long way from the world of logistics notoriously being known as a Gentleman’s Club, but we still have a ways to go when it comes to diversity in logistics (and not just with women).

From education, job options, and position within companies, we take a careful look at contemporary findings and showcase the statistics behind women in the logistics industry for 2015.

Women in Logistics

Morai-Logistics-Women-In-Logistics-Linked-1

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-Coming-and-Going

There are several things when operating a business that despite the most careful planning, cannot be avoided: unexpected weather extremes affecting delivery times, changing customer expectation and demand, having to react to competitor innovation, and every business big or small having to deal with inevitable employee turnover. I’d like to focus this week’s post on the last point.

Data from the American Trucking Association (ATA) shows that the turnover rate at large truckload carriers rose one percentage point to an annualized rate of 97% in the third quarter of 2014. In 2013, the ATA presented data showing those with more than $30 million in annual revenue— averaged 96 percent for all of 2013, down 2 percent from the 2012. And that’s a drastic improvement over the all-time high of 130 percent turnover in 2005.

Employees in warehouses also have very high turnover rates, especially where large warehouses are concerned as shortages in the availability and quality of labor may have a lasting effect on a firm’s competitiveness. “Getting the right things to the right people at the right time” is the fundamental principle for any supply chain. What is sometimes forgotten in discussions is that for this principle to be enacted, a business needs the right training to be given to the right associates so the right skills can be cultivated and utilized. With that said, let’s look at some key items when discussing employee turnover in the logistics industry.

Who is Most Likely to Change Jobs?

A study from CareerBuilder measured worker satisfaction in the U.S as a whole and the logistics industry specifically. Of the workers surveyed, they found certain factors appear to make workers significantly more likely to change jobs than others:

  • Workers who are dissatisfied with their job: 58 percent plan to change jobs in the New Year
  • Workers who are dissatisfied with advancement opportunities at current company: 45 percent
  • Workers who are dissatisfied with their work/life balance: 39 percent
  • Workers who feel underemployed: 39 percent
  • Workers who are highly stressed: 39 percent
  • Workers who have a poor opinion of their boss’s performance: 37 percent
  • Workers who feel they were overlooked for a promotion: 36 percent
  • Workers who have been with their company two years or less: 35 percent
  • Worker who didn’t receive a pay increase in 2013: 28 percent

Who is Most Likely to Stay?

The same study also looked at the top reasons as to why employees would stay in their current job. Though there were a variety of reasons, there were 8 reasons in particular that they found:

  1. “I like the people I work with.” – 54%
  2. “I have a good work/life balance.” – 50%
  3. “I have good benefits.” – 49%
  4. “I make a good salary.” – 43%
  5. “There still is a lot of uncertainty in the job market.” – 35%
  6. “I have a quick commute.” – 35%
  7. “I have a good boss who watches out for me.” – 32%
  8. “I feel valued and my accomplishments are recognized.” – 29%

Sometimes Goodbye Isn’t so Bad

A recent article by the International Business Times quoted a study from Payscale that demonstrated that of the fortune 500 companies, Amazon was second in the number of employee turnovers. Despite having some of the least loyal employees, Amazon’s high turnover isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“A high employee turnover rate isn’t always because the company isn’t a good one to work for. When workers are willing to hop from job to job, it is usually an indicator of an improving job market”, Payscale’s lead economist Katie Bardaro said.

“Workers might be job-hopping more than before. This means that the industry is hot and the economy is improving,” she told Business Insider. “Some of the firms on [the high turnover] list are there, because they’re a hot market.”

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-Canada-Rail

On the 20th of February, Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt revealed The Safe and Accountable Rail Act which proposes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and Railway Safety Act. The Act, which is a response to the Lac-Mégantic disaster in 2013, will make railways and crude oil shippers responsible for the cost of accidents said Raitt.

Along with other previously introduced rail safety requirements, this new act will introduce the following:

  • Railways moving large volumes of crude oil will now be required to carry insurance of up to $1 billion to cover the costs of a potential accident.
  • Oil companies shipping their product in railway cars, meanwhile, will now face a levy of $1.65 for every tonne of crude shipped roughly 23¢ per barrel.
  • The Act will bring in minimum insurance requirements for railway crude oil shippers using federally regulated railways, from $25 million for carriers of minimally dangerous goods to $1 billion for substantial quantities of them.
  • Two new liability insurance levels — $100 million and $250 million — will be phased in during the two years after the bill receives royal assent. Companies will be required to come up with half that amount in the first year and the full amount the year after that.
  • Companies that ship crude oil will also have to pay a fee per tonne shipped that will go into a $250-million backup fund to cover costs above what their insurance covers if they’re involved in an accident involving crude oil.

Too Much or Too Little?

Although the reaction to the announcement of the Act has been mostly positive by the Canadian press, it hasn’t been without some controversy.

An article in the Financial Post quoted Greg Stringham, of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’
vice-president of oilsands and markets, who expressed some concerns.

In today’s price environment, every little bit affects the economics. Crude oil prices have plunged more than 50% since June, causing many producers to cut spending.

Mr. Stringham said about 200,000 barrels of oil were moving by rail in Canada every day at the end of 2014. He continued by saying that oil and gas producers don’t know whether additional costs from the new insurance burden will cause oil-by-rail movements to become more expensive for producers.

Looking at the comments section of the articles covering this story, it’s easy to see that there is also the other side who feel that the newly proposed Act can isn’t being taken far enough. It seems that this sentiment stems from the recent Canadian Pacific Railway strike which ended just before employees would’ve been legislated back to work.

In a Maclean’s article, NDP Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice condemned the government for taking quick action against the workers when it was revealed that that there was a legislation being poised in end the strike. “It will put public safety at risk, since the problem of long hours and fatigue among those conductors will not be resolved,” he said at the time

A Problem With No Clear Solution

The growing number of train derailments has to do with the growing volumes of oil being shipped. This is a trend and problem for both Canada and the U.S. There’ve been different long-term solutions that have been recommended, but for now, let’s hope that the new Safe and Accountable Rail Act shows some promise in curbing this deadly trend.

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!

Although large BRICS nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have accounted for much of the growth and investment in emerging markets, recent years has seen a general slowdown of the respective economies of these countries.

Instead, the non-BRIC countries of ASEAN, GCC, Sub-Saharan Africa and the large, next-tier economies of Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Mexico and Pakistan have been the most dynamic, offsetting mixed performance in the BRICS countries that powered emerging markets growth in recent years.

This changing tide in growth economies is reflected in the 2015 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, an annual data-driven ranking of 45 emerging economies accompanied by a separate survey of nearly 1,000 global logistics and supply chain executives.

The Index, ranks emerging markets based on their size, business conditions, infrastructure and other factors that make them attractive for investment by logistics companies, air cargo carriers, shipping lines, freight forwarders and distribution companies.

Infographic: 12 Facts Comparing BRICs and Other Emerging Markets in the Logistics and Supply Chain Industry

Morai-Logistics-Infographic-12-Facts-Comparing-BRIC-in-the-Logistics-Supply-Chain

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!