Morai-Logistics-Blog-Glass-Ceiling

By Lisa Henthorn

Virtually impenetrable not all that long ago, the “glass ceiling” blocking women from executive-level jobs in the logistics and supply chain industry appears to be shattering.
Though few (if any) people in our industry would argue that our historic gender bias has gone away, the outlook for women is considerably brighter these days than it was when Industry Week made this bleak observation a little over two years ago:

Half of the human population is female. More than half of all university students in the United States are female. Around a third of all MBA students, including those concentrating on supply chain studies, are female. And yet, when (we) did a manual count of top supply chain executives in Fortune 500 companies, we found only 22 women among 320 businesses that had a true supply chain function.

22 out of 320? That’s a definitive “F-minus,” but there’s growing evidence that our industry’s grade on gender equality is improving. Among the most significant signs: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx appointed Michelle Livingstone to a two-year term on the National Freight Advisory Committee.
Livingstone, by the way, is VP of Transportation for Home Depot. As such, she’s on a growing roster of females who hold top-level logistics posts at high-profile companies. The list also includes:

These executives deserve our applause. And the companies that gave them their respective titles should get a pat on the back, too. Why? If for no other reason, it’s because they decided to break with the “old-boy network” tradition that lingers on in our industry and give leadership roles to the people most qualified to have them. This simply makes good business sense, and in light of our industry’s ominous talent shortage, that’s especially true.

In other words, as we look for answers to the labor shortage, there’s no time like the present to tap the female labor pool.

Lisa Henthorn is a vice president at Eyefreight, a provider of transportation management system technology. Lisa can be reached at l.henthorn@eyefreight.com

About Eye Freight

The Eyefreight SaaS TMS is a Level 5 TMS, providing shippers with a control tower for central coordination and detailed visibility over multi-modal, multi-leg, international logistics. Eyefreight runs proprietary algorithms to manage and monitor the entire logistics process – optimizing inventory allocation and distribution planning, and unlocking traditional bottlenecks within the logistics function.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-St-Patrick-Logistics

For this St. Patrick’s Day, we would like to list some interesting facts and figures regarding this popular holiday. It isn’t only green hats and green beer that makes this national holiday celebrated in more countries than any other national festival, but also some behind the scenes logistical planning!

About the holiday

Although green is associated with the holiday today, it wasn’t always the case. For many years, blue was the color most often associated with St. Patrick as green was considered unlucky. St. Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for many centuries and the Irish Presidential Standard is still blue. Green became associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because it is the color of spring, of Ireland, and of the shamrock.

Did you know that this holiday known for green beer and the 13 million pints of Guinness to be consumed this year, used to be a dry holiday? Mental Floss gives a bit of history in this article,

For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. (The one exception went to beer vendors at the big national dog show, which was always held on Saint Patrick’s Day.) In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.

As already mentioned, despite it being a national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many countries. Among them is the United States which held the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737. Chicago is noteable as it goes so far as to dye its river green for several hours in celebration.

Source: Gunaxin Travel
Source: Gunaxin Travel

St. Patrick’s Day consumer trends

The National Retail Federation (NRF) had Prosper Insight and Analytics conduct the NRF 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Spending Survey. The survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to St. Patrick’s Day.
Here are the highlights:

  • Nearly 127 million Americans are planning to celebrate the traditional Irish holiday and will spend an average of $36.52 on green garb, festive food and more, compared to $35.78 last year.
  • Total spending for the holiday, which fell on Tuesday, March 17, is expected to reach around $4.6 billion.
  • The survey found that more than 104 million Americans, or eight in 10 (82.4%) of those celebrating, plan to wear green to make sure the luck of the Irish is with them this year; 28.9 million, or 22.8% of celebrants, plan to decorate their homes with shamrocks, leprechauns and pots of “gold.”
  • 29.2 percent – 37 million Americans – plan to celebrate at a bar or restaurant and 19 percent (24 million consumers) plan to attend a private party; an additional 30 percent plan to make a special dinner to commemorate the Irish holiday.

And here’s a bonus fun fact: The estimated statistical odds of finding a four-leaf clover on your first try is 10,000 to 1!

Erin go Bragh!

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!

Many businesses have embraced social media to grow and to bring value to both their company and their customers. This is because the number of people online has been rapidly growing since the 2000s. Within the United States for example, 70% of the population have at least one social networking profile.

For companies involved in 3PL and logistics, this means a well-crafted social media strategy can afford them new avenues improve their brand visibility, engage their customers, and to increase their involvement in how the industry itself is perceived. All of these lead to a stronger brand name.

This month’s ebook focuses on how social media helps your brand in the logistics and supply chain industry!

3 Reasons Why a Social Media Strategy Will Help Your Brand in Logistics and Supply Chain

morai-logistics-ebook-social-media-logistics

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-Hiring-Client-Success-Specialist

Morai Logistics is currently looking for a full-time Client Success Specialist to join our team in Mississauga, ON.

View the job posting on Indeed by clicking here!

What does that even mean?

Logistics can be messy, as a client success specialist, your goal is to deliver success within the chaos. On a day-to-day basis, you will be primarily responsible for coordination of the movement of goods from point A to point B (origin to destination). That means, though isn’t necessarily limited to, reserving and booking container equipment from various transportation providers (rail, truck, etc.), coordinating with drayage carriers (and knowing what drayage means!), and electronic tracking (we work with Triton) and tracing, billing, etc.

Our Core Values

  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Respect
  • Empowerment
  • Client Success
  • Community

The top candidates for this position are born multi-taskers and are experts at analyzing many different situations. They are customer/client-oriented. They’re also a great team player and know the difference between casual and professional writing and when to use each!

What Your Main Responsibilities Would Be

  • Acting customer support and administrative representative for a set of clients
  • Monitors clients’ equipment usage, costs, containers, etc.
  • Prepares and analyzes reports on factors affecting the supply chain process (outstanding equipment charges, yard checks, etc.)
  • Investigate and solve issues regarding any transportation delays
  • Provides basic consultation to help clients find cost saving initiatives

Prerequisites for this Position

  • Post-secondary education preferred
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in the logistics industry
  • Experience in truckload, LTL, and intermodal
  • Strong analytical and priority management skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and in a constantly evolving and changing environment
  • Ability to multitask
  • Team player and a good communicator

Additional Desired Traits

  • Excel and Word experts
  • Computer literacy in general
  • Interpersonal, conflict resolution and negotiating skills
  • Problem solving and decision making skills
  • Organizational, planning, multi-tasking skills
  • Time management skills; ability to assign tasks, set priorities and resolve related conflicts
  • Forecasting, scheduling and tracking skills

If this all sounds appealing to you, then don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail contact@morailogistics.com with the job position (Client Success Specialist – 3PL Position) as part of the subject line!

Logistics trades professionals (i.e. truck drivers, machine operators, etc.): This probably isn’t the job for you, but maybe you know someone who would be the perfect fit! Send them this link and we’ll take it from there! Thanks!

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-Labour-Dispute

It was around this time last year when the West Coast Port labour dispute was in full swing and many different businesses both in North America and abroad were feeling the effects. What had started as tensions between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, led to negotiations failing over wage and labour conditions. From October 2014 to March 2015, the port’s ability to effectively and efficiently process cargo was severely impacted as several cargo-laden ships were not unloaded and instead left stranded up and down the coast.

Several companies were unable to ship their products in a timely manner leading to the accumulation of more and more extra supplies and products. This inventory glut crowded warehouses, eventually forcing companies to cut back on their new orders to clear out their backed-up storage facilities, costing several different businesses in the short and long-term. A new study by the Washington Council on International Trade came out this week and it analyzes the costs and impact of the labour dispute across multiple industries and sectors, including agriculture and food processing, retail, and transportation and manufacturing.

Several different estimates were forecasted at the time as to the cost of the slowdown. “Kurt Salmon consulting firm previously estimated the slowdown would cost U.S. retailers $7 billion. The Manhattan Institute conservative think tank projected apple farmers alone lost $19 million during each week of the slowdown. The North American Meat Institute estimated their losses to be more than $40 million each week” cites this article on USNews.com reflecting on the topic.

The study gives a breakdown as to the actual price tag for the slowdown which ended up being very significant for both the U.S economy, trade, and several different industries:

  • U.S. exports dropped by more than $11 billion (nearly 6 percent) between May 2014 and February 2015.
  • An estimated $558.8 million in exports were not shipped by water during those months. Some exporters diverted to air cargo, increasing shipments by air a total of $152.6 million.
  • The value of goods that were not shipped during the period was $403.2 million.
  • Importers racked up an additional $345.1 million in additional costs through reductions in inventory incurred by retailers, delayed delivery of components to manufacturers and so forth.
  • Demurrage (storage) fees that would not have occurred if there were no port congestion totaled $7 million, and truck-idling costs of $14.2 million resulted.
  • Fruit and meat rotted aboard idle West Coast ships, many of which were anchored off relatively warm ports like Los Angeles.
  • Shipping companies rolled out surcharges upward of $1,000 per container on some ships to help cover expenses related to failed deliveries.

The total cost the study determined, is $769.5 million, however the council is very clear that this is only the short term cost. Long-term costs will be more far reaching. “Future costs, such as damaged client relations resulting in the loss of business or sole source contracts, can have long-lasting impacts on Washington businesses,” said the study. “While these impacts are not quantified in this report, they are real and potentially much greater than the near-term costs presented above.”

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-Recycling-Logistics

The slippery slope of falling oil prices

In less than two years, the price of oil has gone from over $100, to just beneath $30 a barrel. The rapid price decline is having a major impact across most North American industries in one way or another. Most often, the exact net impact is complicated to determine because the industry or business may lose out in some areas, but benefit in others. However, when it comes to the business of recycling, the downward slide of oil prices has been unambiguous. The impact has been almost entirely negative. As oil prices continue to fall, so does the profitability of most companies who offer recycling services to cities and other businesses.

Though recycling is generally agreed by most consumers to be good for the environment, the actual cost of the process is something that isn’t discussed. Some of the costs involve emissions from shipping to be processed materials to recycling centers, which use a lot of energy and water. This means that the falling price tag of oil makes it so after a certain price point, it is simply cheaper for businesses to invest in creating new plastics and materials rather than recycle old ones.

“Abundant oil is the latest headache for recyclers. New plastics are made from the by-products of oil and gas production. So as plentiful fossil fuels saturate global markets, it has become cheaper for the makers of water bottles, yogurt containers and takeout boxes to simply buy new plastics”, writes the New York Times in this article. ” This, in turn, is dragging down the price of recycled materials, straining every part of the recycling industry” it continues.

New technology and new problems for sustainability efforts

The reduced price in oil isn’t alone in negatively impacting the recycling sector. As electronic products become ever smaller and cheaper, they are also impacting recycling cost and efforts:

Electronics devices contain less and less valuable materials and precious metals, which make reduce the size of economic urban mining opportunities. In itself, this isn’t a bad trend, but it does carry negative impacts when combined with designs that make materials harder to extract

The growing popularity of online shopping is also making itself felt in terms of environmental cost. In particular, the incredible amount of cardboard needed every day to meet consumer demand, and the subsequent freight that is needed to ship and deliver it. For some context, The United States alone produced 35.4 million tons of containerboard in 2014.

It’s not all bad

Despite the increasing cost tied to recycling plastics and other oil-based items rather than making new ones, some companies are still committing to their recycling and sustainability efforts. Some big companies such as Pepsi and Procter & Gamble are buying more recyclable material to meet sustainability goals. The online and e-commerce sector is also making strides towards lessening its environmental footprint according to Dennis Colley, the president of the Fibre Box Association — the trade group for the corrugated paper, or cardboard, industry — who states that 90 percent of corrugated packaging were recycled.

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!

Third party logistics (3PL) companies offer resources for companies to outsource all or part of their supply chain management. When you select your 3PL you are essentially selecting another member of your organization. As the 3PL will be acting an extension of your company, it is essential that you find out if the 3PL you are viewing is the right fit for your business.

This month we’ve created an infographic to help you select the right 3rd party logistics provider!

5 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a 3PL

Morai-Logistics--5-Questions-to-Ask-3PL

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-tech-car-manufacturing

Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal covered the changing technology that are now coming as standard in automotives, and how it is creating changes in car manufacturing supply chains. In the article, WSJ writers Yoko Kuota and Jeff Bennett reported that auto part makers are quickly looking to adapt after the entry of Google and other tech focused businesses into car manufacturing with the services and features their automotives offer.

For large automotive parts companies, this means focusing on installing newer technology into their cars while forgoing more traditional features to optimize space.

“General Motors Co.’s pricey new sedan isn’t unique in leaving a few old standbys out. New cars hitting dealerships this year—ranging from bread-and-butter Dodge sedans to edgy Audi coupes—are shedding familiar features to save weight or keep up with fast-moving technology. Versions of Toyota Motor Corp. ’s latest Prius hybrid, for instance, lack a spare tire”, write Kuta and Bennet. “Well-known components like ignition keys and analog gauges are going the way of cigarette lighters and hand-cranked windows” they continue. Other staple features that some newer model cars no longer come with are lighters, analog displays, and even rear view mirrors in some cases.

More technology on the horizon

Even with all the innovations that both tech companies and the quickly adapting car manufacturers are offering their customers, several analysts are predicting that there are still many more not-so-distant features on the horizon.

For example, Forbes contributor Karl Brauer writes in this article a list of features which he believes will become the standard for cars made past 2020. Here is the list:

  • Driver Override Systems
  • Biometric Vehicle Access
  • Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking
  • Active Window Displays
  • Remote Vehicle Shutdown
  • Active Health Monitoring
  • Four-Cylinder Supercar
  • Smart/Personalized In-Car Marketing
  • Reconfigurable Body Panels

Functionality Versus Branding

In Kuota and Bennett’s WSJ article, there was the sense from those interviewed that to compete with the likes of Google, car part manufacturers would have to adapt by forgoing traditional features in their newer model vehicles. However, such an approach applied across the industry could hurt some car manufacturers. Especially if those car makers brand themselves and their product a certain way.

“A great car in Germany is not the same as a great car in the US. A great car in Germany is seen by many consumers to be a car that can be driven at 200km per hour on the autobahn” writes Professor Dominique Turpin in this article. “When Volkswagen – the quintessential people’s car tried to launch a luxury car, the Phaeton, it did not really take off. Through the development of a portfolio of brands, however, the Volkswagen Group has ably met the challenge to meet different customer needs” continues Professor Tupid.

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-Chocolate-Supply-Chain

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about everyone’s favorite treat. Candy makers Mars Inc., Hershey Co., Modelez International Inc. (maker of Cadbury), and other big food companies are sharing private data on cocoa farming practices and crop yields despite being competitors in an effort to help cocoa farmers see greater yields.

The reason for this is that the surging demand for chocolate is far outpacing the supply available, so they are trying different pilot programs to address the problem. The shortage of cocoa isn’t a new issue. In 2014, a Slate article citing a report in Bloomberg Pursuits, quoted that by the year 2020 there could be a gap of 1 million metric tons between how much cocoa the global population wants and how much farmers can produce. It also surmised that by 2030, that gap would double in size.

There are several factors that are attributed to the gap between demand and supply:

  • Global chocolate consumption has grown steadily since the 1990s, with overall consumption predicted to hit 8.5 million tons in 2020.
  • Consumers in China and India are eating more chocolate, creating a potential two billion more chocoholics according to several articles.
  • Global demand for chocolate rose 0.6% to a record 7.1 million tons in 2015, led by a 5.9% jump in Asia.
  • Dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa to produce than other forms of chocolate, has become more popular according to this Vice article.
  • As of last September, Ghana’s cocoa production fell by 18 percent from the year before. Production is expected to be down again in part thanks to an El Niño that has put Africa into one of its worst droughts in 30 years.
  • The strength of the dollar may also be attributed to cocoa’s success over the past five years writes this article on CNBC.

Sweet Logistics

The plan to address the gaps in supply revolve around enabling farmers to grow greater yields in increasingly difficult growing conditions. To this end, Mars Inc., Hershey’s, and Mondelez International, have been sending agriculture experts abroad to teach farmers how to space young trees at planting, prune them, and apply fertilizer. Mondelez alone has promised $400 million by 2022 towards this project.

Hershey’s and Mars have sent agronomists to cocoa-producing countries to teach farmers how to graft a new cocoa plant to an existing under producing plant. “There is often a tech element involved, too. Hershey’s supplied farmers in Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, with weather and marketing information by text message, and those who followed the advice produced 46 percent more cocoa” writes Vice.

Time will tell if the efforts will be enough to accommodate the growing demand from the millions of future chocoholics around the world. 2016 isn’t a very encouraging year for the chocolate industry as many of the same problems plaguing it have carried over into the new year. However, the efforts by the companies involved look like they may yield the needed results in the long term thereby likely preventing any sort of future “chocopocalypse”.

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!

If 2015 could be summarized in a word, that word would be “uberification” as the on-demand delivery model really took off. Many industries have been affected by uberification, with several entrepreneurial ventures popping up this last year with their pitch being “Uber, but for X”. Given that uberification is focused strictly on the distribution and not necessarily production of goods, this means that this latest trend will have the greatest impact on the last-mile end of the supply chain.

To kick off our first ebook of the year, let us look at a bit of the history of this trend and why it has evolved so suddenly!

eBook – Uberification and Its Impact on Logistics

Click the Cover Image below to access our ebook!

morai-logistics-blog-uberification

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!