Mexico continues its rise as an important global logistics hub with the opening of a new container terminal at the Lázaro Cárdenas port, earlier this month. There are ten reasons why this is important to companies with supply chains in South America.

Lázaro Cárdenas is Mexico’s busiest port and considered one of Latin America’s most important. With the improvements, it’ll also be the continent’s most modern port. According to the World Bank, Mexico’s imports have grown more than 30% since 2010. Container volumes are also up 60% in just the last three years. These statistics, along with the fact that it has more than 45 free trade agreements, is the reason behind Mexico’s meteoric rise as an important global logistics hub.

That’s why this month we’re going to be focusing on how this new port is something to be very exited about for cross-border logistics and supply chain professionals looking south of the border!

10 Reasons to be Excited About the New Lázaro Cárdenas Container Terminal

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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.

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Changing consumer behaviour is reshaping and revitalizing industrial sectors by funneling resources into warehouse construction.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the digital market place is having a physical impact on urban landscapes. Throughout the U.S, industrial pockets are seeing a “economic renaissance” reports the article’s author, Erica E. Phillips.

Large city malls and brick & mortar stores are being closed throughout the country due to dropping consumer interest. In their place, more people are shopping online for what they need. As a result, more warehouses are needed to store everything. This has led to formerly struggling industrial areas receiving fresh investment as land prices for new distribution centres increases.

Online Shopping—The World’s Biggest Marketplace

It can be hard to imagine, but even the idea of online shopping is still relatively new. The earliest version of the concept only dates back to 1979. Industry giants such as Amazon, Alibaba and Ebay are only 23, 18 and 22 years old respectively. In the two decades since they started (a little less in Ebay’s case) they, and companies like them, have revolutionized how people shop.

According to Statistica.com:

  • In 2013, US mobile commerce revenue amounted to more than 38 billion US dollars
  • Alternative payment methods such as digital wallets or online payment providers have seen increased adoption rates and rapid growth in the past few years. Ebay-owned PayPal is one of the current market leaders with more than 14 billion US dollars in mobile payment volume alone
  • A 2016 study by analytics firm comScore found that shoppers make around 51% of their purchases online. The number of has been consistently rising by 1% for the last few years

Even luxury retailers are turning towards being more online shopping-friendly. A different WSJ article reported that retailers of high-end goods are scrambling to go online as sales are starting to fall. This is because even wealthy customers like having access to better deals and selection at their finger tips.

From Shopping Centre to Housing, and Neighbourhood Mall to Restaurants

As more families shop for their necessities online, where does that leave traditional brick and mortar stores? Unsurprisingly, many have either dedicated part of their operations to compete online themselves, changed to become more service-based, or closed down altogether.

Phillips comments on how the space shopping centres used to occupy is being re-purposed:

Many cities are razing downtown shopping centers from a bygone era to make way for hotels, office buildings and new housing developments. Suburban malls trying to keep the doors open have shifted their focus to higher-scale restaurants and new entertainment offerings, such as golf driving ranges, wall climbing and skydiving simulators.

All this is a win-win for consumers and urbanites. As warehouses become a way a life for formerly struggling communities, consumers everywhere will have access to a wider range of products and deals. The weekly shopping can then be completed in just a few minutes. This leaves more time for a family to explore the new restaurants that have sprung up where the old malls used to be.

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-3-logistics-supply-chain-insights-career

With many career options, interest in logistics and supply chains is growing as more people want to know where their purchases came from. But did you know how large and varied the entire logistics and supply chain industry is? When thinking about career options, there’s a whole world or responsibilities awaiting this industry.

Technology such as RFIDs, barcodes and the internet have allowed for products to tell their rich histories to consumers. It’s not surprising then that more people are becoming interested in how things get from A to B. That interest may even grow to become an active step towards a career in the logistics and supply chain field.

However, the industry is much more encompassing than most people realize. It can even seem overwhelming if you haven’t done your research. To get a better understanding of the field, we’ve compiled a list of three things to know before you make the jump.

1. It’s a Bigger and More Varied Industry Than You Think

The logistics and supply chain industry is big, very big. In the U.S alone in fact, over 55 million tons of freight was moved daily in 2013. The freight was valued at $50 billion. Both numbers have since grown. As of 2015, U.S business logistics costs alone sat at $1.48 trillion.

These numbers aren’t surprising. Although the industry goes mostly unnoticed by most people, it’s responsible for every step of a product’s journey from the manufacturer to the customer’s hands. The process isn’t simple, it involves a lot of moving parts and planning. Various stages of delivery and transportation are involved to ensure they reach the right location at the right time.

With companies becoming bigger, more international in reach and scope, the demand and complexity of supply chains grows as well.

2. Logistics is Not the Same as Supply Chains

There’s a distinction between supply chain and logistics, although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Quora contributor Anastasia Kelm, outlines the differences clearly in this discussion thread.

Logistics — That part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers’ requirements.

Supply Chain — The planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers.

3. There’s Plenty of Opportunity to Grow the Career That You Want

According to a Fortune.com article, the logistics industry will need to fill 1.4 million jobs by next year. That estimate is conservative when you remember the explosive growth of e-commerce in recent years.

The truth is, even if you don’t have a relevant degree (or a degree at all), there’s still plenty of opportunities for you. Logistics is a vast industry and functional supply chains are a building block of any successful business. Not everyone looking to start a career in this field needs to be an operational manager or a truck driver either. There’s many jobs in warehousing, material handling, packaging, and management software. That’s to say nothing of support functions like HR, marketing and communications.

To learn more, check relevant job statistics on sites like Glassdoor and see what enrollment would be like at your local post-secondary school. Regardless of the avenue you plan on taking, do your research and determine for yourself if this dynamic field is right for you.

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-north-america-outsourcing-manufacturing

Dongguan Win Win Industrial, a Chinese shoe factory that makes high-quality shoes for large American chains, is looking to the U.S to source its manufacturing. Wall Street journal writer Andrew Brown wrote about the story on Tuesday as the growing trend of nearshoring for outsourcing solutions develops.

The case Brown looks at isn’t isolated. Other Chinese manufacturers have also built factories in the U.S. In November of last year, clothing manufacturer Tianyuan Garments Co. acquired a metal fabrications plant in Arkansas. Even Hasbro Inc. has decided to source from the U.S. Play-Doh products are again being manufactured locally; something that hasn’t happened since 2004.

Over the last decade, an increasing number of manufacturing jobs having been returning from abroad back to North America. While the political climate plays a part, other factors are driving the change.

Looking at the Numbers

To say that offshoring producer jobs has been popular over the last few decades, would be an understatement. Just between 2000 to 2003, around 220,000 American jobs were shipped overseas annually according to the Reshoring Initiative.

2014 was a turning point. For the first time in over 20 years, there was a net gain of 10,000 jobs brought back to American shores. Combine that with the fact in 2016 alone, Chinese companies invested over $20 billion into the U.S. That figure was practically non-existent just a decade earlier.

The trend is set to continue. The 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index predicts that the U.S will be the most competitive manufacturing economy in the world by 2020.

Factors Contributing to Reshoring

There are several contributing factors that is changing global supply-chain economics:

Rising Wages in China

Rising labour costs in China shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially with some years seeing a 15%-20% annual increase.

“In 2004, the cost of manufacturing on the east coast of China was approximately 15 percentage points cheaper, on average, than in the United States. In 2016, that gap was down to about 1 percentage point” report Justin Rose and Martine Reeves in this Harvard Business Review article.

Automation Technology

The rise in robotics technology has led to greater automation of tasks, further reducing the cost advantage of offshoring. It’s estimated that up to 50% of the work done in a plant today could be replaced through robotics technology.

Changing Customer Expectations

We’re now in the age of e-commerce. Industry giants such as Amazon are already cutting deep into their profit margins to keep up with competitors. The only advantage left is speed. Customers want their items arriving the same day or even hour as when they order. This means it’s becoming more practical for items to be manufactured in-country rather than ship it overseas.

It’s too early to say how the growing trend of nearshoring will affect the American job market. Companies like Walmart have already pledged themselves to investing in more local sources. However, that doesn’t mean all the jobs lost will be returning. Customer expectations are pushing supply chains toward greater automation at home, not necessarily more jobs. What is certain, is that as global supply chains grow in complexity and cost, more companies will be looking closer to home to manufacture their items.

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.

Starbucks, the American coffeehouse chain, is an incredibly successful company. It may sound self-evident, but amongst all the pumpkin lattes and grande jokes, it’s easy to overlook how and why the company has come so profitable.

Last year, Starbucks reported generating $21.31 billion in sales and revenue. That number is almost a two billion dollar jump over what it reported in 2015. It’s also consistent with the average $1-2 billion annual revenue increase it’s had for the last few years.

With the year-over-year of success, it can be hard to imagine a time when the company wasn’t successful. However, despite opening in Seattle, Washington in 1971, the brand wasn’t profitable until the early 1980s. Just a few years later (1987), Starbucks began an aggressive campaign to capture more of the market, opening an average of two new locations a day until 2007.

Since its explosive expansion, Starbucks has grown to over 23,770 locations worldwide, with almost one third of that number overseas.

The story of Starbucks goes beyond simply being inspirational. After all, it wasn’t luck or just simple determination that led to it’s success. It was the company’s innovative logistics strategies that kept old customers returning and won over new coffee-lovers.

This month, we thought we’d focus on how logistics is key to the budding success of Starbucks.

Starbucks and Logistics

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There are many lessons that the story of Starbuck’s success can teach us. It’s an example of how looking to the fundamentals of logistics and supply chain management benefits strategy, organization and execution. It, and other retail giants, are seeing success for these reasons, which is a lesson for smaller companies aiming to grow or improve their operations.

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-wind-power-shipping

On Tuesday, Denmark’s Maersk Tankers announced that it will begin testing the use of special sails, developed by Norsepower, on one of it’s oil tankers. If the technology proves promising, the company could go onto to add them to a further four dozen ships, bringing back wind power to shipping.

It isn’t just any old sails that the company will be testing. These sails are special “rotor-sails”, which measure nearly 100 feet tall and look like giant rotating cylinders.

This is the latest attempt by the shipping industry to reduce its reliance on fuel and create a sustainable alternative. What makes Maersk’s test different is that the 245—meter tanker will be the biggest object to-date moved with wind power.

Future Cost of Fuel Driving Innovation and Revisiting Wind Power

For the last few years, shipping companies have been trying to find ways to cut marine fuel use. This is because as of 2020, new pollution laws will take effect which will require the use of more expensive, lower sulfate fuel for shippers.

Cargill Inc. for example, is exploring the possibility of using a giant kite made of special fibers to tow a vessel with wind power. Solar powered sails are another avenue of renewable energy being looked into by several different companies to combine both wind and solar energy.

Technology Details

The basis for Maersk’s innovative technology isn’t new. The sails are an updated version of the rotor created by German engineer Anton Flettner, almost a hundred years ago. At the time, they were too heavy to be effective. Thankfully, these new sails are made from lightweight carbon-composite materials making them much more cost-effective.

This article by the Financial Times, quotes Norsepower’s CEO Tumoas Riski about how the sails work:

They harness the wind by using the Magnus effect, the physical force that makes a tennis ball swerve when hit with topspin. A motor sets the cylinders spinning and when wind blows, the airflow speeds up on one side of the sail and slows down on the opposite to create a pressure difference that generates lift, propelling the vessel through the water.

The sails have already been tested and installed on a Dutch shipping ferry in 2014. Bore, the company operating the ferry, reported that the results exceeded expectations with up to 6% fuel saved when there’s good wind.

What to Expect in the Future

The final decision as to whether Maesk Tankers will roll out the wind powered tankers won’t be made until 2019.

However, the company’s is very optimistic about how technology will cut fuel costs. About $2.1 billion U.S is spent annually on marine fuel. Maesk expects that price could be cut by 10% with the new sails.

Maesk is also hedging it’s bet on the sails by investing in other sustainable alternatives. This includes special paints that go on the hull of a vessel that reduces drag by resisting microorganism and ale colonization. And, specialized delivery drones to replace barges to deliver ship supplies.

It’s both strange and heartening to see wind powered propulsion make a return to shipping after its over 100-year absence. Modern innovations technological advancements have made Maesk’s sails, and similar projects possible sustainable solutions to an industry that needs them.

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-international-womens-day-logistics

Yesterday was International Women’s Day (IWD), a celebration and tribute to women’s rights. This year marked the 108th anniversary of IWD.

IWD 2017’s goal is to speed up the timeline in reaching parity between men and women in opportunity, wages and leadership representation. According to the World Economic Forum, it’ll be nearly 170 years before the gender gap is closed. That’s a long time to wait for equality.

Let’s have a look at how far women have come. Both in the workplace and in field of logistics.

Women Internationally

Women have made tremendous progress across the globe in terms of rights and in the workforce. However, the last few years haven’t been as promising.

Despite an additional quarter billion women entering the workforce since 2006, women are a third less likely to participate than a man. In fact, in the ten years between 1995 and 2015, globally, women’s labour force participation dropped over 2%. Representation in administrative roles isn’t much better as women only hold 12% of the world’s board seats according to a report by Deliotte.

The disparity continues in wages. Globally, women earn around a third less than what men earn.

Women in North America

The numbers are a little more optimistic if you narrow the scope to just North America.

In Canada and the U.S for example, the difference between the number of men and women in the workforce was 9.6% and 12.4% respectively.

The two countries show very different numbers when it comes to women in management positions. Women hold around 35% of management and professional roles in Canada, whereas in the U.S, the number goes up to 51%.

Only modest gains have in regards to the number of women serving as Fortune 500 CEO’s. There’s only 24 women (4.8%) in the top levels of these companies. However, Fortune is reporting that the number is increasing to 27 by the end of first quarter 2017. While still low, these numbers are big improvement over 20 years ago, when women were completely absent from these positions.

Women in Logistics

The logistics industry continues to struggle with equality. There are several reasons for this, but a root cause is perception. It’s hard for the industry to escape the perception that it’s all about heavy lifting and moving. This image problem has affected the number of women seeking out a career in logistics.

Currently, around 65% of graduates going into the logistics field are male. Only 35% of graduates are female. The difference is the greatest of any business field. The number drops to 5% when looking at women in logistics holding top level positions.

These figures are troubling not just from an equality perspective, but from a business point of view as well. Financial performance significantly improves if there’s at least 30% women in higher-level leadership positions according to a 2009 report by McKinsey.

Women have come a long way since the first IWD 108 years ago. Organizations are increasingly seeing the value of having qualified women on their teams, from entry-level to CEO positions. The logistics industry especially has a lot of work left. But, we’re confident that as the industry continues to modernize, the number of female leaders will grow as well.

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-logistics-pizza-delivery

Few people appreciate what goes into having an item made and delivered to their home. For most, they simply order an item, wait the estimated time and then receive the package. It might as well be magic that made the delivery possible as far as they’re concerned. We explore the complicated business of pizza delivery from a logistics and supply chain point of view.

Those of us in the logistics and supply chain industry understand the level of work and coordination that goes into each successful delivery. Giant retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart spend millions in technology, infrastructure and personnel just so their customers can get their packages a days earlier. It’s gets even more complicated for those involved in the food delivery industry.

Getting warm food to a customer without it getting ruined, is a complicated task. Just ask the dabbawalas.

It’s no surprise then that as the number of deliveries grows, the logistical systems in place become more complex. One company stands as a shining example of food delivery logistics. Not only has it reinvented itself, but it is also pushing the envelope of innovative technology—all in the name of better customer service.

There is a Western company that has not only mastered the art of hot food deliveries, but is also pushing the envelope for what’s possible. That company—is Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s is Dominating Innovation

If you lived in the right place in New Zealand, you could have a pizza delivered to you via aerial drone.

On August of last year, Domino’s Pizza partnered with Flirtey to test the first commercial drone pizza delivery model.

Up until then, the only companies dabbling in unmanned drone delivery were e-commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba and a few others. Having a pizza business adopt similar technology may seem like overkill. That is, until you realize that it’s only the latest effort by Domino’s to become a leading innovator. The company is even investing in artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, DRU and voice technology to further improve its delivery services.

The Goal—Excellent Delivery

Prior to 2010, Domino’s was just like any other pizza delivery chain. It’s one highlight being that it had particularly bad pizza.

It wasn’t until Patrick Doyle became CEO of the company that things started to change. For Doyle, it was about seeing the bigger picture. Domino’s was always a pizza company, but its also in the business of delivery. It needed to excel in both areas to be successful.

Doyle’s plan for success, was to remove customer barriers. Anything that would impede a customer’s ability to select, place and request an order needed to be removed. Thus, the entire business model and company were restructured.

Invest in Your Customers and They’ll invest in You

Almost overnight, Domino’s saw a return on their efforts after they announced their plans through a series of bold commercials. The company stock jumped 15% by the end of quarter and it continued to grow. It’s now worth 18 times what it was six years ago. Domino’s reach has also grown as its stores can be found in more than 80 countries across 12,500 locations. The company’s commitment to better customer service paid off big time as it’s now the second largest pizza chain in the world.

The lesson that Domino’s teaches us is simple, but often forgotten: invest in your customers, and they’ll invest in you.

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-infographic-transparency-supply-chain

Transparency has been the promise of many CEOs and businesses in recent years. That’s for good reason, customers want to know where the products and the parts came from.

“Consumers, governments, and companies are demanding details about the systems and sources that deliver the goods. They worry about quality, safety, ethics, and environmental impact” writes University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School professor Steve New, in the Harvard Business Review.

However, ethics isn’t the only reason that a logistics provider should commit to a transparent supply chain. The benefits of transparency affect consumers, but it also has a positive impact on how a company does business and the operation of the company itself.

Infographic: How Improving Transparency is Beneficial to Your Supply Chain

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Several studies indicate that transparency is an asset. What many don’t realize is that it goes beyond marketing. Transparency helps your business on three levels: with consumers, with business, and with every day operations.

Making a supply chain entirely transparent takes work and commitment. However, the result is a net benefit for all involved.

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-drone-vs-robot

The direction the big logistics companies are moving towards for their R&D is split between drone delivery and autonomous technology investments. We explore how each are developing in the industry.

Earlier this week, FedEx revealed its interest in using autonomous vehicles to make deliveries. FedEx’s chief information officer Rob Carter, says the company is considering using small robot vehicles that could drive around neighbourhoods and make deliveries on their own. The company has partnered with Peloton Technology to achieve this goal, firmly believing this path will be the future of package delivery.

Competitors such as UPS and Amazon disagree. They have spent the last few years developing their own aerial delivery drone programs. Their aim is to have packages reach their destination through the air, instead of on the road.

Flying to New Heights

The idea of delivery drones was initially met with disbelief when Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon initially unveiled the technology back in 2013. After a long approval process, Amazon finally received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct trial runs in early 2015. The approval was likely a response to the Chinese online giant Alibaba, a major competitor, conducting its own drone delivery tests.

This event led the way for other companies to develop their own drone delivery programs, and experts weighing in on the potential benefits.

“Allowing drones to be flown for business purposes in the U.S. may produce $100 million or more in economic benefits” says Bloomberg writer Alan Levin, reporting on a FAA document. Enhanced delivery speed and eco-friendliness are other benefits expected from these programs.

Critics have been vocal about cons as well. Namely, in the areas of privacy, potential for theft of packages and the drone itself, and public safety.

Amazon conducted its first delivery through its drone program late last year. Whether the pros or cons win out is now a matter of waiting and seeing.

Driving Towards New Delivery Solutions

FedEx isn’t the first big business to invest in autonomous technology, far from it. Intel for example, is expected to have $1 billion invested in this field by 2020. Uber has jumped onboard with its acquirement of Otto, the company responsible for the successful testing of self-driving tracker trailers.

However, Carter is promising that FedEx’s program will have several distinct advantages over drones. For starters, the vans are expected to be more energy efficient than their aerial counterparts. The maximum cargo delivery limit is also greater. Finally, ground vehicles won’t have to content with the FAA for regulations and flight path approval for urban areas.

Peloton Technology’s current semi-autonomous technology isn’t far off from FedEx’s goal. It can electronically link trucks into small caravan groups called platoons. The lead truck can then control the brakes and gas of the convoy, lowering wind resistance and saving fuel.

Logistics is a multi-trillion-dollar global industry. FedEx is betting of self-driving robots as the future of cargo delivery. Given the company’s size, that’s 220 countries whose way of receiving parcels and movement of large fleets would be affected. Time will tell if FedEx’s robots will be able to streamline, automate and accelerate the supply-chain industry.

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.