At the beginning of the month, Apple had its annual keynote for the next generation of iPhones and included the official announcement of the latest Apple product: the Apple Watch.

Now, the Apple Watch is by no means innovative as a concept. Since the first digital watch, the Pulsar, was manufactured in 1972 the concept of placing advanced technology in watches was really just a matter of time, and progress in nanotechnology.

Avi Greengart, a consumer device analyst from Current Analysis, claimed 2013 as the Year of the Smartwatch. The reason being that components have gotten small and cheap enough to produce for products to be made for mass distribution at a relatively affordable price point. This year also marked the point where many consumers owned smartphones that were compatible with a wearable device.

Source: Apple
Source: Apple

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased a large number of new smartwatches. Later in the year even more were showcased at Google I/O, introducing the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. Earlier this month one of the most recent releases, the Moto 360 was announced.

These most recent iterations of smartwatches are only one aspect of wearable technology. Many other devices exist today that consumers are very interested in playing with, such as Google Glass and Pivothead. And interesting new technology devices such as Thalmic Labs’ Myo, a gesture control armband that you can calibrate to do many things with.

The Demand for Wearable Tech on a Steady Rise

GlobalWebIndex released some interesting statistics on consumer trends for wearable devices. The most intereting of which are follows:

  • 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds want to own some form of wearable technology (i.e. Smart watch, smart band, or Google Glass)
  • Worldwide, 64% of internet users have worn a piece of wearable tech already or are “keen to do so in the future.”
  • Between the genders, men sit at 69%, while women are marginally lower at just over half (56%) in terms of wantring to own a wearable tech device

What Does this Mean for Logistics?

Despite the slow growth, this demand in wearable technology means more business and demand for logistics services. It will be interesting to see how much wearable technology will affect the overall growth in logistics in the coming years.

Tech analysts from Canalys have predicted that smart bracelets, such as Intel’s Mica smart bracelet for example, which monitors health and sleep patterns as well as providing purchasing capabilities, are going to be a big hit. Smart band sales are predicted to increase 129% in sales next year. More than 42 million of these smart band devices are predicted to be sold globally.

Tech-based start-ups are now seeing real value in investing into projects that are tangible as opposed to web- or app- related services. An exciting trend for both consumers and those responsible for moving the goods.

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

We’re at the latter half of 2014 and geopolitical changes, and factors such as rising fuel costs, are starting to match the prediction let by many logistics professionals. China’s wages are getting close and closer to $6 USD; the point at which researchers at AlixPartners determine will no longer make China cheaper than Mexico’s flat wages.

This week, we’re featuring a white paper that explores Mexico, but this time the focus is on the build-up to what makes Mexico a prime nearshoring option. Mexico has historically been set up to be a prime nearshoring option. We argue that NAFTA was a big part of this change as developments in Mexico to lower trade tariffs has initiated solid cross-border logistics developments within North America. Furthermore, geopolitical developments in Mexico has been setting North American manufacturing up for prime logistics operations there as opposed to China.

White Paper: How NAFTA and Changes in Mexico Have Primed Companies for a Nearshoring Move

Morai-NAFTA-White-Paper-Image

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!

It is no surprise that many people in the logistics industry have labeled it a “Gentleman’s Club.” As outlined in the Morai Logistics Infographic focusing on women in the logistics industry, compared to other industries women still have some room to catch up at all levels in the logistics and supply chain industry.

For example, 35% of logistics graduates are women. Compared to other business graduates in general (of which there are about 45% female graduates), the logistics industry has the highest percentage of male graduates in the industry. Within the professional sphere, women take up less than 20% of company management position despite two-thirds of professionals believing that women offer a different style of management that is viewed as an advantage for companies.

Eye for Transport’ Lean-In Moment: Women in Logistics

Eye for Transport, or EFT, is a business intelligence and C-level networking initiative for the transport, logistics and supply chain industry. It is an organization that specializes in connecting senior industry executives with their industry peers, and with the crucial information they need to excel in their work. They have an annual Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Summit that the President of Morai Logistics was invited to. Kelli Saunders sat on a panel along with 5 other C-level women in the logistics and supply chain industry to discuss their path that got them to where they are today.

Kelli Saunders, President of Morai Logistics, speaking on her journey to becoming President
Kelli Saunders, President of Morai Logistics, speaking on her journey to becoming President
 
 
The efforts that Eye for Transport has taken in showing initiative to create an awareness about the gender gap for executives in the logistics and supply chain industry is commendable. The women in the Lean In series were both inspiring and an example of how women can be a readily able pool of candidates for all levels of position across the entire logistics and supply chain industry. They are great examples of why we should continue our efforts to introduce the notion that logistics is not just a “Gentleman’s Club.”

To see Eye for Transport’s full breakdown of the Lean In Moment on women in logistics, click here: Part 1, Part 2.

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

We hope you have been enjoying this summer so far! As we are now in the latter half of the warmest and sunniest of seasons, we would like to take the time to focus on some summer-themed logistics and supply chain related news.

Nova Scotia Aims to Modernize Seafood Industry Trading

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Daily Business Buzz recently released an article on how Ocean Executive, a Bridgewater, Nova Scotia based company, is developing an online platform aimed at improving supply chain efficiency for the seafood industry. Ocean Executive has received a $100k seed investment from Innovacorp, a Nova Scotia based venture capital organization to fuel the idea and help it come to fruition.

Mikel Budreski notes that the platform will help streamline the sales and marketing process for a wide range of seafood companies worldwide. Ocean Executive’s platform seeks to allows users, be it buyers or sellers, to connect directly to each other and their respective products and services in real-time via a an auction marketplace (a function that can be either public or private). This allows users to receive live pricing and market data for more efficient and transparent trading practices:

All players in the supply chain stand to benefit from true and fair market pricing, whether it’s fishermen, processors, wholesalers, distributors, traders, brokers, retailers or large restaurant chains.
– Mikel Budreski, President of Ocean Executive

Greg Phipps of Innovacorp notes that the seafood industry is still using outdated an inefficient processes to buy and sell products and that this technology being developed by Ocean Executive has the potential to modernize this dated trading system. This is indeed a trend that is happening with regards to the logistics and supply chain industry as a whole; combining technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help optimize the industry is indeed proving to be a strategy that is here to stay.

Coconut Water Affecting the Coconut Supply Chain

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
You see it in almost every grocery store; some places even have a whole section dedicated to the number of variations, flavours, and brands. We’re talking of course about coconut water! Whether you love it or hate it, this product has made our way into store shelves globally.

Tessa Riley of The Guardian gives the scoop on the coconut water craze and how it affect s the supply chain. This spur in popularity is largely facilitated by North America, now the biggest global market for coconut water. Originally seen as a useless byproduct by coconut farmers, and normally reserved for exotic holidays, the North American market has really taken coconut water to the next level. From the sales report of the top three most popular brands going from almost nothing in 2004 to a whopping $400 million dollar industry in just under a decade (i.e. 2013).

For a bit of history on coconut farming, traditionally coconuts were harvested for their ‘copra,’ or meat, which is then used to extract coconut oil. Coconut water is notorious for being hard to preserve as it starts decomposing as soon as the coconut water is cut. Thus, coconut farmers see it as a useless byproduct. Since the leap in demand though, initiatives have been taken to allow coconut farmers to consider the production of more diverse economic return like coconut water, which has a much higher return on investment per coconut for the farmers. Lack of technology and limited knowledge is the biggest wall for the coconut farmer though, despite the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation promoting best practices on small-scale production of bottled coconut water.

This gap between the coconut farmer and the consumer along the supply chain is growing and if the coconut water industry intends to stay sustainable, there needs to be some way to bridge the gap that would allow coconut farmers to leverage knowledge and technology to allow them to produce the great demand for coconut water.

Cashew Juice? Not Just a Nuts Idea

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
PepsiCo has started an initiative to test out the market for a new line of products in order to solve the dilemma of a major issue in the extraction and production of cashew nuts: heaps of agricultural waste. Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit gives us an insight into what Pepsi has planned to alleviate this waste problem.

When extracting nuts from cashew plants farmers usually throw away the fruit attached to the nut. Known as the ‘cashew apple,’ this nut is full of Vitamin C as well as other essential nutrients. It also has many other potential uses such as: being another form of meat substitute, used for the production of alcohol, or animal feed.

PepsiCo has started work in India to collaborate with farmers to source cashew apples and use it to create the next iteration of specialty juices, along the same lines of coconut water, pomegranate juice, and hazelnut milk. This comes with a new set of logistics challenges though, mainly that of storage, transport, and shelf life. The fruits are fleshy and must be collected from the ground (not the trees), and must be processed within 24 hours (if the nut is removed before collection, then the time frame is shortened to a mere six hours). Temperature is also important; they must be stored in containers that do not get cooler than 5 degrees. Furthermore, the intended market for where Pepsi wants to sell is about 3000 km from the growers’ sourcing stores (i.e. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro).

Testing it out in both the South American and Indian market to start, PepsiCo hopes to eventually expand it other markets across the globe.

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!

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about statistics that we’ve found that suggest that Mexico is a prime nearshoring choice for North America. We found this to be really interesting and decided to flesh it out further so we’ve decided to make this our feature inforgaphic for this month!

As you may know, China and Mexico have been battling to be the prime hub spot for logistics operations in North America for the last couple of years. China has their already established work force and prime manufacturing facilities. Mexico on the other hand is starting to develop their own logistics hub in the Golden Triangle and is starting to become an attractive, and very real, consideration due to cost and time savings.

Benefits of Nearshoring – Part 1

Benefits of Nearshoring - Part 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!

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
We have been seeing a lot of posts these days on the Internet of Things (IoT) from industry professionals in supply chain and logistics. This week we thought we would focus on defining the IoT for those that may be unaware and shed light onto how it applies to the logistics and supply chain industry.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that was can be traced as far back as 1832 with the invention of the first electromagnetic telegraph all the way to today. The term itself though, wasn’t coined until 1999 by Kevin Ashton from the Auto ID Centre:

I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the phrase “Internet of Things” started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G’s supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention. It summed up an important insight—one that 10 years later, after the Internet of Things has become the title of everything from an article in Scientific American to the name of a European Union conference, is still often misunderstood.
Source:RFID Journal

Postscapes has a great overview of the history of the IoT which can be found here. But to define the IoT:

Internet of Things

Definition: The Internet of things is defined as a proposer development of the Internet where everyday objects (i.e. devices) have a form of network connectivity (e.g. Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.) that allow them to send and receive data.

How Does this Relate to Logistics and Supply Chain?

Logistics Viewpoints recently released a blog post on how the IoT will change the face of supply chain management. Essentially, the theory is that operations along the supply chain can be made more efficient by combining technology like smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, etc. with the Internet in diverse ways to optimize the supply chain.

Currently, the IoT is slotted to be present all along the supply chain, from people who will have badges monitors the health of workers in hazardous environments, smartphone apps that detect traffic conditions, to sensors on cargo/shipments that help supply chain planners direct where goods will flow.

Steve Banker of Logistics Viewpoints emphasizes that in order to properly change and accommodate to the advances in applying IoT elements into logistics requires a change in analytics first:

“Collecting, storing and analyzing IoT data requires different processes, skills and technologies.” Acquiring those technologies and ‘growing’ the associated talent will become a key task for companies that want to use IoT to take their supply chain programs to the next level.
Source:Logistics Viewpoints

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

We have already predicted that there will be challenges when attracting the new generation, i.e. Generation Y or the Millenials, to the concept of logistics and supply chain. What better way to influence the move to educate, and more importantly motivate than to make learning about logistics more fun and engaging through play?

On this Industry Focus Week post, we’re going to be exploring different ways gaming and play have been incorporated into the world of logistics and supply chain learning.

Business on the Move – The Game

Logistics games have existed in the past, but they’re normally meant of the University or other post-secondary/professional education stream. Concepts like the Beer Game have existed for a while, but we’ve still got an untapped market: the youth of today. Millenials are still very unaware that there even are careers in logistics.

Source: Business on the Move
Source: Business on the Move

In an effort to attract future generations into the concept of logistics, Andy Page and Pat Smedley, two former business studies teaches, sought to educate all ages but with a focus on youth (9-19 years old) behind the concept supply chain and logistics. They set up a social enterprise called Very Enterprising Community Interest Company in 2011 in order to create Business on the Move.

This board game presents the following challenge: How do you (as a player) move different products from China to their UK customers? You are given the options of different modes of tansportation (i.e. the standard land, sea and air). The point of the game is the be the player that can successfully execute the moving of your goods as quickly, as profitably and as responsibly as possible. Or at least better than the other playes!

Players are faced with taking decisions that are surprisingly similar to those made regularly by many businesses when addressing logistics and supply chain challenges. They have to tackle meeting delivery deadline, improving their supply chain (i.e. supply chain optimization), and ultimately: How to profit! And to top it off, Business on the Move also created sustainability initiatives to the game mechanics to address issues like reducing your company’s carbon footprint?

It is no surprise that Business on the Move has already won an award under the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Inspiring Enterprise initiative as well as UnLtd,a charity that supports social entrepreneurs. SHD Logistics writes that to date:

To date, nearly 600 young people, teachers and supply chain professionals have played Business on the Move, with another 15,000 young people projected to play over the next 12 months. Andy and Pat’s vision is that by 2020 over 100,000 people will have played the game.

Our team at Morai Logistics believes that this is a great move and a wonderful step in the right direction for opening up the concept of logistics and supply chain as not just a career option, but a fun and challenging one to boot!

Warehouse and Logistics Simulator

Gamers are now even getting their own simulator! Simulator genre lovers and casual gamers can finally experience a game that outlines the challenges involved in warehouse and supply chain operations.

Published by United Independent Entertainment GmbH (known for other simulator games like Woodcutter Simulator, Airport Simulator, and Towtruck Simulator to name a few) and developed by the team at app2fun, Warehouse and Logistics Simulator puts your in the driver’s seat of a forklift as you scramble to move goods around the warehouse to reach a time-based high score.

While the game itself did not amass great press or review from the official video game reviewers, it is a great start into a realm of possibly excellent thought out logistics related simulation games. This targets a market that logistics has yet to see and we’re excited to hear that developers have launched something like this to begin with. We are definitely keeping an eye out.

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!

Social-media-for-public-relations1We’ve reached a point in society that people’s parents and even in some cases their grandparents are getting social media savvy! It is no surprise then, that these social media developments is something that businesses can no longer ignore; logistics and supply chain industry or otherwise.

This week’s blog post will focus on two case studies that show how both social media application and mobile technology is affecting the logistics and supply chain industry in an interesting way.

Twitter is Making Truckers Healthier

Fronetics released a post this month on how an interesting development on Twitter has trucking companies leveraging social media to both save money and take care of their staff. According to the article, both obesity and sleep disorders (i.e. sleep apnea) are the primary health risks for truckers and end up costing their employers $190.2 billion in medical spending. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, obese truckers had an annual average total health care cost of $1,944, compared with $1,755 for overweight truckers and $1,131 for normal-weight drivers.

So how does social media come into play? Well, a 42 year old trucker with over 20 years of experience decided to use Twitter as a venue to track his progress to adopt a healthier lifestyle on his journey from being the typical statistic of an unhealthy overweight trucker to a healthier, and happier, trucker.

He started an account as @urbanhauler and, using the hashtag #fittrucker, captured the attention of over 1500 fellow truckers (based on his follower list alone). This spurred Jarred Martin of Speedy Transport to secure a new job opportunity while continuing his quest to change the habits of truckers everywhere.

Google’s Uber Taxi App Expands with UberRush

Source: Uber
Source: Uber
There is a new face in the traditional parcel deliver services, and logistics companies are taking notes. Uber, a San Francisco based venture focusing on on-demand transportation services best known for their vehicle-for-hire or ridesharing app by the same name has expanded in NYC by launching Rush. Rush, or Uber Rush, extends their ridesharing model to a package delivery service. Uber Rush uses bike and on-foot messengers to get your belongings from origin to destination.

It works by having users request a messenger at your location via the Uber Rush app. A chosen delivery person will then arrive to collect your delivery instructions (via bike or foot), then take your package to your destination. Both the sender and recipient can track the location of the package via the app. How’s that for taking logistics services straight to the masses?

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-Canada-Day

The Morai Logistics Team wishes you a Happy Canada Day! To celebrate, here’s a link to the (albeit older) resource from our very own Government of Canada’s State Logistics – The Canadian Report:

Source: Industry Canada
Source: Industry Canada

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

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In the recent years, China and Mexico have been battling to be the prime hub spot for logistics operations in North America. While there are still advantages of offshoring to China, for example their already established work force and prime manufacturing facilities, when it comes down to it cost and time are the prime factors for the change. We will be discussing the expected advantages for nearshoring as well as present some statistics that support the trend that suggest that nearshoring, especially for companies that are looking to build manufacturing plants, is the better option.

Top 5 Expected advantages of Nearshoring

Inbound Logistics Magazine released and analysis of the status of the logistics and supply chain industry in Latin America. Below is an excerpt of survey respondents based on research by AlixPartners of the top five expected advantages of nearshoring:

  • Lower Freight Costs
  • Improved Speed-to-Market
  • Lower Inventory Costs
  • Time-Zone Advantages
  • Improved Cultural Alignment with North American Managers

Nearshoring is becoming more and more attractive as geopolitical changes, and factors such as rising fuel costs, have been affecting the main attraction for China: lower total cost for logistics operations. By 2015, China’s wages are expected to rise to $6 USD, and by this point it will no longer be cheaper than Mexico’s flat wages.

3 Statistics on Mexico as an Advantageous Nearshoring Move

Statistics since our initial post on our case study exploring Mexico as a prime logistics hub has shown that the trend to nearshore is not just very real, but also becoming more and more attractive. Logistics Management’s report exploring how US manufacturing costs are now equal to Mexico and how costs will be equal to China by 2015 seem to be confirmed as we near 2015. The following are statistics that we found that further solidify this trend:

1 – The full landed cost of Chinese production rose from 2005-2010 to 87% of US costs, while Mexican costs fell to 75% of US costs.
Source: Lilly and Associates

2 – Ocean freight from Altamira, Mexico to the port of Miami takes 6 days while a similar shipment from China can take up to a month to arrive.
Source: Lilly and Associates

3 – China’s fuel costs grew at approximately 20 percent per year in the past few years.
Source: Supply Chain Brain

China has some challenges to compete with the attraction of nearshoring to Mexico, and indeed efforts are being taken in order to control the rising fuel costs and the new minimum wage standards in order to remain a strong competitor as an offshoring option for North America. But the concept of nearshoring is now not just a real avenue of exploration, it simply cannot be ignored for those in the North American logistics and supply chain industry.

If you’re interested in finding out more Mexico as a solution for your logistics and supply chain needs, check out our white paper on Mexico and Third Party 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!