Radio frequency identification (RFID) has become one of the megatrends in logistics. It is surprising then that despite the hundreds of millions of RFID tags sold this year alone that, according to results from the 2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey, finally saw the technology living up to the hype in the logistics industry in the last few years.

Here are only a few ways that RFID technology has changed, and is continuing to change the not only the way we think about logistics, but also how interact with the world around us. Check out the infographic below for all the facts!

9 Facts About RFID Technology in Logistics

morai-logistics-infographic-rfid

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-Coffee

Today is International Coffee Day. It’s the first of what will likely be a yearly tradition of celebrating and promoting coffee as a beverage.

Events around the world are now occurring around with this goal in mind with this past Tuesday having been the National Coffee Day for Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Aside from free coffee and discounts on coffee products, this day will also be used to promote fair trade coffee to raise awareness about other important global concerns such as the plight of some coffee growers. International Coffee Day is currently trending on Facebook and Twitter feeds with many interesting pieces of information and pictures related to our favourite early morning drink.

For this first celebration of just about everyone’s not-so-secret drink, we thought it best to go into a bit of the intricate logistical webs that are required for the humble coffee bean (which if you didn’t know, is in fact a berry pit!) to the coffee in your hand.

From Bean to Cup

Supply chains for coffee are often complex and intricate. Depending on the countries involved, a coffee supply chain can include up to 7 different parties before the finished product ever enters your hands. These different groups include growers, intermediaries, processors, government agencies, exporters, dealers/brokers, roasters, and then finally retailers.

Did you know?

  • Oil is the most widely used product in the world, coffee is next in line.
  • Coffee is second only to oil as the world’s most valuable commodity.
  • Humans drink a lot of coffee: Annual global consumption is about 12 billion pounds.

The Coffee Cycle

Unlike many non-agriculture products, coffee is highly susceptible to changes in climate and weather. What many people don’t know is that to produce coffee, a long-term commitment is needed from those involved as it takes over four years before a coffee tree attains full productivity. The long-term perspective needed to be involved in the coffee industry is also present in the trading firms and business agreements with some trading firms being passed down through generations within a family.

Unfortunately, this means that coffee as a product is less able to meet changes in demand as the supply is erratic due to environment, meaning there is often problems with fluctuating prices. These price fluctuations lead to a cyclical structure which have real consequences for farmers according to this webpage on the subject on the Duke University website,

There is a significant delay between changes in price and subsequent changes in production. The significant investment that a farmer makes in a coffee plantation will cause him to try and survive periods of low prices rather than switch to other crops. Conversely, when prices are high, supply cannot immediately respond because it takes nearly five years for a new plantation to reach full production capacity.

Thankfully, there are efforts being made to help farmers and their communities improve their situations. The growing popularity Fair Trade Coffee and its history is an example of this.

Starbucks’ partnering with Conservation International to draft the Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices (CA.F.E) is a good case study of what CSI can do as this 2011 Guatemalan case study from 2010 concludes ” Farmers participating in C.A.F.E. Practices were more likely to invest in the conservation of biodiversity and water quality in addition to improvements in coffee production and quality”.

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-Truck-Driver-Appreciation-Week

This past week was National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW). From September 13th to 19th, professional truck drivers across America for their hard work transporting all sorts of items, commercial and industrial.

For this 27th passing of NTDAW, we would like to highlight some important and interesting facts about the trucking industry. They’ll demonstrate how incredible and essential the 3.5 million professional men and women who transport goods across the country are to not just logistics, but the economy overall.

Did you know? – The trucking industry is foundationally important to the United States!

Currently, 70% of all freight transported in the United States is done through one of the 15.5 million truck currently in operation according to this source.

What’s also important to note is that almost 80% of communities residing within the United States rely exclusively on trucks for the delivery of their goods.

Did you know? – Trucking is a dynamic industry for growth!

At present, The trucking industry collects, on average, $650 billion in revenue each year. That is about 5% of America’s GDP. The mean salary for a truck driver in the United States meanwhile is $44,500 according to Career Builder. This is likely to grow as over the next decade, the trucking industry is estimated to grow over 21%.

This growth can already be seen as The Department of Transportation registers more than 40,000 commercial drivers licenses per month.

90% of the trucking industry in the United States is made up of small business trucking companies with ten or less trucks.

Did you know? – Truckers need more appreciation!

Of the millions of truck drivers, more than 169 billion miles are logged each year collectively from all the drivers.

In regards to expectations, drivers are typically expected to cover 125,000 miles per annum. That breaks down to around 2,500 miles a week, which equates to 500 miles a day.

According to an industry article about the life of a trucker on Jobs.net:

Days can begin really early. Many drivers like to move with the light; others prefer to drive through the night. OTR truck drivers don’t have set starting hours, unless they’re calling in to dispatch after returning from time off

You may be expected to work up to 70 hours over an eight-day period. After you’ve worked for 70 hours, you cannot drive again until you take a full 34 hours off duty. The 70-hour limit could be reached by working 14-hour days, but you cannot drive for more than 11 hours in a day. You must conclude your “Hours of Service” with a 10-hour break.”

The trucking industry has also made major efforts toward being more green-friendly. The best example is the clean diesel trucks that operate today. It would take 60 trucks to equal the exhaust emissions of one truck from 1988.

As you can see from the facts and figured above, there is a lot that truckers and the trucking industry should be lauded for. They are a very large part of not only ensuring logistical chains run smoothly, but also and all too often the unsung backbone of America 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-Scholarships

As the summer ends and fall begins, many young people are returning to school. Along the way, stress will also makes an unwelcome return. Stress over doubts about their chosen career path, and stress about the financial cost of their schooling are the most common.

Although we can’t speak about the majority of career options available and their viability, we can say that those with a passion for dynamic environments and problem solving will have an easier time handling this stress. According to ThinkAdvisor, the starting salary for a fresh graduate of a Supply Chain Management program can expect on average a salary of $52,800. This will then on average, rise to a salary of around $83,700 by mid-career.

Given that logistics plays such a crucial role in our ever globalized world, a degree in the field of logistics is not something that will lose value anytime soon.

That leaves the stress of the financial cost of a logistics degree which is why we’ve put together this post–to help mitigate the cost through scholarships and other financial aid you may not be aware of.

1. L.L. Waters Scholarship Program

Final due date for submission: September 14th

This scholarship, named after Dr. L. L. Water, is aimed at preparing persons of high potential for careers in transportation, logistics, and physical distribution.

Eligibility (from the website):

Undergraduate students in their junior or senior year at a fully accredited four-year U.S. college or university, who are enrolled in a degree program in which Transportation/logistics is their area of concentration are eligible. Students enrolled in, or accepted to, a fully accredited college or university in the pursuit of graduate studies in transportation/logistics/physical distribution as their concentration of study, are also eligible. Recipients are selected without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Awards will be on a competitive basis, based upon scholastic performance and potential, and evidence of the degree of commitment to the pursuit of a professional career in transportation/logistics

2. MHEFI Scholarship

Final due date for submission: February 1, 2016

The Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. is an independent charitable organization that seeks to give students and educators the opportunity to the study of material handling, logistics and the supply chain, by providing financial aid.

Eligibility (from their website):

Those interested in receiving one of 50 scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $9,000, are to fill out this application. In order for the application to be considered for scholarships all documentation must be received including:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from the Registrars Office
  • Online application

3. Amazon Student Scholarship

Final due date for submission: November 20th, 2015

This scholarship is different than the two mentioned previously. For one, it isn’t just for those with career aspirations in the logistics field. It does however, offer 50 scholarships yearly of $5000 towards your tuition. It is the added incentive of receiving this scholarship that it gets a mention. Along with the money toward tuition, you’ll also receive a further $500 in the form of an Amazon gift card towards school books.

Books can be expensive, so every little bit helps!

Eligibility (from their website):

Amazon Student members who are full-time undergraduate students at an accredited, not-for-profit U.S college or university as of the fall of 2016, or who intend to be full-time undergraduate students in the fall of 2016 are eligible to apply.

Other excellent scholarship opportunities for those following a path in supply chain and operations management can be found here.

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’re all squeezing out that last little bit of summer that’s left! We thought we’d kick off September with a feature eBook on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, more commonly known as drones. Tracing back to 1849, drones are a year away from being a century-old technology.

In order to celebrate a little early, enjoy our eBook below!

5 Ways UAVs Are Revolutionizing the World

Morai-eBook-UVA-Drones-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-Parking

The Department of Transportation released the results of a comprehensive truck parking survey. In the study, they found that there is still a massive shortage of truck parking spots within the U.S, and that this is a national safety concern.

Of the truck drivers surveyed, 75% said they regularly had trouble finding safe parking when it was time to rest. 66% of the logistics personnel said the same. Ninety percent reported “struggling to find safe and available parking” at night.

Here’s a troubling quote from an ibloomberg.net article on the subject,

Unofficial or illegal truck parking places have become so common that safety officials in 48 states reported they could identify the locations. Officials in 11 states could identify 11 or more places, according to the study. Nearly half the time those ad hoc locations were freeway ramps; 27% of the time freeway shoulders and 20% of the time they were parking lots, it found

The states that reported the most severe truck parking problems are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Washington, and Oregon.

The problem is compounded with predictions that freight volume are to increase by nearly 29% over the next 11 years.

The study also reveals why the issue has been so difficult to address–there is no single entity responsible for the truck parking facilities. Add to this that of the majority of truck parking, 88% of the 309,000 spaces documented in the study–is at private truck stops, not in public rest areas.

Plans are in motions to fight the parking deficit. The Federal Highway Administration has stated that they’ll use funds from the GROW AMERICA Act which provides $18 million for targeted investments in freight infrastructure. The US DOT and National Coalition on Truck Parking have also announced plans to work together to find solutions for the parking problem.

Jason’s Law

The study itself is part of a larger effort known as Jason’s Law. This law came about because of what happened to Jason Rivenburg, a truck driver who was robbed and murdered in 2009 after he was unable to find a safe spot to rest for the night.

Jason’s Law was passed in 2012 and included a $6 million budget to provide the U.S’s highways with safe places for truckers to deal with fatigue without the worry of getting robbed or assaulted.

The authors of the one hundred and nineteen page study are clear about what they hope to achieve ultimately,
“Ideally each driver requiring rest should be able to access a safe, clean, full service parking space to obtain long-term rest whenever the need for long-term parking arises”.

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-Mexico-Rail

Last Friday, a new international rail bridge between the United States and Mexico was finally operational. The project took 15 years to complete, and had a price tag that ran over $120 million according to an article in the San Antonio Express news.

This new international bridge, of a sort not built in over one hundred years, is impressive but it is only a small part of Mexico’s rapidly developing rail ways and intermodal capabilities.

The combination of recent labor disputes at the U.S. West Coast, and rising costs on goods shipped to the U.S. from China (due to high oil prices and rising wages) has made Mexico very popular for international trade and companies seeking to convert to nearshoring as their logistics strategy.

It should be no surprise then that the aforementioned article quoting census data, writes that in the first six months of 2015, Mexico topped $262 billion in trade.

An excellent InboundLogistics.com article on the topic covers Ferrocarril Mexicano’s success, the country’s largest railroad, as a case study for the growing demand for rail transportation both domestically and between Mexico and the United States. This railroad had its carload volume increase by 6.6 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, and revenues increase by 13.9 percent.

Mexico’s central location, and the country’s commitment to improving security across its entire rail system are the other reasons InboundLogisitcs attributes to the railroad renaissance.

A similar article on LogisticsViewpoints.com emphasizes that Mexico has received a lot of investment from private companies to improve the Mexican rail system (over 5 billion U.S in fact).

This, according to the article, has created a system that is compatible with those of both its northern neighbours: “rail transportation, including bulk, general cargo and intermodal, has been a key factor in the expansion of trade between the U.S. and Mexico”.

Bringing it all back home

Stronger, more secure, and better supported rail ways are not the only things Mexico has to offer. Along the Mexico-Texan border, an area traditionally filled with warehouses, a home for “reshoring” is being created. U.S manufacturing companies are moving back home.

CoStar.com gives the example of the $8.1 billion purchase by IndCor Properties of 18 buildings with a combined 2.13 million square feet in El Paso, TX, as evidence of this. The article also discusses why goods shipped to West Coast ports have declined by 30% thanks in large part to the ongoing labor disputes there (which is because of ongoing labor disputes there).

The best way to conclude this blog post, is to again quote from the InboundLogistics article:

Investments in better processes, connectivity and operations will continue to increase capacity, expand intermodal ramp operations, improve service and increase train speed within the growing Mexican railroad network. This, combined with the improvements made over the past 20 years, are making rail and intermodal a sustainable, viable and long-term transportation solution for both cross border and intra-Mexico supply chains

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-Amazon-Prime-2

Blowing up Big, But Not as Expected

“Prime Day is a one-day event held on July 15, 2015, where Prime members can find more deals than Black Friday” announced Amazon on its North American sites prior to the event. It wouldn’t be just an unofficial commercial holiday, but a “global shopping event” the company stated in a press release.

However, shortages in popular sale items and mediocre to miniscule discounts on other items led to a strong social media backlash to Prime Day which included hashtags such as #UnhappyPrimeDay, #AmazonFail, #GoBackToSleep, and #PrimeDayFail.

Some of those tweets can be seen here:

An article on TechCrunch.com which cited data released by Adobe which aggregated counter sales across over 4 million social mentions on blogs, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Reddit, Foursquare and elsewhere, gave interesting details regarding the nascent holiday.

  • By late afternoon on Prime Day, the event had 90,000 social mentions, but by the same point, Black Friday 2014 had seen 20 times the number of mentions during the same time period (or 1.6 million)
  • Half of the social media mentions in the U.S expressed sadness as many of the negative tweets it found were pointing to less-desirable items, like socks, microfiber towels and Adam Sandler movies
  • Sentiment for the #PrimeDay hashtag went from 10% negative sentiment before the sale to 24% negative once sales launched
  • Combined @Amazon and the #PrimeDay hashtag have had a sizeable dip in sentiment since the sales launched receiving a combined 41,434 negative mentions from users

All Style, But Where’s the Substance?

Amazon obviously put a lot of time and money into promoting their Prime Day event. The company hoped it would eclipse Black Friday as the premier shopping holidays.

In their effort to make Prime Day big, Amazon seems to have forgot a simple logistical concept regarding inventory management 101 – knowing what they had.

As an article on Entrpreneur.com points out, the reason for ho-hum attitude of some customers had to do with lower-than-expected inventory for popular items, and unimpressive “discounts” such as these.

The frankly bizarre items with massive discounts was neither here nor there, but it did lead to some amusing screen captures and captions.

Boom or bust for Amazon?

Amazon did well. Very well in fact. Hiroku Tabuchi, wrote in this New York times article,

Independent data confirmed the sales surge. ChannelAdvisor, which tracks third-party sales on Amazon, said that Amazon’s sales on Wednesday jumped 93 percent in the United States and 53 percent in Europe compared with the same day of the week last year

Despite the sales number, many analysts agree that Prime Day has been a PR disaster for Amazon, a fact made worse because as of this article, the company has offered no apologies.

“In the long run, that means Amazon’s decision to ignore the backlash could have longer-lasting effects beyond the Prime Day sales boost”, writes Sarah Perez of TechCrunch.com. “Consumers who were on the fence about the value of Amazon Prime may think poorly of Amazon’s brand following the bad social media buzz”.

The question now is: “Can those spurned Prime members muster enough goodwill to stay signed up after their trial expires?”, only time will tell.

Until then, we’re left with some amusing tweets.

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-Lego-Bricks-Go-Green

The Lego Group, the privately-held Danish makers of Lego, have recently announced that they taken steps have towards reducing their product’s carbon footprint.

According to a news report by the Curbed, Lego is investing $150 million in research and development over the next 15 years.

This article from RealtyToday.com provides more information,

In addition to establishing a new facility that’s dedicated to the cause, the company will be hiring a team of 100 employees to develop a new environmentally-friendly ‘recipe’ for the Lego toy, they would be seeking to hire a range of scientists for the project, including chemists, materials specialists, engineers, and parts designers

The company’s aim is to ultimately move away from the (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) plastic materials that they have been using in their toys, and instead make its iconic plastic building blocks better for the environment. While Lego will remain plastic and still look the same after all of this is over, oil won’t be used to make them.

At present, according to news reported by the Cen Acs.Org, Lego currently uses 77,000 metric tons of raw materials to create more than 60 billion Lego.

Building Towards a Sustainable Tomorrow

Although Lego is only one brand that moving toward being more environmentally friendly, the cultural presence and thus its ability to influence other companies towards more eco-friendly manufacturing cannot be understated.

Lego have been around in their earliest incarnation since 1949. From pop culture franchise themed sets, museum housed art exhibits, to a Lego constructed fully-functional car, the famous plastic bricks have played a large role in capturing the imaginations and free time of millions of children and adults alike.

Just last year, Lego had a powerful impact on the cinema world with the runaway success with both critics and audience with their The Lego Movie. This means that no matter the cause, Lego will have a very visible impact in any venture it takes on.

Being Green Isn’t Just for the Small and Stackable

Lego isn’t the only company that is moving toward being as eco-friendly as they can be.
There are many advantages that are to be gained. According to an article on Chron, they are:

  • Public Relations
  • Cost Savings
  • Healthier Workplace
  • Tax Credits
  • Consumer Demand

A quote by Roar Trangbaek, press officer for Lego Group, in a online publication by Atten.com, described the green move as a “logical” way to help improve the environment as a company.
“You could say that it’s a logical place for us to find a way of reducing our environmental footprint,” Trangbaek said. “If you look at our CO2 footprint as a company, the majority of our impact comes from offscreen activities—basically what happens before we receive any raw materials in our factory … We’re looking at every opportunity out there that’s more sustainable”.

As 2015’s “World’s most powerful brand”, Lego’s move toward greener bricks will hopefully be the building block necessary to encourage other popular manufacturers toward environmentally-friendly products.

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!

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

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

Getting Started on Your Logistics Career

Morai-Logistics-Career-in-Logistics-ebook

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