Morai-Logistics-Blog-More-Tech

In the past, we’ve discussed how drones and RFID technology are set to impact the logistics industry. These technologies, along with Amazon Robotics (previously Kiva Systems), would have been considered speculative science fiction less than decade ago. These technologies are either only a few years from revolutionizing the supply chain landscape, or have already begun transforming it.

The many logistics, business, and technology articles on the subjects make the three seem like the industry is only weeks away while ignoring some very real gains this past year in some other potentially game changing technology.

For this week, we’d like to discuss the potential impact of things such as mass produced cheap 3D printers, and uberfication. These two innovations are quickly bridging the gap from speculative opinion pieces to best practice!

Mass produced 3D/4D Printers

So this first piece of technology is much closer to being a reality as working 3D/4D printers already exist and are being used in a limited capacity across multiple industries and creative novelties.

This isn’t surprising. The technology is almost four decades old and for most of that time it has been prohibitively expensive with many items produced in that time being little more than talking pieces.

It is only recently that companies such as Nike, Gillette, and Mattel have started investing heavily in 3D printing with even Google joining in with a plans to mass produce 3D-printed smart phones.

With some commercial 3D printers now retailing for less than $100, and newer models such as Hewlett Packard’s Multi Jet Fusion on the horizon however, it won’t be long before the technology starts becoming a viable alternative to traditional shipping.

Uberfication

In the time span of 3 short years, the international transportation network company of Uber Technologies Inc. went from launching its app to having an estimated worth of $50 billion.

It did this by not necessarily offering a new product or service (vehicle-for-hire business models have effectively existed since the idea of transportation has existed), but by streamlining the entire process. Uber tapped into the frustration that many felt with the process of hiring a taxi and instead offers a cheaper, quicker, much more personalized experience which all start with a swipe or two on your phone.

Although many may view Uber as a taxi app, its valuation is indication that investors instead see it as a logistics company according to Adrian Gonzalez, president of consulting firm Adelante SCM.

The soon-to-be launched UberRUSH expands the Uber services to allow customers to get “pretty much anything in minutes” according to the their site:

If every local business delivered, we’d all save time and energy. But most simply can’t. Day-to-day operations are already complicated and delivery can cause all sorts of logistical headaches. There has never been a simple local delivery solution. Until now.

UberRUSH aims to steam-line delivery services much in the same way the company has done to the taxi industry with business owners using Uber drivers to deliver products to customers.

The site also boasts that UberRUSH will allow both customers and businesses to: “order and track deliveries instantly, expand delivery zones, and integrate with existing tools and platforms”

It’ll be interesting to see what customers of the near-future will prefer, the go-anywhere mechanical Amazon drone delivery, or the personalized (though less versatile) Uber delivery of a package and a hello.

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!

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!

We hope everyone has had a great holiday and we would like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year! To kick off the year, we have finished compiling our infographic on the top logistics and supply chain facts from the news that we’ve collected throughout last year. As there is a large number of news items spanning the many large topics in the logistics industry, we decided to create our Top 10 by focusing on categories:

  1. Drones
  2. Same-Day Deliver
  3. Supplier Diversity and Women
  4. Sustainability
  5. RFID
  6. World Bank Institute’s Private Sector Platform
  7. Automation
  8. Online Retail
  9. Truck Driver Shortage
  10. Logistics Slow Growth

Each of these topics have some pretty interesting facts and statistics that may have been missed in the hustle and bustle of fellow logistics professionals and enthusiasts. And while we haven’t covered all of the interesting facts from 2014; we felt that these topics helped changes the face of the logistics and supply chain industry in 2014 and serves a good snippet to review the year.

Top 10 Logistics and Supply Chain Facts of 2014

Morai-Logistcs-Top-10-Logistics-and-Supply-Chain-Facts-of-2014

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!

Photo Credit: Bill Butcher/USFWS
When goods are delivered for large packages what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you thought of a big cardboard box, then you’re among the majority of the population. This quintessential cardboard box has been a staple tool in the logistics industry for transporting all sorts of products. But times have changed. The future of logistics is trending towards more sustainable practices as well as for more creative ways to have efficient throughput in the supply chain cycle.

Enter the world of Intelligent Returnable (or Reusable) Transport Items or iRTIs. The concept comes from combining RFID technology to regular RTIs (Returnable Transport Items). RTIs are important to the development of not just sustainable business practices, but also for the practicality and potential profitability that it can offer. The RFID tags collect and capture information about the containers they’re tagged onto as well as its contents. This gives a whole new set of accessible, actionable date for supply chain managers.

This week we’re going to talk about our top three advantages of having an iRTI system for the global supply chain.

Improved Sanitation and Cargo Control

iRTIs are a great benefit primarily in the food and pharmaceutical industries, the main benefit of which is the fact that these container provide not only a more hygienic solution due to the nature of having durable, fully enclosed containers, but also for the fact that it lends itself to special considerations such as temperature control. This greatly benefits perishable supply chain challenges iRTIs have are able to track the conditions of goods within containers.

Other methods can provide holes along the monitoring of the supply chain and this lack of visibility and actionable data for perishable goods such as pharmaceuticals and food can lead to product loss, recalls, and legal woes. iRTIs can greatly reduce, and in certain cases, eliminate these issues leading to a system set up with avoidable product loss.

Less Wasteful and a More Sustainable Solution

Reusable packaging is not a new concept, and it has been shown in the past to be tantamount to solid waste reduction strategies. Because containers are durable and reusable, iRTIs reduce the carbon footprint and waste that non-RTI packages create primarily by reducing their solid waste output. But iRTIs take it one step further; Rick LeBlanc from RFID Arena provides some great concrete statistics on its sustainability advantages:

“One third party study, reviewing the use of RPCs [Reusable Plastic Containers] versus corrugated display ready packaging for 10 fresh produce commodities, concluded that RPCs required 39 percent less total energy, created 95 percent less solid waste, and generated 29 percent less total greenhouse gas emissions than corrugated display ready containers.”

Profitability and a Closed-Loop System

Reusable containers have already been an attractive consideration in the supply chain because they can greatly reduce the cost-per-trip of transport packaging by virtue of the fact that the containers are re-usable, meaning that costs are predicted based on the durability of the containers themselves as opposed to non-RTI containers which would just be disposed of after delivery. iRTIs take this cost-saving one step further due to the abovementioned features of greatly reducing instances of product loss, liability exposure, recalls from ineffective products, etc.

Thus, it seems that RFID technology is slowly making itself more and more relevant to the logistics and supply chain industry. The addition of RFID to a global supply chain can create ‘smart crates’ that not only really cater to food and pharmaceuticals, but may be a viable option in general for both its cost-cutting and sustainability benefits.

Well that’s it for this week. Tune in next week for out next blog post! If you want to know what we do as a third party logistics provider (3PL) check out our core services. If you haven’t already check us out on Twitter (@MoraiLogistics), give us a follow or a @mention, we’re looking forward to engaging with you. Otherwise, stay tuned for next week’s post on our monthly Logistics Glossary Week series!