Morai-Logistics-Blog-Sports-Logistics

“Before the high-profile athletes and rabid fans arrive at a major professional sports event, superstar logisticians and planners perform their own feats of greatness to ensure the big game goes off without a hitch” -writes this InboundLogistics post.

Last night the Toronto Raptors faced off against the Cleveland Cavalier, and emerged victorious with 103-99 score. Those in attendance were treated to stylish swag, as the game was also the third annual Drake Night for the Toronto Raptors.

As of September 2013, Canadian music artist Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham) became the Toronto’s Raptors’ official “global ambassador“. His responsibilities have been to rebrand, create buzz, and even help design jerseys and merchandise. In his role as global ambassador for the team, Drake has even created a new logo and new colors for the team.

His help with branding was no small feat either, as Raptor’s brand value rose from $52 million in 2013 to an estimated $97 million as of January of this year according to Forbes.

A professional sporting event is not just about selling a game to fans, but about delivering an experience. There are many moving parts behind the scenes to ensure those attending the event enjoy as positive an experience as possible. Having clothing designed, delivered, and ready for the big game is only one area wherein logistics is important in professional sporting events.

For larger and well known international events, ensuring the logistics of an event means that careful planning is done several years before the event itself.

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for example, was announced and planned seven years prior to the event, which was a smart move as there were:

  • over 5,500 athletes and team members who attended.
  • over 350 paralympic athletes and team members who attended.
  • over 25,000 volunteers who helped out with the Olympic games.
  • over 12,000 media representatives from all over the world broadcasting the games to an expected 2.1 billion television viewers.

Transport and Sporting Events

Without athletes, you cannot have a sporting event. Without a venue, you cannot have your sporting event. Without an audience, you cannot have a sporting event. It is for these three key considerations that transport services for a sporting event is so critical.

SEL, a company specializing in sports and events logistics, writes:

“Managing the transport services for a sporting event involves not only arranging transfers for athletes and equipment, but also providing for all that is closely connected with it, from catering to the most advanced kinds of fuel. Moreover, covering world championships means coping with various countries and languages, long distances, and customs and domestic rules that differ from one nation to another”.

Fun and Games For The Next Generation of Logisticians

Like other areas of logistics, sports and event logistics are quickly growing fields. Some schools are already offering programs specializing in these fields with courses in Event Planning and Logistics, Behind the Scenes in Events, Sports and Event Marketing.

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-Holiday-Planning

We are in mid November and for many people this means that it’s the best time to start to thinking about who they’ll be giving a gift to and what that gift will be. If organized, they’ll set a budget and a timeline so they aren’t scrambling at 11 PM the night before in a dollar store for the perfect gift.

If you are working in a distribution centre however, the planning and preparation stage for your building/company would have started about four months ago back near the end of July. You would now either be in the middle or very close to peak season, meaning that your building could see an inventory increase of over 40%.

Given how close the holiday season is, there is likely not much that can be done if your distribution centre is only just now scrambling to put together peak plans for your building. Rather than this be a list of tips for planning a successful peak, consider this a quick checklist to determine exactly how rocky a peak your supply chain may have. As the saying goes,

“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns .

Filling personnel gaps

Does your distribution centre have the right people, in the right places, in the right numbers? Being in the peak season means that overall volume of your buildings will increase. The amount of items received and shipped will increase. The amount of items being stored and necessary space will increase. Quality control in your building’s processes will need to be increased. Even available security and janitorial personnel will need to increase in order to service the increase in personnel in other areas of the building.

What are your building’s plan for staffing needs? This is a question that should’ve been addressed early but now is a good time to review!

  • How many temps have been hired, and what sort of tasks are they handling?
  • Is there an incentive plan that pays bonuses for workers who excel during peak? If so, how has it impacted worker engagement thus far?
  • Is your building’s staffing plan calculated to meet your service goals (orders/boxes per hour per employee, lines picked per hour per picker, etc)?. How closely are those goals being hit?

Winter is coming…

The holidays not only bring cheer and a spike in products traveling through supply chains, but also bad weather (if you are in North America). Even if you are located in an area where snow won’t affect your distribution centre directly, it doesn’t mean that your vendors, carriers, and customers will be safe from it.

  • Does your building have a well-documented emergency plan in case of power outages?
  • Does your staff understand the expedited transportation options available such as time-definite ocean transportation, air-sea, sea-air, and team-driver trucking service?
  • Has your building tested Plan B carriers to see if there are any issues in utilizing them if your preferred carriers become indisposed during peak time?

Getting those evaluation sheets ready

No matter how well prepared and laid-out the plans for your distribution centre are, chances are there will be some area in which those plans fall short. It could be due to vendor mismanagement of inventory leading to out-of-stock of a hot item. Or underestimating the amount of returns and not having the staff post-holiday. Regardless of the shortfalls, it is important to have a system in place to track your performance and use labor statistics, order data, customer satisfaction scores, and inventory reporting to identify areas where you both shined and struck out.

This information will help you during future peak planning. Having an outside consultant come in and review the data with you post-peak. This help you think through necessary changes for next year’s peak season that you can begin working on as soon as the peak season has wrapped up.

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!

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-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!

With the summer heat being in full effect here in North America, we decided to share some facts about one of the world’s oldest, and most popular beverages – beer! Beer, in particular, requires greater attention to reverse logistics processes when it passes sell-by dates and kegs have to be transported from the reseller back to the bottler.

Beer production, marketing, storage, and distribution is difficult despite it being such a globally common product. This is why some beverage companies are turning to 3PLs to help manage distribution to market. This article from Inbound Logistics goes into more detail between beer companies and their heavy logistics needs. So after enjoying our top 10 beer facts, why not serve yourself a beer on a hot summer day and have a read?!

10 Summer Beer Logistics Facts

morai-logistics-infographic-beer-facts

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-3D-Printing

Last week, Frost & Sullivan published the 2015 Supply Chain Foresight report which analyzed key megatrends impacting (or predicted to impact) industry stakeholders. More importantly, the survey
A key point of the survey was that the findings were based on how the industry leaders who participated felt about the impact (or possibility of impact) the emerging megatrends would have on their supply chains, businesses and industries.

3D/4D printing and copying was given a low ranking, whereas technology innovation, the rise of African and Asian economies, device connectivity and big data, e-commerce and robotics were cited as the most pressing megatrends.

In our view, the assessment and ranking of the emerging megatrends by the study’s participants isn’t incorrect. However, we feel that it lacks some imagination and that the full implications of this technology is not being fully appreciated from a supply chain and logistics perspective.

3D/4D Printing’s Effect on Manufacturing & Transportation

One of the many appeals of the potential of 3D/4D printing as a technology is that if it were to continue its drop in price, it would then be financially feasible to incorporate into a manufacturing facility in mass. Such an action could effectively localize the entire production process, affecting the transportation and manufacturing sectors in profound ways.

“While manufacturers benefit from the operational efficiencies 3D printing can bring, transportation providers may take a revenue hit if they aren’t fully prepared. Global commercial transportation lanes are particularly at risk since more products will be manufactured locally. A recent analysis found that as much as 41 percent of air cargo business and 37 percent of ocean container business may be affected. About 25 percent of over-the-road (OTR) trucking business is also at risk, due to the potential reduction in goods that start as air cargo or as containers on ships” says an article from Load Delivered (quoting statistics from Strategy&).

3D/4D Printing as it is today

Although it is likely that it’ll be several years before the potential for 3D/4D printing to be fully realized, the technology has however resulted in logistical innovations.
The militaries of Britain, America, and China have already started using 3D printing on the field to replace equipment parts, and to print out surgical instruments and protective masks directly in war zones.

NASA has also experimented with 3D printing as an economical alternative to sending tools and spare parts into space to fix delicate equipment. Rather than using the limited space in a shuttle to transport a wrench to use on the International Space Station, NASA can simply email and print the wench on the station itself.

Other Implications of 3D Printing

The problem with trying to list all the ways that this technology will affect the supply side logistics industry is that the far reaching implications, consequences, and innovations it affords is mostly uncharted territory as there’s nothing like it. It’s ability to collapse the space of manufacturing and transportation of goods is similar to the automobile and will potentially have just as great as an impact on the industry overall.

As mentioned, although the far reaching implications of this technology is murky at best, there are some implications that are generally agreed upon . According to an article on Manufacturing Global Magazine, they are the following:

  • Easier prototyping
  • Easier customisation
  • Greater creativity and efficiency
  • Improved consistency
  • Reduced lead times
  • Lower prices

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-Pan-Am

With over 10,000 athletes from 41 different nations competing in 36 different sports, the 2015 Pan Am Games (TO2015) which are set to take place in Toronto, are looking to be a big win for Canada this summer.

Although the Pan Am Games is impressive in its own right as a major international sporting event, it is also something of a minor logistics marvel.

Aside from the numbers mentioned earlier, the organizers of this year’s event need to also take into account that over 250,000 visitors and media personal will be attending the event. More than 30 venues in and around the city of Toronto will host the main event with an additional be 13 non-competition venues and 15 training sites for the athletes. Because of the major logistics demand this will entail, the 2015 Pan Am Games teamed up with Schenker of Canada, an international logistics company.

DB Schenker has pledged to provide 6,968 square metres (75,000 square feet) of warehouse space, warehouse operations (including staff and equipment), freight transportation and freight distribution operations, venue and Athletes’ Village logistics operations, as well as customs clearance and freight forwarding according to an earlier press release.

In fact, DB Schenker has estimated that 2015 Pan Am Games will require twice the number of products used during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

A Fully Stocked Event

In a bit of creative and proud self-promotion, DB Schenker posted a list of the items they’d be providing for the event–back in 2013. The intent being to market themselves as the official logistics support for the event. Here is the highlights of that list:

  • 1,000,000 items with 5,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) to keep track of them in the warehouse
  • 6,250 folding tables (stretched end to end would run the entire length of the Pan Am equestrian cross-country course)
  • 22,500 folding chairs (the equivalent of 12 fully loaded 16-metre tractor trailers)
  • 7,500 metres (25,000 feet) of barrier tape (almost 14 times the height of the CN Tower)
  • 7,600 beds and mattresses
  • 950 pairs of track spikes
  • 920 swimsuits
  • 700 wheelchairs
  • 400 bicycles
  • 250 boats (sailing, canoe/kayak, rowing)

The company also committed to picking up the equipment and luggage of the participating athletes from the Toronto Pearson International Airport and transport to and from the event.

Events such as the 2015 Pan Am Games are about the coming together of different people from different nations in the spirit of friendly competition. But these events can only come to be if there’s a strong, organized, and well planned logistics structure behind it. Ian Troop, chief executive officer of TO2015, had this to say on the matter, “A great logistics team means our athletes, officials, volunteers and staff can perform with ease and confidence when the world is watching in 2015″.

The Pan Am Games will be held between July 10th and 26th, with the Parapan Am Games between August 7th and 15th.

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!