Morai-Logistics-Blog-Glass-Ceiling

By Lisa Henthorn

Virtually impenetrable not all that long ago, the “glass ceiling” blocking women from executive-level jobs in the logistics and supply chain industry appears to be shattering.
Though few (if any) people in our industry would argue that our historic gender bias has gone away, the outlook for women is considerably brighter these days than it was when Industry Week made this bleak observation a little over two years ago:

Half of the human population is female. More than half of all university students in the United States are female. Around a third of all MBA students, including those concentrating on supply chain studies, are female. And yet, when (we) did a manual count of top supply chain executives in Fortune 500 companies, we found only 22 women among 320 businesses that had a true supply chain function.

22 out of 320? That’s a definitive “F-minus,” but there’s growing evidence that our industry’s grade on gender equality is improving. Among the most significant signs: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx appointed Michelle Livingstone to a two-year term on the National Freight Advisory Committee.
Livingstone, by the way, is VP of Transportation for Home Depot. As such, she’s on a growing roster of females who hold top-level logistics posts at high-profile companies. The list also includes:

These executives deserve our applause. And the companies that gave them their respective titles should get a pat on the back, too. Why? If for no other reason, it’s because they decided to break with the “old-boy network” tradition that lingers on in our industry and give leadership roles to the people most qualified to have them. This simply makes good business sense, and in light of our industry’s ominous talent shortage, that’s especially true.

In other words, as we look for answers to the labor shortage, there’s no time like the present to tap the female labor pool.

Lisa Henthorn is a vice president at Eyefreight, a provider of transportation management system technology. Lisa can be reached at l.henthorn@eyefreight.com

About Eye Freight

The Eyefreight SaaS TMS is a Level 5 TMS, providing shippers with a control tower for central coordination and detailed visibility over multi-modal, multi-leg, international logistics. Eyefreight runs proprietary algorithms to manage and monitor the entire logistics process – optimizing inventory allocation and distribution planning, and unlocking traditional bottlenecks within the logistics function.

Many businesses have embraced social media to grow and to bring value to both their company and their customers. This is because the number of people online has been rapidly growing since the 2000s. Within the United States for example, 70% of the population have at least one social networking profile.

For companies involved in 3PL and logistics, this means a well-crafted social media strategy can afford them new avenues improve their brand visibility, engage their customers, and to increase their involvement in how the industry itself is perceived. All of these lead to a stronger brand name.

This month’s ebook focuses on how social media helps your brand in the logistics and supply chain industry!

3 Reasons Why a Social Media Strategy Will Help Your Brand in Logistics and Supply Chain

morai-logistics-ebook-social-media-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-Recycling-Logistics

The slippery slope of falling oil prices

In less than two years, the price of oil has gone from over $100, to just beneath $30 a barrel. The rapid price decline is having a major impact across most North American industries in one way or another. Most often, the exact net impact is complicated to determine because the industry or business may lose out in some areas, but benefit in others. However, when it comes to the business of recycling, the downward slide of oil prices has been unambiguous. The impact has been almost entirely negative. As oil prices continue to fall, so does the profitability of most companies who offer recycling services to cities and other businesses.

Though recycling is generally agreed by most consumers to be good for the environment, the actual cost of the process is something that isn’t discussed. Some of the costs involve emissions from shipping to be processed materials to recycling centers, which use a lot of energy and water. This means that the falling price tag of oil makes it so after a certain price point, it is simply cheaper for businesses to invest in creating new plastics and materials rather than recycle old ones.

“Abundant oil is the latest headache for recyclers. New plastics are made from the by-products of oil and gas production. So as plentiful fossil fuels saturate global markets, it has become cheaper for the makers of water bottles, yogurt containers and takeout boxes to simply buy new plastics”, writes the New York Times in this article. ” This, in turn, is dragging down the price of recycled materials, straining every part of the recycling industry” it continues.

New technology and new problems for sustainability efforts

The reduced price in oil isn’t alone in negatively impacting the recycling sector. As electronic products become ever smaller and cheaper, they are also impacting recycling cost and efforts:

Electronics devices contain less and less valuable materials and precious metals, which make reduce the size of economic urban mining opportunities. In itself, this isn’t a bad trend, but it does carry negative impacts when combined with designs that make materials harder to extract

The growing popularity of online shopping is also making itself felt in terms of environmental cost. In particular, the incredible amount of cardboard needed every day to meet consumer demand, and the subsequent freight that is needed to ship and deliver it. For some context, The United States alone produced 35.4 million tons of containerboard in 2014.

It’s not all bad

Despite the increasing cost tied to recycling plastics and other oil-based items rather than making new ones, some companies are still committing to their recycling and sustainability efforts. Some big companies such as Pepsi and Procter & Gamble are buying more recyclable material to meet sustainability goals. The online and e-commerce sector is also making strides towards lessening its environmental footprint according to Dennis Colley, the president of the Fibre Box Association — the trade group for the corrugated paper, or cardboard, industry — who states that 90 percent of corrugated packaging were recycled.

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!

Third party logistics (3PL) companies offer resources for companies to outsource all or part of their supply chain management. When you select your 3PL you are essentially selecting another member of your organization. As the 3PL will be acting an extension of your company, it is essential that you find out if the 3PL you are viewing is the right fit for your business.

This month we’ve created an infographic to help you select the right 3rd party logistics provider!

5 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a 3PL

Morai-Logistics--5-Questions-to-Ask-3PL

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-Chocolate-Supply-Chain

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about everyone’s favorite treat. Candy makers Mars Inc., Hershey Co., Modelez International Inc. (maker of Cadbury), and other big food companies are sharing private data on cocoa farming practices and crop yields despite being competitors in an effort to help cocoa farmers see greater yields.

The reason for this is that the surging demand for chocolate is far outpacing the supply available, so they are trying different pilot programs to address the problem. The shortage of cocoa isn’t a new issue. In 2014, a Slate article citing a report in Bloomberg Pursuits, quoted that by the year 2020 there could be a gap of 1 million metric tons between how much cocoa the global population wants and how much farmers can produce. It also surmised that by 2030, that gap would double in size.

There are several factors that are attributed to the gap between demand and supply:

  • Global chocolate consumption has grown steadily since the 1990s, with overall consumption predicted to hit 8.5 million tons in 2020.
  • Consumers in China and India are eating more chocolate, creating a potential two billion more chocoholics according to several articles.
  • Global demand for chocolate rose 0.6% to a record 7.1 million tons in 2015, led by a 5.9% jump in Asia.
  • Dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa to produce than other forms of chocolate, has become more popular according to this Vice article.
  • As of last September, Ghana’s cocoa production fell by 18 percent from the year before. Production is expected to be down again in part thanks to an El Niño that has put Africa into one of its worst droughts in 30 years.
  • The strength of the dollar may also be attributed to cocoa’s success over the past five years writes this article on CNBC.

Sweet Logistics

The plan to address the gaps in supply revolve around enabling farmers to grow greater yields in increasingly difficult growing conditions. To this end, Mars Inc., Hershey’s, and Mondelez International, have been sending agriculture experts abroad to teach farmers how to space young trees at planting, prune them, and apply fertilizer. Mondelez alone has promised $400 million by 2022 towards this project.

Hershey’s and Mars have sent agronomists to cocoa-producing countries to teach farmers how to graft a new cocoa plant to an existing under producing plant. “There is often a tech element involved, too. Hershey’s supplied farmers in Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, with weather and marketing information by text message, and those who followed the advice produced 46 percent more cocoa” writes Vice.

Time will tell if the efforts will be enough to accommodate the growing demand from the millions of future chocoholics around the world. 2016 isn’t a very encouraging year for the chocolate industry as many of the same problems plaguing it have carried over into the new year. However, the efforts by the companies involved look like they may yield the needed results in the long term thereby likely preventing any sort of future “chocopocalypse”.

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 rapidly changing environment of the logistics and supply chain industry, it has been a busy one for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the third-party logistics sphere. There is a lot of pressure for 3rd party logistics providers to expand their services; customers and clients are now looking more and more for a one-stop solution for all of their logistics and supply chain needs. Combine this with a need to drive scale in specific markets and a desire to go global for rapidly growing companies and you’ve got a recipe for a healthy M&A environment.

This month we thought we’d focus on exploring how these concepts are affecting 3PLs and compiled the most insightful facts we could find!

9 Facts Looking at the Trend of Mergers and Acquisitions in Third-Party Logistics

morai-logistics-infographic-9-facts-looking-at-mergers-and-acquisitions-in-3pls

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-the-dabbawalas

Restaurants offering delivery of their items for a cost is nothing too special in most large cities. However, the service is typically only offered on orders over a certain amount and only for some items and not others.

What would you say then if we told you than in Mumbai, India you could have your food delivered to you every day for a monthly fee of around $10? The service would also be guaranteed rain or shine, and even during more extreme situations such as monsoons and political strife which is only part of the reason why its growing at a steady rate of 5 to 10 percent a year.

The best part of all is that this delivery service doesn’t have a minimum amount that needs to be ordered before it applies as it isn’t tied to any restaurants. It is instead a service by the dabbawalas (“those who carry boxes”), and they specialize in receiving home cooked meals from a family’s home in a tiffin (a circular silver tin with multiple compartments) and delivering the lunch to a working spouse who could be several miles away.

Over 200,000 meals a day are collected by around 5,000 dabbawalas in the morning from their clients’ homes.

The lunches are sorted according to where they came from, and where they are intended to go. Each tiffin is labelled with an alpha numeric code and loaded onto city trains before traversing the city’s maze of over 22 million before being handed off to local dabbawalas who complete the last part of the delivery. After the food is eaten, the tiffins are collected by dabbawalas and make a return trip to their respective homes.

What’s most impressive is that although the majority of the dabbawalas are semi-literate or illiterate, mistakes are rarely made. Their delivery system has been awarded a six sigma level of efficiency. That means they make around one mistake in every six million deliveries. The incredible level of efficiency and precision of their delivery system has even garnered the attention FedEx and was the topic of a Harvard Business School case-study.

Organization and Logistics

The organization of this dabbawalas is very interesting as its largely decentralized with no organizational structure, managerial layers or explicit control mechanisms. Dabbawalas are divided into sub-groups of fifteen to 25, each supervised by four mukadams. The mukadams are familiar with the colors and codings used in the complex logistics process.

Their key responsibility is sorting tiffins but they play a critical role in resolving disputes; maintaining records of receipts and payments; acquiring new customers; and training junior dabbawalas. Each group is financially independent but coordinates with others for deliveries. The process is competitive at the customers’ end and united at the delivery end. The dabbawala business has been adapting well to changes in the big city including going online. Customers can now log onto their website to access their service.

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!