Cargo theft isn’t anything new. From the days of bandits attacking caravans to pirates on the sea, if there is money to be made from stealing cargo and fencing it then attempts will be made to steal it. The real change is in the sophistication and planning that thieves utilize in their planning.

Globalization has also made the scope of the problem much larger. The ripples felt in one part of the world from stolen cargo can affect consumers and businesses on another side of the world. That’s to say nothing of the highly organized, highly structured, gangs, cartels, and black markets which fence the items taken from stolen cargo whose networks can stretch time zones.

This month, we’d like to focus our ebook on looking at the current state of cargo thefts and ways we can minimize these occurrences.

Looking at the Impact of Cargo Theft and Possible Solutions

Morai-Logistics-eBook-Cargo-Theft

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-Visibility-Collaboration

Two new studies were published earlier this month that looked at supply chain visibility and collaboration.

Supply Chain Visibility & Collaboration Study

The first study by ARC Advisory group titled Supply Chain Visibility & Collaboration Study surveyed 200 organizations from a wide range of industries.

The researchers defined supply chain collaboration as “having a collaborative, multi-supplier, multi-tier, supply chain planning solution” writes Steve Banker in this Forbes article covering the study. “For visibility, the definition was a solution providing visibility to the order process (order placed, order adjusted, order accepted), inventory at rest or inventory in motion events, or supply chain risks, or providing a stand-alone supply chain analytics/event management solution not embedded in other solutions” he continues.

The survey asked respondents to weigh in on issues such as inventory visibility, supply chain costs, new enterprise resource planning integration, responsiveness to customer demands with specific focus on strategic questions such as,

  • Why have B2B network suppliers emerged as leaders in this market?
  • How will Internet of Things data be leveraged by these solutions?
  • How will these solutions affect the next generation of supply chain software platforms?
  • What are the niche solutions poised to grow rapidly in this market place?

What the survey finds is that not only visibility and collaboration software is growing very rapidly, but that B2B network solutions specifically (for both visibility and collaboration) is what’s driving the market’s rapid growth.

The ROI with visibility projects has to do with SCP applications improving service levels with less inventory.
“The more companies can reduce their lead times, and the less variability there is surrounding those lead times, the better the ROI that can be achieved with SCP tools. Supply Chain Visibility, provides the data and metrics surrounding lead-times, and then allows Lean practitioners to work with supply chain partners to improve and control those lead-times” writes Banker. Another reason why visibility is so important is supply chain orchestration. Through orchestration, a company is able to balance supply-demand in reaction to surges as well as deal with supply disruptions more promptly.

University of Tennesee Global Supply Institute Study

The second study published by the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Institute, in collaboration with B2B integration provider DiCentral. The study involved surveying over 200 organizations of various sizes and asking respondents to weigh in on issues such as inventory visibility, supply chain costs, new enterprise resource planning integration, and responsiveness to customer demands.
The study found that to increase business flow efficiency and cut cost, many companies are investing in B2Bi (business to business electronic integration).

“Of those surveyed, 94 percent saw significant improvement in their electronic connectivity capabilities and 68 percent reported that their clients said they were easier to do business with after using cloud-based B2Bi managed services” write the researchers.

The findings of the study echo those of the ARC group in so far that lead times are reduced, forecast accuracy improves, and supply chain reactivity improves when visibility & collaboration becomes a focus. For example, from one of the case studies the study cites,

An office supplies retailer surveyed for the study invested time and technology to collaborate more effectively with a major supplier, and as a result, in-stock fill rates rose significantly—to nearly 99 percent from below 95 percent. Lead times reduced nearly 60 percent. Forecast accuracy improved by more than 30 percent, and inventory turnover increased 9 percent

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-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!