Morai-Logistics-Blog-Lego-Bricks-Go-Green

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

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

This article from RealtyToday.com provides more information,

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

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

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

Building Towards a Sustainable Tomorrow

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

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

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

Being Green Isn’t Just for the Small and Stackable

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

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

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

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

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

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-Supply-Chain-MGMT-Software

Good Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a critical part of any firm. It boosts customer service by ensuring that the right product assortment and quantity are delivered in a timely fashion, and it makes those same products available in the location that customers expect. Good SCM also improves the bottom line by managing fixed costs and improving cash flow through smoother deliveries.

It is no surprise then that “SCM software”, which include: warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), procurement, strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management (SRM), contract lifecycle management, demand planning and supply planning, is such a popular topic of study for businesses large and small.

Software Advice, a company that connects supply chain management system software buyers with vendors, recently published a report that analyzed 200 prospective supply chain management (SCM) software buyers.
The key findings of the study were as follows:

  • Small businesses (those with annual revenue of $50 million or less) are willing to spend a rather hefty amount—$30,000, on average—for new SCM software.
  • Midsize and large businesses (those with annual revenue above $50 million) are willing to spend an average of $171,000 for new SCM software.
  • Twenty-seven percent of larger businesses cite the need for stronger integration as a reason for seeking new software, compared to just 16 percent of small businesses.
  • Only 6 percent of small businesses are currently using commercial supply chain management software, compared to 21 percent of midsize and large businesses.

Is this the Right Time for Your Company?

The last key finding isn’t all that surprising according to Forrest Burnson, a market research associate at Software Advice who gave an interview regarding his research.

Many of the businesses we speak to are growing and expanding their operations, and are, therefore, investing in these types of solutions for the first time. On top of that, many smaller businesses may be unaware of the solutions that are out there, so they’re just in the preliminary phase of their research.

Burnson also points out later in the interview that although there are several cases of small businesses being successful without SCM software, they will eventually need it as their business grows and expands if they wish to not be a victim of their own success.

[Burnson responding to a question about small businesses meeting their SCM needs without the appropriate software] They’re generally using some combination office productivity software (e.g., Excel), a legacy database system and/or basic accounting software to conduct their day-to-day operations.

Although SCM software can help improve efficiency in a business through the improvement of data flow integration between their different business processes, and streamlining compliance, the big reason that small businesses should look into SCM software is that the technology is ready for it.

“As with other things in technology, SCM has seen big advantages thanks to social, mobile, cloud and analytics,” said Boris Kontsevoi, president and founder of Intetics, a software development company quoted in the conclusion of the study.

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!

Globalization has broken through several technological, political, and geographic barriers to supply chain logistics. However, while its been documented that companies that include more women at the top levels of leadership tend to outperform those that don’t, there is still a noticeably large gender gap when it comes to the logistics industry.

Although there has been a great deal of progress in the last few decades in closing the gender gap, this infographic shows that there is still a lot left to do.

Closing the gap for good shouldn’t be thought of as barrier for those of us in logistics, but rather an opportunity. An opportunity for logistics companies, as Shalu Shigram puts it, ‘to maintain a competitive edge by utilizing all human resources and potential capital.”

Top 10 Facts Exploring the Gender Gap Around the World

Morai-Logistics-Infographic-Looking-at-Gender-Gap

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!

This past Sunday was International Women’s Day. In tribute to celebrating women globally, we would like to dedicate this week’s post to showcasing the major milestones in recent development for the state of women in the logistics and supply chain industry.

Last year we posted an infographic that the logistics community wholeheartedly enjoyed and we thought we would continue the trend and release an update, this time in the form of an eBook. We have come a long way from the world of logistics notoriously being known as a Gentleman’s Club, but we still have a ways to go when it comes to diversity in logistics (and not just with women).

From education, job options, and position within companies, we take a careful look at contemporary findings and showcase the statistics behind women in the logistics industry for 2015.

Women in Logistics

Morai-Logistics-Women-In-Logistics-Linked-1

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-Coming-and-Going

There are several things when operating a business that despite the most careful planning, cannot be avoided: unexpected weather extremes affecting delivery times, changing customer expectation and demand, having to react to competitor innovation, and every business big or small having to deal with inevitable employee turnover. I’d like to focus this week’s post on the last point.

Data from the American Trucking Association (ATA) shows that the turnover rate at large truckload carriers rose one percentage point to an annualized rate of 97% in the third quarter of 2014. In 2013, the ATA presented data showing those with more than $30 million in annual revenue— averaged 96 percent for all of 2013, down 2 percent from the 2012. And that’s a drastic improvement over the all-time high of 130 percent turnover in 2005.

Employees in warehouses also have very high turnover rates, especially where large warehouses are concerned as shortages in the availability and quality of labor may have a lasting effect on a firm’s competitiveness. “Getting the right things to the right people at the right time” is the fundamental principle for any supply chain. What is sometimes forgotten in discussions is that for this principle to be enacted, a business needs the right training to be given to the right associates so the right skills can be cultivated and utilized. With that said, let’s look at some key items when discussing employee turnover in the logistics industry.

Who is Most Likely to Change Jobs?

A study from CareerBuilder measured worker satisfaction in the U.S as a whole and the logistics industry specifically. Of the workers surveyed, they found certain factors appear to make workers significantly more likely to change jobs than others:

  • Workers who are dissatisfied with their job: 58 percent plan to change jobs in the New Year
  • Workers who are dissatisfied with advancement opportunities at current company: 45 percent
  • Workers who are dissatisfied with their work/life balance: 39 percent
  • Workers who feel underemployed: 39 percent
  • Workers who are highly stressed: 39 percent
  • Workers who have a poor opinion of their boss’s performance: 37 percent
  • Workers who feel they were overlooked for a promotion: 36 percent
  • Workers who have been with their company two years or less: 35 percent
  • Worker who didn’t receive a pay increase in 2013: 28 percent

Who is Most Likely to Stay?

The same study also looked at the top reasons as to why employees would stay in their current job. Though there were a variety of reasons, there were 8 reasons in particular that they found:

  1. “I like the people I work with.” – 54%
  2. “I have a good work/life balance.” – 50%
  3. “I have good benefits.” – 49%
  4. “I make a good salary.” – 43%
  5. “There still is a lot of uncertainty in the job market.” – 35%
  6. “I have a quick commute.” – 35%
  7. “I have a good boss who watches out for me.” – 32%
  8. “I feel valued and my accomplishments are recognized.” – 29%

Sometimes Goodbye Isn’t so Bad

A recent article by the International Business Times quoted a study from Payscale that demonstrated that of the fortune 500 companies, Amazon was second in the number of employee turnovers. Despite having some of the least loyal employees, Amazon’s high turnover isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“A high employee turnover rate isn’t always because the company isn’t a good one to work for. When workers are willing to hop from job to job, it is usually an indicator of an improving job market”, Payscale’s lead economist Katie Bardaro said.

“Workers might be job-hopping more than before. This means that the industry is hot and the economy is improving,” she told Business Insider. “Some of the firms on [the high turnover] list are there, because they’re a hot market.”

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-TransparencyTransparency was one of the most predicted trends for the logistics and supply chain industry in 2015. In the past, it was usually prohibitively expensive in both time and resources for businesses and customers alike to trace the origins of each aspect of a product. Now, there are a number of sites, institutions, and apps dedicated to making supply chain networks more visible. Large, network-dependent businesses such as Starbucks and Amazon have also adopted, and have started championing this trend.

Greater transparency is no longer just a lofty goal for the logistics industry; it is an essential business strategy if a company wishes to remain competitive.

However, there is one small but important detail that is over looked when discussing transparency. That is that a transparent supply chain is not necessarily the same as an ethical supply chain.

Customers Want Ethical, Not Just Transparent Supply Chains

McDonald’s recently made the mistake of confusing transparency with ethical when it launched its “Your Food, Our Questions” campaign in October. The campaign involved having videos and a section of their site dedicated to answering common customer questions about their products in great detail. Despite their effort at being more candid with its customers, McDonald’s has still received a lot of criticism for not actually doing anything about making any meaningful commitments towards sustainability.

For an older, more cautionary tale about not pushing for an ethical supply chain, read the story of Nike and its PR disaster that was born from its unethical suppliers that ultimately had Nike’s earnings fall 69%. Despite Nike previous attempts at being forward thinking by being open with its customers that it couldn’t reasonably keep track of its suppliers, and its declared commitment to uphold a higher ethical standard within its U.S facilities, it did little to stop the fallout of the scandal.

Looking at the Numbers

This past August, Forrest Burnson and his associates at Software Advice, a company that analyzes logistics software, published a summary of research they had conducted meant to gauge which initiatives along different links of the supply chain would make customers more likely to buy—or pay a premium for—a company’s products. The research, which was a series of surveys, asked participants how much more they would pay for a product that was produced more ethically with respect to a particular link in the supply chain: raw materials, manufacturing and distribution.

The study’s three key findings were,

  1. On average, consumers say they would pay 27 percent more for a product normally priced at $100 if it was produced under good working conditions.
  2. Consumers were split on whether improved working conditions, community involvement or environmental efforts would most convince them to buy from a firm.
  3. Twenty-eight percent of consumers said reducing water usage was an environmental initiative that would make them more likely to purchase a company’s products.
Source: Software Advice
Source: Software Advice

The implications of the study’s findings indicate that customers care most for “labor conditions for the workers who make their products” when given the choice to pay a premium for a better ethical standard in different areas. However, more importantly, the research also gives evidence that there is a very real market for ethical supply chains. This is a market that, in this writer’s opinion, will grow in tandem as transparency becomes ever more ubiquitous.

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-Climate-Change

With January in full swing and the weather continuing to plummet, it is important to take a moment and discuss a topic that doesn’t receive as much mention as the more popular topics currently trending. This topic is the impact climate change is having on supply chain logistics.

According to The Associated Press’s study released in 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the increasing prevalence of severe weather will have negative effects on infrastructure, agriculture and the overall well-being of humans. As climate extremes continue affecting different parts of world, businesses and industries that are reliant on logistics networks are also at considerable risk.

A chilling look at a negative trend

A 2011 study released by EWENT (Extreme Weather impacts on European Networks of Transport) looked a number of detailed case studies and metadata to determine the costs and consequences of extreme weather on European freight and logistics industries and supply chains. The conclusion of the study was disheartening, as stated by the researchers:

The above attitudes indicate that business people in transport, logistics and infrastructure provision and management sectors did not have a good grasp of linkages between the probability of extreme weather and the risk of company damage

Although those surveyed in the study claimed they were prepared and had measures in place to account for weather extremes, they relied too heavily on government assistance claim the researchers,

Therefore, they could not carry out the risk tolerance appraisal and take decisions as to which preventive and risk mitigation strategies to employ. In the absence of understanding of their own risk tolerance threshold, they removed extreme weather hazards from strategic decision-agenda

… which as the study demonstrates, was to their own financial detriment. It isn’t all doom and gloom however.

New field of study and Weather-proofing

‘Adaptive logistics’ has seen major growth since it was proposed in 2010 by Alan McKinnon and Andre Kreie of the UK based Logistics Research Centre at Heriot-Watt University. Their paper on the need for this to become a field for the logistics industry outlined how, at the time, not enough research existed on the impact climate change was having on supply chains. The term itself, ‘adaptive logistics’, is defined in the paper as a field of study that will analyze how logistics will respond to environmental change, and then “this response can either be direct where logistics systems must be modified to minimise adverse climate impacts or indirect, where climatic change alters the demand for logistical services and systems must be reconfigured accordingly”.

Source: Logistics Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
Source: Logistics Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK

Some companies have also begun taking a more pro-active approach to reducing the potential risks of extreme weather affecting operations or revenue.

An excellent article by Inbound Logistics’s Gary Hanifan summarizes and analyzes the findings of Reducing Risk and Driving Business Value, a 2012 survey conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Accenture and gives advice as to how to raise supplier awareness about the risks climate change is having on their business. Some of the more interesting points quoted in the article were the following:

  • A current or future risk related to climate change was identified by 70 percent of the 2,500 companies responding to the survey
  • More than half of the supply chain risks due to drought and precipitation extremes are already affecting respondents’ operations, or are expected to have an effect within the next five years
  • Other concerns include the potential for reducing or disrupting production capacity, reduced demand for goods, and even the inability to do business
  • Supplier awareness is an even greater concern. Nearly one in five respondents indicate that their suppliers are not aware of the water risks affecting operations. Another 38 percent say their suppliers are aware of, but not actively engaged in, addressing the challenge

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!

2015_new_yearIf you were reading Forbes’ website last week, then you would’ve come across an interesting article concerning predicted trends for the logistics industry in 2015. Sarwant Singh, a Senior Partner in Frost & Sullivan lists a total of 15 likely trends to occur in 2015 with common threads between all of them being Information & Communication technology providing new avenues for production, solutions, and business models; and societal trends transforming the corporate, market, and personal landscapes.

The entire article is excellent and is a must read for anyone curious about the opportunities afforded by the evolving logistics industry. For this blog post, I would like to focus on three key trends listed in the article as, in my opinion; are the biggest deviations from the status quo in the logistics industry.

Moving toward Zero Latency

The world will prepare itself for faster processing speeds and faster response times. The next few years will see a move toward zero latency and human unnoticeable delays providing real-time experiences. This will increasingly be embedded into workflows and other processes.

The collapse in latency times in just the last few years has been astounding. The old expectation of same month delivery from traditional post service evolved to same week. This year saw same-day delivery become the standard for e-commerce companies such as Ebay, Amazon and even Google. However, even this hasn’t been quick enough with Amazon’s same-hour delivery service for its Prime members which it revealed last week.

The move toward zero latency is not only a massive drive for innovation in the logistics industry (such as Amazon’s delivery drones and DHL’s massive pledge of investment into creating more efficient supply chain networks in China), but also a key way in how many supply-side companies are marketing themselves to customers.

Transparency is the New Green

Increasingly pervasive analytics and collaborative platforms would make data and processes more transparent than ever before. Governments, corporations, organizations, communities, supply chains and even individuals will be more accountable and liable for policies, decisions and strategies.

Customer interactions with businesses of years past were very binary for the most part. A customer wanted or required a product, and a business provided it wholly formed. Questions such as where it came from, how it came to be weren’t asked and businesses weren’t forthcoming with the answers. The logistics industry was no different as the levels of supplier tiers, volume of oversee transactions, and technological limitations complicated the matter further for many companies in the industry.

The change in philosophy has been swift and pervasive in the last few years as large international companies such as Starbucks, Levi’s, and even McDonald’s and Amazon have embraced more open business models.

Our post last week focused on this trend, but suffice to say, greater transparency in the industry is good all-around as it offers customers more information, accountability, and ultimately better choices.

Women Focused Strategies

As the policymakers debate and implement policies increasing quota for women in boardrooms in 2015, we will see a lot more women focused strategies across companies in different sectors.

The industry of logistics has long been a “Gentleman’s Club”. As outlined in the Morai Logistics Infographic focusing on women in the logistics industry, compared to other industries women still have some room to catch up at all levels in the logistics and supply chain industry.

However, not only have more women been getting into the industry, but women focused strategies overall has been on the rise.

In a past article we wrote about how companies are realizing the benefits of supplier diversity go beyond the “social good.” We are now at an age where companies are starting to find that supplier diversity programs can be fiscally beneficial through ROI, and lead to bridge-building into the untapped force that is women-owned businesses.

All-in-all, 2015 will be an exciting year for the logistics industry.

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!