Morai-Social-PRNext week marks the anniversary of one of the most damaging data breaches in recent history. During the Black Friday of last year, retail giant Target Corp.’s had the credit and debit card numbers and personal details of over 40 million of its customers compromised. The public relations nightmare that followed resulted in profits plummeting upwards of 46%, Target shares slumping approximately 8%, and Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel resigning after over 20 years with the company.

Stories such as these are unfortunately not that unique which is why it is critical for companies and organizations, big and small, to invest strongly in strategic PR. For those in the 3PL market, this means being aware of the ongoings of all suppliers and business associations; once a crisis happens, it can be difficult and costly to identify a problem’s source in the supply chain.

Other than a crack PR team, there are two ways that 3PLs can protect themselves from the toxic fallout of bad publicity.

Keeping your friends close

One of the most frightening things about a damaging PR crisis is that not only can it ruin a company business overnight, but that it can be unrelated to the original brand due to the nature of upstream supply chains. The best way to counter this is to ensure that oversight of all aspects of a supply chain can be conducted with as little lag in communication as possible. It is for this reason that nearshoring has become so essential.

There are a lot of financial and logistical benefits to nearshoring. However, a key benefit that is often overlooked is that by conducting business so relatively close to home, a 3PL company can better establish a strong and resilient social network which at the end of the day “is not really about socializing, but about facilitating people to people communication and collaboration” according to an interesting article on SupplyChain247. The added degree of security because of Mexico’s increasing growing infrastructure and business-friendly economy is also a welcomed factor.

Staying social means staying connected

In a similar vein to nearshoring, the power of social media doesn’t end with crisis management. The immediacy of information and two-way discourse between company and customers is essential when handling a crisis. It is for this reason that the benefits that social media provides when it comes to damage control cannot be overstated. From JC Penny to Fontaine Santé, case study after case study shows a demonstrable advantage for companies that are actively engaged and have a focused strategy when it comes to social media.

There are of course many other reasons outside of crisis control for a business to be connected. By effectively utilizing social media, a business can:

  • Increase traffic to its website
  • Enhance brand awareness
  • Contribute to search engine optimization
  • Position the company as an authoritative voice in its industry
  • Provide an avenue for improved customer relations by allowing a company to directly engage with individuals interested in their brand or product.

It is through this engagement that companies can tell their commercial journey and invite stakeholders into sharing their own stories.

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!

Today we have created an infographic to shed light into what supplier diversity is and to highlight some quick facts about how the women-owned and other minority-owned businesses have been progressing in the recent years. We also cover the spending trends with regards to the investment of companies into supplier diversity programs.

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. A study from the Hackett Group showed that companies that “focus heavily on supplier diversity” generated a 133% greater ROI when it comes to procurement than the typical business. And this is just the beginning, scroll down to see more facts about supplier diversity.

Supplier Diversity and the Logistics Industry

Morai-Logistics-Infographic-Supplier-Diversity

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

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
There is a lot of talk these past couple of months on the implications of 3D printing and how it will change the face of the logistics and supply chain industry. This month we thought we would highlight the industry and shed some light into its development.

Widely practical, 3D printing is used primarily for prototyping and, more recently, distributed manufacturing. It is commonly seen in the following industries: architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, various engineering and medical industries, and fashion just to name a few.

What is 3D Printing, Exactly?

By definition, 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects using a digital model. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing uses a process called the additive process and carries out the process under computer control.

In the additive process, layers of material are laid down in different shapes. This is in contrast to subtractive processes in manufacturing, which is what is traditionally used to produce goods and involves the removal of material by various methods (i.e. cutting, drilling, carving, etc.).

The technology and concept of 3D printing is not a new idea. In fact, 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s. The first working 3D printer was created by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Crop. in 1984. It wasn’t until the early 2010s that companies started producing 3D printers for commercial distribution and use. This is partly due to a Moore’s Law type of progression; the development of the technology used in 3D printing has drastically impacted the price of 3D printers enough to be able to release it to consumer production.

How Will This Affect the Supply Chain?

Cerasis has released an excellent post regarding the impact of 3D printing particularly in inventory and logistics. The most interesting concept is that with the advent of 3D printers, the need to store finished products is nonexistent. There is no more need to store component parts before compiling the final product anymore; it essentially gets rid of the need to shelve or store products in warehouses anymore. This essentially collapses the supply chain to its most basic processes, which creates new efficiencies along the supply chain.

The 3D printing process can drastically alter the global supply chain and re-assemble it into a new local system. It can bypass the constraints of the traditional supply chain model: the need for low cost, high-volume assembly workers, real estate for stages of manufacturing and warehousing components, etc. Thus, the efficiencies of 3D printing impact the entire supply chain, from the cost to distribution and assembly to improving assembly cycle times.

Forbes released a post recently that suggests 3D printers essentially turn consumer products into digital content. The printers can already produce fairly detailed solid objects, though at this stage quite expensively. But according to Moore’s Law, and indeed looking at the history of 3D printing, prices have dropped significantly since the 1980s and will do so in the future. This could impact hardware stores and parts distribution services the same way e-books have impacted book stores.

Too Good to be True?

Tech Republic recently released a post suggesting that 3D printers are a potential double-edged sword and made some interesting points regarding what we should watch out for throughout the development of 3D printing as a process to be used by the masses.

The process of 3D printing itself, while efficient in many ways, are also not the most environmentally friendly. To start, they are energy hogs, 3D printers consume 50-100 times more electrical energy than injection molding and has a reliance on plastics. They are also known to pose health risks, especially with 3D printers used in the home. The emission from desktop 3D printers release unhealthy air emissions. There are also numerous issues on the corporate and legal side, involving potential national security risks, ethics and regulation, and corporate responsibility of products from 3D printed technology. So while 3D printing is something to look forward to, it is also something we should watch carefully.

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

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The world of logistics is a dynamic and constantly evolving industry; while some major pressures and worries of last year carry over onto this year, there are always new trends of focus for the industry as a whole all along the supply chain. This week we’re going to reveal three trends that we think the industry will be taking a closer look at this year.

These particular areas of focus are unique, as we’ve mentioned there are areas in the logistics industry those still needs to be addresses, such as the need for particular talent along the supply chain (e.g. truckers). These issues on the other hand, stem for studies and events (like changes in the industry with regards to consumer demands and/or technology) that have motivated companies to exert effort into improving.

1 – It’s All About Risk

During the second half of 2013, there was a surplus of articles addressing the need for companies to pay more attention to supply chain risk and to take steps in mitigating said risk as a way to address logistic challenges such as the 24th annual State of Logistics report predicting slow growth.

Many disasters struck last year, urging supply chain executives to tackle things like tsunamis, floods, and hurricanes. A survey by the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) suggested that while all this talk was happening, companies are struggling to address the issue effectively. About 83% of respondents reported that in the past year, they were caught off-guard by unexpected supply chain disruptions. We expect that efforts will be taken by affected companies to come up with ways to properly mitigate the effects of such large disasters. To see the white paper on this issue, click here.

2 – Returning the Private B2B Marketplace

Spend Matters released a post last week predicting that the private B2B marketplace will return in the logistics industry this year to accommodate for a supply chain revolution. The private B2B marketplace began in the early 2000s:

Independent electronic B2B public marketplaces gave birth to the software to run them, which then gave birth to the brick and mortar companies that wanted to control their own destinies to use such software to run industry consortia marketplaces. But, they found the technology lacking in deep support for much beyond things like reverse auctions, simple directories, and equally simple catalogs and order management.

Because of new technology needs and the realization that deeper support was needed for these complex processes, these marketplaces died off. But there is a strong chance for their return as these types of companies have begun to think more broadly about the extended supply chain and technology. Thus, there is a hint at the return of the marketplace with the transition into cross-industry supply chain Platforms as a Service (PaaS).

3 – Sourcing Hub Implementation

Research & Development (R&D) Magazine also released a blog post last week suggesting that the ‘Sourcing Hub’ could create a more efficient supply chain. Two papers co-written by University of Illinois expert Anupam Agrawal. He explored how the lack of communication between the big players at the beginning and end of the supply chain spectrum does not allow for gaining efficiencies in costs, design, and materials. Agrawal proposes a supply chain sourcing hub as a potential solution for this issue and defines it as:

… A collaborative center involving the firm, its suppliers and raw material suppliers as a mechanism for capturing and deploying sourcing knowledge of the raw material—would be beneficial.

In this way, Agrawal suggests that buyers and suppliers can congregate and evaluate what is best for all parties involved. It will be interesting to see if companies will be partaking in efforts to organize a trial sourcing hub in order to see how well it will perform.

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

Source: WEConnect Canada
Source: WEConnect Canada
On our last blog post, we wrote about the WeConnect Canada’s Opening Doors conference. WeConnect Canada distributes the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification for majority owned, and controlled women’s businesses. The conference is about how certifications such as the WBE is a great strategy for creating opportunities to provide a competitive edge for bidding on corporate contracts as part of supplier diversity programs.

But what is supplier diverstiy? According to WeConnect Canada:

Supplier diversity is all about building relationships and trust to enable business opportunities between corporations and historically under-utilized groups, like women business owners.

In essence, Supplier Diversity programs were creative to give minorities an opportunity to secure contracts with government agencies, major companies and corporations as qualified small business owners. This has come about a reaction to minority and women owned businesses being classified as under-utilized small business owners in order to promote balance and diversity for participating organizations.

In the United States, the Supplier Diversity program was conceptualized in 1953 along with the establishment of the Small Business Administration. The federal government’s efforts to create opportunities for often underrepresented small businesses was a natural segway into providing those same opportunities for minority groups, such as women-owned businesses.

These days a majority of large companies are indeed looking into how to incorporate minority-owned businesses into their partnership agreement and this is especially the case in the logistics and supply chain industry. The biggest challenge is discovery; large corporations have trouble identifying women-owned businesses. Hence the creation of certifying networking organizations such as WEConnect.

These types of certifications allow large corporation to find these companies and take advantage of the following benefits:

A Ready and Capable Force to be Reckoned With

Women-owned businesses are an untapped force to be reckoned with. There are 6.5 million majority women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.1 million people according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Large corporations agree that there is a strong business case for investing in women; a recent McKinsey & Company survey results showed that 35% of senior executives reported efforts to empower women in emerging markets led to increased profits with an additional 38% reporting an increase in profits in the future. This is even more emphasized in the world of logistics, a well known gentleman’s club but is slowly changing due to the benefits that partnering with diversity suppliers can provide, which brings us to our next point:

Unique Opportunities from Unique Expertise

Businesses that are primarily female-owned are often noted for their ability to have a unique view of the industry and can offer a fresh take on not just the ideas involved in the process but the along every step along the business process. Traditionally only seen in the service sector, women-owned enterprises are now in many specialized industries such as manufacturing, construction, and other industrial fields. This is evident in the efforts that large corporations like Cisco are taking steps into providing the most sustainable means to empower women through supplier diversity and inclusion.

And that’s all 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! To find out more about WEConnect and getting certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), visit their site at www.weconnectcanada.org

BONUS: Check out Inc.com’s Top 10 Women-run Companies!

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

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

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

Improved Sanitation and Cargo Control

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

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

Less Wasteful and a More Sustainable Solution

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

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

Profitability and a Closed-Loop System

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

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

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

Mexico Flag Morai Logistics Supply Chain
 
In the world of logistics several factors can be involved when it comes to producing and moving your goods. Where is the best place to manufacture your products? Should we stay within the county’s borders or go offshore? If so, which country would produce the most cost-effective solution, or produce with a certain level of quality? This month, we’re going to focus on an interesting logistics hub that is sometimes overlooked, but is always at the back of most Supply Chain Officers minds: Mexico.

The Offshore Duel: Mexico vs. China

While there has always been an attraction towards creating logistics and supply chain hubs in Mexico as a means to reduce production costs, among other things, the competition has always been Mexico vs. China with regards offshoring options. For the past decade this has always been the case, but as the US economy creeps to pre-recession levels, American companies have been looking to restructure their supply chain. Companies are bringing their products closer to home and Mexico has become an attractive nearshoring alternative to making products within country in order to keep costs low while maintaining production quality.

According to the Offshore Group’s recent blog post:

Michael Shifter, president of Washington policy group Inter-American Dialogue, told Reuters U.S. manufacturers are shifting their sights to Mexico to be part of the country’s $800 billion goods and services market.

“There’s something happening in the region and the U.S. wants to be part of it,” Shifter said. “Whether there’s a well-thought-out vision or policy remains a question. But there is more of an affirmation of the region and a willingness to engage.”

Mexico’s Logistics Infrastructure

Mexico is aware of these trends and has already taken initiatives in order to attract companies to invest in their logistics hubs. Here are some of the highlights that we find to be the most appealing with regards to being a strong contender as a logistics hub for companies.

Improvements to Mexico’s Railways

According to Railway Track and Structures (RT&S), Mexico is investing in 4 billion pesos (~$318 million USD) to copmlete 12 rail-specific projects underway that will improve routes between Mexico City and Queretaro (a known manufacturing centre) and between Meridia and the Riviera Maya. This plan is said to increase transportation and communications speed; offering attractive intermodal options for many US companies.

Improvements to Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

As US businesses begin to relocate south of the border, considerations to improve Mexico’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and sustainability practices have gone underway. Over half of the 166 publicly traded companies in the Mexican stock market have created a system for managing sustainability related activities, with considerations for improvement in the supply chain included. This is a great start due to the fact that sustainability along all levels of the supply chain is still in its developing stages at the global level. Such an initiative offers a competitive edge towards Mexico’s main offshoring competitor, China, as trends for companies to tackle on green practices have now prioritized considerations on sustainability as a determinant for deciding offshore locations.

For more information about how Mexico is seen as an attractive supply chain location for both manufacturing and distribution, check out this great white paper from Jones Lang LaSalle.

If you liked this blog post and you want to read more of our content, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our blog. Or if you want more logistics and supply chain content throughout the day, follow us on Twitter! If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, feel free to check out our core services. Otherwise, we’ll catch you next week!

Hello everyone! We hope you’re enjoying your summer so far. This week we’d like to focus on increasing awareness about the logistics industry as a whole. There is a growing number of people outside of the logistics and supply chain industry who are now trying to become more aware of where their products are coming from and the entire process behind getting it delivered to your doorstep. So we scrounged the web to find you not just one online video series on logistics, but three!

1 – Introduction to Supply Chain Management

Arizona State University’s (ASU) W.P. Carey School of Business has released an open online video series on supply chain management in an effort to “inspire a new generation of supply chain management professionals across the country and around the world.”

2 – Supply Chain Brain’s Video Series

The folks over at Supply Chain Brain and Kinaxis have teamed up to create an online video series during their annual Kinexions Conference. They completed a set of video interviews with customers, analysts, and executives. While the videos mainly focus on attendees and people over at Kinaxis, they offer great insight from thought leaders in the industry and give a great overview on some specific topics in the logistics and supply chain industry.

3 – The Supply Chain Academy

The Supply Chain Academy is a special case for this list because it’s more than just a video series, they offer a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that grant you certificates by Dr. Simon Croon. He started this with colleagues at Warwick University in the hopes of providing a dynamic, engaging, and focused course series about the supply chain. The current course schedule is for sustainability and the global supply chain, but registration is now closed. Here’s the introductory video though:

Registration will open in July for the Fall 2013 class titled “The Management of Supply Chain Costs.” So if you’re serious about learning about the logistics and supply chain industry, we highly recommend registering and taking advantage of this free online course (you do get a certificate upon passing!).

We hope these videos provide you with a better grasp into the complex world of logistics and supply chain; getting products from point A to point B can be a very complex process! If you want to know what we do as a third party logistics provider (3PL) check out our core services. If you haven’t already check us out on Twitter (@MoraiLogistics), give us a follow or a @mention, we’re looking forward to engaging with you. Otherwise, stay tuned for next week’s post on our monthly Logistics Glossary Week series!

The findings of the 24th annual ‘State of Logistics’ report by Penske Logistics was released by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) this week during their Annual Global Conference. While we’ve been a majority of articles suggesting that the outlook for the future of the logistics and supply chain industry is ‘slow growth.’ This is based on reports from the previous years’ showing relatively slow growth since the recession of 2007-2009.

This week, we’ve decided to focus on a more positive outlook from the results of the report by looking at a couple of strategies for companies to manage their companies to a more successful outcome in the coming years.

1 – Continue Planning to do More with Less

Rosalyn Wilson, the author of the ‘State of Logistics’ report states in her presentation this past Tuesday that since the great depression that the strategy has been to “do more with less.” In a continuation of previous years’ results, it seems that the ‘new normal’ in the logistics and supply chain GDP growth rate is between 2.5-4%.

She warns that these are due to higher unemployment levels and slower job creation and consumers are also more risk-averse. But this is not necessarily the case for all companies. The rise in e-commerce has changed the way inventory is distributed and managed. Also, new technologies are underway that can severely cut costs with regards to supply chain aspects like tracking and tracing (e.g. see RFID).

It seems that the solution is to keep companies light and to keep risk low for bigger companies. This is reflected in some good news for those in the 3rd party logistics sector. The report showed that third-party logistics has risen in revenues by 5.9% in 2012 as companies start to realize the value of outsourcing their logistics.

2 – Maintain Sustainability Strategies

In the realm of cost-cutting strategies, there is a great deal of promise in continuing to explore sustainability strategies in order to keep costs low throughout the supply chain. As discussed in a previous blog post, sustainability strategies have the primary motivation of being better for the environment. Strategies like relying on solar and wind power, as well as other green warehouse strategies (e.g. ‘smarter’ warehouses that control lighting and temperature, etc.) as a move to create a ‘net-zero’ warehouse have the added benefit of cutting costs in the long-term.

If this report is right to suggest that the logistics industry growth is going to be a sluggish one, this works out to be a great investment strategy for the long term as companies prepare have needed to rely on creating new sites. This was to accommodate for the fully absorbed warehousing capacity of 2012, which created a 7.6% increase in warehousing costs. Building better warehouses from the start seems to be the direction to head in for new construction projects.

3 – Focus on Education and Staff Retention

There is also a worrying report that there are several holes that will need to be filled in the ensuing years for the logistics industry. The results from the report show a growing need for companies to rely on part-time workers as opposed to adding new full-time staff. But as a long-term strategy, this might not be the smartest plan. Staff retention is something that the industry needs at this moment as a growing proportion of staff are looking to be on their way to retirement.

Furthermore, there is a need for people to fill certain positions along the supply chain that have been well-known for a while. For example, truck drivers have been shown to have the fewest potential workers trained to fill them. The results from the report have continued to reflect this, showing that 17% of the current driver population is less than 35 years of age while the staggering majority is on their way to retirement.

Companies are going to need to introduce the idea of logistics to the masses earlier on, there is still a lack of awareness of the logistics industry as a whole and it seems that in order to fill these positions, education is the way to go. There is some promise though, as new trends in higher education have seen the gap in lack of programs dedicated to the logistics and supply chain industry and have already piloted degree programs out in both the undergraduate and masters level. There are also initiatives to reach the high-school population as well!

A slow growth is not necessarily bad news, growth is still growth. US logistics costs rose to $1.33 trillion which is a 3.4% increase from last year. People will always need logistics services as global demand in getting products where they need to be continues to rise. The outlook for these companies should be a positive one and the spirit should be to rise to the challenges, hopefully to come out on top!

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. We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!

SustainabilityAs mentioned in our last blog post, the logistics industry is currently trending with green and sustainability initiatives. Research from PwC has already shown that 42% of supply chain executives rank sustainability as highly important to their companies, and 67% agreed that supply chain sustainability will be even more important in the future. Apart from the notion that these projects not only attempt to reduce the potential damage to our ecosystem (via carbon footprint reductions, etc.) and promote the notion of fair trade, there are more interesting factors that also stimulate this move.

One of them is that there are indeed hints at cost-savings in the supply chain for the future. We mentioned before that companies are not only talking about nearshoring, but have already attempted to bring their supply chain ‘back home.’ This is due to the fact that recent trends have shown that China is losing its pricing power as the US and especially Mexico move to match China by 2015. Though this trend may require some watch as some industrial real estate investors have recently made a move to target logistics property in China. Another major factor is the increase of awareness campaigns in the logistics industry. Research by Smith & Associates shows that mobile technologies and social media are becoming important influencers in the supply chain world, suggesting that this is a contributing factor behind the current trend.

This week we’re going to highlight some of the sustainability initiatives that we thought to be interesting and worthy of mention, starting with a cool cloud-based project:

Enterprise Sustainability Platforms

Backed by three PhD environmental scientists and policy analysts, the EcoShift development team has created a cloud-based solution to help companies find out more about their suppliers’ sustainability information. How it works is that buyers can analyze supplier sustainability information and risk while suppliers have access to a dashboard to see where their sustainability efforts rank compared to industry peers. This information allows buyers to see who the sustainable suppliers are. Suppliers, on the other hand, get access to information on how to improve their own efforts.

Green Warehouse Projects

Warehouses consume quite a bit of energy. Apart from being a cost-saving initiative, they also lessen the harm that high energy consumption does to the environment while gaining respect from customers and the community.A great post by Maida Napolitano over at Supply Chain 24/7 offers a great summary highlighting some great attempts. Warehouse power initiatives are now attempting to have ‘net-zero’ buildings; a move to generate as much energy as it uses up over a year. This leads to companies in the industry investing in solar- and wind-powered technology for their warehouses. Another noteworthy attempt to reduce power usage is by having a ‘smarter’ warehouse. These typically consist of an energy management system that uses submetering to monitor equipment energy use and performance. These efforts, combined with energy saving fans, lights, etc. showcase a real attempt at a green warehouse.

Logistics and Supply Chain Awareness Campaigns

As mentioned above, mobile technology and social media are becoming more and more important to the world of logistics and supply chain. Efforts to show awareness through campaigns such as the UPS ‘We Love Logistics’ campaign shows not only that awareness can lead to better business, but also that people are indeed actually interested in finding out more about the logistics industry as a whole. One recent noteworthy campaign is Starbucks’ Behind the Scenes campaign. With a supply chain that spans more than 19 countries, they definitely do a good job showing how interesting it is to start from where they get their cocoa beans to serving you that steaming cup of coffee.

While there are other efforts that could be made of note, these three examples are offer a great insight into how the logistics and supply chain industry are trying to provide a clean, green business. It is nice to see that these attempts are trending because it shows that companies are becoming more and more concerned about the environmental factors of their supply chain process.