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!

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-tech-car-manufacturing

Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal covered the changing technology that are now coming as standard in automotives, and how it is creating changes in car manufacturing supply chains. In the article, WSJ writers Yoko Kuota and Jeff Bennett reported that auto part makers are quickly looking to adapt after the entry of Google and other tech focused businesses into car manufacturing with the services and features their automotives offer.

For large automotive parts companies, this means focusing on installing newer technology into their cars while forgoing more traditional features to optimize space.

“General Motors Co.’s pricey new sedan isn’t unique in leaving a few old standbys out. New cars hitting dealerships this year—ranging from bread-and-butter Dodge sedans to edgy Audi coupes—are shedding familiar features to save weight or keep up with fast-moving technology. Versions of Toyota Motor Corp. ’s latest Prius hybrid, for instance, lack a spare tire”, write Kuta and Bennet. “Well-known components like ignition keys and analog gauges are going the way of cigarette lighters and hand-cranked windows” they continue. Other staple features that some newer model cars no longer come with are lighters, analog displays, and even rear view mirrors in some cases.

More technology on the horizon

Even with all the innovations that both tech companies and the quickly adapting car manufacturers are offering their customers, several analysts are predicting that there are still many more not-so-distant features on the horizon.

For example, Forbes contributor Karl Brauer writes in this article a list of features which he believes will become the standard for cars made past 2020. Here is the list:

  • Driver Override Systems
  • Biometric Vehicle Access
  • Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking
  • Active Window Displays
  • Remote Vehicle Shutdown
  • Active Health Monitoring
  • Four-Cylinder Supercar
  • Smart/Personalized In-Car Marketing
  • Reconfigurable Body Panels

Functionality Versus Branding

In Kuota and Bennett’s WSJ article, there was the sense from those interviewed that to compete with the likes of Google, car part manufacturers would have to adapt by forgoing traditional features in their newer model vehicles. However, such an approach applied across the industry could hurt some car manufacturers. Especially if those car makers brand themselves and their product a certain way.

“A great car in Germany is not the same as a great car in the US. A great car in Germany is seen by many consumers to be a car that can be driven at 200km per hour on the autobahn” writes Professor Dominique Turpin in this article. “When Volkswagen – the quintessential people’s car tried to launch a luxury car, the Phaeton, it did not really take off. Through the development of a portfolio of brands, however, the Volkswagen Group has ably met the challenge to meet different customer needs” continues Professor Tupid.

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!

If 2015 could be summarized in a word, that word would be “uberification” as the on-demand delivery model really took off. Many industries have been affected by uberification, with several entrepreneurial ventures popping up this last year with their pitch being “Uber, but for X”. Given that uberification is focused strictly on the distribution and not necessarily production of goods, this means that this latest trend will have the greatest impact on the last-mile end of the supply chain.

To kick off our first ebook of the year, let us look at a bit of the history of this trend and why it has evolved so suddenly!

eBook – Uberification and Its Impact on Logistics

Click the Cover Image below to access our ebook!

morai-logistics-blog-uberification

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-Back-to-the-Future-Day

Last week on Wednesday was “Back to the Future Day”. According to the Back to the Future trilogy, characters Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd)’s journeyed forward 30 years to the “future” date of October 21st, 2015.

Given the cultural impact the film has had across generations in the three decades of its release, the day was celebrated with many articles and memes across the social media landscape.

There were a few very fun logistics articles relating to the day, some of which we’d like to highlight for this week’s blog post! Before that however, we need a moment to talk about Pepsi.

In the scene wherein Marty and Doc Brown travel to 2015, a running gag is how everything is covered in futuristic product placement of existing popular brands. So in celebration, many companies featured in the film created collectable equivalents of the fictional products from the films. Nike revealed self-lacing shoes, Universal Pictures released a trailer for Jaws 19, and Pepsi produced a ready supply of “Pepsi Perfect” to meet the hungry customer demand. Ok that last one isn’t entirely true.

Thanks in part to selling earlier than promised and greatly underestimating the demand for the collector item, Pepsi has something of a PR disaster on its hands with its handling of Pepsi Perfect. What should’ve retailed for $20.15 a bottle, is now being sold by private sellers upwards of $500.00. That’s a 25x mark-up in less than a week! Needless to say, many people are not happy and the resentment on social media and in product reviews is not doing any favours to the Pepsi brand.

With that out of the way, let’s look at those promised blog posts!

Logistics and Back to the Future Day

The first is an article by Alvaro Fernandez, a solutions blueprint developer for Kinaxis. The article is about failed supply chain predictions from the “future” portrayed in the films. From RFID tags on milk cartons (so close!), to self-driven trucks, Fernandez discusses five things that the movies got wrong for 2015. What makes this a favourite article of Back to the Future Day for us, is that Fernandez did a bit of research and had interesting links in regards to how far along supply chains are to reaching these predictions as well as the real world hurdles they’ll need to overcome before they can be fully realized.

This post by LogisticsHandling.com takes a more nostalgic approach. It invites the reader to conduct a thought experiment. What if the reader really did go with Marty and Doc Brown 30 years into the future?

If we were to share a ride back to 1985 with Marty in his DeLorean, we’d see some key moments when the era of internet commerce first began to come together. The first Internet domain name, ‘symbolics.com’ was registered; Microsoft released its Windows 1.0 operating system, featuring mouse navigation to allow PC users to ‘point and click’ their way through screens or ‘windows’; Dell built and designed its first computer system, and the first mobile call was made in the UK on the embryonic Vodafone network

Before we go, be sure to check out this video of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd reuniting to talk about what actually came about by 2015.

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-More-Tech

In the past, we’ve discussed how drones and RFID technology are set to impact the logistics industry. These technologies, along with Amazon Robotics (previously Kiva Systems), would have been considered speculative science fiction less than decade ago. These technologies are either only a few years from revolutionizing the supply chain landscape, or have already begun transforming it.

The many logistics, business, and technology articles on the subjects make the three seem like the industry is only weeks away while ignoring some very real gains this past year in some other potentially game changing technology.

For this week, we’d like to discuss the potential impact of things such as mass produced cheap 3D printers, and uberfication. These two innovations are quickly bridging the gap from speculative opinion pieces to best practice!

Mass produced 3D/4D Printers

So this first piece of technology is much closer to being a reality as working 3D/4D printers already exist and are being used in a limited capacity across multiple industries and creative novelties.

This isn’t surprising. The technology is almost four decades old and for most of that time it has been prohibitively expensive with many items produced in that time being little more than talking pieces.

It is only recently that companies such as Nike, Gillette, and Mattel have started investing heavily in 3D printing with even Google joining in with a plans to mass produce 3D-printed smart phones.

With some commercial 3D printers now retailing for less than $100, and newer models such as Hewlett Packard’s Multi Jet Fusion on the horizon however, it won’t be long before the technology starts becoming a viable alternative to traditional shipping.

Uberfication

In the time span of 3 short years, the international transportation network company of Uber Technologies Inc. went from launching its app to having an estimated worth of $50 billion.

It did this by not necessarily offering a new product or service (vehicle-for-hire business models have effectively existed since the idea of transportation has existed), but by streamlining the entire process. Uber tapped into the frustration that many felt with the process of hiring a taxi and instead offers a cheaper, quicker, much more personalized experience which all start with a swipe or two on your phone.

Although many may view Uber as a taxi app, its valuation is indication that investors instead see it as a logistics company according to Adrian Gonzalez, president of consulting firm Adelante SCM.

The soon-to-be launched UberRUSH expands the Uber services to allow customers to get “pretty much anything in minutes” according to the their site:

If every local business delivered, we’d all save time and energy. But most simply can’t. Day-to-day operations are already complicated and delivery can cause all sorts of logistical headaches. There has never been a simple local delivery solution. Until now.

UberRUSH aims to steam-line delivery services much in the same way the company has done to the taxi industry with business owners using Uber drivers to deliver products to customers.

The site also boasts that UberRUSH will allow both customers and businesses to: “order and track deliveries instantly, expand delivery zones, and integrate with existing tools and platforms”

It’ll be interesting to see what customers of the near-future will prefer, the go-anywhere mechanical Amazon drone delivery, or the personalized (though less versatile) Uber delivery of a package and a hello.

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 you’re all squeezing out that last little bit of summer that’s left! We thought we’d kick off September with a feature eBook on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, more commonly known as drones. Tracing back to 1849, drones are a year away from being a century-old technology.

In order to celebrate a little early, enjoy our eBook below!

5 Ways UAVs Are Revolutionizing the World

Morai-eBook-UVA-Drones-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-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-Social-Networking

Social media and social networking are two key trends are reshaping how businesses conduct their affairs, communicate with vendors and customers, and even their organizational structure. However, the logistics industry has largely been slow in adopting these technologies and strategies, despite many studies indicating that supply chain managers acknowledge the importance of doing so.

In a 2013 study conducted by Adrian Gonzales, 45 percent of the supply chain professionals surveyed said that “social networks will make supply chain processes more efficient, responsive, and cost effective” over the next five years. Another 30 percent said that “social networks will transform supply chain processes (for the better) in ways we can’t imagine today”. A similar study conducted by Fronetics Strategic Advisors found that of its respondents, 68% reported that their company has realized benefits by participating in social media.

Although the positive attitude toward social networking is there, of the supply chain managers surveyed, 30% of the reported blocking access to social media sites. From the supply chain professionals that responded, 62% said that their companies hadn’t implemented a social networking solution yet, while another 27 percent didn’t know.
The study concludes that the cognitive disconnect between supply chain manager believing in social networking, and the action of moving towards greater adoption has to do with the inability for companies to quantify the business value of using social networking technologies.

There’s a similar finding in the Business Opportunities: Social Media 2013 paper which found that transport and storage companies are underutilizing these technologies the most, whereas other segments such as airline transportation make more extensive use of social media and count some interesting and innovative initiatives and projects in place.

Proactive or SMART use of Social Networking?

As mentioned, the biggest barrier at the moment to greater adoption of social networking is that it’s very difficult to quantify its business value.

There are two contradicting philosophies when it comes to this topic.

The first one, as described by the aforementioned study by Adrian Gonzales, is that trying to measure the direct ROI of something as ethereal as social networking technologies is the wrong approach all together.

It cites the example of GE, which took a proactive approach to social networking by creating a platform that they “can track usage, adoption, how people are using the system, and what their connections are”. What it doesn’t do, is create the direct correlations between usage and business numbers that are needed for ROI. And according to its CEO Ron Utterbeck, “Going and spending money on ROI would be, honestly, in my opinion, just a waste of money because your true value of this is people are coming back”.

The second philosophy is that of the SMART method which involves having specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timed goals as they relate to social media and social networking.

The Benefits of Expanding Social Networking Efforts

The research found in the Business Opportunities: Social Media 2013 paper lists a number of opportunities that logistics companies could benefit from if they used the tools for “expert collaborative communities”.

  • Managing procurement and logistics using Social platforms, which allow instant communication between different parties on complex supply chains.
  • Improving organizational performance by streamlining communications and enhancing collaboration, both internally within the enterprise and outside with contractors, partners and suppliers.
  • Facilitating collaboration and co-creation, reducing the time spent in unnecessary in-person meetings, and helping share internal knowledge and best practices.
  • Accelerating the integration of new staff, contractors and outside partners into teams.

If the logistics industry is to better adopt and grow its social media presence, it will, as an industry, need to change any misconceptions it has toward the key trend.

“Social networking is not really about socializing, but about facilitating people-to-people communication and collaboration” writes Adrian Gonzalez, “social media can – and should – play a central role in supply chain management”.

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!