Morai-Logistics-Blog-3-Supply-Chain-Tech

It’s safe to say that most people realize the benefit of supply chains. Pretty much everything a person living in an industrialized city or country encounters in their day-to-day life encountered a supply chain.

From fancy new technologies such as the latest Apple products to the Starbuck’s grande coffee someone orders and pretty much everything found under the Christmas tree is a result of the supply chain.

It can be easy to take the benefits of supply chains for granted as their effects are so universal and pervasive in our lives. However, it is important to remember that the technology and structure that the logistics industry is based on is continuously evolving and looking for new ways to improve.

Three different ways that supply chain technology connects the world are: software technology, hardware technology and digitalization. These three sectors of the supply chain technology work together to bring the world closer together and also make it more awesome!

1. Software technology

Software technology has had a great impact on the infrastructure of logistics: it has greatly improved areas of processing, tracking transactions, planning, scheduling and managing. Due to collaboration with software technology, the supply chain is truly integrated, visible and more efficient.

According to Melissa Jun Rowley, in her Cisco article titled Supply chain digitization and positive impact, software technology has impacted supply chains in the following ways:

  • Transaction processing — Reducing manual work and costs, improvement of information quality, speeding up of information transfer and having a higher volume of transactions used to drive the use of IT for transaction processing,

  • Supply chain planning and collaboration — Information is used for running processes such as demand forecasting, production and distribution planning, procurement, sales & operations planning (S&OP), as well as VMI and CPFR initiatives that benefit both a company’s internal and external supply chains,

  • Order tracking and delivery coordination — For tracking the progress of orders or deliveries and providing this information to interested parties,

  • Supply chain analytics — Provides supply chain members with improved data accuracy, clarity and insights, which can lead to more contextual intelligence to be shared across supply chains.

2. Hardware technology

It’s difficult to believe that many of the gadgets from popular sci-fi shows of old such as Star Trek, that were once non-existent, are now common place in distribution and fulfillment operations. Automated equipment ranging from forklift trucks and carousels to Kiva robots move material quickly and efficiently through a facility to satisfy customer orders (rather than plotting the downfall of humanity). Other tools such as bar code scanning and RFID increase not only speed of processing but also accuracy to a degree far beyond the capabilities of their pen, paper, and human predecessors.

Likewise, in the world of transportation, GPS and telematics now provide data that improves the efficiency of product delivery. Where a driver once fumbled with a map when delivering cargo to a new location or site, now he or she can check the GPS for the optimal route.

3. Digitalization

The digitalization of the world (the Internet) has helped enable consumers to be informed about the products they purchase. NGOs, consumer groups, and individual consumers can analyze data through website and mobile apps to see which brands are sustainability-conscious.

Workers can also utilize mobile apps to report work-related grievances.

Supply chains make the world go round, that’s plain to see for anyone living in an industrialized community. What’s important to remember is that thanks to the continuously evolving technology that they’re built on, it’s also making logistics more efficient.

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-logsitics-ar-supply-chain

If you’ve been to any public places the last two weeks, then you’ve seen children and adults wandering around pointing and swiping at their phones. This is because of the new app Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game where people hunt, capture, and battle adorable creatures that they can find just by walking outside. The app has been out a short awhile, but has already reached meteoric levels of popularity as, just a day after it was available, it was already installed on more US Android phones than Tinder.

The application of augmented reality (AR) technology isn’t limited to gaming. Aeronautics and automotive manufacturers have been implementing AR with heads-up displays for years. Although, it is only now that the technology is seeing more commercial use as wearable AR technology is becoming more affordable. In fact, AR is predicted to become a $90 billion industry by 2020.

Even for just next year, the value of AR is estimated to be over $6 billion with industrial sector (manufacturing, distribution, and logistics) seeing the largest utilization of the technology.

What is augmented reality technology?

“VR is complete immersion in a virtual world – with no outside stimulus. VR is much more common and is mostly used in gaming and entertainment. AR is technology that alters what the wearer sees in his/her reality” writes blogger Kristi Montgomery in this TalkingLogistics post. The alterations to what a user perceives can be made to motivate towards a behaviour, such as with Zombie, Run!, a phone app that turns real-world running into a game, or it can provide useful information real-time like in the case of DHL’s successful pilot project which tested smart glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse in the Netherlands.

AR in Action

DHL recently published its results for the pilot program it conducted in collaboration Ricoh and Ubimax which had staff in a Netherlands warehouse be guided by graphics displayed on a smart glass.

The aim of ‘vision picking’ was to reduce errors and increase efficiency which the project did very successfully as it resulted in 25% efficiency increase during the picking process. Because picking tasks accounting for 55% to 65% of the total cost of warehousing operations, the potential value of that the efficiency adds to picking is huge.

Given the value that AR can add to a supply chain, it is no surprise that DHL is not the only logistics company that is trialing the technology. The AIMIA Institute described another example in this post “In the middle of last year, Active Ants reported similar results from when they equipped their stock pickers with Google Glass. Active Ants used Google Glass with a custom-built app and they saw an efficiency increase of 15%”.

There are still several barriers to the wide-spread implementation of AR technology in logistics to be sure, but it is clear that there is also lot of potential value in it as well. As the cost and efficiency of the technology evolves, so will the innovative changes that VR can offer to supply chains.

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.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) leverages the interconnectivity of machines and systems with sensors, intelligent data, and analytics to provide increased visibility and better insights into the performance of equipment and assets. Despite what its potential offers, attitudes surrounding IIoT are mixed. Some industry leaders are optimistic, others are dismissive.

For this week’s infographic, we’ve decided to cover nine facts and figures about the opinions of industry leaders related to this topic.

9 Facts About the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)

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.

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!