Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
We have been seeing a lot of posts these days on the Internet of Things (IoT) from industry professionals in supply chain and logistics. This week we thought we would focus on defining the IoT for those that may be unaware and shed light onto how it applies to the logistics and supply chain industry.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that was can be traced as far back as 1832 with the invention of the first electromagnetic telegraph all the way to today. The term itself though, wasn’t coined until 1999 by Kevin Ashton from the Auto ID Centre:

I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the phrase “Internet of Things” started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G’s supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention. It summed up an important insight—one that 10 years later, after the Internet of Things has become the title of everything from an article in Scientific American to the name of a European Union conference, is still often misunderstood.
Source:RFID Journal

Postscapes has a great overview of the history of the IoT which can be found here. But to define the IoT:

Internet of Things

Definition: The Internet of things is defined as a proposer development of the Internet where everyday objects (i.e. devices) have a form of network connectivity (e.g. Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.) that allow them to send and receive data.

How Does this Relate to Logistics and Supply Chain?

Logistics Viewpoints recently released a blog post on how the IoT will change the face of supply chain management. Essentially, the theory is that operations along the supply chain can be made more efficient by combining technology like smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, etc. with the Internet in diverse ways to optimize the supply chain.

Currently, the IoT is slotted to be present all along the supply chain, from people who will have badges monitors the health of workers in hazardous environments, smartphone apps that detect traffic conditions, to sensors on cargo/shipments that help supply chain planners direct where goods will flow.

Steve Banker of Logistics Viewpoints emphasizes that in order to properly change and accommodate to the advances in applying IoT elements into logistics requires a change in analytics first:

“Collecting, storing and analyzing IoT data requires different processes, skills and technologies.” Acquiring those technologies and ‘growing’ the associated talent will become a key task for companies that want to use IoT to take their supply chain programs to the next level.
Source:Logistics Viewpoints

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 have already predicted that there will be challenges when attracting the new generation, i.e. Generation Y or the Millenials, to the concept of logistics and supply chain. What better way to influence the move to educate, and more importantly motivate than to make learning about logistics more fun and engaging through play?

On this Industry Focus Week post, we’re going to be exploring different ways gaming and play have been incorporated into the world of logistics and supply chain learning.

Business on the Move – The Game

Logistics games have existed in the past, but they’re normally meant of the University or other post-secondary/professional education stream. Concepts like the Beer Game have existed for a while, but we’ve still got an untapped market: the youth of today. Millenials are still very unaware that there even are careers in logistics.

Source: Business on the Move
Source: Business on the Move

In an effort to attract future generations into the concept of logistics, Andy Page and Pat Smedley, two former business studies teaches, sought to educate all ages but with a focus on youth (9-19 years old) behind the concept supply chain and logistics. They set up a social enterprise called Very Enterprising Community Interest Company in 2011 in order to create Business on the Move.

This board game presents the following challenge: How do you (as a player) move different products from China to their UK customers? You are given the options of different modes of tansportation (i.e. the standard land, sea and air). The point of the game is the be the player that can successfully execute the moving of your goods as quickly, as profitably and as responsibly as possible. Or at least better than the other playes!

Players are faced with taking decisions that are surprisingly similar to those made regularly by many businesses when addressing logistics and supply chain challenges. They have to tackle meeting delivery deadline, improving their supply chain (i.e. supply chain optimization), and ultimately: How to profit! And to top it off, Business on the Move also created sustainability initiatives to the game mechanics to address issues like reducing your company’s carbon footprint?

It is no surprise that Business on the Move has already won an award under the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Inspiring Enterprise initiative as well as UnLtd,a charity that supports social entrepreneurs. SHD Logistics writes that to date:

To date, nearly 600 young people, teachers and supply chain professionals have played Business on the Move, with another 15,000 young people projected to play over the next 12 months. Andy and Pat’s vision is that by 2020 over 100,000 people will have played the game.

Our team at Morai Logistics believes that this is a great move and a wonderful step in the right direction for opening up the concept of logistics and supply chain as not just a career option, but a fun and challenging one to boot!

Warehouse and Logistics Simulator

Gamers are now even getting their own simulator! Simulator genre lovers and casual gamers can finally experience a game that outlines the challenges involved in warehouse and supply chain operations.

Published by United Independent Entertainment GmbH (known for other simulator games like Woodcutter Simulator, Airport Simulator, and Towtruck Simulator to name a few) and developed by the team at app2fun, Warehouse and Logistics Simulator puts your in the driver’s seat of a forklift as you scramble to move goods around the warehouse to reach a time-based high score.

While the game itself did not amass great press or review from the official video game reviewers, it is a great start into a realm of possibly excellent thought out logistics related simulation games. This targets a market that logistics has yet to see and we’re excited to hear that developers have launched something like this to begin with. We are definitely keeping an eye out.

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!

Social-media-for-public-relations1We’ve reached a point in society that people’s parents and even in some cases their grandparents are getting social media savvy! It is no surprise then, that these social media developments is something that businesses can no longer ignore; logistics and supply chain industry or otherwise.

This week’s blog post will focus on two case studies that show how both social media application and mobile technology is affecting the logistics and supply chain industry in an interesting way.

Twitter is Making Truckers Healthier

Fronetics released a post this month on how an interesting development on Twitter has trucking companies leveraging social media to both save money and take care of their staff. According to the article, both obesity and sleep disorders (i.e. sleep apnea) are the primary health risks for truckers and end up costing their employers $190.2 billion in medical spending. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, obese truckers had an annual average total health care cost of $1,944, compared with $1,755 for overweight truckers and $1,131 for normal-weight drivers.

So how does social media come into play? Well, a 42 year old trucker with over 20 years of experience decided to use Twitter as a venue to track his progress to adopt a healthier lifestyle on his journey from being the typical statistic of an unhealthy overweight trucker to a healthier, and happier, trucker.

He started an account as @urbanhauler and, using the hashtag #fittrucker, captured the attention of over 1500 fellow truckers (based on his follower list alone). This spurred Jarred Martin of Speedy Transport to secure a new job opportunity while continuing his quest to change the habits of truckers everywhere.

Google’s Uber Taxi App Expands with UberRush

Source: Uber
Source: Uber
There is a new face in the traditional parcel deliver services, and logistics companies are taking notes. Uber, a San Francisco based venture focusing on on-demand transportation services best known for their vehicle-for-hire or ridesharing app by the same name has expanded in NYC by launching Rush. Rush, or Uber Rush, extends their ridesharing model to a package delivery service. Uber Rush uses bike and on-foot messengers to get your belongings from origin to destination.

It works by having users request a messenger at your location via the Uber Rush app. A chosen delivery person will then arrive to collect your delivery instructions (via bike or foot), then take your package to your destination. Both the sender and recipient can track the location of the package via the app. How’s that for taking logistics services straight to the masses?

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!

DictionaryOur mission to provide little tidbits on the vast library of logistics terminology month by month continues! We love to educate those who are interested in logistics to know more in manageable chunks. This month’s Logistics Glossary Week post is on food logistics. What kind of terminology along the supply chain are used when transporting goods? This post on food logistics terminology is going to focus on regulating edible perishable goods.

Food Logistics – Part I

One of the main challenges for companies that have to deal with food transport is ensuring that the food coming from the origin stays fresh throughout its journey to its destination, no matter what the distance. On top of that, these perishable food items also have to arrive with enough time to be on store shelves and stay unspoiled for a particular amount of time to be bought and consumed by customers. Below are some terms that are commonly used in food logistics related to maintaining a level of standard (from origin and throughout the supply chain) for food once it hits the store shelves.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Definition: The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA serves to protect and promote public health of food safety, pharmaceutical drugs (both prescription and over-the counter), as well as various other consumable goods like tobacco products, medical and veterinary products and devices, etc.

Every country has their own set of rules and regulations (e.g. the Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces Canadian Food and Drug Regulations) and it is important to consider these as a logistics company as some differences can alter how a product should be transported and handled. This is why when doing food-related cross-border logistics, it is important to be aware of these governing bodies and their regulatory requirements.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Definition: Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, in the general sense is a detailed written set of instructions for a process that must be followed to ensure standardization and compliance.

In the world of food logistics, the SOP of food is based on the type of food product and the recommendations of the governing body that regulates its best practices. This is important as it is the responsibility of companies that offer food or perishable edible goods to be able to ensure a consistent and desired outcome for the end consumer.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

Definition: Hazard analysis and critical control points, or HACCP, is a food safety system based on the principles of identification, evaluation, and hazard control. It is more of a systematic preventative approach to food safety, as opposed to a finished product inspection.

Time and Temperature Control for Safety (TCS)

Definition: Time and temperature control for safety food items, or TCS foods, are as the term suggest; food that needs time and temperature control to prevent a product from becoming unsafe due to biological hazards.

Food that is normally regarded as TCS foods are those that are high in protein, are moist, or are moderately to slightly acidic. Some regulating bodies recommend that these products be labeled.

Source: foodprotection.org
Source: foodprotection.org

The above example is from the International Association of Food Protection and serves as a label for potentially hazardous food that requires time/temperature control for safety.

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!

We hope that everyone has had a great start to the year so far! Now that we’re getting close to halfway through our first month, we thought we would feature some great infographics that we thought would motivate you for a great start to your year in the logistics and supply chain industry.

1 The Supply Chain Job Hunt

If you or anyone you know is looking to get into the logistics and supply chain industry. Here’s a great infographic that gives you the breakdown from how people in the industry maintained their position and what they thought about the current job market. Not surprisingly, in-person networking and word of mouth were the most common ways to land a position, but thankfully online job sites and postings from the employer’s sites show great outcomes as well. This is a great sign as it shows that our industry is adapting to today’s trends in recruitment strategies.

Source: Canadian Manufacturing
Source: Canadian Manufacturing

2 – The Struggling Supply Chain

Capgemini released an infographic on the struggles along the supply chain processes in preparation for the holiday season. It’s no surprise that the same challenges carry over for this year: a lack of talent and processes among key challenges.

Source: Capgemini
Source: Capgemini

3 – The Top Gadgets of 2013

A great way to move forward is to look back and see what’s been happening, and our last Industry Focus Week post on Hardware Technology showed that this coming year gadgets are the thing to look out for. We’re personally keeping an eye out for both wearable technology and miscellaneous gadgets! What are you looking forward to seeing developed?

Source: Finances Online
Source: Finances Online

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: Deviant Art

Our team at Morai Logistics hopes everyone has had a great holiday season! We decided to kick the year off our blog by focusing on the logistics and supply chain industry that is predicted to radically shape the face of the industry for 2014: Hardware.

Both Forbes and Director of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, have deemed that 2014 is the start of the tech industry, especially the start-up crowd, to move away from the cloud and digital product and services and to move onto concrete real world devices that we can interact with.

While this presents a new challenge for these start-ups and veteran tech companies, primarily due to considering factors that haven’t been looked at thanks to the rise of digital services blooming in the tech market, the logistics industry can rejoice! Many potential opportunities are opening up for the logistics and supply chain companies, predictively those in 3rd party logistics, due to the need for these new hardware devices to be sent out to consumers. Warehousing and transportation services are looking to be in demand for the tech industry for 2014 and onward as these new hardware ideas come into fruition.

The Opportunities

LittleBits
LittleBits

There are a couple of factors that have made entrepreneurs in the tech industry strive for manufacturing devices and indeed the first and foremost is the increase in the practicality of computing devices. As can be seen in most of our pockets and purses, we currently are surrounded with an extremely powerful computer that fits in the palm of our hands. If anything is a great example of today’s advancement in hardware technology, one need not look further than that. Our cell phones have reached a point where we really can use it for most of our digital needs and conveniences.

Another potentially strong factor that has given rise to new ventures in hardware and straying from software is the fact that a lot of start-ups really tried to jump on the app bandwagon. Nowadays we are nearing app saturation and a culture has been created within the community where users are starting to become more conservative when it comes to downloading new apps. This hard resulted in a downward spiral as app developers need to feed themselves and have resorted to creating in-app purchases and reserved ad space which decreases the quality of user experience.

Thus developers now have taken to hardware, as it is assumed that hardware is something that should be paid for by consumers. It makes the work that the developers put in much more predictable with regards to their profitability.

The Challenge

It seems that while these opportunities have presented themselves for the logistics and supply chain industry despite the predicted slow growth in the industry for the coming years, it isn’t without some challenges.

The primary obstacles that these new tech companies are facing are where to manufacture these goods. China seems to be the standard option because of the readily able workforce and experience in tech development, but it seems more and more that nearshoring is the way to go. Places like Mexico offer an equally ready workforce and is much closer to the majority of these tech startups (primarily US). Meanwhile, manufacturing hubs in within the US itself are starting to trend as well.

The biggest concern though is logistics. Our industry faces a major problem of staff shortage when it comes to transporting goods. Nowhere is that more present that with our trucking workforce, as recent statistics have shown that 17% of the current truck driving population is under 35 and a larger proportion is close to retirement. Thus, should the demand present itself, our industry will have to come up with solutions to get these new digital goods across.

On a lighter note, the advent of 3D printing might have an impact on the way devices are manufactured in the future. Thoughts?

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! Have a great rest of the New Year week, we hope for a great start to 2014 for all of our readers!