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!