2015_new_yearIf you were reading Forbes’ website last week, then you would’ve come across an interesting article concerning predicted trends for the logistics industry in 2015. Sarwant Singh, a Senior Partner in Frost & Sullivan lists a total of 15 likely trends to occur in 2015 with common threads between all of them being Information & Communication technology providing new avenues for production, solutions, and business models; and societal trends transforming the corporate, market, and personal landscapes.

The entire article is excellent and is a must read for anyone curious about the opportunities afforded by the evolving logistics industry. For this blog post, I would like to focus on three key trends listed in the article as, in my opinion; are the biggest deviations from the status quo in the logistics industry.

Moving toward Zero Latency

The world will prepare itself for faster processing speeds and faster response times. The next few years will see a move toward zero latency and human unnoticeable delays providing real-time experiences. This will increasingly be embedded into workflows and other processes.

The collapse in latency times in just the last few years has been astounding. The old expectation of same month delivery from traditional post service evolved to same week. This year saw same-day delivery become the standard for e-commerce companies such as Ebay, Amazon and even Google. However, even this hasn’t been quick enough with Amazon’s same-hour delivery service for its Prime members which it revealed last week.

The move toward zero latency is not only a massive drive for innovation in the logistics industry (such as Amazon’s delivery drones and DHL’s massive pledge of investment into creating more efficient supply chain networks in China), but also a key way in how many supply-side companies are marketing themselves to customers.

Transparency is the New Green

Increasingly pervasive analytics and collaborative platforms would make data and processes more transparent than ever before. Governments, corporations, organizations, communities, supply chains and even individuals will be more accountable and liable for policies, decisions and strategies.

Customer interactions with businesses of years past were very binary for the most part. A customer wanted or required a product, and a business provided it wholly formed. Questions such as where it came from, how it came to be weren’t asked and businesses weren’t forthcoming with the answers. The logistics industry was no different as the levels of supplier tiers, volume of oversee transactions, and technological limitations complicated the matter further for many companies in the industry.

The change in philosophy has been swift and pervasive in the last few years as large international companies such as Starbucks, Levi’s, and even McDonald’s and Amazon have embraced more open business models.

Our post last week focused on this trend, but suffice to say, greater transparency in the industry is good all-around as it offers customers more information, accountability, and ultimately better choices.

Women Focused Strategies

As the policymakers debate and implement policies increasing quota for women in boardrooms in 2015, we will see a lot more women focused strategies across companies in different sectors.

The industry of logistics has long been a “Gentleman’s Club”. As outlined in the Morai Logistics Infographic focusing on women in the logistics industry, compared to other industries women still have some room to catch up at all levels in the logistics and supply chain industry.

However, not only have more women been getting into the industry, but women focused strategies overall has been on the rise.

In a past article we wrote about how companies are realizing the benefits of supplier diversity go beyond the “social good.” We are now at an age where companies are starting to find that supplier diversity programs can be fiscally beneficial through ROI, and lead to bridge-building into the untapped force that is women-owned businesses.

All-in-all, 2015 will be an exciting year for the logistics industry.

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: The Next Web
Source: The Next Web
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about The Amazon Effect and how it affects 3PLs. This week, we return to Amazon as the giant online retailer announced its launch of Amazon Elements, “a new line of premium, everyday essentials with transparent origins” in a recent press release.

The press release states that information such as “where items were made, why each ingredient was included, where the ingredients were sourced and much more” will be offered to Amazon Prime members. Furthermore, each package obtained from this new service will contain a unique code that can be scanned through an Amazon shopping app to track its specific ingredients and their origins, its date and place of manufacture, date of delivery, and ‘best by’ date.

Bringing Light to Something that is Already Happening

On the surface, what Amazon Elements is offering isn’t new. Other supply chain dependent companies have been offering similar levels of transparency for years. For example, Switcher, a Swiss textile company, labels each of its products with a code so that its customers can enter at the website to retrieve information about every firm and factory along the supply chain while also looking at the environmental performance certificates.

There’s also the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s supply chain-friendly tool Sourcemap which is described as “the social network for supply chains” offers a very similar service to Amazon Elements (except it isn’t locked to Prime members and it doesn’t only cover diapers and wipes) as it too offers customers the ability to see the complete supply chain for a product or company. It also has the added benefit to calculate the potential impacts on the entire supply chain in the event of natural disasters or political unrest.

So why then does Amazon’s announcement merit any press interest let alone any from anyone in the logistics industry?
The answer is that unlike the efforts of other companies which have transparency as a value-added part of production, the transparency is the product when it comes to Amazon Elements.

Although supply chain transparency is important as demonstrated in classic case of Upton Sinclair, or the more recent crisis of Lululemon, many companies are still luke-warm on the idea.

This is because historically, both customer and retailer largely didn’t care about the history of an item. They were content that it was reasonably priced for what it is. The production and supply chain behind it was effectively invisible. Even if a business wanted to be transparent with its supply chain, it was incredibly difficult outside of its immediate suppliers due to technological and resource limitations.

Going back to Amazon Elements, Amazon is testing what sort of ROI it will get by selling transparency. The actual diapers themselves are more expensive than those on offer by their competition. However, Amazon has seen the move by supply chains in recent years from invisibility to transparency and its ready see how much it can capitalize from this trend.

Steve New, a writer for The Harvard Business Review puts it best when he describes the opportunities available to firms that make the switch,

As customers take greater interest in the origins and authenticity of the things they buy, providing them with tools to track provenance will become an important part of the marketing mix and will give producers and retailers new ways to capitalize on brand value. A key consideration is how much data to make publicly available, and in what degree of detail. Many firms have made bold assertions about how seriously they manage their supply chains. Transparency, at a granular level, gives credibility to those claims.

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!

Amazon Spain. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Amazon Spain. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Amazon Inc. is in the news again. This time, the online retailing giant got press attention for having petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an exemption from rules prohibiting the use of drones for commercial purposes. This move, along with its recent job posting calling for experienced pilots to fly its drones, indicates that Amazon is serious about moving Prime Air, an ambitious thirty minute delivery program involving unmanned aerial vehicles, from concept into reality.

Although the experimental delivery program may still be a few years away, it is this sort of unorthodox business strategy that has led the company into having a hand in 20 percent of all e-commerce in North America. Other programs that Amazon has implemented over the past several years has also caused stirs in B2B markets, cloud technology, and those in 3PLs in general.

1 – Shifting from to B2C to B2B

Amazon has been selling millions of items annually to thousands of households for several years. However, since 2012, it has been targeting the lucrative wholesale and distribution market through AmazonSupply which itself grew out of years of experience operating Smallparts.com since it was acquired in 2005.

Whereas common items on Amazon’s main site include books, CDs, and Blu rays, many of AmazonSupply’s items are those that would otherwise only be obtained through specialist distributors such as centrifuges, micrometers and air cylinders. And unlike many other businesses that specialize in industrial B2B transaction, Amazon focuses its marketing through digital media assets such as videos, post downloadable, CAD drawings and user reviews.

Although AmazonSupply’s main competitor, the Chicago-based industrial supplies giant W.W Grainger, holds an estimated 6% of the entire B2B market according to a Forbes article. Despite this, AmazonSupply’s future is bright. It already has Grainger’s online inventory beat by almost twice the amount indicating that it may in fact be the major player in the B2B market rather than its current status as only a major player.

2 – The future is in the cloud

The computer infrastructure that Amazon has built for Amazon Web Services (AWS) is considerable. With it, the company has been able make itself felt in the e-commerce business world by dominating the cloud computing industry and “hosting customers from NASA to Pfizer PFE +0.89% and ringing up an estimated $3.2 billion in revenue last year” writes Claire O’Conner of Forbes.

With its control of the cloud computing industry, “Amazon might leverage its investment in cloud technology to become a clearinghouse for a steadily increasing share of e-commerce business” wrote Dr. Robert C.Lieb and Kristin J. Lieb in the Quarter 3 2014 report. As more and more 3PLs move into the digital world, that means that Amazon will continue to be a looming presence as it moves from customer to competitor.

3 – Customer or competitor?

There’s been some discussion as to whether Amazon is in the process of making a committed move into the 3PL market. The company already offers a range of services and benefits to its two millions vendors such as cheaper transporting services, order management, inventory control, delivery and billing–all of which put it into competition with other 3PLs.

Referring back to Lieb & Lieb study, they found “with the continued expansion of the company’s warehousing, distribution services, order fulfillment, and transportation services, Amazon might become a formidable competitor by offering shippers a broad range of services that 3PLs already provide”.

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 have been enjoying this summer so far! As we are now in the latter half of the warmest and sunniest of seasons, we would like to take the time to focus on some summer-themed logistics and supply chain related news.

Nova Scotia Aims to Modernize Seafood Industry Trading

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Daily Business Buzz recently released an article on how Ocean Executive, a Bridgewater, Nova Scotia based company, is developing an online platform aimed at improving supply chain efficiency for the seafood industry. Ocean Executive has received a $100k seed investment from Innovacorp, a Nova Scotia based venture capital organization to fuel the idea and help it come to fruition.

Mikel Budreski notes that the platform will help streamline the sales and marketing process for a wide range of seafood companies worldwide. Ocean Executive’s platform seeks to allows users, be it buyers or sellers, to connect directly to each other and their respective products and services in real-time via a an auction marketplace (a function that can be either public or private). This allows users to receive live pricing and market data for more efficient and transparent trading practices:

All players in the supply chain stand to benefit from true and fair market pricing, whether it’s fishermen, processors, wholesalers, distributors, traders, brokers, retailers or large restaurant chains.
– Mikel Budreski, President of Ocean Executive

Greg Phipps of Innovacorp notes that the seafood industry is still using outdated an inefficient processes to buy and sell products and that this technology being developed by Ocean Executive has the potential to modernize this dated trading system. This is indeed a trend that is happening with regards to the logistics and supply chain industry as a whole; combining technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help optimize the industry is indeed proving to be a strategy that is here to stay.

Coconut Water Affecting the Coconut Supply Chain

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
You see it in almost every grocery store; some places even have a whole section dedicated to the number of variations, flavours, and brands. We’re talking of course about coconut water! Whether you love it or hate it, this product has made our way into store shelves globally.

Tessa Riley of The Guardian gives the scoop on the coconut water craze and how it affect s the supply chain. This spur in popularity is largely facilitated by North America, now the biggest global market for coconut water. Originally seen as a useless byproduct by coconut farmers, and normally reserved for exotic holidays, the North American market has really taken coconut water to the next level. From the sales report of the top three most popular brands going from almost nothing in 2004 to a whopping $400 million dollar industry in just under a decade (i.e. 2013).

For a bit of history on coconut farming, traditionally coconuts were harvested for their ‘copra,’ or meat, which is then used to extract coconut oil. Coconut water is notorious for being hard to preserve as it starts decomposing as soon as the coconut water is cut. Thus, coconut farmers see it as a useless byproduct. Since the leap in demand though, initiatives have been taken to allow coconut farmers to consider the production of more diverse economic return like coconut water, which has a much higher return on investment per coconut for the farmers. Lack of technology and limited knowledge is the biggest wall for the coconut farmer though, despite the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation promoting best practices on small-scale production of bottled coconut water.

This gap between the coconut farmer and the consumer along the supply chain is growing and if the coconut water industry intends to stay sustainable, there needs to be some way to bridge the gap that would allow coconut farmers to leverage knowledge and technology to allow them to produce the great demand for coconut water.

Cashew Juice? Not Just a Nuts Idea

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
PepsiCo has started an initiative to test out the market for a new line of products in order to solve the dilemma of a major issue in the extraction and production of cashew nuts: heaps of agricultural waste. Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit gives us an insight into what Pepsi has planned to alleviate this waste problem.

When extracting nuts from cashew plants farmers usually throw away the fruit attached to the nut. Known as the ‘cashew apple,’ this nut is full of Vitamin C as well as other essential nutrients. It also has many other potential uses such as: being another form of meat substitute, used for the production of alcohol, or animal feed.

PepsiCo has started work in India to collaborate with farmers to source cashew apples and use it to create the next iteration of specialty juices, along the same lines of coconut water, pomegranate juice, and hazelnut milk. This comes with a new set of logistics challenges though, mainly that of storage, transport, and shelf life. The fruits are fleshy and must be collected from the ground (not the trees), and must be processed within 24 hours (if the nut is removed before collection, then the time frame is shortened to a mere six hours). Temperature is also important; they must be stored in containers that do not get cooler than 5 degrees. Furthermore, the intended market for where Pepsi wants to sell is about 3000 km from the growers’ sourcing stores (i.e. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro).

Testing it out in both the South American and Indian market to start, PepsiCo hopes to eventually expand it other markets across the globe.

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

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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

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