Morai-Logistics-Blog-drone-vs-robot

The direction the big logistics companies are moving towards for their R&D is split between drone delivery and autonomous technology investments. We explore how each are developing in the industry.

Earlier this week, FedEx revealed its interest in using autonomous vehicles to make deliveries. FedEx’s chief information officer Rob Carter, says the company is considering using small robot vehicles that could drive around neighbourhoods and make deliveries on their own. The company has partnered with Peloton Technology to achieve this goal, firmly believing this path will be the future of package delivery.

Competitors such as UPS and Amazon disagree. They have spent the last few years developing their own aerial delivery drone programs. Their aim is to have packages reach their destination through the air, instead of on the road.

Flying to New Heights

The idea of delivery drones was initially met with disbelief when Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon initially unveiled the technology back in 2013. After a long approval process, Amazon finally received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct trial runs in early 2015. The approval was likely a response to the Chinese online giant Alibaba, a major competitor, conducting its own drone delivery tests.

This event led the way for other companies to develop their own drone delivery programs, and experts weighing in on the potential benefits.

“Allowing drones to be flown for business purposes in the U.S. may produce $100 million or more in economic benefits” says Bloomberg writer Alan Levin, reporting on a FAA document. Enhanced delivery speed and eco-friendliness are other benefits expected from these programs.

Critics have been vocal about cons as well. Namely, in the areas of privacy, potential for theft of packages and the drone itself, and public safety.

Amazon conducted its first delivery through its drone program late last year. Whether the pros or cons win out is now a matter of waiting and seeing.

Driving Towards New Delivery Solutions

FedEx isn’t the first big business to invest in autonomous technology, far from it. Intel for example, is expected to have $1 billion invested in this field by 2020. Uber has jumped onboard with its acquirement of Otto, the company responsible for the successful testing of self-driving tracker trailers.

However, Carter is promising that FedEx’s program will have several distinct advantages over drones. For starters, the vans are expected to be more energy efficient than their aerial counterparts. The maximum cargo delivery limit is also greater. Finally, ground vehicles won’t have to content with the FAA for regulations and flight path approval for urban areas.

Peloton Technology’s current semi-autonomous technology isn’t far off from FedEx’s goal. It can electronically link trucks into small caravan groups called platoons. The lead truck can then control the brakes and gas of the convoy, lowering wind resistance and saving fuel.

Logistics is a multi-trillion-dollar global industry. FedEx is betting of self-driving robots as the future of cargo delivery. Given the company’s size, that’s 220 countries whose way of receiving parcels and movement of large fleets would be affected. Time will tell if FedEx’s robots will be able to streamline, automate and accelerate the supply-chain 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.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-TPP-NAFTA-2

Earlier this week, newly inaugurated president Donald J. Trump withdraws from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Hence, the U.S withdrawal from the 12-country agreement effectively rendered seven years of negotiations a waste.

Pulling the U.S out of TPP was one of Trump’s campaign promises. Though, aside from the possible global-political ramifications of the action, what many are wondering now is if he’ll do the same to NAFTA and what all this will mean for the logistics industry.

Consequences of the Withdrawal

To say TPP was controversial would be an understatement. Several protests around the world were held throughout the negotiations.

There are many reasons for and against TPP, with both sides passionate about their position. But, the trade agreement would have created a network encompassing 40% of all world trade and affected millions of people across the world. Other global concerns would’ve been impacted as well, including cyber security, environmentalism and free trade.

Fallout of the withdrawal is being hotly debated across the professional and media landscape. So we have detailed the three key concerns that are being discussed:

  • Loss of North American competitiveness — TPP would’ve eliminated more than 18,000 taxes and trade barriers across its member countries. By pulling out of the trade agreement, the U.S and by extension Canada, is losing out on a large section of the global market. Farming manufacturing, and the services and technology sectors will be impacted the most. While Canada and Mexico can still negotiate on their own, they lose a lot of bargaining power without U.S backing.
  • Loss of North American influence over global trade — One notable absence from TPP was China. Some experts theorized the exclusion was intentional. TPP they argue, was an attempt to counter China’s growing economic influence on global trade. China has pushed its own trade pact, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which currently has 16 members. By backing out of TPP, Trump may’ve pushed some countries that originally signed to seek other trade agreements, like RCEP.
  • Risk of protectionism — The U.S is not part of the RCEP. If it goes through, experts are worried that it will have tariffs against the U.S. This, along with the shaken confidence of TPP members may raise the number and cost of tariffs.

What Will Happen with NAFTA?

Trump promised Americans to either renegotiate or outright end NAFTA during his campaign. His actions with TPP indicate he’s serious about his promise.

When asked on Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump would rather renegotiate NAFTA rather than tear it up.

“Mr. Spicer said Mr. Trump’s complaint is with “multinational” trade deals because they are more complicated to renegotiate. But he said the President was open to bilateral deals – a sign that he might be willing to keep a deal with Canada, even if he makes good on his pledge to change the terms of NAFTA to make it harder for American companies to move to Mexico” wrote Adrian Morrow, reporter for the Globe and Mail.

Trump will be meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the coming weeks to discuss a renegotiation.

If NAFTA were to end, it would have serious negative repercussions for the transportation, manufacturing and logistics industries across the three nations.

The end of TPP is already having an impact on offshoring efforts. Thus, the coming weeks will see if nearshoring efforts will be upturned as well.

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.

On February 4, 2014, we released a white paper detailing the different ways the logistics landscape had changed. Developments in the industry had created new challenges and opportunities all along the supply chain, shifting the world of transportation.

The last few years has seen many developments in the realm of logistics. The recent carrier, port, and labour issues; rate instability, primarily in ocean carrier; and rising costs in other areas of the world, specifically China, has led a number of global companies to reconsider their outsourcing strategies.

This week on the blog, we are taking a look at these changes in the logistics landscape and what progress has been made since 2014.

White Paper: Third-Party Logistics and Mexico Nearshoring Still Growing

ebook-3pl-mexico-cover

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-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-logistics-blog-omni-channel-fulfillment

With so much discussion over omni-channel fulfillment being the future, it is interesting then that only 19% of the top 250 retailers are currently fulfilling omni-channel demand profitably, according to a new the third annual Sands Future of Retail Report.

Despite such a small percentage of top retailers making a profit from omni-channel fulfillment, the service is in high demand by customers and growing.

For example, for nine out of ten consumers, free shipping was reported as the top incentive to shop more online. This number has grown to become the top consideration. One-day shipping (69%) and free returns (68%) also continue to be top drivers.

The Future of Retail and Logistics

There were other key findings of note in the study:

  • Nearly a third of consumers (31%) now shop online at least once a week, an increase of 41% from two years ago.
  • Only 9% of consumers have used same-day shipping in the past year, but almost half (49%) say same-day shipping would make them shop more online if it were offered more frequently.
  • 40% of consumers expect to receive their first drone-delivered package in the next two years or less. Less than a third (31%) think it will take more than five years.
  • Among consumers who don’t trust drones to deliver packages, theft and damaged packages are the top concerns (72% each), but safety (68%) and privacy (60%) seem less risky than they were a year ago.

A theme throughout the study from customers was the expectation of greater and greater speed of the supply chain. This can be seen by the finding that consumers who shop online more than twice a week are twice as likely to be persuaded by same-day shipping as consumers who shop online only a few times a year (63% vs. 32%).

The main reason that so few top retailers are yet to make a profit from omni-channel fulfillment is simply that they have yet to figure out how.

According to the 2015 Third-Party Logistics Study, fully one-third of all respondents (nearly 800 manufacturers, retailers and 3PLs) say they’re not currently prepared to handle omni-channel fulfillment.

Tim Foster, managing director, Asia-Pacific, with supply chain consulting firm Chainalytics weighed in on the discussion.

“Forester believes manufacturers and retailers will address this market transformation by eliminating non-value-adding activities within the supply chain. He cites the example of pharmaceutical distribution, where the traditional supply chain flow from manufacturer to wholesaler to retail pharmacy is being replaced by either a direct flow from manufacturer to retailer, or a loop with the 3PL in the center” summarizes Material Handling and Logistics News in this article.

3PLs have some time to catch up to customer demand. Privacy and security concerns are hampering the demand for omni-channel distribution in the areas of mobile phone payment. “This could explain why adoption has essentially remained flat year over year, with about a third of consumers having used these applications. Still, U.S. mobile payment transactions are expected triple in 2016 to $27 billion, a sign that a few eager early adopters and the growth of Apple Pay could eventually force more widespread changes in consumer behavior” concludes the article.

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.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-top-5-carrier-switch

With the increase of transportation management systems, tighter driver availability, and growing regulatory guidelines, it is essential to collaborate with carriers to ensure you are adding profitable business to their network. This will solidify a long-term relationship that will save you from costly changeovers.

Building important long lasting relationships with a carrier is an important part of maintaining a strong supply chain network. Capacity shortages and other carrier-related service issues will inevitably occur and carrier change-over can be costly. But sometimes, the business arrangement is simply no longer mutually beneficial and it’s time to switch carrier.

Here are 5 signs to look out for that maybe it’s that time.

1. The Last Time Your Carrier’s Technology was Updated, iPhones Didn’t Exist.

In order to stay competitive, it is key that your carrier embraces technological changes. Implementing the latest technology helps to continuously gather intelligence regarding your market and assists in mitigating risks. Even embracing technology as simple as RFID can help improve supply chain visibility from start to finish. It is essential that carriers are capable of evolving as consumer demands evolve, allowing companies to take advantage of potential in new markets and quicker react to opportunities with current consumers.

2. Uncompetitive Rates

Competitive rates are a no brainer. In order to build a strong relationship with clients, carriers must offer competitive rates. This gives the ability to negotiate and strategize the best possible options and plans based on your needs. Rate shopping can be a daunting task, and your carrier should be able to provide rate costs that best fit your budget and shipping requirements. By providing competitive rates, your carrier is acknowledging that they want to give you the best benefits at the best prices. If your carrier refuses to budge on your rates, it’s definitely time to find a carrier that has your best interests in mind.

3. Instead of PB & J You’re More Like Pickles and Marshmallows.

The relationship between carriers and clients is important. Your business needs are important, and you should be a priority to your carrier. Long term relationships can often result in better plans and rates based customized to your specific shipping needs, and can help when evaluating bottom line. A positive carrier/client relationship can often offer discounted rates over the course of time, in addition to more carrier options and credibility to your business which can minimize risks of shipping nationally/internationally.

4. Mistakes are More Common than Actual Completed Shipments

Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has those days. While service issues are a reality, recurring service issues should not be. Frequently experiencing issues and service problems is not necessary and is costly to your business. When you find yourself constantly addressing service failures that your carrier refuses to acknowledge with no signs of improvement, it’s time to find a provider that takes places importance on the level of customer service they provide.

5. You’ve Outgrown Your Carrier

You have now become a big and beautiful business, but your 3PL and carrier requirements have outgrown the capabilities of your current provider. It’s important to understand that not all carriers provide the same scope of services. Some carriers provide specialized services that might be exactly what your business requires, while others offer customized warehousing or global partnerships. It’s nothing personal, you’re just in different places, and it’s best to consider a carrier that matches your needs on all levels.

The nature of business relationships are not always win-win. The ability of both parties to give-and-take to serve customer needs is more important for a lasting business alliance.

However, sometimes a partner may take too much either through limited capability or limited ability. Depending on where your business is at present, and where it needs to be, it may just be time to switch carriers.

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.

Cargo theft isn’t anything new. From the days of bandits attacking caravans to pirates on the sea, if there is money to be made from stealing cargo and fencing it then attempts will be made to steal it. The real change is in the sophistication and planning that thieves utilize in their planning.

Globalization has also made the scope of the problem much larger. The ripples felt in one part of the world from stolen cargo can affect consumers and businesses on another side of the world. That’s to say nothing of the highly organized, highly structured, gangs, cartels, and black markets which fence the items taken from stolen cargo whose networks can stretch time zones.

This month, we’d like to focus our ebook on looking at the current state of cargo thefts and ways we can minimize these occurrences.

Looking at the Impact of Cargo Theft and Possible Solutions

Morai-Logistics-eBook-Cargo-Theft

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 current shortage of truck drivers is estimated at roughly 25,000. The turnover rate, which hit 96% by the end of 2014 is due to a multitude of reasons, including demographic, regulatory, and the fact that drivers are away from home for a period of time, among other factors.

This month, we thought it would be a great idea to take a look at these facts and figures!

12 Key Facts About the Driver Shortage and the Future of the Trucking Industry

Morai-Logistics-12-Key-Facts-About-the-Truck-Driver-Shortage

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-Glass-Ceiling

By Lisa Henthorn

Virtually impenetrable not all that long ago, the “glass ceiling” blocking women from executive-level jobs in the logistics and supply chain industry appears to be shattering.
Though few (if any) people in our industry would argue that our historic gender bias has gone away, the outlook for women is considerably brighter these days than it was when Industry Week made this bleak observation a little over two years ago:

Half of the human population is female. More than half of all university students in the United States are female. Around a third of all MBA students, including those concentrating on supply chain studies, are female. And yet, when (we) did a manual count of top supply chain executives in Fortune 500 companies, we found only 22 women among 320 businesses that had a true supply chain function.

22 out of 320? That’s a definitive “F-minus,” but there’s growing evidence that our industry’s grade on gender equality is improving. Among the most significant signs: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx appointed Michelle Livingstone to a two-year term on the National Freight Advisory Committee.
Livingstone, by the way, is VP of Transportation for Home Depot. As such, she’s on a growing roster of females who hold top-level logistics posts at high-profile companies. The list also includes:

These executives deserve our applause. And the companies that gave them their respective titles should get a pat on the back, too. Why? If for no other reason, it’s because they decided to break with the “old-boy network” tradition that lingers on in our industry and give leadership roles to the people most qualified to have them. This simply makes good business sense, and in light of our industry’s ominous talent shortage, that’s especially true.

In other words, as we look for answers to the labor shortage, there’s no time like the present to tap the female labor pool.

Lisa Henthorn is a vice president at Eyefreight, a provider of transportation management system technology. Lisa can be reached at l.henthorn@eyefreight.com

About Eye Freight

The Eyefreight SaaS TMS is a Level 5 TMS, providing shippers with a control tower for central coordination and detailed visibility over multi-modal, multi-leg, international logistics. Eyefreight runs proprietary algorithms to manage and monitor the entire logistics process – optimizing inventory allocation and distribution planning, and unlocking traditional bottlenecks within the logistics function.