Morai-Logistics-international-womens-day

The Morai Logistics team would like to wish everyone a Happy International Women’s Day. We’re so proud of all the accomplishments that has been achieved leading up to this point, especially in our industry, and are excited to see the progress that the future holds for women everywhere.

To all women out there, whatever you are doing, this day is for you!

According to the report Digital Supply Chain: Creating Skills for the Future, the Canadian supply chain and logistics industry currently employs 878,000 people. Digital technologies is stated to be a contributing factor to the increase in job creation expected to happen over the course of the next five years.

However, research also identifies Canada’s ranking as the 14th nation in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index.

While the country’s investment in research and technology remains high, less than 41% of Canadian industries actually utilize advanced communication technologies. The report further identifies that as the integration of emerging platforms continues to rise, the need for an advanced workforce is critical.

Unceasing technological advancements in the form of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, are necessary to help companies keep up with consumer needs and demands. They’re also key to improving the countries performance in trade logistics.

This eBook takes a look at current technology trends that will have a direct impact on the transportation supply chain and logistics workforce.

What does an Advanced Supply Chain look like?

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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-saas-supply-chain

With technology driving industries into the Cloud, implementing and utilizing Software-as-a-Service, or SAAS, systems could help supply chains improve the customer experience.

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to connect and enable our world to create efficient and easier modes of communication, operations and production. Technological advancements have shown improvements for many industries. Supply chain and logistics companies included.

Research claims that “SAAS cloud computing business information systems help enterprises develop.” This prompts us to ask exactly how. This article unveils how Software-as-a-Service systems function as a benefit to the supply chain industry and what this means moving forward.

SAAS Defined

Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) is an innovative tier of cloud computing. It is projected to provide lucrative benefits for the supply chain industry. In a report written by C3 Solutions, they use this term interchangeably with ‘cloud-based system’. Businesses and customers are able to access services over a network in a simplified and easy process.

As outlined in a SWOT analysis on SAAS, the system’s ability to efficiently integrate and be easily scalable are notable strengths. In addition, a major plus for businesses who adopt SAAS is it’s “less up front cost”. Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at C3 Solutions, Gregory Braun, also states that cloud based platforms “keep up with changes and advances in the technologies”. Therefore, this system has the capability to help businesses streamline their supply chain management processes.

The Benefits of SAAS for Supply Chain Management

SAAS systems provide businesses with the ability to offer more efficient services to customers by helping them streamline their data. Similar to the research found by C3 Solutions, Salesforce outlines four main benefits that this cloud-based option provides all industries. SAAS is:

  • Easy to learn, generating high adoption rates
  • Offers Low initial costs
  • Upgrade capabilities that removes unnecessary hassle for adding additional software
  • Helps your business “scale indefinitely to meet customer demand.”

While this all sounds promising, how can supply chain industries utilize this? Research has found that current supply chain management systems are more effective when combined with IoT technology. Specifically in relation to supply chains, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) can be optimized using cloud based software. This is primarily to “improve the collection, sharing and exchange of information.”

Therefore, SAAS systems could create efficient processes for transporting goods by offering a low cost opportunity to integrate and scale shipments.

Proof in Numbers

Although the above benefits speak to the advantages software-as-a-service (SAAS) systems provide businesses, steady market growth shows proof in numbers. According to Digital Journal, Canada joins many global leaders in contributing revenue to the SAAS market. It’s estimated that by 2020, the Global SAAS market will increase by 21%, representing $117 billion USD in annual growth.

Both Small, medium and large enterprises are adopting this software across a variety of industries including IT, Manufacturing and Healthcare. The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian stock market is seeing a surge this year. They reported technology stocks increasing by 8.5%. These figures represent the steady progression of innovative technologies and their contributions to global economies.

Improving the Customer Relationship

In addition to being an efficient tool to help businesses optimize their operations, SAAS systems also help improve the customer relationship. Writer, Michael Krigsman, discusses how leading enterprise software, Oracle, foresees a future in the clouds. He states that as companies move toward implementing cloud software. This leads to a focus on responsiveness must be taken to meet customer satisfaction.

The Balance asks “are you getting your customers what they want, when they want it – and spending as little money as possible accomplishing that?” The answer to this could possibly be the implementation of IoT technolgoies like as SAAS. Not only does this system improve the efficiencies of data collection and transfer, it can also save your business significant costs.

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-infographic-nafta-23-years-later

The current structure of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is set to change later this year. The U.S led negotiations with Canada and Mexico will determine how NAFTA will look, or if it will even continue past next year.

It’s been 23 years since the treaty was signed. In that time, it’s built up quite the legacy. Let’s looks at how this historic treaty has shaped North American jobs and trade.

NAFTA’s future might be uncertain, but its importance in global politics, economics and world trade cannot be understated. The treaty has reshaped the political economic landscape of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico by tripling regional trade and cross-border investment. That’s not to say it isn’t without its critics. However, the world will be very different if NAFTA were to be replaced.

This is why this week, we thought we’d focus on re-exploring NAFTA. Check out our infographic below for some fast facts!

How Has NAFTA Affected North American Logistics & Supply Chain?

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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-Nintendo-Switch-Part-2

While modern companies focus on providing exceptional service, Nintendo continues to focus on extraordinary products with a Customer-Centric approach.

In our last post, we began exploring the reasons behind Nintendo’s history of not meeting consumer demand. Many of its gaming consoles, software, peripherals and promotional items in the last 20 years have seen instances of scarcity across its North American and European markets. Limited supply, inflated grey market prices, and angry consumers have been the result.

Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, launched a few months ago with similar supply shortages. Some customers and press accused the company of intentionally limiting production to drive sales given the familiarity of the situation.

What’s behind the latest supply issues is the company’s customer-centric philosophy, not artificial scarcity.

Artificial Scarcity Isn’t the Problem

On the surface, Nintendo’s selling practices may seem to favour artificial scarcity to drive sales. The problem with this theory, is that artificial scarcity is only ever a short-term solution for luxury products. Artificial scarcity only generates demand because of perceived scarcity. The actual value of the product isn’t considered, meaning that the company doing it has little incentive to innovate the product. After a certain point, and despite a company’s attempts, there will be too much of a product in circulation for it to maintain its price.

Nintendo is a nearly 140-year-old multi-national company, iconic and influential in its industry. If it followed the same strategy as the former Beanie Baby empire, it would’ve folded decades ago.

The ‘problem’ with Nintendo’s management and supply chain strategies, is that they’re very customer-centric.

Customer-Centric: An Old but Effective Model for Nintendo

Newcomers like Amazon, Uber and PayPal have been disruptive to many industries. However, their biggest contribution is the latest trend of customer-focused strategies. Many companies are now trying to streamline their services to better improve the customer experience.

Ken Ramoutar of Avanade Insights, highlights what a customer-centric focus involves:

  • Anticipate your future needs looking at behavioural patterns, market trends, leveraging data from inside and outside the organization
  • A unique and memorable experience; seamless across your interaction channels
  • Analytics to inspect call logs and problem reports to feed changes in supply and production

None of these describe Nintendo’s business practices or product design philosophy. In fact, the company is notorious for being especially conservative in an industry that’s in constant flux.

Nintendo and Unique Gaming Experiences

Nintendo’s focus throughout its long history, is on creating products that provide a unique experience in and of themselves. Unlike its past (Sega) and current competitors (Sony and Microsoft), the company never bothered to chase the latest technological, marketing or business trends. This historically had both good and bad results for the company at different points in its history. However, it has allowed it to remain strong in the face of ever ballooning industry costs. Sony and Microsoft may have millions of dollars to throw behind their development and marketing strategies, but Nintendo has its Blue Ocean Strategy.

That’s it for this week’s post. In the final entry of this three-part series, we’ll describe how Nintendo’s Blue Ocean Strategy and customer-centric approach has led it to continue to be a dominating force within its industry.

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.

Starbucks, the American coffeehouse chain, is an incredibly successful company. It may sound self-evident, but amongst all the pumpkin lattes and grande jokes, it’s easy to overlook how and why the company has come so profitable.

Last year, Starbucks reported generating $21.31 billion in sales and revenue. That number is almost a two billion dollar jump over what it reported in 2015. It’s also consistent with the average $1-2 billion annual revenue increase it’s had for the last few years.

With the year-over-year of success, it can be hard to imagine a time when the company wasn’t successful. However, despite opening in Seattle, Washington in 1971, the brand wasn’t profitable until the early 1980s. Just a few years later (1987), Starbucks began an aggressive campaign to capture more of the market, opening an average of two new locations a day until 2007.

Since its explosive expansion, Starbucks has grown to over 23,770 locations worldwide, with almost one third of that number overseas.

The story of Starbucks goes beyond simply being inspirational. After all, it wasn’t luck or just simple determination that led to it’s success. It was the company’s innovative logistics strategies that kept old customers returning and won over new coffee-lovers.

This month, we thought we’d focus on how logistics is key to the budding success of Starbucks.

Starbucks and Logistics

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There are many lessons that the story of Starbuck’s success can teach us. It’s an example of how looking to the fundamentals of logistics and supply chain management benefits strategy, organization and execution. It, and other retail giants, are seeing success for these reasons, which is a lesson for smaller companies aiming to grow or improve their operations.

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

morai-logsitics-ar-supply-chain

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

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

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

What is augmented reality technology?

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

AR in Action

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

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

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

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

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

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Old-Coffee

Nine years ago, several coffee beans of the higher quality Arabica variety were stashed away and forgotten about. At the time, there was a period of oversupply you see.

As the coffee beans sat in the warehouse, they lost their quality and with it their value. In fact, the value of the coffee beans has dropped so much that they are essentially free for anyone that can find a use for them.

“For instance, coffee that’s been certified by the ICE Futures U.S. exchange that goes unsold for 121 days costs half a cent cheaper per pound, according to the Journal. For three years, the cost falls 35 cents per pound. Coffee that’s nine years old is a whopping $1.55 less per pound, which makes it pretty much free since arabica coffee futures were at $1.37 a pound as of Monday” writes this article in Fortune.

Good ‘Ol Coffee Bean Logistics

For some context, 2007, when the oldest of the beans became stored away, was an interesting year. The Writer’s Guild of America went on strike impacting many popular shows, Vladamir Putin was announced as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and Steve Jobs revealed the first generation of the iPhone to the public.

The coffee beans and their journey from valued commodity to essentially chaff is an example of the problem of inefficient supply chains. Because of a mismanaged glut, old coffee beans circa the Bush administration are just now leaving their home warehouse.

Coffee connoisseurs don’t fret! You’ll likely not have to worry about stale coffee the next time you go for a cup of Joe at your local Starbucks or Starbucks equivalent. Despite the super sale on these beans, they are ultimately not destined to for Starbucks (or any other upscale caffeine providing establishment). This is because many coffee roasters said they wouldn’t purchase beans that were more than a year old because they lose their flavor.

You’re not going to see this in your Starbucks, ” according to Jorge Cuevas, chief coffee officer at Sustainable Harvest, a coffee importer, in an interview with the Journal. “It’s mostly going to be in generic brands that you might get at an institutional level.”

These beans will go to bulk and instant-coffee roasters, and eventually to companies that supply most institutional coffees for places like hotels, schools, and vending machines. They may also combine older beans with newer ones, or roast them longer to mask the taste.

The use of older beans isn’t uncommon. However, coffee beans are not usually this old. The quantity of these beans has also had an impact. “According to exchange data, 18% of exchange-certified beans were more than three years old at the end of May this year, compared with 11% in May 2013” points out this article from the Consurmerist.com.

At least the beans are being put to use. The cups of Joe made from them may not have the flavor of brews made from newer beans, but at least a person in need will be getting some caffeine.

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-Starwars-supplychain

“May the 4th be With You.”

Earlier this week people across the world celebrated fan proclaimed Star Wars Day on May 4th. In honour of this day, we decided to take a look at the role of the supply chain in large film franchises.

Over the last 39 years, the Star Wars franchise has produced over $975 million in merchandise sales alone and has expanded into an extensive universe with products for fans worldwide. When a film franchise becomes a worldwide phenomenon, the demand for related merchandise skyrockets. In order to meet high demands, it is key that all elements of the supply chain work cohesively together to ensure success.

Supply chain technology supplier FusionOps found in a survey that 69% of consumers believed that merchandise related to The Force Awakens (the most recent Star Wars franchise film) would be out of stock or unavailable during the film’s release.

“While technology advancements have been exponential since the first Star Wars toys were introduced 38 years ago, companies still struggle to keep the supply chain healthy and reassuring to consumers,” said Gary Meyers, CEO of FusionOps.

Consumer demand exceeding supply is one of the largest unpredictable factors facing supply chains, and continues to be a major issue facing film franchises.

In 1995, Thinkway Toys failed to anticipate high demands for the Buzz Lightyear action figure after the release of Toy Story. Unprepared to manufacture and ship more merchandise, consumers were left disappointed and analysts estimated a loss of $300 million in potential sales.

Disney once again miscalculated consumer demand in 2013 after Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Manufacturers struggled to put products on shelves on shelves fast enough, with shipment after shipment selling out instantaneously. Exactly a year later, suppliers and manufacturers announced they had finally adjusted to the unexpected and insatiable demand for Frozen merchandise.

Learning from Past Mistakes

Taking notes from past experiences, manufacturers planned to ship The Force Awakens merchandise to stores in waves in order to meet and keep up with consumer demands. This allowed the franchise to analyze sales and consumer habits within each wave, and best determine areas of the supply chain to make adjustments.

In order to maximize success, large franchises must utilize the information and analytics at their disposal to make better decisions and changes to their advantage. In addition, a lack of cohesion between all elements of the supply chain can be detrimental to a franchise not only sales, but in reputation and consumer loyalty.

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-Recycling-Logistics

The slippery slope of falling oil prices

In less than two years, the price of oil has gone from over $100, to just beneath $30 a barrel. The rapid price decline is having a major impact across most North American industries in one way or another. Most often, the exact net impact is complicated to determine because the industry or business may lose out in some areas, but benefit in others. However, when it comes to the business of recycling, the downward slide of oil prices has been unambiguous. The impact has been almost entirely negative. As oil prices continue to fall, so does the profitability of most companies who offer recycling services to cities and other businesses.

Though recycling is generally agreed by most consumers to be good for the environment, the actual cost of the process is something that isn’t discussed. Some of the costs involve emissions from shipping to be processed materials to recycling centers, which use a lot of energy and water. This means that the falling price tag of oil makes it so after a certain price point, it is simply cheaper for businesses to invest in creating new plastics and materials rather than recycle old ones.

“Abundant oil is the latest headache for recyclers. New plastics are made from the by-products of oil and gas production. So as plentiful fossil fuels saturate global markets, it has become cheaper for the makers of water bottles, yogurt containers and takeout boxes to simply buy new plastics”, writes the New York Times in this article. ” This, in turn, is dragging down the price of recycled materials, straining every part of the recycling industry” it continues.

New technology and new problems for sustainability efforts

The reduced price in oil isn’t alone in negatively impacting the recycling sector. As electronic products become ever smaller and cheaper, they are also impacting recycling cost and efforts:

Electronics devices contain less and less valuable materials and precious metals, which make reduce the size of economic urban mining opportunities. In itself, this isn’t a bad trend, but it does carry negative impacts when combined with designs that make materials harder to extract

The growing popularity of online shopping is also making itself felt in terms of environmental cost. In particular, the incredible amount of cardboard needed every day to meet consumer demand, and the subsequent freight that is needed to ship and deliver it. For some context, The United States alone produced 35.4 million tons of containerboard in 2014.

It’s not all bad

Despite the increasing cost tied to recycling plastics and other oil-based items rather than making new ones, some companies are still committing to their recycling and sustainability efforts. Some big companies such as Pepsi and Procter & Gamble are buying more recyclable material to meet sustainability goals. The online and e-commerce sector is also making strides towards lessening its environmental footprint according to Dennis Colley, the president of the Fibre Box Association — the trade group for the corrugated paper, or cardboard, industry — who states that 90 percent of corrugated packaging were recycled.

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!