At the beginning of the month, Apple had its annual keynote for the next generation of iPhones and included the official announcement of the latest Apple product: the Apple Watch.

Now, the Apple Watch is by no means innovative as a concept. Since the first digital watch, the Pulsar, was manufactured in 1972 the concept of placing advanced technology in watches was really just a matter of time, and progress in nanotechnology.

Avi Greengart, a consumer device analyst from Current Analysis, claimed 2013 as the Year of the Smartwatch. The reason being that components have gotten small and cheap enough to produce for products to be made for mass distribution at a relatively affordable price point. This year also marked the point where many consumers owned smartphones that were compatible with a wearable device.

Source: Apple
Source: Apple

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased a large number of new smartwatches. Later in the year even more were showcased at Google I/O, introducing the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. Earlier this month one of the most recent releases, the Moto 360 was announced.

These most recent iterations of smartwatches are only one aspect of wearable technology. Many other devices exist today that consumers are very interested in playing with, such as Google Glass and Pivothead. And interesting new technology devices such as Thalmic Labs’ Myo, a gesture control armband that you can calibrate to do many things with.

The Demand for Wearable Tech on a Steady Rise

GlobalWebIndex released some interesting statistics on consumer trends for wearable devices. The most intereting of which are follows:

  • 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds want to own some form of wearable technology (i.e. Smart watch, smart band, or Google Glass)
  • Worldwide, 64% of internet users have worn a piece of wearable tech already or are “keen to do so in the future.”
  • Between the genders, men sit at 69%, while women are marginally lower at just over half (56%) in terms of wantring to own a wearable tech device

What Does this Mean for Logistics?

Despite the slow growth, this demand in wearable technology means more business and demand for logistics services. It will be interesting to see how much wearable technology will affect the overall growth in logistics in the coming years.

Tech analysts from Canalys have predicted that smart bracelets, such as Intel’s Mica smart bracelet for example, which monitors health and sleep patterns as well as providing purchasing capabilities, are going to be a big hit. Smart band sales are predicted to increase 129% in sales next year. More than 42 million of these smart band devices are predicted to be sold globally.

Tech-based start-ups are now seeing real value in investing into projects that are tangible as opposed to web- or app- related services. An exciting trend for both consumers and those responsible for moving the goods.

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!

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about statistics that we’ve found that suggest that Mexico is a prime nearshoring choice for North America. We found this to be really interesting and decided to flesh it out further so we’ve decided to make this our feature inforgaphic for this month!

As you may know, China and Mexico have been battling to be the prime hub spot for logistics operations in North America for the last couple of years. China has their already established work force and prime manufacturing facilities. Mexico on the other hand is starting to develop their own logistics hub in the Golden Triangle and is starting to become an attractive, and very real, consideration due to cost and time savings.

Benefits of Nearshoring – Part 1

Benefits of Nearshoring - Part 1

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!

Morai-Canada-Day

The Morai Logistics Team wishes you a Happy Canada Day! To celebrate, here’s a link to the (albeit older) resource from our very own Government of Canada’s State Logistics – The Canadian Report:

Source: Industry Canada
Source: Industry Canada

While you’re already reading our 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
There is a lot of talk these past couple of months on the implications of 3D printing and how it will change the face of the logistics and supply chain industry. This month we thought we would highlight the industry and shed some light into its development.

Widely practical, 3D printing is used primarily for prototyping and, more recently, distributed manufacturing. It is commonly seen in the following industries: architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, various engineering and medical industries, and fashion just to name a few.

What is 3D Printing, Exactly?

By definition, 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects using a digital model. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing uses a process called the additive process and carries out the process under computer control.

In the additive process, layers of material are laid down in different shapes. This is in contrast to subtractive processes in manufacturing, which is what is traditionally used to produce goods and involves the removal of material by various methods (i.e. cutting, drilling, carving, etc.).

The technology and concept of 3D printing is not a new idea. In fact, 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s. The first working 3D printer was created by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Crop. in 1984. It wasn’t until the early 2010s that companies started producing 3D printers for commercial distribution and use. This is partly due to a Moore’s Law type of progression; the development of the technology used in 3D printing has drastically impacted the price of 3D printers enough to be able to release it to consumer production.

How Will This Affect the Supply Chain?

Cerasis has released an excellent post regarding the impact of 3D printing particularly in inventory and logistics. The most interesting concept is that with the advent of 3D printers, the need to store finished products is nonexistent. There is no more need to store component parts before compiling the final product anymore; it essentially gets rid of the need to shelve or store products in warehouses anymore. This essentially collapses the supply chain to its most basic processes, which creates new efficiencies along the supply chain.

The 3D printing process can drastically alter the global supply chain and re-assemble it into a new local system. It can bypass the constraints of the traditional supply chain model: the need for low cost, high-volume assembly workers, real estate for stages of manufacturing and warehousing components, etc. Thus, the efficiencies of 3D printing impact the entire supply chain, from the cost to distribution and assembly to improving assembly cycle times.

Forbes released a post recently that suggests 3D printers essentially turn consumer products into digital content. The printers can already produce fairly detailed solid objects, though at this stage quite expensively. But according to Moore’s Law, and indeed looking at the history of 3D printing, prices have dropped significantly since the 1980s and will do so in the future. This could impact hardware stores and parts distribution services the same way e-books have impacted book stores.

Too Good to be True?

Tech Republic recently released a post suggesting that 3D printers are a potential double-edged sword and made some interesting points regarding what we should watch out for throughout the development of 3D printing as a process to be used by the masses.

The process of 3D printing itself, while efficient in many ways, are also not the most environmentally friendly. To start, they are energy hogs, 3D printers consume 50-100 times more electrical energy than injection molding and has a reliance on plastics. They are also known to pose health risks, especially with 3D printers used in the home. The emission from desktop 3D printers release unhealthy air emissions. There are also numerous issues on the corporate and legal side, involving potential national security risks, ethics and regulation, and corporate responsibility of products from 3D printed technology. So while 3D printing is something to look forward to, it is also something we should watch carefully.

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!

DictionaryWe’re ending the first month of 2014 with our first Logistics Glossary Week post of the year. As you may already know, these posts focus on increasing your logistics and supply chain industry vocabulary as well as awareness about our industry. This month we’re going to focus on terminology that you might see at the border. This is Part I of our series on Border Crossing Logistics Terminology!

Border Crossing Logistics Terminology – Part I

This part will focus on the Importer of Record documents that are needed when crossing the border, for example an inbound shipment from the United States to Mexico. Now, depending on the border different documents might be necessary but this serves to give you an idea of what you would need to pay attention to.

Importer of Record

Definition: The Importer of Record is the person or company responsible for payment of duties and taxes and the maintenance of Customs records. For example, if your company was a US car parts manufacturer and wanted to ship to a car manufacturing plant in Mexico, you would be the Importer or Record and would need the following documents listed below.

Importer Tax ID

Definition: The importer tax ID is the identification needed for import duty purposes, where import duty is a kind of tax on levied goods which are being brought into the country. The duty to be paid depends on the country of origin of the goods as well as the type of goods. Rates can differ though, for example a standard rate could be 20%, but certain goods can be eligible for a reduced rate of 5% while some can have a no duty rate (0%).

Importer Product Specification

Definition: The importer product specification serves as a document that can be referred to when checking products at the border. This document allows the importer of record to define the custom product specifications of the goods that will be traveling across the border (i.e. the custom product specification group and product specification items to attach to any product). Attaching specifications with products need well-defined product specification groups and items for shipment security and risk mitigation practices.

Carta Encomienda Permits

Definition: The carta encomienda permit serves as the letter of appointment of the customs broker. The customs broker in charge of import operations must be able to present this this document (assigned by the importer of record) to Mexican authorities.

Other forms of documentation are needed, but we feel that they are pretty self-explanatory. These are the honourable mentions of what you need as an importer of record to cross the border: Voter’s registration, business registration, and address verification.

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!

DictionaryWelcome to our first Logistics Glossary post of the Fall season! This week’s focus: factors that affect trucking costs! One of the things that we’ve written about before is the difference between calculating the lowest rate and the lowest total cost when quoting a delivery from point A to point B. Today, we can provide a real concrete example of factors that can make calculating a basic rate misleading. Any good third party logistics (3PL) providers can provide a rate for transport, but to be able to consider these factors below to generate a lower total cost (even though it is not the lowest rate in the market) is what makes them great! But let’s start with the definition of what getting a rate is in the logistics sense:

Rate/Pricing

Definition: In logistics terminology, getting a rate or pricing from a 3rd party logistics provider simply means that you are being given the established charges for the transport of certain goods.

So, if I want to transport a package from New York City to Mexico City, the rate would simply mean how much the service would cost to move these goods from origin to destination. But that doesn’t really cover all aspects for what your total cost could be. What is usually being calculated is the line haul cost.

Line Haul Cost

Definition: What is usually given to you when you as for a rate from origin to destination. Exclusive to trucking terminology, it is incurred in transporting goods over a route but not including costs of loading and unloading. Line-haul costs vary directly with distance.

Sometimes, because rates are Below we’re providing a list of some common, additional costs that should be taken into consideration when getting rates to have a better idea of total cost.

Loading/Unloading Costs

Definition: In logistics terminology, loading and unloading is the process of putting shipments into or taking shipments out of containers respectively. The main reasons that these costs apply to your shipments is primarily because initiatives taken to minimize problems that may occur during these phases, especially the loading phase. Problems such as inadequately sized docks and rough terrain can lead to load damage and more costly delays.

Fuel Surcharge

Definition: A fuel surcharge is an additional charge for motor carriers like trucks to cover fuel costs and is dependent on the line haul. There is some controversy with how fuel charges work as having a line haul cost and the fuel surcharge in flux makes it hard to calculate total freight spend and makes carrier relationships more difficult to maintain. There’s an old blog post from Inbound Logistics Magazine that gives great insight into the standardization of fuel surcharges.

Stop-Off Charge

Definition: A stop-off charge is an additional cost to cover trucks having to make specific stops between origin to destination. In some cases this ‘stop-off’ might be conveniently on route to the destination, but it is not necessarily always the case. These factors obviously affect the cost for the line haul as we affect the distance and the route that trucks have to travel through. The main reason stop-off charges happen is primarily due to packages in the truck having to be delivered to more than one location (i.e. Toronto – Montreal, but with a stop-off in Ottawa). But another common reason is due to warehouse space capacity issues. Sometimes the destination has an overflowed warehouse and a stop-off is needed to accommodate for it.

Bond Fee

Definition: A special type of storage fee for ‘legal’ reasons and is usually seen in cross-border shipments. A package ‘in bond’ means that the goods under customs control (for clearance, inspection, or other form of legal involvement) either until import duties or other charges are paid, or to avoid paying the duties or charges until a later date.

We hope after looking at some of these cost definition you have a better appreciation of our earlier statement:

A good third party logistics (3PL) providers can provide a rate for transport, but to be able to consider other cost factors to generate a lowest total cost (even though it is not the lowest rate in the market) is what makes them great!

If, for example, I wanted to take a load from Vancouver to San Francisco and I have been given Rate A at $100 and Rate 2 at $120 from just the line haul cost. I could obtain estimates on the additional cost factors and find out that other charges are similar except Rate A has a high fuel surcharge of $50 and a bond fee of $30, while Rate B has a those costs at $20 and $10 respectively. We can see that Rate A actually has a total cost of $180 while Rate B has a total cost of $150. Thus the lowest total cost would be Rate B. This is something to definitely keep in mind when getting rates for transport. It pays to know your logistics terminology!

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a great weekend! 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’ll catch you next week!

DictionaryWelcome to our last Logistics Glossary Week post of the summer! This week we’re focusing on the different modes of transportation for logistics and we’re finishing with a look into the potential future of logistics with the introduction of a new, interesting mode of transportation!

Intermodal

Definition: In logistics terminology, intermodal simply means using two or more modes of transportation, usually this refers to truck and rail, but it can refer to any combination of different mdes of transportation. For example truck and oceangoing vessel.

Intermodal transportation is one of the most common ways goods are transported, especially when crossing borders or when transporting good for significantly long distances. Indeed, our biggest offer as a third party logistics provider is intermodal logistics services. News earlier this year suggested that the logistics industry is to experience slow growth over the next 5 years, but it seems that certain aspects of logistics are less affected. Chief Supply Chain officers look to 3rd party logistics providers and intermodal seems to be on the rise in certain parts of the world, for example Eastern Canada.

Truckload & LTL

Definition: We’re grouping these two because they are essentially the same, but differ mainly in the size of shipment. When you think logistics, you normally think truckload transportation; moving full truckloads of freight from the point of origin to its destination. Less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation services consolidate and transfer smaller shipments of freight, usually through a network of terminals and rally points.

Trucking is what makes good move across the world. It is the standard for logistics, hence why you might think trucks when you hear the word logistics! Because this is one of the most in-demand mode of transportation for getting good from origin to destination, there is a huge demand for truck drivers. This is no truer that today, when the addition of e-commerce has created even more demand for trucking services. This increase in demand, combined with the aging trucking population (the average age is about 40, with 20% of the total population over 55), there is a real need to increase the tuck driver workforce in order to keep up with tomorrow’s logistics demands.

Ocean and Air Carriers

Definition: Useful for global logistics, ocean and air carriers are what you would assume they are. They are cargo ships or airplanes that carry freight. Usually these types of transportation fit under intermodal logistics services because they tend to be combined with some form of ground transportation.

Drones

Definition: Also known as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ or ‘unmanned aerial systems,’ drones are best known for their military applications. They are aircrafts that can fly autonomously; they usually follow a set path from origin to destination using a form of GPS guide.

The development of technology has brought down the prices of drones to as little as $500-1000 USD. We found an article that takes a look at people in the logistics industry who have introduced the concept of drones as a means to transport goods. This could create a potentially hassle-free way that can transport goods speedily!

And that’s all for us this week! Hope you have a great Labour Day Weekend! 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. We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news! We’ll catch you next week!

DictionaryWelcome back to our monthly Logistics Glossary Week post! A couple of weeks ago we posted some great infographics that we found and a lot of them seemed to focus on trucking when we were searching for content. So this month we’re going to focus on the world of trucking. Specifically, we’re going to cover all of the different types of trailers. There are currently about 35 terms for the number of different trailers that is recognized in the American trucking industry. This month we will only be focusing on four types that we think are good to know about!

Dry van

Definition: What you first think of when you think for a truck with a trailer. A dry van carrier is an enclosed non-climate controlled rectangular trailer. It mainly carries general cargo, including food (but the kind that doesn’t require refrigeration). These types of trucks are loaded or unloaded via the rear doors and you would need elevated access for forklifts to put goods into the trailer.

Reefer or Refrigerated Van

Definition: Reefer trailers are truckload carriers that are designed specifically to keep perishable goods refrigerated. This type of carrier tends to be used by the food industry, but can also be used by pharmaceutical companies.

Reefer trailers are particularly important with regards to logistics because of their main purpose: preserving goods. Thus of all types of trailers, reefer trucks can be deemed the most time sensitive. This is apparent in certain governments attempting policy changes specific to the refrigerated vans. For example, India’s National Centre For Cold Chain Development (NCCD) has teamed up with the government to allow refrigerated trucks and vans toll-free access across all states.

Flatbed

Definition: A flatbed is a type of trailer that has no enclosures or doors. Sometimes known as a ‘haul brite,’ flatbeds can be loaded or unloaded from the sides and the top and doesn’t require elevated access for forklifts.

Tanker

Definition: Tankers have the primary purpose of hauling bulk quantities of liquid. They tend to be cylindrical in shape.

Tankers are special trailers that require quite a bit of attention and care as tankers can carry liquids that may be dangerous, for example oil. A fair chunk of accidents in the trucking industry result from tanker type malfunctions or accidents. And even when tanker trucks are being maintained gas leaks from flammable substances such as oil can lead to severe accidents.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our third Logistics Glossary week post. To keep up with our posts, and to see other content related to logistics and supply chain don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our blog! If you’re interested in what we do as a company, feel free to check out our services. Looking forward to seeing you in July!