What We Can Learn From 4 Brands' Supply Chain Management Failures

    Posted by John Arkontaky on Jan 21, 2020 10:36:46 AM

    From a spiked seltzer scarcity to KFC's fried chicken shortage, we take a look at four instances when the supply chains of major brands failed to deliver.

    A well-organized and efficient supply chain includes a lot of moving parts. From planning and production to housing inventory and transporting goods, there are a number of interrelated processes that need regular and proactive management to keep the supply chain running smoothly. 

    Unfortunately, a snag at any point in the supply chain can have a damaging ripple effect. Here are a few examples when supply chain operations went wrong—with some lessons companies can learn from them.

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    Topics: Retail, Transportation, eCommerce, Omni-Channel, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

    Are Robots and Automation Taking Jobs or Actually Creating New Jobs?

    Posted by John Santagate on Jan 16, 2020 9:00:00 AM

    At the beginning of 2019, I came across an article that was titled "Record Number of Robots Replaced Humans in 2018". Naturally, I clicked on the article to see what this was all about, and quite frankly, came away a bit disappointed. The disappointment was not at the number of robots shipped to North America, which was indeed a record number. What was disappointing was the lack of information about the actual replacement of jobs due to the increased shipments of robots. While the article did a good job of highlighting data published by the Associate for Advanced Automation (A3), it lacked drawing any alignment to how this record number of robotic shipments actually impacted employment.

    The lack of alignment brings up the question of whether or not there is an actual correlation between jobs and robotics and automation? Clearly there is a correlation, but does this correlation have to be negative? Is it possible that the growth in automation technology is actually helping to create new jobs and opportunities? These are the types of questions we should all be asking ourselves, because the fact is, robotics and automation technology is increasing in its use and we must be preparing for how automation will impact the future of employment. The question is no longer if robotics will become useful in new ways and industries (it is) rather the question is how fast will the growth in the use of robots be and how will this impact economic and employment opportunities.

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    Topics: supply chain solutions, warehouse automation, Robotics

    How Will US-China Tariffs Impact Global Supply Chain Management?

    Posted by John Arkontaky on Jan 14, 2020 3:44:56 PM

    The tariffs placed on China are creating ripples throughout the supply chain industry. Those with operational flexibility and supply chain agility can be in a better position to navigate these shaky times.

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    Topics: 3PL, International, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)


    Posted by Heather Smith on Jan 13, 2020 9:46:49 AM

    Today at NRF HighJump is showcasing the latest for ecommerce. HighJump provides retailers with the connected, automated supply chain of the future to conquer complexity and deliver upon ever heightening consumer expectations.

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    Topics: eCommerce

    What We Get Wrong About Digitization and Supply Chain's Future

    Posted by Sean Elliott, CTO on Jan 6, 2020 9:00:00 AM

    Whereas traditional growth models can be summarized in concepts of “more”— more racks, more servers, more space, more workforce — the future requires a shift towards leaner, smarter strategies focused on business agility. Digitization represents this shift in mindset and technology. Businesses need to learn how to operate within smaller footprints; process high-volume, low SKU orders; manage inventory in fluctuating markets, and execute across a wider, interspersed fulfillment network. This requires proactive planning and the technological means to pivot at the speed of customer expectations.

    The old ways are becoming less effective in today’s economic climate, pushing businesses toward the next thing. Yet, there’s a flaw in how the supply chain industry generally talks about digitization and the supply chain of the future.

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    Topics: Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), supply chain

    Back to the Basics of Robotics in Supply Chain and Warehouse Management

    Posted by John Santagate on Jan 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM

    The next five years show potential for massive growth of robotics in supply chain management. Here’s how warehouse robots can reduce costs and increase efficiency in the warehouse.

    While it may seem like the entire logistics and supply chain management industry is talking about robotics, the hype has not yet led to widespread adoption. In fact, recent research from DHL shows that 80 percent of warehouses are still manually operated.[1] However, we expect that to change as the technologies mature, managers flip their mindset from manual to automated operations, and the warehouse labor shortages continue to push businesses to alternate workforce solutions.

    There are many benefits offered by warehouse robotics. From workforce shortage solutions to improvements in inventory management to increased safety and reduced risk of employee injuries, the operational value is there. Also, there’s a concept of logistics elasticity that comes into play here. With robotics, we refer to this elasticity as the enhanced strategic capabilities afforded through robotics. Examples could be quickly deploying more units to support increased demand during peak or re-programming robots at scale to implement new processes.

    There’s a lot of moving pieces in the robotics field right now. So, we thought it would be good to hit pause and go back to the basics. Here’s a general overview of robotics in the supply chain, including what the different technologies can do to enhance everyday operations.

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    Topics: Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), supply chain, Robotics

    Optimizing Your Supply Chain Management for Smoother Holiday Returns

    Posted by Tailar Kennedy on Dec 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM

    The post-holiday spike in gift returns can potentially cause losses for retailers. Here’s how companies can mitigate the costs.

    The eCommerce sector has exploded in recent years, with some studies estimating that global retail eCommerce sales will reach $6.54 trillion by 2022 — a more than 500 percent increase from $1.3 trillion in 2014.[1] However, as the popularity of eCommerce continues to rise, a number of challenges are coming to the fore, including the necessity of a robust reverse logistics plan.

    At a high level, reverse logistics refers to any operation that moves products from their typical destination to another location for disposal or for capturing additional value. This includes recycling, refurbishing, and product returns. There are seasonal fluctuations that come into play with reverse logistics — they tend to increase in volume after the holidays, when many more customers are seeking to return or exchange items.

    The rise of free or low-cost shipping has altered consumer buying habits in a way that directly affects reverse logistics. For instance, it’s become common for customers to order multiples of the same item in different colors or sizes to ensure they get something that fits and then return the others. Not only is this model costly for businesses — especially for smaller ones that might not be able to take a financial hit — but it is creating a number of challenges for retailers.

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    Topics: 3PL, eCommerce, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Voice, supply chain

    What Can We Learn From Rent The Runway's Supply Chain Management Snafu?

    Posted by John Arkontaky on Dec 20, 2019 9:00:00 AM

    Rent the Runway experienced a disruption in service that resulted in late or missed deliveries for thousands of customers. Here’s what supply chain managers can learn from this incident.

    This past fall, Rent the Runway (RTR) found itself in hot water after reports from customers came pouring in that outfits they’d ordered for formal events were either canceled without warning or not delivered on time.

    The fashion-rental company said the disruption was caused by a new inventory management software system for sorting and racking clothes in its New Jersey distribution center. The interruption in service lasted 11 days[1], during which time new subscriptions and orders were put on pause while RTR attempted to iron out the issues with their new inventory system.

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    Topics: Transportation, supply chain, inventory management

    Why Blockchain is Stalling in Supply Chain Management

    Posted by Sean Elliott, CTO on Dec 12, 2019 9:00:00 AM

    Blockchain technology has the potential to drive efficiency and transparency in the supply chain — so what’s the hold up?

    Blockchain technology first emerged over a decade ago as a tool to support Bitcoin.[1] Managed by a peer-to-peer network, it serves as a digital ledger for verifying and recording transactions. The “chain” is made up of a series of time-stamped, immutable “blocks” of data with no central authority. In this way, blockchain is a uniquely democratic and transparent record.

    Since its creation, the technology has gained traction and is now being recognized as a tool capable of revolutionizing a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, retail, healthcare, and beyond. 

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    Topics: supply chain, blockchain

    Voice-Enabled Work: Warehouse Visibility For Today's Warehouse

    Posted by Tailar Kennedy on Dec 10, 2019 9:00:00 AM

    The warehouse of today faces a lot of pressure from both internal and external sources. Peak seasons and customer demands can wreak havoc on the most prepared operation, while management is always looking to cut costs and have more information than ever before. Luckily, voice technology has been adapted to address many of these problems, providing your warehouse with the visibility it needs to meet and exceed expectations.

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    Topics: 3PL, Retail, Voice, food logistics