This Week in Logistics News (April 30 – May 6)

jda focusEarlier this week I attended JDA Focus in Nashville, TN. It was one of the larger events I’ve been to in the last couple of years, with well over 2,000 attendees, hundreds of presentations, and a concert featuring Darius Rucker and his band at the Grand Ole Opry. Now I’m generally not a big country music fan, but I knew I had to check this one out for two reasons. First, I had never been to Grand Ole Opry and I figured it was something I should clearly see. And second, my kids love the song Wagon Wheel, a Darius Rucker cover of an Old Crow Medicine Show cover of a Bob Dylan demo.

In one of my meetings at the conference, we discussed the three big partnerships JDA announced heading into the event: FourKites, INTTRA, and TransVoyant. Each of these partnerships have a very specific function that aligns with JDA’s Transportation Management application. FourKites is a real-time load tracking platform; INTTRA will expand JDA’s ocean shipping needs; and TransVoyant uses multiple data sources to provide real-time insights into when shipments will actually arrive. These partnerships are geared towards enabling more advanced real-time visibility into a company’s transportation activities.

And now, on to the news.

kewill leanKewill has announced an agreement to acquire LeanLogistics from Brambles, Limited for a reported $115 million. The deal will integrates the European offices of Kewill with the American offices of LeanLogistics, with LeanLogistics’ Holland, MI office serving as the largest US office. The acquisition caught many people off-guard, but makes sense when looking at it from the perspective of building out a SaaS transportation ecosystem. The ecosystem will incorporate the strong TMS portfolio from LeanLogistics with enhancements of parcel, ocean, and freight forwarding from Kewill. The big picture from the acquisition is to bring two organizations together to create a SaaS ecosystem that neither company could have done alone.

descartes_logo_lowres_0Speaking of acquisitions, Descartes Systems Group announced its acquisition of pixi* Software GmbH for a reported $10.4 million. Pixi is a Germany-based provider of e-commerce order fulfillment and warehouse management solutions. According to Descartes, pixi’s platform gathers order management information from a company’s e-commerce storefront and translates the information into a scanner-driven pick and pack process. The technology then initiates the shipment to the customer. For Descartes, this acquisition plays nicely to integrate e-commerce, warehouse, and shipping systems. It also expands Descartes’ customer base further into the European market.

beer pipelineThis is actually an update from a news piece I wrote about 20 months ago, but the Belgian brewery De Halve Maan is nearing completion of a beer pipeline that will run under the city’s roads. The brewery’s trucks had been creating massive amounts of road congestion since 2010 when the brewery moved its bottling facility out if town. The solution? Building a pipeline capable of carrying 1,500 gallons of beer an hour at 12 mph to the bottling facility. Xavier Vanneste, heir to a dynasty of beer brewers in the city, funded the majority of the pipeline himself, but also offered memberships to beer lovers entitling them to varying amounts of beer for the rest of their lives. The pipeline, which stretches two miles from the brewery to the bottling plant, is scheduled to be completed in a few weeks and brings about a serious shift in thinking in terms of transportation.

target logoTarget is trying to speed up its supply chain by cracking down on its suppliers. The retail giant plans to tighten up deadlines for deliveries to its warehouses, increase fines for late deliveries, and might institute penalties of up to $10,000 for inaccuracies in product information. This is all part of a multi-billion dollar overhaul of its supply chain to keep up with rivals Amazon and Walmart. Target sees a tighter grip on its deliveries as a major component to overhauling its supply chain and reducing the effects of stock-outs at its stores. Additionally, the company has pledged to invest over $5 billion in its supply chain and technology infrastructure over the next few years.

dunkin-donuts-logo-wallpaperDunkin’ Donuts expanded its delivery service to 200 metro-Boston stores, offering its full menu. Dunkin’ has partnered with delivery companies Favor and DoorDash, both of which say they try to deliver orders within an hour. Favor will charge a $6 delivery fee per order placed via its mobile app plus a 5% processing fee. Favor deliveries will be available 8 a.m. to midnight, and until 
2 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. DoorDash will take Dunkin’ orders through its website and mobile app, and make deliveries from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The standard delivery price is $5.99, with no minimum order required.

open-pizza-delivery-boxPizza chains are struggling to stay ahead in the ever-changing world of restaurant delivery. Not long ago, pizza delivery ruled weekend dinners. But, according to Statista, consumer spending on pizza delivery has gone down $4.2 billion in the last 12 years. This is largely due to the various options consumers now have, with other fast-casual concepts picking up pizza’s lost market share. So how are pizza chains fighting back? They are increasing visibility for their customers within their apps, such as real-time tracking of drivers or updated delivery timeframes. It is an uphill battle with the onslaught delivery options, but pizza chains are hoping technology can bring the customers back.

Diesel-Oil-de-RegulationAnd finally, the average price per gallon of diesel gasoline jumped up to its highest level of 2016 to date. With a 6.8 cent gain to $2.266 per gallon, this week’s average diesel price is at its highest level since the week of December 28, when it was at $2.237 per gallon. This comes on the heels of a 3.3 cent increase last week while topping the $2 per gallon mark over the last nine weeks, which was kicked off during the week of March 7 when it was at $2.021. During that period, it has risen a cumulative 24.0 cents. On an annual basis, the average price per gallon is down 58.8 cents.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Wagon Wheel, by Darius Rucker.

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