Most Popular Articles of 2018

We have entered the final weeks of the Logistics Viewpoints year. As always, it was a busy year covering the latest supply chain and logistics trends, emerging technologies, mergers and acquisitions, major news announcements, and more. Like in years past, we wanted to look back at the Top 10 most popular articles written this year and see what our readers found to be the most interesting. So, without further ado, here are Logistics Viewpoints’ most popular articles for 2018.

  1. The Amazon Supply Chain: The Most Innovative in the World? Steve Banker, Chris Cunnane, and Clint Reiser
    Is the Amazon supply chain the most innovative in the world?  A very strong argument can be made that they are despite some announcements that were pie in the sky – like the patent they won in January for floating warehouses that use drones for deliveries and replenishment. Or for that matter, Jeff Bezos’ drone prediction made five years ago on 60 Minutes.  Drones for home delivery are still too dangerous, as opposed to using drones for inventory management.
  2. Tesla’s Supply Chain is Broken Steve Banker
    Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk dodged questions from financial analysts about the electric car maker’s condition last week on its earnings conference call. Musk refused to answer questions on Tesla’s capital requirements, saying “boring questions are not cool.” The Business Insider reports that Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne dubbed Wednesday’s call, in which Musk talked of “barnacles, flufferbots, and bonehead bears,” surreal. Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas said it was the most unusual call he had heard in 20 years in the business. Following the call, three brokerage firms lowered their price targets on the stock. But it is Tesla’s supply chain that is driving the increasingly pointed questions from financial analysts.
  3. Machine Learning in Today’s Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Clint Reiser
    While speaking with a number of WMS product managers, I began to notice that machine learning was called out as a focal point for WMS product development efforts. In general, machine learning is a hot topic in the world of supply chain technologies. Just last week, Chris Cunnane wrote about machine learning for transportation execution. And Steve Banker recently wrote  about Vecna Robots use of machine learning to improve its vision system. Naturally, I wanted to understand the relationship between machine learning and the traditional quantitative tools used in WMS. For example, how do they complement statistical methods such as regression analysis or optimization algorithms such as linear programming?
  4. How Warehouse Automation is Enabling the E-Commerce Explosion Clint Reiser
    It is a well-known fact that e-commerce is growing rapidly around the globe, and this is causing a significant shift in the retail landscape. It’s changing fulfillment paths and requiring retailers, distributors, logistics services providers, and manufacturers to expand and reconfigure their fulfillment operations. These changes are in turn driving growth in sales of warehouse automation systems. All of this I knew from general interest in business and prior research into the global warehouse automation market.
  5. Is Uber Freight a Going Concern? Steve Banker
    Uber’s debts have continued to grow. Uber lost $4.5 billion in 2017, up from $2.8 billion the year before. Uber reported a loss of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter on revenues of $2.2 billion.  It was recently reported that Uber will discontinue its same-day parcel and package delivery service called UberRush by the end of June. Considering its losses, focusing on the core passenger ride hailing service only makes sense. This raises the question “how much longer can Uber Freight stay open?” Uber Freight was launched with a vision of matching truck drivers with available capacity to available loads to reduce deadhead miles.
  6. Shippers Caused the Truck Driver Shortage Steve Banker
    Land O’Lakes Chief Supply Chain Officer, Yone Dewberry, told an audience at eft’s 3PL and Supply Chain Summit in Atlanta in on June 6th, “We’ve created it” (the truck driver shortage). “As an industry” (shippers), “we’ve done this to ourselves.”
  7. SWOT that Supply Chain Steve Banker
    Business students are all exposed to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis tool. This last week I came across several interesting stories – or in one case a presentation – that all centered on different aspects of SWOT in the supply chain realm.
  8. Crowdsourcing for Last Mile Success Chris Cunnane
    Last mile deliveries continue to be costly and headache-inducing for retailers. A lot of this is due to consumers constantly evolving and tough to meet demands of fast, reliable, and cheap (or free) service. Many retailers have turned to crowdsourced delivery options to alleviate the stress of last mile deliveries, and in turn, have turned their stores into mini-warehouses.
  9. Recent Supply Chain Case Studies from Logistics Viewpoints Steve Banker
    I recently attempted to read a white paper from McKinsey that talked about the value a digitization program can provide; the problem was that after reading the article for ten minutes I still had no idea how they defined “digitization.” Sometimes I get fed up with theory. What follows are ten supply chain case studies published over the last year in Logistics Viewpoints that provide a practical approach to improving supply chain capabilities. Click on the subheadings to see the full case studies.
  10. Blockchain: The “Building Block” of the Supply Chain of Tomorrow? Steve Banker
    At the HighJump Elevate conference in mid-May in Dallas, one session – attended by roughly 600 conference attendees – was called “Blockchain: The ‘Building Block’ of the Supply Chain of Tomorrow.” Really, the title of the panel should have had a question mark at the end – like the title of this article – because the panel was in large part composed of industry analysts who tend to be far more cautious about our assessment of blockchain than the broader technology community.

There you have it – the most popular articles from Logistics Viewpoints in 2018. We have week and a half of articles for you, then we will be taking  time off to re-focus, re-energize, and re-fresh our minds. We will back after the new year to bring you the best supply chain and logistics stories in 2019.