The mobile warehouse robotics market is growing at a rapid pace. ARC Advisory Group’s recently completed research indicates that this rapid growth will continue. Much of the demand increase will be driven by the needs of rapidly expanding e-commerce fulfillment operations. And some will be from the displacement of more traditional warehouse technologies, such as AGVs and manual forklifts. Interestingly, Asian companies are innovators and early adoptors of these technolgies. Companies such as […]
The Boston area is a hub for warehouse robotics companies. Living and working in this area provides me with the opportunity to schedule site visits at many of these innovative firms. Most recently, I visited the Berkshire Grey (BG) corporate office for an in-depth discussion about the company’s business, followed by a tour of the […]
Today is Happy Friday – because every Friday is a happy day. Did you know that ARC’s Digital Transformation Forum is less than 3 months away? This 26th Annual ARC Industry Forum will be a hybrid event, in person in Orlando, Florida on February 14-17 and online March 7-10. Last year’s supply chain program include […]
GXO Logistics, the former logistics segment of XPO Logistics, is extensively deploying warehouse technology as a key ingredient to its formula for success. About 30 percent of its revenue is from automated sites. Some notable technology implementations include the Exotec System, Swisslog AS/RS, Koerber’s layer picker, and an extensive agreement with GreyOrange for its goods-to-person robotics.
West Coast Port congestion is such a hot topic that it is featured in general business publications, and even the nightly news. If you count LA and Long Beach ports as one, they together rank approximately as the 10th busiest container port in the world, according to the Top 50 Ports — World Shipping Council. In mid-October virtual roundtables consisting of business, labor, and government representatives developed steps that will be taken to alleviate some of the congestion at the West Coast ports. Walmart, UPS, The Home Deport, and…
Warehouse technology implementation and integration processes, and the value delivered by the teams that see these projects through, are widely underappreciated. There is no instantaneous transition between concept and succesful go-live. Despite differences in underlying methodologies, successful deployments tend to combine the discipline of thorough planning with the flexibility to accept contingencies that will increase project value and customer satisfaction. The elements to a successful implementation include a structured…
Supply chain is once again front-page news in the general business media. Meanwhile, supply shortages and price inflation are getting the front page in consumer-focused publications and plenty of airtime on televised news. And rightfully so. Many consumers, including myself, become irritated by the sight of empty store shelves where our favorite consumer goods are […]
Earlier this month, I wrote an article about the diverse range of mobile warehouse robotics solutions available in the market today. Although the solutions vary greatly, they’re alike in the ability to offer greater flexibility than many of the traditional automation alternatives. The ability to adapt automation to changing requirements is increasingly important to warehouse […]
I am currently updating ARC’s research on the global mobile warehouse robotics market. I transitioned my efforts to this research effort after publishing ARC’s study on the global WMS market earlier this summer. And prior to that research, I developed ARC’s research on the broadly defined warehouse automation market. It occurred to me as I […]
On this date, August 27, in 1883, Krakatoa erupted. I learned in grade school that this was the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosions were so powerful they could be heard as far as 3,000 miles away. This is a statistic that I found almost unbelievable as a grade school student, and […]
The phrases “transitory inflation” and “supply chain disruption” have been frequently used in the general and business news media this summer. And they have at times been used together to describe the general economic environment. Certainly, supply chain constraints are a partial cause of the current above trend inflation. Furthermore, there is much discussion about […]
Supply chains around the country are in great need of warehouse and transportation workers. Just last month I noted that warehouse labor productivity was hindered extensively by COVID-19 and that 80 percent of ARC’s warehouse survey respondents anticipate an increase of order throughput volumes in 2021. Furthermore, COVID-19 exacerbated the existing shift from retail store […]
The mobile warehouse robotics market – call them AMRs or AGVs. To me, the acronym isn’t as important as the capabilities and the value the systems deliver to warehouse operations. There is a vast amount of buzz surrounding this market. And for good reason. There is real value that can be delivered by these systems […]
COVID-19 caused a global upheaval in order fulfillment processes throughout 2020. As we enter the second half of 2021, there are abundant signs of improvement and optimization. Meanwhile, caution is prevalent as well. For example, the Delta variant of COVID-19 may cause an increase in infection and disruptions to business in the fall. Scenarios such […]
Pine Tar! That became a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for an objection or a potential scandal in 1983 – at least for teenagers like me at that time. George Brett of the Kansas City Royals hit a home run in the ninth inning of a game to give his team a last inning lead against the New […]
It is no exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic caused an upheaval in order fulfillment processes. The question today is to what degree did these changes occur and how will processes change in the future. Will they revert back to the prior state as if the pandemic never occurred? Will they continue along the […]
MassRobotics announced (May 18th) the release of what it claimed to be the “World’s First Open Source Autonomous Mobile Robot Interoperability Standards.” The MassRobotics AMR Interoperability Standard is designed to assist organizations in the deployment of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from multiple vendors and have them work together in the same environment, better realizing the […]
Pet Supplies Plus Senior Director of Logistics, Jerry Troupe, discussed how his company’s adoption of a modern mobile solution including Android mobility devices and Manhattan Associates’ WM Mobile application have delivered substantial and measurable efficiency and productivity improvements at the company’s distribution center. This time last year I wrote about Manhattan Associates’ announcement of Pet […]
ARC Advisory Group and DC Velocity magazine have closed our joint survey on the changes logistics operations have experienced in the upheaval of the Covid-19 operating environment in 2020; and the expectations these same executives have about their operating environment in 2021. The goal of this research effort is to capture measurable insights into the rapidly […]
Hitting an unanticipated curveball is arguably one of the most difficult tasks in sports. In fact, people commonly use it as a metaphor in business situations “I didn’t meet the deadline. They threw me a curveball.” The analogy rests on the difficulty of adjusting to a curve when anticipating a fastball. Proper positioning, mechanics, and […]
I am interested in seeing how the warehouse robotics landscape evolves. It is becoming clear to me that heterogenous environments will continue to be a reality, and likely expand along with robot adoption. SVT Robotics is one of the first names I heard in this niche. And finally this week I learned more. During the […]
Boot Barn is a retail chain devoted to western and work-related footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company operates over 200 stores in the US and e-commerce websites consisting primarily of bootbarn.com, sheplers.com and countryoutfitter.com. The company also operates store support and distribution centers in California and Kansas. The Wichita, Kansas facility supports the company’s expanding […]
In December of 2019, the global grocery retailer Ahold Delhaize announced it was investing $480 million to transform and expand its US supply chain operations to support a strategy to transition the supply chain network into a fully-integrated, self-distribution model. My colleague Steve Banker published an informative article in 2020 about this extensive initiative Ahold […]
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Khodl, VP of Differentiated Technologies at Dematic. We spoke mostly about achieving optimal warehouse performance. However, we discussed a number of key subtopics, beginning with the role of software intelligence in automated warehouses as a strategic value driver, and the critical role it plays in in […]
This week’s logistics news includes two articles about privately-held warehouse robotics companies and their respective equity financing announcements. Both articles mention the implied valuation of these companies. Corporations with publicly traded stock can be valued by simply multiplying the number of equity shares outstanding by the price per share, resulting in the company’s market […]
Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Markus Schmidt, President of Swisslog Americas, about warehousing in today’s environment of rapid and often unpredictable change. The coronavirus pandemic exerted widespread impact on order fulfillment operations. But even prior to the pandemic, warehousing and fulfillment were evolving rapidly due to a number of factors, most […]
Merchandise fulfillment variability has been on the rise for a number of years, due in large part to the growth of e-commerce. But all bets were off in 2020 as variability went off the charts. As you can see from the two included images charting the quarterly change in US e-commerce sales (year over year) […]
Covid-19 vaccine distribution is headline news across the country. Operation Warp Speed, the umbrella term for the public-private partnership responsible for the development, distribution, and administration of Covid-19 vaccines, is incredibly large, complex, and important to the well-being of the US population. The US government, private entities, and news outlets provide select insights and periodic […]
The logistics industry continues to outperform macroeconomic growth rates due to a number of factors. GDP aggregates, international trade, and manufacturing and logistics service activities remain strong. Growth rates and activity remains robust due in part to the acceleration to e-commerce and direct-to-consumer fulfillment. Although growth continues, activity levels across a number of indicators remain below pre-Covid-19 levels. World Trade Organization (WTO), US GDP, and purchasing managers indexes all suggest […]
The “red stuff.” That’s what my four-year-old daughter calls it. She had it at her grandparents’ house a couple weeks ago for the first time and now mentions to me on a daily basis that she wants it on Thanksgiving. Yes, I’m talking about that Thanksgiving staple cranberry sauce. And I am a big fan […]
Warehousing megatrends are primarily driven by the long-term, sustained, global growth of e-commerce. Today’s customer experience depends on warehouse activity more than ever before. But these warehouses must fulfill more orders of smaller handling units, at higher costs with more required tasks. Furthermore, fulfillment horizons have become compressed while variability in throughput requirements has increased. These pressures have encouraged greater […]
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) hosted its virtual Autonomous Mobile Robot Conference earlier this week (October 26 – 27). I personally kicked off research on the global mobile warehouse robotics market earlier this month and therefore chose to attend conference sessions that provided insights on the broader context of mobile warehouse robotics, namely the concepts of ecosystems, integration, and interoperability. Autonomous mobile robot (AMR) interoperability as a concept found its way into many sessions but it was the main topic of the session presentation by Aaron Prather of FedEx. A unifying architecture as the mechanism to scale AMR adoption…
The Oracle Live: Cloud Applications event highlighted the supply chain function due in part to the extensive supply chain disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. A key premise, global supply chains have depended on a certain level of predictability that is no longer available. This requires a multidimensional value framework that places increased emphasis on supply alternatives, risk exposure, tariffs, and channel complexity.
ARC Advisory Group’s 2020 update to its global warehouse automation market shows Dematic, Knapp, and SSI Schaefer as the 2019 market share leaders. Accelerating warehouse automation demand from e-commerce growth is propelling market growth. This year’s research includes additional five year forecasts for hardware by equipment category (subsystems), hardware by load size, and retail by type.
My first introduction to Kindred AI occurred at the Manhattan Associates booth at Promat 2019. There I learned about the company’s partnerships with automation vendors and the forthcoming Manhattan Automation Network certification. As I stated back in 2019, I found the partnership with Kindred and the integration with Kindred Sort particularly interesting. I had the opportunity to speak with Kindred AI’s CEO, Marin Tchakarov earlier this month and jumped on the opportunity to discuss the details of this company’s offering and exciting journey. Marin, what capabilities do you believe differentiate your solution from others that I have seen on display at trade shows and […]
The warehouse automation market the market didn’t grow as much in 2019 as I had expected, while 2020 is looking better than I had anticipated. Warehouse automation demand from most direct-to-consumer channels remained active, with some growing very rapidly. Furthermore, warehouse automation suppliers went into 2020 with a substantial backlog of orders to buffer any short-term decrease in demand for project business, but […]
I woke up yesterday morning and brought the trash outside as usual, and something occurred for the first time in months – I felt cold. Not to mention that the morning dew had not burned off and the shadows from the trees covered much more ground than I recently noticed. Some people see the fall […]
Direct-to-consumer (e-commerce) fulfillment is growing rapidly. At the same time, most companies also have large traditional retail or wholesale operations. There is a growing trend of combining these previously separate operations in a single warehouse to leverage facility assets and manage all of the flows from the same location. Furthermore, there is great opportunity to gain efficiencies from consolidating these flows from an operational process perspective. Doing so can significantly increase productivity through efficiency improvements that free up resources to engage in additional productive tasks. For example, workers on the floor can […]
In April I discussed the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on supply chain and fulfillment, and provided a WMS market update in which I predicted a market downturn in 2020 to be followed by a rebound in 2021. During the process of developing my WMS market forecast, I made assumptions for each quarter of […]
The 2020 Major League Baseball season began last night, Thursday, July 23rd, almost four months behind schedule. This year’s delayed season will also be shortened from the typical 162 games to just 60 – turning a marathon into a 10k. This change significantly reduces the importance of endurance and roster depth. And it will be different in a number […]
Modern WMS is essential, as warehouses are becoming critical nerve centers to deliver a differentiated customer experience across product availability, buying avenues, and speed of delivery without adding cost. Warehouse leaders will need to think about how they transform their operations to become strategic assets that deliver best-in-class customer experience as a key differentiator. Customers want a frictionless experience, which in the pandemic environment, means contactless for more of their transactions.
Warehouse automation is becoming an increasingly desirable option for fufifllment operations. And investments in these technologies are top of mind for today’s logistics executives.Our research indicates that both well-established technologies and emerging technologies are currently being considered to varying degrees. More specifically, practitioners. […]
Warehouse robotics are truly reshaping the way organizations are handling materials within the four walls of their warehouse. Leveraging digital technologies that are connected to physical assets, but managed by a central software application, delivers the level of visibility required to sense and respond more effectively than you can if you’re operating in silos. The best practice is to tie them into the WMS to obtain a fully automated workflow.
WMS ia a mission-critical application, the backbone of warehouse operations.Cloud applications running on leading enterprise cloud infrastructure offer extremely high availability. The architecture and algorithms dynamically scale cloud computing capacity to handle customers’ increasing volumes. Oracle WMS Cloud, for example, is a zero-downtime application.
Manhattan Associated unveiled its latest WMS, Manhattan Active Warehouse Management. The WMS incorporates a broad range of enhancements including the new cloud-native architecture, redesigned user experience, and a list of productivity enhancements that enable holistic management, optimization, and execution. The unified planning and optimization capabilities enable simultaneous planning for inventory, orders, labor, automation, and transportation elements.
Blue Yonder’s WMS track in its virtual user conference featured content on WMS enhancements, vision, and customer adoption. While architectural advancements were the engine of change, Frictionless SaaS, Luminate Warehouse Tasking, and Blue Yonder Robotics Hub were key initiatives within the WMS agenda.
ARC develops an annual market study on the global WMS market. Incorporating the business impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the “Great Lockdown” into this year’s WMS market forecast increases the complexity and elevates the uncertainty of the forecasting process. In my opinion, the warehouse management systems (WMS) industry is likely to remain relatively stable during these uncertain economic times.
The Covid-19 pandemic s causing a massive increase in e-grocery and consumer good demand, paired with home delivery or pick-up at store. This rapid increase is overwhelming the direct-to-consumer channel capacities of many retailers including Amazon. But how much of this increase will remain, and how much will revert to the prior state once the pandemic recedes?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the ‘‘CARES Act’ includes many provisions directed at the supply chain and logistics function. Namely, modifications to the medical supply chain and support for air carriers are directly supported. The directives on the medical supply chain have potential to stimulate broad-based and long lasting changes. The air carrier directives are focused on bridging the current gap, both operationally and financially.
The current coronavirus outbreak is an example of an economic shock that elevates uncertainty and complicates forecasting. ARC European analysts Florian Güldner and David Humphrey conducted a thorough scenario analysis on the potential impact of the corona virus on automation markets and supply chains. This analysis provides a useful framework for…
HighJump announced it is Rebranding as Körber Supply Chain. HighJump formally announced its rebranding and its robotics business and strategic partnerships at Elevate, the company’s user conference, hosted in Orlando, Florida. Fetch Robotics, Locus Robotics, and RightHand Robotics were featured in a panel on the rise of warehouse robotics.
ARC Advisory Group’s framework and process for analyzing the global AS/RS market provides valuable insights into the competitive environment, influential factors, and growth dynamics of this rapidly evolving and expanding market. AS/RS in this context includes traditional AS/RS, shuttle systems, and cube-based automated storage systems.
Boston in known as The Hub – but it has really become the hub of warehouse robotics in the United States. MassRobotics and Humatics hosted The 2020 Logistics and Warehousing Executive Briefing. Insights and valuable perspectives were shared by robotics users such as FedEx, the regions robotics innovators, and providers of complementary technologies and services.
Returnless refunds is only one of many ways in which Amazon is taking e-commerce fulfillment and customer service to the next level. To remain competitive, robust fuflillment capabilities are a necessity, and resposiveness and other customer service capabilities are a valuable diferentiator in today’s intensely competitive retail environment.
The best logistics and supply chain shows are listed along with links to the event web sites. Use this page as a resource to plan your logitics event calendar for 2020. Industry association and technology vendor shows are included.
There have been recent signs of macroeconomic weakness. Let’s take this opportunity to review some of the data and dig a little deeper into the area relevant to the logistics sector. Are the concerns simply related to US-China trade, or are there signs that that trade difficulties are impacting other areas of the economy that in turn impact the broader logistics sector?
Earlier today I came across a CNBC article about a “secret” logistics summit hosted by Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The reported objective was to “explore potential business models and investment opportunities in the e-commerce space with a focus in logistics and fulfillment.” The article and the meeting that it discusses gives me the […]
The US-China Trade Conference discussed implications of tariff increases, China production advantages, established supply chain capabilities, ASEAN alternatives, and strategies for mitigating any negative impacts from recent 301 tariff increases. Attendees and speakers valued their established capabilities in China and articulated the difficulties with replicating these capabilities within another an alternative nation in the region.
Micro-fulfillment center automation is poised for rapid growth. Customer proximity, throughput, responsiveness, and space utilization are critical factors for success. Innovative companies are addressing the micro-fulfillment challenge with cutting-edge technology and process innovations. Front and center is a number of automation technologies that can be categorized as a hybrid of shuttle system and robotic technologies.
The US Supreme Court Wayfair tax decision is likely to have second-hand effects on warehouse investments. We will see more facilities opened in states with a sales tax, as the tax benefits of remaining out of state have diminished, while fulfillment responsiveness becomes increasingly more important in today’s direct-to-consumer market.
As I conduct research on the global warehouse automation market, I hear statements such as “warehouse automation demand from Amazon and other e-commerce behemoths is draining automation providers of available resources and capacity.” Furthermore, Amazon purchased Kiva to capture essentially all of Kiva’s output capacity for its own use. So when I signed up for […]
What is this inverted yield curve talk all about? Well, I know a little about it. A little bit. Does it mean that a recession is coming? No. Does it indicate that a recession might be coming? Maybe. A yield curve is an XY plot of the annualized yields of US Treasury securities at different […]
Fulfillment repsonsiveness is the warehouse capability most expected to increase in importance over the next five years, according to the results from our best practices survey of logistics executives. A full 77 percent of respondents expect it to become even more important than it is in today’s fast-paced environment. I attribute this increasing importance to consumer expectations for next day delivery, driven the new “Amazon Effect.”
My search for warehouse automation patents uncovered an unlikely assignee, Google. It turns out that Google was awarded a patent in May 2019 for “Dynamically Maintaining a Map of a Fleet of Robotic Devices in an Environment to Facilitate Robotics Action.” The contents of the patent were geared toward use in the warehouse and features the ability to predict future locations of members of a robotics fleet to optimize collaborative tasks.
It happens about as frequently as snow in San Diego, but this week there were two confirmed tornados that touched down on Cape Cod. Cape Cod is a magnet for summer vacationers from the Northeast and is familiar to others that have seen the movies Summer Catch and Jaws. It conjures up images of summer […]
The warehouse automation market currently exhibits many characteristics that lead me to believe the competitive landscape is on the verge of rapid change. This isn’t typically the case with a mature market. But e-commerce growth, robotics advancements, and international competition have set the stage for an acceleration of change. Market participants that remain complacent are likely to suffer as a result.
Trade and specialization at the individual, corporate, and regional level are catalysts behind the growth and increasingly important role of supply chain in today’s global economies. To capture the benefits from trade, organizations need superior logistical capabilities and more sophisticated coordination of activities to receive final goods at one’s location of choice. Prior research examines coordination mechanisms and categorizes them into price, non-price, and flow coordination mechanisms. Practitioners prefer
Digital Innovation in the Modern Warehouse was the topic at this session of the 3PL and Supply Chain Summit. Executives from HighJump, SSI Schaefer, and Pepperl+Fuchs provided valuable insights on sensor types and their applications, the synthesis of this data into meaningful, actionable information, and the use of digital technology to drive productivity improvements.
The 2018 growth of the global warehouse automation market was a full 2 percent greater than my prior year’s forecast had projected. There weren’t any “big bang” acquisitions (like KION’s acquisition of Dematic in 2016), but there were a number of transactions that expanded the acquirer’s solution set or geographic presence.
The industry dynamics of warehousing in China differ substantially from those in North America and Europe. My discussion with professor Xiande Zhao of CEIBS and his panel at a digital innovation forum organized by CEIBS and Z-Park provided me with the pulse of warehousing in China. The Suning.com insights were particularly informative.
Today’s posting comes to you from the 2019 Manhattan Momentum conference in Phoenix, AZ. The conference thus far has featured a proper balance of product roadmaps and customer success stories. Manhattan’s CEO, Eddie Capel, set the stage for the conference agenda with a presentation that framed the content for the next three days. For starters, […]
ARC Advisory Group just published an update to its annual warehouse management systems (WMS) market study. The recent analysis shows that e-commerce continues to exert its influence on WMS market growth. However, there is a notable shift in the market pressures and the profiles of companies purchasing WMS to support their fulfillment operations. For example, pressures from expedited delivery and the subtle shift in demand from soft goods to hard line items, such as grocery, and particularly prominent.
The ProMat show hall had an elephant in the room – Toyota Industries and its companies were front and center, as a display of its recent strategic acquisitions into the warehouse automation world. Piece picking robots, shuttle system enhancements, collaborative robots, and the software that makes these systems “intelligent” were the highlights of my attendance at ProMat 2019. The following exhibits were the most infomative to me.
WMS product development roadmaps vary by provider, but there is substantial overlap among the development initiatives of leading WMS providers. Key topics include machine learning, optimization, automation integration, and interoperability. This article captures the “essence of the essence” of the development plans of the leadings WMS suppliers today.
US warehousing and storage industry (3PL) employment grew from 779 million in January 2015 to 1.2 billion in December 2018, a CAGR of 11% from 2015 through 2018. At the same time, US unemployment is at historic lows. This suggests that the warehousing and storage industry must hire workers from other industries. Stories about individual warehouses paints a picture of high demand for labor, low availability, and high turnover rates. Something has to “give”.
The overall structure and content of the MHI Promat and Modex events evolves very slowly from year to year. However, a prevalent theme seems to arise each year that differentiates one event from years prior. I’m told that robotic piece picking was the stand-out theme at LogiMAT last month and that theme will surely cross […]
Supply chain advancements are credited with efficiency improvements within organizations but are often overlooked for their beneficial economic side-effects. For example, supply chain software may contribute more to productivity than traditional measures such as GDP suggest. One example is the Great Moderation. Another is the inability of economic models to capture the rapid improvement of software over time. This inaccurate measurement leads to underreporting of quality improvements. This underreporting is supported by the deflationary nature of software products.
It was three years ago that Logistics Viewpoints and DC Velocity launched a survey of logistics practitioners to evaluate the future direction fulfillment facilities, technologies, and practices. The survey’s format evaluated past, present state, and expectations for three years into the future. The findings, published on Logistics Viewpoints and on DCVelocity.com, were well received. Last […]
Today is the day of global trade compliance software. It’s not every day that trade compliance is top of mind. ARC Advisory Group’s Global Trade Compliance Systems (GTC) market research shows that the breadth of high-profile tariff changes has catapulted trade compliance ot the top of supply chain concerns and consideration.
Logistics Viewpoints has assembled the following list of conferences that my ARC supply chain colleagues and I consider to be the premier industry conferences scheduled for 2019. The include logistics industry association events and supply chain software conferences.
ARC Advisory Group 2019 supply chain trends of the year include: Global Trade and Tariffs; Logistics Labor Shortages and Automation; The “Digital Supply Chain” as the Logistics Technology Concept of the Year; expansion of Machine Learning and AI Enhancements. With taxes and duties accounting for a substantial portion of cost of goods sold, it is likely that companies will be reevaluating the impact on their global supply chains. Meanwhile, the “digital supply chain” is a conceptual umbrella term that will continue to be used to identify supply chain software, communications, and automation efforts that meet certain digital criteria.
The Massachusetts Export Center hosted its ninth annual Mass Export Expo on Friday, December 7th. Although the conference was regional in nature, the topics of discussion are currently of great interest to businesses across the country and even across the globe. There were a number of sessions on topics ranging from US-China trade, US economic […]
Collaborative autonomous robotics (cobots) in the warehouse have progressed considerably over the last few years. They have now proven their ability to significantly increase warehouse worker productivity by a factor of 2x-plus. The next hurdle is return on investment (ROI), which factors costs and time-to-value in with productivity improvements and other financial benefits. Port Logistics Group’s (PLG) analysis of its current Locus Robotics implementation project provides insights into the factors that make such a solution superior to other investment alternatives.
I recently began the update of ARC Advisory Group’s research on the global trade management solutions market. At the outset, it was unclear to me how (or even if) the increased global trade uncertainty would impact the market for GTM solutions. In early 2017 there were two theses as to how the uncertainty from Brexit and Trump’s […]
Amazon is not the world’s least sustainable company. On the contrary, I believe Amazon is a leader in transforming our economy toward green business models. Amazon is an enormous business. In 2017, the company generated $177 billion in revenues. Shipping costs, including sortation and delivery center and transportation costs, were $21.7 billion. In some ways the transportation of e-commerce orders generates more GHG than traditional store replenishment. But this does not consider the trips consumers make to and from stores in their own vehicles. I believe comparing supply chains to final destination in this way levels the field with respect to e-commerce vs. traditional brick and mortar.
It is rare at Logistics Viewpoints (LV) that we would do more than reference a few sentences from another publication. However, I believe that Bloomberg Businessweek’s recently published article titled The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies is thought provoking and (potentially) consequential enough to warrant an entire post. I […]
ARC Advisory Group and DC Velocity magazine recently concluded a web survey on the current use and future plans for mobile computing in the warehouse. Detailed findings from the research will be published soon. However, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the results from a small subset of the research – namely the […]
It’s funny how some trends seem to go “full circle.” In 1999, everybody thought they could pick the next big thing. Then after the dot.com bubble burst, it seemed like everybody distanced themselves from their “visionary” pasts. I recall a brief discussion I had around 2002 with a self-described “internet guy.” He commented about the online grocery […]
Maersk confirmed last week that is intends to sail the containership Venta Maersk through the Northeast Passage from the Far East to St. Petersburg. The route runs along the Russian Arctic through what the Russians call the Northern Sea Route. This will be the first container ship to traverse the passage, although COSCO has sent […]
It is the bane of my work week. Each week I waste more time there than anywhere else. What is this place that is the sinkhole of my productivity? I’ll give you a hint – it’s the sinkhole of productivity for much of the East Coast of the US. Yup, that’s right – Interstate 95. […]
Import tariffs and potential trade wars have been a hot topic in the media since Trump was elected President. My colleagues and I have written about the topic a number of times on Logistics Viewpoints, as well. However, much of the news propagates recent announcements and often includes an opinion on the subject matter. I […]
ARC’s research on the global WMS market identified today’s warehouse technology investments that were highest on investment priority lists (see WMS Product Development Roadmaps). Warehouse mobility investments including upgrades and replacements was high on that list. ARC and DC Velocity recently launched an online survey to obtain detailed insights into the topic, including current use and […]
It’s the dog days of summer folks. And that brings about one of my favorite sporting events – the MLB All-Star Game. On Tuesday night at Washington Nationals Park, the American League beat the National League 8-6. Of course, as a Boston Red Sox fan I favor the American League so the result was pleasing. […]
I just completed the newest version of ARC’s annual warehouse management systems (WMS) market research study. For those of you who are looking to receive your copy, it is currently in editing and should be available before the end of the month. The research process behind this report is extensive and evaluates both quantitative and […]
Phew! All of the boxes were finally moved in. The house was in disarray, but my wife and I were happy to finally have the family back in a home of our own. Then the cleaning began. Why is it that the process of cleaning a house reveals so many problems? Things look so much […]
ARC Advisory Group released its updated Warehouse Automation & Control (WAC) market study last week. This research is an evaluation of the market with detailed analysis of the 2017 base year and a five-year forecast through 2022. I would like to take this opportunity to communicate some of the prominent themes I observed during the research […]
ARC Advisory Group’s supply chain team believes that autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) in the warehouse is a high-growth and potentially transformative logistics technology. Therefore, we are devoting substantial effort into tracking the progress of the solutions within this rapidly developing market. On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting 6 River Systems’ facility and receiving […]
Kenco Logistics, a US-based 3PL with over 80 sites in North America, recently completed the implementation of JDA Warehouse Labor Management (JDA WLM) at three of its warehouses. Adam Schlaudecker, Product Manager – LMS and Nathan Beene, Director Transportation and Supply Chain Technologies, presented at JDA Focus and provided insights about the software implementation and […]
Warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse automation systems have long been complementary technologies with adjacent and sometimes overlapping functionality sets. The relative importance of the systems to an operation depends on the activities and throughput profile of the given warehouse. Public discussions about the convergence of WMS and warehouse control systems (WCS) into what has […]
Last week’s MODEX show in Atlanta contained many more exhibits than I could possibly have viewed in the short time that I attended. But I did view many of the exhibits and experienced the overall vibe of the show. “Technology adoption and acceleration” is the closest I can come to a common thread that captures […]
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. […]
The “Uberization of Freight” is a hot topic in logistics circles. My colleague Steve Banker wrote an LV blog post in 2016 that discussed the topic and its merits (see The Uberization of Last Mile Freight). It is a business concept that has been receiving large amounts of venture capital funding due to the great […]
Last week President Trump announced that the US will impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. Last year I disclosed in a Logistics Viewpoints article that I see the Trump administration’s trade proposals as posturing and rhetoric to set up future negotiations to leverage the US’s economic clout […]
ARC Advisory Group’s supply chain team believes that autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) in the warehouse is a high-growth and potentially transformative logistics technology. There is a handful of start-up companies currently offering AMR solutions to meet the challenges presented by the high-volume, high-labor requirements of e-commerce fulfillment. Each of these robotics start-ups is addressing the […]
Amazon opened its check-out free Amazon Go convenience store to the general public last week. This high-tech low-touch store is a busy urban introvert’s dream. The opening triggered a second wave of media coverage that included descriptions of user experiences and a number of possible explanations about how Amazon is able to manage this high-tech […]
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 […]
Welcome 2018! There is a long list of supply chain and logistics events being held this year. I find that each conference has its own strengths. It would be great to attend a dozen each year to collaborate with colleagues and learn from their experiences. I’m sure your view is similar, but travel budgets and […]
Terex is a global manufacturer of lifting and material processing products. The Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) business unit sells many of its products under the well-known Genie brand name. Genie customers are mostly equipment rental companies that purchase high-volumes of units on an annual basis. Terex AWP operates its largest Genie finished product transfer center […]
My colleagues and I often mention our current research projects in our blog posts, and proceed to note some of the findings or even just some of the considerations at hand. In a recent post, I mentioned “Analysts at ARC Advisory Group receive periodic inquiries from potential investors such as private equity firms and venture […]
The phrase “retailer headwinds” caught my attention last week. I came across the phrase used by a number of sources that attributed soft comparable sales or difficult market conditions to these “headwinds.” The repetitive use of this phrase was especially relevant because I am currently researching the global warehouse automation market and the retail segment […]
Today is an exciting time in the world of warehousing and fulfillment operations. The exponential growth of e-commerce is creating an abundance of opportunity for retailers. At the same time, it’s causing serious changes to the demands placed on fulfillment operations. These fulfillment changes are themselves creating a spike in demand for warehouse automation and […]
I concluded and published ARC’s research on the Worldwide Global Trade Management (GTM) Systems market about midway through last month. The feeling of accomplishment was short-lived because I woke up the next day and began the update to ARC’s Worldwide Warehouse Automation & Control Systems market research study. ARC Advisory Group’s research into the warehouse automation […]
Pactiv, headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of foodservice and food packaging products. The company’s typical warehouse has 300-400 trailers in the yard, with about 50 inbounds and 50 outbounds per day. This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Snow, the fleet manager for Pactiv’s Mid-West region, […]
Congratulations to me! I have (finally) completed ARC’s Global Trade Management Systems Market Research Study. I will take this opportunity to communicate and consolidate the research findings from the study and the accompanying writing I published over the last few months in Logistics Viewpoints. The GTM Solutions Market ARC focuses its GTM research on two […]
The Acquisition In-Brief Last week Körber AG announced that it had acquired HighJump. I first became aware of Körber in 2014 when the German holding company acquired Inconso, a German supply chain software provider. At that time, Inconso was a complementary addition to Körber’s other Intralogistics businesses, but was distinct in its focus on commercial […]
As authors of the Logistics Viewpoints blog, we take pride in delivering insights that you can’t obtain in other sources. As an example, did you know there was a total eclipse of the sun across the US this week? I say this sarcastically because every news outlet covered the event extensively. But I also say […]
An interview with RightHand Robotics’ Co-Founder, Leif Jentoft This year’s Promat trade show included many interesting warehouse technologies. I found RightHand Robotics (RHR) RightPick solution to be one of the premier exhibits. RHR had its own booth exhibiting its piece picking solution. But perhaps most impressive was the fact that three RHR partners also chose […]
US GDP grew at about a 2 percent annual growth rate in the first half of the year. The logistics and warehousing industry grew at a tepid rate in the first quarter. But this is positive when compared with the Q1 performance of recent years when the industry actually contracted, likely due to atypical seasonality. According to US Census data, US exports in the first half of 2017 totaled $763.6 billion, representing a 7.3 percent increase over the total for the first half of 2016. According to US Census data, US exports in the first half of 2017 totaled $763.6 billion, representing a 7.3 percent increase over the total for the first half of 2016.
ARC Advisory Group conducts an annual in-depth analysis of the worldwide global trade management (GTM) software market. The research process includes the analysis of large amounts of information and interviews with executives from numerous GTM companies. The process concludes with the publication of ARC’s Global Trade Management Market Research Study. I am nearing the end […]
I hope everyone in the US had a happy 4th of July holiday. Earlier this week I learned a couple new fun facts about US Independence Day. First, I considered buying a US flag that had thirteen white stars on a blue background and 13 red and white stripes representing the 13 colonies that became […]
Production costs, transportation costs, and product quality are all primary considerations in corporate sourcing and production decisions. However, customs duties and other trade tariffs can also be critical inputs into these supply chain decisions, particularly when preferential treatment is an option. Trade duties and regulations vary by country and industry. And the automotive industry has […]
I believe that the average American over the last three decades has become progressively more aware of global supply chains and the distinction between an American company and an American made product. However, I also believe that information on country-of-origin is still very opaque in many cases. But the automotive supply chain is an exception […]
Last year after the MODEX exhibition I stated that autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) had moved from the concept phase to commercial availability and practical consideration. At this year’s Promat show I set out to evaluate the commercial progress of AMR in the warehouse. Ideally the progress would be confirmed by referenceable customers willing to discuss their operational success along with the financial feasibility […]
In March I provided a brief overview of the global trade management (GTM) solutions market and discussed some of the factors that encourage companies to invest in these solutions. There are a few “independent variables” that can explain GTM sales. Among them are regulation and compliance complexity, regulatory fine risks, supply chain complexity, and tariff […]
The political environment and public policy decisions are central determinants of global trade patterns. But political risk seems especially heightened in today’s international business environment. From the Brexit vote, to Trump’s trade renegotiation rhetoric, to Marine Le Pen’s promise of intelligent protectionism, there has been an undeniable trend of political intent to reexamine trade policies […]
The Panama Canal is quite the engineering feat, described by some as the eighth wonder of the world. It is especially interesting to those in supply chain and logistics, as it is a critical resource in support of today’s vast international trade. It is also a complex operation subject to high levels of traffic with […]
Last week’s ProMat trade show in Chicago exhibited many more interesting warehouse technologies than I could possibly view in one day. Thankfully, I was able to touch upon most, but not all, of my “must see technologies.” My high-level take away is that the show exhibited everything from the next high-profile, technical innovations to those that […]
Global trade and free trade agreements – they’re hot topics today and they are responsible for tectonic shifts in various industries and the economic welfare of many. But they’re also topics that require ongoing management by today’s multinational companies and their trading, logistics, and finance partners. Luckily, there is a software application for that. A quick primer as I embark […]
The ProMat show will begin in less than two weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the show two years ago and personally believe it is (still?) a more comprehensive trade show than its Atlanta-based twin, Modex. I have spent a good amount of time over the last week setting up interviews and otherwise planning my time for […]
There are many sayings that tout experiential learning as superior to learning from a book. Well I must agree. I can tell you that there are many stories about consequential supply chain disruptions that have made an impact on me. But none of these made an impact on me comparable to running out of baby formula, baby […]
I woke up on Sunday morning, made some coffee, and then logged on to Amazon.com and conveniently made a purchase from my couch. This simple set of two common daily tasks got me thinking about additive manufacturing (3D printing) and its potential to transform both current business models and their supply chains. My colleague Steve […]
I was recently informed of the new start-up company named TransVix that is developing a US trucking futures exchange market. Admittedly, my logistics research is focused more on warehousing than on transportation. However, I do have a solid understanding of both logistics and financial markets, and of financial derivatives such as forward contracts and futures. […]
Richard Peretz, UPS CFO, was on CNBC yesterday morning discussing the company’s most recent earnings release. The interview addressed a number of prominent topics in the logistics world. First of all, he noted the ongoing increase in B-to-C as a percentage of UPS’ overall business, and as we have stated repeatedly on Logistics Viewpoints, this […]
ARC Advisory Group conducts an in-depth analysis of the global warehouse automation and control (WAC) market. The research process includes the analysis of large amounts of information and interviews with executives from numerous warehouse automation companies. The process concludes with the publication of ARC’s global Warehouse Automation & Control Market Research Study, which analyzes the […]
The warehouse automation market has certainly evolved over the last two years. Thankfully, I believe most of the changes are advancements that allow suppliers to better meet customers’ needs. I will categorize the market’s evolution into three high-level categories – more holistic solutions, greater system adaptability, and greater system intelligence. Warehouse automation vendors have purchased other companies within the industry to expand their offerings, with recent examples including Dematic’s acquisition of SDI Group, obtaining its garment-on-hanger system, and Vanderlande’s acquisition of Dinamic, extending its portfolio of conveyors. The rapid growth of e-commerce; the heterogeneous nature of today’s items, orders, and loads; and the unpredictable business environment have made system adaptability and fulfillment flexibility increasingly important to fulfillment operations. Shuttle systems have been the ideal solution to meet these needs.
During my discussions with warehouse automation suppliers and WMS suppliers, Mexico was frequently noted as a strong spot within an otherwise weak Latin America region. Warehouse automation vendors didn’t really point to an overarching factor driving sales to companies in Mexico. But WMS suppliers informed ARC that the WMS selling environment in Mexico remains favorable due to increased nearshoring efforts by US companies. Multinationals care more than ever about agility in their supply chain, as China’s costs increase, Mexico’s proximity is becoming more appealing. I dug further into macroeconomic reports to see if there were additional insights to be obtained. I came across the Department of Commerce 2016 Top Markets Report on the Cold Chain in Mexico. This report states that Mexico’s supermarkets have been growing at a rapid pace.
Two decades ago, I didn’t know postal operators in foreign countries unless I had a pen pal in the region. The role and range of services offered by postal companies have changed considerably since the advent of e-mail, the internet, and most importantly, the exponential growth of e-commerce. Singapore Post (SingPost) is one such domestic […]
Earlier this month I wrote an article about the changing warehouse order profile. That article presented data and discussed findings from ARC Advisory Group’s warehouse practitioner survey conducted in partnership with DC Velocity earlier this year. The overarching theme of the findings is that the ongoing transformation in the fulfillment environment is quickly shifting order profiles and […]
My colleagues and I have written a number of articles about the widespread growth of e-commerce and its effect on distribution operations. Many companies are opening new facilities for e-commerce fulfillment and others are using traditional replenishment facilities to fulfill e-commerce orders as well. It’s well-known that e-commerce growth is affecting the requirements placed on […]
Logically enough, the majority of Logistics Viewpoints (LV) readers work in the logistics field. And LV is a logistics industry blog, not a political op-ed site. However, I believe the issue of global trade is both a core logistics topic and a hot political one. Furthermore, the presidential candidates from both major parties have been denouncing international […]
Oracle recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire Logfire, a Cloud WMS provider. Last year I explained that Cloud WMS deployments still remain limited compared to Cloud adoption of other supply chain software (I am using the term “Cloud” to represent single instance, multi-tenant solutions). And with good reason. WMS is a real-time application that […]
Who first proposed the Labor Day holiday in the US? It is unclear who first proposed the holiday, but it does appear to be an Irish-American contribution to the country. According to DOL.gov, it was either Matthew Maguire, a machinist from NJ, or Peter McGwire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters. By the way, […]
East Coast Warehouse & Distribution (ECW) is an integrated temperature-controlled logistics provider to the food and beverage industry. The company’s primary site is at Port Elizabeth, NJ. This site is both large and complex. It is 60 acres in size, including about 14.5 acres for customs and 1.5 million square feet of refrigerated facility space. […]
Now for today’s trivia question, brought to you by Lack of Supply Chain Integrity, Inc. Q: What exactly is Egyptian cotton anyway? A: Thanks to the lack of integrity within the sheet and bedding supply chain, I now know how Egyptian cotton differs from regular cotton. According to Wikipedia, Gossypium barbadense is known as extra-long […]
ARC Advisory Group has been conducting an annual analysis of the warehouse management systems (WMS) market for the last 20 years. The process involves an analysis of large amounts of information and interviews with executives from numerous WMS software companies; and concludes with the publication of ARC’s WMS Global Market Research Study. ARC’s long-term history […]
Mobile computing and RF guns have been an essential tool in real-time warehouses for years. They’re certainly nothing new. However, ARC’s research into the WMS market shows that mobile apps are receiving substantial R&D dollars from a number of WMS vendors. There is widespread development of new mobile warehousing applications designed for Android operating systems for use on cost-effective, consumer-like […]
The global warehouse automation & control (WA&C) market has experienced numerous mergers & acquisitions over the years. However, most of the acquisitions have been smaller vendors that sell similar solutions that offer a complimentary technology, capability, or additional geographic presence to the acquirer. In contrast, the recently announced acquisitions of Dematic and Intelligrated represent major shifts in the global […]
Are you impressed by operational efficiencies? I am. And I consider a warehouse that operates at an e-commerce processing cost per unit (CPU) of under one dollar ($1.00) and a store replenishment cost per unit of under ten cents ($0.10) very impressive. Ascena Retail Group is a leading national specialty retailer offering clothing, shoes and […]
Last week I read the Logistics Viewpoints guest post by Chainalytics discussing the pitfalls of decision-marking biases. Although the Chainalytics article focuses on supply chain decision making, these biases can apply to business forecasting as well. Reading this article made me interested in my own potential decision-making biases. I chose to take time on Friday […]
Electromagnetics. Did any of you have to take that course in college? I didn’t, and I’m glad. When my college roommates came home and immediately threw their books against the wall, I knew they had just finished an “E-mag” exam. In full disclosure, I certainly don’t fully understand magnetics. But I do appreciate an interesting […]
Today is the final day of Manhattan Associates’ 2016 annual user conference in Orlando, FL. The conference has about 1,200 attendees, including attendees from 41 Manhattan partners. From a corporate perspective, Manhattan had 500 new hires last year, bringing total staff to 3000 employees. As a WMS product manager said to me, that’s quite the […]
In September I began, in February I reflected on, and this week I completed ARC’s Supply Chain Planning Global Market Research Study. I’m going to take this opportunity to summarize some of the study’s key findings. Supply Chain Complexity Meets Planning Intricacy Global supply chains continue to be increasingly complex. This is not only due […]
Prior research by ARC Advisory Group and DC Velocity on omni-channel fulfillment determined that companies expect an average of 40 percent growth in e-commerce sales over the next five years. That research project placed strong emphasis on the use of stores in today’s omni-channel environment. But it also showed that major changes are occurring at […]
I sit tonight, Tuesday, April 5th, writing about MODEX from a public hotel computer. I will fully disclose that I am using a public computer because I spilled coffee on my laptop earlier today. I feel as if I have been accepted into the fraternity of office fools… For those of you unfamiliar with MODEX, it is […]
HighJump held its annual user conference last week in Orlando, Florida. The conference had about 650 attendees and a wide selection of session tracks, similar to the 2015 conference. Last year’s event was the first after the merger of HighJump and Accellos and management focused on the newly combined entity and path forward at that […]
What is happening to global trade? You may ask, “What do you mean?” Well, I think a quote from a World Trade Organization (WTO) September press release describes the situation the best: “If current projections are realised, 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year in which annual trade growth has fallen below 3 per cent […]
In September 2015 I began the update of ARC Advisory Group’s global supply chain planning (SCP) market study. In a Logistics Viewpoints article published at that time, I discussed some of the major changes in SCP over the previous decade. I am now concluding this SCP market study update. I have spoken with the vast […]
ARC Advisory Group, in partnership with DC Velocity magazine, has just launched an online survey of logistics practitioners to evaluate the future direction of today’s distribution facilities, technologies, and practices. The survey is designed to obtain a multi-faceted overview of the changing demands placed on fulfillment operations and how practitioners are responding by adjusting processes, […]
Hear, hear! Once again, it’s a new year (poet, didn’t even know it)! And with that change comes a wish list of conferences that you would like to attend. Let’s face it, a trip to Miami in February isn’t hard to swallow. But your request needs to get approval from the corner office, right? What’s […]
Last year, ARC Advisory Group published its first formalized research study on the global warehouse automation & control market. The publication was well-received by market participants. Due to the high level of demand, ARC has decided to update the study this year. I came into the office on January 4th with this market study update […]
Last Thanksgiving, my colleague Chris Cunnane wrote a holiday post titled Turkey Logistics: The Thanksgiving Supply Chain that discussed the aggregate demand fueled by America’s voracious appetite for turkey. As he stated in that article, about 730 million pounds of turkey is consumed by Americans over the Thanksgiving holiday, of which about 90 percent are […]
Earlier this week I received an inquiry from Modern Materials Handling (MMH) to discuss my perspective on the warehouse control systems (WCS) market. In particular, the MMH author was researching perspectives on the evolution of WCS into what is increasingly being referred to as warehouse execution systems (WES). WES are comprehensive WCS that coordinate and […]
Deutsche Post DHL announced a €400 million year over year reduction in profits in Q3 of 2015. In particular, EBIT from the Global Forwarding business went from €37 million in 2014 to -€337 million Euros in 2015. The negative earnings were largely the result of a €345 million write down related to a failed software […]
In last Friday’s “This Week in Logistics News” blog post, I mentioned that the TPP details had finally been released by the participating countries’ governments. Since Friday, I have spent a good deal of time reviewing the TPP trade agreement for topics of relevance to the logistics and logistics technology industries. Here is my first […]
It was 70 degrees in Boston yesterday, reminding me of the November I spent in San Diego. But unlike San Diego, the weather pattern here will change quickly. Very quickly I’m sure. In general, I consider November to be a period of change. The leaves have all but fallen from the trees in New England, […]
In September I published a Logistics Viewpoint article titled The Evolution of WMS Customer Requirements. The article discusses how commercial WMS functionality has improved substantially over the years and is now sufficient to meet the needs of most practitioners. As a result, today’s customers are making WMS purchasing decisions based on an expanded set of […]
This week I began assisting my colleague Chris Cunnane with ARC Advisory Group’s first market outlook study on the technologies that support omni-channel commerce. The study evaluates the key technologies that support omni-channel operations, namely distributed order management (DOM), WMS, TMS, inventory planning and optimization, and demand management. The beauty of this study is that […]
I am currently updating ARC’s Global Supply Chain Planning (SCP) market study, as I stated in my LV post two weeks ago. The study divides the SCP market into four application functionality areas, one of which is demand management. Demand management applications offer a comprehensive set of functionality. They are used to organize, structure, manage […]
As a child, my mother received an orange in her stocking at Christmas each year. It was quite the treat back in the day. Today many of us take for granted the ability to drive to our local market and pick up fruit from other parts of the country, and even other parts of the […]
I chose “Revisiting Supply Chain Planning” as the title for this blog post because I believe the phrase captures both the current focus of my research agenda (what I am doing) and the heightened priority SCP has taken on the agenda of many supply chain executives (what practitioners are doing). Earlier this week, I began […]
Putting an NFL team in London? Could that really work? The NFL International Series games that have been played in Wembley Stadium have been a success to date. But will there be enough interest for a full-time team in London? And of course, the logistics are a substantial barrier with competitor teams between 3,000 and […]
Did You Know??? The development of Labor Day as a national holiday in the US was a local-to-national process. It began with municipal ordinances in 1885. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to recognize it as a holiday. In 1894, the US Congress passed an act designating Labor Day as a legal national holiday, […]
Last month I posted a Logistics Viewpoints article on the evolution and growth of the WMS market. Today I am going to take a slightly different perspective and discuss the evolution of WMS customer requirements – how are WMS customers’ requirements different now than they were in the past, and what factors are driving these […]
China and global financial markets were the top news stories this week. But the financial volatility still appears to me as detached from the global economy and international trade. Or is it? Is this just financial “noise” or is it an indication of changes in the global trade? I believe it’s still too early to […]
Earlier this month, I published a Logistics Viewpoints article discussing the prevalent factors affecting the global WMS market. I mentioned that the research process leading to the publication of ARC’s WMS Global Market Research Study includes interviews with executives from numerous WMS software companies. However, the interviews are only one part of the data gathering […]
The announcement of Infor’s agreement to acquire GT Nexus for $675 million is this week’s biggest logistics technology news. It is the latest consolidation in the enterprise application software market, following the trend of traditional software vendors acquiring SaaS solution providers. GT Nexus provides a cloud-based network connecting a community of trading partners, allowing for […]
ARC Advisory Group has been conducting an annual analysis of the global warehouse management systems (WMS) market for the last 20 years. The process involves an analysis of large amounts of information and interviews with executives from numerous WMS software companies; and concludes with the publication of ARC’s WMS Global Market Research Study. Omni-Channel is […]
I have spent the majority of this week developing a 5 year forecast for the global WMS market. The primary takeaway from my week’s efforts is that the broad-based increase in the value of the dollar is going to wreak havoc on the translation of foreign sales into dollar values. Another impact is the increased […]
The Pacific Rim trade deal, formally known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), obtained a great deal of media coverage in June as Congress debated legislation aimed at providing the President with “fast-track” approval authority. The intensity surrounding debates and opinions led me to believe that this proposed multi-lateral trade agreement would soon come to […]
The economics studies in which I have engaged over the years have always highlighted the ways in which economic activity (production, supply chain, services) impacts financial factors such as stock markets and currency values. However, this week’s global news headlines have reinforced to me that cause and effect can be bi-directional, as these financial factors […]
Warehouse Automation to Optimization Warehouse automation vendors are placing increased emphasis on the ability of their software solutions to take warehouse performance to the next level. For example, the term warehouse execution system (WES) is being used to describe the next generation, more advanced warehouse control systems (WCS) that coordinate disparate warehouse systems while also dynamically […]
If you are reading this LogisticsViewpoints blog post today, July 2, you can be categorized as one of the following: Not a US resident – today is just Thursday to you A US resident working today, but wishing you weren’t working A US resident, working, but mentally already on 4th of July vacation One serious […]
Omni-channel fulfillment is arguably today’s hottest supply chain topic. My colleagues and I have written a number of blog posts on individual case studies on this topic. Here is a case study on an anonymous major US retailer that likely has a store location near you. How do your fulfillment operations compare to this leading […]
Earlier this week, news broke about the California Labor Commission ruling on an Uber driver being classified as an employee, rather than a contractor. My understanding of the criteria used to make that determination is limited. But it does make me question whether this determination will eventually effect truck owner-operators. The first business model that […]
On Saturday I engaged in a rare weekend activity for myself – I actually thought about supply chain. I thought about the transition from “push” processes to greater use of demand pull in replenishment; how retailers are sharing downstream POS data with their suppliers to develop a more efficient supply network; how multi-echelon inventory optimization […]
I hate to admit when I’m wrong, or mistaken. But I will admit it. In December 2014 I wrote an intro to the Friday Logistics news round-up, discussing how a sign stating “This project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” was placed on the highway shoulder along my commute to work 6 […]
Last month I attended JDA Focus, the company’s annual user conference. My favorite presentation from the event was that by Tony Simmons, an Operations Analyst from Genco. The presentation discussed Genco’s application of JDA Warehouse Labor Management (JDA WLM) to manage and ultimately reengineer its business processes. I found it to be a great example […]
Today is the final day of Manhattan Associates’ 2015 annual user conference. The conference has about 1,100 attendees and offers a substantially broader selection of sessions than the first Manhattan conference I attended in 2007. This year’s conference theme is “Building The Commerce-Ready Enterprise.” When I hear “commerce-ready” I envision a concept broader than the […]
During my morning commute to work this past winter, I heard a story on news radio about a trial use of drones to deliver essential supplies to residents of a small island in Japan. I couldn’t find a written copy of the article at that time, but I stumbled upon the article yesterday. The small Japanese […]
I consider yard management software functionality to reside at the intersection of transportation management systems (TMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS). This makes it an important link in the supply chain. I also believe it’s an area where the application of technology can provide substantial efficiency improvements. At the HighJump conference last month, Scott Halvorson of […]
I spent the first half of this week at JDA Focus – the company’s annual user conference. It is difficult to capture in one paragraph, the essence of a three day conference consisting of 250 sessions. Nevertheless, that is what I’m going to attempt. JDA is enhancing its product suites to enable users to more […]
Today HighJump is wrapping up its 2015 user conference – the first since HighJump and Accellos merged into a single entity. The conference has around 650 attendees. And the new HighJump is now a substantially larger organization, as measured by revenues, employees, and products. Combined revenues for 2014 eclipsed $150 million and the total staff […]
Today I would like to take the opportunity to briefly discuss a financial economics concept and its effects on the real economy, including the logistics market. This concept is called the J Curve. In particular, I am referring to the recent loose monetary policies of the Euro Zone and Japan. They have caused a depreciation […]
Last week negotiators from the P5+1 (or EU+3) and Iran developed a preliminary agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. This opened the door for Iranian sanction relief and presents the question, “How will Iran’s international trade change, and what partners will benefit?” The World Bank lists Iran’s 2013 GDP at $369 billion, making it the third […]
My colleagues have written about the numerous applications of autonomous vehicles and their potential uses in the future. Chris discussed driverless trucks currently operating at the ore mines in Australia. In a prior posting, Steve wrote about Google’s plans to build and launch a small fleet of subcompact, driverless cars. He continued by supposing that […]
There is more than one way to skin a cat. And the fat cat at ProMat is the high-volume of small, multi-line item orders being fulfilled by today’s distribution operations. ProMat 2015 has 808 exhibitors (and 35,000 attendees), so It’s difficult to boil down such a large and diverse set of offerings to one concept, […]
Happy Vernal Equinox to all! After effects from late winter storms are still imposing their presence on many of us on this first day of spring (fall to our Aussie friends). The most expansive storm of the week is undoubtedly the solar storm that hit earth on Tuesday. The storm was triggered by the impact […]
I wish that I had access to investing in warehouse automation companies. I wish they were publicly traded. Then I could’ve made some hefty gains on those investments. I think many private equity executives, aware of what they missed, are thinking, “Ah, I should’ve invested in X or Y warehouse automation company when I had […]
Remember to move your clocks forward one hour before going to bed on Saturday night (except for you contrarians in Arizona). As I look outside at the three foot deep snow pack, I wonder to myself, what ever happened to “Spring forward?” When I was a child, we moved the clocks forward at the end […]
On Friday, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports. This announcement comes after months of labor negotiations and West Coast port congestion that has caused widespread shipment delays felt across the nation […]
The logistics news feeds were on fire this week (pun intended) with notice of supply chain disruptions. In particular, there were two large and destructive oil train derailments, one in West Virginia and another in Ontario, Canada. Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported from the CSX derailment in West Virginia or the Canadian National accident […]
Individuals living in the higher latitudes will tell you that ice dams on your roof are an omen of bad things to come. I learned this first-hand last week after record snowfall in the Boston area. To minimize future damage, I set out to purchase a roof rake to clear the snow off of my […]
Nine years ago, almost to the day, I was in my third week of employment at ARC Advisory Group. Steve Banker had a meeting scheduled with a small logistics software company. I could see the hesitancy in Steve’s eyes- inviting me to attend the meeting was the collegial thing to do, but having such a […]
In 2012, Amazon spent $775 million to acquire Kiva Systems, a distribution center robotics developer with about $100 million in revenues. Yes, that is a valuation multiple of seven times revenues. This is the most succinct way I can express the importance of warehouse automation to the e-commerce channel. ARC is currently producing a market […]
I recently authored a Logistics Viewpoints post outlining the best supply chain conferences to attend in 2015. I do believe that conferences offer a great opportunity to collaborate, network, and learn about the specific topics and themes of interest. But have you ever been to a conference where it seemed like everyone was there just so […]
Happy New Year! There are many supply chain conferences scheduled in 2015. If you are like me, you only have so much time to spend at conferences and must choose the ones that best suit your needs. I believe that the best conferences are large enough to support networking and diverse topics, but personal enough […]
The Logistics Viewpoints team thought our readers would be interested in seeing what 2014 posts obtained the most views over the year. The posts from the beginning of the year often obtain the most views because they’ve been visible for a longer period of time. However, this year’s most popular article was posted less than […]
The Logistics Viewpoints team thought our readers would be interested in seeing what 2014 posts obtained the most views over the year. The posts from the beginning of the year often obtain the most views because they’ve been visible for a longer period of time. However, this year’s most popular article was posted less than […]
Almost six years ago the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law. Approximately a year later signs were placed on the highway between my home and work that said “This construction is funded by the ARRA.” The traffic on my commute is horrible, so I was optimistic about what was going to […]
Last Christmas Eve I was at a family party watching television with my niece and nephew. The local channel was broadcasting NORAD’s tracking of Santa across the globe. This is when my nine year-old nephew looked up at me and said, “Uncle Clint, how does Santa get to every house in the world in one […]
I wrote a Logistics Viewpoints article in October that discussed how Diageo has transformed its supply chain from a cost savings function to an enabler of growth-driving innovation. This case discussed how supply chain was elevated to a strategic level due to its critical role in executing new product introductions. I found the connection between […]
My colleagues and I publish a blog each Friday outlining the week’s logistics news. Included in these posts are updates to logistics industry economic indicators. These indicators are of interest to industry practitioners because they provide a timely snapshot of the market’s performance. From this feedback, executives can update their views and assumptions about the […]
So…This morning Boston received its first snowfall of the season. The overzealous news reporters are already in action “traffic delays, polar vortex, stay tuned for (15 minute interval) updates!” The picture on the left is the snow on my property this morning. I had to rush outside to capture that little dusting of snow before […]
Supply chain management is a critical function at any business that involves production, distribution, or inventory management. But being a critical function does not make it strategic in the traditional Michael Porter definition of providing a unique, valuable and sustainable competitive advantage. So, how can the supply chain management function elevate itself to that of […]
Happy All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween). Did you know that Halloween is believed to be an offshoot of an ancient a Celtic/Gaelic festival known as Samhain? Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year (Those of you in the US, excluding Arizona, don’t forget to turn back […]
Last month I wrote a Logistics Viewpoints article titled “A Maturity Model for Supply Chain Progression?” In this article, I contended that the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (CGI), which measures national economic competitiveness, can also serve as a maturity model for supply chain progression. The CGI framework outlines 12 pillars of competitiveness and […]
Imagine this – You move to California from Great Britain. You decide you’re a bit lonely, so you buy a parrot for good company. You name him Nigel. You teach Nigel to speak, and he learns the language with the British accent that reminds you of home. Unfortunately, one day your feathered buddy flies the […]
In today’s competitive environment, more and more companies are placing increased focus on the processes that best support their competitive positioning. Concurrently, these same organizations are shifting responsibility for other processes to specialist organizations. The increased use of 3PLs for transportation, warehousing, and fulfillment is one example of this trend in specialization. The partnership between […]
Happy October, the month of Octoberfest, Halloween, and Columbus Day. On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus’ expedition from Spain reached what is believed to be the Bahamas. This day was the inspiration for a holiday due to the belief that his expedition was the first from Europe to reach the Americas. But we now know […]
Early this morning I arrived home from the CSCMP Annual Global Conference, held in Sand Antonio, Texas. The conference is still going on as I write this post, and will be concluding later today. This was my first time attending the CSCMP conference, and I was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of topics covered in […]
Ahoy!! Did ye land lubbers know that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Here’s a quick primer – “Arrr!” is the official sound, and not, “Arrrgh!” There are talk-like-a-pirate parties all over the world, as this is more than just a provincial phenomenon. Go to the official Talk Like a Pirate website to […]
The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its annual Global Competitiveness Report last week. The WEF bases its competitiveness analysis on its Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). The index considers numerous determinants of national economic competitiveness. It outlines 12 pillars of competitiveness, categorized into three stages of economic development where the given pillars are most important. While […]
The World Economic Forum (WEO) released its annual Global Competitiveness Report earlier this week. The 565 page PDF file is available for download here, if you dare to read it cover-to-cover. It evaluates the competitiveness of 144 economies across the globe. The index outlines 12 pillars of competitiveness, categorized into three stages of economic development. […]
For those of you reading this post on Friday, August 29, I just want to “rub it in” by letting you know that I just began my vacation! If you are reading this post while you are on vacation, it’s time to improve your social life (just kidding). Actually, I believe this Labor Day weekend […]
By definition, omni-channel is a term that describes an intersection, or an interplay between commercial “pathways”, and it is also a term that describes a cross-section of business processes. There is the sales aspect of omni-channel as well as the fulfillment and customer service aspects. My colleague Chris Cunnane and I, in partnership with James […]
In July the US, the European Union (EU), and select other countries instituted a number of trade and financial sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the separatist movement in neighboring Ukraine. The EU banned the export of military technology and certain technology used for oil and gas exploration and production in deep water, the […]
Its not every week that there is a logistics image that has been witnessed by virtually anyone and everyone that watches or reads the news. This week does have such an image, and that visual is a line of incredibly nondescript white tractors and trailers hauling “aid” destined for the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Of […]
It’s a sad day here in Boston – the capital of Red Sox nation. Our beloved baseball team managed to go from last place in 2012 to World Series champs in 2013, only to fall back to last place in 2014. To add insult to injury, the Red Sox basically sold off half the team […]
There is a seemingly endless amount of information on the current analytics and big data revolution in business. I recently read a Wall Street Journal article on a tech-driven revolution in sports, written by Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager most well known as the character played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball. […]
Earlier this week I read a Wall Street Journal article on a tech-driven revolution in sports, written by Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager most well known as the character played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball. I found the article interesting and I believe it touched on key points in the development […]
ARC Advisory Group conducts an annual analysis of the global warehouse management systems (WMS) market. The research process includes the analysis of large amounts of information and interviews with executives from numerous WMS software companies; and the process concludes with the publication of ARC’s WMS Global Market Research Study. This years’ study confirmed that the […]
This week’s logistics news is as follows: There have been backups on the highways to the lakes, mountains, and beaches. Expect this to continue through August. And finally, only working stiffs like you and I are reading about logistics this time of the year. Just kidding, welcome to the official begin to Summer! (or Winter […]
I had the pleasure of attending Manhattan Associates’ user conference last month. This conference included a number of presentations by Manhattan’s customers, partners, and employees. I considered the presentation by Howard Turner to be highly informative and full of practical insights that Logistics Viewpoints readers would find interesting and applicable to their own business. Howard […]
Happy Friday the 13th! Did you know that fear of Friday the 13th is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia? Try saying that three times fast… Like many of you, I was scarred for life by the movie Friday the 13th. From the perspective of “most damage inflicted,” it was a toss up between Friday the 13th and […]
The best thing about living in New England is the change in seasons. A couple months ago I vented my disgust for the seemingly never ending Winter. I couldn’t wait for the Spring to arrive. Now I sit with scratchy eyes, unable to breath, looking at my pollen-covered porch wishing for the Spring to end. […]
I had the pleasure of attending JDA Software’s user conference late last month. I found a few user presentations to be especially informative. Perhaps most informative was a presentation by David Dornseif of Altera on the building of a customer-driven supply chain at his firm. I considered this presentation to be exceptional due to the logical […]
Statistics, Disruptions, and Trade, Oh My! Ok, so I made my first SkyMall purchase last week. After viewing that magazine on countless flights over many years, I finally broke down and ordered something. This leads me to think that in-flight wireless is likely boosting Skymall’s sales. I simply logged onto the Skymall website during the flight, ordered the […]
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis estimate of first quarter GDP growth, released this week, was a paltry 0.1 percent annualized growth rate. However, this was to be expected, as we have noted many times on Logistics Viewpoints that economic activity was hindered by the especially drastic and widespread winter weather. As further confirmation that this downturn was temporary […]
I had the pleasure of attending HighJump’s user conference last week. As I sat awaiting a Sears Holdings presentation about the company’s integrated retail strategy (aka omni-channel), a fellow audience member made a telling statement to the presenter. He told the Sears executive that the adoption of HighJump solutions by Sears and Deckers Outdoor had recently driven HighJump’s image to a […]
Ok, it appears that US transportation activity is back on track. I noted in previous blog posts that the unusually inclement weather this winter had negatively impacted indicators such as the ATA Truck Tonnage Index and DOT Freight Transportation Index, and even prompted regulators to temporarily relax hours of service mandates. Well, it appears that these […]
I had the pleasure of visiting Costa Rica earlier this week. Not only is the country beautiful, but the transportation infrastructure appeared more sophisticated than other countries I have visited in Latin America. Virtually all of the trucks carrying freight along route 34 were new, high-end Freightliners. I was impressed by the overall economy and […]
I had the pleasure of attending MODEX 2014 last week. It was the second MODEX show, which alternates biannually with it sister show, ProMat. Similar to ProMat, MODEX centers on material handling but differs by extending its focus to include the end-to-end supply chain. The core MODEX show included about 600 exhibitors, while the co-located […]
This week’s logistics news includes a nice combination of international trade, regulatory, corporate, and “fun” topics. Ukraine moves closer to unfettered trade access to European Union Value of 2013 U.S.-NAFTA Freight on Surface Modes Rose from 2012; Declined on Air and Vessel FMCSA proposes rule mandating electronic logging devices MODEX 2014 Expands Beyond the Four Walls FedEx Corp. […]
I want to share with you the clock below – that signifies an important event to me. Speaking of important events, I will be at MODEX in Atlanta next week. Please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are attending or have some insight into especially interesting content. This week in the news: Freight Shipments Fell […]
I have previously mentioned in these posts how the cold and inclement weather across the US has disrupted transportation and impeded commerce and production. Well, on a more personal note, my computer froze this morning, and I found it incredibly ironic. I have truely had it with this winter. And I don’t want to hear another word about climate change or global warming until […]
If your firm uses a legacy telematics system to manage its fleet, it may be time to consider a more modern and economical alternative. ARC’s research on the fleet telematics market shows that legacy telematics systems relying upon proprietary hardware are quickly being displaced by modern systems that leverage cellular networks, open systems, and common mobile […]
I just have to say, I really feel for the person stuck in traffic behind the truck carrying the whale. Rail cars used to ship oil called ‘unacceptable’ Three of Five Modes Carried More U.S.-NAFTA Trade in December 2013 than in December 2012 3Gtms Announces the Inaugural Release of 3GTM Transportation Software Kraftwurx 3D Printing Service […]
The Three Leading Threats to Logistics Prosperity – – Weather, Government, and Candy Machines. Walmart.com Growth Lures Warehouse Investment: Corporate Brazil Winter Weather Pushed ATA Truck Tonnage Index Down 4.3% in January Obama to order tougher fuel standards for heavy trucks Railroads and Mexican Government on Collision Course (WSJ) Iowan Fired for Using Forklift on Candy Machine […]
As I was reviewing the logistics news to add to this weekly post, a breaking news flash came up on my browser “Factory Production in U.S. Falls by Most Since 2009.” The article further stated that the reduction serves as additional evidence that severe winter weather weighed on the economy. I really didn’t see this as a […]
Laurel of Hellas noble-born, most celebrated tree, gazing to your lofty crown the mind must dazzled be. – Laurel of Hellas by Aale Maria Tynni Gold Medalist, Literature, 1948 Summer Olympics Did you know that literature was an official Olympic competition from 1912 to 1948? Do you care? Ok, me neither. This week’s logistics news […]
Ok, so I’m going to take full advantage of this weekly logistics post to highlight a topic that is dear to my heart. In fact, this story combines two of my great loves – logistics and beer. It has also put the federal aviation administration (FAA) on my least favorite list. A few weeks ago, we discussed the 60 […]
I had the pleasure of attending the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York City this week. It was my first time attending this event, and I found the sheer size to be impressive. Omnichannel commerce was all the rage, in both exhibitor booths and in the sessions. I commuted from Boston to New York on […]
“There’s a Stat for That” The new year often serves as a point of reflection, when individuals review the past year in an effort to improve upon the future. It is also the time at which economic reports assessing the prior year are published by government agencies and trade groups. This week, Cass Information Systems kicked off the process with its […]
Happy New Year from Logistics Viewpoints! May your 2014 be full of prosperity. There have been a number of interesting logistics stories in the news this week, above and beyond the plethora of UPS delivery failures over the holiday (I’m comforted to hear that I’m not the only consumer that experienced holiday delivery disappointments… since misery likes company). Feds announce test sites for […]
As an ARC Advisory Group enterprise software analyst, I am acutely aware of the promotional activities surrounding the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. In fact, it sometimes concerns me that the SaaS model is being promoted as the ideal means of application deployment for all customers in all situations. I do not believe it is such […]