Author: Mike Comstock

“Business NOT as Usual” was the theme of the 7th Annual PostalVision2020 conference held in Washington DC on March 21-22, 2017.  The PostalVision2020 initiative was conceived by John Callan to “Reinvent the American Postal Ecosystem of the Future”. Originally focused on regulatory and policy matters, the annual conference has become known for the involvement of dynamic thought leaders and innovators in the postal and parcel arena. This year’s conference focused on the rapidly evolving world of eCommerce driven largely by Amazon...

Today's supply chains are so complex and change so rapidly that optimization efforts often are overtaken by events, says Mike Comstock of Grand Canal Solutions. Planning needs to become much more dynamic, with analytics adapted to make optimization a continuous process, he says. The complexity of today's logistics is overwhelming many companies, says Comstock, senior vice president for customer success at Grand Canal Solutions, which offers a cloud-based supply-chain analytics platform called Optimize. The difficulty with supply-chain optimization until now has been...

The recent focus of the fulfillment and logistics staff at e-commerce retailers has undoubtedly been on preparing for the coming holiday peak season.  Hiring seasonal labor, providing adequate inventory and confirming carrier capability and developing contingency plans are required to ensure a successful holiday season.  Along with the shipping peaks of November and December comes another peak – Returns. Handling Returns efficiently is not only essential in managing costs but meeting or exceeding customer expectation has a demonstrated positive impact...

Last month I authored a post on the FedEx 2017 rate increase, FEDEX 2017 GENERAL RATE INCREASE (GRI) IS NO “ME TOO” INCREASE,  wherein I cited that the increases in freight rates were only part of the story.  Increases in surcharges and the change in FedEx’s dimensional divisor were sure to raise shipping cost more than the announced 3.9%-4.9% average increases. I included a hypothetical example of how the billable weight of a dimmed shipment could be as much as...

Among the myriad of supply chain articles, posts and blogs regarding the UPS and FedEx rate increases for 2017 is the fact that residential and delivery area surcharges, as well as large package surcharges, are increasing more than the freight rates. Of particular impact is the recently announced change in FedEx’s dimensional weight divisor which has the potential impact of increasing billable weight by as much as 19% or more and the change in oversize rules. Large, low density packages, residential and...

On September 19, FedEx announced their widely expected rate increases for 2017.  As is the industry practice from the 2 duopoly competitors, their general rate increases are typically announced in the September time frame.  In a break from the traditionally “lock-step” increase amounts, FedEx’s increase is an average of 3.9% for Express package and freight rates for the U.S. U.S. export and U.S. import services are 1% less than UPS rates announced several weeks ago. However, the FedEx Ground and...

As nearly everyone with a stake in logistics knows, UPS announced its 2017 General Rate Increase (GRI) of 4.9%.  This September 1 announcement was earlier than usual and noted that additional information and rate changes would be announced on November 18, 2016. In addition, UPS announced that UPS freight rates would increase by an average of 4.9% on September 19, 2016. Although the announcement indicated additional information about other 2017 UPS rate changes and additional charges will be made available on...

On any given day, there are many stories about the rapidly evolving e-commerce industry and its impact on some aspect of the economy. Most are focused on the direct impact to brick and mortar retailers, delivery providers or technology providers. Perhaps not as apparent is the impact to manufacturers which are at the core of supply chains. And perhaps none face a bigger challenge than the hi-tech manufacturers who must navigate not only the evolving demands of e-commerce but must...