Transportation Analysis

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...

Are you familiar with Gartner’s free webinar series? You’ll have to register, of course, so in a sense you are paying for information (theirs) with information (yours). But I’ve found it to be a pretty good trade. You can either attend the webinars when they happen (in which case you can ask questions of the analyst), or you can catch the recording later, on demand. Recently, I took the time to check out three webinars that seemed like they would be...

In music, an accelerando is an increase in tempo. In retail, it’s what Amazon is doing with its Fulfillment by Amazon program, which shipped more than two billion products last year, including a 50% increase over the holiday season and a 70% increase in the number of sellers using the service. The Department of Commerce hasn’t released fourth quarter e-commerce numbers yet, but growth in the third quarter was 15.7% year-on-year, so Amazon’s growth is impressive even in a rapidly...

In this holiday episode of 5 Questions with a Supply Chain Innovator, we talked with a special guest: Santa Claus (although you may know him as Saint Nicholas, St. Nick, or Kris Kringle, among others.) He was in town researching technology and practices to improve his supply chain and, more specifically, fulfillment. So grab some eggnog and enjoy! GCS: Normally we would introduce our guest and what they do, but in this case, I think most are familiar with you and...

From disruption in the last mile to the rise of Fulfillment by Amazon, 2016 was a busy year across the supply chain. But what lies ahead in 2017?  I talked to our experts here at Grand Canal Solutions to understand what changes they see coming in the new year. Fulfillment Gets Prescriptive (Doug Jones, CEO) Responding to the “biq squeeze” of the demands of the e-consumer on one side, and goliath Amazon on the other, suppliers, especially in B2C business’ but also in B2B,...

UPS announced an additional General Rate Increase (GRI) update on November 18, 2016. While there was a minor flurry of changes, the big news appears to be the change in the dimensional division from 166 to 139 for packages over 1,728 cubic inches (1 cubic foot). While this move appears to mirror the change FedEx announced a few weeks ago, it’s important to note that the old divisor (166) is maintained for packages under 1,728 cubic inches. Why does this matter?...

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...

The big carriers’ annual General Rate Increase (GRI) is like the hardy perennial of logistics – you know that, whatever else might be happening (like, for example, minimal inflation in most goods and services), it’s going to pop up every year. This year is no exception. Both UPS and FedEx are raising their prices by more than the (subdued) inflation rate – for some services and surcharges, a lot more. Interestingly, unlike last year where both carriers announced very similar increases, this...

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the 2016 3PL Value Creation Summit in Chicago, IL. The 4th annual show was hosted by Armstrong & Associates and brings together 3PL professionals from across the globe to assess the future outlook for 3PLs and to explore business and technical strategies for value creation. No one can predict the future; however, it is clear that several forces are impacting 3PLs and their businesses – both negatively and positively. In an attempt to...

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...