Supply Chain Challenges

September 16, 2021

shipping port moving containers

Logjams are a daily port occurrence, chip-shortages curtailing manufacturing, and inventories of all goods at record lows. In this ever-changing material handling era, challenges facing every operation are around every corner. Having your head on a swivel to avoid surprises is easier said than accomplished, with each aspect of production and delivery touched by these winds of change.

One of the larger culprits is the tumultuous supply chain issues that plague our industry–and most others–today. We’re tackling these issues in a number of ways.

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A Salute to Warehouse Workers

April 7, 2020

orders being packed at a distribution facility

During the Covid-19 crisis, many office workers are sheltering in place. They’re working through conference calls, web meetings and mobile technology. They are also ordering groceries and other staples and having it delivered to their doors to help prevent the spread of the virus. They’re hitting retail stores. All of this is helping reduce future cases of the virus.

It’s also straining the retail and eCommerce supply chains, and someone has to fill those orders: The warehouse worker.

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How Will Covid-19 Change Distribution?

March 24, 2020

packing and scanning area in a distribution facility
We don’t know what the next month holds, much less the rest of 2020 and beyond when it comes to Covid-19, but we know changes are coming. However, several things are known in the current situation.

  1. The supply chain must function. Food and medical chains are the priority, but all types of other products must still reach Americans.
  2. This work can’t be done remotely. People must staff warehouses and factories.
  3. Like other facilities, the warehouse requires social distance to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and make their workers safe.
  4. The supply chain must be safe for its workers and its consumers.

We’ve put together some ideas that may help you as the situation evolves.

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Warehouse Management Headaches and How to Relieve Them

August 23, 2018

warehouse manager in a rack aisle
If you run a warehouse or distribution facility today, it’s likely that you are busy — really busy — and scrambling for time. E-commerce has changed the game, as customers demand more, faster, better. Managing a warehouse has always been a battle for time and the pressure never seems to subside. When we talk to warehouse managers and operators, here are some of the issues they face on a daily basis.

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Dealing with Warehouse Labor Shortages

July 26, 2018

warehouse workers with cartons

If you run a distribution center, factory or warehouse, it’s not news to you that labor is in tight supply. Demands is up, and workers — particularly skilled, motivated, productive ones — have more options than ever. E-commerce has transformed the business, with constantly-escalating demand for pickers, packers, assembly workers, drivers and warehouse labor. With national unemployment rates below 4%, many other industries are competing with you for the same labor pool. What can you do to cope with these issues?

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To Move Your 3PL Forward, Harness the Power of Data

January 11, 2018

warehouse manager in a pallet rack aisle

3PLs frequently serve as the central communication conduit between shippers, carriers, regulatory agencies and other supply chain participants as cargo moves in-bond and from port-to-port. As a result of this pivotal role in the marketplace, they are uniquely positioned to view scenarios that address the best methods to move goods as well as data. Innovative 3PLs are demonstrating that moving information better—re-purposing data, improving accessibility, enhancing visibility and supporting the latest data standards—helps move freight better.

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WERC’s Warehousing Certification Process: What’s in it for You?

November 16, 2017

warehouse certification and inspection

For years, WERC (the warehousing education and research council) has offered a warehousing certification process that’s in-depth, rigorous and detailed. Busy logistics and warehouse managers might ask, “why would I take the time?” That’s a good question. Here are some answers.

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The Best 3PLs are Invisible to Customers

October 6, 2017

warehouse manager making notes

Logistics pros are a lot like the offensive line on a football team: at their best, you know they are doing a great job, but their numbers never get called by television announcers. When they do talk line, it’s usually because someone committed a penalty or allowed a blitzing safety in for a sack. When the quarterback isn’t pressured and there are great running lanes, the line rarely gets mentioned. It’s kind of the same for 3PLs.

The goal of your 3PL should be to avoid those issues and remain unseen and unremarked on by end users.

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Peak Season Preparation for 3PLs

August 24, 2017

3PL order fulfillment

Winter is always coming.

While you might not be battling an army of zombie warriors, the seasonal surge in orders and fulfillment poised to engulf your 3PL warehouse can feel like a never-ending battle. Preparing for this fulfillment onslaught should be the goal for any efficient 3PL, so you can be ready for the inevitable increase in all facets of your business. By efficiently handling the high volumes of orders that flow through your warehouse during peak season, you’ll enjoy the spoils of higher production, correct shipments and overall customer/client satisfaction.

To enhance the preparation, you need to analyze each segment of your process and pick those that seem to be the biggest torment.

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3PL Reverse Logistics: Going Reverse to Move Ahead

July 20, 2017

Make Reverse Logistics a priority

E-commerce customers are increasingly comfortable with a buying experience that includes easy, free and frequent returns. Returns—and the issues involved with them—are nothing new for retail and e-commerce distribution, but the “new normal” of frequent returns offers 3PLs that can leverage their reverse logistics capacity a significant competitive advantage over competitors who can’t adapt to the new reality.

While some companies consider reverse logistics a necessary evil, those with well-managed returns programs can increase overall efficiency and profitability  while satisfying customers and increasing loyalty. They find ways to resell more returned products, and are able to dispose of or restock what they can’t resell more efficiently and with less environmental impact.

What are some ways to increase your returns capacity?

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