December 31, 2013
2014 calendar january 1st
Image Credit: Daniel Moyle

It’s been a busy twelve months in logistics and SCM, and the year to come seems set to be no less progressive. Technology, compliance, and data solutions are all likely to be at the forefront of supply chain practices as we move through the year.

To close out 2013, we’ve collected some of the predictions that the industry expects to see for supply chain management in 2014.

 

Logistics Industry Expectations for Supply Chain Management in 2014

  • DC Velocity focuses greatly on the tech supporting logistics practices, from smartphone apps to manage back-end systems to more secure solutions for shipment and delivery data.
  • Freightgate also makes mention of increasingly connected management systems, particularly in the areas of analytics and efficiency, but also makes mention of the need for robust compliance with standards and tighter security.
  • The Dallas News specifically tunes into the holiday delivery issues faced by some organizations over this festive season, predicting significant changes to delivery guarantees for the holidays in 2014.
  • Handfield leans heavily towards globalization as providing the biggest challenges for supply chain managers in 2014, including the potential for disruption in emerging markets and diverse regulatory requirements. Compliance is raised again, showing a repetition that will warrant attention from logistics professionals.
  • Business News Daily sees upheaval in the retail sector, with all the implications that will bring to the supply chains that feed it. Ecommerce and mobile technology feature heavily again, increasing the potential for order taking and fulfillment but also placing increased requirements on the services that process these transactions.

 

In summary, supply chain management in 2014 is likely to focus heavily on business being done across international borders and the regulatory knowledge that comes with that, as well as the ongoing drive to new technologies. Supply chain managers will do well to read widely on mobile technology and security standards to keep abreast of what is available for their business and clients.

We’ll be there to keep you updated as logistics trends and stories develop throughout 2014, so stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages for all the latest articles.

On behalf of everyone at Capacity LLC, thanks for joining us in 2013 and a very Happy New Year to everyone!

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December 27, 2013

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, but spare a thought for the poor delivery folks at UPS and Fed Ex. They go back to work this week following a number of missed Christmas delivery deadlines.

The over-burdened system saw failed deliveries impact retailers as large as Amazon, Kohl’s, and 1-800-Flowers. All of these major names needed to offer refunds and apologies for failing to meet their order arrival guarantees.

The impact of failed deliveries is especially strong at this time of year, when consumers have stricter deadlines and a busy schedule. The report

Continue reading Holiday Horror Show For Failed Deliveries

December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays from Capacity LLC!Happy Holidays!

We do things differently at Capacity LLC, including the employment of best practice packaging in everything we ship. Achieving this requires rigorous testing and improvement.

How do we do this? By dropping stuff off the roof, of course!

Not only that, we filmed the dropping for your holiday delight, complete with plummeting eggnog, decorations, and even the destruction of an entire gingerbread house.
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‘Dropping Stuff Off the Roof’: Holiday Edition

Below we’ve gathered all of the holiday edition videos for your Christmas viewing pleasure.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep track of everything we drop off the roof in 2014!
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December 19, 2013
Christmas gifts.
Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have last-minute holiday shopping to be done, your last-minute holiday shipping also needs to be factored in… which means the time is now!

Even though festive shopping appears to have prompted less stress this holiday season, even the most seasoned shoppers can feel the pinch as Christmas nears and the deadlines begin to bite.

Here’s what you need to know to complete a successful last dash to the gifting finish line.

Domestic Deadlines for Holiday Shipping

First and foremost, remember that we’re talking about the continental U.S. here. Although specific providers may have last-minute shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and perhaps Canada, you should check in with them to confirm those deadlines.

For packages mailed within the U.S., your final day for letters and cards is tomorrow, December 20th, although you could also pop them into your bigger priority mail package to delay the deadline until Saturday 21st Dec.

For the latest of the late shoppers, USPS Express Mail packages can be shipped as late as Monday 23rd December, giving you a whole weekend to search for that final perfect present for your dearest who aren’t nearest.

If you’re gifting outside of U.S. borders, however, most of the deadlines will have passed. Other than paying a hefty premium for your urgent international gift, looking at digital gifts or a provider who can still deliver in your destination country is likely to be the best bet. And if you wake up on Christmas Eve with a minute to midnight (we don’t need to know what you’ve been up to), there’s always the trusted fall back of e-gift cards to most digital retailers… just don’t forget to at least personalize the e-mail.

Don’t Drop the Ball, Use Safe Packing Practices

Capacity LLC is obsessed with the best packing practices. Ever since we successfully shipped Dorito’s and Tide laundry detergent in the same boxes, we’ve been consistently refining the packing process to squeeze out every last inch of product safety.

As you can see from the ‘Dropping Stuff Off the Roof’ video series on our YouTube channel, we’re out there testing for you on a regular basis!

Our general tips for best-practice packing are:

  • Check first to make sure your items will fit a Priority Mail box if you plan to use that service. Remember that catchy tag line “If it fits, it ships!” If not, you’ll need to plan your own external packaging.
  • Wrap items individually with a mixture of paper and plastic bubble packaging.
  • Add an additional protective layer around all of the items in your package.
  • No packing peanuts!
  • Check your final package for rattles. If items can still shift around, add an extra layer of paper.
  • Use standard packing tape, clear or brown, to close up your package. Don’t use string or cords which can jam up machinery.

Once your final package is in the mailbox, put your feet up and enjoy your favorite holiday treat to celebrate a job well done for another year. Happy Holidays!

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December 18, 2013
Made in USA tag
Image Credit: Phil Roeder

There’s pride in that “Made in the U.S.A.” sign, and the reshoring trend is making U.S. businesses realize that there are advantages to sourcing products closer to home.

After decades of sending more and more manufacturing work to Asia – and particularly China – research on both sides of the Atlantic suggests that companies are reevaluating those decisions.

‘Reshoring’, the process of returning some previously offshored production  to a company’s home country, is beginning to take hold in not only the business world, but also the wider media.

Bringing Manufacturing Back Home

The stats support this notion, somewhat.

Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) found that one in six U.K. manufacturers is bringing a proportion of its production home in 2013. Although quality and supply chain complexities factored into these decisions, the primary driver is, as always, cost. The massive expansion of the manufacturing business in popular Asian locations has permitted many suppliers to continuously nudge up their rates, helping to make domestic suppliers attractive again.

Back home on this side of the Atlantic, popular news segments such as ABC’s ‘Made in America’ mix with good old fashioned patriotism to encourage business owners big and small to think global but buy local. Domestic production has not widely reached a cost at which it can compete outright with countries like China and India, but reports suggest that the U.S. has already reached parity with neighbor Mexico, and could hit that status with its Chinese rivals as early as 2015. No mean feat for a supply chain proposition that would have received little attention just a few years ago.

Expectation vs. Reality

In reality, the dream of a resurgent U.S. manufacturing base is still some way from becoming a reality, as companies prefer to balance between domestic and foreign suppliers. This is a prudent supply chain decision that mitigates risk while managing fluctuating costs. Even so, the pendulum is undeniably swinging back in favor of U.S. suppliers.

In the longer term, public opinion and public officials may play a critical role in just how much business is brought back home. The realization that China is more of a competitor than a supplier these days has helped the movement gather steam, as had the desire of politicians to rekindle a sluggish economy.

If these factors continue to grow, and if consumers feel pride swelling within them and swaying them to buy American, reshoring could make “Made in the U.S.A.” a common sight once again. And as a proud American company, Capacity LLC will be happy to move those products to feed that demand!

 

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