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  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore


    Supply Chain Digest

Jan. 11, 2019

2018 Supply Chain Year in Review

We Look at Key Themes and Top Supply Chain Stories by Month


As always, it seems, it was a very interesting year in the supply chain 2018. Here were what I view as the top themes and trends:

The top story without question was the growing trade wars, with the US slapping tariffs on a wide variety of imports from China and on a few specific products from Europe. US trading partners retaliated, with the possibility still this could really spiral out of control. Oh, and the NAFTA agreement is almost on the scrap heap, to be replaced – maybe – by something called U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Gilmore Says....

What did I miss? 2018 in numbers and charts next week.

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments

The trade moves have already caused companies to shift sourcing strategies, move some production back to the US, and even led to the formation of a cottage industry looking to find ways illegally avoid the new tariffs.

The impact to the economy has been minimal so far, but 2019 is going to be a critical year for where this heads.

Number 2, soaring transportation costs. With rebounding freight volumes and carrier capacity restraint, generally forced by a lack of drivers, transportation rates were up substantially in 2018.

The Cass Linehaul Index, which measures US truckload rates, was up at least 6.5% year over year every month of the year, and was up at least 9% from May thru September.

Rising transport and oil costs, plus the strong global economy, are in fact re-introducing inflation into the supply chain for the first time in many years. For example, the Prices Index from ISM has been well above the 50 mark that indicates a more neutral pricing environment all year, and ended the year indicating costs were up for an amazing 34th consecutive month.


Our next theme is the continued growth of ecommerce and the woes of brick and mortar retail. It was a good Holiday season for retailers, with sales up 5.1%, making it the best season in the last six years. But that growth includes on-line sales, which were again up a robust 19%, according to preliminary data.

Iconic retailer Sears is on the brink of bankruptcy. The Bon-Ton department store chain, which includes many well-known store banners, permanently closed its doors last year. JC Penney's stock price has fallen below one dollar. All the investment in grocery retail and beyond is going to ecommerce and efulfillment.

The change we're seeing not only in supply chain but in society is going to be mammoth.

With that, here are what I see as the top supply chain stories by month in 2018.


Amazon received US patent for a system that uses ultrasonic communications between storage locations in a DC and special wristbands worn by workers doing putaway and picking activities to automatically verify locations and picks. News generates criticism in some quarters for "big brother" aspects, with a New York Times article on the patent headlined "If Workers Slack Off, the Wristband Will Know."

China unveils plans for a "Polar Silk Road" across the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming and which could significantly reduce transit times versus going through the Suez Canal on some routes. The news draws concern from some countries in the region over China's long-term strategic objectives.


KFC in the UK forced to shutter some 700 of its 870 outlets in the country for one of more days after a supply chain snafu – caused it appears by switching to a new single food distributor the re versus a less decentralized approach in the past. The new DC just couldn't get chicken out the door and to the restaurants.

Amazon announced new "Shipping with Amazon" (SWA) services, where it will take shipments directly from the facilities of its Marketplace customers into its network for delivery. Expectation is this will lower shipping costs by leveraging Amazon's network and scale, and gives Amazon added benefit of keeping additional SKUs out of its maxed out fulfillment centers.


UPS London announces some form of breakthrough in recharging electric delivery trucks simultaneously overnight without requiring an expensive revamp of its electric grid. As a result, UPS says its fleet of electric route trucks will grow for a current 52 to some 170 over the next few years. UPS said that this marked the "beginning of the end" of the reliance on internal combustion engines.

Walmart says it will expand the number of US markets with same day grocery delivery from the current six to 100 by the end of the year. After Walmart packs the order, it will be handed off to a third-party delivery company or startup that uses contract workers to ship orders to homes.

Reports that that apparel retailer Zara is piloting an automated system that will enable shoppers who have ordered items on-line for pick-up in store where the consumer scans or enters a code, triggering a behind-the-scenes "robot" to search for the customer's package in a small warehouse, and then deliver it quickly to a drop box on the outside of the store.


The International Maritime Organization announces new rules for sulfur emissions from ocean cargo ships that will require ship owners to either move to a much more costly low sulfur fuel or install very expensive scrubbers by January, 2020. Either way carrier costs will go way up, with the CEO of one Japanese carriers saying some carriers will go bust as a result.

The Federal Motor Carrier Association begins real enforcement of its mandate that all truck drivers use electronic logging devices to prevent cheating on hours of service rules possible with manual logs. Estimates on effective US trucking capacity vary from minor to significant.

An advisory panel of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) issues an interim report outlining the substantial additional research it says is needed before heavier and/or longer trucks are allowed on US highways, likely meaning it will be years before either change is again considered.


News that Target is piloting a new distribution center in New Jersey that will ship smaller quantities to stores more frequently, seeking to reduce the DC to store replenishment cycle from days to hours and reduce inventory at stores at the same time, especially at its new small-format stores in urban markets. Target calls this a "flow center."

In move to spur US research, the US Department of Transportation announces 10 winners of permits for more advanced commercial drone tests, many involving supply chain-related applications and most partnerships between drone technology developers and other businesses/organizations. Notably, Google and Uber are in and Amazon is out of this round of testing

Gartner releases it Top 25 Supply Chains list for 2018. After putting Apple, Procter & Gamble, Amazon and McDonald's in a sort of hall of fame category, Unilever tops the list for third year in a row, with Inditex/Zara, Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive and Intel rounding out the top 5.


CSCMP and ATKearney release the 2018 State of Logistics Report, with the headline news that absolute US logistics spend was up 6.2% in 2017, to $1.49 trillion. But with decent economic growth last year, logistics costs as a percent of GDP were up just a tick to 7.7%.

Home Depot announces plans to create 170 new more local distribution points in US over next 5 years, at a cost of $1.2 billion, to support same day or next day deliveries for ecommerce orders.

Google makes $550 million investment in, China's second largest ecommerce platform, showing it intends to become a major player in on-line retail.

UPS and the Teamsters agree on a tentative new 5 year contract, pending a full union vote, seemingly ending the chance for a strike when the current pact ends July 31. Union get a decent pay hike over the contract term, while UPS gets a new class of drivers that can work weekends. Meanwhile, earlier in the month labor and management at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract renewal.



ATA chief economist Bob Costello tells a conference the US trucking industry is enjoying its best business environment since deregulation in 1980, and the good times will continue in the near term unless trade disputes hinder economic growth. "This has been the best time in trucking history, I'd say. The question is, how long is it going to last?" he said.


Iconic jeans maker Levi's says that it will eliminate 40% of its total supply chain CO2 emissions by 2025. To reach that target, Levi's will obviously have to work closely with suppliers in its almost totally outsourced supply chain, since it can't just set mandates and hope to get compliance.


The company's retail stores, distribution centers, offices, and the two remaining factories it still owns only account for 1% of its total carbon footprint. Growing cotton is 10% of the footprint. But making fabric and sewing clothing, respectively, are 31% and 9%. Without working with suppliers, the company is obviously limited in the amount of its emissions it can reduce.




Maersk Line says it has set the a world record for the highest-ever load of containers carried on a single ship. The second generation Triple-E vessel Mumbai Maersk left Tanjung Pelepas Port in Malaysia sailing into Europe with a load of 19,038 TEU.

According to Maersk, that sailing has raised a new bar by surpassing Madison Maersk, a first generation Triple-E class vessel, which reached 18,215 TEU in 2015


In an odd story, UK retailer Houee of Fraser shuts its web site, right after filing for bankruptcy protection, after its 3PL, XPO Logistics, refuses to ship products unless it is paid what it says it is owed. XPO later implies it has a claim of the retailer's inventory, but the matter is resolved in a few days.




Despite offering high pay and a decent lifestyle to its private fleet drivers, Walmart says it plans to double its spending on attracting and retaining drivers by year-end. The retailer it says it will offer referral bonuses of up to $1,500, shorten the on-boarding process for new hires by more than a month and broadcast its first national TV ad focused on its 7,500 truckers.


Walmart just recently said it hired 1400 new drivers in 2018.


Well known supply chain organization APICS becomes the Association for Supply Chain Management. ASCM says it is "the new, all-encompassing supply chain organization built on the foundation of APICS."


With the APICS certification focus, its no surprise the organization says it will offer "the first comprehensive corporate designation that enables organizations to assess their supply chains in key areas for maximum sustainability, scalability and competitive advantage."




Grovery chain Kroger says it will construct 20 high tech, robotic distribution centers over the next few years from a UK company called Ocado, putting details behind a deal announced earlier in the year. That will start with an order for three automated DCs by the end of the year.


Ocado is actually an on-line grocer that developed this automated system for its own facilities before marketing it to other grocers. In fact, Ocado will not only develop but also operate those sites in the US. Ocado said the terms and fee structure of the Kroger deal are similar to those for its other transactions to-date, combining up-front fees and ongoing capacity fees.


The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announces a new target for the acceptable rise in global temperatures of just 0.9 Degrees F.


That's down from the previously globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F, which was the basis for the 2015 UN Climate Accord in Paris, in which most nations in theory agreed to reduce emissions by amounts that models said would meet that goal. With many saying the 2015 commitments were really not sufficient and/or almost impossible to monitor, the new lower target for the acceptable rise in temperatures will require even more draconian steps to get there, the report says.




Amazon to tell financial analysts that it may change the way it reports its fulfillment center assets.
In its recent Q3 earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky says that Amazon could start using cubic feet, instead of square footage, to measure its fulfillment center footprint. That would change the measurement from one of sheer size to one of volume, and give a clearer picture of how Amazon is becoming more efficient or not as its inventory grows.

The US Becomes a net oil exporter for first time in 75 years for the week ending Nov. 26. The shift to net exports is the dramatic result of an unprecedented boom in American oil production, with thousands of wells pumping from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Marcellus in Pennsylvania. U.S. crude shipments reached a record 3.2 million barrels that same week.




Somewhat oddly, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said on a call with analysts he does not believe the "prospects" of FedEx will be "disrupted" by Amazon Air [or new Amazon Delivery Partners program].

In response to analyst questions, Smith said "We look at Amazon as a wonderful company in service and they're a good customer of ours. We don't see them as a peer competitor at this point in time for many reasons. We think it is doubtful that that will be the case."


German chemicals giant BASF says it will take a $227 million hit to its Q4 profits due to low water levels (the result of a drought) in the Rhine River that impacted logistics.


What? Turns out this is just the latest example for how the Rhine's low water levels have taken a toll on companies that rely heavily on one of Europe's most important waterways. The low water levels forced BASF to change to higher cost transport modes, and also grapple with resulting delivery issues for raw materials, leading to shortfalls in production that are now eating into profits.


What did I miss? 2018 in numbers and charts next week.


Any reaction this 2018 timeline? What did we miss? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

Your Comments/Feedback


Senior Consultant, Infosys
Posted on: May, 22 2016
Great article. I am a little suprised not to see BNSF in the mix while I understand their financial mode/operation is a little different. 

That would only give a complete perspective with all the players in the pool.

Mike O'Brien

Senior editor, Access Intelligence
Posted on: May, 26 2016
Surprised to see Home Depot fall off the list; thought they were winning with Sync?

Julie Leonard

Marketing Director, Inovity
Posted on: Jun, 27 2016
Using the right tool for the right job has always been a best practice and one of the reasons, we feel, that RFID has never taken off in the DC as exponentially as pundits have been forecasting since 2006. While these results may seem surprising to those solely focused on barcode scanning, the adoption of multi-modal technologies in the DC makes perfect sense for greater worker efficiency and productivity.

Carsten Baumann

Strategic Alliance Manager, Schneider Electric
Posted on: Aug, 19 2016

The IoT Platform in this year's (2016) Hype Cycle is on the ascending side, entering the "Peak of Inflated Expectation" area. How does this compare to the IoT positions of the previous years, which have already peaked in 2015? Isn't this contradicting in itself?

Editor's Note: 

You are right, Internet of Things (IoT) was at the top of the Garter new technology hype curve not long ago. As you noted, however, this time the placement was for “IoT Platforms,” a category of software tools from a good number of vendors to manage connectivity, data communications and more with IoT-enabled devices in the field.

So, this is different fro IoT generally, though a company deploying connected things obviously needs some kind of platform – hoe grown or acquired – to manage those functions.

Why IoT generically is not on the curve this year I wondered myself.



Jo Ann Tudtud-Navalta

Materials Management Manager, Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City, Philippines
Posted on: Aug, 21 2016

I agree totally with Mr. Schneider.

I have always lived by "put it in writing" all my work life.  I am a firm believer of the many benefits of putting everything in writing and I try to teach it to as many people as I can.

This "putting in writing" can also be used for almost anything else.  Here are some general benefits (only some) of "putting in writing":

1. Everything is better understood between parties involved.  There are lots of people types who need something visual to improve their understanding.
2. Everyone can read to review and correct anything misunderstood.  This will ensure that all parties concerned confirm the details of the agreements as correct.  This is further enhanced by having all parties involved sign off on a hard copy or confirm via reply email.
3. Everything has a proof.  Not to belittle the element of trust among parties involved, it is always safest to have tangible proof of what was agreed on.
4. There will be a document to refer to at any time by any one who needs clarification.
5. The documentation can be useful historical data for any future endeavor.  It provides inputs for better decisions on related situations in the future.
6. This can also be compiled and used to teach future new team members.  "Learn from the past" it is said.

There are many more benefits.  Mr. Schneider is very correct about his call to "put it in writing".

Sandy Montalbano

Consultant, Reshoring Initiative
Posted on: Aug, 24 2016
U.S. companies are reshoring and foreign companies are investing in U.S. locations to be in close proximity to the U.S. market for customer responsiveness, flexibility, quality control, and for the positive branding of "Made in USA".

Reshoring including FDI balanced offshoring in 2015 as it did in 2014. In comparison, in 2000-2007 the U.S. lost net about 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring. That is huge progress to celebrate!

The Reshoring Initiative Can Help. In order to help companies decide objectively to reshore manufacturing back to the U.S. or offshore, the nonprofit Reshoring Initiative's free Total Cost of Ownership Estimator can help corporations calculate the real P&L impact of reshoring or offshoring.


Transportation Manager, N/A
Posted on: Aug, 30 2016
 Good article!  I am sending this to my colleagues who work with me.  We have to keep this in mind.  Thanks!

Ian Jansen

Posted on: Sep, 14 2016
SCM is all about getting the order delivered to the Customer on date/ time requested because happy Customers = Revenue. Using the right tools to do the right job is important and SCM is heavily dependent on sophisticated ERP systems to get right real data info ASP.

I've worked in a DC with more than 400,000 line items and measured the Productivity of Pickers by how many "picks" per day.

I've learned that one doesn't have to remind Germany about your EDI orders.

Don Benson

Partner, Warehouse Coach
Posted on: Sep, 15 2016
Challenge - to build and sustain effective relationships at the level of the organizations that are responsible for effectively coordinating and colaborating in an otherwise highly competitive environment 


Admin, Fulfillment Logistics UK Ltd
Posted on: Oct, 02 2016
Of course we all need to up our game. We need to move with the times, and always be one step ahead of what the future will bring.

Mike Dargis

President of asset-based carrier based in the Midwest, Zip Xpress Inc. (at
Posted on: Oct, 03 2016
Thanks for the article, but I know there's a lot more to this issue than just the pay rates. Please check out my blogs on the subject at


Inventory Specialist, Syncron
Posted on: Nov, 16 2016
Lora, great article! I agree that companies choose the 'safe' solution more often than not. My solution is a bolt-on for legacy ERP's and we even face challeneges of customer adoption. Most like to play it safe and choose an ERP upgrade, which is more costly, time consuming, and has lower ROI across the board. Would love to learn more about your company, we are always looking for partnerships.


Bob McIntyre

National Account Executive, DBK Concepts LLC
Posted on: Nov, 21 2016
This is a game changer in GE's production and prototyping.  It also has huge implications across the GE global supply chain with regard to the management of their support and spare parts network. 

Kai Furmans

Professor, KIT
Posted on: May, 22 2017
I am referencing to the comment that leasing of warehousing equipment (beyond forklift trucks) is a vision for 2030.
Just recently in Europe, such a business model has started, see here:

I am following with a lot of interest, how the business develops.

Stuart Rosenberg

Supply Chain Consultant, First Choice Supply Chain
Posted on: Jun, 05 2017
If we limit the standard on judging or determining the best supply chain to just three calculations it does not tell the entire picture.  Financial performance metrics are valuable as they capture the economic consequences of business decisions.  But supply chain managers make decsions and use organizational resources that impact a company's financial well being.  Where is a firm's earnings over a period of time determined by sales less product costs and general/adminsitrative costs?  Where is the metric for determining the sources and uses of cash from three perspectives - operational, investment and financial?  Where are these supply chain metrics: on-time delivery, lead time, response time to customers, product returns, procurement costs, network distance, inventory carrying costs, forecasting accuracy, sourcing time, etc,.  Without knowing the results of all these supply chain calculations the there must be a question as to the accuracy of the 25 top supply chains.

Dustin Calitz

Project Commercialization Manager, Mondelez
Posted on: Jun, 06 2017
I feel this ranking misses the mark in SC. It does not seem to consider a key indicator in days inventory on hand, which is key to determining a SC company's ability to forecast, manage inventory costs and reduce aged stock. In additiion I realize it's difficult to understand what goes into the customer survey, but would I assume specific metrics are being asked. For examples customer's opinion on service level differentiation and the ability to deliver the right product on time, which should then be allocated a bigger weighting than 10%. It would also be interesting to take a view of the above list's SKU portfolio complexity, seasonality and launches/promotions. I would again assume some companies on the list above have a far more complex SC to manage and lead, ultimately requiring a lot more innovation within a SC to stay ahead of competitors, and ultimately satisfy their customers demands.  I understand above metrics are difficult to measure, as mentioned in the article, but they somehow need to be considered to give a true reflection. 

Michael Hurd

Lean Consultant, Unemployed
Posted on: Jun, 10 2017

A Very Good Article...

While some feel that lean is a scam that pushes for more out of the personnel and out of the companies through reduction of waste and adding value for the customer, there are several things to remember:

1) Lean methodologies are designed and implemented to reduce time wasting, so this may seem that you are working harder as an employee.

2) Lean methdoligies only work when everyone from the janitor to the owner of the company get involved and back the program.

3) Lean methods are there to make you work smarter not harder, although it may feel you are working harder.

4) YES... Sometimes lean methodologies fail! This is due to project overun or taking on too large a problem and trying to fix it all in one go and not taking the smaller problems that are associated with the large problem and fixing them first. Sometimes fixing the small problems leads to resolution of the larger problem.


Director Supply Chain , skuchain
Posted on: Jul, 31 2017
The Supply Chain technology is not considered a problem because traditionally supply chains are thought to be cost centres unlike sales functions. The tendency, in general, to limit expenses and cost cutting on upgrades for technology and for talent have been hindering progress for the businesses. Supply chains lack real time visbility and above all trust across the value chain (not that the participants are dishonest) rather it's about the cascading effects referred to as the bull-whip effect which causes higher magnitudes of disruptions. 

Supply chain real time information should top the list .

Another problem is that of multi homing as so much data is available across several feeds of IOT/Email/Internet /Mobility/ERP that organisations tend to have issues around finding a single platform to collate them for meaning analysis. 

Blockchain (if deployed appropriately) can be a great solution for solving the issues around the supply chain.

Mike Ledyard

Vested Program Faculty, Vested Way / University ofTennessee
Posted on: Aug, 04 2017
Excellent article.  It very much points to the need for Shared Risk / Shared Reward as we teach at Vested.  Suppliers will respond when they are made part of the team, and they have a lot to bring to the game.  The service provider is the subject matter expert in the services provided, and in an excellent position to enhance the capabilities and services offered by the shipper.

Andrew Downard

Managing Director, AD Supply Chain Group Pty Ltd
Posted on: Aug, 05 2017
As the article points out it is not a lack of technology that is holding back performance but rather a failure to form the right sort of relationships.  As well as the length of such relatiohships, practitioners should consider employing arrangements that incentivise both parties to innovate and deliver levels of performance and profit that neither thought possible.  By far the best model I have come across to achieve this is the Vested Outsourcing model developed by researchers from the University of Tennessee.  See for information on the model and case studies that show how others have benefited from creating a Vested deal.


logistics, threelineshipping
Posted on: Aug, 23 2017
Very informational article. The major focus of logistics is on e-commerce. There is a need to optimize every component of logistics by following the latest trends and technologies. Thanks for uploading this article.

Sameer Shukkla

Consulting Partner, Wipro Inc.
Posted on: Sep, 17 2017
I have recently co-authored a white paper with my colleague wherein we have looked at 2 fundamental guiding principles  -

1. Always have enough to Sell / Produce
2. Do not have excess to Sell / Produce

These 2 Golden Rules can be the foundation of keeping optimal inventory levels and for organizations to achieve the same. We have looked at a framework which tries to reduce the phase mismatch between Demand & Supply, and tries to bring the shape of the supply curve closer to shape of the demand curve.

We have classified symptoms and underlying root causes for the above "Phase mismatch" and "Curve Mismatch" between Demand and Supply, and then talked about addresssing those individual root causes to strive towards Leaner Inventory levels while maintaining or improving service levels.

So to answer your question, we feel the Companies which have addresed these causes have been able to keep DIO horizontal or even going down, while others have not been able to control rising DIO because of not addressing the root causes.

Simon Eagle

SCM Consultant, Camelot MC
Posted on: Sep, 17 2017
You ask why turns are flat or declining despite lots of attention and technology. The answer is, I think, 2 fold: the supply chain environments VUCA (Volatliity, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is on a continuous upward curve and this means that forecast accuracy inevitably declines in parallel - and much of that inaccuracy is hidden by the statistics. For instance a company with, seemingy good, 80% mix accuracy will find that figure is skewed so high by the few high volume / low variability items. 80% of the items will be achieving considerably less than 60% error.

So most item level forecasts used for driving replenishment through an MPS (be it ERP or APS) are simply leading to unbalanced stocks, service threats and continuous expediting / fire-fighting. These schedule interrutions are "variability" that is disrupting flow and, thereby, increasing lead-times, using unplanned capacity and generating excessive (and still unbalanced) inventories.

The replacement in ex-stock supply chains is "enterprise(s)-wide" pull which also uses "push" for extreme/exceptional events. Its other key characteristics are that the supply chain is decoupled and is demand-driven. And now it can be implemented using SAP since they announced they they have co-developed an enhancement for IBP that supports this transformational way of working - up to 50% inventory reduction, requiring less capacity and shorter lead-times all while achieving planned service levels. See and

John Smith

Research & Development, Octopus Tech Solutions
Posted on: Sep, 18 2017
IoT is without a doubt starting to become a major factor in the profitability of various companies. In the manufacturing sector, we will see it come into the front by the end of 2020 completely. Various sectors have already adapted IoT solutions like the security industry or companies offering BPO Services India. Contact centers not just in India and China but across the world have adapted technology following the principles of IoT. The manufacturing sector is soon going to follow.

Girish Maniyar

Chief Manager Development Initiatives, Asian Paints
Posted on: Sep, 28 2017
I  can speak with some context. While efficiency and tools can reduce inventory, we also see the number of SKUs and new products increasing, and also the number of sales/depot points. This means the inventory in such cases, can start with very high number and with more customization and choices available to the consumer, so there is no end to the long tail of products available within a category. It is unlikely that the slow/dead goods are written off so easily to be not included here.

A larger question, would it be purely an IO problem or also a Demand Planning (Forecast Error) problem? A higher cycle time of service but a better fill rate can improve inventory performance, by aggregation. But a bad forecast can do away all the good work you do in inventory planning.

Do you have numbers for decorative coatings in the list? I did not see something there only for decorative coatings.

Reo B Hatfield

Chief Operating Executive , BestTransport
Posted on: Oct, 20 2017
My opinion is that peaks and valley are just nice graphics to explain.  Smooth responses save the day.   3PLs  just adjust to the climate and the areas of movement of Logistics.    One purpose of the 3PL movement was to adjust to an always changing market.   They will never be fixed and will flex as the logistics changes.   3PL companies have vast knowledge of their business.  Their success is their ability to move up and down as the market flows.  They bring a level playing field to the transportation world that in the past was rigid but looked good on spreadsheets.  Industry graphic personnel like to be able to answer all the changes because they can only see documents.  3PLs see the needs, the issues, the positive changes and the knowledge to know why and when to adjust.   They (3PLs) have smoothed the waves of the past and everybody likes to see the spikes so they know something is there to clearly report on. Smooth sailing is boring but sure gets you where you want to go. 

Catherine Dennis

Supply Chain Manager, Indak Mfg Corp
Posted on: Oct, 26 2017
So the horrific and severe worldwide allocation of electronic components is not an issue?  Don't tell that to the automotive buyers.  It's HORRIBLE.  Lead times out to up to 76 weeks.  Why not write about that?  It's killing us, our customers and the big automakers.   


Logistics Manager, Shell
Posted on: Nov, 11 2017
I suggest McKinsey to do a bit more research in Prof Gattorna’s dynamic alignment. This article only scratches the surface a tiny bit. Much more to be found reading about the alignment concept.

Joseph George

Farmer, Field Vista
Posted on: Dec, 07 2017
Primarily Vision is required followed by Assigned Focus on objectives.  Or maybe just love for USA.  The market will not find its way unless it's for organic vegetables and RRR.  Two to three years later will take two to three years longer to the end of the decade, and this is viable today.  God bless america from its present distraction.

Gary Buchs

Owner Operator , Self, Landstar Business Capacity Owner
Posted on: Dec, 17 2017
In My Opinion, the fact that capacity will tighten should be obvious to everyone engaged in the transportation. 
Capacity to move freight isn’t how many trucks or trailers are in the system or what a computer 
program says, it still is truck driver based and poorly-managed companies won’t be able to imporove
this fact.  Investing in people is still most important!

Get ready to pay higher prices for goods and services. I think we could lose 10% of Capacity in many areas. 


Pres., Bioptechs
Posted on: Dec, 20 2017
After all the ground we have lost in the productive sector and the additional burden that loss of our productive momentum has placed on our society, somebody tell me why so many people are against the actions necessary to restore our vital productive infrastructure! It is like the left enjoys shooting itself in the foot!


Business Development, Raghava Logistics
Posted on: Mar, 04 2018
Great article and thank you for summerizing the predications. 

What does it mean to country like India where the labour is still cheap? Where the logistics cost is still on the higher side compared to some of the developed nations?

Herb Shields

President , HCS Consulting
Posted on: Mar, 06 2018

 I agree that robots can replace some amount of manual labor in logistics centers.  However as you mention, the labor pool is shrinking.  We need more training programs such as the one provided by the Greater West Town organization in Chicago.  (It is a program that your readers should find interesting.)


Associate, BJO
Posted on: Mar, 13 2018
Thanks for this very informative article.

Doug Murless

Country Manager, krunchbox (
Posted on: Mar, 18 2018

Gone are the days when consumers will wait for a retailer to have the product back in stock, those days are done. We live in the "I want it now" society and with Amazon in their pocket consumers can easily "now" it to themself the next day right from their phone.

The importance of product availability is under the microscope at all retailers as an empty shelf equals lost customers, a poor customer experience and entirely abandoned purchases.

We are on a mission at krunchbox to help suppliers fix their product availability and sell thru and improve their buyer relationships, hopefully before their retail partner fines start rolling in and or we see more retailers close.


Executive, Carmatec INC
Posted on: Mar, 21 2018
You are correct There are government programs to encourage investment at small and mid-size manufacturers, but McKinsey says these programs generally have smaller budgets, less certainty of ongoing funding, and more constraints on their mandates than comparable programs in other countries. Policy makers should examine which existing initiatives are producing the most promising results, then scale up those efforts and commit to them for the long term.

Mike Mortson

CEO, Supply Chain Game Changer
Posted on: Jun, 15 2018
I wrote a similar article on about the same topic:  Gartner's 2018 Top 25 Supply Chain List!  Is it Still Relevant?  at…t-still-relevant/



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