The rise of virtual logistics and the power of cloud technology

The rise of virtual logistics and the power of cloud technology

Virtual logistics is a trend that is evolving faster than it is being adopted. This will change, and fast as companies see clear cost savings and efficiencies. Cannon Hill identified the virtual logistics team as a top trend for supply chain and logistics industries in 2017. The Internet of Things and cloud-based technology reimagining logistics In its most basic form, virtual logistics envisions remote working and virtual teams that allow companies to access talent globally rather than locally. And since a sizeable percentage of the American workforce is able to work remotely, virtual teams make a lot of sense. Not only do virtual logistics teams cut down on travel expenses and real estate costs, they also allow for more flexible staffing options. While many larger companies are shifting toward virtual logistics in centralized planners, rather than locating them in each distribution center, the trend toward virtual logistics hasn’t gathered momentum in the way many leading experts expected. PwC recently reported in it’s Industry 4.0 study that the logistics industry has been slow to adopt new technology. The percentage of T&L companies that rated themselves as ‘advanced’ on digitization was just 28%. Yet some of the industry’s customers are already well ahead of the curve. 41% of automotive companies and 45% of electronics companies already see themselves as advanced on digitization. Their heads, and their budgets, are in the cloud Much of what we understand about logistics is about to change with the rapid and prolific adoption of cloud technology and the growing demands of clients who want greater speed, efficiency and transparency. Industry leaders such as Amazon, Airbnb and...
What blockchain means for the supply chain and how you can be ready

What blockchain means for the supply chain and how you can be ready

Much like the transition from haul freight by rail to truck, or the emergence of the personal computer, blockchain technology is set to disrupt the way the global supply chain is managed. Blockchain technology, including the idea of a digital shared ledger, has the potential to increase supply chain transparency and revolutionize supply chain auditing. What is blockchain and how is it connected to Bitcoin? Let’s be clear, we are talking about blockchain in this post, which is completely separate from Bitcoin. Blockchain is a distributed way of verifying facts by breaking up sections of code and spreading them all around on the global network. This makes transactions impossible to hack, manipulate or outright fake. One of the ways that blockchain developers have sought to incentivize engagement with the blockchain system is through the creation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Essentially anybody in the world can set up a server and begin crunching highly encrypted data for the network. In return they get a tiny fraction of one cryptocurrency denomination. This is called mining, and it is a way to compensate people around the world who add value to the overall system. Bitcoin, like the thousands of other cryptocurrencies is highly speculative. Blockchain technology, while still being fully developed, is a powerful tool that will lower costs, save time and make the complex business of doing business a whole lot easier. Blockchain is the way business will be done by everyone, eventually Industry giants in tech and shipping such as IBM and Maersk are already deploying blockchain-based shipping systems that will digitize supply chains and track international cargo in...
Tech and logistics: where are the real opportunities?

Tech and logistics: where are the real opportunities?

Lot’s of logistics experts make tech predictions about driverless vehicles, drones for the last mile, robots in the supply chain and more. This type of creativity is important, maybe even essential, to moving the industry forward. Startup companies, 3PL and more have been finding ways for decades to help organizations large and small get business done, while trimming costs and creating efficiencies. To help make sense of the rapid pace of change, we decided to take a quick look at three ways organizations are looking to gain an advantage in their supply chain. And of course, we will give you our advice on the four things that you should really be focused on and how they can still put you miles ahead of the competition, while startups and the Fortune 100 sort out how to  brings mind-blowing tech into the supply chain. Drone tech in the supply chain If you want to fly a drone, you have to immerse yourself in the regulations of your jurisdiction. If you want to fly a network of drones as a business, the laws are even less clear. Good luck with that. You’re not a drone expert, and your customers probably don’t want or need you to Wow them with the latest tech. They want service they can count on, done as cheaply as you can.     For now, Packaging optimization is the proven way to save on supplies, save labor, warehouse space, shipping costs, and most importantly, save money. Driverless vehicle tech in the supply chain The optimism and anticipation related to driverless vehicles makes for captivating reading. But in truth, this...
Innovation in the supply chain: what’s left?

Innovation in the supply chain: what’s left?

I read three statistics recently that, when taken together, gave me some clarity about innovation in the supply chain, and where the stumbling blocks to change most likely are. I’m also more convinced than ever that there is a ton of low hanging fruit that you and your organization can take advantage of. Innovation isn’t held back by the fear of technology 90% Of experts in transport and logistics believe that data is essential for success compared to an average of 83% of experts in other sectors. So belief in the power of artificial intelligence or AI and machine learning is deeply rooted. This is good news, not just for consultants like me and the team at PLS, but also for organizations that want to implement change and are concerned that their managers won’t get onboard. The supply chain hasn’t been optimized…yet Only 28% of transportation and logistics companies rate themselves as advanced in their handling of data, and in their integration with technologies such as AI or IoT. This is a huge opportunity for organizations to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Companies that have cutting-edge tech and expertise that can be applied in this area are going to achieve durable cost-savings and a renewed ability to weather tough economic times. Companies that don’t invest in getting lean, partly through integration of tech, will suffer.     Don’t take my word for it. Look at the investments of the biggest supply chain organizations UPS and Amazon and their partners such as IBM and so much more. Technology and the IoT is more disruptive than you think...
Doug Jones Joins PLS

Doug Jones Joins PLS

Packaging & Logistics Solutions (PLS), a leader in U.S. packaging, supply chain optimization and proprietary data analytics software has announced the appointment of global e-commerce and supply chain executive Doug Jones as its Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer (COO/CSO). Throughout the course of his career, Doug Jones has strategically navigated the global e-commerce, 3PL and manufacturing landscapes, having most recently served as the SVP of Operations and Lean Continuous Improvement for leading digital retailer Rue La La. Doug Jones COO/CSO Reporting directly to PLS Founder John Moore, Jones will be charged with accelerating the growth and strategic execution of the company’s suite of products and services, which provide innovative solutions for e-commerce, 3PL and manufacturers across the United States. He is an alumnus of Indiana University and holds a Master Black Belt certification. “Doug brings a wealth of industry experience, driving significant results in the e-commerce and 3PL industries as a C-suite executive. As a customer of PLS, he saw our product and service offerings and solutions first hand. He knew that our expertise and use of data analytics to drive measurable and sustainable labor, transportation and packaging savings for our customers was revolutionary for our space. We are truly energized to have him on our team,” Moore said. “PLS has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years and I could not be more excited and proud to join the team,” Doug Jones said. “The core values, performance-based approach, and depth of industry experience of PLS will continue to drive world-class results for our customers.” About PLS PLS is a data-driven, packaging, supply chain optimization company...
OBI creates big savings for e-commerce

OBI creates big savings for e-commerce

When a Kentucky-based e-commerce business with over $1 billion U.S. in annual online retail approached us at PLS, they knew that they needed to find savings in their packaging and supply chain to drive greater efficiencies and reduce shipping costs but they didn’t know where to start. Instead of going with a typical consultant who would suggest a one-size-fits-all approach to supply chain optimization, they worked in a strategic partnership with us to develop a customized solution to their specific packaging, labor, and shipping needs. The result: over $1.97 million in annual cost reductions year-over-year. Customized analysis of the e-commerce supply chain To begin the process we worked closely with the e-commerce business to understand the flow of their operation through a mapping process that looks at everything from receiving and put up, picking, handling, packaging and shipping. We also analyzed their current pick and pack volume, labor metrics through acquired data and statistical sampling and engaged in discussions with their leadership on future aggressive revenue plans.     Through this process we identified several strategies to reduce labor and improve throughput in the operation. Based on their goals and the size of the impact to their bottom line we customized a phased-in process that would meet their needs. As a first step, we worked with the company to set up a fully automated e-commerce packaging line that produced labor savings and reduced dimensional shipping costs through our OBI right-size packaging technology. The result? Three key savings for e-commerce: We reduced shipping costs by roughly $870,000 annually — 84% of current dimensional charges We helped them replace 20 full...