Inbound Logistics | April 2023







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1 YEAR AND 1 BILLION PARCELS Coming off two years of pandemic-fueled growth, parcel volumes decreased 2% in 2022, but remain on a trajectory that far outpaces predictions made prior to the pandemic. The United States shipped, received, and returned 21.2 billion parcels in 2022, 1.1 billion more than anticipated by pre- pandemic forecasts. – Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index SWISS MISS Since 1970, Toblerone, one of the world’s most recognizable

PAINT BY THE NUMBERS A California woman sued paint giant Sherwin-Williams for its practice of tacking on a 4% surcharge at the checkout line. The receipt says the upcharge is for a “supply chain surcharge,” according to the lawsuit. The charge amounts to deceptive pricing for shoppers, according to Brandi Bagley, who filed the lawsuit. She also accuses the company of using the surcharge to make it appear prices remain low, while secretly charging people more to make up for supply chain issues that have caused prices for goods to skyrocket in recent years.

RASPBERRY RALLY TALLY Supply chain issues have caused a shortage of some Girl Scout cookie flavors, and that has resale prices skyrocketing. You can find boxes of the newest, limited-edition flavor, Raspberry Rally, which typically sell for $5 apiece, on eBay for a mere $35 a box.

“ONCE YOU GET A WHIFF OF THAT DIESEL SMELL, YOU NEVER OUTGROW IT.” – Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts, Sr., who founded R+L Carriers as a teen in 1965 with a single truck he used to haul furniture. Roberts died on March 19, 2023, at the age of 77. R+L Carriers remains family-owned and operated and provides shipping services to customers in all 50 states, Mexico, and Canada.

chocolate brands, has featured the silhouette of the iconic Matterhorn on its packaging. However, American confectioner Mondelēz, who owns the brand, will soon drop the logo in favor of a new design. The move comes as Mondelēz moves its production from Switzerland to Bratislava, Slovakia. Legislation passed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property mandates that brands must adhere to specific production rules to be categorized as “Swiss-Made.” This extends to indirect national symbols, such as the Matterhorn. As such, Toblerone’s loss of “Swissness” means that branding must follow suit. The updated packaging will now read “Established in Switzerland” instead of “Toblerone Of Switzerland’ and will include the signature of Jean Tobler, the chocolate bar’s founder.

April 2023 • Inbound Logistics 1

CONTENTS APRIL 2023 | VOL. 43 | NO. 4



Alaska’s vast coastline oers unique logistics advantages

3PLs are spotlighting advanced technology solutions to boost supply chains

62 2023 TOP 100

FEATURES 34 SPONSORED ALASKA LOGISTICS: DELIVERING RELIABILITY DAY IN & DAY OUT Alaska presents logistics challenges that can test even the most resourceful and resilient logistics providers. But it also oers prime opportunities. These companies are up to the task. 48 THE TECHNOLOGY YOU NEED AI, digital twins, quantum computing, and edge computing, and more will play starring roles as supply chains work with an increasing volume of data. 54 MARKET RESEARCH: 2023 LOGISTICS IT PERSPECTIVES Information technology solutions for the supply chain help shippers deliver better service to customers while enhancing the bottom line. In our annual logistics IT market research report, Inbound Logistics looks at the imperatives that drive shippers to embrace new technology solutions.

LOGISTICS IT PROVIDERS Inbound Logistics editors selected the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers— the companies oering the innovations their customers need to streamline supply chain operations. 78 SPONSORED 3PLs SPOTLIGHT TECHNOLOGY Third-party logistics providers are rolling out increasingly sophisticated technology solutions to set the stage for supply chain e€ciency.

84 GET THE LOAD ON THE ROAD: ADDRESSING DRAYAGE CHALLENGES The port congestion experienced during the pandemic pushed drayage into the supply chain spotlight. Today, drayage providers are focused on accelerating a technology-based approach to meet communication and visibility challenges.


Drayage plays a crucial role in the supply chain.

2 Inbound Logistics • April 2023

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CONTENTS APRIL 2023 | VOL. 43 | NO. 4

New services from Asia to Western Europe


8 GOOD QUESTION How has logistics technology impacted your job? 10 10 TIPS Building supplier relationships 26 IT MATTERS Digitalization unlocks resiliency

GOOD QUESTION How has logistics technology impacted your job?



28 REVERSE LOGISTICS Embracing the opportunity in returns 30 DC OPERATIONS Five steps to Six Sigma success 32 LEAN SUPPLY CHAIN Just in time to near-source or nearly time to in-source? INFO 90 SUPPLY CHAIN INSIGHTS 92 WEB_CITE CITY 108 CALENDAR 110 RESOURCE CENTER


Big and bulky shipments? Don’t let them weigh you down.


104 IN BRIEF 112 LAST MILE Bourbon boom

INSIGHT 6 CHECKING IN Robots, robots, robots




Every day, Barbara Melvin, CEO, South Carolina Ports, is up at 3:30 a.m. and asleep by 8:30 p.m. In between, the first woman to lead a top U.S. operating container port walks the halls, talks to people, creates an open environment for collaboration and problem- solving, and celebrates victories of any magnitude.

Inbound Logistics (ISSN 0888-8493, USPS 703990) is mailed monthly to approximately 60,000 business professionals who buy, specify, or recommend logistics technology, transportation, and related services, by Thomas, a Xometry company, 5 Penn Plaza, NY, NY 10001. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing ošces. All rights reserved. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the validity of claims of any products or services described. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic means, or stored in any information retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: Inbound Logistics, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001

4 Inbound Logistics • April 2023



Robots, Robots, Robots


R obots generated much of the excitement and glory at MHI’s recent ProMat exhibition in Chicago, especially the ones that walked on two feet. Bipedal humanoid robots are sexy and you can’t blame logistics pros for being intrigued by the possibilities. But robots with no legs are still doing most, if not all, of the real automated warehouse work. It takes more than buzz to move boxes. Warehouse labor costs have been trending down

EDITOR Felecia J. Stratton

SENIOR EDITOR Katrina C. Arabe


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Merrill Douglas • Tom Gresham Karen M. Kroll


Keith Biondo, Publisher

DESIGNER Nicole Estep Amy Palmisano

recently thanks to automation, even as hourly wages rise. That has been somewhat reversed with the additional touches required to handle the explosion in ecommerce deliveries and smaller shipments. So: hourly wages go up + touches increase + labor scarcity = more robots, robots, robots. And, as exhibits—or rather exhibots—like ProMat indicate, more companies will invest in and adopt robot automation. Prices will eventually go down, while options and evolving applications will go up. Here are just a few of the workhorse robots featured at ProMat 2023. Vecna Robotics. The low-cost Vecna co-bot pallet jack brings human- assisted robotics to warehouses with labor-intensive workows and tight space constraints. Pickle Robots. Ever empty a mixed-load LTL trailer? I did; it was one of my rst jobs. This Boston Dynamics robot does it better and faster than my 19-year-old self ever could. Vaux. Got pallets in trailers instead? From ArcBest, this pallet unloading system has connecting congurable conveyors. Otto Forklifts. A self-driving forklift and master of the loading dock. Universal Robots. The UR20 case packing and palletizing cobot system has it all wrapped up. Brightpick Robotics. Got groceries? Ecommerce? This robot picks and consolidates for shipment as it glides through warehouse aisles. InVia. Bins empty? Need to replenish inventory picking stations with reserve stock? InVia’s solution does that. RIOS. Need robot solutions without annoying capital investment? RIOS pioneered Robots as a Service (RaaS) for packaging and factory automation. Thira Robotics. Mobile warehouse robots from Korea that can navigate 10% inclines and rough warehouse terrain. Wow. Tompkins Robotics PickPal. Need picking, counting, replenishment, or sorting tasks to empower your team? PickPal is their friend. Many more robots are doing the work of today as we wait for the two-legged ones to gain mainstream acceptance. Based on the investment, excitement, brainpower, and popularity, it won’t be long before those two-legged robots, robots, robots will walk with you.





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Inbound Logistics supports sustainable best practices. Our mission is rooted in helping companies match demand to supply, eliminating waste from the supply chain. This magazine is printed on paper sourced from fast growth renewable timber.

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6 Inbound Logistics • April 2023

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How has logistics technology impacted your job?

IT GIVES SUPPLY CHAIN PARTICIPANTS —shippers, carriers, and 3PLs—better visibility, data, and real-time information for managing the business. That’s all good. But it comes with a challenge: How do I organize and share the data within the organization, support the customer, and use it e†ectively to improve operations? It has to be managed, and that places an additional cost and time burden on the carrier, especially as shippers want more data for no additional charges. –Greg Orr President, CFI THE DAYS OF “I SHIPPED IT—YOU SHOULD SEE IT SOON” are gone. Today’s technology provides visibility to help increase accountability from order to receipt. Our sales partners have better costing insight to o†er the best solution to achieve a customer’s needs. Performance data provides a collaboration platform with our partners to continually improve, creating value across our ecosystem. –Jeff Wood Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Wesco TECHNOLOGY HELPS US TO CONTINUE IMPROVING our eciency by providing data to help manage our fleet and optimize routes. This data is more important now than ever because with the current labor shortage and rising costs, you want to make the best use of your resources. It also helps us predict any parcel that may be late to find another alternative and keep our customer informed. –Lorena Camargo

WE’RE GOING THROUGH AN ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING (ERP) SWITCHOVER that requires a great deal of patience, change management, and transactional discipline. The change is definitely tough and requires a steep learning curve to keep up. The new technology allows for greater control and visibility of product locations as they move from the production team

through the warehouse team and ultimately make it on to the delivery trucks. It provides us an opportunity to improve our processes and our service to the customer. –Gary Harber Distribution Manager, Milgard

ROUTE PLANNING TECH AND THE TRACK-MY-TRUCK SERVICE have been a huge win. We can give customers the delivery flexibility, responsiveness, and transparency they expect while reducing costs and boosting fleet productivity. Delivery operations improved more than expected, faster than expected, and it has made life easier for customers and internal teams. –Nathan Sanders CEO, Brook Furniture Rental TECHNOLOGY HAS TRANSFORMED HOW OUR CLIENTS MANAGE THEIR LOGISTICS across the full gamut of activities. It has accelerated scheduling and tracking of loads, as well as expedited payment and issue resolution processes. –Joe Adamski, Senior Director –Rhiana Gallen, Manager ProcureAbility

LOGISTICS TECHNOLOGY ENABLED US TO CHANGE OUR ENTIRE BUSINESS MODEL to one that’s better for us—and more importantly, our customers. Advances in data science and analysis helped us establish a platform that breaks the cycle of relying on consultants or carriers when negotiating a parcel shipping contract. –Josh Dunham CEO and Co-founder, Reveel IT CREATES DEEPER GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY. Innovative warehouse, transportation, order, and logistics management systems provide transparent data for all supply chain parties, enabling workflow, delivery, and overall service to be more ecient. Our ability to leverage data-yielding technology has enhanced operations. –Jim Heidegger VP, Technology, Legacy Supply Chain

Board and Executive Committee Member, CLDA, CEO/Founder, PearlTrans Logistics

8 Inbound Logistics • April 2023



Remember When…

transportation services, and warehousing have allowed our

employees to shift from keying data into our systems to more real-time access to information, allowing us to better predict outcomes as well as serve and guide our customers. –Ann Nemphos Chief Technology Officer, World Group TECHNOLOGY HAS TRANSFORMED the way we operate by increasing transparency, reducing costs, and enabling data-driven decisions. Innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) provide endless possibilities. –Rebecca Smith Chief Information Officer Primary Freight Services Inc. LOGISTICS TECHNOLOGY, PARTICULARLY AI, has transformed our business by enhancing collaboration in idea generation and revolutionizing workforce training and development. By adopting AI-driven tools, we have optimized warehousing processes, reduced costs, and improved overall eciency, while empowering our employees to provide outstanding service. –Nate East Continuous Improvement Engineer TA Services TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS REAL-TIME TRACKING through ELD integrations have changed the game for our business, giving us access to valuable supply chain insights that we can then pass to carriers, brokers, and shippers.

Gone are phone calls as we can see material flow throughout the world. Intralogistics with improved visibility and rapid advances in live time tracking of truck arrivals, dock management tools, and integration with mobile robots are synchronizing material flow. It’s been fun with the exponential advances the past five years. –Harry Chase Senior Director–Central Materials, GE Appliances Years ago, companies hand-wrote bills of lading. Now, most companies create BOLs electronically to capture shipment details. Since data is king, this simple change means companies aren’t reliant on carriers to obtain their own shipment data. Now companies can analyze and make decisions that are best for them and their customers. –Melissa Somsen Chief Commercial Officer, AFS Logistics Back in the day, you had to scan a load of RFID-chipped pallets stack by stack. These days, it’s possible to scan a full trailer and it reads everything in only seconds. Every eciency we introduce improves business intelligence, minimizes loss, and benefits the entire supply chain. –Cory Lehman Director of Asset Management, iGPS Logistics

WHILE IT WAS AN ENABLER BEFORE , it is now a critical

faster sortation and a safer work environment. For the industry, it’s 10x (or more) capacity with a combination of people and tech. –James Kelley President, OSM Worldwide TECHNOLOGY IS FUNDAMENTAL FOR BRIDGING SUPPLY CHAIN GAPS. Data collection, combined with machine learning, supports better processes and strategic planning.

component when creating a scalable logistics platform, providing real-time insights and improving automation and eciency. –Matt Parry SVP, Logistics, Werner Enterprises SPECIFIC AUTOMATION AND ROBOTIC APPLICATIONS have played a pivotal role in advancing the shipping industry. For shippers and consumers, it’s about speedy, accurate delivery. For our sta€, it’s

–Yoav Amiel Chief Information Officer, RXO

–Justin Bailie Co-Founder, Rose Rocket

IT HAS HELPED OUR CLIENTS gain visibility and connect the dots to foresee risks and capitalize on opportunities. Beyond in-transit visibility, mapping of their logistics supplier base and understanding how they manage risks allows them to benchmark vendors. –Tony Pelli Practice Director, Security and Resilience, BSI

Have a great answer to a good question? Be sure to participate next month. We want to know: How would you describe your job in ve words or less? We’ll publish some answers. Tell us at or tweet us @ILMAGAZINE #ILGOODQUESTION

April 2023 • Inbound Logistics 9


Relationships are key to any successful partnership. The strength of your relationships with suppliers can impact your business’ ability to grow, adapt, and pivot. Here’s how to build and maintain strong supplier relationships to ensure success. Building Supplier Relationships


on how to best fulfill end customer needs while also achieving supplier goals. 8 MAINTAIN ACCURATE AND RELIABLE DATA Without accurate data, decisions often are made either incorrectly or in silos. Regularly sharing precise and insightful data fosters transparency. Providing reliable, real-time data that brings tangible value to your suppliers can make you an indispensable partner. 9 LEVERAGE AUTOMATION Although many companies utilize automation in other areas of their business, investing in automation can help improve supplier relationships. Your company’s IT investments can help lower operating costs while increasing touchpoints with greater consistency. Implementing automation can enable you to do more with your time, money, and labor so you can focus on strategic initiatives.

Rather than relying on a few senior executives, relationship-building should occur at every level of the team—from junior support to C-suite partners. By fostering relationships across the entire workstream, teams can future-proof the partnership and allow for better cross-team collaboration.

2 BUILD AND MAINTAIN TRUST Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. With supplier relationships, both parties should be open with each other and focus on solving problems together. This provides a foundation for seamless collaboration and eciency where both partners are trusted to uphold commitments and bring unique value to the table. 3 COMMIT TO TRANSPARENCY Supplier teams should be open about what they observe in the market, the potential impacts, and the actions they are taking to oset negative implications. Being proactive and honest enables teams to resolve a potential problem and preserve trust. 4 COMMUNICATE...THEN OVERCOMMUNICATE By overcommunicating with suppliers, you can ensure everyone is clear on

6 THINK LIKE YOUR CUSTOMERS When you think like your customers, you are better able to serve their needs and grow your business. Understanding your customers’ perspective makes you a better partner to your suppliers, demonstrates your unique value, and enables you to eectively make decisions with the end customers’ benefit in mind. 7 ALIGN WITH SUPPLIERS ON CUSTOMER NEEDS Satisfying both suppliers and customers requires a constant feedback loop. There should always be a free flow of information and alignment on initiatives to ensure everyone agrees

responsibilities and aware of potential setbacks. You also can align work processes.

Start by establishing a regular cadence of

communication between partners. To maximize the value of those discussions, make sure the content of those meetings is relevant to both parties, rooted in data, and centered on end- customer needs. 5 TURN COMMUNICATION INTO COLLABORATION The best partnerships rely on collaborative problem solving. Partners and suppliers may have extensive communication channels, but they need to listen to each other to productively collaborate on solutions with flexibility and compromise.


THE FUTURE The best partners propel each other to build and scale for the future. When you are up to date on new products and evolving market trends, you are better able to anticipate and address current and future needs. Setting up your collective teams for long-term success is the best way to ensure the longevity of the relationship.


10 Inbound Logistics • April 2023

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Project Logistics

FIVE TIPS TO TACKLE BIG AND BULKY During the pandemic, consumers got used to having all types of items delivered, including large and bulky products, such as furniture and appliances. But big and bulky inventory may be weighing down today’s supply chain. How should shippers respond? circumstances have a habit of popping up during delivery. Some shippers counteract this by asking customers to measure their spaces in their pre-delivery notes—giving delivery drivers a heads-up on any potential issues. 2. Final-mile or white-glove delivery? Final-mile delivery is faster and more cost-e ective, but white glove improves the customer experience. Companies should examine what will propel their brand forward while keeping image and customer experience goals in mind. 3. Ensure you have a robust system. Customers expect the same tracking visibility for appliances and furniture as they do for smaller packages. This requires investments in technologies that optimize delivery routes, narrow down delivery windows, and communicate with customers. Skipping this step leads to tracking and customer experience challenges. Third-party logistics provider Kenco o ers five tips: 1. Involve the customer where you can. Unexpected 4. Have a reverse logistics strategy in place before you start. Without a plan to deal with a return rate that could reach 40%, companies risk filling available warehouse space with single- stack, unboxed returns. Avoid this by having a plan to receive and grade returns, then quickly re-box undamaged inventory for resale, process it for second-channel sales, or scrap it. 5. Lean on trusted partners. Shipping big and bulky items comes with a variety of issues. The right partner should provide expertise and guidance.

Shipping large, heavy, and irregular sized cargo isn’t simply a matter of getting it from point A to point B. It also requires flexibility to tackle unique challenges. Take the case of a 60-ton autoclave moving from Germany to India. A German machinery and plant manufacturer commissioned DACHSER to ship the gas-tight sealable pressure vessel to India. The logistics company tapped its Air & Sea logistics team to precisely plan the shipment’s journey from Germany to Bangalore, India, tackling challenges along the way that smaller shipments do not face. The autoclave left the plant in Coesfeld on a flatbed headed to Lüdinghausen. A 450-ton mobile crane then loaded the cargo onto an inland vessel that docked in Antwerp. Next, the autoclave embarked on a 21-day voyage to Chennai, India as break bulk. After it arrived in Chennai, it still had 217 miles to travel to reach its final destination. This last leg was completed on the road, which required some special considerations. For example, all 28 tires on the trailer needed to be replaced to allow it to navigate a railway underpass. Concrete separation blocks needed to be removed in one area so that the vehicle could turn around there, and excavation pits in the plant had to be filled in to allow delivery. In all, the last leg took two weeks to complete. TRACKING 60 TONS ACROSS TWO CONTINENTS

12 Inbound Logistics • April 2023


DELIVER ON TIME…OR ELSE! Large deliveries come with a variety of challenges, but retailers need to keep their promises or it could lead to lost business. A study on big and bulky deliveries conducted by DispatchTrack shows that 61% of shoppers are unlikely to purchase from the same retailer again if the order didn’t arrive on time. The survey also finds that 44% of deliveries aren’t completed on time, so some businesses may want to take a harder look at their shipping procedures. Improving communication and touchpoints with customers should be the first step. Customers’ top concerns are poor communication and an inability to track order status. In fact, half of the customers surveyed cite poor communication as the leading cause of a poor delivery experience. And while 90% of consumers say they want to be able to track big and bulky delivery orders online, 35% say they are unable to do so. The survey points to areas where stores and shippers can focus e orts to improve the delivery experience. Consumers say the key components of a positive delivery experience are on-time delivery (66%), accuracy (57%), item condition (41%), speed (47%), and courteous delivery teams (38%). EXPANDING PROJECT LOGISTICS IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH A number of oil, gas, and o shore companies already call Eastern Canada home, but more are moving in with plans to expand renewable energy sources in the region. Case in point: work has already begun on World Energy GH2’s Project Nujio’qonik that will see 164 wind turbines built throughout Newfoundland’s largely rural Port au Port Peninsula. Big projects such as these bring big shipments, and logistics companies are ready to help. Rhenus Logistics, for example, is opening two new business sites in Halifax and St. John’s. The company plans to kickstart its service operations related to onshore, o shore, project logistics, and transportation with customs clearance in Eastern Canada. The project logistics specialist also plans to focus its e orts on renewable energy and o shore markets. Meanwhile, the Port of Argentia and Torrent Capital created a joint venture company, Argentia Capital, to focus on port infrastructure construction. The port is gearing up to host renewable energy companies proposing to establish facilities to produce wind energy, hydrogen, and ammonia. It is also expected to act as a staging site for o shore wind farm construction projects throughout North America.

TAKING BIG AND BULKY TO THE FINISH LINE Many businesses have standard operating procedures for shipping automobiles, but what happens when they’re asked to transport specialized, expensive, and unique cargo? AGI Bristol, for example, recently transported a Formula 1 car and simulator to Berlin. The delivery required careful planning. The car and simulator were being shipped by road, so the team had to think creatively to guarantee no movement during transit. They placed pallets beneath the wheels, then strapped the wheels to the pallets. This method also helped by allowing the team to use a forklift when loading and unloading the car and simulator. AGI Bristol also arranged a carnet—an international customs and temporary export-import document that is used to clear customs without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months. The shipment reached its destination safely and without any hiccups, which helped AGI Bristol secure the contract to deliver the car and simulator to its next destination—a trade show in Dubai.

April 2023 • Inbound Logistics 13

LEADERSHIP Conversations with the Captains of Industry

Dancing a Maritime Ballet, Every Day

If you want to shadow Barbara Melvin on a typical day at work, better lace up your sneakers. “You could easily be climbing on a crane or looking at a piece of equipment with a problematic part,” says Melvin, president and CEO at South Carolina Ports. “You could be standing in the truck lanes, greeting a longshoreman or heading for the gate center.” Melvin calls port operations “a maritime ballet,” and she knows the dance well. She has been with SC Ports for nearly 25 years, working in government relations and external affairs before being named COO in 2018. Promoted to president and CEO in 2022, she became the rst woman to lead a top U.S. operating container port. Melvin slowed down long enough to describe how she has grown as a leader and ll us in on recent initiatives at the port. IL: When you moved from government relations to the COO role, how did you get up to speed on all you needed to know? The transition worked because the leaders within operations took the time to teach me the ins and outs. I did a lot of listening. And I determined that my leadership should be to provide air cover. We had the best people in the business in all departments of operations. My job would be to get them the resources they needed to continue being the best in the industry as they served our ocean carrier customers and the importers and exporters. IL: What’s one experience that shaped you as a leader? When I joined the port in 1998, we were in the middle of a large conversation with our state and the local community about where to expand. The port’s vision was to build on Daniel Island, a green space that would require all new infrastructure. The community wanted us to consider redeveloping a former naval base in North Charleston. The road to an effective compromise was long and hard, but in April 2021 we opened the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal at the naval base site. This is one of many experiences that have taught me not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The compromise that’s necessary in government relations applies in operations, too. I learned not to stumble over small things that went wrong and to focus instead on the larger things.

Barbara Melvin President and CEO South Carolina Ports

Every day, Barbara Melvin is up at 3:30 a.m. and asleep by 8:30 p.m. In between, the first woman to lead a top U.S. operating container port walks the halls, talks to people, creates an open environment for collaboration and problem-solving, and celebrates victories of any magnitude. by Merrill Douglas

14 Inbound Logistics • April 2023


IL: Besides engaging in the “maritime ballet,” how do you spend a typical work day? I’m up at 3:30 every morning. I exercise rst thing because if I don’t, I’m grumpy. I get to the ofce no later than 7 a.m., when it’s quiet and I can organize my thoughts. After that, no two days are the same. I meet with ocean carrier customers and ultimate shippers, and I work to recruit new people into our industry. I try to talk to at least one member of our board every day. I walk the halls at our headquarters and walk the terminals, spending time with the people who produce our revenue. I like to be seen and known. After all that, I’m asleep by 8 or 8:30 every night. IL: What do you most hope to accomplish in the next year? I’d like to continue our infrastructure projects, such as the successful implementation of our chassis pool. We’re building a near-dock intermodal rail facility that will be served by both CSX and Norfolk Southern. We want to keep working on creative infrastructure solutions, such as a barge service to move our intermodal cargo, and continuing to improve our inland ports. IL: How do you spend your time when you’re not working? I like to be out in the sun—practicing yoga, exercising or shing—and spending time with my dogs and my friends. n Dinner For Three In Barbara Melvin’s dinner party daydream, she shares a table with two people from history whom she greatly admires: South African President Nelson Mandela and American entertainer and philanthropist Danny Thomas. “They probably had more in common than people would think,” says Melvin, noting each man’s powerful determination. “From Mandela, I’d want to hear how he maintained his spirit of monumental change through all the challenges he faced,” says Melvin. She notes that Mandela is the source of her favorite quote: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” From Thomas, Melvin would like to hear how he took St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital from concept to successful reality. “I can’t imagine having the fortitude to follow through on what probably was just a fleeting thought at one point in his career, to then create such an impactful organization,” she says. “Plus, he was funny and entertaining.”

IL: Since you became president and CEO, what has been at the top of your agenda? People. At the start of the pandemic, we retracted our workforce. But we really should have been hiring. Nobody foresaw the unprecedented surge in demand the ports would see when the economy restarted. As volume ramped up, people came to work every day and moved boxes in the most challenging circumstances. Not only our port employees and crane operators, but our longshoremen, harbor pilots, tugs, stevedores, motor carriers, and railroad partners all stepped up to service the supply chain. Saying “thank you” was never enough. I wanted to concentrate on telling the story of how they took care of each other and kept freight moving the best they could. IL: How did the port manage through that crazy volume? It took a lot of innovation. For instance, we opened our gates on Sundays, giving motor carriers the option to work half days on Saturday and Sunday rather than lose an extra full day on the weekend. Our railroad partners matched those hours for us. We hired 150 people, and since COVID was still a concern, we got creative about training them—for example, using simulators rather than making two people sit close together in a piece of equipment. When chassis capacity grew tight, we implemented a proprietary chassis pool. We used a shotgun approach, trying all sorts of things. If something didn’t work out, we would fail fast and x it. IL: What characteristics make you an effective leader? I’m decisive. I challenge people, even before they’re ready. I’m here to help my team and be the ultimate decider, but I also like people to bring me solutions, not just issues. I can take bad news without overreacting, creating an open environment for collaboration and problem-solving, rather than a culture where you don’t talk about problems until it’s too late to x them. I love to promote from within, because that’s the way we continue to achieve the diversity that’s necessary in this industry. Finally, I love to celebrate victories of any magnitude. If you create an environment where everybody feels they will be thanked for doing things that benet the organization, then you create a happier workplace.

April 2023 • Inbound Logistics 15


The Supply Chain in Brief


> M & A

n GEODIS finalized its acquisition of trans-o-flex, a network for temperature-controlled pharmaceutical goods and express premium delivery. n A.P. Moller-Maersk purchased Martin Bencher Group, a project logistics specialist that focuses on health, safety, security, and the environment. n Expanding to operate 20 terminals along the Gulf Coast, East Coast, and inland river system, Enstructure acquired Richardson Companies, a breakbulk specialist with primary operations in Port Houston and the Port of Mobile. n Trinity Industries purchased RSI Logistics , adding RSI’s rail technology, logistics services, and bulk terminal network to its railcar manufacturing, leasing, technology, and maintenance service. n Knight-Swift acquired U.S. Xpress for approximately $808 million, excluding transaction costs. The deal is expected to close late in the second quarter or early third quarter of 2023. n Expanding its air and sea freight network to cover Australia and New Zealand, DACHSER acquired ACA International —adding Australian oŽces in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney and New Zealand locations in Auckland, Hamilton, and Wellington.

• For the fourth consecutive year, Averitt Express donated more than $1 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year’s $1.2 million represents the company’s largest ever donation to the hospital. • Redwood Logistics contributed $209,125 to the Danny Did Foundation—a nonprot organization that advances public awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy and provides aid for those affected.

• As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Combilift is donating its 75,000th truck— an Aisle Master articulated forklift— to Convoy of Hope, a non-prot humanitarian and disaster relief organization.

• Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) ranks second among the 50 best-performing global companies for hiring refugees, nds Refugee Integration Insights. Through measures such as application training, mentoring programs, and internships, DPDHL prepares refugees for the work world and offers them employment prospects within or outside the company.

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• Tovala, which delivers prepared food in 20 minutes, has gone live with the cloud-based

•’ Leanne Drummond, business development manager for CPC Logistics and Endrea Davisson, a professional driver for CFI, were among the more than 80 women named as the Women In Trucking Association’s 2023 Top Women to Watch in Transportation. • IntelliTrans , a provider of global multi-modal solutions for optimizing bulk and break-bulk supply chain operations, won a 2023 Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award from TMC’s Cloud Computing magazine. • The Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge named Chief Carriers the Best Overall Fleet in the small carrier category, while C.A.T. won Best Overall Fleet in the large carrier category.

SnapFull WMS suite in two distribution centers in Chicago and a 230,000-square-foot facility in Salt Lake City. • Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has opened a 50,000-square-foot distribution center in Indianapolis to handle all contract logistics services for instrumentation company Endress+Hauser in North America. • Samsonite teamed with ReverseLogix to provide a self- activated warranty and repair portal for Samsonite customers. The technology provides the luggage retailer with insight into specic parts or products being returned.


• Brazilian fashion retailer Pernambucanas selected Mojix to provide a SaaS-based traceability solution that enables real-time, item-level visibility across more than 500 stores and the company’s primary distribution center.

n Arvato Supply Chain Solutions switched the energy supply of four

distribution centers in Louisville, Kentucky, and one in Valencia, California, to green electricity sourced from wind and solar energy. n CEVA Logistics will transition all its contract logistics and freight warehouses to greener electricity by 2025 by purchasing low-carbon electricity from local utility providers and increasing its own production of electricity using rooftop solar panels. n Working with Trees for the Future, ATA Freight has now planted 272,000 lifetime trees in 106 forest gardens and restored 106 acres of land.

• WestRock, a provider of sustainable paper and packaging solutions, turned to Wagner Logistics to negotiate a cost- optimizing lease for its 160,000-square-foot warehouse in California and manage complete paper handling operations. • ACI Brands , a supplier of consumer products, will deploy Tecsys’ SaaS-based Elite WMS. The platform will unify silos and supply chain operations, enabling the company to tap into system-driven technologies and automation solutions. • Cardinal Health will install a Swisslog automation solution at its at-Home Solutions distribution center in Grove City, Ohio. The facility features 31,844 storage bins providing 83,000 cubic feet of storage for 14,154 SKUs.



n St. Onge Company celebrates its 40th anniversary. The company provides solutions to shippers' supply chain needs in the automotive, consumer packaged goods, retail and ecommerce sectors. It also serves healthcare providers, including hospitals and clinics.

• Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts, Sr., founder of R+L Carriers, passed away on March 19, 2023. He started in the trucking business in 1965 with a single Ford truck, helping people move household furnishings.

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TAKEAWAYS Shaping the Future of the Global Supply Chain

Specialty Retail Hits the Mark What makes a successful retailer? To answer that question, Manhattan Associates, in partnership with Google Cloud and Zebra Technologies, examined data insight from real purchases, returns, and customer journeys across digital and physical channels to create The Unied Commerce Benchmark for Specialty Retail , a report conducted by Incisiv. The benchmark assesses retailers across 11 specialty retail segments on the implementation of 286 key attributes of unied commerce. Of the 124 retailers benchmarked, 15 emerged as leaders: Academy Sports + Outdoors, American Eagle Outtters, Belk, Crate & Barrel, Levi’s, Macy’s, MAC Cosmetics, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Pandora, REI Co-op, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, UGG, and Zales. The benchmark identies common challenges in retailers’ efforts to adopt these new business models, which include advanced analytics that create a single view of the business. The data shows that there is still work to be done. 1. Personalization: Identifying shopper intent is the rst step to providing a personalized experience; however, just 38% of the retailers studied give their store associates access to shopper purchase history and wish lists across all channels. 2. Real-time inventory visibility: Only 29% of the retailers studied provide real-time inventory statistics on their product detail pages. 3. Convenience and exibility: Retailers should provide multiple payment and delivery options and the ability to change orders after the sale. Just 15% of the retailers studied offer customers the option to change a fulllment method post-order, and just 27% provide the ability to return store purchases online.

WMS GROWS UP As technology adoption increases and ecommerce continues to grow, companies are looking to smart warehouses to meet customer demands. As a result, warehouse management systems (WMS) are poised to take o. The WMS market will see a 17.3% compounded annual growth rate—culminating in a market worth more than $51 billion by 2030—predicts an Insight Partners report, Warehouse Management System Market Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Global Forecast to 2030 . WMS solutions are also integral to drop shipping, which many ecommerce retailers use to improve inventory turnover ratios. WMS solutions are able to circumvent order in/order out tra†c as a key driver for growth. The Asia-Pacific region is also expected to see growth in the WMS market due to its emphasis on strengthening logistics infrastructure to improve workflow management. Although the region is currently experiencing a shortage of warehouse space, 86 million square feet of added warehouse space scheduled to open in 2023 should help ease that burden. This new space will further boost the WMS market, the report predicts.

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Are Things Looking Up? As 2023 began, the global economy

focused on ination and recession fears. Now add geopolitical tensions and domestic challenges in key markets that are slowing return to sustained growth, according to KPMG’s latest Global Economic Outlook report. Pressure on global supply chains has eased in 2023 and shipping costs have dropped, which should alleviate some inationary pressures and improve supply capacity, the report contends. However, global trade remains relatively weak. Consumer demand may also pick up in 2023, with European markets already seeing slight improvements. “How we get back to sustainable, long-term growth is the big question facing boardrooms and political chambers around the world right now,” says Regina Mayor, global head of clients and markets for KPMG. “The actions taken over the coming months are likely to play a signicant role in the pace and nature of the world’s economic recovery.”

TURN UP THE TECH Driven by the need to improve visibility and better manage the workforce, nearly three-quarters of supply chain leaders are increasing technology and innovation investments, finds the 2023 MHI Annual Industry Report, The Responsible Supply Chain: Transparency, Sustainability, and the Case for Business , conducted with Deloitte. Sustainability is also top of mind, as nearly half of respondents (48%) face increased pressure from consumers, regulators, and industry groups to adopt a greener supply chain. The report cites the top five challenges supply chain executives say they face in 2023: 1. Hiring and retaining qualified workers (57%) 2. Talent shortages (56%) 3. Supply chain disruptions (54%) 4. Out-of-stocks (52%) 5. Customer demands (52%) Many companies are responding to these challenges by investing in technology. For example, labor shortages are forcing companies to examine technologies that improve e’ciency and reduce repetitive, manual labor. The hope is that this technology creates an environment with more rewarding supply chain jobs that appeal to top talent and upskill current employees.

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Remaining Vigilant, Post Pandemic

PLAYING NICE Distributors and manufacturers can find themselves at odds when it comes to supply chain management. Overcoming siloed data streams, friction in workflows, and misalignment on goals can cause tension in partnerships. In worst case scenarios, these disconnects can lead to arguments, disputes, and a lack of customer focus. It pays to focus on a solution. Enable’s Overcoming the Misalignment Between Supply Chain Partners report surveyed nearly 250 manufacturers, distributors, buying groups, and retailers, and finds that those who actively collaborate tend to work more eectively together. But there’s work to be done. Just 10% of distributors report strong alignment with their trading partners, while approximately half note a lack of alignment about 50% of the time. The story is slightly dierent for manufacturers, which points to a disconnect or collaboration gap. Up to 76% of manufacturers report alignment with their trading partners. Collaboration gaps often lead to one partner feeling left out of the process and can create significant friction. Case in point: 60% of manufacturers say that their relationships have remained stagnant or grown weaker and just 25% of retailers believe their relationships have grown stronger. Organizations that can overcome these barriers and collaborate eectively across the supply chain may benefit by reductions in inventories and costs.

The supply and demand imbalances wrought during the pandemic magnied deciencies in public and private infrastructure and investment. And although the pandemic may no longer be throwing logistics operations into upheaval, shippers should remain vigilant. With these challenges in mind, where should shippers focus their attention and what can they do to mitigate these threats? Be wary of strict adherence to just-in-time inventory management that cuts excess but can place production lines and other downstream processes in greater peril. Inventory is a buffer; without it, operations are more likely to be pinched in the event of a disruption. Limit exposure to carriers who are too dependent on a single customer or industry sector. For example, if a carrier is heavily dependent on the automotive industry and plants shut down, that carrier’s trucks won’t be where other customers need them. Monitor carrier investment in trucks, trailers and real estate to meet your needs. Underinvestment affects a carrier’s ability to provide continuity of service. The shipper-carrier relationship is a two-way street. What can shippers do to help secure access to capacity when disruption happens? • Be a shipper of choice. Make it easy for carriers to make deliveries and pickups. Minimize dwell time and make sure your processes are not cumbersome or overwhelming. • Build out your roster of carriers so you can pivot when necessary. Make sure you have redundancy and optionality built into your supply chain. • Be able to shift between modes. Remember that when one mode gets pinched, it may take a while to trickle into other modes, creating short-term opportunities for relief. If you have the right technology, you can conduct some rate shopping to take advantage. — Andy Dyer, President, Transportation Management, and Kevin Day, President, LTL, AFS Logistics

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