Inbound Logistics | May 2024

Searching for recruitment and retention strategies that work? This edition of Inbound Logistics covers how to make warehouse workers’ jobs easier, more efficient, and enjoyable—and boost supply chain efficiency. From a look at the benefits of yard and transportation management systems to a special report on nearshoring in Mexico, this edition will show you how to take your supply chain problem and solve it.




Artificial Intelligence meets Critical Intelligence

Joe Easley

Joe has spent the last seven of his 15-year career at Odyssey harnessing the power of data and business intelligence. His deep-rooted understanding of critical logistics details fuels our ongoing enhancements in automation processes, elevating the customer experience to new heights.

Odyssey is a company built on the strength of its people, knowledgeable logistics professionals. We are now leading the way by catalyzing supply chain resiliency, using 20 years of insights, data and analytics to build AI-driven, connected systems.

Learn more today

© 2024 Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corporation


HYBRID WORK: IN OR OUT? • 46% of professionals will look for a new job if they are asked to work in the o‚ce more. • 1 in 5 employers want to increase number of days in the o‚ce. • 47% of professionals cite long commutes as a key deterrent to spending more days in the o‚ce. • Two-fifths of professionals say decisions regarding hybrid and flexible working arrangements are the number-one issue influencing workplaces in 2024. • Over half of professionals plan to go into the o‚ce more only to meet employer needs. –KPMG survey YEARN TO LEARN WHAT THEY EARN? • 45% of managers say it would be uncomfortable if the people they manage knew how much they earn. • 52% believe salary transparency is helpful in attracting and retaining talent. • Only 25% of people know how much their boss earns. • 83% of Americans believe employees would benefit from full salary transparency. • 83% of Gen Zers are comfortable sharing their salary, compared with just 33% of Boomers. –USA TODAY Blueprint survey

NEARLY 80% of industrial companies lack the knowledge or capacity to successfully use articial intelligence. 84% expect AI to provide new or better services. 82% expect an increase in quality from AI.

ALL ABOARD THE LUNAR EXPRESS In preparation for a permanent human colony on the moon, DARPA has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to develop a lunar railway concept, as part of the 10-year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) Capability Study. The envisioned railroad network could transport humans, supplies, and resources for commercial ventures across the lunar surface— contributing to a space economy for the United States and international partners. AMAZON LOGISTICS DELIVERS BIG TIME Of the four largest parcel carriers—USPS, Amazon Logistics, UPS, and FedEx—only Amazon Logistics grew volumes year-over-year, and by a huge 15.7%. One year after passing FedEx in parcel volumes, Amazon Logistics has now passed UPS and is gaining momentum on market leader USPS. –Pitney Bowes annual U.S. Parcel Shipping Index

–Spotlight on the Future 2024 study, Aras

THE TRUCK STOPS HERE The Trucker Path surveyed 1 million+ drivers on their top truck stop amenities. The results: 1. Abundant parking 2. Clean showers 3. On-site restaurant Of note, healthy/fresh food beat out high-speed diesel pumps.

PAY DAY The gender pay gap is narrowing year- over-year, with executive women earning an average of $452k , compared to executive men’s average of $461k . When isolating director and vice president roles as a pipeline of future C-suite executives, women are leading

in average total compensation. –ON Partners 2024 Women’s Report

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 1

CONTENTS MAY 2024 | VOL. 44 | NO. 5


Yard management systems optimize a sometimes-overlooked supply chain link, helping shippers maximize the potential of their yard and strengthen KPIs. 60 SPONSORED TODAY’S PALLETS: LEADERS OF THE STACK Market changes highlight the need for a strategic approach to pallet management.

38 SPONSORED THE INDISPENSABLE EDGE: TMS EMPOWERS SHIPPERS IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE Stop pushing boxes. For companies looking to get ahead, a Transportation Management System (TMS) is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Leading TMS providers oƒer solutions and innovations to propel shippers toward eciency, cost reduction, and superior service delivery.

FEATURES 32 FROM EARNINGS TO ERGONOMICS: OPTIMIZING WAREHOUSE LABOR As warehouse labor plays hard to get, organizations turn to a growing range of tools and technologies to support worker safety, boost their productivity, and make their jobs easier, more ecient, and even more enjoyable.

68 SPONSORED NEARSHORING: PARTNERS LEAD THE WAY IN MEXICO Establishing operations in Mexico can streamline and shorten your supply chain. These companies can help you overcome the challenges and nearshore in Mexico.

2 Inbound Logistics • May 2024

CONTENT PARTNERS 18 How Portable Ergonomic Conveyors Help Improve Loading Dock Operations Oered by Gorbel 20 The Ination Reduction Act’s Clean Energy Boom Benets Logistics Oered by Phoenix Logistics 22 WES for Success: Preparing Your Operations for Success in an Ecommerce World Oered by VARGO 24 Unreadable GTL Barcodes Create a Bottleneck Oered by Engineering Innovation 26 The Matzo Project Simplies Operations by Partnering with Echo Global Logistics Oered by Echo Global Logistics

All aboard the Lunar Express




GOOD QUESTION What’s one human capability AI can’t match in supply chain management?


How ESG and sustainability trends impact retail


Summer Olympics: logistics for the win


INSIGHT 4 CHECKING IN NS proxy battle: strip it down to the studs? 6 GOOD QUESTION What’s one human capability AI can’t match in supply chain management? 8 10 TIPS Optimizing warehouse eciency 28 SMART MOVES 3 ways to update your hiring strategy 30 WORKER SAFETY 3 keys to strengthen safety 120 LAST MILE Logistics of Olympic proportions

INPRACTICE 10 READER PROFILE: AMY AUGUSTINE SOLVES PROBLEMS AND IMPROVES PROCESSES As senior director of network supply chain with UScellular, Amy Augustine turned reverse logistics into a profit center while making sure no materials ended up in landfills.

99 ANNUAL WEB GUIDE WEB_CITE CITY This categorized guide to leading transportation, supply chain, and technology websites streamlines your search for new partners.

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, 6116 Executive Blvd, Suite 800, North Bethesda, MD 20852. Periodicals postage paid at North Bethesda, MD, and additional mailing oces. 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, P.O. Box 1167, Lowell, MA 01853-9900

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 3



Strip It Down to the Studs?


H edge fund “investors” recently made a takeover run at Norfolk Southern, one of America’s major railroads. Their goal was to “strip this thing down to the studs.” Let me bring you up to speed.

EDITOR Felecia J. Stratton

SENIOR EDITOR Katrina C. Arabe Amy Roach


Ancora Holdings, the investment management company behind the play, holds a large chunk of Norfolk Southern stock. Dissatised with NS current management, the group sought to dump CEO Alan Shaw and COO John Orr. They offered a variety of reasons, primarily poor return on investment to the railroad’s stockholders. There are other reasons. Some are valid. The toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, has cost Norfolk Southern more than $1.7 billion after it agreed to a $600-million settlement in a class action lawsuit, clearly impacting shareholders and cutting into much- needed cash for operational improvements that both sides agree are needed. The NS workforce was split on the proxy battle—41% of union members agreed with dumping NS management, while 58% of the workforce released a statement: “Railway labor unions, shippers and federal regulators have all warned that Ancora’s plans will jeopardize the safety and service improvements that Norfolk Southern has made since the 2023 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Ancora’s plans for increasing prots are nothing more than short-term cost-cutting to articially lower the operating ratio—all at the expense of its customers, long-term investors and ultimately the U.S. economy. We therefore urge shareholders not to support the Ancora director nominees.” The Teamsters put it less delicately: “Ancora Holdings is actively targeting Norfolk Southern, preying on what they view as a ripe opportunity… to deepen their own pockets, clearly prioritizing nancial efciency and short- term investment strategies at the neglect of maintaining a robust workforce and reliable infrastructure.” Shippers, industry experts, regulators, and union members encouraged current stockholders to back Norfolk Southern management and fend off the takeover play. And on May 9, 2024, they voted to do just that. That was the correct response. Can NS do better? Yes. All railroads can do better. Unfortunately, NS— and all of us—are operating in an economic environment not of their, or our, making. Now is especially not the time for hedge fund gurus to come along and strip NS or any railroad down to the studs, seeking a payday by cashing in on decades of infrastructure investment, a history of forging customer relationships, and labor’s continuing commitment to serving those customers.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Tom Gresham • Karen M. Kroll Gary Wollenhaupt


Keith Biondo, Publisher

DESIGNERS Nicole Estep Arlene So

Amy Palmisano





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4 Inbound Logistics • May 2024

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Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain Management: What’s One Human Capability AI Can’t Match? Empathy

GENUINE COMPASSION for a potential shipper/carrier’s needs. That is extremely important in logistics. We can quote, ship, and lead all day but compassion is a big one. We are human and want to be treated as such. –Debra Smith Freight Broker, Dee Dee Logistics CRISIS MANAGEMENT. The Baltimore Bridge collapse left supply chain leaders in disarray as they had to quickly assess the situation, develop a new plan, and prioritize their mitigation needs. AI may never match the capabilities of humans in such situations. –Anna Lo Vice President, Supply Chain & Business Excellence, Cirba Solutions NUANCE. AI can never replace the nuanced communications between the front line and the broader supply chain team. This requires a human’s unique ability to build meaningful connections,

AI cannot process human emotions and make genuine connections. This makes empathy a uniquely human capability in supply chain management. It underpins

the foundation for building robust relationships, guides ethical decision- making, and helps in navigating the multifaceted challenges that are intrinsically human. –Nishith Rastogi Founder and CEO, Empathy plays a crucial role in building and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders in supply chain management. AI may never be able to replicate the human ability to connect and understand on an emotional level. –Sreenivas Vemulapalli Vice President, Engineering, Bridgenext I vetted this with ChatGPT; here’s the response: One human capability that AI may never fully match is empathy. While AI can simulate understanding and respond to emotional cues, it lacks genuine emotions and personal experiences that underpin true empathy. –Laura Lee Holmbo Business Development Director, TradeTrans Corporation

listen with empathy to concerns, discuss new ideas, and provide constructive feedback.

LEVITY. The ability to make light of the situation to take the pressure o the team. –Tom Moore CEO and Founder, ProvisionAi SYNTHESIZING PARADOX, which is key to asking questions and setting goals in every real-life, ambiguous context. The best GPS can drive your car, armed with real-time data to get to your destination e„ciently. But you’ve got to tell it where to go. –Fabrizio Fantini PhD, VP Product Strategy, ToolsGroup

PERSPECTIVE. AI lacks the ability to accommodate complexities that require ethical and unexpected judgments. Humans can understand the entire perspective, considering external factors that are not yet modeled. –Anthony Monaghan GB Industry, Transportation Leader WTW MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ADAPTABILITY. AI cannot yet replicate humans’ mental and physical adaptability when unexpected scenarios arise. The immediate future

–Sean Nolan Founder and CEO, Blink

CREATIVITY. While AI can generate solutions based on patterns and data analysis, it lacks the ability to think outside the box and come up with truly innovative ideas. Creative problem- solving involves intuition, imagination, and contextual understanding—areas where AI falls short compared to human cognition. –Vlad Kadurin Chief Product and Operations Ocer, Ship.Cars

6 Inbound Logistics • May 2024


holds a balance between AI for e„ciency and human oversight and troubleshooting for adaptability.

Cultivating Relationships

–Ira Renfrew Chief Product Ocer, Outrider

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE as well as imagination and intuition. This is why humanizing data is key to achieving accuracy, reducing AI hallucinations, and bringing credibility and measurable impact to your AI strategy. AI capabilities are limited without the support of high-quality data and a human-centric approach. –Emanuela Delgado Senior Group Vice President of the Revolution, Red Lightning Group, Parts Town INGENUITY. AI functions best when working in tandem with human ingenuity. While AI excels at complex but predictable tasks, humans are required to handle unexpected situations and variables or when innovation is the key ask. –Anand Padia Associate Vice President, Program Management, Trigent Software GUT FEEL combines intuition, instinct, education, and the emotional impact of life experiences into one’s decision-making process. Humans can channel personal knowledge and emotions combined with research data (possibly from AI) to make crucial supply chain decisions. Sometimes, a hunch is the best way to make a decision. –Stephen Dombroski Director of Consumer Markets, QAD INTUITION. AI cannot replicate the nuanced intuition or knowledge of new upcoming events that humans bring to the table. AI excels in pragmatic use cases such as predicting the next best parts in the cloud-based robotics design process. –Annie Noel Chief Operating Ocer, Vention PERCEPTIVENESS. Humans can discern subtleties and context AI algorithms may overlook, allowing us to ensure quality control, identify irregularities, and make informed decisions. Human expertise is

Relationships are formed by keeping promises and doing what you say you are going to do. From these relationships, trust is earned and with trust, e„ciencies are gained. –Bill McCoy Chief Operating Ocer, Riverstone Logistics

AI can’t replace the human capacity for relationship building. While it can help automate straightforward questions, it may struggle to navigate di„cult conversations and interpersonal dynamics that require a nuanced understanding of the situation. –Seth Frederickson VP, Product Management, FourKites


In many real-world scenarios, there is not a large amount of high-quality data or one clear metric that can encapsulate all of the tradeo s that need to be made. That is where human judgment is required. –Adam McElhinney CEO, Uptake While AI can recognize patterns and automate routine tasks, it lacks the ability to make decisions

that require true judgment. In supply chain management, it’s often necessary to navigate ambiguous situations and make tradeo s between competing priorities. Human decision-makers can consider the broader implications. –Je† Durham CTO, Princeton TMX

invaluable during emergencies as we respond with empathy, adaptability, and ethical consideration, which are di„cult for AI to comprehend. –Seratun Jannat Lead Data Scientist, GEODIS in Americas FLEXIBILITY. Supply chain volatility has become our new normal. The human ability to react in real time and course correct based on new information is imperative to navigating supply chain turbulence for our shippers and carriers. –Zach Jecklin Chief Information Ocer, Echo Global Logistics

Answer upcoming Good Questions at: good-question We’ll feature some responses.

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 7


Tremendous growth in warehousing and related industries in the past decade brings real challenges—inexperienced labor, safety concerns, and squeezing productivity out of limited space. The right strategies and technology can meet these challenges. Optimizing Warehouse Efficiency


8 ASSIST OPERATORS WORKING AT HEIGHT. Reach trucks are a common solution for narrow, high warehouse aisles, with operators picking and placing pallet loads from tight storage locations at great heights. Fork-mounted cameras and lights can help operators precisely pick and place pallet loads in elevated storage locations, enabling consistent performance and limiting damage to pallets and product. 9 GO DOUBLE DEEP. Another way to boost storage density is to use double deep congurations, in which operations store two pallets in a single location, with one behind the other. Going two pallet loads deep can enable up to 50% more capacity than single selective racking without occupying signicantly more oor space.

TO SUPPORT SAFETY EFFORTS. Forklift operator training, retraining, and proper operating procedures can reduce accidents by 70%, finds OSHA. Operator assistance solutions can help support best practices, from traditional awareness systems to advanced technologies that can automatically adjust truck performance.

2 FIGHT OPERATOR FATIGUE. Over the course of a shift, operator productivity can decrease as fatigue mounts. With a large portion of operating costs going to nding and retaining a limited labor pool, it’s crucial to maximize productivity all shift long. Ergonomic equipment can ght operator discomfort and keep them

lithium-ion batteries, do not require the same dedicated space for charging, storage, and maintenance, so warehouses can reclaim valuable space for core functions. 7 GO UP, NOT OUT. As warehouse space grows more expensive, many operations maximize their horizontal footprint by building up, rather than out. Very narrow aisle (VNA) lift trucks can take advantage of these higher-level locations by operating in aisles as narrow as 56 inches and accessing storage locations more than 50 feet high.

comes from just 20% of SKUs. Organize pick faces so that the most frequently picked items are in the most convenient pick locations, also known as the ergonomic golden zone. This can minimize reaching and straining to access inventory, The less time pickers travel between locations, the more time they can spend actually picking. Equipment features such as the option to move a pallet truck between pick locations without having to climb back on, saves steps and seconds between picks. 6 RECLAIM INDOOR SPACE FOR CORE FUNCTIONS. Not all warehouse space is used for processes such as receiving, storage, and picking; and boost throughput. 5 OPTIMIZE ORDER PICKING PATHS. lead-acid battery charging, maintenance, and storage typically requires dedicated indoor facilities. Newer lift truck power sources, such as

efcient for a full shift. 3 BRIDGE THE GAP WITH ROBOTS. Finding and retaining

labor is a consistent issue for warehouses. Robotic lift trucks can relieve labor pressures by automating repetitive load transportation, and storage and retrieval workows, so employees can focus on higher-value tasks. 4 LEVERAGE THE GOLDEN ZONE. The 80/20 rule applied to order picking means 80% of high-velocity, fast-paced order picking movement


WAREHOUSE PERFORMANCE. Identify key warehouse performance metrics and evaluate your own performance against historic levels and industry benchmarks for best-in-class performance. The Warehousing Education and Research Council releases a yearly DC Measures report that features a list of industry-wide warehouse performance benchmarks.


8 Inbound Logistics • May 2024

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READERPROFILE Solving Problems, Improving Processes

as told to Karen Kroll

RESPONSIBILITIES: Leading the supply chain that supports building and maintaining UScellular’s wireless network. This includes strategic sourcing; planning and forecasting materials; and overseeing six warehouses, among other responsibilities. EXPERIENCE: Director, network supply chain and indirect procurement; director, business strategy; senior manager, reverse logistics; manager, reverse logistics; manager, supply chain e‹ectiveness; senior business analyst; all with UScellular. Managing consultant, Revere Group; senior consultant, BearingPoint Consulting; systems engineer, Intergraph. EDUCATION: Loyola University, Chicago, MBA, Operations Management and International Business; Miami University, BS, Applied Science, Engineering Management. AMY AUGUSTINE is senior director of network supply chain with UScellular, the fourth-largest U.S. full-service wireless carrier.

W hen I earned my undergraduate degree in engineering management I knew that I didn’t want to work in the automotive industry, even though many of my classmates did. Instead, I went to work drawing production lines. I traveled to many manufacturing plants and caught the travel bug. My next job was a consulting role with KPMG. Even though I didn’t check all the boxes on the job description, I interviewed for the job and landed it. Women tend to not apply for jobs unless we check every box. Don’t sell yourself short! If you are interested in a role and don’t check all the boxes, you still need to apply and network to get that interview. At KPMG, I spent about four and a half years implementing SAP for the U.S. Army and creating new business processes for the Army’s supply chain.

We needed to gure out what path each product would take. A rst step was a cosmetic inspection of returned products. That alone yielded $1 million in savings, providing a return on investment in six months. Over time, we became smarter regarding what was coming back and through what channel to push each product. We weren’t equipped to be resellers, so we partnered with vendors in revenue-sharing arrangements. We learned what each was good at, and how to move products through them. While the reverse logistics function and product mix has changed over the years, the focus on making sure nothing ends up in landlls continues. For the past 18 months, my team has been working on an organizational transformation. Before I took this role, UScellular didn’t have logistics, inventory, or forecasting and planning

That’s how I got into the supply chain eld. I love being able to solve problems and gure out how to improve processes. At UScellular, one of my biggest successes was making reverse logistics a prot center, while making sure no products ended up in landlls. My team and I knew phones and accessories would come back in different conditions—from items that are new in the box to a drone that’s in 500 pieces. “Being open and honest in communication helps bring everyone along. I’m open to knowing we’ll make mistakes, but we will learn and get better.”

10 Inbound Logistics • May 2024


teams for Network Supply Chain. This has been a unique opportunity to build out the teams and supply chain processes to support the network. It has been a journey for the people on my team and those we serve in network engineering. One big move was right-sizing our warehouse footprint. We had 12 about one year ago, and today we have six. It’s more efcient and saves us about $1 million annually in storage fees. Our next big project is addressing ‘milk run deliveries’ from our warehouses to our cell sites. These deliveries consume a lot of gas and aren’t good for the environment. To change this, we’re shifting to full truckload deliveries of equipment to cell sites that are near each other, versus doing individual deliveries. Being open and honest in communication helps bring everyone along. I’m open to knowing that we’ll make mistakes, but we will learn and get better. Supply chain is about processes and identifying ways to mitigate the risks you encounter. I love being able to use my strategic thinking and problem-solving skills to drive transformation across a supply chain. n

Amy Augustine Answers the Big Questions 1 Do you have any heroes? My father is one of my

3 If you could witness one event what would it be? I would like to have witnessed the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence. I have a copy of it hanging in my home oce. It is still relevant today. 4 What would you tell your 18-year-old self? Take more risks, especially early in your career.

heroes. I learned leadership skills from the way he led and interacted with others. I also admire Mother Teresa, as someone who gave her life for others and

did good in the world. 2 Do you possess any hidden talents? I know many Kung Fu moves.

Designed for professionals working in purchasing, operations, logistics and transportation who want to apply analytical technology to improve data-driven and actionable decisions, this STEM-designated 30-credit hour program includes eight core analytics, supply chain management and synthesis courses, plus two electives in finance, information systems, marketing or supply chain. The degree also prepares data scientists, analysts and technicians by enhancing domain knowledge in supply chain management. Announcing the University of Missouri–St. Louis Master of Science in Supply Chain Analytics Bridging Data Science and Supply Chain


Analytics Courses Intro to Business Analytics* Predictive Analytics and Data Mining Prescriptive Analytics and Optimization

Synthesis Courses Business Logistics Systems* Supply Chain Modeling

Supply Chain Management Courses Supply Chain Strategy* Supply Chain and Operations Management* Strategic Sourcing

Supply Chain & Analytics University of Missouri–St. Louis

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May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 11


The Supply Chain in Brief



• The CMA CGM Foundation signed a strategic partnership with the World Food Programme to support efforts to

• As part of its participation in Canada’s National Shipbuilding Program, Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding awarded a contract to GEODIS to provide inbound logistics services for ship construction and repair projects.

provide food and assistance to people affected by conicts, disasters, and climate issues. Under the “Containers of Hope” program, the CMA CGM Foundation will transport 1,000 TEU-equivalent containers per year free of charge. • DHL Group expanded its GoHelp program to Europe due to the growing number of recent catastrophes. With the launch of GoHelp Europe , the program now covers all global disaster hotspots.

• TBInternational, a global fashion and textile producer, has successfully gone live with o9’s Digital Brain platform for next-generation demand forecasting and operations planning capabilities. • NESTLE International placed an order with OMNIQ Corp. for the supply of mobile data collection, computing, and communication equipment. The rugged forklift-mounted mobile computers and barcode readers help increase workforce productivity by providing the ability to scan inventory and track data using integrated features through mobile devices. • International Trading Fashion & Apparel Supply Limited , the purchase entity of the KIABI Group, has chosen Pivot88’s quality, compliance, and traceability platform to facilitate exible and comprehensive facility audits. • Cornerstone Building Brands , a North American manufacturer of exterior building materials, will implement comprehensive technologies from ToolsGroup and its partner River Logic for end- to-end value chain optimization. • Nintendo will implement EPG’s LFS warehouse management system to control the material ow for its video games and video game consoles. The


Rob Standish joins MD Logistics as vice president of corporate strategy and technology, a new position created within the organization. He most recently served as vice president of global operations for an electronics manufacturer.

Instant Pot Brands appointed four new senior executives to its leadership team: Chris Robins as CEO, Craig Carrigan as CFO, Lisa Kronish as chief human resources ofcer and Rudy Sumarli as executive vice president, supply chain and R&D. Starbucks appointed Heather Ostis as its new senior vice president and chief procurement ofcer of global supply chain. In the new role, Ostis will focus on strengthening supplier relationships, improving supplier performance and building network resiliency. Before joining Starbucks, Ostis served as Delta Air Line’s vice president of supply chain management.

company will also use the TIMESQUARE supply chain control tower, which provides a dashboard for operations.

12 Inbound Logistics • May 2024


> M&A


• NFI’s Howard Robinson ( pictured, middle ), who has

n Sheer Logistics acquired CargoBarn ,a tech-enabled third- party logistics provider

been a truck driver for 30 years, was one of five recipients of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Professional Driver of the Year award. In 2023, he received NFI’s Million Mile Award, which awards drivers for completing more than one million safe miles. • The Hyster H40-70A forklift series is a winner of the 2023 GOOD DESIGN Award. The H40-70A models, which are available with 4,000 to 7,000 pound lift capacities, are designed around a singular base configuration derived from direct feedback from operators, managers, technicians, safety coordinators and other professionals. From there, operations can tailor additional features, creating a forklift based on their specific application. • AutoScheduler.AI was selected as a winner of the SAP Innovation Awards 2024 in the Partner Paragon category. • The Women In Trucking Association, Truckstop, and Transportation Intermediaries Association named Sarah Ružcorn , president of Trinity Logistics , as the winner of the 10th annual Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award. • Landstar System honored Katie Mountain , vice president of business development, and Jim Todd , CFO, with the Landstar Outstanding Management Achievement Award based on e„ective leadership, managerial skills, and significant contributions in sales and operations. Former Landstar President and CEO Jim Gattoni, who retired in February 2024, received the Je„rey C. Crowe-Robert E. Zonneville Lifetime Achievement Award.

based in Atlanta. The newly combined entity will ultimately operate under the Sheer Logistics brand.

n The Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) acquired Northern Dry Bulk , a Clare, Michigan-based company specializing in the transportation and storage of plastic resins in the United States and Canada. n Following the acquisition of John Christner Trucking , Hirschbach Motor Lines has integrated operations of the two companies with joint branding. Logistics and third-party capacity o„erings now operate under the name Hirschbach Solutions. n Quantix, a supply chain services company to the chemical industry, has acquired CLX Logistics. The acquisition creates the largest chemical market- focused 3PL globally. n Descartes Systems Group purchased OCR Services , a provider of global trade compliance solutions and content. n Dachser will acquire Brummer Logistik GmbH in Germany and Brummer Logistic Solutions GmbH & Co KG in Austria, pending approval from German

and Austrian competition authorities. The purchase encompasses the entire operational business of the Brummer Group.



n Gebrüder Weiss hosts an international cycling campaign, GWcycles, which combines an athletic challenge with environmental protection. The company will plant 7,000 trees in Nicaragua for the kilometers covered by the participants.

n A. Duie Pyle, a family- owned transportation and logistics provider based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024.

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 13

TAKEAWAYS Shaping the Future of the Global Supply Chain

WORKFORCE WOES: TECHNOLOGY TO THE RESCUE? It’s no secret that supply chain operations are experiencing notable workforce shortages. A January 2024 report from logistics technology solutions provider Descartes showed 76% of survey respondents agreeing with that statement and 61% saying the problem is extreme. So how are companies coping? And what are they planning for the future? That is the focus of Descartes’ newest survey, What Are Companies Doing to Survive the Supply Chain and Logistics Workforce Challenge? Some 1,000 industry decision-makers responded to the survey, sharing strategies that span across technology investment and deployment, recruitment and retention, and e orts that involve external resources. Here are some key highlights: Technology: • 54% of supply chain and logistics leaders are focused on automating non-value-added and repetitive tasks with technology to improve worker productivity. • Warehousing operations (40%) and transportation operations (32%) are the top areas for technology investment. • Delivery route optimization (54%) and driver mobile productivity solutions (45%) are the top technology choices for mitigating labor shortages. Strategy: • 50% are co-mingling operations with other divisions to create scale and synergy. • 40% are leveraging fleet and common carriers while 39% are co-mingling operations with other companies. Attracting Workers: • Working time flexibility (35%) and adopting the latest technology (34%) are top tactics for attracting workers. • 43% are working with trade schools to attract workers, while 37% are partnering with universities. • Immigrants (37%) are a top alternative source for workers, followed by people with disabilities (34%). Which of the following tactics is your organization using to attract workers?

WHERE DOES RESILIENCY REIGN? If you’re looking to locate or expand your company in the world’s most resilient business atmosphere, head to Denmark. The small Scandinavian country ranks highest on a diverse spectrum of 18 resilience factors, including logistics strength, education, and inflation, according to the 2024 FM Global Resilience Index from commercial property insurer FM Global. The factors are sourced from a combination of respected third parties and FM Global’s vast engineering database, which draws upon data from FM Global property risk engineers who visit and assess more than 100,000 locations annually around the world. This year’s index also incorporates proprietary AI-enhanced risk modeling. The 10 countries with the most resilient business climates are: ‡ Denmark 2 Luxembourg

3 Singapore 4 Switzerland 5 Germany 6 Sweden

7 Finland 8 Norway 9 Belgium 10 Central United States

( The U.S. is divided into three separately ranked regions. )

Source: Descartes

14 Inbound Logistics • May 2024


QUICK WINS VS. LONGTERM GAINS Supply chain managers frequently need to make a choice between decisions that oer quick wins and those aimed at long-term gains. Making decisions throughout the pandemic and amidst recent supply chain disruptions like the Red Sea attacks and the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East can take a toll on long-term planning. This balancing act isn’t always easy, and only 55% of chief operating ocers (COOs) feel that they are eectively operating regenerative supply chains after the past few years of turmoil, according to The Kearney COO Study 2024 from global management consulting firm Kearney and Amazon Web Services. The second annual report is based on a survey of senior operations leaders across more than 10 industries and provides both a retrospective of the accuracy of their forecasts from last year and a look ahead to what to expect throughout 2024. Here’s what they had to say: 2022 Forecast vs. 2023 Reality: • 63% of COOs forecast growth of 10% to 19% in 2023; actually it averaged out at 3% to 4% globally. • COOs singled out innovation and new products as two of the three top growth drivers for their companies; this held true, especially in the United States. • 85% of COOs said they would make changes to their manufacturing footprint; this proved accurate, particularly in the United States. • COOs overestimated their expected digitalization progress in every area, most notably o by 13 percentage points in sourcing and procurement and by 10 points in manufacturing. • 66% of COOs said energy savings/renewables and climate change mitigation were top priorities in 2022; only 25% had achieved their energy consumption and eciency goals and 19% their carbon footprint goals in 2023. Forecast for 2024: • More optimism about growth: 38% of COOs anticipate growth of 10% to 19%; 15% believe growth will exceed 15%. • Belt tightening: 30% want to cut 8% or more from their expenditure; another 51% are targeting 5% to 7%; only 1% foresee cost cuts of 0% to 2%. • Prioritizing investments with quick ROI: 7% to 10% of COOs will pursue eciencies in maintenance and equipment eectiveness; 5% to 7% driver- based statistical forecasting; and 4% to 6% distribution optimization. • Innovation as a joint venture: 76% of COOs are looking for joint innovation with suppliers; 87% expect this to be a key criterion in choosing suppliers; 86% said collaboration was key to operating a regenerative supply chain. • More progress in the ‘E’ of ESG: 76% of COOs are leaning heavily on energy savings; 60% on carbon pricing mechanisms to evaluate their sustainability performance. • A cautious approach on GenAI: 78% of these companies have invested in GenAI, but for the majority it’s for a single use case. • Workforce of the future: 82% said labor cost was the most important factor in sourcing; 28% of COOs are concerned about their ability to upskill employees; 23% worry about the ability to retain talent; 21% worry about labor shortages.

LAW & ORDER: WAREHOUSE UNIT Failures or errors in warehouse software can cause logistics headaches for users—and for the providers oering the technology. But in one recent case, the software snafu turned into a multi-million-dollar court case that has the supply chain sector buzzing. Logistics company GXO Warehouse Co. (formerly XPO Logistics) was recently ordered to pay more than $33 million to chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli as a result of failures in a warehouse distribution software system. Lindt & Sprüngli, a major chocolatier that owns brands such as Russell Stover and Ghirardelli, brought the lawsuit against GXO due to issues occurring during Lindt’s 2014 acquisition of Russell Stover amidst eorts to consolidate warehousing for its chocolate brands. The software failure in December 2018 and early 2019 led to what Lindt described as “massive harm” from sales losses and additional costs during the peak chocolate sales season. The jury awarded Lindt $18.3 million for lost profits and $15.1 million for extraordinary expenses after a trial in the Western District of Missouri. The case included claims of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, breaches of contract, and professional negligence, all of which the jury found in favor of Lindt. “We strongly disagree with the verdict, which relates to a legacy issue from 2017 under prior management, and intend to appeal,” noted a GXO spokesperson.

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 15


SNAPSHOT: CARGO THEFT What commodities do cargo thieves most commonly target? And from where are they usually stolen? Data in the recently published Annual Cargo Theft Report 2023 from TT Club and BSI SCREEN Intelligence answers these questions.

MEASURING THE HEALTH OF GLOBAL TRADE The global supply chain got a recent check-up and the prognosis is surprisingly healthy: Q1 2024 marked the third consecutive quarter of upward momentum after a prolonged period of sluggish activity, according to Tradeshift’s Q1 Index of Global Trade Health . Spurring the diagnosis are the following data points: • Transaction volumes across the transport and logistics sector reached their highest levels in nine months as order volumes across the manufacturing sector showed fresh signs of recovery. • Total trade activity across the Tradeshift network improved by one point compared to the previous quarter. • Demand signals across the manufacturing sector climbed to one point below the expected range while new orders rose at one point above expectation. It’s not a completely clean bill of health, however. The report indicates Q1 was the ninth consecutive quarter of overall growth below expectations. Here are some key trends that impacted the wellbeing of global supply chains during Q1: • China turnaround : Trade activity in China rose at the most significant rate in Q1. Transaction volumes grew at two points above the expected level, the highest in more than two and a half years. • U.S. moves up a gear : The United States also continued gaining momentum in Q1, with total trade activity tracking one point above the baseline. Order volumes surged to seven points above the expected level. • Eurozone edges higher : Activity levels across the Eurozone improved to three points below the baseline in Q1 having sunk as low as nine points below that level just six months earlier. New orders grew at six points above anticipated levels. • UK orders disappoint : UK trade activity improved to four points below the expected level in Q1, but order volumes were sluggish, tracking five points below expectations.

Source: TT Club / BSI SCREEN

Cargo Theft Types Theft from facility Theft of vehicle Theft from container/trailer Theft from vehicle Hijacking Theft of container/trailer

Theft of employee belongings/truck parts Other

Source: TT Club / BSI SCREEN

LAST MILE GETS FLEXIBLE With new supply chain disruptions popping up all too frequently, flexibility has become a big buzzword. It’s also widely sought after as a key to e§ciently addressing last-mile delivery challenges—a new essential for brands aiming to improve e§ciency and customer perception. Flexible last-mile processes have a crucial impact on shipper revenue, loyalty, and bottom line, finds a survey of retailers in the U.S. and Canada conducted by digital insights firm Incisiv and last-mile provider Veho. The survey also revealed that: • Delivery choices are a must for D2C brands. 77% of brands emphasize the need for a wide range of last-mile delivery options for growth, and 81% identify two-day delivery as critical to satisfying customer expectations. • Fast, flexible delivery options increase sales. Giving shoppers choice and control increases ecommerce conversion rates by 8.9%, and having options increases average order value by 10.6%. • E¡ective last-mile strategies reduce operational costs. 92% of brands reduced operational costs by avoiding issues related to delivery mishaps, returns, and customer service.

16 Inbound Logistics • May 2024


SUPPLY CHAIN¤RELATED BANKRUPTCIES ON THE RISE We’re all familiar with the havoc wreaked by the clogged ports, long backorders, and scant raw materials supply of 2021 and 2022. While it seems like a distant memory now, some companies are still feeling the e ects—all the way to bankruptcy court. Corporate bankruptcy filings reached a 13-year peak in 2023 and are continuing at a steady pace—with many companies linking their financial troubles to pandemic- related snags in their supply chain such as the inability to acquire essential components and materials, oversupplied inventories, and labor shortages, finds a recent S&P Global Market Intelligence report. For instance, appliance parts manufacturer Robertshaw US Holding Corp., automotive parts retailer PARTS iD Inc., and co ee trader Mercon Co ee Corp. all cited supply chain issues in recent bankruptcy petitions, according to S&P Global. To stave o future bankruptcies brought on by supply chain disruptions, many companies are increasingly rethinking and investing in their supply chains to safeguard against potential risk events, notes the report, which singles out Target Corp. as an example. The mega retailer has been transforming its supply chain through automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to improve demand forecasting and inventory positioning. “Without huge investments in stores, supply chain, and tech, there is no drive-up or order pickup, which were monumental growth drivers during COVID and today,” said Target CFO Michael Fiddelke during a March earnings call. Should we expect the pace of supply chain-related bankruptcy filings to persist? Seems so. “Absent significant changes to wage growth and inflation that could accelerate the Fed’s rate cut timeline, the pace of U.S. corporate bankruptcies is unlikely to slow significantly before the end of the year, with disrupted supply chains remaining a key risk factor,” the report notes.

SPOTLIGHT ON SUSTAINABLE SOURCING ESG and sustainability continue to top the agendas for retail operations worldwide. What are some of the key trends and how are they impacting the retail sphere? A new study, Retail Sourcing Report: 2024 Supply Chain Sustainability Trends , released by TradeBeyond, digs into these concerns. The report analyzes emerging ESG trends as well as regulatory shifts and the innovative practices reshaping retail sourcing. Key highlights include: • Corporate sustainability commitments: More than 80% of respondents intend to increase investment in environmental sustainability projects within the next year, indicating a growing prioritization of ESG goals at the executive level, particularly in the areas of renewable energy, ethical sourcing, and sustainable packaging. • Ethical sourcing yields ROI: With ethical sourcing becoming a critical consumer expectation, brands focusing on transparency and sustainability in their supply chain are poised to build stronger trust and loyalty. • A growing sustainability market: As companies gear up to respond to increasing consumer and legislative demand for eco- friendly products, more suppliers of sustainable materials and packaging, as well as service providers, are helping them. The global sustainability market in retail and CPG is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% from 2024 to 2029. • AI enhances ESG reporting: The integration of AI in ESG risk management is expanding, with a focus on improving the accuracy and e§ciency of emissions reporting and environmental data processing. • Sustainable fibers adoption lags: Despite the availability of sustainable alternatives to traditional fibers, the textile industry’s adoption rate is slow, signaling an opportunity for innovation and market leadership. • Regulatory landscape tightens: ESG regulations increased by 155% over the past decade and are set to continue that pace in 2024, which sees the introduction of new sustainability disclosure requirements in the UK and a European Union crackdown on misleading product sustainability claims.

Source: S&P Global

May 2024 • Inbound Logistics 17

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