Table of Contents: January 2014

Sunnier days ahead for the economy?
Respondents to our 2014 Outlook Survey have grown more optimistic about the direction the economy is taking. But they're not ready to let go of the reins on spending.
Software change without the pain Software change without the pain
When Xerox and its 3PL needed to improve the accuracy of export data filings, they thought it would mean costly changes to a warehouse management system. Instead, they found a much simpler way.
Material handling's agent of change: interview with George Prest Material handling's agent of change: interview with George Prest
When it comes to the material handling sector, says MHI's George Prest, it's time to recognize it for what it really is: an integral part of the supply chain community.
Shippers getting on board with natural gas
Low-cost, cleaner-burning natural gas is poised to change the transport calculus. But experts warn that excitement over its potential needs to be balanced by thorough research and an understanding of the risks.
Lift truck dealers ... and a great deal more Lift truck dealers ... and a great deal more
Think the only thing lift truck dealers do is sell and maintain equipment? Far from it.
How to fix the 3PL talent problem How to fix the 3PL talent problem
Third-party logistics companies worldwide say recruiting and retaining managers is one of their biggest challenges. Here are some steps providers can take to remedy this growing concern.

Voices
Big Picture: Big data and the art of winning in business
Big data appears to be among the big buzzwords of the moment. But supporters say there's substance behind the hype.
Techwatch: 2-D or RFID: Which is better for item-level marking?
Each technology has its pros and cons, so the choice will depend on your needs—and your price point.
Fastlane: Eight predictions for 2014
What's in store for the industry in the coming year? Several trends bear watching—particularly if you compete with Amazon or have to travel by air.
Basic Training: Help wanted: Octocopter experience a plus
As the shortage of truck drivers and order pickers makes clear, we've stumbled in our work-force development efforts. So what makes us think we'll do a better job training people to design, test, and fix delivery drones?
Outbound: We'll be there for you
With literally hundreds of logistics-related events taking place in 2014, the reality is you will miss most of them. That's where we come in.
Inbound
ACE: The end is near—really
After more than a decade of development, a fully functioning Automated Commercial Environment is finally within sight, customs officials say.
Logistics gives back
'Tis the season for giving. Here are a few examples of how companies in the transportation and logistics sector are helping others.
New answers to age-old supply chain questions
CSCMP conference speakers urge attendees to seek new solutions and improve processes rather than settle for the status quo.
Industrial lighting for the zombie apocalypse
A marketing campaign by Larson Electronics has some fun with pop culture's fascination with the walking dead.
Delivery drones? Amazon's late to the party
The U.S. Marines have been delivering heavy cargo via unmanned cargo helicopters for nearly two years, says DCV blogger.
Supply chain expert writes the book on American Basketball League
A new book by supply chain expert Dr. Robert C. Lieb details the defunct league's brief, colorful history.
"Exchanging Supply Chain Perspectives" blog debuts on DCVelocity.com
New blog by Ryder Supply Chain Solutions executive will offer advice on current supply chain management issues.
Supply chain workshops come with money-back guarantee
Interactive sessions led by longtime supply chain consultants Art van Bodegraven and Ken Ackerman will be offered on a "no risk" basis.
DC Velocity seeks nominations for 2014 Rainmakers
Nominations of candidates with a significant record of accomplishment in the logistics field are being accepted through Feb. 14, 2014.
Newsworthy
Five years on, DHL's U.S. exit continues to cause pain—for parcel shippers
Company, former Ohio hub have moved on, but shippers remain caught in the great duopoly vise.
New drug track-and-trace law "defines 3PLs place in the supply chain," trade group says
Third-party logistics providers are custodians of merchandise, not owners, Congress declares.
Landstar sells supply chain business to XPO Logistics for $87 million in cash
Deal pushes XPO into transportation management business, allows Landstar to exit noncore competency.
Nearly 40 percent of U.S. brokers have licenses pulled after noncompliance with new surety bond rules
About 8,200 brokers impacted by new law, according to FMCSA website.