Table of Contents: February 2017

Still fighting the omnichannel battle
The pressing need to learn how to handle omnichannel fulfillment profitably is reshaping retailers' supply chain strategies, according to preliminary results of the 2017 "State of the Retail Supply Chain" study.
Serving the youth a balanced diet: interview with Gregory R. Heim
Feeding tomorrow's talent pipeline is perhaps the most important job of the 21st century educator. Gregory Heim's role is to show students how the fusing of technology and operations management skills can be the recipe for success.
A razor-sharp strategy for distribution A razor-sharp strategy for distribution
In a reversal of the usual chain of events, e-tailer Dollar Shave Club cut ties with its 3PL and built two automated DCs so it could take charge of its own fulfillment operations.
Rack-supported freezer gives fast-growing bakery room to rise Rack-supported freezer gives fast-growing bakery room to rise
A rack-supported structure helped Vieira's Bakery solve its storage space crunch without having to erect a whole new building.
RFID helps Lord & Taylor manage retail displays
When the bar-code system it was using to manage shoe inventories could no longer keep up, Lord & Taylor went in search of a new solution. It found what it needed in RFID.
Smartglasses get a second look from warehouses Smartglasses get a second look from warehouses
With several successful pilots in the books, DCs are starting to show real interest in the technology, vendors say. But is it ready for prime time?
Less-than-truckload carriers shift cargo liability to shippers Less-than-truckload carriers shift cargo liability to shippers
For over a century, the Carmack Amendment has provided liability protection for motor freight shippers. But a carrier group's unilateral policy change last summer upends decades of what many thought was settled law.

Voices
Fastlane: There is life after Amazon
Amazon may lead the pack when it comes to launching splashy, headline-grabbing supply chain programs. But some of its innovations seem to be solutions looking for a problem.
Big Picture: Automated trucks - not a bad idea
Automated vehicles will prove to be safer than their human-operated counterparts, while reducing congestion and traffic flow.
Outbound: Not like Ike
Barack Obama and Congress had the chance to chart transport infrastructure's course for the next 60 years as Eisenhower did for the last 60. It didn't happen.
Inbound
Amazon eyes flying warehouses, underground delivery network
Megaretailer's plans would take last-mile deliveries to new levels—both high and low.
Study: Utah, California home of the U.S.'s worst drivers
New study from an insurance site ranks American drivers from worst to best by state. The findings may surprise you.
High costs, lack of awareness short-circuiting electric vehicle adoption
Survey indicates availability of more-affordable models, better awareness would jumpstart sales of clean, green electric vehicles.
Message in a bottle, er, box
UPS delivers "talking boxes" with holiday messages.
Are you the "Face of the Supply Chain"?
MHI seeks "poster child" for the logistics/supply chain profession.
Toyota opens corporate fitness center
No, employees can't use forklifts in the weight room.
Logistics gives back
Here's our monthly roundup of some of the charitable works and donations by companies in the material handling and logistics space.
Newsworthy
Looming presence of Uber, Amazon casts shadow over brokers' margins
Traditional double-digit paydays will have to withstand the entrance of big-time newcomers bent on margin compression.
UPS buys U.K.'s Freightex in first foray into European brokerage
UPS to leverage Coyote, Freightex networks in trans-Atlantic brokerage push.
Holiday returns volumes reach new high, UPS says
Surge pushes retailers, carriers to cut reverse logistics costs.
Mobile robot tracks inventory on store shelves
"Tally" data could improve supply chain visibility for retailers and DCs.
Project44, McLeod Software team up in API deal
McLeod to incorporate data interchange technology in TMS.
No plans to lobby for longer twin-trailers in '17, ATA says
List of legislative priorities excludes longer-truck efforts.
Need to slash inventory costs will offset calls for protectionism, analyst says
Impact of higher interest rates, surge in e-commerce will propel global trade higher despite rising nationalist tide, Stewart says.