Table of Contents: July 2005

many happy returns
Perhaps you've heard that no one's seeing any real returns on their RFID investments? Then you haven't talked to America’s truckers.
keep it moving
The key to smooth-running conveyor operations is keeping everything in motion. That's where sortation systems come in.
grounds for rejection?
Think you're picky about vendors? Green Mountain Coffee Roasters once showed a bidder the door for suggesting it could learn Green Mountain's distribution business in just four days (the nerve!). So how did it ever find a supplier that measured up?
big challenges at Big Blue: interview with Gary Smith
Just what does a global logistics VP do at a company that has virtually no distribution assets? For IBM's Gary Smith, the answer is to run what must be the world's most complicated outsourcing program.
all seeing, all knowing
New hypernetworked monitoring systems allow users to track the whereabouts of materials anywhere in the supply chain at any time. And the good news—some of them are actually affordable.
Ritz Camera gets the picture
The lenses and camera bags it sells come from far-away lands, but Ritz Camera has a surprisingly detailed grasp of their whereabouts while in transit. Its secret? A really competent 3PL.

Voices
Big Picture: first, you have to open the window
The value of supply chain visibility goes beyond customer satisfaction, as important as that may be. It also enables managers to shift their inventory and transportation modes if needed to respond to changing circumstances.
Fastlane: name your terms
Ask a dozen logistics managers to define "4PL" and "LLP" and you're likely to get a dozen different answers. We desperately need some standard definitions.
Outbound: life or death logistics
Though you might be surprised to hear it, there are more similarities than differences between private-sector logistics operations and those conducted by the various military branches that collectively make up the Department of Defense (DOD). For that reason, DC VELOCITY has carried considerable coverage of "defense logistics" in recent months.
Labor Pool: men (or women) behaving badly
he risk of litigation aside, failure to crack down on workplace harassment has another downside: it prevents employees from working to the best of their ability. Nothing is more likely to distract everyone from the tasks at hand. Here are some steps you can take to help keep your workplace harassment-free.
Measuring Up: take the lead!
Before demanding that suppliers let you measure their performance, it's best to practice what you preach. Establish an internal metrics program so that you can learn from your own experience first. Once you've nailed that down, you should think about leading your suppliers down the measurement path as well.
Rfidwatch: the case of the missing mandates
Where have all the mandates gone? Last August, when retailer Best Buy issued an RFID mandate to its suppliers, the word on the street was that the floodgates were about to open.
Inbound
we're already breathing easier ...
SmartWay's not just for truckers anymore.
we can see clearly now
Those tried and true methods traditionally used to gauge economic trends may not be so, well, true anymore.
say cheese!
Mike Baker, president of Quality Mill Supply, says he's serious about business, but he also likes to have fun.
delivering a timeless pitch
As the boys of summer arrive at the midpoint of the 2005 season, the folks at Roadway Express have come up with a very special way to link their 75th anniversary celebration with the national pastime.
they'll want a shorter title for the movie
The Express Delivery & Logistics Association (XLA) is hoping that a study released last month will catch the eye of U.
full of beans (really!)
Call it foresight or call it serendipity .
and the winner is ...
Just as the entertainment world has its Oscars and Emmys, the business world has its Stevies.
Newsworthy
the incredible shrinking trucking industry
For some truckers, it's the best of times, a golden age in which they find their trucks packed, their revenues solid and their profits at record levels.
China 1, Ireland 0
Crown Equipment Corp.
Paragon spins off Ermanco unit
Paragon Technologies has reached an agreement to sell its conveyor and sortation subsidiary, Ermanco, to TGW Transportgerate GmbH of Wels, Austria, for $23 million.
ProLogis deal creates mega DC network
You may not be aware of it, but there's hardly a household in America today that doesn't contain products that have passed through a ProLogis property.
tsunami aid snarled in red tape
Though donations to aid Asian tsunami victims have slowed in recent weeks, some relief workers aren't complaining too loudly.
Wal-Mart puts DC plan on hold
It may not scare easily, but Wal-Mart appears to be getting cold feet when it comes to its plans to build two giant distribution centers in Maryland.

Continuing Education

hit the books
It's only July, but it's not too early to be thinking about heading back to school in the fall.
no material handling manager left behind
No matter who you are—student, educator or industry practitioner—if you're looking for material handling-related educational resources, a good place to start is a 53-year-old organization called the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education.