Table of Contents: August 2005

taking the company private
With truck and driver shortages wreaking havoc on their supply chains, some companies find themselves contemplating what was once unthinkable: starting their own fleets.
taking charge
From RoboChargers that change batteries without human intervention to fast chargers that charge 'em up while they're still in the truck ... managers these days have plenty of choices when it comes to recharging lift truck batteries.
do it right or don't do it at all: an interview with Jim Tompkins
If you're tempted to hire out some of those pesky non-core activities to an outside company, think twice, says Jim Tompkins. Unless you've developed a core competency in outsourcing itself, you could be worse off than when you started.
screen play?
It may not produce the adrenaline kick of Pac Man or Texas Hold 'Em poker, but simulation software can give you a flashy live-action 3D view of what proposed changes will really do to your DC operations.
yes, we have no empty backhauls
For Chiquita Brands, moving 60 million boxes of pineapples and bananas from Central America to U.S. grocers each year is the easy part. The challenge is making sure its refrigerated ships and containers don't return without a payload.

Voices
Big Picture: impossible, but nonetheless mandatory
In 2004, logistics professionals held the line against rising logistics costs. But 2005 might be the year the line breaks.
Fastlane: the weakest link
A new survey from DC Velocity and WERC reveals how shippers are modifying their operations to deal with a shortage of transportation capacity.
Measuring Up: one nail at a time
To build a successful performance management program, you have to start from the ground up, basing the program on a sound framework and taking care not to rush the process.
Outbound: the path of least resistance
Signs have emerged in the last few months that point to a renaissance for the waterways. Frustrated by highway congestion and a shortage of trucks, shippers are giving the inland waterways another look.
Rfidwatch: no time to waste!
Their peers in other industries may be kicking back their heels and enjoying the summer lull, but not those in the thick of the struggle to advance RFID education and research.
Inbound
Yellow boosts presence in China
It has yet to put trucks on the road in China, but Yellow Roadway Corp.
mouse ears not required
Searching for a job? Then look no further than the city the Mouse built.
higher learning
In a development that gives new meaning to the phrase "higher education," an 80-foot-tall automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) from Daifuku America Corp.
goin' yard
As part of its ongoing commitment to U.
a designated driver for the Post?
It's still in the thick of the cut-throat newspaper readership battle in New York City.
what can Blue do for you?
They overhauled IBM's supply chain, wringing millions of dollars worth of savings out of the operation and reducing stock levels to historic lows.
oops! We did it again
After being named one of the Top 10 business magazines in the United States in 2004 by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), <i>DC VELOCITY</i> has been honored once again, this time for industry coverage and editorial excellence.
Newsworthy
3PLs catch Wall Street's eye
Owners of third-party logistics service companies (3PLs) may want to keep the phone lines open.
Microsoft aims to make RFID cheap and easy
Despite what you may have read in the business pages, Microsoft is not reserving all its development resources to battle Google in the search-engine wars.
shippers want their assets (and cargo) covered
It may not be anyone's idea of beach reading, but shippers who ignore the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recent 72-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking do so at their peril.
logistics pros come out on top—again
With rail and truck rates soaring, fuel prices skyrocketing and port congestion creating costly delays, nobody would be surprised to learn that the nation's freight bill rose sharply in 2004.
BNSF policy sparks demurrage debate
With rails cars in short supply, how do you encourage customers to turn cars around quickly? One railroad has apparently decided that its customers will respond better to the stick than the carrot.
oversight
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Continuing Education

have you no standards?
Up until now, pretty much everything about the way inventory was managed in the retail supply chain could be described as non-standard.
back to basics
With trucks in short supply and costs on the rise, now may be a good time to revisit some transportation management basics.