Production of electronics components can't keep pace with demand, so companies should prepare for supply issues now and be realistic about expectations, East West Manufacturing executive Steven Lustig writes. "If you create your process now, during the crisis, the agreement is already in place," he explains.
Internet of things tools and big data are giving supply chain operators an unprecedented level of supply chain visibility, writes Dagny Dukach. "For example, manufacturers can use data analysis tools like SPC (Statistical Process Control) to identify outliers and improve the quality levels of their supply chain processes," Dukach writes.
Proper precautions must be taken at facilities that store or handle flammable materials, such as keeping them away from ignition sources and ensuring ventilation in storage areas, writes Megan Ray Nichols. A good labeling system and employee training are also beneficial.
In 2017, US companies spent almost $1.5 trillion on logistics and shipping, a 6.2% increase from the previous year, according to CSCMP's annual State of Logistics Report. Tight capacity, rising fuel costs and a previously soft market are identified as contributing to higher prices.
The American Trucking Associations, along with 41 other trade associations, have come together to support the DRIVE-Safe Act. The act creates a way for drivers between ages 18 and 21 to drive in interstate commerce, expanding the number of truck drivers available amid the current shortage.
UPS is spending $130 million to obtain 730 new trucks fueled by compressed natural gas. The move will help reduce the company's greenhouse-gas emissions and addresses rising fuel costs.
According to Yone Dewberry, the chief supply chain officer at Land O'Lakes, the current truck driver shortage is one brought on by shippers themselves. The company is working to improve technology access for small carriers and is running pilot programs with Convoy and Uber Freight.
General Motors recently wrapped up a multiyear effort to reorganize IT operations and bring them in-house, says Chief Information Officer Randy Mott. GM has automated tasks and consolidated its footprint, focusing on two enterprise data centers and four geographically situated innovation centers.
Capacity issues and rising logistics costs are creating challenges for Sysco, US Foods and other companies. US Foods is using its own trucks to save on costs, while Sysco has had to use "the spot market more often than we normally would," said Chief Financial Officer Joel Grade.
Predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and other tools could transform the way we think about supply chain management within 10 years, write Allan Lyall, Pierre Mercier and Stefan Gstettner. Fewer supply chain professionals will be needed, they predict, and those that remain will need a different set of skills.