Our Chattanooga, Salt Lake City, Clearfield, Ogden client – Kenco Logistic Services LLC – Fab 50 + 1


Each year, World Trade 100 looks back on the eventful year for world trade and the supply chains supporting it. Among the people, places and things affecting extended supply chains, it is the influence, or potential influence, that matters. With that in mind, the 2014 list includes positive and negative factors, and new and repeat entries.

3PL Pricing

The maturity of contract logistics as a solution and its ever-expanding role in extended supply chains spell an opportunity to raise the bar. On technology and operations, there is little doubt the industry is in constant forward motion. Even the area of relationships (alliances and collaboration) is seeing progress. The tougher issue that needs to be addressed is pricing. More specifically, pricing models need to evolve to reflect current reality. When just-in-time and continuous improvement were the hot topics, a common observation was that moving from 90 percent to 95 percent was much easier than getting from 95 to 97 percent and then incrementally to 99 percent efficiency. One of the selling points for third party logistics services is the ability to keep the ball rolling on continuous improvement using improved operations, newer technology, and experience from other clients and industries as models. One problem is that gainsharing, which is often part of the compensation agreement, means a diminishing return as the big gains are behind you and it is increasingly harder to move the performance needle that next small increment. Getting to the next level on a pricing model will require a lot of work and close collaboration between supplier and user, but it will be necessary to ensure a healthy 3PL industry.

Affordable Care Act

Controversial is probably the mildest word to describe healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act will have a lasting influence on many facets of supply chain management. One reason is that it is only one of a number of issues related to employment that will drive cost for employers and potentially limit their ability to create jobs. The impact will be felt in warehouses and distribution centers as well as transportation. And, some union contracts that call for strong benefits packages fall under the “Cadillac coverage” provision that means that at least a portion of the benefits is not deductible by the employer.


The American Logistics Aid Network ALAN works in tandem with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOADs) — including the American Red Cross, Feeding America and the Salvation Army — as well as state and federal emergency agencies, including FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide humanitarian relief. ALAN’s web portal serves as a clearinghouse for essential supplies, goods and services during times of crisis. Relief organizations post urgent needs on the portal; these might include requests for local warehouse space, transportation, material handling equipment, advice on how to best move products into position, or other goods and services. ALAN was formed after Hurricane Katrina and has been active in a number of disaster relief efforts and in planning for future response. www.alanaid.org


The move to reduce the number of 3PLs engaged along a supply chain and take those relationships deeper turns those relationships into alliances that may involve multiple logistics services and technology companies or multiple users of those services joining forces for mutual benefit. The important piece is that everyone sees some benefit from the alliance. For examples, see World Trade 100’s Alliance Awards. (WorldTradeWT100.com/Alliance)

Automatic Identification Systems

With prices dropping and technology constantly improving, more is possible with less when it comes to automatic identification. Barcoding Inc. recently demonstrated label printers capable of printing a human-readable and bar-code-readable label with an embedded RFID tag that could be programmed at the same time. An alternative is to get the label stock with serialized RFID tags embedded. Either way, pallet labels with RFID are no problem, and, as speed picks up and costs continue to drop, item-level RFID will be feasible without slowing operations.


With a variety of factors driving labor costs higher and interest rates still low, automation is helping to fill the gap in many logistics functions. Major advances in voice recognition, guidance systems, scanning and other interfaces between man and machine and from machine to machine allow automated systems to function over a greater range of tasks with little or no management intervention. Whether the issue is language, math skills or even the availability of labor, automation seems poised to take a larger role in logistics.

Beneficial Owner

For cargo claims, establishing the beneficial owner of the cargo is an important step. In the broader concept of supply chain management, we are increasingly asking, “Whose supply chain is it?” From the perspective of a manufacturer, the sourcing and some of the distribution may be driven by that manufacturer. A first-tier supplier to the manufacturer may view its supply chain the same way — encompassing more of the sourcing and a short distribution channel. Retailers and wholesale distributors on the business-to-business side may view ownership of a supply chain as reaching out to the customer and back up to perhaps the first-tier supplier. Regardless of who performs at the operations level along the supply chain, a public (or even legal) view might be that the largest entity driving activity along the supply chain is the owner. In cases like the building collapse in Bangladesh, activists identified brands and tried to assign responsibility to those brands for failing to manage the unsafe or unethical practices of their suppliers. In a more positive context, the beneficial owner is usually the entity driving continuous improvement that delivers results for the entire supply chain.

Big Data

As technology provides better visibility along extended supply chains, it also captures more data. Using the vast amounts of data for business intelligence and strategic purposes is not a simple matter. Better tools are being developed, but companies need “big data” strategies to help define goals and how the data will be used. One rich area is on the customer-facing side of the supply chain where omni-channel concepts want to manage retail stores like forward stocking locations for e-commerce fulfillment. Whether for tracking consumer behavior or evolving an omni-channel strategy, turning big data into big information — and then acting on it — will be critical.

Big Rig Bounty Hunters

Cargo theft is a huge problem that is difficult to quantify. In some law enforcement reporting systems, a vehicle theft in which the vehicle is recovered may not include the disposition of the cargo — which may have been the real target. Can a “reality TV show” increase awareness and lead to better responsiveness to cargo theft? Time will tell, but for now, America is being entertained by a group of bounty hunters whose prey is not a bond jumper but a missing truck.

Black Boxes

The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner has raised questions about the outdated flight data recorder and location technology onboard aircraft. A likely consequence will be a mandated upgrade. Though there is typically less need for shipment status reporting on air cargo, one benefit is these systems may already monitor cargo holds and be able to provide better information about the condition of cargo in transit. A parallel development is occurring with the U.S. motor carrier industry as the requirement for onboard recorders moves forward. The devices are intended to monitor safety compliance, but they can add capabilities to monitor and communicate cargo condition.

Bring Your Own Device

What do you do when a worker has a more powerful tool in his or her pocket and wants to use it in your distribution center operation? Some companies are developing methods to allow workers to bring their own devices to the job — though probably not at a shop-floor, order-picking level. A first wave was initiated when executives found their new tablet device wasn’t supported by corporate IT. The ensuing push to include more devices put the ubiquitous Blackberry in jeopardy while opening the door for more tools to have more access to more data. Security is clearly a concern, but those tools appear to be readily available and worth the investment to allow greater productivity. The shop floor and warehouse still need ruggedized and specialized equipment, but from supervision to management, the march is on to employ the newest technology, even if it is not company owned.


Discussions about capacity in the U.S. have focused on a developing shortage of truck drivers. Exacerbated by tight capital markets that make it difficult for many motor carriers to finance expansion of their fleets and networks where needed, the issue continues to be a concern. It is expanding to other areas of logistics as a variety of factors start to affect costs for warehouse and dock labor, mechanics, and other logistics-related jobs. Pressures on wages, changes in benefits (including the impact of the Affordable Care Act), and other factors also come into play. Add the lack of awareness among new workers entering the workforce, and it is a classic supply/demand crunch. More work needs to be done to develop an understanding of the career opportunities in logistics at the entry level.


Professional qualifications are an important part of every industry segment, and the ability to demonstrate competency is a must for career advancement. Because supply chain management crosses through a number of disciplines, supply chain managers and executives have varied backgrounds and skills. Demonstrating competency in procurement doesn’t imply a similar strength in transportation. For those who are already established in their career or whose career path has shifted, a full degree program may not be possible. Continuing education courses and professional certification are often the answer. For that procurement professional who might hold a degree and professional certification, a self-paced study program in transportation, logistics or some other supply chain discipline can add some needed credentials. Some additional work and membership in a professional association that offers certification can help raise those credentials to the next level.


Cloud technology benefits to supply chain management continue to progress. Between software as a service (SaaS) and cloud, there is hardly an application that isn’t available in a remotely hosted form. The ability to add and delete users anywhere along an extended supply chain and give near-realtime visibility to the information they need is still one of the principal benefits. Security is tight and backups and contingency planning are typically very thorough. Viewed in total, getting fast updates to applications and all of the risk mitigation benefits bode well for the continued growth of cloud technology.


High performing supply chains are a product of close collaboration among supply chain partners. Setting common goals and designing a supply chain strategy that achieves them leads to mutual gain. Some of the best examples of supply chain collaboration require commitments and risk from all of the partners in order to share in the benefits. World Trade 100 recognizes some of these strong collaborations in the Alliance Award program co-sponsored with SMC3 and profiled in the January 2014 issue of World Trade 100. Companies that have achieved significant results through their supply chain alliances acknowledge it’s not a simple process or a contract, it’s hard work and it’s a commitment. The results are there in both bottom-line returns and market position and competitiveness.

Contract Packaging

Packaging may be a nearly forgotten art in logistics. With the advent of omni-channel distribution, more distribution centers are facing packaging challenges they never had to deal with before. If it’s not a core competency of the DC operator (beneficial supply chain owner or 3PL), there are contractors who will bring their expertise and operations skill to the DC and set up a contract packaging operation. This can make sense as an add-on service to meet customer packaging requirements as well as deal with questions like, How do you add an e-commerce fulfillment operation to a conventional DC operation?


The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act provides an enforcement tool against corrupt practices by U.S. firms or U.S. company involvement with individuals or organizations engaged in corrupt practices. It has been mirrored in other countries — some of which have a much broader definition of what constitutes a prohibited action. As extended supply chains expand into new territories — especially emerging economies — the issue of confronting corruption takes a more prominent position in supply chain management. A payment to facilitate a business transaction might be allowable in one context and punishable in another. Is a dinner invitation a corrupt practice? It depends. Tread lightly.

Cost to Serve

Not all customers are equal. No surprise there. But large volume doesn’t automatically equate to large profit. When big orders come with high service requirements and price discounts, they can not only erode margins, they can turn margins negative. Modelling total landed costs and cost to serve becomes critical to preserving margins — which means logistics and procurement and manufacturing and all of the other functional areas will have to collaborate on service levels and pricing models.

Democratization of the Supply Chain

Call it customer centric, but supply chains are moving quickly toward a channel of one. This was a refrain during the just-in-time revolution in which pundits forecast the evolution of a lot size of one. It may not be entirely feasible to do either, but mass customization, as it has also been labeled, has been kicking around for a couple decades, and distribution channels have been struggling with a response that gives business and consumer customers that feeling of personalization without overwhelming operations and destroying profitability.

Demurrage Costs

Transportation is all about moving assets: vessels, containers, tractors or trailers — it doesn’t matter what the asset is. Detain a carrier’s assets and you affect their business. Shippers and consignees could see a significant change in their transportation costs if their own docks are inefficient. In addition to losing the use of the equipment that may be sitting at a warehouse dock, carriers face a very real problem with the productivity losses related to drivers. Beyond the unproductive time spent waiting, recent hours-of-service rule changes reduce the availability of this critical asset. A shortage of drivers and reduced productivity from the existing pool means the worst offenders on turning equipment will be paying a price for passing their inefficiency along the supply chain.

Disaster Response

Companies are realizing the need to include disaster response in their risk management and contingency planning — including response on a personal level. The Port of New Orleans prepared for Hurricane Katrina and, by planning and luck, it was capable of maintaining operations after the storm. The problem was in finding its workers and getting them to the port. Not only was this an infrastructure issue — disrupted telecommunications and roads — but those workers were already busy taking care of their own families. These experiences have helped foster a stronger connection between companies and their communities that includes formal processes to respond to need in the communities where they have operations. This often takes place quietly, but it is increasingly important to share best practices.

Edible Underwear

In disaster response circles, relief efforts are often hampered by good intentions. One anecdote from the front lines talks about a donation of edible underwear. While it might appear this solves two problems for disaster victims — food and clothing — the donation was one of many that clogged the channels funneling relief into the affected region. Other examples include heavy coats donated for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Relief organizations urge well-meaning donors to contact the agencies to find out what is needed. Often, the best answer is a cash donation.

Efficiency of Cash

The old line asks how can you make your money work harder, but in supply chain circles, the real question is how to make your money work faster. The cash-to-cash cycle is what supply-chain management is all about. Henry Ford said the manufacturing process begins when the raw material is removed from the earth. There’s a purchase order for that raw material. And, there are purchase orders all along the supply chain up to the final customer. A not-so-new frontier for supply chain management professionals is finding ways to speed those transactions so that the outlay for products or materials can be turned into income in the shortest possible time while preserving profit margins. Speed isn’t everything, but the efficient use of cash gets everyone’s attention.

Global Community

A sense of connectedness continues to evolve as extended supply chains link economic entities and social media helps eradicate social barriers. Corporate citizenship becomes a more important issue for beneficial owners of supply chains because their brand and reputation become linked with the actions of their supply chain partners. Working conditions, environmental impact, ethics and other factors can quickly enhance or taint the reputation of an entire supply chain.

Highway Trust Fund

It’s an all-too-familiar refrain that the U.S. Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and/or the funds that are there are not being used for their stated purpose of maintaining and upgrading highway infrastructure. The trust fund has often been held hostage to make the federal deficit look less imposing. It is also seeing an imbalance between revenue collected and revenue needs. One factor was the economic downturn which led to fewer passenger vehicle miles and fewer truck miles and, therefore, depressed fuel purchases. The push for higher vehicle fuel efficiency, alternative fuels, hybrids and electric vehicles also threatens to affect revenues for the trust fund, which is based on fuel taxes. Despite the fact the transportation industry has said it would willingly pay higher fuel taxes if the funds were used for the highway infrastructure, politicians are reluctant to pass a tax increase.

Independent Contractors

The issue of who is an independent contractor and who is an employee is still being debated. It’s already an issue for the Internal Revenue Service, but it also extends to requirements under the Obama Administration’s healthcare initiative (Obamacare) in determining who is required to obtain healthcare coverage. Then there are the unions who would like to be able to organize workers who companies claim are contract workers.


“You can’t get there from here.” In some emerging economies, efforts to attract manufacturing got ahead of infrastructure development and plants were being built with no adequate roadways to the port. In developed nations, including the U.S., the issue is often the maintenance and expansion of existing infrastructure. It may not block the way, but poor infrastructure and heavy congestion has a negative effect on supply chain productivity. Part of any network optimization should be a site visit to check infrastructure access and conditions at both proposed sites and  existing sites.

Jock Menzies

The logistics industry noted the passing of Jock Menzies whose legacy from a career in logistics included his business achievements but also a leadership role at the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). Menzies was fond of saying that FEMA and other disaster-relief agencies pre-position materials; ALAN pre-positions relationships. ALAN’s role is to coordinate logistics resources in support of disaster relief efforts. It can mean warehouse space, refrigerated trailers or countless other logistics resources companies can provide on a temporary basis. Contact ALAN at www.alanaid.org


First, the issue was medical marijuana, and now CDBAtWork adds legalized recreational use of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Courts are hearing cases and, in states with laws that say employees can’t be fired for doing something on their own time that is legal, the path is not clear. Companies with zero-tolerance drug testing are caught in the middle. Federal laws still class marijuana as an illegal substance, and federal safety regulations for workers like commercially licensed drivers are clear on handling positive drugs tests. With 20 states allowing use of medical marijuana and more considering it, the issue won’t go away.

Mobile Devices

Extended supply chains suffer from a number of gaps in visibility. Moving up the supply chain can also mean moving down the technology ladder. First-tier sources may be connected via cloud technology and other technology tools. The next tier may have fewer resources. And the third tier may have almost no resources. Similar issues can exist on the distribution side of the supply chain. A ready answer is the near ubiquity of mobile devices. Cell towers are often a faster and easier way to reach more areas than stringing telecommunications cables. A supplier’s supplier in a developing economy doesn’t have to be offline. The combination of mobile technology and cloud services can connect more of the supply chain.


More supply chains are focusing attention on opening new channels for sourcing and distribution simultaneously. This adds geographic complexity as opportunities open up to move directly from a source to a destination market where goods had previously flowed through a defined network. The number of origin-destination pairs expands dramatically, along with the complexity of multiple border crossings and the resulting compliance challenges.


The economic, trade and political environments have changed dramatically in the two decades since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. There is still debate about whether it has delivered on its promises. It is time, say many supporters, to revisit the agreement and take it to the next level. What a new agreement would look like is unclear, but a new round of negotiations defining future steps and possibly redefining some troublesome elements of the existing agreement could help, especially where trade between the U.S. and Mexico is concerned.

Northern Sea Route

More ships are sailing the fabled North Sea Route. Far from becoming a new, shorter route between Asian manufacturers and European and American consumers, it is getting more use serving the natural resources industry hauling bulk cargoes. While the future of the route for true container traffic is open to speculation, one fact is the route is largely controlled by the Russian North Sea Route Administration. In the political aftermath of Russian involvement in the Ukraine, that future may look a little hazier.


Changes are underway on the distribution side of the supply chain. Factory-to-DC and DC-to-DC distribution channels between supplier and customer are being joined by smaller, more frequent deliveries that include direct store delivery and direct customer delivery. Retail is seeing some of the most significant changes, but business-to-business channels are also adjusting to parallel developments. A major driver is e-commerce, which is often labelled as one of the channels.

Online Failures

While visible failures of online service and breaches of data security made headlines, the move to cloud technology continued. The issue adds to the risk management/risk mitigation planning for any supply chain. Backups and backups for the backups are one response. Another is setting requirements for supply chain partners to maintain at least comparable security and service interruption protocols. The beneficial owner of the supply chain often responds by taking more control of the data in the supply chain.

Panama Canal

Delays in the expansion project at the Panama Canal affect when bigger ships will actually transit the canal, but they don’t change the long-term impact of the expansion. One interesting development at the Panama Canal Administration was a changed perspective on the role of the canal. Recognizing the canal represents an element in a vast number of extended supply chains and not just a toll booth along the way, the Panama Canal Authority is looking at further expansion plans that develop its capacity as a transshipment hub. They are also looking at market-based pricing that responds to demand with a pricing schedule that includes some fixed cost and variable cost. Meanwhile, the unexpected rise in North American shipments of natural gas and petrochemicals has added a dimension — or expanded it — for the canal.

Port Capacity

Attention has focused on the water side of port operations when it comes to the larger container ships entering service. Some are shifting their gaze to the landside wondering how well the dock interface at some ports will work with the larger volumes big ships represent. Shippers/consignees are concerned that being at the bottom of a stack of containers in the hold of a massive container ship can add time to an already long transit. The dredging may be completed and cranes may be installed, but that’s only the beginning of the port interface. Hostelling, customs clearance, drayage and a long list of tasks must happen quickly and efficiently even as the volumes of containers being processed are concentrated into a shorter window of time. The winners will be the more efficient ports.

Rail Capacity

Fracking has been a boon for transportation, especially railroads. Inaction on pipeline development has added more petrochemical business to the rails. Some high-profile accidents have put an unwanted spotlight on rail safety and could lead to more restrictive safety regulations. In addition, the continued rise of rail intermodal has not yet resulted in any capacity constraints, but rail ramps, drayage operations, and the landside operations and access at ports may constrain capacity as growth continues.

Risk Management

One of the problems with risk management is that it is always fighting the last war. After a series of hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, attention focused on preparing for risks created by natural disasters. If political risk assessment didn’t get an equal amount of attention, or if some of the planning resources were redirected, the Arab Spring, the conflict in Ukraine and other political crises could have provided an unwelcome surprise for many supply chains. True risk management requires vigilance on all fronts — the next big challenge may be unexpected regulatory reforms with new compliance requirements. Rather than a bunker mentality, risk management requires a watchtower approach.

Ship From Store

While much has been made of developing direct-store delivery to eliminate steps in the supply chain, the new kid on the omni-channel block is ship from store. Retail stores actually become forward stocking locations where e-commerce purchases can be delivered from a nearby retail site which may have excess stock or which has been designated for this last-mile distribution. Retailers may be able to protect margins by avoiding markdowns where they have small excess inventories. As part of a fulfillment strategy, customer service can also be improved. The model exists in business-to-business networks where field inventory and distributor networks are common.

Size Matters

FedEx Ground announced it will adopt a dim-weight pricing scheme similar to what applies in its parcel business. Dimensional/weight pricing begins January 1, 2015 for packages less than 3 cubic feet (FedEx Ground was already applying dim-weight pricing on shipments over 3 cubic feet). The less-than-truckload segment has been talking about dim-weight pricing and have been applying it in a limited fashion, but it appears e-commerce fulfillment and margin pressures have finally tipped the scale for at least FedEx Ground to go system-wide with the pricing scheme.

Skill Sets

There are really two issues involved in the question of skill sets for supply chain management. One is the changing needs that are influencing those skill sets and the other is finding the people to join the profession. The broad skill set includes problem-solving, analytical and communications skills. Underlying those are needs for more specific abilities with technology, knowledge of trade functions and compliance, and specific abilities working with complex models. At the higher operations level and on the strategic level, interest in careers runs high. Finding and keeping a workforce on the shop floor and dock level (including drivers) is a different challenge. Much is being said and written about the need to attract and train younger workers — starting in high schools — but even the best efforts are very localized, leaving the bigger problem nearly untouched.

Social Media

It may not sound like a supply chain tool, but social media can provide quick insights into what is happening along an extended supply chain. When all else fails, it appears that Twitter still manages to get the word out about important as well as inconsequential events. Used internally in a supply chain, social media tools provide an instant feed and status check on the supply chain or a specific order. In the case of a natural or manmade disaster, social media can help identify where disruptions exist and how severe they may become.


Is it a deal breaker? Requests for proposal (RFPs) often include key performance indicators (KPIs) for environmental sustainability, but are logistics providers held to account for those KPIs? In some cases, yes. But many providers are pursuing their own aggressive sustainability programs regardless of whether their customer is measuring their performance. Worldwide operators recognize that one of the biggest regulators when it comes to sustainability is public opinion. Besides being good business — reducing waste and costs — sustainability programs demonstrate good corporate citizenship.

Tracking, Micro Tracking

Monitoring goods moving or stored along a supply chain is becoming easier and more affordable. Smaller devices can be planted in loads to monitor not only location but also ambient conditions — including whether a carton has been opened. That information can be communicated through mesh networks and other technology to devices with terrestrial or satellite communications capabilities. The requirement for U.S. motor carriers to install electronic recorders on vehicles for safety compliance provides a bridge for more than vehicle and driver performance data. How much do you want to know and when do you need to know it? Companies are even providing mobile phone-based systems that provide the same visibility when loads are handled by owner operators.

Trade Agreements

The U.S. is engaged in trade negotiations on some landmark multi-national agreements. A trans-Pacific agreement and one with the European Union would shift the focus away from bilateral negotiations and into a more regional approach. This concept was widely discussed as the European Union formed with its first 12 members and the U.S. countered with the North American Free Trade Agreement to compete with other trading blocs including the EU and ASEAN. Putting regional interests above national interests can be a hard sell — just ask the EU. Even the optimists don’t expect the major negotiations involving the U.S. to be completed by the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Twitter storm

Public figures have learned the hard way that reaction to things they say or do can be instantaneous and widespread. When Stephen Colbert made a comment some viewers didn’t like, the hashtag #cancelcolbert showed up immediately. He turned it into a joke, but the reality is that unless you are a comedy brand like The Colbert Report, a Twitter storm about your product or your supply chain can hurt you in the marketplace. Recent ads for Coca-Cola featured the line “You’re on.” A wave of social media posts immediately parodied the slogan as “You’re on coke” with heavy drug references, causing the iconic soft drink maker to pull its advertising campaign. Make sure positive messages are getting out, and watch for and respond to those that could negatively affect your brand.


The geopolitical implications of turmoil in Ukraine may be greater than its direct impact on supply chains. The aftermath may be a different story. Sanctions against Russian government officials and commercial interests and Russian responses to those sanctions have already led companies to pull back from the region. Depending on where strong-willed politicians take this conflict next, the ripples could begin to roll through the region and be felt on a larger scale. Perhaps the lesson for supply chain executives is that you never know where the next potential issue may arise.

Vehicle Size and Weight

To offset productivity losses resulting from changes in motor carrier hours-of-service rules and from a shortage of drivers, the industry is once again asking regulators to raise the bar on vehicle size and weight. Opponents make strong arguments that heavier vehicles do more damage to an already crumbling infrastructure. Safety advocates mount their claims, and the issue stalls as the discussion collapses into a contest of claims and counter claims. States that have established higher minimums or that allow longer combination vehicles (LCVs) form part of a “patchwork quilt” when neighboring states maintain lower weight limits or tighter restrictions on LCVs. On a larger map, the U.S. rules don’t match its NAFTA partners.

Vessel Tracking

On a large scale, automatic identification plays a role in marine vessel and cargo tracking. The systems are increasingly coming into play on the docks and helping to speed operations. A Kenco executive noted when helping a client select a site for its import distribution operation that the Port of Savannah was a top candidate because of its speed and efficiency in clearing cargo. A port official explained part of that was due to its adoption of automatic identification technology that helps get the right containers to the right places quickly so they can be loaded, cleared and moved out of the port. Larger ships entering service tend to make fewer port calls and discharge and take on more containers at each stop; consequently, dock efficiency could be a major factor in which ports the liners use.


Finding qualified workers for many of the jobs in supply chain management is a challenge. Both workforce consultants who provide hourly workers and recruiters who work at management levels report far more vacancies than people to fill them. Stronger outreach efforts, including high schools, will help with the longer term solution. In the meantime, two groups are getting more attention for their ability to provide workers — veterans and disabled workers. The annual conferences of professional associations like the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) have been featuring more sessions on model programs and case studies for workforce solutions involving veterans and disabled workers. Federal, state and some local communities also provide assistance and incentives for hiring and training.

By Perry A. Trunick – WT100