• Messy Inventory

    by David Schneider | Jan 03, 2017
    Did you get everything you were looking for this Christmas?  Online or at the old-fashioned store, did you find everything that you wanted? I bet you didn’t.  Many did not.  In our family, we had to resort to the second or third choices, or we found something almost like it in another place.  Speaking to friends and neighbors they had the same experience, items advertised or displayed online, but not available.  Even and the Big River web site.  I even got...
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  • Where have we been?

    by David Schneider | Nov 30, 2016
    I must admit, we have not been keeping house here at the Practitioners. It is my fault.  Yep, I am the one to blame. 2015 proved to be a busy year as I worked with a client to create a new distribution facility in Las Vegas.  They engaged me in April to work on a different project, while they signed a lease for a facility in May.  I quickly shifted focus to Las Vegas and worked with the management team of the existing facility to develop the design concepts for the new...
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  • Flow, Part 3

    by David Schneider | Sep 26, 2016
    [The following is Part 3 of the Flow series] Water flowing in a stream. Oil flowing through pipelines. Gas flows through pipelines too. We typically use the word flow to describe the movement of water or gasses. But what about the flow of a crowd? How about gain flowing from a hopper? Flow is a description of movement, the movement of liquids, a bunch of solid objects, of work, of people, of ideas. If it moves, it can flow. I like to think of a logistics network as a system of pipes in which...
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  • Simple Commitment

    by David Schneider | Sep 20, 2016
    Desired outcomes do not happen without commitment. Ever. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elemental truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents,...
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  • Flow, Part 2

    by David Schneider | Sep 19, 2016
    [The following is Part 2 of the Flow series] Yesterday I closed out a question about the chance that a drop of pure glacial water could flow in a river. Moving thousands of miles after dropping off the end of a glacier, that drop of water is just as saturated with pollutants as every other drop of water in that river. Making my point clear, like the drop of water that picks up various compounds along its journey, information changes in the course of its journey with each exchange from person to...
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  • Healthy Fields

    by David Schneider | Sep 13, 2016
    The corn is high and the soybeans are thick. That is one of the biggest observations from my 2014 summer research trip. Lush fields of tall corn and soybeans blanketed Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. A milder summer with good rains after a wet winter has set the table for what looked to be a significant harvest that year. As I rode through the secondary highways in Iowa and Indiana I noticed that the corn was tall enough that I could not see out over the fields on level terrain, which means the...
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  • Flow, Part 1

    by David Schneider | Sep 12, 2016
    [The following is Part 1 of the Flow series] The first part of this article requires a little imagination. Imagine a stream of water in a meadow. The water starts in the hills above the meadow, slowly flowing from a small lake out of sight. The stream is not large, only about a foot wide between three- to four-foot-wide banks as it passes through the meadow. How would you describe the flow of the stream? Peaceful? Slow? Perhaps relaxed? Now imagine that same stream in a raging thunderstorm,...
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  • Transportation Ops: Where is the competition?

    by Mike Starling | Sep 08, 2016
    Generally the competition’s Transportation function and service performance can be summed up in one of two ways: 1) They are kicking your proverbial ass! 2) They look just like you and every other transportation department in your industry segment. At the Strategic level, in order to differentiate YOUR transportation operations (and your company) from the competition, Transportation needs to be viewed by company management (and you) as a strategic function. A function capable of...
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  • Reminded of the Laws of Physics

    by David Schneider | Sep 06, 2016
    I once had a great conversation with a former airline flight attendant. We talked about the different things we had seen in our collective time in business travel. While I may have thirty years of business travel under my belt, dating back to the days when there was a smoking section in the last four rows on a flight, she may have more air miles amassed than I do, since she has flown four days a week for almost five years. Our conversation turned to turbulence in flight. For so many people it is...
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  • “Friends: It isn’t just business, it’s personal.” – Final Part

    by Pasquale Scopelliti | Sep 02, 2016
    [Originally posted on LinkedIn 12/23/10]  Today is the last day of the working year for me, my friends. How about you? What will you be doing through Christmas and into your New Year celebration? Never shy to do so, I’ll offer my counsel to you right now. Be a friend. Be a true friend. Consider… Do you have children? Are you one of those parents who says, “I’m your father, not your friend.”? Are you sure this is the best way to be in this world? My father was...
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  • Thoughts on Selecting 3PL Transportation Spend Management Service Providers

    by Mike Starling | Sep 01, 2016
    Transportation Trade Rags frequently sprinkle 3PL service vendor marketing and sales pitches disguised as informative cost savings/expense reduction “10 TIPS” articles. I just read one that proposed ten tips for keeping shipping costs in check. Think you could come up with a list of ten ways to control or reduce your freight spend? YEAH! ME TOO! Maybe even more than ten! This particular article was authored by the CEO of a Transportation Spend Management company laying out a list of...
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  • Supply Chain Management, The Verb

    by David Schneider | Aug 30, 2016
    What is supply chain management? In answering that question, do you attempt to describe it as a noun, as a thing? It is easy to fall into that trap because we tend to think of “The Supply Chain” as a thing, as something that is tangible. Perhaps that is the source of the frustration most people experience when they attempt to define Supply Chain Management (SCM). Since they think of The Supply Chain as a thing, they also think of Supply Chain Management as a thing, as a noun. I...
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  • What is Supply Chain?

    by David Schneider | Aug 29, 2016
    As the story goes, a consultant coined the term supply chain. Whether you believe that story is unimportant. However the term was coined, Supply Chain has grown into what some call an industry, some call a profession, and a few think is an unnecessary phrase. Before Supply Chain, there was Logistics. Logistics as a word and an industry goes back centuries. The term is derived from the ancient Greek word logis, the logical movement of men and materials, and similar words can be found in other...
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  • “Friends: It isn’t just business, it’s personal.” – Herr Doctor Freud

    by Pasquale Scopelliti | Aug 26, 2016
    Today we’re going to turn two magically into three. You have two Angels, you know. One is good, the other isn’t. Or perhaps we must say you have an Angel and a Demon. Oh these words. A Demon really shouldn’t be confused with the Greek Daemon, which if you play with it enough you’ll see is tied to the Arabic word Djinn, which in English we refer to as a Genie. And, it doesn’t take much more play to discover your genius right there. What is genius? It is actually the...
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  • Simple Tactic, Use Compliance Management to Eliminate Unnecessary Transportation Operating Expense

    by Mike Starling | Aug 25, 2016
    Controlling budgeted transportation expense is a highly desirable thing, right? And you have a fairly large number of vendors that your company is purchasing product from? Right? And you find that you and your staff spend an inordinate amount of time trying to determine the status of various inbound shipments, some of which you do have control over since you are paying the freight. BUT, oh those pesky Sales guys who “Need this stuff for our customers” are demanding you track and...
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  • What is worth more, raw material or finished product?

    by David Schneider | Aug 23, 2016
    Oil, like any commodity, has different prices. Prices vary according to the grade and location of the stock. Oil chemistry plays a huge part in the refining process, and the yield of finished products from a given barrel of crude. Don’t assume that oil from Saudi Arabia costs the same as oil from Canada. Some knowledge of the world of commodities trading might help dispel this myth. Market price is not necessarily reflected in the deal a large refiner will actually strike with a crude...
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  • What is the value of time?

    by David Schneider | Aug 22, 2016
    There are very few assets that you can build or buy by investing only time. In all cases some form of money is involved in a business project. We use the expression "invest time" so much that the meaning becomes vague. When we work with an employee mentoring their career skills, we often say that we are investing time. In fact, we are spending time, both theirs and ours. For their time we spent the company's money, in the form of payroll. For our time, if we are an employee of the company, we...
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  • “Friends: It isn’t just business, it’s personal.” – From Emotion to Proof

    by Pasquale Scopelliti | Aug 19, 2016
    Two for each other against one apart. What has our mathematics given us? It gives us the transition from emotion to proof. It takes a certain strategic genius to isolate your world down to such tiny parameters, with such black and white clarity. But, the tactics here open the door. Let’s look at a couple of tactical situations to see what we find. First, you’re serving a large firm where the HR insists on all communication going through them, and has gone so far as to prohibit your...
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  • Transportation Software Systems - Can You Afford Not To?

    by Mike Starling | Aug 18, 2016
    Where to start? What are the options? What makes sense for you? Okay, you don't need any of that expensive, complicated, pain-in-the-ass software to manage your fleet. Right? You've been doing that fleet-routing thing in your head for so long that you know all the roads better than Google Maps®. Right? And you never have to worry about that inbound transportation because your friendly vendor takes care of that with convenient delivered freight terms! Right? Come on man, you got it made! A...
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  • Urbanization

    by David Schneider | Aug 16, 2016
    If you graduated from a US high school in the 1970s, the odds are high that you attended a suburban high school. By the end of the 1970s the migration of populations out of the cities into the suburbs had reached its peak. The people who wanted to move from the central areas of the major US cities — and who could afford to — did so. People who moved from rural to the metro areas settled in the suburban areas. The America of the second half of the 20th century sub-urbanized into...
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