The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a regional emergency for 16 states for drivers and carriers as a result of flooding in the Midwest that's created significant infrastructure damage. The declaration suspends certain regulations to allow for drivers to rush in supplies to the area.
Inbound waterborne shipments in the US dropped 4.5% in February year over year, according to Panjiva, a global trade intelligence company, marking the first decline in 23 months. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles reported a 10.2% combined drop last month over the previous year, while the Port of Oakland noted a 5% decrease.
Avnet has contracted with BitPay to process cryptocurrency payments. Bitcoin payments will be a small fraction of Avnet's transactions but positions the company for growth, says executive Sunny Trinh.
Convenience store distributor Eby-Brown has agreed to a purchase by Performance Food Group, with no price disclosed. Performance Food's annual revenue is more than three times that of Eby-Brown.
Automation can help warehouses meet increased e-commerce demand and free workers up for other roles, but it won't solve the labor gap, because people are still needed to handle variations in orders and picking, writes ARC Advisory's Clint Reiser.
Distributors can gain a competitive advantage in e-commerce by being agile, using data to discern buying behaviors and striving to offer an excellent experience, writes Brett Vest of ENAVATE. "To keep up with rapid changes in both technology and customer preferences, distributors must meet customers on the channel they want to be on, whether it is a website, smart phone, mobile app or face-to-face," Vest writes.
Kia Motors supplier Adient introduced high-performance teams at its factory in West Point, Ga., in 2017 and has since lowered costs, improved quality and delivery, and gone 526 days without recordable safety-related incidents. "We as leaders can sit here and say how everything in the plant should operate, but without the live workers on the floor buying in the process, it's useless," says operations manager Steve Perdue.
T&S Brass & Bronze Works in Travelers Rest, S.C., is always finding new ways to grow and improve, even though it already ships 89% of orders within 24 hours with minimal inventory. The company's optimizations include using an LED projector to remind employees about forklift traffic, regular employee rotations to prevent ergonomic injuries and the adoption of ISO 9001:2015 certification.
Increased connectivity on the shop floor leaves manufacturers more vulnerable to cyberattacks, says Deloitte partner Sean Peasley. "All of a sudden, I've got 12,000 pipeline sensors that are on my network, and I need to treat them as I would any other device" in terms of security, says Matt Watchinski of Cisco-owned Talos.
A variety of automation and robotic-assist technologies are helping warehouses become more efficient and respond to a shortage of human labor, says Adam Kline of Manhattan Associates. Robots provide an extra challenge because they are mobile and can get in the way of humans, he notes.
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