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Enhancing Employee Productivity in Logistics with Cutting-Edge Software

logistics

Enhancing Employee Productivity in Logistics with Cutting-Edge Software

The key to soaring employee productivity in the bustling world of logistics lies in the smart implementation of logistics software. These systems are not just tools but catalysts for transformation. As such, they reshape traditional logistics operations into models of efficiency and precision. 

The Tech Behind Modern WMS

Modern Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are at the head of the pack in logistical innovation, employing dynamic algorithms for optimizing item placement based on fluctuating demand. This significantly cuts down picking times. So what makes them work? These advanced systems integrate seamlessly with automated technologies like conveyor belts, automated guided vehicles, and drones, which are vital for efficient inventory management in high-volume settings. They also feature sophisticated environmental monitoring for product safety, which is crucial in sensitive sectors like pharmaceuticals and food. On top of this, modern WMS boasts user-friendly interfaces with intuitive dashboards and mobile compatibility. These enable real-time updates and informed decision-making on the move. Check out these top WMS innovations: 

RFID and IoT Integration

Integrating Radio-Frequency Identification or RFID and the Internet of Things or IoT in WMS goes beyond simple tracking. RFID tags can store and automatically update detailed information about the product, such as batch numbers, expiry dates, and handling instructions. This level of detail is invaluable in industries where product authenticity and safety are paramount.

IoT devices extend this capability further. Sensors on shelves can monitor weight to detect real-time changes in inventory, triggering automated replenishment orders. In temperature-controlled warehouses, these sensors ensure optimal conditions are maintained. By sending alerts if any deviations occur, they preserve the integrity of sensitive goods.

Predictive Analytics 

Predictive analytics is transforming inventory management from a reactive to a proactive function. These systems use advanced algorithms to analyze external factors such as market trends, economic indicators, and social media trends to predict their impact on demand. This analysis allows companies to anticipate changes in consumer behavior and adjust inventory levels accordingly.

This means WMS systems become more accurate over time as they learn from past patterns to improve future forecasts. This capability is especially beneficial in managing seasonal products. Thus, it’s no surprise that WMS systems are widely utilized in industries with rapid product life cycles.

Employee Engagement Software  

Companies are also tapping into logistics solutions with engagement software. This technological innovation addresses unique industry challenges by focusing on improving workforce stability, reducing turnover, and enhancing productivity. Features like automated onboarding workflows, digital HR forms, and training paths are designed to streamline the onboarding process. This makes it more efficient for remote and on-site workers. The software also includes tools for continuous performance tracking, fostering a collaborative work environment. 

Additionally, these platforms often integrate with existing operational tools, providing a seamless experience for managing employee feedback, surveys, and communication. 

Cutting-Edge Capabilities of TMS

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are now equipped with features like multi-modal transportation planning. With these, logistics managers can seamlessly  plan and execute shipments that combine truck, rail, air, and sea transport. This feature is essential in global logistics operations, ensuring the most efficient transportation method is used for each leg of the journey.

TMS also includes innovative management functionalities. For instance, it can compare rates and assess carrier performance based on on-time delivery rates, damage rates, customer service, and other metrics. This holistic view helps logistics managers make more informed decisions when selecting carriers. Let’s explore some of these leading developments:

Freight Consolidation

Modern TMS uses complex algorithms for load planning and freight consolidation. It can automatically determine the best way to consolidate shipments by considering weight distribution, space utilization, goods compatibility, and other factors. This optimization not only reduces costs but also minimizes the environmental impact of transportation.

TMS systems can also suggest pooling opportunities, where shipments from different companies heading to the same destination can be combined. This further maximizes efficiency and reduces costs.

Compliance and Documentation

TMS now plays a critical role in ensuring global compliance with international shipping regulations. It stays updated with the latest customs regulations, tax laws, and trade agreements, automatically applying these rules to secure compliance. The system also generates and stores necessary documentation electronically, facilitating quick and easy audits.

For hazardous materials, TMS ensures all handling and shipping regulations are strictly followed and that appropriate documentation is maintained. This manages  the risk of legal issues and helps ensure public safety.

Telematics Integration

The integration with telematics extends to predictive maintenance of vehicles. By analyzing data like engine health, tire pressure, and brake condition, the TMS can foretell when a vehicle might need servicing. As a result, companies can avoid unexpected breakdowns and prolong vehicle life.

Moreover, driver behavior analytics, such as speed, idling time, and braking patterns, are used for safety, maintenance, and training. This helps improve overall driving standards and reduce accidents.

Enhanced Inventory Optimization with Machine Learning

Modern inventory optimization tools in logistics now integrate advanced machine learning models to handle a variety of external data. Data can range from weather forecasts to global events. This integration enables precise adjustments to inventory levels, mitigating the impact of unforeseen market changes.

These machine learning models are pivotal in processing and analyzing diverse and unstructured data sources, like social media trends and news, to accurately predict demand. They continuously improve their forecasting accuracy by learning from past discrepancies between predictions and actual demand. This capability makes them increasingly reliable over time.

Furthermore, such tools offer scenario planning features, allowing businesses to simulate different market conditions and assess their potential effects on inventory. This ensures preparedness for various market scenarios, enhancing operational resilience.

Parting Thoughts 

Securing the right logistics solution that’s powered by cutting-edge software is an ongoing journey toward greater efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction. As technology advances, it’s expected that the capabilities of logistics companies will keep up. This ensures that they maintain their posture at the forefront of innovation and service excellence. Without a doubt, the future of logistics is not just about moving goods; it’s doing it smarter, faster, and with greater care than ever before.

software

How to Avoid Software Supply Chain Attacks in 2023

Introduction

Software supply chain attacks are rapidly becoming more problematic for global organizations, as the number of companies that depend on an interconnecting web of software packages continues to rise. As the threat continues to make itself known, more companies are trying to implement strategies and improve their internal security measures in order to limit the potential damage that attackers can cause. Despite this, it’s not always easy, and cybersecurity is a perpetual relay race between security professionals and hackers, with software supply chain attacks being one of the current legs of the race.

What are Software Supply Chain Attacks?

Software supply chain attacks happen when a would-be attacker manipulates the code of a software application, which allows them to hijack other applications further along the chain. This allows the attackers to either corrupt data in the network, steal important and valuable information, or gain entry to other parts of the network through a process known as lateral movement. Essentially, a software supply chain attack focuses on attacking the least secure part of the network, and seizing control from there – looking for the metaphorical chink in your armor.

What are the Best Methods to Prevent Attacks?

No security is completely faultless; you could follow every step correctly and you could still be vulnerable in some way. Even the world’s largest companies, with unimaginable resources such as Equifax have seen a severe breach, affecting more than 100 Million customers.

Given such scenarios, you want to limit your exposure as much as possible in order to minimize your chances of falling victim to software supply chain attacks. Below are some easy methods to help you improve your security:

Limit Your Use of External Software

Of course, as a modern business, you can’t be expected to do away with your entire software stack to avoid cyber attacks. However, you can cut out any software that isn’t essential or regularly used. This will help minimize the potential avenues available for a hacker to use to access your network and move laterally to other parts of it, which will in turn, help prevent any attacks.

Regularly Engage with Your Software Suppliers

This is a great way to keep up to date with the latest best practices from all of your suppliers. You will want to keep in contact with every single one of them and monitor their security situation so you can limit your own potential vulnerabilities. If you’re finding that a supplier’s response to your engagement is lacking, then you can consider the possibility of using a different vendor that places a higher priority on your security.

Keep Your Tools Up to Date

This may seem quite obvious, but if you’re using a large number of software packages in your business, you need to make sure you’re always updating them to the latest version. Failing to do this means that you will be working on old versions of your software, which will inevitably be much easier to breach as you won’t be downloading patches to deal with any vulnerabilities in the code. Furthermore, making sure everything is completely updated will also diminish the chances of technical issues unrelated to hacking.

Use Zero-Trust Authentication

Zero-trust authentication runs with the premise that all network activity is automatically deemed to be malicious. As a result, each user will need to go through a set of policy-driven authentication steps in order to gain access to the network. This is a very effective way of limiting the potential of software supply chain attacks as an attacker would need to get through to your authentication process in order to actually gain access to your network.

Examples of Software Supply Chain Attacks

There are numerous examples of software supply chain attacks in recent years, with the most well-known of these having large impacts on the organizations. Each of these cases provides us with a new opportunity to learn and implement new best practices for cybersecurity:

Mimecast

In 2021, the cloud cybersecurity company Mimecast announced that cyber criminals had compromised a certificate that they used to authenticate their services on Microsoft 365 Exchange Web Services. 10% of their user base relied on applications that needed the breached certificate, although they insisted the number of users affected was much smaller.

SolarWinds

In 2020, SolarWinds suffered a massive software supply chain attack, where 18,000 of their business customers, including multiple tech giants like Microsoft had downloaded a backdoor, which was hidden in the Orion IT Management app’s update tool. Microsoft themselves, in turn, had to notify 40 of their customers of the security breach.

Dependency Confusion

In 2021, a security professional named Alex Birsan managed to breach the systems of a number of tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple, Uber and Tesla through the use of a novel attack technique. Birsan sent fake packets of information to a large number of high-profile targets without the use of social engineering techniques.

Conclusion

In closing, you should now know more about what software supply chain attacks are and why they pose such a big risk to modern businesses. Furthermore, you’ve seen some examples of how even the largest companies with the biggest budgets for IT can be at risk with such attacks. The best way for you to protect yourself and your customers whose data you control is to make use of industry best practices and up-to-date tools to make the job easier for your security experts. Following these steps doesn’t make the chance of an attack 0%, but it makes it a lot smaller.

About Author

Kruti Chapaneri is an aspiring software engineer and tech writer with a strong interest in the intersection of technology and business. She is excited to use her writing skills to help businesses grow and succeed online in the competitive market. You can connect with her on Linkedin.
management

Which is the Best Logistics Management Software in the USA? 

Any business that deals with the transportation and distribution of commodities must have effective logistics management. Businesses are now using the best logistics management software in the USA to streamline their operations as the need for quick and efficient delivery grows. But choosing the logistics software solution that is the greatest fit for your company can be difficult given the wide range of solutions that are now available in the market. 

For companies that are involved in shipping, transportation, and supply chain management, logistics management software is a crucial tool. This tool will help to make the goods and services available for consumption at the earliest. The rise in demand for B2C delivery, same-day delivery, and next-day delivery has caused businesses to rethink their business strategies. This is where the use of the best logistics management solutions in the USA can be used to resolve logistics hassles.

We’ll look at some of the best logistics management software available in the USA in this blog and how they solve common business use cases.

The most widely used search terms when looking for the best logistics management software in the USA include:

  • Transportation management software
  • Inventory management software
  • Warehouse management software
  • Supply chain management software
  • Logistics software solutions
  • Order management software
  • Freight management software
  • Shipping software
  • E-commerce logistics software
  • Cloud-based logistics software

Which is the best logistics management software in the USA for business development?

Due to the complexity of logistics operations, it’s important that the software solution is user-friendly and can solve problems related to supply chain visibility, fleet efficiency, demand forecasting, and supply chain analytics.

LogiNext Solutions 

LogiNext Solutions is one of the best cloud-based logistics management software that is designed to help businesses of all sizes optimize their logistics operations. The platform gives companies real-time access to their orders, enabling them to monitor their progress and spot any possible supply chain problems. The program also offers carrier integration, and top-rated optimization algorithms (driven by AI and ML) that can assist companies in lowering transportation costs and delivery times. The user-friendly interface of LogiNext Solutions is another important benefit, making it simple for organizations to start using the program from day 1 and optimize operations based on custom reports.

Oracle Transportation Management (OTM)

Oracle Transportation Management is a popular logistics management software that is designed to help businesses streamline their transportation operations. Planning, execution, and monitoring are just a few of the services that the software offers to address every facet of logistics management. One of OTM’s key benefits is its capacity to optimize shipping routes, which lowers transportation costs and improves delivery times. Additionally, the platform offers real-time insight into shipping progress, enabling them to swiftly detect and resolve any potential problems in the supply chain.

SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM)

Another top-rated logistics management software that is commonly used in the USA is SAP Transportation Management. Businesses can use the software to manage their whole supply chain, including carrier selection, freight planning, and optimization. One of SAP TM’s important strengths is its capacity to interact with other SAP systems, enabling an information flow that is seamless between multiple departments. Businesses can use the software’s comprehensive analytics and reporting features to get insights into their logistics operations and pinpoint areas for development.

Finally, deciding on the best logistics management software in the USA for your company might be difficult. As more firms sell products online and require sophisticated shipping and fulfillment processes, there is a growing demand for software solutions that may assist them in managing their e-commerce logistics operations. On the other hand, businesses can discover the best fit for their needs by analyzing the software’s functionality, integration possibilities, and user-friendliness. Whether your company is small or large, there is a logistics management software system in the USA that can help you optimize your operations and cut operations costs.

Summary: This blog will help you find the answer to the best logistics management software in the USA. It entails the key features each of the providers offers to ensure hassle-free supply chain operations.

Author Bio

Matt Murdock works for a leading SAAS-based platform called LogiNext Solutions. Where he helps businesses optimize their logistics operations and improve their delivery performance. With a passion for innovation and technology, Matt is always looking for new ways to streamline logistics processes and enhance customer experiences. In his free time, he enjoys writing blogs based on his experience in the logistics industry. Happy reading!

 

digital cargo

DIGITAL TWINNING: Advanced Aviation Software of 2023

Maintaining an aircraft is laborious and managing a fleet is even more challenging. Plane design requires intricate engineering of parts and design. Their equally complex systems are vital to keep the aircraft safe and aloft. 

In recent years, airlines, airports, and other aviation organizations have turned to maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) optimization software to make the job of keeping airplanes in peak condition easier and foolproof.

MRO software compiles data from dozens of different sources and uses complex algorithms to deliver analytics on aircraft maintenance schedules to airport operation teams. This software also incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to provide real-time, actionable insights on the status of aircraft. The technology provides the best automation of tasks to keep airplanes running efficiently.

Why Digital Twins Technology Is Important to the Aviation and Aerospace Sector

Digital twin aircrafts are digital replicas of real-world environments. These advanced computing environments resemble engineering technical drawings or drafting. Digital twin technology is being used by a variety of different industries and in recent years, airports have embraced digital twinning as an effective tool for keeping track of airplane operations by documenting wear and tear simulations using sensors in real-time.

Using IoT sensors and artificial intelligence, airport digital twins provide aircraft maintenance technicians (AMT) with comprehensive, maintenance assessments in real-time. Digital twin software provides life data to mechanics and aircraft manufacturers.

As several airlines have been faced with the dilemma to retire aircrafts, many have opted for major repairs. Having the ability to monitor performance of brand new aircrafts and the overall performance of replacement parts is important.

Data sets are based upon the precise moment of successful usage through event management to moment of failure. Analysis of the data called Weibull distribution, provides the avionic sector with statistics for preventive measures. The usage of Weibull analysis software specifically captures “event data” to modify maintenance schedules, parts-replacement and plane services.

The importance of twinning is critical to both, the safety and the efficiency of airline carriers. Incorporating digital twin software technologies into MRO systems will increase productivity for technical teams at SMB and enterprise-size airline companies.

This modern aviation maintenance software provides mechanical technicians with detailed information about the aircraft. Digital twin monitoring development provides aircrafts with preventative events-analysis information similar to those readily available to other mechanical engineering sectors before issues occur.

This is the most critical aviation software development solution available in the industry. It could save time, money and save lives.

Integration of Digital Twins Software to Modern Fly-By-Wire Systems

All modern aircrafts operate on “fly-by-wire” principles, which means that they are automated whenever possible to exclude human error. A variety of sensors keep track of in-flight operations.

Using IoT, fly-by-wire sensors can feed information into central data systems. This software solution provides aircrafts with necessary maintenance solutions and detailed information of in-flight mechanics and potential MRO needs.

Aircraft line maintenance solutions are evolving. Determining which types of maintenance is required during limited timeframes and task execution has always been a major challenge for the aviation industry. Today’s cutting-edge aviation maintenance software solutions make aircraft maintenance management easy with digital twin software integration.

Digital twin platforms are customized to provide the most advanced aviation software development solutions available on the market in the 21st century. Aviation’s original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are adapting the technology to address compliance issues. As systems become more dependent upon electrical automation factors such as Combined Vision Systems (CVS) and Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS), this advanced technology becomes critical.

Mobile MRO Software and Aircraft Digital Twin Development

Sensors provide real-time data using artificial intelligence and IoT communication transmissions. Often, aircraft line maintenance crews are pressed for time. Digital twin enables data driven analysis for machine learning automation.

Airline mechanics and manufactures are able to monitor and capture information to replicate the exact issues that need to be addressed without needing to perform thorough inspections. Line maintenance logs are automated for service ticket generation using diagnostic analytics built into airlines MRO apps and platforms.

Digital twin software and sensors provide for event-based data recordings and are priceless because they eliminate the need for manual intervention. Maintenance of an aircraft requires multiple levels of experienced technicians. Top-of-the-line MRO software also makes it easy to provide efficient work schedules for maintenance crews.

Projection data enables maintenance teams to schedule mechanics and plan accordingly for base maintenance to be performed during times when aircrafts are temporarily out of commission or during the turnaround time that aircraft experience between flights.

Android SKD

Android SKD is an Android application kit that allows the coder to create, debug and test mobile applications before publishing them to the Android market. Make sure your coder knows how to use this language if you want an app that meets your goals and helps grow your business to the next level.

This developer kit includes tutorials and sample codes that developers use to create programs that are much more complex. In addition to the other features listed in this section, Android SKD includes an emulator that allows your developer to run the program before installing it on an Android device. Running an app in an emulator makes it easy to catch and address problems from the start.

The Bottom Line

Airports that invest in digital aviation software solutions have the safety of passengers and employees in mind by optimizing both in-flight and on-the-ground operations with the most advanced technology available, and they are also those airlines which reap the profitability of their efforts through the confidence they gain from their employees and passengers.

About Chetu

Founded in 2000, Chetu is a global provider of software development solutions and support services. Chetu’s specialized technology and industry experts serve startups, SMBs, and Fortune 5000 companies with unparalleled software delivery model suited to the needs of the client. Chetu’s one-stop-shop model spans the entire software technology spectrum. Headquartered in Sunrise, Florida, Chetu has fourteen locations throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. For more information, visit: www.chetu.com.

 

navigation

TomTom’s GO Navigation App Introduces Truck Navigation 

GO Navigation now delivers truck-specific routing featuresfor Android™: a tailored experience for professional drivers    

TomTom (TOM2), the mapmaker and geolocation specialist, has introduced GO Navigation’s truck plan an offer designed to meet the needs of professional truck drivers. In addition to GO Navigation’s premium navigation capabilities, this enables drivers to plan routes that account for their vehicle’s dimensions, fuel requirements, desired maximum speeds and cargo (such as dangerous goods).  

Drivers will also be able to plan multiple drop-offs and gain access to an overview of upcoming points of interest (POIs) – such as fuel stations suitable for their vehicle and truck stops. These truck- specific additions work in conjunction with the app’s existingnavigation features, including intuitive lane guidance, live traffic and the Route Bar – a convenient snapshot of the route, stops, relevant alerts and restrictions ahead.   

Punctuality is critical in the trucking industry, which makes accurate ETAs incredibly useful. TomTom’s ETAs aren’t only among the most accurate in the world – they adjust according to real-time traffic data, giving drivers a realistic snapshot of their schedule. The TomTom GO Navigation’s truck plan user interface (UI) is designed to minimize distractions and keep attention on the road – something that’s especially important for anyone operating heavy vehicles over long, fatiguing distances. And with Android Auto™ compatibility, drivers also have the option to sync their route with their in-dash screen.   

 By accounting for factors like vehicle size and cargo type, this plan helps professional drivers stay up to speed with ever-changing road regulations – such as avoiding prohibited routes and complying with UN Class restrictions. And with further updates in the pipeline, it will soon account for measures like low emission zones.    

GO Navigation’s truck plan is available now for Android users on the Google Play Store. To mark the launch, TomTom is offering 50% off to those who subscribe for the plan over the next two weeks.   

About TomTom

We are mapmakers, providing geolocation technology for drivers, carmakers, enterprises and developers.  

Our highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and APIs enable smart mobility on a global scale, making the roads safer, the drive easier and the air cleaner. TomTom’s GO Navigation app puts decades of this expertise and the latest navigation technology at drivers’ fingertips.  

Headquartered in Amsterdam with offices worldwide, TomTom’s technologies are trusted by hundreds of millions of drivers, businesses and governments every day.    

   

  

 

 

 

covid-19

COVID-19 PANDEMIC FORCES INDUSTRIES TO RE-THINK GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

As COVID-19 continues to dominate news headlines, American cities and international businesses are showing their true colors. From innovation in recovery to redrawing the predictions model businesses have adhered to for years, the health and economic crisis has done much more than disrupt the supply chain and logistics sectors. Despite the challenges, the process of recovery has been maximized by thinking outside the box and utilizing resources available to extend a helping hand. Dozens upon dozens of alcohol distilleries across the nation have switched production to meet the demand for hand sanitizer—to the point that the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States created its COVID-19 Hand Sanitizer Connection Portal as a dedicated resource for American distillers looking to join the efforts. General Motors announced its participation in joining forces to combat COVID-19 in April by kickstarting the production of face masks at the auto giant’s Warren, Michigan, and China facilities, thanks to a joint venture through SAIC-GM-Wuling.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of adaptability and what the true definition of agility looks like. Although the above companies proved prepared and agile enough to weather the storm, other companies and the American economy were not.

“Though the concept of supply chain readiness is not new, that does not mean it always has been practiced correctly,” explains Ron Leibman, head of McCarter & English’s Transportation, Logistics & Supply Chain Management practice. “Companies must begin now, if they are not doing so already, to test their business continuity plans, with a goal of identifying and correcting weaknesses in the supply chain and updating their plans to avoid future out-of-stock situations.”

Leibman points to a recent Institute for Supply Management survey that showed 75 percent of the companies surveyed had been affected by COVID-19, yet 44 percent of those companies had no plan in place to deal with that type of disruption.

Supply and demand have also shifted, creating a new set of challenges for domestic and international supply chain players. Products such as toilet paper, medical supplies, and grocery meats have seen a spike in demand since the pandemic reached the United States. These and other consumer trends have defined a new wave of purchasing habits that have essentially redefined what effective production looks like.

“Few could have predicted the run on toilet paper that occurred early in the pandemic, or the meat shortage that seems to be occurring today,” Leibman says. “Regardless of how this demand plays out, manufacturers will certainly need to be able produce and modify production to meet the needs of the economy and support customers/consumers through the enhanced use of ecommerce platforms and automated processes to minimize turnaround time. Now, rather than having a business ecosystem that prizes vendor-managed inventory, the reduction of inventory holding costs, and just-in-time delivery, manufacturers may have to re-gauge their production cycles and capabilities to meet their customers’ new purchasing patterns, which could include the use of forward inventories and safety stocks and perhaps larger replenishment volumes.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about the current state of the global supply chain to the same degree that it challenged traditional predictive risk models. The fact of the matter is that business continuity and risk assessment going forward will not be the same–at least for a while.

“Countless industries are saying that they used to be so good at prediction, and now all their prediction models are out the window,” explains Marc Busch, a Business Diplomacy professor at Georgetown University. “This will require learning, and the question is how long will that learning take and how much will businesses invest in it? One way or another, the ‘new normal’ is going to have to be diagnosed. Market factors need to be considered. The ability to digitally gain enough information and predictive power to handle demand or supply shocks is paramount in moving forward and recovering.”

New challenges will arise as global traders determine the next steps in sourcing and site selection as well. What will make sense in the near future to better predict disruption management is an inevitable conversation.

“In moments of crisis, there’s an opportunity for businesses to reevaluate how they’ve been operating,” Busch says. “New entrants into well-formed supply chains may find that this is precisely the moment to pitch themselves to those companies that want to diversify, but aren’t yet willing to start shuffling assets around the world (i.e. out of China). This was the case in the financial crisis and it’s likely to be an opportunity soon again. There’s going to be a lot of new discoveries and the question is: Who is going to be learning.”

As this story was being published, retail stores and restaurants had just started the process of reopening and allowing customers back into their establishments. For many, customers are still required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing while capacity limits are cut in half if not more. The relief is found through the restarting of local business operations; however, it’s a slow and steady process that requires the support of customers to kickstart our economy once again. This kickstarting means rehires for business owners and working again for the countless people who lost their only source of income amid COVID-19.

“There is no doubt that people are eager to return to usual practices,” Busch says. “Some of the ways in which we collect our goods are going to forever be different. Businesses will have to learn like the rest of us. The new etiquette in business—the way in which services and goods are sold—will depend on how quickly and how fully we all come to grips with the new normal, and there are bound to be surprises. It is going to be difficult to determine how businesses should best try to rejuvenate trust and coax people into something like their usual consumption patterns.”

Retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues aren’t the only ones that experienced unprecedented shifts, however. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic chaos, crude oil prices plummeted to negative numbers spurred by the significant drop in global demand. Although the market is now back to what we are used to (for the most part), regulations remain a big part of the foreseeable future in navigating such disruptions.

“On the trade side, for now, the industry should expect status quo for the immediate future,” explains David McCullough, partner in the Energy & Infrastructure practice group at the New York office of Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP. “If there is to be another price shock where physical crude oil prices go negative or very low, we will see a real push for measures such as the waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the waiver of the Jones Act and imposing crude oil and potentially refined product import restrictions specifically on non-North American sources.”

Opposite of what brick-and-mortar retailers experienced, the oil industry was not nearly as caught off-guard. In fact, according to McCullough, the majority was prepared. “There were anticipations of crude prices going negative and there were negative pricing clauses built into contracts for this reason,” he explains. “When this instance occurred, several large players were prepared. The situation was largely focused on a few players that got squeezed in the market. On the refined product side of the market, there are a few sectors that still do not seem to fully appreciate the demand destruction that has occurred and the ramifications of this demand destruction. For example, there will be significantly less demand for environmental credits under the Renewable Fuel Standard and California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Despite this, we are still seeing the environmental credits remaining relatively robust. The market may not be fully understanding that the massive drop-off in demand for gasoline and diesel will also result in a drop-off in demand for these environmental credits.”

It boils down to visibility while clearly understanding and predicting market disruptions. As mentioned previously, the ways in which business is conducted have been changed drastically (for any industry, really). This change does not have to be met with complete failure, but it must be met with resilience through the utilization of the tools already available to us. Unlike past pandemics, modern businesses have a robust technology toolbox readily deployable. Virus or no virus, technology provides more opportunity now than it has ever before for all of us impacted by COVID-19. Technology is the critical and obvious part of the equation. Technology can support all parts of the supply chain from production and distribution to consumers and the economy. Those that tap into its potential will undoubtedly be among those that recover successfully.

“When shippers, retailers and supply chain professionals fail to understand and embrace the importance of digitization in the supply chain, it shines a spotlight on the weak points of the industry,” states Glenn Jones, GVP Products at Blume Global. “This has been abundantly clear over the past several months and forced the accelerated digitization of the industry, which traditionally has been slow to adopt new technologies.”

Jones points to a recent survey in which 67 percent of shipping and freight professionals vowed to invest in new supply chain technologies due to the pandemic. “To remain competitive, organizations need digitally empowered logistics platforms that leverage data to make informed decisions quickly,” he says. “Companies need to expect the unexpected. We can anticipate a significant disruption to the supply chain almost every year, we just do not know what that disruption will be. What is critical is being prepared for that disruption, and a digitized supply chain operation is your best chance for responding quickly to what your customers need, when they need it.”

So, what have we learned? Are the lessons of COVID-19 rooted in the technology we already possess? For some, the answer will be yes while for others, proactivity and prediction will serve as major differentiators in recovery and rebuilding the nation’s economy.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain, and the world, underscores the importance of collaboration amongst colleagues, partners and with customers,” Jones concludes. “The on-demand needs of current supply chains will lead to an increase in digital supply chain platforms. These platforms will enable companies to scale up or down based on demand. This will be made possible by large networks of carrier partners across all modes of transportation providing intel in real time. A digitally empowered adaptive/flexible responsive logistics platform that leverages a global carrier network will enable companies to quickly move to alternate suppliers in other regions when needed and provide better data across multiple resources, ensuring companies can make informed decisions at every mode and along every mile—no matter the crisis.”

Each step of the recovery process will be a testament to our humanity and exactly how willing we are to support each other and the economy in times of crisis. COVID-19 continues to test our limits, our grit, and our tenacity on an international scale.

It is a testament to how much we appreciate those who protect us and continue to work on the frontlines for those who are sick, while others continue working to keep the supply chain moving. All of these workers are essential—farmers, supply chain managers, truckers, grocery workers, first responders, IT professionals, business owners, and beyond. We are all connected in some form or capacity and have been throughout this crisis. How we come out of this crisis will be the real determination of the economic future.

__________________________________________________________________

David McCullough, a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland, counsels producers, refiners, commodity traders and distributors on the production, trade and movement of energy commodities, particularly crude oil, petroleum products and renewable fuels.

Glenn Jones, GVP Products at Blume Global, has a proven track record of growing businesses by building and leading product management/marketing and R&D organizations to define, develop, position, and sell highly innovative and high-value enterprise solutions delivered in the cloud. He was formerly the COO of Sweetbridge and the CTO of Steelwedge Software. He also held leadership positions at several other companies, including Elementum and E2Open.

Ron Leibman is head of McCarter & English’s Transportation, Logistics & Supply Chain Management practice. A respected leader in supply chain law with more than 40 years of experience, he brings valuable industry insights with prior experience as a senior logistics executive at Wakefern Food Corp. (ShopRite Supermarkets) and home-furnishing retailer Fortunoff’s. He is a member of Syracuse University’s Supply Chain Advisory Board at the Whitman School of Management.

Marc L. Busch is the Karl F. Landegger Professor of International Business Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council.

new tech

How To Introduce Employees To New Tech

New technology solutions can have a positive impact, not just your how you work, but on your office culture. Sometimes new platforms that drastically change your regular processes can intimidate and alienate workers who are used to working in traditional systems and procedures.

It’s normal for workers to at first be apprehensive to big changes when they’ve grown used to the way things have been done for years. That’s why it’s important to see things from their point of view and understand that change is tough.

Help Them See The Value

When introducing new tech solutions to your colleagues, it’s important to make them understand why you’re implementing it and what it will do for the business. Explain not just how it will benefit the business in general, but how it will benefit their specific roles and what the impact will be.

If it’s a tool that’s meant to streamline a certain process, be sure to impress on them that the time saved will allow them to focus on more and grow their roles. If it’s a solution that’s meant to free up more resources, discuss with them how they now direct that saved budget and labor to more productive things. If they can see the value it will bring to them as an individual, you can make them excited to learn more about it and look forward to its implementation.

Document management solutions represent a big shift in how businesses interact with their documents, especially if you’re transitioning from a mostly paper-driven structure. However, it’s a technology that vastly improves business processes by introducing tools like automation and intelligent organization.

Make a Plan and Keep Them In The Loop

Many big tech solutions require time for implementation and onboarding. It rarely happens overnight, so having a roadmap for implementation is essential to make sure it all goes smoothly. More importantly, staying transparent with your employees on this roadmap is helpful in easing them into the new system. Letting them know what they can expect during the implementation period can give them ease and let them know that they have time to get used to the transition rather than just diving in.

Give Them Time

New technology always has a learning curve, and this is especially true for those who aren’t used to working with it as part of their job. While some are quick learners and early adopters, there is an equal number of those who have more of a struggle learning how things work. They won’t get it overnight, so it’s important to be patient and encouraging. A transitional period where they’re still allowed to get their job done the old way while learning the new way is encouraged if possible. As long as they’re willing to learn and not resistant, it’s worth it to let them grow at their own pace, all while providing the necessary support such as additional training and mentoring.

Incentivize

If some employees are more resistant than others to adopt new platforms, it doesn’t hurt to throw out some incentives to encourage them to embrace the change. Having perks such as free lunch with training will make those employees a little more enthusiastic about attending those meetings.

Get creative with tying small rewards to the use of the new tech solution as well as implying bigger forms of recognition for demonstrating proficiency and enthusiasm for the new system. Letting them know that the skills learned from training will reflect across their entire career and showcase their adaptability.

Listen to Them

Taking in feedback is an important part of any business decision, not listening to your employee’s opinions and concerns about adopting a new tech solution. Encouraging an environment where your colleagues can discuss freely their experience with the current processes and how introducing a new factor that will impact those processes will help inform how you build out your implementation roadmap and how you go about training. Being open to their ideas of how to transition and addressing their concerns will make them feel part of the process and not feel like it’s being forced upon them.

Jesse Wood is the CEO of eFileCabinet, a best-of-breed advanced document management system that improves the lives of people, small to enterprise-level businesses, and their clients. Wood has 20 years of leadership experience innovating custom technical solutions for a wide range of business applications.

 

Descartes Buys Utah-Based Customs Info for $41.5 Million

Salt Lake City, UT – The Ontario, Canada-based Descartes Systems Group, a Canadian supply chain information technology (IT) company, has acquired Customs Info LLC, a provider of trade data content to power global trade management (GTM) systems, for $45.1 million in cash and Descartes’ stock.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Customs Info provides trade data and related research tools to more than 800 multinational shippers in 160 countries.

The data the company provides populates global trade management systems with information on tariffs, duties, regulations, trade agreements, rules of origin, and other trade-related content.

In addition, Customs Info provides online global trade research tools, and “software as a service” (SaaS) classification systems to help shippers build and maintain complex classification databases for their worldwide operations.

Descartes operates a global logistics network used each day by more than 10,000 customers to share critical supply chain information to manage their trade flows.

06/10/2014