Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

MHI debuts U.S. Roadmap

By Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large
October 08, 2013

MHI, the organization representing materials handling in North America and the sponsor of ProMat and the upcoming Modex event in Atlanta unveiled the first draft of the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap at its annual meeting in Orlando last week. 

The first draft is the result of four roundtable events in the spring of 2013 that brought together material handling and logistics practitioners, suppliers, academia, associations, publications and government. At each event, roundtable attendees “contributed thoughts about the capabilities and resources that the material handling and logistics industry needs to develop between now and 2025.”

The report was introduced by Kevin Gue, a professor at Auburn University and the editor of the roadmap. “We are on the cusp of real transformation in retail distribution and manufacturing,” Gue said at the event. “The big changes will only happen if we come together in new ways.”

The challenge to the industry, he added is whether the industry will determine its future or have it forced upon it. “Will we lead or be led?” Gue asked.

The first draft is just that – a draft. It will be open for feedback until around October 15th.

Those of us who attended the event also had the chance to hear from a panel of five industry practitioners who participated in one of the round table events. They represented the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, Boeing, Disney, FedEx SmartPost and Nestle USA. The group covered a variety of topics, from Big Data to visibility. If there was a common theme or two from the discussions it was the need to work together in order to get to the next level of supply chain efficiency – that collaboration thing - and the need for talent.

To the first point, Matt Weinberg, a supply chain analyst with Nestle USA, and Randolph Bradley, a technical fellow in supply chain management for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, discussed ideas such as combining warehouses with other companies to share and minimize costs and standardizing the size of packages that move through the supply chain. “Stats from the Federal government state that the average trailer is 42% full and the average trailer with a load is only 56% full,” Bradley said. “There’s a $65 billion opportunity if with can ship full trailers with the right standardized containers and packages.”

To the second point, several panelists pointed out that supply chain management and logistics is gaining recognition within organizations, yet the industry still has an image problem when it comes to recruitment.

“How many of us go to our kids’ career days and tell them what we do?” asked Laurie Hein Denham, president of AST&L. 

“When I go to college fairs, I get asked why FedEx needs mechanical engineers,” added Jonathan Rader, manager, design engineering at FedEx SmartPost. “We just haven’t marketed the industry well.”

Big challenges are ahead of us. But, in response to the question posed by Gue at the beginning of the presentation, it appears as if the material handling and logistics industry is poised to lead and not be led.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Editor at Large

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484 and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.

Article Topics

News · Materials Handling · MHI · All topics


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA