All Columns Entries
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Volatile markets. Unstable currencies. Vacillating demand. Unpredictable commodity costs. Manufacturers, like most companies, have plenty to worry about.
Natural gas prices have risen 40 percent to over $6 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) since the beginning of the year. As a regular reader of this column, rising prices should come as no surprise. In July of last year, when the price was just $3.52 per Mcf, I predicted that prices would rise to between $4.00 and $4.25 per Mcf by the end of the year.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
We use our february issue each year to peer inside the nation’s four walls to get a better view of how materials handling equipment and automated distribution systems are evolving to become even more closely tied to overall logistics and transportation operations.
By now you’ve surely heard a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson talk about a parcel deal that they call “If it fits, it ships” with a simple form of capacity pricing.
In previous centuries, international trade volumes typically flowed east to west, with more goods, materials, and components journeying from emerging markets— largely in Asia—to mature economies in Europe and North America.
In Lewis Carroll’s hallucinogenic novella, Through the Looking Glass
, the Red Queen explains to Alice that she too can become a queen by reaching the opposite side of the playing board. But Alice, who has been running as fast as she can, finds that, despite her efforts, she remains in the same spot.
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
To kick off 2014, I’m going to reinforce a rather bold suggestion that Group News Editor Jeff Berman made in his first blog post of the new year: Let’s cut out the use of the adjective “cautious” before we use the noun “optimism” when referring to the state of the U.S. economy.
Shippers who are facing pricing pressure from driver shortages, new regulations, and rising fuel and equipment costs frequently ask me: “How can we get the carriers to be more efficient?” I interpret more as: “How can I save money without suffering from poor service?”
They may not recognize the term, but a lot of logistics and supply chain executives are concerned about “permanent volatility.”
Interest in alternative fuel vehicles skyrocketed in 2013, with successful pilot programs for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks being deployed in both private and for-hire truck fleets.