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Category Archives: Logistics

Millennials Upset E-Commerce Assumptions

The common assumption that millennials only shop online and avoid brick-and-mortar merchants just doesn’t fit their behavior patterns, according to a survey from a Texas A&M Transportation Institute researcher.

The purchasing behavior of millennials — who now account for about 25% of the population — impacts freight policy, trade, economic trends and infrastructure, said Sarah Overmyer, assistant transportation researcher at TTI, who presented her results at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting here.

She disputed the notions that millennials are glued to their smartphones, rent a place in a city and need immediate delivery of their online purchases, and pointed to delivery trends to make her case.

“If this were true, cities would be more congested. And if [millennials] made all their purchases online, it would disrupt freight patterns,” Overmyer said. “If they did demand ASAP delivery, then trucks would be performing gymnastics to respond.”

And the growth of e-commerce has a direct bearing on the trucking industry. In the third quarter of 2017, retail e-commerce sales in the United States came in at $115.3 billion, a rise of 15.5% from the same period in 2016, according to the Census Bureau. E-commerce sales in the third quarter accounted for 9.1% of all retail sales. To better understand millennial e-commerce purchasing, Overmyer conducted a panel survey of 1,310 18- to 34 year-old Texans, gathering demographic data and questioning them on their shopping preferences and online behavior.

Online shopping was part of their everyday lives as 68% of those surveyed said they had received an online package in the past week. However, 75% of those packages had arrived three days or more after ordering.

That shoots down the assumption on immediate delivery, Overmyer said. Further, only 45% of those surveyed were members of the Amazon Prime service that promises two-day delivery on certain purchases.

And most millennials, 75%, made purchases both online and in-store; just 14% were online only shoppers, while 7% were exclusively in-store shoppers. About three-quarters of respondents bought clothing online and in-store, while 74% preferred to buy personal hygiene products in-store, and 91% bought food in a grocery store.

Census Bureau data from 2015 shows that about 29% of Texas millennials live with their parents or another relative, but that doesn’t mean that they cluster in cities.

Overmyer found that about 66% live in the suburbs. And they want to put down roots; nearly half plan to buy a home in five years, with 50% wanting to be in the suburbs, 26% in an urban area and 23% in a rural area.

“The survey shows that millennials may not be as different as we thought,” Overmyer said. “They live in the suburbs, they shop in stores, and they don’t require two-day delivery.” She added, “Still, two-thirds got an online delivery in the last week.”

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Amazon Rival Built the Equivalent of Monaco in Warehouse Space in Three Months Inc. added so much warehouse space in three months that the new construction could cover just about every inch of Monaco, a pace of expansion that rivals growth at Inc.

China’s second-largest e-commerce service added 2 million square meters (21.5 million square feet) of warehouse space from July to September, about equal to the span of the city-state famed as a getaway for the rich. It ran 405 warehouses encompassing 9 million square meters at the end of September — adding about a warehouse every one to two days. December-quarter data won’t be available till JD reports results, which aren’t expected till at least next month.

JD builds and runs its own nationwide logistics chain, a costly approach that’s weighing on profitability but that it believes is crucial to competing against larger arch-foe Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

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Winter Deep Freeze Will Affect the US Economy

A winter storm sweeping the U.S. East Coast after a week of very low temperatures is probably boosting demand for boots and mittens — and thanks in part to its timing, it shouldn’t chill economic data more broadly.

Home sales and spending at restaurants could see a short-term dip, but against a backdrop of steady demand and a solid economy, that should amount to little more than a blip. And other businesses, such as utility providers and food-delivery companies, will benefit.

The winter storm and chill are hitting before the Department of Labor’s reference week for employment data, so the effects probably will have little impact on jobs figures. And because the weather disruption comes just after the winter holidays, the freeze isn’t choking off in-store shopping during a crucial season.

Still, unusual temperatures and storms can cause major disruptions if protracted, so all bets are off if the cold snap and snowy weather persist for longer than currently forecast. And even if the deep freeze is short-lived, it could become a convenient scapegoat for any first-quarter economic weakness, which has been chalked up to seasonal-adjustment issues or bad weather in recent years.

“Within a quarter or two, any weakness in the first quarter data will be blamed on this week,” said Michael Hanson, chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities in New York. “I am not a big believer in these weather stories, but they’re extremely popular in the markets.”

Cozy Up

Americans’ demand for cold-weather products has probably spiked in first week of January

Winter storm warnings covered parts of 13 eastern states on Jan. 4, while blizzard warnings applied to the U.S. coast from North Carolina to Maine, including New Jersey, Long Island and Boston. Governors in several states had declared emergencies. Many in Virginia had lost power, and thousands of flights were grounded.

While temperatures well below freezing are expected in the Northeast through the weekend, by Jan. 8 things should warm up — just in time for the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reference week, which is always the calendar week or pay period containing the 12th. Survey data covering that particular period form the basis for the January employment report, due Feb. 2.

“I suspect it probably won’t have too much of a lingering impact,” said Omair Sharif, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York. He said housing starts could be softer, but only temporarily. Retail sales data could take a small hit, but that should get made up quickly, he said.

Timing is on the side of retailers.

“It’s a huge difference that this is happening now, versus last week or the week just before Christmas,” said Evan Gold, executive vice president of global services at Planalytics, a Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based company that traces weather-related business trends.

Planalytics expects restaurant traffic in the Northeast to be down 10% from the usual level in the first week of January, but spending on things like hats, boots and heaters will be up in the North and the nation as a whole.

“The losers would be anything that’s discretionary that would require people to go out of their house,” Gold said. Still, even those businesses suffering a hit will only have to put up with short-lived pain.

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UPS Touts Record Number of Package Returns This Holiday Season

Some 1.4 million packages are expected to be sent back to retailers on Jan. 3, according to UPS Inc., which has dubbed the massive return-to-sender day “National Returns Day.” The anti-climactic Internet retail holiday tops a record December of package returns, as consumers shipped backed more than 1 million packages per day during the month.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

“While the day after Christmas used to be reserved for long return lines at department stores, the growth of e-commerce has changed when and how consumers return gifts,” UPS Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn said in a statement.

RELATED: UPS and FedEx handle record holiday surge with minimal delays

People are also becoming increasingly familiar with the online order-return process, as 75% of consumers have sent back a package to a retailer this year, according to the company.

Estimates vary, but digital analytics firm eMarketer is forecasting e-commerce sales for November and December to fall just shy of $107 billion, climbing 16% over last year’s total and representing 11.5% of all holiday sales.

As far as returns go, this season’s National Returns Day will also grow measurably, jumping 8% over last year, according to UPS’ calculations.

While not welcome news for retailers looking to cash in on a strong holiday season, the annual package return extravaganza means even more business for UPS. Including returns, UPS is projecting it will deliver 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year Eve, which is up 40 million packages from last year.

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Full Speed Ahead for Trucking in 2018

Trucking firms are revved up for 2018, with predictions of tight capacity and strong demand for freight hauling setting the stage for an anticipated big year ahead for the industry, and indicators pointing to a potentially sustained period of business expansion in the United States and around the globe.

That confidence is boosted by the expectation that Congress’ efforts on tax reform will lead to a friendlier regulatory environment for trucking, with uncertainty regarding health care reform and trade negotiations doing little to tamp down enthusiasm.

Congress and the Trump administration also have indicated they will finally begin consideration of a long-awaited infrastructure funding proposal in January.

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Panama Canal had to Place Limits on Shipping Due to El Niño Drought

A drought caused by the El Niño weather system forced the Panama Canal to limit how deeply ships are immersed as they pass through the waterway.

The canal’s lower water levels mean a ship’s maximum draft will drop from 39.5 feet to 39 feet on Sept. 8, the Panama Canal Authority announced in a shipping advisory. A ship’s draft refers to the distance between its keel and the waterline and determines what depths it can safely pass through.

Canal officials, who laid the blame for the limit on the global El Niño weather pattern, say the limit may fall another half a foot on Sept. 16 if rainfall does not return to normal levels. The month of June and early part of July were the driest period in over a century, the AFP reports.

While the change only affects 18.5% of ships traveling through, some ships may have to reduce their cargo to be able to pass through, which could have consequences for manufacturing and trigger far-reaching delays.

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ATA Report Sees Growth in Freight, Trucking Through 2026

A new report released Monday by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) projects freight volumes will increase by nearly 29 percent over the next 11 years.

“The outlook for all modes of freight transportation remains bright,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in releasing its U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2026. “Continued population growth, expansion of the energy sector and foreign trade will boost trucking, intermodal rail and pipeline shipments in particular.”

Forecast, a collaboration between ATA and IHS Global Insight, projects a 28.6 percent increase in freight tonnage and an increase in freight revenues of 74.5 percent to $1.52 trillion in 2026.

Forecast is a valuable resource for executives and decision makers in both the private and public sector,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Knowing where the industry and economy is headed can help shippers and fleets make key business decisions and instruct lawmakers and regulators on the best policies to move our economy forward.”

For the first time, this year’s Forecast includes near-term projections for 2015 and 2016 and estimates for changes in the size of the Class 8 truck fleet.

Among Forecast’s findings:

Trucking will still be the dominant mode of freight transportation, although the share of tonnage it hauls dips slightly. Even though truck tonnage grows over the forecast period, trucking’s share will dip from 68.8 percent in 2014 to 64.6 percent in 2026.

Due to tremendous growth in energy production in the U.S., pipelines will benefit more than other modes. Between 2015 and 2026, pipeline volumes will increase an average of 10.6 percent a year and their share of freight will increase from 10.8 percent in 2015 to 18.1 percent in 2026.

While railroads’ share of freight tonnage will drift down from 14.2 percent in 2015 to 12.3 percent in 2026, intermodal freight will be the second-fastest growing mode at 4.5 percent annually through 2021 and increase 5.3 percent per year thereafter.

The number of Class 8 trucks in use will grow from 3.56 million in 2015 to 3.98 million by 2026.

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Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations. The resources managed in logistics can include physical items such as food, materials, animals, equipment, and liquids; as well as abstract items, such as time and information. The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security.

In military science, logistics is concerned with maintaining army supply lines while disrupting those of the enemy, since an armed force without resources and transportation is defenseless. Military logistics was already practiced in the ancient world and as modern military have a significant need for logistics solutions, advanced implementations have been developed. In military logistics, logistics officers manage how and when to move resources to the places they are needed.

Logistics management is the part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward, and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer’s requirements. The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by dedicated simulation software. The minimization of the use of resources is a common motivation in all logistics fields. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.

Origins and definition

The prevalent view is that the term logistics comes from the late 19th century: from French logistique (loger means to lodge) and was first used by Baron de Jomini. Others attribute a Greek origin to the word: λόγος, meaning reason or speech; λογιστικός, meaning accountant or responsible for counting.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines logistics as “the branch of military science relating to procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities”. However, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines logistics as “the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies,” and the Oxford Dictionary on-line defines it as “the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation”. As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering that creates “people systems” rather than “machine systems.”

According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (previously the Council of Logistics Management) logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements and includes inbound, outbound, internal and external movements.

Academics and practitioners traditionally refer to the terms operations or production management when referring to physical transformations taking place in a single business location (factory, restaurant or even bank clerking) and reserve the term logistics for activities related to distribution, that is, moving products on the territory. Managing a distribution center is seen, therefore, as pertaining to the realm of logistics since, while in theory the products made by a factory are ready for consumption they still need to be moved along the distribution network according to some logic, and the distribution center aggregates and processes orders coming from different areas of the territory. That being said, from a modeling perspective, there are similarities between operations management and logistics, and companies sometimes use hybrid professionals, with for ex. “Director of Operations” or “Logistics Officer” working on similar problems. Furthermore, the term supply chain management originally refers to, among other issues, having an integrated vision in of both production and logistics from point of origin to point of production. All these terms may suffer from semantic change as a side effect of advertising.

Business logistics

A forklift stacking a logistics provider’s warehouse of goods on pallets
One definition of business logistics speaks of “having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right customer”. Business logistics incorporates all industry sectors and aims to manage the fruition of project life cycles, supply chains, and resultant efficiencies.

The term “business logistics” has evolved since the 1960s due to the increasing complexity of supplying businesses with materials and shipping out products in an increasingly globalized supply chain, leading to a call for professionals called “supply chain logisticians”.

In business, logistics may have either an internal focus (inbound logistics) or an external focus (outbound logistics), covering the flow and storage of materials from point of origin to point of consumption (see supply-chain management). The main functions of a qualified logistician include inventory management, purchasing, transportation, warehousing, consultation, and the organizing and planning of these activities. Logisticians combine a professional knowledge of each of these functions to coordinate resources in an organization.

There are two fundamentally different forms of logistics: one optimizes a steady flow of material through a network of transport links and storage nodes, while the other coordinates a sequence of resources to carry out some project (e.g., restructuring a warehouse).

Logistics outsourcing

Logistics outsourcing involves a relationship between a company and an LSP (logistic service provider), which, compared with basic logistics services, has more customized offerings, encompasses a broad number of service activities, is characterized by a long-term orientation, and thus has a strategic nature.

Outsourcing does not have to be complete externalization to a LSP, but can also be partial:

A single contract for supplying a specific service on occasion
Creation of a spin-off
Creation of a joint venture
Third-party logistics (3PL) involves using external organizations to execute logistics activities that have traditionally been performed within an organization itself. According to this definition, third-party logistics includes any form of outsourcing of logistics activities previously performed in house. For example, if a company with its own warehousing facilities decides to employ external transportation, this would be an example of third-party logistics. Logistics is an emerging business area in many countries.

The concept of a fourth-party logistics (4PL) provider was first defined by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as an integrator that assembles the resources, planning capabilities, and technology of its own organization and other organizations to design, build, and run comprehensive supply chain solutions. Whereas a third-party logistics (3PL) service provider targets a single function, a 4PL targets management of the entire process. Some have described a 4PL as a general contractor that manages other 3PLs, truckers, forwarders, custom house agents, and others, essentially taking responsibility of a complete process for the customer.

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4 Benefits of Electronic Data Interchange ( EDI )

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format; a process which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper. Business entities conducting business electronically are called trading partners.

EDI replaces postal mail, fax and email. While email is also an electronic approach, the documents exchanged via email must still be handled by people rather than computers. Having people involved slows down the processing of the documents and also introduces errors. Instead, EDI documents can flow straight through to the appropriate application on the receiver’s computer (e.g., the Order Management System) and processing can begin immediately.

While many companies leverage EDI to comply with trading partner requirements, few take advantage of EDI to drive operational excellence. Limiting EDI use to fundamental transactions, such as purchase orders and invoices, leaves money on the table and misses an opportunity to strengthen customer service and overall competitiveness.

Companies achieve the greatest operational excellence gains by expanding EDI across a broad spectrum of transactions and integrating it with a warehouse management system to create visibility through the supply chain.


  • Enhanced visibility. EDI can enable a sharper understanding of your supply chain to reduce inventory carrying costs. You can stock only what you need.
  • Reduced labor costs. Companies using EDI for advanced shipping notices (ASNs) can save up to 40 percent of labor costs associated with inbound processing.
  • Minimized freight costs. Using EDI in concert with a transportation management system can minimize transport expenses while maintaining high service levels through load consolidation and mode selection.
  • Improved customer service. Customers, suppliers, and regulators benefit from the seamless flow of critical business information among partners.
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As business keep on developing at a fast clasp, inventory logistics and coordination changes and advancements will proceed. Client desires and rivalry from expanding businesses are driving far reaching changes to warehousing and logistics operations. Direct-to-purchaser development is influencing retailers, as well as makers, wholesalers, and 3PLs. Jacksonville logistics and distribution centers are progressively assuming a more prominent part in trade because of disintermediation and a diminishment in direct sales through retail stores.

On top of that, the relationship amongst retailers and upstream accomplices is changing, as wholesalers have expanded their nearness in retail and retailers have pushed direct-to customer obligations back onto their providers. Thus, distribution center logistics centers are expanding, responsiveness and flexibility have turned out to be more critical as package shipping has developed, and work effectiveness stays as imperative as ever.


  • It makes your business inalienably adaptable. As your business develops, you don’t need to stress over including new systems, stock controls and hardware. As your shipments expand, it’s just a question of expanding the stock at your Jacksonville logistics 3PL provider’s location.
  • Outsourcing decreases order fulfillment time. Generally, the companies that specialize in order fulfillment have warehouses located near major shipping hubs and ports. Subsequently, all shipments to clients regardless of where they live normally takes lest transit time.
  • When you outsource inventory and your product fulfillment operations it allows time for you to focus on advertising and developing your business, instead of worrying about logistics. Keeping up and sorting out your own stock can be a major pain and take up a critical bit of your time. By permitting a 3PL logistics company to assume control, you can center your endeavors on enhancing your business.
  • Also because we are a Jacksonville logistics company located near major transportation hubs, like JAXPORT, you can expand your business to other nations. Making international shipments can be a hassle with the costs and paperwork involved. A company that provides third party logistic services will have the experience to handle your international shipping. By outsourcing your order fulfillment to a 3PL logistics company, you no longer have to worry about anything other than sourcing your items from a supplier.


Laney & Duke, located in Jacksonville Florida, can provide a logistics solution for your business. Give us a call to learn how we can help you maximize the efficiency of your operation.

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