The Friday Report August 17, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Freight and Logistics Industry Optimistic about Next Three Months

According to July 2018 survey of the logistics and transportation industry by TCompanies, 70% of respondents are optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next three months.  Survey respondents indicated that the industry is going in a positive direction overall but have concerns regarding inflationary pressures, workforce shortages and regulatory issues.  Approximately 64% of respondents projected that their companies planned to hire more workers and 67% responded that they expected their company’s profitability to rise.

Once again, 57% of respondents said industry wages were largely anticipated to remain the same, however the same percentage of respondents forecast that the price of goods and services was expected to rise.  In terms of business obstacles, when asked, survey participants responded that the largest obstacle to growth would be:

Workforce shortage                    43.6%

Regulatory issues                       18.6%

Trade tariffs                                  17.44%

Gathering Data from Forklifts Can Lead to Boost in Productivity

With today’s push towards IoT, warehouses are seeing positive results from focusing on forklifts.  By collecting data on forklift use and operations, companies are then able to invest in the means to analyze the data to improve productivity and safety and reduce costs.  This has proven useful in enhancing forklift fleet service and maintenance, enabling forklift service to be smarter as well as more pro-active by having access to forklift health and performance data and the ability to monitor event codes.  By having the data regarding forklift performance prior to the service call, technicians can arrive to the site with an understanding of the problem and the correct parts to execute the repair.  This decreases downtime at one of the most significant points in the supply chain, when products are moving in and out of warehouses.

Predictive maintenance can now be scheduled and accomplished before problems arise.  This helps managers to make sure that forklifts are in operation during the busiest days, plan expenses and provide information needed for planning replacements when the product lifecycle has been exceeded.

Having access to detailed forklift data can also provide needed visibility into how the forklifts are used. This can be essential for determining the best way to structure maintenance plans for maintenance-by-the-hour or power-by-the-hour.

East Coast Ports Reach Record Highs in June 2018

Investments in East Coast U.S. ports are paying off. Since the June 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal that enabled post-panamax sized vessels to cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, ports along the Eastern United States have invested heavily to ensure that they would be capable of handling increased volume. Investments included dredging projects, port automation and computerized terminal operating systems.

Two months ahead of peak season, East Coast ports reached a volume record.  Generally, annual trends indicate that global trade continues to increase with a few exceptions in several countries.  It is possible that industry concerns  regarding trade wars led to expedited freight shipments, pushing volumes higher before the traditional peak season start in August.

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