Annual Logistics Salary Survey

The annual survey shows that logistics firms have boosted offers around 10% for new talent.  Will this attract more folks?   Companies hope so; they perceive a ‘talent gap’ that has been talked about widely in logistics. Read about the survey at the link below.

Are you getting higher offers than you thought?  Employers, are you trying to make your finr more attractive? Tell us what’s happening!

Logistics Management’s 30th Annual Salary Survey – Supply Chain 24/7.

UT’s Hours of Service (HOS) Study

Join USF ITI at the Traffic Club of Chicago event April 17, when CSA will be the topic.

University of Tennessee scholars have projected driver shortages due to the new Hours of Service rules.   They opine that this will result in costs being passed on to shippers.  I agree.

Labor economics tells us Carriers are simply going to have to pay more to truckers.  It’s not an attractive job, and while the new rules may make highways a bit safer, many other factors are at work to make the job undesirable.

UT’s Hours of Service (HOS) Study – Supply Chain 24/7 Paper.

Changing Customs Rules Will Make Mexico a Trade Force to be Reckoned With – Supply Chain 24/7

Join USF at the NAFTANext conference in Chicago April 22-25.

There are new rules coming for Mexican customs. It seems that companies can become their own brokers, if an individual can pass a test.  This article spells out some of the changes.

Changing Customs Rules Will Make Mexico a Trade Force to be Reckoned With – Supply Chain 24/7.

Cleveland port readies for Europe service

Here we see what the competition can do in terms of shipping to Europe.  A good percentage of the container rail traffic through Chicago and Will county is destined for Europe.  currently a lot goes to New York and other East Coast ports. Going from Cleveland through the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a novelty.

American Shipper

Cleveland port readies for Europe box service | News | American Shipper.

But looking carefully at the article we see that the ocean carrier partnering with the Port of Cleveland is really using Ro-ro, and heavy lift ships, and some other specialized types of ship.  I guess of they get some boxes to ship they could charter a ship or two. but it looks like more of a heavy machinery service.  These goods won’t fit in a container, and need to be specially handled.  They are oversize.

Of course if we had a Port in Chicago we could do the same thing here.  It’s been defunct for quite a few years now.

Aging US Bridges

We have heard a lot about the aging bridges of Illinois, and in the US as a whole.  Does it matter to freight and logistics?  This article gives some ideas.

distribution  SCDigest LogoSupply Chain News: What Happens to Logistics if Aging US Bridges are Deemed Impaired?

Here in Will County we have heard a lot. The I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River needs widening.  Reports surrounding the Illiana Motor Way indicated that if it were not built, many of the smaller bridges in the area will be overtaxed, on the arterial roads.  And they are old— not enough has been spent on modernization.

Here in Joliet, there is a big need for a bridge at Houboldt road across the Des Plaines River. trucks entering and leaving the large Intermodal yards must get up to I-80, and they spend a lot of time and add to congestion going around as they have to do now.  So bridges are important, and we need to think about how to get them improved. Otherwise they could be major bottlenecks and hazards for material movement.

Economic Power of Logistics Clusters

One of the hot topics in the Chicago area now is how to leverage our ‘logistics cluster’, the galaxy of firms, infrastructure, and resources available in the area and working in logistics and supply chain fields.   Our area is the third largest intermodal ‘port’ in the nation.

  How to Harness the Economic Power of Logistics Clusters | Supply Chain @ MIT.

It’s especially notable in Will County, USF’s home area, where we have several large intermodal facilities and many warehouse and distribution operations, as well as excellent road and rail connections. And don’t forget water– the Des Plaines River is navigable, and barges use it quite often.

People are grappling with how to attract more business and keep what we have now.  Naturally there are conflicting views of what to do, or even whether it will last.  but this area has been a transportation hub for centuries, and that’s not likely to move away. We’re so close to millions of consumers and thousands of manufacturers that both supplies and consumer products will be served.   Our area has to maintain its competitive edge, though. Just being big now doesn’t mean that supply chain operators can’t look for a faster or more cost effective route.  So we need to use our power effectively to keep moving forward.

I think that requires a collaboration on a scale not seen before in the region.  Politicians, policy makers, industry, and education need to develop common goals and objectives– no one group can do it alone.   In the meetings I’ve attended, industry is ready and education is ready. It’s some politicians that are not seeing the picture, whereas others do.  We are now a Mega-region, and need to start behaving like it for all our benefits!

X’s and O’s of Intermodal in SCM

At the Intermodal Institute we love our sports, like many of you.  CH Robinson’s blog Transportfolio offers this extended football metaphor for supply chain and logistics planning.

  Transportfolio — Guest Post: The X’s and O’s of Intermodal in Supply Chain Management.

You may be a fan of this kind of metaphor.  We have to beware of reading too much similarity into the two situations. As a former college football player and coach, I learned that football games are often won by desire as much as by execution.  The team that wants to win the most can frequently hand it to a team that has better talent, better plays, and better execution.  For an example, watch the movie “Harvard beats Yale 29-29″, which is available through Netflix. Here is the IMDB listing.  Tommy Lee Jones, (Al Gore’s roommate), was on the Harvard team, and takes part in the movie.  It’s a piece of Americana.

I think SCM is more about careful planning, foresight, and imagining what can go wrong and acting to prevent it, rather than a simple desire to do better.  In addition, you can learn by ‘watching the film’ — continuous improvement — if you have systems and dashboards that let you see exceptions, and take early action — ‘audibles’ — to make sure problems don’t happen.

Whoops, I’m falling into the metaphor trap.   Ordinary players, by careful attention, can accomplish a lot in SCM if they have the tools and if the leadership has the desire to do it as well as possible.  In football the coach always has the desire; it’s the players that need to find it.