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SCM Newz roundup

1. Schneider Logistics Expands International Sales Team

Schneider Logistics, Inc., an international lead logistics provider and part of the Schneider National enterprise, today announced the appointment of Michael Squadrille as team vice president of international sales. The new addition to Schneider’s world-class sales team supports the company’s commitment to further develop and expand its global business initiatives.

And further highlighting their overseas connections,

As team vice president of international sales, Squadrille will focus on international development, working closely with the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, American Overseas Logistics, and with Schneider’s growing international freight forwarding networks in Europe and China. Schneider acquired American Overseas Logistics, an international freight forwarder and a licensed United States Customs Broker, in February 2006.

2. Dubai Ports Company Selling Off U.S. Operations
Earlier this year, this deal was the focus of major political brouhaha and it looks like the final dice has been cast in this case.

Dubai Ports World, the company whose planned takeover of major U.S. port operations ignited a political firestorm earlier this year, has agreed to sell those operations to AIG Global Investment Group.

The company announced the deal Monday. The operations at six major U.S. seaports in New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa and New Orleans were valued at approximately $700 million, but DP World did not disclose the sales price.

3. First Major Storm Of The Season Slams Midwest, But Not The Supply Chain
The first major snowstorm of this season was during the beginning of December and among the publicized accidents,

The first major snowstorm of the season has forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights in the Midwest and caused a Fed Ex cargo plane to slide off the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

However, the article reports,

According to Cliff Waldman, Economist at the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, winter storms are just part of doing business.
“The weather can slow things down a bit, but manufacturers are better equipped to handle storms now than 10 years ago,” Waldman said. “The ‘have it when you need it’ mentality of lean manufacturing helps to minimize inventories and improve the technology of the supply chain system.”

This is wrong-headed to say the least. Unless, the firms that are likely to be affected by storms have not proactively changed their inventory target levels, routing guides or supplier collaboration to account for disruptions, the supply chains are going to take a hit when a storm intervenes. If anything, excess inventories provide a wasteful method of buffering a firm from uncertainties – so how does minimizing inventories help ride out a storm, Lean or No-lean?


4. Hometown Crowd: Chinese Companies Moving To Wal-Mart’s Birthplace

Chinese companies may be the next source of job creation in Wal-Mart’s hometown, following in the footsteps of U.S. companies that have flocked to northwest Arkansas to work more closely with the world’s largest retailer.

I think this is beyond funny and beyond irony but all a part of doing business successfully. Lean manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda have opened manufacturing plants right here in the US in order to get closer to their customers (effectively showing the US auto companies that labor costs are but one part of the equation when it comes to competition). One of these days, a chinese manufacturer will do the same thing and then we’d have come full circle with the outsourcing and offshoring question. Meanwhile,

“Wal-Mart is a very important customer for Chinese producers,” said Myron Brilliant, vice president of the Asian-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. “One can only expect that Chinese companies are going to do what U.S. companies do, which is to get closer to their customers.”

Yeah, get closer now!

5. SAP delivers first mySAP 2005 enhancements

SAP AG has delivered the first in a planned series of regular enhancements to the current version of its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, as the vendor embarks on a new way to deliver ERP applications.

And,

Previously, the company released a complete refresh of its ERP software every 12 to 18 months, including hundreds of product enhancements. Then, in September at its TechEd developer conference in Las Vegas, SAP announced plans to adopt a different tack in response to customer demand.

It looks to me like SAP follows a platform and upgrade/update method when it comes to its ERP system and its a great way to keep innovation going.

Released today, the first SAP enhancement package for mySAP ERP 2005 is centered around delivering new general-purpose human capital management (HCM) and financials features and specific functionality for the retail and manufacturing industries.

If I remember right, Workday (an ERP/ERP like software vendor that was highlighted in the last SCM newz roundup) introduced its offering of HCM sometime ago and it looks like SAP is following suite (pun intended).

6. Nissan taps WhereNet’s RFID system for supply chain

Nissan North America Inc. is deploying real-time locating system technology from Santa Clara, Calif.-based WhereNet Corp. to help automate its inbound supply chain and outbound delivery chain, according to the companies.

What kind of RFID?

Nissan is installing the standards-based, active RFID system at its 4 million-square-foot assembly plant in Canton, Miss., and plans to use a single wireless architecture to run multiple WhereNet applications. Those applications include the WhereSoft Yard Management System and Vehicle Tracking and Management System (VTMS) and are designed to help the automaker improve productivity and vehicle quality.

Active RFID tags are those which are powered by an onboard battery and emit signals by themselves to locate their position in the warehouse or manufacturing plant.
So what does such a system entail?

The hardware consists of 1,500 active RFID WhereTag transmitters temporarily attached to new vehicles as they roll off the assembly line as part of the WhereNet VTMS system; 700 WhereTag transmitters that are permanently fixed to trailers belonging to Nissan’s dedicated suppliers or temporarily attached to others as part of the yard management application; 120 WherePort magnetic “exciters” positioned between gates and at key choke points across the complex; and a local infrastructure of 80 wireless WhereLAN locating access points, according to WhereNet.

The expected payoffs?

By automating the check-in/check-out procedures for the hundreds of truckloads and thousands of components arriving at the assembly facility every day, the WhereNet system will save Nissan several hours per day in processing deliveries; provide higher velocity and throughput in the yard; and increase flexibility in manufacturing through better utilization of equipment, facilities and labor, according to the statement.

and,

Latham said Nissan will use the vehicle tracking system to manage postassembly verification and test processes. The system includes a business rules engine that manages the processing of every vehicle in accordance with its assigned status so that critical orders are processed before lower-priority units, he said.

and,

According to Latham, the vehicle tracking system will ensure that no vehicles with known quality defects get shipped. The system also enhances quality by ensuring that no process steps are missed and that every vehicle departs in accordance with dealer/customer specifications.
“The system immediately detects vehicles that may have quality issues, preventing them from inadvertently slipping into the delivery chain where rework costs at dealerships average more than five times the cost of a factory repair,” according to the statement.

And the next step would be?
Well, Nissan can take orders for a car online, let the customer know where exactly his/her car is in the manufacturing plant, what is being put in, where and even who put it in – a total customer experience. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

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Category: Supply Chain Management

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