Category: Supply Chain

Is Industry 4.0 Driving the Need for Smarter Motion Control Products?

The collective term Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution, typically described as the computerization of manufacturing—or in other words, the merging of traditional automation with information technology. One of the underlying concepts is modular cyber-physical systems that can collaborate with the operator andcommunicate between themselves in real-time to make autonomous decisions, thereby adapting production processes as needed. When machine builders select their motion control equipment to design the machines of tomorrow, there are several things to consider. Logic control is not enough any more Not so many years ago, machines were controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC),...

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The Rise of Complexity in Digital Supply Networks

The move to digital supply networks can be daunting, especially when organizations consider how exactly to implement these solutions into their existing supply chain. With so much information and hype about digital, it can be hard for organizations to know what works for them and what might be a hidden roadblock. However, when the digital transformation is implemented correctly, it can also seamlessly enable an organization’s digital operations. While manufacturing and supply chain-focused professionals consider how they’re going to excel in this age of increased digital complexity, they should also recognize that many of the same supply chain challenges...

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The Five “New Rules” of e-Commerce Fulfillment

The staggering growth of today’s e-Commerce industry has been largely driven by consumer spending. As consumers spend more, their expectations also increase exponentially. But how do we meet the ever-growing needs and expectations of your e-Commerce customers, not to mention, your 3PL? To help you address these needs, 3PL Central has developed “The Five New Rules of e-Commerce Fulfillment.” These rules will provide you the opportunity to cash in on the substantial e-Commerce profits coming in the years ahead and succeed in meeting the goals of your customers. Click Here to Read the Full...

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10 Best Schools for a Supply Chain Education, Class of 2017

High school students and their parents alike know that when it comes to picking a college, there’s no such thing as having too much information (or financial aid, but that’s a whole ’nother story). Fortunately, several organizations compile annual or biennial rankings of the top supply chain university programs as a guide to graduating high school seniors (and their parents) who are thinking of pursuing a degree in a supply chain-related field. In the past, Material Handling & Logistics has looked at the rankings as compiled by SCM World, which were based on opinions from supply chain professionals. For...

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Supply Chain Optimization

FISHERS, Ind. –  Competition is no longer between companies, but between supply chains.  Manufacturers encounter statements like, “A successful company has a supply chain that aligns with the corporate strategy while being flexible and responsive to external pressures”.  This may be true, however, the real question is HOW does one design and implement a supply chain that fosters collaboration, reduces waste, and delivers value to the customer? Those with optimized supply chains experience benefits like: Lower Costs Better Delivery Increased Quality Competitive Edge The Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) offers a Supply Chain Optimization roadmap that covers five critical areas; Alignment, Value,...

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Amazon Business: Understanding the Threat to B2B Distributors

Looking at the numbers, Amazon Business’s rapid growth over the last year belies any assertions that it can’t get traction in B2B industries. In 2016, Amazon Business’s marketplace surpassed $1 billion in sales, and its marketplace has been growing at 20% month over month. It also has more than 9 million product listings, up from less than 4 million a year ago. If the business unit keeps up its pace, it could surpass $8 billion in sales and 15 million listings in 2017. Our research looks at the business model behind Amazon Business and its progress in key B2B industries. It...

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How This Web-Based DIY Distributor is Building B2B Sales

The DIY Home Center is an online-only distributor of building supplies that has been expanding its array of SKUs, getting more customers, and boosting sales. Its powerful new tactic? An integrated e-comemrce and ERP software suite. Technology can take a good business and make it great. The DIY Home Center has experienced this first-hand. DIY’s offerings include items necessary to build structures such as outdoor decks, offering railings, fasteners and other construction materials. Currently, their SKU number is between 10,000 and 12,000 SKUs from some 35 suppliers. The company’s main source of sales comes from the DIY (Do-It-Yoursef) customers. Although...

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Dive into the Minds of 1,500 Industrial Buyers

Take a deep dive into the minds of the 1,500 U.S. industrial products buyers we surveyed for the third Industrial Buying Dynamics study. The study’s white paper examines the major forces shaping industrial distribution today. Rising (and Changing) Threats It’s no secret—people’s buying behaviors and preferences are rapidly changing. In this year’s study, we’ve seen important shifts in the influence of mobile e-commerce and the perception of e-marketplaces.  Addressing Buyer Needs by Product Type This year’s study includes new questions that detail buyers’ needs and preferences based on the types of products they’re purchasing.  Optimizing the Buyer Experience Buyers...

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E-Commerce Disruption is Coming for Industrial Distributors

E-commerce buying, along with changing buyer demographics, is rapidly disrupting industrial distributors’ traditional inventory-heavy model, according to a press release from UPS. Therefore, distributors must quickly adjust their methods and offer better stock online as well as improve customer service. Millennials (aged 21-34) are the greatest drivers of this change. Along with their technical skill, they often have nontraditional shopping habits, going right to a manufacturer instead of through a middleman-distributor. The UPS survey found 81% of buyers have purchased directly from manufacturers, up from 64% in 2015, while 75% of buyers shop at an e-marketplace, rising from  20% in 2013. Finally, 80% of buyers shifted toward web-friendly...

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A Global Distributor Blending Physical and Digital Commerce

When Sonepar hired Jochen Mall in 2015 as the international industrial supplies distributor’s chief digital officer, he was charged with overseeing a new emphasis on digital commerce across more than 200 separate businesses in 44 countries. The Sonepar companies are in different stages of incorporating or enhancing the online commerce channel of their industrial supplies businesses, making the task all the more challenging, Moll said. But embracing digital commerce isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, Moll told attendees in the B2B Workshop Tuesday at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. “All of them are at different stages and it’s...

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Big-Box Competition for B2B Heats Up

The competitive landscape for distribution is simultaneously becoming more and less crowded. Competitors from outside the industry continue to target the opportunities they see in the B2B space, as demonstrated by last week’s announcement by Lowe’s that it would acquire Houston, TX-based Maintenance Supply Headquarters, a distributor of MRO products to the multifamily housing industry. The M&A market in distribution is active but attractive targets are becoming sparser in many sectors, according to David Gordon, president of Channel Marketing Group, in a blog on “While most business are available for ‘a price,’ many of the ‘acquirable’ mid-sized ($100-300M)...

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W.W. Grainger And The Amazon Effect

W.W. Grainger’s (NYSE:GWW) business has been under pressure lately by the king of all industry disruptors – Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). This led to the company releasing a less-than-favorable first-quarter earnings report. W.W. Grainger’s stock price declined by ~11% after the announcement and is down by nearly 20% year-to-date. However, long-term investors should not be alarmed. W.W. Grainger has a very long history of running a profitable business. W.W. Grainger’s longevity extends to its dividend growth. In fact, W.W. Grainger has increased its annual dividend for 45 consecutive years. This qualifies W.W. Grainger to be a member of the Dividend Aristocrats,...

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Will This Historic Company Be Amazon’s Next Victim?

W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) is an MRO parts distributor with a 90 year operating history that has seen a rapid change in its business over the last decade. The company has done well at shifting its business online, but its share price has languished over fears of Amazon’s (NYSE:AMZN) competition. Although Amazon will continue to be a threat, Grainger is well positioned to maintain its client base and continue to grow market share. The MRO market is highly fragmented, with the top 50 distributors only representing ~30% of the North American market, which is estimated to be $160B. Grainger holds...

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The MFG Meeting is Almost Here

The MFG Meeting brings together the complete manufacturing chain for a unique conference experience that provides unparalleled opportunities to network with industry leaders. The business sessions and speaker presentations are designed to address key business challenges and provide solutions to improve your business. The event is hosted by the two major manufacturing trade associations, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology and National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA).

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