CAI Transportation Blog

13 Jun, 2019

Innovative technologies that help with reverse logistics


When it comes to logistics, directions matter. And not just the directions to move products from point A to point B, but also the reverse—to get them from point B back to point A.

Forward logistics is about getting products to market. Reverse logistics, or the aftermarket supply chain, is about moving products back through the supply chain. This may mean returning shipments to distributors or manufacturers, but may also include third parties such as recyclers. Simply stated, reverse logistics is about returns and reuse of products and materials, typically for merchandise returns, product recalls, repair, refurbishment, or recycling.

While reverse logistics introduces challenges, it’s also rapidly emerging as an area of immense opportunity for shippers. According to the Reverse Logistics Association, the volume of returns annually is estimated at between $150 and $200 billion. Up to 79 percent of returns are the result of retailers’ efforts to attract new customers who want free returns for unwanted purchases, which often prompts customers to over-order.

What’s more, double-digit e-commerce growth is creating complex logistical scenarios that extend customer scenarios beyond “buy anywhere” to include “return anywhere.” With the retail ecommerce market expected to reach $4 trillion by 2020, and the B2B ecommerce market set to hit $1.8 trillion by 2023, transforming logistics and reverse logistics operations into seamless, omnichannel supply networks is a great way to expand operations into this sector—as well as to stay relevant, competitive, and profitable.

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22 May, 2019

How can retailers make transformative change to stay competitive


In the age of Amazon, the impact of the digital marketplace is fundamentally reshaping traditional retail business models. As brick-and-mortar businesses seek ways to evolve beyond their four walls, supply chains have had to undergo transformative change to compete with retail giants on price, quality, or customer experience—if not all three. This “Amazon Effect” continues to push the boundaries of supply chains to meet lofty customer expectations.

These days, consumers are—more than ever before—bargain shoppers; they know what they want and how to buy it cheaply. With their embrace of online shopping, they have become savvy at navigating the e-commerce space. If their needs aren’t met, buyers can easily switch loyalty to another brand. The shifting demands of fickle consumers call for a greater sense of urgency to adapt quickly or risk being left behind.

Managing to get products to buyers when, how, and where they want them isn’t achievable with a simple ship-and-forget approach anymore. It requires making smart moves in three focal areas of transformation.

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08 May, 2019

What is your on-time in-full action plan?

OTIF-action-plan (1)

The whole purpose of your supply chain is to deliver the products your customers need, when they need them, in the quantity they ordered. Using On-Time in Full (OTIF) metrics can help you measure how successful your supply chain is at fulfilling this objective.

OTIF measures what percent of the time a supplier delivers orders that meet the customers’ requirements for fill rates and specified delivery windows. Just as it is essential for a business to measure sales figures and cash flow, it is equally as important for manufacturing or distribution businesses to manage OTIF.

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24 Apr, 2019

Best practices for managing logistics in the retail supply chain


Managing logistics in the age of e-commerce is a tall order. On top of current logistics challenges, retailers have to worry about the expense, execution, and expansion of supply chains to compete in the omnichannel landscape. But with careful planning and informed decisions, supply chain executives can build a smooth, efficient logistics operation.

Here are some creative strategies you can implement to manage logistics in the retail supply chain.

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10 Apr, 2019

Shaping the future: 5 AI innovations with the potential to reshape supply chains


Self-driving trucks, procurement chatbots, and equipment failure predictions...if you haven’t seen any of these artificial intelligence-driven innovations in your supply chain yet, you likely will in the near future. They are just a few of the many future-focused technologies under development that are poised to reshape the global supply chain and empower supply chain leaders to make smarter business decisions.

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27 Mar, 2019

Keeping score: how CSA scores can help you find safety-conscious carriers


Choosing new carriers for transporting your goods on U.S. highways is not always an easy job. With multiple parameters to assess, such as price, availability, and dependability, the process can be cumbersome and time consuming. But finding the right carriers is crucial for the successful transportation of your valuable goods. That’s why you need to be sure every box is checked before making your decision.

One aspect that often gets overlooked is carrier safety. However, carrier and driver safety are critical to every aspect of your business — from cost to compliance to your business’s reputation. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to assess carrier and driver safety by using the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score.

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13 Mar, 2019

Where does logistics fit into the retail supply chain?


The retail supply chain involves many varied moving parts. Getting it right requires extensive and detailed coordination with a wide array of contacts to ensure adequate supply, efficient production, and timely distribution, among other factors.

One aspect of strategic supply chain planning involves choosing where to put distribution centers so that inventory is well-placed for customer demand— as well as deciding when it’s time to move those locations for more optimal results. For most retailers, logistics represents just one vital piece of the puzzle.

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04 Mar, 2019

A Conversation with CAI International CEO Victor Garcia on Capacity and IMO 2020


At the CSCMP Edge conference in Nashville last fall, CAI International CEO Victor Garcia sat down for an interview with Russell Goodman, the editor-in-chief of Supply Chain Brain, to share his thoughts on the capacity crunch that affected the global logistics sector for all of 2018, as well as the challenges involved in IMO 2020.

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13 Feb, 2019

Why and how to make your food supply chain "recall ready"


One day the food supply chain is running smoothly, then suddenly a notice alerts everyone about the recall of a product and they have to spring into action. Every link in the supply chain— from ingredient suppliers to storage facilities to the end consumer—has a role to play in the process of efficiently and safely removing the affected items.

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24 Jan, 2019

How potential international tariffs could impact logistics in 2019


International shipping typically sees two peak seasons: the holiday retail season from August to October and the second bump in shipping surrounding Chinese New Year in January and February. This year, however, we may have another peak shipping period. Due to the looming possibility of international tariffs, there’s been a surge in preemptive shipping between the U.S. and China.

While the tariffs have been delayed for 90 days—and some speculation about the possibility of renegotiations— it’s best to prepare your supply chain to handle either scenario. So what would be the impact of these tariffs on your supply chain, and how can you mitigate the potential challenges and expenses?

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