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Industrial Equipment News: Dipti Gupta on Seven Logistics Trends Impacting Manufacturing’s New Direction

In recent years, increasing customer demands for delivery speed and precision, competition from new countries, political tensions, and the emergence of e-commerce platforms profoundly impacted manufacturing. In response, many manufacturers began exploring a direct-to-consumer sales approach to better navigate this increasingly complex environment.

To aid in this transition, Logistyx COO Dipti Gupta identified seven logistics trends manufacturers must account for in a recent article for Industrial Equipment News:

  1. Digitization of the sales process
  2. Omnichannel
  3. The rise of carrier-agnostic logistics technology
  4. Sustainability
  5. Re-shorting/near-shoring
  6. Internet of transparency
  7. Big data and analytics

To see how understanding each of these trends can ease the transition for manufacturers-turned-retailers, read the full article on Industrial Equipment News: “7 Logistics Trends Impacting Manufacturing’s New Direction

Ken Fleming Discusses Sustainability and Parcel Shipping in Manufacturing & Logistics IT

Consumers are placing an increasing importance on purchasing products that are environmentally friendly, and manufacturers are responding with product portfolios that include green goods and recycled packaging.  However, it’s important to remember sustainability isn’t just about ethically sourced raw materials, it’s also about improving the end-to-end supply chain to both reduce environmental costs and waste as well as increase efficiency. In fact, it is often the combination of many small(er) changes throughout the supply chain that make a big impact.

In a recent article in Manufacturing & Logistics IT, Logistyx Technologies President Ken Fleming shares two key areas for improvement in sustainability in direct-to-consumer e-commerce: packaging and shipping modes.  From “fitted” packaging that can be reused for returns… to consolidating shipments… to adding couriers to the transportation network… to offering incentives for longer shipment delivery windows, Ken discusses how a cloud Transportation Management Solution (TMS) for global parcel shipping with Business Intelligence provides shippers with the raw data and insights to manage complex supply chain ecosystems with an eye toward improving sustainability.

Be sure to read Ken’s full article on Manufacturing & Logistics IT: Improving Sustainability in the Parcels Market: Two Key Focus Areas and then contact us to explore opportunities to improve sustainability in your own supply chain.

3 Steps toward a Data-Driven Logistics Strategy in Manufacturing

Often, we hear or read that data is playing an increasingly important role in the manufacturing industry. Think of IoT, predictive maintenance, or robotics. But the truth is, many manufacturers still struggle to aggregate, analyze, and leverage data, particularly in logistics, where data is critical to meeting customers’ high demands for a fast, personalized product delivery experience.
The following three steps can help manufacturers leverage data to meet customer expectations today and tomorrow.

Step 1: Eliminate Silos and Synchronize Data

The first step in a data-driven strategy is not actually about the data. It’s about the organization. Today’s shipping environment is complex. Supply chains stretch globally, and growing organizations with different entities or partners worldwide may work with different systems. Moreover, different departments within an organization may have their own systems and “truth,” and the KPIs they pursue might not serve larger organizational goals.

To tackle today’s challenges and prepare operations for tomorrow, departments need to align and work together. This requires companies to take a critical look at their organization and its data strategy. As long as data is fragmented and isolated per department in different systems, the data has limited potential. For example, how can management make strategic decisions about shipping when the logistics department works with different data than the procurement department? But when logistics data and procurement data is synchronized, usually through systems integration with the organization’s system of record, a single source of truth is created and departments across the organization can now make strategic decisions based on real-time data, fueling supply chain efficiencies and increasing transportation savings.

$6 million

Companies can save up to 6 million dollars annually thanks to analyses of track and trace data by machine learning.

Source: Boston Consultancy Group, 2019

Defect tracking, forecasting, and track & trace are good examples of how data alignment can enable manufacturing companies to optimize their supply chain. For example, has a natural disaster jeopardized a delivery of raw materials? In a data-driven supply chain, where systems are integrated to create a supply chain “ecosystem,” the purchasing department is automatically informed of the inbound shipping event and can quickly assess the available amount, quality, purchase price, and shipping cost from their supply channels to backfill the raw material order and get the finished product to the customer. Or maybe machine data indicates a production unit is going to fail. In this case, the production system automatically sends a message to a service team and a 3D print facility near the factory produces and delivers the parts prior to breakdown. Connecting all systems and processes provides continuous insight into performance, fosters collaboration, and aligns departments.

It’s worth nothing that with e-commerce becoming more prominent in manufacturing, a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping is a valuable link in a connected, data-driven supply chain. The right TMS for parcel shipping will seamlessly integrate with other supply chain systems, including ERP, WMS, and OMS, bringing data together to reduce the risk of human error in order fulfillment and enabling easy carrier performance monitoring. This not only improves customer service, but with carrier performance data in hand, manufacturers are better positioned to optimize their carrier negotiations.

Step 2: Deploy the Correct Data Analysis Tools

Once the data has been brought together, it is time for the next step: analysis. The reality is, there are innumerable factors that influence supply chain performance. The challenge for most companies is that they lack an easy way to anticipate and respond to these factors. But when the systems are connected and the data is readily available, the real work can begin.

For example, by combining data from a TMS for parcel shipping, the ERP system, and the CRM system, manufacturers have full visibility into their inbound and outbound shipments across all carriers, warehouses, DCs, and factories. And with Business Intelligence, manufacturers can analyze data such as shipping expense by geography, carrier, customer, and SKU, giving manufacturers actionable information for optimizing their shipping strategy – minimizing costs and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Step 3: Keep Learning

Aligning and analyzing data is only the beginning of a data-driven supply chain strategy. Ultimately, manufacturers should learn and improve through a continuous feedback loop. In a continuous learning environment manufacturers will have the right structure, the necessary agility, the ability to solve problems, and the ability to know which problems to solve¬–making it easy to quickly overcome the supply chain hurdles that come their way and making it hard for competitors to keep up.

Identify Opportunities to Improve

Manufacturers seeking to optimize their market value, adapt their products and delivery methods to customer requirements, and fortify their operations against unforeseen disruptions need to be flexible. To achieve this flexibility, the organization, its processes, and its systems need to be connected, creating a continuous feedback loop of shared data. To learn more about how you can create a data-driven supply chain, contact a Logistyx expert today.

Manufacturing on Demand: How 3D Printing is Changing the Industry

The prediction was right: once the printing speed becomes faster, more materials become available, and the associated costs decrease, 3D printing in manufacturing is going to explode. With each passing day, vast improvements in all three categories are occurring, and we’re getting closer to that explosion.

Case in point: a report from January 2017 by PWC predicted 3D printing would impact 85% of the spare parts providers surveyed in the next five years, in part due to the increase in materials. Historically, resin and plastics were at the forefront of 3D printing. However, metals have recently been introduced to the industry, which means even the most complex parts will no longer need to be shipped from warehouses far away. Instead, they’ll be printed in-house – thereby eliminating a lengthy supply chain.

Let’s explore how the pioneers of 3D production in manufacturing: Electrolux, Ford, and Caterpillar, have continued to push the industry forward with innovations in materials, speed, and costs.

Electrolux | 3D Print On Demand to Lower Costs

As the company moves toward “smart factories” for the production and manufacturing of its domestic appliance products, Electrolux, a Swedish domestic appliance manufacturer, is embracing 3D printing for the manufacturing of spare parts on demand.  With this initiative, Electrolux engineers are solving problems that affect both the manufacturer and the customer. For example, an on-demand service for 3D printing of spare parts lowers the manufacturer’s production, inventory, and maintenance costs once the production of the appliances has stopped, yet the appliances are still in use.  And the service also eliminates high replacement costs and long processing and shipment times for customers seeking parts for products that are no longer sold.

Ford | 3D Printed Parts Drastically Reduce Production Time

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020

Always on the cutting edge of manufacturing, Ford has gone from inventing the original moving assembly line to embracing state-of-the-art technologies like 3D printing. In fact, when it comes to producing new parts, the innovation occurring in Ford’s 3D printing labs has been nothing short of extraordinary.

For example, employing traditional methods to produce part prototypes can require five months’ lead time and cost approximately $500,000; today, a 3D-printed part produced by Ford can be made in only a few days or even hours, while costing no more than a few thousand dollars.

As technology continues to advance, Ford engineers predict service dealerships may eventually have in-house 3D printers for the production of replacement parts, making repairs easier. Consumers could also take advantage of this technology — downloading modifications or accessories to completely customize their vehicles.

Caterpillar | The World’s First 3D-Printed Excavator

Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, has a long history of 3D printing in manufacturing; in fact, CAT is one of the pioneers behind additive manufacturing (AM). The company has been printing aluminum and titanium parts for years and is now taking the technology system-wide.  Proof of their versatility in – and commitment to – the 3D printing space: their usage of 3D printing technology goes beyond rapid prototyping of parts and into never-before-seen projects like the world’s first 3D-printed excavator. 

Additionally, the Caterpillar team has shown how much the technology can contribute to heavy equipment manufacturing by actually using a 3D printed part in their new machines. Gas turbines, which have a complex, fin-like design similar to fuel mixers, are often difficult to produce through traditional casting methods.  Now, Caterpillar quickly creates them with 3D printing. The company predicts that in the years to come, the same production method will apply to most of its manufactured parts.

Think Big. Start Small. Act Fast.

When it comes to 3D printing in manufacturing, the printing of both prototypes and usable parts is already gaining traction behind-the-scenes in many major manufacturing companies.

And by combining 3-D printing with advanced shipping management, manufacturers can shift the dynamics of after-sales maintenance and repair advantageously toward their business and their customers – and away from the margin-shrinking middlemen in their supply chains.  In fact, savvy manufacturers are finding the combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping management packs a powerful one-two punch that’s enabling them to:

  • Significantly reduce their inventory and production costs
  • Slash their shipping expenses
  • Accelerate delivery times
  • Provide a faster and on-demand customer experience
  • Say farewell to third-party resellers, long-distance carriers, and other middlemen in their supply chains

The players in the industry should follow the advice of Caterpillar’s Additive Manufacturing product manager, Stacey DelVecchio, who states the best strategy for manufacturers right now is to “think big, start small, and act fast.”

To learn more about 3D print and ship strategies, contact us today.


Logistics in the Manufacturing Industry: The Shift from Efficiency to Customer Experience

Business purchases are rapidly moving from offline to e-commerce. But is the logistics focus of the manufacturing industry shifting along? Discover why efficiency in logistics is now secondary to the online experience of your customers.

As a consumer, I can order a laptop today and have it delivered tomorrow night, right between dinner and my visit to the gym. From the moment I order I get constant Track & Trace updates, so I know exactly when to expect my parcel. And if the laptop is not entirely to my liking, it will be collected and returned free of charge, wherever and whenever this suits me.

Black box for business buyers

This scenario is the norm in B2C commerce. But for business buyers, it is still far from reality. The delivery of business orders is still often a black box in which the receiver enjoys little to no control or transparency. The question is for how long will this remain?

E-commerce becomes the standard in B2B

business buyers' expectations chart - next paragraph explains data

E-commerce is rapidly replacing the physical order forms and product catalogs that have dominated B2B sales for decades. According to Gartner (2018), 75% of all business procurement within five years takes place via online marketplaces and sales platforms. This creates a huge opportunity for manufacturers, but it also brings challenges.

The new generation of decision makers effortlessly projects the service they receive at Amazon, Zalando or Zappos onto their expectations towards business suppliers.

According to research among 6723 business buyers, 69% now expect an Amazon-like buying experience from their B2B suppliers (Salesforce Research, 2018). 67% already switched vendors because they offer an experience that is more alike the one in consumer retail. Both percentages are even higher among the new generation of decision makers born between ’81 and ’99.

What does this mean for the delivery of goods?

This consumerization of the business purchasing process is leaving its marks on suppliers. No fewer than 84% of B2B providers now consider it their top external threat (Episerver, 2019). This also translates to the delivery of goods. Shipments become more fragmented and smaller, which increases your dependence on parcel carriers.

inbound logistics chart

Source – Inbound Logistics, 2019

Although cutting transport costs continues to lead the list of shipping challenges, we see that the rise of e-commerce has become the number two challenge for today’s shippers. Closely followed by improving customer service. With the knowledge gained  from B2C e-commerce, we are likely to see the following delivery services become increasingly important in the B2B space:

Choice of multiple delivery options

In a business environment  there is usually  someone available to receive a shipment during business hours. However, this does not mean that one-size-fits-all shipping is sufficient. One customer might be willing to wait longer, at lower delivery costs. Another might need his delivery today. To meet this varying demand, offering a wide range of delivery options and delivery speeds is crucial; from same-day delivery for the most time-critical shipments to Economy-options for slower deliveries. You might be able to offer these via a single delivery partner, but due to ongoing carrier specialization, a mix of carriers is becoming more common and preferable.

Full transparency of shipping costs

Just like consumers, business buyers do not like to be surprised. By offering maximum transparency about delivery costs, including any handling fees and costs for customs clearance, you prevent uncertainty and significantly improve customer experience.

Real-time Track & Trace Insight & Updates

The need for transparency remains once the shipment is in the hands of the carrier. By proactively informing receivers about the status of their shipments, especially in the event of any delays or exceptions, you will optimally meet this need. Moreover, you keep control over the customer experience and prevent customers from contacting you or your carriers in frustration.

Localization of delivery options

With e-commerce, you can theoretically sell anywhere in the world, provided you can also deliver. In B2C e-commerce, we are currently seeing that retailers localize their delivery offerings, combining major carriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS with local specialists. This isn’t just for cost saving reasons. Local carriers typically meet the demand of end customers in a particular geography better.

More shipping locations

Affordable, but fast, delivery is definitely at the top of the customer wish list. As a result, the distance between shippers and end customers is reducing. It shows in the opening of several, smaller shipping locations as a replacement or extension of traditional mega warehouses. Ship-from-store is the ultimate example of this trend. Omnichannel retailers use their store locations for the fulfillment of online orders, making even same-hour deliveries feasible. But this trend is also visible in the manufacturing space. Aided by the rise of 3D printing and robotics, production is shifting to decentralized locations, increasing the number of shipping locations in manufacturing.

How do you respond to this as a manufacturer?

The major logistical change that successful e-commerce parties, both B2C and B2B, bring about is the shift from push to pull. Where previously the supplier dictated delivery conditions, it is now the customer who determines where, when and by whom goods are delivered.

Partly due to this development, successful manufacturers are now saying goodbye to their efficient, but very rigid, supply chains. To meet the needs of the new generation of business buyers, flexibility is the new adage. By building in flexibility at tactical places in your supply chain, you prepare yourself for the rapidly changing and the wide array of wishes of all your customers. Take look at your supply chain through the eyes of customer experience and ask yourself – what would I think of this as a consumer? The answer might hold the future of your manufacturing business.

Want to know more about logistics trends in manufacturing?

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020Download the white paper “The 7 logistics trends that will radically change the manufacturing industry in 2020”. In this white paper, we cover the logistical trends that every manufacturer must know to remain competitive in our dynamic market.



Manufacturing Moves Closer to the Customer: 3-D Print and Ship Strategies on the Rise

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020

From dealing with anxious customers and opportunistic middlemen to managing rising inventory and shipping costs, the challenges of after-sales maintenance and repair can mount quickly. However, as Logistyx President and Chief Sales Officer Ken Fleming points out in a recent issue of Manufacturing Today, some manufacturers are beginning to discover the combination of 3D printing with sophisticated parcel shipping management can help make these aftermarket frustrations disappear. In fact, Fleming elaborates that savvy manufacturers are finding the combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping management packs a powerful one-two punch that’s enabling them to:

  • Significantly reduce their inventory and production costs
  • Slash their shipping expenses
  • Accelerate delivery times
  • Provide a faster and on-demand customer experience
  • Say farewell to third-party resellers, long-distance carriers and other middlemen in their supply chains

Summarizes Fleming, “Looking ahead, we can expect to see more manufacturers re-evaluating the ways they service their customers, and taking advantage of the powerful combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping to reduce their dependency on intermediaries, ensure the right parts are being used for repairs, and maintain closer and more interactive direct relationships with their customers and partners.” Read more in Manufacturing Today: “Winning Combination: 3-D Printing and Sophisticated Parcel Shipping Management.”

D2C Distribution Model Creates New Challenges for CPG Manufacturers

The explosive growth of e-commerce provides greater opportunities for manufacturers to sell more to consumers and increase profitability. However, the pivot to online, direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution can be especially challenging for consumer-packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, who have traditionally followed a more linear, manufacturer-to-retail-store supply chain model. These manufacturers are often limited by sales channel partnerships with retail stores, forcing them to sell products and drive revenue through in-store sales. Despite the challenge, CPG manufacturers are increasingly leveraging a mix of online resellers, unique D2C distribution model offerings and strategic acquisitions to ease the transition and take advantage of this new e-commerce era.

Internet Retailer’s Findings Reveal Need for E-commerce Sales

Released earlier this month, Internet Retailer highlighted the latest e-commerce trends in a new report, 2019 Online Consumer Packaged Goods Report, which dives into key facts on e-commerce growth and the issues faced by CPG manufacturers.According to Internet Retailer’s recent story, “How e-commerce is changing the packaged goods market,” some key findings from the report include:

  • Online U.S. CPG sales rose by 35.4% in 2018
  • The overall U.S. CPG market is valued at $815 billion
  • Online sales for the U.S. totaled $58.6 billion last year – accounting for 11% of total U.S. CPG sales but 64% of the growth

With the e-commerce industry bringing in more sales growth, the report suggests CPG manufacturers must find creative ways to adapt their strategies without damaging store partnerships.

CPG Manufacturers Embrace Online Sales

Despite limitations, the report states manufacturers are growing online sales in several different ways:

  • Embracing online retailers/selling product mix elsewhere: CPG manufacturers can turn to online services such as Peapod or Amazon to gain more exposure with customers searching for their products. These digital marketplaces offer CPG manufacturers the ability to sell and ship products more quickly.
  • Get creative with selling new products: Big name manufacturers such as Coca-Cola and Mondelez International are creatively engaging in D2C distribution model operations with selective selling. They can offer products not available in stores to websites that sell exclusive/personalized merchandise, enticing customers to shop online. This tactic allows manufacturers to preserve positive relationships and maintain shelf space with store retailers while expanding online sales.
  • Acquisition of web-only brands: Some companies make major acquisitions for web-only retailers to leverage D2C operations. In May 2019, Edgewell acquired D2C shaving brand Harry’s in a $1.37 billion deal and Unilever made a similar deal in 2016 with the $1 billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. Thanks to acquisitions like these, manufacturers gain access to established D2C operations, providing consumers with more plentiful and efficient options to buy their CPG products.

CPG Manufacturers Leverage Parcel Shipping Technology to Quickly Shift to a D2C Distribution Model

Although CPG manufacturers face unique challenges when it comes to meeting shipping demands in the world of e-commerce, there are solutions to help them efficiently shift to online D2C fulfillment and mitigate the cost impact that accompanies high volumes of small parcel shipments. For example, a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping can streamline and optimize parcel carrier procurement, fulfillment operations and customer service for CPG manufacturers. And with the ability to easily integrate the software into large planning systems, CPG manufacturers can quickly create a “one-touch” shipping ecosystem to meet both their freight and parcel logistics needs while controlling costs across the board. To discover how Logistyx can help manage the e-commerce fulfillment process, learn more about our multi-carrier shipping technology.

Logistyx Reduces Transportation Costs by 18%

MCT Manufacturer optimizes labor and materials, reduces transportation spend, and achieves 18% in overall savings.

Business Challenge

The world’s largest Motion Control Technology & Systems (MCT) manufacturer, needed new logistics technology to streamline and improve its global transportation network. With eight distribution centers and customers in 48 countries, the company chose Logistyx to meet its unique parcel shipping requirements. 


They implemented Logistyx TME with Oracle OTM with reverse routing, packing, manifesting, and management modules deployed at 10 packing stations in multiple distribution centers. Logistyx was successfully deployed on budget within several months. With Logistyx, the MCT Manufacturer has reduced its overall transportation spend by 18 percent, as a result of streamlining operations, and reducing labor, material, and carrier costs.

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Logistyx Helps Craft Supplies Enhance Customer Service

Craft Supplies realizes a 2-month ROI on Logistyx multi-carrier shipping software.

Founded in 1982, Craft Supplies USA sells quality woodturning tools and equipment for wood turners – artisans who make products such as furniture parts, baseball bats, platters, bowls, pool cues and chess pieces. The company has established a thriving domestic and international business through catalog sales and via its online store: www.woodturnerscatalog.com.

Business Challenge

Craft Supplies was using a standalone FedEx® system and standalone U.S. Postal System (USPS®) system to ship packages, which made comparing rates and services a time-consuming manual process. Furthermore, the process required a dedicated employee to move between two systems to process orders, and they had to have additional training to handle requirements on international orders.


After the Craft Supplies team reviewed three systems, they ultimately chose the Logistyx Ship-IT™ multi- carrier parcel shipping system because of its speed and flexibility.Read this case study to find out how Craft Supplies achieved a 2+ month ROI by automating comparison of carrier rates and services via a multi-carrier solution.