91 articles

A Supply Chain of Freedom: Made by Free Women

Let’s eradicate modern-day slavery once and for all.

There are nearly 46 million people in 167 countries living in some form of slavery today, and women and girls in developing nations make up more than 70 percent of those exposed to constant abuse and extreme poverty. They can’t live freely or earn enough to meet basic needs for themselves or their families. Let’s […]

Balancing the E and the We in the Supply Chain

Can humans and technology coexist in the digital supply chain? They’d better.

It was not many years ago when the countdown to the death of the bookstore was nearing zero. The print book was on the edge of extinction as seemingly everyone was in the process of converting to e-readers. But a funny thing happened. Some readers liked print, and some liked digital. Some actually liked both. […]

Love Is in the Air

Santa has his sleigh and reindeer. Cupid relies on UPS’s Air Cargo Team. Here’s how UPS flexes its smart, global ‘lovegistics’ network to rise to the annual challenge.

Every child knows the North Pole is the geographic epicenter of Christmas – home to Santa Claus and his fabled workshop. So, here’s a quick quiz for adults: What’s the geographic epicenter of Valentine’s Day? If fresh-cut flowers are what you’re planning to give to your beloved this Feb. 14, the answer is Latin America. […]

Don’t Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curbsides – yes, curbs – have the power to transform cities.

Nobody ever said, Curbsides are cool. Perhaps that’s why we so often overlook curbs – one of a city’s most valuable assets. Everyone wants to work on expanding small business districts, improving health and education outcomes and leveraging data and technology to transform cities (because that’s all the rage these days). But curbs? Curbs don’t […]

Time to Flex the Muscles of the Global Economy

Empowering women to participate equally in the global economy could add $28 trillion in GDP growth by 2025.

For the last 30 years, trade has been one of the stabilizing pillars of the global community – creating jobs, supporting the development and spreading of technology and ideas, raising productivity, expanding consumer choice and enabling cross-border communications channels and supply chains. In material terms, our global economy has never been more prosperous. Yet open trade […]

The Brewing Environmental Problem of Retail Returns

With the growth of e-commerce, we must get smarter about reverse logistics.

Today’s consumers have been trained to expect enjoyable, efficient and personalized shopping experiences – all at a bargain price. But this no longer just applies to the front-end purchasing experience. Now consumers expect to be delighted even when returning goods to retailers. Because of standards set by  customer-centric companies, more and more retailers are offering flexible […]

Logistics Emissions Move Into the Spotlight

The path to a more sustainable future runs through logistics.

Transportation is the second biggest global emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), yet the logistics sector is often left out of the climate conversation. The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), a major annual forum for climate policy dialogue, recently moved transportation into the spotlight, paving the way for more proactive emissions reduction measures. Suzanne Greene, manager […]

Advice for Breaking Down Sustainability Silos in 2018

The barriers between corporate functional silos are already crumbling.

As I reflect on 2017, one of the positive changes I noticed was the breaking down of silos. As the walls between sustainability, corporate social responsibility and other corporate functions start to crumble, leaders are better able to extend their influence and catalyze the integration of sustainable business practices across their company. As Charlene Lake, chief sustainability […]

The Economics and Supply Chain of Your Christmas Tree

A holiday season primer on everything that goes into your Christmas tree.

Few symbols are as representative of the holiday season as a Christmas tree. Real or fake, traditional or upside down, Christmas trees represent the physical center of each family’s celebration and the focal point of displays in stores and in public squares. But Christmas is also big business – more than $1 Trillion was spent in […]

Our Top 5 Podcasts of 2017

A year-end look at the best podcasts from Longitudes.

We fully embraced the podcasting craze in 2017, launching Longitudes Radio in October. The mission? To bring more conversations about where the world is heading straight to you. In our inaugural season, we explored how UPS is building the Network of the Future, talked about the qualities of an effective public speaker and predicted what blockchain […]

Solving the Soft Skills Gap in Supply Chain Management

A focus on technology has left workers and key companies short of abilities critical to organizational success.

Managing supply chains more than ever is about managing technology. The rise of tools such as predictive analytics, the Internet of Things and blockchain places greater demand on supply chain professionals for the technical skills to understand and apply the dizzying array of new technologies in modern business. In the rush to keep up with […]

4 Ways to Future-Proof Your Supply Chain

How can digitization improve the resiliency and sustainability of our supply chains?

Supply chains are facing the perfect storm of disruption – from radical transformations of industry to disasters like the extreme weather events recently felt across the world. For large and complex supply chains like HPE, digital technologies offer an opportunity to predict and manage this risk by future-proofing operations with increased visibility, agility and efficiency. At […]

A Winning Formula for Freight Forwarding

In a changing world, we all share in a global learning experience.

The future is a popular place these days. Everybody wants to know what it looks like. Everybody wants to know the best way to prepare for it. Everybody wants to know how to get there first and with the right stuff. But getting it right has never been more difficult. Or as Yoda told Luke […]

Delivering on the Customer Mandate

Technology is giving businesses and consumers more of what they want: convenience, choice and control.

Talking about Apple’s approach to innovation and technology, Steve Jobs once said: “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards.” More than ever, that is true for companies like UPS. We know that our future is closely linked with the experience our customers have with our brand. That belief is behind recent […]

Think Global Production and Supply Chains Are Shrinking? Think Again.

Disregard the talk about the end of globalization – it’s just getting started.

There’s an idea gaining credence in some circles that we’ve reached “peak globalization.” If the advocates of this view are right, worldwide trade volumes – which enjoyed unprecedented growth but then stalled out somewhere around 2012, according to the IMF – are heading for a period of long-term structural decline. The retreat, these trade pessimists […]

Blockchain: What Can We Solve Together?

Thanks to blockchain technology, companies can make the food supply chain safer.

Last month, Dutch authorities learned that 20 percent of the eggs coming from the Netherlands were not safe. European authorities are now in a dash to pull the bad food from the shelves. Earlier this year, 3,000 school children in Egypt became ill in the early afternoon. Ambulances were dispatched to elementary schools, as authorities […]

Cutting the Cost of Grocery Delivery

Here's how multi-compartment vehicle distribution can create greater operational flexibility.

Groceries need to be stored and transported at different temperatures depending on the nature of each product – so why not rationalize the distribution of these items by accommodating different temperature zones in the same truck? This is the basic rationale of multi-compartment vehicle (MCV) distribution, which is gaining ground in Europe. But adding complexity […]

Mapping the Knowledge Supply Chain

The traditional view of the supply chain is incomplete. What about passing the knowledge baton to others?

When I write about supply chains, I think readers naturally envision product or material supply chains. In a physical supply chain, raw materials are processed or refined and made into other things that have to be moved from here to there. This all naturally involves trucks, air and ocean freight, warehouses, assemblies and inventory – […]

How Analytics is Changing High-Tech Supply Chains

How supply chain analytics can help tech companies make more sense of data.

High tech is changing the logistics industry, forcing supply chains to adapt quickly. A UPS executive and an MIT professor share their views on how analytics is affecting the supply chains of technology firms. A UPS perspective by David Andries, Vice President, Customer Solutions, UPS In a recent survey of manufacturing and supply chain leaders, […]

4 Myths About Innovation in Logistics

Don't let these four assumptions get in the way of supply chain success.

The serenity of a normal Sunday morning gives me time to catch up on the business journals and blogs that have accumulated in my inbox throughout the week. As I comb through the articles, my serendipity turns into anxiety as I read article after article on the vast number of innovative ideas put forward by […]

3 Dangers of Supply Chain Complacency

Disruptions in the supply chain may take unprepared companies by surprise.

It’s a common phrase: “Don’t rest on your laurels.” In other words, don’t be satisfied with your past successes. Go out and strive for more. In today’s culture of “hustle” and entrepreneurship (for better or worse), where you are expected to be available to your business or boss 24/7, this phrase seems obvious. However, we […]

3 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Smart Cities Now

It’s time for city planners, governments and business leaders to embrace technology that is changing our lives for the better.

Imagine you’re heading to work on a cold winter day. You step outside your perfectly climate-controlled home, and your self-driving car pulls up to the curb as scheduled. You enter the car from the extra-wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalk. The car warns you there is ice on your standard route, which has slowed traffic considerably. Using data […]

Why Consumer Brands Should Care About Blockchain

It's a new day for transparency across supply chains.

At the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit in Berlin last month, I spoke alongside Frank Yiannas from Walmart about how blockchain is a collaborative solution that can help increase the traceability and transparency of food across the supply chain. In our digitized world, consumers are demanding accurate, real-time inventory information, faster service and low or […]

Working Memory: How You Keep Things ‘In Mind’ Over the Short Term

Here's some insight on our quest to understand consciousness itself.

When you need to remember a phone number, a shopping list or a set of instructions, you rely on what psychologists and neuroscientists refer to as working memory. It’s the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind, over brief intervals. It’s for things that are important to you in the present moment but not […]

Gearing Up for 21st Century Supply Chains

Intuitive networks hold great potential for businesses — if they seize the opportunity.

The way we move goods has never been static. In the 1940s, innovation meant streamlining processes with forklifts and ocean-bound shipping containers. Then computers brought ones and zeros into the mix, and suddenly we could make better, faster decisions to modernize our supply chains. Our systems are getting smarter every day, with decades of progress […]

Tame the Beast

You might need a specialist to conquer your greatest foe – transportation.

Those of us operating in the supply chain world are likely used to thinking of transport as synonymous with logistics. However, in doing so, we’re missing a vital area for improvement in our overall supply chain. If we can see transportation as one facet of logistics, we can home in on it as a distinct […]

Transforming the Global Supply Chain

Yesterday's supply chain won't survive in today's business world.

To save costs and decrease turnaround time, manufacturers typically turn to the supply chain. They break it down so individual product parts are made in different areas of the world during each stage of production. From the pen in my pocket to the shirt in which it sits to the coffee I’m drinking, it’s all […]

Retailers are Thinking Beyond the Store

While modernizing the in-store experience is important, supply-chain innovations are crucial for growth.

The retail industry has never seemed bigger or broader, with hundreds of companies pushing retail forward in a climate that has many traditional industry giants unsettled and concerned about the future. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2017 predictions, maintaining customers’ attention in this increasingly noisy retail landscape is key to survival. Flashy retail Many retailers […]

An ‘All-of-the-Above’ Approach to U.S. Infrastructure

Investing in U.S. infrastructure may be one of the few bipartisan efforts that everyone can get behind.

In the days following the presidential election, infrastructure seemed a likely candidate for immediate action in 2017. President Donald Trump committed in his election night speech to rebuild our infrastructure so that it is “second to none.” Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle agreed that infrastructure should be high on the agenda. […]

Automating Supply Chain Resilience

To benefit from advanced risk identification tools and keep pace with customer expectations, companies need a new approach to supply chain resilience.

Substantial investments in supply chain resilience have enabled companies to vastly improve their capacity for bouncing back after a disruption. But the digitization of supply chains is introducing new demands on company operations that require a different approach to building supply chain resilience. With the benefit of digital technologies, companies are using big data to […]