September 1, 2021

Over the course of the pandemic, problems with global supply chains have affected companies both large and small, leading some to reconsider their relationships with international manufacturers. Many other businesses are waiting for their products to arrive after weeks or even months of delays. For instance, the toy maker MGA Entertainment said its stock of Rainbow High dolls has been held up overseas due to a shortage of shipping containers. As a result, the company will likely not Continue reading

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July 30, 2021

Most people probably don’t think about how bunches of bananas make it from farms in Central America to store shelves in the U.S. That’s certainly not the case at Top Banana, a company that handles more than one million pounds of fruit every week. This long but fascinating video takes a look at how Top Banana ripens and ships an enormous amount of bananas through sophisticated logistical processes. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Top Banana constantly check to ensure that its Continue reading
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Last week, hackers began a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, a major conduit that supplies nearly half of the East Coast’s oil. The hack completely shut down petroleum transportation as the Colonial Pipeline Company “proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.” Although the company expects to have most of its capabilities returned by the end of the week, the shutdown has resulted in Continue reading

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November 1, 2019

With Halloween done and the pet costumes put into storage, retailers across the country are now preparing for a surge of holiday sales that will arrive at the end of the month. During this vital sales period, companies can see their online orders grow tenfold as consumers grab all sorts of items for the holidays. As a result, many retailers and logistics firms bring on seasonal workers to provide additional assistance for this busy period. 

Along with hiring lots Continue reading

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February 28, 2019

Managing the “last mile” of a product’s journey from the warehouse to its destination is one of the most complicated aspects of shipping and logistics. This final step accounts for as much as half of all delivery costs due to unpredictable factors like traffic jams, route distances, and the need to make multiple stops. That’s why this week FedEx revealed its new SameDay Bot, an autonomous machine that cuts costs by delivering products directly to the customer’s door.

Developed in Continue reading

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September 6, 2018

About a century ago, American manufacturers started stacking their goods on wooden pallets that could then be carried off by forklifts. Taking advantage of these two recent inventions allowed factories to transport products in bulk without making a lot of trips. Not much has changed since then: today more than 2 billion pallets circulate around the U.S. carrying everything from car parts to candy.

Despite its staying power, though, the classic wooden pallet certainly comes with its share of disadvantages. Continue reading

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February 20, 2018

The world is home to billions upon billions of chickens, which would seem like more than enough birds to stock an average KFC restaurant. This weekend, however, hundreds of the chain’s locations in the U.K. closed after failing to receive their usual shipments of chicken. “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex,” said the company in a Continue reading

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April 28, 2017

Today’s globalized supply chains depend on enormous shipping boats to ferry cargo from one end of the world to the other. It wasn’t always this way, though. This video takes a look at how standardized containers aboard gigantic vessels have transformed logistics since the 1970s.


Questions:

 

  1. How did containerization make shipping more efficient?
  2. Why are supply chains and logistics so important to modern companies?

 

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