In recent years, the unprecedented access to information and the consumer’s thirst for knowledge have greatly influenced supply chain practices across many industries. The foodservice industry is particularly responding to a shift in information demand, as various trends like clean eating, gluten-free diets and special attention to food sourcing impact supply chain practices.  

To be able to respond to the needs of today’s consumers, wholesalers, distributors and other supply chain stakeholders are placing more emphasis on sharing as much information as possible about a product or ingredient, in a standardized format, updated in real time. This ensures their foodservice operator customers can display information on their menus, for example, with confidence. One of the first steps in fulfilling consumer expectations for accurate information is to focus on the quality of foundational product data, the extended product information – such as nutritional data, allergens, images pallet height, exact weight and portion sizes – and the processes that govern them to gain logistics efficiencies and increase sales. 

While innovation can be seen throughout the logistics industry, there are some sectors within the industry that still lag behind. For example, in freight forwarding, much of the scheduling of shipments and paperwork is still done by using traditional methods. Because of outdated technology in many sectors, the logistics industry has yet to reach its full potential. According to a survey by Penn State Professor C. John Langley Jr. with the consulting group Capgemini, 75 percent of shippers said the logistics industry could benefit from better technology. 

The good news is that current advances in technology are addressing many of these traditional problems.

To be a successful distributor or wholesaler, it’s crucial for you to stand out among the competition. What can you 

offer that other distributors can’t? Are there benefits to doing business with you? These are the questions contractors and other buyers ask themselves about you. One of the unique, modern approaches you can take to win contractors over is offering incentive programs that are powered by the latest and greatest technology.

A business, as an entity, can continue on in perpetuity.  However, the transition that takes place at the end of a key stakeholder’s career introduces a myriad of challenges. Although current key stakeholders drive the succession planning process, those with the most at stake are their successors, who may have less of a say in decision-making. Preparing a seamless transition can be particularly complex in private, closely-held family businesses where family dynamics can interfere with business decisions, skew individual perspective and otherwise impact the sustainability of the business.

A perfect parallel is a relay race where one generation passes the baton to the next, with success measured by the collective performance of all participants. Any breakdown or stumble along the way restricts the business from realizing its true potential. 

Gradual changes in the costs of international shipping over the last decade are beginning to have a profound impact on the entire North American economy. 

The good news is that the underlying cost of moving containerized goods from Asia to the Eastern half of North America will drop in the next few years. In addition, congestion in the Long Beach and L.A. ports will be reduced. These effects will become more apparent when the expanded Panama Canal locks open in early 2016.

Most goods imported from Asia today flow through West Coast ports and are then moved eastwards, overland, by intermodal and truck. The expanded canal, larger ships, Eastern port dredging and other port improvements will reduce the overland flow, allowing more goods from Asia to enter through Gulf and East Coast ports. These changes will provide an economic boost to these areas. 

The rise of mobile and e-Commerce in the food sector has never been more pronounced. From traditional brick-and-mortar businesses migrating to digital models to the new millennial generation that expects to buy their produce and perishables on Instacart or Amazonfresh, a product’s digital food print is expanding at an unprecedented clip. It’s forcing us to take a digital-first approach to the governance and management of product information. 

On Dec. 13, 2014, the European Union (EU) officially started to enforce new regulations for the labeling of food products sold on the market. On the surface, the new European Regulation, known as 1169/2011, is a logical idea to combine and simplify all previous EU regulations related to food labeling. Given that consumers no longer only purchase food items in a physical store, the implications of changes to how food labeling and ingredients are represented must also live in the digital world, wherever the products are sold or represented. If a company operates in the global food market, it must evaluate its product information governance, practices and procedures.

For the past several years, packaging has become an important asset in a brand’s marketing efforts. Though packaging was once little more than an afterthought, it now receives almost as much design and development as the product it contains. With more emphasis on packaging, more parties are involved in the design process. The process of package development requires multiple iterations of packaging prototypes before it can be considered final, which when done in the traditional manner of package preparation, is both costly and time consuming. 

3-D printing offers an affordable and convenient alternative to the traditional prototyping. A 3-D printer enables packaging prototypes to be developed, either in actual size or scaled down, and this inexpensive method of finalizing the packaging before committing to expensive tooling can help improve profitability. It also offers the advantage of being able to try out different configurations before settling on the final design, allowing clients to see and feel the packaging before designers commit to a prototype tool and produce the packaging in mass. With new product launches, clients can even provide product design files ahead of time to packaging designers, who can then develop the packaging before the product is even created. So, if 3-D printing is on your radar and you plan to invest in one, consider the following steps to ensure that your investment is a success that brings added value to your organization’s packaging line.

PortMiami is aggressively preparing for a brighter future with billions of dollars in major infrastructure projects designed to enhance its competitive position and stimulate the region’s economy.

Two of the projects are already completed:  A $1 billion underwater tunnel that allows trucks to carry containers directly from the port to Interstate 95 without having to travel through downtown Miami, and a Florida East Coast railway connection that allows containers to be loaded directly onto rail cars.   

The third project is the PortMiami Deep Dredge, which is deepening the existing shipping channel from its current 42-foot depth to 50-52 feet in preparation for the 2016 opening of the expanded Panama Canal. When this $150 million dredging project is completed later this year, PortMiami will be the only U.S. port south of Norfolk, Va., that can accommodate the mega-cargo vessels carrying goods for the East Coast through the wider Panama Canal.

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