Creating Supply Chain Excellence

The Tompkins International Blog

3 Startling Facts and 3 Quick Recommendations for Apparel and Footwear Executives

March 27, 2017

By Jim TompkinsHangers
CEO, Tompkins International

Listen up, Apparel and Footwear executives! Below are three startling facts and three important recommendations that you need to take full advantage of  to stay competitive.

First, the 3 startling facts:

  1. Amazon is the number 1 seller of Apparel & Footwear in the US.
  2. Amazon has 11 Apparel & Footwear private label brands that are GREAT VALUES.
  3. Amazon logistics scale is so large in the US, that no Apparel & Footwear seller operating alone can be competitive. All retailers & brands must collaborate to match Amazon’s logistics efficiency  and effectiveness.

Now, 3 important recommendations for you to enhance your competitive position:

  1. Watch this video to understand how Apparel & Footwear companies can increase their logistics scale:
  2. Watch this video to understand the latest, most cost effective, unit and shipping sortation material handling solution for Apparel and Footwear and why this technology is the foundation of MonarchFx:
  3. Attend the Supply Chain Leadership Forum May 8-10th to understand how to reinvent your Supply Chain:
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Gain Insight from a Panel of 3PL Experts at SCLF2017!

March 23, 2017

By Tompkins International StaffSCLF2017

On May 8th to May 10th, join us at the 2017 Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum (SCLF) in Durham, NC!  We have a great line up of speakers in addition to our three keynote speakers, Jim Tompkins, Tim Lowe, and Ernie Keith.  Learn from all of our speakers about the key ingredients of The Connected Supply Chain™.

Hear from a panel of 3PL experts and learn how successful companies are maximizing the value of their 3PL relationships.  As we walk through each stage of the process, from determining a need for outsourcing services through ongoing operations, we will gain insights into the journey and the mutual effort required for successful relationships.  We will also explore what happens when things go wrong, the importance of being prepared for bumps in the road and the lessons to be learned.  Experts predict continued growth in outsourcing relationships.  Learn how leaders are maximizing the value to be gained and join in the conversation as we consider the next frontier for the evolution of our 3PL relationships.

The panel of experts includes:

David Latona, Panel Moderator – Vice President for Tompkins International managing the Western US offices in Mission Viejo, CA. He has specialized in the apparel and footwear industry, having been both a systems integrator and 3PL owner/operator for over 32 years. He was formally a Partner and Senior Vice President of Vector Design, Inc. a nationwide material handling integrator based in the Los Angeles area that focused on apparel manufacturers and retailers. A recognized high-value distributor for some of the leading material handling brands in the country. Latona was also Co-founder and Managing Director of Advanced Quality Logistics, a 400,000 square foot third party logistics operator in the Port of Los Angeles; handling marquis name brands such as Kenneth Cole, EMU Australia and Earth footwear along with Perry Ellis and Rock and Republic apparel. He also co-founded Polygon Solutions a B2B model offering services to emerging apparel and footwear brands providing a hosted ERP system, data entry, auditing and customer services.

Valerie Bonebrake, Panelist – Senior Vice President for Tompkins International having more than 25 years of industry experience in logistics services.  She has worked with an array of companies and industries in North America and across the globe.  She also has been recognized by Ingram Magazine as one of the Top Ten Female Executives in Kansas, and was a 2010 recipient of Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Pros to Know award.  Bonebrake was Co-founder of YRC Worldwide subsidiary Meridian IQ (now MIQ Logistics), a global third party logistics company, where she served as EVP/COO.  She spent 19 years at Ryder Systems, Inc., in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility in the company’s supply chain solutions segment.  Bonebrake holds a M.S. in International Logistics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Andrew Kirkwood, Panelist – Senior Vice President for JDA is responsible for Logistics and Supply Chain Execution Customers, globally.  Within this role, he is accountable for developing the go-to-market strategy, business development, sales and success of JDA’s customers utilizing JDA’s Intelligent Fulfillment Solutions.  In addition, he provides Executive Sponsorship to a number of JDA’s largest UK and Ireland customers.  Kirkwood joined the company at the end of 2012 as a result of the merger of RedPrairie with JDA.  During his 8 years at RedPrairie, he held a variety of roles and ultimately was responsible for Sales and Marketing across EMEA, driving consistent year over year growth.  Prior to this, he has held a number of roles at Manhattan Associates, Dexion, Dallas Systems, and GKN. Throughout his 25-year career, Kirkwood has worked with leading manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, specifically in the area of Supply Chain.

Georgia Wraight, Panelist – Chief Operating Officer for The Rockport Group having over 20 years of senior finance and operations experience.  She oversees all operational functions of the business including IT, supply chain, logistics, HR, legal, and customer service, as well as, all project management teams.  Most recently she has implemented 14 new IT systems, identified and transitioned all existing global warehouses to new 3PL distribution centers, and has led and overseen all global office / showroom moves on three continents.  Prior to joining The Rockport Group Wraight served in C-level positions with Highline United and Modern Shoe Company, and Ernst & Young.

Join us for a chance to hear and learn from all of our prominent speakers.

Sign-up for an unforgettable experience as we connect, share, and learn together. Be sure to email Patty Trocchio for registration information and stay tuned to learn about our new additions to this year’s SCLF.

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Who is Speaking at the 2017 Tompkins Supply Chain Leadership Forum?

March 7, 2017

By Tompkins International StaffSpeaker

Join us at the 2017 Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum (SCLF) being held in Durham, NC, May 8th through May 10th. We have a great line up of speakers in addition to our three keynote speakers, Jim Tompkins, Tim Lowe, and Ernie Keith.  Learn from all of our speakers about the key ingredients of The Connected Supply Chain™.

Alan Amling – Vice President, UPS Corporate Strategy

Amling leads UPS’s Global On-Demand Manufacturing initiative, helping global companies leverage 3D printing to take time, cost, and carbon out of their supply chain. He moved into this role after serving as Vice President of Marketing for UPS Logistics & Distribution.  He began his UPS career in 1982 working as a seasonal employee for four years performing a variety of jobs including package handler and car washer.  Since rejoining UPS in 1992, Amling has held numerous leadership roles in industrial engineering, customer technology, and new product development.

Bill Ashton – Senior Vice President Operations, The Honest Company

Ashton previously served in similar roles with well known brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware, Bare Escentuals Beauty, Shiseido Americas, Hourglass Cosmetics, and BCBG Max Azria.  His primary focus has always been to design, implement, and optimize logistics networks in support of rapid revenue growth.  He has described this as his greatest passion.

Tim Brown – Managing Director, Georgia Tech, Supply Chain & Logistics Institute

Brown is responsible for the Supply Chain & Logistics strategic planning and development of executive education programs, as well as, serving as the liaison to on and off-campus professional associations, organizations, and individuals regarding the expansion of their global mission to enable supply chain professionals, businesses, and international governments to transform complex supply chains, improve logistics performance, and increase competitiveness by applying education, innovation, and solutions.

Brian Devine – Senior Vice President, ProLogistix

Devine is a 22 year veteran of the staffing industry.  In 1999, Devine started ProLogistix, a division of EmployBridge, dedicated to warehouse and distribution center staffing.  ProLogistix has become a leading provider of logistics talent in the US and one of EmployBridge’s most successful businesses.  He is also a frequent contributor to trade publications including The Wall Street Journal, DC Velocity Magazine, Inbound Logistics, and Supply Chain Brain.

Ann Drake – Chief Executive Officer, DSC Logistics

Drake has been CEO of DSC Logistics since 1994, leading two decades of transformation for the company and the industry of supply chain management.  Creating a business model based on collaborative partnerships, innovative thinking, and high performance operations.  Drake has guided DSC to become one of the leading supply chain management firms in the US.  DSC’s customers are mostly Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries.

Gene Tyndall – Executive Vice President, Tompkins International & President, The MonarchFx Alliance

Tyndall is a highly respected supply chain consultant, industry veteran, and thought leader.  Prior to joining Tompkins International, he was President of Ryder Global Supply Chain Solutions, Global Leader and Senior Partner of the Ernst & Young Supply Chain Management Consulting Practice, and a United States Navy Officer.  He has over 30 years experience with over a hundred multinational corporations and domestic companies, in strategy development, new process design, technology, and leading practices.  He has co-authored several books and written numerous articles on supply chain management, as well as, being quoted by business and public media.

Georgia Wraight – Chief Operating Officer, The Rockport Group

Wraight has over 20 years of senior finance and operations experience.  She oversees all operational functions of the business including IT, supply chain, logistics, HR, legal, and customer service, as well as, all project management teams.  Most recently she has implemented 14 new IT systems, identified and transitioned all existing global warehouses to new 3rd party distribution centers, and has led and overseen all global office / showroom moves on three continents.  Prior to joining The Rockport Group she served in C-level positions with Highline United and Modern Shoe Company, and Ernst & Young.

Join us for a chance to hear from all of our prominent speakers. Sign-up for an unforgettable experience as we connect, share, and learn together. Stay tuned to learn about our new additions to this year’s SCLF!

Please email Patty Trocchio for registration information.

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Our Newest Whitepaper: Retail 2017 Trend Report

March 2, 2017

By Nancy MarinoRetail
Senior Vice President, Tompkins International
Chief Development Officer, The MonarchFx Alliance 

As the department store channel shrinks, and more brands fight for less space, our opinion is that brands will need to be more creative, flexible, and diversified in their approaches.

We believe the following trends are where retail is heading in 2017 and beyond.

  • The path to consumers will be more direct
  • Battle of the marketplaces is set to continue
  • Monobrand apparel is set for sustained outperformance
  • It is time to close the Runway-to-Retail gap
  • Collaboration and internal alignment through Integrated Business Planning (IBP)
  • S. retailers will face increased competition in grocery and apparel
  • 2017 will be the year of online grocery
  • Robots are coming, helping to boost productivity
  • Digital tools to improve customer service
  • Number of malls will continue to decline and retail real estate evolving formats
  • Retail store closings and consolidating will continue
  • The right Brick-and-Mortar presence will still be necessary
  • Retailtainment (retail marketing as entertainment) is essential in driving store traffic and bringing a store to life
  • Online paradigm is difficult for low-margin players, especially department stores
  • The decision to build vs. buy technology
  • 2017’s key retail theme is, Supply Chain Visibility
  • Radio-Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)
  • Expect to see more virtual reality shopping
  • Wearable’s are making a comeback, spectacles and the case for wearable cameras

Retailers today are confronted by a more complex and diverse business environment than at any other time. With more information at the hands of consumers, new ways they engage with products and brands and a more dynamic competitive landscape, traditional retail is going through a period that is more akin to a revolution than an evolution. The old guard of retailers will need to take drastic measures to remain relevant in this new retail order that is defined by information and technology.

There is no single strategy that is right for every company. The start is the business strategy needed to define required capabilities since the future is uncertain. Businesses need to design for flexibility and speed of execution applying best practices and design to meet objectives and achieve excellence.

The digitalization of a business refers to the strategy, planning, and execution of the right digital initiatives that align with, and enable, the business strategies of the enterprise. Digital is a broad topic, composed of numerous new technologies, new business processes, new business models, and customer experiences. In short, it is a new way of doing business, both externally with customers and internally, including with trading partners.

Companies of all types are facing challenges that are unprecedented, in terms of digital disruptions, competitive innovations, and customer-centric advances. Supply chains are not excluded from these disruptions. In fact, smart digitalization of supply chains can be the foundation for responding to (or getting out in front of) these threats. Amazon is the perfect example its supply chains are fast, efficient, high performing, and customer-centric.

Digitalization of supply chains is not only a defensive measure against disruptors; it is also an offensive strategy for profitable growth. It can yield substantial internal efficiencies, provide much higher agility and flexibility, and radically transform the operational performance of a company for measurable value creation.

We at Tompkins International have developed a Service Line that leads and facilitates a company’s strategy, planning, and execution into the Digital Age. It can take companies at any level of digitalization as far forward as their business strategy envisions.

To further understand the retail trends taking place in 2017 and affecting business please read my newest whitepaper.


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Sponsors of the 2017 Tompkins Supply Chain Leadership Forum

February 28, 2017

By Tompkins International StaffSponsors


Join us at the Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum 2017 (SCLF). We have another exciting addition to this year’s SCLF being held on May 8th through May 10th in Durham, NC: our sponsors!

You will have the chance to connect, share, and learn from our sponsors and their executive teams.

JDA – This will be the third time we are honored to have JDA as our Title Sponsor for the event. JDA is the leading provider of end-to-end, integrated retail, omni-channel, and supply chain planning and execution solutions for more than 4,000 customers worldwide. Their unique solutions empower their clients to reduce costs, increase profitability, and improve collaboration so they can deliver on their customer promises every time. Using JDA, you can plan to deliver.

ARCO – Arco joins SCLF as the Golf Sponsor for this year’s event. The ARCO family of companies currently consists of ten construction companies with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Tampa to serve the United States market. ARCO Design/Build, Inc. was founded in Atlanta in 1995 and is a national design/build contractor with a focus on the industrial market. Their experience in this market gives them the ability to provide their clients with what they need. Cost effective facilities—Delivered fast.

Crown Equipment Corporation – Crown has been a partner of Tompkins International with our Material Handling Integration team for many years. We are honored to have them join us this year as a Gold Sponsor for the event. Since their entry into the material handling equipment industry in 1960, Crown has earned a reputation as a leading innovator in world-class forklift and material handling equipment. Crown designs and manufactures up to 85 percent of its lift truck components, including key parts like motors, drive units, and electronic modules. When it says Crown on the outside, it’s a Crown on the inside.

UNARCO – UNARCO is another partner with our Material Handling Integration team and we welcome them the SCLF as a Silver Sponsor. UNARCO Material Handling, Inc. has manufactured structural and roll-formed pallet racking and warehouse storage systems for American distribution centers and retail stores for over sixty years. As a charter member of the RMI, UNARCO manufactures pallet racking in strict compliance with all current RMI standards. UNARCO provides the widest product assortment in the material handling industry including Carton FlowPallet FlowPush Back RackDrive In RackPick ModulesCantilever Rack, and Pallet Rack Repair.

Panthers Industries, Inc. – Panthers just recently joined as a sponsor for SCLF. We are excited to have them as a Silver Sponsor at this year’s event. Manufacturing labeling systems is their core business. It is not a means for them to simply sell more labels, ribbons, service, or parts. They are customer driven and promise 100% satisfaction!  When you call their service department, you will get a live person who is knowledgeable in the service and repair of everything they manufacture, 24/7/364.

There are still opportunities to become a sponsor, highlighting your company throughout the entire SCLF. For more information on sponsor availability, please email Gary Church or you may reach him via phone at 734.834.7331.

Sign-up for an unforgettable experience as we connect, share, and learn together. Please email Patty Trocchio for registration information.

Stay tuned to learn about our new additions to this year’s SCLF!

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Moving Into A New Distribution Center

February 23, 2017

By David LatonaWarehouse
Principal, Tompkins International 

Orchestrating a move to a new Distribution Center (DC)? Follow these basic and essential steps to insure success for you and your provider.

When moving your goods from an existing DC to a new DC, whether or not it’s internal or involves a 3PL, there are some essential steps to take to help insure a smooth process. There are many issues to consider and monitor closely. No relocation is as simple as it first appears.

Leadership alignment: This trumps all other concerns. If the senior leadership of both companies aren’t aligned then the barriers become higher and the issues more difficult to conquer. Understanding the other’s goals and priorities along with limits is vital to a successful operation. Nothing overcomes this more than face to face meetings to establish joint goals and directives. A steering committee made of senior decision makers is extremely important.  The committee should meet regularly to monitor the progress and to help clear obstacles in the most expedited manner possible. Providing additional resources to specific issues is easy with the proper steering committee.

IT issues: Not to be taken lightly, IT issues are generally the first item people think to address. You need to outline all the steps to be taken, which documents do we need to exchange and is there a history of success between the ERP and WMS systems? Most companies don’t have the internal depth of bench to handle these issues and the configuration changes and mapping required. Outside contractors can usually provide individuals with a successful history of performing these tasks. Proper selection and testing of all systems and documents are an absolute must. The very success of the venture and the brand’s continuing business depends on it.

Human resources: These are vital to transitioning and establishing product flow out the door as quickly as possible. From senior management to floor supervisors, operators experienced with your product type are essential to understanding the daily business requirements. Generally dictated in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process as a requirement, experienced individuals strategically located in the distribution operation will drive success through an in-depth knowledge base that can’t be duplicated with hard work or by throwing people at the problem. Shippers typically use the “ants on a twinkie” mentality (throwing more labor on the issue), when faced with productivity issues when experienced operators are more likely the key to maintaining individual Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

A proper transition plan: The adage of “plan to succeed and succeed because you plan” is never truer than when applied here. If you can accurately identify and track the multiple functions and tasks you can sort issues prior to them being an obstruction to success. If your company hasn’t gone through this process before, the most expensive action you can take is to try it alone. Transition plans are common items for most consulting firms and should be shown up front as the guidebook for the project.

Dashboards: The late Peter Drucker is often credited with two famous sayings. The most famous of which is, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” These are wise words from one of the most famous thinkers in our industry. The establishment of key indices early on and the development of a Dashboard of reporting are essential. When properly crafted to show a multitude of functions within the DC operations it not only reports units shipped daily, it becomes a tool for identifying problem areas and offers an opportunity for corrective behavior before an issue becomes severe.

Collaborative Efforts: As vital as every item on our list combined, the players on the ground at the granular level need to work closely together as a team. Collaboration at this level provides the ability to overcome all concerns that arise. Weaknesses need to be exposed and issues shouldn’t be hidden. Without active daily collaboration from the key operators from both sides, the project could be doomed for failure. These are not only the outside consultants or contractors employed for the transition but also the key players who have become business partners for the length of the agreement and possibly longer. They must quickly learn to respect each other’s opinions and to understand everyone’s place and needs with the new relationship. If this is a move to a 3PL environment then these individuals are now “married” in a very specific sense. They will be working together daily for their mutual success as companies and just as importantly as people. Most companies now employ experts to employ a change management program to help associates adapt and understand the new relationships and changing workplace dictums.

Any relocation of a distribution environment is stressful, on multiple levels. It brings a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for success by gathering new and powerful people together to effect a positive change for all those involved. Proper planning and having the right mentality about the process can go a long way towards a successful venture. Although it can seem daunting, with the right planning and experienced people guiding the process, it can also be a time of excitement with new horizons. Take the time to do it right because in most cases it’s going to be your home for the next five years or more.


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My Top 3 Supply Chain Predictions for 2017

February 7, 2017

By Gene Tyndall
Executive Vice President, Tompkins InternationalSCM

I am pleased to offer my predictions for supply chains in 2017.

To begin with, I am avoiding the obvious forecasts for the year, for example:

• The U.S. macro-economy will expand under the new President, which will be positive for most all business sectors.

• The Digital disruptions will continue, as Amazon, Uber, and other digital-based companies grow and expand into both domestic and international markets, and also into both consumer and industrial segments.

• Cloud-computing will continue to expand, and accelerate, as businesses invest more into less expensive, highly secure, and faster implementations for supply chain systems and apps.

• Customer-centricity is finally prevailing as fundamental to demand-driven supply chains, which by their nature, are more amenable to cost management and predictability than supply-driven long lead times with demand uncertainty.

• Supply chain risk management will not diminish, even as some degree on US-based manufacturing growth is achieved, as many suppliers and components remain global in locations, and risks of disruptions are everywhere.

And, several more could be cited, as again this year, there are no shortages of predictions about the economy, businesses, and the workforce.


Here are my most important “top 3” substantive predictions for supply chains, with the above forecasts serving as the backdrop:

1. Let’s start with Supply Chain Planning (SCP), which most agree creates the supply chains, or adjusts them, based on known conditions and expected sales. Despite the fact that the “art and science” of SCP has improved, and many companies are making use of advanced tools, it continues to be difficult to point to substantive results of plans.

Annual plans, for instance, are often out of date six months into them, as markets change, online order volumes expand, and customer preferences are variable. In addition, Supply Chain planners continue to struggle with integration and alignment with other strategies and plans of their companies. While Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) processes are meant to improve this prevailing situation, there are too few solid examples of Integrated Business Planning (IBP), where all plans are driven by an enterprise-wide strategy.

Prediction: There will be further progress toward robust and implementable planning, but not widespread transformations to effective S&OP, much less an effective IBP.

Reason: this requires more than Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced optimization, or predictive analytics. The commonly used phrase to explain good performance, “the integration of people, process, and technology”, will remain elusive for most companies.

2. Next, let’s consider the trends in digitalization. There is no question that the Digital Age is upon us; the real questions are “so what?” and “what next?”. Digital thinking and its components have only just begun to impact supply chains, whether in planning or in execution. Yet, its business disruptions are more and more evident. Digital transformations put companies into uncharted territory, which makes the design of practical planning scenarios both challenging and complex. The normal objectives of effective supply chains fast, efficient, flexible, and agile, are even more complicated to achieve in execution.

Prediction: More and more implementation of digital components, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, AI, and others, will find their way onto digital platforms that will produce impressive results. This will be especially true in Distribution Centers (DC) and in Fulfillment Centers (FC). But, creating digital supply chains requires a journey, not a project, so we will only see incremental improvements.

3. Last, let’s consider the issues surrounding supply chains in the executive suite. While the last few years have produced significant gains in getting supply chains on executive agendas, we still have a ways to go. With only 25% of companies having a designated Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO), we have to wonder why this surprisingly low number remains the case.

Further, we still find gaps in Operations Strategies vis-à-vis Business Strategies, which lead to problems with capabilities and missed opportunities. Even further, we still find senior leaders viewing their supply chains as “cost centers”, and thus push for continuous cost reductions, without understanding the value creation of high-performing supply chains for achieving and sustaining customer loyalties.

One of the lingering key factors for this situation is the recurring functional views vs. process views i.e., operating the company through functional managers, and not through business process leaders. Not only are opportunities lost due to terminology conflicts, but also through functional performance measures. Reducing costs by functions is less difficult than through processes (e.g. order to delivery, procure to pay, or product design to customer), but thus far less important or value-based.

Prediction: We will see gradual progress in this area, but not widespread gains. Neither Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, nor advanced business planning tools, nor granular analytics, will change management structures, company cultures, behaviors, or processes themselves, until business executives learn to appreciate the contributions of supply chains as business value drivers.

Let’s hope my predictions for continued gradual progress in these three critical areas prove to be exceeded. My previous annual predictions proved to be overly optimistic. Thus, I am suggesting for 2017 that the complexities of people (talent), processes (redesigns and culture), and technologies (digitalization, advanced analytics, AI, and others), will once again limit the transformation of supply chains as forming the most important executive business goal on the agenda.


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Tour An Apparel Distribution Center! Reserve Your Spot Today For The 2017 SCLF!

January 26, 2017

By Tompkins International StaffPeter Millar, Durham,NC

Join us at the Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum 2017 (SCLF). We have another exciting addition to this year’s SCLF being held in Durham, NC May 8th to May 10th: Distribution Center (DC) tour.

Beginning at 2:00 pm on Monday, May 8th we will be hosting a tour of Peter Millar’s apparel DC designed by Tompkins International’s consulting team.

Founded in 2001, the Peter Millar line of fine clothing and accessories has become in just a few years the standard bearer for discerning and demanding individuals, on the golf course, in the office, and on the town. Known for uniquely proper clothing and a broad color palette, Peter Millar offers everything from woven sport shirts, sweaters, and knit golf and polo shirts, to tailored clothing, outerwear, footwear, and accessories. Peter Millar clothes and accessories are available online and in the finest specialty retail stores, prestigious resorts, and most exclusive country clubs. Their global distribution includes: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific.

Join us for an exclusive tour of Peter Millar’s DC. Some of the equipment you will see includes: select rack (single pallet storage), multi-level pick module (carton flow and deck rack), garment on hanger, high density deck rack storage, spiral conveyors, conveyor (mix of belt-driven live roller (BDLR), motorized drive roller (24v MDR), narrow belt sorters, scanners (mix between line in pick module and 5 sided scan tunnels), work platforms (packing and shipping), and spiral chutes.

Not only can you join the tour, there is also an opportunity to become a Platinum Level Sponsor and co-host the Peter Millar DC tour giving recognition throughout the entire SCLF. For more information on sponsor availability please email Gary Church or you may reach him via phone at 734.834.7331.

Sign-up for an unforgettable experience as we connect, share, and learn together. Please email Patty Trocchio for registration information.

Stay tuned to learn about our new additions to this year’s SCLF.

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The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation Services

January 23, 2017

By Lisa Kennedy
Project Manager, Tompkins International

Uber’s recent investment in artificial intelligence is a vital step in the realization of self-driving cars.   With this technology vehicles can be routed more efficiently.  Customers can receive deliveries anytime and anyplace at a lower cost.  Driverless trucks can reduce emissions and operate more safely.  Some analysts believe the global market for self-driving vehicles will be $51 billion by 2020.  As companies such as Uber, Google, and Tesla continue to test and invest in self-driving technology, this reality of self-driving vehicles will be sooner than original predictions.

What could be the impact of driverless vehicles and trucks?  Initially, there is no limit on number of hours of operation as vehicles can be in use 24/7.  This means a more efficient use of infrastructure.

Anybody with a driverless vehicle can offer their vehicle up for services when it is not being used, similar to what Uber drivers are doing now.  These vehicles can deliver people and packages with an unlimited supply of delivery capabilities.  Delivery will be anytime and anywhere the customer wants to receive it.

What does this mean to UPS and FEDex?  Will Uber be our next brokerage industry? Talk about a disruptor.

Driverless vehicles can deliver packages to USPS for delivery the next day. USPS can unload the packages at night and driverless vehicles can deliver packages to you to unload and drones can take the package from vehicles to front doors. Even more, with electric cars, you have no fuel charges.

Otto, recently purchased by Uber, is working on driverless trucking. Driverless trucking may be more eminent than driverless cars.  Driverless trucks can solve many of the problems the trucking industry is currently experiencing.  Truck driver shortages are expected to be roughly 48,000 this year.  Turnover is another significant issue as the truckload driver turnover is estimated at 90%.  Turnover is a result of time away from home, licensing, and regulatory requirements.  Safety is also an issue driverless trucking can resolve as it will reduce the high number of traffic accidents. To top it all off, fuel efficiency will also be improved as the trucks will operate at the optimum efficiency for fuel consumption.

Interstate driving is expected to be easier to get approval versus city driving; however, there are a lot more issues that the truck will encounter within city limits.  Otto envisions a truck that will be driverless on the interstate and when it reaches a city, the truck will stop and let a driver onboard to do final deliveries.

Truck platooning is expected to be the first step to driverless trucks.  Truck platooning is linehaul trucks traveling in a tight convoy and is coordinated by vehicle-to-vehicle communications.  The technology is being developed by Peloton Technology based in California and the West Australian government is currently funding fleet trials.  The Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative is partnering with Peloton to examine the potential efficiency and safety benefits with platooning.  Investors in Peloton include UPS, Volvo, and Magna.

Current limitations include cost and regulatory approvals.  It is most likely the early adopters of the technology will be the current truckload carriers such as Swift, Schneider, and JB Hunt.  These carriers will gain the most from the reduced costs.  Initially there may be limitations on when and where driverless trucks can operate, i.e. during times when there is the least amount of traffic on the least traveled roads.

What are the possibilities for the warehouse industry?  If the costs to transport declines significantly, it will make sense to keep inventory close to production and only keep a limited supply close to the consumer.  Smaller trucks may be used making more efficient use of trailer space.

Does Uber have the capability to disrupt the transportation services industry, similar to its disruption of the Taxi industry?  Research suggests the answer may be sooner than we think.

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Ready for Golf? Reserve your spot today for the 2017 SCLF

January 19, 2017

By: Tompkins International StaffWashington Duke Golf

Join us at the 2017 Tompkins International Supply Chain Leadership Forum 2017 (SCLF). We have an exciting addition to this year’s SCLF being held in Durham, North Carolina May 8th to May 10th: our golf event.

This year you will be joining our CEO, Jim Tompkins, along with 200 other supply chain executives and experts. You will have the opportunity to connect with one another, share insight, and learn together due to the remarkable lineup of events and speakers taking place throughout the two days.  

Beginning at 7:30 am on Monday, May 8th Tompkins International and our golf sponsor ARCO Design/Build, will be hosting a complementary round of golf for forum attendees.  

Join us for 18-holes of golf on the award-winning golf course at the beautiful Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. It is the only Robert Trent Jones designed course in the region, redesigned by Jones’ son Rees in 1994. The Duke University Golf Club was the site of the 2001 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, and is considered one of the top ten golf courses in North Carolina. The course has also received top rankings from Golf DigestGolfWeekGolf Magazine, and the Zagat Survey.

However, more than its famous fairways that garners acclaim, the golf club’s state-of-art practice area boasts a driving range, six putting and chipping greens, seven sand bunkers, and eight target greens, all surrounded by a grove of tall pines and stately hardwoods. The Golf Shop has also been recognized by the PGA as one of the best in the Carolinas.

Sign-up for an unforgettable golf experience. Please contact Patty Trocchio at for registration information and stay tuned to learn about our next new addition to this year’s SCLF.

Registering for the Supply Chain Leadership Forum 2017 is easy, we hope you will join us to connect, share, and learn together.

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  • All of the information in this blog is the result of Tompkins International's research of public information. There is no information presented that comes from any proprietary source. Tompkins International does not discuss information about their clients unless that information has been published.