Companies Focus on Workforce Training

Oct. 1, 2002
News Briefs

The global market for supply chain training is expected to grow 42.2 percent per year, reaching $10.5 billion by 2003.

According to Accenture, one of the factors driving this growth may be the increasing complexity of the supply chain. This growing complexity is forcing companies to look beyond traditional and efficiency-minded means of improvement to such areas as the capability and knowledge of their supply chain workforce. As industry executives focus on this area, they will find it a challenge to secure and maintain a top-notch supply chain workforce. Trends contributing to this environment include:

• The need for workers to continually retool to gain more advanced and complex skills;

• The adoption of new supply chain technologies is placing increasing demands on effective training programs;

• Diversification across geography, age, backgrounds and skill sets increases the complexity required of learning programs;

• Learning tools are needed that can quickly bring newcomers up to speed.

Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by Accenture revealed that workforce issues are increasingly on the minds of senior executives:

• 73 percent believe that the “war for talent” is ongoing;

• 68 percent of senior executives said developing existing talent is more important than bringing in new blood;

• Of those executives who said their company’s ability to change is worse than that of their competitors, 84 percent said it’s because their corporate culture lacks flexibility and adaptability.

If you are interested in discussing this and other key findings, please contact Joel Staley at [email protected].

Pallet Meets UL Classification for Flammability

Buckhorn has passed the tests and introduced its Universal Pallet with Flame Edge Technology. Buckhorn joins several other manufacturers, working to meet fire code requirements by delivering pallets with designed-in fire safety.

The flame-retardant Universal Pallet offers an alternative for plastic pallet users faced with upgrading sprinkler systems or reverting to wood pallets to meet fire code requirements that would keep insurance premiums down.

“Compared with wood pallets, the Universal Pallet delivers a quick return on investment,” says John Orr, general manager of Buckhorn. “Fire-retardant plastic pallets lower cost per trip and generate savings from less product damage, fewer pallet repairs and elimination of waste disposal — yet require no commodity class increase.”

The pallet meets UL 2335 classification for flammability in accordance with NFPA 13, Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems, the guideline set by the National Fire Protection Association for distribution centers. The code provides an exemption for plastic pallets that present a hazard “equal to or less than that presented by idle wood pallets” and are listed accordingly. An online certification directory and more information about testing can be found on the Underwriters Laboratory Web site,

Managers Making News

Presto Lifts Inc. announced that Steve Albert has been named general manager. He recently joined the company. Jason Burns assumes the role of national sales manager.

William Hoffman, Intermec Technologies, was honored with the Automotive Industry Action Group’s (AIAG) Outstanding Achievement Award for his active contributions and leadership on behalf of AIAG and the automotive industry. Hoffman is a principal marketing manager focused on auto supply chain solutions for Intermec. The award program acknowledges active volunteer participation and leadership in AIAG’s various initiatives.

William Harton has been promoted to senior vice president, sales and field operations, FKI Logistex Alvey Systems.

Orion Packaging Inc. has named James E. Schwartz Midwest regional sales manager.

NACCO Materials Handling Group Inc. (NMHG) announced executive changes at the corporate level and in its Americas group. Frank Muller, formerly president of NMHG Americas, has been promoted to the new position of chief operating officer for the corporation. Colin Wilson, formerly vice president of marketing for the Americas, succeeds Muller as president of NMHG.

RedPrairie announced the appointment of Laura L. Fese as legal results leader, corporate general counsel and secretary to the board of directors, and the appointment of Diane Magidson as director of value delivery and alliances.

Michael Urban has joined AGV Products as manager, business development.

Bob Roberts, president and CEO, Roberts Oxygen Company, has been elected to the board of directors at Distribution Education and Research Foundation (DREF) of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

FKI Logistex has appointed George King director of sales, major accounts, for FKI Logistex Automation Division, and Stephen Legg, president of FKI Logistex Real Time Solutions.

Handling Specialty, a firm specializing in the design and manufacture of custom lift equipment, has promoted Thomas Beach to executive vice president.

Q4 Logistics, announced that supply chain industry veteran Patti Satterfield has joined the firm as manager of business development.

Martin Schwalm has been named president, Hatch Technology Group Inc.

Magline Inc. has appointed Doug Larsen eastern region sales manager.

AmeriCold Logistics LLC has named David Israel vice president of lead logistics services.

Penco Products Inc. has appointed Bruce A. Meredith western regional sales manager.

Companies Making News

Presto Lifts Inc. has made several moves, beginning with the relocation of its administrative office into new quarters in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Product manufacturing is now taking place in Manila, Arkansas, to provide more centralized distribution.

Siemens Dematic has completed its acquisition of Birmingham, Alabama-based Automation Technologies Industries (ATI). The acquisition provides Siemens Dematic additional assembly and manufacturing technologies. ATI’s core technologies are pallet handling systems and printed circuit board assembly. The combined companies have annual sales of $3.2 billion with approximately 11,500 employees. Purchase price isundisclosed.

Meyer Lift Truck Attachments and Wainwright Industries, winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, have merged under the name of Meyer Wainwright LLC to introduce a complete line of lift truck attachments for the North American market. The manufacturing facility is located in St. Peters, Missouri.

SAMSys, a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) hardware, has joined the Auto-ID Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching automatic identification technology, redefining the global market supply chain, supporting research, and developing and disseminating RFID technology.

Performance Engineering Group Inc. has moved to larger facilities. Formerly a division of Huron Valley Sales, the company developed hydronic, in-floor heating and snow-melting systems for industrial and home applications.

Schneider Electric has signed a conditional agreement to acquire Digital Electronics of Japan, a world leader in human machine interface technologies.

APL Logistics has established operations in Venezuela through a joint venture with Grupo Hersan, a leading Venezuelan logistics provider. Known as APLL/Hersan de Venezuela, C.A., the new venture is APL Logistics’ fourth Latin American expansion in 2002.

FEIG Electronic GmbH, a 30-year-old manufacturer and OEM provider of radio frequency identification readers, modules and antennas, announced the opening of its North American office in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Michael Hrabina, a 20-year veteran in the automatic identification and data capture industry, will direct sales and marketing.

Toyo Kanetsu KK (TKK), a supplier of material handling systems, storage tank systems and architecture systems, has signed a cooperation agreement with Siemens Dematic AG, a global provider of material handling automation systems. This agreement gives TKK access to Siemens Dematic’s technologies, business process know-how, marketing network and application engineering training. In return, Siemens Dematic will gain market access to Japan as well as access to TKK’s technologies and sales network.

Online Content Changes has a new look, plus easier access to content, improved site navigation, new features and more. Penton’s Supply Chain Network now features four content channels:

• Enterprise Systems;

• Supply Chain Management;

• Transportation Services & Equipment;

• Material Handling & Warehousing.

Analyst Julie Fraser of Industry Directions highlights 10 core strategies that IT systems companies can use to cope with uncertainty. Read her article Ten Mechanisms To Cope with Market Volatility on the sponsored article channel,

Back Supports Reduce Injury Rates

Back support users have significantly lower injury rates than non-users, and that advantage is greater for back support users with high-risk factors.

Those are the findings of an important new back support study published in The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, (May/June 2002). Conducted among more than 12,700 home attendants in New York, the study ran over a 28-month period, involving almost 45 million hours of work.

The study found back support wearers have an average 15 percent fewer acute back injuries than do workers given lifting advice only, and an average 26 percent fewer acute back injuries than workers given neither lifting advice nor belts.

The study also found that belt-wearing groups with such risk factors as older age, increased body mass, less-frequent exercise, or with current or past reported back injury, tended to experience decreased rates of back injury relative to the advice-only or control-group workers with the same risk factors.

The study is unique in that it is the first large-scale prospective epidemiological study on back belts to use a true control group, a set of participants unaware they were in the study. This provided researchers with a reliable comparison of the effectiveness or influence of the back belt. The study joins 27 other epidemiological and clinical studies that support the safety and efficacy of back support belts.

Pay for Shipping Charges On-Line

APL Ltd. now offers customers the option of paying certain shipping charges on-line with a credit card. APL is initially offering this payment option for fees related to additional container usage and storage of the customer’s shipment. Called demurrage fees in the industry, these fees are charged by all ocean carriers for customers using the container beyond the number of allotted days in the shipping contract. Demurrage fees are often the last fee to be paid before releasing the customer’s shipment from the terminal, and if they are not paid in a timely manner the shipment can be held up.

For some time, APL customers have been able to calculate their demurrage charges on-line via HomePort, APL’s Web portal. This service saved customers time as all the information was at their fingertips. They did not have to make a phone call to find out what charges they had incurred.

Phillip Chin, APL’s vice president for e-commerce, says enabling credit card payments in a secure environment was the next logical step. “It is as convenient as buying a book on-line,” he said. “Plus a payment made via the Internet is immediately recognized in the system, speeding up release of the freight to the importer and streamlining pickup by the customer. It saves time for everyone and is free for APL customers.”

CPM-Discrete Market Achieves Growth

The overall market for collaborative production management (CPM) software and services in discrete industries topped $425 million in 2001. This market is forecast to grow at about 13 percent a year to just over $800 million by the end of 2006, according to a newly revised study by the ARC Advisory Group, Collaborative Production Management Systems for Discrete Manufacturing Worldwide Outlook (CPM-D).

CPM-D is a highly fragmented market with the top two suppliers having a combined market share of 30 percent, and all the other suppliers having only a few percent each. “The CPM market is no longer dominated by independent software suppliers targeting specific industries and jostling for best-of-breed recognition,” according to Greg Gorbach, ARC director of collaborative manufacturing research, the study’s author. “Some of these suppliers still exist, but they now compete with two significant camps that have joined the fray over the last couple years: automation/equipment suppliers, who are moving up from the plant floor, and ERP suppliers, moving down from the enterprise.”

Both groups of suppliers have taken this step for two reasons: to expand their footprints in the face of soft sales and to address manufacturers’ need for tighter coupling of manufacturing operations with the rest of the enterprise so they can respond to more demanding customers.

Raymond Receives Award

The Raymond Corporation has received the Professional Development Award for Industry from the National Society of Professional Engineers. The award honors the employer of engineers who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement and improvement of the engineering profession.

Warehousing Salaries and Wages

The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) conducted a compensation survey and has released the results in its Warehousing Salaries and Wages: 2002 Data. The study offers information on many job categories, including director of logistics through customer service representatives. It breaks the data out by U.S. census regions, types of businesses and many other areas. For a copy, e-mail [email protected].

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