Warehousing Trend: Use Trailers

Warehousing Trend: Use Trailers

February 26, 2019

Trailers seem to be the next trend in warehousing. It costs 50% less than brick-and-mortar to use trailers as storage space.  The issue is that trailers are only able to help with pallet inventory.

They’re not feasible for some businesses. E-commerce operations require larger brick-and-mortar footprints for picking operations.

Trailers do offer several benefits:  temporary storage to expand capacity, mobile operations as trailers can support inventory surges wherever needed, and utility in reverse logistics.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Are trailers the next big warehousing trend?, by Gary Wollenhaupt, February 12, 2019. Image source: Prasit photo/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How could a company determine the optimum number of trailers to own?

Guidance: Review the capacity cushion concept; this question can help to stimulate discussion about capacity cushion planning.  Students should recognize that the trailers are supplementary to brick-and-mortar operations.  Trailers could represent storage capacity cushion for a company.

2. What are the limitations to using trailers for reverse logistics?

Guidance: Possible limitations could include lack of space for a trailer at a retail location such as a mall, items that may require special handling for safety, Continue reading

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GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM’s announcement to close five plants has sparked a lot of criticism. How can a company bolstered by a taxpayer-funded bailout and generous tax cuts lay off 14,000 people? Is it betrayal or foresight?

CEO Mary T. Barra has justified the job cuts, citing slowing sales and changing markets. GM’s actions are easy to criticize, but compassionate solutions are difficult to come by.


Video Spotlight: GM’s planned layoffs


This post is based on the New York Times article, GM to Idle Plants and Cut Thousands of Jobs as Sales Slow, by N.E. Boudette, November 26, 2018; and the Time.com video on GM’s planned layoffs, by A. Abrams, November 29, 2018. Image source: Glow Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Identify the specific elements in a SWOT analysis that may have triggered Ms. Barra’s decision to close several plants.

Guidance:

Threats

  • economy (higher interest rates, tariffs)
  • legal environment (push for higher minimum wages gaining momentum in several states)
  • competition (competitors’ investments in self-driving and electric cars)
  • markets (shifts in vehicle sales)

Opportunities

  • economy (low unemployment rates potentially easing employees’ reintegration into the workforce; financial boost with new of capital)
  • new technologies to facilitate the development of self-driving and electric cars Continue reading
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