December 3rd, 2016

Keywords: Packaging, E-Commerce, Websites, Cross-Docking, Logistics

Robots, autonomous vehicles, and other fancy hardware like drones are the cool new toys in logistics. Although logistics and transportation is one of the largest markets on the planet, the relative lack of innovation in the sector is surprising. Marty McFly and the rest of the “Back to the Future” crew predicted that the year 2015 would be the year for innovative vehicles like hover-boards. And though we’re still waiting on that, we can make phone calls without touching a button, print images in 3D, and start our cars without ever putting a key into the ignition. Flying DeLoreans can’t be that far away.

Why, then, has it been so difficult to find new and innovative ways to move physical goods from one place to another?

The problem is putting all the pieces together. Shipping managers deal with various procedures, carriers, equipment, destination types, and expectations. How do we synthesize a system that comes with so many variables and changing pieces? Certain market leaders such as and NeoPost have tried to create a single end-to-end logistics solution by acquiring various smaller companies that each provide solutions for different parts of the picture. Unfortunately, this is not enough. Can we connect the technological dots? We have already bridged the gap, for instance, between carriers and e-commerce shopping carts, ERPs, and salesforce. But can we create a complete solution that brings the shipping industry into the digital age, making moving A from B to C as easy as 1-2-3?

In order to create a consistent end-to-end logistics system fit for an innovative and demanding society of customers who are used to one-click results, the solution needs to solve a multitude of issues:

Pricing. In 1980, President Carter signed the Motor Carrier Act, deregulating the trucking industry. This opened the door for carriers to set their own prices, spurring competition and lowering both prices and margins. This resulted in some incredibly complex pricing schemes. In short, it often takes a degree in advanced calculus to figure out how much it is going to cost to ship something, and that shouldn’t be the case. Simple, transparent pricing is imperative to the evolution of this industry. End-to-end solutions can’t exist without it.

Packaging materials. Every commodity is different, which means packing supply companies continue to print new boxes for every tiny order we process on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Some e-commerce businesses claim they will consolidate orders to reduce materials, but the problem remains: If you need a box, a new one usually has to be printed. That’s slow, cumbersome, costly, and inefficient. We need an intelligent packing material that is inexpensive to manufacture, automatically protects the commodity, and is flexible enough to be adjusted to fit the most viable dimensions for the product being shipped.

Network re-balancing. As we mentioned, packing materials are expensive, bad for the environment, and usually wind up stuck at the destination until they are taken to the dump. We need an efficient network to recirculate reusable materials to reduce costs, improve their availability, and cut down on pollutants.

Independent crossdocking. Crossdocking supports the hub-and-spoke distribution model by allowing carriers to move goods from truck to truck efficiently. This allows carriers to ensure service to any destination. New startups diving into the logistics space are often limited by their inability to crossdock whereas one startup player, Cargomatic, is using local terminals within their network to crossdock so they can service more destinations and better serve their customers’ pickup and delivery needs. A complete solution must include crossdocking for the end-customer to have a positive experience.

Universal tracking. In this day and age of limited attention spans, we can hardly sit through a 30-second commercial, let alone wait for days or even weeks for a box to arrive at our doorstep. Thankfully, many carriers offer package tracking. This is important to keep us in-the-know in order to ease our impatience, but all the different systems to track packages being delivered via different carriers make it hard to follow. A one-stop shop to track all shipments, regardless of destination or carrier, is crucial.

Logistics systems are complex, and complex issues require complex solutions—in other words, time and hard work. Luckily, technology and innovation mean the promise of a complete shipping logistics system is much closer than a car that can go back to the future.


November 20th, 2016

Keywords: Green Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Packaging, Specialized Logistics, Logistics

It's a wrap for bulky, wasteful packaging. Shippers today have to satisfy consumers who not only demand that fewer materials be used in packaging, but also prefer those materials to have a low environmental impact.

In addition to eliminating packaging waste to satisfy consumers, shippers also need to consider cost. Cutting back on packaging can reduce both material spend and shipping costs. Making packages smaller and lighter helps companies streamline the supply chain for additional time and money savings.



Recent research has shown, Forty-two percent of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable paper products and packaging, and 56 percent want to see more sustainability labeling on products. This trend is especially pronounced among millennials, who "take the time to do homework into company supply chains, and understand products that are sustainable."

In the past, companies that wanted to be sustainable considered recycled materials for their boxes and packaging. Since 2010, though, they have shifted that focus toward buying wood for paper and pulp from sustainable forests that can be planted and re-grown within five to six years. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management, now works with more than 1,000 companies. Additionally, more than 25 million acres of land in the United States and Canada are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. Ultimately, brands can take advantage of a whiter and brighter sheet of virgin paper and still feel comfortable because it's produced from a managed sustainable forest.

Shippers are also getting more creative with packaging, says Jeff Lau, chief operating officer of TPS Logistics, a logistics management company based in Troy, Mich. Since 2014, his company has seen the use of a variety of filler material, including recycled paper and newspapers. High-end retailers and cosmetics companies are turning to bamboo and wheat straw. "These are the companies that are conscientious of their footprint," he says.

One innovator in alternative packaging is global technology firm Dell. In 2009, the company replaced its plastic packing materials with bamboo. In 2013, Dell started using wheat straw in cardboard boxes to ship notebook computers originating in China. The country traditionally treated wheat straw as a byproduct of wheat harvesting and burned it. Dell estimates that it currently uses 200 tons of wheat straw annually, preventing 180 tons of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere. In addition, Dell has been experimenting with mushroom-based server cushioning since 2013. It expects to re-introduce the material in 2016.

In 2014, FedEx and UPS switched to dimensional weight pricing, which determines shipping costs based on both package weight and size instead of just weight. This initiative further drove companies to cut down on packaging sizes and waste, and has led to innovative processes to do both. Some companies are addressing this by customizing packaging per product or order. 

One company providing that service is Battle Creek, Mich.-based Box On Demand, which ships material directly to the manufacturer and lets users either input desired dimensions or scan the item to be shipped to determine a box size using a machine that makes one of 400 types of boxes. The system reduces packing material inside the box, cuts down the materials used to make the box, and saves on shipping because the box is smaller and lighter than if it were packed with filler to make the item fit the space.


In some ways, shippers have gotten packaging down to its smallest parts, at least from a logistical standpoint. The next step involves getting creative with new materials to be more sustainable.


"Beyond companies making things smaller and lighter, now they're trying to tackle increasing the content that reduces pressure on natural resources," Kimball says. In other words, they're looking toward renewable, non-petroleum-based materials. Consumers are driving the demand for bioplastic packaging, according to An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry, a June 2015 joint publication of the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce and the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University. The negative impact of creating petroleum-based plastics, combined with high carbon emissions associated with production and the fact that they don't degrade quickly, has forecasters expecting industry revenue for bioplastics to increase by 3.6 percent per year.

In June 2015, the Coca-Cola Company unveiled a 100-percent polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle that is both fully recyclable and made entirely from plant-based materials. Things aren't perfect just yet. "We all have those experiences when we can't open a clam shell package," says Kimball, and we still receive shipments of a box within a box within a box. "We're not there yet in terms of lighter and smaller," he adds.

One sector that's still catching up in trying to match small, sustainable packaging with increasingly smaller consumer products is electronics. "There's a paradox between the consumer conscience and technology," Lau says. "Products get smaller, yet packaging hasn't gotten more creative." He provides the example of a box for an iPad. It's a thin machine, yet the box still feels substantial. "The question is, how do you break the paradox of customers wanting to put their hands on a meaty product because they're spending a lot of money on it, but technology drives it to be smaller?"

But momentum is in sustainability's favor. Large companies will continue to lead the initiative. Unilever, for example, created a Sustainable Living Plan that includes halving its environmental footprint by 2020. Walmart set a goal of achieving zero waste. Dell plans to divert 90 percent of all waste by 2020. More than 200 companies, including 3M, Amcor, Disney Consumer Products, Dow Chemical Company, Microsoft, Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon Wireless have joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, so the push to make packaging more sustainable isn't going away anytime soon.

"Design for sustainability is the ultimate goal," says Kimball. "Not just in products, but in packaging. What's the entire impact of that package—the selection of the raw materials all the way through the potential end of life of the product?” "Manufacturers can only do so much in terms of lighter and smaller packages because they also have to protect the integrity of the product," Kimball explains. "Companies now have to get a little more creative to try to achieve their packaging goals."

Time To Stand Out From The Rest Of The Crowd

November 5th, 2016

Tags: 3PL, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, Logistics, Third-Party Logistics, Supply Chain

The changing needs of today's manufacturers, coupled with the intense challenges third-party logistics (3PL) providers face—from greater reliance on just-in-time inventory and the increasing role of technology, to port congestion and the truck driver shortage—have led to a landscape ripe with competition. Arguably more diversified and sophisticated than ever, the 3PL sector is seeing an emergence of more 4PL partnerships, resulting in deeper, more strategic relationships.

An increase in daily transactions places more requirements on the supply chain. Collaboration has led to supply chain consolidation, resulting in more agility, visibility, and flexibility throughout a product's lifecycle. 3PLs need to work with other supply chain partners and vendors to provide real-time data, forecasts, and key performance indicators to react promptly to issues.

When selecting supply chain partners, technology has become as important as cost to meet the need for additional transactional volume at greater speed. As a result, 3PLs must continually invest in their technology infrastructure to ensure they don't lag behind.

E-commerce comprises 15 percent of all retail sales, driving smaller order quantities and more logistics around final-mile delivery. And as shippers and manufacturers move toward just-in-time inventory, they eliminate builds and holds.

Finally, warehouse space in dense markets is tight, driven by big box retailer growth—especially in port-centric areas such as New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles/Long Beach.

As manufacturers increasingly rely on their logistics providers to help improve sales, 3PLs must streamline their organizations to ensure customer supply chains operate efficiently and seamlessly.


Today's manufacturers need a 3PL to provide all the necessary business, operational, and IT resources effectively and cost efficiently. To stand out in the marketplace, logistics companies should clearly communicate their value proposition as not just another warehouse, but as a strategic partner and critical component of the supply chain.

3PLs must work to drive more 4PL partnerships, and serve as an integrated end-to-end solution. This is especially important because manufacturer demands for 3PL services in the United States extend beyond a single distribution point, and require a partner that can serve as a one-stop shop. 3PLs that can consolidate all operational and customer service functions through a united platform can also handle larger manufacturers with complex supply chains.

Visibility is a key factor in supply chain optimization as manufacturers want and need a clear window into the process, with the ability to track containers and shipments in real time. Because of this, 3PLs must take an innovative view of technology that includes having the right infrastructure in place today, with a strategic eye toward the future.

It's also important that customer service is a priority because it can serve as a key differentiator. 3PLs can commit to customer service excellence by creating and cultivating a skilled and helpful team that is always at the ready.

Accountability is also paramount as products move through the supply chain, touching different vendors and processes at various points. 3PLs should have in place a strong system for vendor and supply chain partner accountability.

Finally, it's important to create a flexible infrastructure. 3PLs that can easily adapt to manufacturers' evolving needs will solidify their positions in the marketplace and be poised to grow.

Using Supply Chain Modeling Will Help Weaken Port Shutdowns & Other Risks

October 27th, 2016: New York & New Jersey 

Tags for article: Supply Chain Management, Security, Risk Management, Global Logistics, Logistics, Supply Chain, Visibility

Recent massive strikes among dockworkers on the California coast brought the reality of supply chain continuity planning to the forefront once again for global businesses.

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle nearly half of the nation’s cargo, and are the main gateway for imports from Asia, including automobiles, furniture, clothing, electronic products, and crude oil. Worker shortage and shipping delays throughout the country caused billions in lost or delayed revenue and massive backlogs and protracted lead times.

Not only do the port strikes cripple the pace of moving goods and extend lead times, but the slowdown leaves the goods already en route in limbo. This is particularly concerning for perishable items. Food and beverage companies, grocery stores, pharmaceutical companies, and more are seeing profits literally thrown away.


Supply chain design technology can help organizations combat these concerns with the ability to model, optimize, and simulate their supply chain network operations, transportation routes, and inventory levels. Businesses can proactively prepare for potential supply chain events by building end-to-end models of their existing supply chains and then creating contingency plans by running various “what if” scenarios associated with future disruptive events, such as port closures, to determine the best response.

This scenario analysis can be used to prepare for other potential supply chain disruptions resulting from an over-concentration of activity or reliance on a limited or single provider. Examples include supplier and production sole sourcing, using a handful of carriers or a single mode of transportation to transport goods, or customer revenue concentrated in areas prone to significant weather events.

In the event of unplanned supply chain events such as natural disasters, strikes, or political upheaval, companies that have already built and maintained supply chain models can quickly respond by incorporating new scenarios to identify the best response plan for minimal disruption to operations and revenue. They then test these alternate response plans under detailed real-world conditions prior to execution to evaluate their performance and feasibility.


Many U.S.-based businesses are rethinking overseas manufacturing strategies as formerly significant cost advantages begin to evaporate. Rising labor costs, turnover, and quality concerns, combined with West Coast port headaches, variability, and lengthening of ocean transit times are contributing to increasing risk of manufacturing in Asia.

Nearshoring to North American countries such as Mexico appears favorable in many regards. Among the potential benefits are Mexico’s shorter lead time, favorable trade agreements with 44 countries, and long-established, growing manufacturing footprint.

In making fundamental facility location decisions, companies often fall into the trap of focusing only on a subset of the costs and forget to focus on entire end-to-end supply chain considerations, which include the interdependencies of many cost factors, including transportation, inventory, and tax.

Modeling helps companies make decisions that are optimized across the entire supply chain by identifying the tradeoffs across all the different cost elements and service levels.

Supply chain models can also incorporate cloud-based, industry-recognized risk metrics for different regions around the world, including political instability, logistics performance, corruption, climate risk, and ease of doing business indices.


By creating living models of the supply chain, businesses enable three key elements of supply chain risk mitigation:

§  Visibility: What is the current structure and flow of goods through the supply chain?

Network visualization can help businesses understand things like sourcing, product flow paths, revenue impact of disruptions, and products that are single-sourced or have a high concentration or reliance on limited providers.

§  Scenario analysis: What if we try this? How would our costs or service be affected by this?

Once the digital model of the as-is supply chain is built, businesses can develop optimal strategies to redesign their supply chains to reduce or mitigate risk, increase their resiliency to recover from a risk event, and develop contingency plans to respond to potential risk events depending on which present the biggest risks to the business at any given time.

§  Rapid response: How should we react to an unplanned event?

Businesses that are armed with a continuously maintained digital model of their supply chains can react rapidly and intelligently when unplanned events occur, and test various alternative responses rather than guessing or delaying their response.


The Need For 3PL Providers Is Now 

October 16th, 2016: New York & New Jersey 

As manufacturing is seeing continued growth, alongside the freight outlook, it's time for shippers to turn to experts for focused help. If the future freight outlook seems strong, then so will the need for companies to start to look to the future by employing outside expert help from third party logistics (3PL) providers. Now is not the time for shippers to waste valuable non-core resources.Shippers however, will need to understand their own operations and reasons for outsourcing. This will better enable them to evaluate what the third-parties are telling them. In that regard, the following bullet points out why you may want to outsource to a 3PL in order to maintain as you grow without adding additional resources to scale:

A company looking to outsource its logistics operations, or a portion thereof, must thoroughly understand what they are doing and what they want to accomplish. There are no shortcuts to doing it right, but there are real problems in doing it wrong. The Triangle Group has been in business for over 40 years and were the best at logistic and supply chain management, click here to set up a free logistics consultation with one of our operation managers today.

Triangle Group Continues Expanded DC By-Pass Program Leveraging LogFire Cloud-Based Warehouse Management as Cornerstone of its Direct to Store Logistics Operations

Both Firms to Showcase Their Successes at Annual RILA 2013 Supply Chain & Logistics Conference

February 18, 2013, Long Beach, CA and Atlanta, Georgia – Triangle Group, a leading managed logistics service provider and LogFire, the leading multi-channel cloud-based supply chain execution and warehouse management (WMS) solution provider will be leveraging their value in improving businesses’ supply chain operations and flow of goods as part of this week’s RILA Supply Chain Conference: Logistics 2013 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida.

Triangle Group, a long standing logistics service provider, is much more than just a 3PL. With key operations on both the east and west coast of the US, Triangle has decades of experience working with leading and emerging companies to help them manage the supply chain operations. Triangle’s supply chain solutions and industry expertise have given Triangle a successful edge over the competition, by understanding the retailer and manufacturer mindset, and proactively providing cost saving solutions designed to achieve better efficiency and save bottom-line dollars for their client-partners. Triangle Group offers a seamless end-to-end supply chain solution that is second to none. From freight forwarding and customs clearance to bonded facilities, as well as warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation to end users, Triangle Group has the assets to provide exceptional supply chain management for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and ecommerce companies of all sizes.

Triangle turned to LogFire in 2011, in order to automate and improve its warehousing and fulfillment operations. LogFire was selected for its cost-effective cloud-based multi-company and multi-tenant operating environment and the synergy of domain expertise that LogFire and Triangle share in the marketplace. Triangle’s decision and success has also been rooted in LogFire’s inherent solution capabilities that allow flexible and fast onboarding of customers of all sizes for their warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment processes and LogFire built-in capabilities to support the multi-channel process flows needed across the multitude of Triangle customers and industries. “The LogFire cloud-based warehouse management solution is a core system for Triangle,” states Caryn Blanc, owner and managing director of The Triangle Group. “We leverage LogFire as the system of record across a variety of customers – from Tier 1 retailers, managing their international inbound flow of goods, direct-to-store, and store replenishment, all the way down to newer ecommerce companies that look to us to operate their entire order fulfillment operation. LogFire is able to handle all types of goods and process flows, and because we operate on its single cloud-based instance of the solution, we are able to take advantage of ongoing innovation and automated solution upgrades which provide us and our clients additional ongoing value.”

“LogFire was purpose-built from the ground up as a multi-tenant solution, which is perfect for the multi-company environment that 3PLs operate in,” commented Diego Pantoja-Navajas, LogFire Founder and CEO. “It’s been exciting to work with Caryn and her entire Triangle team and being a part of their continued success in the market with the deployment of LogFire to manage their warehouse management and fulfillment operations. This is further evidence that the right winning combination is the leverage of leading edge technology combined with domain expertise and managed services so that each party can focus on their respective core competencies and deliver maximum total value.”

LogFire and Triangle executives will be on-hand throughout this week’s RILA 2013 conference and as part of their respective presence in the RILA Exhibition Hall, LogFire Booth 640 and Triangle Group Booth 108. This year’s RILA Supply Chain Conference takes place February 17-20th, at the Orlando Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center and is expected to draw over 1000 manufacturing and retail executives.

About LogFire
LogFire is a leading provider of managed services and innovative cloud-based supply chain execution and warehouse management solutions for manufacturers, wholesalers, logistics service providers, (3PLs) retailers, and e-commerce companies of all sizes. LogFire combines strong supply chain domain expertise with flexible cloud-based solutions and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pricing for multi-channel warehouse management and in-store inventory management needs, providing inter-enterprise as well as extended-enterprise network advantages over traditional systems. For more information visit

The Triangle Group Is Selected as the exclusive provider of Distribution Services for Ashley Stewart

Secaucus, NJ – July 26, 2011, The Triangle Group, a leading logistics provider for retailers and manufacturers announced today that they have been chosen as the exclusive turnkey provider for Ashley Stewart’s Distribution Center in Secaucus, NJ.

Ashley Stewart joins the growing number of retailers and manufacturers that have partnered with The Triangle Group to execute their supply chain initiatives. Triangle has re-designed the Ashley Stewart DC and plans to increase productivity to be able to send over 2200 packages per day to the Ashley Stewart retail shops.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ashley Stewart into the Triangle Group,” said Caryn Blanc, CEO of Triangle. “As a leader in supply chain services to retailers and manufacturers, we look forward to building a successful long term relationship with the Ashley Stewart Brand for years to come.”

“The Triangle Group prides itself in providing transparent supply chain visibility through proprietary IT platforms, an extremely knowledgeable management team, and a proactive approach which is geared to helping our client's function more efficiently each day.  The information we provide in real time allows "just in time" decisions to be made so our customers can react to the demands of their businesses in real time”, said Blanc.

The Triangle Group Is Selected to handle End to End Logistics for Hudson and Broad to over 500 Macy’s Stores

Secaucus, NJ – July 26, 2011, The Triangle Group, a leading logistics provider for retailers and manufacturers announced today that they have been chosen to handle a major roll out for Hudson and Broad to over 500 Macy’s Stores. The rollout will include complete freight forwarding and customs brokerage from overseas, receiving into the Triangle Group facilities, pallet build and last mile delivery to the store locations throughout the US.

Hudson and Broad has the benefit of over 30 years of experience in retail design and merchandising solutions. Their plan is to supply the retail industry with the best product by combining low-cost fixtures produced overseas and custom fixtures produced in Pennsylvania.

The company’s office is at 174 Hudson Street and its manufacturing facilities are in Montgomery, Pa., as well as in Asia. By utilizing the assets and expertise of the Triangle Group, Hudson and Broad is able to focus on selling their core products to their customers while leaving the logistical responsibility to those who know it best. Thus saving the Company, huge time and expense.

Hudson and Broad join the growing number of retailers and manufacturers that have partnered with The Triangle Group to execute their supply chain initiatives. "The Triangle Group prides itself in providing transparent supply chain visibility through proprietary IT platforms, an extremely knowledgeable management team, and a proactive approach which is geared to helping our client's function more efficiently each day. The information we provide in real time allows 'just in time' decisions to be made so our customers can react to the demands of their businesses in real time”, said Caryn Blanc, CEO of Triangle.

The Triangle Group Selects Log Fire as their WMS Platform of the Future.

Kearny, NJ – July 26, 2011, The Triangle Group, a leading logistics provider for retailers and manufacturers announced today that they have chosen LogFile as their WMS provider for all facilities across the US.

LogFire’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Productivity Tracking System (PTS) improve operational efficiency and provide total inventory visibility into your supply chain network. Our best-in-class solutions can be hosted On-Demand (SaaS) or On-Premise, and offer innovation that significantly improves your supply chain’s effectiveness.

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