Renewable energy and sustainability at Nike

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistance

Multinational corporation, Nike, announced the opening of Court; a distribution center that will run on entirely renewable energy in Ham, Belgium. As part of the company’s goal to achieve zero carbon operations by 2025, this new distribution center will run on clean energy from wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass local sources.

The opening of a distribution center in a key location in Europe will have environmental and operational effects for Nike. With a network of canals near Court, containers could be shipped by water thereby reducing the reliance on truck deliveries. In addition to increased sustainability, Nike will be well positioned to expand its logistics reach to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East faster, safer and greener.

How can companies go green and expand their logistics capabilities?

Are companies actively reducing their carbon footprint?

Can distribution centers be environmentally friendly?


Amazon delivery tents

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

When looking into ways to expand its logistics operations, Amazon is embracing a “carnival” tent solution. As the company races to keep up with competitors, such as UPS, FedEx and USPS, Amazon has set up fabric tents in at least eight states; Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Colorado, Louisiana, Kentucky and Idaho. These tents operate as temporary delivery stations used for housing and sorting packages before they’re final delivery.

 Why tents?

Amazon ships billions of items annually; the company reported 5 billion items shipped with Prime alone in 2017. According to Amazon’s SEC filling, the costs associated with the delivery of all online orders received are growing exponentially as eCommerce activity continues to increase. As Amazon has recruited more deliver service partners (DSPs) to grow the company’s last-mile logistics network, a tent that takes a couple weeks to build enables the rapid expansion in new areas.

The tents are large enough, starting up to 35 feet tall and ranging between 9,000 square feet and 18,000 square feet, and can adequately accommodate up to 300 people. With little-to-no property taxes and little maintenance required, tents are well positioning Amazon to compete in getting closer to customers.

What are the benefits of building tents?

Are tents solving last-mile delivery problems?

Can delivery tents offer Amazon a sustainable competitive advantage?


FedEx’s growing Supply Chain

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Can supply chains directly meet end consumers? The answer is yes, and for companies like FedEx Office opening retail locations in Walmart stores, the company’s supply chain is turning into a customer-centric supply chain. FedEx recently opened the company’s 2,000th retail location in a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, marking it the 150th such location of the 500 Walmart stores customers will be able to print and ship while shopping.


Why FedEx & Walmart?

Expanding FedEx storefronts in Walmart is a strategic move towards adopting a more customer-focused supply chain. For FedEx, offering the option to customers to ship and pick orders from a secure store location instead of an exposed porch or front door increases the sense of security and reliability of doing business with the company. In addition to consumer benefits, FedEx will increase its market presence through the Walmart network in more locations without incurring direct construction or development costs leveraging the existing store facilities. Walmart on the other hand, will benefit from increased traffic in stores; online shoppers could potentially switch from other e-commerce platforms that do not offer convenient pick-up locations and opt to couple online ordering with grocery shopping at a Walmart near them.

A robust, customer facing supply chain will continue to grow as more companies take a holistic approach in improving customer experiences, starting from raw materials to convenient store locations nearby.

How can a 3PL, like FedEx, enter new markets though its supply chain?

Why are companies adopting customer-centric supply chains?

Could FedEx and Walmart become more competitive by working together?



UPS drones delivering vaccines

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Imagine last mile delivery of vaccines. UPS, collaborating with Matternet a drone technology company, launched the transport of medical samples using drones to WakeMed’s campus in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area.

Matternet’s M2 quadcopter, a drone that is battery powered and can transport up to five pounds can travel up to 12.5 miles. UPS will be able to fulfill on-demand and same-day delivery orders using Matternet’s technology.

Furthermore, UPS will be sending vaccines to franchised stores, from where contracted nurses by the 3PL’s clinical trial departments will deliver and administer the vaccine to patients.

UPS’s robust package tracking system, starting from shipping label inception to the precise minute of delivery, would open new opportunities for UPS in the medical field.

How can drone technology enhance medical services?

Are there drone-delivery limitations?

How do consumers benefit from delivery innovations?


Tracking Hershey chocolates with Blockchain

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Imagine being able to trace cacao “bean to bar”, as expressed by the head of addressable media and technology for The Hershey Company, Vinny Rinadli. Such granular reporting will be possible as a result of the Hershey Company joining AdLedger, a blockchain-based consortium founded by IBM, Tegna and blockchain company MadHive in 2018.

AdLedger is a nonprofit consortium spearheading the development of shared ledger technologies for the digital advertising market. Blockchain technology would not only be advancing supply chain tracking capabilities but would also be enhancing advertising through readily available data and intermediary transaction documentation.

Starting with cacao farmers, moving to intermediaries and factories, all the way to tracking end consumers, blockchain technology could fundamentally change the way chocolate companies operate.

How can blockchain technology advance digital advertising?

Where can blockchain be applied?

How can companies use blockchain technology?

Robot Firefighter at Notre Dame

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

The entire world watched the devastating fire at Notre Dame de Paris. Amidst the reporters and firefighters was Colossus, a firefighting robot. As the Paris Fire Brigade withdrew its human firefighters in fear of the building collapsing, a caterpillar-tracked tank-bot was the solution the team needed.

Colossus was connected to a hose and pumped water into the air and onto the flames with its water cannon.

Why robo-firefighters?

Colossus was able to help fight the flames in a way firefighters couldn’t. For one, robots can handle the heat as a human can’t. Furthermore, a robo-firefighter creates a safety buffer between the firefighter and the hazardous environment, allowing firefighters to strategically plan their next steps without the threat of direct contact with fire. Additionally, one robot is can replace up to thirteen people; on average, up to three people would be needed to operate Colossus’ water cannon and roughly ten people would need to carry the hose when full of water.

At two-and-a-half feet tall, weighing 1,000 pounds, Colossus is a multi-talented robot; it can rescue someone, offer high-definition, thermal-view, night-vision live feed, and tear bars for forcible entry. In addition to Colossus on the ground, air drones helped firefighters from above. A dangerous, life-threatening event, like the fire at Notre Dame de Paris, was able to be contained with no casualties, and we can consider technology in the form robotic reinforcements a crucial contributor to the firefighter team’s success.

How can robots fight fire?

Can robots and humans work together?

What are the strengths of robo-firefighters?



Olympic Games with Robots in Tokyo 2020

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Robots will be showcased in one of the world’s most viewed sporting events by millions of people internationally at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project includes power assisted suits, robots, that will be showcasing real-life applications of the technology. Robotic assistance will be ubiquitous at the events; assisting wheelchair users, carrying food and drinks, providing event information, handling waste disposal, and even coming close to star athletes loading athlete luggage onto buses.

In relatively recent years, robots have been a part of other sporting events. For example, at Rio 2016, robotic cameras captured still images and were displayed at the Paralympic opening ceremony. Similarly, information is captured by robotic sensors in NHL ice hockey games.

Robotic applications will be displayed to millions of viewers, making the Tokyo 2020 Olympics one of the first international, large-scale events to incorporate and showcase new technologies.

From grocery stores to manufacturing, we can now find robots at the Olympic games.

How will robots enhance the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games?

Do robots have real-life applications?

Where can robotic technology be applied?