Volume 5, Issue 2
August, 2007

Map of The Month

an apparent change in the direction of an object caused by a change in observational positioning that creates a new line of sight.
From the Greek: to change
Para: to see.
E-Seals: Uses, Standards and Providers *
By the ChainLink Team
From ancient times the use of a seal was used to secure and authenticate items and documents. From kings to religious leaders to merchants, seals carried an added authority to the document or shipment that it came from the true source. Broken seals meant some one had seen the contents, or possibly tampered with them. (Spies and intrigues.)
Lately there has been a flurry of activities associated with e-seals. Concerns about product integrity are on the rise! Authentication of brands, country of origins, quality and purity issues are all making headlines. 

Read the Article

Lean and Flexible Logistics for the Global Outsourced Economy *
By Bill McBeath
At the end of our very successful 2007 Retail Supply Chain Summit (co-organized by ChainLink Research and Chain Store Age Magazine), we went on a tour of Menlo Worldwide’s “Lean Logistics Center” in Fremont, California. The techniques we saw provide valuable lessons on creating the flexibility needed in today’s rapidly changing, difficult to predict, global outsourced economy. They also mirror the larger strategy of Menlo to flex overall capacity up and down in response to changes in market conditions.
Read the Article

Complimentary articles marked with an asterisk *

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the mid-summer supplement.  Here we are focusing mostly on logistics issues—but a bit differently than you will see in most logistics journals.

Firstly, for those of you who missed this, we had an incredible event, our first Retail event, in partnership with Chain Store Age Magazine in California. You will be hearing more about this in our next issue, when all the write-ups come in, but we thought we would share one agenda item on world class 3PL operations.

In July, President Bush initiated efforts around import safety. We applaud his move; there are many technologies and processes that are promising to help here, and we have two articles that certainly can address some of these issues: Track and Trace as well as E-Seals.

As we become ever more global, a plethora of concerns arise; we have talked about many of these in this issue. We weigh in again on product integrity, Intellectual Property protection, etc.  The fact is that as world trade increases, the percent of illicit trade increases as a higher percentage of the growth.  Want to see how bad it is?  Look at this Map, as well as the report/policy from the Bush administration. Recent revelations on the US food supply has rattled the public, that shows no loss of appetite for cheap imports, and has put a new focus by government on imports—especially food—safety.

But here is one question, before all our technology readers rush out and invest in this sector. In previous issues, we gave you some insights on how to understand eco-systems/industry drivers, and when and how technology can have an impact.  The ‘food supply chain’ stands out as a simple way to illustrate ‘inhibitors’.  The simple question is: who will pay for technology upgrades for track and trace of the food supply?

With recent announcements from the American Farm Bureau, you realize that the average American is unlikely to want to see this price reflected in their increasing cost of living:


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2007 – Retail food prices at the supermarket increased slightly in the second quarter of 2007, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items in the second quarter of 2007 was $42.95, up about 4 percent or $1.61 from the first quarter of 2007…”
(For more on this go to Julie Murphree’s blog, see below reference)


However, Congress and DHS are wrestling with additional technology for ports,

which I will address at RFID World in Boston in September.  Here Supply Chain efficiencies gained by RFID can offset investment costs.

Who will pay also leads us to our Supply Chain Performance Management collection which is a great compendium of Performance Management articles that give you some great insights, as well.

One more note to our readers. Like many enterprises, ChainLink has also gone thru an enterprise system transformation, which is the reason for our absence recently. With that behind us, we hope you will find the content valuable on your business journey. As always, your comments and letters are most welcome.


“We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden…” Joni Mitchell



Some relevant links for your interest: