Can We Trust the “Trust Machine?”

February 01, 2018
In 2015 The Economist magazine famously dubbed blockchain technology “the trust machine” owing to its ability to create trust in business networks. This capability resonates strongly in the supply chain world, where a lack of trust is a major obstacle to high-level collaboration. The promise of blockchain may be fulfilled in time, but at present its progress is impeded by – ironically – a lack of trust in the technology. To some extent the problem has its roots in the industry’s healthy skepticism of much-hyped innovations. But there are other trust issues related to the way that supply chains

Implementing Serialization of the Drug Supply Chain

February 08, 2018
With the introduction of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), all players within the pharmaceutical industry are confronting the challenge of implementing a serialized drug tracing system with little guidance on data standards, roles, or accountability. An SCM thesis research project titled Seri alization of Prescription Drugs in the US: A Centralized View completed by the authors and supervised by Dr. Bruce Arntzen, Executive Director, Supply Chain Management Program , MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, explores the challenges of serialization . The research sponsor companies,

Narrowing the Self-Drive Trust Divide

February 15, 2018
Are we learning to trust self-drive vehicle technology? In January 2018 the AAA released the findings of its latest annual survey of driver attitudes in the US. Sixty-three percent of American drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. This is a significant portion of the country’s driving population – but it’s a notable decrease from the 78% of drivers who reported similar misgivings in the AAA’s previous survey released in early 2017. The change equates to 20 million more US drivers who trust riding in a self-drive vehicle. The study findings indicate that Millenn

First Students Arrive on Campus to Pursue “Hybrid” Masters Degrees

January 31, 2018
In early January, 40 students from around the world landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to embark on their first semester at MIT. Though it was the first time they had set foot on campus, they weren’t new to MIT courses by any stretch. After completing the online MicroMasters program in supply chain management (SCM) offered through MITx by the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL), passing a comprehensive exam, and making it through a demanding admissions process, these eager learners were simply taking the next step on their career journey: earning a full masters degree from MIT.

Drones Connect with RFID to Catalog Inventory

January 09, 2018
Mismatches between inventory records and stock have long plagued the retail industry. A system being developed by the MIT Media Lab that uses an aerial drone to read radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on product packaging, could provide one solution to this perennial problem. Dubbed RFly, the system could also help to integrate warehouses and other storage facilities into digitized supply chains. Erroneous inventory information causes costly problems such as phantom inventory; product shortages or excesses that arise when managers do not have an accurate account of items in stock. For

Tips for Navigating the Global 3PL Marketplace: Harnessing Shipper Expectations

January 15, 2018
Supply Chain Management Review interviews Chris Caplice, Executive Director of MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. When supply chain managers examine the global third-party logistics (3PL) marketplace this year, many industry analysts suggest that they take a “granular” view. “Regional distinctions are key,” says Chris Caplice , Executive Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT CTL) . “Some regions, such as Brazil, require tremendous local knowledge in terms of taxes and other rapidly changing characteristics. I do not see the emergence of a single dominant play

3 Types of Risk That Will Impact Supply Chains in 2018

January 05, 2018
As we head into 2018, what potential disruptions do supply chains face and how can companies manage these risks over the coming year? It’s impossible to know for sure how supply chains will be disrupted in 2018, but we can prepare for the worst by learning from the past. Disruptive events that occurred over the last several years fall into three broad categories of supply chain risk: Natural Catastrophes, Man-Made, and Economic. Let’s look at each type of risk and their impacts on supply chains. 1. Natural Catastrophes Supply chains are vulnerable to natural disasters such as storms, floods, a

Logistics Emissions Move Into the Climate Spotlight

December 14, 2017
Transportation is the second biggest global emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), yet the logistics sector is often left out of the climate conversation. The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), a major annual forum for climate policy dialogue, recently moved transportation into the spotlight, paving the way for more proactive emissions reductions measures. Suzanne Greene, manager of the MIT Sustainable Logistics Initiative (SLI), a new initiative from the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, participated in the COP23, the first CTL representative to join the internation event. COP23 was con

The Unlikely Success of Nanostore Retailing

December 06, 2017
Millions of small, family-operated retailers known as nanostores are the main source of consumer packaged goods (CPG) for many consumers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These mom-and-pop outlets have thrived by offering affordability as well as the right mix of items and convenience, and by gaining the trust of their customers. At the same time, however, the retail model they have created is far from efficient. Can nanostores survive in the face of competition from large, more efficient retail chains? A new book, Reaching 50 Million Nanostores: Retail Distribution in Emerging Megacities* ,