Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Modex 2012: Global trade awareness important to businesses of all sizes

H. Donald Ratliffe, executive director of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute, illustrated the global relationships between logistics and trade at his keynote address Wednesday morning.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
February 08, 2012

H. Donald Ratliffe, executive director of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute, illustrated the global relationships between logistics and trade at his Modex 2012 keynote address Wednesday morning.

Ratliffe outlined the change over the past 40 years from a focus on materials handling within the four walls to logistics on a larger scale. The ongoing paradigm shift, he said, is the individual organization’s need to understand global trade dynamics.

Ratliffe presented global trade data indicating a marked trend toward regionalization over the past decade, driven by the relationship between capital, inventory and time in transit.

“In some cases we’ve been too smart,” said Ratliffe. “The focus on ‘lean’ has become near-zero inventory, which is alright until you have any kind of hiccup, at which point you’ve actually increased you risk.”

And because each government throughout the world is both an essential trade partner and potential paperwork nightmare, Ratliffe emphasized he need for the public sector to become more educated about and more invested in improving the realities of logistics.

“You listen to any politician talk about logistics and it doesn’t take long to realize they don’t have any idea what they’re talking about,” said Ratliffe. “The US does not have the government infrastructure to support export in the way that most other big exporting countries do. We’ve relied on the private sector to handle it.”

Ratliffe also echoed Alberto Alemán Zubieta, CEO of the Panama Canal Authority and Tuesday’s keynote presenter, in highlighting the shortcomings of United States port capacity. That said, he added, port capacity improvements will require additional focus upstream and downstream to avoid a conflict between bigger ships and better service.

“We’ve got a big built-in disadvantage that is based mostly in logistics,” said Ratliffe. “We have the capability to export more stuff, but we’re just not focused on doing it.”

Modex 2012 is scheduled to be held February 6-9, 2012 in Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Modern’s complete Modex 2012 coverage.

About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Dallas-Fort Worth-based regional operation offers service and support for key logistics hub.

This complimentary white paper addresses areas of potential benefit to a grocery distributor considering an investment in automated case picking technology.

In 2015, a new era in shipment pricing will go into effect when major carriers implement dimensional ("dim") weight pricing for all ground packages regardless of their size. This complimentary white paper, "Dimensional Weight: Don't Let it Weigh You Down", can help you optimize your packaging operation to minimize the financial impacts of dimensional weight pricing.

Replacing older, less-efficient lift trucks at the right time can reduce your maintenance costs, improve your productivity and, most importantly, save money and maximize your return on investment. So how do you determine the right time to make a new, significant purchase? Download this complimentary white paper for guidance on how to determine the ideal time to replace lift trucks and how planned replacement can benefit your operation.

The prolonged operating hours of automated distribution operations leave limited time for maintenance. For tightly-scheduled fulfillment operations, unplanned downtime not only cuts into slim profit margins, it jeopardizes future business and customer loyalty. Download this complimentary white paper to learn five mission-critical benefits of implementing a resident maintenance program.



© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA