Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chainalytics Selected for 2014 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Top 100

Supply Chain Improvements with Avaya Yields Savings, Sustainability Worthy of “100 Great Supply Chain Projects”

Atlanta, GA – May 28, 2014 - Chainalytics, a global leader in supply chain consulting, analytics, and market intelligence, has been selected by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine for inclusion into the “100 Great Supply Chain Projects” for 2014.

Chainalytics is recognized in this year's “100 Great Supply Chain Projects” for its supply chain planning and packaging optimization leadership from an engagement with Avaya, a multinational billion-dollar leading global provider of next-generation business collaboration and communications solutions.  

The winning supply chain initiative originated with an initial goal to identify strategies and options for reducing dimensional weight penalties for signal parcel customer shipments. What began as a simple cost reduction project to reduce dimensional weight penalties, quickly evolved into a holistic packaging optimization project focused on sustainability and systemic cost reductions.

“Chainalyitcs’ tools were used to clarify the business case and illustrate - for example - moving from 80 to 150 units per pallet; seeing that causes light bulbs to go on. People get it. The team created enterprise leadership buy-in, momentum, and rapid advancement of the project,” said Lance Casler, senior manager of global transportation with Avaya.

"The Chainalytics team, lead by Eric Carlson and Rich Lindgren, was able to bring strategic leadership to help transform packaging vision at Avaya and gain key stakeholder buy in at multiple levels in the packaging design and distribution testing stages. "

Indicative of the capabilities of the supply chain and packaging experts at Chainalytics, this winning project involved packaging redesign, cube utilization, product portfolio subdivision, optimization for transoceanic freight lanes with an emphasis placed on sustainability and quantifiable metrics.

“Avaya required expert resources forpackaging engineering, system-wide process improvements and significant reductions in packaging and shipping costs. Chainalytics made the most of available resources providing expertise where needed, leveraging Avaya data, quickly identify packaging optimization opportunities and executing action steps,” continued Casler.

The Chainalytics team helped ensure that the total system had a strong fit to meet the needs of the business, working closely with the Avaya team, to design and build a custom savings and justifications “calculator”, integrating freight rates & new container loading densities with considerations to new packaging designs.

Tom Blanck, Practice Leader for the Packaging Optimization team noted: "We had a huge challenge ahead of us, but were able to make a major impact, thanks in part to the collaborative effort of the Avaya's core team and their internal packaging resources."

Avaya’s team was then able to take these process improvements and continue to realize tangible savings on their own. Chainalytics’ recommendations and processes remain in place generating lasting project and enterprise value year after year. 

“Avaya’s partnership with Chainalytics created processes improvements with lasting, quantifiable, high-value effects for the enterprise,” stated Casler.
"Initial results achieved through the custom packaging optimization techniques developed by Chainalytics directly resulted in annual savings of 320 tons of corrugated, 16.5 tons of packaging foam, 4000 pallets, 19% fewer ocean containers shipped, and 200 tons of CO2 emissions eliminated."

“Avaya now owns sustainable processes and quality packaging specification development tools for our products. Ocean freight mix has since increased from 20 percent to 80 percent allowing us to realize far greater savings than when project was completed,” concluded Casler.

"Our goal with this year's '100' is to put the spotlight on successful and innovative transformation projects that are delivering bottom-line value to small, medium and large enterprises across the different functions that comprise the supply chain," said Barry Hochfelder, Supply & Demand Chain editor. "The projects featured in the '100' article can serve as a roadmap for supply chain executives looking for new opportunities to drive improvement in their own operations."

The magazine received hundreds of applications and chose the top 100 based on the scope of the project, creative application of technologies and services and the business results achieved.

All 100 winning supply chain projects will be featured in the cover story of the June 2014 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive to be released in June, as well as online at

About Chainalytics
Chainalytics is a recognized global leader in supply chain consulting, analytics, and market intelligence. Through a unique combination of best practice knowledge, exclusive benchmarking research, and advanced decision sciences tools and techniques, Chainalytics empowers fact-based decision making in the areas of Supply Chain Design, S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning), Logistics Operations, Transportation, Service Supply Chain, and Packaging Optimization. Chainalytics targets enterprises with a high degree of complexity created by their unique combination of scale, variability, and geography. With locations in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, Chainalytics serves companies globally in a borderless fashion. To learn more, visit

About Avaya

Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, networking and related services to companies of all sizes around the world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 ISTA TransPack Forum Recap

by Rich Lindgren, CPP
With more than 60 years in the package test method arena, International Safe Transit Association successfully hosted another Transport Packaging Forum in Orlando, FL. Again this year, the event brought insightful benefits ranging from success stories and networking to discovering alternative ways to design, test, and simulate field to lab testing.

Truly an international association, bringing attendees together from several companies representing 4 continents that share common bonds between packaging and supply chain challenges, insightful industry presentations and entertaining networking opportunities creates a remarkably powerful forum.

Eric Carlson co-presenting with Jeff Tronnes of Stratasys
New this year, the forum had a Sustainability track, which was a series of speakers with sustainable packaging themed presentations culminating in Sustainability Panel with leaders from AMERIPEN, INCPEN, Sustainable Packaging Coalition and others.

Another common theme was the need for more focus from packaging engineers on their stretch wrap materials and unit load design strategies.  Looking beyond the price per roll or pound of your stretch film, the focus should be on the cost per unit load and its performance.

It is clear that ISTA is continuing to try new wrinkles to bring the attendees something and new and different.  On top of the Sustainable emphasis on day one, the second day also had a discussion panel focused on future trends which created a lot of great discussion from the audience and the panel.  It was an honor to have Eric Carlson from our team at Chainalytics chosen to participate in this panel and he represented us well.
Future Trends Panel

One thing you for sure will want to watch for in 2015 are updates to ASTM D-4169 Random Truck Vibration profiles that should better simulate real world to the lab.  There is a lot of great work out there continuing to evolve and improve testing standards.

If you were not able to attend would like to see Eric's presentation "Story of the Mojo Packaging Development", view it here.

See you at the Transport Packaging Forum in 2015!

Friday, May 9, 2014

No Time Like the Present to Start Right Sizing Your Packaging

Late last week, FedEx announced pricing changes for its FedEx Ground and Freight offerings.
For FedEx Ground, the company said that effective January 1, 2015, it will apply dimensional weight pricing to all shipments moved via FedEx Ground, as opposed to its current method of applying dimensional weight pricing to oversized packages that measure three cubic feet or more. FedEx defines dimensional weight pricing as “a common industry practice that sets the transportation price based on package volume–the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight.”  FedEx officials said that this change will align the FedEx Ground dimensional weight pricing with FedEx Express by applying it to all packages.
What is dimensional weight, you ask? Dimensional weight is the volume of your package = (L x W x D) / 166. If the dimensional weight is greater than the actual weight of the package, you get charged for the dimensional weight. This formula applies to both UPS & FedEx.
This is going to be a major change for many online retailers and companies that utilize single parcel for moving goods intra-company or business to business.  No need to worry if your company specializes in heavy good like replacement auto parts or gold bricks, but for many companies this could cause a substantial increase in logistics costs.  Based on initial research by WSJ, many companies could see price increase between 6%-30%+ on the majority of their single parcel shipments.

If you think you are protected because UPS is your carrier of choice, most experts agree that UPS will follow suit within a similar timeline.  There would be just too much money on the table for them to pass up.  Not sure if your packages will be subjected to dimensional weight, use our free online dimensional weight calculator below or find additional examples on dim weight in this previous blog post.
Domestic Single Parcel Freight Dimensional Weight Calculator


No longer will companies be able to afford ground shipments that look like the picture below.  Before, all this air space would often cost them a few extra dimes in extra corrugated box material and air pillows, but going forward they may be paying extra dollars for that extra air they are shipping.
Starting Jan 1, 2015 shipments like this will be costly for online retailers
That being said, this doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, there is a way out or to at least minimize this cost increase.  It all starts with right sizing and/or optimizing your packaging and over packaging strategies.  Not sure how to do that, feel free to reach out to our Packaging Experts at Chainalytics -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sustainability Product Expo 2014 Recap

by Kyle Ous

Over the last 10 years, many sustainable improvements have been accomplished related to packaging and product design. This year at Walmart’s 2014 Sustainable Product Expo, eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. Executives from these leading CPG companies gathered in Bentonville in partnership with Walmart to help preserve the environment in the years ahead. Together, the participating suppliers represent more than $100 billion in sales at Walmart.

We are all smiles today with a #CEOselfie at the #WalmartExpo!
 “A great deal of innovative work is happening every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities. Today’s commitments are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other — meaning how products are grown and made, how they’re transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way.” stated Doug McMillon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart Stores, Inc.

At the expo and on the exhibitor show floor, two main areas that were evident to align with McMillon’s synopsis included Walmart’s ‘Made in America’ initiative that launched in 2013 and CPG companies continued interest in designing sustainable packaging for the supply chain. “96 percent of Walmart shoppers indicated they have purchased sustainable products in the past year” according to a recent survey conducted by Walmart’s Global Customer Insights and Analytics group.

“No one should have to choose between products that are sustainable and products they can afford,” said Manuel Gomez, vice president of sustainability for Walmart. “We want to make sustainability easy by taking the guesswork out of values-based shopping. Accessibility and transparency really put the customer in the driver’s seat.”

The Expo highlighted several initiatives to further expand access to sustainable products and create more transparency in the supply chain. If you think about all the energy and effort that goes into making the products people use everyday, not just the package itself, but all the components in the supply chain beginning with sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, product use, and disposal — there are several innovation opportunities that can lead to improved supply chain performance and sustainable cost savings. 

These innovation themes combined with Walmart’s ‘Made in America’ initiative will require retailers, product manufacturers, packaging suppliers, and supply chain partners to double down on their efforts to make a bigger difference as Walmart looks to reshore $50 Billion in goods over the next 10 years.  Companies that can optimize their packaging and supply chain will be best positioned to take advantage of the movement towards "Near Shoring".

Sustainability is no longer an after-thought and gaining priority for major companies across industries. What is your company doing to evolve sustainability throughout the supply chain?

Let us know. Send comments to

Monday, April 14, 2014

Top 3 Reasons you WANT an Audit… A packaging audit

by Rob Kaszubowski, CPP

The annual tax deadline is just around the corner, which means if you haven’t already filed your tax return you are probably scrambling to get your papers in order and digging through your shoe box full of receipts. Of course the one word that makes people cringe around tax season is “audit”. However, this year the packaging engineers at Chainalytics are putting a fresh twist on the old fashion “audit”.

Here’s the top 3 reasons that this year you actually WANT a packaging audit of your products and their warehousing & distribution system:

1)      Uncovering potential savings you never knew existed: Just like your tax professional knows the ins and outs and loopholes of the tax system, the packaging engineers at Chainalytics know the ins and outs of packaging and supply chain and how you can maximize your returns while minimizing your spend. The key is understanding your product’s needs, from a packaging and customer experience perspective, while also being able to protect the product during distribution through your supply chain.

2)      Fresh set of eyes: Staring at the same problem (or tax forms) for a great length of time usually leads to frustration with minimal changes or progress being made. A fresh set of eyes can bring a new perspective to the same old problems and quickly move to make changes and implement. The Chainalytics engineering team as conducted numerous packaging audits & assessments and have seen many of the same problems, challenges and obstacles that may be stalling your progress.

3)      Cash back return: A traditional tax audit usually means that something in your tax filing didn’t quite add up, which in turn means you likely owe the government more money, tax audits don’t often go your way. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of our clients typically see significant cash back return with high return on investment when they hire Chainalytics for a packaging assessment. The outcome of a packaging audit leaves our clients with a list of packaging cost savings opportunities – targeted to reduce materials, improve cube utilization, increase trailer load weights and improve efficiency.

Even though the clock is ticking on your tax return for the government, there is never a deadline to conduct a packaging audit or assessment. The only down side in delaying an assessment of your packaging systems is you would also be delaying your cost savings potential.  If your packaging hasn’t been reviewed for supply chain cost savings in a while, there’s no better time to start than today. The packaging engineers at Chainalytics are ready to help!

To learn more about our packaging assessments and start a dialogue, emailus!