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Test: Top 10 Supply Chain Innovations of 2016

Welcome to the 2016 MH&L Innovation Awards, an annual tradition celebrating advances in people, processes, technology and numerous other supply chain best practices. Believe it or not, Donald Trump’s election wasn’t the only significant event of the past year, and in the following pages, you’ll be reminded of some of the most remarkable and potentially game-changing developments in the world of material handling and logistics.

We’ve combed through an entire year’s worth of reporting to uncover some of the most popular trend stories that appeared on our website, our various social media channels and newsletters. You can click on the links at the end of each slide to read the original articles in their entirety.

Enjoy this tribute to award-winning excellence, and here’s to hoping that 2017 is abundant with even more supply chain innovations.

4 | Maritime Transportation

Maersk Tests Drone Delivery to Cargo Ship

Maersk Tankers is testing delivery to vessels on drones that have been certified for explosive environments, meaning that with a tanker the drones cannot create any spark even if they were to crash. The use of drones is cost-effective as there can be high costs for on-board delivery of small parcels, filled with urgent spare parts or mail. Costs for a barge are on average $1,000 and can be higher. Drone use with the current payload could bring potential savings of $3,000-$9,000 per vessel per year.

3 | Motor Carriers

Mercedes to Bring Electric Truck to Market in 5 Years

Daimler AG has developed and plans to manufacture a 26-metric-ton electric truck, called the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, as the company’s entry into the market. The model will be targeted for inner-city tasks such as supermarket deliveries and have a range of about 120 miles per battery charge. About 10% of trucks make deliveries in urban areas, making them an appropriate choice to be electrified. Electric battery technology has not yet progressed to the point to make long-haul electric trucks feasible.

2 | Sustainability

New Standard Developed to Calculate Carbon Footprints of Supply Chains

A universal method to calculate the carbon footprint of the logistics supply chain has been developed by the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC). This new standard will make it possible to consistently calculate emissions at a global level, including road, rail, inland waterways, ocean, air and trans-shipment centers. The GLEC Framework for Logistics Emissions Methodologies combines existing methods into a single framework, and it carries the World Resources Institute “Built on GHG Protocol” mark, making it compatible with global carbon accounting standards.

1 | Fleet Management

Internet of Things Improves Forklift Efficiency by 10%

Itamco, a manufacturer of precision-machined components, has connected its forklifts to the industrial Internet of Things (IoT). A communication system notifies a material handler as soon as materials are ready to go to the next work area within Itamco’s manufacturing facilities. Each forklift is linked to Itamco’s ERP system through its GPS and an application on a smart tablet mounted in the forklift. Forklift operators are notified via their smart devices when they’re needed. Itamco has seen a 10% reduction in the time it takes to get material ready for the next operation.