Recent supply chain interruptions caused by terrorism, natural disasters and labor disputes will convince many companies to move away from “total reliance” on a global, low-inventory strategy. Ted Scherck, president of the Colography Group, made this prediction at the Council of Logistics Management’s (CLM) annual conference in San Francisco last month. Instead, he believes, businesses will allocate more resources to the development of a limited number of strategically located regional warehouses and distribution centers. If he’s right, that strategy will require more attention to new material handling practices and a more careful analysis of site location possibilities.

Recognizing the importance of these two factors to the success of any industrial region, the city of Cleveland is shining the spotlight on its transportation and distribution infrastructure to attract more logistics business to the Midwest. Mayor Jane Campbell cites the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA), International Steel Group and Sysco Food Services as the most recent converts to Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with MHM during the city’s official welcome of NA 2004, MHIA’s North American material handling show, to its new home at the Cleveland I-X Center, the mayor explained the importance of this kind of business to a city like hers.

“This show will give us a chance to highlight the opportunities for distribution and logistics in Cleveland,” she told MHM. “Part of that is related to the configuration of its network of highways. There are also two industrial parks close to the airport. In addition, now that we have steel-making back in the valley, albeit a smaller footprint than LTV, there’s some additional land that could potentially be used for distribution. Access to that distribution network via freeway is much stronger. The new runway that will open at Hopkins International Airport on December 14 shows we are investing in our ability to be a transport center.”

Charles Webb, vice president with the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, added that even the telecommunications industry can’t hold a candle to the business potential that material handling concerns can bring to the Midwest. To substantiate that statement, MHIA CEO John Nofsinger presented Mayor Campbell with a symbolic check in the amount of $22.6 million, representing the economic impact NA2004 is expected to have on the local economy.

Tom Andel, chief editor

Managers Making News

HK Systems has announced the following organizational changes: Larry Frey has joined HK Systems as senior vice president, unit handling systems (UHS) sales; Mike Johnson has been promoted to senior vice president, UHS operations; Tom Thomas has been promoted to vice president, UHS system sales; and Todd Sermersheim has been promoted to vice president, customer service for material handling systems.

Alvey, an FKI Logistex member company, has promoted Tom Roberts to director, field operations; and William Horton to senior vice president, sales and field operations.

Visar Logistics has appointed David Velasquez vice president of operations.

Neptune Orient Lines announced that Hans Hickler has been named CEO, APL Logistics.

4R Systems Inc. announced the appointment of Stefano Alberti to vice president.

James Brys and Paul Swann have been named vice presidents at Bosch Rexroth Corporation. Brys is now VP of automotive and the Great Lakes sales region, while Swann is VP of the West and Southwest sales regions.

USCO Logistics has named John J. Frick to the new position of executive vice president of operations.

Letter to the Editor

I found Christopher Trunk’s interview with Joel Stackowski, Lilly Software, (July 2002 “Putting More ‘M’ Into WMS”) very interesting and thought it provided a valuable service to readers. On one point, however, Joel is WAY OFF: there is no ERP vendor on the planet who has had supply chain visibility for eight years or even one, particularly in heterogeneous information systems environments. The ERP legacy is one of monolithic, intractable systems that do not play well with others, and for Joel to position Lilly’s ERP legacy as giving it a leg up in WMS and supply chain event management is somewhat laughable. If you talk to any of the leading analyst groups — AMR, Gartner, Forrester, META, ARC — they’ll all tell you that the companies making the most serious advances in supply chain visibility and event management are supply chain execution vendors, not ERP.

— David J. Simbari, president of Optum

dsimbari@optum.com

Relaunched Web Site for MHM

Check out the relaunched TOTALsupplychain.com. It gives you easier access to content, improved site navigation, new Web-only features and more. Four new content channels include articles, news, archived events, reports and valuable resources:

• Enterprise Systems;

• Supply Chain Management;

• Transportation Services & Equipment;

• Material Handling & Warehousing.

To see updates on what’s new and find out how to access it, take a site tour at www.totalsupplychain.com.

Three new industry reports now available on TOTALsupplychain.com:

• Supply Chain ROI, published by Aberdeen Group Inc. and TOTALsupplychain.com;

• WMS Implementation Report, published by Noll Research Ltd. and Supply Chain Technology News and Transportation & Distribution;

• The Rise of the 3PL, published by ARC Advisory Group and Supply Chain Technology News.

ITA Opposes Weakening Regulation Enforcement

In a letter received from Richard Fairfax, director, U.S. OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) was informed that OSHA has begun revising the section of its compliance directive that deals with the use of operator restraints by industrial truck operators. The revision outlines a proposed new OSHA enforcement policy concerning operator restraints, stating that no citation will be issued for failure to use an active operator protection device or system when the OSHA compliance officer determines that no tip-over hazard exists. The document lists various considerations that must be evaluated in determining whether the possibility of a tip-over is “remote,” including whether there is a history of tip-overs or near misses.

Speaking on behalf of ITA, Executive Director William J. Montwieler expressed the industry’s strong opposition to the proposal. “OSHA’s proposal is a step backward from the advances that have been made in workplace safety and will, if implemented, result in placing operators in more danger than current enforcement regulations. I know that ITA, which fought long and hard to convince OSHA to accept a strong operator training regulation, sees no advantage for anyone in this change.”

“I have got to believe,” Montwieler said, “that suppliers and users will put the safety of their employees first and join us in our effort to stop this action immediately. The ANSI B 56.1 standard, which calls for the use of operator restraint devices, was developed by lift truck manufacturers, users, insurers, labor unions, and various safety experts. There is no exception in the ANSI standard and there shouldn’t be one for the unrealistic world that OSHA describes. At a time when the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is developing a standard (ISO 3691) that includes operator restraint systems, it is inconceivable that OSHA should now suggest that they may not be necessary.”

“Even if there were circumstances where a tip-over could be considered impossible or sufficiently remote — circumstances that are hard to imagine — this proposed policy invites all employers to put perceived productivity ahead of demonstrable safety. Everyone must wear a seat belt in the car even though they may be inconvenient and even though not everyone has an equal risk of a accident — the same should be true of the restraint systems provided for the safety of lift truck operators.”

ITA has succeeded in getting the comment period extended until December 1 and will be coordinating a campaign among its members as well as other interested parties to oppose the suggested change to current procedures.

Pay for Restraint

Nissan Forklift Corporation, North America has announced that it will be bringing its long-running Operator Restraint System (ORS) Program to an end. The program, started almost 10 years ago, was set up to offer owners of pre-1988 Datsun and Nissan lift trucks an operator restraint system seat for their trucks. Since 1988 Nissan has supplied an operator restraint system seat with every new lift truck manufactured for use in the United States.

The ORS program provided a free operator restraint seat kit to all qualified owners and a voucher for free installation by an authorized Nissan Forklift dealer. To date more than 9,000 ORS kits have been provided to qualified end users of Nissan/Datsun products. This program will conclude on December 31.

New President for Carer North America

Daniel R. Reilly has been named president of Carer North America, a newly formed subsidiary of Carer, an Italian manufacturer of counterbalanced electric lift trucks.

Reilly has more than 30 years of industry experience. He served as executive vice president of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) for 25 years.

While with MHEDA, Reilly was also active in the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents the wholesale distribution industry.

Most recently he was editor of Penton Media’s journal, Material Handling Business.

Lift Trucks: R&D, Regulation and ... Recovery?

Material Handling Management recently toured The Raymond Corporation’s new Product Development Technical Center and Customer Showroom in Greene, New York. The 46,000- square-foot addition to the south end of the existing building houses this lift truck OEM’s engineering and product reliability testing groups.

After the walk-through, MHM interviewed Raymond’s president and CEO, James Malvaso. During the conversation, Malvaso told us that in addition to making its own R&D investments, his company is also working with local universities on research projects such as fuel cell development.

While investing in R&D, the company is keeping an eye on the evolution of “the global lift truck.” Will we ever see a comprehensive set of worldwide standards?

“We may get a general foundation of 80 percent that’s consistent around the globe,” Malvaso answers, “but you can’t allow the standards to encumber the way a company chooses to use its trucks. Operator restraints on man-up trucks are a good example.”

OSHA initiated a rulemaking in 1990 proposing requirements for using full-body harnesses on man-up lift trucks, but never completed the rule. In the meantime, OSHA recently proposed an enforcement policy on tip-overs, stating that no citation will be issued for failure to use an “active operator protection device or system” when the OSHA compliance officer determines that no tip-over hazard exists.

“Raymond strongly opposes this change,” Malvaso says. “The directive is not clear that it is addressing only sit-down counterbalanced trucks. It may also inadvertently imply that a seatbelt is not a necessary part of the operator restraint system for lift truck drivers, and the definition and assessment of a tip-over hazard is left to individual interpretation. It is a clear step backward in the safe operation of sit-down counterbalanced trucks.”

However these regulatory issues play out, Malvaso is optimistic about the near-term business climate.

“Complete recovery may be five years out, but we’ll have modest growth. This isn’t the time to get shy, and I’m optimistic about the infrastructure of this country driving us to yet another robust economy,” he adds.

For the full text of MHM’s interview with James Malvaso, go to the www.totalsupplychain.com news section under Material Handling and Warehousing.

— Tom Andel, chief editor