(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘logistics

“Liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee”*…

 

pallets_0

 

What’s the most important object in the global economy? The classic answer… is the shipping container, which carries just about every type of object you can think of through the arteries and veins of global trade.

But let’s drill down a little further. How do those boxes of grapefruits and scissors and puffer jackets get into the containers in the first place, and then get offloaded at their destinations? The answer, most commonly, is an even more humble and ubiquitous technology: the pallet.

“The magic of these pallets is the magic of abstraction,” Jacob Hodes writes at Cabinet. “Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a ‘unit load’—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency.”

But this simple tool, precisely because of its essential role in the global supply chain, comes with unexpectedly complex logistics…

From Quartz Obsessions, the story of the world’s lo-fi load bearers: “Pallets.”

* Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II (Act 3, Sc 1)

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As we pile it on, we might recall that it was on this date in 1858 that Philadelphia iron products manufacturer Albert Potts patented his design for a lamppost-mounted collection mailbox (U.S. patent #19,578).  His box was designed to be affixed to a lamppost so that people could drop their letters into the box instead of making a special trip to the post office to mail their letters.  While Potts was a pioneer in America (anticipating the demand for letter boxes that expanded when City Free Delivery– the delivery of letters to addressees’ doors– was introduced), his were predated by the “pillar box” (introduced in the UK in 1852 by novelist Anthony Trollope, in has day-job capacity as Postal Surveyor) and by a short-lived postal system using collection boxes on street corners around Paris that was set up by  Renouard De Valayer in 1653.

potts letter box source

 

Written by LW

March 9, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Location, location, location”*…

 

London tech start-up What3Words has created a new approach to location that could improve lives and economies around the world:

Julius Caesar famously divided Gaul into three parts. [What3Words founder Chris] Sheldrick and his team have gone a little further, dividing the earth’s surface — land, sea and ice caps included — into 57tn 3m-squares, each assigned a unique three-word identifier. What3Words’s entire address is just index.home.raft. Furthermore, a free smartphone app can identify any What3Words location in the world, even if the phone is offline… according to What3Words, 75 per cent of the world’s population has no address; imagine the benefit to an African villager of having Amazon packages delivered as if he lived in a city with a formal postal address. Imagine the benefit to Amazon, too.

Then there are places you would imagine have street addresses, but do not. Japan, for example, is a delivery person’s nightmare: just one complication among many is that homes are numbered according to when they were built. Many Middle East countries’ addresses are famously shambolic. “Dubai expats filling in US tax forms often have to draw a picture of where they live”…

How did Mr Sheldrick, a musician by training, come up with the idea? He was a band manager and had to get trucks of equipment and performers to venues. “It was obvious that postcodes were not fit for purpose. A venue like the Birmingham NEC has one code and many entrances.” He would give 20-digit GPS co-ordinates to drivers for satnavs. When one driver reversed two numbers and ended up more than 50 miles from his Rome destination, Mr Sheldrick decided to take action…

Find your place at “What3Words: new tech that will find any location.”

* real estate agents’ mantra

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As we zero in, we might recall that it was on this date in 1942 that The Alaska Highway (AKA, the Alaska-Canadian Highway, or ALCAN Highway) opened.  Spurred by the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, the highway, deemed a military necessity, was completed at mile 1202, Beaver Creek , when the 97th Engineers met the 18th Engineers.  Originally approximately 1,700 miles long, it now runs 1,387 miles– the difference due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has rerouted and straightened out numerous sections. Opened to the public in 1948, the road was legendary over many decades for being a rough, challenging drive; the highway is now paved over its entire length.

 source

 

Written by LW

October 29, 2015 at 1:01 am

From A to B…

Dutch designer Ruben van der Vleuten wondered what happened to the packages he sent between the time he shipped them and their arrival.

What happens when you send something by mail? What happens in between you sending it off and someone else receiving it? What people and processes are involved and how many steps does it take?

Those all were questions I was dealing with and wanted to find out. So instead of sitting back I started a simple project to actually see it myself. I put a small camera in a box, build a timer circuit using Arduino and shipped it.

That’s as simple as it is. The timer circuit was set to make a 3 sec video every minute and make longer videos while the box was moving: to not miss on the ‘interesting’ parts.

See the resulting video, “From A to B”.

email readers click here

[TotH to Flowing Data]

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As we add some extra bubble wrap, we might send stoic birthday greetings to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; he was born on this date in 121 CE.  The last the “five good emperors” of Rome, Marcus Aurelius is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.  His Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign during the Marcomannic Wars between 170 and 180, and describing how to follow nature to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of turmoil, is considered by many to be the urtext of the philosophy of service and duty.

Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee.

Meditations, Book VI, 3

 source

Written by LW

April 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

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