Archive for Blog

May 3, 2017   Posted by: Indy

A Real Life Cloaking Device for your office ?

A new window film from Designtex takes its cues from science fiction.

Open offices are privacy nightmares, especially if you’re trying to hide sensitive data on screens. But since open offices aren’t going away any time soon, there’s Casper: a new product from the applied materials company Designtex that works like a cloaking device.

When applied to a glass wall or a window, Casper blacks out screens behind it. The transparent window film blocks light waves transmitted through LCD and LED screens. This makes them look like they’re turned off. Everything else in the room looks completely normal. While privacy screens have existed for laptops and individual monitors for quite sometime, Casper brings it to the architectural scale. It’s like a Romulan cloaking device come to life.

Courtesy : Fastcodesign Full article here

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April 27, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Offices made from shipping containers coming to Fort Worth

A young Fort Worth architecture firm is about to put its design mark on the city.

Architectural rendering of the Connex Office Park planned for the Evans and Rosedale avenue area.

Soon, Matthijs and Jie Melchiors, partners and founders of MEL/ARCH studio, will start construction on a three-story office building made entirely of shipping containers. In all, 40 containers of various colors will be used. It’s expected to be completed in October.

In all, the building will have space for 30 businesses. There will also be a break room, restrooms and common areas.

The building will be 15,000 square feet, with each office about 160 square feet. The containers are 8 feet by 20 feet, but they are 12 inches taller than the typical container size.

The building will have solar panels on the roof and tree sculptures on an outdoor deck that are really wind turbines that will generate supplemental power to the building.

Courtesy of Star-Telegram – Full story

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April 6, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Why So Many Workers Prefer Their Remote Colleagues To The Ones In Their Office

In one recent study, two-thirds of employees said their favorite coworkers were in another location.

Why So Many Workers Prefer Their Remote Colleagues To The Ones In Their Office

Last year, Ann Herrmann, who heads up a talent management firm, made her entire workforce remote. They now rely on a combination of videoconferencing tools and chat platforms, with an annual face-to-face retreat. So far, she says, she’s “actually gotten to know my employees better in the process of going 100% virtual.”

By beaming into countless home offices for video-based meetings day in and day out, and encouraging employees to share aspects of their home-based work, “Surprisingly, working remotely gives me a chance to really know our employees on a personal level, because we often disclose more about the world we live and work in than we did when we were colocated,” says Herrmann.

Herrmann might be onto something. In a recent study by the communications company Polycom, which covered over 25,000 workers across 12 countries, 66% said their favorite colleague isn’t located in their own office but in another one far away.

Long-Distance (Working) Relationships

How come? As Herrmann points out, when you’re working remotely with no one else around, there’s often an impetus to make more personal connections. And with digital technologies facilitating the interaction, there may be less anxiety about sharing the more private side of your life with somebody you don’t see in the flesh. We already know through other research that authenticity matters in the workplace, and that it’s something people tend to struggle with. So it’s not hard to see how remote conversations can sometimes fulfill that need more readily.

Remember the recent viral BBC video of that professor’s live interview from his home office getting crashed by his two young kids? It’s not just that we’re often sharing more intimate details verbally with remote colleagues, it’s that we’re seeing a more personal side, too. As Herrmann notes, videoconferencing into team members’ home offices lets her “see what’s important to our employees, from a banjo prominently displayed near an employee’s desk, to photos of family and pets.”

Plus, so much of what we communicate is nonverbal—often more than we realize. And body language and facial expressions tend to come across just as powerfully on video as they do in person, so just because you’re speaking to a colleague remotely doesn’t mean there’s automatically more social or emotional distance between you.

There is a fear of remote-work tools and policies, though. Many companies don’t implement them well, and wind up building virtual fences that hurt their projects’ success and limit accountability. When that happens, many employers think twice about going remote. Yahoo, in perhaps the best-known example, scrapped its remote-working policy in 2013 and maintained years afterward that that was the right move.

To be sure, every company is different. But in the drive to maximize productivity, employers shouldn’t overlook the human element. Relationships matter, and there’s ample evidence that those between colleagues can be just as strong—if not stronger—across time zones and continents as they can across a cubicle wall. If you like someone, you’re more likely to work well with them and pull together in a crisis, no matter where they are.

Courtesy Fast Company

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March 20, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Update on in cabin electronics ban

Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Officials called the directive an attempt to address gaps in foreign airport security, and said it was not based on any specific or credible threat of an imminent attack.

The Department of Homeland Security said the restricted items included laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, officials said in a briefing to reporters on Monday night that outlined the terms of the ban.

The new policy took effect at 3 a.m. E.D.T. on Tuesday, and must be followed within 96 hours by airlines flying to the United States from airports in Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

It applies only to flights on foreign carriers, and not American-operated airlines. Officials did not say how long the ban would remain in place or if other airports would be added.

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March 20, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Royal Jordanian bans most electronics in the cabin onboard flights to/from US

In a tweet this afternoon, Oneworld carrier Royal Jordanian dropped some big news — passengers flying on any of the carrier’s flights to/from the US will be required to check most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and gaming devices. However, mobile phones and medical devices necessary during flight are exempt from the ban, which goes into effect starting tomorrow (March 21).

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February 12, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Fightback against ‘death threats’ from online freight marketplaces

Another day, another headline: Forwarders under threat! Death of the Middleman! Automate or the industry won’t need you!

© Alphaspirit _39539914It’s not the kind of Monday motivation we look for. But it’s true, we should be worried. We’re under attack. New tech start-ups, ‘game-changing’ market entries from the big guys, aggressive competition from our long-term suppliers, all chipping away at the market share we work so hard to maintain.

In truth, we’ve been fighting a competitive and saturated market since the business was founded in 1994.

It’s been a while since I read any industry news and felt a sense of positivity about the global freight forwarder. Some articles recently have felt more like a smear campaign than news. Is the only way to promote your new venture to attack existing businesses and forwarders in the market?

Shipping is not just about moving containers from A to B – which is the premise of some of the new tech start-ups. A flat rate, inputted to a system, to quote on a container from one destination to another.

On the desk we all know it is so much more.

Daily we experience customs clearance issues, customs brokerage, police escort arrangements, specialist handling, extreme weather conditions, short shipments… the list goes on. Are we expecting a machine to process these considerations and make the same arrangements a human would?

When I tell my friends that I work for a freight forwarder, they look at me blankly. I guess if you’re not in the industry you’d be forgiven for not knowing the term. I explain that we help importers and exporters transport their goods in a safe, efficient and cost effective way. By our own definition a freight forwarder has specialist knowledge to prepare the types of documents required for moving goods via sea, road, rail or air. There’s pick, pack, storage, distribution, warehousing and trucking considerations that need to work in sync for harmonious supply chains. So let’s say Artificial Intelligence takes our place, how long would it take the machine to find the root of a problem, in one single part of the chain.

It’s not that we have anything against new tech start-ups, any entrepreneur developing software designed to make shippers’ lives easier is welcome in our office. When the right online platform comes along we’ll happily embrace it – if it adds value for our customers.

I’ve now tried three of the very publicly heralded freight marketplaces, promising to revolutionise global shipping bookings.

I entered a FOB 40ft Container from Shanghai to Felixstowe, one of the biggest trade lanes in the world. I was hoping for a plethora of choice and super-competitive rates. Quaking in my boots (thinking about my redundancy pay-out) I waited for the results to load – only to be greeted with ‘your route cannot be found, sorry no rates found, no results found.’ I couldn’t even enter a destination on one site. Was I doing something wrong?

And if I’m feeling like this, imagine what a first-time importer would think?

Maybe the freight marketplaces should change their slogans to “making global freight rates so transparent they can’t even be seen.”

We’d all welcome a Sky Scanner-style solution to the movement of global freight. It would certainly make our lives easier- but I feel its living in a dream world.

Even if we replaced people with amazing digitisation, I would like to hope that the future of our world is not based on faceless online encounters. We visit a car dealership for the experience, the satisfaction of selecting the right product, the trust built from the test drive and the bargaining with the salesman. All these tangible aspects of a sale are still crucial for purchasing decisions. People still value people. They appreciate knowledge as value in the supply chain and lean on expertise. This is something technology can never really replace.

We love Andrews Craig Bennett’s article: “War has been declared on forwarders.” Well, if it’s a war they want, try fighting us with the right weapons. We’re fighting back.

By Kate McCauley, Tuscor Lloyds 06/02/2017 / Courtesy The Loadstar

Kate McCauley is in marketing & communications at Tuscor Lloyds Global Freight Forwarders.

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January 11, 2017   Posted by: Indy

Packers win again !

Once again, Stewart Brown, ardent Chicago Bears fan, has to take this year’s forfeit (and ritual humiliation) as he loses the annual Bears/ Packers bet with Independent client, and Green Bay Packers fan, Beth Hassler.


Maybe next year for the Bears ?

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November 23, 2016   Posted by: Indy

Happy Thanksgiving !


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September 21, 2016   Posted by: Indy

How would you explain logistics to a 5 Year Old ?

Your toys and clothes are made far away. They’re put in big metal boxes that go on ships across the ocean. I work with my team to make sure there’s space for our customers’ boxes on those ships.

Inna Kuznetsova
President and COO, INTTRA


I talk on the phone a lot to companies with trucks. I help them figure out the best trucks to use and the fastest way to (safely!) drive them so people like your parents can get the things they want on time, like a new TV, kitchen table, or PlayStation game for you.

Paul Johnson
VP, Global Solutions Consulting Descartes

Imagine using your iPad to talk to other people in the world who are buying your favorite toy. My job is to let you talk about your toy constantly and if you had a problem, ask them how to get it fixed.

Tania Seary
Founding Chairman, Procurious

My job is to help people find, pick up, and move boxes.

Eric Allais
President and CEO
PathGuide Technologies, Inc.

We move everything but people.

Brandon Stallard
CEO, TPS Logistics

Imagine that all the yummy snack food you like to eat is being made and kept in different places all over the country. I call the people who make the snacks and ask when it is ready and then take it to the grocery store where you can buy it. I get the person who is driving with the snacks ready with all the right information. I then call and make sure someone will be at the grocery store ready to put the snacks on the shelves. I do all of this as fast as I can to make sure the snacks you want are always in the store where you’re shopping.

Samantha Wickman
Logistics Consultant, Zipline Logistics

When the ice cream truck comes to your neighborhood, my job is to make sure that you and everyone else on your street get treats on time without having to wait too long. I map out the most efficient route and make sure that the truck is properly stocked and well refrigerated so that if you want an ice cream sandwich, and your friend wants a popsicle, we have enough of both when you reach the window and they are just as you expected (frozen, never thawed, not smashed).

Jon Wiederecht
Director of Lean Enterprise & Operations

Courtesy : Inbound Logistics
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January 15, 2016   Posted by: Indy

Finally !

This year’s traditional bet between the Chicago Bears fans at Independent and the fans of division rivals Packers for once did not go to plan for their Green Bay based furniture clients.

Whilst in the final analysis the Green Bay Packers finished the season almost winning the division, and the Chicago Bears ended up in last place, the Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams did not go well for Green Bay !

As a result, Green Bay Packers fan Beth Hassler of Axess International fulfilled the terms of the wager by wearing Bears team gear and allowing the picture to be posted here.

Sorry Beth - I hope they let you back in to Lambeau Field after this picture

Sorry Beth – I hope they let you back in to Lambeau Field after this picture is made public

For once, the Bears fans at Independent are looking forward to doing it all again next season !


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