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    #ThinkBig: How We Can Grow Louisville's Logistics And Distribution
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    Shipping and logistics is a major industry in Louisville, so much so that we have an entire college at The University of Louisville dedicated to it.  UPS has their International Air Hub here, and there are fulfillment centers for major companies such as Amazon, Gilt, and Cafe Press.  Louisville is within a two day shipping time for 60% of the population of the United States, so it just makes sense.

    Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t recognize what Louisville has to offer.  We typically do a terrible job of promoting our assets, unless they have to do with Derby, bourbon, or restaurants.  We can all agree that we have a great lifestyle and cost of living here.  But what we really need are jobs.

    NowSourcing is a company in Louisville that makes infographics.  Before I started working there, I had no idea such a company existed.  Now in addition to infographics, NowSourcing has started a grassroots movement called #ThinkBig.  Last night was our third installment of the series and the topic was shipping and logistics.

    #ThinkBig began after yet another major company passed Louisville up, partly because of concerns about the lack of public transportation.  It is more affordable to do business here than most other places, and we have access to all the shipping we would ever need, so why is it so hard for startups to take root here?

    The goal of #ThinkBig is to get the business community together to strategize about building verticals on existing industries and then to get the right people together to make that happen.  Shipping and logistics is one of our strongest industries, so it makes sense that anything complementing it should happen in Louisville as well.

    Lantech is one of those complementary companies.  They make stretch wrapping and palletizing equipment that reduces transit damage.  As Lantech’s Allison Myers pointed out last night at #ThinkBig, transit damage not only wastes product, it can also negatively impact how consumers see your brand.

    SkuVault is another of those complementary companies, making a web-based warehouse management system for e-commerce companies.  Danny Shaw explained how companies can save money by having their fulfillment centers in Louisville, adding that they actively try to recruit their customers to start satellite fulfillment centers here in order to take advantage of all Louisville has to offer.

    Chad Miller from UPS also spoke about the progression of Logistics in Louisville, adding that one of the best ways to innovate is to listen to people’s pitches.  UPS is willing and eager, according to Miller, to partner with new and innovative companies if they have the right ideas.  UPS can be something eCommerce companies can leverage to improve their business in Louisville, but it can also be a strategic partner to help the logistics and distribution industry in Louisville grow.

    Kevin Gue from the Logistics and Distribution Institute at UofL spoke about the Logistics Louisville project.  In order to move Louisville’s logistics and distribution industry forward, we must first gather data about various methods of shipping to determine where our greatest need will be in the future.  In essence, Louisville should follow Wayne Gretzky’s advice and skate to where the puck is going to be, according to Gue.

    I got to talk about Louisville’s history as a transportation hub and how it relates to the bourbon industry.  The bourbon barrel could be considered Louisville’s first shipping logistics innovation.  You can read more about that on my blog.

    Overall, the #ThinkBig grassroots movement is about getting people together to form an action plan to move Louisville forward economically.  If you have questions or comments, or if you’d like to learn more about #ThinkBig, email thinkbig@nowsourcing.com.

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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