Friday, 26 May 2017

Automotive Logistics Europe Conference Silver Sponsors

We are incredibly proud and delighted to announce that we’re a principle Silver sponsor at the Automotive Logistics Europe Conference. The conference takes place on 06-08 June 2017 at the Kameha Grand Bonn, Germany.

The brings together logistics provider executives, tier suppliers and senior OEM and policymakers. The latest issues that are faced by the auto industry are discussed and solutions sought at the conference.  There will be an insight into where the supply chain in the automotive industry is heading along with the logistics challenges that are being faced in the sector. It’s also the perfect opportunity to network and enjoy conversing with other delegates.

We will be attending the conference and our team will be positioned at our booth, ready to discuss how we continue to strengthen our partnership with the automotive industry.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Chit Chat: General Business Etiquettes – China

Here are some of the general business etiquettes to expect in China.
  • Shake the hand when saying hello and goodbye, often accompanies with the nod of a head.
  • It’s important to address people with their professional title.
  • Have one side of your business card translated into Chinese.
  • Give your business card using both hands and have the Chinese side facing the recipient.
  • Examine business cards you are given to show appreciation and interest. Don’t write on them or fold them up.
  • Carry a case to place received business cards, don’t put them in your pocket or wallet.
  • Don’t exchange gifts at the firms meeting
  • Writing pens are considered to be a good gift
  • Don’t give anything that is white, black or blue
  • Don’t give anything in groups of four
  • Don’t give letter openers, clocks, handkerchiefs, straw sandals, scissors, knives, storks or cranes
  • Wrap the gift
  • Don’t open the gift straight away unless you are encouraged to do so
  • Refuse a gift before you accept it
  • Receive and give gifts using both hands
  • The Chinese often speak indirectly
  • Use eye contact
  • Don’t point with your finger, use the open palm
  • Never move anything with your feet
  • Don’t put feet on the furniture
  • Don’t snap fingers or whistle
  • Don’t refuse a drink
  • Be on time for your appointment
  • Being plenty of copies of the written documents for the meeting
  • The leader of the meeting should be the most senior member of your business.
  • The host of meeting will begin the business discussion after a small amount of small talk.
  • The Chinese will leave the meeting first.

Friday, 28 April 2017

What is production in supply chain?

Production is the part of the supply chain that makes and stores products. The different facilities that are used in production are the factories and warehouses when the products are made and stored. Managers of the supply chain need to decide how to find a balance between responsiveness and efficiency. Production facilities with a big capacity will be flexible and have the ability to respond quickly to demand. When the facilities capacity is being used it will not be able to cope as well with demand fluctuations. However, the capacity costs money and when capacity isn’t being put to full use it will not generate revenue.

There are two approaches to manufacturing, product focus and functional focus. The product focus is a factory that performs the different operations that need to take place in order to produce a product. The functional focus is concentration on a few operations that can be applied to making lots of different products. Examples of functional focus are making just some of the parts or performing assembly. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

What are the five areas of supply chain management practice?

The supply chain is a number of activities meeting the requests of customers. It uses a systems approach to organise and coordinate the flow of services or products to the end customer.  There are five areas where decisions need to be made:
  • Production – What are the products that are in demand? How much are required, who should produce them and by what time?
  • Inventory – What inventory needs to be stocked at each stage in the supply chain?
  • Location – Where should the facilities be located and do they need to be built? How will the flow of products be formed and used?
  • Transportation – How will the inventory be moved between the locations?
  • Information – What data will be collected and how much information needs to be shared throughout the chain?

Decisions that are made in these 5 key areas will define how effective the supply chain will be. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

What are the key concepts of Supply Chain Management?

There are a few underlying concepts of supply chain management that have remained the same for hundreds of years.  The term supply chain management was formed in the eighties and became a widespread turn in the nineties. Before then, the term logistics was used, along with operations management.

There are numerous definitions of supply chain management.
  • The supply chain is made from all the stages that are directly and indirectly involved in meeting the request of a customer. It includes manufacturers and suppliers along with transporters, retailers, customers and warehouses.
  • The supply chain is a network that is responsible for performing the functions of procuring materials, the transformation of the materials into intermediate and finished products and distributing them.
  • A supply chain aligns firms together to bring products to the market.

Supply chain management can be defined as:
  • The strategic coordination of traditional internal business functions and over other businesses in order to improve the supply chain.
  • The coordination of production, inventory, location and transportation among a group of businesses in a supply chain to be responsive and efficient for the served market.

Monday, 24 April 2017

How ICT contribute to the change of supply chain?

The speed of change in the supply chain has increased and is expected to continue increasing as technology continues to progress. Businesses are recommended to consider possible variations while designing strategies as these changes continue. Most changes in the supply chain are related to the Internet. Businesses began by using the Internet to confirm orders and paying suppliers continued on to important changes in purchasing behaviours thanks to the increased amount of information being available to potential buyers.

The World Wide Web was well known in the mid-nineties but it wasn’t until the late nineties that security was updated and consumers began trusting the system a little more. Browsing online gave businesses the chance of saving time and having a wider range of choice of suppliers.

Economies of scale in purchasing began to change too. It is now a lot easier for buyers to create joint purchasing agreements with other firms when this doesn’t break the law. Groups can be linked into the information systems of the purchasing companies. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Chit Chat: Strategic Tech Trend 2017

Here are the top 10 strategic tech trends are found for 2017 as predicted by Gartner.
  1. Advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue to grow and learn. Deep learning will evolve into systems that are able to make predictions and adapt and even perform autonomously.
  2. Everyday tasks will be made easier thanks to intelligent apps and virtual personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.
  3. Intelligent things are physical objects that use machine learning and are able to interact with people.
  4. Augmented technology and virtual reality and other immersive technologies make it possible for people to interact with software and other people in new ways.
  5. The digital twin is a dynamic software model of physical things or systems that need sensor data in order to respond understandings and make improvements. It’s predicted that in the next 3 to 5 years there will be hundreds of millions of things using digital twins.
  6. Blockchain allows for value exchange transactions to be grouped into blocks regardless of location (used for bitcoin). They have the ability to transform industry operating models.
  7. Digital mesh gives people access to apps and information and the ability to interact together and is expected to overtake chatboats.
  8. The MASA is where mobile and web apps and IoT apps are linked using a broad mesh of back end services and this is what end users see as an application.
  9. 5 of the key areas that will enable new digital businesses are information systems, analytics and intelligence, IoT, business ecosystems and customer experience.
  10. Adaptive security architecture is intelligent digital mesh and related digital tech platforms and app architectures. They result in an increasingly complex world where security is concerned. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

How the supply chain works?

The main goal of supply chain management is to increase the throughput while reducing the inventory and the operating expense. The throughout is the rate the sales take place with the end customer. In some markets the customer will pay top dollar in order to receive a high level of service and in other markets the customer will want to pay as little as possible for a product.

Yesterday we looked at the five areas where supply chain managers need to make decisions: productions, inventory, location, transportation and information. It is essential to understand each of the drivers as it directly affects the supply chain. Then it’s necessary to develop appreciation for the results that can be achieved by using different combinations of the drivers.

Operations and Supply Chain Management (SCM)

The focal operation perspective shows supply chain management as a way of managing operations the form supply and the operations that form demand. Supply chain management needs to find a balance in order to meet the requirements of the customer and the operations resources. Balance is achieved through coordinating the deliveries and services and products from the supply chain. This requires time to supply the quantity and the quality of the items or services that are demanded. The purchasing function and operation and suppliers are all used. In healthcare a simplified supply chain could be used, focusing on the flow of information and physical flows and realising that the right information is required so as not to distort the chain.

When integrating support activities the healthcare industry needs to consider legal frameworks and the resources of the supply chain parties. A growing trend is for companies to use shared services that provide supporting functions for lots of units that are consolidated into a single provider.

In the UK the NHS formed shared services as a separate business in 2003. The new service provided automated invoicing services to hospitals. They now also manage the payroll and procurement. They have also considered outsourcing some activities to other countries such as India in order to reduce their own costs. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What are the opportunities of supply chain management in healthcare?

Can supply chain management be used as a management technique in healthcare? In order to answer that questions many sources, both primary and secondary, were researched. Examples were also taken from other industries to see if they could be used in healthcare. All the information gathered had to be interpreted in an ever changing environment driven by globalization and advancements in technology. Purchasing is not global sourcing thanks to globalisation and the internet is offering competitive opportunities.

The supply chain makes it possible to match supply with demand. A balance needs to be struck between suppliers and customers. All the upstream and downstream flows couldn’t be covered all at once so it was necessary to focus on medical surgical products and pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one side and the first tier customers on the other. A starting point is the value change. The value chain allows for the integration of other activities that support the supply chain.

It was demonstrated that outsourcing the supply chain at primary level can be advantageous as it also works with support activities and sharing infrastructure opportunities. This is a new way of thinking that is now critical for the future of the supply chain management in healthcare. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

eBusiness in Healthcare & Medical Informatics

eHealth is a topic that is frequently discussed these days. One of the ehealth areas that have been practically ignored is ecommerce.  Health and medical informatics are more focused on inpatient care topics and the business side of things is left to other areas. The business issues relate to topics such as cost reduction. Quality and costs are on one side and health information systems are on another. There is a need to reduce costs without reducing quality. Hospitals need to convert data that is collected from patient care processes and turned into information that can be used in management.  Clinical pathways are an example of instruments that are concentrating on cost reduction without affecting quality negatively. Clinical pathways that are being integrated into information systems and they show that there is a need for providing data from clinical processes and working to resolve quality and cost issues.

The flow of information is moving from patient care to management and back again. The data is being organised using resources such as materials, facilities and human resources. This data is used by the patient care professionals to ensure they are fully informed and they have the ability to perform tasks. An example of how an effective materials management can be beneficial is in the case of faulty products. The product charge numbers are all stored in material management. Once a recall is made the products can be pulled and any harm can be avoided. Clinicians can be better informed thanks to structured product information that uses standardised classification systems and technologies. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Why is eBusiness in healthcare different from other industries? – Part 2

Healthcare is different from other industries. It has unique characteristics such as data, information, methods and knowledge which are not usually found outside the industry. Everyone in the industry is trained to high standards. The general materials management software that is used in hospital pharmacists doesn’t use the same terminology and processes of pharmacists. Databases have to be modified to suit all the different healthcare objects.

The procurement of medical supplies needs product knowledge. The medical devices and pharmaceutical products have very complex features. The knowledge required to use these products is only obtainable in clinical environments and it’s necessary to have understanding about the medical conditions that the product is treating or helping. This is the main reason that physicians will make orders for medical devices directly and not through the purchasing department of the hospital. These types of products are just not compatible with a typical purchasing department situation. Healthcare professionals need to be a part of the strategic measures that are found in procuring medical suppliers.