Wednesday, 30 April 2014

What are the Two Methods and Drawbacks of Inspection?

The two methods used in inspection are the sampling inspection and the 100% inspection. Both have drawbacks, which are as follows.

Sampling Inspection
During sampling inspections random samples are taken from several batches of products and inspected. When a defective sample is discovered it is up to the inspector to decide if the entire batch needs to be recovered or rejected. This inspection method is cheap and quicker than the other method as it requires fewer inspectors. The drawbacks of the inspection are:
  • The cost of the production is increased by the inspection but it’s not for its value.
  • This is a partially subjective method as it is often the job of the inspector to decide if the product passes or fails.
  • There is no way of preventing the production of the defective items as the inspection concentrates only on separating the bad items from the good.
  • The inspectors’ judgment might be affected by the monotony of the job and fatigue.
100% Inspection
Strategic points or stages are chosen when careful and detailed inspection takes place during the manufacturing process. The tests are non-destructive and each of the pieces has its own inspection. The costs are increased using this method as more inspectors are required. There isn’t any sampling error but there is the risk of errors being caused by the negligence or fatigue of the inspector.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the 3 Inspection Procedures Floor Inspections

The advantages of checking materials being used in the process of manufacture are:
  • To boost cooperation of the foreman and the inspector
  • Random checks can be more successful than checking the complete batch
  • There are no delays during production
  • Saves time and cuts down on expenses
  • Inspectors might be able to spot problems and report on the faculty work
There are disadvantages to be aware of too:
  • Vibration can make inspection difficult
  • There may be problems caused by biased inspectors
  • There is more pressure placed on inspectors
  • Inspector costs could increase due to the skills required and the number of re quired inspections throughout the process
Centralised Inspection
The inspection takes place at a centre that is close to one or more of the manufacturing centres.

The advantages include:
  • The quality check-ups are improved
  • There is closed supervision
  • There is no pressure put on the workers
  • The inspection costs are low
The disadvantages include:
  • The materials are handled more frequently
  • Any delays in the inspection room waste time
  • There is an increase in production control
  • Machine errors can be missed and more errors could be caused as a result
Combined Inspection
By combining the floor inspection and central inspection helps to located defects and prevent problems caused on the manufacturing floor. This is perhaps the best method as it encompasses all of the benefits to reduce issues.

Monday, 28 April 2014

What are the Stages of Inspection?

There are three stages of inspection:
•               Inspection of incoming material
•               Inspection of production process
•               Inspection of finished goods

The inspection of incoming materials is also known as receiving inspection. All the raw materials and parts are inspected before they are used in the manufacturing process or as stock. The inspection usually takes place in the manufacturers’ gate or at the suppliers end. The most economical place to conduct inspections on large scale is at the suppliers or the vendors.

Inspection of production process is when the inspection takes place at the same time as the production process. There are multiple work centres and critical production points when the inspections are carried out. This method helps to reduce wasted time and money caused by defective units and stops expensive delays during assembly.

The inspection of finished goods is the final stage where the goods are checked before marketing.  The inspection is required so the poor quality products can be sold as a second or at a reduced price or rejected completely.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Best Practice - Process Benchmarking for Shipping and Load Consolidation

Process Group
Poor Practice
Best Practice
Shipping Process
·  Products moving from the pick and pack areas are not reliably processed for shipping
·  No system support for shipping
·  Shipments are processed as shipped at the end of the day or in large batches
·  No system in place for ASN generation and carrier manifesting
·  No order prioritization or workload balancing
·  Shipping processes and support system are seamlessly integrated with the pick and pack processes to eliminate additional processing
·  Shipments processed, as shipped, automatically, when truck leaves the dock
·  Shipping process integrated with real time customer ASN generation and carrier manifesting
·  Orders to be shipped are prioritized real time and dynamically balanced between work zones to prevent over/under utilization
Shipping Transactions
·  Transaction processing is inconsistent
·  Original customer order is used as a shipping document
·  Transaction are batch processed, multiple standalone systems may be used
·  RF terminals, wireless speech system or similar enables automated shipping information distribution and processing
·  Transaction are in real time and on a single system of record
Managing Customer Requirement
·  No attempt to support client requirements and routing guides
·  Inconsistent generation shipping documents
·  Retailer charge backs are not addressed by warehouse personnel
·  RFID tags and Electronic Product Codes (EPC) are not considered nor understood
·  Customer shipping requirements (routing guides) drive shipping processes and documentation & information is maintained in an integrated system. All necessary parties have access to information
·  Integrated system generates customer specific shipping instruction and documents as part of normal shipping documents
·  Retailers charge backs (non-compliance) are tracked and managed, corrective actions are generated to determine root cause
·  RFID tag/ EPC tracking integrated into shipping process and promoted as  a benefit

Source: WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practice Guide, 2010 Edition

Friday, 25 April 2014

What is Inspection?

Reaching and maintaining standardization, quality and uniformity requires inspection. Inspection is focused on comparing the standards that have been put in place, along with the specifications and ensuring everything is on track. It is essential, a way to control quality by removing any items that don’t meet the required standards.
Inspection needs to be part of the manufacturing processes, used to maintain high quality standards, it’s also used to reduce the manufacturing cost and reduce the scrap losses and identify possible causes of work that is defective.

The Objectives of Inspection
  • Collecting and recording information about the performance of the product with set standards for engineering, purchasing and quality control
  • Maintaining standards to remove poor quality manufactured products
  • Establishing and increasing the reputation of the company by ensuring customers receive quality products
  • Finding the source of any problems with the finished products, checking the work of the designers

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Why do we need to Audit Warehouses?

Auditing is never easy, but it is an essential job. Warehouses can quickly get into trouble, damaging the customer satisfaction rates and harming the reputation of the company. Management has to find benchmarks to ensure the company works towards the goal of increasing profits and keeping customers happy. Warehouse auditing may help to spot early warehouse warning signs, so action can be taken.  Let’s look at this in more details.
  • Warning signs recognition– problematic warehouses don’t recover quickly. Prevention is better than the cure and damage control is essential. Regular audits help the warehouse to spot problems and correct damage, whether it’s an internal or external problem.
  • Customer relations monitoring. The warehouse is only as good as the customers consider it to be.  The customers are part of this process, asking how they feel about the service they receive.
  • Process and cost control focuses on improving the operation costs and the productivity standards.
  • Maintaining quality – to ensure the warehouse is working to maintain standards of the company.
  • People management in the warehouse requires auditing. Checking they are happy, working safely and efficiently and are happy with the organisation.
  • Keeping an eye on the physical assets that are in inventory or stored ensures inaccuracies are avoided and problems with missing/damaged assets are reduced.
  • When improvements for the warehouse are suggested there needs to be evidence to support their requirements.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What is the Mission of Logistics Management?

Logistics enables the connection of the supply base and the marketplace through the coordination and management of various activities. With logistics it’s possible to meet the demands and expectations of the end customers, whether they are buying an end product or raw materials. Logistics runs through the entire organisation, from the management of raw materials to the delivery of the final product, therefore it’s essential the logistics is managed effectively.

Logistics management is when the flow of material and information fulfill the needs of the customers. In the past the areas of manufacturing and marketing were seen as separate entities within the company but today, it is impossible for these departments to act independently. Marketing focuses on the customer, working to understand who they are and in meeting their requirements while manufacturing focuses on operation efficiency, optimizing cost, minimization of setup/ change over and standardising products.  

Procurement also plays a vital role and is part of the integrated logistics process. The planning creates the framework to ensure costs are managed and the needs of the marketplace are met. This is then translated into manufacturing. Therefore the mission of logistics management is to be involved in marketing, distribution, production and procurement.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Risk Management Tips your Supply Chain

Supply chain vulnerabilities can put the whole operations at risk but despite knowing this fact, many organisations fail to analyse the situation or put plans in place to protect their bottom line. By using excellent management techniques, it may help will keep your supply chain flowing during disruption.

  1. Learn to recognize and analyse your current operation risks. 
  2. Develop contingency plans to overcome any possible operations disruption by using “what if” scenarios.  
  3. Reduce risk of delays by implementing various transportation plans options.
  4. Your plans need to be constantly checked and updated.
  5. Perfecting your inventory guidelines and level will help your company achieve better bottom line profitability while sustaining your company.
  6. Work closely with your trading partners and share information through the use of technology to reduce costs and errors.
  7. Secure a diverse supplier list and use vendors that can distribute through secondary ports from different regions.
  8. Control your logistic processes – globally source products when it makes economic sense and take ownership of the supply and delivery processes.
  9. Partner with customers, logistics providers and suppliers to reduce disruptions.
  10. Adapt process flexibility to help manage and respond quickly to any supply or demand changes.
Image: Stuart Miles/ 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Security Tips for Your Cargo and Facilities

Annually in the United States, security breaches cost industries billions of dollars so whether you distribute, manufacture or ship high value items, company’s security is something you need to look into and secure for your businesses. Here are some tips that can help you secure your cargo and facilities.
  1. Manage all employees and visitors’ premises access by utilizing staff’s and visitor’s ID badges to display their identity, date, time of visits and person they are visiting. Visitors should be escorted at all times with their dates and times of visits recorded.
  2. Interview, screen applicants and perform a thorough pre-employment background check.
  3. Keep abreast with the latest security regulations. It is important to understand and conform to known World Customs Organisation/ US Customers and Border Protection regulations as there are constant risk from terrorist’s exploitation in the global supply chains.
  4. Install security fences around the facility and monitor your terminal locations and security gates. Also, remember to regularly inspect the fencing around containers and truck yards.
  5. Protect your data centre by limiting authorized personal access and set up firewalls with password protected access.
  6. Back up your data regularly.
  7. Test your security and alter where necessary.
  8. Acquire a C-TPAT certification through the US Customs and Border Protection to find out about your security weakness.
  9. Instigate random container/trailer spot checks to identify irregularity with more than one security officer and keep records of container number, rig’s license plate, seal number, date and time.
  10. Use ISO 17712 high security seals that conform to the sealing regulations and mandates. The seal will expose any indications suggesting theft or pilferage and train users to recognize these security signs.
Image: Naypon/ 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Best Practice - Process Benchmarking for Pick and Pack

Process Group
Poor Practice
Best Practice
Strategy & Method
·  No picking strategy
·  No process to review pick method
·  Picking strategy supports current and forecasted customer requirements and will include multiple optimsed pick/pack processes. Optimised wave picking and task interweaving
·  Review picks processes and strategy for each product at least once per quarter. Modeling and simulations are run frequently
Tactics & Equipment
·  Pick/pack areas are not defined, issues meeting current volume
·  No specialized material handling equipment, only manual movement
·  Operator efficiency not monitored
·  Pick areas are set up without any consideration of operator fatigue and injury
·  Poor housekeeping, obvious debris and clutter
·  Pick areas are optimized to support current and flexible enough to handle future demand
·  Conveyors or other automated material handling equipment to bring the orders into each required pick zone, eliminating travel time for pickers (Pick to Light, AR/AS, flow rack, auto pick equipment, may be used
·  Operator pick efficiency and travel time are system managed and optimized
·  All pick/pack areas laid out ergonomically to reduce employee fatigue and injury
·  Excellent housekeeping
Pick Documents
·  Customer original order document is used for picking
·  Pick jobs not managed, orders are picked as they arrive from customers
·  Pick travel path minimization through order picking in travel path sequence using serpentine approach
·  Batch picking of the same SKUs for multiple orders, or wave pick sequencing to plan picks per zone in advance
·  Manual documents, centralized data entry
·  Transaction processing inconsistent
·  Systems do not support transaction process well
·  RFID not understood nor considered.
·  RF terminals, wireless speech system or simiar 2 way data transfer system enables automated order communication to personnel, portable printers used
·  Transaction are in real time
·  Single system of record, no data redundancies
·  RFID tag/ EPC tracking integration into pick process when required
·  Inconsistent record of activity by major task
·  No measures of staff productivity
·  Customers are not included in the performance review process
·  Record of daily activity by major task and staffing levels displayed on warehouse floor. Employees are included in continuous improvement programs
·  Productivity targets set and measured, showing an improving trend and/or meeting goals
·  Customers can review performance activity level via online reporting

Source: WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practice Guide, 2010 Edition

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tips for a Flawless Global Supply Chain: Port Selection

Knowing how you use transportation and how it needs to work for you is essential. Working out the best use of transportation for your products and examining the position of the ports and how they interact and connect to the transportation modes you use will help you to select the right location of the port you use. The proximity is another area to evaluate. You could be wasting money by not using a port close to you or the trading partners you’re working with. Additionally, how much are you spending on transporting goods to and from the warehouse? Could you be making better use facilities that are closer in order to accommodate your cargo loads?

Working for Your Benefit
When selecting ports always evaluate the work force that will be working for your company though the services provided. Check the reputation they have regarding reliability and the customer satisfaction levels from other users of the port. The port management should have an excellent reputation and have a good reputation with their current work force.

The port restrictions should also be an important area for you to investigate. Know what the weight limits for the different cargoes and their end destinations as they do vary from city to city and throughout the different regions.

Making the Right Choice
Using the information available and asking the right questions is key to finding the right port for your requirements, once you’ve established those requirements. Always choose ports that have proven records and make use of the latest technology, such as container tracking tools and have processes in place that will save you money.

If the right choice is an inland port analyse the use of transportation so you know how much you need to spend. Investigate the carrier services that are provided at inland ports and compare the costs to discover if an inland port could save you money in the long term.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tips for a Flawless Global Supply Chain: Maritime

Effective planning is essential when working to maximise the ocean freight efficiency. The tips below offer you with simple steps you can take in order to gain a clear understanding of your shipments. Once you work through the tips work together with your carriers so you’re able to take full advantage of their distribution facilities, capacity and their intermodal connections around the world.
  1. Work to reduce the less than container load and the use of 20 foot containers to reduce your costs.
  2. Consolidate your shipments to make use of the high cube and full 40 foot containers to create savings.
  3. Get to know the market, assessing the cost of fuel, market prices, demand and the capacity. Use this information to come up with the best prices and setting educated targets. Make use of the data provided to increase your knowledge of the market and keep an eye on the changes.
  4. Carriers will be able to make optimum use of their equipment if they’re able to reposition empty equipment on return journeys. These round trips will improve your efficiency.
  5. Forecasting needs to be used month by month or even weekly so the carriers can use the most appropriate allocation models.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Tips for Supply Chain Optimisation – Seasonal Peaks

Having systems in place to handle seasonal peaks keeps your supply chain optimised all year round. Knowing what your facility boundaries are will help you to define areas that could be repurposed and used for product storage to improve the capacity of the space during the peak periods. This is just one of the ways to avoid the problem of exceeding the warehouse capacity during peak times. Here are a few more tips that prove to be invaluable.
  • Use a quality initiative such as the 5S, Lean or alternative system. Using continuous improvements tools that strap line the space and eliminate waste throughout your business processes could remove the need to use overflow space.
  • Sort out your temporary staffing in advance of the peak periods. Know exactly where to find the additional help and organise the working arrangements in advance so the peak period staffing is in place in time.
  • Check your equipment to ensure it is in good condition and full working order before the peak period begins. Take the slow times to organise the maintenance and repairs and analyse what new equipment you need to order or lease to handle the larger volumes.
  • Consider the benefits of cross docking or deconsolidation. Cross docking removes the need to wait for the receiving and putaway processes to be completed before you’re able to unload, stage and reload. Deconsolidation centres can be used as the port of entry for set products that can be sent directly on to their final destination.
  • Sort out your plan B of using carriers to provide the extra support during the peak period. Downtime periods can be used to check out the services of the carriers to find the right one you can depend on.
  • Get to know what options you have available in emergency situations. Knowing the emergency options can help you to avoid disruptions during your busiest times.  Investigate the expedited services including sea, air, and trucking.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tips for Supply Chain Optimisation – Lean Logistics

Using lean logistics is one way you can work to optimise your global supply chain. The tips below can be implemented in the way you use lean logistics to streamline the process.
  • Work on improving the flow of your supply chain by reworking your warehouse layout and streamlining the inbound and outbound systems. The aim should be to compact your chain for optimise results.
  • The delivery needs to be optimised through the use of pull systems such as the Kanban or an alternative system. By doing so you can reduce the use of unnecessary replenishments.
  • Reverse logistics can be a complex process and therefore requires attention. The management must be focused on creating reliable supply with minimal damage.
  • The transportation routes must implement the best practises to create an improved movement of goods from production to delivery. There are methods that can be used such as direct dock to line feeding, splitting large and small lots and combining cycles to avoid waste and make use of the best available resources.
  • Create standardised warehouse processes that are repeatable. Time should be standardised in all tasks from picking to putting away.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tips for Supply Chain Optimisation – Inventory

If you focus on the details you will be able to create and manage a global supply chain that has been optimised for success. Continually aiming for improvement, changing with new technologies, customer demands and expectations along with expert management will help you to fine tune your supply chain, these tips will help you to achieve this.

Improving the Accuracy of Your Inventory

There are many quality programs you can use, the trick is to pick one and ensure everyone within the company is following it and understands it. The inventory quality programs may include one of the following: six stigma, kaizen, lean manufacturing, ISO and top quality management. The one you pick should be the one that fits in with your business the most.

Management of the entire supply chain will be made easier if you create and measure the ‘perfect order’. Begin at the point of origin to the final destination following the process and searching for ways to improve accuracy. The perfect order needs to be duplicated and the strategies used must be shared throughout the organisation.

Invest in your employees to create a highly skilled work force. The employees should have a complete understanding of the supply chain and understand the end inventory goals. It is your employees that will be performing the processes after all. Additionally, carefully select  the supply chain partners that have systems and services that are compatible with your own and then continually work to improve customer services and your accuracy.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Best Practice - Process Benchmarking for Material Handling and Put Away

Process Group
Poor Practice
Best Practice
Material Handling
·  Primarily manual handling with little or no process definition and poor ergonomics
·  Flexible an deficient material handling processes with appropriate automation tailor made for current and forecast business needs`
Housekeeping & Safety
·  Poor housekeeping, waste materials in access ways and product not organsied
·  No safety training
·  Poor safety record (or no safety record kept)
·  Obvious safety hazards
·  High levels of product and property damage
·  No program to resolve damage issues
·  Excellent Housekeeping work areas are clear of debris, goods are neatly stacked, no excess moisture, dirt, etc evident
·  Formal, on-going safety program with records posted in workplace
·  Excellent safety record
·  Insignificant product damage
·  ISO type quality and corrective action program
·  No defined put away process
·  No initial record keeping to identify materials to be put away
·  No defined staging area for product to be put away
·  System dynamically selects put away locations, based on cube, weight, product velocity and minimizing travel time
·  In truck RF transactions in real time
·  Clearly defined staging areas – support put away by zone and travel time
·  No performance metrics
·  Performance metrics support customer requirements an dare tracked, posted and reported and used for continuous improvement
Product Identification
·  Product is not marked or labeled
·  No consideration of or provision for automated capture of bar-coded product data
·  No consideration of or provision for automated capture or RFID data
·  Product is properly marked of identification using a industry standard label format
·  Product labeling supports the use of automated sorting and diverting equipment and AR/AS equipment integrated with WMS
·  RFID enabled product identification tags, integrated into WMS system location map

Source taken from: WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practice Guide, 2010 Edition