Friday, 28 November 2014

What is Industrial Logistics? Firm Level

The firm-level industrial logistics involves a whole host of activities that ensure products inflows and outflows take place. It focuses on the links outside of the plant that allow products to reach the rest of the world. At this level, the activities don’t concern other areas that focus on customer service levels or the production activities involving materials handling, such as demand forecasting or marketing.

Logistic tasks include the supply of the raw materials into the plant and the supply of the final products to the customers. The supply of the raw materials to the plant are usually more cost efficient if the inventories are under the control of the product department to allow for just-in-time logistics. Besides, the final product inventory should be the job for the logistics department so that they can be distributed quickly.

Engineering logistics, also known as product support, fit in with the firm level logistics too. The engineering logistics make sure customers receive the final products and enjoy a high level of service. Military logistics can also be included as it transports the items in a cost efficient manner.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

What is Industrial Logistics?

Industrial logistics is a very broad concept that embodies supporting activities from diverse forms.  We’ll be looking at the three big categories of logistics support within industrial logistics over the next few days, this includes:

 Product support – Also known as post sale customer support and engineering logistics. Product support  incorporates the after sales support and high tech equipment to ensure the pre-determined system of availability is maintained. Customers “purchase” the service provided in addition to the hardware.

Production support – This type of support includes traditional logistics such as supply chain and final product distribution.  This encompasses all services that links to the physical movement of goods from plant to customers via warehouse and addresses inventory control, warehouse location, vehicle routing and transportation issues.

Industrial sector support – These include issues such as transportation policy and the support location of the industrial parks

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

How Logistics and Technology Matches in Apparels Part Two

Companies that don’t take the leap into using technology are often using decade old systems which are not cost effective. These supply chains have no flexibility and are not visible so problems are usually difficult to trace and to solve. As a result apparel retailers will end up losing the connections with the companies having modern supply chains using technology to their advantage and for the benefits of consumers.

Electronic data interchange benefits the supply chain as all orders and communications are able to move along the entire chain. The EDI documents are able to provide complete order details, share estimated shipping times, confirm when orders are shipped, inform warehouses where the goods are and when they ar e expected and mark goods as received. With the technology, stakeholders in the supply chain can have information at their fingertips so everyone is kept informed. By doing so, the supply chain will be able to achieve greater flexibility, ideal for apparel industries.

Reverse logistics is essential in this day and age and this has a large impact on the operations of the business. Technology enables easy return processes that give information to consumers and retailers regarding the positioning of the products. Successful businesses are including the reverse logistics within their supply chain and seeing it as an asset.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

How Logistics and Technology Matches in Apparels Part One

The world of apparels is being transformed by technological solutions. The companies that are embracing it along with their visible integrated supply chains are proving to be highly successful. Celebrity inspired crazes are just one of the changes that are sending supply chains into overdrive. Once a celebrity has been spotted, sales will then dramatically increase and follow by an extra demand from the distributions. Companies will therefore have to be able to respond to such dramatic changes in demand in order to capitalise on the crazes.

Apparel logistics are different to other logistics as it has to cope with the changes in demand. Products also need to be on the shelves as quickly as possibl e in order to be sold before the trends change. As many of the products are made abroad, this poses even more pressure on the supply chain. Yet, technology is helpful to the retailers in responding the demands through the supply chains and keeping up with the supplies on time. Hence, it is essential that the supply chains are able to work efficiently, to respond quickly while being as cost effective as possible.

Monday, 24 November 2014

What are the Five Types of e-retailers?

Multi-Channel Retailers – Many traditional retailers now have multi-channel business models. This includes a bricks-and-mortar store along with an online store and these models work alongside one another. When using multi channels, retailers often use the existing distribution infrastructure and retail networks to reduce the online costs. The physical store is also used as a way for customers to return products along with the online options.

Pure Play Retailers – The pure play e-tailers use the internet only to sell their products. A lot of the online-only companies are small and young. Despite the lower costs of being online only, many of the early businesses who ventured into ebusiness closed as they were overtaken by some of the major retailers. Additionally businesses failed due to inefficient order fulfillment setups. Amazon is one of the most well-known and successful e-tailers.

Mail Order Companies - Mail order companies are now extending into online sales as the internet is able to attract new audiences along with older customers who are confident with buying via mail orders and catalogues. It was thought that the internet would replace printed catalogues but many companies are seeing a growth in this medium.

Wholesalers or Producers Using Internet for Direct Sales - Online retailers often hold their inventories at the wholesalers until they receive an order. Once the order comes the products will be sent directly from the wholesalers to customers. This is also known as drop-shipping while the retailer only deals with the transaction and not the products.

E-Auction Companies – Some retailers choose to sell their products via online auction sites such as eBay. It is common for returned goods, seconds and leftover stock to be sold this way but now more companies are using online auctions in addition to their usual selling methods.

Friday, 21 November 2014

What is the Environmental Impact of B2B Marketplace?

The environmental benefits gained by using electronic logistics marketplace are mostly associated with the economic benefits. The open and closed marketplace can make excellent use of backloads with the open systems as the carriers are able to bid for the return loads so the vehicles are not left to return empty. It reduces the amount of empty vehicles that are running.

Closed systems manage back loading more efficiently thanks to the opportunities that are made available when the system is planning the transport network. Collaborative electronic logistic marketplaces enable outbound and return loads to be provided to different shippers and as a result they achieve a global optimum across all networks.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

What Four Types of Electronic Logistics Marketplace

Open Marketplaces – The open marketplaces focus on meeting the supply and demand of transportation without any boundaries on the entry.

Private Market Places – This is a closed marketplace that has a connection involving just one shipper to a whole range of carriers and it’s designed to help just a single company’s network. The process usually involves a provider of computer software and the leader is the one with the responsibility for the operations of the marketplace where the information flows through.

Shared Marketplaces – The shared marketplace is similar to the closed private marketplace but the information can be communicated through various electronic logistics marketplaces.  The marketplaces are hosted through one organisation and they share the same platform.

Collaborate Marketplaces – This structure of electronic logistics marketplace is different to the others as it is led by several organisations that have common interests in the system. The marketplace is a community of different shippers, customers and carriers. There are lots of supply chains involved and a high level of integration between the carriers and the shippers.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

About e-Business, E-Logistics and the Environment

Companies supply chains have dramatically changed after the emergence of the information and communication technologies during the 1990’s helping companies gain competitive advantages in their industries. After this ICT explosion,  the concept of ebusiness was born which saw the key business processes transformed using the new internet technology. Ebuisness is the buying and selling of goods and/or services, along with business collaborations and electronic transactions using ICT.

The growth of ebuisness technologies also resulted in supply chain changes in areas such as visibility and distribution channels. In addition,  e-logistics have also had a roll on effect to the environmental impacts of ebusinesses and their supply chains. Hence, companies need to consider the environmental impact of their distribution channels while rearranging efficiency and accuracy nowadays.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Product Supply Chain Part Five

Yesterday we discussed the functional products that need efficient process supply chains. Today we shall be looking at the responsive process as required by innovative products.

Efficient Process

Primary Purpose – The primary purpose is to respond as quickly as possible to an unpredictable demand. The aim is to minimise the stock outs and reduce markdowns and absolute inventories.

Manufacturing – The manufacturing process is to deploy the excess buffer capacity.

Inventory Strategy – The inventory strategy is to ensure there are buffer stocks of the parts or the finished goods.

Lead Time Focus – Work hard to reduce the lead time and invest in order to reach this target.

Selecting Suppliers Approach - When choosing your suppliers the focus is to find ones that will provide a speedy service that is flexible and of high quality.

Product Design – The strategy in the product design processes is to use a modular design in order to postpone product differentiation for as long as it’s possible.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Product Supply Chain Part Four

Once you've worked out if your product is functional or innovative you need to establish the ideal supply chain strategy. Functional Products need an efficient process while innovative products require a responsive process.  Today we’re going to look at the efficient process as required by functional products.

Efficient Process

Primary Purpose – The primary purpose is to ensure that the supply chain is efficient and at the lowest possible cost in order to meet the predictable demand from consumers.

Manufacturing – During manufacturing the focus needs to be put on maintaining a high average utilisation rate.

Inventory Strategy – The inventory needs to be at a minimum throughout the entire supply chain and generate the highest returns.

Lead Time Focus – The lead time should be reduced to the shortest time without cost increase.

Selecting Suppliers Approach – When you’re in the process of contacting and selecting your suppliers put the focus on the quality of the service and the cost.

Product Design – The strategy used in product design is to keep the costs at a minimum while maximising the performance.

Tomorrow we’ll be ending this series by examining the responsive process used for innovative products.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Chit Chat:Top IT Trends for 2015

Here are the top IT trends for 2015, as predicted by the IT experts at the Symposium/ITxpo 2014.

  • 3D Printing – 3D printing is expected to experience rapid growth in industrial, consumer and biomedical applications as the costs related to the machinery and tools decreases over the next three years.
  • Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics – The Internet of Things will help analytics to advance, along with the trend of embedded devices. Structured and unstructured data will be gathered both in and outside of organisations.
  • Cloud Architecture – Cloud computing along with mobile computing are going to continue to grow and converge, resulting in the expansion of coordinated applications. These applications will be sent to any device and user experience will improve thanks to the exploitation of wearable technology and multiple screens.
  • Context Rich Systems – Systems will become developed to be more responsive and alert as a result of embedded intelligence and pervasive analytics.
  • Internet of Things (IoT)  –IoT will continue to grow thanks to user oriented computing. Touch points for users everywhere will be the focus for digital businesses.
  • Mobile Technology – expect computing to take place everywhere thanks to the continued advances made in smart phone technology.
  • Risk Based Security – Security will continue to be a top priority in 2015. Sophisticated methods of risk assessment and risk mitigation must be approached as companies realise that 100% secure systems are not possible.
  • Smart Machines – Smart machines will evolve thanks to analytics and the understanding of context. The smart machines are going to evolve from the existing prototypes such as the autonomous cars and advanced robots.
  • Software Designed Apps and Infrastructures – The use of software defined networking will grow increasingly flexible and continue to mature.
  • Webscale IT – Commercial hardware applications will continue to evolve and embrace new models using infrastructures and technology in a similar way to Facebook and Amazon.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Product Supply Chain Part Three

Yesterday we discussed the need in understanding the classification of your product. The classifications are functional or innovative, but how do you know which one your product is?

Functional Products
Functional products are the ones that people are able to buy from a large amount of retailers. These include items bought from gas stations, supermarkets and smaller grocery stores. The products are functional because they are satisfying the basic needs of the consumers. They are predictable, stable and with a longer life cycle. The problem with functional products is the large amount of competitions and hence they often have lower profit margins.

Innovative Products
Innovative products are often introduced by companies that are working to avoid the low margins of functional products. These are often fashion or technological items that are released in order to entice customers to buy them. Computers and on-trend clothing are the obvious examples of innovative products but they also pop up in more functional areas such as the newly released specialised flavours of foods or drinks.

Innovative products don’t have much predictability in demand as they are brand new and having a very short life cycle. Yet, their profit margins are much higher. The success of these products depends on the consumers and how they are able to/if they’re willing to, change their lifestyle in order to use the innovative products.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Product Supply Chain Part Two

Yesterday we looked at the use of technology and intelligence within the supply chain. Unfortunately, many companies are failing to efficiently manage their network despite the concepts and technologies that are now available. One of the reasons for this is the rising costs that are a result of poor relations between the partners within the supply chain, combined with lacking of the industry practices and the reliance of price promotions.

In order to devise a more effective supply chain strategy, companies need to consider the demand that is in place for their products and the aspects such as the life cycle of the products, predictability of the demand, variety of the products and the current market standard lead times and service expectations.

Classification of the demand can fall into two categories:
  • Functional
  • Innovative
The supply chains differ in these categories and it’s essential to avoid problems within the chain and to match the type of product with the correct type of supply chain. Tomorrow we’ll be looking how to establish if your product is functional or innovative.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Product Supply Chain Part One

The supply chain performance is constantly improving thanks to the combination of intelligence and technology. Point-of-sale scanners allow companies to respond quickly to the voice of the consumer as electronic data will be sent across the supply chain. Flexible manufacturing, quick response logistics and automated warehouses will then react to the customers directly which will improve the sales performance, customer service and the efficiency of the company.

Improvements can continue to be made within the supply chain by adopting some new concepts such as:
  • Mass customisation
  • Lean manufacturing
  • Agile manufacturing
  • Accurate response
  • Quick response
Despite these new concepts and technologies many supply chains are in terrible conditions when it comes to the performance. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at what can cause problems in the supply chain and how it can be improved.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What is in-store Logistics?

In-store logistics is the management of the operations that are concerned with the inventory flow. The inventory flow includes the delivery to the store or  through the warehouse or stock room to the final point of sale. 

It is important not to consider the delivery to the store as the final part of the process of in-store logistics. Retailers need to work together with other functions within the business, allowing logistics teams to take care of the inventory, inter-store transfers and replenishment and optimise the space available in store. The logistics employees will therefore need to work closely with the merchandising team and the sales team.

One of the common reasons behind store failures is poor management skills within the logistics procedures. Staffs often lack the specialised logistics knowledge, best practices and the required techniques. As a result more retailers are now assigning the logistics to trained personnel to achieve the benefits.

For those stores that only have sample products on display with the majority of the stock out back really benefit from using logistics personnel to manage the in-store logistics. Staffs work together and communicate using wireless voice based systems from the sales team to the in-store logistics teams. With this, collaboration will be improved and sales opportunities will be increased.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Core Challenges of Humanitarian Logistics Part Two

In yesterday’s post we looked at the core challenges being faced in humanitarian logistics. Today we’re going to be discussing how the humanitarian organisations can move forward and overcome these challenges with the following five strategies.

A Logistics Community
By creating a logistics community the logisticians are able to share their own experiences and knowledge for the benefit of everyone. Follow common standards and guidelines, share technology, suppliers and logistics providers.

Standardised Training
Invest money into the training of logisticians using external qualifications and training in order to build a team that will be able to cope with the challenges faced in humanitarian logistics.

Metrics and Measurements
Many humanitarian logistics fail to collect, analyse and build strategies on performance measurements.  By leveraging metrics the humanitarian logistics will be able to:
  • Use the performance measurements to improve future operations
  • Analyse the current performance to make improvements
  • Report the performance to media and logistics
  • Enhance the reputation of the organisation
  • Use data to strengthen partnerships between suppliers, donors and logistics
Communicating the Importance of Strategic Logistics
Using the collected date from performance measurements the logisticians and managers need to communicate findings. With the data collected the organisation can build on their relationships with the media, donors and stakeholders.  By communicating results with back up data the organisation will be able to demonstrate their effectiveness and results into the public eye and share success stories.

Flexible Technology
There is a dire need in humanitarian logistics to use integrated information technology systems. The systems should be able to support both procurement and distribution. With technology the organisation should have traced and tracking of goods and funds as well as in-depth reporting.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Chit Chat: 2015 Top Technology Trends

We’re always looking to the future and how technology will change the way the world communicates and works together. Here are some of the tech trends we’re excited about seeing in the year 2015 and beyond.

Tablets and Consumerisation
Tablets can be used in many different ways but companies are going to have to pay a lot of attention and time ensuring tablet security and integrate timelines.

The Data Centre
Data centres are now able to handle more information than ever before. The need to increase more information using smaller centres continues to be important so companies can avoid physical growth. Upgrading, using virtualisation and increasing the cores will be of paramount importance.

Resource Management
Energy usage is something all companies and organisations need to work to reduce. Energy management is essential to reduce waste and also introduce the use of energy management information systems.

Embracing the Mobile World
Mobile trends are not going anywhere, they’re becoming more and more common and companies will continue to look at ways of integrating mobile technology in their day to day operations.  Using cloud storage and increasing security will ensure companies are able to meet the demands and expectations of modern consumers.

Dealing with Data
Companies and organisations have huge amounts of data to deal with. IT has the job of managing all that data efficiently and understands how to use it to benefit the company and the consumers. Using virtual storage, duplication and learning to evaluate data to avoid storing anything that isn’t necessary is a must. Virtualisation should also be introduced throughout more of the management networks and systems in place, increasing automation, agility and refining designs.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Core Challenges of Humanitarian Logistics Part One

There are several common challenges that are faced in humanitarian logistics. Over the next two days we’re going to take a brief look at these challenges and how to create a strategy to overcome these challenges.

Ignoring the Importance of Logistics

When raising funds for humanitarian organisations logistics is usually pushed to the back of the queue. Failing to consider logistics results in delays and unexpected costs that could be avoided by consulting with logistician’s right from the start of the projects and the campaigns. Costs must be included to avoid problems and to ensure aid is able to reach its destination.

Lack of Trained and Professional Employees

Staff working in humanitarian organisations comes from different walks of life and bring their own unique skills. They are driven to respond to humanitarian emergencies and try to help and make a difference. The problem is many of the individuals working in this arena are given logistic responsibilities even though they are not trained professionals in logistics. As a result the logistics often are inefficient and costly.

Failing to Use Technology

Technology improves the strategies within the supply chain network, improves the efficiency and transparency of the supply chain and has benefits for the entire network. Manual supply chains are open to errors and often valuable historical data is missing or not recorded, meaning improvements in inventory, transportation and cycle times are unable to be implemented.

Collaboration Failures

Many humanitarian organisations work on their own logistics and rarely do they collaborate with their competitors or links in the supply chain. Improvements could be made in all departments if organisations worked together and opened lines of communication. By sharing warehouses, transportation and skills each of the organisations could save costs and improve the efficiency of their own individual supply chains.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

How to Find the Right eBusiness for Your Supply Chain Part 3

Here are some guidelines on how to organise an eBusiness looking from the supply chain operations perspective.
  • Integrate the supply chain network you have in place with your new venture online to improve your current processes rather than adding inefficiencies by choosing to create separate channels.
  • Make accommodations for packages rather than pallets when structuring your ebusiness logistics. Focus on mitigating the loss of economies of scale that are a result of increased volumes in smaller sizes. Consolidate, merge and use mega distributors.
  • Create pricing strategies for your shipments that truly reflect the cost of the activities involved. Don’t underestimate the costs of transportation as this often results in financial losses.
  • Consider return items when creating your supply chain network. Your supply chain needs to handle returns effectively as buyers will often change their minds when seeing an order in person for the first time.
  • Customers must be given accurate information throughout the supply chain.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Orbis :CHOCOOLATE Moonwalkers 2014

Royale International are proud to sponsor our staff for 3 conservative years in the participation at the charity event of Orbis Moonwalkers. 

In 2014, the theme “Light up the Dark , Light up their World” has enlighten our teams to shop & dress in “Neon & Day-glowing” customs to “dazzle” & compete for the “Best Hero Dress Team Award”.

Although we are more focus on the wardrobe & charity aspect, our teams are still able to have a ranking increase by a 1,000 places in the 20km overnight walk from Kwai Chung to Tuen Mun this year.  

For more information on the event or you would like to show your support to the good deed on Orbis,  please visit their site: 

How to Find the Right eBusiness for Your Supply Chain Part Two

There are several drivers that can improve the cost efficiency of a supply chain.
Facility costs can be improved by using central facilities as online orders and sales mean order placement and fulfilment can be separated to cut costs. Orders are processed online reduces the costs by removing stores or the sales personnel.

Inventory costs can be reduced since some eBusinesses don’t need to have the inventory close to their customers. The geographical centralisation means that there isn’t a need to maintain inventory levels and products can even be postponed until an order has been placed. Once the order comes in the final product can be assembled (assembled to order) before being shipped out.

Transportation costs in both inbound and outbound transportation can be reduced. Replenishment orders are able to have lower transportation costs than the alternative customer orders because of scale economies. However, as centralisation increase the distance between the customer and the location of the product many eBusinesses will end up with higher transportation costs per unit. For products that can be downloaded the cost of transportation is completely removed. eBusiness can use online communication to share information and planning across the supply chain resulting in the transportation process and related information reduction.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

How to Find the Right eBusiness for Your Supply Chain Part One

E-business is business that takes place over the internet. They perform different activities on the internet and over the supply chain, which include:
  • Providing information or products
  • Negotiating prices or contracts
  • Tracking orders
  • Placing and receiving orders
  • Paying and receiving payments
In the past these activities took place through traditional channels such as retails outlets and catalogues. Today internet companies look at ways of introducing this technology into their current channels in order to provide modern shoppers with the type of shopping experience they demand.

The internet has transformed business while enhancing supply chain performance. Unfortunately, not all businesses are able to profit from the opportunities provided by the internet. There are no simple answers since the frameworks that need to be created by the supply chain managers are industry and strategy specific.

Monday, 3 November 2014

SCM in the Oil and Gas Industry – Part Six

Improving the supply chain links in the oil and gas industry is a never ending job. There are eight strategies that are useful for making the ongoing improvements, which are as follows.
  • Segmenting customers based upon their service needs.  Matching the customers to the products and their requirements.  Different customers have different requirements. These requirements are often met by different ways of managing the supply chain.  Market research is required and flexibility within the operations is also needed.
  • Customising the logistics network. Logistics is part of the supply chain and timings, costs and satisfying the customers’ expectations all need to be managed and achieved with the logistics of the supply chain.
  • Monitor constantly for changes in the market signals and plan around these signals. Move away from using demand forecasts of the past and keep an eye on the variability of demand. Monitor the fluctuations and act accordingly.
  • Create partnerships to improve the supply chain. Develop relationships throughout the supply chain. Work on improving your relationship management and remember that it is a two way street.
  • Use technology throughout the entire supply chain. Don’t make technological decisions alone, they should include the entire supply chain. Share information and create technological strategies that can be used by everyone.
  • Use strategic sourcing, continuously forecast and work to reduce costs and wastes. Remember that suppliers that have continued to supply an excellent performance are the ones that deserve a more favourable status by being loyal and giving preferable treatment.
  • Create performance measures that span across all channels. Use performance measures across the entire supply chain to eliminate inefficiencies.
  • Adapt operational innovation to solve old problems with new processes.  Invent new ways of solving old problems by adapting or creating operational innovations.