Thursday, 30 April 2015

What are the key inputs in developing an effective logistics plan?

A logistics plan requires the following key inputs:
  • Financial inputs (Cost data sourcing and capital availability).
  • Logistics inputs (Location of logistic facilities).
  • Manufacturing inputs (Locations and manufacturing capabilities).
  • Marketing inputs (Product knowledge, pricing, customer service policies, sales and forecasting).
  • Purchasing inputs (Material, new sourcing, services and technologies).
The logistic planning starts at the strategic decision making level and it includes the tactical and the operational decisions. The logistics planning structure varies from business to business and contains many factors such as the resources and time frames to have an effect.  The logistic plan includes the logistic strategy and the way it relates to the other functions and the relationship between the logistic objectives. The strategy needs to be translated to both the tactical goals and the operational actions.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

What are the 3 logistics decisions?

There are 3 logistic decisions that are used in logistic systems:
  • Operational decisions have a narrow scope as they can be made daily or weekly. These short term decisions relate to decisions made regarding the loading of vehicles, shipments, warehousing routines, dispatching and other similar operations. The supervisors are generally involved and they make the decisions using detailed data.
  • Tactical decisions are made monthly, quarterly or annually and focus on long-term decisions making. The tactical decisions include: production planning, resource planning, planning the transportation and more. Mid management or the logistics engineers are involved at this stage.
  • Strategic decisions are made by top management, stockholders and the executive
    administrators as these are long term decisions that are made over the course of one or two years.  These decisions usually encompass business objective, mission statements, marketing and customer strategies. Strategic decisions are made to optimise the reduction of capital, cost and to improve customer services.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What is the logistic difference to supply chain?

Logistics involves planning, implementing and controlling the storage and flow of products, services, people, materials and other resources in an efficient manner from the point of origin to the point of consumption, while meeting the requirements and demands of the customer. It’s complex. Logistics includes:

  • The storage of goods, material handling and warehousing
  • Packaging
  • Inventory
  • Transportation
  • Information and control
Now let’s look at the supply chain. Logistics needs to be extended to the suppliers and to the final customers, across the supply chain. There are four differences between logistics as and supply chain management:
  • The supply chain is seen as one whole part and not a series of links in the chain and suppliers are included as well as the end customers.
  • Strategic decisions are used in supply chain management, not operational decisions.
  • Inventory is a last resort in supply chain management and only used to balance the flow of products as they move through the chain.
  • In order for the supply chain to be successful, there needs to be an information system that contains all the information regarding stock and demand. This information system must be accessible by everyone in the supply chain.
Nowadays businesses are moving their logistics into a supply chain, in order to keep up with the demands of consumers.

Monday, 27 April 2015

What are the four different levels of strategy?

A strategy is made up of several components, including information, assumptions, attitudes, actions and reactions, attitude and interaction. The strategy is a plan which is agreed upon, monitored and deployed through decided upon processes. They exist on four levels:
  1. Corporate Strategy
  2. Business Strategy
  3. Operational Strategy
  4. Competitive Strategy
Corporate strategy is when the company focuses on the goals of their organisation to come up with an infrastructure of their business interests and the structure of the business.

Business strategy is when the strategy is focused upon determining the services and products the company provides. The strategy will also be used to decide what each of the units of the business has to do so the corporate level strategy focused on the business objectives is met.

Operational strategy is focused on working out how to achieve the business objectives created at corporate level and business level. This strategy involves a lot of planning of the products, processes, technology and available resources. Market policies will also be created at this level so that the long term competitive strategy will be achieved.

Competitive strategy is used so the company is able to create plans that will help them to meet customer demands. The strategy is defined by the costs, reliability and quality and it is an essential strategy for any company competing in the customers driven markets of today.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015 Workplace Trends - Part 2

Today we’re continuing our look at the workplace trends we expect to witness during 2015.
  1. Mobile job searches and hiring over mobile phones will play an important role in recruitment. Job seekers are using their smartphones to find jobs and apply for openings. Companies need to recognise this trend and ensure their website and application processes are mobile friendly.
  2. Using social media to attract talent and retain staff will also become more important for firms during 2015 and beyond. By creating a blog post and updates on social media sites, companies create a real presence and connect with their target audience.
  3. Success on planning is essential as the boomers begin to retire. Many workers have plans to continue to work during retirement and they can become an essential asset to firms keeping them on the payroll as they can contribute to the training of new workers with less knowledge and experience.
  4. Women are gaining strength more and more in the workplace, achieving powerful positions, and this trend is expected to continue to rise. The gap between men and women at work is closing and females gaining leadership roles will grow, assisted by many trends such as having children older, more females attending college and couples deciding not to have children.
  5. Freelancing is on the rise subject by choice and necessity, no longer is the traditional career path the only desired path. Technology is also making it easier to accommodate this trend.  As well, companies are hiring more temporary workers and consultants to cut cost. Currently in the US, up to 34% of the US workforce are freelancers.

Friday, 24 April 2015

What are some common types of truck attachments used in forklift truck in warehousing

There are many attachments that can be fitted to trucks. They are used when goods can’t be touched by forks. These attachments add extra weight and so the ones that are used need to be carefully considered to make sure the goods can be moved safely. The common types of attachments that are used with forklift trucks include:
  • Clamp attachments used to handle various loads including boxes, bales, drums, paper reels and kegs and other similar loads.
  • Rotating head attachments are used when the orientation of the load needs to be changed
  • Load push and pull devices allow goods to be positioned on slip sheets
  • Drum handling equipment is used for moving barrels or drums
  • Booms are used for moving rolled items, such as carpets or horizontal reels

Thursday, 23 April 2015

What are the different types of conveyors used in warehousing to move both palletised and non palletised loads over fixed routes?

There are different types of conveyors that are used in warehousing. Some are powered while others are non-powered, using gravity. The main types of gravity conveyors are:
  • Spiral Chute Conveyors – the main use is to move the goods between floors
  • Wheeled Conveyors – often used for vehicle loading and unloading
  • Gravity Rollers – Used for heavy goods
Powered conveyors are used for goods that are heavier and that need to be moved over long distances:
Conveyor belt

  • Live Roller Conveyors -  Used for irregular shaped goods
  • Belt Conveyors – Moving lighter loads often over declining or inclining paths
  • Chain Conveyors – Moving heavy loads and loads between different sections
  • Slat Conveyors – Moving goods with abrasive surfaces that could cause damage to a belt conveyor
  • Trolley Conveyors – Can move loads weighting several tons on a fixed path

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

What are the different types of cranes used in warehousing?

Heavy loads or light loads that cannot be handled manually are moved by cranes. The cranes are used in warehousing but they are limited in movement and can only be used in predetermined areas. The most common types of cranes are:
  • Bridge cranes that have a hoist on a bridge. The hoist moves over the bridge as the bridge moves along a runway.
  • Jib cranes lift by travelling across a horizontal boom and the job (pivoted arm) is mounted on a wall or on a pillar.
  • Gantry cranes have a hoist that sits on a traverse trolley that moves along a bridge in a horizontal fashion.
  • Stacker cranes work in a similar fashion to a forklift with a fork that can be raised and lowered, traversing along a track in the warehouse.
Cranes can be used with many different attachments that are used for specific purposes, such as magnets and hooks. They are essential in warehousing equipment that allow for the movement of loads.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

What are the different distribution channels and their types?

Logistics executives will determine the distribution channels of a product. This will work out the alternative ways a product is able to reach the market. The decisions regarding the distribution channels can be difficult to change as they will include lots of long term commitments with various parties including retailers, wholesalers and brokers. There are different factors to take into account and in general two types of distribution channels are used, physical and trading or transaction.

The physical distribution channels will deal with the physical aspects of the product and the methods that will see the product from the supplier to the end user. Products will be physically moved through these channels, often leading to retailers, factory outlets or the house of a customer. The trading or transaction channels deal with the nonphysical aspects of the product distribution as the ownership of the product is moved along with the movement of the product.

Alternative distribution channels are used:
  • Producer direct to the consumer
  • Producer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer
  • Producer using 3PL or a broker to the consumer to the retailer
  • Producer via broker to the wholesaler to the retailer and to the customer
  • Business to business

Monday, 20 April 2015

How to determine the right combination of transport alternative for company through product characteristics

Third party logistics service providers are commonly outsourced by firms and organisations of all sizes when the need for supply chain management has increased. The 3PL’s provide lots of different services including freight forwarding, packaging, inventory management and many other logistics services. They also provide different options to improve customer services and to keep costs low. It is ideal for firms that are unable to afford their own logistics departments and distribution networks.

The 3PL must evaluate the company’s product characteristics along with the physical nature of the product in order to determine the correct combination of transport to use. They achieve this by evaluating the physical nature of the product,  including the material handling, packaging, transportation and storage. The 3PL’s then classify the characteristics into four categories: substitutability, special characteristics, value to weight ratio and volume to weight ratio.

  • Substitutability

Substitutability refers to the degree of a product that can be replaced by an alternative. Products with high substitutability,  mean that would be easily substituted by another type/brand of products when the originally desired products are not available. It is important to maintain the availability of highly substitutable products to prevent lost sales. With efficient and reliable transportation modes, on-time replenishments can be done through maintaining high inventory levels to minimize the chance of running out of stocks. On the other hand, low substitutable products can adapt less-expensive distribution systems with lower average inventory levels and slower transportation modes.

  • Special Characteristics

Different characteristics of products may engage risks throughout distribution and affect almost every logistics function. These characteristics such as fragility perish ability, hazard and contamination potential, time constraints, and extreme value could develop some restrictions on a distribution system. Therefore, a special transport, storage, and handling system ma y be required to minimize the risks. For example, time-constrained products require speedy and costly transportation modes to meet the time deadlines. Also, extremely valuable or luxurious products need special stock control and distribution systems with high security.

  • Value-to-Weight Ratio

This represents the value per unit weight of a product. As a result of the non-significant relative transport cost of products with high value-to-weight ratio to their overall value, they are better at taking up the distribution costs. In contrast, the inexpensive transport alternatives will only be the feasible shipping choice for low-ratio products.

  • Volume-to-Weight Ratio

Volume and weight affect distribution costs of the products. Products with low volume-to-weight ratios are called dense products which are more likely to fully employ the weight-constrained capacities of vehicles, storage space and handling equipment. Hence, the systems distributing such products can be more efficient. In contrast, high-ratio products will take up lots of storage space resulting in underutilized distribution components and raising transportation and storage costs. Storage rates are usually based on volume and value while transportation rates are more dependent on the type of transportation mode. Hence, heavier products by air will have relatively higher transportation costs than the lighter products. In general, distribution costs (including transportation and storage costs) are likely to decrease as the volume-to-weight ratio decreases. Even so, carriers and warehouses would demand a minimum charge for the transportation and storage of either very light or very heavy products in order to keep away from very low rates.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Chit Chat: 2015 Workplace Trends - Part 1

  1. Hiring Generation Z interns will increase in order to try and connect with Millennials. Many firms are already hiring high school interns and this trend is expected to increase so they are able to build brand awareness earlier with their audiences and to ensure they capture the best talents as soon as possible.
  2. Millennials will take on strong leadership roles within firms, but this does have problems as many of the millennial managers lack experience in their roles and companies are losing the older workers resulting in more positions opening up.
  3. Transparency is a trend that is now expected by customers. They want to buy from honest firms and transparency helps to build trust with the market.
  4. The skills gap is widening and firms will continue to struggle to find employees with the skills the roles require. Therefore the firms will need to work with colleges in order to make sure the skills are taught.
  5. Employee retention will continue to be a challenge as employees are no longer happy to settle. Technology helps employees to continue to hunt for new positions and jobs and employees will need to create unique work environments, introduce perks and increase engagement in order to retain staff.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Competitive Advantage in Medical Supply Chain

Here are five ways a medical supply chain can be used as a competitive advantage: 
  1. Use a proven design process that integrates a supply chain from the start.
  2.  Partner up with a manufacturer that is ISO certified and FDA registered, with engineers and supply chain professionals that are experienced.
  3. Use ISO qualified sources doe the custom and critical components.
  4. Avoid product liabilities by using a partner with a successful track record.
  5. Secure custom components to secure the supply chain using contract mechanisms.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Effective Medical Devices Supply Chain Management

Medical device manufacturers have to master a complex supply chain in order to move their products, while ensuring they understand and follow stringent regulations by the government and the FDA.

The supply chain continues to change, especially now due to technological advances. The supply chain is variable and the manufacturers need to make sure the products are delivered in perfect condition and on time. The manufacturers need to manage an effective supply chain, which involves:
  1. The use of third party logistics service providers , choosing the right providers who have the technology and capabilities to deliver sensitive healthcare products.
  2. Using standard operating procedures that include the product handling and safety procedures that have to be followed for their medical devices.
  3. Pre-ship planning is required to reduce the risks that arise during transportation. The plan needs to include a contingency plan to deal with any problems on-route, such as unscheduled stoppages and government inspections.
  4. Tracking shipments using real time technology throughout the entire journey along the supply chain help to detect problems and allow the providers to react quickly.
  5. Packaging is an important element of the supply chain as it protects the condition of the items. Several factors must be considered, such as climate, routes, duration of the transit, product handling, duration and the modes of conveyance being used.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Controlling health care costs through SCM

One of the places the medical device manufacturers are able to save money is within the supply chain. The cost savings need to be made without affecting the quality of patient care they provide, and they can achieve this by eliminating waste in the supply chain by:
  1. Streamlining the supply chain and reducing the number of points where the product is handled.
  2. Increasing the transparency in the supply chain so products can be tracked, requiring an investment in technology.
  3. Increasing the resources for compliance to meet the regulatory changes.
  4. Increasing flexibility so the manufacturers are able to ship to cost effective locations, including the homes of patients.
  5. Insightful decisions are required, making better use of technology to read the demand signals and optimise the inventory accordingly.
  6. Collaboration can help to reduce the costs, by sharing transport and warehousing.
  7. Ensuring the supply chain is nimble, so changes can be managed effectively.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

About the Medical Device Supply Chain and its Challenges

Three of the main challenges that are faced by the medical device supply chain are:

  • Expense There is a high cost of service in the medical device supply chain, caused by high competition.  As a result, many of the companies uses their delivery as a way of getting the competitive edge. Manufacturers have to push the cut off dates back in order to accommodate the medical facility and firms promise next day delivery of the orders placed before 7pm.  The manufacturers need to rely on the premium delivery services and this pushes up the costs.
  • Complex inventory – The supply chain is fragmented and the smaller medical device companies have multiple distribution points. Tracking down the entire inventory is difficult and product visibility is highly limited.
  • Unknowns in the operating theatre – The medical device supply chain is made more expensive due to the unknowns in the operating theatres. The surgeons are often unsure about what devices they will need until the surgery is taking place. Surgeons order all sizes because of these unknowns and any unused items need to be decontaminated, inspected, inventoried and replenished before they head back into the supply chain again. This takes time, is costly and requires an excellent returns process.

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Look at the Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) Logistics Sector

Limited connections holds back firms from being able to create an efficient logistics strategy, as is the case in the four nations, Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV).  Developed nations are able to create sophisticated logistics services, whereas the more challenged nations struggle and are only able to make use and provide basic logistics services, including:
  • Warehousing
  • Trucking
  • Customs brokerage
Local customers are raising their demands and expecting global service providers to expand and cover their regions. In order to develop a country’s logistics system and facilitate CLMV’s inter-connectivity, the use of domestic containers for internal freight movement is essential in improving logistics services. 

However, such usage and improvement are not yet available in Cambodia or Myanmar and are limited in Lao PDR. These nations currently have to carry domestic freight as break-bulk items.

Modern logistics include services and features including:
  • Track and trace
  • Cross docking services
  • Distribution
Since local providers are unable to provide the modern logistics services, the foreign providers find it difficult to influence the CLMV market. Even though some service providers in Lao PDR and Vietnam started to offer distribution and cross-docking activities to some extent, a standardised service contract is still needed to be integrated in the CLMV logistics sector in the near future. By doing so, local and foreign clients and service providers will enjoy a better protection and the logistics services will be strengthened.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Pulp and Paper Supply Chain Planning Matrix

Wood procurement strategy (private vs public land)
Forest land acquisitions and harvesting contracts
Silvicultural regime and regeneration strategies
Harvesting and transportation technology and capacity investment
Transportation strategy and investment (eg roads, construction, trucks, wagons, terminal, vessels, etc)
Location decisions
Outsourcing decision
Technology and capacity investments
Product family allocation to facilities
Order penetration point strategy
Investment in information technology and planning systems (eg: advance planning and scheduling)

Warehouse location
Allocation of markets/customers to warehouse
Investment in logistics resources (eg: warehouse, handling technologies, vessels)
Contracts  with logistics providers
Investment in information technology and planning systems (eg: warehouse execution)
Selection of markets (eg: location, segment) – customer segmentation
Product solution portfolio
Pricing strategy
Services strategy
Investment in information technology and planning systems (eg: on line tracking system CRM)
Sourcing plan (log class planning)
Harvesting aggregate planning
Route definition and transshipment yard location and planning
Allocation of harvesting and transportation equipment to cutting blocs and
Allocation of product/bloc to mills
Yard layout design
Log yard management policies
Campaigns duration
Product sequencing in campaign
Lot sizing
Outsourcing planning (eg: external converting)
Seasonal inventory target
Parent roll assortment optimization
Temporary mill shutdowns
Warehouse management policies (eg: dock management)
Seasonal inventory target at DC’s
Routing (Bessel, train and truck)
3PL contracts
Aggregate demand planning per segment
Customer contracts
Demand forecasting safety stocks
Available to promise aggregate need and planning
Available to promise allocation rules (including rationing rules and substitution rules)
Allocation of product and customer to mills and distribution centers.
Detailed log supply planning
Forest to mills daily carrier selection and routing
Pulp mills/paper machines/winders/sheeters daily production plans
Mills to converters/DCs/
customer daily carrier selection and routing
Roll cutting
Process control
Warehouses/DCs inventory management
DCs to customer daily carrier selection and routing
Vehicle loads
Available to promise consumption
Online ordering
Customer inventory management and replenishment
Source: Supply Chain Management in the Pulp and Paper Industry Oct 2006

Fleischmann et al. (2002)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Chit Chat: 2015 Health Care Spending Predictions

There are four factors that are expected to result in the increase of spending in healthcare in 2015:
  1. The improved economy will see consumers grow in confidence and visit doctors rather than delaying their need for healthcare because of financial reasons.
  2. Unemployment rates are reducing, a good sign that the economic health is improving.
  3. A focus on speciality drugs that may be high cost initially, but that could potentially play a role in making long term savings. An example is the high cost Hepatitis C therapies being developed. The spending on the new Hepatitis C drugs are expected to increase by 209% in 2015.
  4. 25% of the total spend on drugs in the US is being spent on speciality drugs, even though only 4% of patients are using them.
  5. Spending is expected to rise as hospitals and health care systems begin to use in-house physician practices and increase physician charges to the higher rate.
  6. Investments will continue to be made in information technology systems.
The following factors are likely to slow down the growth rate in healthcare during 2015:
  1. Working together to achieve more become the goals of the health care teams. Hospitals hope to remove redundancies and work together with common goals through the administrative and clinical standardisation.
  2. Consumers are caring more about the cost of their healthcare, looking for non-branded products to save money, using retail clinics and not visiting the doctors as often.
  3. Risk planning to make savings by making the health care systems and the physicians responsible for the outcome of the patients.

Friday, 10 April 2015

What you need to know about the Paper & Pulp Supply Chain Management – Part 2

The paper and pulp supply chain management needs long term planning. The strategic decisions may relate to the opening and the closing of the mills , locations, products, financial and operational exposure, planning, inventory location and developing markets.  The decisions that are made evolve into how the investments will fit in with the supply chain.

The management also needs to work on the tactical planning, which will allocate the rules for the different resources in the supply chain. They will need to create rules regarding the production, distribution delays, inventory policies, lot sizing and more. Operative planning, or the short term planning, comes just before the real world operative actions. This planning needs to be accurate and timing of the operations is crucial, down to the days or the hours.

The supply chain requires investment in an IT system to improve the efficiency of the chain, maintain excellent customer service and reduce costs. However, careful investigation is required before making the investment as they can be counterproductive. The supply chain needs to be enhanced so that the on time deliveries rise and inventory is effectively managed to reduce costs.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

What you need to know about the Paper & Pulp Supply Chain Management – Part 1

The paper and pulp supply chain management can be divided into four processes:

Procurement – the operations relating to providing raw materials the other resources necessary for production, which is wood in this case.

Production – the process where the raw material is made into intermediary or finished products, such as paper.

Distribution – Logistics moves the products either to distribution centres and on to the final retailers or to companies that will continue the production process.

Sales – the final step that takes care of all the demand planning, marketing selection, pricing and forecasting and the order policies.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

How to manage the supply chain across the aerospace lifecycle

The supply chain across an aerospace lifecycle has to be managed efficiently across the following areas:
  1. Managing the relationships responsibly to reduce the risks as the responsibility is removed from the OEMs to the lower tiers. Creating standardised processes, building on existing relationships and consolidate ties. All partners should be mutually aligned regarding goals, information, information technology and shared mitigation.
  2. Geopolitical concerns must be sensitively managed as there are differences in the international business practices, cultures and languages.  The aircrafts have to meet all standards of all the different countries all over the world, based on the customer’s jurisdiction.
  3. Adding value while remaining competitive. Managers need to improve the value of products and services by improving the function or by reducing the costs.
  4. Logistics and transportation can be improved and become more efficient by integrating information technology. Transparency needs to be increased; real time information should be shared and used to create accurate forecasting.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

What are the competencies that Aerospace & Defence companies need in order to optimise their supply chain performance?

There are multiple demands being placed on aerospace and defence companies. The following four competencies must be optimised in their supply chains and will help them to master the demands.
  • Commercial and government customers are finding it hard to stay on top of demand. The supply chain has to be visible and have predictive visibility so shortages can be prevented in the future.
  • The collaborations need to be secure between all trading partners. Customers want more information and data and therefore the partners need to share information, but tight security is essential to protect data.
  • Prevent and mitigate disruptions in the supply chain using network risk analysis. Each of the participants needs to have access to the data on a defined need to know basis to create secure and seamless collaborations.
  • Transforming the right data into data that is actionable.

Monday, 6 April 2015

SCM for the Mining & Metal Industry - What are the fundamental principles of supply chain management system to be built on for companies?

There are several fundamental principles that supply chain management systems need to be built on in order for the company to be able to make quick decisions. The fundamental principles are:
  • All plans must take into account the real world constraints. The firm must recognise the impact of these constraints and manage them effectively. The constraints include manpower, transportation, warehousing, capacity, materials, customer allocations, channels, suppliers and management policies.
  • Concurrent verses serial planning. Using intelligent systems can use concurrent planning over the supply chain to make use of faster plan generation and a responsive supply chain.
  • Using constraint and concurrent planning the firm will be able to grasp the global impact on all the aspects and also make sensible global decisions.
  • Have advance warning in place to deal with problems in the supply chain such as supplier failure, material shortages or equipment failure.
  • Intelligent systems need to recommend operational systems to maximise the quantifiable business objectives in areas such as profit contribution, cash flow and return on assets.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Chit Chat: 2015 European Sporting Goods Trends - Part 2

Today we’re continuing our look into the sporting goods, trends of 2015.

Multifunctional Clothing

Consumers want apparel that can be used across a wide number of sports and activities, especially for these undertaking sports such as running, cycling, walking and other outdoor activities. We expect to see a large growth in sports fashion brands and a large demand for multifunctional clothing across Europe.

Sporting Women

Many consumers have complained that they are not catered for enough, but this is a trend that has been changing and will continue to change during 2015. Products targeted at females are increasing and this is a trend that has a strong growth curve ahead.


Revenue opportunities will continue to open up in team sports such as football and hockey. Women’s football is increasing in popularity and this is one of the main drivers of this sporting trend that is expected to have an impact on the women’s market.

Smart Technology

Consumers love technology and the sports industry is paying attention to this fact. Innovation continues to play a huge part in sports and expect to see new high tech materials, gadgets and improvements made on clothing and equipment.

Friday, 3 April 2015

SCM for the Mining & Metal Industry - In the Context of IT Expenditures, what are the 4 areas company must evaluate in order to improve their supply chain operations?

Companies need to achieve their business objectives and Information Technology is proving to be an investment that needs to be made. Before a company makes their investment and changes their operations, they will first need to establish if the IT expenditure will improve their supply chain in the four following areas:
  1. Avoid duplicating technology, keeping things simple is far more cost efficient than making the system complex.
  2. Make the right build verses buy decisions. With so many excellent technological solutions readily available the firm will have to be able to justify any decision they make regarding building their own.
  3. Create a strong and clear business case to support the future technology strategy.
  4. Recognise the need to train employees, manage their stress and consider outsourcing to avoid creating a poor IT support chain.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

SCM for the Mining & Metal Industry - What are the key issues facing mining and metallurgical companies today?

There are three key issues that are faced by the mining and metallurgy companies:
  • Commodity prices are volatile.  The industry has to deal with the complex factors that affect the predictability between balance and demand.
  • Cost control. Firms have to find the lowest cost structures without
    compromising on customer service.
  • Efficiency. Customers expect excellent customer services, combining speed and agility.
  • Technology and information systems. The number of technological tools that provide support to companies in their operations, tactics and strategies have exploded. Firms need to embrace these tools and find the right ones.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Supply chain strategy on consumer electronics industry part 2

Outsourcing the non-core operations and the use of vertical integration of the core competencies are required when:

  • The fast technological growth needs new or complex manufacturing capabilities
  • The product life cycles shrink and the time to market response needs to be faster
  • To make use of low cost manufacturing
  • Using the system on a chip to move upstream
  • Developing the standards for work order collaborations
In the future, firms need to address mitigation strategies by:
  • Manufacturing a wider range of products
  • Improving tracking and visibility of the supply chain
  • Reducing the risk of inventory obsolescence by using strategies such as assemble to order
  • Optimising systems to create optimal inventories
  • Strengthening employee relations and the employment regulations
Reverse logistics remain vital as the number of surplus electronic waste continues to grow. The US alone disposes of 30 million computers each year and in Europe more than 100 million phones are discarded. This e-waste is expected to increase and the reverse logistics will help to combat this problem by:
  • Becoming an essential part of the demand management process
  • Transforming supply chain organisations into profit centres
  • Using RFID to improve the ease of reverse identification
  • Using returned goods to form a new line of income, through the second hand market or web auctions.