Tuesday, 28 February 2017

What is the task of logisticians?

Logistics has three basic meanings:
  • According to practitioners, logistics are seen as the set of activities that are required to establish and operate transportation, traffic, storage, networks and handling systems.
  • Planners see logistics as the designing and the optimisation of logistics processes, systems and networks.
  • Logistics is considered to be an investigation of the practices, planning algorithms, strategy development and principles of networks and systems by theorists.
It’s necessary to consider all the different meanings in order to avoid contradictions between logisticians. There are three different logistic tasks:
  1. Operative logisticians that focus on business practice
  2. Implementing logisticians that focuses on implementation
  3. Strategic logisticians that focus on theory
Supply chain or logistic managers come from the most successful individuals from the above groups. It’s down to the managers to decide the goals and the solutions and the course for new conceptions. 


Monday, 27 February 2017

What are the future tasks of logistics?

The industrialisation of production and manufacturing that started in the 19th century proved to be a challenge for the 21st Century as industrialisation moved to the performance process. It is widely believed that fixed transport networks and large logistics centres will not be around in the future as the increase in population and need arise for more space, roads, airports and railroads.

The problems caused by dense populations can be solved by making use of limited resources and managing flexible networks. The future of logistics will require research into the legal frame conditions and come up with strategies that will make it possible to manage flexible networks. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Chit Chat: 3PLs in the Supply Chain 2017

There is growth potential for shippers and 3PLs. The growth is achieved through mergers and acquisitions. Outsourcing remains strong as many shippers remain committed to outsourcers and not bringing the operations in house. The most common activities that are outsourced are as follows:

  • EDI – Electronic data exchange
  • Planning and transportation management
  • Order, shipment and inventory visibility
  • Scheduling in transportation management
  • Warehouse management
3PLs are moving into more strategic and IT solutions as well as the transaction based services. The IT-intensive services are being used by 3PLs to separate them from the competition. They are using technology to optimise the supply chains and the shippers are looking for more efficient ways of moving products. The shippers say that the 3PLs are giving them the ability to see the alternatives that are available thanks to their supply of real-time analytics. 3PLs are transforming supply chains and they will continue to enhance logistics and create stronger bonds between themselves and the shippers.


Friday, 24 February 2017

What are the objectives of network management?

 The objectives of network management are to set borders and define the links, set the goals and objectives and execute the order and control the results. Those solving problems in logistics have to avoid barriers and look beyond their own network. They need to know about the entire chain, both upstream and downstream. The general tasks of logistics are as follows.
  • Developing strategies
  • Forecasting and demand planning
  • Designing the structure of the network and the supply chain
  • Scheduling the stock and the orders
  • Control and consult logistics
  • Planning and the implementation of logistics systems
  • Synchronisation of links and interface
The above list is the general task but there are also special tasks. The special tasks vary between companies. When logistics are a core competency, the company need to be organised as a separate corporate unit. The temporary tasks can be delegated to a consultant.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

What are permanent and flexible networks?

Permanent networks are created for an unlimited amount of time to handle a demand that is long lasting. The size of the orders and the longevity of demand is what determines the network.
  1. Permanent or fixed logistic networks that are made of logistic stations placed at fixed locations that are connected by transportation.
  2. Logistic network providers own permanent logistic networks or for retailers with a dedicated logistic centre and warehouses.
  3. The electric industry can satisfy continuous demand using a permanent logistic network
Fixed networks are not very flexible and therefore they don’t work well with seasonal demand or peak demand. This is when a flexible network works best.
  1. A flexible or virtual logistic network has stations that change and different transportation links with partners that change too.
  2. Flexible logistic networks mostly have higher operating costs compared with a permanent network.
  3. Permanent networks can be connected to flexible networks when the demand calls for it.
  4. Global logistic providers use combined logistic networks



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

What is a temporary logistic network?

 Demand isn’t always consistent. In times of temporary demand, temporary logistic networks can be set up and used. Some examples are:
  • Exhibitions
  • Fairs
  • Events
  • Developments
  • Building sites
Temporary logistic networks are managed by project logistics. The project logistics are performed by companies that specialise in major projects with alternating locations. Examples are as follows:
  • Disposal logistics performed by salvage and demolition companies
  • Object logistics of event organisers
  • Plant logistics of engineering companies
When the project is a one-off and won’t reoccur, it makes no sense to organise your own logistic departments. Project logistic providers should be used in these circumstances.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Effects of Logistic Centres

A logistic centre’s logistic costs come from:
  • The transportation costs for centres shipments from their sources
  • Inventory capital interest costs
  • Performance costs that come from the functions of the logistic centres
  • Costs of distribution for deliveries from the centre to their destinations
The amount of the partial costs depends on the inventories, procurement consolidation, distribution and functions. There’s another factor, the amount of logistic centres that are located between the points of delivery and receiving locations. Costs can also be reduced and there is an optimisation rule. This is a rule for a set of restrictions and requirements for an optimal amount of centres. The costs decrease by reducing the amount of logistic centres until the optimal number of logistic centres is reached.

Procurement consolidation is when a large load is made up of lots of small procurement orders in order to reduce the cost for suppliers. The consolidation of smaller shipments from one supplier to multiple customers is the consolidation of inbound flows. This reduces the amount of inbound transports that are needed without changing the frequency of the transport.

Consolidation of stocks is when the same goods from multiple regional warehouses in a central store. The stock level can be reduced but the service level is maintained. Consolidation of distribution can be achieved b y putting many single shipments into big shipments to reduce transportation costs.


Monday, 20 February 2017

About process chains and logistics chains – Part 2

A process chain is a sequence of operations carried out in chronological order in a chain of units and performance stations that result in a service or product of a certain value.  Other terms for process chain are:
  • Performance chain
  • Value creation chain
The performance chain is a logistics chain, order chain or an information chain, which can refer to tangible or intangible objects. 

Logistic Chain
A logistic chain is when material objects pass by different operative stations in order. There are in and outgoing objects that move through the logistics chain, which is called a material flow.

Information Chain
The information chain is similar to a logistic chain but it deals with information, or data, rather than physical objects. Ingoing and outgoing data or information isn’t tangible. The movement through the information chain is data flow or information flow.

Order Chain
The order chain is when orders and then the orders are passed through a sequence of administrative and operative stations. The orders are processed and controlled by the administration stations and the operative stations carry out the service or production orders.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Chit Chat: Product Marketing Ethics

Marketing can open up problems in ethics. There are situations where the producers or sellers don’t consider the ethics and simply focus on finances, where on purpose or not. It’s important to think about:

·         Due care to customers – Involving design, materials, production, quality control, packaging, warning labels and notifications in the case of product recalls.
·         Attributes of product quality – Is the product reliable and have a clear service life. Is the product safe and can it be maintained.
·         Marketing ethics and the moral principle of marketing.
·         Product marketing ethics such as product counterfeiting, ethics in the marketing place and product liability.
·         Consumer protection, which protects the interests of the consumer. Consumer protection is linked to the consumer protection law, the EU and the Slovak Republic.

Here are the activities in product marketing that require improvement of ethics consciousness.

1.    Perfecting legislation in product quality standardization
2.    Improving legislation in product control mechanisms
3.    Following existing legislation of the sellers, producers and any stockholders of the demand side subjects
4.    Incorporating customer protection topics and the related product marketing topics into the text used in learning environments
5.    Enhancing and activating the consumer association activities
6.    Enhancing the information in the media and advertising products and services


Friday, 17 February 2017

About process chains and logistics chains – Part 1

Complete performance chains are made up of all the performance stations that lie between the source and the sink. It is divided into internal and external logistics. External logistic chains have stations that are outside the company and the transport connections between the shipping locations, destinations, and logistic centres. Internal logistic chains have stations that are inside the company, station or logistic centre.

Internal logistic chains start with the goods receiving area and there are several activities involved including:

·         Unloading the vehicles
·         Receiving the goods
·         Quality control
·         Unpacking and repackaging
·         Building of the storage units

When the goods are not being stored they are sent by direct transport to the dispatch area, known as crossdocking. When the goods are kept in stock the following processes take place:

·         In storing of the storage units
·         Keeping the unit stored
·         Retrieving the storage unit

Then follows commissioning, which is when the single items, mixed loads and sorted load units are required. The activities of commissioning are:

·         Replenishment of reserve units
·         Provision of access units
·         The movement of the order picker
·         Gripping order line quality
·         Deposition of picked products


Thursday, 16 February 2017

What are the tasks and objectives of logistics?

Logistic tasks have set aims and defined aspects. The two most common aspects are macrologistics and micrologistics.

Macrologistics are focused on the efficient supply of goods for consumers and companies and organizing the flow of traffic between the sources and the destinations. Micrologistics is to supply companies and consumers with goods they require based on private orders, contracts and agreements. The main area is company logistics and they use internal and external logistics. Internal logistics connects the receiving docks and sources and the shipping docks that are located on the same site. External logistics connects together the shipping docks at one or more locations with the receiving dock at the other locations.

Procurement logistics are focused on the supply of goods from their source and getting them to the company. Distribution logistics is the delivery of goods from companies to the recipients. They are two aspects that have the same task. The objectives are therefore determined either by the supplier or the customer.  Reverse logistics is the reversal of supply. The tasks involved are collecting, transporting, storing, recycling or disposal, consumer waste, packaging, empties and worn out goods.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

What are the 10 principles of retail shoppability?


There are 10 principles that retailers can do to improve the shoppability of their stores and increase sales and customer loyalty.
  1. Showing the products – Products are what encourage the customers into the stores.  Retailers show organise their store and presentation of the merchandise to make them clearly visible. The fixtures should be aligned to make the products easy to be seen as consumers walk through the aisle.
  2. Providing navigational aids – Make it easy for customers to know where to go to get the products they want when they enter your store.
  3. Simplifying product presentation – Avoid having lots of products. Pick select products and items and suitable accessories to make it easy for customers to find what they want and need all in one go.
  4. Reducing clutter – Clutter distracts shoppers. Clean up the shop floor and reduce all distractions to improve retail transparency.  Aisles need to be wide enough and there should be enough signs to show people where to find their products, but too many signs can clutter up the space. Find the balance.
  5. Product affordability – Make the benefits and the products visible to your customers.
  6. Showcasing new ideas and products – Entice customers to come back and to come in for the first time with new products.
  7. Making the shopping experience convenient – Consumers are pushed for time. Make it easy for them to get in, buy what they want and get out. Make it easy for them to find what they want as they are more likely to browse when their attention isn’t as focused on their main goal.
  8. An enjoyable shopping experience – Consumers are more likely to spend money where they feel good, according to Walt Disney.  Make your customers feel good by providing an engaging experience and meeting their needs.
  9. Speaking with authority – Build confidence in the consumers by making it clear that you are experts in your field. Speak with authority and ensure all staff are trained and knowledgeable.
  10. Maintain flexibility – Change to meet the expectations and demands of customers, but don’t make changes for no good reason.




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What is retail shoppability?

Retail shoppability is the ability to turn the consumers’ desire and need to shop into making purchases. This is achieved by using the company’s assets, including the people, the places and the practices so that a rewarding shopping experience can be achieved. Experiences vary from store to store but each shopper gets a great experience and excellent customer service. 
  • This can be achieved in many ways:
  • Personal assistance from store personnel
  • Streamlined shopping trips
  • Expert advice
  • A sense of community
  • Unique stores
There are too many examples here. One thing is essential, being able to engage the shoppers and understanding their individual needs and desires so that these can be used to encourage a purchase. The retailer needs to know their customers well and provide suitable and appealing merchandise for them to buy. The store should also be appealing, using layouts, fixtures and lighting to attract the customer, while building on the retail brand.
Transparency is also essential while balancing the shopper’s interest in either high ticket items, unexpected items or low priced items that are always changing.


Monday, 13 February 2017

What are some risks and pitfall of dropshipping? – Part 3


Before jumping into dropshipping, it’s important to be aware of the risks.  Today, we’re continuing our look at the risks and pitfalls that can come hand in hand with becoming a dropshipper.

Product Description

One common mistake is for dropshippers to copy and paste the product descriptions that are provided directly by the suppliers or manufacturers. Another is to have short descriptions in order to save time and put more products on the website. It’s vital that you remember the search engines when creating a website and that includes your product descriptions. They should be original and unique and long enough to provide your customers with all the information they need to help them make the decision to buy. Hiring copywriters are a great way of saving time and ensuring your product descriptions are original and search engine ready.

Checkout a Dropshipper

Don’t rush into selecting the first dropshipper you find that has the products you want. Research them, ask them questions and seek out independent reviews. Find out how long they’ve been trading and that the products they provide are the real deal and not fakes. Check that the company has a physical address and read the contracts, including all fine print to look for any hidden fees you might not have been made aware of. Order some test products before you sign any contracts.

Stock Level and Back Order System

Check the suppliers have a stock system that will allow you to see what products are in stock and available. Knowing the stock levels will help you to provide excellent customer services and avoid disappointing your customers with long wait times or out of stock goods.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Chit Chat: Good Manner in International Business


Good manners in international business are essential for any firm looking for international success. Being cultural aware, self-confident and having business etiquette can take you a long way.  Taking time to learn information about a country, the people and culture and their values and attitudes are essential for good manners. It’s important to know about what is accepted and what isn’t in different cultures.

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at a research comparison in Asia, Europe and America created by Barry Tomalin, Mike Nicks and Geert Hosteded.

In Europe, not all of countries follow the same set of behavior rules. There are differences between counties within Europe. What’s accepted as neutral in France might not be acceptable in Germany. Therefore, it’s essential to learn about the specific countries you plan on working with in order to build good manners and successful relationships.
In America, there is a separation between North and South (something that’s also observed in Europe). Latin American cultures have a great amount of respect for authority based on age or the power an individual holds. In North America have a more scheduled attitude and don’t give much weight to authority.

Asia places importance on hierarchy and prestige. They like to build relationships. There are cultural differences found in Asia, a common one is the importance of time and punctuality. Some cultures are relaxed while others are not.  In China, there is a long and slow decision-making process and so deadlines are always flexible. The Chinese also use yes differently to Europeans. Saying yes is often a way of keeping the conversation moving and isn’t always an agreement.

Learning about different cultures helps to avoid discrepancies in meetings and communications. Learn about what is accepted and expected before going into business to avoid embarrassment and upset for both parties. Understand what is offensive as these acts and behaviours vary greatly between cultures.

Friday, 10 February 2017

What are some risks and pitfall of dropshipping? – Part 2

Today, we’re continuing our look at some of the risks and pitfalls that come with dropshipping.

Competition
One of the reasons dropshipping is so appealing is that it’s an affordable way of starting an ecommerce business. As it’s easy and a lot cheaper than starting up a brick and mortar store there are a lot of people doing it. You’ll have a lot of competition and it will be fierce.  You have to find ways of standing out in your niche.

Logistics
Making good money and being successful with dropshipping usually requires multiple websites and many suppliers. In order to do this, you’ll need to have logistical support, ensuring your orders are processed on time and sent to your supplier’s so they’re able to ship them out to your customers in time. Automation is the best option. Use an automated system that will send out those orders to your suppliers instantly, saving you time and money.

Too Much Time on Social Media
Being active on social media is a good idea. It helps to build your brand and gives you an easy way of talking to customers. However, it’s very easy to spend too much time on your profile. Set times when you’re available on your social profiles and give yourself enough times to deal with running the website.

Means to an End
Have a long term plan. Dropshipping is a great way of starting a business as it’s low risk, but it shouldn’t be seen as your single option. Consider future growth and expansion, that way you won’t be relying on suppliers forever. Be prepared to change and be prepared for suppliers going out of business.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

What are some risks and pitfall of dropshipping? – Part 1

An estimated 50% of startup businesses fail within the first year of trading. Today, we’re looking at some of the risks that come with dropshipping so you’re aware of them. Understanding the risks and working around them will help you to be one of the successful dropshippers.

Supplier Reliance
You are going to be reliant on your suppliers. They are the ones who are going to be in control of the stock levels and shipping out the products to your customers within a suitable timescale. You have no control over these actions and there’s not a lot you can do regarding how these actions are performed. Most of the time things will run as planned, but when problems arise you will need a plan in place to deal with it. You don’t want unhappy customers. Don’t blame the suppliers, offer customer service and find a solution.

Using Many Sources
Avoid having a website filled with products from multiple sources. If customers order products from one or more suppliers things can get complicated and costly very quickly. If you have more than one supplier it’s better to have more than one website. Ideally, have a dedicated website for each supplier you’re using to keep things simple. 

Order Tracking
As you rely on your supplier to do the shipping you’ll have a hard time tracking the orders. This looks unprofessional, especially if customers are contacting you asking where their order is. You can work around this by shipping out the products to your customers from your own account. Having an account will give you access to the tracking information on all orders.  Alternatively, suppliers who are able to provide you with a system allow you to track orders online.

Differences in Product
It can be very hard to stay informed about products that are discontinued or have been changed in the manufacturing process. You will have to work hard to ensure the products you’re offering are available to your customers and they have been updated on your website if they’ve been altered.

Failing to Plan
Starting a business involves a lot of planning. You’ll need to work out the risks and how you’re going to overcome them. You must have a plan in place if you want your business to succeed. Just make sure you will have time to trade and not focus entirely on coming up with a plan.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How to build your supply chain for your dropshipping business and find the right supplier?

An estimated 50% of startup businesses fail within the first year of trading. Today, we’re looking at some of the risks that come with dropshipping so you’re aware of them. Understanding the risks and working around them will help you to be one of the successful dropshippers.

Supplier Reliance
You are going to be reliant on your suppliers. They are the ones who are going to be in control of the stock levels and shipping out the products to your customers within a suitable timescale. You have no control over these actions and there’s not a lot you can do regarding how these actions are performed. Most of the time things will run as planned, but when problems arise you will need a plan in place to deal with it. You don’t want unhappy customers. Don’t blame the suppliers, offer customer service and find a solution.

Using Many Sources
Avoid having a website filled with products from multiple sources. If customers order products from one or more suppliers things can get complicated and costly very quickly. If you have more than one supplier it’s better to have more than one website. Ideally, have a dedicated website for each supplier you’re using to keep things simple. 

Order Tracking
As you rely on your supplier to do the shipping you’ll have a hard time tracking the orders. This looks unprofessional, especially if customers are contacting you asking where their order is. You can work around this by shipping out the products to your customers from your own account. Having an account will give you access to the tracking information on all orders.  Alternatively, suppliers who are able to provide you with a system allow you to track orders online.

Differences in Product
It can be very hard to stay informed about products that are discontinued or have been changed in the manufacturing process. You will have to work hard to ensure the products you’re offering are available to your customers and they have been updated on your website if they’ve been altered.

Failing to Plan
Starting a business involves a lot of planning. You’ll need to work out the risks and how you’re going to overcome them. You must have a plan in place if you want your business to succeed. Just make sure you will have time to trade and not focus entirely on coming up with a plan.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

What are some commonly used supplier for dropshipping business?


Today, we’re looking at some of the most commonly used suppliers that you could use for your dropshipping business.

Shopify
Most people are aware of Shopify. It’s a hugely popular ecommerce platform used by multiple businesses. However, Shopify does have sections of their website that are dedicated to dropshipping. You can set up an account and a store and even buy hosting and a domain name. Once completed, you’re able to choose a suitable supplier. Two of the most suppliers picked on Shopify are Amazon and Ebay.

Private Label
Building a brand is part of process in growing a successful business. Private labels give you the freedom to really grow your brand and become recognised as an individual business. Choose a supplier that will send your goods via Private Label. The customer then places orders with you and the supplier will dispatch the product to the customer. However, the return name and address will be yours and not the suppliers’. The customers then think the products come from you and they will also get in touch with you if there are any problems. You can then grow your reputation as being a reliable retailer with excellent customer service. You will need to put the work into finding the supplier.

Amazon FBA
Amazon FBA is fully established but it hasn’t been designed for Dropshippers as you will need to send products to the Amazon fulfillment centre yourself. However, the Amazon fulfillment centre will then fulfill any orders that are received for you. You won’t have to pay for storage space and you can use the Amazon name and their reputation to help you secure more sales. If you have a great supplier that doesn’t dropship, this is a great option.

Retail Arbitrage
Use Retail Arbitrage as a way of sourcing good products for the right price that you can resell.   You’ll need capital as you will need to buy the goods, and you’ll need to source a good delivery firm to use. You can combine this with Amazon FBA, but you’ll need to find the right products that are going to sell well.

Monday, 6 February 2017

How to choose the right supplier for your dropshipping business?


Here are a few things to look for in a supplier:
  • Suppliers with expert representatives
  • They will assign you with a specific person to deal with your account
  • The suppliers have invested in technology
You should also ask the following questions:
1.     How are orders submitted?
2.     Where are they located?
3.     How will they inform you about backorders and stock levels?
4.     How long will it take for you to receive tracking information and order numbers?
5.     What payment types do they accept?
6.     What are their fees?

Do your research and don’t pick the first supplier you find. Ask questions and be aware that some are not as legitimate as others. If you come across a great supplier that is unable to work with you for whatever reason, ask them if they can recommend someone who could. You can make use of the contacts that they provided.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Chit Chat: General Office Etiquette – Part 6

 
How to Be a Good Boss

Managers need to be respectful to their team. Here are a few tips on how to be the best boss possible.

1.    Be available to your subordinates but give them space to work and shine on their own.
2.    Be a great communicator. Listen but also be clear when giving instructions and setting tasks.
3.    Never forget to say please and thank you.
4.    Give praise when it’s deserved, no matter how small the accomplishment, but make sure they are sincere.
5.    Be aware of what’s happening in the office and be prepared to step in before small issues grow into big problems.
6.    Accept your own mistakes and admit when you’re wrong.
7.    Don’t hold back from sharing bad news. Be honest and answer any questions that arise as a result.
8.    Be considerate when you have to fire an individual.
Food Thieves in the Office

Stolen food is a bone of contention in many offices. Here are a few rules to live by in the work environment.

1.    Bring your food in a personalized container that has your name on it.
2.    Make food thieves aware that there are consequences for stealing food.
Temp Workers

Welcome all temporary workers and be prepared to give them help. Assume that the temp is skilled in the job but be aware that they will not know their way around the office and might not be used to the software that is used at your workplace. Welcome them in the same way you would welcome any permanent new workers.

If you’re the temp remember to do the following:

·         Dress conservatively and pay attention to the outfit and uniform others wear in the office and dress in a similar fashion
·         Don’t judge the other workers in the office too quickly
·         Be warm and friendly
·         Be gracious to friendly workers and accept offers of assistance or lunch invitations

Friday, 3 February 2017

What are the other considerations to look into when you are choosing a product to sell?

Here are a few final considerations that you have to take when you decide what product you want to sell.

·         Price – Set prices based not only on the product but also on the pre-sales service provided to your customers. Selling a product with a high price point often requires phone support and plenty of guidance and information. Make sure your profit margin is enough to include additional service levels like these.
·         MAP Pricing – Some manufacturers set MAP pricing for products that they need sellers to begin retailing at. MAP stands for minimum advertised price.  MAP pricing stops the problem of pricing wars and help you to gain a decent profit margin.
·         Marketing Potential – Is there a large enough slice of the market for your product? You’ll need to spread the word and market your website and products to help you attract the attention of your audience. You’ll need to advertise, both free and paid and spend time promoting on the search engines, through web content and on social media profiles, for example.
·         Plenty of Accessories – Accessories are popular as they give customers an easy way of customizing their purchases and they also make products more versatile or useful. Margins on products with high price points often have lower profit margins that lower priced accessories. A good example of this is in smartphones. The phones themselves are expensive with lower margins, but the accessories are cheap with higher margins.
·         Low Turnover – Increase your chances of making sales by offering guides and information with products. It’s a good idea to also pick a product that isn’t updated very often to help your website last in the long term.
·         Hard to Find – If people in your area struggle to get hold of a specific product and there is a big enough audience for it, you could have a very good business on your hands.
·         Small is the New Large – Customers love free shipping, many expect it these days. Large and expensive products are difficult to ship for free. Choose smaller products that are easier to ship for less or for free if possible.