Whenever I tell a friend, colleague or family member about my job as soon as the words "supply chain" are muttered I immediately see glassy eyes followed by a yawn or two.Little do they realize that every time they discard or recycle a carton of milk they are completing the end of the supply chain cycle. Without supply chains consumers would be stuck using products that they had to make or grow with their own two hands. Still not excited, well visit often and eventually you will be.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Reducing Food Waste Across The Supply Chain

Image Credit: Go Supply Chain.

One of the big issues when it comes to the transport of food is waste. Around a third of all food produced for consumption by humans is wasted and in 2012 costs regarding food waste in the EU alone were estimated at 143 billion euros.

There's obviously a huge business case for reducing food waste, but with one in nine people in the world suffering from chronic undernourishment (according to UN estimates) and enough food production to feed everyone, this is a huge humanitarian issue too.

Most of the information you will find on reducing food waste focuses specifically on the waste of food by consumers and in retail. There is nowhere near the same amount of information on food waste in the supply chain, yet significant reductions can be made here and it represents a massive opportunity for the companies involved to increase revenue.

There are several innovative ways of reducing food waste in the supply chain, such as biosensors. These detect substances such as pathogens and are capable of transmitting that information in a quantifiable manner. Technologies like this make it possible to monitor where problems are occurring and put in solutions to solve those problems.

Within the cocoa industry, solar driers (simple structures that are designed to dry the beans) are used at the farms to dry the beans within the correct moisture level for transport. This allows the farmer to see less beans rejected and a better price for his crop.

Focusing on cost isn't always the best solution. A case study showed Barleans managed to increase turnover of organic oils by 40% at the end of the 1990s. They did this by pressing the oil on demand resulting in a fresher product and delivering by express. This resulted in a lower shelf life, and competitors could not compete because their distribution process took too long.

Solving problems in the supply chain can increase revenue and also helps ensure that food is getting to hungry mouths. It's a win-win!

Written by Gavin Parnell at Go Supply Chain

Friday, February 24, 2017

Which is the right weighing scale is right to weigh pallets?


Weighing pallets in factories and warehouses is anessential process for ensuring out-going shipments aren't overloaded.
But with so many pallet weighing scales available,deciding the type of pallet scale you need, be it a platform scale, u-frame,drive thru, weigh beams or pallet truck scale, can be a tough call.
Choosing what you need depends on your use and yourrequirements. Consider your specification - and the questions below - carefullyto help you decide.
Before purchasing, consider the following:
·      What are youweighing? What does the capacity need to be?
·      What environmentwill the scale be based in?
·      Will a mobile aidthe weighing process?
·       Do you have any other requirements?
Then consider the options below, and choose the one whichis most appropriate to you.
The Platform Scale
Platform scales offer the most flexibility - weight wise -for weighing heavy loads. They tend to have a much higher capacity and arebuilt for heavy use in industrial environments. Compared to pallet truck scalesthey are also more accurate.
Their large bases are useful for weighing a range ofitems, but the heavy weighing platform is difficult to move - so we recommendit stays in a fixed location. An annual service contract is recommended to ensure the scale stays accurate.
The Pallet Truck Scale
Choosing a pallet truck scale can speed up your weighingprocesses. The video below took MarsdenGroup’s (leading weighing scalesmanufacturer) newest platform scale and pallet truck scale and raced them toshow how long weighing a pallet took with each solution::

Pallet truck scales combine a scale with a pump truck -therefore cutting down from both items to a single unit saves on factorytraffic. Waterproof pallet trucks and versions fitted with a printer are also available. Plus, you can use Marsden pallettruck scales as standard pallet trucks when you don’t need it for weighing.
However, pallet trucks require charging as they arepowered by rechargeable battery.
Weigh Beams
An alternative mobile option is a set of weigh beams -like Marsden’s new PB-1200-I-400.
Many weigh beams, including this new scale, are accurateto 0.1kg - making them the most accurate option for weighing pallets - and anadded bonus is they can be easily stored away when not in use.
The biggest advantage for choosing weigh beams is probablythat they can be positioned the desired distance apart for weighing pallets ofany size. The beams can be positioned in relation to the load being weighed,meaning you can use them to weigh other large items, such as dolavs.
Because you’re likely to be moving the weigh beams aboutregularly, rather than sitting them permanently in a set location, a servicecontract is strongly recommended to keep them accurate.
The U frame Scale
U frame scales, like the I-400-equipped UF-1200-I-400-NA are portable and fitted with handles and wheels - making it aneasy-to-use equivalent to platform scales.
Like weigh beams, u frame pallet scales are perfect forlimited space environments - because you can store them away when not in use.But unlike weigh beams, these are one fixed unit meaning they’re a littleeasier to move around your premises - and provide more stability when placing aload on the scale.
The Drive Thru Scale
Drive thru scales are fitted with ramps so that they areeasier to load than platform scales, and you can roll a pallet truck onto thescale when weighing pallets. This is ideal if you don’t have a forklift truck,which is what you would need to add a pallet to a standard platform scale.
As with platform scales, you will need to ensure space ismade for drive thru scales as they are best kept in one fixed location. Thescale can be moved by forktruck - but care is needed when moving/repositioningin this way.
However, drive thru scales tend to have a lower capacity -like the DT-I-400 has a1500kg capacity, whereas the P-NA-I-400 (theplatform scale equivalent) can hold weights up to 3000kg.

Disclaimer: I receive no compensation for running this article

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What does the future have in store for the humble warehouse?

Guest blogger Rachel Stires
The warehouse of today is a far cry from its humble beginnings. What started as a way to prevent famine has now turned into a powerhouse that effects the entire supply chain. 

The warehouse has evolved drastically during its history, but one change that has been vital to its growth is the automation of various processes. When I say automation, I mean the usage of computers and machines to make up for what humans cannot do. 

Here’s how these processes have helped the warehouse, and what they mean for its future.

1.  Better inventory management and control: Back in the day, inventory was kept track of with the use of the pen and paper. While anybody can be thorough and efficient, human error is still inevitable and can lead to misrepresentation of inventory. This can result in a lot of things, such as orders or stock being misrepresented. By automating this process with computers such as barcode scanners, wireless, and mobile computers, we have been able to avoid mistakes like this. Not only that, but utilizing technology helps increase the flow of inventory, as well as the fill rate.

2.  Improved Productivity: People are great and while they get a lot done, computers help to improve productivity in all operations of the warehouse. Whether it’s inventory, where software can keep track of the flow of goods and the stock of the warehouse, or warehouse management, where software helps direct and support management and staff. In the past, we had to rely on people for all this, and it left room for human error and miscommunication. By incorporating technology, companies can ease the burden on their staff and improve satisfaction in the workplace. This also boosts employee motivation, which feeds directly back into productivity. By streamlining the system, you encourage employees to be a seamless part of it.

3.  Fully Automated Warehouses: In the future, we will see warehouses where almost every process can be automated, and in many ways the future has already arrived. Robots have become an integral part of major warehouses like those run by Amazon. They assist workers in picking items from inventory, and have helped make the process more efficient. In the future, these robots could assist or take over for humans in tasks that are too labor intensive or menial.  This could help enhance productivity, but many people are worried that it will lead to job loss. The future of the job market depends on the development of these robots.

There’s still a long road ahead for total warehouse automation, but the changes and advancements made so far have optimized processes and made it a lot easier on workers, management, and their customers. The future holds many opportunities to further streamline warehouses, but it’s still amazing to look back at all that has been achieved in the past years and just how far we have come with technology.

Rachel Stires is a media relations specialist for Versatile Mobile. In her free time she enjoys writing and keeping up with various industries, including logistics and aviation.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Consumers Are Transforming Supply Chain

For anindustry that is transformed by the everyday behaviour of consumers, supplychain should not only respond to socio-economic growth, but help to facilitateit. In this digital age, supply chain systems are of much greater importance tothe consumer.

A movementtowards online shopping, coupled with improved social connectivity and technologyhas led to a culture of instant demand and satisfaction. In order to understandexactly how the industry is being changed by this, it is necessary toacknowledge the impact of the consumer.

The Online Shopper
Thesignificant shift from an in-store demand to online shopping is having anincredible impact on the supply chain process for retailers. This completelynew type of shopper desires a seamless experience from the basket to theirdoorstep.

They have abroad knowledge of the market and a heightened interest in the supply chain. Itis a consumer that expects to know where the product is coming from, how it ismade and the amount left in stock. Above all, they want to know these thingsnow.

Retailersmust operate under the weight of this expectation, where one error in stocktakeor product quality could cost them a customer for life. In a world whereconsumers can purchase anything they want, from whichever company they choose,it is up to supply chain professionals to help position brands to deliver anunrivalled experience.

Instant Culture
Perhaps thelargest impact on supply chain from Gen Y is a sense of instant demand andsatisfaction. If Jack wants a new couch for his apartment, he could search andbuy one during his lunch break. With orders placed in a matter of minutes, andall through an app on his phone, Jack could kit out his entire residence in anafternoon.

Theseproducts are then expected to arrive in a timely manner, by which I mean ashort number of days. It is this increasing standard that continues to shapethe supply chain industry into one that is faster, more agile and able toovercome problems.

The deliveryof goods and services is a prime example of this. Companies compete withshipping that is cheap and quick, if not free. Consumers also demand theability to track the process of the products until the final moment ofdelivery. This has forced businesses to pay careful attention to their supplychain system. If even a minor delay occurs, it has to be dealt with swiftly, beforethe consumer cancels their order and buys from the competition.

Social Media
Social mediachannels are often described as a double edged sword, and not without goodreason. When used correctly, they can propel a business onto the world stagealmost overnight. But with more than 1.7 billion people across the globeconnecting online, even the smallest error in judgement could spell disaster.

Theseplatforms offer a unique opportunity for supply chain professionals to accessreal-time feedback. A single click onto the company Facebook page could reveala lost customer order, complaint about the purchasing experience or glowingrecommendation, laid out for the world to see.

This hastransformed the supply chain industry completely, where a more transparentsystem means that companies can predict demand, gain insight into consumertrends and ultimately use social media to establish a more efficient process.As more consumers take to the internet to share, discuss and interact with thebrands they buy from, monitoring supply chain interactions and identifyinginnovations have never been easier.

Author Bio

HelenSabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult andlifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplaceleadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen alsoworks with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management& Development, Education and Change.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Top 5 Skills To Look For When Hiring A Truck Driver

By: Morgan Mandriota, TeamOne Logistics

Employee turnover rates in the trucking industry are high due to the job’s long hours, stressful conditions, and lack of properly executed driver staffing . As an employer looking to hire new drivers, there are certain skills you should require that will both help your company thrive and ensure that you have a team of workers on which you can rely. 

Here are the five skills to look out for when hiring a new truck driver:

1. Basic maintenance ability. While there are maintenance people who work to keep fleets in tip-top shape, many situations arise on the road that drivers must know how to handle on their own. Simple things like changing a flat tire, fuse, light bulb, and fluids are all necessary skills to have for the job. On that note, your potential driver needs to be able to at least perform a basic diagnostic of what is wrong in order to address and fix the problem in the first place!

2. People skills. That’s right, a truck driver must be a people person. Although they may be isolated in the cab of a truck for most of the day, they still have to deal with the people on both ends of their trip. Customers on the loading and receiving ends need to know that they can trust the person carrying their cargo. Additionally, a good driver always stays on the good side of his or her dispatchers because they may have control over route assignments. 

3. Reliability and self-motivation. Getting to and from each location in a timely manner with all goods accounted for is one of the most crucial parts of the job. Drivers must be both reliable and self-motivated. Organizational skills also fall under this category, as a great trucker will be able to complete their paperwork and electronic logging, as well as arrange their schedules efficiently. They must be able to stay on top of their work and keep their knowledge and skill sets up-to-date in order to work to the best of their ability. After all, since they work without immediate supervision most of the time, it’s really up to them to make sure things go smoothly.

4. Alertness. This is important for any type of driver, business or recreational, but when looking for a truck driver, this is absolutely vital. Being defensive and aware of surroundings is key to remaining safe and arriving at destinations on time. There are many factors to consider, such as the condition of the truck, what’s going on with the road ahead, and what other drivers around them are doing. Staff must be alert to what standard conditions are in case anything is out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a strange smell or just the way the truck feels on the road, they should be able to recognize that there is a problem and be able to address it.

5. Proper qualifications. Of course, the basic requirement of the job includes having a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). This test ensures that potential drivers know the rules and regulations necessary for properly carrying heavy cargo. However, this is just the minimum! An excellent driver goes above and beyond, keeping up to date with company and government regulations and holding a near-perfect driving record. There are available courses that truck drivers can take beyond those for the CDL that will provide them with technical training and other valuable industry information. 

It goes without saying that these aren’t the only skills that a great truck driver should possess. However, as an employer, if you keep in mind these five basic characteristics during the hiring process, your company is sure to gain employees that set your company apart and provide a service standard that excels in the transportation field.

I take no compensation for posting this blog.
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