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Reduce Risk in Your Global Shipping Strategy With Vendor Management

vendor

Reduce Risk in Your Global Shipping Strategy With Vendor Management

Trying to coordinate deliveries to make sure they arrive on time can be a stressful job in today’s volatile shipping landscape.

You need to contend with unexpected shipping cancelations by carriers that are trying to stay profitable. Unpredictable rates caused by too many or too few vessels available at any given time adds to the uncertainty. And if you don’t have complete visibility across your global supply chain, your job is only harder.

Many shippers have found peace of mind by using a global vendor-management program, which combines PO management, global visibility, and shipping consolidation. The program can help you make sure freight arrives on time. And it can help you bring greater savings, consistency, and security to your shipping strategy.

How the Program Works

With a vendor-management program, a logistics provider helps manage both your POs and your global flow of cargo, while serving as a single point of contact between you and carriers.

As POs come in, the provider can calculate when cargo will be picked up and continue to verify that timing as delivery dates near. The provider can also use consolidated shipping to combine your partial shipments with others to create full shipments. This can help you get shipments to their destinations on time, and do so cheaply and efficiently.

With a vendor-management program, you no longer need to arrange multiple order pickups or worry about orders not being ready for pickup.

Instead, you can use the provider’s transportation management system to monitor your current order and shipment statuses in real-time, and see exceptions down to the item level. And if you encounter increased demand or last-minute supply chain outages, you can use the system to reroute freight.

3 Key Benefits to Your Business

A vendor-management program offers you more than the comfort of knowing that your shipments are in good hands. It can also improve your global shipping strategy to help you realize some key benefits.

Lower Costs: There are clear cost benefits of using consolidated shipping. You only pay for the volume of a container that you use rather than paying for a full container that you may not fill. Combining multiple shipments into one can also reduce your customs entries and terminal charges, deliveries, and handling fees.

And the savings only start there. Because you can reduce your supply chain spend even more when you combine a vendor-management program with a provider’s transportation, logistics, warehousing or customs services.

Better Consistency: Global supply chains have more opportunities for service failures. A single point of contact can give you answers and offer alternatives before service failures happen. Customs entries can also be processed more consistently. And fixed weekly schedules that have known transit expectations can make it easier to track your orders.

Greater Security: Less-than-truckload and less-than-container-load freight faces the risk of theft and needs to be secured.

With a vendor-management program, a provider can accept your containers for unloading, consolidation, and reloading. And they can pick up containers at ports and bring them to their facilities for faster, more secure customs clearance. Providers can also run CCTV and seal containers to reduce theft risks.

Choosing a Provider

Make sure the logistics provider you work with can not only understand your unique needs but also turn them into solutions.

For example, shippers have different levels of risk exposure. Limitations of liability, terms, and conditions, and cargo insurance options vary by mode of transport, service type and country.A logistics provider can help you uncover potential liabilities in your supply chain and prepare to manage costs associated with cargo damage or loss. This is why it’s important that you use a provider that has in-house risk-management professionals.

The right provider can also help you manage your regulatory challenges and combine vendor management with your other logistics needs for greater efficiency. Additionally, with businesses, suppliers, and the solutions provider integrated onto the same technology platform, you can gain clear visibility to overall inventory, maintain lower transportation costs, and help ensure on-time deliveries.

Countries require compliance with their own specific set of customs rules, governmental regulations, VAT, duty rate calculations and payment schemes. Even small errors like misspelling on a declaration can lead to fines, penalties or even cargo seizures. For this reason, it’s critical that the logistics provider you choose has regulatory experience in the markets where you do business.

Tailored to Your Needs

Vendor-management programs can be structured in different ways based on what you want to achieve. You could customize it to deliver freight from multiple global suppliers to multiple customers. You could also source all freight for a single company. Or you could use a highly efficient merge-in-transit approach to ship products directly from vendors to customers.

Whatever approach you choose, the end result is the same: Efficient and cost-effective control of your global freight so it arrives on time, wherever you do business.

blockchain

German-Austrian Trade Transaction Successful on Marco Polo’s Blockchain Platform

The S-Servicepartner, Sparkasse Bielefeld and the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International, together with Dr. August Wolff GmbH & Co. KG Arzneimittel and its business partner, the pharmaceutical company s.a.m. Pharma Handel GmbH successfully completed a digital trade transaction with a receivables-based financing component on the Marco Polo platform. A special feature: the S-Servicepartner, currently the only back-office service provider worldwide within the Marco Polo consortium, the largest and fastest-growing trade finance network, was able to process a blockchain-based trade transaction for the first time together with a savings bank and its customer. Another highlight: Raiffeisen Bank International was the first Austrian bank to carry out a pilot transaction on the Marco Polo platform.

The Marco Polo network connects banks, corporates and technology-partners to streamline their working capital and trade finance activities through direct data exchange. It provides digital solutions for international trade and supply chain as well as receivables-based financing using R3 Corda Blockchain technology. Companies will be able to access the platform’s offerings via web portals, local and cloud-based platforms, and ERP-integrated applications.

The settlement and financing of trade transactions via a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based platform is of equal interest to companies of all sizes active in foreign trade. The S-Servicepartner participates in the development of the Marco Polo platform, representing all savings banks in Germany, and pursues the goal of providing the savings banks with access to the Marco Polo product offering. The service provider is, therefore, testing the functionality and experience of the products on the Marco Polo platform together with selected savings banks and their medium-sized corporate customers. “This is the first transaction in a pilot series with savings banks with which we want to make an important contribution towards production maturity,” says Jürgen Nagel, a member of the Management Board of S-Servicepartner Berlin. “The insights gained by all participants will be directly incorporated into the further development of the modules”.

Ralf Hüpel, Head of International Business at Sparkasse Bielefeld, states: “We are very happy and satisfied to be able to contribute the view of a savings bank at such an early stage in the development of this platform. As the first savings bank in Germany, we were able, together with our customer, to give important impulses for the further development of this international project”.

“The Wolff Group, which is always interested in cutting edge innovations, sees an opportunity for the future to raise considerable efficiency potentials and significantly improve transparency in the entire process, from ordering to payment”, confirms Tanja Niedenführ, Head of Finance and Accounting Department at the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) began looking at the existing blockchain-based trade finance solutions in 2017. Of all the available platforms, RBI ultimately opted for Marco Polo. “Marco Polo best suited our strategy as the platform combines traditional trade finance products with new blockchain-based solutions such as Payment Commitment,” says Stefan Andjelic, RBI Blockchain Hub Lead. The cooperation with S-Servicepartner and the two companies gave a good impression of the marketability of the Marco Polo platform. “The transaction showed how Marco Polo can make trade finance more transparent and efficient through automation,” says Andreas Zietz, RBI Teamlead Trade Finance.

Also for Michael Stanzig, Managing Director of s.a.m. Pharma Handel GmbH, the pilot has shown that the Marco Polo platform provides transparency and security to all sides. “The usability of the platform is relatively easy for our part and operated without any problems,” Michael Stanzig continues.

“This pilot demonstrates the benefits of leveraging blockchain technology for open account trade finance transactions. By using the Marco Polo Platform, we create a safe and digital environment, which provides the foundation for a global trade finance marketplace,” said Rob Barnes, CEO of TradeIX.

The parties to the transaction agree that the cooperative partnership not only provided a deeper insight into the innovative technology but also brought the conviction that the underlying visions can be put into practice in the near future.

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The S-Servicepartner is the largest back office service provider for the savings banks in Germany. As a process industrialiser, the S-Servicepartner supports the savings banks with standardization and automation solutions using modern technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Intelligence (BI). Today, the corporate group employs more than 2,350 people at 11 locations throughout Germany and generates annual sales of around 200 million euros.

Sparkasse Bielefeld is the market leader in its area of business for medium-sized corporate customers and the most important financing partner for medium-sized companies in Bielefeld. The bank handles more than 20,000 commercial customer relationships in Bielefeld and has provided around 550 million Euros in new commercial loans in 2018.

The Dr. Wolff Group, with brands such as Alpecin, Plantur and Alcina, as well as Linola, Vagisan, Biorepair and Karex, is a family business from Bielefeld, now in its fourth generation, with 675 employees and expanding worldwide. Since its foundation in 1905, the company has focused on research and the scientifically proven benefits of its products in order to find a solution for hair and skin problems. With its own developments, the company achieved a turnover of 309 million Euros (2018). Dr. Wolff is operating in more than 60 countries.

RBI regards Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, as well as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. 13 markets of the region are covered by subsidiary banks. Additionally, the RBI Group comprises numerous other financial service providers, for instance in leasing, asset management or M&A. 

Around 47,000 employees service 16.5 million customers through approx. 2,100 business outlets, the by far largest part thereof in CEE. RBI’s shares are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. The Austrian Regional Raiffeisen Banks own around 58.8 percent of the shares, the remainder is in free float. Within the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, RBI is the central institute of the Regional Raiffeisen Banks and other affiliated credit institutions.

s.a.m. Pharma Handel is a small successful company founded in 2003 in the OTC pharmaceutical sector with the aim of marketing European pharmaceutical companies that are not independently represented in Austria.

China market

Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:

Healthcare

Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.

Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

What kind of structure to choose when expanding to China

IF you are considering expanding your business to China, establishing the right business structure is crucial. There are several types of business structures:

-Representative Office – allows foreign companies to open their offices in China and hire staff under their own legal entity. However, the offices are not allowed to perform any business, rather it is done by the parent company which is abroad. 

-Sales Office- this business structure enables foreign businesses to rent an office with a Chinese address for conducting business, without the necessity to establish a separate legal entity. All the activities and costs incurred in this office, are paid by the parent company.

-Foreign Invested Partnership- For this business entity, there is no need for minimum capital requirements. Depending on agreements, two or more investors can be joined and form this type of structure. 

-Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise- Through a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, two or more foreign partners can come together and establish the company which has the same liability as domestic companies. Moreover, it provides the owner with autonomous control and ownership. 

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government.

machine learning

How Machine Learning Is Transforming Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a complicated business. A lack of synchronization or one missing entity can interrupt the entire chain and result in millions in losses.

In a market environment where businesses are continually striving to cut costs, increase profits, and enhance customer experience, disruptive technologies like machine learning offer a window of opportunity. By exploiting the enormous amount of real-time data and leveraging the cloud power, it improves decision making, process automation, and optimization. It can create an entire machine intelligence-powered supply chain model. It also helps companies improve insights, mitigate risks, and enhance performance, all of which are crucial as the global supply chain war wages on.

Gartner recently announced that innovative technologies like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/machine learning would significantly disrupt existing supply chain operating models. In addition to advanced analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning is considered one of the high-benefit technologies. This is because it allows dynamic shifts across industries and enables efficient processes that result in significant revenue gains or cost savings. 

So, it is no surprise then that, in another industry update, Gartner predicted that at least 50% of global companies would be using AI-related transformational technologies in supply chain operations by 2023.

There are three key ways in which these transformational technologies empower businesses:

Monitoring: By connecting equipment, products, and vehicles with IoT sensors, companies can monitor goods and operations in real time.

Analyzing: Advanced analytics convert data into actionable insights and help businesses understand the reason behind specific incidents and how they impact the business.

Acting: Valuable insights as a result of data crunching help businesses address planning challenges and automate processes to improve efficiency.

So, adopting machine learning in supply chains is critical for companies to stay competitive in the long run. However, what aspects of the supply chain will be impacted by machine learning? Let us find out.

A Myriad of Benefits to Supply Chains

If you get the algorithms right, the benefits of using machine learning are innumerable. The algorithms can predict supply trends based on human behavior, resulting in personalized customer service with lower inventories and better utilization of resources. We take a look at several such benefits of machine learning below.

Brings Real-Time Visibility Which Improves Customer Experience

According to a Statista survey, visibility is a significant organizational challenge for 21% of supply chain professionals. Visibility has been a buzzword in supply chain circles for more than a decade now and every technology so far has promised to improve visibility in some way. But, is machine learning contributing anything here? 

The combination of IoT, deep analytics, and real-time monitoring is improving supply chain visibility, helping businesses achieve delivery commitments and transforming the customer experience. By examining historical data from various sources, machine learning workflows discover complex interconnections between various processes along the value chain.

Amazon is a prime example as it is using machine learning to enhance its customer experience by gaining an understanding of how product recommendations influence customers’ store visits.

Cuts Costs and Reduces Response Times

As per Amazon’s regulatory filing in 2017, their shipping costs increased from $11.5 billion in 2015 to $21.7 billion in 2017. And, it’s not just Amazon. Many other players are struggling because of rising shipping costs. In fact, in one survey, more than 24% of supply chain professionals expressed that delivery costs are the biggest challenge for B2C companies.

By applying machine learning to handle demand-to-supply imbalances and trigger automated responses, businesses can improve the customer experience, while minimizing costs. Operational and administrative costs can also be reduced by integrating freight and warehousing processes and improving connectivity with logistics service providers.

Machine learning algorithms’ ability to analyze and self-learn from historic delivery records and real-time data helps managers and dispatchers optimize the route for each vehicle. This allows them to save costs, reduce driving time, and increase productivity. 

Machine learning can also be used to detect issues in the supply chain before they disrupt the business. Having an effective supply chain forecasting system means a business has the intelligence to respond to emerging threats. And, the faster a business can respond to problems, the more effective the response will be.

Streamlines Production Planning and Identifies Demand Patterns

When it comes to machine learning’s role in optimizing complex supply chains, production planning is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sophisticated algorithms are trained on existing production data in such a way that they start identifying future buying, customers’ ordering behavior, and possible areas of waste. This helps businesses tailor production and transport processes to actual demand as well as improve their relationships with specific customers.

For example, by anticipating and acting on the specific needs of your customers before they even arise, businesses can establish themselves as reputed brands capable of recognizing customer needs. 

There is so much volatility in global supply chains that it will be challenging to forecast demand accurately, without technologies like machine learning. However, reaping the full benefits of machine learning might take years. So, businesses should plan for the future and start taking advantage of the machine learning solutions available today.

Investing in machine learning and the related technologies today means increased profitability and more resources for your business tomorrow. Businesses that can use machine learning in their supply chains will have better plans, resulting in less “firefighting” and fewer inefficiencies.

 

expert logistics

The Benefits of Hiring an Expert Logistics Company

When it comes to running a business, it’s extremely important to always keep economic efficiency in mind; that’s the only way to expand your business while maintaining a profit. And in many situations, that means making sacrifices. However, if you work smart instead of hard, you can avoid most of that.

For example, it’s crucial to know when your company needs to do something on its own, and when to hire a third-party to do the job for you. If you need goods transported across vast distances, hiring an expert logistics company is probably better than doing it on your own. There are many benefits to such a move, and we’re here to lay them out clearly!

Saving Time

You probably know the old adage “time is money”. Well, there’s no field in which that’s truer than in business. At the end of the day, no matter your managerial capacity, you’ve only got so much time to deal with the important details of running a business. That’s why it’s important to have professional staff and third-party companies who will handle crucial parts of the job for you, so you’re not stretched too thin.

 To give you an example – most businesses are aware that there are many advantages to maritime shipping. However, it’s also incredibly complicated, which warrants the hiring of an expert logistics company to deal with the goods transportation for you. After all, if you were to do it in-house, that would mean tons of research, a lot of new staff, not to mention all of the compliance issues. But if you hire a logistics company to take care of this instead, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of international shipping and trade without dealing with the pesky minutiae.

Consider Cost Efficiency

If we’ve established that time is money and that hiring an expert logistics company saves time, let’s take a look at the former side of that coin. In other words – the money part of the equation. Naturally, many companies around the world have in-house logistics departments. But bear in mind, these are usually large, multi-national conglomerates – companies that can afford to avoid hiring an expert logistics company and bear the costs of transportation themselves.

 On the other hand, if you’re a medium-sized business (and on a global scale, most companies are), you should keep in mind that this will be very costly. And why do it in the first place, really? Outsourcing some of these tasks means not dealing with all of the doing-business costs of a full-fledged logistics department in a large company.

High Standard of Service

Bear in mind that, if you’re thinking of hiring an expert logistics company, you should go with a reputable one. Logically, renowned logistics companies have a brand image to uphold, just like any other firm. And that means that they have well-trained staff and tight schedules – everything you need in order to make sure that your logistics are handled the right way! If you want your end-users and consumers to have a product in their hands without delay, building an in-house logistics team just wouldn’t cut it.

 Also, if your company needs some international transportation, the details of that are definitely something you don’t want to handle on your own. There are plenty of US custom clearance issues and pesky bureaucratic procedures. And while these could seem arcane to you, expert logistics companies handle that kind of stuff on a daily basis.

Latest Technology

When it comes to delivery services and things like freight forwarding, believe us – not hiring an expert logistics company would be a huge mistake. While this might seem like purely menial labor on the outside, shipping involves far more than the loading and unloading of crates. In reality, especially in the contemporary world of global interconnected trade, any kind of concerted transport involves the usage of highly advanced software and technology.

And that kind of modern transport tech is more expensive than you might think; adding a further reason to not bother with logistics on your own. If you hire a specialized company to do it for you, there will be no further investment in logistics that you’d have to make. And that’s definitely important from the cost-efficiency side of things. That’s right, you’re beginning to see why even the biggest product-oriented companies in the world opt for using external logistics experts. At the end of the day, if you’re not a company solely focused on logistics, they’re complicated enough to warrant leaving them to a company that does. 

So, what can you take away from this small outlook into the world of transport logistics? There’s really no other conclusion you could reach, save for the fact that it’s best to leave logistics to the experts. In other words – hiring an expert logistics company to handle all of it for you. That gives you ample time to focus on issues that deserve your attention more, like growing your business and improving the revenue streams.

And that’s something you’ll be able to do if you don’t spend your valuable time on logistical details. More specifically, it would also be fiscally irresponsible to spend money on managing and developing an in-house logistics team, when outsourcing is a much cheaper option. Sure, outsourcing isn’t always the obvious solution, but if you ask us, in this case, it’s a no-brainer.

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 James Greene is a freelance journalist, most often providing insights into topics related to international commerce. He also advises people on topics ranging from global shipping solutions to how to transport your vehicle in no time from Saudi Arabia. When he’s not writing articles on trade, he likes playing chess and hiking on Appalachian trails.

technology

Competitors Link Arms and Embrace Technology’s Promise

Overcapacity. Low freight rates. Security problems. Data inadequacies. Stringent environmental regulations. When it comes to moving containerized freight around the globe, third-party logistics companies (3PLs) have a lot to deal with.

However, like a guardian angel, blockchain has arrived to solve all these issues and more for the 3PL industry, which stands to save billions of dollars annually through increased efficiency, improved processes and a digital transformation.

Blockchain technology, while still in its innovative infancy, has “a lot of potential” to facilitate trade, according to a report by Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, Hanna C. Norberg, the founder of Trade Economista and the university that was released in May.

In “Can Blockchain Technology Facilitate International Trade?” McDaniel and Norberg explored blockchain technology’s usefulness in easing trade finance, improving customs procedures and tracking the provenance of goods. Their conclusion: “Adaptability, interoperability, and a policy environment that welcomes experimentation will be essential if the U.S. economy is to realize the potential benefits of blockchain technology across the international trade landscape.”

They also point out that numerous private- and public-sector efforts are underway to explore the benefits of blockchain technology. Financial institutions are experimenting with blockchain to increase access and decrease trade-finance costs.

The shipping industry is working with those along the supply chain and with customs officials to see how a distributed digital ledger can facilitate the transparent movement of goods across borders and seas. Companies and retailers are exploring ways to track their own supply chains so they can communicate tracking and origin information to consumers who increasingly demand such information.

Among those that are all-in with blockchain is Blockshipping, a Danish concern that was launched in May 2018 with a goal of developing the world’s first freight container registry. The startup claims its blockchain-based Global Shared Container Platform, which provides a real-time registry of 27 million containers, could save the industry $5.7 billion annually. For that to work, parties across the industry must apply sensors to all containers.

The same month that Blockshipping announced its arrival, global shipping giants CMA CGM and the Mediterranean Shipping Co. joined TradeLens, the blockchain-based digital shipping platform developed three years ago by A.P. Moller-Maersk and IBM. TradeLens is an open and neutral blockchain platform that promotes an efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information to improve collaboration between different stakeholders within the supply chain.

Ironically, CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd had criticized the workings of TradeLens in 2018, stating that for a blockchain-based platform to succeed within the industry, it would need to have a common standard. With CMA CGM and MSC now having joined TradeLens, the platform accounts for shipping data of over half the number of container lines that sail across international waters.

Surgere is a North Canton, Ohio-based digital supply chain and packaging specialist whose clients include Nissan and CEVA Logistics. In June, Surgere announced it had joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (Bita), a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based organization with nearly 500 members in more than 25 countries that collectively generate more than $1 trillion annually. The alliance helps develop industry standards, encourage the use of new solutions and educate its members who are mostly drawn from the freight, transportation and logistics sectors.

“Blockchain enables instant visibility of inventory transactions, captured by Surgere’s extremely accurate RFID solutions, which can be immediately and collectively processed throughout the supply chain,” said Rusty Coleman, Surgere’s vice-president of Digital Transformation, in the Bita announcement. “That visibility can remove artificially created demand patterns and make visible smooth and continuous demand for tier [suppliers] near real-time.”

Representatives from NBSF Railway, Daimler, Delta, J.B. Hunt, FedEx, Transplace and UPS are on the Bita board of directors, whose Standards Council chairman is Dale Chrystie, FedEx’s business strategist and blockchain fellow. “This is not a process improvement initiative; this is a breakthrough discussion,” Chrystie said from the stage of the Blockchain Revolution Global conference in Toronto on April 25. “This is a different way to think about how global clearance looks in the future.”

The notion that competitors are joining hands when it comes to the promise of blockchain was demonstrated by the fact that the FedEx executive was joined by Eugene Laney, head of international government affairs for DHL USA and Mahesh Sahasranaman, principal architect at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, in a discussion with Don Tapscott, executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute. Each agreed there is a common interest in embracing uniform standards for blockchain and getting governments on board with the technology.

“This is an issue that must be looked at with a global viewpoint,” Chrystie said. “These dots are going to connect. The question is how are you going to accelerate that process.”

Here is a deeper dive into ways blockchain can revolutionize the industry, according to the “Can Blockchain Technology Facilitate International Trade?” report from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Trade and Finance

Blockchain could reduce the expense and time required to facilitate trade that depends on third-party lending or insurance. Such trade accounts for about 80 percent of global trade. This reduction of expense and time will be especially important for small and medium-sized enterprises that may face restrictions to accessing credit or for firms in countries with less developed finance markets.

Customs Procedures

The technology could reduce costs associated with obtaining import and export licenses, creating and verifying the accuracy of cargo and shipping documents, and making customs declarations. Blockchain could make a positive contribution to expediting customs procedures. The total impact of those procedures on global trade volumes and economic output is estimated to be greater than that of tariffs.

Tracking the Origin of Goods

Blockchain could improve how producers and retailers manage their supply chains by providing real-time information on the movement and origin of goods. Blockchain designed for trade should disallow anonymity. If such a design were to be widely adopted, it might improve detection of illicit trade flows and help deter illegitimate efforts to circumvent trade rules. A design without anonymity could aid customs and law enforcement while easing the flow of legitimate trade.

multinational

5 Merits of a Multinational Workplace

Being in a multinational workplace simply implies that your business has its operations in more than one country. The term is different from a business that is said to be international. An international organization has all its activities in one country but exports its products to different other countries.

The multinational business is already established in other countries like they have their offices in those other countries. It is of course very advantageous to have operations in different countries in the world rather than having all your operations centralized but exporting to other countries. You could also become a life coach and work with multinational companies to assist them to embrace a diverse work environment.

Cost Advantages

This is one of the major advantages. The multinational companies are advantageous in that they can be able to locate countries where there are tax incentives and cheap labor. If they establish even bigger operations and expand their stores in that country then they will definitely make good money as compared to the international companies. 

This will be due to the incentive given by the government to private investors. Again if there is cheap labor it means the company will have lowered the cost of operations. They could even transport some of the employees to their other branches in other countries. This will effectively reduce their operating costs and hence more profits. The company will also be aware of the ideal countries where they could get supplies cheaply because of the exposure and also what business thrives in what country.

Workforce Innovation

Having employees from different nations is an added advantage to your business. The distinct cultures do give a different fundamental approach in business, society, management, and life with all its aspects. Having different cultures in your research and development team ensures your business stays at the front of innovations and inventions.

You need to know that not only products and services will benefit from multicultural co-operation in your organization. Your firm will also benefit from a wide range of ideas in production methods and marketing strategies.

Huge Valuable Network

Having a multinational company exposes you to more information and knowledge on diverse aspects of business and life in general. You will meet new customers, new cultures, prominent leaders and many other people who you will share brilliant ideas with. These multinational companies offer employees a perfect opportunity to be innovative as they share ideas from different cultures. They will also be very creative and of course, this is a plus for your business. The marketing term will come up with some value addition strategies that you couldn’t have figured out yourself.

International Travels

Your presence in a multinational business means that you will definitely be traveling to other countries. These are the countries where your company has established its operations and some of its branches. The business will require someone to be checking at how things are running, representation in meetings in those countries. 

These trips including even the business trips will give you a chance to explore new places and learn about their diverse cultures and way of doing things. Understanding the different nationalities and cultures basically opens up new opportunities for you. As you meet the new personalities you will learn a thing or two from them and even leave with a brilliant idea from them.

Holiday Destination Ideas

Working for a multinational company means you are going to meet more people from virtually all over the world. During your interactions with them, they could be probably talking about their countries and places one could visit. The best holidays are the ones you head on to a place that you at least have a clue about from friends.

The colleagues at the workplace will recommend beautiful sandy beaches that they have been to and amazing restaurants that can be found within or someplace they have visited. Some colleagues will even decide to take you there for a reconnaissance such that once you plan to go there you are already familiar with the place.

Bottom Line

Simply saying, a multinational company is very advantageous more than an international one. You will be having international travels by being in a multinational company and see new cities and towns. There is also more revenue in such kind of a company hence the pay for employees is better.

Meeting with people from other nationalities opens you up to the world and to more ideas on how things work. The employees become more creative and innovative.

container

How to Take the Risk Out of International Container Logistics

Who is reliable enough to trust with my assets? This was the main question of people after my keynote about “How to take the risk out of container logistics” at Intermodal Europe in Hamburg. Trust is basically the most important ingredient when doing business with a partner: Will they return my containers on time? Do I have to follow up on my invoices? Can I easily reach my partner when I have questions? Without a certain level of trust, you would probably not make deals with a company, even though the offered price seems cheap.

Over the last decade we have built long-lasting relationships with partners where trust was not an issue, but now two things have changed: (1) Digital technologies allow us to collaborate with basically the entire world in no time and (2) stakeholders are increasingly asking for transparency e.g. to better understand where the products they purchase come from. To adapt to these changes, we have to redefine “trust” and find answers for how to make time-efficient and risk-free deals with partners you have never worked with before. 

Trust is an everyday problem in logistics 

The lack of trust is an everyday problem for most container owners and users with a high impact on the decisions they make. Let me give you a few examples: Imagine a container lessee returns your equipment too late or in bad condition. Of course, you might receive per diem fees to compensate you and the DPP (Damage protection plan) covers damages but how do you explain that to your next customer who is waiting for these boxes? How much time does it cost you to follow up, arrange container inspections and send emails back and forth?

Imagine if you bought a used car and the condition was completely different from what the seller had told you before, you would probably not work with the same seller again in the future (and I bet you would also advise your friends against buying his/ her cars). What happens is that operational costs increase due to the lack of trust, Maersk, for example, announced random container inspections because of misdeclaration of cargo. Increasing costs and high risk ultimately leads to something everyone probably has already said at least once: We only work with people we know.

What is currently being done to mitigate risk?

Most of the time decisions are made based on gut feeling or anecdotal evidence from your network, the press, Google or sometimes just a random Linkedin post about a specific company. In addition to that, personal meetings and extensive travel are still the standards for vetting a potential new partner before setting up bank guarantees, credits assessments and “triple-checked” watertight contracts by expensive layers. It’s not only incredibly difficult, time-consuming and expensive to collaborate with new partners but also not real-time, non-scalable and error-prone. Such partner vetting processes lead to fewer partnerships, less market transparency and slower speed- which makes no sense in times of real-time communication, cost pressure and the increasing need for market transparency.

In today’s digital age, there must be a better way. Why? Because you won’t have the time to initiate your traditional vetting process when a potential customer is reaching out. If you want to get new deals, you have to be the first one with a quotation.

Other industries rely on platforms as neutral data layers

To create trust, we can learn from how other industries have increased trust through platforms as neutral data layers, data standards as the common language, user-generated content and financial credit scoring models. May it be Amazon or Alibaba for buying and selling products online, Trustedshops for e-commerce or Delivery Hero for ordering food online – Other industries rely on platforms as neutral data layers. Take Alibaba as an example: Would you buy from a small, random company that you have never heard of just because the price is cheap? Most likely you would not. On Alibaba you do so because you trust their platform, the Alibaba insurance and their vetting process.

Moreover, you trust your peers and you look at how other partners have rated that company in past transactions on Alibaba. That’s why most online platforms have introduced performance reviews & ratings. You would probably rather buy from a seller on Amazon with thousands of 5-star reviews instead of someone with barely any ratings.

With Container xChange, we can see the same happening in container logistics. Since we introduced peer-to-peer reviews and ratings we have seen an increase in transactions by 17% for top-rated companies (>4 stars on average) and overall it has led to faster replies, release documents and a greater level of trust because members now have a bigger incentive to be a reliable partner. Another great example of how platforms in other industries leverage technology are payment and loan providers such as Klarna or even retailers like Ikea with next level credit scoring models. Instead of gut feeling, they can now, for example, even include signals from social media with their algorithms to forecast creditworthiness – which speeds up vetting processes and decreases human-made errors significantly.

May it be reviews, credit checks or vetting – I think we can do the same in logistics. Platforms like Freightos (for freight forwarders and shippers), Xeneta (freight rates) or Container xChange (asset-sharing in container logistics) already exist, but in the end, it comes down to your behaviour. Make credit checks for your partners as easy as possible, be reliable and stick to what you agreed on. Becoming a trustworthy partner yourself is the first step to a greater level of trust in logistics.

humanitarian

Amazon, Total Quality Logistics Among 2019 Humanitarian Logistics Award Honorees

Amazon and Total Quality Logistics (TQL) are among the 2019 winners of the American Logistics Aid Network’s Humanitarian Logistics Awards.

Disaster Relief by Amazon earned the Outstanding Contribution Award for leveraging its extensive services, operations and logistics technology to help advance the cause of effective and large-scale disaster relief. For instance, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the Disaster Relief by Amazon team mobilized two Amazon Air flights, full of tens of thousands of donated relief items such as tarps, buckets and water containers.

Total Quality Logistics also received an Outstanding Contribution Award for Moves that Matter, a program that provides funding to help nonprofits and businesses defray the cost of humanitarian shipments, as well as for TQL Cares, an in-house initiative that raises millions of dollars and contributes thousands of volunteer hours to various compassionate causes each year.

Nezih Altay of DePaul University received the Research and Academic Contributions Award for being one of the first U.S. academics to recognize the importance of applying operations research and supply chain management to the challenge of disaster relief. His 2006 paper, OR/MS Research in Disaster Operations Management, was one of the first papers to spark research in humanitarian logistics and remains the most cited article in its field.

Author and supply chain resilience expert Phil Palin received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his ongoing work to help government and businesses develop greater alignment when providing disaster relief. Over the years, he has worked closely with federal, state, local and private sector leaders to prepare for and respond to complex wide-area catastrophic events and served in a variety of capacities, most recently as the FEMA team leader for the supply chain Ecosystem Assessment. He has also authored numerous books and articles about supply chain resilience, including Out of the Whirlwind: Supply and Demand after Hurricane Maria.

“Each of these recipients is living proof that humanitarianism isn’t just a one-time event–and that true service extends well beyond a single disaster,” says Mark Richards, board chairman of the American Logistics Aid Network. “It truly is part of their corporate DNA and personal passion. We’re grateful to them for the many contributions they have made, and we are proud to recognize them.”

kiwi

Global Kiwi Fruit Market 2019 – New Zealand and Italy are the Leading Exporters of Kiwi Fruits

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Kiwi Fruits – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The global kiwi fruit market revenue amounted to $7.6B in 2018. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Consumption By Country

China (2.3M tonnes) constituted the country with the largest volume of kiwi fruit consumption, comprising approx. 51% of total consumption. Moreover, kiwi fruit consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the world’s second-largest consumer, Italy (314K tonnes), sevenfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Iran (248K tonnes), with a 5.5% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume in China amounted to +6.1%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Italy (+8.8% per year) and Iran (+7.8% per year).

In value terms, China ($3.9B) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Italy ($529M). It was followed by Spain.

Market Forecast 2019-2025

Driven by increasing demand for kiwi fruit worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next seven-year period. Market performance is forecast to decelerate, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +3.9% for the seven-year period from 2018 to 2025, which is projected to bring the market volume to 5.9M tonnes by the end of 2025.

Production 2007-2018

In 2018, approx. 4.3M tonnes of kiwi fruit were produced worldwide; increasing by 4.4% against the previous year. Overall, the total output indicated a prominent increase from 2007 to 2018: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.8% over the last eleven-year period. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, kiwi fruit production decreased by -5.1% against 2016 indices. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2015 when production volume increased by 15% against the previous year. The global kiwi fruit production peaked at 4.5M tonnes in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum. The general positive trend in terms of kiwi fruit output was largely conditioned by a strong expansion of the harvested area and a relatively flat trend pattern in yield figures.

In value terms, kiwi fruit production stood at $7.5B in 2018 estimated in export prices. Over the period under review, kiwi fruit production continues to indicate a prominent expansion. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 when production volume increased by 30% against the previous year. The global kiwi fruit production peaked in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Production By Country

China (2.1M tonnes) constituted the country with the largest volume of kiwi fruit production, accounting for 50% of total production. Moreover, kiwi fruit production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the world’s second-largest producer, Italy (555K tonnes), fourfold. New Zealand (437K tonnes) ranked third in terms of total production with a 10% share.

In China, kiwi fruit production expanded at an average annual rate of +5.4% over the period from 2007-2018. The remaining producing countries recorded the following average annual rates of production growth: Italy (+2.6% per year) and New Zealand (+1.1% per year).

Harvested Area 2007-2018

In 2018, the global harvested area of kiwi fruit stood at 260K ha, increasing by 5.1% against the previous year. In general, the total harvested area indicated a resilient expansion from 2007 to 2018: its figure increased at an average annual rate of +4.7% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, kiwi fruit harvested area decreased by -6.7% against 2016 indices. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2013 when harvested area increased by 29% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the harvested area dedicated to kiwi fruit production reached its maximum at 279K ha in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, harvested area stood at a somewhat lower figure.

Yield 2007-2018

Global average kiwi fruit yield totaled 16 tonne per ha in 2018, stabilizing at the previous year. Over the period under review, the kiwi fruit yield, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 with an increase of 11% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the average kiwi fruit yield reached its peak figure level at 17 tonne per ha in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, yield failed to regain its momentum.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the global exports of kiwi fruit stood at 1.4M tonnes, waning by -2.4% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.7% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations being observed over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2015 when exports increased by 22% against the previous year. The global exports peaked at 1.7M tonnes in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, kiwi fruit exports amounted to $2.8B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. In general, the total exports indicated a remarkable expansion from 2007 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +1.7% over the last eleven-year period. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, kiwi fruit exports increased by +34.1% against 2014 indices. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 with an increase of 26% y-o-y. The global exports peaked in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Exports by Country

New Zealand (417K tonnes) and Italy (289K tonnes) were the key exporters of kiwi fruit in 2018, resulting at near 29% and 20% of total exports, respectively. Chile (183K tonnes) held the next position in the ranking, followed by Greece (135K tonnes), Belgium (109K tonnes) and Iran (93K tonnes). All these countries together took near 36% share of total exports. Germany (31K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Iran, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, New Zealand ($1.2B) remains the largest kiwi fruit supplier worldwide, comprising 42% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Italy ($518M), with a 18% share of global exports. It was followed by Belgium, with a 11% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value in New Zealand stood at +7.0%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Italy (+2.3% per year) and Belgium (+2.2% per year).

Export Prices by Country

The average kiwi fruit export price stood at $1,994 per tonne in 2018, growing by 3.8% against the previous year. Over the last eleven years, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.2%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 when the average export price increased by 22% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the average export prices for kiwi fruit attained their maximum in 2018 and is likely to see steady growth in the immediate term.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was New Zealand ($2,885 per tonne), while Iran ($1,015 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Iran, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of kiwi fruit imported worldwide totaled 1.7M tonnes, picking up by 3.9% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.6% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2015 with an increase of 17% year-to-year. The global imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the near future.

In value terms, kiwi fruit imports stood at $3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. In general, the total imports indicated a buoyant increase from 2007 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +3.6% over the last eleven-year period. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, kiwi fruit imports increased by +47.9% against 2013 indices. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 when imports increased by 23% year-to-year. The global imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Imports by Country

Spain (221K tonnes), China (182K tonnes), Belgium (156K tonnes), Japan (106K tonnes), Germany (96K tonnes), the Netherlands (79K tonnes), France (78K tonnes), Russia (72K tonnes), the U.S. (69K tonnes), Italy (48K tonnes), Taiwan, Chinese (42K tonnes) and South Korea (33K tonnes) represented roughly 72% of total imports of kiwi fruit in 2018.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by China, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Japan ($371M), China ($369M) and Spain ($285M) were the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, together accounting for 34% of global imports.

Among the main importing countries, China experienced the highest growth rate of imports, over the last eleven-year period, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The average kiwi fruit import price stood at $1,806 per tonne in 2018, picking up by 4.3% against the previous year. Over the period from 2007 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.1%. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 when the average import price increased by 18% against the previous year. The global import price peaked at $1,875 per tonne in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, import prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Japan ($3,493 per tonne), while Russia ($1,070 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Taiwan, Chinese, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform