New Articles

10 Tips for Cutting Costs and Improve Customer Service in Supply Chain Logistics

costs

10 Tips for Cutting Costs and Improve Customer Service in Supply Chain Logistics

As organizations continue to create and source raw materials from overseas, controlling expenses remains the number one priority for players involved in international trade.

One critical factor that executives should monitor closely is logistics management. This sector covers important activities relating to procurement, transport, and storage of goods. In most industries, supply chain logistics account for 5% to 50% of a product’s total cost.

Some of the issues that affect logistics costs include fuel prices, complex international trade laws, and security. High transportation fees are mainly caused by high fuel prices delays in ports. Complex international trade laws increase warehousing costs by lengthening delivery times.

As technology evaluation.com reports, air-freight shipment takes about eight to twelve days. During these days, the cargo is on ф route around 5% of the time. 95% of the time is spent lying in warehouses waiting for compliance checks and documents. So, how can you cut down costs and improve customer service in supply logistics? Keep reading!

1. Use your space efficiently

Using your space efficiently will save you a lot of money in the long run. As you already know, storing your supplies in a warehouse comes at a cost. Figure out whether you are making the most out of your space or not.

You might discover other ways of finding spaces that are best suited for your business. As we’ve seen, supplies, spend most of their time in warehouses waiting for compliance checks. The more efficient you are at warehousing; the more profits you’ll generate at the end of the day.

2.  Automate your processes

Organizations that use technology solutions to automate compliance processes have the power to speed up the process four times as much compared to organizations that rely on manual work. Automating tasks such as document preparation will eliminate expensive mistakes and errors.

Automating your processes also leads to fewer delays at crossing points thus resulting in timely deliveries, increased customer satisfaction and avoidance of expensive fines.

3. Inform decision-makers

According to dissertation service, providing decision-makers or your customers with the costs of freight associated with each service level, the reliability of every lane and the total cost of transporting inventory will make it easier for them to make informed decisions and work with you in the future. In most cases, your customers will select the cheapest option that complies with the laws to meet their needs.

4. Figure out the real costs of sourcing overseas

Before sourcing overseas, you need to calculate freight, brokerage, duty, and transportation costs to support these long supply chains. You should factor in other costs such as engineers flying overseas. Once you figure out the total landed cost and its impact on your business, you might discover that domestic buy is quite attractive. For instance, sourcing from Ohio to your plant in the US might be cheaper in the long run compared to sourcing from China.

5. JIT inventory management

There are many benefits to implementing Just-in-Time inventory management. With this system, you can order and receive inventory only when you need to. In the long run, this will reduce your inventory transportation costs, protect against write-downs attributed to dips and eliminate unnecessary overhead costs caused by excess inventory.

6. Sales and operations planning

For a supply chain to function at its highest efficiency, sales, and operations planning is required. Optimal performance greatly depends on creating proper plans. However, it can be complicated and expensive in the long run.

By working with a third-party logistics provider, your team will eliminate waste and redundancies thus enabling you to analyze data, forecast and enhance visibility so that everyone is involved. During the sales and operations planning process, you should address issues such as unrestrained stock-outs, obsolete inventory, inaccurate forecasts and adjusting demand and production schedules.

7. Package your products well

Packaging your products well will result in less or no damages during the shipping process. Ensuring that the people responsible for packaging your products do it properly will minimize quality costs and build your reputation. As the saying goes, it’s the smallest things that matter the most.

8. Assess your performance

You have to measure the performance of your strategies to forge the way forward. Doing business without assessing your performance regularly is a recipe for disaster. By not assessing your performance, you’ll have a hard time determining how much money you are spending and saving. Come up with your key performance indicators and gauge how well your business is doing.

9. Eliminate variability during transit times

The more variable the transit times, the higher the likelihood that the receiving party is using premium freight, ordering more quantity than is necessary to compensate for the uncertainty of creating buffers of inventory. When you understand these dynamics, you’ll realize that paying for higher freight costs will enhance variability and save your company loads of cash in the long run.

10. Choose your mode of transport.

Which mode of transport is the cheapest? Trains? Airplanes? Automobiles? In most cases, rail is cheaper when transporting bulky goods than air or trucking. Also, water is cheaper than air. Regardless of the delivery model, it’s important to get all the quotes from different modes of transport available.

Conclusion

Managing a supply chain logistics company is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You have to make the right move every time out to avoid expensive mistakes and losses. The ten tips discussed above will help you reduce your costs and grow your business. You owe it to yourself to assess your situation and determine what needs to be changed or implemented.

_____________________________________________________________

This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

bentonite

Global Bentonite Market Slipped Back Slightly to $4.3B

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

The global bentonite market revenue amounted to $4.3B in 2018, going down by -5.1% against the previous year. 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). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Over the period under review, the global bentonite market attained its peak figure level at $4.5B in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Consumption By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of bentonite consumption in 2018 were China (5.5M tonnes), the U.S. (2.9M tonnes) and Turkey (2.7M tonnes), with a combined 54% share of global consumption. Germany, Greece, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Iran and Indonesia lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 25%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of bentonite consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Indonesia, while bentonite consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest bentonite markets worldwide were China ($1.1B), the U.S. ($624M) and Turkey ($450M), together accounting for 51% of the global market. Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Greece, Canada, Iran and Indonesia lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 30%.

In 2018, the highest levels of bentonite per capita consumption was registered in Greece (70 kg per person), followed by Turkey (33 kg per person), Canada (13 kg per person) and Germany (10 kg per person), while the world average per capita consumption of bentonite was estimated at 2.69 kg per person.

Market Forecast 2019-2025

Driven by increasing demand for bentonite worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to accelerate, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +2.5% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 28M tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production 2007-2018

Global bentonite production stood at 20M tonnes in 2018, dropping by -3.2% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.3% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. Over the period under review, global bentonite production reached its peak figure volume at 21M tonnes in 2017 and then declined slightly in the following year.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of bentonite production in 2018 were China (5.6M tonnes), the U.S. (3.7M tonnes) and Turkey (3.1M tonnes), with a combined 62% share of global production.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of bentonite production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Turkey, while bentonite production for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of bentonite exported worldwide totaled 4.7M tonnes, growing by 4.2% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations in certain years. The global exports peaked in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the near future. In value terms, bentonite exports amounted to $796M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

India (950K tonnes) and the U.S. (845K tonnes) represented the major exporters of bentonite in 2018, recording approx. 20% and 18% of total exports, respectively. Greece (427K tonnes) ranks next in terms of the total exports with a 9.1% share, followed by Turkey (8.2%), Italy (5.8%) and China (5%). Slovakia (210K tonnes), the Czech Republic (164K tonnes), Azerbaijan (148K tonnes), the Netherlands (146K tonnes), Germany (75K tonnes) and Morocco (72K 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 Azerbaijan, while exports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the U.S. ($193M) remains the largest bentonite supplier worldwide, comprising 24% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by India ($77M), with a 9.7% share of global exports. It was followed by Turkey, with a 8.2% share.

Export Prices by Country

The average bentonite export price stood at $169 per tonne in 2018, rising by 4.6% against the previous year. Over the last eleven years, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.5%.  Over the period under review, the average export prices for bentonite reached their peak figure at $190 per tonne in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, export prices failed to regain their momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Germany ($350 per tonne), while Azerbaijan ($58 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of bentonite imported worldwide stood at 5.3M tonnes, standing approx. at the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The global imports peaked at 5.3M tonnes in 2017, leveling off in the following year. In value terms, bentonite imports amounted to $844M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

The imports of the twelve major importers of bentonite, namely Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, Malaysia, the UK, Russia, Italy and France, represented more than half of total import.

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

In value terms, the largest bentonite importing markets worldwide were Germany ($93M), Canada ($56M) and the Netherlands ($42M), with a combined 23% share of global imports. Indonesia, France, the UK, South Korea, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Malaysia and Russia lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 26%.

Import Prices by Country

The average bentonite import price stood at $158 per tonne in 2018, increasing by 3.2% against the previous year. Overall, the bentonite import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was France ($191 per tonne), while Russia ($91 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

10 Tips to Manage Labor More Effectively in Your Supply Chain Logistics

The productivity of the supply chain logistics you’re running is at the hearts of the workforce working for you. With improved productivity, the company stands to make more revenue and profits because the entire workforce will be wisely using their work hours.

As the business owner or the operations in-charge, how can you improve productivity within your workforce? Here are 10 tips to manage labor more effectively in your supply chain logistics business.

Train the workforce

Training the workforce you have employed will help them know exactly how to do the tasks assigned and won’t spend much time trying to figure it out. Above that, employees will be more engaged in the jobs they do if they see that the employer cares about them.

If you care about the employees working for you, that can be manifest by developing their skills through organizing and investing in their training. Collect data about the company you are running and arrange training based on the critical factors that keep the business running.

Understanding all employees

To manage the workforce better, you need to understand them more and that will enable you to care for their individual needs. If you know their skills and abilities and assign them tasks that will make them function at their best potential, they will be more confident and be more productive.

That can be achieved by open communication between you and each employee. Instead of staying in the office all day every day, you can consider going to the common area during lunchtime to communicate with employees.

Gauge the performance

To manage your workforce more efficiently, you need to track their work performance and determine if they are working to their full potential. You can do so by figuring out the customer satisfaction rate. If customers are satisfied with the service, it might mean that everything is still under control.

Don’t wait until there is a complaint that comes to you but rather ask for each customer’s opinion about the service they got. Using a review system like that will help you know exactly how customers feel about the performance of the workforce you’ve employed.

Integrating technology in operations

Another way to empower employees is by offering them all the resources necessary to accomplish their daily tasks. That can be fulfilled by integrating technological systems that will assist them to do their tasks more efficiently.

For example, you can use wearable technology to help with scanning packed boxes and determining what is inside them. If the work of employees is lighter, they will be happier to come to work and that will result in increased productivity. Another measure you can take is automating some of the tasks that were burdening the workforce.

Practically assist employees to be more productive

Some employees are destined to be great leaders in the industry you are in and caging them by not giving them development opportunities can be harmful. The workforce you have deserves to grow and show leadership skills in the teams they are working in.

Instead of hiring managers when the need arises, groom the employees you have right now to be able to fill that role when that opportunity comes. The employees will also be motivated at this and will start putting in some more effort when doing their work. The same applies to you as well.

If you are the head of the operations or an employee in supply chain logistics, and you don’t feel productive in the place you work in, look for a new job that can cater to your needs. Go through top resume reviews and ivory research to get the best resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter designed.

Observe and report

You probably know the way you would like certain tasks to be carried out for optimum productivity, but the question is how do you implement it?

The most important thing is to understand where you are in relation to that goal you have set for yourself. That can be accomplished by observing the employees and seeing how they do things and determine where they can improve. Once you have done so, you can come up with a plan of action on how to incorporate those ideas you have.

Periodical motivational meetings

Everybody needs some motivation once in a while and you as an employer can arrange meetings with the entire staff. Those meetings will discuss the milestones and goals you have accomplished as a whole.

You can also include a snapshot of the work that is still upcoming and express that you believe in the entire team you work with. The motivation will help employees see what they are doing is truly worthwhile and that their efforts are appreciated.

Implement Warehouse Management Systems

You can implement a warehouse management system to oversee the tasks done at your workplace and try to optimize them. All the tasks that are optimized by these systems will help you cut down costs and have a more productive and engaged workforce.

Unlike humans, these systems primarily care about carrying out tasks efficiently. In that way, it can be a good balance between generating revenue and managing the workforce better.

Instill effective labor management systems to managers

Managers are the tip of the spear in the workforce. They have to report to the big bosses and still deal with the employees under them. Because of that, it is very important to speak to managers and train them on how to manage employees better.

They know the individual employees better and they should be tasked with the work of encouraging employees on the effort they are putting in the company. Managers should also be able to spot underperforming individuals and help them improve.

Incite professional competition

Professional competition is a great way to keep your employees on their toes. By having leaderboards on the work that the teams produce weekly or monthly, more workers will be keen on getting more done.

Also, you can have an employee of the month award and other rewards for workers that outperform and always show great work ethic. The awards don’t have to be expensive, simple things like recognition can do really well.

The bottom line

You can manage your workforce more effectively in the supply chain business by implementing warehouse management systems and integrating technologies in the daily operations of the business. Also, focus more on individual performance and then motivate and encourage based on that and help employees improve in their respective jobs they do.

____________________________________________________________________

This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

healthcare

5 Ways For Healthcare Providers To Build A Fortress Against Cyber Threats

The healthcare industry has yet to find a cure for cyberattacks. Housing personal health data, all kinds of providers are vulnerable targets of hackers and patient care can be put at great risk.

News of breaches in healthcare computer systems is a regular occurrence. Over 100,000 medical records were recently leaked as a result of a data breach at a Montana hospital. And research this year showed an upsurge in malware attacks on healthcare providers. Phishing messages, a means of malware delivery via email, have been found to come in the form of alerts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As cyberattacks become more sophisticated and widespread, the need for adequately securing computer networks at hospitals and all medical facilities has never been greater, says Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com).

“The costs of cyberattacks for healthcare providers can be enormous,” Zlatin says, “but how hackers can literally stop facilities from functioning and keep patients from getting care and medication should get everyone’s attention. “It’s all about prevention, and for many providers, being secure as possible will involve a retooling and re-thinking of how they approach cybersecurity from the human and technological standpoints.”

Zlatin provides five tips for healthcare providers to better protect against cybersecurity threats:

-Educate employees about phishing attacks. Many breaches start with human error. Employees make the mistake of responding to an email, link or website designed by hackers to access private information. “Email is a popular phishing technique,” Zlatin says. “The best ways to prevent them from doing damage are to educate your employees on what suspicious emails look like and to use strong email spam filters. Also, your software should automatically scan any links or attachments. This prevents new or unrecognizable URLs from sneaking past company safeguards.”

-Beware of ransomware. Ransomware has been a big menace to the healthcare industry, holding data for ransom, paralyzing facilities and putting patients at risk. Zlatin says the first step in dealing with ransomware is backing up your system, ideally with a cloud backup to protect data. “Failure to do backup can cause irreparable damage,” he says. “And while hackers continually find ways to infiltrate, your security software should contain the most updated anti-malware and anti-ransomware protection. When a ransomware attack occurs, the first thing employees should do is contact their IT team — not try to resolve it themselves.”

-Have a top-down security program. There can be a disconnect and gaps in cyber security procedures when a medical facility’s security staff and IT team don’t overlap. “Including cybersecurity duties at a managerial level, perhaps even as an executive position, can ensure that correct initiatives are created, launched, and enforced, and that funding for security initiatives is available,” Zlatin says. “This also helps enforce regular risk assessment, which should be part of any healthcare provider’s cybersecurity threat program.”

-Make sure vendors have protection. The Healthcare Industry Cybersecurity Task Force, which was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, warned providers about areas of security vulnerability in the supply chain. “Vendors should take the proper steps to detect threats,” Zlatin says. “They include all healthcare business partners, such as insurance companies and infrastructure providers, all of whom should have good security records and be able to protect medical information. It’s especially important for organizations that outsource IT personnel from third-party vendors.”

-Update passwords often. “Using the same passwords for most platforms is a big mistake,” Zlatin says. “It increases vulnerabilities. If a criminal discovers one password used for several accounts, it leads to a disastrous theft of data. So, have employees generate new passwords periodically and not get stuck on convenience.”

“Too often, many healthcare facilities aren’t vigilant enough about defending their medical records security,” Zlatin says. “Healthcare providers face a constant threat that requires constant vigilance because they and their patients have too much to lose.”

________________________________________________________________

Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel.

His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.

 

 

ISO 9001:2015

Dachser USA Preps for 2020 with Renewed ISO 9001:2015 Certification

‘Tis the season for new year preparations. Today, Dachser USA confirmed its continued efforts towards quality customer service through the successful renewal of its ISO 9001:2015 quality management system certification. The certification – provided by Dekra Certification, covers the logistics leader’s contract logistics, road transport and value-added services and further illustrates the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest levels in customer service. The company’s Contract Logistics locations in Chicago and Atlanta, in addition to its Atlanta regional office, were confirmed for the renewal.

“We work in a dynamic, challenging industry, so our quality management systems need to be able to respond to market shifts and changes in business demands,” says Vincent Touya, Managing Director of Dachser USA.
The certification contributes to Dachser’s overall quality control standard previously established through the Dachser Management System in 2016. This system spotlights ways the company can improve quality and overall operational excellence while ensuring risks are immediately mitigated at each point in the supply chain.
“We are committed to be the preferred provider of supply chain logistics services and solutions, and the ongoing certification is a recognition of our invested effort to establish and maintain the highest quality standards per the requirements set forth by ISO 9001:2015,” concluded Touya.
ISO 9001:2015 holds an international observance by more than 170 countries and one million global companies. To successfully earn the certification, companies must first prove that product, customer experience,  system and regulatory standards are met and maintained with customer satisfaction as the driver and end-result. It’s no surprise, however, that Dachser USA can yet again boast this certification as part of their portfolio of excellence.
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.

 

6 Important Tips for Effective Logistic Management

The larger your operation, the more steps you will have in your logistics plan and the harder it is to manage. A supply chain has to be very efficient to supply different materials to varying locations at specific times.

It’s also important to be able to respond speedily when there’s a problem. Here are six tips to help you manage logistics effectively.

1. Define your goals

The business sector uses the term logistics to describe the efficient flow and storage of goods from where they originate to where they’re consumed. The supply chain includes transportation, shipping, receiving, storage and management of all these areas.
 
Some of the key goals for all businesses are increased efficiency, more sales, and greater customer satisfaction at the lowest cost. However, for every business there are different logistic/supply chain needs and they must support the goals of the business.

For example, if one of your goals is to make your supply chain as lean and efficient as possible, you will continuously strive to identify opportunities to streamline work processes and minimize waste.

In order to implement a logistics management strategy, business owners need to take a thorough look at every part of the chain, define how it should work and how it contributes to the overall supply chain management goals i.e. are the distribution centers in the right locations and are there enough of them?

2. It’s all in the planning

Logistics can be very stressful without good planning. The entire operation should be able to progress smoothly with minimal interruptions and this requires planning ahead.  Of course, there are always unexpected hiccups but the fewer off-the-cuff decisions that have to be made the better.

Shawn Michaels who works for paper writing services has spent a decade motivating business owners across various industries. He suggests logistics managers should devise flow charts for the entire operation. It needs to include factors such as goods procurement, storage facilities and delivery of products to an exact location.   

3. Have a contingency plan

Logistic managers need to have a contingency plan for every aspect of the logistics. No matter how good the original plan, covering every eventuality is impossible. Managers have to follow the supply chain at every point and be ready to switch to a backup plan if necessary.

Inventory management is often one of the main culprits that can adversely affect business goals. Being able to track and manage inventory in real-time helps with smooth and efficient functioning and increase sales.

If there isn’t the capability to give the alert about potential shortages and relay information about bottlenecks, costly delays can be expected that can significantly affect the company’s bottom line.

Logistics managers need to know that they can’t depend on one supplier or vendor and usually have an extensive network of sources for products and services. Michael Osborne who works as a writer for rush essay stresses the importance of having a network of contacts to rely on in event of an emergency. 

4. Hire the right logistics manager

Your company needs a good logistics manager who knows how to sort out issues and keep things moving. He must be able to keep a cool head and think on the fly. 

He needs to be good with people and have the interpersonal skills to communicate with employees and make alternative arrangements when necessary. It helps if he has a network of industry contacts he can rely on when he needs to sort out problems. 

Richard Alderman, manager of My-Assignment.Help, says that apart from good interpersonal skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure, good logistics managers also need strong leadership skills and good financial acumen.

5. Adopt automation

Technology can play a major role in increasing еру efficiency of the supply chain. Today’s software is able to measure and analyze just about anything, improving the chances of success in any logistics venture. Valuable software saves time and maximizes performance.

Potential problems in the supply chain such as inadequately tracked fleets, scattered inventory or mismanaged warehouse processes can be improved by automating systems.

For example, using fleet and inventory management software and HR software can help refine processes taking into account factors that have the most impact on the bottom line. Tracking a truck in transit not only provides valuable data but helps to make sure delivery is on time as a driver may have questions about the freight and problems could occur.   

Kenneth Novak who heads up a writing service has found that using systems to centralize information and automate provides access to real-time information. This can help a business to reach its maximum potential with a minimum investment in planning and implementing solutions.

6. Learn from your mistakes

Poor logistics management can undermine a company’s future. In order to optimize your supply chain, you have to learn from your mistakes. This means regularly sitting down as a team, being open about mistakes and discussing how to put systems in place to prevent them from happening again. 

According to John Abrahams who writes easyessay, learning from mistakes is vital when it comes to conducting logistics-related activities in an economic and efficient way. Team meetings need to be held frequently that include all the primary functions of the business in order to review and discuss problems and solutions.

The aim of effective logistics management is to improve operations, ensure customer satisfaction, and increase productivity.  Using the best logistics practices can help your company to gain a competitive advantage. The supply chain environment is continually shifting and so logistics strategies need to be constantly reassessed. If you keep these tips in mind, you can make sure your supply chain is as effective as possible.

This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu Birdie, XpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

RILA

Disruptors, Problem-Solvers, & Up-and-Comers: What to Expect at RILA/LINK 2020

Known as The Retail Supply Chain Conference, the 2020 Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) LINK show gathers leading retail players for an event that goes far beyond networking. The annual RILA/LINK conference will be held from Feb. 23-26, 2020, at the Gaylord Texan Resort, one of the premier conference centers in Dallas. 

The conference boasts a global and domestic attendee presence consisting of exclusive RILA members, executive keynote speakers and supply chain professionals in search of the latest and greatest innovations, resources and partners. More than 1,800 attendees are expected so far.

Participants can anticipate more than 300 solutions providers, 155-plus leading retailers, dozens of breakout sessions and more keynote speakers than one can count on their hands. Among the speakers currently lined up include Levi Strauss & Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh as a keynote speaker and seminar leader, educator and business guru Dr. Dale Henry as a general session speaker. 

Innovation, industry disruptors, retail up-and-comers, economic growth, environmental sustainability and competition are among the RILA focus areas and are part of the topics anticipated for the conference to address.

Hundreds of exhibitors from around the globe will showcase the latest innovation, retail and supply chain solutions and expertise at the show. Among the big names to look out for include: Descartes Systems USA, Amber Road, APL Logistics, Approved Freight Forwarders, Bastian Solutions, BluJay Solutions, CN, FedEx Corp., Georgia Ports Authority, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay, Port of Baltimore, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and many more. DHL serves as the Title Sponsor for the 2020 conference, following suit from last year’s event in Kissimmee, Florida. 

LINK 2019 put a spotlight on many of the issues retail and supply chain players are still learning to navigate to this very day. Of these issues, trade tariffs, customer relations and innovation remain high on the list of significant disruptors showing no signs of going away. The retail ecosystem is continuously evolving without warning. The customers of yesterday are greeted with new and competitive offerings to gain their loyalty and without the knowledge of experts and peers, it seems nearly impossible to keep up.

Jennifer Safavian, RILA executive vice president of Government Affairs, issued a firm statement in a recent press release from the association, commenting on the current situation in the trade war and how it continues impacting industry players and customers by taking actions one step further. The following announcement is being attributed for ultimately delaying the imposition of President Trump’s proposed tariffs for another month:

“The damaged caused by the trade war is escalating. Economic indicators continue to signal a slow-down in growth. Investors are skittish, markets are volatile and uncertainty over tariffs is stalling business investments and job creation. Consumer confidence is the one pillar of strength in the U.S. economy, and the president’s tariff strategy is threatening that as higher prices will be imposed on consumer goods with increased tariffs.”

As the retail sector changes, RILA and its 200+ members of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers are ready and prepared for the next step in ensuring success and establishing a competitive edge. Furthermore, the executive team at RILA is ready to stand up on behalf of global retailers. If your company is involved in supply chain logistics or retail in any way, RILA’s 2020 LINK Conference is a no-brainer. Registration is now open, secure your spot today! 

delivery

The Advent of Smart Vehicles & Drones in Delivery

Consumers will almost always pick the company that delivers faster. Having the most efficient supply chain is now, more than ever, the key differentiator that sets companies apart from their competitors. But more than this, companies that can predict behavior are the ones that will stand out ahead of the pack.

Since the early 2000s, logistics, freight, delivery and service companies have been outfitting their fleets with GPS tracking systems to monitor the location, movement and status of their fleets. For many companies, GPS tracking is where logistics technology begins and ends, with businesses investing thousands of dollars into monitoring their vehicles and reacting to ‘what happened’. But companies that are positioning themselves for the future recognize that the real value lies not in just determining what happened, but rather in using data obtained through intelligent logistics solutions to predict future scenarios, mitigate risks and avoid adverse outcomes altogether.

By accessing data in real-time through internet of things (IoT) technology, businesses can anticipate their customers’ needs and desires before they do, enabling them to deploy resources more strategically and sharpening their competitive edge. Using the real-time data collected, which helps identify where to trim the fat or drop what’s not working, companies are now able to make quicker, bolder and more informed business decisions. And beyond helping companies streamline their logistical processes and distribution networks, IoT technology is also driving their expansion into new untapped markets with the advent of smart vehicles and drones.

Using smart vehicles and drones to expedite delivery

One of the key – and arguably most important – innovations in intelligent logistics is the development of the delivery drone. The immediate and obvious benefit of drones is faster delivery, enabling consumers to speedily receive products from vendors like Amazon, Sam’s Club and Whole Foods. Drones allow for expedited deployments; waiting for trucks to dispatch takes significantly longer. However, even more important is the impact drones are making on reaching developing societies that, up to now, have missed out on decades of infrastructure development.

Drones using IoT technology are connecting developing countries with limited infrastructure to the global village, thus enabling them to participate in the global economy. This is opening new markets for business that were previously closed to them in the past.

Smart logistics in vehicle fleet management

Delivery vehicles that get caught in traffic or take convoluted routes to their locations can cost businesses hours of lost productivity. But by using Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technology, IoT devices allow businesses to easily and precisely track driver locations.

Smart trucks that implement IoT tech do more than ensuring the driver is on task, on time and performing safely at optimum levels. IoT devices are also enabling businesses and their delivery fleets to gather even more valuable data, such as identifying the fastest route to avoid traffic, knowing when the trailer is unhitched or when the recipient has opened a dispatched package. Companies like McDonald’s are experimenting with delivery trucks that can map the fastest and most efficient routes on their own, thereby reducing emissions and speeding up delivery.

Drivers, too, benefit from IoT tech in their vehicles. Smart logistics tech can also monitor the environment on all four sides of a vehicle, which helps prevent costly mistakes and accidents.

By leveraging IoT technology, companies can now execute every step of the delivery process on-site. For a happy ending, wireless sensors notify companies when the order was opened, allowing company representatives to ‘wow’ customers with a text alert saying, “did you enjoy the product?”

Driverless vehicles: how can they help me?

Back in 2017, an English online grocery chain named Ocado released a self-driving delivery truck into the backstreets of London. The little truck was accompanied by two human monitors and delivered goods to London residents over the course of ten days, all by using its onboard IoT mapping software.

Ocado’s mini-truck was unable to carry as much cargo as its bigger, 18-wheeler brothers, but it did arrive at customer houses faster and with less hassle than larger vehicles could have. Online buyers, meanwhile, could use Ocado’s smartphone app to track their delivery and receive updates right as the Ocado van pulled up to their place of residence.

The Ocado van was the first in a continuing development of vehicles that can deliver goods quicker than traditional freighters, with more cost savings. Additionally, autonomous delivery vehicles can be scaled up more quickly; it’s easier to fit 20 small vans on the streets versus 20 diesel trucks.

IoT technology is future-proofing businesses for long-term returns

To today’s businesses, with the advent of smart vehicles and drones integrating IoT tech into supply chains may seem costly or even risky. But its striking long-term benefits and savings far outweigh the initial costs. Companies deploying intelligent logistics technologies within their fleets have fewer safety concerns, less staff compensation claims and more satisfied customers. With an eye on the long game, smart companies are employing IoT solutions to go beyond merely being ‘good’ at logistics: by mining IoT data, they’re investing in long-term returns for their businesses.

Gregg Abbate is the iLogistics key account manager of Advantech.

IoT technology

The Utilization of IoT Technology in Smart Logistics

With the new IoT-powered supply chain, the industry can now track goods from anywhere, at any time, on a global scale, transforming the modern supply chain as we know it.

We live in a complex, global world, and few industries better illustrate this complexity than logistics. In this multifaceted landscape, missteps along the supply chain are unavoidable. Most consumer goods travel thousands of miles, changing hands multiple times, before reaching their final destinations. Yet, no matter how solid the logistics network for a moving asset is, at some point a truck will get stuck in traffic, a crate will be delayed at a warehouse or an asset will go missing altogether.

Most parcels languish for much of their time in transit dead-zones; goods are first logged at factories, warehouses and delivery depots, but little real-time data exists during the journey between these points. Although radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags help track goods as they reach their destination, when it comes to following mobile assets, traditional RFID technology falls short. They give no information on what happens ‘in between’, leaving logistics managers largely in the dark about the state of the goods they’re charged with moving safely, and quickly, through a complex supply chain.

With traditional supply chain management solutions, logistics managers often only learn about delayed or misrouted assets after they arrive hours late—or not at all—at their destinations. These hours in limbo translate into lost productivity, delayed production and broken client relationships.

IoT technology unlocks the value in supply chains

Using the real-time data collected by IoT sensors, companies are now able to identify where to trim the fat and make quicker, bolder and more informed business decisions that sharpen their competitive edge. It also gives unmatched insights on customer behaviors, enabling them to innovate based on sound evidence. And by accessing data in real-time, businesses can anticipate their customers’ needs and desires before they do, enabling them to deploy resources more strategically and be more adaptable.

Real-time asset tracking streamlines field operations

As a tracking tool, IoT technology sharpens efficiencies between warehouses and distributors, giving customers clearer visibility of their deliveries. But more than this, real-time tracking provides data with fine-grain accuracy, hyper-speed connectivity, low-latency (less downtime), and deep coverage.

In contrast to RFID-based scan points, the IoT smart tracking device securely transmits real-time information about the exact location of those goods at any point along the supply chain, enabling businesses to minimize costly errors or avoid disruptive bottlenecks quickly.

Unlike most first-generation smart devices, assets connected to the IoT network don’t rely on WiFi or 4G, so connectivity issues are lessened, regardless of where the asset travels. IoT devices also benefit from deeper coverage in traditionally low-connectivity areas such as garages and basements.

Cameras installed on multiple parts of delivery vehicles give a 360° view of the travelling environment, while LTE signals in vehicles make for better GPS tracking. The quality and quantity of granular data that these intelligent devices can collect and organize is unprecedented. Thanks to this new level of information, global companies are beginning to see their supply chains become leaner and more efficient. 

Reducing delay-related costs with improved speed and accuracy

As goods make their way through the supply chain, IoT sensors return information about journey times, traffic surge spots, warehouse delays, network gaps or a change in ambient temperature. These up-to-the-minute alerts allow companies to mobilize quickly across a complex, global transportation network. Delayed assets can cause major disruptions further down the supply chain, but smart logistics turns potentially costly disruptions into a minor hiccup.

Building a lean supply chain

As our global economy becomes even more interconnected, investing in IoT-powered smart logistics solutions has no longer become a ‘nice to have’ option, but a critical necessity, giving the industry all the tools it needs to remain at the forefront of agile innovation in an everchanging world. 

 

Gregg Abbate is the iLogistics key account manager of Advantech.