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Best Practices, Resiliency, Risk Management And Sustainability In 2024

global trade management

Best Practices, Resiliency, Risk Management And Sustainability In 2024

Companies with global footprints are now defining their strategic plans for the next three to five years. For many companies the first long-term planning since the pandemic put us in perpetual react mode.

Read also: Supply Chain: Challenges and Key Solutions 

From February 2020 to December 2022, the pandemic created disruption, delays, additional costs, and uncertainty.

From December 2022 until the spring of 2023, the state of global trade, supply chain and logistics very rapidly reverted to pre-pandemic scenarios.

The rebound happened very fast, was unexpected and moved so quickly that it caught every person in business and government by surprise.

The only area where change did not occur was “uncertainty.” 

The big 2024 question is this: Is uncertainty going to continue, subside, grow, or morph into a new scenario that we will have to learn how to deal with, as we had with COVID?

As that dilemma continues, we in global supply chain, operations, manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and management must plan ahead.

Our experience in managing disruption and change over 40 years has brought us to certain conclusions that can guide us in planning when uncertainty is looming.

Each of the following areas offer us a blueprint for strategically thinking through our options and devising our strategy for what many refer to as … “The New Norm.”

This two-part article offers insight and guidance for the 3- to 5-year strategic planning process. “The Management Structure” follows the critical tops-down senior-management driven planning process, then in “Additional Considerations and Challenges,” I discuss macro areas of uncertainty that must be incorporated into your planning—from geo-politics to the global economy.

THE MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE

The five cornerstones of top-down strategic planning, engaging senior management are:

  • Understand the long-term goals of senior management. 
  • Collaborate with senior management in how to best achieve those goals. 
  • Turn those collaborative processes into tactical concepts. 
  • Establish a committee of stakeholders. 
  • Create the plan and execute, once senior management “buys in.”

These cornerstones are very straight forward and easily executed. Four to six weeks should be allocated for that process. Once the strategic plan has been agreed to, the tactics need to be organized, as follows:

  • Logistics 
  • Distribution 
  • Demand Planning 
  • Customer Service 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Technology

The strategic plan and follow-on tactical plan should take in the following considerations:

LOGISTICS: You need to conduct a review and possibly issue an RFP to determine what service providers and carriers with whom you can:

Depend upon consistently.

  • Develop a “partnership” relationship.
  • Obtain the balance between price, service and value-added.
  • Develop solutions as challenges arise in freight, transportation, and international shipping.
  • Employ comprehensive and integrated technology solutions.

DISTRIBUTION: The cost of distribution skyrocketed through the pandemic and continues to be an expensive area of supply chain. We expect that as demand dissipates, distribution—which combines warehousing, inventory management and shipping—will once again have competitively priced offerings.

Other factors:

  • A study on the demographics of your customer base
  • The number, size, functionality, and location of your distribution locations
  • Should the locations be turned into Bonded or Foreign Trade Zones, where additional financial and operating benefits can be achieved?
  • Can the distribution process be improved with technology and/or business process enhancements?
  • Should we control distribution or outsource and utilize a 3PL that specializes in distribution?

DEMAND PLANNING: At best a “best guess” of future inventory needs, demand planning does have a parameter or “sweet spot” that can be established with an acceptable range for accuracy. We like +/- 5%, but each industry and business model will establish its own forecast threshold.

Demand planning simplified includes two driving factors: historical data and anticipated need. Historical data can typically be obtained easily, and it generally is reasonably accurate. It is around the area of anticipated need which requires outreach by sales and customer service to existing accounts and key prospects to develop that anticipated need. That need is usually more subjective and prone to higher degree of inaccuracy due to multiple factors, which can include a lack of seriousness, diligence and persistence of customer service and sales personnel interfacing with their client priorities or in other words, “Don’t push the client too hard.” 

The art and science of demand planning, through the utilization of technology, predictive analysis techniques along with artificial intelligence (AI) can minimize the discrepancies and bring along more accurate predictions. 

Holding customer service and sales personnel accountable to obtain quality, accurate and dependable demand data from the clients, however, requires no investment in technology or AI and is often the most accurate—and as such is a necessary component of demand planning.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Managers of customer service must raise the bar of providing customer care, differentiation and value add into the service portfolio.

Many companies are moving to technology to reduce cost, which has been successful in reducing cost but more likely at the expense of frustrated customers.

Leaders must consciously discern between where technology can be utilized as an advantage in client relationships and where human interaction provides a better option.

Personalization in customer service is making a comeback and companies that emphasize this methodology may see some additional cost, but that is ultimately outweighed by higher margins and more sustainable client relations.

MANUFACTURING: Companies are assessing their manufacturing options and, in some cases, diversifying manufacturing as a risk management strategy, including seeking alternative sources such as nearshoring and friend-shoring.

Reducing manpower needs in manufacturing is a good example of a strong strategic plan as blue collar American-based manufacturer workers are few and far between. 

Technology can be utilized successfully in manufacturing as a business process enhancement, reducing manpower needs and providing cost effective efficiencies.

AI also has been utilized in manufacturing to streamline process and reduce manual labor including in-person oversight and supervision.

Automating Quality Control (QC) is also another option in reducing labor costs and simultaneously eliminating human errors.

Manufacturing conducted in Foreign Trade Zones is another option that can provide significant benefit in lowering landed costs, reducing import charges, deferring duty obligations, and affording tariff inversions.

TECHNOLOGY: Technology is moving at the speed of light and AI is becoming a huge contributor to technology’s growth and value-add in its applications in global supply chain management.

In every area we outlined above technology plays a role in process, communication, assessment, planning and in execution.

We must create a balanced approach in recognizing where technology can provide benefit and where it may not, drawing the conclusion that we need to not overuse technology where it ends up having a negative impact on our business model.

The chief technology officer, often a new seat in the C-Suite, can manage the technology strategy and provide informed guidance on where, how, and when specific areas of the global supply chain can move forward with technology enhancements that offer “enterprise solutions.”

Technology in the global supply chain includes the following:

  • Total integration with all parties in a global transaction.
  • Provides 100% transparency to information and data.
  • Provides the platform for analysis, tied into AI … can provide extraordinary data that help in making better, more informed decisions.
  • Ties into one platform … sourcing, purchasing, vendor management, supply chain, demand planning, manufacturing, inventory, warehousing, distribution, customer service and accounting.
  • Provides robust information flows, management reports and utilizes AI for analysis.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS AND CHALLENGES

Moving beyond the top-down strategic planning process, in this section we explore the other key considerations and challenges that we face in doing business in 2024 and beyond, all of which must be factored into our long-term planning.

THE ECONOMY AND A RECESSION: We are experiencing an uncertain economic picture:

  • Recession still a possibility 
  • Tightening of the money supply
  • Significant discourse in Washington, with the two dominate political parties rarely being able to create “bridges and compromises.”
  • A major downturn in import volumes, consumer purchasing and unused inventories.

All these factors must be weighed into any strategic decision that management in global supply chain will make.

Additionally, global demand has fallen off a cliff, creating a rise in transport capacity. 

Carriers, service providers and all aspects of the global supply chain are likely to slide. In fact, most international carriers in air and ocean freight along with domestic trucking have all been diminished, creating a pull back on asset placement, development and utilization.

Transportation in general is “pulling back.” Large trucking companies like Yellow Freight fell into bankruptcy, causing further disruption and a loss of capacity.

The shift in transportation services and capacity must be considered in establishing an informed strategy and business plan.

TRADE COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT: Sanctions are still increasing—in number and severity. This is causing political discourse with retaliatory actions from our trading partners, particularly China, Russia and Iran.

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has brought social compliance into its purview and is now further threatening some of our trading partners—such as China once again—with respect to “forced labor” practices.

CBP is still practicing enforced compliance and focused assessments, making the lives of import managers much more challenging.

And as the importance of corporate trade compliance management grows, its value in managing growth, spend, profits, and sustainability is evident in all supply chain business models. 

As a result, having point personnel who manage trade compliance is even more a full-time job with any company developing a formidable global reach.

THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE CONFLICT: The United States and most of the West are providing billions of dollars of support to Ukraine and sanctioning Russia intensely. The U.S. and certain western allies are providing other levels of military and economic support to Ukraine, both directly and indirectly.

The region has witnessed great impact and even if the war ended today, the damage and upheaval in Ukraine will take decades to reverse.

Global trade has seen a residual impact in certain areas of agriculture, manufacturing, raw materials, precious metals and several other products and commodities.

Russia has paid a huge price in their image and place in the world geopolitically and may never recover to its international standing again.

The cost to the West is high and the outlay of all the military and economic aid is beginning to stress numerous politicians, governments, and the will of the masses in many countries. The U.S. support of Ukraine will no doubt play into November’s presidential election.

In the face of a constantly changing sanctions landscape, once again we emphasize the need for dedicated, well-trained personnel who manage trade compliance at the corporate level.

RISK MANAGEMENT MINDSET: Supply chain managers are quickly developing a “risk management” mindset in their operational and planning responsibilities.

A risk management mindset includes:

  • Assessing and evaluating where risk exists in every nook and cranny in the global supply chain.
  • Collaboratively working with senior management in understanding the “degree and taste for risk” in their company’s culture and business model.
  • Measuring the risks and their impact to the organization and more specifically the supply chain.
  • Creating and implementing solutions, where possible, to mitigate risk, accept risk or transfer risk.
  • Adapting supply chain policies where reducing risk and spend take high priority in the decision-making process.

While cost will always be an important factor in our supply chain decision-making, risk control and mitigation now carry much more weight.

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT IN THE C-SUITE

The pandemic has elevated the relevance and importance of supply chains in every business vertical, every company and country in the world.

Today, the supply chain manager is likely to have “a seat at the table” in the running of an organization, become part of the senior management team; witness the chief supply chain officer position.

We believe this to be a positive consequence of the supply chain disruption from the pandemic. It now affords supply chain managers a greater and more important role in designing overall business models, operations, resilient and sustainable practices.

CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING

To survive the pandemic-driven consequences of cost increases, delays and uncertainty, supply chain managers met those challenges by:

  • Being diligent, working harder and smarter.
  • Developing creative solutions and trying techniques never-before utilized. 
  • Taking better, well-thought-out risks to make things happen.
  • Collaborating intensively up to senior management, internally to other stakeholders, with vendors and suppliers, and with customers.
  • Making the significant effort to influence the behavior of others in the above collaborations.
  • Developing successful communication skills. 
  • Finding and exploiting additional and robust resources. 
  • Leading subordinates, colleagues, stakeholders in directions not yet travelled, and doing it timely and comprehensively.

The supply chain managers who rose to the occasion and did well were, in most cases, shown appreciation by their senior management and their profile and significance in the organization was raised.

It is likely that from now on, supply chain management is clearly identified as a critical aspect of any company’s business model.

Creating and executing a strategic plan in the global supply chain will greatly assist a company at meeting both its short-term and long-term planning objectives. Additionally, being prepared for disruption and bringing forward ideas to mitigate risk and spend is a “Best Practice” to be followed, managed, and cherished by all prudent and successful business managers. 

Our “Best Practices in Global Trade” columnist Thomas A. Cook is a seasoned global supply chain professional, author of more than 20 books on global trade and managing director of Blue Tiger International. He can be reached at tomcook@bluetigerintl.com or (516) 359-6232. 

carbon supply chain

What Would a Post-Carbon Supply Chain Look Like?

Businesses worldwide are pushing for more sustainable practices. As the threat of climate change has worsened, it’s become clear that industry as a whole must move away from carbon emission-generating practices. This movement has significant implications for supply chains.

Today’s supply chains are far from carbon-free. An organization’s supply chain often accounts for 90% of its greenhouse gas emissions when taking overall climate impacts into account. From diesel-powered trucks to natural gas-generated warehouse power, these networks rely heavily on fossil fuels.

It can be hard to imagine supply chains without these resources, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what a post-carbon supply chain would look like and how companies could achieve it.

Electric Vehicles

The most obvious difference between today’s supply chains and a post-carbon one is their vehicles. Transportation accounts for 21% of total global emissions, and freight constitutes a considerable portion of that figure. Almost all trucks that move freight today use fossil fuels, but post-carbon transport will be electric.

Electric trucks will likely be the first type of carbon-free vehicles to appear in supply chains. General Motors has already established goals to produce zero emissions, and electric road vehicles are increasingly common. Post-carbon supply chains will bring electrification to more than just trucks, though.

Ships and airplanes will also be electric. Their longer routes will require more efficiency, so they may rely on technologies like fuel cells or solar power instead of batteries. Regardless of the specifics, every vehicle in the post-carbon supply chain will be electric.

Green Power Sources

While vehicles may be the easiest culprit to pinpoint, they’re not the only source of emissions. Supply chains consume a considerable amount of energy, most of which comes from fossil fuels. In fact, if 125 multinational companies increased their supply chain renewable energy by 20%, they would save more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions.

In a post-carbon supply chain, all energy would come from renewable sources. That would likely mean using various technologies, as sustainable power has varying effectiveness in different applications. Solar, wind and hydroelectric power would all play a part in the transition to zero-carbon operations.

A truly zero-carbon supply chain would also use renewables to generate power for its electric vehicles. Creating batteries or hydrogen for fuel cells requires energy, and this too must be green for supply chains to be truly sustainable.

Sustainable Sourcing

A more easily overlooked aspect of post-carbon supply chains is how sustainability plays into their corporate partnerships. A truly zero-emissions supply chain must ensure its suppliers are also carbon-free. Otherwise, it would still be investing in emissions-producing activity, albeit indirectly.

Industrial sectors like manufacturing are responsible for 29.6% of total emissions in the U.S. If a supply chain moved products from a company with such a significant carbon footprint, one could hardly consider it carbon-free. In a truly post-carbon supply chain, all connected sources are also zero emissions.

Ensuring these connections are sustainable requires a considerable amount of transparency. As such, post-carbon supply chains will require regular audits from involved parties to verify their sustainability. They’ll likely also employ technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) trackers and blockchains to keep operations transparent.

How Can the World Move Toward Post-Carbon Supply Chains?

These factors may seem like lofty goals right now. Today’s supply chains have a long way to go before they can say they’re truly carbon-free. Thankfully, however far-off these sustainability targets may seem, they are achievable. Companies can start acting now to move toward them.

Recognizing the business incentives for removing carbon from the supply chain can help encourage further action. According to one study, 84% of global consumers are more likely to make purchase decisions based on a company’s sustainability practices. Similarly, 61% are willing to wait for longer delivery times if they know it’s better for the environment.

Interest in sustainable supply chains will grow when more organizations realize these benefits. As this trend gains momentum, here are a few ways supply chains can start moving toward zero-carbon goals.

Improve Visibility

The first step in moving away from carbon is improving supply chain visibility. Companies can’t effectively become more sustainable if they don’t know the extent of their current unsustainable practices. Audits and studies can reveal where carbon emissions come from in a supply chain, guiding further action.

Organizations must also ensure their emissions monitoring is an ongoing process. Without continuous checking, they won’t be able to tell how different actions impact their overall goals. Periodic audits and implementing IoT sensors to track carbon emissions can ensure ongoing transparency.

In that spirit, supply chains should start improving visibility between partners. Asking for suppliers to offer proof of their sustainability initiatives will encourage broader action and help reduce emissions on all fronts.

Invest in Green Technologies

Some aspects of the post-carbon supply chain, like electric vehicles, aren’t applicable right now. While options may be limited today, more investment in these technologies will speed their development, making sustainability more viable quicker.

Many companies have already begun to invest in green technologies. Maserati has invested more than $867 million to refurbish its production hub to produce electric cars. As more money flows into these innovations, efficient, low-cost, carbon-free technologies will become available sooner, aiding a faster transition.

Green energy is a technology, not a resource. As such, it will only become cheaper and more efficient over time. Consequently, while some of these technologies may not be viable business choices now, they will be eventually, especially with more funding.

Collaborate

Since supply chains are so interconnected, it will take increased collaboration to push them away from carbon. Decarbonization is also a considerable undertaking. The transition will be far easier and faster if companies can work together toward a common goal.

Collaboration can mitigate the financial burden of decarbonization. Similarly, it can help some companies overcome any qualms they may have about the risks of going green. Climate action experts highlight that shared responsibility translates into reduced risk, at least in people’s perception of it.

In addition to collaborating with other related companies, supply chains can partner with environmental organizations. They can help show where improvements can be made, guiding more effective action.

Supply Chains Must Become More Sustainable

Supply chains are essential to virtually every industry, and they often produce some of the most emissions. As such, these operations must move away from fossil fuels as companies seek to become more sustainable.

The post-carbon supply chain seems like a lofty goal, but it’s attainable. When organizations realize these things are possible, they can start moving toward a better future.

packaging

How to Make Your Logistics More Sustainable with Green Delivery Packaging

As the online retail industry continues to boom, delivery packaging is becoming an ever more important sustainability concern. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in online orders, and with technology constantly developing and improving, this is going to continue to increase.

In an article written by Kayla Jenkins entitled “How has E-Commerce Adapted During the COVID-19 Outbreak?” we see that there has been a 32.4 percent increase in e-commerce sales in 2020 and e-commerce shops as a whole achieved sales in the value of over $270 billion. That is a lot of boxes and packing being used; which will lead to a lot of waste and packaging materials that take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

A lot of companies are guilty of not being sustainable when it comes to packaging. Boxes are unnecessarily being used to ship slightly smaller boxes; styrofoam peanuts are being thrown into boxes and can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. In the United States, about 165 billion packages each year are shipped with cardboard which roughly equates to over one billion trees. In a study carried out by Statista, it states that 77 percent of people who order online prefer packaging that fits the actual size of the product to reduce their impact on the environment.


 

Over at 2Flow, they have put together an infographic entitled “How to Make Your Logistics More Sustainable with Green Delivery Packaging.” The infographic outlines the environmental impact of packaging; the opportunities that come with having a more green approach; the business benefits of going green; the goals of sustainable delivery packaging;  how to go about making your product delivery packaging more green; and what the business experts have to say on the topic by showing suitable case study examples.

How to make your logistics more sustainable with green delivery packaging

 

electric trucks

DHL Goes Green with BYD Electric Trucks

Build-Your-Dreams continues to make headlines by adding more options in sustainable fleet solutions for the global and domestic transportation arenas. The world’s leading electric vehicle company announced this week that DHL added four of its Class 8 battery-electric trucks to support operations in Los Angeles.

The four trucks will undergo piloting in the Los Angeles region before hauling goods to and from the DHL LAX Gateway and other facilities. The BYD-manufactured transportation solutions are in addition to DHL’s robust order of 72 total all-electric battery-powered vans with other various vendors, according to information released.

“As a global leader in logistics and express services, DHL has proved that they’re serious about their commitment to transition to zero-emission trucking,” said John Gerra, Sr. Director of Business Development at BYD Motors. “DHL is doing more than just talking about it; they’re actually putting BYD electric trucks into commercial service, today.”

DHL currently utilizes environmentally-conscious fleet options including fully electric, hybrid-electric, and clean diesel, and low-power electric-assist e-Cargo Cycles. As part of the Strategy 2025 initiative, the Deutsche Post DHL Group continues making significant progress in sustainable operations after announcing the goal of net-zero logistics-related emissions by 2050.

“The introduction of these efficient electric trucks is a huge step forward, not only toward achieving our own clean transport goals, but also California’s ambitious goals on the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “By implementing these electric trucks, we will prevent more than 300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year, as we continue to grow and enhance our clean pick-up and delivery solutions.”

Transport Management

Quality Tips for Better Transport Management

With the world becoming more interconnected than ever, the pressure and expectations from the transport industry have increased exponentially. Everyone wants a smooth, safe, and secure journey whether they are moving for their jobs or to meet someone. Moreover, the expectations from the logistics companies have been increased too. 

Transportation management is no more about just moving freight at a lower cost. The technology has advanced and the structure of the supply chain is no more linear. Along with complex structures, many other factors are compelling shippers to improve their services in order to gain a competitive edge in the market. 

Increased demands:

Customers are looking for quick, efficient, and secure deliveries where they are constantly updated about the location of their products too. 

We cannot deny that in the context of supply chain operations,  logistics and transport management are interrelated. Transportation plays a major role right from manufacturing to the final delivery of the product. Better transport management can lead to successful order completion. There can be a different outcome if there is a flaw in the logistics or transport policies. Let us find out the things you can do in order to have a more efficient transport system network. Below, some tips to improve transportation networks are discussed.

Using Technology for Various Transport Operations

Technological advances in the communication and transport industry can help bring sustainability and adaptability in transportation networks. One of the most significant jobs belongs to the transport managers since they can encourage and advertise buying and adapting technologies that support cleaner and greener vehicles and eco-friendly technologies. Potential advantages include:

-Reduced emissions

-Lesser vehicle expenses 

-Less fuel utilization

Go for Automated Solutions

There is no simpler method to smooth out your transport management than to automate the whole process. An automated transportation network can simplify and streamline all operations. With automation, transport managers can constantly keep themselves updated and know:

-If the trucks are operating

-Real-time location of the fleet

-Their destination

ERP Framework:

One of the best approaches to examine and save money on working expenses is to embrace mechanized arrangements like an ERP framework. This product robotizes the whole cycle, guaranteeing each cycle runs rapidly and decisively so any blunders that lead to misfortunes can be limited. Moreover, the framework likewise empowers you to assess salary and costs for a specific period so you will have the option to plan your spending all the more carefully.

Big Data

Constant improvement in viable transportation the executives are currently regularly acknowledged by key transporters on account of the expanded utilization of technology and using air freight framework giving the capacity to obtain informative reports for meaningful business knowledge. This enormous development towards more utilization of the information to gather bits of knowledge made by measures inside innovation is known as “Big Data.” 

How Can Transport Software Help?

The latest transport management software can provide other facilities including:

-Keep a track of journeys 

-Organize delivery trips

-Monitor the usage of fuel per vehicle

-Allocate and track drivers 

-Analyze the collected data

Transit Applications

Develop transit applications to provide real-time information regarding the route and location of the vehicle. This can also help the drivers to adopt the best and the most efficient route and improve the overall services.

Analyze the Overall Performance

Time to time analysis of the performance is necessary. The initial phase in making economical arrangements is to completely investigate and understand everything related to the whole transportation including:

-Costs

-Policies

-Procedures

-Operations and activities

This gives the information to create noteworthy sustainable systems. Fleet managers can begin by exploring existing measurements and observing devices to evaluate the use of vehicles, patterns, and mileage. This will help spot all the pros and cons and new improvement open doors in various business zones.

Using Metrics

It is necessary to monitor the transportation footprint and network. One can do it by using metrics. With huge amounts of data, identification of key operating indicators can help you look for the right information. The management must have the ability to convert the data into useful information.

Identify the Needs and Priorities

The transport business is focussed on the need to satisfy the customer’s needs. A sustainable approach in transport management can lead to more profit and better performance.

To achieve this, the business policies and priorities must be understood thoroughly.  Business needs could incorporate operational data, for example:

-Where vehicles are based and how they are planned,

-Their journey

-Stacking 

-Strategy necessities

Sustainability

The pressure on companies to go for sustainable solutions is increasing. Ecological targets could incorporate carbon decrease, practicing air quality control, and improvement of the eco-management tracking. Sustainable measures can include:

-Driverless fleet

-Cleaner vehicles

-Inclusion of eco-friendly technologies

-E-cargo bikes

Self-Driving Trucks:

The innovation for self-driving trucks is still under the process of development and it needs to defeat certain hindrances, for example, improving driverless programming to make it ready to proficiently work on urban streets with heavy traffic. No one can deny that it’s one of the transportation future trends. Transportation organizations need to plan for upcoming innovation changes inside the business and begin including self-navigating management systems in their trucks that can learn from genuine drivers.

E-Scooters

According to reports, the popularity of scooters has increased and the number of bike users has increased exponentially. This indicates that citizens are also contributing to a greener environment.

Cargo e-bikes can reduce congestion and deliver faster. They are environmentally friendly as they are charged with battery and can be ridden on sidewalks. Amazon and UPS have already started delivering through them.

Don’t Miss Out on the Chances to Improve

A significant improvement can be brought by keeping a track of fuel expenses and its total consumption along with fulfilling all the arrangements and travel demands. Effective management of transportation is impossible without the worker’s awareness and his/her adherence to the company’s strategies. To promote a spirit of cooperation, teamwork, and commitment among the employees, the managers need to have:

-Continuous monitoring

-Improvements in the operation

-Acknowledgment of employee’s good performance

These improvements combined not only prove to be profitable for the companies but can also help them to have a stronger logistics network that can reduce:

-Accidents

-Traffic congestion

-Pollution

Scalable Business Operations

By going for scalable solutions, companies with larger networks can deal with demand and complexity issues. Joining all the separate supply chains can help view everything from a single lens. A centralized system can assist in analyzing the role of each department including customer service, marketing, and sales efficiently.

At the point when all the steps included are run manually and independently, it can become hard for the supervisor to recognize issues, screen progress, and take actions. That is why it is crucial to embrace a centralized structure that joins all the steps.

Appropriate Planning and Preparation

The first step towards effective transport management is to have proper planning. The reason to invest in planning is to achieve maximum output in a shorter amount of time. There are numerous components associated with this, from the acquisition of products and their storage to their final delivery. 

Other important things:

Other things that need to be taken care of are time, transportation, and expenses. Supply chain administrators must have the option to build up an extensive work process to guarantee the efficient running of operations. 

Unexpected Situations:

Though the planning is done to get the best possible results and efficient performance, yet the possibility of uncertain threats must not be overlooked. The best example of an uncertain situation can be taken from the recent pandemic which led to numerous supply chain problems all across the globe.  It is better to be prepared for surprising conditions, including:

-Bad weather

-Shortages 

-Delays 

-Damages to goods, etc.

Training and Guiding Employees

Your employees play an integral role in the growth of your business. No job should be considered trivial or unimportant. All the departments and all the workers including the drivers, delivery guys, warehouse workers must be given proper guidance and training for productive performance. 

Agility

It is the company’s job to improve their abilities and bring agility in the operations. They all must be well aware of the:

-Company’s rules

-Their jobs

-Technologies they are working with

A centralized HRM system can monitor the performance of the workers and help conduct training.

Streamline Your Warehouse Management

Transportation jobs can’t run easily without proper inventory management. The capacity of products and course of action of distribution centers influence the transportation cycle. In this manner, make sure that all things are organized.

Accessibility of Products:

Efficient transportation management takes into consideration the accessibility of materials and customer’s requirements, guaranteeing that those goods are ideally used and distributed. Moreover, the degree of consistency helps the transporter carrying out his job in a better way.  

-Accelerate the picking cycle

-Simplify forklift working

-Use barcode scanners to add more speed and accuracy

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Danielle Gregory is a full-time Writer, Traveler, and Marketing Expert who is Currently Working for QAFILA. Danielle’s writing relates to a range of subjects such as logistics and IoT. Besides writing, she enjoys traveling, Cooking, and Riding

eco-friendly

Are Your Favorite Companies Eco-Friendly? Even They May Not Know.

Corporations around the world love to promote their environmental bona fides, touting their at-times Herculean efforts to minimize their carbon footprint.

But desiring to be environmentally friendly and truly accomplishing that goal are two different things, as illustrated recently by Amazon’s acknowledgment that its carbon footprint grew 15% last year despite efforts to curb its impact on climate change.

As it turns out, the details about many companies’ eco-friendly accomplishments are often enveloped in mystery, in some cases even for the businesses themselves.

“The Amazon situation is just an example of the bigger problem surrounding corporate claims of environmental responsibility,” says Rajat Panwar, Ph.D. (www.rajatpanwar.com), an associate professor of Sustainable Business Management at Appalachian State University.

“Most global corporations now make such claims, but the reality is that half of the carbon emissions since the industrial revolution have happened within the last 30 to 35 years. It seems that corporate environmental disclosures hide more than they reveal.”

Why is it so difficult for many companies to achieve their goals of reducing their carbon emissions or otherwise limit the damage they do to the environment? Panwar says one problem is corporations often outsource much of their work, which not only reduces their control over the environmental impact they have, but also their very knowledge of that impact.

Panwar says one study analyzed reports that 1,300 firms submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. That study revealed 80 percent of those firms could not even determine the country of origin of their products, much less any information about their carbon footprint.

“My research has found that firms that are more socially and environmentally responsible tend to perform their functions themselves rather than outsource those functions to third-party vendors,” he says.

For companies that truly desire to have a positive impact, Panwar says three issues are critical:

How companies measure emissions makes a difference. Companies’ carbon commitments and pledges should be about absolute emissions, not emissions per unit of revenue or sales, Panwar says. But too often companies link their emission-reduction goals to how much money they are bringing in, at least partially negating what should be the ultimate goals.

Eco-friendliness can’t stop at the corporate door. Carbon commitments should encompass all operations across supply-chains. In the case of companies such as Amazon, the majority of emissions actually happen offsite and can be reduced only through concrete steps taken at the supply chain level. “This is a serious issue because many companies don’t even know who their downstream suppliers are.” Panwar says. “Companies like Amazon can gather applause for their pledges, but the actual impacts are hidden in the supply chains.” Consumers who want a true reckoning of how well a company is reducing emissions need to ask companies to provide those numbers,

Supply networks should not be far-flung. In late June, Amazon announced creation of a $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund to invest in companies that make products and technology that help protect the Earth. But the details of how such a plan will play out are important, Panwar says. A good approach, he says, is to promote local supply networks so that emissions are minimal, visible and monitorable.

“I am glad that we are beginning to see through the discrepancy between corporate pledges and corporate environmental impact,” Panwar says. “When it comes to emissions and especially the effects of a global supply chain, I believe we are entering a new era in which transparency has to be made more transparent.”

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Rajat Panwar, Ph.D. (www.rajatpanwar.com), is an associate professor of Sustainable Business Management at Appalachian State University. He previously was an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. He also has been an Affiliate Faculty member in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and with the Governance, Environment, and Markets program at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Panwar holds two doctorate degrees, one in Corporate Sustainability from Grenoble École de Management in France, and one in Forestry from Oregon State University.

food supply chain

Reusable Plastics: The Unsung Heroes Of The Food Supply Chain

When you think of plastic, you probably think of piles of landfill products that don’t decompose organically, and as a result, end up languishing in the ground leaching toxic chemicals into the soil.

Modern technology has meant that plastics are more than just the straws you put in your milkshake or the wrapper on your lunchtime snack. Today’s plastics come in all shapes and sizes, including reusable, durable products used across the food supply chain market.

These products make food supply chain management more cost and time-efficient, allowing consumers to enjoy fresh, delicious produce and products quickly, and at a price they can afford.

Growing And Harvesting

In the early stages of food production, agricultural reusable plastic containers are used to grow fruits and vegetables in a safe and sanitary environment. Plastic trays are used to grow seedlings, and these are often watered using reusable plastic irrigation systems. Greenhouse covers, also made from reusable plastic, make growing plants that need climate-controlled housing, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, safe and hygienic.

When it comes to harvesting product, plastic containers make it easier for farmers to store and transport their crops safely. Cardboard or wooden pallets can be hard to sanitize and are prone to absorbing moisture, while plastic is non-porous and can easily be cleaned after each use.

Processing and Distributing

Processing fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables and other crops, involves sorting them ready to be shipped off for use in various products such as ready meals, sauces and canned goods. Some will be sold whole, but the majority will meet customers in various different forms, so they are sorted and stored in a selection of reusable plastic food handling containers, such as IBCs, prior to being distributed to factories and stores.

Distribution is the part of the supply chain where single-use plastics get involved. The products can be transported on plastic pallets and crates, which are reusable, but they are delivered to customers in single-use packaging. As DeMaso of Lipman Family Farms explains:

“Single-use plastic is hard to get rid of when sending to consumers in the produce industry. We need to make sure food safety and sanitation are on-point, so we’re not trading contaminants. Disposable plastic is a problem, [so] it’s a matter of making sure we are using as little as possible.”

Making the Food Supply Chain More Sustainable

As this article highlights, the main issue the food supply chain faces when it comes to sustainability is its reliance at the end of the process on single-use plastic packaging. Justin Bean, the Business Development and Sales Manager at Reusable Transport Packaging, believes that reusable food packaging is the future, and that food producers should embrace it throughout their supply chain. This approach will help to reduce the food supply chain’s reliance on single-use plastics.

“Farmers still spend a lot of money on single-use corrugated and or single-use plastics for distribution to retailers. Our pay per use or milkman model allows users to cut out single-use packaging waste, save money, and use a better RTP (Reusable Transport Package).”

A move towards reusable plastic packaging throughout the food supply chain will allow the market to reduce its impact on the environment and still keep food fresh and affordable. It’s safe to say that these revolutionary products are the future of the food supply chain.

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Reusable Transport Packaging is a re-seller, master distributor, and custom manufacturer of the broadest range of returnable and reusable plastic packaging available today. We carry thousands of products and boast an inventory that is readily available, with national and international coverage.

Sustainability

THINK GREEN: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN SUSTAINABILITY

Concern over climate change is increasingly mainstream. In fact, the concern has gone from being hypothetical to being real: 59 percent of consumers say climate change is impacting their local communities, and 31 percent say it affects them personally. Likewise, sustainability is becoming less of a nice-to-have and more of a need-to-have for businesses—and their supply chains.

What is supply-chain sustainability?

As an evolving concept, sustainability is hard to pin down. Broadly speaking, sustainability refers to a framework for decision-making that considers the economic, social and environmental consequences of the decisions in question.

Sustainability provides the context, or guidelines, to make decisions about resource use with a focus on long-term viability rather than just immediate risks, benefits and costs.

Why does supply-chain sustainability matter?

As a concept, “sustainability” has been popping up more often: in ads, product branding and social media. It can be tempting to place sustainability in the buzzword box. But, according to data from GetApp, with 76 percent of Americans shopping for eco-friendly products at least some of the time, it’s not a term businesses should shrug off so readily.

Your customers are beginning to expect transparency around your business’ practices, and supply chains are ripe with opportunity. Every stage of the supply chain—from production to distribution—can be evaluated on the sustainability of its practices.

In addition to taking environmental measures such as examining emissions levels and resource efficiency, businesses can evaluate the ethics of their labor practices and fairness of their economic practices. A GetApp survey found that respondents also think sustainable companies should donate to a social cause (28 percent), follow ethical practices (53 percent) and not test on animals (32 percent).

Make your supply chain more sustainable with these 5 steps

1. Understand the risks and opportunities in your supply chains

Because of the complexity inherent to many supply chains, businesses often don’t have a full understanding of its sustainability impacts. A good first step in closing that gap is mapping your supply chain: listing suppliers, identifying social and environmental risks associated with each one and prioritizing related efforts.

One way to prioritize suppliers is to consider spending, volume of business and geography. Top suppliers can then provide sustainability metrics to further classify them based on environmental performance. This information can later be built into the design and procurement of future projects.

You don’t have to take everything on at once, but focus on the areas that will have the most impact within as short of a time frame as possible. Your suppliers are different: Assess them differently.

2. Set sustainability targets within the procurement process

To evaluate your suppliers and build sustainability into your business’ procurement processes and operations, set sustainability targets. Targets will help you track supplier performance and incorporate these new standards into future contracts.

Communicate these goals to your teams, customers and suppliers to make them a part of the conversation. It’s not only important to make sure all stakeholders understand the importance of sustainability and the goals your business has set; it also matters that they are able to take ownership of these initiatives.

Hyatt Hotels established sustainability goals under their 2020 Vision plan, with the objective of reducing GHG emissions and water and energy usage. In just two years, Hyatt reduced water usage by 18% percent, GHG emissions by 19 percent and energy consumption by 10 percent in the United States.

3. Set a baseline supplier performance

Once you’ve mapped your suppliers and set targets, collecting data from your suppliers will help your business understand where they stand.

One way to do this is to administer a baseline questionnaire or survey that suppliers can use to self-assess their performance on various key areas.

Some businesses have chosen to model their surveys after GRI guidelines and CDP questionnaires. A few industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, have also gone as far as to implement a standard survey so that suppliers don’t have to fill out a different survey for each client.

These surveys can be used to check supplier performance on energy and water usage, waste generation and disposal, and greenhouse gas emissions, among other things.

4. Leverage data to make informed decisions

You’ve mapped your supply chain, set goals and measured supplier performance—congratulations! Just one more thing to consider: Taking these steps probably means you’ll have lots of data on your hands. Managing this data isn’t easy, but it’s essential to making informed decisions.

Making use of your business’ supply chain data can help you spot inefficiencies, automate decision-making and improve customer experience. The more accurate your data, the more efficient you’ll become and the clearer your picture of your business and suppliers will be.

5. Use software to analyze data and automate processes

The key to wrangling your data and squeezing the most value from it may be to use a reliable supply chain management software solution. Not only will the right system gather the data you need, it will also analyze it, derive insights and automate processes.

Not sure where to start? Look for solutions that include at least a few of the following features:

Supplier relationship management: Enables users to plan and manage interactions with suppliers. This centralizes communication, ensuring a consistent message and improving collaboration between several teams. SCM software that has this feature may also help with step No. 3 (setting baseline performance) by gathering relevant survey data and tracking responses.

Asset management: Tracking assets and delivering maintenance in a timely manner will help you ensure your business’ operations run smoothly but also keep you ahead of their depreciation curve and running on minimal energy.

Shipment tracking: Tracking shipments will keep you in the know but can also allow you to benchmark carrier performance. Timeliness encourages resource efficiency, but the logistics side of your supply chain has more potential: Think route optimization and fuel efficiency, among others

Reporting and analytics: This feature is essential to leverage your data. A solution that processes data, identifies trends and triggers alerts will reduce manual processes and improve information accuracy.

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Victoria Wilson is a specialist analyst with GetApp, an online resource for software buyers to compare products side-by-side with free interactive tools, detailed product data and user reviews. Founded in 2010, the Barcelona, Spain-based Gartner company also serves as an online lead generation channel for SaaS.

climate change

Businesses Must Adjust To Climate Change; 5 Ways Toward Sustainability

As climate change causes worldwide concern and prompts calls for governmental action, consumers are putting the onus on businesses to step up their sustainability standards and practices.

A Nielsen survey, for example, showed that 81 percent of global consumers feel companies should help improve the environment. And with governments across the globe struggling to reach an international consensus on climate change, close observers of business and the environment, along with a high number of CEOs, agree: Private industry should take the lead in driving sustainability.

“Some forward-looking companies are seeing it’s an issue they can no longer ignore, morally and economically, and that you can go green and succeed in business,” says Hitendra Chaturvedi (www.hitendrachaturvedi.com), a professor at the Supply Chain Department of W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and expert on global supply chain sustainability and strategy.

“Business strategies must include sustainability in their core beliefs and practices. Part of the problem is that they are missing the simple, sensible ways that can drive sustainability and bring a return on investment at the same time.”

Chaturvedi suggests the following ways businesses can exercise sustainability practices to help fight climate change and connect with consumers:

Find the facts. “When a package gets delivered to you by an online commerce company, most people see the packaging as mainly contributing to the pollution, but that is not the case,” Chaturvedi says. “The packaging contributes less than 5%, but the main culprit is the returned/defective item which accounts for close to 50% of the pollution because it is not properly disposed of. I call it sensible sustainability. Identify and focus on low-hanging fruits.”

Seek education. “Finding the facts brings an important issue – education of consumers,” Chaturvedi says. “I see too many data points floating around that are put forth to create hysteria and are flat-out wrong, causing well-intentioned people to be waylaid in unproductive directions. Too many times this causes even a well-wisher of the environment to lose interest. We need a proper way to educate consumers about what is real and what is fake news.”

Implement business model changes. “Look at your business model holistically,” Chaturvedi says. “I propose a 5R model that simply, sensibly, and holistically integrates forward and reverses supply chain within any organization to ensure reduction in waste – and without sacrificing profits or competitiveness.”

Embrace technology. “It will lead to quick solutions to many vexing sustainability problems,” Chaturvedi says. “For example, advancement in technology has given us economically viable micro-factories to processing plastic waste, something that was not possible a few years ago. Now we can package it into a business model and scale it. Technologies like blockchain and dendrites will have far-reaching effects on sustainability as they will drive tracking and accountability.”

Find sensible solutions. “Sustainability needs sensible solutions, not a panacea, not motherhood and apple pie solutions,” Chaturvedi says. “We need solutions that are practical and profitable. We see many solutions that promise to solve the world’s pollution problem but are either one-off, or do not make money or both. We need businesses to step in and partner with scientists, universities, and government so a practical/viable perspective can be applied to sustainability solutions. A business will bring that perspective along with what can scale and what can not.”

“Businesses can see significant benefits, both economically and socially, from incorporating sustainable practices,” Chaturvedi says. “Some of the steps you incorporate can seem small at first, but day by day those efforts will produce great results.”

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Hitendra Chaturvedi spent over 30 years in progressive technology leadership positions with Microsoft, Newgistics, E&Y e-Business and A.T. Kearney. Chaturvedi also built a $100 million software company in India, GreenDust, where he implemented proprietary reverse logistics software at Amazon, Flipkart (Walmart), Samsung, Panasonic and Whirlpool. A computer engineer with a master’s degree from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University, Chaturvedi has been widely covered in the media and is a subject matter expert on global supply chain strategy, sustainability in supply chain, reverse logistics, ecommerce, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Now a professor at Arizona State University, Chaturvedi has been a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University, University of Texas-Dallas, Penn State and Purdue.