New Articles

Trends that will Reshape the Logistics Industry

logistics industry

Trends that will Reshape the Logistics Industry

No industry exists in a vacuum. Everything is interconnected and hinges on each other. The same is true of the logistics industry. The trends that will reshape the logistics industry are mostly trends that have to do with other industries that function together with logistics.

Experts believe that technological, business and social trends are going to drive the disruptions that will be felt in the logistics industry. For some, these changes will be long overdue.

From social trends like sustainability, over the changes felt in business with the rise of e-commerce, to the multiple changes the advancement of technology will allow, the logistics industry is set to undergo massive changes in the next couple of years. Let’s take a look at what we can expect.

Business Trends

E-commerce logistics and supply chains are what have most consistently been reshaping the logistics industry. What has been most influential are the customers’ expectations. Not only do customers expect to get their goods faster, but also at a low delivery cost. Not only that, but manufacturing is becoming more and more customized, which is making things all the more complicated for the logistics industry. These are the key business trends that are impacting logistics in 2020.

Last-mile Deliveries

With the advent of Amazon Prime, customers have grown to expect much faster delivery times. Companies like Amazon and Walmart provide services that offer same-day or 48-hour deliveries for less money than their competitors, sometimes even for free. This will lead to manufacturers, distributors, and logistics professionals needing to find strategies to offer shorter turnaround times on last-mile deliveries. In practice, shippers will begin focusing on what is called just-in-time delivery (JIT). JIT delivery means inbound freight arrives at the warehouse just in time for shipment in order to shorten the delivery time. This, in turn, will lead to the lowering of warehouse costs as well as carrying costs.

Localizing Warehouses

In order for JIT to work, companies will have to move warehouses closer to the consumers. Instead of having several major distribution centers, companies will look at having more smaller warehouse options throughout their market. The location of these will be determined by the frequency of orders in different areas.

Social Trends

For the most part, the social trends that will impact the future of the logistics industry are urbanization and sustainability. Increased urbanization is making it much harder to manage logistics and is making everything far more unpredictable. It also creates the demand for smaller commercial vehicles doing the deliveries. On the other hand, delivery trucks often add to pollution and traffic jams in a city setting.

This leads us to the second social trend aiming to impact the industry – sustainability. Doing deliveries cities with dense populations is getting harder and harder to manage sustainably. On top of this, there are stricter and stricter emission regulations. For example, freight-carrying ships have long been under fire for the amount of crude oil emissions. The limit for sulfur in fuel oil has been reduced starting with January 1, 2020, to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). In addition to this, companies have been under constant pressure to adopt different green initiatives on the corporate level. All of this will force changes when it comes to logistics.

Technological Trends

Regardless of what happens in business or society, technological advances are the main and most numerous trends that will reshape the logistics industry.

Autonomous vehicles will provide great safety benefits at the fraction of the cost. Platooning technologies that link two or more trucks in convoy will provide greater fuel efficiency. Another technology that will also help with sustainability is the increased use of electric or hybrid trucks for deliveries and transportation.

Customer-facing APIs

These softwares are there to provide customers with information about where their parcel is at any time. This makes the customer feel in control of the purchase and, more importantly, makes them more likely to return. Reaching out to customers via email or text to let them know what stage their delivery is at is a simple way to keep them in the loop.

This kind of technology is also not only for customers. Advances in this field can help you keep track of your freight shipments, which can be invaluable especially if they are late.

AI and Big Data

Artificial intelligence and big data are the advances that are most likely to change the logistics industry. Analytics and AI will allow for better and faster decision making when it comes to logistics. They will enable automated scheduling as well as route and volume planning.

Drones and Robotics

Even though they are currently not very common in warehouses spaces, the awareness of the need for robotics is increasing every day. Currently, only around 5 percent of warehouses have employed this technology. It is certain, however, that this is the trend that is definitely here to stay. Its benefits are many, including solving the problem of the low labor availability for these jobs.

Drones have similarly been treated as too futuristic. However, an increasing number of companies are using them for their quick deliveries, especially in densely populated areas.

_______________________________________________________________

Sebastian Miller has worked for statetostatemove.com for 4 years now. Working with a company specializing in all types of moves, from residential to corporate, for many generations has provided him with a rare all-encompassing glimpse into the moving industry. He lives and works in Dallas, TX.

supply management

Six Steps to Writing a Reliable Supply Management Plan

Whether you operate in the eCommerce industry, shipping, or physical retail with your own warehousing, a supply management plan is a must. Procuring goods and raw materials for further refinement, production, and overall monetization in an organized manner is a necessity of modern global industries.

According to Jigsaw Business Group, over one-third of businesses don’t have a clear image of how their suppliers and supply management is performing. Additionally, 37 percent of firms perform no practices for supply risk management, with only 8 percent performing above-average in these conditions. This showcases a larger issue in the supply management department of many large international businesses that rely on stable procurement without proper precautions and planning.

In worst cases, it can lead to loss of reputation, important clientele, and subsequent bankruptcy as a result of ad hoc management. To avoid that, outlining and implementing a supply management plan of your own is more than welcome going further into 2020. With that, let’s take a look at the specific benefits of having such a reliable plan in place, as well as the steps to get there.

The Advantages of a Supply Management Plan

Let’s briefly discuss the purpose of supply management before we dive into writing a plan centered on its implementation. As the name might suggest, supply management revolves around active tracking, procurement, and management of raw materials, production supplies, or items for handling and shipping. A standardized supply management plan is a welcome addition to any B2B-reliant business as it will effectively streamline your processes of ordering items from suppliers.

While rudimentary requests and correspondence can be achieved with writing tools such as WoWGrade and Evernote, creating a template for easy supply procurement is advised. Having such a document in place and available to your sales and supply departments can lead to highly beneficial outcomes for your business, including:

-Faster, more efficient cooperation with constant supply partners

-Minimized margin for supply procurement errors or mismanagement

-Increased production efficiency, turnaround time and bottom-line ROI

Writing the Supply Management Plan

1. Internal Company Survey

To achieve the most out of your supply management plan writing initiative, you should audit your current supply pipeline carefully. Assess the status of your supply routine, paperwork, existing communication channels, and QA processes before writing a plan outline for future use.

It’s important to take a good look at how things function in your company at the moment to identify bottlenecks and improvement opportunities early on. Additionally, forming a supply management plan task force can also prove useful since it will give several employees a clear goal in writing the document.

2. Assemble your Writing Stack

Writing a supply management plan is not unlike writing any other form of business document. Meaning, it should be done in a planned manner to avoid mistakes, related to both grammar and legalities. To ensure just that, several cloud-based writing platforms are available for your convenience:

Grammarly – platform dedicated to spell-checking, proofreading and error-free writing

Trust My Paper – outsourcing platform with numerous professional editors available for writing assistance

Hemingway – tool designed with readability and sentence construction in mind, useful for supply documents

Grab My Essay – platform which houses numerous editing, rewriting and on-demand writing services

Thesaurus – a vocabulary tool useful for industry-specific terminology required for supply procurement

Studicus – in addition to procurement documents, various types of correspondence can be outsourced here

3. Supply Management Plan Overview

The easiest way to get ahead on your supply management plan writing is to start with the outline and move things forward from there. An outline represents a set of subheadings and categories that will be filled with important procurement information once the order is about to be made.

Given its nature, some of the elements it should contain include storage information, transportation details, special order requirements, personnel information, etc. Use editing and formatting tools such as Supreme Dissertations and Readable to create legible documents for your B2B procurement and correspondence. Make a clear plan of which items are primary to your business to give the supplier enough information on how to proceed with your order.

4. Supply Requirements & Timelines

Once your outline is in place, it’s important to include fields for numeric data in your supply management plan. Information on the number of your orders, types of materials you’ve requested, as well as the optimal delivery timeline field, is essential in the document. These details can be outlined via writing platforms such as Best Essay Education or even Google Docs depending on the complexity of your typical procurements.

In practice, the supply requirements and timeline fields will be the first items your suppliers and B2B partners will scan through to ensure their availability. To further improve the document’s legibility, you can include easy-to-spot contact information in regards to your sales department. This will allow for a faster approval process and further streamline your supply management in light of newly-outlined standardization documents.

5. Detail the QA Standards

Lastly, risk management is a pivotal factor in the supply chain management, one which can make or break your pipeline’s efficacy going forward. The supply management plan you outline and ship to B2B partners must require detailed information on the QA standards of your company.

Shipping items such as hazardous materials, medical equipment, chemical compounds, and other dangerous elements will naturally require careful handling, shipping, and storage of said goods. Be upfront with your suppliers in regard to QA standards. This is especially welcome if you order materials from abroad – your shipments and B2B relations will be that much more stable as a result.

Supply Management Plan Implementation

While supply management trends continue to spiral toward digitalization, written procurement documents are still vital for effective B2B communication and shipping of essential goods. Create an outline that reflects both your service portfolio and internal work ethics using the above-discussed steps as guidelines.

Don’t be afraid to revise and reformat your own supply management plan as much as necessary before settling for a standardized template for company-wide use. Once you get a handle on your procurement writing pipeline, supply chain management of your warehousing and shipping requests will become that much simpler.

___________________________________________________________

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog.

supply

E-Commerce Logistics and Supply Chains: Journey to the Future

The transition of commerce to an electronic format is a well-established and economically sound process which is in its prime. Shopping and paying online has already become an integral part of modern life. Conversion of e-commerce platforms is more than 7% versus just 3% in the retail sector. But how has the transformation of e-commerce affected logistics?

The transportation of products remains a physical process that cannot be realized through the Internet. However, electronic administration of logistics processes is available now, and advanced technologies help optimize the product movement along the supply chain. How does this all happen and what are the current trends – let’s understand.

Why Classic Logistics Has Become Obsolete

The answer is simple: needs are growing.

If we immediately exclude the possibility that a business delivers goods on its own without involving third parties, then, in any case, there is some company in the chain between the brand and the consumer. With its help, goods get into the hands of buyers from different cities and countries.

But if earlier, in most cases, it was a matter of delivering the product to stores and other retail structures, now everything is much more sophisticated. Buyers may request delivery to their nearest post office, special pick-up point, or even directly to their home. This required a qualitative change in storage conditions and technologies used.

Reasons for the Rapid Development of Logistics

In order to take their place under the sun in a trading niche, brands choose the most effective methods. This is what is most appreciated by any buyer – a wide range of products and short delivery time: who would want to wait for their goods for several months? The same goes for digital commerce. Therefore, you should not be fooled, for example, a case of Photza digital photo retouching service, when they reduced the delivery time from 3 days to 2 and began to send ready-made photos not only through your personal account on the website, but also duplicated by email link to Dropbox, increased conversion by 17.3%.

A good example of successful adapting to new realities is Amazon. By activating 50 picking warehouses throughout the United States, this giant got the opportunity to promise customers next-day delivery. With the help of a special code (SKU), each item was designated, then it arrived at the distribution center, and was ready to be further piece-picked for individual orders.

The closer the inventory to the buyer, the faster the delivery. Other retailers and businesses quickly realized this and began to deploy new capacities, using both internal departments and shared resources managed by third-party partners.

New Trends and Their Impact on Logistics

Implementation of Digitalization

This is a crucial thing that makes sense to mention. Advanced technologies, the ability to create and use customized software adapted for each business and its logistic model, electronic databases and much more allowed many brands to reach a new level.

Digitalization not only accelerates work, but it also provides greater stability and sustainability in the implementation of supply chains. With its help, brands can check the availability of products in any storehouse at any time, request information on the latest deliveries as well as the status of different orders, manage inventory and pre-compile optimal routes.

The Same-Day Delivery

The question of how to speed up the process of getting the product into the hands of the buyer continues to occupy the minds of brands. The most relevant category of goods for delivery on the same day is, of course, food. One can also include consumables here. Short-lived commodities do not stand the test of time, therefore, special conditions must be provided for them. And this is not a whim of the client or the quirk of the manufacturer, but an urgent need.

Moreover, there is a certain relationship between service and money, which people consider appropriate to pay for it. This balance should be carefully calculated and taken into account. It is also interesting that more than 60% of clients are willing to pay more in order to receive the goods on the same day or at least the next day. If the brand has the opportunity to fulfill this desire, then we can say that it is already one step ahead of its other less savvy competitors.

To reduce the cost of delivery and ensure its optimization, platforms such as Uber implement market models that analyze and compare supply and demand. For example, they select available couriers and orders received in real time and, by appointing a courier to deliver a product, seek to minimize the average travel time. The whole system is fully automated: large amounts of money were invested to ensure its correct functioning. Notably, they fully paid off, because as a result, the organization has received a platform that provides stable and trouble-free operation.

The scheme of working with local couriers is gaining momentum, and in the near future, many large retailers are expected to switch to it. This is convenient and, as indicated above, requires the greatest cost only at the initial stage of implementation. With the correct formulation of the problem and the determination of the goals pursued, success will not be long in coming: it remains only to maintain the system and periodically update it. No one wants to be left overboard as an outdated option.

Couriers Robots

Delivery of goods by robots is also not as far away as it might seem. Starship Technologies is already launching its standalone food delivery robots in Tempe. Self-guided robotic vehicles can carry orders weighing up to 40 pounds over a distance of 3 miles. Autonomous navigation is provided by a 360-degree camera, which makes a robot an absolutely independent counterpart to couriers, reducing labor costs by more than 70%. Bots work best in urban centers.

There is no information about possible obstacles to their movement yet. In addition, such machines encounter far fewer legal barriers than their unlucky colleagues – drones.

The Power of Social Media

While marketing and link building strategies allow the brand to improve its online visibility, social networks dominate in matters of instant communication with customers. Clarification of address details, obtaining prompt feedback and providing the information requested by customers optimize logistics processes from a coordinating point of view.

SaaS Options to Streamline Supply Chains

Manual supply chain management with modern production volumes nowadays seems almost impossible; to say the least, then certainly both an outdated and inefficient method. Therefore, many businesses resort to various software-as-a-service supply management options.

This process became especially popular after the entry of cloud computing into the game. It made available timely informational and structural updates and created easy ways to manage infrastructure costs.

Advanced Product Tracking Scheme

The use of GPS has become another milestone in the history of an e-commercial boom. With its help, it became possible to track the location of the goods at any stage of their journey, whether it be moving to a regional storehouse or last-mile delivery. Moreover, tracking is a useful option for customers: they can clearly imagine and assume how much they have left to wait for their goods.

In the event of an unforeseen situation, brands can immediately detect problems and take all necessary measures to restore the procedure for transporting products to the buyer.

In the End

Modern problems require modern solutions. Therefore, in parallel with the new e-commerce opportunities, up-to-date options appear that handle the transportation of small and large goods equally well. Digitalization has given a significant impetus to the growth of new capabilities. Timely delivery at a price that satisfies the customer is what businesses strive for by updating their logistics models.

___________________________________________________________________

Marie Barnes is a Marketing Communication Manager at LinksManagement, where you can buy real backlinks, and is a writer for gearyoda. She is an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs.

amazon's

What Logistics and Warehouse Businesses Should Learn From Amazon’s Mistakes During the Pandemic

Amazon has dominated the COVID-19 news because of its ability to get some medical supplies and the reliance of people on ecommerce to protect them as they shop. It’s been a good time for the company’s financials, with significant increases in sales and secure positioning for its other services.

Unfortunately for Amazon, it was also in the news because of product mishaps, fulfillment concerns, worker illnesses, and poor handling of concerns. What the brand did, and didn’t do, can be a useful guide for smaller warehouse and logistics companies to follow.

The best lessons are from Amazon’s mistakes because few 3PLs and service companies are big enough to survive similar mishaps.

Take care of your partners

Amazon faced a tough situation, just like all of us. We all got some things wrong. The hope is that they won’t turn into long-standing issues. For Amazon, it’s unclear if that’s the case, but the thing with the most significant potential for prolonged harm is how it communicated and worked with its partners.

The biggest misstep from a partner standpoint would be when it announced a halt to accepting shipments from some third-party sellers and gave little guidance on what this meant. Sellers flooded Amazon’s forums to ask questions, and rumors spread just as fast as valid answers. People were upset, scared for their businesses, and frustrated that Amazon might not be a viable marketplace in the future.

While Amazon did eventually move back to allowing all third-party shipments for its FBA program, some harm has been done. Companies are looking at moving to do their own fulfillment — which was rewarded by the Amazon AI at some points during the pandemic — to prevent any future move from Amazon bringing an entire small business to a halt.

Amazon may be trying to tackle some of that relationship harm with efforts like waiving some storage fees or supporting more fulfillment operations. Still, it’s unclear how much harm happened.

Diversify and simplify when you can

An estimated one-third of top Amazon sellers are in China. It is believed to source some of its own products from China, and many of its smaller sellers also get products or drop-ship directly from the region. The spread of the pandemic and closure of factories, as well as shipping issues, then hit Amazon and its sellers quite hard.

Different points at the supply chain all ran out of goods or production capabilities, which started limiting what was available and hurt revenue for everyone involved. Diversifying sources and partners, both in goods and location, could have mitigated some of this risk.

Logistics professionals should look at regional needs and concerns right now. Identify where your product lines could struggle and if there are potential replacements for materials. If you’re a 3PL or providing other warehouse services, consider expanding to multiple locations. This can help you get goods to the end-customer faster as well as protecting fulfillment operations during COVID and similar black swan events.

Safeguarding people is just the minimum

At least seven of Amazon’s employees have died from the coronavirus, and the company has been very unclear about how many others have become ill. There is a new lawsuit by employees around the company’s contact tracing and potential exposure of employees — worth noting that the lawsuit doesn’t seek damages, just an injunction forcing Amazon to follow public health standards.

Throughout the pandemic, Amazon has taken heat for how it has treated its workers. This covered safety equipment and protections, sick leave and sending people home, and how it responded to labor demands. And, much of the anger is deserved.

The pandemic is scary and should be taken seriously. It was Amazon’s responsibility to make its employees feel like they were taken care of and protected.

Hopefully, this has served as a wakeup call for logistics and warehouse businesses. Your people matter, far beyond just what they contribute to the health of your business. There’s also a good chance your business will be judged by how you treat your teams. The world now makes much of this information public, too, if you need that extra layer of fear to get going and ensure your teams are safe, protected, and following the right policies.

Protect long-term customers and your business model

Consumers are spending more money on Amazon and shopping more often, largely due to the pandemic, but they’re not as happy about it. People saying they were either “very” or “extremely” satisfied with Amazon’s service fell from 73% to 64% from June 2019 to now.

The biggest frustrations have been delays in shipping and unavailable products. People view that they’re paying for the service, and its interrupted supply chain is still creating waves. Prime shoppers aren’t able to get the fast, two-day shipping on all purchases, despite being the most lucrative customers. Amazon has actually seen a decline in customer satisfaction over the last five years, according to that same report.

Growing discontent is a threat. Logistics and warehouse businesses don’t have the size of Amazon or the weight to throw around. If your customers aren’t getting what they’re paying for, they’ll move on to another service provider. The same is true if you’re late, damaging goods, or getting orders wrong. There are few real alternatives to Amazon, but there are many alternatives to all of us.

That’s perhaps the most important lesson in all of this for the logistics profession. Amazon needs to learn it before a genuine rival rises to compete, but it’s a good focus for warehouses starting today.

_____________________________________________________________

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

layout

How to Optimize Your Warehouse Layout

The design of your warehouse can either expedite or hinder your entire operations. It’s why it’s important to update your warehouse layout to best optimize your work area. However, it’s not just enough to rearrange a few aisles and place a few stickers.

Every warehouse is different from the other, but there are some universal tips anyone can use. One of the biggest warehouse layout tips would be to map out the entire layout on paper before anything, that way you can measure your needs and figure out what can fit where.

There’s a lot that goes into designing a new warehouse layout, such as which equipment to use and how much space should be dedicated to storage.

BigRentz took note and created a helpful infographic (below) for anyone looking to set up a new warehouse layout.

 

BigRentz Warehouse Layouts

 

covid

Post-COVID Logistics: Retooling for the Future

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across global economies and businesses, but for the supply chain and logistics industry, challenges go beyond the present and threaten the future of operations and business continuity. These challenges redefine what prediction could look like for the logistics industry and what considerations should be taken to keep the supply chain moving.

Global Trade had the opportunity to speak with business owner and author of “The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work,” Jim Renacci on what changes the industry can anticipate as the current health crisis continues to change the pace for global business.

What planning measures will logistics players need to consider in a post-COVID environment?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way manufacturers/logistic players will need to review their supply chain management post-COVID-19 and access their supply chain vulnerabilities. The crisis has demonstrated that reliance on sourcing from two geographic areas could pose a risk.

During the crisis, while supplies became unavailable, many companies were forced to start looking for new supply chains as many of their overseas suppliers had to limit or reduce shipments significantly. Post-COVID planning will include asking current suppliers to take on more and different product lines. It is already happening with many current business relationships. Also, the reliability of the supply chain…. over cost…. will be more of a priority.

In what ways have supply chain players supported their customers and consumers during the crisis?

Manufacturers/supply chain players are supporting their customers by shifting and increasing supply chain needs where possible. In many instances, secondary suppliers have started adding product lines where possible. With any crisis, opportunities will be there for the business that can move quickly and adapt to change.

How will the manufacturing site selection process shift in a post-COVID world? 

Manufacturing site selection processes in a post-COVID world should include seeking locations within the US and other countries that have access to highly trained engineers, top tier R&D, access to advanced manufacturing technologies as well as private and public institutions and universities. Site selection should also include countries that offer a competitive investment package as more and more countries post-COVID will be looking to entice companies to locate or relocate inside their jurisdictions.

In what ways can logistics players use the disruption from COVID-19 to benefit their operations in the future?

Current disruption due to COVID-19 will allow companies to reassess their vulnerabilities but also their strengths. With these disruptions, companies can retool for the future. They can adjust for their weaknesses and benefit from their strengths.

_______________________________________________________________

Jim Renacci is the author of The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work. He is also an experienced business owner who created more than 1,500 jobs and employed over 3,000 people across the Buckeye State before running for Congress in 2010. Jim represented Ohio’s 16th District in the House of Representatives for four terms. He is also the chairman of Ohio’s Future Foundation, a policy and action-oriented organization whose goal is to move the state forward.

young workers

YOUNG WORKERS WILL BE THE LONG-TERM CASUALTIES OF COVID-19

They are the ones who will bear the brunt of the coronavirus recession.

A little more than a decade ago, millennial college students graduated into what was then the worst economy in decades. In the United States, the Great Recession wreaked long-term damage on young people, many of whom faced slim job prospects along with mountains of student debt. Compared to earlier generations, these young adults today have less wealth, more debt and are less likely to be financially secure.

Today’s youngest workers could have it even worse. Young workers – who make up a disproportionate share of workers in hospitality, food service, retail and other service industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic – are likely to shoulder the worst of the coming recession.

Young workers: first to feel the pain

Young workers have been among the first to feel the pain as the restaurant, retail, and hotel industries reel from the initial impacts of the pandemic. Marriott, for instance, has furloughed tens of thousands of employees. So, too, have Hilton and Hyatt. Many small businesses are forced to close shop or lay off most of their workforce. The National Restaurant Association reports that business dropped by nearly half among its members just in the first half of March.

Labor According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, workers between the ages of 20 and 24 account for nearly one-third of restaurant waitstaff, one-fourth of all retail cashiers, and one-fifth of all retail salesclerks. Young workers also occupy a large share of other entry-level service jobs in entertainment and hospitality, such as hotel and motel desk clerks (one-third), ushers and ticket-takers (one-fifth) and baggage handlers (one-sixth).

Young people also make up a disproportionate share of the low-wage workforce hardest hit by the pandemic, period, according to new research from the Brookings Institution. Scholars Martha Ross, Nicole Bateman, and Alec Friedhoff find that workers ages 18 to 24 comprise nearly one in four low-wage workers, with the most common occupations being retail, food service, and lower-level administrative support. Many of these young workers can ill afford any loss of income: Among the 13 percent who lack a college degree, the median hourly wage is just $8.55. Worse yet, one in five of these workers is the sole earner in their family; 14 percent are also caring for children.

NiNis worldwide

A new crop of “not in school, not working”

Even before the current crisis, many young people were already in dire economic circumstances. According to the Social Science Research Council, as many as 4.5 million young adults ages 16 to 24 were not in school nor working in 2017, the latest year for which data are available. No doubt this figure has already skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, unemployment might be only the start of young workers’ worries in the coming months.

The sudden closure of colleges and universities means that multiple cohorts of students are missing out on opportunities to lay the foundations of their future careers. “Job fairs and internships have been called off, as have debating competitions, graduate school admission tests and conferences that are essential opportunities to network and get jobs,” writes The Hechinger Report.

A different economy after COVID

Other hazards also loom in the future job market that could disadvantage younger workers. For instance, the pandemic may also accelerate the push to automation, as researchers Mark Muro, Robert Maxim and Jacob Whiton of the Brookings Institution argue, which would also hit younger workers the hardest. According to their analysis, as many of 49 percent of workers ages 16 to 24 are in jobs vulnerable to automation.

Moreover, the current massive disruptions in higher education and in business likely also mean that skills gaps will worsen as training programs are put on hold and businesses struggle simply to survive. Shortages of qualified workers will not only significantly hamper recovery efforts in the future but handicap current industries’ efforts to retool themselves to a radically changed environment.

Vulnerable young workers

Worldwide impacts for youth workers

The same story is playing out globally. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), young people are roughly twice as likely to be unemployed compared to adults. After the global recession in 2009, adult employment grew uninterrupted but the number of young people employed contracted by more than 15 percent. In 2018, 21.2 percent of global youth were neither employed nor in education and training.

The COVID-19 pandemic is inducing a global labor shock both because workers cannot carry out their jobs and may have lost their jobs, but also because consumer demand especially in services industries has fallen off and could be slow to return to previous levels. In a vicious cycle, billions in lost labor income will further suppress the consumption of goods and services. At the beginning of April, the ILO estimated global unemployment would rise between 5.3 million and 24.7 million, but with 22 million Americans alone filing for unemployment over the last four weeks, this estimate is already vastly inaccurate. The long-term damage to young workers’ prospects is incalculable.

What next?

Economies around the world are already responding with rescue packages aimed at blunting some of the economic hardship the pandemic is creating. But as the crisis wears on and, with luck, economies can begin to recover, the long-term plight of young workers will need much more attention.

__________________________________________________________________

Anne Kim is a contributing editor to Washington Monthly and the author of Abandoned: America’s Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection, forthcoming in 2020 from the New Press. Her writings on economic opportunity, social policy, and higher education have appeared in numerous national outlets, including the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, Governing and Atlantic.com, among others. She is a veteran of the think tanks the Progressive Policy Institute and Third Way as well as of Capitol Hill, where she worked for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). Anne has a law degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

efficiency

The Five Most Common Efficiency Issues and How to Fix Them

Undertaking productivity reviews to identify efficiency issues and quantify opportunities for improvement are important. We recommend using a range of work-study and observational techniques that provide diagnostic insights supported by process deep dives.

Work-study options include detailed analysis of a process to measure how long each individual stage takes, giving valuable insights on where to focus to speed up the process and to enable resource planning based on accurate workload calculations. A diagnostic efficiency study can look at teams from warehousing to admin and sales to quantify what proportion of time is spent adding value, undertaking essential tasks and how much time is lost.

We’ve identified the top five efficiency issues:

1. Paper-based processes don’t need measurement to spot them. Paper is slower, less efficient and creates filing and storage requirements compared to digital equivalents. At some stage, paper interfaces with a system and there is a need for data input into an accounting system. Look out for paper in your business and review options to eliminate it and increase your efficiency.

2. Moving to systems from paper doesn’t always mean things run smoothly. Time can be lost due to system delays. This downtime is created when systems don’t work as quickly as the human using them. Typical causes of delays are slow systems and connections that mean colleagues watch the screen loading graphics rather than completing their tasks. Work Studies have found that some contact center teams become so accustomed to working around their slow systems that they instinctively timed their general chat during the call with the delays. Speeding things up would mean a quicker call for the customer and more calls per hour handled by an agent.

Another common system delay issue is dual entry of data as colleagues move between systems that are not integrated at the right points. Colleagues working in multiple systems work most efficiently with dual monitors. Good workstation set up helps too – uncomfortable chairs, missing wrist supports, and monitors at the wrong height are all factors that can impact efficiency.

3. Physical work lends itself more easily to ongoing output measure and monitoring, for example, the number of delivery units handled, or widgets manufactured per hour. Office based activity can be harder to get to grips on and efficiency studies provide a measure of how much time is spent on essential activities and time lost. We’ve worked with a client who found that team leaders in their owned and operated customer services teams spent more time coaching colleagues than their peers in the franchised parts of their operation, which explained the variance in customer experience measurement and business outcomes. Another client found a surprisingly high proportion of time spent on internal emails, calls, and meetings. The route cause was a mix of unclear accountabilities and incomplete customer records that required supporting communication.

Additionally, there was a delay in response times as offices in different parts of the world shut down overnight. We recommended a slight shift in office working hours to give more overlap time between markets and an option to move an offshore support team to mirror the working hours of the team they support. Emails, calls, and meetings can add significant value, yet in many businesess, email and call volume is cited as a significant barrier to getting work done. Efficiency study measures the issue and the opportunity size.

4. Efficiency analysis looks at resource versus demand and shows where a demand peak overwhelms available resources, which in some businesses creates potential lost sales. The opposite of this is where teams are not fully occupied, and work-study observations show a slowdown in the pace of work and increased downtime in ad hoc breaks. We’ve often observed significant variance in downtime across teams within the same business and multi-skilling can help create a more flexible team that can be deployed to better match changing demand. Workload models that calculate how much resource is needed in a team help businesses size their teams accurately and create a global benchmark to eliminate variance.

5. Businesses that move stock have two common efficiency issues. The first is when the volume of stock held overwhelms the storage space it creates inefficiency. Stock needs to be held in an organized way so it can be accessed easily. Too often we see stock stacked behind other lines, making it difficult to find and only accessible if other stock is first moved. And stock in multiple locations, unless all accurately logged in a stock management system, is a recipe for wasted time trying to find stock. To maximize efficiency, measure how many times stock is handled as it goes through your operation. Eliminating unnecessary stock handling will improve productivity and reduce handling costs.

___________________________________________________________

Article by Simon Hedaux, founder and CEO of Rethink Productivity, a world-leading productivity partner that helps businesses to drive efficiency, boost productivity, and optimize budgets.

How Warehousing has Evolved Over the Years

In the last ten to twenty years, warehouses have evolved massively. The industry has come a long way just in the last decade and has evolved to adapt to a faster pace. Driven by the evolution of various factors that influence the global market, warehousing continues to rise and change to remain one of the vital components in many industries.

The rule in business nowadays is simple: either you adapt or you break. The warehousing sector can confidently say that it has successfully adapted to the trends set by consumers and competition. From retail to manufacturing, every business that involves logistics has managed to or has to manage by making planned changes through the use of recent developments, which has so far produced positive results.

As warehousing experts and pros continue to tread the path driven by trends and change, they have to educate themselves. An important part of the adaptation process and preparing to move forward is looking back at what put you in your current position – a review of sorts.

To help you see the direction warehouse management is headed, this article will highlight how warehousing has evolved over the years.

More Strategic and Complex

Warehousing management has become more strategic and complex over the years. The simple warehouse which was once a small portion of the supply chain is not what it used to be. The primary concept of which warehouses were derived is still there: storage; however, the warehouse is now being called on to handle more complexity than it ever had.

There are many different types of warehouses that exist now that could play an important role in the near future. Warehouses such as high ceiling facilities and pop-up warehouses were developed throughout time to meet different requirements. Still focusing on adapting, it’s critical that current warehouses are agile and can adapt to changing conditions.

Accessibility

Historically, warehouses were only available to large businesses with a large-scale budget. Now, warehouses are more accessible even to small and medium businesses. This is driven by everyone wanting to manage their own operations and taking matters into their own hands.

The demand for industrial real estate has risen and continues to do so since the boom of ecommerce and the customer’s expectations of faster and more affordable shipping. For instance, there is accessible industrial real estate in many locations such as the warehouse in Kansas City that a business can either lease or purchase for different purposes. This all caters to businesses of all sizes.

Shift to Ecommerce Drives Automation

As aforementioned, the ecommerce industry is one of the main driving forces of the warehousing evolution. Ecommerce pros are facing the challenge of meeting customer expectations of cheaper and faster delivery and shipping. One of the strategies to address this demand is to automate.

Automated systems effectively reduce overstock and shortages and will boost profits in the long run. Automation cannot do it alone though, as it has to be partnered with quality warehouse storage systems to help an operation run smoothly.

Conclusion

Warehousing evolved in the past years by becoming more strategic and complex, accessible, and pushing for automation. It will continue to evolve in the next decade or so, as it depends on variables that can disrupt the majority of workplaces in many industries. Warehousing will continue to be pushed to adapt by the ever-changing fast-paced world.

_____________________________________________________________

Angelo Castelda works as a contributor for a news magazine in Asia. On his free days, he likes to read books about the logistics industry and warehouse management. He also gets frequently invited to schools and universities to hold talks about the supply chain system and warehouse operations.

ferro chromium

Global Ferro-Chromium Exports Peaked at $9B

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

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, approx. 7.2M tonnes of ferro-chromium were exported worldwide; going up by 6.2% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations being observed over the period under review. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2010 with an increase of 26% year-to-year. The global exports peaked in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term. In value terms, ferro-chromium exports totaled $9B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

South Africa represented the largest exporter of ferro-chromium exported in the world, with the volume of exports reaching 3.7M tonnes, which was near 51% of total exports in 2018. Kazakhstan (1,313K tonnes) ranks second in terms of the total exports with a 18% share, followed by India (11%). Finland (282K tonnes), Russia (278K tonnes), Zimbabwe (247K tonnes) and Turkey (119K tonnes) held a minor share of total exports.

Exports from South Africa increased at an average annual rate of +1.9% from 2007 to 2018. At the same time, Finland (+9.9%), India (+5.9%), Turkey (+2.5%) and Zimbabwe (+2.2%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Finland emerged as the fastest-growing exporter exported in the world, with a CAGR of +9.9% from 2007-2018. Kazakhstan experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Russia (-2.0%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

In value terms, the largest ferro-chromium supplying countries worldwide were South Africa ($3.6B), Kazakhstan ($2B) and India ($1.1B), together accounting for 74% of global exports. These countries were followed by Russia, Finland, Zimbabwe and Turkey, which together accounted for a further 16%.

Export Prices by Country

The average ferro-chromium export price stood at $1,261 per tonne in 2018, increasing by 5.2% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the export price indicated a mild expansion from 2007 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +1.7% over the last eleven-year period.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Turkey ($2,322 per tonne), while South Africa ($988 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Imports 2007-2018

Global imports amounted to 7.1M tonnes in 2018, jumping by 3.6% against the previous year. Over the period under review, ferro-chromium imports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Over the period under review, global ferro-chromium imports attained their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term. In value terms, ferro-chromium imports stood at $9.2B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, China (1.8M tonnes), distantly followed by the U.S. (829K tonnes), Japan (788K tonnes), South Korea (595K tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (441K tonnes) and Belgium (349K tonnes) represented the major importers of ferro-chromium, together achieving 67% of total imports. Mozambique (317K tonnes), Italy (301K tonnes), Taiwan, Chinese (284K tonnes), Germany (279K tonnes), Spain (197K tonnes) and Indonesia (189K tonnes) took a minor share of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, average annual rates of growth with regard to ferro-chromium imports into China stood at +3.3%. At the same time, the United Arab Emirates (+58.1%), Indonesia (+56.3%), the U.S. (+7.1%) and South Korea (+3.2%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, the United Arab Emirates emerged as the fastest-growing importer imported in the world, with a CAGR of +58.1% from 2007-2018. By contrast, Spain (-1.3%), Japan (-1.8%), Belgium (-2.5%), Italy (-3.0%), Taiwan, Chinese (-4.0%), Germany (-4.8%) and Mozambique (-5.7%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. From 2007 to 2018, the share of China, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and South Korea increased by +7.5%, +6.2%, +6.2%, +2.6% and +2.4% percentage points, while Belgium (-1.6 p.p.), Italy (-1.7 p.p.), Taiwan, Chinese (-2.3 p.p.), Japan (-2.5 p.p.), Germany (-2.8 p.p.) and Mozambique (-4 p.p.) saw their share reduced. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, China ($1.8B), Japan ($1.2B) and the U.S. ($1.2B) constituted the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, together accounting for 47% of global imports. These countries were followed by South Korea, Germany, Taiwan, Chinese, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Mozambique, Spain and Indonesia, which together accounted for a further 39%.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average ferro-chromium import price amounted to $1,288 per tonne, flattening at the previous year. Over the period under review, the import price indicated measured growth from 2007 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, ferro-chromium import price increased by +35.2% against 2016 indices.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Germany ($1,757 per tonne), while Mozambique ($824 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Source: IndexBox AI Platform