Recent Entries

Supply Chain Tips – 5 Key Levers

On a recent seminar tour I talked about what I called the 5 Key Levers in Supply Chain management.

Here's a summary video. 

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What is a Supply Chain?

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", where John Turner, one of the authors tells us what a supply chain is about.

How you define a supply chain depends to some extent on your perspective. People from particular backgrounds, organisations and companies will talk about supply chains and logistics in different ways, but without anybody having to be wrong.

It’s this variety of perspectives that makes it sometimes difficult to understand what the supply chain profession is all about. When I was involved in a professional association for logistics, the same questions were always being asked:

What does “logistics” mean,

What is a supply chain, and

How does it all fit together? 

My viewpoint is that the supply chain is the entire system that gets a product in front of an end customer. It’s the answer to “where did that product come from?”

In many cases, it starts by being dug up as some raw material in a mine in a remote part of the world. The supply chain is then everything that is involved from that moment onwards, including all the processes and organisations involved to getting the final product to its destination, its ultimate point of consumption.

And, importantly, it also includes after-sales support, as I found out in my experience with air traffic control. 

About the Book

What is Supply Chain Management is a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. When you buy this book, you get 4 more downloads absolutely free.

Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon.

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What is “Storage Media”?

The term storage media relates to the static equipment employed to store the product in the most space efficient way. It covers racking of varying types, shelving and small parts binning. The aim is to be flexible enough, in the different types of storage media to meet the characteristics of the variety of items to be stored, while maintaining efficiency of space utilisation, accessibility of stock and throughput.

As a result, where possible, this means using standardized storage media types, dimensions and procedures. Modern storage media are designed to give you the most efficient and the most cost-effective way of storing your products whilst utilising fully the available cubic space.

For storage media to work well for you, you also need two other things in place.

1. First of all, you need a high quality warehouse floor to support the weight of the fully utilized storage media plus the weight of the materials handling equipment such as fork lift trucks and conveyor systems. 

The quality of the floor is the most important part of the building structure, particularly in terms of floor loading capability, the degree of flatness and the resilience of the surface to operational activities. 

2. Secondly, you also need a warehouse building designed with the minimum of impediments to the operational flow in the form of supporting pillars and ancillary installations.

As warehousing and storage media have developed, the requirement for a warehouse building has been simplified to the point where it is now essentially a big, weatherproof box with maximised clear working heights, maximised roof support spans and good vehicular access.

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. Get 4 more downloads absolutely free. Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon.

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What is a Warehouse Management System?

What’s important here is that your warehouse management system or WMS, however it runs, lets you efficiently manage the location of goods and materials in the warehouse, and their movement through the warehouse. 

It can be manual, as was the case in the 1970’s for many warehouse systems. Nowadays, the WMS is usually an IT system. Warehouse management techniques have become more sophisticated over the years and the numbers and different types of items to be managed have also increased, making software applications more necessary.

A WMS will need to handle transactions such as receiving, storing, picking and shipping different goods.

For optimal efficiency, the WMS will guide warehouse operators when they store incoming shipments of items, according to information gathered in real time on what space in the warehouse is being used, and in which way. This information can be gathered in different ways, for instance, manually, by scanning product barcodes or by using technology based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) with links to a WMS application. Naturally, when the number of products and the size of the warehouse exceed certain levels, technology like this becomes very cost-effective or even essential to maintaining an efficient and reliable warehousing operation.

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. Get 4 more downloads absolutely free. Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon.

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What is the Role of Tow Operators?

Tow operators are line haul operators.

They fit in by towing the trailers of a freight forwarding company or an express freight company across states to get goods to the next cross docking point.

Their activity is closely integrated with that of the freight forwarder, but in general invisible to the end customer, who often doesn’t need or want to know this level of detail.

The interesting point is that they can be specialised in just that part of the transportation activity, and that another transport provider, such as a freight forwarder, can use different “components” of tow operators in the complete transport chain.  

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. Get 4 more downloads absolutely free. Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon.

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What is Drop Ship?

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", where John Cole, one of the authors tells us what drop ship is about.

“Drop ship” means that the seller or retailer of a product takes orders for the product, but passes the responsibility for customer delivery back to the manufacturer or to a distributor. The retailer doesn’t handle the stock and doesn’t hold it either.

An example might be a furniture store. As a customer, you might see a sofa and ask to buy it. Rather than sell you the model that’s on the showroom floor, the retailer will contact the manufacturer and arrange for delivery of the sofa directly to your home. The sofa you get never passes through the shop where you bought it.

This method of distribution has become more widespread as online shopping has become more popular. The benefit for retailers is that they can limit the amount of money tied up in inventory, by pushing the responsibility for holding inventory back up the line. The retailer’s contribution is to have an article available that people can see, perhaps try out and then choose.

That might happen in a physical environment or it might happen via an image on your PC screen if you’re shopping online. 

About the Book

What is Supply Chain Management is a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. When you buy this book, you get 4 more downloads absolutely free.

Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon.

Share this with someone you know!

What is a Warehouse?

Here is an excerpt from the book that defines a warehouse or a distribution centre.

A good definition of a warehouse is “a planned space for the efficient storage and handling of goods and materials”.

In that sense, we can use the words “warehouse” and “distribution centre” interchangeably.

What’s important to note in the definition is the use of the words “planned” and “efficient”. This means going further than what some companies still do, which is limited to having a “place” where they put “stuff”, without the planning and therefore losing out on the efficiency.

With goods and materials coming in and going out, the warehouse is also a vital hub in the centre of the supply chain. Raw materials from suppliers or finished goods from manufacturers come into the warehouse, the information has to be available to say where these goods have to go, and they then get passed down the distribution chain to the customer.

A warehouse is a dynamic operation and can show a very profitable return on investment, more than many people realise. Some goods move slowly, others may move very quickly, but it all has to move. The different goods have to be planned, laid out and handled according to how they are expected to move through the system.

About the Book
 
What is Supply Chain Management is a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. When you buy this book, you get 4 more downloads absolutely free.
 
Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon. Happy New Year everyone!
 
 
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What is a Transport Planner?

This post is an 'excerpt' from the book "What is Supply Chain Management", where John Cole, one of the authors tells us about transport planners.

The first thing to understand is that transport can be planned both by users and by providers of transport services. For users, this helps to avoid inefficiency unduly impacting a business as the volume of goods to be transported rises. 

In smaller companies, you might leave more of the transport activity to the carrier or transportation company. However, when you have a large volume of products to be moved, for example, if your business is in large-scale food or beverage manufacturing, you’ll want to take on more of the transport role within your own company, so that you can optimize your activity.

Transport planning means ensuring that vehicles are filled to their capacity as much as possible, and are utilised for as many hours as possible, which in turn requires coordination in the warehouse and scheduling of vehicles to arrive at the right moment.

You may have vehicles coming to pick up goods from your premises several times a day, so as a user of transport services, you need to be in close contact with the transport company providing the trucks to have a schedule that’s workable for both parties.

About the Book

What is Supply Chain Management is a part of the Supply Chain Secrets Series that can teach you the basics and expand your knowledge about supply chain and logistics. When you buy this book, you get 4 more downloads absolutely free.

Find all the information about this book on our home page and watch out as new books in the series will be coming out soon. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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