Warehouse Economics

In the business of logistics time and placement is everything. Every additional second caused by delays because it takes longer than it needs to find, remove and place cargo onto transportation is a second costing you money, as well as customer satisfaction.
warehouse design and layout

In today’s economic climate, you can’t afford that waste. Every second counts. So in order to make sure you’re making the most on your supply chain and that your warehouse design and layout are not impeding company productivity, you need to enhance both.

But how can we do this? Below is a short list of tips and techniques that can help you make the most of your warehouse layout.

  • Communication. Make sure that your warehouse staff know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and when they’re supposed to be doing it.
    Establish clear communication lines and get everyone familiar with them. If you fail to do so, then orders and information can quickly get cluttered up and create delays.
  • Standardisation. Your warehouse design should ensure that everyone is using uniform measures, weights and management. Also make sure that everyone knows exactly where things are supposed to be and what’s supposed to be done with them.
  • Educate the people in charge. If your leadership team know what questions to ask of their staff, how to address common issues plus when, how to effectively get everyone moving. Then your team leaders will be able to deal with most problems as they arise without needing to bother higher management, then this can save a lot of time and money.
  • Well trained working teams. Effective training programmes for your staff can help ensure that they better understand what you expect from them and that they maintain best practice.
    In addition make sure that new staff members are fully supported in their training and have the job broken down for them. This will reduce mistakes early on and can be much more cost-effective than the sink-or-swim method.
  • Empower your staff. You’ve hired your people for a reason; because you believe that they know what they are doing and because they are experts at their respective fields. So creating a company culture that encourages enquiry, co-operation, responsibility and customer satisfaction can be invaluable to your warehouse’s productivity.
  • Look at variation, not averages. It is where the anomalies occur that you can run into trouble. Your warehouse design and layout should ensure that such variables are kept to a minimum and that your staff know how to deal with them. If ever a variable occurs, find it and find out how to reduce it.

For further information and advice and warehouse design and supply chains, talk to Total Logistics the complete supply chain consultancy.

www.total-logistics.com

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How do you brief your web designer?

When you hire a website designer you need to make sure that you brief them in the correct way. The best designs normally come when the design process is fast-tracked and this normally comes when a clear and informative website brief is given.

Some unhelpful comments that a web designer would not appreciate are things such as;

  • “It needs to fit into the marketplace but be completely unique at the same time”
  • “I don’t really know what colours I like but they need to fit my company style”
  • “My visitors should feel really fulfilled on my website”
  • “I want it to be green but I’m not sure what sort of green”

The things a web designer wants/needs to know are things such as;

Information about your business- A designer will need to know exactly what your business does, the age of the company, number of employees, office culture, values, customers and potential customers. 

Timeframe- If the website has to be done quickly or if the website can be done slower. This will affect pricing, complexity and development resourcing. “As soon as possible” is not a helpful deadline.

Budget- It is best to be honest in this situation although people are less inclined to tell in the early stages. This helps to create a realistic proposal and a sensible set of expectations from day one.

What do you like and dislike about your current website- If you do not have a current website then this is not relevant, however, often people are redesigning their website. 

What do you want your customers or clients to do on the site- There will always be a reason why you want clients to visit your site if its to contact or to buy something. 

The more freedom you are able to give the designer the better and more unique your website will normally look. However, if you do not give them enough information then you could find that you do not get exactly what you want. 

A good way to look for your perfect web designer is to find someone that is in your area, this way they can understand your needs as they may be aware of the business and you can talk to them face to face if needs be. If your business is based in Kent then search web design Kent.Image

If you are looking for a web design company that gives a great service and has offices around the UK then visit www.extradigital.co.uk or give them a call on +44 (0) 1227 686898. 

Reducing Logistic Transport Costs

One of the most fundamental basics of business management is always to ensure that your outcome never exceeds your income. This is so fundamental that for many of you it doesn’t even need saying, nevertheless it is something that must always be kept in mind.

Reducing logistics and supply chain costs
As such, all successful business owners learn new ways and strategies to keep themselves firmly in the black and new methods by which they can cut costs without cutting services. One thing to look at, therefore, should be your supply chain and how much money is spent into it. This is especially true in today’s global economic climate and the often fluctuating prices of oil and gas. After all, if it costs more to transport something than you can get through sales, is it really worth the expense?

First, try to divide all the factors that can influence the cost of your logistics into three main categories:

  • Things you can control, for example, the quantity of cargo you want to transport.
  • Things you can’t control but can manage, such as the surcharge increase from carriers.
  • Things you can’t directly control, but can influence. The cost of oil, for example, is pretty much fixed, however some companies may be willing to adjust the price to a given price lock.

Keeping these things in mind can help you develop strategies on how improve the cost efficiency of your supply chains and logistics teams, largely by giving you an idea what you can change and how to cope with the things you can’t. After all, there are going to be events that are outside of your control. All you can do is to ensure that they do not upset your overall running more than it needs to.

To help you start off, here are a number of ways you can reduce supply chain costs. For example, try to centralise your decision making so that you are in direct control of how your logistics chains run. Relying on the judgement of individual shipping sites may result in decisions that cost you more in the long run.

Then consider your cargo itself, just how much does your packaging consist of air? Make sure that your containers have as little excess space as possible, so it may be worth re-examining your packaging. Likewise, ensure your carton and crate sizes making the most of their available space. Do not use three small crates when two slightly larger crates will do.

It may also be an idea to look to your neighbours for help.Sharing transport costs will not only save you money, but also earn you good relationships with companies around you and those connections can seriously pay off in the long run.

For further advise and long-term planning, it may also be an idea to look at supply chain consultants. Having a friendly professional who can give you insightful advice into your supply chains can be invaluable and pays for itself quickly. 

What causes fish to spoil in cold storage?

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Fish and seafood cold storage

Factors which limit the storage life of Fish

Fish cold storage is so important for preserving the freshness and longevity of fish and seafood products as they are notorious for having a very short spoiling time. There are several factors that contribute to the need for seafood cold storage. The length of time fish can be stored is also dependant on these factors and the conditions that fish is stored in.

Protein Changes

Storing fish in fish freezers causes fish proteins to become permanently altered. The rate at which these proteins denature is very dependent on temperature of the environment. If the seafood product is stored close to freezing point -2 degrees Celsius for example, significant changes can occur every quickly. Even dropping the temperature to -10 degrees Celsius would could a rapid change the structure of the fish proteins within a few weeks of storage.

As with all proteins and biological activity, the rate of deterioration can be reduced by placing the fish in temperatures as low as possible. Some fish freezers actually operate at temperatures of -35 °C which is a great way of slowing down the metabolic processes in seafood products.

Fat Changes

Certain fish products contain many fats, the physical structure of which can be ruined during the cold storage of these products. This can be prevented by either glazing the fish or wrapping the fish in specific way. Fish can wrapped in plastic bags or aluminium foil. It is preferable that the seafood products are sealed in vacuum conditions as contact with air will cause deterioration through oxidation. Oxidation is faster in warmer temperatures so storing in this way will reduce the rate of spoiling.

Colour Changes

The final fish product is most often judged by appearance as first impressions are everything in food preparation. Fish will naturally change colour after the product is caught and begins to spoil. Fish cold storage can prevent colour changes.

Water Content Changes

Dehydration is quite possible the biggest concern when it comes to fish cold storage. When fish gets badly hydrated in cold storage units, the fish dries up and the surface becomes opaque and spongy. The longer you store the fish, the deeper this penetrates the worse, the dehydration becomes and the “freezer burn.” Drying also speeds up the denaturing of the proteins.

Keep these biological aspects in mind when freezing fish or seafood products to slow down the metabolic processes as much as possible to get fresher fish for longer. CRS provide fish and seafood cold storage solutions such as fish freezers designed to preserve fish products for as long as possible to provide the best end product. Visit www.crs.ie for more information.

Why Public Warning Signs Aren’t Wasting Your Time

No Cycling SignSafety and warning signs are normally more associated with the need to obey local laws and legislation rather than any real practical purpose to visitors or members of the public. A lot of signs become so ubiquitous that the purpose behind them is barely recognised any more, causing most people to largely ignore them, so why is there still such pressure for employers and public site managers to ensure signage is present?

Believe it or not, warning signs do actually have a real role in preventing accidents and injuries – even if most people do not really acknowledge them on a conscious level, a well-designed warning sign will still have an impact in increasing the awareness of staff and visitors to key dangers and rules around a location. If the worst should happen most people will very deliberately look for signs to give them guidance and direction, so during a crisis the lack of good signage can turn an unfortunate circumstance into a real disaster.

It is actually something of a fallacy that warning signs are just a bureaucratic nuisance rather than a real safety tool. Although most repeat visitors and employees won’t pay much – if any – attention to the signage around them, those new to the site are liable to seek out signage in order to give them information, direction and warning about potential dangers in the area. Just because the regular labourers at the construction site spend their days laughing at and mocking the hard hat sign because the caution it gives seems obvious to them does not mean that a new visitor who may not have been to such an area before will not pay attention and avoid a potentially lethal accident.

Warning signs are also invaluable to the general public who may not be present at – or even passing by – a site long enough to grow complacent about its risks. Think of scaffolding projects or road excavations – without clear signage to warn members of the public of hazards and advise them of alternative routes, the chances are that someone will at best get horribly lost and at worst be severely injured.

An expert signage solutions provider such as Fitzpatrick Woolmer Design and Publishing can be an invaluable partner when it comes to preparing public warning signs for your office, construction site or other facility which needs to make visitors and employees aware of risks, dangers and other critical information. Visit them today at www.fwdp.co.uk for more information or to speak to one of their local signage design and manufacturing experts.