Supply chains and technology trends

Supply chains and new technology trends

New technological advances across the supply chain are changing the way businesses run their day to day operations.

Traditional supply chain management is fast becoming obsolete, with warnings from many top logistics specialists about the dangers of falling behind in a rapidly changing landscape. A technological revolution is happening across many industries and those who want to stay ahead of their competitors must consider embracing new technologies, to deliver a faster and smoother service to their customers.

Supply chains and technology trends

Big Data

Many new tech trends have come off the back of the big data revolution, which is changing the way companies look at their supply chains from beginning to end. Put simply, big data refers to high volumes of complex facts and figures from across a supply chain that can be turned into real life actions or decisions.

Data can range from sales numbers and buyer trends to weather conditions and global supplier issues. Collecting and accurately utilising big data using traditional methods of supply chain analytics generally, leads to inaccuracies and is often impossible. Ultimately, this means that company’s making the most of the new technology available to them are at a distinct advantage in the marketplace.

New technologies

Businesses can utilise new technological trends to crunch big data and stay ahead in the market place. One of the easiest and most popular new trends comes in the form of social sourcing; using social sites to predict trends and feed information back to S&OP. Public cloud networks are another increasingly popular tech trend, with big software companies such as Infor buying up cloud based supply chain management platforms.

Machine learning and predictive analytics are another technology trend transforming the way businesses manage their supply chain. Predictions and simulations based on real-time data from a company’s sales, the price of raw materials and even global political factors can improve the supply chain. This could help companies prioritise supplies, increase profitability and generally run a smoother operation from beginning to end.

Cloud software and machine learning is developing rapidly, whilst quickly becoming accessible to both smaller and larger organisations across the globe. These fast paced changes make it imperative for businesses to remain ‘future-proof’ in the face of growing customer demand and intelligent tech.

Business collaboration

Whilst taking advantage of growing tech trends is crucial for organisations wanting to stay competitive, it’s important for business owners not to hand their entire supply chain over to a machine.

Business collaboration

Tech is becoming increasingly intelligent but there are some things software cannot do and the need for collaboration is still important. For businesses to truly grow, everyone in the supply chain must make a commitment to cooperate seamlessly so that big data and intelligent software can be utilised efficiently. Collaboration with trusted partners in the industry is another essential tool for business looking to grow and can be a good starting point for owners that don’t have as much spare capital to put into the latest tech.

Making use of supply chain specialists is also a lower cost option for businesses on a budget. Professional logistics experts can advise on the best low-cost tech options available to harness the power of big data. With technology trends evolving all the time, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to make the most of the smart technology in the supply chain.

Advertisements

Dealing with increased organic demand in the supply chain

The last few years has seen an incredible 80% rise in demand for organic and non GMO food products.

Consumers are waking up to what’s in their food and are demanding high quality produce without pesticides or genetically modified ingredients. This demand is set to rise further, with more companies being forced into sourcing non GMO and organic ingredients for their products.

organic-food

 

What does this mean for the supply chain?

The increase in demand for organic produce can put a strain on an organisations supply chain. This comes down to the need to get ingredients from the farm to the factory more quickly than foods that have been preserved or genetically modified in some way.

Some companies are opting to source organic and non GMO products from certified supplies but this is not a viable alternative for all organisations. Instead, many businesses are looking towards other non GMO and organic proteins to use in their products.

These ingredients include peas, which are high in starch and free from allergens, or rice bran, which can be made into a source of fibre, protein and into oil. With these ingredients being easier to source than other organic and non GMO products, it is having a much smaller impact on their supply chains.

 Rethink your Approach

Nonetheless, many companies are still facing supply chain issues and are being made to rethink their approach in a range of areas such as:

  • product acquisition times
  • distribution
  • warehousing

Unfortunately, finding the time to rework your supply chain, alongside trying to keep up with the increasing demand for organic food isn’t always possible.

To combat the problems that come with an increase in demand, many organisations turn to supply chain and logistics specialists to help them combat the issues.

Supply chain consultants can help your businesses source non GMO and organic produce more efficiently and if needed, can find products that are traceable right back to the farm.

 Coping Strategies

The rise in demand has for organic and non GMO has caused an even bigger rise in the production of these ingredients by farmers and suppliers.

apple-harvest

However, distribution time from these areas is still one of the biggest problems for organisations looking to use organic ingredients. To tackle this, supply chain specialists can advise on coping strategies for perishable ingredients and develop tactics to help minimise wastage and speed up distribution times between warehouses.

Increased customer awareness means that there have been big changes within the food industry and this not set to slow down any time soon. Ensuring your supply chain can cope with the transition to organic and non GMO is vital for the future successes of your business and will give you the competitive edge you need to stay profitable.

For help optimising and reducing risks in your supply chains talk to Total Logistics supply chain consultants.

3 Mistakes to Avoid in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP)

Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is now considered to be one of the important processes within successful supply chain management.

sales and operations planning

It is essential to ensure the smooth running of a business both in the short and long-term and helps companies balance:

  • supply and demand
  • costs
  • customer service

A good S&OP process will undergo many years of regular improvement with adjustments to maximise sales and productivity within different areas of the organisation.

Whether you are just starting out with your planning or looking to improve these are three major mistakes to avoid in S&OP.

1. Not getting the balance right

This is one of the most important things to get right in S&OP, yet so many businesses get it very wrong.

Finding the right balance of supply and demand is crucial to your success. Produce too little and both the sales team and the consumer is left feeling let down, but produce too much and you are left with goods that cost you warehouse space and may need heavy discounting to shift.

Equal importance should be placed on both the sales and operations areas of your business if you want to achieve a harmonious supply chain.

2. Planning for just one outcome

Never plan for only one outcome.

It has been an S&OP rule for many years to work towards the ‘one goal’ – a business’s ultimate ideal ending. Unfortunately, this just simply isn’t viable and not only does it diminish the importance of your executives it can leave you in hot water if things go wrong.

It’s an S&OP executive’s job to mitigate risk and plan for alternate outcomes, just in case the supply and demand does not follow the path it is supposed to.

Don’t make the mistake of planning for something that can often be inconsistent, always plan for both positive and negative alternate results.

3. A lack of engagement across the board

Another one of the biggest mistakes businesses should avoid in S&OP is the inability to engage with all areas of the business.

The entire reason good S&OP is crucial to an organisations success is because if done correctly, it enables the entire business to move in the same direction. Despite this fact, many companies still fail to understand the importance of communication.

Whilst operations would want to see results in units, finance is more likely to need information in the form of net margins.

Being able to communicate plans in a way that sales, operations and finance can understand will ensure that they are more involved in the S&OP process and can help to create a smoother supply chain.

These are three obvious but common mistakes that businesses fall down on when it comes to S&OP. However, alongside correcting these mistakes, it’s important to always regularly check your S&OP process on a weekly to monthly basis to ensure that calculations and forecasts are heading in the right direction.

Fluidity is vital in business, so you need to be doing everything you can to improve the flexibility of your supply chain today.

Getting expert and independent help with your S&OP can not only make sure you avoid common mistakes, but also ensure you have workable plans both from today and into the future. Visit Total Logistics to find out more.

Supply chain consultants could help you to transform your business

supply chain consultants

supply chain consultants

Are you finding the demands of your clients and deadlines too much to handle? Are you not responding and delivering items quickly enough? This can directly impact your brand reputation which you can spend a lifetime building but 5 minutes to destroy!

You may want to reconsider how your supply chain is handled. Supply chain consultants help you to analyse, plan and optimise your supply chain to create bespoke a model that works for every area of your business and eventually your clients.

A recent article from B2B source outlines the alarm bells that are ringing which show that you need some assistance with your supply chain. The article also outlines how supply chain consultants can help you to get your business running like clockwork. You can read the full article here at B2B Source.

For more information about supply chain consulting, visit Hillman Consulting today.

Increasing Your Warehouse Capacity

When storing your goods ready for dispatch,  finding strategies to ensure your warehouse has as much space as possible for incoming goods can be essential. B2B source lists the 5 things that you much take into consideration when it comes to optimising your warehouse.

inventory optimisation

  1. Plan Ahead –  Always make sure you are planning ahead of every shipment your warehouse receives
  2. Remember Throughput – Make sure you keep items flowing out of your warehouse.
  3. Order Little and often – It might increase your shipping costs but getting stock in small, frequent amounts will reduce your batch stock and free up a little more space
  4. For 4 , 5 and 6, read the full article here at B2B source: http://www.b2bsource.co.uk/services/increase-warehouse-capacity.html 

 

 

Cross-Departmental S & OP Issues

Sales and Operations Planning (S & OP) is a simple business system: look ahead and plan accordingly.  The complexity comes in as planning requires cross-departmental cooperation and support. When conflicts arise it can be a serious set back.

Sales and Operations Planning (S & OP)

Do you have Cross-Departmental issues with your Sales and Operations Planning

For example:

  • Demand Forecasting requires input from Sales and Marketing departments
  • Capacity planning involves Operations
  • Ordering on suppliers involves Purchasing & Financial Planning
  • Reaching a consensus forecast requires agreement from all of them

Sales and Operations Planning seems to be one of the most difficult business disciplines to make stick, especially in medium sized organisations.

However effective S&OP joins up your organisation to ensure that customer service levels are maintained, while inventories and plant capacity are optimised a key requirement of business success, so it’s worth the effort to make it work.

For independent help and support in sales and operations planning talk to Total Logistics the complete supply chain consultancy www.total-logistics.com

3 Areas for Managing Successful Global Supply Chains

If you are growing your business internationally there is likely to be some key obvious requirements and changes your organisation will need to go through including a larger facility, more staff, increased marketing plus more overseas business trips.

global supply chains

Global Supply Chains

As well as these obvious changes there are some more hidden internal changes that need to take place and one key area in your supply chains. Your success as an international business will rely heavily on keeping pace with your supply chains.

The following are a few tips for developing successful global supply chains:

Gain local insights through local knowledge

local supply chain knowledgeFinding local partners that have a deep and full understanding of the local markets will be key to developing your brand internationally.

The right local support can help you in many key business areas from finding the right suppliers, transport links, business consultant and negotiating legal and tax requirements.

Investing in the right IT solutions

supply chain IT solutionsYou simply can’t be everywhere at once so having access to accurate data is going to be key in controlling your global supply. From budget numbers to operational goals, having the right data at your figure tips will make all the difference.

The right supply chain software platform is ensure you stay on track and can also cut costs, support growth, and increase your return on investment.

Value and diversify suppliers to reduce risk

global supplierHaving a great relationship with your global supply chain partners really makes for a much smoother ride for everyone including better negotiations, production and delivery.

As well as developing positive supplier relationships it is also a good idea to follow the proverb of not putting all your eggs in one basket by having a number of suppliers to reduce your supply chain risk.

Developing your business internationally can bring great benefits as well as challenges, but with the right partners and supporting systems you will find developing globally much easier.

Total Logistics are independent supply chain consultants operating logistics and supply chain projects all over the world. They are perfectly positioned to help business expand their operations into global markets for more information visit http://www.total-logistics.com/

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

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. 

Warehouse Design – Key Points

When designing your new warehouse or distribution facility location is a key factor that can make or break the success of your supply chain.

supply chain network

Your warehouse design needs to site within your supply chain network

However, before you even think about locations you need to review several factors including having a complete understanding of your current requirements coupled with detailed future planning giving you insight into how your warehousing needs will change and develop in the future.

It is worth investing in detailed supply chain modelling to help you review different scenarios and ensures you build into your plans sufficient flexibility for the future.

Warehouse Location – what you should consider

Your warehouse location is key to the design process and needs to bring you as close to your customers as possible. On demand is fast becoming the norm in people lives and although this expectation is easier to meet with digital content expectations are still high when it comes to the delivery of physical items.

As well as being close to your customers your warehouse location needs to work within your existing supply chain. Your new warehouse design will be closely linked to whether you need:

  • a stand-alone warehouse to serve nationwide demand
  • a new warehouse to expand your existing network
  • a new warehouse to replace an existing facility

Other factors effecting your warehouse design and location include budget, operational costs and customer service ability.

Being aware of your competitors

Although your new warehouse design will need to primarily be focused on your needs and requirements it is worth also reviewing your competitors. By looking at the warehousing and networks of your competitors you can identify aspects that work and perhaps more importantly areas were improvements can be made that will give you a competitive edge.

Professional advice and support

With so many key considerations it is worth investing in professional warehouse design advice from an experienced supply chain consultancy. They will be able to carry out detailed supply chain analysis and modelling plus provide support and advice throughout the project to ensure you get the right warehouse design in the right location.

Total Logistics has extensive experience in designing supply chain warehouses and distribution centres all around the world, incorporating both manual and fully automated solutions.

They model material flows and stock holding, overlaid with growth predictions, to understand the future business shape.  Plus consider customer service requirements to develop a range of mechanical handling equipment options.  Clients are involved throughout the process, to ensure that the warehouse design full meets all the clients’ current and future requirements.

For more details visit www.total-logistics.com