yearly-graph-growth-report-2017 to 2019

Accelerate your profitability – from MHD magazine

Paul Goepfert

An unprecedented demand for precision and pace has been a catalyst for change in the logistics and wholesale sector. These high customer expectations have led IDC  to predict that by 2022, digital technologies that allow for automation of repetitive tasks will streamline supply chain operations dramatically, cutting typical manual-based processes in half. Read more

Hands of robot and human touching on global virtual network connection future interface. Artificial intelligence technology concept.

The future is data – from MHD magazine

The modern global supply chain is defined by scale: billions of transactions and terabytes of data across multiple systems, with businesses generating more every moment. Traditional supply chain management (SCM) practices are quickly being outmatched by the ceaseless onslaught of information and artificial intelligence. Read more


Deal with demand – from MHD magazine

The impacts of digital transformation and connected commerce are resounding across industries. The roles of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, employees, technology and robotics are all rapidly transforming in today’s evolving e-commerce landscape. Changing consumer behaviours and new digital initiatives have also changed the game for distribution centres (DC) and supply chains, which are now expected to skilfully handle large B2B wholesale orders, retail store replenishment orders, as well as urgent, small e-commerce orders.
Some of the biggest shifts in expectations of the DC and supply chain are inline with the flexibility that consumers now expect from e-commerce. Manhattan Associates recently conducted research that revealed 56 per cent of Australian consumers would stop shopping with a retailer that doesn’t offer flexible returns options, and 71 per cent check to see if a retailer offers flexible delivery methods such as home/office delivery, parcel pickup lockers, click-and-collect and express delivery, before shopping online with them.
Today’s supply chain and warehouse need to keep up with a much more demanding omnichannel landscape, which will likely continue to grow more demanding as technology advances and competition rises.
MHD May-June 2019 Cover Story 2.-digital

Keeping up with the changing industry

Under pressure from rising consumer expectations, forward-thinking companies around the world are challenging themselves to serve more customers, more quickly, more directly and more personally. And these companies realise that omnichannel distribution projects aren’t just an issue for the consumer-facing retailer end of the business – it is also very much down to supply chains and warehouses to keep up.
In an effort to keep up with the omni-channel, distribution leaders are making unified channel fulfilment a key goal, because it delivers a holistic approach that is capable of factoring in the complexities and uniqueness associated with each individual channel.
Supply chain leaders are now taking note of the benefits other businesses have gained with this approach and are taking action. They have realised it’s no longer acceptable to operate channels with segregated warehouse space, duplicative inventories, excess labour, and redundant automation.
All of these assets are expensive and in order to improve throughput, profitability and customer satisfaction, maximum utilisation is critical. There needs to be continuous optimisation and orchestration of order fulfilment activities across all assets and all channels. That’s why advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) must now also feature an embedded Warehouse Execution System (WES) and Order Streaming capabilities.

Warehouse Execution System

The trend today is that more and more organisations are going down the multi-channel fulfilment route. Tasked with handling more SKU, greater numbers of smaller, more frequent orders, across more channels – all with shorter processing times – distribution centres are under constant pressure.
Rising demand for human labour and resulting labour shortages are driving many warehouses to investigate advanced automation and robotics. The appeal is obvious: automation is not impacted by regional workforce capacity, robots do not get fatigued, injured or sick, and they can work around the clock. Robots are also safer in some cases, helping to manage large, heavy, or hazardous loads to protect both worker health and the company’s liability.
DC robotics are getting more efficient, more sophisticated and faster than ever before, with innovations coming from vendors around the world. The challenge is that different types of automation do not naturally communicate and are often not aware of each other, much less the supporting workforce. In order to get maximum throughput within the DC, the various types of automation need to work together.

“More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together.”

Previously, there was no standardising of systems and no limitation to the amount of automation – when supply chain leaders introduced automation, they were forced to work with various systems: a warehouse management system (WMS), or warehouse control system (WCS), as well as a warehouse execution system (WES). The systems worked independently of each other and remained largely siloed, meaning fulfilment organisations actually had to work harder to ensure inventories were not duplicated, and resources were maximised.
These legacy WMS were never designed to continuously manage the capacity and throughput across advanced automation, robotics and humans. Now, with fulfilment across multiple channels, supply chains need a lot more flexibility.
“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels,” said Raghav Sibal, managing director at Manhattan Associates, ANZ. “This has created a need to optimise the flow of products through different channels, as throughput needs to be measured and optimised through each area of the warehouse to be able to maximise the overall efficiency of the operation, with the WMS integrating all systems used in all areas.”
Today, the WES module needs to be built inside the WMS, rather than being patched on later from the outside. Eliminating siloed integration challenges, a WES embedded into the WMS provides a comprehensive, coordinated approach that gives complete command and control of the warehouse.

“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels.”

Many operations have both human and automation in the warehouse, and whilst automation can be optimised at maximum capacity, a bottleneck is often created in other areas. WES inside the WMS will optimise throughput through each zone or area in the warehouse, both automation and human, in order to maximise the efficiency in each area. The system is able to take into account how long an order has been sitting, as well as orders going through goods-to-purchase, to prevent a bottleneck occurring upstream or downstream, and ensuring operations are optimised.
A fully integrated WMS should work seamlessly with any type of automation, allowing robotics providers to simply plug in to the new system and be up and running quickly.

Order Streaming

In a further effort to take charge of omnichannel management and success, many supply chain leaders are looking to Order Streaming, a sophisticated approach to order fulfilment. Order Streaming helps the DC operate with increased speed and flexibility by breaking down the boundaries between wave (bulk orders) and waveless (smaller e-commerce orders continuously streamed) fulfilment. It allows warehouses to use multiple processes to efficiently fulfil orders of any size or type rapidly from a DC of any size or type — both smaller, local, quick-response facilities, as well as larger, regional, high-volume, automated e-commerce sites.
Australia Post’s 2018 E-commerce Industry Paper revealed that in 2017 online spending saw a growth of 18.7 per cent, while traditional retail saw a growth of only 2.5 per cent. Additionally, Australia Post predicts that by 2020, one in ten items will be bought online. With this growth, Order Streaming will become more important in the supply chain to keep up with the increased volume and smaller pick orders from e-commerce.
Order Streaming is a waveless approach and allows smaller orders to be incorporated into the flow without disrupting the efficiency and productivity of the warehouse. Rather than batching orders and dropping them into the DC operation in waves, which will slow down production as smaller or single-product orders have to sit and wait until they can fit into a batch, Order Streaming continuously evaluates the order pool and automatically releases work based on variables such as order priorities and facility processing capacities.
While many types of orders and operations are best served by batch-wave processing, development of a waveless approach has been necessary to respond to growing omnichannel fulfilment promises. Waveless manages every order as a discrete allocation of work, enabling fast, responsive fulfilment for smaller, more urgent orders. It is ideal for direct-to-consumer order fulfilment.
“Order Streaming gives distribution centres the ability to process urgent e-commerce orders throughout the day without disruptions, which is only going to be more important as e-commerce continues to grow and delivery timeframes shrink,” Mr Raghav said.
Another key benefit of Order Streaming is that the system allows retailers to accept online orders later in the day, while still allowing them to turn around and ship orders quickly (often in the same day).
Whether a warehouse relies on a combination of manual and partially automated processes, or a fully automated, robotic system, Order Streaming supports the requirements of adaptive, changeable fulfilment and delivery. Today’s trends toward sophisticated autonomous robotics open an exciting set of opportunities for Order Streaming and its impact on business strategies.

Allowing for future growth

More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together. Coordination and collaboration across discrete pieces of advanced automation – as well as the human workforce – only gets more powerful when those systems are integrated with each other. The combination of an embedded WES and Order Streaming capabilities makes today’s advanced WMS one that enables total visibility across the DC, complete flexibility for automation growth, as well as continuous analysis and maximum utilisation of all resources.
As e-commerce trends continue to emerge and impact supply chains, supply chain leaders must find ways to modernise their DC operations in order to remain competitive in the face of new pure-play e-commerce start-ups, international brands, and other omnichannel enterprises. Advancements in technology, equipment, and operational best practices will certainly provide opportunities and inspiration.
Achieving omni-channel success
Manhattan Associates’ customer Country Road Group completed a successful roll out of Manhattan’s WMS. The technology deployment was a key component of a business transformation project designed to deliver a unified brand experience for customers across channels and to drive ongoing business growth.
Country Road Group’s business and sales channels have evolved in complexity and scope as the company expanded its operating footprint. With over 700 stores and a growing online operation, the retailer had outgrown its outsourced logistics services model and recognised the critical need to take greater command of its supply chain. The company made the strategic decision to invest in a new DC and chose Manhattan’s system to orchestrate goods flows through the new DC.
Head of supply chain Australasia, Country Road Group/David Jones Peter Fouskarinis commented: “The Manhattan solution has enabled us to optimise our store replenishment and online order fulfilment processes, resulting in improved product availability and customer satisfaction.”
The Manhattan system’s advanced fulfilment logic for wave management, constraint-based selection and real-time replenishment has been critical in helping Country Road Group realise its omni-channel commerce goals. The system eliminates costly physical counts with auditor-approved cycle counting, and stores can now provide same day fulfilment as a result of a new cross-docking approach.
For more information contact Manhattan Associates on +61 2 9454 5438, email or visit

100 years of writing innovation

Pilot Pen recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. John Johnston, Marketing Manager at the company showcases some of Pilot’s innovative products suited to the warehouse industry.  
Just over a century ago, a young nautical engineer who worked as a professor at the Tokyo Marine Academy noticed a student struggling to use a ruling pen during drawing class.
After this observation, Ryosuke Namiki took it upon himself to improve the pen industry. His desire to create something Japanese that the world would be proud to use led him to develop a brand of ruling pens that had ink stored in-line, and consequently acquired the relevant patent for it.
Namiki’s inquisitive nature shifted to fountain pens. He worked with colleague Maso Wada to create the first fountain pen on 9th February 1916. Two years later, Namiki and Wada established Namiki Manufacturing Company which became the Pilot Corporation.
For the past 100 years, Pilot Pen has been at the forefront of design and innovation, delivering writing experiences in different industries around the world. All of Pilot’s products are made in Japan using the best quality ink and materials, with an emphasis on end user satisfaction. The focus is on being the best and ensuring that every one of our products is produced to the highest standard.
“I think this commitment to quality above all things is why we have been around for 100 years, and why we will be around for another 100,” John says.
Pilot recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary in Australia alongside World Gratitude Day where the company put up a giant gratitude wall in Sydney’s Martin Place. The wall created a space for people to come and express what they were grateful for. According to John, gratitude is something the company feels very strongly about with marking their centenary anniversary.
“We’re very grateful at Pilot for the public’s support over the past 100 years and we’re are consistently thrilled to see that in spite of the rise in technology, writing by hand is still very important both in personal and business applications,” John says.
A pen for any occasion
John believes there a number of different products across the Pilot range that would significantly help logistics businesses to carry out their daily tasks more conveniently and effectively.
One product range that John is particularly excited about is the FriXion range of erasable inks, which incude pens, highlighters & coloured markers.
The secret behind Pilot’s FriXion ink is that it is a thermosensitive ink, so if it heats up the ink will disappear but can reappear when temperatures reach below –10 degrees Celsius. The ink uses three types of chemical compounds that rely on acid-base and temperature sensitivity. When you rub the ink with the hard rubber eraser that is on the top of the pen, the heat from the friction causes the temperature-sensing compound to activate the acid compounds which in turn neutralises the dye and causes it to disappear.
“Having a pen that you can rub out has so many different applications. For example, if you are writing up a schedule or changing rosters. I use this pen all the time and having the ability to erase things when writing up notes has been fantastic, I couldn’t live without it now,” John says.
Pilot has recently introduced the SCA 100 and 400 range of permanent markers that are ideal for industrial applications, John calls the pens tough markers for tough jobs.
“Perfect for the office, factory and warehouse…or anywhere that you need to permanently make your mark. They have a minimum 24-hour period where the cap can be left off but the tip will not dry out,” John says.
The SCA 100 and 400 series feature the newly developed Controlled Surface Properties (CSP) ink, which is wear resistant and prevents the ink dispersing when it’s scratched. This ensures a long cap-off performance & rich, vibrant colours. They are xylene free and available in fine tip/1 mm (SCA 100) and broad tip/4 mm (SCA 400).
According to John, one the key benefits of the pen are its strong surface adhesion. This means that you can use the pen on a variety of surfaces including cartons, glass, plastic, wood and metal. “You can even write over grease and oil,” John says.
Additionally, the pen boasts a 24 hour cap off life, meaning it will not dry out even if left uncapped for 24 hours. It is also water resistant and comes in a variety of vibrant colours.

How frequently should pallet racking inspections be done?

Graham Correy, General Manager, Stow Storage Solutions presents his tips for pallet racking inspections. 
To ensure that your warehouse storage space is a safe place to work, it’s important to keep your pallet racking in good shape through routine inspections. Not only it is highly recommended, it is also a legal requirement that needs to be followed.
Legal liabilities* can exist if you fail to do the following:

  • Fail to do regular visual inspections (A weekly inspection by your “technically competent” staff can do the job)
  • Fail to do an annual pallet racking inspection by a professional
  • Fail to repair any damaged components

* Source: Plant Regulations under various State Occupational Health and Safety Acts
Now, the question is how frequently are pallet racking inspections required?

  • Regular internal inspections need to be conducted weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on the amount of warehouse turnover and level of operational wear and tear; and
  • Inspections performed by a professional independent racking inspector are required a maximum of every 12 months.

What needs to be checked?

  • Check loading of racks – Overloading can potentially cause serious damage and injuries. It is important to remember that each beam level and the overall bay has a load rating and you need to consider the age &/or state of the rack – it may not have the load capacity posted on it.
  • Check the state of metal components – The metal components need to be checked for corrosion and/or rust as this is a sign that the metal is weak. If you have noticed any paint that has been scraped or scratched it usually indicates that there has been a collision and needs further investigation.
  • Check if the racks are level – Warehouse pallet racking is subject to collisions which can affect set levels. Having a vertical leaning, a crooked rack or misaligned rows are areas that require urgent attention.
  • Check uprights, bracing and footplates – Uprights that are bent or damaged may need replacing. It is necessary to check if the bracing has any deformities and see if the footplates are properly attached to the floor. It may be useful to look at column protectors for any damages.
  • Check the load beams – beams can also suffer damages due to impacts, uneven loading or overloading. It is necessary to check for any dents, twists, scrapes or bowing.
  • Check the connections between beams and uprights –Connections need to be inspected to see if the beams are secured tightly to the uprights, for any broken welds or other signs of damage. The safety clips and bolts in the bolted system need to be tight.

It is important to take notes and document the findings of the inspection and the priority of any repairs required. Documentation helps track down the regularity and thoroughness of the process.
The tips above are for information purposes only. It is advisable that a professional rack inspector is engaged to guarantee that your warehouse facility is safe for work and that the pallet racking is in good shape.
At One Stop Shelving, our Racking Inspection Team can help you comply with a range of OHS & E requirements and maintain your racking safety. We’ll work with you to identify and develop strategies to mitigate and reduce the overall risk to your business.
We will give you a detailed assessment of your racking and present strategies that will reduce those risks. Our assessments are conducted in accordance with Australian Standards AS4084-12, and our rack inspection team has over 50 years combined experience in racking and warehouse solutions.
Ensure the safety of your team and the structural integrity of your racking – let us inspect your pallet racking and reduce the risk factor!

What is the importance of a warehouse management system?

Emanuel Kelly, Implementation and Customer Services Manager, CartonCloud presents his tips in how to choose the right WMS. 
A good Warehouse Management System (WMS) will allow you to optimise your administration, customer and floor processes. Provide real-time and historical visibility at the touch of a button. Help strengthen your relationship with your customers and improve revenue recognition. Often less tangible but equally important is the positive impact on team morale resulting from improved business performance and reduced ‘stress events’.

  • Unable to account for customer stock holding
  • Losing time and money running on-demand stock counts and checks
  • Drowning in paper and spreadsheets
  • Wrong products and quantities sent to customers
  • Constantly have to sort through boxes of paper and spreadsheets to find history on movements
  • Struggle to find the information to accurately invoice customers
  • Administration and labour costs blowing out
  • Customers demanding real-time visibility
  • Customers want to integrate order processing from their systems
  • Losing valuable time calculating charges for your customer invoices

These are regular issues for our customers who are moving to a Warehouse Management System for the first time.
Before selecting a WMS, establish what is important to your business and business customers; be clear on what key business issues need to be resolved by moving to a WMS. Not all WMS platforms are created equal: just like people, WMS platforms have strengths drawn from experience. You may struggle to find a system that meets all of your wish list items within your budget or available time. Where a feature is not available check that the alternative options are operationally viable and/or this feature is on the development roadmap.
Some key things to think through (by no means an exhaustive list)

  • What is your budget
  • How quickly do you need to transition onto the new WMS
  • Do you have resources with the capability and available time to implement the WMS or do you need direct implementation assistance / training
  • Does the WMS need to automatically invoice your customers
  • Do you need to manage and invoice for multiple Units Of Measure (bottles, inner and outer cartons, layers, pallets etc)
  • Do you need to scan, manage or capture product barcodes, serial numbers, pallet IDs or SSCC, batch codes, manufacturing codes and/or expiry dates etc
  • Do you operate in multiple environments e.g cool store and ambient, small bin, racked and bulk storage, stock split over multiple warehouses
  • What do you need to be able to report on for your customers
  • Do you need system integration with customers, internal business systems and/or accounting systems
  • Do your customers need to be able to access the WMS to report on stock holdings, raise orders, and/or check if goods have been despatched
  • Do you need to manage on road jobs; on forwarders or your own vehicles
  • Do customer provided documents need to travel with the goods
  • What level of support does your team need from the vendor

Once you have a short list, request demonstrations showcasing how your business needs will be met; ask for case-studies and references from similar industries.
Whilst the benefits of moving to a good WMS are huge, you will need to dedicate resources, cost and time to the transition; it is important to make the right selection first time.
Emanuel Kelly, Implementation and Customer Services Manager, CartonCloud

Almondco and LINX – together investing in regional NSW’s almond industry

LINX Cargo Care Group supports its customers and their plans and visions for future sustainability right across Australia.
In regional NSW, Griffith’s almond industry has expanded over the last two years.  LINX continues to enhance its transport offering with our customer, Almondco Australia Limited, to help them meet the industry’s increasing volumes.
As a sign of its commitment to Almondco and its expansion planning, LINX has invested in co-branded trailer curtains on its B Triple Trailers. “The colourful trailers are highly visible on local and interstate roads to South Australia and we are proud to showcase our combined investment and support for the almond industry in regional NSW,” Anthony Jones, CEO, LINX Cargo Care Group said.
“Almondco are proud to be partnering with LINX to bring real value to our grower members both in the Riverina and further afield. It is important for our organisation to align ourselves with providers such as LINX, who not only have a demonstrated capability to provide superior service but also the capacity to grow with us into the future,” Brenton Paige, Almondco Australia Limited’s Group Operations Manager said.
Almondco’s manufacturing plant in Hanwood, NSW demonstrates they are here for the long haul and LINX is excited to keep their supply chain moving as they grow in the region.

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