Kalmar has introduced what it claims is the industry's first lithium-ion powered medium forklift.

Kalmar launches 9-18t lithium battery electric forklifts

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has introduced a medium electric forklift (9-18t capacity), powered by emission-free lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology. The new forklift is the latest step on the company’s journey towards offering an electric version of every product in its portfolio by 2021. It is the first forklift in the medium-capacity range to be powered by Li-ion batteries, and the battery technology will initially be available for several models with a wheelbase of 3,500 mm. Read more

FedEx ends contract with Amazon

FedEx has made the decision to not renew the FedEx Express U.S. domestic contract with Amazon as the company wishes to focus on serving the broader e-commerce market.
In an announcement FedEx stated that this decision does not impact any existing contracts between Amazon and other FedEx business units or relating to international services.
Amazon is not FedEx’s largest customer. The percentage of total FedEx revenue attributable to Amazon represented less than 1.3 percent of total FedEx revenue for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2018.
“There is significant demand and opportunity for growth in e-commerce which is expected to grow from 50 million to 100 million packages a day in the U.S. by 2026. FedEx has already built out the network and capacity to serve thousands of retailers in the e-commerce space. We are excited about the future of e-commerce and our role as a leader in it,” FedEx declared.
 

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has released its official sales report for the online retail sector, and there are signs of bad times.

Online retail has taken a dive: NAB report

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has released its official sales report for the online retail sector, and there are signs of bad times.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the report has a ‘very weak’ forecast for retailers.
The NAB’s cashless retail sales index is highly regarded as one of the more accurate reports when it comes to predicting the results of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) own findings on the nation’s economy.
Because it processes about 2 million cashless transactions per day, NAB has a wealth of data that allows it to report on retail spending behaviour to forecast sales trends. But if its newest report is right, a majority of those transactions are not going into retail sales.
The following months are also looking bleak, with Mr Oster further saying that “ABS retail trade will fall 0.5% a month-on-month basis, the weakest forecast in our series going back some half a decade”.
Retail leasing specialist Phillip Chapman, director of Lease1, commented: “Another weak result such as this is the last thing the retail sector needs, with a decade of record low inflation and margin compression, the industry needs to desperately find a savings in occupancy costs.”

The report

NAB is certain that there are a number of issues (both locally and abroad) that could be behind this downward trend. Among these included are costs in the housing market, low income growth among consumers, as well as competition from e-commerce (which NAB had reported on more positively in its March sales index for online retail). The NAB Online Retail Sales Index contracted -3.8% in April on a month-on-month (mom), seasonally adjusted (sa) basis. This follows an upwardly revised March result (+2.4%, was +1.7% mom, sa). While not of the same magnitude, the April result is consistent with the broader retail sales weakness it has identified in its Cashless Retail ABS forecast for April (-0.5%).
After a strong March, all eight online retail categories recorded a contraction in month-on-month sales growth, with the largest sales category, Homewares and appliances (-6.9% mom, sa), the second weakest in the month behind takeaway food (-8.6%). In year-on-year terms, five of the eight NAB Online Retail Sales Index categories were lower compared to April 2018. Department and variety stores remains the fastest growing category in year-on-year terms (26.1% y/y). Games and toys performed best, albeit contracting, in month-on-month terms (-0.2% mom, sa).
In month-on-month terms, all states and territories recorded a contraction in growth, led by Tasmania (-6.4%). The two largest online sales states, NSW (+0.5% yoy, sa) and Victoria (+1.6%), recorded considerably weak year-on-year growth in April.
At +0.7%, international online retailers performed better in month-on-month terms relative to domestic competitors (-4.4% mom, sa). However, in year-on-year terms, from the series, considerable weakness in international online sales remains.
The NAB estimates that in the 12 months to April, Australians spent $28.98 billion on online retail, a level that is close to around 9% of the traditional bricks and mortar retail sector (March 2019, Australian Bureau of Statistics), and about 17% higher than the 12 months to April 2018.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster commented:

“Our NAB Online retail sales index data indicates considerable weakness in online retail sales for April 2019. Online retail sales tend to be more volatile than broader retail, experiencing far greater monthly fluctuations. This month, both online retail and broader cashless retail series indicated very weak retail conditions. While year-on-year growth in online sales has also slowed considerably in recent months, these comparisons are made to a period of elevated sales in 2018, with major new merchants to Australia, and also pre-GST exemption effects.
“By category, department stores continued to lead year-on-year growth. In the month, all categories experienced a contraction in sales, with a drop in sales for Games and Toys the most mild. In month-on-month terms, Takeaway food (-8.6% mom, sa) was the worst performer. This result may indicate structural change in this sector given recent high profile exits and consolidation. The largest spending share category, homewares and appliances, recorded the second worst growth rate in the month, and also contracted in year-on-year terms. The Cashless retail indicator also pointed to weakness in this key retail sector in April. While department stores continue to record the strongest growth, this category has slowed from high double digits post the introduction of the GST on all goods in July 2018.
“Tasmania, with about 2% of online retail sales, was weakest in April, after leading growth in March. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland represent over three quarters of the online market in Australia by sales value. Of these larger sales states, Queensland was strongest over the year.
“By merchant location, domestic online retailers continue to outpace their offshore counterparts, with international slowing in year-on-year terms. However, domestic retail sales contracted in the month, while their international counterparts recorded mild growth.
“It is worth noting here that our definition of a domestic online retailer can include those merchants whose parent organisation might be overseas with an Australian Subsidiary. Using GST as a key defining characteristic of domestic and international is no longer appropriate given changes made in July 2018,” Mr Oster said.

Women in Industry 2019 award winners revealed

The 2019 Women in Industry Awards was held last night at The Park in Melbourne, celebrating the women who lead, energise and inspire in their respective roles across various sectors including road transport.
Prime Creative Media Publisher, Christine Clancy, opened the event, stating that the business case for creating a workplace where women can thrive has never been stronger.
“At the micro level, data shows that companies with greater representation of women in leadership positions is associated with increased productivity.
“Studies in the US have found that greater gender balance among corporate leaders is associated with higher stock values and greater profitability.
“It is also found firms with mixed gender boards tend to out-perform all-male boards, and that Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of women on their boards performed significantly better than firms with the lowest proportion,” she said.
The 2019 Women in Industry Award winners are:
Rising Star of the Year – Proudly sponsored by Atlas Copco
Diana Delac – Site Engineer, Fulton Hogan
Mentor of the Year 
Celeste Ward – Process Engineer, Stantec Australia
Safety Advocacy Award – Proudly sponsored by BOC
Kristen Stanford – Safety Manager, CSR Limited
Excellence in Manufacturing– Proudly sponsored by CSR Limited
Amber Burdett-Dow – Customer Experience Program Manager, BOC
Industry Advocacy Award 
Alice Edwards – Technical Project Manager, The Crane Industry Council of Australia
Social Leader of the Year
Penelope Noelle Twemlow – Chair and CEO, Women In Power
Business Development Manager of the Year 
Melissa Waters – Marketing, Brand and Innovation manager, Hebel & Velocity
Excellence in Mining– Proudly sponsored by CSR Limited
Jodi Moffitt – Manager Planning, Roy Hill
Excellence in Engineering
Alana Duncker –Senior Consultant, Stantec Australia
Excellence in Road Transport
Sondra Kremerskothen – Group Manager – Training, Linfox Australia
 

John Parks joins industry alliance

The Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association have announced that highly respected industry advocate, John Park is to join as the alliance’s Head of Business Operations.
Paul Zalai, Director and co-founder of FTA, announced in a member notice earlier today that Mr Park will support members nationally on operational matters, will manage the alliance’s growing number of members in Western Australia and will advocate for positive reform on operational and policy committees.
“At a personal level, I have had the privilege of working alongside John in various capacities for over 25 years and am excited in knowing the tremendous value that he will add to our administrative and advocacy team,” Paul said.
FTA is a leading industry body representing 350 major importers and freight forwarding businesses and serves as Secretariat to APSA being the peak body as designated by the Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Transport to protect the interests of Australia’s cargo owners and shippers in respect to shipping and international logistics services.

Woolworths is said to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August.

Woolworths to trial new barcode

Woolworths is said to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August.
The trial has the potential to help reduce the millions of tonnes of food waste generated in Australia each year, and will eliminate the risk of customers purchasing expired products.
In collaboration with Woolworths, Hilton Foods and Ingham’s will start placing 2D barcodes on fresh meat and poultry products sold via Woolworths supermarkets nationally.
Woolworths general manager of business enablement Richard Plunkett said: “We’re proud to be the first Australian supermarket to invest in this technology, and hope it can help us further reduce food waste.
“2D barcodes have immense potential and we’re excited to see how they will improve food safety, traceability and stock management.”
For the past 45 years retailers have used 1D barcodes that identify the object. Unlike traditional barcodes, 2D barcodes contain information about the product’s batch, supplier, use-by date, and serial numbers at the point of sale. The barcodes store data in two dimensions, rather than in just a series of black and white bars and look like checkerboards or a series of traditional barcodes stacked atop one another
Currently the product recall process requires all recalled products to be removed from supermarket shelves and disposed of. The information supplied by 2D barcodes will allow retailers to pinpoint the specific batch affected and trace it back through the production line, making it easier to identify the source of contamination and avoid sending unaffected products to landfill.
The ability to add expiry and best before dates to a product’s barcode will also help eliminate any risk of retailers selling out of date products to customers by removing the need for team members to manually label products. When scanned at the point of sale, customers will be alerted that the product is past its expiry date and the system won’t allow the purchase.
Beyond food safety and food waste, data embedded barcodes have the potential to improve the traceability of the farm-to-fork journey in the future. Ingham’s has partnered with Woolworths to investigate the potential of the new barcodes on its products.
Ingham’s head of sales – Woolworths Ed Alexander said: “Ingham’s is proud to be a pioneer in the 2D barcode initiative with Woolworths.
“Food safety and traceability are paramount to our business. Delivering quality products that incorporate cutting edge technology to enhance these elements and provide a range of benefits to consumers is a step we gladly embrace.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Woolworths in the initial roll out of this technology and look forward to seeing the real-time and long-term benefits it will bring.”
GS1, which develops and maintains global standards for business communication, has been assisting Woolworths with its trial.
CEO and executive director of GS1 Australia Maria Palazzolo said: “Four decades on from inception, barcode scanning technology in Australia continues to evolve.
“The fresh food sector relies on accurate and complete data to track a product’s journey all the way from the farm to the supermarket shelves. It’s great to see Woolworths leading the way in bringing 2D barcodes to shoppers at point-of-sale.”
Successful trials in Germany, the UK and Thailand have shown material benefits for both customers and suppliers.
A number of other suppliers across health and beauty, freezer and long-life categories have introduced 2D barcodes in anticipation of future barcode adoption.
Woolworths will work with industry bodies and suppliers to develop a phased roll-out plan to help ensure more suppliers can adopt the new printing technologies.

The distribution centre of the future: scale, flexibility and the need for automation

Own the future – from MHD magazine

The distribution centre of the future will need scale, flexibility and automation. As technology advances and society changes, consumers are demanding services faster and more readily available. Current warehousing and distribution practices won’t be sufficient to keep up with market expectations, so forward-thinking businesses are investing in flexible, scalable and automated solutions to future-proof their operations. Read more

100% of Woolworths supermarkets now claim to be with an active food waste diversion partner.

Woolworths eliminates food waste from its supermarkets

In a bid to tackle the $20 billion food waste problem in Australia and its commitment to reduce food waste from going to landfill, Woolworths has announced that 100% of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place.
From rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger relief charity partners, donating stock feed to farmers or sending it for commercial organic composting, all Woolworths supermarkets nationwide now have at least one active food waste diversion partner in place.
With these programs in place,  Woolworths has recorded an average year-on-year reduction of 8 per cent in food waste sent to landfill over the past three years.
Woolworths head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said: “Food is meant to be eaten, not thrown – which is why together with our customers, our farmers and our community partners, we’re working to keep good food out of landfill.
“This is not a new journey for us – we’ve been working hard at this for the last decade and we are excited to hit a milestone ahead of World Environment Day that 100% of our stores now with a food waste diversion program in place.
“We heavily invested in our team members to ensure that they have the education, training, resources and equipment to better identify and divert surplus food that can no longer be sold away from landfill and toward the most beneficial stream – be it food rescue for hunger relief, farmer donations for animal feed or commercial composting.”
In the last year, Woolworths has diverted from landfill over 55,000 tonnes of food and enabled over 10 million meals to be delivered to Australians in need across the country.
Adrian Cullen said; “Working with our partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed Australian’s who would otherwise go hungry is our number one priority when it comes to diverting food from our stores,
“We then work with local farmers so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as stock feed for animals or for on-farm composting. This helps us further reduce and re-purpose bakery and produce waste.”
To date over 750 farmers and community groups from around the country have joined the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program and last year Australian farmers received more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food from Woolworths that is no longer fit for human consumption.
Owner of Tasmania Zoo Rochelle Penney has been part of the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program since the Zoo opened its doors 15 years ago.
Ms Penney said: “Our team collects several bins of unsold surplus fruit, vegetables and bakery products that are no longer suitable for sale, every day from our local Woolworths stores to supplement feed for our animals.
“With over 100 different species of animals, all with variable nutritional needs, the support we receive from Woolies through the Stock Feed for Farmers program is invaluable.
“The program is enriching the lives of our animals and providing them the experience to taste a wide variety of produce.
“Importantly, the savings we make through the program enable us to continue our important conservation and education work which includes breeding programs and caring for a number of critically endangered native and exotic species.”

40 years of barcoding in Australia

At the GS1 Nexus Conference in Melbourne and Sydney last month, GS1 celebrated 40 years of the barcode in Australia.
Maria Palazzolo, CEO at GS1 Australia spoke highly of how far the barcode has come, along with great praise for Bill Pratt, a pioneer of barcoding in Australia.
“What originally started in retail now touches every single industry in this country. Across manufacturing, logistics and healthcare the GS1 standards are helping businesses become more efficient. The foundation of the standards can be used in every sector and it is fair to say that these standards have revolutionised Australian businesses for the past 40 years,” she said.
One of the keynote speakers at the Nexus 2019 Conference was Robert Beideman, Global Chief Solutions and Innovation Officer at GS1. Robert spoke about the importance of technology, and how organisations can use data in a meaningful way.
For him, GS1 standards give organisations the ability to link between technology and business.
Robert spoke of the need to understand shared business problems, prioritise them and then look into how technologies may help solve these issues. According to Robert, a good place to start is data security and privacy.
“It’s a $200 billion industry already. This means we have the opportunity to do better when it comes to the amount of data we consume, that we share across enterprise, or we share with our trading partners. It is a huge trend,” he says. But he then asks delegates to consider the question of what we are doing with that data.
Secondly, Robert spoke of the increased  push for traceability standards. For Robert, end-to-end traceability has not yet been realised but as consumers are becoming more and more demanding there is a requirement for organisations to offer total traceability. “People want to know where the stuff they buy is coming from. Where it has been and what it is made of. These business drivers are on the rise,” he says.
In addition, sustainability presents a number of opportunities and challenges as well as automation. “You have smart cities, smart factories, smart homes and you have smart health.” Robert asks: “With all these business challenges and issues arising every day, how do you prioritise?”
For Robert, these challenges also present opportunities for organisations to serve customers more efficiently. “It doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, a brand or a transport company, you need to consider how this future impacts your business.”
Robert then poses the question of how to react as an industry. Here he offers valuable insights into what GS1 can offer and how building standards within industry removes costs and creates better experiences.
GS1 recently released a new report to help businesses understand these trends and how to react. The report takes all of the technology enablers and maps them against business trends.
“Whether you are in the logistics space, or part of the supply chain, the contents of this report can be helpful for you prioritising the technology investigations that you choose to do, or how to map them into the business challenges you are faced with solving,” he says.
For GS1, the future will allow every retailer to verify every product that every brand makes, automatically. In this arena, GS1 is working on four things that can help realise this future.
The first is a registry platform of all the things that have identification based on GS1 standards. Secondly, merging the digital and physical world will be key, says Robert.
“There’s a standard out there that now bridges the physical and digital world of commerce that allows you to put a single barcode on a package that works and goes beep at the checkout, but also works on two billion mobile phones,” he says.
Thirdly Robert spoke of the importance of the need to use a common vocabulary. “The key is defining and describing products online in a way that has no impact on how your consumer sees your webpage. We’ve established the GS1 Web Vocabulary which enables this,” he says.
Finally, Robert spoke to the possibilities and opportunities with regards to voice and identification technology. “Think about how devices that talk to you – like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri – are changing the game when it comes to things like buying decisions. It’s starting now with a conversation with an electronic device. How are you going to adapt to that in your business? How are you going to ensure that your company is going to have a voice? That’s something to think about. Because right now, there is a world filling up with companies that own the microphones in your home and in your pocket via your mobile phone. And if you are a retailer, a brand, a transport organisation – how do you connect into those ecosystems,” he says.

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