Reducing Carbon Footprint is easy

Greening supply chains has been a hot topic for several years.

Despite this, many companies involved in shipping and freight forwarding in today’s dynamic global economy are still overlooking many obvious and cost-efficient methods to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

This is according to CargoWise™ edi. a leading provider of integrated international supply chain logistics management systems.

Vice President Global Marketing Melinda Elmowy points to a recent Eye for Transport report that surveyed more than 250 North American supply chain executives to determine their views on greening.

Nine per cent of those questioned identified green issues as their No.1 priority over the next three years, while nearly 70% say green issues will become more important to their processes over that time.

The survey finds greening to be “fundamentally a co-operative process,” with most of the successful programs based on “changing relationships with suppliers, partners and logistics providers.”

Indeed, 28% of respondents say they currently collaborate, or plan to collaborate, with their logistics partners to help green their supply chain processes.

“With the new technologies available to logistics providers today, there are few disciplines that lend themselves to the ‘greening of the environment’ as effectively as transportation and logistics,” says Elmowy.

“Shipping and distribution services account for three-quarters of a company’s carbon footprint, the measurement of the impact human activities have on the environment as determined by the amount of carbon dioxide produced by greenhouse gas emissions.”

T”here is no reason the logistics industry can’t do more to solve this problem,” she says.

CargoWise edi has been facilitating customers’ green initiatives for years.

In 2004 the company released its ediEnterprise integrated software system that provides a paperless approach to forwarders’ supply chain operations, reducing their paper trails and facilitating the push to a paper free office.

Elmowy is quick to point out that when discussing carbon-neutral initiatives companies can implement to help green supply chains, she is not just talking about reducing fuel emissions.

“Many of the ‘cradle-to-grave’ initiatives companies can institute for a greener environment simply involve eliminating waste while improving productivity,” she argues.

“In the air cargo industry alone, we could fill about 40 Boeing 747 freightliners each year with paper wasted on documentation, not to mention the labor hours necessary to produce and handle it all.”

“Yet, we continue to see companies that are not taking advantage of the available automation that would save both the environment and logistics costs. The paperless office has not arrived; but it is possible.”

Elmowy suggests five critical areas that would enable companies to automate documentation to “green the global supply chain” while creating greater efficiencies and reducing overall operational costs.

Automate Documentation to Reduce Your Paper Trail.

“Too many companies still use paper documentation, which not only creates waste, but places limitations on the work process by placing it in the hands of whichever employee holds the paper copies,” says Elmowy.

“By switching to a quick and easy electronic system, all necessary process documentation is always available to any staff member who requires access to the files via a simple user interface. Electronic documentation also vastly reduces the amount of unnecessary paperwork throughout the supply chain process.”

Create a Centralised Repository for Documentation.

“Regardless of your documentation process, establishing an automated, centralised database repository for all job, client, sales and staff related documents in an electronic format will significantly increase efficiency and productivity, while facilitating the push toward a paperless office environment.”

“The storage and centralisation of documents gives staff the ability to access the central database electronically to update, send and store documents such as bills of lading, commercial invoices, packing lists and other pertinent data as it moves through the automated company documentation process.”

Integrate Your Route Optimization and Consolidation Process.

“The key to creating a greener supply chain lies in the exchange of all documentation between you and your customers via an integrated electronic data management system that permits automatic access to files as they travel through the supply chain.”

“These documents can be automatically attached with email invoices, scanned directly into files, automatically allocated by type and reference via barcode dividers and accessed by all trading partners via your Web site.

“The ediEnterprise system effectively supports a forwarder’s route optimization and consolidation processes, which means less carbon dioxide is generated for a reduced carbon footprint.”

Create an Automated Storage and Archive System.

“It is important to create a central storage and archive system for electronic documents that can accessed by your staff and customers at any time for reference.”

“Maintaining files in an automated archive vastly reduces the amount of paperwork involved in supply chain management process over a long period of time, reduces the need for filing cabinets and frees up important floor space.”

“A documentation module such as that found in CargoWise ediEnterprise will enable you to document your electronic files, as well as store them for future access.”

Improve ROI by Greening Supply Chain Activities.

“Greening your supply chain can be accomplished with a minimum of capital investment and can improve the ROI of your customers, vendors and company.”

“New e-documentation technology makes your forwarding operation more efficient in many ways, creating fewer costs with a greater impact on the greening of the supply chain.”

“Automating a robust integrated documentation and storage process with the new technologies available just makes sense if we are to create a more paperless environment and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases associated with global supply chain process,” Elmowy says.

“Not only will an integrated and automated e-documentation system increase productivity and help eliminate many of the environmental problems we have throughout global supply chains; but it will cost less to accomplish now before new governmental regulations come into play.”

Strategic procurement Masterclass

A two day interactive workshop in Singapore will provide delegates with the opportunity to learn about major organisational activity, task steps and individual competencies required to be world—class in procurement and supply chain management.

The program, to be held between May 22-23 will be taught using on-line competence prompts and workshopping the experience of good and bad practice from over 200 organisations.

Trainer Professor Andrew Cox is the Founding Director of Centre for Business Strategy & Procurement, at the University of Birmingham Business School.

He has more than 25 years of expertise and published over 30 books and 200 articles in business strategy, procurement and supply chain management, and is recognised as one of the leading experts in the world on the subject.

Professor Cox speaks at global events organised by the International Federation of Purchasing & Supply Management, and is a regular speaker for national professional associations like: CIPS (UK), DILF (Denmark), ISM (USA) & SILF (Sweden) & VIB (Belgium).

He has trained and worked at leading global blue chip companies & public sector organisations in the UK, US, Asia, Africa, Australasia, & the Middle East.

Participants will be introduced to The PSCM Index™ — an on-line tool for benchmarking organisational performance in creating and operating a strategic sourcing and supplier relationship management process

Those with wireless or hardwired laptop connections will be able to benchmark their organisation against a world—class ideal, and against one another

Cutting Edge Highlights

• Acquisition of best practices of procurement and supply chain management

• Identification of how your business can make profits and minimise losses through successful strategic sourcing techniques

• Understanding the essentials of category management

• Analysing the supply chain dynamics in your organization• Benchmark your organization against world-class performance

• Sharpening your competitive edge through enhanced networking opportunities

• Understanding how to undertake a world-class approach to supplier evaluation, negotiation and contract award

Who should attend?

This training is targeted at senior executives such as COOs, CFOs, CPOs, Senior VPs & Director & middle level staff responsible for common processes developments; for organisational process & systems improvements; for individual staff training & competence development; and, for knowledge management in thefunctional areas of these departments:

• Procurement

• Purchasing

• Sourcing

• Commodity

• Logistics

• Supply Chain

• Buyer

• Inventory

• Materials

• Finance

For more information: contact the Event Promoter Salvo

6th consecutive win for the Logistics Institute -Asia Pacific

The Logistics Institute — Asia Pacific, a collaboration between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Georgia Institute of Technology, was recently conferred the title of Best Education Course Provider for the sixth consecutive year at the 2008 Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards (AFSCAs) ceremony.

Widely regarded as Asia’s most authoritative and prestigious awards for the freight transportation services industry, the AFSCAs 2008 ceremony was held on Tuesday, 22 April 2008 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore, witnessed by top transport executives from around the world.

The 22nd edition of this annual awards ceremony is organised by Cargonews Asia, a publication of record for Asia’s cargo shippers.

It recognises excellence in companies from Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia; and reflects the global nature of the cargo industry serving Asia’s shippers.

The choice of winners for the various award categories is determined by readers of Cargonews Asia and reflects the views of the industry professionals in Asia.

Cargonews Asia reaches out to more than 43,500 readers per issue and is circulated in countries which include Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and others.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, Provost & Deputy President at NUS and Chairman of TLI-Asia Pacific Advisory Board, who received the award says NUS TLI — Asia Pacific is delighted to receive this award!”

“We count TLI — Asia Pacific among the leading research and education institutes at NUS and I’m proud of NUS’ successful and sustainable collaboration with Georgia Tech.”

“I would like to thank the Economic Development Board and A*STAR for their strong consistent support that makes this possible.”

“I look forward for the Institute to continue playing a significant role in addressing the needs of the industry in Singapore and Asia,” he says.

Mr. Kenneth Torok, President, UPS Asia Pacific and Member of TLI-Asia Pacific Advisory Board says TLI— Asia Pacific has gained for itself a great reputation in the Asia Pacific region as the Best Education Course Provider in the field of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

“This award is the recognition of their efforts over the last 8 years and the growing attention of our industry to education. I’m very proud to be associated with such a fine institute,” Torok.

Dr. Robert de Souza, Executive Director of TLI-Asia Pacific concurs.

“‘It’s a great honour to be recognised for the sixth consecutive time as the ‘Best Education Course Provider’ in Asia,” he says.

“This is a wonderful tribute to the value that TLI-Asia Pacific continues to bring to the industry and its ecosystem.”

“Besides our successful Dual Master Programme we continue to address the growing demand for strategic knowledge sharing through our THINK series, which this November will see the establishment of ‘THINK Executive’, an exclusive high level innovators summit.”

The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific is a collaboration between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for research and education programmes in global logistics.

This collaboration provides logistics expertise which caters to the logistics research and education needs of the industries in Singapore and the Asia Pacific focusing on global logistics, information technology, industrial engineering and supply chain management.

Please visit for more details.

Performance Management Analytic Solution from RedPrairie

Leading optimisation company RedPrairie has released RedPrairie Performance Management™ for supply chain providers.

The software application that was previously available only for retailers but is now offered to provide analytical monitoring and reporting tools for fast, actionable decision making in the supply chain.

Performance Management for supply chain will provide full integration with RedPrairie supply chain and retail solutions, creating an end-to-end analytic solution from store shelf to manufacturing.

RedPrairie Performance Management is a web-based analytic solution that leverages the wealth of existing information from RedPrairie’s warehouse, transportation and workforce management applications to monitor, analyse and report on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive an organisation’s success.

The user interface provides a rich and intuitive experience that guides users to discovering new insights of their business.

“RedPrairie Performance Management brings across the most complete view of data available from the enterprise database,” says Jim Hoefflin, Executive Vice President for Products and Marketing, RedPrairie.

“This includes detailed inventory events, labour productivity analysis, forecast data and sales data.”

“It is easily extracted and actionable — providing insight to enable managers to make strategic business decisions.”

RedPrairie Performance Management for supply chain is compatible with Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 and puts the data and business rules for business intelligence on a centrally managed server.

This makes scorecarding, analytics and the entire performance management cycle much easier and less time-consuming for supply chain professionals.

“RedPrairie is at the forefront of providing practical enterprise data to knowledge workers,” says Steven Skinner, general manager for industry solutions and strategy at Microsoft Corp.

“It enables the alignment of real-time decisions with strategic business objectives.”

“The highly intuitive user interface significantly reduces user time to competency. This combination increases productivity and profits.”

Performance Management offers many unique advantages including interactive dashboards that zero-in on relevant data.

Performance Management uses powerful Web-based visual dashboards that can be delivered to individuals based on their organizational role and location.

The embedded Scorecards can contain KPI’s and links to charts, tables and reports, allowing the business user to easily navigate to the relevant information.

Based on a strong analytical foundation, Performance Management includes OLAP analysis that is compatible with Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for fast, easy to use, ad hoc reporting.

In addition, it provides visibility into business operations and factors impacting the business that allow for more flexibility and timely decision making.

With a low total cost of ownership, Performance Management can be deployed as a secure, Hosted/SaaS solution that allows for rapid implementation.

RedPrairie’s hosted services have a proven 99.9% historical total system availability.

With 20 global service sites and standard service methods that have been validated over the last 30 years, RedPrairie provides unparalleled service and support.

For additional information

Tax office provides more clarity on storing biodiesel blends

Trucking operators will now be able to swap between storing biodiesel blends and diesel in the same depot tank without holding an excise manufacturer’s licence.

The Australian Taxation Office recently announced the decision at a meeting of its Fuel Schemes Advisory Forum.

The ATA raised the issue with the ATO last year on behalf of small trucking operators who swap between biodiesel and diesel.

“It was unclear how the fuel tax laws affected operators who stored diesel in a depot tank containing some leftover biodiesel, or who added biodiesel to a tank with a few litres of diesel left at the bottom,” ATA CEO Stuart St Clair says.

“The ATO could have decided that every operator who blended the remnants of one fuel with another should have held an excise manufacturers licence.”

“We urged the ATO to consider whether the exemption that currently applies to blending fuels in the tank of a vehicle could be extended to cover depot tank blending as well.”

“The ATO has now decided that: – Combining a duty paid biodiesel/diesel blend (such as B20) with duty paid diesel or another duty paid biodiesel/diesel blend does not constitute excise manufacture.”

“Operators are not required to hold an excise manufacturers licence,” he says.

However, combining duty paid pure biodiesel (B100) with duty paid diesel or with a duty paid biodiesel/diesel blend does constitute excise manufacture.

Operators who do this must get a licence from the ATO.

“It’s not an ideal result for the industry,” St Clair says.

“It doesn’t recognise the situations faced by operators who may have swapped between storing B100 and diesel in the same tank and didn’t realise they were blending the remnant fuel.”

“But it does ensure that operators who top up their depot tank with different biodiesel blends are not unwittingly dragged into the excise system.”

“The ATA strongly advises operators not blend pure biodiesel (B100) with anything, unless they want to become a licensed excise manufacturer.”

“There are substantial penalties for blending fuel without a licence,” he says.

The tax office will issue a formal Interpretive Decision on this issue within four weeks.

The formal decision will also clarify the Fuel Tax Credits and Alternative Fuel Grants that operators are entitled to claim if they combine a duty paid biodiesel/diesel blend that meets the diesel standard with a duty paid biodiesel/diesel blend that does not meet the standard.

Real-time decisions with BizTalk RFID Mobile

Microsoft Corp has unveiled Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile — a lightweight platform for a variety of mobile devices, which simplifies the development of mobile applications that expose relevant, real-time business information.

BizTalk RFID Mobile enables delivery of relevant information from mobile devices to core business processes for a variety of scenarios, whether for a dock worker verifying a shipment or a pharmacist verifying that the right medicine has been stocked.

Microsoft now has available a private beta with general availability expected in late 2008.

Customers and partners can participate in the BizTalk RFID Mobile Technology Adoption Program (TAP) by registering here.

“Given today’s fast-paced environment, customers have asked for business process technologies that enable real-time decision-making to help drive measurable business results,” says Burley Kawasaki, director of product management in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft.

“Together, with leading industry partners including Motorola Inc., Intermec Technologies Corp., Unitech, Samsung and Psion Teklogix Inc., we will deliver a cost-effective, mobile RFID platform that works with existing business processes and systems.”

As part of the Microsoft BizTalk product line, Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile highlights the company’s long-term commitment to deliver extensive service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) capabilities as part of the overall Microsoft application platform.

The platform is a set of compatible, mission-critical technologies and development tools that enable customers to develop applications that work with existing systems.

“BizTalk RFID Mobile represents an exciting opportunity for Motorola to build on our track record of delivering innovative products to meet customer needs,” says Joe White, vice president of RFID business development for Motorola Enterprise Mobility.

“Motorola is actively working with Microsoft so that our customers will be able to reliably and seamlessly run applications on BizTalk RFID Mobile.”

When used with BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile enables real-time decisions by extending business process to Windows CE and Windows Mobile 5.0 applications.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft’s core SOA and BPM technology, which was generally available in September 2007, includes advancements for fixed RFID readers.

These include device management, data filtering and business rules, electronic data interchange (EDI), and interoperability with line-of-business adapters for manufacturing, finance and healthcare.

“It’s only natural that Microsoft extends BizTalk RFID out to mobile devices, and it complements its mobile hardware partners’ very well,” says John Fontanella, vice president of Research at AMR Research Inc.

“The ability to operate at the edge in real time opens up opportunities that can only further enhance RFID’s value.”

In addition, Microsoft has announced the BizTalk RFID Standards Pack, for customers to seamlessly integrate their RFID solutions with Electronic Product Code (EPC) global ratified standards, including Tag Data Translator (TDT) and Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) standards.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

For more information, please visit the Microsoft Web page.

Optiflow waste handling system proves itself

Eximo’s new waste handling system, Optiflow, is starting to make its mark on Australian manufacturing lines.

Now the company has been able to reveal accurate running costs to support its claim that energy efficiency as much as occupational health and safety drives this technology.

A standard Optiflow system, on current average electricity prices around Australia, costs about 0.0975 cents per kilowatt hour to operate, but uses about half the kilowatt power of traditional ducting systems.

During peak times, on a working day, Optiflow requires 165 kW of operating power.

At non-peak times – such as night shifts – operating power requirement drops right down to 65 kW.

Apart from providing users with a very safe way of handling waste clippings and dust, the Optiflow system also eliminates any unnecessary and potentially dangerous manual labour normally required to shift waste.

Integrated with an overall pressure-driven extraction system, the Optiflow is a unique concept built especially for dust extraction and transportation.

It creates a negative pressure chamber across an entire factory or processing plant to eliminate the total static pressure of the whole system by as much as 46 per cent.

Thus it provides a power consumption advantage as it is proportionate to the total static pressure.

After waste material is suctioned by each intake point, everything except the finest particles are directed to the Optiflow chamber.

This chamber is an enclosed, low pressure area that uses a moving conveyor on its floor.

Waste material, the majority of which is collected at intake points, lands on the moving conveyor and is directed straight to collection bins, cutters, shredders or compactors.

The system doesn’t even require filters.

Built from strong 2mm galvanised ducting material with a low speed conveyor within, the entire Optiflow unit is not just strong and robust but also very low on required maintenance.

For more information visit the website.

Kraft Foods wins innovation award.

Kraft Foods wanted to more closely collaborate with its customers and involve them as co-designers of supply chain value.

To accomplish this, it turned to proven concepts from the world of product innovation and design.

Supply chain managers at Kraft Foods had identified a goal that they believed would lead to competitive advantage: actively involve customers as “value creation co-designers.”

They envisioned a new culture based on enhanced collaboration and innovation that would drive step changes in targeted supply chain processes. The question was how to make this vision a reality.

Ron Volpe, vice president-supply chain, and others on the Kraft supply chain team, decided to borrow from the world of product innovation.

They reasoned that the models companies follow to innovate through product design also could be applied to process design.

To test that theory, Kraft in 2002 approached global design and innovation firm IDEO, Palo Alto, Calif. IDEO, a leader in design and product innovation, was ranked #15 in the Boston Consulting Group’s 2006 list of the world’s 25 most innovative companies.

The timing was fortunate because IDEO was in the early stages of its Transformation by Design practice, which it created specifically to help companies enhance innovation by re-inventing their cultures.

Kraft became an early client of the IDEO transformation team.

“Kraft Supply Chain specifically contracted IDEO to explore the concept of culture change driving enhanced collaboration (and, in turn) driving process improvement and innovation,” says Volpe.

During the first year of the contract, Kraft Supply Chain immersed roughly 120 of its North American managers in a workshop entitled IDEO U.

The workshop gave participants a short but intense “deep dive” into the concepts that IDEO uses to help companies change.

“The primary deliverable of the first year of training was an enhanced use of some of the tools in the IDEO toolbox,” says Volpe.

“Specifically, the training led to a fairly robust explosion of the use of brainstorming and prototyping across a varied group of functions.”

In one example, a project entitled LEAP (Leveraging Efficiency and People) was launched to make the order-to-cash cycle more efficient.

A series of ideas were developed, piloted and implemented to achieve the goal.

Still missing, however, was customer involvement. So in 2003 Kraft brought this concept to one of its largest customers, Safeway Stores.

Kraft and Safeway already had identified a number of opportunities to improve their end-to-end supply chain, but had not reached consensus on a solution.

Volpe met with Linda Nordgren, Safeway’s global vice president for the supply chain, and proposed the use of IDEO as a way of developing joint solutions.

The Safeway team agreed and 15 of its team members joined 15 Kraft people at IDEO for a two-day workshop. The result of this activity was creation of a cross-functional team to improve Safeway’s retail stock position through better collaboration and alignment between the two companies. In one targeted category, Kraft experienced a 162 percent sales increase.

“A true partnership with Safeway was created through the adoption of new tools for collaboration and innovation,” says Volpe. Other significant achievements included development of a Balanced Scorecard and progress toward greater supply chain velocity and visibility.

“The cross-training that has occurred

between companies has raised the level of awareness of the business implications of decisions,” says Volpe. “What started as a way to approach supply chain issues has rapidly become a ‘best practice’ throughout and across both organizations.”

In years 2005 and 2006, Kraft focused on internalizing the IDEO process and capabilities. With the full endorsement of IDEO, Kraft created a parallel process, labeled internally as Joint Value Creation (JVC) that replicates the IDEO model using Kraft resources.

Through JVC, approximately 200 more supply chain and sales team members received training. IDEO has not been supplanted, but the workshops at its headquarters are augmented by Kraft-run workshops in the field. Each workshop involves six steps:

Understand, Align, Observe, Ideate, Prototype and Implement.

During these steps, different brainstorming tactics generate hundreds of ideas that eventually devolve into five or six “burning platforms” on which the parties agree to focus.

A key element of the workshops is use of an artist to graphically capture the process on huge posters, 20 to 30 feet in length.

Another important feature is an on-site visit to observe the supply chain at a company in a different industry.

Companies that have been visited include blood banks, fresh-fruit distributors, newspapers and large industrial manufacturers.

“The site visits are in part a team building exercise, but they also provide important insights,” says Volpe. Since the start of 2006, Kraft has been aggressively rolling out this program with additional customers.

Ten new customers in North America, representing 30 percent of U.S. volume, went through this process with Kraft. Half of these were conducted by IDEO and half by Kraft JVC.

Two customers were added in Europe via JVC. The rollout continued this year, with four more customers coming on board, including one in Canada and one in Australia.

Additionally, internal training of Kraft Supply Chain teams was extended to Australia, the Nordic Region and Latin America.

“This process is driving step changes in the effectiveness of the end-to-end supply chain and has facilitated a change in perspective for both Kraft and its customers,” says Volpe.

“Instead of viewing the supply chain as two separate entities (Kraft’s and the customer’s), the process has served to encourage scope expansion by both parties.”

“The process has resulted in a migration toward co-management of the end-to-end supply chain. This last point is what will lead us to supply chain optimisation,” he says.

2020 Summit reinforces T&L priorities

Priorities identified by the 2020 Summit include recommendations that clearly reinforce those in the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) National Strategy for the T&L Freight Industry.

“The issues raised are critical for Australia’s future,” says ALC Chief Executive Hal Morris.

“I am pleased the 2020 Summit proposals are closely aligned the industry’s recommendations and the ALC is looking forward to working with government to implement these priorities.”

“The ALC is already working closely to advance many of these priorities through the Australian Transport Ministers’ National Transport Policy Framework.”

“We recognise that this reform agenda is bold and ambitious and both industry and government must be committed to delivering results.”

The National T&L Industry Strategies priorities confirmed by the 2020 Summit are

  • Infrastructure – to Create a regulatory and institutional framework to allow timely and efficient investment, especially in key export areas Australian EconomyFuture infrastructure decisions should be approached from a national perspective Rural Industries and Communities
  • Regulation – The speed of regulatory reform should be increased, including to create seamless national markets in key areas, improve productivity and remove barriers to competitiveness, and reduce the cost of doing business.

Australian Economy – Nationwide harmonisation and standardisation is urgent. This includes uniform regulation, licensing, standards and enforcement for transport (both road and rail): Rural Industries and Communities.

  • Innovation – Establish a national institute for innovation and creativityImprove collaboration between public and private business, industry and research to foster innovation to OECD levels

Productivity Agenda

  • People – Employers take responsibility for developing the skills of their workforce and in return are able to access a flexible, demand driven training system

Productivity Agenda

  • Environment – Further investment could be directed into research, development and deployment to enable a low emissions energy revolution: Population, sustainability, climate change, water and the future of our cities

“While it is a concern that Workplace Safety was not mentioned directly by the 2020 Summit recommendations, both Industry and the Australian Transport Ministers have recognised this as a high priority for the T&L Freight sector,” Hal Morris says.

“The ALC is committed to working with industry and government towards a reformed and streamlined sector that serves our customers and this nation on time and in full.”

‘Sorting’ out materials handling capital equipment

Industrial businesses often taken a piecemeal approach to materials handling solutions. Sometimes this approach is perfectly suitable, at other times it isn’t.

Those specialising in sorting often take the piecemeal approach as needs arise, but the larger business in the sector are finding this is not enough today as they are more likely than smaller companies to engage in international trade or 24/7 operation.

The international marketplace is a very demanding environment, and those not geared with the highest level of sorting and materials handling efficiency can easily suffer.

Many businesses are handling materials which aren’t of uniform size.

In fact, many businesses handle dozens – if not hundreds – of stockkeeping units (SKUs) which intensifies the challenge.

Australian materials handling specialist, Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd, is itself a business supplying capital equipment for materials handling to a significant export market.

The company’s Managing Director, Mr Don Erskine, says materials handling equipment nowadays is top-end technology and those making investments must be mindful of setting a capital equipment platform for potential additions and ongoing integration.

“Modern controls and software that manage materials handling systems are very powerful, but planning the mechanical aspects of materials handling is also a huge challenge,” Erskine says.

“For those handling stock in various sizes and quantities, the key is to establish a system that handles everything from the very smallest SKU (such as a letter or a parcel) to the very largest item such as two-tonne pallet.

“This positions the operator to accommodate varying sizes and quantities as they come along, anything from 20 letters of one size through to hundreds of different sized pallets.”

“This is the challenge posed by the modern market, especially in areas such as third party logistics.”

“Multi sorting, varying quantities, and myriad of markets – and most of the time everything is urgent.”

“Therefore, a piecemeal addition to this type of capital equipment is not a viable option in many circumstances.”

“Evidence strongly suggests turnkey design and setup better allows a business to capably handle its demands,” he says.

Accessing the right technology is one part of the solution.

The first step however is to analyse the need and ensure both the technology provider and the eventual user are heading in the right direction.

A partnership approach to planning and implementation is more likely to cover all the bases.

Partnerships don’t exclude the supplier either.

Since its recently global affiliation with FKI Logistex of Denmark to work as venture partners on projects around the world, Industrial Conveying is in a strong position not just as a designer and manufacturer but also has access to draw on the global technologies developed by this Danish giant.

“Materials handling can be described today as an industrial science where many unit disciplines are combined to provide the turnkey scenario essential for companies undergoing growth and those heading into export markets,” Erskine says.

“For instance, one of the recent challenges for which we drew on FKI technologies was a turnkey project that included a specific area for sorting all types and sizes of SKUs (from tiny to large).”

“That sorting section was just the beginning. The next challenge was to minimise the length of time it took to store each and every item in the appropriate rack space.”

“So this sorting section fed into an internal logistics area where high-rise stacker cranes would allocate each item to a specific position in the racking.”

“This high-rise stacker technology works at the midpoint of the business so it also provides the retrieval service when items are due for dispatch.”

“Software and control systems ensure plant managers know where each and every item is positioned during the process.”

“Even a truck fleet can be used as part of logistics process. Setting up for optimised material flow patterns enables a company’s truck fleet to act as a means of mobile storage,” he says.

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