Bridge the Gap

There’s no doubt that Linde’s number one aim is to re-establish itself as the number one material handling company in the world.

“Development of the product in our Chinese manufacturing plant continues to grow, with new models and existing model upgrades scheduled in the coming two years,” says general manager fleet sales & marketing , Rod Chapman.

“The company’s strategic plans revolve around new equipment design and efficiency improvements in all areas and are expected to culminate in Kion successfully achieving its planned IPO (stock exchange listing) within the medium to long term.”

“Locally, Linde Material Handling will continue to forcefully seek opportunities to drive growth in the STR, Used, Service and New Truck segments in the metropolitan and regional areas.

This is anticipated to be both organic and through strategic acquisitions,” Chapman says.

Currently in the final stages of development and yet to be formally named, the Linde Fleet Management System (LFMs) is the company’s latest innovation.

“The system will provide the most interactive and feature rich, fleet and driver management system available today,” Chapman says.

Designed exclusively for Linde, the LFMS system will utilise the latest in web and wireless technology.

“The Linde web based system means our customers will no longer need to plug computers into vehicles, use RF or WiFi which requires complex onsite infrastructure, dedicated PCs and software acrobatics which customer IT departments generally frown upon,” Chapman explains.

“Just log into the internet, anywhere in the world and you can administer the system, modify your report settings or view what is happening in real time.”

In terms of vehicle efficiencies and improved utilisation LFMS customers will have the opportunity for the first time to genuinely locate the right unit where it is most needed.

“Reports can provide precise vehicle activity hours by model, department and location,” Chapman says.

“Data received using Linde CanBus technology will mean an overall utilisation report not just on key hours but forward, reverse and lift activity as well.”

“The LFMS also improves safety in the warehouse, primarily by managing the right drivers on the right machines. “Only authorised drivers will have the ability to start a vehicle,” Chapman says.

“Seat belt interlocks and Start up checklists will also contribute to a safer environment. The system will also have the ability to turn vehicles off where no one is on the seat for a given amount of minutes reducing fuel consumption vehicle emissions.”

Linde’s LFMS system is expected to be released to the Australian market around April.

According to Rod Chapman, Linde leads the world in compliance with international emission standards, and the company’s combustion engine forklifts require less energy which means they emit less CO2 gases.

A major part of this philosophy is the company’s PureMotion manufacturing process, whicl continues to evolve with the design of every new product.

“Linde PureMotion is a multifaceted solution to increasing energy efficiency, cutting emissions and limiting or eliminating any kind of undesirable effects on our environment,” Chapman says.

“Our electric range is designed around energy utilisation and the features of the range achieve greater energy savings and provide higher productivity.”

“Linde PureMotion is our answer to current environmental and health issues,” Chapman says.

“Today we use this label as an umbrella term for design principles and a host of detailed solutions that cut energy consumption, reduce emissions and enhance eco-friendliness in practice.”

In the Linde PureMotion process, Chapmen points out that the hydrostatic drive converts up to 90 per cent of the energy into power, while saving approximately 30 per cent fuel.

“What’s more the hydrostatic drive requires neither brakes nor clutch, that’s two fewer sources of particulate matter,” he says.

“Linde PureMotion will improve productivity by focusing on the operator, ergonomic controls, and clearly arranged instruments,” Chapman explains.

“Ultimately our processes are designed to make tasks easier and more user friendly for the operator including seat suspension, adjustable armrest and preferences and the intuitive location of controls and displays.”

“Internationally Linde is preparing for the Hanover Fair in May 2008 where new products and services will be launched,” Chapman adds.

“Until they’ve had their premiere, we’re not at liberty to provide specifics.”

Although entrenched as the third largest MHE company in Australia, Chapman says the drive to bridge the gap between the two top MHE companies and Linde will continue to be motivated by the local management which is focused on providing the best customer service levels within the industry.

“Our vision and mission is to exceed our clients’ expectations in service and support, and to provide a level of service in line with the premium product Linde manufactures,” he says.

Logic at Work

The OptiLedge from AWS is a robust and hygienic plastic alternative to traditional wooden pallets providing legs for forklift access for unitised loads.

Australian Warehouse Solutions (AWS) has specialised in providing innovative and cost-effective packaging solutions since 1977.

AWS managing director Peter Holmes says OptiLedge weighs one kilo and a pair is capable of supporting loads up to two tons.

“The one-way transport and recyclable Optiledge eliminates cumbersome pallet exchange or return policy issues,” Holmes says.

In reuse applications, consider this: An average truck holds approximately 500 wooden pallets.

That same truck holds tens of thousands of Optiledge unit load carriers.

The difference cuts the cost of transporting empty pallets significantly.

The non-organic, completely hygienic and phytosanitary Optiledge does not absorb moisture or retain contaminants such as toxins, moulds and bacteria which makes it a valuable tool in the food shipping industry.

Visit the AWS website

Exclusive – 2008 Supply Chain Business Forum

Not all business is good business in the outsourcing relationship, the 2008 Supply Chain Business Forum finds.

It’s much more commercially rewarding to get rid of those organisations without a cultural fit to your own.

Leading supply chain solutions provider Linfox Logistics has reduced its customers from 300 to 104 since 2002, while increasing profits by 200 per cent.

CEO Michael Byrne told the 2008 Supply Chain Business Forum panel on the critical role of 3PLs that his company’s strategy has been viewed as high risk and therefore controversial.

“Linfox Logistics is asset heavy, while others are stripping assets,” he explains.

“More importantly, we spend a lot of time thinking about customers. We see customers as unique – as business partners.”

“We have no standard offering. Customers want to be valued, they want attention and they’re smarter and better informed than in the past.”

“We need to keep up with them and be robust with them,” he says.

Byrne, whose company sponsored the invitation only forum, an initiative of internationally renowned supply chain expert John Gattorna, says he doesn’t think 3PLs look after their customers very well.

“For a strategic partnership to succeed, execution needs to be near perfect,” Byrne says.

“Since such strategic relationships require enormous effort and time, it makes commercial sense to have fewer customers.”

According to panel chair professor Martin Christopher of the UK’s Cranfield School of Management, the rapid change from a supplier driven market to one of mass production and customisation has increased the need to harness the skills and capabilities of others.

“Because skills are of strategic importance to business the trend is irrevocably moving towards virtual arrangements and the sharing rather than ownership of data,” he says.

“A certain level of discomfort with this change is also inevitable because most businesses are still primarily transactional rather than strategic in their relationships with providers.”

“They’re not prepared to pass over control, and not yet ready to change the structure of their business,”Christopher says.

“A certain level of discomfort with this change is also inevitable because most businesses are still primarily transactional rather than strategic in their relationships with providers.”

“They’re not prepared to pass over control, and not yet ready to change the structure of their business.”

With 15 years experience in the area of outsourcing contract law, panelist Jeremy Clarke, Principal Lawyer with the UK firm LLC Law points out that in an environment where many brand organisations outsource close to 100 per cent of their activities, the concern over control is ‘old hat’.

“In such a partnership, information has to be disclosed in order for the provider to understand the user’s business,” Clarke says.

“We need to actually embrace a policy of opening ourselves up to appropriate organisations who offer the opportunity to improve our business overall, and that is a matter of trust.”

“It’s also a matter of careful selection, employing the right kind of protections, controls, due diligence and appropriate contract provisions to make sure that issue never arises.”

“If a provider can’t demonstrate the right approach to safeguarding confidential business information the user shouldn’t even be talking to that provider,” he says.

According to panelist Connor O’Malley, Group Executive Logistics & Planning for National Foods Australia, strategic conversations can’t take place unless a 3PL exhibits near perfect operational execution.

That true partnerships remain problematic and 25 per cent of organisations are still unhappy with their logistics provider seems to add weight to this view.

Jeremy Clarke argues that 3PLs are often expected to garner all the core information about a user organisation and somehow pull out a ‘white rabbit’ solution under impossible circumstances.

“Contracts are often rudimentary and not particularly well thought out,” he explains.

“They tend to be over lengthy in the areas that are less important and pretty thin on the areas that are very important like SLAs and KPIs.”

“If you haven’t got a very clear understanding of your own business, the provider organisation in turn will have a very misaligned understanding.”

“This will produce a standard kind of contract although the non standard issues might be the most critical, even at the heart of why a company might be outsourcing in the first place. That’s simply a recipe for an inappropriate contract.”

“Each of the parties must make sure that it has a framework, a structure, a contract that’s in place governing that relationship which is straightforward, does the job, provides the relevant protection, gives a fair balance of risk and reward and is hopefully long term,” Clarke says.

“Otherwise you’re reinventing that wheel over very short periods of time. Early termination is a major problem and a headache.”

“In essence we’ve got two organisations,” Clarke says.

“One of them is buying and one of them is selling. Each party needs to fully understand the other’s business, the way it operates, its culture and objectives.”

“That takes some work. It doesn’t fly off the page, you’ve got to drill in, invest a minimum of three months. And then at the end of three months you may actually decide if this is the right fit. Undertaking this process is the key to successful outsourcing, but it is a complex task.”

Panelists agree large contracts should be a facilitator for leveraging the business rather than an excuse to hide behind a problem.

Users must understand their outsourced activity and actively manage their service or manufacturing partners to ensure they continue to do their best job.

Otherwise they may risk losing their competitive position in the market.

On the other hand, Jeremy Clarke questions whether 3PLs should wait to achieve operational excellence before embracing strategic relationships.

“Engaging in a collaborative framework and improving your buy and sell contracts will help organisations better understand their business,” he says.

“It’s almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. Wisely chosen organisations with whom you’ve engaged will make an immediate contribution to improving efficiency.”

Jeremy Clarke says 3PL relationships of the future will be underpinned by contracts refined to include more KPIs, service levels and provisions to review and refresh these periodically.

“Such contracts are the basis for providing services on the ground, whether they’re warehousing or transport or other value adding services,” he says.

“Rather than shoehorning strategic visions for improving the business into these arrangements, some companies are developing new structures where the buy-sell agreement is overlaid with a collaborative framework.”

“This needn’t be a complicated legal document, but one that can transition from the initial two or three years to a long term period, such as five or ten years.”

“Inviting your service provider to take a more proactive role in terms of the future development of your business takes place at a different level and requires multi party involvement.”

“Modern day business moves very quickly, and the driver is fast change,” Clarke warns.

“If businesses put contracts in the bottom drawer, fail to measure their business in a meaningful way, they’ll be unable to function effectively in the long run.”

“That’s why I say look at contracts, keep those KPIs live, fresh and relevant.”

Connor O’Malley believes it’s up to the customer to determine the extent of a relationship with a prov
ider.

“Common myths include the notion that 3PLs don’t add value, that they don’t understand their customer and that they’re more focused on increasing their own margins than reducing a customer’s costs,” he points out.

“Whatever the level of the relationship, values must align,” O’Malley says.

“The customer’s value proposition must be clearly defined for both parties.”

“Inevitably there will be a wall between providers and their customers. In the worst scenario it’s a brick wall, in the best, it’s a glass wall. It’s up to the customer to let their 3PLs in.”

Held at the Sofitel Hotel in Werribee, Victoria, the 2008 Supply Chain Business Forum was hosted jointly by the Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Victoria University, Melbourne, and Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney.

The next Forum is scheduled for February, 2010.

Want to learn the tricks of the trade

The Workcover mentor program is a partnership between industry and WorkCover to help small businesses improve their OHS, workers compensation and injury management practices.

The program provides small businesses regular contact with large mentor businesses to help you improve your workplace safety.

The mentor program is held over eight months and involves workshops, visits to small business and discussions with designated OHS officers from large companies.

Technical and administrative support is provided by WorkCover and mentor companies. Applications for the program close on 10 March.

Minister Della Bosca will officially launch the program on the evening of 27 March in Sydney.

If you or any of your team members know of a business that may benefit from participation, please encourage them to apply.

If you have any questions, please contact either

Callista Kent, 02 4321 5534, or callista.kent@workcover.nsw.gov.au

or Ian Girkin, 02 4321 5166, or ian.girkin@workcover.nsw.gov.au

Click here to launch the main site

View the Mentor Expression of Interest Form

A new beginning for transport: National Road Safety Council

Australia’s transport ministers will meet on July 25, 2008, with a view to taking the first stage of the new transport policy framework to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in October 2008.

The agenda will include a proposal for a National Road Safety Council to drive national implementation of best practice road safety reform.

National Road Safety Council

On average, more than four people a day are killed on Australian roads. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimate the cost of road fatalities and injuries at $17 billion a year.

In 2000, Australia’s transport ministers targeted a 40% reduction in the rate of road deaths over 10 years.

National Transport Commission (NTC) CEO Nick Dimopoulos said while considerable progress has been made, continued road safety gains are increasingly difficult to achieve.

”A new approach is needed to identify, share and implement proven safety initiatives, which we know will save lives and reduce injuries,” he said.

The National Road Safety Council will draw on road safety expertise from within governments, industry and academia to advise Ministers on road safety and to drive implementation of “best practice” road safety measures.

Mr Dimopoulos said NTC has already agreed to implement “best practice” speed management initiatives nationally. By sharing information on what works best, governments can reduce injuries and save more lives.

"The National Road Safety Council will further extend this road safety “best practice” approach to ensure all Australians benefit from the same high standards, wherever they live," he said.

The Safety & Security Working Group, led by Queensland, is working with all governments to develop the proposal for a National Road Safety Council. This collaborative approach to road safety will involve government, industry and the community.

For more information, see National Transport Plan and Policy Framework presented to ministers on 29 February 2008.  

SA’s action plan to combat road toll

South Australian roads will be under tighter safety regulations, with the State Government releasing a new road safety action plan in an attempt to combat the road toll.

The South Australian Road Safety Action Plan 2008-2010, developed in conjunction with the Road Safety Advisory Council, is based on national research and analysis of road crash data.

Initiatives introduced in the plan include roadside random drug testing, full-time mobile random breath-testing and immediate loss of licence for high-level drink driving and speeding offenders.

SA road safety minister Carmel Zollo said while the number of monthly road fatalities in the state has decreased from 11 to nine over the past five years, a further reduction is needed.

“To achieve our strategic plan target of less than 90 fatalities and 1,000 serious injuries by the end of 2010, fatalities need to reduce to no more than 8 fatalities per month,” she said.

“We’ve always believed you can’t be passive when it comes to road safety and having set our targets we’re following through with active steps to make sure we achieve them.”

Along with other jurisdictions across Australia, the SA action plan adopts the Safer System approach, which stresses education and enforcement as well as the recognition of human error on the road.

The plan features collaborated expertise of the organisations including the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, the Road Safety Advisory Council, SA Police and the Motor Accident Commission.

Copies of the South Australian Road Safety Action Plan 2008-2010 are available online at www.dtei.sa.gov.au.

EMDG scheme changes to boost Australia’s exports

In an attempt to reinvigorate Australia’s exports, the Federal Government has announced changes to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme, including an increase in the maximum grant and the turnover limit.

Businesses applying for a EMDG in the 2008-09 grant year are expected to benefit from the new rules, as the changes apply to applications lodged from 1 July 2009 and export promotion expenditure incurred from 1 July 2008.

The main changes include increasing the maximum grant by $50,000 to $200,000, the limit on the number of receivable grants for a business from seven to eight, and the maximum turnover limit from $30 million to $50 million.

The amended legislation will also replace the current list of eligible services with a ‘non-tourism services’ category to improve accessibility of the scheme to suppliers targeting foreign residents, regardless of the location of operation.

 

Other changes include:

• Reducing the minimum expenditure threshold by $5,000 to $10,000.

• Allowing costs of patenting products overseas to be eligible for EMDG support.

• Allowing state, territory and regional economic development and industry bodies promoting Australia’s exports, including tourism bodies, to access the scheme.

To find out more call Austrade on 13 28 78 and ask for your local EMDG office or download a copy of the Amendment Act, explanatory memorandum.

Casio data capture products to enter Australian market

Casio DT-X7 portable barcode data terminal

Australian business technology company ASP Microcomputers is set to form a partnership with Casio Japan for a range of mobile business solution products.

ASP has been appointed as Casio Japan’s Australian partner to provide its technologies for the development of mobile barcode terminals and industrial PDAs.

Welcoming the alliance, ASP director Robert Kogoi said: “We intend to deliver the same level of professionalism and innovation to both the Casio brand and the respected range of mobile business solutions products in Australia.”

Casino Japan manager of Overseas Marketing and Sales Division Hiroshi Inami said partnering with an eligible local company has been a key factor in successful overseas operations. 

“We were looking for a company who had broad experience and knowledge in the integration of solutions using mobile products,” Mr Inami said.

“Casio is successful in many overseas countries where there is a partner who understands the ins and outs of the products and it is time for Australian businesses to gain the benefits that the Casio products can offer.”

With over 30 years’ experience, ASP has worked with government departments and businesses, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Telstra Payphones, providing technologies including barcode, RFID, Ethernet, WiFi and GPRS & GSM data transfer.

For more information on the Casio range of mobile business solutions visit www.asp.com.au/casio.   

Truck drivers taken off 457 visa

Some road transport driver categories are to be removed from the list of eligible occupations for the temporary business subclass 457 visa program as changes come into effect from July 1 this year.

The changes follow the final report to government of the Trucking Industry Working Group, endorsed by immigration minister Chris Evans.

Based on submissions from interested and relevant parties, the report found that while slight growth was expected for the occupation of truck driver over the next five years, the program is insufficient to provide the industry with a permanent solution to workforce issues.

Also among the findings was the lack of uniformity across Australia in licensing requirements for heavy vehicle drivers, which is causing confusion among employers.

The report recommended that the immigration minister agrees to remove access to the subclass 457 visa for the occupation of driver and to explore options for the permanent entry of overseas truck drivers.

To mitigate workplace issues, the report also said Austroads needs to expedite the implementation of policy, which requires overseas visitors who intend to drive a vehicle for commercial purpose to obtain an Australian-issued licence prior to commencing employment.

The 457 visa program has previously entailed eight areas of employment including driving, logistic management, warehousing, automotive computer control systems and trailer construction and repair.

The working group consists of representatives from organisations including the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Employment and Workplace Relations, Transport Workers Union, Linfox, Australian Logistics Council and Monash University.

Better systems for perishables

Optimisation company RedPrairie has announced enhancements to its warehouse management solution designed for perishable goods.

Food distributors and grocery retailers, along with multi-environment distribution operators, are expected to benefit from the upgraded solution, which is devised to improve the quality and efficiency of shipment and delivery of food and other sensitive items.

In food and grocery distribution, shipments usually consist of frozen, refrigerated and dry

goods on a single vehicle.

While multi-stop loads are common in retail and grocery delivery, the method is not appropriate when loading a multi-temperature controlled trailer or when loading orders from multiple buildings within a campus environment.

The program provides advanced algorithms for picking, staging and loading perishable goods across multi-temperature and multiple building campus environments, taking into account multiple loading doors, temperature zones and stop sequencing.

The new solution is expected to protect the quality of food and other perishables, improve the accuracy and efficient of loading operations, and reduce shipping costs and damages.

The multi-temperature loading enhancements are contained in the latest version of RedPrairie’s WMS system, which is now available in general release.

For additional information call (02) 8923 6272 or visit www.RedPrairie.com.

 

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