Get smarter – from MHD magazine

Patrick Elliott

Managing a supply chain has never been simple and in an era of evolving trade barriers and global economic uncertainty, it’s more complex than ever. While new technologies such as blockchain and automation continue to up-end old ways, Australian organisations that rely on legacy systems to coordinate their internal and external supplier networks will struggle to keep pace.
Here are four things to keep in mind as you review your supply chain for the 2019 financial year and beyond.

  1. Agile planning

Supply chains are rarely static. These days they’re under constant pressure to evolve and adapt, for a multitude of reasons. They include regulatory changes, such as new emissions standards, digital disruption and the emergence of competitors offering better value products and services.

“Optimising the supply chain is important for organisations of all stripes, but in one sector it’s critical.”

Effective, connected planning and the ability to adapt quickly can mean the difference between thriving and struggling. ‘Siloed’ sections of the supply chain are more likely to lead to the latter outcome. Unfortunately, that’s just the model legacy solutions tend to promulgate. By contrast, cloud-based software allows a bird’s eye view of operations, from supplier status to customer demand. Australian organisations which embrace it will be better placed to anticipate bottlenecks and breakdowns in their supply chain before they become problems, rather than scrambling to remediate after the fact.

  1. Making planning an enterprise-wide affair

Joined-up planning can’t occur across the enterprise if business units – IT, sales, finance, operations – continue to do their own thing. Collaboration is crucial to success in an era where supply chain networks are no longer linear but, rather, more akin to sprawling spiderwebs. It’s tricky to achieve without the right tools. Putting them in the hands of decision makers and frontline staff, rather than in the IT department where they’ve typically found their home, makes it possible for companies to adapt their supply chain planning models quickly and simply.

  1. Embracing blockchain

It’s the high-tech development that’s shot to prominence in recent years – but when it comes to blockchain, interest and adoption are two different things. Expect that to change in 2019 and beyond as larger organisations progressively implement aspects of the technology within their supply chains. Smaller players that fail to follow suit may struggle to keep up.

  1. Retail alert

Optimising the supply chain is important for organisations of all stripes, but in one sector it’s critical. For retailers with an omni-channel model, featuring both bricks and mortar outlets and an online presence, having a supply chain that can service both efficiently is imperative. There are significant differences between supplying one or several stores and supplying thousands or millions of individual customers. For organisations attempting to make a go of these two very different business models simultaneously, tools that provide a holistic view of inventory aren’t nice to have – they’re essential. Without them, it’s impossible to enact the sort of connected planning that allows market opportunities to be identified as they arise and peaks and troughs in activity managed well.
Transform and grow
Supply chains are going through a period of unprecedented transformation, in Australia and abroad. Organisations that aren’t alive to the possibilities that connecting the planning process can offer – and alert to the dangers of not doing so – may struggle to stay competitive in 2019 and beyond.
Patrick Elliott is the vice president, ANZ, for Anaplan. For more information call +61 2 8310 6342 or visit

Global industrial automation market to reach $80.6 billion

Analysts from Research and Markets have announced in their latest report on industrial automation that the global industrial automation services market was worth US$35.2 billion ($44.5 billion) in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$64.5 billion ($80.6 billion) by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 per cent for the forecasted period.
Industrial automation involves automation of manufacturing, quality control and material handling processes, with control systems, information technologies and robots used to handle different processes in an industry. Various types of industrial automation include fixed or hard automation, programmable automation and flexible or soft automation. Project engineering and installation holds major share in this market. Advantages of industrial automation include increased productivity, improved product quality, reduced routine checks and improved operational efficiency.
According to the report, the US is currently at the head of the industrial automation market, followed by Europe. Asia Pacific (which includes Australia) is expected to be the fastest growing region in this industry. The reports says during 2015–16, US companies exported nearly US$10.5 billion worth of products to foreign markets.
Some of the key growth factors of this industry are the need for operational efficiency, rapidly growing SMEs, a growing inclination towards Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based automation, the growing demand for smart factories, mass customisation, supply chain synchronisation, integration of systems and increasing R&D and innovation in artificial intelligence and advancement in the M2M communication technology. High installation and maintenance costs and lack of trained professions are some of the constraints in this industry.
Major companies in this industry include Honeywell International, General Electric Company, Mitsubishi Electric, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, ABB, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG and Schneider Electric. The report also pointed out that most of the regional and local vendors are vertically integrated. International players can grow by acquiring regional or local players.

CALIDUS Total Logistics Software launches in Australia

OBS Logistics has launched its CALIDUS Total Logistics Software System into the Australian market to help third party logistics services companies and wholesale/distribution businesses increase the efficiency of their transport and warehouse operations.

CALIDUS Total Logistics is a comprehensive logistics operational system and includes warehouse management, transport planning and execution, collection and delivery management and supply chain tracking to optimise complex distribution networks by managing orders, inventory and labour from single or multiple control centres.  

The solution is provided with the option of traditional implementation at the client's premises or using a SaaS approach where companies looking to take advantage of lower upfront investment costs can select from a range of managed service options that combine the benefits of cloud computing with the reassurance of a secure hosting facility owned and managed by OBS Logistics.

OBS Logistics works with some of the leading names in logistics across the world and the move into Australia represents the next step in the expansion of its customer base across the globe.   

Chief of OBS Logistics, Dave Renshaw, said launching into the Australian market represented a key milestone for the software provider.  

"Our launch into the Australian market is an exciting move for OBS Logistics. Our CALIDUS Total Logistics suite has been extremely well received here such that we have already secured business, which has led to us establishing ourselves in the region to grow our business further ,"Renshaw said.  

Whether their customer is a logistics company operating contracts for a number of clients, or an in-house logistics operation working on a dedicated base, CALIDUS Total Logistics' provides a range of features for differing applications.  

The fully integrated system was developed using the latest technologies to provide flexibility  to respond to the changing needs of industry and includes features such as electronic proof of delivery, rail container management and voice directed picking.

Stephen McCartney, head of global business development for OBS said the products had been well received in Australia as more companies looked for ways to improve the way they operate.  

"We are finding that there is a real hunger for products which will allow organisations to improve visibility across the whole operation and supply chain, to improve productivity by bringing their organisations onto one platform, but also to be outward looking at customers not just to offer tracking but seeking to offer add services which are supported by systems processes rather than simply pushing more human resource," McCartney said.  

McCartney said CALIDUS is a suite of products which can be deployed as required allowing customers to address specific business needs.

Optimisation and Planning  
CALDIUS TMS not only plans vehicle trips, but optimises them to make better use of driver miles and reduce empty running miles.  Facilities within the software allow for dynamic routing and scheduling through postcode driven routing, calculation of planned arrival and departure times for each trip to stop meet order windows and support for back loading.  While further efficiencies can be found in the allocation of drivers, tractors and trailers to trips, the analysis of collections, deliveries on the same trip and vehicle limit checks during load builds.

In-Cab Communications  

The software provides interfacing in-cab systems and is being used in conjunction with a number of different third party in-cab solutions as well as OBS Logistics' own EPOD solution to better communicate data.  
Features include the ability to synchronise locations and resource master data, download the manifest and trip plan to the in-cab system and the transmittance of execution data including arrival and departure times and locations. While management level monitoring capabilities and KPI monitoring are also available.  

Execution of Trips  

The software is able to manage the execution of trips from loading and dispatch through to final proof of delivery.  Comprehensive information on the outcome of each collection and delivery captures vehicle check information as well as the collection of information from in-cab systems. The recording of time sensitive information such as start, stop, waiting and adherence to booking slots is also available to ensure efficiency is maintained at all times and any issues can be quickly solved.  

Pallet and Equipment Tracking  

Tracking pallets and equipment is essential in minimising the high cost of losses.
CALIDUS is able to define equipment by type and capture quantity and types of equipment delivered and collected at each stop point. Further, the software provides even greater security with its ability to stock balances of pallets and equipment by type for each depot, pick up and drop point.  

Billing Facilities
With an interface connected to businesses internal financial systems, the billing facilities provided represent further productivity gains. Companies are able to bill based on plans, however any changes made during execution will also be reflected in the billing. Miscellaneous invoicing is also available for ad hoc invoices, while invoice production with the option to email via distribution lists is also available. 


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