Alcohol industry signs up with NPC

GS1 Australia and the Drinks Association have announced a new strategic partnership to drive industry standards development and adoption to improve business and supply chain efficiency in the drinks industry.
Executive director and chief executive officer of GS1 Australia Maria Palazzolo said: “We are delighted to be working with the Drinks Association for the benefit of members, many of whom have membership in both organisations. Through this partnership we have a much better opportunity to engage with the drinks industry to support and help strengthen supply chain operations through the adoption of GS1 standards and services.”
An NPC Advisory Group will be formed in late 2018 amongst manufacturers, brand owners and distributors. Improving the quality of product data being shared across the drinks sector will be one of the key objectives of the NPC Advisory Group.
The two-year partnership will also seek to develop new services as well as embed existing services more fully into the drinks supply chain to streamline the identification and movement of goods for the benefit of all stakeholders
“The Drinks Association is pleased to partner with GS1 to drive industry standards and services for the betterment of our members and the industry overall. We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with GS1 on the development of innovative solutions and support our members to create business efficiencies,” said CEO of the Drinks Association Georgia Lennon.
The partnership will actively collaborate with industry to enhance inventory accuracy and visibility, improve digital capability, leverage new technologies and support regulatory compliance.

We could learn from NZ Quarantine

Peter McRae

Australia faces a biosecurity risk due to an inadequate risk assessment of wood materials found in packaging materials. Our neighbours across the Tasman have a risk assessment process from which Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) could learn and which, I would argue, would be a huge improvement to our current process.
In a nutshell, Australia doesn’t check containers, meaning wooden packaging that has not been fumigated is slipping across our borders undeclared and unchecked.
I refer in particular to the processing of Less Than Container Load (LCL) shipments.
In the Australian context, LCL require a one-page packing declaration that identifies and ‘risk-assesses’ any wood used as packaging and further whether any wood has been treated to Australian biosecurity standards. If wood is contained and has not been treated, it needs to be inspected, treated or disposed. There are a few issues with this process:

  1. The person filling out the packing declaration is either the supplier or the packer; both commercially connected to the importer and therefore with a potential conflict of interest.
  2. DAWR doesn’t physically check LCL cargo to ensure that forms have been accurately completed.
  3. The template is only supplied in English regardless of the language of the person completing the document, usually an international supplier. I have often wondered how many of the people filling out the form even understand the language on the form.
  4. The form has been changed three times in the past two years.

There is no surprise then, to learn that the forms are frequently incorrect and as a customs broker, I commonly need to ask the supplier to prepare another declaration to bring it to the new standard, or to ask if the answers are accurate. But not all LCL shipments are assessed by a customs broker, self-assessed clearances under the tax-free threshold can be completed by anyone.
If Australia is to keep its borders safe from biosecurity risks, it needs to be sure that the risks are not slipping under its nose, and for that we can look to New Zealand’s process.
New Zealand, generally regarded to be more responsible for its pristine environment, doesn’t require packaging declarations for LCL cargo. Instead, all LCL cargo is inspected at the unpacking depot before the cargo is released. A system of thorough checks like this is positive because, from the get-go, suppliers and importers know that cargo will be checked, which means that they will self-regulate to meet quarantine requirements in order to avoid storage and or further fees. The process is effective.
In the past 12 months, DAWR has changed its one-page packing declaration three times in order to improve its accuracy. But it is still only in English. It is still only filled out by the importer’s people and it is still not checked against the cargo.
I would argue, therefore, that it still holds little value. Changing the document doesn’t solve the problem, physically checking the containers would.
Peter McRae is the principal of Platinum Freight Management.

Autonomous and electric: here next year

ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider and Dr Günther Schuh, founder and CEO of e.GO Mobile AG based in Aachen, have announced that series production will begin in Aachen in 2019.
The e.Go Moove GmbH joint venture partners manufacture people and cargo movers primarily for the urban mobility needs of the future. Five-digit volumes are initially scheduled for annual production and ZF is expecting that the demand for these vehicles will reach approximately one million in the next five to seven years.
The company is equipping the e.Go Mover with electric drive systems, steering systems and brakes as well as ZF’s ProAI central computer (using artificial intelligence) and sensors which enable automated driving functions.
“System providers like ZF can significantly benefit from the worldwide trend toward automated driving and electromobility,” said ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider during the ZF Technology Day 2018 in Friedrichshafen in July.
“The e.GO Mover is the first production-ready vehicle featuring ZF systems that provides an autonomous mobility concept for cities.”
ZF is presenting further examples for digitally connected technologies using an autonomous, electrically-powered delivery vehicle for package delivery. With this, the courier neither has to drive nor park – the vehicle can follow them independently from one delivery point to the next with zero emissions.
A benefit for commercial vehicles
At the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September this year, ZF will show further use cases for its ZF ProAI supercomputer and broad set of related sensor systems that can help to increase efficiency and save costs throughout the entire logistics chain.
ZF’s CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider clearly sees the benefits for commercial vehicles when it comes to introducing autonomous systems.
“Initially, we expect to see automated driving activities more commonplace on company premises and logistics depots, in harbours or in agricultural environments as operations there tend to be more recurrent and the surroundings are not too complex.”
The technology is also expected to prevail in freight logistics and passenger transport because it can reduce operating costs and at the same time help to increase safety for all road users.

Swinburne launches supply chain course

Swinburne has partnered with international logistics and freight management company CEVA to co-create and co-deliver its Master of Supply Chain Innovation course in what the institute calls an Australian-first collaboration.
The postgraduate course commenced earlier this year with the aim of upskilling those already working in the supply chain industry and ensuring new entrants into the discipline have the most up-to-date skills.
Delivered through Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE), the Master of Supply Chain Innovation continues to build collaborative partnerships with industry that will prepare graduates for the future of supply chain management.
Director of the AGSE Alexander Kaiser said this partnership is an important component in facilitating the delivery of industry-embedded postgraduate courses to Swinburne students.
“We are delighted to forge this collaboration that will add great value to the AGSE’s Master of Supply Chain Innovation,” Mr Kaiser says.
The partnership will see students working with CEVA on a core component of the degree, the Innovation in Transport and Logistics applied project unit.
While being mentored by CEVA’s logistics experts, students will work with the company on real-world projects and produce practical solutions to its issues.
With active university partnerships around the world in Asia, North America and the United Kingdom, this new relationship cements CEVA’s commitment to higher education links with industry.
Director of the Master of Supply Chain Dr John Hopkins said this partnership in Australia will give students an invaluable insight into the current landscape of the industry.
“At Swinburne, we believe that graduating career-ready means having a deep understanding of and connection with industry. This partnership will allow students to acquire contemporary skills aligned with the challenges that logistics companies face today,” he said.

'Retail therapy’ replaced by ‘retail anxiety’

Online shopping anxiety – not therapy – may be more common than we think, with new data revealing that just seven per cent of Aussies are completely comfortable with the online experience. The biggest fear among Aussie shoppers is around the checkout cart, not losing their delivery.
Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) commissioned a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1021 Australians who made at least three online purchases in the last six months, to uncover the most common concerns among online shoppers. Possible concerns listed were credit card theft, the validity of the online store, lost parcels, returns policies, and spending too much online.
The e-commerce industry has made significant efforts to keep shoppers’ credit card information secure – this includes accepting payments through PayPal, and offering payment checkouts that require banks to authenticate cardholders via Visa Checkout and Mastercard SecureCode. Despite these moves by the industry, the survey results have revealed that credit card security is still the most common worry for online shoppers – with one in three respondents (36%) most fearful of having their card information stolen online.
The second most common fear is a reflection of the fast growth of local and international online stores: 19 per cent of respondents worried about the legitimacy of the online store they were buying from. A further 17 per cent of respondents worried that their goods would be lost in transit.
Fears that rank lower among Aussies are those surrounding returns policies. Eight per cent (8%) were concerned about not being able to return unsuitable items, followed by seven per cent (7%) of respondents worrying about having to return an item they bought.
The good news is that Aussies think these concerns can be resolved by the e-commerce industry itself: 84 per cent of respondents believe retailers can alleviate these concerns in the future with improved systems, digital technologies and customer service.
CP CEO Mark McGinley said: “Despite online shopping being prevalent and widespread among Aussies, it’s easy to forget that it’s still a relatively new experience for many – it’s only natural to have some fears. As such, it’s important that retailers provide their customers with the best all-rounded experience, such as having the necessary website security certifications to lower fears of fraud, and using a parcel delivery company that they can trust.
“We have a number of processes in place that allow you to track your order, including a tracking number and delivery notification when your parcel is on its way. The notification also offers you flexible redelivery options if you’re not home, such as redirecting to a neighbour, and using one of 1000+ conveniently-located POPPoints to have items delivered to a parcel locker or retail outlet – to avoid items getting stolen.

What are you biggest fears with online shopping?%
My credit card information will get stolen36
The online store won’t be legitimate19
My parcel will get lost17
I won’t be able to return the item8
I’ll have to return the item7
I don’t like to pay for things before I receive them3
I will spend too much online!3


Do you think retailers can solve these fears in the future with improved systems, digital technologies and customer service?%


New phoenix rules given ‘no chance’ of succeeding

The federal government has released a new reform package aimed at phoenix activity among businesses in transport and logistics and other sectors, but an insolvency law expert has said it won’t fix the problem.
The government said its reforms would “deter and disrupt the core behaviours of illegal phoenixing”, which involves transferring the assets of a failed company to another company that has no liabilities.
The key elements of the government’s draft legislation are:

  • Creating new phoenix offences to target those who engage in and facilitate illegal phoenix transactions.
  • Preventing directors from backdating their resignations to avoid personal liability.
  • Preventing sole directors from resigning and leaving a company as an empty corporate shell with no directors.
  • Restricting the voting rights of related creditors of the phoenix company at meetings regarding the appointment or removal and replacement of a liquidator.
  • Making directors personally liable for GST liabilities, as part of extended director penalty provisions.
  • Extending the ATO’s existing power to retain refunds where there are outstanding tax lodgements.

However, insolvency law expert and Sewell & Kettle principal Ben Sewell said the government’s draft legislation loses sight of what a reform package should be about.
“There is no chance that this will dent the scale of phoenix activity in Australia. Phoenix operators will be able to continue business as usual with minimum fuss,” he said.
“Fair play to the government for these reforms, but what about the big picture? For example, the policing of phoenix activity is still left to ASIC and company liquidators – both of whom are underfunded and don’t have much of a track record for pursuing phoenix activity.
“What has really changed? Not much. There isn’t any funding for regulation and there isn’t a definition of what phoenix activity actually is. If a liquidator has no funding when they’re appointed, no one can compel them to investigate and pursue phoenix activity.”
Mr Sewell noted that prominent academic research has been highly critical of the government’s approach to phoenix activity in the past.
“A well-respected group of academics called the Phoenix Research Team recently produced three important research papers into phoenix activity. They called for a new definition of phoenix activity, active enforcement and new legislation. The key recommendations have not been pursued by the government,” he said.
“I predict a small change but the difficult choices that the Phoenix Research Team recommended have not been followed by the government. The government hasn’t even defined phoenix activity in the legislation. Serious researchers of phoenix activity know that more specific legislation and policy are required.”

There’s more to the Port of Newcastle than just containers

Building an extensive container port at Newcastle would have many roll-on benefits for Sydney, writes Greg Cameron.
A container terminal at Newcastle would justify building a rail freight bypass of Sydney between Newcastle, Badgery’s Creek and Port Kembla. This bypass would be paid for by replacing Port Botany’s container trucks with Newcastle’s container trains.
It would enable trains to replace trucks for transporting the bulk of Sydney’s regional and interstate freight.
Port Botany relies on trucks for transporting containers. There were one million container trucks that moved through Port Botany in 2014. By 2040, there will be six million.
An intermodal terminal is being built at Moorebank. This terminal requires all of Sydney’s available rail freight capacity. If Moorebank reaches capacity, there will still be 4.9 million container truck movements through Port Botany by 2040.
With the Moorebank intermodal terminal operating at capacity, the economic disbenefits of trucking containers will increase five-fold – from one million per year to five million per year – by 2040.
A rail freight bypass of Sydney will justify building the Maldon-Dombarton rail freight line to enable building a container terminal at Port Kembla to operate interchangeably with the Port of Newcastle.
The South Coast of NSW will be served by container ports at both Port Kembla and Port of Newcastle.
By building the section of the bypass line between Glenfield and Eastern Creek as the top priority, containers can be railed between Port Botany and a new intermodal terminal in outer western Sydney. The remainder of the line to Newcastle will take about 10 years to build. But there would be no intermodal terminal built at Moorebank.
Upon line completion, containers railed between Newcastle and intermodal terminals in outer western Sydney would be de-consolidated at the intermodal terminals and the goods transported to their end destinations in Sydney.
Export goods manufactured in Sydney would be consolidated into containers at the intermodal terminals and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export.
Empty containers would be railed from Sydney to all regional areas of NSW to be filled with export goods and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export.
All container trucks would be removed from Sydney’s roads.
Freight currently entering Greater Sydney by road can be railed.
There would be no need to build stages 2 and 3 of the $5 billion Northern Sydney Freight Corridor to provide the equivalent of a dedicated rail freight line between Newcastle and Strathfield.
There would be no need to build the $1 billion Western Sydney Freight Line, between Chullora and Eastern Creek, to enable containers to be railed between Port Botany and outer western Sydney.
There would be no need to spend $400 million on upgrading the Port Botany rail freight line.
Freight would be removed from the Wollongong-Sydney rail line.
All of Sydney’s current rail freight capacity would be used for passenger services to provide a higher economic return than freight.
The Southern Sydney Freight Line could be used for express passenger services from southwestern Sydney growth areas, including Badgery’s Creek Airport.
All of the current rail capacity between Newcastle and Sydney would be used for passengers.
A second rail bridge would be built over the Hawkesbury River as part of the rail freight bypass.
The short parallel runway at Sydney airport could be extended from 2,600 metres to 4,000 metres by terminating container operations at Port Botany.
A rail freight bypass would enable Sydney firms to relocate to regional areas.
It is appropriate and necessary for the state to examine the implications to NSW of removing the state’s anti-competitive fee for containers shipped through the Port of Newcastle.

Australian WMS launches in Europe

Warehouse management systems (WMS) provider Microlistics is launching its wares into the UK & European markets to expand its global footprint.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Microlistics is a Gartner-recognised WMS provider operating across Australia, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East. The company has four product lines: WMS Enterprise, its fully integrated flagship; WMS Chilled, its cold storage product; WMS 3PL, its multi-site and multi-client 3PL software; and WMS Express, its pre-configured, rapid implementation package.
Customers include Linfox Asia, Brand Collective, ESAB, Thomas Foods International, Berli Jucker Logistics, Havaianas, TT Logistics and TNT Express Logistics. Logistics warehousing services are provided to many of the world’s leading brands though the Microlistics 3PL client base, to companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Birkenstock Footwear, Procter & Gamble, Officeworks, DKSH and many more utilising the Microlistics 3PL WMS.
Microlistics, which joined the WiseTech Global group in January 2018, will leverage the group’s local networks, long-term locally based LSP WMS experience and expertise, and work and provide local support from regional offices in Ede, the Netherlands, and Milton Keynes, UK.
Founder and managing director of Microlistics Mark Dawson said: “This is a great opportunity to leverage WiseTech’s global reach and expand into a key trading region. We have enhanced our WMS products for the European market and its regulations and look forward to bringing new benefits to customers across this region.”
Global advisory company Gartner this year included Microlistics in the global identification of leading ‘Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)’ for the fifth consecutive year. Microlistics was included as a notable mention in the Magic Quadrant from 2014 to 2016, before being upgraded to full inclusion in 2017 and 2018.

Australia is suffering from a digital delay

A new study has found that:

  • Leaders do not have a clear understanding of the full impact of digital transformation.
  • Lack of skill sets and legacy organisational siloes cited as top barriers to digital transformation.
  • Business agility, enhancing digital culture, and delivering a seamless customer experience seen as key organisational drivers of building digitally agile business models.

Australian (AU) and New Zealand (NZ) businesses are trailing behind their global counterparts, with only 17% of businesses digitally mature enough to build disruptive business models at scale compared to a global standard of 22%. That is one of the key findings from research undertaken by Infosys.
The research, Infosys Digital Acceleration Study: Infosys Australia and New Zealand Report, polled 175 senior business decision makers from the region’s biggest companies, each with a revenue of over $1 billion, to better understand where Australia and New Zealand’s largest enterprises are in their digital transformation journey and what they require to accelerate that journey.
The survey of senior IT decision-makers reveals that enterprise leaders across sectors are at varying stages of digital agility while facing consistent barriers and opportunities to building disruptive business models at scale.
The report identifies three clusters based on digital maturity:

  • Visionaries transform to meet business objectives through new business models and an innovative culture. They understand digital is central to the success of future endeavours.
  • Explorers are committed to improving their customer’s satisfaction levels. They identify with digital programs that enhance customer service or increase brand value through differentiation.
  • Watchers are largely focused on efficiency-driven outcomes of digital adoption.

Approximately 17% of AU and NZ respondents are identified as Visionaries, in contrast with 22% of their global counterparts, indicating that fewer AU and NZ leaders have identified digital transformation as a central part of their business strategy in comparison to global peers.
The majority of Australian and New Zealand businesses surveyed (55%) fall into the Explorers category, with a focus on digital transformation for the differentiation value it gives them in either customer experience or an uplift in brand value. This is higher in comparison to global peers, of whom 50% are categorised as Explorers.
Additionally, 28% of AU and NZ respondents are identified as Watchers, which is on par with global research. Watchers have partially deployed digital initiatives but are focused on efficiency-driven outcomes.
Common to all groups of business leaders is an understanding that business agility (85%), enhancing digital culture (82%), and delivering seamless customer service (78%) are key organisational drivers to enable them to build disruptive business models at scale. Visionaries particularly recognise that there is a constant need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant to their customers.
Senior vice president and regional head Australia and New Zealand at Infosys Andrew Groth said: “Digital transformation is a process of constant re-invention, where businesses must implement disruptive models that create agility in constantly driving new experiences for the customers at scale. This research illuminates how businesses in Australia and New Zealand can successfully move forward in the journey to digitally accelerate, to leverage the opportunities available to better operate in a digitally-driven market at significant scale.
“Over the years, large businesses within the region are progressing along different digital transformation journeys with varying levels of maturity. We can see a massive opportunity for businesses in the region to leverage digital and disruptive technologies with speed, and also use learnings from some of the more mature global peers from their digital transformation journeys.
“Organisations are facing the challenge of bringing disruptive products and solutions to market, despite having a clear vision and strategy for their digitisation journeys,” he said. “What our research uncovers is that a large number of organisations are encumbered by rigid technology, the digital skills gap and more importantly a culture gap that stifles innovation, which is key to achieving a digitisation vision. This is ultimately resulting in businesses being unable to create the customer experience and competitive advantage at speed, eventually losing the mindshare with their customers.”
Creating an environment conducive to digital maturity a significant challenge
Interestingly, internal challenges rather than external market forces are cited as a major barrier to change with resourcing and legacy issues preventing organisations from making rapid progress. Organisational silos (38%) and transforming from a low risk organisation to an organisation that rewards experimentation (37%) are some of the most prevalent challenges cited by businesses, as well as hiring digital natives and building digital skillsets (38%).
Mr Groth said: “What is apparent in this research is that business leaders know what they need, but often underestimate the full impact of digital transformation once you dig deeper. There is a skewed view of digital transformation, with 67% of respondents having a clear outlook on opportunities, and a considerably lower 50% having a clear understanding on threats. Interestingly, as businesses move to becoming digitally mature, there is a correlation between maturity and higher risk awareness, but we have some way to go in this market.”
Global counterparts are leading transformation, differing vastly per sector
Despite 72% of AU and NZ respondents identified as belonging in the visionary and explorer cluster, there is an overall sentiment amongst enterprise business leaders that their digital transformation journeys are not comparable at an international level. When comparing themselves to global clusters respectively, slightly over half (54%) of AU and NZ visionaries perceive themselves to be globally ahead, while only 22% of explorers and a quarter of watchers (25%) feel globally ahead of peers. When compared to local counterparts, this perception is higher, with 62% of visionaries, 35% of explorers and half (50%) of watchers feeling ahead amongst their peers.
The survey also revealed industries such as the public sector, healthcare and utilities are feeling most behind global counterparts, while logistics and manufacturing are the most confident. Half of public service organisations (50%)  feel their digital maturity is behind global peers, with only 7% reporting being ahead. Healthcare and telecommunications/utilities both report only 19-20% maturity. The retail industry reports a split, with 30% of respondents feeling behind, and 47% of respondents reporting maturity. Both logistics and manufacturing organisations feel comfortable, with 80% and 93% respectively reporting digital maturity on par or ahead of global counterparts.
A full copy of the report is available here.

Toll to spend $311 million to boost Bass Strait trade

Toll is to spend $311 million to boost Bass Strait trade, in a project that the company says will see shipping capacity increase between mainland Australia and Tasmania, supporting economic growth and rising demand for local produce.
Toll Group managing director Michael Byrne said the investment includes $170 million to build two new ships and $141 million to upgrade terminals, wharves and berthing facilities in Melbourne and Burnie.
“This is the largest-ever investment by a logistics business in the Bass Strait, and underpins Toll’s commitment to the Australian domestic market and the Bass Strait trade,” said Mr Byrne.
“Toll is the gateway between Tasmania and mainland Australia. We are proud to support the state’s local economy by helping businesses reach interstate and international markets. Equally important, Tasmanian consumers depend upon Toll to import products, particularly retail goods, and we are proud to support this exchange.
“Bolstering our carrying capacity means we can support the Tasmanian exports boom driven by demand from Australian and Asian markets,” he added.
Toll’s new ships and facility upgrades will provide more capacity to transport goods, including:

  • 40 per cent more capacity for containers and trailers, with later cut-off times and earlier receivals.
  • Increased capability and capacity to handle refrigerated freight.
  • Faster turnaround times for customers due to terminal upgrades at McGaw Wharf and Webb Dock, providing more efficient loading and discharge of the ships.

The new, 700 TEU purpose-built ships will commence operations on 1 March 2019. They will replace Toll’s existing ships, and continue to operate overnight services on a six-day per week schedule.
Works to update the wharves have commenced at Webb Dock in Melbourne. They are scheduled to begin in Burnie later this month.

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