Digital transformation – from MHD magazine

Sue Schmid

Standards in the digital era are evolving just as fast as new digital technologies on a local and global basis. We have seen GS1 standards evolve over the last 25 years to meet industry needs.
GS1 standards have always adapted and transformed to align with new technologies and to support new industries and processes that did not even exist when GS1 was created. Industries such as online marketplaces are driving the development of new standards to build smarter supply chains and enable the connection between business and consumer in the physical and digital world.
The rise of and success of GS1 standards
GS1’s work with barcodes has been one of the most successful examples of international adoption of standards for business. Why are the GS1 standards are so successful and why does the GS1 system remain the most widely used identification system and supply chain standard in the world? The answer is in the common language that GS1 standards provide to make it easier to do business with trading partners and customers.
GS1 has been established for over forty years. The first GS1 barcode was scanned in 1974 at a checkout in the US with the purpose of getting shoppers (consumers) through the checkout faster, giving them better service. This first scan reshaped the supply chain forever and established the foundation that facilitates business today.
The GS1 barcode is the most well-known component of the GS1 system and most people associate us as just the barcode people, but what we provide is a global identification system – and that’s what our members subscribe to when they join GS1.

“We are at a very exciting time of change and we are looking forward to supporting our members and assisting them on their own evolution of improvement and implementation of digital technologies.”

The GS1 system is an authenticated, valid and verified system that is globally recognised and has become embedded in so many companies’ operations and processes. And with the internet world transforming the way we live, the GS1 system is a fundamental component to support the millions of transactions that happen each day. The humble, yet incredibly powerful barcode, is well entrenched in our daily lives and we don’t even realise it.
Evolving technology provides more scope for the use of standards
Standards have always been an integral part of the international business world and supply chain, and will continue to do so in the interconnected world of today and into the future. As changes in technology continue to accelerate, the evolving role of standardisation in technological innovation is changing, too.
As we evolve the GS1 standards in the business-to-business space, the business-to-consumer layer continues to emerge and the GS1 standards are uniquely placed to support and connect these two together. Businesses have been responsible for evolving the GS1 standards over the past 40 years, and the consumers of today are now also impacting how the standards are leveraged because they want more information to help them make better purchasing decisions, and they are using barcodes on a product to gain access to this information.
Although there are various mobile apps available for this that draw information from the many places via the web, consumers are putting pressure on organisations for accurate and real-time information. This is where the GS1 standards connect and facilitate the physical and online supply chain, along with providing a means to ensure accurate data and information for the consumer.
GS1 standards connect the consumer and business
Ms Schmid explained why the power of the GS1 barcode and the information behind it is becoming much more important to consumers beyond the familiar beep at the checkout.
“The GS1 barcode is a bit like the Intel chip in a computer. It runs the computer and does everything you want the computer to do, seamlessly. The GS1 identification used in barcodes or in the exchange of data is just like an Intel chip, seamlessly integrating supply chains between businesses and consumers across the world. It integrates and connects the consumer with the information they want to know. Industry has a part to play in making sure the information is trustworthy in a collaborative world where information is more visible and more accessible.
As a consumer, I recently had to get a part replaced for my refrigerator. Having called the service centre, they requested I provide them with the date of purchase, where I had purchased and when, none of which I had. They asked me to find a serial number for the item, it was on the inside of the door printed in the smallest writing possible that I had to twist my head to be able to read it! At that point I was imagining being able to scan a barcode on the inside of the door that in an app, would identify my refrigerator uniquely. This can be done today with a GS1 number, called the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), and a serial number, all possible in today’s GS1 system. All I would then have to do is scan it into the app and all the information they wanted would be provided, easy and simple.
The GS1 system facilitates the connection of all the information at our finger tips in our world today, with more simplified access, making our daily lives easier.
Most consumers today also want detailed information before they purchase a food item including allergy information, gluten free, sugar free, provenance, organically certified and much more. We need to have a system that enables the consumer to be able access this information and feel confident that the information is trustworthy. This is where GS1 standards fit perfectly connecting unique product identification and organisations to provide trustworthy information about the product through the supply chain.
Data accuracy is crucial
New and emerging technology is important for any size of business today with the rise of the digital era, however, the accuracy of data is the number one issue that seems to be overlooked.
GS1 has data quality frameworks for various processes such as data synchronisation but ultimately, it’s important to help GS1 members have the right things in place in the systems including access to technologies to help them make that journey of ensuring their data is accurate and remains accurate. GS1 provides members with tools and support for data accuracy which is becoming more achievable with newer technologies.
Implementing new standards in the digital era to embrace quality data is an important foundation for the transition from old to new.
There will always be new standards being developed and enhancements to the existing ones, depending on the needs of industry. The GS1 product identification standards certainly sit in the digital age already today. The only real change that needs to happen is in the world of the internet. We are heading towards integrating our identifiers on the internet, so the consumer can leverage this quality data and information beyond the point of sale.
Data accuracy is also crucial in healthcare. In-home patient care is increasing, so what a wonderful way to validate that the patient is taking the right medicine at the right time by a simple scan of a GS1 barcode that is underpinned by GS1 identifiers.
These types of evolutions for creating standards are happening all the time – we don’t create standards for the sake of creating standards.
“We are also seeing a change in the profile of our members. Our corporate members, who are often at the leading edge of technology, may have challenges moving from a legacy system to a new system and new standards. In contrast, there is an opportunity for our smaller members who aren’t constrained by legacy systems, to leverage the GS1 system’s flexibility. They can have an authentic GS1 numbering system and adopt new standards, because as the future evolves and the internet synchronises with the use of our identifiers, the opportunities for small business are enormous with less barriers.”
Vision for GS1 members
The priority for GS1 Australia is to make sure all members, particularly small to medium size businesses, understand the value and the opportunity the GS1 system can bring to them in both the physical and digital world.
We are at a very exciting time of change and we are looking forward to supporting our members and assisting them on their own evolution of improvement and implementation of digital technologies.
Sue Schmid is the head of customer relations and standards office at GS1 Australia. For more information on GS1 standards please contact Sue Schmid at sue.schmid@gs1au.org.

Embrace transparency – from MHD magazine

Walter Scremin

Australia Post recently announced it wants to use Uber-style tracking for parcels. It’s an interesting and possibly courageous move because there are few similarities between parcel delivery and ride sharing services.
But the development raises some interesting key question for logistics divisions, such as: how would our business look with Uber-style tracking? Will more transparency make us look good to our customers, or make us look silly?
Parcel tracking does not offer the same near-instant gratification available to Uber’s ride-sharing customers. When Uber customers place a request, they are quickly alerted to a nearby Uber vehicle and can watch its progress to the customer’s address. In urban areas this procedure takes only minutes. Can a parcel delivery provide such an instant response?
Consider the risks if parcel delivery customers are paying attention and seeing their parcel taking the ‘scenic route’ to the destination, parked for an inordinate period, or constantly dropping back to the depot. Greater scrutiny has potential to backfire on inefficient companies.
We know from experience that even experienced logistics divisions, which consider themselves efficient, are often shocked by what is revealed under technology’s cold gaze. They may find systems that are sound in principle, fall down in practice: this may include obvious issues such as poor communications across the business, drivers doubling up on delivery routes, or drivers backtracking due to overlooked or misplaced items. No doubt Australia Post is working hard to ensure systems and processes stack up to this increased scrutiny.

“Technology can improve efficiency in any-sized delivery transport division – but only if you continue to monitor and nurture it.”

But the benefits from increased transparency easily outweigh the risks. I know auto parts companies with small delivery fleets that use telematics to provide their customers with total transparency – essentially already using Uber-style tracking. Some of these fleets may only have three or four vehicles and use the technology to gain a competitive edge on the big guys. Their customers love this transparency, and the technology has helped make the business better.
Efficiency in delivery fleets cannot be understated, with both B2B and B2C businesses currently engaged in a ‘logistics arms race’ of ever-shorter delivery times – for example, retailer Cue recently launched a three-hour delivery service throughout Australia; the Iconic also offers three-hour deliveries for Sydney and same-day to Melbourne metro; JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman offer same-day delivery; and Amazon offers one-day deliveries.
We’re also seeing tighter delivery times in B2B industries such as auto parts, catering, building materials and other sectors where there are opportunities to improve
Those who are less efficient will be left behind. Yet there is evidence many fleets are lagging on efficiency by not properly engaging with technology: Teletrac Navman research on its UK operations showed 27% of fleet organisations are interacting with the telematics technology on a daily basis – not bad, but doesn’t this also suggest 73% of organisations aren’t so attentive? A 2015 ACA Research survey showed that while most large fleets use telematics, the take-up falls dramatically for fleets between six and 25 vehicles (49 per cent), and for fleets with less than six trucks the take-up was just 18 per cent.
Technology can improve efficiency in any-sized delivery transport division – but only if you continue to monitor and nurture it.
Consider how technology is used for vehicle maintenance. In the past, logistics firms would act on maintenance when a vehicle broke down. Now, technology allows us to be proactive rather than reactive by tracking vehicles and anticipating maintenance schedules with greater accuracy. The same proactive approach can apply throughout logistics, not just maintenance.
Currently, too many delivery fleets treat their telematics systems like a gym membership – they sign up with great enthusiasm only to drop off three months’ later, as interest wanes. Maybe the return on investment is not immediately apparent, or maybe they find it difficult to keep up with the data produced. Technology’s many benefits are often found beyond the bottom line: customer service may not immediately show up as a ROI, yet may foster greater customer loyalty.
Technology should improve delivery times but also lead to increased professionalism, and more accuracy in delivering items in full, undamaged and on time. These may take time to track as a measurable ROI.
Responsive and efficient logistics businesses understand telematics and related technologies are what you make them. Those prepared to put in the effort and focus on efficiency – often on a daily basis – will shine under greater scrutiny, impress their customers and remain competitive.
Walter Scremin is general manager of Ontime Delivery Solutions, developer of Ontime Earth. For more information visit www.ontimegroup.com.au.
 

Maersk and IBM joint venture to apply blockchain to global supply chains

Logistics company and container shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk and technology company IBM have announced their intent to establish a joint venture to provide efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The new company is to be built on open standards, offering a global trade digitisation platform designed for use in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones to provide more transparency and simplicity.
A distributed ledger technology, blockchain establishes a shared, unalterable record of all transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time.
Maersk and IBM will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders.
“This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitisation of global trade,” said Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, Maersk, and future Chairman of the board of the new joint venture. “The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit.
“By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”
Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, added: “The major advances IBM has made in blockchain have shown that the technology can foster new business models and play an important role in how the world works by building smarter businesses.
“Our joint venture with Maersk means we can now speed adoption of this exciting technology with the millions of organisations who play vital roles in one of the most complex and important networks in the world, the global supply chain. We believe blockchain will now emerge in this market as the leading way companies seize new untapped economic opportunities.”
IBM and Maersk began a collaboration in June 2016 to build new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies. Since then, several companies have piloted the platform, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands and the US Customs and Border Protection.
The joint venture will now enable IBM and Maersk to commercialise and scale their solutions to a broader group of global corporations. General Motors and Procter and Gamble and Agility Logistics have already reportedly expressed their interest.
 
 

GetSwift makes Board of Directors appointment, secures Telstra exec

Australia-based delivery logistics software company GetSwift has appointed Nevash Pillay, a member of telco giant Telstra’s executive team – to its Board of Directors.
Pillay has been in the ICT field for 18 years, 14 years in a leadership capacity.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Ms Pillay to our Board of Directors,” said Bane Hunter, Executive Chairman, GetSwift. “She brings a very important set of up-to-date skills, experiences, points of view and networks that will be an important component of the forthcoming company roadmap.”
Pillay noted, “I’m thrilled to be part of the Board of Directors at GetSwift, a company that is innovative, has a best-in-class software solution and adds tremendous value to businesses by improving their customers’ experiences.”

WiseTech Global acquires rate management solution providers

New South Wales–headquartered global logistics software group, WiseTech Global has acquired two global rate management solution providers – Netherlands-based provider of global air freight rate management solutions, Cargoguide, and US-based provider of global ocean freight rate management solutions, CargoSphere.
Cargoguide services customers across 84 countries, including DHL, Expeditors, UPS, DSV, Geodis, Panalpina, Kuehne + Nagel, Schenker, Toll and Yusen. and many other leading global freight forwarders and logistics providers.
CargoSphere services more than 100 customers including Kuehne + Nagel, Dachser, NNR Global Logistics, M+R Spedag, Livingston International.
“At WiseTech we are focused on improving productivity, quality, speed, visibility and manageability in the logistics industry and we are delighted Cargoguide and CargoSphere are joining the WiseTech family,” said WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White. “Combining their powerful air and ocean freight rate management solutions with the strengths of the WiseTech Global group and our leading integrated global execution platform, CargoWise One, will be a step forward for the freight forwarding industry.
“Both solutions will enhance existing rate management capabilities within CargoWise One, increasing efficiency, accuracy and workflow for our customers worldwide, while our innovation strength and development capacity will further accelerate multi-modal rate management developments. This will ultimately create a pathway to the deeper automation necessary to substantially increase productivity for freight forwarders grappling with exponential increases in volumes and margin pressure.”

Found in translation – Exporting the Australian logistics mindset

This article first appeared in the February/March 2017 issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
Three Australian logistics veterans have been tasked with rethinking Japan’s supply chain strategy, mixing the traditional and the modern to achieve unprecedented growth.
Even when you’re the biggest name in your market, that’s no reason to rest on your laurels. While Coca-Cola is the market leader for beverages in Japan, there are five other major players vying for a share of the action. Market pricing has been declining steadily over the past 16 years, putting a squeeze on margins and forcing beverage suppliers to stay vigilant to remain relevant. According to Bruce Herbert, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Coca-Cola East Japan (CCEJ), consolidation and diversification have been key strategies for many in the industry. “Coke in Japan is not just carbonated drinks, over half our volume is sugar-free teas, coffee and water,” he says. “A very strong innovation and new product pipeline has to be filled every year from our own plants and a network of contract packers.”
Covering over half of Japan and serving a population of 60 million, Coca-Cola distributor CCEJ is in a constant state of metamorphosis, always looking for ways to increase efficiency and cut costs. The US$6 billion ($8.2 billion) bottler was originally formed in 2013 through the merging of four smaller bottlers and has since absorbed a fifth one. It will soon merge with Japan’s next biggest beverage distributor – Coca-Cola West – and cover some 90 per cent of the market. Set to take place in 2017, the merger will increase the company’s value to US$10 billion ($13.7 billion) and increase its assets from eight factories to 17, 250 sales warehouses from 150, and 800,000 vending machines from 400,000 and 3,500 daily semi-trailer loads shifted per day from 2,000.
CCEJ recruited supply chain experts from around the world, including Bruce, to come to Japan and lend their expertise and, as a result, has been hugely successful in cutting costs and increasing profit. Bruce is joined by two other Australian supply chain experts, cherry-picked for their knowledge of the beverage and retail industries with decades of experience working with supply chains in Australia, Asia and Africa – Edward Walters, now Senior Executive Officer, Planning, Logistics & Distribution at CCEJ; and Distribution Transformation Manager, David Sim.
The Japanese market has presented a challenge, thanks to the country’s complex traditional business etiquette, though Bruce found its workforce’s strong work ethic and customer service to be worthy of admiration. “In Australia we take for granted that change and improvement are part of working life,” he says. “Especially at [Coca-Cola’s Australian-based bottler, ed.] Amatil, where supply chain transformation has been progressing since the mid-90s and many world-leading initiatives were started. Coming to a business which was effectively five small Japanese businesses just three years ago, I have realised just how far ahead some of those things we were doing in Australia were.
“In one way we have a big advantage of having lived in what will be ‘the future state’ for the supply chain here. Of course, there are many things to be learnt from the Japan model as well, but knowing that changes needed here have worked elsewhere gives us a big head start.
“I respect the Japanese working style. My Japanese colleagues are extremely hardworking and focused on detail, in a way that most Australians would find very challenging. Workers regularly work very late in the office, never hesitate to stay back or work over weekends and don’t give up on a problem. So much so that Government and companies are focused on encouraging people to relax more and take more time off, take more holidays etc. – this is definitely not a problem in Australia.”
The Japanese approach to life in general, including even how seemingly ‘logical’ issues are approached is quite different to the West, according to Bruce. “Not better or worse, but different,” he adds. “Whilst basic human reactions and motivations are the same, the way they express themselves is different. Relationships are much more important and sensitive here, as is loyalty to the business or community. All of these things translate into business culture and relationships.”
In some aspects, Australia’s logistics sector could benefit from observing the Japanese workplace, says Bruce. In particular, he believes that the value placed on quality and customer service in Japan would do wonders for Australian business. “Japan is surely the most quality-focused country on earth, and customer service is seen as an extension of quality,” he says. “Near enough is not good enough, perfection is sought after and worked towards at every level. It is deeply ingrained into everyday life – I don’t think we would ever have to ‘train’ for customer service as it is intrinsically understood. This often leads to failures by multi-national companies who don’t understand what Japanese consumers and customers expect. Likewise: quality. Australian businesses may be more ‘lean’ but often do so at the cost of customer service and quality.”
CCEJ looked at successful logistics strategies in use around the developed world when searching for ideas to rejuvenate their own approach and, according to Bruce, flexibility and a laid-back Australian style have been instrumental in ‘cracking the code’ for the company’s logistics strategy. “I think openness to different ideas has been key,” he shares.
“I experienced some changes put in place here earlier by some of our colleagues from the US, but many of them did not work as they were simply ‘cut and pasted’ ideas from the US. Aussies may be proud of their country, but they usually don’t expect that they have all the answers.”
Edward likens the challenge of solving CCEJ’s issues to the task of unravelling a badly tangled set of Christmas lights – difficult to unravel without breaking a light and stopping the business. “We discovered that, over many years on the quest to providing high service and quality, network efficiency at CCEJ had been eroded severely,” Bruce adds. “This had happened steadily and high transport, warehouse and other costs had been accepted as ‘normal’. As there was little benchmarking of supply chain costs outside Japan, and since the costs were not easily ‘visible’, they had not been tackled by investment or progressive change either and a gap grew between global practice and Japan Coca-Cola practice.”
In order to ‘crack the code’, Bruce shares that two major changes needed to be introduced. “First was a painful implementation of a new SAP ERP system which replaced multiple legacy systems and gave central visibility to live data,” he says. “Second was more instinctive – we cut inventory by about 20 per cent – a very brave move in Japan – and thereby decongested the network, eliminating double handling, waiting times, extra transport and product write-off.”
A third big change, which is currently in progress, involves moving inventory upstream, closing small sales centres and cross-docking others, together with possible investment in new warehouses at plants and picking automation. CCEJ is already seeing positive results from the change, with over 25 billion JPY ($290 million) supply chain savings both from manufacturing and logistics/distribution improvement since its inception in 2013.“This year, heavy transport cost is down 20 per cent and write-offs are down 50 per cent,” Bruce shares. “So we are already almost halfway to the long-term cost reduction goal after just one year.” The 2017 merger of Coca-Cola East Japan and Coca-Cola West is expected to create opportunities for further savings.
Bruce attributes his team’s success to a combination of factors, from slow and cautious implementation of changes to constant re-evaluation of direction. “We didn’t approach this as a ‘project’,” he says. “We tackled this as a management challenge – to implement changes, monitor them closely and adjust as we went along. In that way the original ‘plans’ were gradually changed – with successes amplified and failures dropped quickly. Good real-time data access and manipulation was crucial here.
“Thanks to methodical and detailed execution of strategies by our team here, the changes we made to inventory levels, planning processes, truck routing, pallet configurations etc. were executed without impacting customers or quality. This meant that the costs we saved were not lost in upset customers or lost sales, but could flow directly to the bottom line.
“We discovered a clear and costly link between inventory levels and transport costs, which had never been uncovered before. I’d like to say we found this by a big analytical study, but actually it only became clear by trial and error – which is why an army of experts and analysts had failed to find it before.”
CCEJ now encourages its employees to make suggestions for improvement of processes, and implements over 100,000 small innovation ideas per year on ways to improve quality, safety, service and cost.
The notoriously rigid traditional Japanese business culture presented a particular challenge for the CCEJ supply chain team, Bruce explains, though they were still able to achieve “massive change and results” thanks to their measured approach. “Resistance to change remains a constant both within the business and with customers and some suppliers,” he says.
“This is largely due to the extremely high standards set by customers and consumers and fear of making big mistakes. We were able to overcome this by making many small progressive changes, and avoiding – for the most part – big bang or sudden, unplanned change.”
Bruce believes that if applied in Australia, his team’s strategy could result in similarly positive outcomes. “The approach we have taken here has been based on numerics and data combined with good management routines, not just ‘hardware’,” he shares. “It can therefore be applied anywhere, to any problems.”
The CCEJ supply chain team have developed their own version of the revered – though oft-misunderstood – ‘Kaizen’ (kai: change, zen: good) business philosophy whereby big changes can be achieved through small, continuous improvements in all aspects of business. They are confident this method could be applied with success in any business environment. Bruce adds, “All I know is that after 35 years in this game there has never been a change as big and fast as what this team has achieved here in Japan this year.”

DB Schenker, DPWA and Hamburg Sud join forces for blockchain trial

One of the largest and most comprehensive trials of blockchain technology for global supply chains has successfully ended with a new Australian-developed blockchain security architecture from TBSx3 which has the potential to raise global supply chain security to a military grade.
The TBSx3 system uses military-grade 44-alphanumeric-character security cryptography, compared to the six-digit public cryptography which up until now has been commonly used.
The new TBSx3 benchmark was successfully used on an 8,100km global road-and-sea supply chain stretching from the wine-growing Coonawarra region of rural South Australia to the port of Qingdao in north-eastern China, which ended this week.
Partners included DP World Australia, DB Schenker, Hamburg Sud and Australian wine producer IUS, which exports seven product lines into the rapidly growing Chinese wine market.
KPMG advised TBSx3 on the trial and verified the custodial handovers for the integrity of the product on the 8,100km land-and-sea journey. Furthermore, KPMG simulated the customer at the end of the trial by receiving, validating the product and checking if the system could potentially detect duplicates.
Ron Koehler, CEO, DB Schenker Australia and New Zealand, said, “In a globalised world, the safety and security of supply chains for the medicines you buy, the food you eat, the parts that are used for your cars and the planes you fly in cannot be taken for granted.
“Supply chain security affects everyone – consumers, companies, communities.
The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, added, “Blockchain is an exciting technology with great potential for Australian businesses and SMEs. It promises to reduce costs, create new market opportunities and transform industries.
“Importantly the technology provides a new opportunity for Australian exporters and their customers to verify the authenticity of their products, protecting the reputations and brands of both Australia and Australian business.”
The successful completion of the trial between Australia and China is the first of a planned series with multiple partners which will “simultaneously test the robustness of TBSx3 blockchain technology for every custodial link in global supply chains and also verification protocols for both bulk product and individual items for retailers and consumers at the end of the chain,” according to TBSx3’s Chairman, Anthony Bertini.
“In terms of the numbers of partners simultaneously involved and the challenges posed for resolution of integration with multiple existing proprietary security systems we believe this can be developed to become a new security benchmark.”

Deakin surveys supply chain and logistics industry

The Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL) at Deakin University is keen to hear from the supply chain and logistics industry about pallet usage.
“Researchers at CSCL are hoping to establish a regular Australian pallet survey about user requirements and usage patterns nation-wide,” said Dr Hermione Parsons, Director of CSCL.
“We found that Australian information on pallet usage is not readily available, and we have nothing in Australia that compares with the US Pallet Survey, for example,” she added.
“Pallets may not seem a very glamorous topic for research but they are crucial to Australian supply chains.
“We are hoping to pick up on trends such as ‘less-than-pallet-load’ requirements, as freight becomes much more granular, and the trends in requirements for pallet tracking.”
The Australian Trucking Association is encouraging its members, as well as other key industry manufacturing and transport and logistics peak bodies, to take the anonymous five-minute online questionnaire.

DHL partners with Amazon’s Alexa for parcel tracking

DHL Parcel is expanding its customer service to include a new voice-activated information service. DHL customers can now query Amazon’s digital smart speaker ‘Alexa’ for information on their parcel’s current whereabouts.
By activating Alexa’s DHL Parcel ‘skill’ via the Alexa app, users can ask their Amazon Echo or Echo Dot smart speaker to provide information on their shipment status, for example: “Alexa, ask DHL where my parcel is.” The voice-controlled interaction with Alexa is part of a DHL Parcel’s service strategy to improve customer experience. “The goal here is to make it quick and easy for every customer to receive an answer to his or her question at any time,” DHL said in a statement.
Michaela Lukas, head of DHL Parcel’s customer service for private customers said, “We want to continually expand and improve service levels for our customers, so of course we’re going to take a close look at any new and innovative technologies available.
“As an innovation leader in the industry, this is the standard we set for ourselves. Voice-enabled technologies, including hands-free interaction with online apps, will become more and more prevalent in the future.”
DHL will use user feedback to update the service later in the year.
 
 

DB Schenker wins freight forwarding and customs clearance contract

DB Schenker has announced that it has been awarded a contract to provide international freight forwarding and customs clearance services to Chevron Australia.
The three-year contract covers freight logistics movements as well as customs clearance requirements for Chevron’s interests in Western Australia.
To support the contract, DB Schenker will utilise its global network of oil and gas offices. The operations team in Perth will be supported by the DB Schenker iTeams software solution that allows for full visibility and tracking through all stages of the logistics cycle.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with Chevron. With our dedicated people around the world we have a strong record of operating safely and efficiently even on the most remote sites,” said Frank Vogel, Director Projects/Oil & Gas, AU/NZ. “The contract will support our goal to become the market leader in the industry by 2020.”

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