People First at Costa Logistics

Costa Logistics is a peo­ple driven business.

“We use our ‘People First!’ philosophy to ensure we have the right people in the right positions to deliver and exceed our customer’s requirements wherever possible and pride ourselves on sharing the benefits of operational efficiencies with our customers in the process,” managing director Simon Costa tells Logistics Magazine.

“We strive to work closely with our customers to understand their end to end requirements and ensure we pro­vide value adding solutions into our customers’ networks.”

“By getting closer to our people and genuinely placing the welfare and development of our people ahead of profit, we have managed to harness the collective endeavour and talent of our workforce to con­sistently achieve all objectives set, regardless of the obstacles con­fronted,” he affirms.

Simon Costa says the past five years have seen a large number of evolving trends to address increas­ing demands for reduced supply chain costs, increased ‘real time’ information, reduced inventory levels, improved service levels and greater utilisation and effective­ness of WMS technology.

“Another development of critical importance has been the dramatic escalation in the value placed on employee safety within the work­place,” he says.

“By increasing our breadth of service performance management to include employee welfare, work­place safety and productivity man­agement, we have created far greater visibility and advanced proactive management in all of these areas,” Costa says.

“We’ve developed improved technology for reporting on operational KPIs, improved DC utilisation, signifi­cantly improved information flow on all personnel, capably managed the increased breadth of products being handled and successfully introduced MHE to eliminate labour intensive processes.”

Costa Logistics uses the Manhattan i-series (i5) Tier 1 WM (PkMS) (platform AS400) which provides full functionality for sin­gle touch receipting, ‘Pick and Pack’ pick method, routing & fleet management within transport and employs both Vocollect voice pick technology and Symbol wrist mounted RF picking in stockless areas.

Simon Costa says Costa Logistics’ current operations are stockless flowthrough and pick and pack.

“We find the voice tech­nology, RF scanning on receipt and putaway and RF finger scanning in the stockless areas to be the most efficient for these operations,” he explains.

“We have warehouse planning tools for day to day labour planning.”

“Warehouse modelling has been used during initial implementa­tions to ensure the most produc­tive operational layouts are achieved, following which we use the MSO slotting tool to ensure all current layouts are optimal.”

“We also have a productivity management database which inter­faces with our main warehouse management systems to manage site productivity.”

“Our equipment is also adapted for use in -25 degrees for freezer operations,” Costa says.

“We use our expertise to minimise the equipment used and have had input into the type of equipment used. Vocollect headsets and beltk­its are used for the pick and pack operation with wrist mounted RF finger scanners, RF hand held receiver units, forklift computer mounted units, forklift computer mounted scanners and Zebra label printers are used for stockless flowthrough operations.”

Costa says Costa Logistics is well suited to the cross dock process given its high velocity nature and zero inventory base.

“Within cross docking though, costs are forced backwards to the originating points of the supply chain such as manufacturing and procurement which needs to be carefully managed,” he says.

“Cross docking (where supplier picks by store) is also an excellent opportu­nity to increase supply chain effi­ciency where practical for the sup­plier.”

“Our major customers use Factory Gate Pricing (FGP) exten­sively throughout Australia and it is an excellent tool for fleet utili­sation and network optimisation,” he adds.

“Volume is the key driver as there needs to be a sustainable amount of product per store to allow cross dock to be a viable solution.”

“FGP will provide a streamlined and rationalised transport process, reduce the end cost to the consumer as well as deliver environmental benefits by reducing emissions, road conges­tion and improving overall employ­ment stability.”

“However, casualties within the Transport Industry are an inevitable result.”

In terms of the future, Simon Costa points to improved technolo­gy for higher value product lines, where visibility and load security is of critical importance, as key initiatives going forward.

“Because of the low individual cost for the majority of our existing product lines Costa Logistics has yet to make any significant investments in this area,” he says, “however dis­cussions are underway with major customers for potential use with the tracking of reusable assets such as cages and crates.”

Costa believes the rapid develop­ment of technological capabilities and the expanding appetite of cus­tomers for individually tailored solutions for specific product and service requirements, will ensure the variety of support options will be vast.

“Generally, however, auto­mated solutions for slower moving products will reduce manual han­dling issues and allow for greater storage of product lines in reduced building footprints,” he says.

“Stockless distribution solutions will also assist in reducing the cost of retail inventory, which will enable greater volumes to be put through existing networks as no stock will be held.”

“This may pres­ent challenges upstream in the supply chain, with consolidation centres required to feed major retail networks, but nonetheless the benefits appear to far out­weigh the shortcomings of such initiatives.”

“In addition, technology such as voice and RF picking will become commonplace throughout the industry.”

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