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.
 

Representing a nation

After being awarded the Young Professional of the Year Award at the CILT National Excellence in Transport and Logistics Award in Australia, Urszula Kelly, Managing Director at UC Logistics has been representing Australia on a global platform around the world.
While in Poland representing Australia at The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s international convention, Urszula took time out of her busy schedule to speak with LMH about her journey to where she is today and why she is passionate about safety and the Chain of Responsibility.
Starting out
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Urszula was a Polish immigrant to Australia in 2012, after launching her career in logistics in the UK in 2007. Initially working in a supportive role in the logistics industry, Urszula looked for a more direct role within the logistics industry and as she says became hooked and has never looked back.
Her first logistics role was administration support for Liquid Logistics. In 2008 to 2011 Urszula was the Transport Coordinator for Gerber Juice, while in this role Urszula facilitated timely scheduling and monitoring of deliveries with national and international clients, including extensive liaison with the materials planning department, accounts, warehouses, production and laboratories.
After this position, Urszula worked for Robert Wiseman Dairies as a Distribution Supervisor. Here she managed the picking and loading of up to 60 deliveries daily for key clients. She managed a team of 40 staff and oversaw all compliance and safety obligations, including inspections, reporting, corrective actions and continuous improvement initiatives.
A move Down Under
After making the decision to move to Australia, it took Urszula three days to find a job. She began her career here by working for a family owned business in Western Australia as a Project and Contract Coordinator. In this role, her key responsibilities included client liaison, management of relevant legislative requirements and safety obligations as well as oversight and effective collaboration of subcontractors to ensure adherence to corporate policies and procedures.
“This was a great first role in Australia, it was a small family business and the people were fantastic. There was so many opportunities to grow,” Urszula said. However, as the business owned the trucks and trailers, there was often more demand than the company could provide for. With this in mind, Urszula decided to start her own business. “I thought to myself, how can I make a business model to accommodate these needs?,” Urszula asked.
She had the vision of creating a business that could always provide, however big the demand and soon recognised that she couldn’t do this by buying all the trucks she needed. Instead, she created UC Logistics, now a leading third-party logistics provider in Western Australia. “The difference is, we don’t have to go around buying the trucks and trailers, we can engage someone else’s services for that depending on the demand,” Urszula explains.
UC Logistics started in November 2015 and early on established two major mining contractors as its primary point of contact for all transport requirements
Soon after, Urszula developed a new tool called iFR8. iFR8 is an online B2B platform that allows customers to quote and book freight movements. It handles the entire process from start to finish through one central technological portal. It ensures that customers don’t have to speak to numerous suppliers to quote for the long Australian jobs. “We used to have a really lengthy process, but we have created a platform that generates an automated quote upon request,” Urszula explains.
This aspect of the business requires the owner drivers to be accredited to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), as safety is a must-have principle for Urszula.
Chain of Responsibility
 A particular passion of Urszula’s is Chain of Responsibility, an area where she is doing some great work in. Utilising some of the training and knowledge she acquired overseas, Urszula is fast-becoming an advocate of training and education in safety. “I form partnerships and relationships with all of my colleagues and suppliers, once you are familiar with people you work with they are not just colleagues and you care for them and so you have to ask yourself, am I doing everything I can to make sure everyone gets home safely,” Urszula says.
Urszula stresses the importance of everyone involved in the supply chain placing safety at the top of the agenda. “It’s not just about what happens on the road, it’s about everyone involved making sure they run a safe operation,” Urszula says. She recognises that while many involved in the supply chain, such as drivers, are aware of and compliant with their obligations, often key stakeholders do not have a full understanding of their legal responsibilities.
UC Logistics ensure that all drivers have safety training, but they also offer training in safety for their clients. “It’s about everyone taking safety seriously, not just our drivers. If I can change one person’s mind and make them think about safety then I have done my job,” Urszula says.
By working with well-established contacts within the industry, Urszula has created opportunities for smaller transport operators to allow them to work to a higher standard. Suppliers wishing to work for larger companies often have to go through the process of getting pre-approved as a supplier is complex. UC Logistics has made this easier by working with smaller operators to collate all the necessary information and ensure that they meet the safety regulations placed on them by the larger companies.
For Urszula, safety in Australia is perceived as an inconvenience. “It’s seen as very time-consuming, a bit of an inconvenience and people are quick to jump and say ‘no’”, Urszula says. According to her this is part of the problem, there needs to be a shift around the attitude towards safety in logistics in Australia, and Urszula is working hard to ensure that everyone that she works with is well-informed and educated to make the safest decision at all times. “Every time I have an opportunity to speak to the industry or the media about safety I will, it’s about having the right attitude, and I think that is starting to change.”

Celebrating success

The Women in Industry Awards aim to raise the profile of the women working within the mining, engineering, logistics and road transport industries as well as promote and encourage excellence. Here LMH speaks with VISA Global Logistics’s Federica Guidi, who was awarded Business Development Manager of the Year.
The path to success 
Federica’s role at VISA Global Logistics is her first in the logistics industry. “For many people, they start in logistics very early on and work their way up, this was not the case for me,” she says.
While working at the Italian Chamber of Commerce Federica worked closely with board member Vittorio Tarchi, Executive Director at VISA Global Logistics Group. It was during this time that Federica was exposed to the logistics industry and Vittorio proved a great mentor. “I was very impressed with his leadership skills and knowledge of the logistics industry in general,” Federica says.
Eight years ago, an opportunity rose for Federica to join VISA Global Logistics in the events and marketing space, and she jumped at the chance to move into the logistics sector. After only a few months Federica moved into a sales position and hasn’t looked back since. “Sales here is very dynamic, you can be working with small to medium enterprises locally but also huge international companies, there is never a dull moment,” she says.
VISA Global Logistics delivers a fully integrated solution which includes forwarding, clearance, warehouse and distribution. Founded in 1892 VISA Global Logistics is privately owned, it functions with two directors and two partners, one director is Australian and one is Italian.
The international presence of the company enables Federica to travel extensively. “I go to Europe at least once a year to link international opportunities together and to seek out prospective clients,” she says.
The importance of mentoring
For Federica, having a mentor is crucial, particularly in the logistics industry. “Throughout my career I have had very good mentors to help me along the way. Without which, navigating your way through this industry would be impossible,” she says.
Vittorio’s guidance as well as the greater team at VISA, have been key factors in her success. “Logistics is very fast-paced, it doesn’t sleep. Especially when you run a global operation. You need a good, reliable, trust-worthy and passionate team, and I have found this at VISA,” Federica says.
This passion for mentoring has been something that Federica has been able to pursue in her role at VISA. In her position, she looks after the internship program. VISA organises an internship program for students from the Maritime & Transport University in Italy. The students come over to Australia and partake in a program where they work for six months and then travel for six months. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to get some practical working experience as well as see Australia,” Federica says.
This aspect of Federica’s role is very rewarding and gives her an opportunity to share her passion for logistics as well as what she describes as a beautiful working culture at VISA Global Logistics.
For Federica, working in logistics is more diverse than other sectors. “It’s different to any other sector I have worked in, we work with all kinds of companies and all different commodities. One day it’s medical equipment, then it’s lollies or white goods. In addition, you deal with various stakeholders. it’s very dynamic and it’s this aspect that keeps me enjoying my job every day,” she says.
Looking to the future
As VISA Global Logistics continues to grow, so does Federica. “In this position, there is a lot of networking, events and seminars. I really enjoy this side of the role as I am always learning,” she says.
“In business development, you can always achieve more, you have to find ways to keep growing and learning,” Federica explains. At VISA, she has found the senior management team very approachable and that they are always happy to help.
VISA places a huge emphasis on professional development and even has what it refers to as VISA University, a programme to train staff internally. Federica is also due to start an MBA in July this year. “I am always looking for new opportunities to grow, to keep up with innovation and to tackle new markets,” she adds.
On winning the Business Development Manager of the Year award, Federica said it’s great to feel gratification for what she does. “I was very excited to win, it was quite unexpected. It’s fantastic to get acknowledgement for all the hard work, all the extra effort you put in. It’s very rewarding and I am looking forward to growing on the success.”
 

A new era for 3D printing

With additive manufacturing set to majorly disrupt most industries, it will have a substantial impact on logistics and the design of supply chains. LMH was on hand to report on the launch of the world’s fastest and largest 3D printer.

The revolution of 3D printing has been transforming many industries, with recent developments in aerospace, manufacturing, health and even the food industry there isn’t an industry untouched by the technological development of additive manufacturing.
It was recently announced that the world’s first 3D printed homes would be built in a town in the Netherlands and there have also been many news reports of other impressive developments. Machines are becoming increasingly capable of printing, cooking and serving food items such as a burger, as well as major developments in the health industry including, which even include 3D printed prosthetic limbs.
The Logistics Trend Radar, published by DHL, cites an annual growth rate of 13.5 per cent for additive manufacturing. As logistics is an industry that is primarily about moving products from one place to another, developments in 3D printing will change the way the industry works has to think and function.
This technology is gaining significant traction and beginning to shape the future of many industries, including the logistics industry and the supply chain at large. Though originally used in the aerospace and manufacturing industry as a way to create small parts and prototypes, it’s evident that as 3D printing advances, there will be increasing demand for items to be printed on-demand, on-site and to order.
The possibilities for the future of 3D printing are limitless, including 3D printing human cells, artificial skin and even artificial ears. However much of the processes used makes it difficult for mass production in terms of process time it cannot compete with large-scale manufacturing times as well as the inability to produce larger scale items and parts needed in many industries. This is where Melbourne-based additive manufacturing company, Titomic is offering what it believes is a revolutionary new process for 3D printing.
The world’s largest and fasted 3D printer 
At an event in May this year, Titomic launched the largest and fastest metal 3D printer. Philip Vafiadis, Chair and Non-Executive Director at Titomic told attendees that the machine will redefine the size of 3D systems using a revolutionary method that has never before been realised. “We’ve been waiting for decades to deliver this dream and what we are delivering today is more than a machine, it is a capability that will revolutionise the manufacturing industry for decades to come,” Philip says.
“If we look at the metals industry, I like to joke that it started 5,000 years ago. Nothing has really fundamentally changed in those 5,000 years. But today is a pioneering moment,” Jeff Lang, CEO, Titomic says.
A self-confessed tech-nerd, Jeff says that this is an idea he has been working on for ten years and he is thrilled to finally present it to the industry. 
Kinetic fusion
According to Jeff, as the process used for typical 3D printing involves heat, this presents a series of problems, particularly when trying to develop the process for a larger scale projects. The heat used to mould and print the material produces oxidation, which means that the product must be contained in a glass box, leading to size limitations. In addition to this, expansion and contraction caused by heat can lead to morphing as well as process that is slow and only suitable for small-scale projects.
The theory behind Titomic’s alternative offering is kinetic fusion. Though this is similar to current 3D printing processes in that objects are printed layer by layer, it is different in that a jet stream is created to shoot out the metal at such a speed that it fuses onto a mould plate. The particles travel at supersonic speeds, making the particles soften and then they are caused to mould together through fusion.
As this process does not require any heat, there is no limitation on size. “The only limitation we have is noise, the machine can get up to 140 decibels, but as this is a cold process, we don’t get distortion or have to contain the product in a glass box,”, Jeff says. According to Jeff, the capabilities go beyond what was ever possible before, with a build-speed of 45 kilograms per hour compared to industry standard of 1 kilogram in 24 hours.
Sustainable manufacturing for future generations
Having the largest and fastest 3D printer isn’t the only benefit of Titomic’s kinetic fusion. For Jeff, it also has sustainability benefits. “The smarter way we use resources is critical and here we are creating new knowledge,” he says. With additive manufacturing, you print what you need, so there is much less waste. According to Jeff, as we have limited resources, this is an advantage that will be crucial in the future. The Titomic process boasts less than 10 per cent waste.
At the launch event the word ‘Titomic’ was printed on a metal plate. This was the very first showcase of how the technology works in real time. Jeff also showed a bike frame that was printed in less than 30 minutes and spoke of the potential this technology has for all industries. “Our vision includes this technology being used in ship yards, mining locations as well as used within the aerospace sector. There is also more consumer-based applications such as the ability to print bike frames and luggage,” he says.
For Jeff, one of the most exciting aspects of this is the creation of new knowledge. “This is the next generation of digital manufacturing; this knowledge is filtering down into TAFE and trade level and preparing the professionals of the future for change. We’re talking about smart tech here and you can technically run the whole system on a mobile phone.”

The rise of the parcel locker

What if you could make a home delivery in seconds, at any time in the day, while also reducing last-mile delivery costs? LMH looks at the potential of the parcel locker logistics solution. 
As demand for online shopping continues to grow, consumers are looking for more efficient ways to receive parcels. Customers are now ordering items from anyone, anywhere at any time. Whether it’s phone chargers from China, books from Britain or fresh produce from the local grocery store online shopping is now the norm.
Australia ranked second in the world for online shopping growth, according to the Inside Australian Online Shopping eCommerce Industry Paper, and the consumer now wants the convenience of a parcel delivered effectively after purchase, not a notice, a requirement to visit a depot or an option for a separate delivery slot.
With so many items now being ordered online, most people’s mail consists of more parcels than letters. Volumes of addressed letters at Australia Post have fallen 36 per cent in the past seven years. In 2015, for the first time in its history, Australia Post’s parcel business contributed more than half of its total revenues.
Many customers aren’t at home at the time when deliveries are scheduled to receive parcels and it is becoming increasingly frustrating to have other aspects in the supply chain, including sourcing, packing and distribution, run efficiently and effectively to then be faced with a lengthy and inconvenient aspect. Particularly once the parcel has, in theory, reached the customer’s home.
One option is to leave the parcel in a ‘safe place’, but this is problematic for both the consumer, retailer and logistics company. Who is at fault is it if a parcel goes missing from a consumer’s home? Who pays for parcel theft? Is it the logistics provider or the retailer? What happens if the consumer is lying about whether the parcel ever arrived? What about weather conditions? Valuable objects?
The relationship with the consumer and retailer can be tarnished when a customer has a bad delivery experience, an astonishing 38 per cent of US consumers would elect to withdraw their loyalty from a retailer again following a bad delivery experience according to MetaPack’s Delivering Consumer Choice report. The importance of getting this last part of the transaction right is a top priority for many shoppers.
A solution to many of these issues could be the parcel locker. Parcel lockers are automated storage systems that can securely store packages for consumers at their homes. They reduce the risk of parcel theft, re-delivery attempts and lost packages. They have many benefits for the consumer as well as increased transparency and reliability for logistics providers.
The big players in the logistics industry are developing solutions in this space, with Amazon launching Amazon Key, a service that allows Amazon couriers to open the front door and put the package safely inside the home. DHL has also trialled delivering items straight into a customer’s car. Though recent developments may mean that one day goods are delivered straight into your home David Jinks. Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero, an online courier company, believes that right now it’s all about the parcel locker. “The locker is the most convenient option for hard pressed consumers who can’t afford to take time off to wait for an important package. Couriers and retailers who fail to embrace the growing move to parcel lockers will lose out significantly,” David says.
Though in many respects, last-mile delivery is a difficult challenge to tackle, there is a number of innovative developments taking place in Australia in the personal parcel locker space.
Australia Post has developed its own parcel locker offering, with a product called Receva. Receva is a water-resistant mailbox Australia Post claims is designed to accommodate parcels, groceries and wine boxes.
The box, which launched in October 2017 with a trial in Melbourne, is connected to the internet and managed via a smartphone. According to Australia Post, it eliminates the risk of items being stolen or damaged by the weather if left unattended for too long. The mailbox gives customers full control through a smartphone, enabling them to receive instant delivery notifications, monitor the temperature and battery levels of the box and allow others to access it digitally.
“The trial in Melbourne’s south east was met positively by customers. This was largely due to the greater choice, security and control in the way they received their mail and parcel deliveries,” Tien-Ti Mak, Innovation Partner at Australia Post says.
Though Receva is designed to work with any carrier or courier, at present it only receives parcels from Australia Post. An issue which Malcolm Lewis, Owner and Founder of a rival Australian-made product called Chester says is problematic. “Receva requires a key dongle that can currently only be used by an Australian Post representative,” Malcom says.
“My main reason for setting up Chester is that I have a deep concern about closed hardware, in my view the hardware associated with these kinds of solutions should be open source, it should be open infrastructure,” Malcolm explains.
The idea for Chester came while Malcolm was working in the US. He and his wife realised they were never home to get deliveries. He says Chester’s key functionality is that its natural state is unlocked. “It doesn’t require any integration with a carrier or logistics provider. The box is open and then when a delivery is placed in the box it sends a notification to the consumer via an app, let’s them know that they have a delivery, how much it weighs and at what time it was delivered.”
As well as increased convenience and transparency for the consumer, Malcolm believes this also has significant benefits for the retailers and logistics providers. “The data can be invaluable for businesses, with Chester they have proof of delivery,” he says.
Malcolm says that the two-hour delivery window is proving too expensive for many logistics carriers and he notes that the consumer isn’t necessarily concerned with speed, but the real issue is the waiting around. “People want transparency, they want to know where their parcel is and where and when it will be delivered,” Malcom says. With Chester, the consumer has transparency and access to information about their delivery and the logistics provider is also able to deliver more parcels in less time without ambitious, expensive and specific two-hour delivery slots.
The product is at prototype stage at the moment, and Malcolm is hoping it will be launched before Christmas this year. “During the research stage, people wanted something that was battery powered, that could receive a delivery from anyone and that looked nice,” he says.
Chester has a volume of 125 litres and has ice patch compartments so that fresh fruit and veg can also be delivered. According to Malcolm, he has spent a lot of time developing a product that he thinks will fit with the aesthetic of a house, has multiple uses and can be accessed by any courier. Details about pricing are yet to be decided but Malcolm ensures that it will be affordable and is aiming for a one-off purchase situation.
With last-mile delivery customers are looking for convenience and reliability and providers are looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. Parcel lockers are a growing option in this area with a number of home-grown developments worth watching.

A licence to operate

L&MH speaks with Caryn Anderson, Executive General Manager Strategy and Business Development at Port of Melbourne about the future plans of the Port and why Melbourne’s Port location gives it the competitive edge.
The Port of Melbourne is Australia’s largest maritime logistics hub, as a key economic asset for Victoria’s businesses and people. The Port will play a crucial part in the projected growth for Melbourne and Victoria.
The Port’s objective is to deliver a safe, responsible and reliable port facility and to play its part in delivering the efficient supply chain needed to support Victoria’s growing economy.
Logistics & Materials Handling spoke with Caryn Anderson, Executive General Manager at Port of Melbourne about the journey the Port has taken through privatisation, challenges for the future and the importance of working together.
Pathway to ports
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For Caryn, a route to a career in logistics was largely unplanned. “I’m not sure anybody sets out to work in this sector,” she says. Like many professionals in the sector, Caryn fell into the industry by accident.
With a background in Marine Science Caryn started in an environmental management role and it was here that she was exposed to the ports environment. She soon realised how exciting and dynamic logistics can be.
Next, Caryn did a law degree, specialising in international maritime law when an opportunity arose to work overseas directly with the shipping industry. “This was an exciting opportunity for me to see a different perspective and I think having a scientific background has allowed me to draw together all of the different elements – finding patterns and simplicity through it all is part of the challenge,” she says.
Caryn’s role is largely around coordination, planning and strategy. “There’s lots of moving pieces, and we are fortunate to have a a great team who are technically competent and passionate about what they do – this helps us to keep across the diversity of issues,” Caryn says. A stand-out advantage for Caryn is that every day is different in logistics. “One day you will be dealing with a farmer who is growing purple carrots to export to Japan, the next day you could be dealing with the Minister’s office and the next day a wharf carrier — it’s fantastically diverse and it keeps it real,” Caryn says.
Planning roles can quickly become very abstract, but in Caryn’s role at Port of Melbourne this is not an option. “This position gives me the opportunity to be quite hands on and to work with industry to identify real solutions instead of a situation where everything looks good on paper but if you go down to the port and talk to the carriers, they tell you a different story. We are keen to make a difference and drive real efficiencies for the businesses that use the port” she says.
Privatisation
In 2016, the Port of Melbourne’s commercial operations and assets were leased by the Victorian Government and Caryn played a key role in this process. “I was involved in the original scoping study when the government was considering privatisation. I was then the lead responsible for leading the transaction internally and separating the business in preparation for financial close,” she explains.
The privatisation was a lengthy and complicated process, but this was all part of the end goal. “I think one of the really good things about the time it took was that it was well-debated and considered by both sides of government. This meant that we ended up with a contractual arrangement as a private port manager that is strategically aligned with what’s in the best interest of Victoria. This is fundamental to what we do because we are serving the people of Victoria. When Victoria does well, our business does well.” She adds this was the really rewarding part of the privatisation process, to see how well structured it was.
Another important factor is that the Port of Melbourne shareholders are all long-term investors. “They are focused on long-term value of the port and in the context of a port this means infrastructure planning across a 30-year plus horizon. It’s about positioning for the collective success of the port freight supply chain over the longer term,” Caryn says.
Preparing for growth
Melbourne’s population growth is projected to grow substantially, reaching five million by 2021 and soaring past eight million by 2050 according to Plan Melbourne report. This has significant implications for the Port. “The Port reflects what is happening in the Victorian economy, trade across the wharf is a lead indicator of economic activity,” Caryn explains.
“Over recent years we have seen growth rates around 3 per cent and have forecase around 3 to 4 per cent going forward. However, the trade volumes that have been passing through the port year to date are sitting around 8.5 per cent, from a compound growth perspective, changes like this can move us past our planning capacity and bring forward our infrastructure considerations. The big challenge for us, like any demand and supply model, is forecasting what the demand is going to be and population growth will have a significant input into this,” she says.
Caryn is aware that the port cannot act alone and much of preparing for growth is dependent on external factors. “Like any organisation, we have plans in place in terms of how we think infrastructure might be delivered. We are continuously monitoring our key drivers for growth, innovations across the supply chain and commercial arrangements – all of which will influence the infrastructure that is ultimately delivered. We view the logistics supply chain as a system which is slightly more challenging because it means we are talking about shared infrastructure across the supply chain, this investment tends to be “lumpy” and has long lead times. The other challenge is structuring an appropriate business case to finance investments within this type of a model – but we can’t get caught off guard in terms of delivery time,” she says.
Caryn also sees this population growth as a great opportunity for the Port of Melbourne. “The rate at which the population is growing has an important implication for the city and how it works, how freight and logistics is integrated to service the city needs and the role of the port is an exciting opportunity,” she states. Historically, the conversation was often about moving the port out of the city, but now with a 50 year lease, Caryn believes that as population grows there is an opportunity to leverage the port’s city centre location. “When you think about how much growth is going to occur within and around the CBD, the location of the Port could actually be one of the greatest opportunities for the future liveability of the city of Melbourne.”
According to Caryn, this is the kind of opportunity that calls for communication and collaboration between all the stakeholders and operators across the supply chain, a cause that she is passionate about. “It’s how we coordinate with the State Government and the Commonwealth around the infrastructure priorities that ensures the unprecedented investment we are seeing in infrastructure delivers real benefits to users and the economy more broadly,” Caryn says.
Port activity
The Port of Melbourne has a rich history with the people of Melbourne. “One of the really interesting things around ports is what’s coming through the Port is a lead indicator of what’s happening in the economy,” Caryn says. This is clear when looking at the data of the items that are moving through the port.
Over the last couple of years there has been significant growth and strong performance in new furniture. Caryn explains that this is a reflection of all the new residential developments that are going on in Victoria as well as a reflection of increased migration. There is also representation of responses to changes in global regulation, such as the recent Chinese regulations around recycled paper exports.
A licence to operate
 Caryn says the Port of Melbourne sees itself as custodian of the port and one of the most important aspects of her role is integrating effectively with the city. “The Port of Melbourne is a critical economic asset to the State Government and I think it’s important that we start at that position and then look at how we work with our neighbours and community to make sure that the Port can continue to grow and service the economy, while also recognising the growth and development in our neighbouring communities,” Caryn says.
Working with the neighbouring communities is not without its challenges. One particular challenge is that the Port of Melbourne has four different local governments to work with.
As is often the case when dealing with a number of stakeholders in one area, there are often different objective.“What we need to be doing more effectively is connecting what our economic drivers are, we need to talk in a more holistic sense, while also protecting the port and key freight corridors from residential encroachment,” Caryn says.
Within the Port of Melbourne there is a team that spends a lot of time reviewing planning applications which are within close proximity to the port. The team considers the sensitivity of certain developments to current and future port and freight operations. “We need clear expectations from the community in terms of what is allowable in close proximity to the port, while there are many complementary activities, there are also fundamental incompatible land uses such as freight corridors alongside residential and pedestrian activity,” Caryn explains.
Port of Melbourne is actively working with local governments to identify areas for growth and development within close proximity to the port and to balance the different objective to achieve the best overall outcome. For Caryn, there has been significant effort in putting planning controls in place that protect the port but there is an opportunity to work more closely with the State and local government to uphold those protections and plan responsibly for public safety and amenity and economic growth.
Raising awareness
A common issue across all logistics modes is raising awareness and interest in its activities from the public. One issue that is relatable for Caryn. “Until I worked in a port I didn’t realise that it existed, it was just one of those things that was just there.”
The Port of Melbourne is working directly with the community to raise awareness, finding that when major developments take place people become more aware of the port’s existence and start to think about freight and logistics. “There are a lot of people who are interested in what is happening at the port, but since the security requirements came into place it means in many respects the public has been excluded from the activities and operations at the port,” Caryn says.
She believes there is an opportunity to invite the public back in and the Port of Melbourne has been working with the community to find ways to connect. They are involved with Open House Melbourne and use it as an opportunity to ignite interest in what goes on at the Port, as well as organising regular public boat tours.
Competitive edge
For Caryn, the Port of Melbourne holds a unique competitive position. “For us, it’s about the whole supply chain, that’s where our focus is. We see ourselves playing a role across the total supply chain,” she says.
While responsible for the infrastructure and assets in the port, the Port of Melbourne also plays a role across the supply chain to ensure its efficiency. Caryn notes that the Port spends a lot of time working with individual supply chain participants to find out how they can work together to improve efficiencies to give Victoria that competitive edge.
Caryn says this is an exciting time for the future of logistics. “Over the last decade, we’ve seen huge advances in the availability and transparency of data, we are seeing completely different business models forming. This is a great opportunity to look at how we do things differently. If we think differently about how we might facilitate freight and logistics for the city and how we might design our infrastructure to make that work more effectively we have a huge opportunity here in Melbourne.”
 

Meet the ifm experts: Jas Singh

Meet Jas Singh, who is the Systems and Solutions Manager for ifm in Australia. Jas is an expert in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions – and tailoring solutions for customers based on their specific needs. He is passionate about ifm products – both hardware and software – and gets great satisfaction in creating the ideal solution for a customer. Hear Jas talk about why he prefers to work with ifm, the unique connection that ifm staff have with each other and to their customers, and some of the inspiring projects he has worked on to improve outcomes for his customers.
 

Meet the ifm experts: Glenn Thornton

National Product and Brand Manager for ifm, Glenn Thornton, explains what differentiates ifm from other high-tech electronics businesses. Besides offering quality well-priced products and quick turnaround of service, Glenn says what really drives the company and his colleagues are the relationships they develop with customers. Originally an electrician by trade, Glenn appreciates that while getting the job done right is of utmost importance, what he really enjoys at ifm is the ongoing relationship with customers and seeing the outcomes that they achieve.

Meet the ifm expert – Glenn Thornton

National Product and Brand Manager for ifm, Glenn Thornton, explains what differentiates ifm from other high-tech electronics businesses. Besides offering quality well-priced products and quick turnaround of service, Glenn says what really drives the company and his colleagues are the relationships they develop with customers. Originally an electrician by trade, Glenn appreciates that while getting the job done right is of utmost importance, what he really enjoys at ifm is the ongoing relationship with customers and seeing the outcomes that they achieve.

From MHD magazine: Don’t blink

Christian Titze

If you’re a supply chain leader responsible for technology transformation, you must prepare for the impact of disruptive technology trends on people, business and IT.
Supply chain technology is seen as a source of competitive advantage, even a competitive differentiator, with organisations investing in strategic technologies in support of new business and operating models.
Start by identifying where it’s best to innovate and invest in new processes and technologies to remain competitive in your market. Seek feedback and ideas from stakeholders who can suggest if and where these technologies could be applied to produce better business outcomes.
The top eight
Gartner has identified a list of top eight trends for supply chain technology with broad industry impact. Review the list and identify how these technology trends can help your organisation seize new business opportunities or solve existing business problems. Pilot small projects to determine whether the potential benefit of the technology trend is worth the risk and required investment in new skills, capabilities or services needed to apply the trend to your business.
With all the hype around disruptive technologies it can be tempting to start exploring a trend before validating whether it can address a current business challenge or opportunity. First assess your company’s risk culture together with maturity stage, to determine your readiness to explore and possibly adopt strategic offerings. Risk-tolerant or risk-exploiting firms should explore technologies on this list now, while risk avoiders should wait.

“Conversational systems will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world.”

So, in no particular order:
1) Artificial intelligence
Uses for artificial intelligence (AI) in the supply chain are emerging, particularly to identify potential risk exposure. The main goal is to offer people new insights, without being explicitly programmed, based on identified patterns in large datasets from the enterprise, customers, suppliers or even the business ecosystem. These solutions may also predict future risks.
While there’s still hurdles to overcome, early adopters report promising benefits from limited scope pilots across the supply chain. Adopting these technologies improves decision making through augmenting users’ abilities or by automating certain supply chain processes. It also enables users to dedicate more time and talent to strategic network design, capacity planning or other high-impact activities.
2) Advanced analytics
The impact of advanced analytics – which spans predictive and prescriptive – on supply chain is significant. Predictive analytics are a powerful competency that enable companies to be proactive and take advantage of a future opportunity or mitigate or avoid a future adverse event. Prescriptive analytics, on the other hand, can improve decision making in functional areas like supply chain planning, sourcing, logistics and transportation. More importantly, it can be deployed to improve end-to-end supply chain performance because a course of action can be recommended that best manages the trade-offs among conflicting functional goals.
Benefits of advanced analytics include better quality, cost savings, uninterrupted customer service or bigger market share. Adoption can drive supply chain process redesign, with processes that fully relied on human judgement that can now be heavily powered with predictive and prescriptive analytics.
3) Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contains embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. Adoption is growing in select supply chain domains, but rarely as part of a complete end-to-end supply chain process for now. One exception is the air and defence industry, where planes have thousands of sensors and data is leveraged in the extended supply chain.
Potential uses are in sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, demand management and services. Some manufacturers for example, are assessing the business value of expanding beyond their current use of operational technology. Logistics groups already use sensors to track assets or containers, and are now examining the additional benefits of IoT opening them to an internet-based world.
4) Intelligent things
Gartner describes intelligent things as having the ability to operate unsupervised for a defined period to complete a task. Intelligent things — such as autonomous vehicles, drones and robotics — will make their initial impact across a wide spectrum of asset-centric, product-centric and service-centric industries, particularly for their ability to do physical work with greater reliability, lower costs, increased safety and higher productivity.
Companies will also be able to shift goods faster, which may then pose a challenge for restocking and supplying demand. The ability for organisations to assist, replace or redeploy their human workers in more value-adding activities creates potentially high — and occasionally transformational — business benefits.
5) Conversational systems
Conversational systems will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. They’re most recognisably implemented today in virtual personal assistants (such as Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa), in chatbots and virtual customer assistants. These systems can handle discovery questions and offer solutions without any human involvement.
Conversational systems can go as far as enabling transactions, handling payments, ensuring delivery and providing customer service. In warehouse operations, for example, industrialised ‘transactional voice’ technologies support the structured activities of frontline workers using speech recognition and/or speech synthesis technology to drive transactional activities, such as order, carton or item picking.
6) Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation tools offer potential ways to automate all or some stages of manual rule-based processes that were previously not automated. If applied to the right supply chain processes, they can reduce costs, speed up various manual tasks, eliminate keying error and link applications.
The types of processes organisations have applied robotic process automation tools to include elements of business partner onboarding, claims handling and processing, or regulatory compliance reporting. With early adopters in the finance and insurance industry, we now see other industries including supply chain taking advantage. The tools have proven to be very effective in simple uses, mainly where a third party in the supply chain will not provide an API or other means for automated data integration.
7) Immersive technologies
Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are part of a new wave of computing devices that transform the way individuals interact with one another and with software systems. Supply chain businesses can use this technology to enhance their customer and employee digital experiences.
Uses from a variety of industries exist, such as repair and maintenance in manufacturing, logistics and warehousing — assisting with visual recognition of faulty equipment and providing visual overlays of repair instructions. It’s also being used for new product introduction and collaboration in heavy industry, manufacturing or field services, particularly for equipment design planning and review; machine and vehicle route planning; long distance person-to-machine collaboration; or helping remote technicians in real-time when encountering unknown problems.
8) Blockchain

“Supply chain management is a ripe territory for blockchain because of the distributed, multi-enterprise nature of complex global value chains.”

Blockchain technology, better known as distributed ledger, is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. Supply chain management is a ripe territory for blockchain because of the distributed, multi-enterprise nature of complex global value chains that routinely conduct business among multiple parties. Certain highly decentralised functions are prime candidates, such as smart contracts or traceability and authentication.
Blockchain offers promising opportunities to address issues such as efficiency improvements in transactions and interactions. Some early pilot projects include Maersk Line, which is sharing shipping data on a blockchain to enable multiple parties to settle upon insurance terms in less time. Walmart is also using blockchain to track packages of mangoes from farm to store shelves in the US, enabling visibility into the multiple stakeholders in the supply chain and supporting food traceability.
Blockchain is far off being mature, however, with only experimental uses so far, so be careful with this much hyped technology.
Christian Titze is a research vice president at Gartner. He focuses on supply chain management (SCM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and wider application of technology in supply chain. For more information, visit www.gartner.com/supplychain.
 
 
 

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