New industry skills advisory initiative

A new consulting service from Victoria University’s Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management provides the means to identify logistics workforce training needs and offer advice on training solutions tailored to fit your business and your budget.

The Industry Skills Adviser program (ISA) offers the tools to optimise profit and capitalise on a company’s Logistics workforce skills, delivering:

· Reduced total logistics costs

· Improved customer satisfaction levels

· Increased supply chain capabilities with customers

· Better relationships with customers and suppliers

· Improved workforce problem solving

· Increased performance and building stronger teams

· Improved workplace safety, including auditing of current practices and critical incident management

ISA Program Manager Geoff Rigby says the initiative offers three levels of service.

“Level 1 is a complimentary 90 minute review of the client’s logistics operations complete with fully costed ‘training solutions’ proposal, with reference to any specific concerns you raise thought the consultation,” he explains.

Level 2 involves a two day survey of a company’s logistics operations and Level 3 entails a comprehensive audit of a company’s logistics, distribution, warehouse health and safety status, and related supply chain operations.

“Level 3 also enables a company’s initial concerns raised in the complimentary review to be addressed,” Rigby says.

“The delivery of logistics training and education solutions to specifically meet individual companies’ skills and capability requirements will be managed by ILSCM, on behalf of VU, and its partner organisations.”

For more information:

03 9919 6253 or email geoff.rigby@vu.edu.au

Cold Chain Conference

The 2007 Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia (RWTA)/Global Cold Chain Alliance Conference and Exhibition will be held from August 19th to 22nd at the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove in Queensland.

With the theme ‘competitive advantage in the global cold chain’, the conference will reflect the positive outlook of the industry as a result of new global affiliations.

A range of Australian and international speakers from the cold chain, general business sector and commercial organisations will cover key industry issues aimed to assist delegates to successfully manage growth.

For more information, or to register, visit the RWTA website.

New seafood research centre

Australia’s seafood industry will benefit from a new research centre in South Australia that will focus on value-adding seafood products, better management practices, and improved access to premium export markets.

Scientists from the new Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (Seafood CRC) will benefit the seafood processing industry in particular by looking at processing along the supply chain and developing better approaches to marketing seafood, as well as examining critical issues in managing delivery along the value chain for the aquaculture and wild-catch industries.

The Seafood CRC brings together the expertise of universities, research organisations, peak bodies and seafood industry stakeholders to increase the sustainability and profitability of the seafood sector.

Warehouse staff productivity boost

Leading UK retailer of value books, crafts and gifts, The Works is optimising labour productivity at its 24 x 7 Sutton Coldfield distribution centre using Workforce Management from RedPrairie.

With annual revenues of £100 million and 2,500 employees, The Works stocks items from 500 suppliers and introduces around 100 new product lines each week at its 300 stores.

The company implemented Workforce Management to build on the 25% increase in picking efficiency already achieved with RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management solution and to transform the performance of its warehouse operatives.

The Works Supply Chain Manager Diane Smith says managers now benefit from dynamic workforce reporting functionality via a PC-based user interface that delivers accurate expectations for picking tasks, taking into account preferred work methods, such as travel distances, weight and environmental factors.

In just five months, operator productivity has grown by 25% while increased employee motivation has reduced staff turnover.

In addition, new starters are trained faster and with best-practice operating methods that enable them to be productive from day one. The system has already paid for itself and there are further benefits expected.

Real-time monitoring enables team-leaders to measure the up-to-the-minute performance of individuals or teams and alerts them to potential problems before they disrupt warehouse operations.

Workforce Management’s job costing functionality ensures that labour costs are allocated correctly while its web-based reporting tools provide timely insight into irregularities.

“Implementing RedPrairie’s Workforce Management solution has created a performance-focused culture at the Works that supports the company’s commitment to developing employees potential and rewarding their loyalty and dedication to serving customers,” Smith comments.

“As a finalist in the 2005 Investors in People Award for Business Improvement Through People™, The Works has already been recognised for the value it places on staff training and development.”

Following the implementation of Workforce Management, operatives now fully understand expectations and opportunities and are better motivated to contribute at a higher level than ever before in a fairer system that rewards above-average performers.

Workforce Management also helps managers identify process weaknesses and other problems that prevent staff from reaching their targets and enables less productive team members to be given the assistance they need to reach their potential.

With the success of RedPrairie’s Workforce Management solution at Sutton Coldfield, The Works plans to capitalise on its investment and maximise the benefits to its business.

The company is evaluating RedPrairie’s retail workforce solutions for its 300 retail outlets that are set to increase in number to 400 over the next few years.

Leveraging its investment in RedPrairie’s productivity-enhancing solutions will help boost employee performance and efficiency throughout the entire supply chain and retail operations.

“RedPrairie’s workforce management suite reinforces our position as an employer who recognises that staff motivation and development are key to business productivity and growth,” says Smith.

“Workforce Management makes workers self-accountable for their performance, enabling supervisors to become coaches and mentors, which results in a more efficient business and rewarding workplace.”

Workforce Management’s sophisticated work forecasting capabilities will optimise use of personnel resources at The Works, resulting in improved delivery times to stores and a better service to end customers.

The Works Chief Executive Derek Hine says implementing Workforce Management builds on the company’s strategy to maximise the value of RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management solution (WMS).

“This will help us meet our growth targets while continuing to reduce order fulfilment and labour costs.”

“We are delighted to have increased operative performance by 25% within a few months of go-live and confidently expect even greater workforce efficiencies with Workforce Management in the years to come,” he says.

RedPrairie Managing Director and President International says The Works’ success testifies to the deserved reputation of RedPrairie’s workforce optimisation solutions for retail and our undisputed market leadership in this sector.

“We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with The Works as they continue to drive revenues and profitability through innovation in their stores and supply chain operations.”

Consumers go green

An increasing number of Australian consumers are becoming ‘eco shoppers’ and don’t mind paying a little bit extra to clear their conscience, according to organic retail success story, Pierce Cody, Director, Macro Wholefoods.

Having effectively expanded an organic food store in Bondi Junction into a chain of eight supermarket/cafes in Sydney and Melbourne, Cody believes that consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and are looking to retailers for eco-friendly stores, products and experiences, regardless of the bottom line.

“Retailers need to stay attuned to customer feedback, and ‘conscious consumers’, as I like to call them, are impressed by eco-friendly retailers,” said Cody, who will present Price is not as relevant when your store is in tune with your customers at Australia’s leading retail conference.

Eco-shoppers tend to ‘interrogate’ product labels, marketing campaigns and staff, all with the planet’s wellbeing in mind. They are however, willing to overlook higher prices if retailers offer genuine ‘green’ options.

“Today’s conscious consumers expect retailers to be ‘green’ and are willing to pay for that because they also get the ‘feel good’ feeling that comes with making the choice to look after the environment,” he said.

“Like all things, some consumers will see eco shopping as a passing fad, whilst some others have it truly embedded in their psyche, and they are becoming a growing majority.”

Cody will feature amongst an impressive line up of speakers at the National Retail Forum, including one of Al Gore’s Climate Change Leaders, Gilbert Rochecouste, Director, Village Well. Rochecouste will discuss examples of Australian, European and US retailers that are profiting from making environmental statements.

Running alongside the National Retail Forum is Retail Expo Australasia, Australia’s largest retail exhibition. Showcasing environmentally friendly products including energy efficient lighting systems with 50,000 hour life and solar guard roofing that blocks over 99 per cent of ultraviolet radiation and 95 per cent of infrared heat, Retail Expo will offer retailers the information and products they need to respond to this growing window of opportunity.

Kennards rolls out the forklifts

Kennards Hire has introduced new-model Toyota forklifts into other parts of its extensive branch network after a successful start in Melbourne.

Dual-powered (LPG and petrol), 42-7FG25 model forklifts, which are road registered and can fit inside a container, can now also be hired from Kennards’ outlets in Sydney and  Perth.

Because Kennards has so many locations – more than 90 across Australia – the machines can be accessed quickly, particularly for short-term needs such as emergencies, overload, seasonal requirements and casual hire.

Brisbane-based Hedgehog Events used the new forklifts to erect and dismantle a stand at the Queensland on Show jobs expo, which was staged in Melbourne in August and Sydney in October.

More than 5000 people in each city visited the expo to explore the opportunity of starting a new life up north. Hedgehog Events had responsibility for the Queensland Government stand.

“We use Kennards because they have locations wherever we work throughout Australia, and we know we are going to get good quality equipment,” Hedgehog Events’ managing director Shane Rushbrook said.

Other forklift models are available elsewhere in the Kennards’ network.

CHEP snares Woolworths deal

CHEP has announced a six-year service agreement with Australia’s leading fresh food retailer Woolworths Limited.

Under the agreement, CHEP will supply and manage its specially-designed collapsible produce crates to Woolworths’ Vendors who will exclusively provide Produce packed in the new crates to Woolworths supermarkets across Australia and New Zealand.

The president of CHEP Asia-Pacific, Howard Wigham, said the agreement was the largest in the history of CHEP in the Asia-Pacific region, and would double CHEP’s ‘Fresh’ business.

“This agreement will set a benchmark in supply chain efficiency, safety and environmental performance, placing leading-edge foldable crates into Australia’s fresh produce supply chain, delivering best-in-class performance for the first time,” Mr Wigham said.

“It covers the supply, tracking, retrieval and inspection of used crates, and the repairing, washing and relocating of the crates for their next use.

The reusable, returnable and recyclable crates will carry produce from farm to supermarket shelves.

Mr Wigham said CHEP Asia-Pacific searched the globe to develop a fresh produce system that delivers optimal value, helps reduce OH&S risks associated with manual handling, is environmentally efficient and protects the quality of produce from the farm to the supermarket shelf.

As part of the undertaking, CHEP will upgrade its crate-washing service centre network with recycling systems that cut water usage and sewer discharge by up to 90 per cent.

“This major initiative will help us work towards our vision of leaner, greener and safer supply chain solutions across Asia-Pacific,” Mr Wigham said.

IDSnet integration drives automated line

Coca-Cola Amatil’s Northmead plant will have the first highly automated, very repeatable processing line that’s virtually free from human intervention — from cans unloaded on the dock, to end-product stored in a high-bay warehouse.

Earlier this year, Matthews Intelligent Identification worked with Coca-Cola Amatil’s Northmead, NSW, plant to integrate coding equipment across its small PET bottle line. The resulting streamlined production offers major cost and output benefits in a plant that runs 24/7.

Northmead plant’s manufacturing manager, Cameron Tully, says besides the financial benefit, two other valuable gains have been peace of mind and noise avoidance.

“What it means is that when we are running, we are getting it right first time. It avoids the likelihood of product re-work, or even product write-off, just because of the wrong code being applied. That is a major contributor in achieving manufacturing lean practice.

“So there’s peace of mind there, but the other thing is that it has taken away a lot of ‘noise’ — or problems —  on that line. That too, has been very beneficial. We see some real advantages in the integrated system.”

Using iDSnet, Matthews integrated some 8 Linx coders, which it had supplied earlier, linking them all back to a central PC control.

Peter Evans, CCA’s site electrical engineer at Northmead, says the integration has achieved many goals.

“Since the integration, we’ve had no instances of re-work. Previously, if an encoder or trigger pulse failed, someone on the floor would have to physically see there was no code on product before we caught it.

“Complicating that, was operators individually adjusting all machines. The wrong code could potentially be entered into one machine, and if the codes on the carton and bottle were different, the pack would have to be pulled to bits, with all those bottles re-packed.”

The IDSnet integration sees a single operator, from the central PC, selecting which products will be run just by pushing one button. Information sent to the coders includes ink colour, and downloads to all the machines on that line.

“So in the case of Coke Zero, which needs a white code on the black lid, it tells only the white machines to run.

“The software can also do a check between two coders to make sure they are running the same code. It also does check counts between the sensor and the print signal.”

The savings were immediate in potential human error and production uptime.

Another goal of integration was to minimise machine downtime.

“If there’s a fault with a coder,” Peter says, “it will send a message through to that central control PC that a jet’s not running for example.” 

The software allows CCA to drill down on the health of each machine to detail previously unobtainable. For instance, each encoder and sensor, on individual machines, can be checked for operability. Monitoring depth also means operators can see what a single jet is doing from the control room, right down to how the ink is reacting on the machine.

Simplified maintenance is another benefit.

“Each coder also automatically generates an e-mail via the central PC on run hours, alerting our maintenance planner that it is due in so many hours time. Our planner then organises with Matthews to do the service. From a maintenance perspective, because we run 24/7, it’s a big plus.”

The IDSnet integration that has streamlined CCA’s small PET bottle line production activities will soon be extended to Northmead’s large PET bottle line and a new can line, including integrating fillers, right through to encompassing SSCC palletising labels.

Cameron Tully says, “We are putting the Matthews system on our new can line. This will be the first Coca-Cola plant in the southern hemisphere, probably one of the first in the world, where product processing will not be touched by any human intervention. It will be highly automated, and very repeatable.”

It will work like this: when a truck pulls up, cans are automatically unloaded off the dock; the cans go right through the line, then the finished product will be picked up by an automatic guided vehicle (AGV), transported a few hundred metres to the end feed of an automated, high-bay warehouse, and stored. A truck delivering for a major customer, such as Woolworths or Coles, can then pull up, and be loaded with pallets of product.

“It will be a showpiece line for CCA and the Coke system,” Cameron says.

Cameron says CCA Northmead began looking at Matthews’ system in terms of coding.

“The ideal being that we hit one button in terms of code and all the relevant coders on the line are updated. It’s a good system, so we’ve looked at where else we can apply it.”

Kinglifter in Australia

The KingLifter is designed and manufactured by Terberg Machines (based in the Netherlands) and comes to Australia with an impressive and proven track record throughout Europe. According to Clark Equipment, Australian transport and logistics operators have been impressed by its outstanding power-to-weight ratio, fast mount and dismount (less than 60 seconds), minimal overhang (1080mm) at the rear of a truck or trailer, and ergonomic design with safe driver position.

The KingLifter is available in three basic dimensions that can be tailored to any specific application, and delivered in custom livery. The KingLifter S is the most compact in the range and is ideal for restricted access and confined turning spaces. Its low tare weight and excellent load capacity make it a viable alternative to fixed loading devices such as the tailgate loader.

The most popular all-round machine in the range is the KingLifter M with its impressive list of drive and mast options to suit a wide range of applications. It has been successfully employed in transporting beverages through to building materials, agriculture and horticulture, chemicals and waste collection, petrochemical products, public works, internal transport and logistics, and long loads.

The KingLifter L is the most powerful all-round machine in the range. Operators can specify their machine from a comprehensive list of options including 38.0 hp or 50.2 hp direct-injection diesel engine, 1-wheel or 3-wheel drive, 4-way steering, 2000kg or 2500kg lifting capacity, 2800mm to 4050mm lifting height, super reach for loading from one side only, fixed or retractable legs, plus fork and wheel options. 

Visit www.clarkequipment.com.au.

Mobile forklift goes nationwide

Specialist Australian forklift manufacturer, DMA Mobile Forklifts Pty Ltd, has experienced strong growth in the last eight months following steady enquiry about the company’s unique mobile ‘forktrucks’. 
 
What began as a simple business idea only two years ago has blossomed into a burgeoning business, seeing deliveries of the versatile forktruck all around Australia, as well as generating widespread interest as far away as New Zealand.
 
Combining the lifting power of a forklift with the convenience and road going capability of a small truck, the mobile forklifts are well suited to a large variety of tasks and applications.
 
Manufactured in partnership with TMF Engineering Solutions in Shepparton, Victoria, DMA Mobile Forklifts are designed on the Isuzu NKR 200 cab chassis and feature a rearward facing 2-tonne forklift capable of lifting up to 4.8 metres.
The vehicles feature dual gearing, brakes and steering allowing complete control from both the forklift and the truck cab, while a reversing camera helps ease of use and improves safety.
 
The latest trucks also have a tow hitch fitted rated at 3,500 kg, enabling owners to tow materials to the site, which can then be unloaded once the trailer is unhitched.
 
Whereas traditional forklifts need to be loaded onto a truck or trailer, transported to the work site and then unloaded, with the process reversed once the job is completed, the DMA forktruck can be driven straight to where it’s needed at legal road speeds.
 
Once the fork truck arrives on site it can begin the job immediately, allowing for timelier job completion and far less expense to the client.
 
According to DMA Mobile Forklifts’ proprietor, Ray Cox, recent demand for the forktrucks has been strong. "Trucks have already been delivered to just about every state with several more on order," Mr Cox said, "there’s even been keen interest from New Zealand where we soon hope to send our first shipment of trucks.
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