CEVA opens Melbourne super site

CEVA Logistics has officially opened its transport, distribution and logistics hub in Truganina, Melbourne.
The $80 million, 166,000 square metre super site – equivalent to eight MCG playing fields – will employ 250 workers in Melbourne’s west and create around 40 new positions.
The facility is largest in the southern hemisphere, servicing high-profile customers including General Motors Holden, Continental Tyres, NBN Co, Michelin, Caltex, Accent Group and Mazda.
CEVA will also operate Nissan Australia’s new National Distribution Centre.
CEVA’s managing director Australia and New Zealand, Carlos Velez Rodriguez, said that over time he expected the Truganina facility to make an even more substantial contribution to local employment.
“At half-a-kilometre long, this is the biggest single span logistics facility in Australia, and we’re already winning new contracts because of this huge capacity. Since September we’ve been awarded two major new contracts. We’re also seeing significant organic growth as our clients are able to expand. This will grow further over time, creating even more local jobs,” Mr Velez Rodriguez said.
“I also expect the facility will have a multiplier effect, with flow-on employment created in areas like retail, cleaning, gardening and maintenance.”

Visibility up to 97% with voice technology

Honeywell, VoiceID and Icon Integration have completed a project to overhaul Viridian Glass’ stock location processes at its Melbourne manufacturing and distribution plant, and as a result stock visibility increased to 97%.
Viridian is the only glass manufacturer in Australia, and the largest glass supplier in the country. To service the wide range of customers across Australia with glass-based goods, Viridian operates its manufacturing operations in conjunction with a major distribution centre (DC).
“Under our previous manual warehouse management processes, we couldn’t run a cyclic count program due to the poor location accuracy, meaning we had to conduct four wall-to-wall stocktakes per year. These were labour intensive and disruptive to the business,” said Justin McKenzie, warehouse and distribution manager for Viridian Glass.
Working with Honeywell, VoiceID and Icon Integration, Viridian deployed the SAP WMS coupled with Honeywell’s A700 voice picking system, to drive labour cost savings, greater visibility of stock, as well as key operational efficiency improvements
“Our newly approved stock take procedure is to do cyclic counts of locations once per quarter. This means we no longer have to stop processes for wall-to-wall counts, which increases our productivity. Stock accuracy by location went from 25% per location to 86% after the first three months. At the moment, stocktake location accuracy is tracking at 97%. An amazing turnaround,” said Justin McKenzie.
Viridian’s industrial environment, its large plant and materials handling equipment lend themselves perfectly to a hands-free, voice driven environment, to the extent that the company now uses voice for every workflow without the support of RF.
Today when an order comes into the DC’s SAP WMS, the worker is allocated a warehouse task. The operators confirm the pick locations, frame numbers and pack numbers picked for staging prior to despatch. This has drastically reduced the chance of picking inaccuracies, or human error and significantly improved inventory accuracy.
Voice technology has also enhanced worker safety on the distribution centre floor, according to Justin McKenzie. “The hands-free, eyes-free aspect of Voice makes workers much more aware of their environment. It allows them to anticipate the actions of others for increased safety in the warehouse. Today on the distribution centre floor we work hands free, from the moment the glass is manufactured until the point it leaves our warehouse.”

NTC proposes information boost for Australia’s transport planning

A proposed five-yearly Who moves what where report has been recommended by the National Transport Commission in the release of its Who moves what where: Better informing transport planning for Australians discussion paper.
Chief executive of the National Transport Commission Paul Retter said it made sense to keep building upon the data the NTC had compiled from more than 150 data sets and released in the Who moves what where information paper on 8 September last year.
“Publishing a regular report on passenger and freight movement trends would help industry, governments and local communities plan for the future,” Mr Retter said.
“If we are able to use the knowledge and power of even more big data sets and better analytics, we can produce detailed reports that identify national trends and the likely impact those trends will have on the transport systems and associated infrastructure routes we use every day.
“Australia needs to have the best information to make the best investments in transport infrastructure, from large-scale projects to the location of bus stops.”
Other proposed recommendations in the discussion paper are related to a transport-wide approach to identifying long-term statistical and information priorities and introducing data collections to assist with measuring transport productivity.
“Every Australian has a stake in better, more productive transport systems, including consumers, employers and governments and I encourage all of them to make a submission through our website.”
Mr Retter said while the NTC’s Who moves what where information paper went some way to analysing Australia’s transport movements, information gaps were identified as predicted, and the NTC expects that any future editions would include much more data, such as information about port movements.
The NTC is also interested in working with other government agencies to find innovative ways to encourage the Australian community’s use of relevant open data sets in the future.
Stakeholders can make a submission via the NTC’s website before 5pm, Friday 10 March 2017. More information about this project is available here.
Mr Retter said the feedback would help the NTC determine the final recommendations to be presented to Australia’s transport ministers at their meeting scheduled for November 2017.
He said the project was a good example of the higher-level strategic work the NTC was encouraged to focus on as part of the 2015 review into the NTC.

Business confidence surges to highest level in 6 ½ years

Small and medium business (SMB) confidence is now sitting at its highest level since March 2010, following an eight-point rise to +46 on a net basis, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.
Sensis chief executive officer John Allan said: “Businesses closed out 2016 on a high, with confidence up seven points for the year and expectations that 2017 will be even stronger. While business owners again felt optimistic about their own specific business strengths, it was the improvement in the perceptions of the economy which really drove confidence higher this quarter.”
The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, revealed that more than four times as many SMB (61%) are now feeling confident as those who are worried (15%).
There were confidence gains everywhere except for Tasmania – down 14 points to +38. NSW is again the most confident location on +54, while the Northern Territory is again on the bottom, despite a seven-point rise to +16.
“The national improvement in confidence was primarily driven by businesses in the east coast states. The story in Western Australia and the Northern Territory was very different with businesses there still adjusting to the conditions in the resource sector, although the situation has improved somewhat this quarter,” said Mr Allan.
Perceptions of the current state of the economy have moved into positive territory, jumping 11 points to +3, which is the best result since December 2013.
“Just as the stock markets shrugged off global uncertainty to finish 2016 on a high, it was also the case for Australia’s small and medium businesses. Perceptions of the economy are now in positive territory for both the short- and long-term projections and this points to a strong year ahead,” said Mr Allan.
The Federal Government’s approval rating did not move this quarter, remaining on +2, although it finished the year down five points compared to the same period in 2015.
“The number of businesses worried about excessive bureaucracy and red tape was up this survey and these are the key issues the Government needs to address if it is to win over more business owners this year,” said Mr Allan.
Confidence in the policies of state and territory governments was the same or better everywhere except for the ACT. Despite this only, the Tasmanian, NT and NSW Governments have a positive rating, with the Queensland and South Australian Governments still lagging well behind.
At an industry level, the biggest improvement was in Finance and Insurance, up 31 points and now leading the other sectors thanks to strong sales results. The biggest concern was in Retail Trade, down 23 points due to poor sales, and cost and competitive pressures.
In the last survey of each year the Index also looks at expectations for the year ahead. Businesses expect all of the key indicators – sales, employment, wages, prices and profitability – to remain positive, with strong results anticipated for sales and profitability in particular.
“The capital expenditure result was up nine points this year and now sits in positive territory, with businesses also reporting easier access to finance this quarter. These conditions should help foster growth in jobs and the economy in 2017,” said Mr Allan.
“The lower Australian dollar also appears to have had a positive impact on exports in 2016, with the number of businesses exporting goods or services rising four points to 15 percent.”
Confidence among SMB in the capital cities rose 14 points to +49, while regional confidence fell two points to +41. The 16-point reversal means metropolitan SMB are now more confident.
“Businesses in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth overtook their regional counterparts this quarter and are now more confident. Nationally, business owners in metropolitan areas are more optimistic about the economy, which is the key factor making them more confident than their regional counterparts,” said Mr Allan.
Small and medium businesses comprise 99 per cent of all businesses operating in Australia.

New year’s sales expectations falter

As 2016 drew to a close, business confidence for 2017 remained strong. Dun and Bradstreet’s December Business Expectations Survey showed that companies were expecting to see increased employment, profits, capital investment and selling prices for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous quarter. However, expectations for sales dropped back.
According to Stephen Koukoulas, economics adviser to Dun and Bradstreet: “In the last month, there has been a cooling in business expectations for key parts of the economy, even though the general tone of the Business Expectation Survey remained positive for the early part of 2017.”
Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Expectations Index, the average of the survey’s measures of Sales, Profits, Employment and Capital Investment, stands at 18.9 points for the March quarter of 2017, up 11.2 per cent from 17.0 points for Q4 2016 and on par with the March 2016 figure. The final Q1 2017 result is 10.3 points above the 10-year average of 8.6 points. The index is currently at its highest point since the December quarter of 2015, when it reached 21.8 points.
DnB Dec 2016 1“The area of some concern is the dip in expected sales, where some of the optimism at the end of 2016 has faded as firms prepare for the first quarter of 2017. Against that one soft spot, there remains a strong outlook for expected profits, employment and capital expenditure,” Mr Koukoulas noted. “All of these indicators suggest that the surprise drop in the official GDP data for the September quarter was more an anomaly, rather than a precursor to a recession. Indeed, the D&B Business Expectations Survey data suggests the economy is performing well with little risk of recession in the near term,” he added.
The Sales Expectations Index slipped from 30.1 points in the December quarter of 2016 to 28.1 points for the March quarter of 2017. For the March quarter of 2017, 36.9 per cent of businesses expect to see an increase in sales compared to the March quarter of 2016, while 11.4 per cent expected lower sales.
Despite the lower sales expectations, profit expectations continued to climb, as expectations for selling prices increased. The Profit Expectations Index moved from 17.1 points in Q4 2016 to 21.0 points in Q1 2017, with 34.0 per cent of businesses expecting higher profits in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016, while 13.1 per cent expect lower profits. The Selling Prices Expectations Index jumped from 9.3 points in Q4 2016 to 14.6 points in Q1 2017. Some 21.4 per cent of businesses expect to increase selling prices in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016, and 6.9 per cent expect to have lower selling prices. Both the Profit and Selling Price Expectations Indices are at their highest points in a year.
“There is an interesting trend unfolding in expected selling prices. Businesses are expecting to raise their selling prices into the new year which, if correct, suggests the economy could be near a turning point for inflation, from the very low levels seen in the year to the September quarter. It is noteworthy that many commodity prices are higher, including oil, which is an important input cost to business,” Mr Koukoulas observed.
“In terms of the sectors, the least favourable outlook is for the Construction industry, which appears to be being held back by the ongoing weakness in mining investment and likely cooling in dwelling construction.
The most upbeat sectors are Manufacturing – aided by the lower Australian dollar – and Services,” Mr Koukoulas said.
DnB Dec 2016 2The Construction industry had the lowest Business Expectations Index, dropping to 5.9 points for the March quarter 2017 from 9.8 points in the December quarter 2016 and 11.3 points in the March quarter 2016.
Profit expectations were at an 18-month low at 3.6 points: 22.2 per cent of Construction firms flagged higher profits in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016, while 18.6 per cent anticipate lower profits. Meanwhile, at 9.8 points, Construction’s Sales Expectations Index was at its lowest since Q4 2013, when it reached 0.2 points.
For the March quarter 2017, 25.8 per cent of businesses expect higher year-on-year sales, compared to the 16.1 per cent that expect lower sales.
The Manufacturing sector’s Business Expectations Index jumped from 18.6 points in the December quarter 2016 to 24.2 points in the March quarter 2017, driven by a surge in its Profit Expectations Index from 16.4 points to 29.7 points – the highest Profit Expectations Index across all sectors. 38.6 per cent of Manufacturers expect higher profits in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016, and 8.9 per cent expect lower profits.
The Services industry had the highest Business Expectations Index for the March quarter 2017 at 24.8 points, up from 19.7 points in the December quarter 2016 but down from 25.4 points in the March quarter 2016. Its Capital Investment Expectations Index saw the most movement for Q1 2017, jumping from 7.1 points to 17.8 points. The Services industry had the highest Sales Expectation Index at 33.5 points: 43.0 per cent of Services firms flagged higher sales in Q1 2017, while 9.5 per cent expect a lower level of sales.
The Business Actuals Index dipped slightly from 8.9 points in the June quarter to 8.7 points in the September quarter. However, only the Actual Sales Index declined, falling from 15.5 points in the June quarter to 12.7 points in the September quarter: 32.6 per cent of businesses reported higher sales in Q3 2016 than Q3 2015, while 19.9 per cent reported lower sales. The decline in the Actual Sales Index in the September quarter reflects the 0.5 per cent decline in GDP during the same period.
The indices for actual employment, profits, capital investment and selling prices were all higher for the third quarter of 2016 than the second. But compared to the third quarter of 2015, all five component indices were down, and the Business Actuals Index fell 20.7 per cent from 12.7 points to its current 8.7 points.
DnB Dec 2016 3Australian businesses appear largely unperturbed regarding the results of the US federal election in November. The vast majority (70.3 percent) said they expect the result to have no impact on their business.
Some 6.6 per cent expect a positive impact, while the number of businesses expecting a negative impact was slightly higher at 8.3 percent. 14.8 per cent are unsure.
DnB Dec 2016 4
Of all industries surveyed, the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate industry had the strongest opinions on the matter: 13.8 per cent expect a positive result, while 19.0 per cent expect a negative result. 58.6 per cent expect no impact and 8.6 per cent are unsure.
“By industry, the Finance sector had the strongest view, it appears because of the impact of Trump on financial markets, most notably bond yields but also to a lesser extent the stock market. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the Trump win, there was considerable market volatility that is likely to have had a strong influence of the responses in this sector,” Mr Koukoulas said.
Just 1.7 per cent of Manufacturers, meanwhile, expect a positive outcome from Donald Trump’s election, compared to the 10.2 per cent who foresee a negative impact: “Manufacturers had the largest net negative, in part it appears from any possible fallout from an escalation in trade tensions, if Trump follows through with aggressive import taxes or tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods,” Mr Koukoulas said.

ACIT joins apicsAU

The Australian Chamber of International Trade (ACIT – www.acit.org.au) is to join apicsAU as the International Trade Special Interest Group to share its inbound and outbound trade expertise and connections with the Australasian professional supply chain community.
apicsAU is a premier non-profit, professional membership community providing leadership and innovation, education and training and professional development for the Australian supply chain, procurement and logistics community.
ACIT is a not-for-profit organisation providing training and support to Australian importers and exporters and has connections with Australian and overseas Government agencies, industry associations, foreign embassies, consulates and trade promotion agencies.
apicsAU CEO Dr Pieter Nagel said this agreement further strengthens apicsAU’s move towards building a comprehensive supply chain community representing all sectors of the supply chain industry.
“We are strengthening our community by expanding in Special Interest Groups so that we can better serve the broader supply chain industry,” he said.
The announcement follows several other such amalgamations for apicsAU with the Alliance for Supply Chain Innovation, which formed the apicsAU Leadership & Innovation Special Interest Group; the Logistics Association of Australia, which formed the apicsAU Transport & Logistics Special Interest Group; the Lean Network Australia, which formed the apicsAU Continuous Improvement Special Interest Group; and the collaboration with universities to form the Future Leaders Special Interest Group.
“Both the Australian Chamber of International Trade and apicsAU have been diligently serving their respective industries for 50+ years, delivering comprehensive professional development offerings to the Australian supply chain community,” said Lawrence Christoffelsz. “We are excited to join such a professional and important player in the industry and our combined support programs provide an ideal fit for companies wanting to grow their business further on a global stage.”
New courses for Term 1 2017 have already been established in incoterms, importing, exporting, cargo handling, international trade payments and import/export documentation.

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