Smarts in retail: survey finds tablets useful

Survey finds two-thirds of retail store workers believe they can provide better customer service with tablets – less than 15% of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect personal data.
Zebra has revealed the results of its 11th annual Global Shopper Study, analysing the attitudes, opinions, and expectations of shoppers, retail workers and retail decision makers. The results show that two-thirds (66 per cent) of surveyed workers believe that if they are equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service.
Fifty five per cent of surveyed retail store workers agree that their company is understaffed, and nearly one-half (49%) feel overworked. Store workers cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42% find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed. Another 28% claim that it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers. Most surveyed retail decision makers (83%) and store workers (74%) concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales workers.
Meanwhile, only 13% of surveyed shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest level of trust among 10 different industries. Seventy three per cent of surveyed shoppers prefer flexibility to control how their personal information is used.
“Our study reveals shopper expectations are on the rise,” said senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Zebra Technologies Jeff Schmitz. “While retailers are addressing fulfilment challenges, they also need to provide more trusted, personalised shopping that gives customers what they want, when, where, and how they want it.”
The study also identified diverging expectations on the impact of automation between retailers and store workers. Nearly 80% of retail decision makers – compared to 49% of store workers – agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout. Also, more than half of retail decision makers (52%) are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout, and 62% are transforming it for online order pickup.
More than one-half of shoppers (51%) believe they are better connected with their smartphones than store workers. Retailers are investing in edge technologies to combat this gap. Nearly 60% of retailers plan to increase their spending on handheld mobile computers by more than 6%, and more than one-in-five retailers (21%) plan to spend greater than 10% on rugged tablets over the next three years.
The key regional findings in the Asia-Pacific were:

  • Sixty-two per cent of retail workers view their employer more positively if provided with a mobile device for work-related activities.
  • Nearly half (49%) of retail workers say that mobile point of sale (mPOS) devices help them do their job better.

 

as air freight capacity becomes more available at lower costs, more companies are taking advantage of the situation.

Air freight update: up 3.5%, despite softening late 2018

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released full-year 2018 data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. This was significantly lower than the extraordinary 9.7% growth recorded in 2017.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK), rose by 5.4% in 2018, outpacing annual growth in demand. This exerted downward pressure on the load factor but yields proved resilient.
Air cargo’s performance in 2018 was sealed by a softening in demand in December. Year-on-year, December demand decreased by 0.5%. This was the worst performance since March 2016. Freight capacity, however, grew by 3.8%. This was the tenth month in a row that year-on-year capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
International e-commerce grew in 2018, which was a positive factor for the year. Yet, there was a softening of several key demand drivers:

  • The restocking cycle, during which businesses rapidly built up inventories to meet demand, ended in early 2018.
  • Global economic activity weakened.
  • The export order books of all major exporting nations, with the exception of the US, contracted in the second half of 2018.
  • Consumer confidence weakened compared to very high levels at the beginning of 2018.

“Air cargo demand lost momentum towards the end of 2018 in the face of weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds,” said IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “Still, demand grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. We are cautiously optimistic that demand will grow in the region of 3.7% in 2019. But with the persistence of trade tensions and protectionist actions by some governments there is significant downside risk. Keeping borders open to people and to trade is critical.
“To attract demand in new market segments, the air cargo industry must improve its value proposition. Enabling modern processes with digitalization will help build a stronger foothold in e-commerce and the transport of time- and temperature-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals and perishables,” Mr de Juniac said.

Regional performance
Airlines in all regions with the exception of Africa reported an annual increase in demand in 2018.
Asia-Pacific carriers posted the weakest growth of any region in December 2018 with a decrease in demand of 4.5% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 2.6%. The weaker performance in December contributed to growth in freight demand of only 1.7% in 2018 compared to 2017. Annual capacity increased 5.0%. The weaker performance of Asia-Pacific carriers in 2018 largely reflects a slowing in demand for exports from the region’s major exporters (China, Japan and Korea). Signs of a moderation in economic activity in China and an escalation of trade tensions continue to pose a downside risk to air cargo in Asia-Pacific.
North American airlines posted the fastest growth of any region for the seventh consecutive month in December 2018 with an increase in demand of 2.9% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 4.5%. This contributed to an annual growth in demand in 2018 of 6.8%, matching the rate of capacity increase. The strength of the US economy and consumer spending have helped support the demand for air cargo over the past year, benefiting US carriers.
European airlines posted a 1.9% year-on-year increase in freight demand in December 2018 and a capacity rise of 3.7%. The improved performance in December contributed to an annual growth in demand for air cargo of 3.2% in 2018. Capacity increased by 4.3% in the same year. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, particularly in Germany, one of Europe’s key export markets, along with mixed economic indicators impacted demand in 2018.
Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 0.1% year-on-year in December and capacity increased 4.5%. This contributed to an annual increase in demand of 3.9% in 2018 – the third fastest growth rate of all the regions. Annual capacity increased 6.2%. The region continues to be affected by geopolitical issues.
Latin American airlines experienced a decrease in year-on-year demand of 0.1% in December after three months of positive growth. Capacity increased by 6.0%. Despite a decrease in demand, it’s worth noting that the within South America market continues to perform strongly, with international demand up almost 20% year-on-year. Annual growth in freight demand among Latin America carriers in 2018 increased by 5.8% – the second fastest of all regions. Annual capacity increased 3.4% in 2018.
African carriers’ saw freight demand decrease by 2.2%, in December 2018, compared to the same month in 2017. This was significantly less than the 9.4% decrease the previous month. Capacity increased by 4.9% year-on-year. It’s worth noting that seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes, despite being 7.7% lower than their peak in mid-2017, are still 50% higher than their most recent trough in late-2015. Annual growth in freight demand among Africa carriers in 2018 decreased by 1.3% and capacity grew by 1%.
 

Aurizon completes sale of Qld intermodal to Linfox

Aurizon has successfully completed the sale of its Queensland intermodal business to international logistics company Linfox, ensuring the transition for customers and regional communities as well as job security for more than 300 Queensland employees.
The sale completed on 31 January and follows the ACCC’s concerns and following approval of the sale.
The Queensland intermodal business delivers for more than 300 customers across regional Queensland, including supermarket groceries, white goods for retailers, and beer and wine for country hotels and liquor stores.
The company says the sale provides certainty for Aurizon customers and local communities in regional Queensland, ensuring the supply of goods continues with Linfox as the new business owner.
It has also secured continued employment for more than 300 people across Queensland, mostly in regional centres. These employees, including train drivers and freight terminal operators, have ensured services continued for customers throughout the transition.

GTS Freight goes automatic

Transport and logistics company GTS Freight Group is installing automated guided vehicles (AGV) in its new warehouse.
GTS Freight Group is a privately-owned full-service logistics company based in Mildura, which operates a nationwide fleet of over 150 prime movers and over 450 trailers. Due to ongoing growth, the GTS Group is constructing a new depot adjacent to its existing facility. This will incorporate a 10,000m2 warehouse, trailer parking for 60 trailers and a new corporate headquarters for the group.
GTS has ordered a turnkey Dematic AGV system to manage its block-stacked full pallet warehouse. The AGV system comprises two counterbalance AGV utilising QR code navigation within block-stack lanes and Dematic’s AGV Warehouse Control Software (WCS) interfaced with Paperless WMS.
“We wanted an efficient and cost-effective warehousing solution that would allow for continued growth and expansion,” said managing director of GTS Damien Matthews. “We have been a long-time customer of Dematic and the turnkey capability was a big plus. Dematic was selected as it has proven to be a continual performer with years of background history and they designed these AGV to perfectly meet our warehouse needs.”
The AGV have been designed to work in a specific area, receiving stock and putting away and picking full pallets, while part-picking is performed manually, as well as all warehouse housekeeping. The AGV have been designed for GTS with a combination of laser guidance and QR code navigation. The QR codes can allow for more accurate navigation within high block-stacked warehouses, allowing the AGV to operate in high-density storage.
“We are implementing two AGV CB-1200-55-S units, with a height of 6.0 metres and a lifting capacity of 1,200 kg,” said southern regional manager AGV at Dematic Greg Carrington. “The efficiencies that the AGV will provide include the ability to continually work after hours and fit the design of the warehouse to help keep those efficiencies at an optimum.”
One of the key benefits of installing the AGV in GTS’s new warehouse is to be able to perform other tasks that need attending to, including stock maintenance and data entry, at the same time that the AGV are performing the picking tasks. The new AGV are due to go live mid-2019.
 

Container-trucks-lined-up-at-Port-Botany-ABC

DP World adds yet another charge for container trucks

Trucks awaiting entry to one of Port Botany’s container yards. ABC photo.

Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) says it is unfair that truck operators already reeling from mounting port access fees have now been slugged with new charges for pick-ups and drop-offs at Sydney container parks.
From February 1, if a truck arrives at DP World Logistics more than 60 minutes prior to the start of the nominated ‘Notification Window’, the carrier will be forced to pay an ‘Off Window Surcharge’ of $25.50 per booking. If a truck arrives more than 60 minutes after the end of the nominated slot, the carrier will also incur the same $25.50 ‘Off Window Surcharge’. If a truck arrives within its ‘Notification Window’, the charge will be $16.50.
RFNSW chief executive Simon O’Hara said its members are asking why the new surcharges are being imposed on carriers given that the operation of empty container parks appear to be “inefficient, unproductive and haphazard”.
“It’s a new year and another new surcharge for truck operators,” Mr O’Hara said. “Our members are angry and frustrated they’ve been hit with further fees which are making their daily operations unsustainable.
“Notification windows for truck arrivals aren’t always available at short notice and it’s unfair that the length of time drivers may sit waiting in the rank waiting to be processed isn’t taken in to account when these surcharges are being applied.
“That’s why our members believe the penalties are unwarranted and yet another cost impost, on top of the new DP World infrastructure fee of $63.80 per container at the Port Botany terminal, which came in to effect on January 1.
“The quantum of these charges is impacting carriers and making it harder and harder for them to run their businesses.”
Mr O’Hara said RFNSW will be meeting with DP World Logistics today in order to raise its concerns on behalf of its members.

Boeing goes pilotless

Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt utilised Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue testing to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation.
The PAV prototype completed a controlled take-off, hover and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.
“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. “Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.”

Powered by an electric propulsion system, the PAV prototype is designed for fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing, with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometres). Measuring 30 feet (9.14 metres) long and 28 feet (8.53 metres) wide, its advanced airframe integrates the propulsion and wing systems to achieve efficient hover and forward flight.
The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt. The division works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. In addition to the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms) and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 2019.
“Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt. “From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world.”

Online returns piling up in a warehouse.

Online returns: make it free or else

  • 53% of shoppers would not be willing to spend on postage or courier to return an item.
  • Only 13% are willing to pay more than $10 on postage or courier.
  • 37% prefer to return an item in store.

Consumers believe returns are an inevitable part of online shopping – so much so that a survey has indicated that more than half (53 per cent) don’t want to pay for it. The findings have implications for a number of online retailers who only offer returns by consumer-paid postage.
Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease commissioned a survey of an independent nationally representative panel of 1021 Australians who shop online.[1] Respondents were asked how much they were willing to spend for returns and what returns method would motivate them to return an online-purchased product.
After 53 per cent of respondents said they would not be willing to spend a cent returning an item they bought online, one-in-three (33 per cent) said they would spend a maximum of $10 an a return. Only 13 per cent are willing to pay any more than $10 to return their items.
Respondents were asked which returns method they preferred. 37% most preferred to return items in store. This was highest among millennials (47% of this age group chose this returns option) and lowest (23%) among 50-something shoppers.
29% preferred returns by courier. 27% per cent liked returning items to a post office or parcel drop off point such as a newsagent or petrol station. This was lowest (9%) among of 19-29-year-olds, and highest among over-60s (40%).
Head of commercial and transformation at CP Jessica Ip said: “The high return rate in the online shopping sector is here to stay. As consumers lose the touch-and-feel aspect when buying online, they can erroneously purchase the wrong size or colour, their expectations for texture or quality might not be met, or they might simply change their mind altogether once the product is in their hands.
“CP aims to make the returns process easier. We encourage online shoppers to take advantage of our network of POPPoints, where customers can post their returns in any one of our POPStation lockers or POPShop locations for free. This service enables Australians to conveniently return their parcels at any time and save them a trip to return the item in store during business hours.”
How much are you willing to spend returning an item you bought online?

I only return an item if it is free to return 53%
Under $10 33%
Up to $15 6%
Up to $20 3%
Up to $30 1%
More than $30 3%

 

Returns method that would most motivate consumers to return a product they bought online Percentage of respondents
Being able to return the item instore 37%
A courier picking up and returning the item 29%
Returning the item to a post office or parcel drop off or collection point such as a newsagent, petrol station or retail 27%
Being able to return the item to a parcel locker 7%

 

Plastic waste in the value chain to get $1.5bn US investment

An alliance of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain today launched a new organisation to advance the elimination plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.
The cross-value chain Alliance to End Plastic Waste(AEPW), currently made up of nearly thirty member companies, has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. The alliance will develop and bring to scale activities that will minimise and manage plastic waste and promote disposal of used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy. The alliance membership represents global companies and located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
“Everyone agrees that plastic waste does not belong in our oceans or anywhere in the environment. This is a complex and serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership. This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment,” said David Taylor, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, and chairman of the AEPW. “I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us,” he added.
“History has shown us that collective action and partnerships between industry, governments and NGOs can deliver innovative solutions to a global challenge like this,” said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell, and a vice chairman of the AEPW. “The issue of plastic waste is seen and felt all over the world. It must be addressed and we believe the time for action is now.”
The alliance is a not-for-profit organisation that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics. This includes chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies, also known as the plastics value chain. The alliance has been working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as a founding strategic partner. The alliance has also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:

  • Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking, especially those along rivers that transport vast amounts of unmanaged plastic waste from land to the ocean. This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders, and generate economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions. The alliance will pursue partnerships with cities located in high plastic leakage areas. The alliance will also be looking to collaborate with other programs working with cities, such as Project STOP, which is working in Indonesia.
  • Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs who prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
  • Developing an open-source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment. The alliance will explore opportunities to partner with leading academic institutions and other organisations already involved in similar types of data collection.
  • Creating a capacity-building collaboration with intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
  • Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localised investment and engagement. The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean. The initial work will support the Renew Ganga project, which has also received support from the National Geographic Society

In the months ahead, the alliance will make additional investments and drive progress in four key areas:

  • Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling.
  • Innovation to advance and scale new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics.
  • Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to mobilise action.
  • Cleaning up concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, like rivers, that carry land-based plastic waste to the sea.

“Success will require collaboration and coordinated efforts across many sectors – some that create near-term progress and others that require major investments with longer timelines. Addressing plastic waste in the environment and developing a circular economy of plastics requires the participation of everyone across the entire value chain and the long term commitment of businesses, governments, and communities. No one country, company or community can solve this on their own,” said Veolia CEO Antoine Frerot, a vice chairman of the AEPW.
Research from the Ocean Conservancy shows that nearly 80 per cent of plastic waste in the ocean begins as litter on land, the vast majority of which travels to the sea by rivers. In fact, one study estimates that over 90 per cent of river-borne plastic in the ocean comes from 10 major rivers around the world – eight in Asia and two in Africa. Sixty per cent of plastic waste in the ocean can be sourced to five countries in Southeast Asia.
“Whilst our effort will be global, the alliance can have the greatest impact on the problem by focusing on the parts of the world where the challenge is greatest; and by sharing solutions and best practices so that these efforts can be amplified and scaled-up around the world”, said Peter Bakker, president and CEO of World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The following companies are the founding members of the alliance: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
 

Hutchison to be hit with wharf strike

Workers employed by Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane have voted to commence broad-ranging industrial action, accusing the company of launching the most severe attack on waterfront conditions in a generation, the Maritime Union of Australia said.
The protected action ballot of Hutchison Ports workers from Port Botany and the Port of Brisbane, conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, recorded 98.4 per cent support among union members for a series of rolling work stoppages, along with a range of other actions. The first round of industrial action, involving bans and limitations, will commence on Thursday 17 January.
Negotiations over a new workplace agreement covering Hutchison Ports workers in Sydney and Brisbane reached a stalemate, the MUA said, after the company “refused to back away from plans to slash wages and conditions, along with automating some roles and outsourcing other jobs”.
The Maritime Union of Australia said the company’s demands include: a 2.5 per cent cut to superannuation; reductions to sick and parental leave; cuts to redundancy and long service leave; removal of income protection; wage cuts of up to $10 per hour followed by a wage freeze; and reductions to safety standards, including the loss of full-time first aiders and removal of personal protective equipment.
MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said the attempt by this multi-national port operator “to slash the pay and conditions of Australian workers left them with no choice but to take industrial action.
“The world’s largest stevedore, the same company that sacked 97 workers by text message in 2015, is now telling its Australian workforce that it wants to slash their wages and conditions,” Mr Smith said.
“If Hutchison gets its way, waterfront workers would be left 26 per cent worse off in retirement based on the company’s planned cuts to their superannuation entitlements, while redundancy payments would be halved for the average worker, as would long service leave.
“Not content to attack wages and conditions, Hutchison Ports are going after the safety of their workers, with a push to remove the full-time first-aiders who provide potentially life-saving treatment in an emergency, along with taking away basic personal protective equipment.
“On top of that, they want to cut wages by up to $10 per hour, impose a 12 month wage freeze, with pay rises of just 1 per cent a year after that.
“Our members refuse to sit back and watch as four-decades of hard-won conditions are stripped away by a greedy multi-national whose only concern is maximising its own profits.
“We will not accept an agreement that rips us off and reduces our standard of living, and the MUA is committed to using every industrial and legal tool at our disposal in our fight to protect conditions and safety standards on the waterfront.
“The actions Hutchison Ports highlight exactly why the Australian union movement has launched the Change the Rules campaign, to challenge the actions of big corporations who are increasingly using the broken workplace laws to attack the conditions of working people.”
 

Forget Christmas: why we’re planning for a non-stop peak

Paul Soong

Especially during the holidays, customer satisfaction revolves around one thing: did my gift or Christmas food hamper arrive on time? It’s estimated that Australians spent $25 billion collectively last Christmas. And behind every dollar spent were people in the transport and logistics industry working frantically to ensure each step of the supply chain runs smoothly. Fortunately, there are solutions that can help with ensuring the smooth flow of goods in peak periods that all businesses must consider.
But first, let’s address the notion of peak periods. One of the biggest challenges transport and logistics companies face is the evolving retail cycle. Traditionally, we could expect peaks with Christmas and then Boxing Day. Now, things are busy all year with the addition of Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Click Frenzy and countless other sales events to the Australian retail calendar.
From a transport perspective, the peak is smoothing out and many organisations aren’t coping well with the requirement for a constant level of scalability. What options do these businesses have? Do they scramble to find extra drivers? Use a gig-economy model for unexpected peak periods? Invest in establishing an overrun service (such as what Fastway Couriers has with Blu Couriers)? Or simply work longer hours in attempt to cope with the increasing demand?
There are two areas that will greatly increase operational efficiency and put businesses in a good position to deal with peak periods.
The first area in which there’s a long way to go is visibility. Transport and logistics companies need visibility of what’s happening with their fleet and drivers to manage expectations for customers, operations and management, especially during peak periods (expected, or not).
Closing the gap in visibility starts with determining your goals and assessing your ability to meet those goals. Businesses should be asking themselves: does an existing system meet your current and future needs for all necessary modes of transportation? Does it interface well with other systems and can you easily add future interfaces? And most importantly, does the system accommodate your business process? If a business can get this foundation right, it will be starting in a good place for all of the other details.
Most supply chains use a variety of logistics service providers, transport service providers and others. As soon as the chain of custody of a particular order or shipment transfers to another party, the degree of visibility changes. This has resulted in many companies exploring establishing a multi-party supply chain ‘control tower’ through which all activities are coordinated and controlled. But, while this is where technology is headed, there remains a lot of operational and cultural challenges before it is widely adopted.
The second key piece is to optimise — and then optimise again. Many in the industry continue to take an ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ attitude toward supply chain management. Particularly at peak times, there is a clear opportunity to be constantly reviewing and refining processes and procedures that are not optimal.
This starts with having quality data — and putting it to work. For example, if a vehicle breaks down on route to make a delivery, often companies would call on the nearest driver to step in. While that driver might be closest, adding an additional drop off could impact a number of deliveries down the line. Instead, the use of data and analytics in this situation can identify the best available driver to step in, with minimal impact on other orders.
It’s never too early to plan ahead. Businesses should not be planning for peak to start in October this year — with the market flattening out, this needs to be happening now. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Paul Soong is the regional director, ANZ, of BluJay Solutions.

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