The implications of Industry 4.0 and the impact it will have on industrial processes around the world will be profound. But guess what? The revolution’s already here. It’s happening. The question is, are you ready to start adopting Industry 4.0 technologies?
Australian parcel courier and freight reseller Pack & Send has awarded the first Small Business Logistics Grant – worth $10,000 – to South Australia–based Fleurieu Gifts.
The Small Business Logistics Grant has been established by pack & Send to recognise the important role that the small business sector plays in the Australian market. Entries were judged by a panel of industry experts, including Hannah Staples, co-founder of Peppermint Grove Australia; Kellie Rakich and Alexandra Lyons, co-founders of Ankalia Textiles; Michael Paul, CEO of Pack & Send; and David Scicluna, Pack & Send Franchisee of the Year 2016.
Director, Charlene Maney, from the Fleurieu Peninsula, beat out seven entrepreneurs in an all-female final for the prize, and over 130 entrants from across Australia.
Fleurieu Gifts, based in South Australia, provides eco-friendly alternatives to cut flowers, sourced from the Fleurieu Peninsula. Since its inception in 2014, founder and director Charlene Maney has used the power of e-commerce and online marketing to bring in six figures of annual sales.
A desire to spend more time with her family drove Charlene to swap her successful corporate job for more muddy ventures in 2014.
“I was working long hours and commuting into the city for work and just wishing I could see more of my family.
“In the end I decided to leave my corporate gig, combine my love of gardening and beautiful things, and create my online business – making mini-gardens.”
Charlene receives a prize pack that includes $10,000 worth of parcel and freight services from Pack & Send, a three-month business mentorship with Hannah Staples, co-founder of Peppermint Grove Australia, and parcel courier and freighting advice from a Pack & Send account manager for a year.
“Fleurieu Gifts is an incredible example of the enterprising spirit and high-calibre talent that exists within the small business community in Australia, and we are proud to play a part in turbo-charging the growth of her business,” said Michael Paul, Founder and CEO, Pack & Send “We wish her all the best in her endeavours.
“We were also delighted to see the strong entrepreneurial spirit of women in Australia represented in an all-female line-up of finalists.”
New kid on the parcel delivery block Sendle has been offering Australia-wide flat rates to small businesses since 2014, though the delivery service has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Australia Post since soon after its inception.
Australia Post has asserted that Sendle’s slogon – ‘post without the office’ – infringes upon their trademark over the word ‘post’.
IP Australia is now making its determination and could take up to three months to make an adjudication.
Logistics & Materials Handling sat down with James Chin Moody, CEO at Sendle, to find out why the company has the national postal service so spooked, and how he feels about competition in the sector.
“Australia Post is going to be around for many years to come – but they are not used to friendly competition in this space,” Moody commented. “At Sendle, we think it makes industry better by improving service levels and bringing prices down – it’s great for everyone.”
Moody noted that this is not the first time Australia Post has used its might to thwart a would-be competitor. Australia Post began legal action against Digital Post Australia upon its launch in 2012, purportedly due to the company’s name infringing on Australia’s trademark, but likely due to the newcomer’s offering of a digital postbox service similar to one soon to be introduced by Australia Post. The trademark battle made it to Federal Court where it was tossed out, a fact which gives Moody added confidence. “You can’t own the word ‘post’,” he added.
When asked whether there was room for both Sendle and Australia Post in the country’s parcel delivery market, Moody pointed again to the benefits of competition. “It’s really healthier – choice is healthier for everyone,” he said. “Australia is poorer with one airline, one bank, one telco, etc. Choice helps friendly competition, prices come down and service levels improve.”
The chances of collaboration between the two delivery companies in the future are slim, Moody shared – at least while Australia Post continues to use its traditional service style. “We believe we’re offering a better level of service,” he said.
“What we’re learning in the age of the Internet, the age of technology, is that you can no longer be 80 per cent good to everybody, you have to be 100 per cent good to somebody. You can’t be 100 per cent good to 80 per cent of the market, but you can be 100 per cent good to 20 per cent of the market, and that’s what we’re trying to be.”
The tools, partnerships and customer support Sendle develops, he shared, are designed to suit small business, and give a viable alternative to those having to line up at the post office. “Sometimes, when you’re really small, none of the big guys want to talk to you,” he said. “Small businesses spend up to 40 per cent of their time on admin and logistics. Let’s free up their time so they can do what matters – building their business.”
The March 2014 MYOB Business Monitor study commissioned to Colmar Brunton of 1,032 SMEs revealed dissatisfaction had significantly eased when asked about the Government’s support for helping businesses like theirs succeed.
Around 32 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied. Satisfaction had also improved with 24 per cent of respondents happy with the Liberal Government’s backing of the sector.
MYOB says this is a turnaround from the September 2013 report, where 50 per cent of SME operators were dissatisfied and only 16 per cent were satisfied under the Labor Government.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said entiment is moving from negative to neutral.
“There’s also likely to be a relationship between the significant easing in SME dissatisfaction with the Federal Government and strong performance in the SME economy. SME annual revenue growth is at a level unseen since 2011 – around one quarter reported rising revenue, an improvement on the previous five consecutive surveys. Around one third reported a revenue decline and this was the best result since March 2011.
“The SME business outlook is definitely more upbeat, with one third expecting their revenue to increase in 2014, up from one quarter in September 2013. This indicates the tide is turning for Australia’s economic engine.
“Small and medium businesses are the bedrock of our GDP health, and their needs are paramount to the success of our economy. We should do all we can to make their business life easier. To give them a voice, MYOB explored the initiatives and policies that they would vote for.”
Making business life easier by reducing paperwork burden, investing further in infrastructure and retaining tax incentives are the leading initiatives and policies preferred by SMEs surveyed.
The Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) has received a grant of $743,310 from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism to develop and deliver a comprehensive and targeted program for Australian transport and logistics SMEs.
The Supply Chain, Transport and Logistics sector is a high energy consumer. However, there are significant opportunities for improving energy efficiency and reducing energy costs including reduction in the usage of electricity, all types of fuels and refrigerants as well as optimisation of transport, loads, materials handling, cold chain logistics, scheduling and other efficiencies.
David Rogers, Chairman – SCLAA indicated that SMEs in the supply chain and logistics industry face time and competitive pressures and lack the targeted skills and resources to identify and improve their energy use, which in turn would benefit their business productivity.
The Energy Efficiency Solutions project will deliver a comprehensive closed loop program for SCLAA members and other SMEs in the supply chain and logistics sector. The program will equip SCLAA’s substantial membership, contacts and 409,756 SMEs across Australia who warehouse, distribute and/or transport goods, with targeted tools, resources and training tailored specifically to improve their energy efficiency. The program will be delivered at 30 locations in every State and Territory across Australia and all components will be available online.
Outlining the 7-stage program, Mark Skipper, National Director – SCLAA explains that Stages 1 – 6 will be completed by July 2014 and Stage 7 by December 2014. All content will be available on the SCLAA website at least until the end of 2021.
Research and stakeholder consultation
Creation of a web-based ‘Energy Efficiency Assessment tool’ to assist SMEs benchmark their energy performance against industry best practice, and understand where key opportunities to improve energy efficiency exist within their business.
Based on the outcomes of Stage 1, creation of comprehensive workshop packs of tools and resources to assist time- and resource-poor SMEs to take action on energy efficiency.
Promote the project through existing channels to build awareness about the project across the sector and inform SMEs how they can benefit environmentally and financially by participating.
Deliver half to full day workshops in all 8 State and Territory Capital Cities, plus 22 regional locations in every State and Territory across Australia in addition to 10 interactive webinars, where participants can also ask questions in real time and learn from other similar businesses.
Workshop content and recordings will be made available online to maximise reach to SMEs who are unable to participate in a workshop or a webinar.
Follow up all participants for three and six months after stage 4 or 5. Ensure benchmarks are being bettered and that each SME has a strategy to reduce energy consumption.
Skipper adds that ClimateWorks Australia, a not-for-profit organisation will be SCLAA’s project partner. ClimateWorks has an extensive track record, and their knowledge and capability will ensure the success of the project for SCLAA members and the 400,000+ SMEs in the supply chain and logistics industry.
Image: Mark Skipper