Storage, telematics and communications specialists sign on for MEGATRANS2018

Headland Machinery, specialist in quality, reliable automated vertical storage and retrieval systems, will showcase its wares and market offerings at MEGATRANS2018 this May.
With a strong history of supplying and servicing machinery to a range of industries across Australia and New Zealand, the Australian-owned and operated business is a welcome fit to the inaugural supply chain and logistics trade event in Melbourne.
Also joining the line-up is vehicle and logistics technology specialist Caltex Telematics.
Caltex Telematics’ fully integrated technology to provide insights on the performance of both vehicles and drivers. The company’s systems are configurable and can identify potential issues early to help keep fleets running safely and efficiently on the road.
Simoco Wireless Solutions will bring wireless solutions and communications technologies expertise to MEGATRANS2018.
The business specialises in building communications networks for industry sectors where reliability, integrity and clarity are of utmost importance, including utilities, transport, government infrastructure and public safety.
Find out more about exhibiting at and visiting MEGATRANS2018 here.

New sorting technology for NZ Post

Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has equipped New Zealand’s largest mail sorting centres with new Open Mail Handling Systems (OMSs) for flats sorting.
The new OMSs at New Zealand Post’s Auckland and Christchurch facilities can process up to 25,000 magazines, flats, small parcels, letters and postcards per hour.
“The wide range of mail types it can handle combined with its fast sequencing and sorting processes are what makes the Siemens technology especially impressive.” SPPAL said in a statement. “Whereas open or plastic-wrapped magazines previously had to be separately routed to manual sorting, for example, the new system is able to handle these items automatically.”
Vanessa Ellis, General Manager – Network Transformation, New Zealand Post noted that the company is very satisfied with the systems, and the implementation of the project.
“Siemens’ high-performance technology enables us to process a very large range of mail types and formats processed in New Zealand, significantly enhancing our efficiency,” she said.
“The systems are connected to statistics software that allows us to monitor system capacity utilisation, providing a constant overview that lets us respond rapidly to changes.”
Michael Reichle, CEO, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, added: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to deliver our OMSs to New Zealand Post, a system proven worldwide that meets our customer’s high requirements in terms of efficiency, flexibility, ergonomics and customised solutions. The OMS is capable of processing a broader range of mail types and formats than any other sorting system on the market.”
New Zealand Post’s previously existing sorting machines will also be integrated into the overall system.

Eyes on the prize

This feature appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.

In the increasingly complex world of supply-chain logistics, ensuring end-to-end visibility of product movements is no longer just a possibility – it’s becoming a necessity. 

Real-time traceability of transport services offers consumers a sense of control in order deliveries – it’s now possible to see precisely where a purchase is located, at any time.

The increase in visibility through tracking technology has already been one of the most prominent changes to the transport and logistics industry in recent decades, explains industry expert, Naval Sabharwal. Naval, who has spent 35 years in various roles in the logistics sector, now holds the position of Global Head – Supply Chain and Logistics at business software provider Ramco and has experienced the technological shift first-hand.

Naval Sabharwal, Global Head – Supply Chain and Logistics, Ramco.
Naval Sabharwal, Global Head – Supply Chain and Logistics, Ramco.

 

“Visibility is the biggest change to the logistics industry, and technology is a huge enabler,” he says. “Gone are the days of working on pen and paper, using carbon sheets to make copies and waiting a week or more to get the status of a delivery. Now, you can see the status within milliseconds by using tailor-made software solutions.”

Yet, according to the latest State of Logistics report produced by global consultancy AT Kearney, the rising demand for greater transparency and reliability is becoming more complicated to deliver, as e-commerce adds complexity to supply chains. The report finds that rapid technological change and new business models are driving logistics towards fully digital, connected and flexible supply chains, optimised to meet rising consumer expectations of immediacy, personalisation and convenience.

Ramco has been in the logistics market for 10 years. Two years ago, the company made the strategic decision to address these new demands, developing an integrated suite of cloud-based software services for logistics companies to use to track cargo and provide transparency to customers.

“E-commerce recognises no borders,” says Naval. “With the likes of Amazon expanding globally, the need for integrated logistics software became apparent. While the biggest external challenge facing the customer is being able to provide end-to-end visibility of orders, we also found that by increasing traceability internally in a business, there is a real opportunity to maximise profitability.”

That profitability comes through increasing capacity utilisation, he explains, adding that the average logistics company’s capacity utilisation is only at 27 per cent – meaning 73 per cent of capacity created is not earning revenue. Simply reorganising assets using an integrated optimisation engine can bring that up to 42 per cent, he says. “That’s a 15 per cent jump, which directly impacts revenue margins,” Naval adds. “More important – once you improve capacity utilisation, suppliers become more engaged, and it becomes easy to build and create more capacity and improve the yields from capacity, driving the growth engine.”

Ramco’s software can match all of the data on available capacities to demand on a weekly basis, do the scheduling and also allow logistics service providers to draw on external assets as required. “What we did was use Uber as the base model,” he explains. “Uber’s strength is in how it manages capacity for its suppliers, and we built a model tailored to the logistics industry.

“Just like Uber, the focus is not just on its features, which include automatic data capture, scheduling, GPS, data management, billing and routing. The focus is also on ease of use – there have been many great logistics optimisation software tools that have failed because they are too hard for customers to use effectively.”

To ensure end-users are able to get the most from the Ramco Logistics suite, a member of its advisory board meets with its customers once every six months or so to get direct feedback, Naval explains. “We ask all our customers what they want the software to be able to do, collate the responses, analyse them, then add the features,” he says. “We implement around 93 per cent of the input we receive from customers and are constantly upgrading the software to meet the logistics industry’s evolving needs.”

Ramco’s findings on changing consumer demands are in line with that of the State of Logistics report, which advises that the industry is shifting from a transactional business model focused on discrete services toward an integrated model of ‘one-stop shops’ for end-to-end logistics services. “Ninety per cent of our customers use the complete end-to-end suite that covers transport, hubs and warehousing points,” says Naval. “The real value of the suite is its integrated nature. By covering every step of the transaction, we’re able to minimise revenue leakages.”

Naval notes that the average logistics company is subjected to revenue leakage of between one and three per cent, month-on-month, adding that it can be reduced to less than 0.1 per cent through the use of an all-encompassing suite of software. Utilising blockchain technology (see breakout box) will be an important next step to increasing visibility in the global logistics industry, he says.

“The way we see it, the global supply chain – including shipping, air, rail and road – has no option but to go to blockchain,” says Naval. “Consumers are bound to get more conscious of health and safety areas, for example. They want to know the food they eat wasn’t sourced with child labour or subjected to pesticides. That information is lying around, and the only way to provide end-to-end visibility to a consumer is with Blockchain.”

Though visibility in the global supply chain has evolved significantly since the early days of pen, paper and carbon sheet copies, according to Naval there is still a long way to go. The State of Logistics report echoes those sentiments, adding that as demand for e-commerce reshapes networks and relationships, technology uptake must follow suit.

US logistics union demands protection from automation

US labour union Teamsters has demanded that US delivery company UPS provide assurances that deliveries will not be automated through the use of drones or self-driving vehicles, as a part of a new collective bargaining agreement, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Teamsters represents the interests of more than 260,000 UPS employees in the US, and has a total membership base of more than 1.3 million workers.
Business Insider notes that UPS and other delivery companies including DHL and FedEx are looking into automation technology to cope with increasing delivery volumes brought about through the rise of e-commerce, and the country’s truck driver shortage.
In early 2017, UPS conducted a drone delivery trial, through which a drone would launch from the UPS van and complete parcel deliveries to addresses close by, while drivers also completed deliveries.
Research company Pew found in a 2017 of US adults that 72 per cent were worried about automated technology taking jobs, and 58 per cent supported government restrictions on the number of roles businesses can replace with machines.

Hays releases 2018 Jobs In Demand report

Recruiting firm Hays has released its latest Jobs In Demand report, covering January to June 2018.
The company expects strong demand to continue in the logistics industry for persons with expertise in the areas of inventory management, import/export, wharves and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) planning.
“Across Australia, positive productivity is linked to efficiency improvements, be that in warehousing, transport or supply chain,” the company said. “Companies are targeting candidates who have a strong knowledge of systems and processes, combined with a proven track record in reducing costs and achieving demanding KPIs [key performance indicators].”
The report identified several roles that the industry is currently keen to fill, including storepersons with inventory management software experience, import/export coordinators with cargo software knowledge, fleet controllers with wharf experience, demand and supply planners with FMCG experience.
Experience in purchasing will also be in demand, as will candidates with knowledge of inventory management software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SAP software.
Hays is also seeing an increased need for logistics candidates with heavy rigid or heavy combination licences.

Bitcoin used to settle freight deal for first time

A logistics operator has used Bitcoin to settle a freight transaction for the first time, news site Bloomberg reports.
According to the venture behind the transaction, Prime Shipping Foundation (PSF), the deal went through last month on a ship carrying wheat from Russia to Turkey, part of pilot testing of PSF’s blockchain payment system for bulk commodities.
Ivan Vikulov, CEO of PSF – a partnership between investment enterprise Quorum Capital and shipbroker Interchart – told Bloomberg that the group is also planning the develop its own digital currency.
“We are trying to develop a cross-border payment system that’s easier and faster than what’s available now,” Vikulov told Bloomberg. “As far as we know, this is the first freight deal done in a cryptocurrency.”
The ship carried 3,000 metric tons of wheat from Rostov-on-Don in southeast Russia to Samsun in northern Turkey.

Better truck safety through industry cooperation: ALC

Improving safety outcomes across the supply chain is a core objective for the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), according to Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“ALC strongly supports the changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) due to commence operation in mid-2018, requiring all supply-chain participants to take greater responsibility for safety and heavy vehicle maintenance, and ensure they have systems in place to effectively manage safety risks,” said Kilgariff.
“It is equally imperative that all parties in the supply chain understand and act upon their safety obligations. That is why ALC and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are developing a Master Code for heavy vehicle safety, capable of becoming a registered industry code of practice under the HVNL.
“ALC has also long-supported the mandatory use of telematics and tools such as Electronic Work Diaries (EWD) to enhance safety. In our view, the review of regulatory telematics being undertaken by the National Transport Commission (NTC) must actively consider the benefits of using telematics to improve multiple aspects of heavy vehicle safety.
“We have similarly called on the Federal Government to introduce a national operator licensing system to make certain the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who understand their safety obligations,” he said.

Maersk and IBM joint venture to apply blockchain to global supply chains

Logistics company and container shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk and technology company IBM have announced their intent to establish a joint venture to provide efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The new company is to be built on open standards, offering a global trade digitisation platform designed for use in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones to provide more transparency and simplicity.
A distributed ledger technology, blockchain establishes a shared, unalterable record of all transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time.
Maersk and IBM will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders.
“This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitisation of global trade,” said Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, Maersk, and future Chairman of the board of the new joint venture. “The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit.
“By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”
Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, added: “The major advances IBM has made in blockchain have shown that the technology can foster new business models and play an important role in how the world works by building smarter businesses.
“Our joint venture with Maersk means we can now speed adoption of this exciting technology with the millions of organisations who play vital roles in one of the most complex and important networks in the world, the global supply chain. We believe blockchain will now emerge in this market as the leading way companies seize new untapped economic opportunities.”
IBM and Maersk began a collaboration in June 2016 to build new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies. Since then, several companies have piloted the platform, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands and the US Customs and Border Protection.
The joint venture will now enable IBM and Maersk to commercialise and scale their solutions to a broader group of global corporations. General Motors and Procter and Gamble and Agility Logistics have already reportedly expressed their interest.
 
 

Linfox heralds autonomous vehicle benefits

According to transport and logistics company Linfox, autonomous vehicles need to be considered in order for Australian companies to meet future demand safely.
In the Linfox Solutions publication, Oliver Needham, Group Manager – Innovation and Operations Development, Linfox, said that autonomous vehicles address a range of key transport issues including safety, efficiency, lower costs and emissions.
“Ninety per cent of all road traffic accidents are caused by driver error,” said Needham.
“In theory, self-driving vehicles equipped with advanced sensors, spatial imaging software and avoidance algorithms can constantly monitor and adapt to traffic and weather conditions and avoid obstacles more effectively than a human.”
According to Needham, autonomous vehicles can also compensate for driver’s lack of attention, improve mileage through better aerodynamics and could help attract younger drivers.
“Linfox already has a level of automation in its fleet,” Needham said.
“While exact configurations depend on customer requirements, Linfox’s newer trucks include lane departure warning systems and autonomous emergency braking systems.
“Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be on our roads in the next decade, but much work is to be done for policy and perceptions to catch up with the technological capability.”

Safer roads require national leadership: ALC

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has fully endorsed the six-point national heavy vehicle safety plan Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Toll Group, proposed in his recent letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“The proposals contained in the plan are entirely consistent with longstanding ALC policy, and offer a clear pathway to delivering improved road safety, not only for heavy vehicles, but for all road users,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“As an industry leader on freight and supply chain policy issues, ALC has continually emphasised that our supply chains do not stop at state borders. Accordingly, regulations which govern heavy vehicles and freight movement need to be nationally consistent, to promote supply chain efficiency and safety, and to provide certainty for industry.”
Kilgariff called for the Federal Government to immediately pursue discussions with the governments of Western Australia and the Northern Territory to encourage them to sign up to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). “In a modern national economy, it is not feasible to have inconsistent rules in different states pertaining to the definition of a heavy vehicle, speed limits and regulation of driver’s working hours and mandatory rest times,” he said.
“The Federal Government should also immediately pursue a national operator licensing system, which ALC strongly supports as essential to improving road safety and making certain the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who understand their safety obligations.”
Kilgariff also welcomed Byrne’s call for mandatory use of telematics. “Industry has consistently told governments that mandating the use of telematics in heavy vehicles is central to driving better safety outcomes and saving lives on our roads,” he said. “Now is the time for decision-makers to heed that advice.”
The ALC’s 2018–19 Commonwealth Budget submission recommended that the Federal Government support measures that encourage the capture and use of technology and data, which is in line with Byrne’s own suggestions.
Kilgariff also praised Byrne’s proposal of discounted registration fees for transport operators that can demonstrate they are investing in telematics, as well as campaigns to improve driver awareness about sharing the road with heavy vehicles.
“Our industry stands ready to work with all governments to enhance heavy vehicle safety,” said Kilgariff. “They should take the opportunity to harness that goodwill and work with transport operators in the interests of saving lives and enhancing safety for all road users.”

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