Completely Knocked Down. What does it mean and why is it used?

As we know, cars are produced all over the world. The well-known car-manufacturers assemble cars in different countries. Sometimes the necessary parts for the cars are shipped overseas from suppliers to the plants, sometimes suppliers are settled near the plant in the foreign country, and sometimes something completely different happens.


CKD is the keyword. CKD stands for Completely Knocked Down. The term  has its origin in the automotive industry and refers to a form of production of vehicles. The car manufacturer exports a not-assembled vehicle in the form of individual parts that is assembled into a finished vehicle in the respective country of import and sold there. In addition to individual parts also partially prefabricated vehicles are exported as Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) or  Medium-Knocked-Down (MKD).

Main reason for the CKD exports are mostly high import duties for complete end products, whereas partially dismantled or completely knocked down products have often considerably lower duties. Another reason is the start of local production, especially in emerging countries.


So how does this procedure work? Just like your LEGO! At the car manufacturer, the body and corresponding individual parts are removed from the normal manufacturing sequence and packed. These parts will be sent to the destination country . Once there, the parts get assembled and completed with parts to meet the requirements of the country (local content).

The main advantage of CKD is the avoidance of high import duties on finished products (CBUs “Completely Built Units”). Non-European countries impose some duties between 30-300% of the value to protect the industry and therefore the jobs in their own country. In the disassembling of the product according to CDK-principle duties of only 25% of the goods value will be charged.

A major disadvantage in the choice of CDK strategy, the problem of shipping can be seen. The parts must be packaged individually or in groups and be sent. Defective, damaged or lost goods may delay the manufacturing process in the country. It must also be noted that the packaging material is expected to be in the calculation of the  production.


My HOF3M Project was related to the wine production and emphasizing on the exportation of the product to other countries. After working on it and developing the business concept I asked mysef why do we always think in wine inside a glass bottle? Nowadays we try to develop ways of reducing logistics costs in every product, even though, it reduces slightly its quality or changes the sterotype. So…why could not this “glass obsession” be changed? The main advantage of keeping the wine in glass bottles is that it is a way of keeping the product quality for a longer time. Oxidation takes a longer time to happend and temperature is well preserved. Nevertheless, the main reason of it is because we have always thought in wine inside a glass bottle. If we throw a party in our place and one of our friends appears with a carton of wine the first thing that comes to our mind is probably that he could have spent a couple of euros more and brought something “drinkable”. It is obvious that in the case of high quality wines the product must be bottled. But if we are talking of a medium quality wine that is supposed to be consumed during the next weeks…why could not be sold in other types of packages that allowed its price to be lower being then more competitive than other brands and offering even a better quality. Some facts than I have founded reading about is that in the US a 90% of the total wine sales in consummed in 24 hours after its sale. Moreover a TetraPak system for example could reduce in around 75% of packaging and 50% in transportation costs. What at the end is translated in a price reduction. Do you imagine drinking wine in a can such as a Coke? Well…I can! montaje

CONCEPT OF Customer Synchronized Resource Planning

The modern concept – CSRP (customer synchronized resource planning) – covers almost the entire product life cycle. This is very important from the point of view of cost management. To understand how much it costs the promotion, production and maintenance of the product, you need to consider all the elements of its functional life cycle. Often the cost of service, logistics and marketing are considered as overhead. From the standpoint of accounting it could and good, but not in terms of cost management and evaluation of the real costs.

The latest of productive resources management concepts – CSRP (resource planning, synchronized with the user) has been proposed by SYMIX.

The essence of the concept is that the planning and management of the company can and should take into account not only the basic manufacturing and material resources of the enterprise, but also all those who are generally regarded as “auxiliary” or “false.” This is the resources consumed during the marketing and the “current” work with the client, after-sales service, transhipment and service operations, as well as intrashop resources. This approach is crucial to improve the competitiveness of enterprises in industries where product life cycle is small and requires respond quickly to changing consumer desires.

Ability to interact multiple applications developed using different technologies – a key condition for the success of CSRP. It is now possible to build a unified application for production management based on individual modules made by different manufacturers. Production, management, sales, customer service, maintenance and other customer-oriented business functions can be performed in the relevant parts using specialized software. In this case the application will receive and provide business-critical information from the central business system based on the CSRP and used by other parts of the organization.


Decathlon has redesigned its logistics network with the introduction of a new infrastructure plan that was completed in 2005. The first step was the opening in Paris of a large continental 50,000 m2 warehouse, to be in stock and that will serve the rest European products to the stores.

The new scheme includes the creation of a second type of store. In the future, the multi-regional facilities, will cater to the twelve regional warehouses that the French firm has in Europe. It is planned to build three of these distribution platforms on the continent, but none of them will be located in Spain, where the company has two regional centers, one in Getafe (Madrid) and one in Sant Esteve de Sesrovires (Barcelona).


The backbone of the logistics chain in Europe will be completed with the creation of logistics, contract or own hub for the receipt of goods from suppliers. the location is not yet determined, but in any case, will depend on where the manufacturers are. With this initiative, the company expects subcontractors to help reduce lead times and enhance the charge transport in bulking up the Decathlon store that will later serve these products to stores. The ultimate goal is to ensure filling trucks and reduce delivery time to stores.

International Plataform

The Decathlon product are manufactured in fifteen countries around the world. However, the production, which is always outsourced, is centralized in geographical areas. In the Spain the French firm has its Bicycle suppliers, mainly in Mataró (Barcelona). In Catalonia, he has plastic products, such as shower caps, socks and metal components are also manufactured. However, the Catalan community has lost a large part of the production of Decathlon, which has gone to Portugal. Morocco is another country that provides numerous articles for Decathlon, especially textiles, while in Asia sneakers and balls occur.


The displacement of the Spanish production to Portugal answers a new policy of the French firm globally. Previously always the same products were manufactured in two different places, just in case a provider failed. But now they  just have two different qualities for the same item, so that now only select the best supplier for each reference.” Decathlon select and monitor the components and materials as well as the design of the products marketed under its brand.




The challenge of deadlines


In 2001, the store of Sant Esteve Sesrovires reached an average of 15 hours in the preparation of orders, from the time of receipt of an order to exit the truck to the store. For the current year, management has set itself the challenge of twelve hours, under  the average of the entire sequence: the picking, preparing the product, pack it, check it, put it in the dock,  and upload it to the truck.


In the international arena, the target set by the Decathlon logistics in 2005 provided a range of two to 72 hours for delivery, “regardless of whether the reference should come from the continental store, regional or multiregional” says Cristina Gaitan, head of logistics for Decathlon northeastern Spain.


The procurement of stores has also been modified as some changes are introduced in the supply chain. Previously, the priority was to always have stock on the premises, so they were served daily as many times as necessary as long any reference didn’t finish . Following an assessment of the costs, the company opted to get them one day shipping, but with much more material.

On-line orders


The Decathlon products are also available via the Internet, but to do so, you must go to the French website (address on the local network in each country has a link). Orders that are made in the French portal are served from the corresponding regional warehouse. This has meant that, nowdays, on-line sales are still residual in Spain. For this reason, one of the projects that the company has in mind  is enable an own Spanish channel page for sale.Image


“Bush legs” (Russian: ножки Буша) is a prevailing term in the post-Soviet states that denotes chicken leg quarters from the United States.

The expression first appeared in 1990 when Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush signed a trade agreement about delivery of frozen chicken leg quarters to the USSR. In those times the USSR was experiencing food shortages and “Bush legs” enjoyed wide popularity.”


Imports of U.S. poultry to Russia and ex Soviet countries began in the early 1990s, under a trade agreement signed by the Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and then-U.S. President George Bush Sr.

The first shipments of chicken legs arrived as a bitter economic crisis gripped the country, emptying the shelves of Soviet supermarkets and forcing the government to introduce elements of food rationing. The specter of famine combined with political instability ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Used to ill-nourished and generally unappetizing domestic poultry, Russians and other EX-Soviet countries had never before seen such huge chicken drumsticks, and were quick to dub the new product “Bush legs.” Baked, braised or boiled, “Bush legs” have since become part of the everyday diet in poorer households.


Chicken legs still remain a popular and cheap food in The Commonwealth of Independent States. A Russian joke says: “Bush family members come and go, but the legs are forever.”

As of 2009, Russia accounted for some 22% of all poultry exports from the United States, the world’s largest poultry producer and exporter. Almost four-fifths of all imported poultry on the CIS market came from the United States.

U.S. poultry shipments peaked in 2001, topping 1 billion metric tons, and began to decline as the Russian government began cutting import quotas. The figure stood at 800 million metric tons in 2008 and dropped to 750 million metric tons last year. The quota was further reduced to 600 million metric tons this year and was to reach 409 million metric tons in 2012. Furthermore, as soon as the great commodity deficit of the 1990s was over, Russian public began speculating over the possible dangers of the product, citing excessive levels of hormones, antibiotics, chlorine and other chemicals.

Howewer delivery of Bush’s legs is still continuing to Kyrgyz Republic.


The reason for this are cheap price and availability of paultry the whole year, with high rates of meat prices remain high and unaffordable to the socially vulnerable. The price of beef is around 10-12 US dollars per kilogram. It is very expensive, so people prefer “Bush legs” (chicken legs), which is three times cheaper – 3-4 US dollars per kilogram even it is not healthy…


The secret of Apple Company

ImageApple has created a closed ecosystem where it exerts control over nearly all parts of the supply chain, from design to the stores. Because of its volume and the synergies in this process Apple gets big discounts on parts, manufacturing capacity improves and saves on air cargo rates.

This operational edge is what enables Apple to cut costs and that the margin of their products is greater.

Innovating in the supply chain

Apple began innovating on the nitty-gritty details of managing the supply chain with the return of Steve Jobs in 1997. At that time, most computer manufacturers transported products by sea, a far cheaper option than air transport. But Apple, to ensure that new Macs arrived at their destination in the Christmas season of 1998, he paid $ 50 million just in air charges.


Similarly, when in 2001 the iPod was released, Apple realized that they  could carry large amounts of music players on planes, making it the most economical way for direct shipping from Chinese factories doors consumers.

That mentality, paying exorbitant bills when necessary, and reaps benefits of increased long-term volume, has been institutionalized throughout Apple’s supply chain, and begins at the design stage.

When the time for production arrives, Apple has a great weapon, more than 80 billion dollars in cash and investments. The company planned to invest in in the supply chain, during 2012, 7.1 billion dollars and 2.4 billion in advances to suppliers.


The tactic ensures availability and low prices for Apple but sometimes limits the choices to others. Before the release of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, rivals such as HTC could not buy as many screens as they needed because manufacturers were busy filling orders from Apple.

Apple spares no expense to ensure the secrecy of pre-release. When the iPad 2 came out, the finished devices were packed in flat boxes and Apple employees monitored every handoff from the loading dock, airport, trucks and distribution centers to make sure they  were not missing any units.

Apple’s retail stores give you a final advantage. Once a product goes on sale, the company can track demand by the store and adjust production forecasts daily. If it becomes clear that a particular product is going to end, Apple unleashes your team and high budgets are adopted to avoid the lack of stock.


Much of the enormous benefits of Apple due to this focus on operations, which will remain a priority for Cook.

“The new executive director is known to give colleagues copies of “Racing Against Time”, a book on how to use the supply chain as a strategic weapon in business.”

Comparsion between UPS, DHL and FedEX

UPS, DHL and FedEX are three of the largest transportation companies consignments (packets) and logistics in the world. Every day millions of packets are delivered in almost every country in the world, and these companys are the three main competitors in this type of service.

But when the time of making a decision about using this kind of service comes, is quiet difficult, because the three ones are very positioned and recognized, and they definetly do pretty well their job. So, because of thath and many other reasons, I decided to talk about the comparsion between this three big brands, to clarify what specifically are the specialties of each of these companies and select a service appropriately according to the needs of everyone.

 UPS (United Parcel Service)

In 1907 in the U.S. there was a great demand for private and delivery services. To help meet this need, James E. (“Jim”) Casey borrowed $ 100 to a friend Claude Ryan and settled in Seattle (Washington) The American Messenger Company. UPS uses trucks instead of planes to deliver packages to more than 800 km of overnight.

Now Is one of the largest shipment and logistics companies in the world. The American Global package delivery company is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia, que is part of the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area. UPS delivers more than 15 million packages a day to more than 6.1 million customers in more than 220 countries country and territories around the world.

UPS’s primary business is the time-definite delivery of packages and documents worldwide. In recent years, UPS has extended its service portfolio to include less than truckload transportation (primarily in the U.S.) and supply chain services. UPS reports its operations in three segments: U.S. Domestic Package operations, International Package operations, and Supply Chain & Freight operations.

UPS is known for its brown delivery trucks and uniforms, hence the company nickname “Brown”. UPS also operates its own airline and air cargo delivery service based in Louisville, Kentucky. The new UPS logistics lets you operate regardless of the actual size of a business. You can design a product, get a prototype and have it on your desktop in a matter of days and also trying to use the flow of goods as a competitive advantage.

Supply Chain & Freight
Supply Chain & Freight includes UPS’ forwarding and contract logistics operations, UPS Freight, and other related business units. UPS’ forwarding and logistics business provides services in more than 175 countries and territories worldwide, and includes worldwide supply chain design, execution and management, freight forwarding and distribution, customs brokerage, mail and consulting services. UPS Freight offers a variety of less than truckload and truckload services to customers in North America.

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FedEX (Federal Express)

FedEx Corporation is an American global courier delivery services company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee in 1971 by Frederick Smith.

FedEx Express is the original overnight courier services, providing next day air service within the United States and time-definite international service. FedEx Express operates one of the largest civil aircraft fleets in the world and the largest fleet of wide bodied civil aircraft; it also carries more freight than any other airline. FedEx is organized into operating units, each of which has its own version of the wordmark design in 1994 by Lindon Leader of Landor Associates, of San Francisco. The Fed is always purple and the Ex is in a different color for each division and platinum for the overall corporation use. The original FedEx logo had the Ex in orange; it is now used as the FedEx Express wordmark. The FedEx wordmark is notable for containing a hidden right-pointing arrow in the negative space between the “E” and the “X”, which was achieved by designing a proprietary font, based on Univers and Futura, to emphasize the arrow shape

World: Memphis, TN
Asia: Hong Kong
Canada: Toronto, Ontario
Europe: Brussels, Belgium
Latin America: Miami, FL
David Bronczek
President and CEO
Annual Income (FedEx Corp): $ 35 billion (U.S. $)


Worldwide Air Fleet:

FedEX has a Total Aircraft of 654 worldwide , their Average Daily Volume Packages are more than 3.4 million daily worldwide and Air Cargo volume: More than 7.0 million pounds per day. The FedEX employees are more than 140,000 worldwide.


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DHL Express is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL providing international express mail services. Deutsche Post is the world’s largest logistics company operating around the world. DHL is a world market leader in sea and air mail.

Originally founded in 1969 to deliver documents between San Francisco and Honolulu, the company expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s.

Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL in 1998, finally reaching majority ownership in 2001. Following the completion of the purchase in 2002, Deutsche Post effectively absorbed DHL into its Express division, while expanding the use of the DHL brand to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its well-known DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL Global Mail.

Deutsche Post owns five airline subsidiaries operating for DHL Express, operating a total of 96 aircraft and another 21 aircraft on orders. A survey in Asia ranks first among DHL air express companies and logistics in 8 cities and continues to invest in its operations.

DHL thinks attack FedEx and UPS and provide better service and lower rates. It is the second largest market in the EU-China air cargo, with a 29% and is better established in the Asian market that UPS and FedEx.


In general terms we can say that the three ones are very efficient, because inspite of the big competition, they have still continued operating sucessfulyy, but big difference between them is tha they have their own speciality, like UPS is emphasized in the land delivery, FedEX is emphasized in the air delivery and DHL is a kind of a combination of the both. So now you can differentiate between this big three companies.


And to show you the big competition that exist between these three big brands, here is a DHL’s funny advertising video, hope you like it.


Storage and Transport of meat

I choose storage and transport of meat because is very interesting and very usefull for my business model.

Food Business Operators must ensure that the storage and transport of meat of domestic bovines, porcines, ovine and caprine animals, and domestic solipeds takes place in accordance with the following requirements.

(a) Unless other specific provisions provide otherwise, post-mortem inspection must be followed immediately by chilling in the slaughterhouse to ensure a temperature throughout the meat of not more than 3 °C for offal and 7 °C for other meat along a chilling curve that ensures a continuous decrease of the temperature.

(b) During the chilling operations, there must be adequate ventilation to prevent condensation on the surface of the meat.

Meat must attain the temperature specified in point 1 and remain at that temperature during storage.

Meat must attain the temperature specified in point 1 before transport, and remain at that temperature during transport. However, transport may also take place if the competent authority so authorises to enable the production of specific products, provided that:

(a) such transport takes place in accordance with the requirements that the competent authority specifies in respect of transport from one given establishment to another; and

(b) the meat leaves the slaughterhouse, or a cutting room on the same site as the slaughter establishment, immediately and transport takes no more than two hours.

Meat intended for freezing must be frozen without undue delay, taking into account where necessary a stabilisation period before freezing.

Exposed meat must be stored and transported separately from packaged meat, unless stored or transported at different times or in such a way that the packaging material and the manner of storage or transport cannot be a source of contamination for the meat.



Shipping from Port of Veracruz, Mexico to Port of Valencia.

Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest and largest port, The port was refurbished at the beginning of the 20th century, but petroleum production was the primary income for the state rather than the port. This began to change in the latter half of the 20th century, and the port has surged back to the state’s economic forefront.

In the 2000s, the port continues to handle all kinds of cargo, moving 16.1 million tons of products in 2004. This figure is expected to rise once modernization efforts have finished, especially a truck bypass that leads directly from the highway to the port. Veracruz is the gateway for Mexico’s automobile industry, which is concentrated in the center of the country, in the states around Mexico City. This port has several advantages. It is the first to be equipped specifically for shipping automobiles. Located on the south-central coast, Veracruz is closer to car manufacturers and has better access to both import and export markets in the U.S., Europe, Central and South America than other Mexican ports. In 2004, the port handled 70% of the automobiles exported. With traffic expected rise the port authorities unveiled a program to enlarge the port’s infrastructure and expand operations by 2010.

There are several company’s that haves the route Veracruz – Valencia, this are some examples:

– Hapag-Lloyd Container Line. MED Route: Veracruz-Altamira-Houston- New Orleans – VALENCIA – Barcelona – Genova – Livorno – Caglear – Savannah – Port Everglades – Veracruz.  Transit time: 35 Days.

– CSAV (Compañía sudamericana de Valores). MED Route: Veracruz – Altamira – Houston – New Orleans – Gio Tauro – Livorno – Genova – Barcelona – VALENCIA – Port Everglades – Veracruz. Transit time: 45 Days.

– Nordana. MED Route: Veracruz – Houston – Jacksonville – Baltimore – Mostaganem – Terragona – Genova – Alexandria – Mersin – Izmir – Marsa el brega – Misurata – Livorno – Genova – Terragona – VALENCIA – La Guaira – Rio Haina – Santo Tomas – Veracruz. Transit time: 74 Days.

– CCNI (Compañía Chilena de Navegación Interoceánica). USA, Puerto Rico, Mediterranean Route: Veracruz – Altamira – Houston – New Orleans – Cagliari – Livorno – Genova – Barcelona – VALENCIA – Port Everglades – Veracruz. Transit time: 20 Days.

– HAMBURG SUD. MED- GOLF Route: Veracruz – Altamira – Cagliari – Livorno – Genoa – Barcelona – VALENCIA – Veracruz. Transit Time: 30 Days.

You can send a container From Veracruz to Valencia it will take 32 Days to arrive, the average cost is:

  • 20 ft Container: 1.344 Euros
  • 40 ft Container: 1.900 Euros

* This prices are Incoterm: FOB. Includes dispatching and charges in Port of Valencia.

This is a small video showing how can download a container.

And here is an example in the Port of Valencia, Spain











PDCA- Plan, Do, Check, Act

Plan, Do, Check, Act – a four stage cycle that organization use to solve problems or carry out change either in processes or products. This cycle should be conducted over and over to promote continuous improvement.

I decided to expand a bit more on the topic I was given for the one slide, the PDCA cycle. I thought that it was not only useful in the business world, but most of the time we do a similar process in solving problems in the everyday setting. The PDCA not only solves problems but also improves process and facilitates change. PDCA is an acronym for Plan, Do, Check, Act; which is a problem solving method that was adapted by Dr. Edward Deeming . It is often also referred to as the Deeming cycle. “Its origin can be traced back to the eminent statistics expert Mr. Walter A. Shewart, in the 1920’s. He introduced the concept of PLAN, DO and SEE. The late Total Quality Management (TQM) guru and renowned statistician Edward W. Deming modified the SHEWART cycle as: PLAN, DO, CHECK, and ACT.”

Plan-In the first phase one must identify the problem and the root cause of the problem. Once the problem has been identified then one must plan for corrective action.

Do– In this phase the corrective action will be executed. While the plan is being carried out one must collect data for future reference.

Check– From the data collected in the Do phase, the next step is to Check for results. This phase is also sometimes known as the compare or study phase; that is because expected outcomes are compared with actual results. If the process was successful then it can move on to the next phase.

Act– If the previous steps have successfully solved the problem then the process can be standardized and fully implemented. This means that this process can be used as a reference to solve similar problems in the future. The cycle should be repeated to promote continuous improvement.

Problem solving would be much easier if there was already a process in place that one could follow and get positive results every time; however it is not always this easy. “The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle provides a simple but effective approach for problem solving and managing change, ensuring that ideas are appropriately tested before committing to full implementation.”

This is a great video that explains- PDCA, you can skip the introduction and start the video at 00:42; explanation ends at 3:16

German Food in Valencia

Based on my Business Plan, today I’d like to talk about the logistics behind my idea of opening a German restaurant here in Valencia. The restaurant should be called “Deutsche Stube” characterized by a comfortable cozy atmosphere. Served are typical German dishes and drinks, delivered by waiters dressed in typical German clothes. The dishes range from rich warm meals to small cold plates.

As far as possible the necessary ingredients are purchased in Valencia. The products are bought at local stores, so at greengrocery, butchery and supermarkets.

Softdrinks as well as German beer are delivered directly free home by selected suppliers. If the price for the German beer gets too high we can also export it directly from Germany.

There are some products which are not available in Spain like “Weißwürschte”, “Brezen” or “Schwarzbrot” for example. The German pastries should be produced in Valencia by ordering one elected bakery. The production is not complicated by following the original German recipes and all required ingredients are obtainable here in Spain.

Some products which are not available or not easy to fabricate are imported from Munich, Germany by the assignment of a logistics organization. Munich is the best place for procuring original German food and drinks. The fleet should consist of two trucks and should ride as required. Every truck only rides fully loaded. The incoming products are stored at the warehouse directly at the restaurant. The inventory is released by the principle of FIFO. Products which come in first are released first. When the safety stock is reached new products have to be ordered and delivered. By the holding of buffer stock the availability of the desired products is guaranteed.ss4

When the lights turn off

What happen when a fluorescent light stops working?

Most people think that we can throw out that kind of residues wherever we want, but it’s quite far from the truth. Fluorescent lights have some materials like mercury or fluorescent dust which are dangerous for the environment and also for humans.

For this reason, there are some companies that recollect them in order to recycle them in the most appropriate way such as AMBILAMP, a Spanish company whose main objective is the recollection and the subsequent treatment of the residues. AMBILAMP follows a “double model of inverse logistics plan” whose main object is to take responsibility for the product since its production. As the image below shows, this company has a lot of different points of collection according to the different sizes in different countries.



On the other hand, the recycling process consists in: cut of the metal endings, crushing and separation of the materials. The percentage of recycled material in 2011 was: glass 83.8 %, metals 9.3%, fluorescent dust 3.3%, plastic 3.6 % and Hg distillation 0.002%. All of these materials are used for the production of many other things we usually use.


Here, there’s a video about the company regarding its recycling project:

Finally, I would like to add that materials can be reused in different ways such as sculptures or to create new spaces but the most important thing is to know how much work is behind every little thing we stop using in our daily life without been aware of it.

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How will we be parking our cars in future?

The cities are getting fuller and more crowded than ever before. Driving a car in in a big city always taxes the driver´s patience. It is even getting worse when you try to find a parking lot. Without a reserved parking lot or paying high parking charges it is really hard to find spaces within a city. But how should this problem be solved in future? Some logistic engineers seem to have an appropriate solution.

Thanks to demographic trends, more and more people push into big cities, many cities already don´t have enough capacities to handle the high amount of traffic. Every square meter has to be used in a useful and well planned manner. To meet higher traffic emerge, especially private cars, solutions have to be found. Space is rare so how to built a parking deck with the highest efficiency? Okay, first of all, you have to go up high! The more levels, the higher the land utilization. But still, parking decks need lots of space, and many collisions happen because of narrow gateways.

Engineers have found a solution how increase land utilization. These days machines work more precise and more efficient than human beings. So it is reasonable to remove the driver and passengers from of the car, before parking it. An Automated parking system (APS) is the solution. In the field of logistics, automated warehousing is common practice, so why not applying this efficient technology to our daily life?


Using the APS is like robotic valet parking. The driver has to drive the car into the entry area of the APS, where he and all passengers leave the car. Nearby will be an automated terminal for payment and receipt of the ticket. When all persons have left the entry area, a special mechanic system will lift the car and “park” it at a predetermined parking space in the system. To retrieve a car, the driver has just to insert his ticket at the automated terminal. The system will lift the car from its parking space and deliver it at an exit area.

The main advantage of automated parking systems is saving space by significantly reducing it:

  • Parking space width and depth (and distances between parking spaces) are dramatically reduced since no allowance need be made for driving the car into the parking space or for the opening of car doors (for drivers and passengers)
  • No driving lanes or ramps are needed to drive the car to/from the entrance/exit to a parking space
  • Ceiling height is minimized since there is no pedestrian traffic (drivers and passengers) in the parking area, and
  • No walkways, stairways or elevators are needed to accommodate pedestrians in the parking area.

Due to the mentioned reductions the APS needs substantially less structural material than the multi-story parking garage. A space saving steel framework is the base of the APS which contributes to an overall volume reduction.

Additionally to the efficient use of space, there are more benefits: As there is no public access to the parking areas, the cars are more secure. Damages on the car like scratches and dents from the parking activity are eliminated. It is also safer for driver and passengers, which do not have to walk through the parking-areas. Engine emissions are reduced, because driving through the parking garage to find a spot is not required anymore.

This is how we will probably park our cars in future, no more driving around in multi-story parking garages to find a spot!

Online shopping vs. Traditional shopping



Nowadays more and more young people choose the on-line shopping instead of traditional shopping, nevertheless, traditional shopping is still of great importance in contemporary society. Both of them are indispensable to human’s life. Despite the same purpose of on-line shopping and traditional shopping, there are two obvious differences between them.


To begin with, the traditional shopping means we need to go to the streets or markets if we need something. We can decide whether to buy or not by our true feelings. All the goods in the stores are visible to customers. Unlike traditional shopping, online shopping depends on the Internet. You can find many shopping websites such as Taobao and Amazon and buy what you need without going out. We can only get the information by the pictures or descriptions while price in on-line shopping is much lower than traditional shopping.

The second difference is the comments. When you buy something like cosmetics and medicines, you can’t know the efficacy of them even you buy them in the supermarket. The salesgirl may introduce different kings of goods and the varieties of advantages of them, but sometimes you just find it difficult to believe their words. In contrast, the on-line shopping can show you the comments left by the buyers. From the comments, you can learn the disadvantages of the goods.

Third difference which is mostly drive people to buy online is time and simplicity: You don’t have to commute, find parking, deal with big crowds or wait in long lines. In addition, you won’t waste any gas. The gas factor might feel particularly appealing right now due to skyrocketing fuel prices.

Every coin has two sides. Online shoppers spend time typing their information and spend money to have their purchases shipped to their home in a timely fashion. However, they will eventually run into shipping issues during their Internet-shopping career, including: weather delays, technical mishaps, address confusion and lost packages. Consider the deadline you need your product by before ordering it online. Also consider how reputable the company you’re ordering from is, and how often they have these mishaps occur with their shipping services.

According to the differences between traditional shopping and on-line shopping, both of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. We should make better use of the strengths and try to avoid the weakness when we are shopping in our daily life.







The internet retail revolution has brought enormous benefits to the global express and logistics sectors.

Nowadays the online shopping market now accounts for almost a fifth of all purchases in some developed markets, and is growing at anything between 15-20% a year in Europe and the US and around 75% a year in China. Fortunately for the logistics industry, the online shopping model means that consumers’ trips to the shops are being substituted by delivery direct to the home.

However at the same time, the market is enduring growing pains of many different types. Take China for example. The express and logistics industry has just not been able to keep pace with the growth in demand. Quality has become a critical issue, with delivery deadlines across the holiday season being missed. This undoubtedly will slow the take up by Chinese consumers.

The economic shift towards consumption rather than export driven production seems to have caught the Chinese logistics industry by surprise. The domestic sector is primarily serviced by local players without the systems or maturity to cope with the growth. In addition to this, the high level of fragmentation has made the market hyper-competitive, a factor, along with an uncertain regulatory regime, which led DHL to withdraw from the domestic market last year. Turning the massive growth prospects into tangible profits has proved to be elusive.

It is not just the logistics service providers which have faced problems in China. There has been speculation in the press that Foxconn’s online shopping website is on the verge of shutting down. With 30% of customers located in rural areas, the company has been losing money on each delivery.

In the US a different challenge to the industry has arisen, one which will have a fundamental impact on online retailers’ distribution strategies.  In the past, many distribution centres’ locations were driven by factors such as access to transport infrastructure, ports, airports as well as proximity to consumer markets. Now there is another factor to take into account: state taxation policies. It seems that although one part of local government may be trying to attract giant logistics sheds to their vicinity (not least because of the employment opportunities they bring), state tax collection agencies have a very different focus.


For example, tax collectors in Arizona have just handed internet retailer Amazon a $53m bill for uncollected sales taxes. Amazon has stated that it intends to fight the case vigorously. The argument revolves around where a transaction can be considered to have taken place and whether this can be considered to be at the site of order fulfilment. In the case of Arizona, Amazon has four distribution centres, positioned to take advantage of the good links with the West Coast ports. Amazon clearly does not believe it should be taxed wherever it has distribution centres, instead lobbying for a nationwide tax regime for online retailers to be established. In fact, this is not only a US issue, with governments right across the world trying to work out how to capture missed sales tax revenue.

Europe was not immune to the problem of fulfilling customers’ expectations either. One survey shows that last year, in the UK, a quarter of online shoppers received their goods “later than expected”; while 13% said they received nothing at all.

There is no doubt that the online shopping phenomenon has given the express and logistics industry a welcome shot in the arm. However, in many respects the sector is still maturing, with development issues on both the supply and demand side. These challenges may slow momentum temporarily, but even in developed markets, prospects for future growth are still exceedingly strong.






Inditex, the group behind Zara, Zara Home, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear and Uterqüe, is one of the world’s largest fashion retailer and a leading edge in the fast fashion industry with more than 6.000 stores in 86 countries. The founder, Amancio Ortega, is listed as the fourth richest man in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires list with an estimated fortune of $54,7 billion!

The group has more than 120.000 employees worldwide and Zara is the biggest and oldest brand of the group with 1.751 stores around the world (1.122 in Europe – 332 only in Spain – 65 stores in the UK, 45 in the US and 6 in Australia). Founded in 1975 in A Coruña, the brand makes more than 840 million garments a year (source: November, 2012). Opened its first store outside of Spain in December 1988 in Oporto, Portugal. The Inditex group leaves its rivals way behind in terms of stores around the globe. According to The New York Times in November, 2012, the Arcadia group (which owns TopShop, TopMan, Miss Selfridge, Evans, BHS, Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Outfit and Wallis) has about 3.000 stores worldwide; the Swedish H&M has 2.500 and Mango, also based in Spain, has 2.400 – while Inditex has 6.009 stores in total.

Zara’s success is the stock clothing in a limited quantity, they do not replace collections. If the stock is sold completely, there is no second chance to buy. That makes the consumers buy the garment right at the moment they see it, afraid they are not going to find it in another opportunity, not even waiting to go on sale. “With Zara, you know that if you don’t buy it, right then and there, within 11 days the entire stock will change. You buy it now or never. And because the prices are so low, you buy it now”, says Masoud Golsorkhi, the editor of the English magazine Tank (NYTimes, Nov 2012). Merchandise moves extremely quickly even by fast fashion standards – all stores worldwide receives deliveries of new clothes twice a week!

What many people do not know is that prices are different depending on the location of the store. Prices are usually cheaper in Europe, especially in Spain and more expensive in South America and Asia, for example. That allows Zara to make a bit more money from countries that are not so affected by the economic crisis. Besides, Zara factories are based in Spain and nearby locations as Portugal, Turkey and Morrocco, so new designs can get into store faster and costing less. The trendiest items are produced close to the headquarter therefore the production will not take more than 3 weeks to go straight to the shops. The rest of the collection is made in China, Bangladesh, Brazil and many other countries.

In certain countries, a garment can cost more than 100% as the same product found in Spain. The strategy makes Zara to maintain a high value in other countries, besides supporting people to buy in Spain. But is Zara way cheaper in Spain? Where are the best places to buy Zara products? I decided to separate some products from the new Spring collection to compare the price through Zara around the globe (only those countries with an online store – Brazil and Australia are not included on the list!). Check the list below – all the prices are in American dollars for the simplicity.






Based on the products shown in this post, you can see that the prices of some products from Zara Spain are up to 110% cheaper than the same product in Zara Russia, for example. Check the full list below with the average percentage of the price comparison between products in Spain and worldwide.


This quick research shows us that Zara products in the UK are at least 31,43% more expensive than in Spain or even 97,49% more expensive in Japan. According to the analysis, the countries with lower rates in comparison to Spain products are the United KingdomE.U. countriesUnited Statesand Mexico. The countries with the highest margins are ColombiaRussia and Japan.

So if you are a fashion addicted or you just like ZARA’s design I highly recommend to stock ZARA here!