G-Com by Grenzebach

Some weeks ago I read about a system quite similar to KIVA and after our last logistic lecture I was animated to write about that system.

The company which innovates the system G-Com solutions is called Grenzebach and is located in Germany. It owns subsidiaries all over the world and was founded in 1960, so the company has a long tradition. One of their core competences are logistic solutions. They are developing technologic solutions to feed especially the European market.

Besides palettizing solutions they offer an extensive variety of intelligent and pilotless transportationsystems (FTS). The idea is to use the fastest and safest root to the destination independently of the compexity of the environment. The key is to transport storage shelves to the pickstation.

Different requirements – Different solutions

different_application g_pro_pic

The red intelligent carry is called G-Pro and can transport goods with up to 1,2 tons and a speed of 60 meter per minute. It can turn 360, therefor it saves a lot of storage capacity. The batteries are reloaded during the ride via induction loops. The navigation is ensured by codes which are installed on the floor.

The G-Pro can be combined with existing systems. A light (laser) shows the operator which item has to be picked. Additionally the item can be scanned for a lower error rate. Then the operator knows where to put the item because of the light display on the shelf (put to light).

By that system the staff costs can cut significantly and the efficiency of the warehousing logistic can be increased. According to “Logistik Heute”, 500 picks per hour are possible and it already pays by 900 sendings per day.

Sources:

http://www.grenzebach.com/index.php/grenzebach

http://www.snox.com/

http://www.logistik-heute.de/Logistik-News-Logistik-Nachrichten/Markt-News/10866/Grenzebach-geht-bei-Kommissionierung-neue-Wege-E-Commerce-Roboter-reduzieren

DHL and Fashion Logistics.

In the month of April the world’s top designers will start a journey in Australia that will end in Zurich to present their Spring-Fall- Winter Collections for 2015/2016 in the runways. DHL is the Official Logistics Provider for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week since year 2012. For a niche in the market that has not been exploted, DHL designed a tailor-made logistics solution for a total of 30 Fashion Week around the world, exactly across 15 cities.

Mercedes-Benz fashion week is a event that lasts seven days and includes more than 90 designers from more than 30 different countries, clearly expert logistics is vital for the success of the shows. DHL employees become part of the staff and heroes by handling all the shows logistics, starting with the delivery of haute couture masterpieces to transport of equipment to and from catwalk venues.

DHL fashion customers range from multinational retail groups with complex distribution requirements to small, independent boutiques that need individual service. They offer to both customers consistent transit times, even from remote manufacturing locations in Asia, they give full visibility of the shipments across the supply chain, they take advantage of their expertise in trade regulations, transportation, consolidation, warehousing and value added services, with this they deliver the goods with a record speed.

DHL  also offers designers and fashion houses the opportunity to use its GOGREEN carbon-offset transport services for their collections, reflecting the increasing importance of sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

Source:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130909006567/en/DHL-Tailor-Made-Logistics-Solutions-Showcase-2014-Spring#.VRSY7_mUdUU

How NIKE Made Two Million Square Feet of Distribution Sustainable

Nike’s China Logistics Center (Taicang, Jiangsu) uses network, equipment and voice picking to operate more efficiently than traditional distribution centers.

Nike’s interest to do the best and being environmentally sustainable led the company to take advantage of a two million square foot distribution center, is the company’s largest distribution center in Asia.This center handeles apparel and footwear shipments for mainland China. The facility is designed to be more efficiently and accurately than other centers, they use conveyour network, high-tech sortation equipment and technologies.

To reduce energy consumption by 75 percente the company uses cross-belt and tilt-tray sorters instead of linear synchronous motor technology, this change is helping Nike to achieve his core corporate goals: increased operational efficiency, shipping flexibility and accuracy, lower handling costs, sustaintability.

Sortation Process
The process starts wby unloading cartons from trucks in the receiving area and then stacked on pallets, this later are moved to narrow aisle in the warehouse. Later pallet loads and cartons are selected from this aisels and transferred onto conveyor that merges cartons onto a line sorter. There are three destinations depending on how the goods are to be shipped.
Whole cartons for onward shpment are delivered to shipping sorter
Cartons with items ordered in whole-carton batches go to the pre-sorter induction area
Cartons containing items that will be collated into mixes-item shipments are sent to storage
Items unpacked are placed into storage racks where operators pick an place individual items into plastic totes. Conveyor transports the totes to a conveyor on level 2. These totes and whole cartons containing batches of the same item are then merged before being emptied and placed manually onto the cross-belt pre-sorter. This sorts the items in the totes into pre-defined hoppers, later these are emptied at the hopper tipping area, from where a system of belt conveyors transports them to manual inductions for loading onto the final sorter. This sorter is a second cross-belt, wich automatically distributes the individual items into chutes that have been specially designed for Nike . The chutes feature dividers that rise following the delivery of a complete batch, thereby separating it for packing into a single carton by the operator below. The carton is then pushed onto a roller conveyor for delivery to a Crisplant LS-4000E tilt-tray shipping sorter.

Sorters and controls

The sorter system and machine controls are integrated with Nike’s Warehouse Management System. Combining precise control of individual machines, with system-wide visibility of workflows, enables continual optimization of the system and avoidance of bottlenecks. Nike entered a service agreement with company Crisplant to ensure uptime, service engineers are stationed on-site for support and mantainance.

Source:http://mhlnews.com/technology-amp-automation/how-nike-made-two-million-square-feet-distribution-sustainable?page=1

CLAD-RACK WAREHOUSES

Featured image

Clad-rack or self supporting warehouses are compact structures formed basically by shelves, the roofing and walls, and the main characteristic is that the system integrates these shelves as a part of the supporting structure. They are defined as a high density storage capacity in height.

In the latest years they have been used more and more because it has a lot of advantages when compared to a traditional warehouse:

  • The major construction height is just limited by the local regulations or by the scope of the handling means, and it can even overcome 35 m high.  This is a really good feature because it enables to maximize the available space.
  • It is not necessary any previous building for installing a self-supporting warehouse, so the investment cost and the runtime are reduced.
  • It is easy to do future expansion and space losses are avoid because it is projected according with the necessary means.
  • It is possible to apply different automation levels in order to obtain the maximum yield.

Featured image

This kind of warehouse allows the use of very different storage systems and with a high degree of automation. In order to obtain the highest capacity, the loads are placed in line with the principle of “empty space”; that means, when there is an entering pallet, it is assigned the first empty space in the hall where the lifting equipment is working in that moment and the computer memorize the shelf and position for the next extraction following the set out criteria in the store.

There are many companies that work building these structures. Mecalux, for instance, is a multinational company leader in Spain, whose business is about designing, manufacturing, commercializing and serving logistics solutions, and one of the products that they offer is clad-rack warehouses both for pallets and boxes, as we can see in its webpage:

http://www.mecalux.co.uk/pallet-racking/clad-rack-warehouses

Also, if you are interested, I suggest that you watch in the link below a 5 minutes video of a large clad-rack warehouse construction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUePJFm22ew

Green logistics

The next post would be for the week from 16 to 20 March, but with a little delay. In one of the relevant tasks of the same week, I had to mention the Ford Motor Company and, after searching for information about it, I found interesting facts related to logistics.

The physical logistics operations of Ford provide a safe and efficient transportation of parts from suppliers to manufacturing plants. It is also safe and efficient transportation of finished cars from its assembly lines to its dealers vehicles.

I want to emphasize that Ford is working towards maximizing the efficiency of logistics operations and at the same time reducing environmental impact.

A curious fact, and that I had never heard (or at least by that name) is the use of “green logistics”.

The 3 main areas of this logistics are:

  1. quantifying our freight greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
  2. reducing those greenhouse gas emissions and
  3. improving the sustainability of our packaging materials

Ford MP & L works with this type of logistics, which has an international global approach to coordinate these activities. They have experts in the subject in each of the regions in which it operates, and also they have a central intranet green logistics to help standardize their procedures and communication of best practices.

It’s good to know that companies like Ford are concerned to improve its procedures , trying to protect the environment . These facts provide a more positive image of the company for both customers and workers.

QUEUING MODEL WITH MARKOV CHAINS

As we saw in the last lesson, queuing models describe the expected lines. They have many applications but in business the most important is:

  • Don’t lose money by having many impatient people in the queue.
  • Don’t lose money by paying employees in the cash register that are idle without customers to attend.

In these situations, it is very interesting to answer the questions: what is the percentage of time that there will be “n” people in a queue? What percentage of time will be the seller idle?

cola

The answers to these questions can be obtained through Markov Model.

Markov Chain is a random process that undergoes transitions from one state to another on a state space. It’s required to possess a property that is usually characterized as “memoryless”: the probability distribution of the next state depends only on the current state and not on the sequence of events that preceded it. This specific kind of “memorylessness” is called the Markov property.

More info:

  • An Introduction to Markov Chains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaP8Zr0yoF4
  • Book: Problemas y Modelos Matemáticos para la Administración y Dirección de Empresas, Cortés López, J. Carlos. This book was written by one of the supervisors I had in the Final Thesis of my Degree here in Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and there you can find interesting solved problems about Markov Chain Model and so on.

VEHICLE ROUTING PROBLEM

An important aspect of supply chain management is the co ordination of logistical operations for the transport of products within the supply chain. The task of designing delivery (or pickup) routes to service customers in a company’s supply chain is known in the literature as a vehicle routing problem (VRP). The Vehicle Routing Problem  is a generic name given to a whole class of problems in which a set of routes for a fleet of vehicles based at one or several depots must be determined for a number of geographically dispersed cities or customers. The objective of the VRP is to deliver a set of customers with known demands on minimum-cost vehicle routes originating and terminating at a depot.

An instance of a VRP (left) and its solution (right)

Vehicle Routing Problems have been extensively analyzed to reduce transportation costs. The problem is to find a policy for routing the service vehicle that minimizes the average time demands spent in the system.

The elements of VRP are:

  • Transport Network – A network of roads, streets, railways.
  • Vehicles – Group of motor vehicles owned or leased by a business.
  • Customers/ Suppliers -Important to determinate the location of all our customers.
  • Warehouse – Storage of goods.
  •  Routes – Select the best routes possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_routing_problem

http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1860&context=etd

http://neo.lcc.uma.es/vrp/

Cross Docking

Cross docking is a kind of preparation to the order, without arrangement of goods in stock, and without operation of picking (collection). this allow move materials with different destinations or consolidate goods that come from different origin. Cross docking hasn´t any kind of intermediate storage.

This method allow save money and time. Cross docking avoid operations of storage and allow reduce the time of logistic operations. this system is especially used to fresc products and news, by big distributors like Carrefour, Grupo Eroski, Cecofar and Walmart transport.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS5CrureJoE

images

Advantages of Cross Docking:

  • Reduces material handling.
  • Reduces need to store products in warehouse.
  • No need for large warehouse areas
  • Reduced labour costs (no packaging and storing).
  • Reduced time to reach customer.
  • Transportation has fuller loads for each trip therefore a saving in transportation costs while also being more environmentally friendly.
  • Products are moved more quickly through a cross dock.
  • Easier to screen product quality.
  • Elimination of processes such as ‘pick-location’ and ‘order picking’
  • Cross docking terminals are less expensive to construct than your average warehouse.
  • High turnover of products with everything moving quickly through the cross docking terminal.  Products usually spend less than 24 hours here.
  • Products destined for a similar end point can be transported as a full load, reducing overall distribution cost.

Digitisation in air cargo – Fair@Link

AIRPORT FRANKFURT – GER

Digitisation in air cargo – Fair@Link

Lufthansa_Plane
http://lufthansa-cargo.com/de_de/home/

The airport Frankfurt launched the cargo community system Fair@Link in the beginning of 2015, after a pilot phase of 3 years.

Fair@Link is an IT platform to skip bounderies in information flow much easier because of a standardized format. Through that software all processes can be planned better in advance therefor capacity of workforce and processing can be used more efficiently.

The involved partners can be notified of incoming and outbound shipments at an early stage. So, it is ensured that every process partner knows exact transport details and consignment before the goods arrive. That offers a big advantage in time because each process step can be prepared accordingly to the lastest information.

Even information about safety, security, customs status and dangerous goods regulations are integrated in the system and can be transmitted via it.

Chain
http://www.dakosy.de/loesungen/ccs-flughafen/

paper work

That system is a huge improvement to speed up the information flow which is traditionally done by paper-based procedures. The digitisation means greater efficiency and transparency of each transportation step. Everyone who was involved during the pilot phase observed remarkable improvements to make the transport planning easier. They spend less time dealing with documentation and the freight forwarders benefit from shorter delivery and collection times.

Since January 2015 any customer who is interested can take part. Dachser, Kühne+Nagel and Panalpina (freight forwarders), LUG aircargo handling GmbH, Fraport Cargo Services and Lufthansa Cargo (cargo handlers) are already using the system in their daily operations. The modern web application with edi interface and a mobile truck app ensure all users a comprehensive and demand-oriented access.

Modern web application with edi interface and a mobile truck app ensure all users a comprehensive and demand-oriented access.

Now the challenge is to involve more and more partners of the process to increase the overall efficiency. However the interest is enormous and the software developer is improving the platform constantly in cooperation with the participants.

Sources:

http://www.dakosy.de/loesungen/ccs-flughafen/

http://www.frankfurt-airport.de/content/frankfurt_airport/de/news0/_fair-link_-in-den-regelbetrieb-uebergegangen-.html

http://lufthansa-cargo.com/de_de/home/

Video (only available in German:-( ):

http://www.frankfurt-airport.de/content/frankfurt_airport/de/business_standort/frachtstandort/daten_fakten12.html

RFID TECHNOLOGY

When I did my final degree work, I searched about this technology because it was very easy to keep a lot of information about product and tracking it. Then I realized that there was a project in process using this technology. The aim was ensure “cradle-to-grave” traceability of complete waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The benefits were really good.

Not only this technology is used in tracking waste, we could use in different process. I wrote about stock in logistic last week and I told you that I was going to give you a tool to improve the storage method. So this technology could be applied here because it is a useful tool to control and storage our products. We could know in real time how many products we have in our warehouse to provide our customers.

I am going to explain how it works radio frequency identification which allows storing and sending information to a reader via radio waves. It is composed of an antenna, a radio and a microchip transducer. The antenna is responsible for transmitting the information to identify the label. The transducer is making the information transmitted by the antenna. The chip has an internal memory for storing the identification number and in some cases additional data.

Then we need a reader which is responsible for receiving the information issued by the labels and transfer it to middleware or to data processing subsystem (We can see the process in the final picture).

The advantages using this technology are:

  • Allows a large volume of data storage through a mechanism of reduced proportions.
  • Automate processes to maintain traceability and allows for a greater amount of information to the label, thus reducing human error.
  • Allows storing data without direct contact with tags.
  • Ensures operation in the event of adverse conditions (dirt, humidity, high temperatures, etc.).
  • Reduce operating costs and scanning operations are not necessary to identify products that have this technology.
  • Uniquely identifies products.
  • Enables easy updating of information stored on the label if it is read / write.
  • Enables rewrite so add and delete information as often as desired if the label is read / write.

Blog3

Reverse Logistics

Reverse Logistics is the group of processes or activities for the return or the recycling of the products. Its main objective is, as in Logistics, is the management of the returned products according to cost and time requirements. It involves also a proactive mentality, this means not only the management of a product when it is returned to the company but also to plan how the company can reduce the number of returned products in a long term.There are several reasons for the use of Reverse Logistics, which can be grouped in three types:

-Economical reasons: when some materials can be reused Reverse Logistics can provide some saving in buying of components or raw materials.

-Customer satisfaction: the possibility of return the product if it is not what expected is important to guarantee customer satisfaction and increase the sales.

-Environmental reasons: to respect the regulations or simply to give a corporate image of responsability and concern about the environment.

431500

Nowadays, Reverse Logistics is growing in importance because its the environmental benefits explained above and the growth of online commerce, where it is important for the stores to have an efficient devolution process to get the confidence of the customers.

Sources:

http://www.interempresas.net/Logistica/Articulos/50133-La-logistica-inversa-que-es-y-para-que-sirve.html

http://www.revistadelogistica.com/La-logistica-reversa-o-inversa.asp

https://www.tiendanube.com/blog/el-papel-de-la-logistica-inversa-en-el-ecommerce/

Logistics of Mercadona

Mercadona is the biggest supermarket chain within Spain and has its headquarters in Valencia. It is located in 17 autonomous regions, within 48 provinces and has in total 1.525 supermarkets. Most of them are situated in the Valencian region. As it is a so big and successful company that provides low costs products for high quality, it seems to be quite interesting to post here an entry about the distribution network of Mercadona.

Its logistics have economic and environmental advantages. Therefore an appropriate strategy is necessary to manage operations, decide the kind of transportation, obtain energy savings and prioritize loads.

Due to long-term agreements with manufacturers and producers Mercadona is able to offer high quality products for low and stable prices. It purchases directly from sources. Another relevant facts in order to offer low prices are the logistics of Mercadona.

foto1806

The company has nine blocks of logistics where take place the distribution network with a surface of 694.000 m2.

19.000 tons of goods are daily transported from one to another part of Spain. Regarding the transportation the company is intermodal oriented. The aim consists in reducing the environmental pollution by using the right manner of transport. More goods with less resources are transported. So storage and transports get reduced. While on the road 407 supermarkets are provided with goods, 571 trains per year with 285.000 tons reach the supermarkets. Moreover ships bring along 585.000 tons of goods. During all transportation processes strict quality controls are taken in order to ensure perfect hygienic conditions.

merc

All in all it can be said that due to the strategic environmental commitment, good logistics make it possible to reduce costs and be responsible with the environment. Therefore geographic expansion is facilitated and operational costs are reduced.

Official website: https://www.mercadona.es/ns/index.php?nidioma=5

FALLAS TIME

A few weeks ago, my classmate Miguel Sellés wrote a post dedicated to the Fallas about Fireworks. Now, the monuments or Ninots are already in the streets and today, a few hours before the end, I wonder what about all the logistic work behind this.

falla el pilarA perfect operation of the supply chain is required because every detail is important. As we know, all the work starts by the end of the last Fallas. However, the days before to their assembling are the most important. To assemble the biggest Fallas it is necessary to start around 4-5 days (day and night) before 15th March, when all the Fallas need to be on the streets. It is very important to have in mind the measures of each piece to deposit it properly in the track and it is a very risky job, because every piece is different and there are never two identical pieces. Once the pieces have arrived to the street, it is time to assemble and fix all the parts. This task can take hours and hours. However, the final result is worth it.

This is a very complex process, and we usually think that Fallas have a very high cost, but in my opinion, we usually don’t think about the assembling, materials, transport, manufacturing, employees etc. this means, all the logistics, are very pricy as well. And another important thing is that the budget is decided by the Falla not by the company which builds the Falla.

Finally, I want to share the cost of the main Fallas of this year:

Coste fallasHAPPY FALLAS!

This post is based on the following articles:

Fallas 2015: De ruta con la primera pieza fallera que sale a la calle. http://www.lasprovincias.es/valencia-ciudad/201503/05/ruta-primera-pieza-fallera-20150305185537.html
Especial Fallas 2015 El Mundo. http://estaticos.elmundo.es/documentos/2015/03/12/fallas2015.pdf

3D-Printing and its Implication to Logistics

Inspired by a documentary on the BBC of a girl which has got a new prosthetic hand made by a 3D printer, I wondered what the impact of this new technology would be on logistics.

What is 3D printing?

Well, first of all it is important to understand what 3D printing is in generall. Currently around 28% of the money spent on printing things is for final products, according to Terry Wohlers, who runs a research firm specializing in the field. He predicts that this will rise to just over 50% by 2016 and to more than 80% by 2020.

3D printing, as well called additive manufacturing, is a procedure in which a printer reads a digital blueprint (mostly CAD data) and methodically will put togehter material according to instructions, creating a final product that’s built up layer by layer. Those printers are capable of producing extremely detailed levels of design that can be difficult to create with other methods.

http://3dfactory.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/3d-process-2.jpg

3D Printing was originally developed as an automated method of producing prototypes. Although there are several competing technologies, most work on the basis of building up layers of material (sometimes plastic, ceramics or even metal powders) using a computer aided design.

The logic for using 3D Printing for prototypes is understandable. Traditional, so called ‘reductive’ manufacturing (where materials are removed), techniques  can take longer and are much more expensive. Parts, shoes, fashion items and accessories and other consumer goods, can all be printed for review by the developers. Whereas mass production is viable due to economies of scale, it is uneconomical for ‘one offs’ and prototypes. 3D Printing is removing this differential, where every item produced is an original (or perfect copy) and producing for one is as cheap as producing for many.

http://imagizer-cv.imageshack.us/a/img585/192/2482.jpg

The way in which each product is individually manufactured means that it is ideal for ‘mass customization’ techniques. Consumers will be able to have a much greater impact in the final format of the product which they are buying, and have it manufactured to their precise specifications.

The effect on the Supply Chain

Because of the ability of printing or producing on demand there will be no need of finished products stacked on shelves or stacked in warehouses anymore. Whenever there is a need for a part or a product a company can just produce it. This effect will bring the supply chain down to a point where the most important part is the adding of new efficiencies to the system.

http://www.operationsmanager.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/secret-weapon.png

The traditional supply chain model is founded on traditional constraints of the industry, the efficiencies of mass production, the need for low-cost, high-volume assembly workers, real estate to house each stage of the process and so on. 3-D printing finds its value in the printing of low volume, customer-specific items, items that are capable of much greater complexity than is possible through traditional means. This eliminates the need for both high volume production facilities and low level assembly workers, thereby cutting out at least half of the supply chain in a single blow.

Conclusion

There are several sources online where you can find a list of improvements or changes in the logistics of the future. I summed up four of them which, in my mind, are the most important:

  1. Potentially a proportion of goods which were previously produced in China or other Asia markets could be ‘near-sourced’ to North America and Europe. This would reduce shipping and air cargo volumes.
  2. A major new sector of the logistics industry would appear dealing with the storage and movement of the raw materials which ‘feed’ the 3D Printers. As 3D Printers become more affordable to the general public, the home delivery market of these materials would increase.
  3. The changing supply chain dynamics will lead to the evolution of a new type of logistics company resembling a ‘4PL’, or service management company (Former ‘3PL’). Their businesses will comprise a mix of software development, delivery services, partner relationship management, contract management and brainpower.
  4. The raw materials today are digital files and the machines that make them are wired and connected, faster and more efficient than ever. And that demands a new model—a need to go local, globally.
http://piecemaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Digital-Supply-Chain-1080×634.png

Sources

http://www.eft.com/3pllogistics/implications-3d-printing-global-logistics-industry

http://wohlersassociates.com/2014report.htm

http://cerasis.com/2014/12/10/3d-printing-in-manufacturing/

http://www.supplychain247.com/article/the_implications_of_3d_printing_for_the_global_logistics_industry

STAY IN QUEUE

Maybe it sounds a little bit nerdy, but I do like Carrefour because there I can spend my time discovering new products, new packaging, as well as comparing different brands. Moreover, these reasons also move me away from Mercadona (even knowing that could be cheaper), because I got bored and forced to buy always the same awful soviet-looking Hacendado products.

Nowadays, I have found another reason to remain in my decision: the single queue. I consider that queuing is one of the biggest wastes of time, and I have thought many times about how to create a queue system for fast people; people who only want to pick up their products and pay without discussing the prices, socializing with the cashier or searching for the perfect shopping bag layout before leaving the supermarket.

In the multiple queue system I am the typical customer who spends his time in thinking about whether I choose wisely or not, and wondering why the fortune has given an advantage to a customer who has arrived later. For that reason, I always try to take an advantage moving from queue to queue, which in most of the times means more waste of time, as clearly shows the following video:

In my opinion, the single queue seems to be long but gives its user the feeling of constant progress, as well as guarantying that any difficult customer will not stop the others. Also, it is fair for everybody: all customers and all cashiers will wait and work the same time respectively. On the other hand, I cannot avoid the pleasure of hearing everybody complaining about the length of the single queue, knowing that they are wrong.

INDITEX: sustainable logistics centers.

This week I found interesting information about Inditex and their concern for the environment related to logistics.

As we know, the transmission and distribution operations are performed by external operators which causes emissions of greenhouse gases.

For better management and control of these emissions, Inditex has developed a tool to calculate these emissions under GHG Protocol while proposing logistics operators improvement plans for reduction.

All logistics centers, from which all shipments are handled all Inditex stores in the, world are in Spain, next to the headquarters of each of the chains. All centers are built and managed with sustainability criteria, they have a certified Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001 and all the employees have received environmental training.

Dibujo

In addition, new construction or expansions centers are constructed following the criteria established by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in order to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Some of the improvements that they have been introduced since 2007 are:

         – The use of efficient lighting,

         – Base isolation systems,

         – Climate control systems,

         – The use of bicycles or electric vehicles for the internal displacement of employees,

         – Improvements in energy efficiency,

         – Use of renewable energy and

         – Trigeneration high efficiency.

It’s interesting how a company like Inditex, that not only is known for its many shops, but also for their concern and interest in the environment and improve the processes of logistics centers, thus obtaining sustainable logistics centers.

Logistics in drug trafficking organizations

Reading Juan’s post “The dark side of logistics”, I remembered something I read some months ago in a book called “Zero Zero Zero”, from Roberto Saviano, related to logistics in drug trafficking.

puerto

Drug trafficking organizations are getting more and more professionals, as a matter of fact important capos and drug dealers are sending their children to the best business schools in the world, so once they inherit the business take care of it applying what they learn in theses schools.

One of the areas where these organizations are looking for more improvement is Logistics, as the greater risk of drug trafficking operations take place in overseas transportation and in the entrance of the destiny countries. This have generated the figure of the Logistics manager or “Doctor Travel”, the responsible of planning these steps and the problems that can appear. The biggest challenges this figure have to face to are two:

-The gamma rays systems: most of the common destinations of drugs shipments are equipped with these systems, which can scan the containers and detect contents as drugs or weapons.

-Choose the indicated container: the Logistics manager has to predict which containers will be scanned and which will be not, because customs controls doesn’t have the time to check them all. As perishable products can’t wait for long in customs, the containers with products as fruits or vegetables are frequently allowed to pass first without being scanned, so it can look like the indicated containers. On the other hand, law enforcements are aware of that, so they can put more attention to them.

aduana

This is probably the main difference with the equivalent job in a legal organization: the main objective is not the time for the “Doctor Travel”, but to ensure that the shipload arrived to its destiny without being detected. Also, meanwhile a headmaster of a logistics department in a big company has to keep up on the last improvements to increase efficiency on his company, the Doctor Travel has to do it with the last customs and law enforcements news, to be able to avoid them.

Logistic of the Valencian oranges to other European countries

In my home country Austria everybody is looking forward to the orange season. Every year are imported around 460.000 tons of oranges from Spain to Germany. But how do they get from the tree to the Austrian´s and German´s supermarkets? Mostly of them come from the Valencian region.

In the following part there is presented a big Spanish logistic company that disposes of an intelligent logistic management.

1217_oranges_630x420

GRUPO NATURAL

GRUPO NATURAL produces and distributes high quality citrus fruits, melons, vegetables and stone fruits. On the international market the most demanded fruits are oranges, mandarins and lemons. From Spain GRUPO NATURAL distributes their products to the most important European markets.

This company consists of specialized partner companies. GRUPO NATURAL coordinates service and products through an integral logistic management in order to react on customer needs. This company disposes of a brilliant logistical capacity and they are in a direct contact with customers and producers. These facts ensure that the company is able to coordinate the orders strategically, therefore a 24 hours service is offered and costs and time of distribution are optimized.

grupo natural

GRUPO NATURAL collaborates directly with fruits and vegetables farmers that are growing their products in the regions Valencia, Murcia, Almería and Lérida. Specific products are growing in the appropriate region, depending on the climate situation. Therefore fruits and vegetables with the best quality and freshness can be offered to the customer.

Standard of quality from the beginning to the end

As oranges are perishable products, they are quite sensible in their transportation. Several factors have to be considered that the product reaches the other place in a fresh way. GRUPO NATURAL disposes of high developed systems to preserve the products for the logistics. These systems are necessary to meet the standards of quality and service of the Spanish and international market. From this point extensive controls are carried out in order to guarantee high quality of products from the beginning on to the destination – the supermarket.

More information: http://www.gruponatural.es/#!home-english/cedg

Malacara Coffee – From El Salvador To Japan – How to Store It?

Malacara Specialty Coffee- Bourbon Coffee From El Salvador – One of the Best In The World – Notes of fresh melon fruit and homemade caramel combine with a juicy mouthfeel and balanced acidity. Long finish of nougat and cocoa.

Between the time that coffee beans has been planted to the moment they are available to be purchased in Kyowa’s Coffee Japan, the beans go through a series of steps as shown in the picture below:

Planting- Harvesting-Processing-Drying-Milling-Tasting-Roasting- Packing- Storing- Exporting-Grinding- Brewing

This time we will focus on storing, a key step to maintain coffee’s freshness and flavor while is waiting to be exported to the other side of the world, to maintain the quality certificate, Malacara’s farmers take in account different measure to deliver the coffee in excellent conditions:

Airtight and Cool:  excessive air, moisture, heat and light are keep away to preserve fresh roast flavor as long as possible.

Refrigeration and Freezing Avoid: cold temperatures cause the deterioration of the coffee, but also extremely warm temperatures, so the direct sunlight is avoid it too, the right combination is dark and cool location. El Salvador’s is a tropical country with average temperature of 25°, to preserve cool temperature coffee is store in under artificial cooler temperatures

Packaging: Small portions of coffee are wrapped in airtight bags to be store it bigger cool boxes that later are transported to the airport.

Considering that coffee has special quality requirements, Malacara’s Farmers work under orders, they produced their coffee according to previous purchasing orders colocated by their clients, so the final customer receives the quality what he paids for.

Source: http://www.malacara.net/index.php

The Dark Side of Logistics

Last weekend I watched “Darwin’s Nightmare”, a documentary that shows the devastating effects of the globalization on the inhabitants of Mwanza, a Tanzanian fishing village of Lake Victoria.

darwin's nightmare

The entire documentary is connected to the Nile perch, an alien fish species that was introduced during the sixties into Lake Victoria, and since then they have devoured every other kind of fish in the lake, also destroying the local ecosystem. A local fish industry (financed by the European Union and the World Bank) has been created to clean and strip the fish flesh, which is finally exported to wealthy countries. Around this industry, all the inhabitants of a country desolated by famine, endless wars, and AIDS, try to survive either offering their services as fishermen or factory workers, or either collecting and eating the factory food scraps (since they cannot afford fish prices). There are also prostitutes who keep company with the planes pilots and farmers who handle the rotting carcasses.

Paradoxically, the logistic system is working very well. The cargo planes are carrying to wealthy countries tons of processed fish, but it seems that these planes are not coming empty to Africa. The author tries to find out what the planes are bringing to Africa, and it appears that most of the times they bring weapons that fuel the continent’s wars.

To sum up, the documentary shows how the logistic system guarantees an effective forward and reverse flow of goods, in order to make the transport system profitable. In addition, the logistic system is supporting the development of many industries, although, in this case, the wealthy countries are taking all the benefits at African’s countries expense.

More information: http://www.darwinsnightmare.com/index.htm

Much more than TRACKING

Inspired by the blog about transportation of pharmaceuticals,  I started to do some more recherche about transportation of such sensitive goods.

Compared to Liebherr or  frigicoll, DHL is not specialised on cooling transportation, however they offer a quite interesting system to observe sendings during the whole transportation process, within the temperature can be controlled. Therefor it is also a possibility to send even sensitive goods.

It is not only a tracking device as we all know from any order via internet. It is a lot more and sounds really interesting.

SMARTSENSOR of DHL

The smartsensor GSM is packed to your order and through that it  measures temperature, humidity, shock and lightdata during the transportation at any time. Of course also the geo location is recorded.

A big advantage is the possibility to use the system in sea and land transportation, only in air the antenna has to be turned off (same as your mobil phone antenna during the flight).

The collected data can be observed via the homepage of DHL Web Portal 24/7 worldwide. You do not need any further equipment or software to benefit from that service.

Smartsensor DHL
http://www.dhl.com/en/about_us/logistics_insights/dhl_trend_research/smartsensor.html

Important –  concerning the question as a  transportation type for pharmaceuticals – DHL SMARTSENSOR is a pharma-validated system complying with regulations such as EU GMP Annex 11, EU GDP and US 21 CFR Part 11.

Sources and further information

http://www.dhl.com/en/about_us/logistics_insights/dhl_trend_research/smartsensor.html

Click to access DHL_SmartSensor_GSM%20_Flyer.pdf

Click to access annex11_01-2011_en.pdf

http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm125067.htm

Reducing volumes.

Last week I bought two pillows and two mattresses for my cottage in a well-known hypermarket. I picked up that purchase in the luggage compartment of my medium-sized car. How is this possible? Well, both pillows and mattresses were rolled and vacuum packed.

enrolladovisco21-1
Pillows and mattresses are two of those products that have a big volume, like furniture, and so, their transportation and warehousing results more expensive due to their “value to weight ratio”. According to this fact, the delivery of these products ought be very centralized. But, what’s the matter? Well, customers are demanding these products cheaper and nearer their homes. Of course, if I want a very high quality mattress, I must pay for it and for its transportation. And perhaps I must order it to a distributor and wait for its delivering. But what happens if I just want two pillows and two mattresses that get me out of a tight spot?

So, in order to get a more decentralized delivering without increasing the price of pillows or mattresses (or furniture), the only solution is reducing their volume in order to make more profitable the transportation.

This is the way because some companies have developed systems to roll and vacuum pack the pillows and mattresses. As we can see at the videos, with these systems the volume of these products reduces substantially. This volume reduction affects the distribution network design of the producers and it’s an important advantage for customers like me that just have a…medium-sized car.

A similar reducing-volume strategy is implemented by important furniture multinationals like IKEA, but this is matter for another post.

The Packaging Value

Featured image

Packaging is an essential aspect to consider in every product involved in a transport chain for many reasons, specially in foodstuff. It is needed to ensure the quality and hygiene of the products during all the transport chain and is the point where interests of manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, carriers and customers should agree. Bad packaging could damage a product, for instance, it doesn’t matter how good some wine is if it is bottled in a transparent one, or in case of dangerous materials it is known that packaging should protect the environment from that product action.

Featured image

Since antiquity, trade limits have been affected by the availability of some recipient that could make possible the transportation and the conservation of goods. The products that were more marketed were those that could be packaged in bags, wooden boxes, barrels or glass bottles. The package functions were keeping the properties of the product and protecting them during the transport, so that they used to re-use them repeatedly and in many times with the different product as soon as it didn’t damage the taste or the smell.

Featured image

With the growth of trade, the abundance of products and the processes improvement, the packaging life is limited to the product life, so that appeared the called disposable packages with many other functions: making it easier to carry, pack in bigger boxes in order to transport, download, pile up and store for one side, but also they should inform about the characteristics of the product, manufacture and even the design and the image of it is associated many times as an essential part of the product identity.

The current trade in packaging is trying to find biodegradable materials, lighter packaging and intelligent labels in order to reduce costs in all the supply chain, winning efficiency and if we talk about foodstuff they pretend the most reducing the food waste. Adequate packing provides every product with an added value insomuch it is an evidence of the product has passed for all the transport chain within the best conditions.

Featured image

There is an important trade fair held in Düsseldorf (Germany) about the most innovative packaging and the leading processes. It is called Interpack. The last one was celebrated the year before and the next would be in May in 2017.  You can read a lot of interesting aspects about Interpack in the link below.

http://www.interpack-tradefair.es/

Moving a house

Imagine this situation: you get a new job in other city but you just had bought your dreams house in your actual emplacement. What should you do?

Of course there are many possibilities, but, why not move your dreams house to the new city?

With this premise, some companies in USA (and other countries), started working in the logistics that involve to move a huge package.

two 3d humans carry a home in their hands

 

There are some issues when you are planning to move your house from one city to another. First of all, the costs in the transfer depend on the weight, dimensions and how old is the house. Secondly, you should ensure that it is possible to transport the house, you need to check the roads, light posts, trees, etc. But, if you are sure about your decission, we are going to explain the logistics involving this operation.

The first step you should follow is the obtention of the permissions for the transfer and the approval for the route that your house is going to follow.

Also you may have to examine the structural integrity of your house and, if it is necessary, as for a loan to afford the payments.

Once you have the permissons, the route that you choose will determinate most of the cost of the operation. For that the IT (information technology) is really necessary for the coordination of the team workers. You need to know every single problem that could appear while your house is moving.

32-gupost-gupost-logistica

When everything is planned, the house should be completely disconnected (all the pipes and electrically unpluged), In addition, house movers need at least 3 meters of room around the house for excavation.

The mover will dig down around the foundation and cut openings in the foundation walls in order to insert steal beams to carry the house. Also, some wood cribs are allocated inside to maintain the internal structure. Once everything is perfectly setted, its time to set up the house and put it in the truck using hydraulic machines.

house-moving-zero

Time to the transport, in this moment, every member of the team of movers should be constantly communicating each other to solve any problem that could appear in the road, for that is necessary to use all information that they could get, From the road condition to the height that the light posts have in the town, everything.

Finally, once your house arrive to their destination, it should be allocated in the new emplacement and every pipe and electrical wire connected again, hoping everything gone perfectly.

The information of this post has been taken in the following link:  http://home.howstuffworks.com/real-estate/moving-tips/house-moving.htm

Miguel Sellés Tur

DFMA ( Design For Manufacture and Assembly )

DFMA ( Design For Manufacture and Assembly )

DFMA blending with two methodologies, include with Design For Manufacture and Design for Assembly.

-Design For Manufacture, which mean designing products in the ease to manufacture product, this not only focuses on design of product, part or construction in facilitate but at the same ways its also reduce the manufacturing costs. The design stage is the very important in product design part because the element of the design can make an enormous effect on the manufacturing cost.

-Design For Assembly, which mean the design of product for ease construction is one of the techniques in the design process. That contributes greatly to the cost principle. Try to minimize the number of chips in the product. Respondents allow the operator to quickly and easily carry it up. This will contribute to the overall cost is reduced. To measure the ability of the review

8756223-Factory-Black-and-White-Cartoon-illustration-Vector-Stock-Vector   provider_of_architectural_design_manufacture_and_design  arrow-right    cost-savings-resized-600.jpegReduce-cost

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DFMA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_for_manufacturability

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_for_assembly

there is some case from DFMA planing in Singapore that using DFMA strategy for helping there building industry that show in link bellow

x846modular_new_york.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jyYSfT3-8nHow Singapore plans to push its construction industry into the 21st Century?

Modular construction – also known as design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA), or prefabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) – involves assembling building components, including whole ROOMS, in factories and craning them into position on site. The approach is widely believed to be faster, safer, and to provide more predictable quality.CDL says the 636 “executive condos” in their 12-storey towers will be built using 3,300 building modules, SAVING some 55,000 man days compared to conventional construction methods – a productivity increase of 40%.

sources: ( http://www.globalconreview.com/markets/how-singap98ore-pla37ns-pu90sh-it0s-constru36ction/ )

STOCK IN LOGISTICS

How many times do you usually go to the supermarkets? Particularly at my home, my parents work during all week so that’s the reason why they always go to the supermarket once at week and they try to provide the food pantry and the fridge with all food that we need to spend a week.

In logistics is important how can be handle a good stock to supply customers the product when they need it. As my parents have to plan and control our necessities to provide a simple storage. The manager has to control their stock to supply the product just in time. The first step before going to the supermarket, it is to go the fridge or the food pantry. Then, looking all the food and thinking what kind of food we will need during the week. This simple process can be extrapolated to the company.

For example in the middle of the week, if we had the necessity to consume a specific food that we don’t have, we could go to the near supermarket. In this case there are not any troubles but the problem is when a company does not do a good controlling process of their stock and they need a specific material. But the supplier is around thousand of kilometers to them.

To sum up, I try to show how important is organize, plan and control our stock in the storage. There are some tools that allow us simplify and easier the process, concretely I will explain one of them the next post.

blog2

The unpersonal Postman

In December 2013, the delivery giant Amazon revealed that it was working on small, unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, that would deliver packages to customers’ homes. This service,  called Prime Air, would pick up packages at Amazon fulfillment centers with a drone with the goal of delivering them to household front doors within half an hour. Amazon said the drones will have a 10-mile radius. So, it’s likely that people in big areas near a Amazon distribution site will be a lot more likely to be in the range than those in more remote areas. The weight they are going to carry will be up to 5 pounds, what will be around 86% of all freights in the United States.

The legal perspective

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  is yet to approve the use of unmanned drones for civilian purposes.  However Amazon is still waiting for the approval from the FAA for public testing of those drones. This airspaced is expected to be free in the US by this year. In Europe it is said to be 2016. The rules that exist by now are only for protection for the people on the ground.

The government agency is concerned of the impact it could have on public air space and safety on the ground and will only allow licenses after strict review. A proposal of the FAA for example was limiting drone flights to an altitude of 500 feet and a speed of no faster than 150 km/h. The pilot or operator would have to be at least 17 years old, has to have passed an aeronautical knowledge test and obtained an FAA operator certificate.

Conclusion

Even if it is somehow strange to us, that maybe in the next two years ordered packages will be delivered by unmanned drones, I for myself find it very interesting. On the one hand, how exactly this will pay off. Because I guess, that the saving due to the missing delivery companies can be huge, but the maintenance and loss of such devices can be very expensive as well. On the other hand the concern I have is, that if governments allow amazon to let their drones fly, others will follow. And this opens the sky for abuse.

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/b?node=8037720011

http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-warns-us-to-let-its-drones-take-flight-or-else/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102428406#.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/02/tech/innovation/amazon-drones-questions/

The new fever. The popular races.

Popular races are becoming more attractive for all kind of public, the athletics is not just a sport for the few if not more and more those who practice it.   A healthy sport which does not involve any expense except when it comes to point us to a popular career.

In the Valencian community are increasingly popular racing, the cost of registration is approximately between 3-8 euros. Basically is usually paid one euro per kilometer that you go are going to run. The issue is that we are talking about a business for organizations because thousands of people who join this type of event. Other advantage comes well for sellers of running shoes. The industrie of running shoes generates a large volume of sales. It has been estimated that in 2013 twice sneakers in 2009, this explains that the fever running are increasing each day.

13900804735208

Here we can see the number of runners in Spain and the sales increase in running shoes.

http://www.elmundo.es/economia/2014/01/19/52daf5db22601d436e8b4574.html

COURNOT COMPETITION MODEL IN LOGISTICS

Featured image

Reading classmates’ posts makes me think about two things: First, I reflect upon logistics and shipment. As a second step, I wonder whether and how Cournot’s model can be applied to this case.

In my final thesis, I developed a model based on Cournot’s model which predicts the amount of production and the price in an oligopolistic market. With my knowledge about this model and the articles I have read, I realized that this could be applied to logistics.

Cournot competition is an economic model describing an industry structure in which competing firms that produce the same homogeneous and undifferentiated good choose a quantity to produce independently and simultaneously.

This model can be applied to address capacity competition in a source-destination trade route. For example, two shipping companies are opting to capture a still available volume of a trade route. The question is how much shipping capacity each of these companies should devote, having in mind that the competitor is ready to make a similar decision. Applying Cournot’s model provides us with the reaction functions for company A and B, respectively. They represent downward sloping curves, as the optimal supply for each company is negatively related to the expected level of supply of the other one. On the other hand, the solution of the model is given by Nash equilibrium, in which both companies have to be maximizing profits simultaneously (given the other company’s capacity supply), that is they must both be on their reaction curves. Thus, the reaction curves’ intersection corresponds to the unique Nash equilibrium for this model.

More info:

Cournot competition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cournot_competition

Example of application of Cournot competition to a logistic case: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/mel/journal/v11/n2/full/mel20092a.html

Information Flow

I would like to talk about how I deal with logistics in my daily work, focusing on the importance of information flow. I work as a production manager in a local furniture factory. The company focuses its efforts in creating exclusive and personalized products for the senior executive segment, being big meeting tables the most representative product.

jmm-aramco

In order to compete in the market, the company tries to deliver high quality customized products within a short delivery time (usually 35-50 days). All the meeting tables are designed specifically to meet each client needs (regarding sizes, materials, electronic devices); therefore most of the time gathering materials in advance is unnecessary.

I am aware of the short delivery time for such special products; consequently boosting the information flow is very important. The process normally works as follows:

The sales department receives the purchase order, and they are in charge of introducing it on the production program.  Sometimes the specifications and definition of the product are not complete. In those cases, I ask the sales department to talk to the client, but as we sell products to many countries, we do not immediately receive the answer.

Once the product is well-defined, it is time to speak with the technical department. They have to identify all the raw materials, make the CAD/CAM drawings, and define the products that we will order to the external suppliers. The purchase department is in charge of gathering what is needed. As we do not buy big batches of anything, it is important to have good relations (kind of friendship) with all of the suppliers, in order to reduce the delivery time.

Now, we are able to start the production phase. Do you remember those 50 days? We do not have them anymore. Some of the materials are delivered in the factory, but we also have to pick up some of them with our means. Metallic raw materials are delivered within 2 days, but wooden raw ones take around 10 days. Leather and electronic devices are delivered normally in 20 days. It is important to know exactly when all of them are coming.

There are five different areas in the factory (metalwork, woodwork, upholstery, assembly and packaging) and all of them have to know exactly what to do. The process starts manufacturing the wooden and metallic parts of the table. When they are finished, some of them are sent to an external supplier (finishing process / 6-8 days), and others are moved to the upholstery process. Once everything is finished, we assembly the table, check the quality, disassembly it and pack everything for delivering. Most of the times we also manufacture big wooden boxes to put the packaged parts inside and avoid problems during transportation.

To sum up, I consider that Information flow is very important among all the processes, in order to avoid time wastes, as well as to involve everybody in the delivery time. On the other hand, all suggestions about how to improve the process will be really welcome.