Inventory Control in 3pl

Hello! Blog viewers, I am here with another experience of my observation of a 3PL company during my Bachelors study in India. The ABC company was a third party logistics company working in Northern regions of India (5 states). The organization was having limited inventory flow which sometimes lead them to losses on deliveries. Lets understand the situation.

Every day company had to deliver 2 Trucks following the pattern of LTL (Less truck load) and 3 Trucks as FTL (Full Truck Load) combined with other consignments. The Trucks of LTL were supposed to go to 4 distribution centers so the cost was covered. But almost 10 days of the month The company was not able to fulfil inventory transportation of LTL consignments because of more cost of transportation than service charges for the consignment. So, firm management decided to hire services for LTL from market (& competitors) to keep satisfying the customer. But in this process they were loosing the profit share of those consignments. I kept wondering, if their was another way to handle their inventory and manage a proper process.

During my session of Logistics, I realised they were facing major inventory handling problems. Some of the problems were Procurement cost which includes Administration component, handling, Transportation (increased because of involvement of other service providers) and Inspection of arrival. Other cost is Shortage cost which includes Additional cost of special order, Lost of customer goodwill, Loss of sales.

Moral of the experience was Proper management of inventory and its handling costs is important to maintain the goodwill of the company and sustainability. Control on inventory has became vital for the survival of the organizations.

SF Express, how China’s express industry leader goes global

Last year’s US election was such a dramatic spectacle that it was comparable to a live election show. Locally on November 4, the USA TODAY ballot counting screen suddenly showed a SF Express.

Screenshot from the US media live stream

With its current efficiency and reputation, SF is the leader in China’s express industry.

SF EXPRESS

According to media reports, Americans overseas can use international delivery services to return their mail-in ballots to the US or to US embassies and consulates. An American in China told the Global Times on Thursday under the condition of anonymity that he used EMS to deliver his ballot on October 9 from China’s Macao Special Administrative Region and it arrived in California on October 15.

DHL, UPS and FedEx have all grown into giants in the international logistics industry after decades or even centuries of precipitation, and their industry experience, financial resources and developed global logistics networks are far beyond the reach of SF Express.

  • DHL was founded in 1969 and currently employs over 285,000 people worldwide, with over 450 transshipment centers, warehouses and distribution depots and 420 aircraft;
  • Federal Express (FEDEX) was established in 1971 and now has over 138,000 employees, 50,000 delivery points, 671 aircraft and 41,000 vehicles worldwide;
  • UPS was established in 1907 and now has 108,210 delivery vehicles, 657 aircraft and serves more than 220 countries and territories.
  • SF Express was founded in 1993, and as of December 19, it has only 58 cargo planes, a difference of dozens of times with the other three.
Three major multinational express logistics companies

Statistics show that in 2018, the three major multinational express logistics companies accounted for 90% of the global market share of international express, the revenue is several times that of SF.

In terms of the global logistics network, the first three international express have a developed logistics network, collection, transport and delivery of their own processing.

And SF International? Take shipping to the US for example, the first half of the collection and transportation is handled by SF Express itself, while the second half relies on UPS’s logistics network for operations

Without independent customs clearance capabilities and its own delivery network, it is difficult to achieve the desired stability in terms of timeliness and user experience.

No trade or entity or even service industry can be separated from logistics. Logistics causes trade to develop and trade drives a country’s economy.Only when SF has its own global logistics delivery network and perfect service system, can it really go to the international market and compete with several other old international couriers, and this day, SF needs to go a long long way.

Research ON RFID-TECHNOLOGY IN WAREHOUSE

Hello! everyone, I want to share an experience from last semester. In Research Methodology subject we were given opportunity to do research on a topic of our choice & I did my research on RFID technology in Warehouses. I will share with you my Findings during research. Lets start with ‘What is RFID technology?’

Radio-frequency identification uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. An RFID tag consists of a tiny radio transponder; a radio receiver and transmitter. It is a technology for tracking the movement of goods throughout the supply chain process.

Lets see how it works in a warehouse through a video..

Some of the Major Observations During my study about RFID were:

  • Depends on the deprivation cost, the severity of error and the shrinkage recovery rate.
  • Attractive ways to improve supply chain efficiency through greater coordination between marketing and manufacturing.
  • These techniques are used for:

•- inventory management to theft detection

•- keeping track of material and maintenance tools

•- safety monitoring 

•- automation of warehouse operations

•- reliability & accuracy at best speed 

This technology is nowadays used by top logistics companies in order to simplify and fasten the process with low possibility of mistakes in supply chain management. During my research I also observed that the companies not adapting to IOT are facing challenge of sustainability in the market.

I would appreciate your experiences and comments related to RFID technology, do share your knowledge.

covid vaccine distribution faces storage and Logistical challenges

This past week, some of my family and friends from Manila and Doha posted on social media that they had been vaccinated for covid. Some of them are the same of my age, so I wonder what are the reasons why I’m not receiving it? why in other places are delayed? I searched on the internet to know the situation in distribution and here is what I discovered…

Source: CBS Evening News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQATtH9KVqk

As reported by CBS Evening News, the vaccine needs to be stored in the box at a certain temperature (Pfizer: 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) using dry ice made from carbon dioxide (CO2), which is not easy to maintain during shipping. So, for me that’s one of the gaps that caused delay in the distribution.

Above is a rich picture that highlight the issues, based on the video and my personal observation. What about you, can you think of another issues and propose a solution to fill the gap? Please write in the comment section.

A greener Future for the aviation sector (flying-V)

Image source: Google images

Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is rapidly revolutionizing mobility technologies across industries, from automotive to marine and the aviation industry is no exception (Airbus, 2021).

According to the ICAO in its blog “Future of Aviation“, in 2017, airlines worldwide carried around 4.1 billion passengers. They transported 56 million tones of freight on 37 million commercial flights. Every day, airplanes transport over 10 million passengers and around USD 18 billion worth of goods.

This represents the significant economic impact of aviation on the world economy, since aviation represents 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide (2.7 trillion US dollars) and has created 65 million jobs globally, (ICAO, 2021).

However, all this transportation activities have a major impact in the environment, since its source of power is fossil fuel. This releases a considerably high amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, and as a consequence it increases global warming.

For this reason some companies have already started developing new technologies in order to create electric airplanes that can transport these goods in a more efficient and greener way. This is the case of the model Flying-V. A group of engineers have been working on this new model of electric commercial airplane, and their first test have been successful, here is a short video that shows this innovation.

This project have been developed in collaboration with three big companies (Airbus, TU Delft y KLM) that have adopted an open innovation business model to create this new amazing aircraft. Innovations like this one will definitely impact the logistics industry in very positive way.

VUCA Environment

In the activity of our last logistics class we got in contact with an environment that best can be described as VUCA. For me the term VUCA was completely new and I wanted to know it’s meaning. This blog post is addressed at those that, just like me, are unfamiliar with the term and want to obtain an understanding of it.

The acronym VUCA comes from the American military and describes the highly demanding conditions in war zones, where nothing could be predicted and everything could change from one day to the next. The term VUCA has been adopted to project management as well as general corporate environments because most of the time these conditions are also common in these business environments. VUCA stands for:

  • VOLATILE – change is rapid and unpredictable  in its nature and extent.
  • UNCERTAIN – the present is unclear and the future is uncertain.
  • COMPLEX – many different, interconnected factors  come into play, with the potential to cause chaos and confusion.
  • AMBIGUOUS – there is a lack of clarity or awareness about situations.

HOW TO DEAL WITH A VUCA ENVIRONMENT?

In order to deal with VOLATILITY a clear VISION is needed for orientation when it feels like everything is changing around you. So define your vision and make sure you and your project staff always keep it in mind.

UNCERTAINTY can be countered with UNDERSTANDING. Information is needed to make decisions. So make sure there is a way to exchange knowledge between all participants. Additionally, you should also deal with risks early on and conduct detailed risk management.

React to COMPLEXITY with CLARITY. Provide clear direction, communicate clearly and try to design processes as simply as possible.

Fight AMBIGUITY with AGILITY. Ensure cooperation and communication between all project participants. Working agilely makes this simple, for example, by having a daily Scrum to keep everyone up-to-date.

As Logistics is defined by the flow of information and goods, dealing with a VUCA environment is definitely an important part of any logistics manager’s day-to-day business. I hope this post brought some clarity about the meaning of VUCA and some of you can benefit from it. Detailed information can be found here.

The 10 most innovative logistics companies of 2021

The Fast Company provides numerous top-10 rankings for the most innovative companies by categories such as, architecture, beauty, robotics, gaming, energy, logistics and others that you can find in their website.
This article introduce 10 Logistic Companies that have applied innovation in their procesess, products or services, to provide solutions during 2020 -a challenging year even for innovators- and at the same time, gives interesting examples of how logistics can be applied in a wide variety of industries in different stages of the value chain. Visit their websites to get more info!

1. GOTRG

“Reverse logistics” company goTRG specializes in helping retailers to reshelve, reclaim, and repurpose returned inventory. In 2020, the company launched several dedicated TV refurbishment centers at a major US retailer, redirecting hundreds of thousands of units out of landfills and into resale streams.

2. COUPA

Its new offering, Source Together, allows buyers seeking the same products to band together on “community sourcing events” to collectively choose, bid on, and award contracts, reducing their rates and providing suppliers with larger orders.

3. NARVAR

In response to the pandemic, Narvar rapidly rolled out solutions for companies facing store shutdowns, including returning in-store purchases through the mail, pivoting stores to ship merchandise, facilitating buy-online-pickup-curbside options, and expanding paperless returns (using a QR code) to all three major U.S. mail carriers.

4. VECNA ROBOTICS

With the release of Pivotal, a “multi-agent AI-based orchestration engine,” the company introduced the ability for clients to quickly and effectively coordinate and delegate work for both human and robot workers, reportedly helping clients double throughput.

5. PROGLOVE

In 2020 wearable scanner company ProGlove released the Mark Display, a matchbox-sized scanner and screen that, via a glove, mounts on the back of warehouse workers’ hands for simple, lightweight scanning.

6. CAHOOT

Cahoot’s Shipping Label Solution helps members analyze all combinations of fulfillment location, shipping distance, and cost to surface the cheapest way to get product to customers on time. This year it grew to more than 100 peer-to-peer merchants, and and moved more than $300 million in product.

7. BREAKTHROUGH

Breakthrough’s Network Intelligence system (launched in 2020) allows shippers to dynamically engage with their contract carriers, adding or removing partners as needed. The company’s dashboard houses thousands of data points about trucking companies, allowing clients to evaluate potential partners based on cost, speed, or quantity, and surfacing AI recommendations based on their priorities.

8. SHIPBOB

ShipBob fulfills orders for more than 3,500 DTC merchants. In 2020, the company expanded to international fulfillment centers, added free analytics tools to estimate shipping times and costs, and introduced new integrations with Loop, Shopify, Squarespace, Google and eBay.

9. RANPAK

In 2020, it introduced three paper-based solutions to its suite of eco-friendly shipping products: AccuFill, an automated system for cushioning packages that ensures just enough paper filler is used to be effective; PadPak Guardian, a machine that quickly and easily pads light and heavy items with paper bundles; and FillPak Trident, a paper alternative to plastic packing pillows.

10. 3RD STONE DESIGN

In 2020, 3rd Stone Design was awarded from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Grand Challenges for its Stone Cold Systems for vaccine delivery. The battery-powered portable vaccine refrigerators, designed for deployment in low- and middle-income countries, keep medical products cold without the use of electricity, and can be remotely monitored for temperature and location.

Drones: A possible ally against COVID-19

There are many challenges considering the actual pandemic situation including the production limitation of vaccines, tests, and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but without a good development of logistics, they could not reach the final users, specially when rural health inequities exist.

For this reason, the drone delivery service “Zipline” in partnership with the Government of Ghana, have started an air distribution of vaccines to the most remote areas where other types of transportation would take longer and imply more costs. In addition, UPS (logistics company) had been providing critical ground transportation of the vaccines and in conjunction with Zipline, have placed nests (bases for the drones to launch and land) in strategic zones to distribute vaccines across Ghana. It is also noted that this company had already experienced in the topic when it provided support for the distribution of COVID-19 tests.

The process of the delivery by drone consists on the drone arriving to the health facility or a specific out of reach vaccination centre, and instead of landing, it will lower its altitude to be able to release the package, in this the vaccine, from the air. The package will then parachute to the ground and land in a three-metre-wide area approximately.

The link from below is a video on how this system works and that was taken in Rwanda in 2016, when Zipline was also assisting in the critical healthcare access initiatives.

https://www.forbes.com/video/4885618798001/

As seen in other companies such as the partnership of Merck (pharmaceutical company) and Volansi (drone technology) whose purpose was to create an efficient delivery of routine medications, this would not be the first-time using drones for medical purposes. Some of the reasons regarding their use lay on the fact that drones will make distribution of medications and vaccines in rural areas more equity that how they currently operate and could also mean a cost-saving mean of transport (between 20 to 50% under a wide range of conditions and depending on the size of population served, the radius, quality of roads).

Even though the idea of distributing vaccines by drones sounds promising and interesting and give a possible solution for the always complex logistical challenge, there are still many requirements to take into account if considering this option. As vaccines can be delicate to transport and may require special storage (ultra-cold storage), there are still some technological and regulatory hurdles than need to be improved.

It is for sure an alternative with many advantages for the health industry and that can produce a positive impact on the vaccine logistics by reaching more people.

From: Forbes – Drones Are Now Being Used To Deliver Covid-19 Vaccines https://www.forbes.com/sites/saibala/2021/03/06/drones-are-now-being-used-to-deliver-covid-19-vaccines/?sh=70633ca126dc

Transport Topics – Drones Could Help Bridge Divides for Vaccine Distribution https://www.ttnews.com/articles/drones-could-help-bridge-divides-vaccine-distribution

SKYPOD SYSTEM FROM EXOTEC

This new system assists in the management of product and material storage in automated warehouses and imporves floor space utilization and does not require manua labor to operate. With the automated robot Skypod they optimize eCommerce in your warehouse.

The company

Founded in 2015 by Romain Moulin and Renaud Heitz, Exotec builds an autonomous robot, Skypod 3d, for fulfillment warehouses that automate the collection and moving of goods inside a warehouse.

The startup’s revenue doubled in 2020 as several new international clients, including Carrefour and Fast Retailing, adopted their technology in key warehousses. In 2019 Exotec and the internationa retail company, Fast Retailing started a new partnership,

The system & Robots

Some experts in the logistics world have said that this system is nowadays the best solution in the actual marketplace in order picking systems for units.

The operation is very simple, is based in shelves, robots and picking stations, only the robots have moving parts, the other components are passive elements, therefore they do not need maintenance and they do not have the chance to be damaged.

It is a vertical solution, the system and the boxes and shelves use the space of the warehouse in a efficient way, they leverage until 12 meters height. The robots themselves, using rails in the shelves, goes up to pick the container and bring to the work station, with the worker.

Another advantge of the system is the power consumption, that are lower than other automatic modes, due to the fact that the robots only weigh 45 kg.

In other words, this company is changing the rules of the game in the logistics of E-commerce companies. With the patented system of going up through the shelves and their robots, they can achieve incredibles times in searching, picking and sending the product to the final consumer. Due to the individuality of each robot, if you business growth you can add more robots, shelves and picking stations.

In the video below, you can see the different advantages and components of the system. Enjoy it!

Mercadona sustainable logistics

Based on the Environmental Management System and Circular Economy, Mercadona includes respect for the environment and dedicates more and more efforts towards reducing the environmental impact of its activity, to manufacture more with less resources, promoting the Circular Economy in its processes.

Mercadona has been working for more than 25 years with his logistic totaler supplier Logifruit, with whom have consolidated a sustainable model based on the optimization of resources. One of the main reasons to succeed in is the launched of the plastic pallet and the folding box which are sanitizable, reusable and recyclable.

A clear example of this resource’s optimization is the replacement of rigid boxes by folding boxes which have meant benefits for the whole supply chain. In the space occupied by a rigid box, three folding boxes are transported now. That’s mean a decrease of 96.710 trucks trips, less fuel used and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Mercadona bet for this circular economy model where the design and resources used allow that pallet and boxes to be finish many circles. From the raw material supplier to the store. You can also add its cleanliness, easy repair and recyclability of these modular designs.

After each cycle of use, each pallet or box return to the warehouse and begin an automated cleaning and disinfection process that guarantees safety and hygiene. After a few minutes they are available to start a new cycle. This way of working allows Mercadona a highly raw material exploitation and work for a “zero residue” program.

The reutilization of these boxes and pallets avoids the usage of 180.000 tons a year of one-use materials. They also improve the transportation and storage costs which help to a competitive price strategy.

Reverse logistics

This process also works due to the reverse logistics and the “Eight strategy”, which main objective is not to transport “air”, that means that trucks do not travel with empty loads.

Trucks carry the used containers to a centre where they are inspected and fixed if it is necessary.  After a few minutes, containers are ready to return to suppliers or stores.  

Boom! when 5G technology+AGvs

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) is a type of wheeled mobile robot, which moves along the wires or markers or magnetic strips on the floor, or through visual navigation or laser navigation. It is mostly applied to industry for transporting in warehouses.

Momo case: How can AGVs help?

Momo, the biggest B2C e-commerce platform in Taiwan, used AGVs instead of manual picking in their warehouses. The automated system schedules AGVs to pull goods at various points. Moreover, they can quickly shuttle back and forth to reduce picking movement, which improves the efficiency by about 4 times compared with the past, and releases about 60% of the labor resources. This can really add value to the work and assists Momo to optimize the picking process of handling, loading and unloading. Create a highly competitive smart warehouse.

Momo applied AVGs in warehouses.

Supported by 5G technology

In February of 2020, there was no warning of the pandemic. The demand for toilet paper increased sharply and shelves were empty in various parts of the world. Supported by 5G technology, Momo used AI forecasts to sort the items with the high speed. The combination of 5G technology and the AGVs can increasing machine intelligence and support new coordination mechanisms.

Due to that, the toilet paper that takes a lot of logistics capacity is directly delivered to the sub warehouse, which avoided blocking the storage lines of other epidemic prevention hot-selling products. At the same time, it also saves the transit time between the main warehouse and the sub warehouse. This smart warehousing becomes a winning weapon for logistic company. In face of the pandemic, Momo can respond quickly and grasp the opportunities.

Future: 5G apply to AGVs

In the past, when the data transmissions become limited, accidents might occur with Wi-Fi. Over the years, thanks to advancements in 5G connectivity, AGVs have moved closer to becoming truly autonomous robots, no longer reliant on preconfigured scripts.

With 5G, AGVs can utilize navigation algorithms, LiDAR sensors, vision technology and virtual map sharing to detect objects, think on their own and move autonomously through facilities. Wi-Fi can’t support these advanced machines with the seamless coverage and high data transfers needed to operate in sprawling environments. 5G is the only technology that can provide the reliability, bandwidth, coverage and security required to safely operate AGVs. The objective of it is to promote the realization of the vision of Industry 4.0.

GREEN LOGISTICS?

Nowadays pollution is a topic of great importance in all the industries, as for the daily operations of a company, big quantities of CO2 are released. For the logistics sector, this contamination is produced because of the use of fossil fuels in transportation, but what if we could keep transporting the products from one place to another without having such a big negative impact on the planet?

A possible solution for this issue is the utilization of renewable energies such as the one generated by green Hydrogen. This chemical element is abundant in nature, is light and highly reactive. This hydrogen can be obtained by electrolysis (a chemical process that separates hydrogen from oxygen in water).

Some advantages of this growing industry:
– It is 100% sustainable compared to traditional fuels

-It can be transformed into electricity for mobility and other purposes

-It can be stored and used after its production

-It can travel through the same channels and infrastructure as gas and can be mixed with it up to 20%

Some challenges to face:

-High costs related to equipment and technology as there is a lack of infrastructure for this chemical and the production process is not fully developed, which increases the costs compared to the ones of diesel.

-High costs of vehicles, even though it is an eco-friendly option for the logistics sector, it will increase the service prices.

“According to some studies, the year-on-year increase in hydrogen plants between 2018 and 2019 worldwide was 20%, between 2019 and 2020 it was over 50% and between 2020 and 2021 it is expected to exceed 100%, i.e. double the number of operational stations.”

According to prediction from the World Hydrogen Council, its production will become 50% cheaper by 2030, being one of the fuels of the future. Furthermore, the European Commission presented a “Sustainable and Intelligent Mobility Strategy” a specific plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 90% related to transportation in the next three decades.

With the development of this environmental energy source, transportation companies can become more sustainable while developing their current business and lowering their carbon footprint.

From: Stock Logistics – Green hydrogen will gain importance in the logistics sector

The layout that made McDonald’s become the fast food reference

McDonnald’s is one those brands that doent’s need much introduction. It was founded in 1940 by the McDonald’s brothers as a small burger restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

With a small success in their main product and experience with their customers, which were people interested in eating during a car stop, they realised that the customer was waiting too much time to receive their product. So since one of the brothers (Rick) was a numbers focused man, he found that they had to improve their product preparation so that customers’ orders could be delivered earlier. That internal process of transforming a complete system sounds easy, but it comes as a part of a complete mindset change, that led them to deliver burgers in thirty seconds instead of thirty minutes, which ended in the invention of fast food.

How they become a fast food restaurant?

In the movie The Founder, we can see how this innovative process layout was made. They met with their kitchen employees in a tennis court and mapped out with chalk, test and redesign their restaurant layouts to find the most efficient workflow by applying a lean method to food preparation.

It is interesting to see how just the layout change could have affected their whole business. For example, their facility, suppliers and strategy changed to become a fast-food restaurant. At that time, they didn’t realise the potential of their idea of fast food, until Ray Korc entered the game and transformed that franchisable pre-made process into one of the most profitable franchises in the world. This layout also gave them a competitive advantage among its competitors, not just because of the flavour or the meal quality, but also for the process and achievement of what their customer highly valued as part of their quality service: delivery speed. As a sign of their innovative philosophy, they still keep introducing and testing new layouts in their restaurants, as the indoor seating, play areas, self-service kiosks or grab and go place.

Currently, we could see how the focus on the same customer satisfaction strategy, with the optimization of delivery time, has become one of Amazon’s competitive advantage and positioned them as a reference in terms of logistics.

Walmart’s Consolidation Centres Aimed at Supply Chain Efficiency

Walmart’s consolidation centres all over the U.S are expected to increase the speed and efficiencies with Walmart’s supply chain. These high-tech consolidations centres are able to receive, sort and ship freight out to the retailer’s other 42 regional distribution centres.

Consolidation Centres way of working

Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. We employ over 2.2 million associates around the world — nearly 1.5 million in the U.S. alone.

Walmart’s supply chain now uses 11 third -party consolidation centres know as CenterPoint, which are located throughout the U.S. The facilities mostly consist of cross dock terminals that take products shipped using less than full-truckload (LTL) and bundle them into full-truckloads for better efficiencies. Walmart likes to move products in full-truckload because it is less expensive, minimizing the net landed cost of goods into their distribution network. The freight coming from the consolidation centers is routed to Walmart’s 42 distribution centers, which then concentrate on moving the items to the stores.

Rather than suppliers sending small shipments directly to Walmart’s distribution centres oround the country, Walmart reduces freight costs by having suppliers transporting their LTL loads into the nearest CenterPoint, which consolidates all merchandise going to the same distribution centre with the goal to achieve a full-truckload inbound to every distribution centre. Once the full-truckload is achieved or a time window constraint has elapsed, trucks are dispatched from the CenterPoint to the distribution centre.

Consolidation Centres design

CenterPoint distribution centres are similar in shape and size to cross dock terminals in which they tend to be long skinny buildings with many dock doors on either side of the building. The exception to this rule is with facilities that must use cold storage. These facilities are strategically located around the U.S with the objectives being to minimize inbound transportation costs primarily for LTL loads.

Amazon’s most surreal warehouse patents

As the last blog posts of Belen and Lucas showed, the company Amazon is driving innovation forward in the logistic industry like no other company. In accordance with our last class about warehouse design, I was curious about what innovations might come in the next years and found some unbelievable patents of Amazon for new era warehouses.

As the chart above indicates, Amazon is obtaining hundreds of patents every year. By doing this they want to assure their position as a world leading online marketplace. In order to have the warehouses as near as possible to the customer, Amazon is looking up to the air and down to the ground to find new possibilities for warehousing in highly urbanized areas. Two of the patents that astonished me the most are listed beneath. More incredible patents can be found here.

An underwater Warehouse

Watery warehouses? Amazon's 'Aquatic Fulfillment Centers' could make it so  - GeekWire

The goods would be stored in watertight containers that have a fish-swim-bladder-like cartridge in order to control their height in the water. When a container needed to be retrieved, acoustic waves would be sent to it to activate the cartridge, which would send the package to the surface of the water. In the pool warehouses, boxes could be stacked in endless piles with no need for humans or robots to move around them and therefore no space for pathways between the boxes is needed. This would give a huge advantage in space usage in comparison to usual warehouses. [More Info]

The beehive-like Drone Tower

Amazon has applied to patent a beehive-like drone tower

Described as a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles”, the tower would be particularly useful to Amazon in densely populated areas. Amazon is already testing the drones aka. bees that would be needed for this type of fulfillment centre, as we have seen in the last logistics class. The drones are able to fly at heights of 122 meters with a speed of 80 km/h and around 2.3 kg of cargo weight. Despite many regulatory issues that the towers would face, this could become reality much faster than we expected. [More Info]

the race for covid-19 inoculation

At the beginning of the pandemic, the global objective was to “flatten the curve” of contagions. One year later, the objective is to “accelerate the curve” of vaccination to achieve immunity in the shortest time possible, a medical and logistical challenge at global scale.

Eyes are on the global race to vaccinate the population to stop the advance of the Coronavirus pandemic. Until March 31, 2021, a total of 595.92 million vaccines have been administered globally acccording Our World in Data.

The total number of vaccination administered give us a preliminar idea of what is happening but, do not reflect the number of people vaccinated because most of the vaccines available needs two doses to generate the desired immunity. In the following graph we can see the share of population by country that at least have recieve one dose of vaccination.

From there, we can analyze possible factors that might caused that some countries, such as Chile have already reached the 35% of the population in their vaccination campaign, aiming the ambicious objective of reaching 80% of population by the first semester of 2021.

Sanitary and logistical capacity installed to be able to carry out mass vaccinations.

A system that is based on a strong network of primary health care centers at the city council level makes it easy to create a calendar according to the age of the population in order to prioritize patients who are older and at risk of disease, also seen in Israel strategy. Nevertheless, health centers and hospitals are not enough, specially when the sanitary system its reaching limits as consequence of the outbreak.

For Chilean politician, the logistics plan must include the use of adapted areas, such as: schools, colleges, public gyms, stadiums, and even drive-in’s were up to four people can recieve the shot. In this logistic bet, dozens of vehicles line up to enter a health circuit where the first stop is vaccination and the second, a parking lot, which functions as an observation area for possible adverse reactions. For them, the aim is to multiply the number of people vaccinated, reaching 15.000 vaccination centers, and being able to inoculate up to 319,014 people in a day.

Vaccination Drive in’s in Chile.
Massive and diversified purchasing strategy to have vaccine availability.

Diversification of suppliers has worked in the midst of a global context of limited distribution, especially for those high-income countries that bet only on vaccines produced in the West. In the contrary, the case of Chile, which vaccinates 3 times faster than Spain, has reached agreements for the acquisition of 36 million vaccines and has already bought the companies Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and they are still in negotiation processes for the purchase of Sputnik V and Cansino to ensure availability of supplies, in addition to be part of the Covax program. The European Union, for its part, bet mainly on AstraZeneca and Pfizer, which have had logistical problems to produce and deliver the committed quantities, with contracts that favor them in these cases and with agreed quarterly deliveries, added to the preventive suspension of the vaccination for 2 weeks due to suspected side effects, causing a delay in vaccination throughout the region.

Mobilise all available resources

About 3.7 billion of the 6.8 billion doses of vaccines have been purchased by wealthy countries, according to an analysis by Duke University. Those who have been able to negotiate purchases by investing large amounts of public funds and generating price and volume agreements. Then there are the middle-income countries, which, with limited purchasing power, use other strategies to get ahead of the line, such as India and Brazil, which have managed to negotiate large commitments for the main vaccine candidates as part of the agreements. manufacturing.

There is also the case of Chile, which, although it does not have the capacity to manufacture or develop vaccines, can host clinical trials, which has allowed it to negotiate purchase agreements, and despite being the second most unequal country in the OECD, only behind Mexico, it has privileged resources and extensive business connections with vaccine producing countries.

Global logistic challenge

Imperial College of London researchers say integrated modelling for accurated prediction on how optimize procesess and flexible planning approach to multifactorial problems will be essential for manufacturers to meet the global COVID-19 vaccine demand.

In the current climate supply chains could face significant disruption from closed borders and limited international travel and transportation and additional pressures caused if personnel cannot work due to health issues, or if production processes break down. Their expert recommendation is: Optimising production, It is essential that manufacturers tackle capacity limitations and identify an efficient strategy that will enable them to be effective. Scale-out of manufacturing reduces the risk of losing production and supply capacity, by increasing the availability of operational facilities over a wider geographic area. This means that if one facility fails, others will be able to continue with production. Re-routing supply chains and distribution networks  it’s vital that supply chain networks are agile and flexible to mitigate risks related to route, and to be responsive to needs. In the early stages, vaccine availability will be insufficient to immediately cover global demand, so strategies will have to be decided at governmental and global levels to decide who will be prioritised for the initial doses. This will define the target for the supply chain and will change over time.