All posts by constanzatp

Startups

 

Actually, Startups are at their peak. This new meaning of entrepreneur company with fast growth is revolutionizing the business. In Spain, we can find Startupexplore which is the biggest community of startups and investors. In addition, if we focus in Valencia, the department of Employment and Entrepreneurship of the City Council tries to promote the entrepreneurship through their initiative Valencia Emprende. Otherwise, the intention of this post is based on discover some logistic startups and analyze them.

image 1

Figure 1. Activities undertaken for the City Council of Valencia for helping local startups. Source: http://www.valenciaemprende.es/es/que-hacemos

The word Startup involves those companies of new creation that are in the first stage of operation. They present a huge possibility of growth and profitability.  The fast growth is due they usually need lower funding, in comparison with other kind of businesses, for its implementation. This funding can be obtained from investors who, in return, demand for a percentage of the company. In addition, innovation through creative business idea is a key aspect which is commonly related with their success. Basically the main goal of them is to become a company but it requires having a good business plan and executing it correctly.

image 2.pngFigure 2. Investment activities of the Spanish startups. Source:  http://www.abc.es/economia/abci-startups-burbuja-mascool201604110826_noticia.html

Video of TEDx about startup (10:45-11:33)

Despite startups are becoming very popular specially in the technological field, they show reluctant to logistics being this a difficult ground of entry. Next, a list of some logistic startups is provided, therefore you’ll be able, by clicking on them, of seeing more information.logistic startups.

Transportation Systems

 

Freight Rates

 

Containers Crowd Shipping End to end shipping 3PL Local delivery Storage
Matternet

 

Transporteca
iContainers

Freight Filter
Xeneta
Shippo

ShipHawk
Veritread
Logistitrade

 

Staxxon
Holland Container Innovations

 

Friendshippr

Barnacle
Nimber

Zipments For You
TrunkBird
UberCARGO
Roadie

Shipster

Shyp
ShipBob
Schlep
Flexport

Shipwise

Shipwire
Cloud Fulfillment

Local Motion
MuniRent
 

Boxc

Postmates
DoorDash

Zipments

Deliv
Sidecar Deliveries

Rickshaw
Parcel
 

Lockitron
MakeSpace

Boxbee

ShareMyStorage

Cubbyhole.

Keycafe

Roost
Swapbox

Table 1. List of logistic startups.

To go deeper in one example, I would like to write about Shipwire, one of the previous platforms in the list. This startup allows the user to carry out and satisfy any logistic demand such as shipping, warehousing or processing. They count with some warehouses around the world in strategic places where they can store your product. Therefore, they are able to provide fast and flexible shipping. In addition, they try for you to optimize all the process with the aim of guarantee the best price. Moreover, the user is able to customize its delivery by adding labels and personalizing inserts such as announcements or stickers, among other things.

Video 2. Order fulfillment with shipwire (0-1:34)

To sum up, startups present a great future and are a good way of innovate and provide a new focus to logistics, making easy the communication and transport of products.

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The hidden face of logistics

As we had the opportunity to see along all our posts, logistics is everywhere and forms part in many processes in a wide variety of sectors. As a consequence, the organs transplants are not an exception. Only in our country, more than 100.000 transplants had taken place since 1965 which is the year when this practice started. Time, as usually in logistics, plays an important role in a process where coordination between all the parts involved is crucial. The aim of this post is to give a basic idea of how it works the organs transplant and clarify the existent link between this and logistics.

In first place, the organs transplant is known as a complex medical treatment where organs, tissues or cells are transplanted from one person to other i.e. a damaged organ is substituted by one that functions correctly. The process starts when the donor has been diagnosed of encephalic death and a quick call has to be made to notify this fact so it is possible to start with the organization of the organs’ offer to the different transplant teams and prepare the operatives. There is a transplant coordinator who is responsible for providing the clinical, analytical and anthropometry data with the objective of facilitate the assessment of the possible use of the organs. All the data related with the steps of the transplant and the time that takes place is pointed in a dossier.

Video about organs transplants (1:52 – 3:45)

There are mainly four aspects where logistics is involved which are, in first place, the material means that are needed for the extraction of several organs, location of the personnel and coordination of the transport. Regarding the transport, the mechanism chosen for performing this task varies according the distance which is divided in:

  • Local donor: it is in the same city than the team on charge of the extraction and transplant but in different hospital. Therefore, the coordinator of the hospital organizes the displacement.
  • Short distance: sanitary cars or helicopters are used when the distance is lower than 200 km.
  • Long distance: private flight companies are hired and in some cases the air army realizes the transport. At least two hours are needed for preparing the flight so the coordination is essential between the hospitals involved and the ONT (National organization of transplants).

Secondly, it is important the preparation of the multiorgan extraction. The organ when is take from the body needs to be cooled, clean and preserved (the conditions will change in function of the organ or tissue). It is important to have a stock of the fluids used for the preservation, a sterile container and an isotainer for its transport. In addition, the third point consists on having good intrahospital coordination in the moment of the extraction. Moreover, the last step is based on the reposition of the stock.

material quirúrgico

Image 1: Surgical material needed for the organ transplant.

To sum up, the coordination of organs transplants involves a wide spectrum of aspects such as legal, clinical, organizational and human which takes place between hospitals and governmental institutions. There are evidences that point Spain as one of the countries with the most effective model of transplants. This success can be justified by the new surgical techniques and medical treatments together with an increase of organs donated. All this cannot be possible without logistics, which is responsible for the coordination of the transplant, the transport on time of the organ, the right stock repositioning, the use of a informatics system which is able of search information and channeling reports and requests for donor and transplant, among others.

 

Stocks & Inventory

After being analysing cases in lectures where the different kind of stocks and the bests ways of keeping inventory were involved, I thought that could be interesting to write a post where I’ll review these topics deeply.

As it is well known, the stock is the set of goods or products which belongs to an organization or individual that used them to achieve certain objectives. It results important to have always the necessary quantity, in the moment or place wished in the most economical way that is possible. Furthermore, there exist different kinds of stocks that are classified according to their function or the point of view of its management.

  • Functional stock:

– Safety stock: it consists on having a volume of existences over the quantity which is really needed to face possible fluctuations on demand or unexpected delivery delays.

– Cycle stock: products or goods that supply the common customers demand. This stock is depleted over the time.

– Presentation stock: it is the one visible to customers for serving the most imminent sells.

– Seasonal stock: the aim of this stock is to face the expected sales that take place in a specific season (e.g.: ice cream, sunglasses, etc.).

– Stock in transit: it is going round on the different stages of the productive and commercial process.

– Recovery stock: are products or goods already used that can be reused partially or completely for new ones.

– Dead stock: are those products that can’t be reused so should be discarded.

– Speculative stock: accumulation of stock when it is believed that the demand will increase considerably.

  • Operational Stock:

– Optimum stock: establish a good relation between attend adequately the demand and acquiring maximum profit having in mind the holding costs.

– Zero stock: there is only the stock necessary to supply a specific demand.

– Physic stock: is the quantity of product available on that moment on the warehouse.

– Net stock: is the physic stock removing the unmet demand.

– Available stock: is the physic stock adding the orders in progress to suppliers minus the unmet demand.

Additionally, is essential to maintain a control over the stock that is available and have an inventory where all the products are listed and ordered by categories, the features of each are detailed and the price is specified. Below are shown the different types of inventory:

  • Periodic inventory

The company realize a regular control of the stock after a given period of time. This kind of inventory doesn’t allow the company to have exact information about the inventory problems or shortage.

Consist in request orders with a volume higher than what is really needed due it is cheaper instead of ordering according the demand of that moment. This inventory is useful to minimize the cost of emission of the order and storage of a product.

  • Permanent inventory

The permanent inventory is made by having in mind a factor that is of the company’s interest such as value, marketing, etc. The periodicity is established according the factor considered. This inventory allows the company to know which is the existence or value of the products

In addition, not all the products that are stored have the same value. For that reason, some companies like to use the ABC method which allocate to each product a different degree of control based on its value. As a consequence, the products are classified on three groups. In first place, there is the Group A which is composed by a small number of items but they represent a high percentage of the total value of the stock (60-80%). Group B is composed by a higher number of products with a total value of 30-40% and Group C represents a great amount of items however only the 5-20% of the total value of the stock is related with them. To sum up, products that belong to group C requires a continuous revision and maximum control while others don’t because they are considered less important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLGC_hlzu6A

Video about the ABC system (1:07 – 1:29).

 

To conclude, there exist different kinds of stocks which are managed in different ways  and have different value. For that reason, it results important to really understand all the concepts treated throughout this post to be able of manage in the best way the stock and inventory of a warehouse.

Natural Gas

Recently I received a letter from Gas Natural Fenosa with my itemized bill. This fact leads me to think that could be interesting to write a post about natural gas with the aim to acquire a deeper knowledge of it as it is something present in my life and I supposed that most of you also have natural gas in your homes.

First of all, it is a well-known fact that it is treated of a fossil energy found in the subsoil of earth and comes from the decomposition of organic material. Natural gas is composed by a mixture of gases in variable proportions in which more than 70% is methane and the remainder part can be constituted by nitrogen, carbon dioxide and ethane. The general process of obtainment of this gas starts with the exploration of the soil followed by an evaluation, extraction, purification and liquefaction. In addition, the costs associated with these activities suffer a reduction thanks to the technologic advances.  Therefore, are needed drilling rigs that reach the strata where the deposits are located to extract the gas.

gas natural

gas natural proceso

Figure 1 & 2. Natural gas chain

Another important aspect of the natural gas is the transportation from the production zones to the ones of consume. It can take place through pipelines when is in gas state or ships, in liquid state, when the distance is bigger or is not possible to install a pipeline. This fact increase the diversity of supply sources due it makes possible the gas supplying from remote reserves. Then, the content of ships is downloading in the plant tankers for its posterior regasification and injection in the pipeline network or for its charge and transportation in cistern trucks to satellite plants which allows natural gas regasification and supply exclusively to a client or to a specific area. Therefore, it can be observed that the pipeline network has the advantage that allows a fast, secure and efficient transport. However, distance has a greater impact on this way of transport so when it is higher, ships become a more economic and efficient option. Regarding gas storage, the most common way of this is by underground storage due it presents the advantage of capacity because use the compressibility of gas at low depths to increase the volume of stored gas. Furthermore, natural gas can be stored in already exploited deposits, aquifers, salt caverns and mines.

Taking all this into account, it can be summarized that the logistics management of natural gas involves planning, programming and tracking of the activities of supplying, regasification, transportation, distribution and storage which makes possible the supplying of gas to the final customer. In addition, another important piece of its management is the variety of actives and infrastructures (pipelines, regasification plants, storage, etc.) and the use conditions related with these such as regasification capacity, transport, distribution and storage with operation thresholds.

  • See more:

http://www.diarioinformacion.com/economia/2015/11/13/espanoles-gastan-96-euros-luz/1696497.html

http://www.gasnaturalfenosa.es/es/somos+energia/innovacion+y+futuro/lineas+de+actuacion/eficiencia+energetica/1297118279153/3e-houses.html

http://cienciasnaturales.es/GASNATURAL.swf

http://www.cadenadesuministro.es/noticias/espana-es-lider-en-la-logistica-y-distribucion-del-gas-natural-licuado/

http://blogdelogistica.es/el-gas-natural-licuado-alternativa-en-el-transporte-por-carretera/

Santa Claus Challenge

“Logistics doesn’t make happiness but can take it wherever is needed”

 

Regarding what professor José Pedro García wrote one day we want our colleagues to read our posts meanwhile they are waiting for the bus” I thought it could be interesting to write this time about how Santa Claus manage in modern times to deliver all the presents in Christmas. In addition, I consider that this topic is quite related with logistics. According to Unicef, there are 2.200 million of children in the world. Assuming that only the 50% of them are good kids and having in mind the world average of 2’5 children per house we can conclude that Santa Claus only needs to visit 440 millions of homes (if the good kids live together). Therefore, how he managed to guarantee that all the products are going to be delivered on time?

Nowadays Christmas campaign is not about one man flying during only 24 hours with reindeer from the headquarter in Lapland. In fact, there exist logistic centres around the world and the story behind this is more complex. Is more about designing a good business plan able to face this situation. Market research, planning, inventory, logistics and suppliers are some of the key words in this gear. During this period of time, logistics has a great relevance due the increase of commercial transactions and movement of products. Such is the case that hiring in companies of the logistic sector increase a 20% regarding the previous months.

Therefore, it can be observed a major volume of sales and as a consequence an increase of the work load. The latter affects specially transport companies which have to deliver a service with a high efficiency and great results but having the same resources of the rest of the year. Furthermore, time has an important role. The delivery of a product to a customer out of time can create a bad perception of the company. At the same time, it acquires a great value not to make mistakes in the delivery which can be avoid by using software like WMS (standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images which a map server generates using data from a GIS database), RFID technologies (allows contactless identification of objects using radio waves) or voice directed warehousing (use of speech recognition software in warehouses and distribution centers to make verbal orders)

To sum up, logistics have a huge impact in the results of cost, productivity, quality of the service and efficiency of the Christmas Campaign. It is related with the supplying, the management platform and the transport to stores. In addition, the logistics is responsible to determine the quantity needed for each product, to decide the volume of each product that each store should have and the right moment for this. To conclude, it can be said that the logistics involved in the Christmas Campaign maybe is not within reach of Santa Claus due it requires a huge planning of the supply chain and stock management.

papá noel

Image 1. Imports and exports. Icontainers. <http://www.icontainers.com/es/2015/12/03/la-logistica-de-papa-noel-en-el-s-xxi/&gt;. [Accessed: 16/03/16]

The importance of giving the right goods, to the right place at the right time

Is logistics limited to be only an important part of companies? The answer is no and that’s exactly what I would like to show along this post. Being more open minded, we’ll be able to realize that logistics is everywhere even in catastrophic disasters. Therefore, I would like to focus in the important role that supply chain coordination plays in this kind of events where the donation of support is unpredictable and more efficient and effective solutions are needed.

In first place, the humanitarian logistics involves those activities where goods and help are provided to relieve some needs and also is included the fast assistance to a population that has been affected by a sudden disaster, whether natural or induced. In these cases a high coordination in the supply chain management is needed by all the parts involved (government, humanitarian organizations, civil society and military) to guarantee a high efficiency regarding costs and speed.

When a disaster takes place, the supply chain is activated along with everything that entails. The first step to carry out is to determine which services and goods are necessary to start asking for and receiving donations to supply these needs. Trained staff to deliver the donations and specialized teams composed, for example, by doctors and nurses among others are also needed. In addition, it has a great relevance the building and maintenance of infrastructures. This include the existence of warehouses where store the supplies and inventory support. In humanitarian logistics not always the suppliers are known. They can be vendors, donors or both which generates a big uncertainty about what will be provided from the latter and what will have to be secured by vendors. Regarding to the inventory, this can be hard to manage but it is interesting for the humanitarian agencies to have an inventory policy to ensure a steady stream of supplies from warehouses to its points of distribution. Another significant aspect is the distribution network where the transportation and distribution varies depending on the location of the disaster and the possible ways to arrive there.

figure 1. Humanitarian

Figure 1. Information chain

To sum up, a great uncertainty is related with humanitarian logistics despite sometimes can be anticipated which allows a best use of the resources available and a greater acquisition of them. Moreover, collaboration and coordination are the keys for a successful response on this kind of events where the speed is the main driver of the gear.

Below you will be able to watch a short intro about the role of logistics in dissaster events.

 

References:

Tomasini, R., Wassenhove, L., 2009. From preparedness to partnerships: case study research on humanitarian logistics. International Transactions in Operational Research, 16(5), pp. 549–559.

International Aid and Trade, 2004. Geneva Palexpo Conference and Exhibition Centre, 28-29 January 2004, Geneva.

Zara’s logistics

Spanish population used to buy clothes with frequency even when they not necessarily need them. When we get inside a shop we just try to find something that we like and if we are agree with the price we limit to buy it but, do we really know what is behind all this? This is the question that I formulated to myself. Therefore, to understand a little more which are the processes needed to create and bring the clothes that I buy later in the shops, I decided to focus in Zara which is one of the brands that I like but more importantly, is one of the companies widely known by the efficiency of its logistic. To sum up, below you will be able to read a und understand better how it works a retail company.

Zara is a retailer which belongs to the INDITEX group.  It was created in 1975 in La Coruña and founded by Amancio Ortega.  Afterward, during the eighties, it was implemented a logistic system which fitted with the company and with its future projection.  Since then, the 3 important keys for their business are production, logistic and sales. This leads to them to be a good example of success, helping them to grow up as a company and expand around the globe.  Nowadays, Zara counts with more than 2000 shops distributed in 88 countries.

In addition, in Zara every distribution unit acts as an independent strategic business unit where each has its own goals and resources while the central services i.e. Business Support Area and Corporate Department and the governance are left to the hub. However, Zara keeps the control over the whole international chain with property stores, production plants and also almost every business partner and supplier.

zara headquarter

Image 1. Zara’s headquarter in Arteixo

In first place, in 2006 it was implemented a Store Management Terminals (TGT) composed by an informatics program which makes the information flow easily. Through this program, the store staff has access to every kind of information about the products, the warehouse and it is connected with other stores and their logistic center. Because of this, Zara knows at every moment what is going on in the stores around the world. It can obtain information about every piece that is sold and returned and even the stock available. As they know about the preferences of the consumers of each store basing on in which sizes, colors and pieces they sell more, they can stablish a rotation chain where the stores exchange products with others. The fast reposition leads to a reduction of the financial costs related to the storage and its maintaining.

After an order takes place, the products are disposed in boxes and introduced in a lorry which goes to the corresponding store.  Zara also counts with agreements with airlines to transport to the farthest places the pieces. In addition, the shipments are dispatched from the distribution center twice a week.  It passes only 24-48 hours to arrive to the store or 72 if the location of the store is more problematic. The sophisticated warehouses and a high delivery frequency with short lead times, are some of the factors that characterized Zara’s successful history.

Once the pieces arrive to the shop, the shop assistant has to place every piece in its place and ensure the correct disposition.

Another interesting point to be mentioned about clothes, is that Zara use fabric rather than yarn dyeing. This fact allows to postpone the uncertainty generated by the colors demand. Therefore, a wide color range can be offered with a short lead time.

In conclusion, Zara has been able to reduce the lead time by giving a quick response, achieving a close relationship between their different chains by the execution of integration strategies and to have the control of its suppliers. Moreover, Zara’s success is given by the strength of its chain of production and for the highly responsive logistic system. The logistic system is the link between the different processes of sales, production, design, supply and clothes rotation. In addition, their supply chain strategy is based in a fast response, acting instead of predicting which clothes will be more successfully sold and producing low quantities which lead to more options and a lower lead time.

To conclude, I´d like to recommend you to watch in La Sexta the tv program Salvados where it is exposed the other face of the retail industry. Below is the link of the whole program.

http://www.atresplayer.com/television/programas/salvados/temporada-11/capitulo-13-quin-cmo-dnde-fabrica-ropa-que-venden-grandes-marcas_2016021900402.html

 

 

References:

Agulló Fernández, I., 2012. Producir y consumir: la logística, clave del éxito de una cadena de moda. Política y Sociedad, 49(1), pp. 179-191.

Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2008. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on management in Agrifood Chains and Networks, 28-30 May 2008, The Netherlands.