All posts by rebecca1012

The German way of handling plastic trash

The weather in Spain demands a lot of water consumption… and ends in a lot of empty plastic bottles. Here, you just throw them (preferably) in the plastic trash bin. In Germany it was the same until 2003. Back then, the government introduced a deposit system for plastic bottles and cans. So, every time you buy a drink, you have to pay up to 25 cents more for it. If you return the bottle, you get these 25 cents back.

You can imagine that no one was really excited about it because you need to bring the bottles back, but with the time I started to really appreciate this system. You can give the bottles back everywhere and the trash production has immensely declined. But you quite often forget to take all your bottles if you are going to the supermarket. Pictures like that are no rarity (especially students have this problem)

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And if you are too lazy to bring them back or want to drink before a party and don’t want to carry your empty bottles all around, you can still just throw them away, because the few cents usually don’t hurt your purse. There are even people walking around in Germany that collect deposit bottles to make their money with that..

But a little more information: There are two different sorts of deposit bottles: Multi-usage (8 to 15 ct deposit) and one-way (25 ct deposit). The multi-usage, as the name already says, are cleaned and filled up again. The one way bottles are shredded and get recycled to new bottles.

Now imagine how much waste could be saved if every country would introduce a system like that? (also think about the logistical side, the trash does not have to be removed or taken away as the people do this job)

 

Source:

http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/service/mehrwegflaschen-einwegflaschen-im-pfandflaschen-wirrwarr-a-1031491.html

Need a job? How about people plugger?

Today I’m writing again about logistic processes with human beings, but this time it’s about living people.

Why I write about it? Well, I have to go to the university by bus soon and I heard that it will be crowdy, but then I was thinking about my time in China and had to laugh.  All of you know that in Asia, there are a looot of people and imagine what rush hours look like in big cities like Beijing, Tokio or Shanghai. I made once the mistake going somewhere during rush hour. NEVER EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE! You don’t have any space left. I’m not saying that someone is in your private space of 30 cm. I’m saying that you can barely breath and you get intense body contact with more people than you’d like.

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But however, these people all must go to work and even though the trains come in 2-3 minutes rhythm, there are still too many people. That’s why they hired people in order to push people in the trains. I’m not kidding. Watch the video:

So if you have a little heavy metaller inside of your heart and love pogos, why not going to Asia and apply for a job as professional people plugger? (“Oshiya” is the correct japanse word for it)

But this job is getting more and more replaced by high tech automated systems with security gates in front of the train access.

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These gates close before the train gates close, so no more people can try to get in. Furthermore, they avoid suicides. In Spain, you can find such a system in Sevilla for example as well.

Another interesting fact: these barriers are already recognized in some cities as advertisement and selling space. In South Korea for example, the supermarket chain tesco uses this space as a virtual supermarket, where people use their smartphones to order from the gates what they want to have delivered to their homes.

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This system of course is not applicable during rush hours, but never the less it’s a great way for busy people to not waste time.

 

Sources:

https://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/17/hong-kongs-metro-success/

http://www.designboom.com/technology/tesco-virtual-supermarket-in-a-subway-station/

 

 

Airport Baggage Handling

Have you ever been waiting at an airport for your luggage after a flight, wondering if it will really appear or is lost?

I love traveling and every time I wait for my suitcase, I’m afraid that it somehow got lost or was shipped to a wrong destination. And this fear is not without a reason: we were in a factory producing the conveyor belts for airports, and hell, this is complicated.

But to calm you a little, 99.3% of the suitcases of the 3.5 BILLION passengers/year arrive without damage in their destination. Even though the number of passengers increases each year the number of lost or damaged baggage decreases – thanks to super intelligent technology. If you ever have been to a big airport like Madrid, New York, Frankfurt or Shanghai you know how many terminals and flights there are. So, how does it work that everything is in the right place. In the video you can see how it looks like behind the scenes.

 

Some data behind it on the example of the Siemens baggage handling solution:

  • in rush times it can handle up to 19.200 pieces per HOUR, on a day that would be 460.800 pieces of luggage. This number is extracted from the Beijing Airport Terminal 3. The airport has 3 of them so daily the system could theoretically handle 1.382.400 pieces of luggage.. per day.
  • their tray system is currently the fastest in the world with rush speed of 10 m/s. In other words 36 km/h. The average velocity when you go on bike is 10 – 20 km/h. So it is twice as fast as you on a bike.
  • the system runs automatically. So, once the luggage is coded it finds its own way to its plane. That’s why the number of lost luggage is decreased. Because the plane as well as the luggage know if there is something wrong.

Source:

http://news.fluege.de/airline-news/sita-baggage-report-2016-immer-weniger-koffer-gehen-verloren/78179.html

http://www.logistics-airports-solutions.siemens.com/las/global/en/airport-logistics/Pages/baggage-handling.aspx

 

One reason to fail in any project

The reason is a lack of or wrong communication. (For those of you who want to safe time and not read all of it).

I’m writing about this topic because I experienced it in several ways at work, in private life and also in university.

In a project there are usually involved several people/departments/counterparts and there should be one project leader who is responsible for the handling.

In a successful project (regarding the process, not the outcome) everyone knows at anytime what to do and what their task is. On the other hand this means that in an unsuccessful project there is a sort of chaos caused by communicaton. Reasons for that can be:

  • missing information
  • unclear expressions
  • unstructured communication
  • word-to-mouth deviatons
  • misunderstandings
  • not asking if anything is unclear
  • etc

Of course communication is not the only reason why projects fail. But it’s indeed one of the biggest issues, regardless the industry.

One example herefor is something we all probably faced in our logistics course a few weeks ago. As you all know we receive emails after each class with a good summary of what we’ve learned and about what we have to prepare for the next class. One task was about the HOF3M project we are supposed to do. And for Mr Garcia the task of course is clear as he did it many times before, but for us students this task simply produced a lot of question marks in our heads when we read the mail. He tried to explain it but many of us were not able to follow the instructions immediately. We started to ask along in whatsapp what we are supposed to do and no one had a clue. Some simply started to do the homework how they thought it was meant and some didn’t do anything.

You can see that wrong or a lack of communication can have a quite immense impact on what you are doing and how you are doing it.

But the good thing is that we changed the situation and asked him to explain it again because we didn’t understand. And that’s where the good communication started. We asked for help and we received the missing information that we needed to fulfill our homework.

So, for the future some Tipps: don’t ever hesitate to ask if you don’t understand anything, try to express yourself as clear as possible and last but not least: it’s always better to explain something face to face as the probability of misunderstandings increases with written communication.

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Futuristic Forklifters. Super nice. Super interesting.

So, recently my boyfriend started working at a forklifter company and he is completely in love with their new products now. As a consequence I get dozens of videos and pictures every day and I to be honest.. It is indeed really cool. So I wanted to show you what already happens in warehouses nowadays!!

The forklifters (I call all kind of logistic vehicles in a warehouse forklifter to keep it simple) are already 100% autonomous! For me that’s kind of insane. According to their current order, they follow you without any needed additional  action (like a dog), they pick up orders from shelfs or load and unload trucks. No lines on the floors – no remote control. MAGICAL!! The machines and the products communicate over a so called internet of things and know best what is going to happen. High tech sensors allow the forklifters to move free within the warehouse and to avoid accidents with plopping up obstacles like people.

The latest innovation of the company is called Cube XX which unites 6 functions in one device. Check out the video to see it!!

(I Chose the short version without sound, but you can also find a longer one with super annoying music if you prefer that one ;))

For me, it’s really impressive what technology is already able to do nowadays, but it also has some negative aspects. If the technology can do everything on its own human workforce will not be needed anymore. Many jobs will disappear which will lead to major problems. There must be soon an awakening to prevent this situation: the people must be higher qualified in order to be competitive and work together with the machines and not to be replaced by them.

Sources:

– my boyfriend.

http://www.digitalistmag.com/digital-supply-networks/2016/04/05/still-uses-innovative-cloud-platform-to-power-its-self-managing-cubexx-forklift-04119712

One plane ticket for the dead uncle, please..

I know, this topic is very strange. But did you ever think about what happens if someone dies during the holidays?

In general, there are two common ways for human remains transport: car and plane. While the transfer is usually done by car for neighbor countries or short distances, long distances must be done by planes.

Did you know, that the probability is quite high that if you are on your plane to the holidays or back you travel together with a corpse?! Dead bodies are usually treated as delicate cargo -but still cargo- and are put in the freight room of the plane. To “keep the meat fresh” there are special requirements before a corpse can be shipped. Besides the certificate of death they need an own “corpse passport” and the transport must be accompanied by a funeral company. In some countries the wood must have a certain thickness or the corpse must be balsamed, but typically the only requirement is a sealed cinced coffin.

“Fun” facts:

costs: depending on country and insurance up to 6.500€

In order other passengers do not get afraid the coffins are put in a special box.

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if only human organs are transported, they are even in the cabin with you in the hand luggage storage

if someone dies during a flight, they sometimes put alcohol on his tray, sleeping mask on and pretend him to be sleeping.

Sorry for the disturbing post guys 😉

Source: http://diepresse.com/home/panorama/integration/624444/Ueberfuehrung-ins-Ausland_Mit-Verstorbenen-an-Bord

Are smart factories a smart idea?

More and more companies change their production facilities to so called smart factories. In such a smart factory the products and machines are connected over an internet of things and are able to control themselves and communicate with each other.

In this video you can get more information about smart factories and the movement behind it, industry 4.0:

But what does this whole automation mean? Machines and products take over human tasks, so what will the future bring for all the people working in factories?

The solution is not saying machines instead of people, it’s combining the intelligence of the machines with the intelligence of the people. Therefore, a good education will be more and more important in the future!

But one thing is for sure. The development towards industry 4.0 is inevitable if a company in a developed country wants to stay alive. With all the competitors and the price pressure due to globalisation it is hard to find ways to reduce costs and industry 4.0 is the most efficient one (long term perspective and in combination with others like Lean managenent). If they don’t change anything, they will probably move the plant to cheaper countries which would in the end increase even more the unemployment.

So, YES smart factories are a smart idea

Environmental sustainability vs Globalization

During the last years environmental sustainability became more and more important. Back in the days, to be sustainable was only an unnecessary cost factor. Nowadays, there are even governmental regulations regarding safety of the environment and it is state of the art that big companies have a sustainability strategy.. at least in Europe.

The reason why I write about this topic is because I spent two months working in Shanghai.. where they definitely do not have such awareness of global warming. On the picture you can see the air pollution in Shanghai.

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Problem

Although many big companies have already anchored a sustainability strategy in their over all goals, they still have huge CO2 emissions due to international distribution. With the globalization the need of transport raises and the delivery time became a critical decision factor.

What can be done

There are several things that companies as well as customers can do. I will only mention very few of them:

  • Carbon capping (defining a maximum amount of CO2)
  • Investing in renewable energies for own energy demand
  • Transport only in FTL
  • Improvement of processes to save energy/material
  • Using of synergies (e.g. use hot steam from production for heating office buildings)

Personal Conclusion

In my personal opinion, there should be global regulations about environmental sustainability because in the end it is our own planet that gets destroyed if nothing gets changed. There are many ways of being sustainable but especially low cost companies can’t afford that. I rather pay a little more when I know it is better for the environment.

Source:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-14/shanghai-warns-people-to-stay-indoors-on-severe-air-pollution

Further links:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2017/01/17/the-worlds-most-sustainable-companies-2017/

Click to access FULLTEXT02.pdf

The desaster with unpredictable demands..

In our last lesson we heard about a classification with the parameters predictable/non predictable demand and stable/non stable processes (which you can see in the table below). This made me think about my previous working experience where I was responsible to send our suppliers forecasts of what our customer wants.

We had many projects regarding process improvements and saving of money. But these projects haven’t been really successful as this can only be realized when the processes are stable and when the demands are more or less predictable.

In my case, we worked very often like fire fighters, because of the heavily varying demand of our customer. Differences of more than 40% for the next month were normal whereas our suppliers need a reaction time of 3 months due to their lead times. You can see, this is getting complicated..

As this situation should not become routine in any company, we had to think about a solution. We were positioned in the right down corner of the table which is where you definitely do not want to be. To get out of there, we needed to stabilize our forecasting process. This was reached by introducing a safety stock for the most critical parts and by freezing a forecast time of 3 months with our suppliers. The next step was to make our customers (which are company internal) more aware of the lead times which we cannot change due to the complicated production processes.

In the end, we could solve our emergency problem with these “little” changes as our process became more stable. The total amount of escalations for this product decreased by more than 80% and therefore safed a lot of money (and a lot of my nerves).

In the end a short clip about excellent forecasting 🙂