Why is the cold chain so challenging?

Página de aterrizaje isométrica de transporte refrigerado- retos de la cadena de frío vector

Cada tipo de producto acorde con el sector y las necesidades que posee tiene sus desafíos específicos en el momento de planificar sus rutas y transportarlos.  Uno de los más prominentes son los retos de la cadena de frío, de la cual es necesaria para abastecer y distribuir productos que suelen ser imprescindibles como alimentos … Read more

4 advantages of Click and Collect in logistics operations

vehículo de transporte furgoneta de reparto dibujos animados. Ventajas del Click and Collect

The importance of implementing sustainability in supply chain processes is often discussed from the point of view of the logistics and transportation industry. In this case, in terms of sustainability, users demand both commitment and convenience in the delivery of their orders. However, these desires are not compatible with a genuine commitment to the environment, at least not with the technology currently employed.

One of the rising trends in the retail sector is Click & Collect, an option that has gained prominence in recent years and offers several advantages for both the store and the consumer, including reducing carbon emissions.

If you want to know the advantages of Click and Collect in logistics operations, take a look!

Accorciare l'ultimo miglio

The last mile often has a number of challenges that have arisen in recent times, which are difficult to circumvent and employ good capillarity in delivery. For example, restrictions on the entry of large vehicles into urban centers and difficult access to certain addresses with very narrow streets along with the common challenge of facing the usual traffic congestion of large cities.

With Click & Collect , the final destination is shortened, being its ultimate transport objective that it arrives at the establishment meeting the established objectives. However, it still depends on the location of the premises, which will be easier if it is located in a shopping center on the outskirts with a good platform for unloading goods or just as difficult if it is in a pedestrian area in the heart of the city. Nevertheless, it is still a very economical option for both the logistics operator and the company.

Avoid missed deliveries

One of the biggest inconveniences faced by deliveries to the end customer is that they are not completed successfully. Among its main causes are the absence of the end customer at the home or office, generating more inconvenience for redelivery, which results in more reverse logistics costs. In addition, not all logistics operators can guarantee that the order will arrive in a very specific time slot requested by the customer.

El Click & Collect gives the guarantee of successful delivery of the package and the freedom to pick it up at the store or post office when the customer is available. This is as long as it does not exceed the order booking period (usually about 15 days) and within the business hours of that establishment. Although time restrictions can be eliminated with the option to store them in automatic lockers accessible 24 hours a day.

Empresaria preparando el envío de paquetes. Ventajas del Click & Collect

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Differences between Push and Pull distribution

Ilustración isométrica de un almacén. diferencias entre distribución push y pull vector

It is known that inventory management is based on the structure and objectives of the company's distribution network according to the sector in which it operates. This is done by deciding on the distribution channels through which to deliver products to customers and seeing which are the most optimal in terms of customer service and cost and resource savings.

To this end, there are two ways to fill inventory in a distribution channel: Push and Pull. Knowing their definitions and their advantages and disadvantages is crucial to choose the right strategy according to the industry you work in and your needs.

If you want to know the differences between Push and Pull distribution, their benefits and drawbacks and for which cases one strategy or the other is intended, read on.

Push Distribution

In a Push distribution system, it is the manufacturer or supplier that decides how many units of product are manufactured and distributed. First, they aggregate all the lower level storage points to historical demand and then perform demand forecasting to determine quantities. Next, replenishment inventory is shipped through the warehouses from the originating supply facilities.

This method makes the first nodes of the supply chain responsible for replenishing the stock, manufacturing the efficient amount of goods to be able to ship them to their distributors and avoid excess inventory.

Push Advantages

One of the advantages of this method is that high inventory levels can be maintained by predicting demand to generate a safe stock level. This is a producer-centric strategy. Therefore, for products that have peaks in demand at specific times of the year or are in high demand throughout the year, such as the food sector, such an approach is effective.

Push Disadvantages

However, one of the most notable drawbacks of Push distribution is that, as this decision is made by the lowest nodes in the supply chain, it is far removed from the actual demand being demanded by current customers. For this reason, it suffers from a notable lack of transparency and visibility into the needs of those customers.

That is why it is difficult to adjust to peaks in demand that are difficult to predict and provide good service, usually causing stock-outs. In addition, it requires good management to maintain a good product flow.

foto-media-hombre-usando-auriculares. diferencias entre distribución Push y Pull foto

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Logistics KPIs and the importance of analyzing them

Cerrar la mano del hombre de negocios ocupado en el escritorio de oficina en el cuaderno y documentos de trabajo - KPIs de logística foto

In many professional fields, especially in business, it is of utmost importance to collect data and organize it into performance measures, better known as KPIs. Because you can analyze performance with numbers, either a quantitative or qualitative value, you have clearer information about the progress of your objectives.

It is very important to establish logistics KPIs because they have one of the highest costs along with manufacturing and marketing expenses. This would result in huge losses if they are not properly monitored. This is when we ask ourselves, what are the essential KPIs to accurately measure your logistics objectives?

If you want to learn more about the different areas of logistics where the logistics KPIs cannot be missing in the dashboard, take a look!

Storage

It should be noted that warehousing should not be confused with inventory or stock because these indicators do not indicate the stock itself. KPIs are about analyzing the internal processes that take place in warehouses, such as picking and order preparation.

An example of logistics KPIs used in warehousing is the unit cost of warehousing which calculates their respective expenses. Apart from that, to analyze warehouse performance and productivity there are the KPIs of on-time complete delivery rate and internal cycle time that serve to calculate the time elapsed between the order request and the dispatch of the order itself.

Inventory

This is, of course, one of the most important sections of logistics because it deals with the products themselves and the stock that circulates through the supply chain. In addition to the fact that classifying and sorting the different types of stock is paramount to its proper functioning, so is assigning objectives and their respective logistics KPIs.

For that, the KPIs to be commonly taken into account are the following: Stock Breakage to analyze how many times the inventory has been emptied and what can be improved, Stock Turnover to estimate how many times the inventory needs to be renewed and, of course, inventory costs. It is worth mentioning that a high Inventory Turnover means that profits are being made on sales.

Ilustración de concepto abstracto de kpi - KPIs de logística vector

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How has AI been successfully applied in the supply chain?

examples of artificial intelligence in vector logistics

Artificial Intelligence is known to be a growing trend in many industries around the world. And it is no mystery when logistics and transportation are looking for ways to apply such technology for the improvement of all their operations within the supply chain. From back office solutions to IoT control solutions, there are several examples of artificial intelligence in logistics.

However, for people who are not deeply involved in the industry, it is not very clear to them what specific operations AI is involved in. What are the current supply chain issues for the supply chain to be optimized with AI? And what advantages does this technology confer over the competition?

If you want to learn how AI is being applied in supply chain management with these examples of artificial intelligence in logistics, take a look!

Warehouse automation

Sectors such as e-commerce have gained much relevance in recent years, so the increase in demand and the need for a more efficient storage management call for a solution. For this reason, there has been a notable trend in warehouse automation as one of the notable examples of artificial intelligence in logistics.

Warehouse automation encompasses various operations, from the application of automated storage systems with stacker cranes to warehouse management software. Within it, they use data analysis and demand forecasting to coordinate various processes in the warehouse.

And not only do they perform this step, but they synchronize the tasks of both the operators and the automated systems. In this way, personnel can focus on other tasks.

Inventory control

This operation usually goes hand in hand with warehouse automation and, it seems, is going to be an essential element for companies. Currently, it is known that the volume of shipments is dropping considerably due to inflation, as a result of which stock is accumulating and will take longer than desired to accumulate in the warehouse.

First, the warehouse is stocked with the right amount of inventory according to demand prediction based on previous sales, market analysis, among others. Then, automation systems would be unified with catalog control to improve stock visibility by alerting on low stock levels and detecting defective products and packaging before they are shipped via AI cameras or sensors.

Thanks to one of the examples of artificial intelligence in logistics, it is possible to reduce error margins and time spent on tasks, obtaining high customer satisfaction and competitive advantage over other companies where logistics plays a crucial role.

Primer plano de un ordenador portátil que ejecuta un algoritmo que analiza el código en el escritorio frente a los programadores que trabajan en equipo - ejemplos de inteligencia artificial en la logística foto

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4 warehouse location strategies

Foto de parque industrial creado por 4045 - ubicación de los almacenes foto

Since the onset of the pandemic, it is clear that there has been considerable growth in the e-commerce sector. As a result, both online retailers and logistics operators have been working to improve and implement all the necessary changes in both warehouse management and last mile distribution. However, large retailers and distribution centers have gone a step further in the location of warehouses.

It is known that 82 logistics parks have been opened in Spain in the last 2 years, which is a remarkable number considering the impact of the e-commerce boom. However, what strategies are companies taking into account to locate their activities in certain logistics centers? If you want to know them, take a look!

Product features

This is one of the most important factors in warehouse location, as the product to be sold or distributed is at the heart of the business model, whether B2B or B2C. However, several components of the goods such as durability, intrinsic stability and manageability must also be taken into account.

Durability is a fundamental aspect when it comes to fresh goods where they are to be consumed soon after purchase such as foodstuffs. While intrinsic stability is a relevant factor for chemical products where mishandling can cause health problems, so they are safer, being stored only at their production plant and points of use. Handling is also an important point for bulk liquids and aggregates because it is not convenient to store them in many places and transfer them until they are already packaged. 

Production capacity

Another aspect to be taken into account in the location of warehouses is the storage capacity, which is in proportion to the amount of manufacturing and/or imports by suppliers. But it is not only a question of focusing on volume, but also of paying attention to other factors such as the degrees of transformation.

The degrees of transformation classify goods on the amount of processing required to become the manufactured product they distribute (which may not necessarily be destined to the final consumer depending on the business model). A product with a low degree of conversion is usually one that needs only to be packaged and/or processed such as fresh goods. While an item with a medium or high degree of modification are those that go through many or many developments and changes to make them suitable for sale such as industrial materials, so it might need several warehouses for the raw materials involved in manufacturing.

Finally, it is known that a distribution network is mainly composed of the following three characteristics of the warehouses: the number, location and types of warehouses. Keeping these aspects in balance in order to be as profitable as possible is not at all simple because of the tedious planning involved, apart from the fact that there are two important factors to take into account: the composition and the distribution in the marketing network.

Vector de cadena de suministro - ubicación de los almacenes vector

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What are the most sought-after professional profiles in logistics?

perfiles-profesionales-de-logistica-1

Currently, the logistics and transportation sector is becoming quite relevant due to the growth of e-commerce. In addition to the fact that in Spain it is one of the most important sectors of the economy for having a GDP of 10% and managing more than 500 thousand shipments per year.

Looking at this panorama, it can be stated that it is an industry that employs more than 950,000 people, a very attractive figure for people who wish to start or change their professional career. But, specifically, what are the professional profiles in logistics, and is any specific training required to be able to exercise these professions?

If you are interested in knowing the details of the most in-demand logistics professional profiles, take a look!

Warehouse handler

Undoubtedly, this is the most sought-after profile in the logistics sector. Their tasks are based on assisting in the loading and unloading of trucks, checking and ordering merchandise, controlling the stock of products, preparing them and keeping the warehouse register up to date.

These professional logistics profiles require a minimum of compulsory secondary education. However, there are specialized training courses such as forklift or warehouse handler that help to have a solid foundation for the job performance and improve the curriculum. Not to mention the physical ability to move heavy objects from one place to another. cursos de formación especializados como la de carretillero o la de mozo de almacén que ayuda a tener una base sólida para el desempeño del trabajo y mejoran el currículum. Sin olvidar que se debe poseer la capacidad física para mover objetos pesados de un lugar a otro.

Forklift operator

The second most sought-after profile in the sector is the warehouse foreman. These are people who handle forklifts and are responsible for receiving, placing heavy packages on pallets and preparing orders and packaging.

Despite what the name suggests, the professional is not only focused on a specific task. In the case of forklift operators, they perform other complementary tasks such as reviewing delivery notes. In order to access this position, it is required to have passed the ESO and to undergo forklift training to be able to handle the machinery.

Delivery person

This is probably one of the professional logistics profiles that has gained much relevance in recent years due to the considerable growth of e-commerce. The delivery driver is in charge of getting the goods to their destination, as well as planning the most efficient schedules and routes. This task can be much easier if a route optimizer is used.

In addition to that, he also organizes the merchandise in his van and communicates directly with customers, having a certain profile of a salesman. To be able to work as such, you need a type B driver's license, own your own van and have all the documentation in order to be self-employed.

perfiles-profesionales-de-logistica-2

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Are urban hubs the solution to last mile challenges?

hubs-urbanos-1

With the increasing number of constraints within large cities and greater commitment to the environment, ways are being sought to circumvent these difficult challenges. Among several proposals to remain efficient in the last mile, urban hubs stand out.

Urban hubs are not much of a mystery, as they are small warehouses located in the centers of large cities. With this, they are expected to reduce route distances and also increase the capillarity of the last mile. If you want to know more about their other advantages, take a look!

Taking advantage of underutilized premises

One of the most prevalent problems in cities with respect to urban distribution is the increase in underutilized space that is unlikely to be re-let. Given the innovative nature of being an urban hub, re-using such spaces has many advantages.

However, for urban hubs to perform their function properly, they have to be located in strategic points of the city. Moreover, this may not be easy, as they require the rental of space in the center, which is a fairly high cost that not all companies in the sector can afford.

Helping to reduce carbon emissions

Undoubtedly, this is one of the main reasons why this initiative has started to be used in large cities. Reducing the miles needed to meet last-mile demand goes a long way toward reducing CO₂ emissions.

However, there are extra steps that need to be taken for pollution minimization to be effective. For example, the use of zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles and the approach of making deliveries at night in order to reduce traffic congestion are being considered. Apart from the use of a route optimizer to save time and money.

hubs urbanos 2

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5 ways to optimize your logistics nodes

ordenación-de-cajas-en-el-centro-logístico-nodos-logísticos

Logistics nodes are known to be a fundamental part of all the processes involved in logistics. They range from factories to last mile distribution centers in charge of receiving, storing and managing the entire distribution of goods.

However, these operations are often not optimized. Therefore, the quality of service to customers deteriorates considerably due to delays, reduced shelf life of perishable products, having a product out of stock for a prolonged period of time, among others.

For ways to get the most out of your logistics infrastructure, take a look at the following points:

Design distribution strategies

The company may already have its own distribution strategies for its own network of logistics nodes. However, given the constant changes that can affect all logistics, it may be necessary to update them according to current demands.

Para ello, recopilar la mayor cantidad de datos posibles es esencial para conocer los siguientes pasos que se tienen que dar. De esta manera, se pueden diseñar estrategias eficientes para cubrir las necesidades de la mercancía y la distribución.

Define management indicators

As it is often mentioned, the performance of an activity cannot be evaluated if we do not have key indicators assigned. In the management of a logistics infrastructure, this is no exception and KPIs must also be assigned in all operations to have their monitoring at hand.

It not only serves to measure the performance of merchandise management. It is also very useful for keeping logistics node costs and customer satisfaction in check, especially in the event of complaints and problems with products.

Perform inspection of the infrastructure

The inspection and maintenance of the infrastructure of the logistics nodes is essential both for the safety of the personnel and for the guarantee of the goods. Otherwise it can cause serious accidents in both situations.

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10 types of stock to consider for optimizing logistics operations

Isometric logistic composition with images of warehouse figures of people with cardboard boxes cargo trucks and cars vector illustration-tipos de stock

When taking into account several aspects in order to optimize delivery times, route planning and inventory management, much attention must be paid to the product itself that is present in the warehouses. We are talking about the stock or inventory.

Of course, not all types of stock can be treated in the same way. There are stocks that need special attention because they are more perishable, fragile or have more restrictive measures than others.

Any sector must work very well with the following types of stock, which are classified according to their functions and operational criteria.

Types of stock according to their functionality

Not all inventory in a warehouse serves the same function. These include stock that is stored in a warehouse, in transit to its destination, and stock that has yet to arrive to replenish inventories. The following are mentioned below:

Active stock

These are the stocks available for sale and distribution, which move between maximum and minimum limits. Of course, they are of utmost importance as they are the type of stock that directly affects customer demands, therefore, their quantity, the detection of possible defects, among other aspects, must be well monitored.

Cycle stock

It consists of inventory that has a regular demand and has this function: to cover it without being affected by unusual times or circumstances. As it is a matter of satisfying the number of regular orders, it is of great importance to control its stock level through the implementation of safety stock, among other measures. If this were not the case, there would be a serious case of stock out. 

Seasonal stock

These are stocks designed to meet high demand at a peak of sales based on specific seasons such as the Black Friday or Christmas. First of all, you must calculate the expected number of orders based on previous years and make sure that this stock is suitable for distribution and sale.

Security stock

As its name indicates, it is the type of additional stock that is intended to anticipate possible problems with the active stock, for example, factory defects, delivery delays, among other things. It is also used to cover unexpectedly high demand, excluding certain times of the year.

It is of utmost importance to have this type of inventory, especially at peak demand to avoid stock-outs.

Speculative stock

For rather economic purposes, it is stock that is ordered more than necessary due to the benefit of price reductions and discounts. However, special care must be taken in distributing it among the active stock because an excessive quantity can cause an excess of inventory that can become inactive due to expiration dates and product obsolescence.

In-transit stock

Not to be confused with the active stock, these are the goods that are in an internal process of the company, either delivery or distribution. It is possible to take control over these stocks thanks to route optimizers that report in real time the progress of the order.

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