5 Myths About Transport Logistics

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Oct 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

For so many companies in today’s digital manufacturing landscape, so much of transport logistics is still shrouded in mystery. Because a majority of manufacturing companies place a greater emphasis on earlier stages of the production cycle (planning, procurement, inventory management, and job allocation), little attention is often paid to successfully administering a transport management system or structure that effectively helps companies reduce transport costs and optimize transit processes.

This lack of visibility, as with almost every other aspect of global supply chain management, allows for misinformation or inaccurate understandings of just how and why an integrated transport logistics strategy is a critical value proposition for today’s manufacturing companies. Moving finished products from the production floor to the customer’s front door on-schedule and in good order is part and parcel of what effective production programs are all about, and transport logistics are a key driver in helping manufacturing companies achieve this ever-important goal.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Industry 4.0

How Transport Logistics Adds Business Value

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

When talking about creating and adding business value, much of the discussion surrounds planning and production programs — essentially, earlier stages of the production cycle where decisions and actions are executed based on such critical elements as procurement, resource allocation, facility and job management, and inventory optimization. But business value and important business moments can take place further down the line in the production cycle, especially in such a complex, variable-rich function as transport logistics.

Because transportation relies on so many varying factors each with their own level of uncertainty or constantly shifting constraints (fuel economy, routing, obstacles in transport routes, and others), the capability to mitigate and respond to these moving targets is a crucial driver in helping manufacturing companies maintain delivery timelines, enhance the accuracy of their delivery dates and windows, and drive enhanced customer service. In addition, because transport networks can be varied and include a number of partners across a wide range of regions or locales, which can lend to even more complexity and nuance in facilitating a transport logistics strategy that drives business value.

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Topics: Transportation Management

Does Integrated Planning Reduce Transport Costs?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 26, 2017 8:00:00 AM

It’s a question each and every manufacturing company grapples with: How can we reduce our transport costs and attempt to normalize our transportation strategy given the number variables associated with shipping our products? In an industry like manufacturing where so much of how efficiency a company functions is dependent on getting the right product to the right customer at the right time in the right condition, transport logistics cannot be overlooked as a critical part of the value chain.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Transportation Management, Planned Production Programs

A Transport Logistics FAQ

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If our goal on the flexis AG blog to educate our readers about the pressing issues in global manufacturing and supply chain management, then today’s entry is right on par with that mission. Transport logistics, though a critical element to a manufacturing supply chain management strategy, is perhaps one of the least discussed aspects of SCM. While an underutilized element of administering a successful value chain, transport logistics (or the manner in which companies move finished products from the production room floor to the customer’s door) is the last crucial link in fulfilling customer expectations and ensuring production programs are executed to their fullest extent.

It’s somewhat difficult to understand why transport logistics often gets lost in the fray of global supply chain management. Perhaps it’s because more emphasis is placed on operations at earlier stages in the value chain such as planning and procurement. Or perhaps it’s because the facilitating of effective production programs is often at the forefront of the minds of planners and managers. Either way, transport logistics, though often neglected, can either be a significant boon or detriment to how effective a manufacturing company conducts itself.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Industry 4.0, Lean Manufacturing

How Integrated Transport Logistics Creates Real Growth

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It sounds simple, but how well a manufacturing company moves products from the shop floor to the customer’s front door is not only a sign of a healthy supply chain, but also a critical indicator as to how efficiently planners and managers mitigate several aspects of global supply chain management. But in one of the more interesting paradoxes in today’s manufacturing landscape, integrated transport logistics, while extremely valuable, is one of the more overlooked elements of how manufacturing companies work their production cycles.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Logistics

Why Transport Logistics Really Matter

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

What’s one of the most undervalued elements in creating E2E supply chain visibility? It might surprise you, but this overlooked aspect of supply chain management is perhaps one of the most critical ingredients in how companies successfully move material supply to the production floor and finished products to the customer’s door. Of course, we’re talking about transportation.

That’s right, transport logistics, while perhaps underutilized, is a significant driver in how manufacturing companies administer, oversee, and evaluate the overall health, sustainability, and efficiency of their supply situation. It’s somewhat difficult to understand why transport logistics often gets lost in the fray of global supply chain management. Perhaps it’s because more emphasis is placed on operations at earlier stages in the value chain such as planning and procurement. Or perhaps it’s because the facilitating of effective production programs is often at the forefront of the minds of planners and managers. Either way, transport logistics, though often neglected, can either be a significant boon or detriment to how effective a manufacturing company conducts itself.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Logistics, Logistics, Lean Manufacturing

Making the Most Of Downtime: Tips for Making Slowdowns Productive

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Dec 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Because of the global nature of today’s automotive supply chain, slowdowns or valleys in production programs are constantly on the minds of OEMs and others across the supply stream. With so many disparate parts of the world now in play with production, distribution, warehousing, or transportation hubs, holidays, seasonal lulls, and other brands of disruption in terms of productivity can not only be frustrating for various players in the automotive landscape, but they can also be significant pain points for companies who do not utilize this time effectively.

For example, take a recent article in the commerce publication MarketWatch suggested this past summer was atypical in terms of production levels - at least throughout Europe, primarily in Germany - with manufacturing continuing at a brisk pace throughout the usual summer slow season, many within the global automotive supply chain still experienced lulls in orders and planned production programs. With so many employees on vacation and crucial parts of the supply stream in something of a holding pattern as the industry prepares for the busy fall season, it’s tempting to view the summer months as nothing more than downtime - a breather from the harried spring ramp-up in production. Given the 24/7, 365-nature of today's automotive industry, this summer slowdown instance is just one example of periods when production can slow and productivity can wain. 

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Topics: Transportation Management, Planned Production Programs, Demand Capacity Planning

4 Facts About Tactical Transport Planning

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Oct 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Operational transport planning in today’s automotive supply chain is like that one junk drawer or cupboard everyone has in their house. It’s a chaotic collection of seemingly unrelated items that you often forget about until a certain item goes missing. The drawer or cupboard lacks any kind of organization and you often have little idea as to the volume, quantity, and nature of items inside. Similarly, operational transport planning and its lack of transparency and visibility into the overall supply situation means increases in unnecessary costs and resources, missing or lost parts and deliveries, and more complex logistics that detract from the clarity necessary to leverage lean supply chain management principles.

In short, operational transport planning can be a significant stumbling block for OEMs and Suppliers in transporting, monitoring, and reviewing how their parts move from production facilities to the customer, both in terms of speed and condition.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Planning, Demand Capacity Planning

Packing Your Suitcase: The Case for Container Load Management

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Think about the last time you packed a suitcase for a trip. You wanted to make the most use of the space. You carefully selected which items would be of most use and then placed them strategically in the suitcase to maximize the space restrictions and include as many items as possible. You had to consider the weight of the suitcase, whether that weight would result in additional surcharges at the airport, and the way in which the items were packed in order of priority to make the most commonly used items easy to fetch.

This same concept applies to container load management in the automotive supply chain. For OEMs to optimize transportation logistics and leverage lean supply principles for greater efficiency and visibility, container load management solutions are a good way to help manufacturers cut through the complexity and uncertainty that comes with global supply and transportation management by providing a more dynamic approach to managing container loads. Much like how you carefully select how to fold your shirts or where to stow a toiletry kit to maximize your packing ability, manufacturers who implement a container load solution will be better equipped to move products in a more cost-effective, productive manner.

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Topics: Transportation Management

How Leveraging RFID Technology Enhances Supply Chain Visibility

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Aug 30, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In a recent blog entry, we examined the technology trend known as the Internet of Things and how digital connectivity and optimization is rapidly making it easier for supply chain managers and planners to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility and transparency. The IOT and other smart supply software solutions provide, among other functions, real-time reporting and data management of products, but what good are these capabilities without intelligent systems to track and manage the location and conditions of products?

Enter Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which is quickly becoming an important tool to leverage in achieving supply chain agility and transparency – especially as the supply pipeline continues to globalize and enter new and emerging markets. RFID technology utilizes tracking tags attached or embedded in objects to instantaneous identify the location and condition of these objects without the use of barcodes or scanners. These tags also contain and store information about the object – for example, a RFID tag on a head gasket may include such information as when the gasket was produced, where, when it was shipped to a warehouse, and more.

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Topics: Transportation Management, Supply Chain Logistics, Supply Chain Management