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Logistics / Supply Chain: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Management Method that Leads to Success
Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach that seeks to improve quality and performance which will meet or exceed customer expectations. TQM looks at the overall quality measures used by a company including managing quality design and development, quality control and maintenance, quality improvement, and quality assurance. This article looks at the history and implementation of TQM.
Introduction to Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management can be simple or complex, but all supply chains contain similar elements and are managed in a similar way. This article will give you a introduction to these concepts. Firstly, you will learn about the elements that define a company's supply chain. Secondly, you will discover the three levels of management that are required to efficiently operate the supply chain.
Cycle Counting In The Warehouse
Cycle counting is a popular inventory counting method that allows businesses to count a number of items in a number of areas within the warehouse without having to count the entire inventory. Cycle counting is a sampling technique where count of a certain number of items infers the count for the whole warehouse. This article shows different cycle counting methods that can used in a warehouse.
Introduction to Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS)
Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) version 12 is an internet enabled product that can be managed from a single site. A company can operate a single data center with a single database, similar to other ERP products. This release was launched in February 2007 and contains a number of product lines which users can implement for their business. Oracle EBS includes the company’s ERP solution as well as supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.
Decoding International Commercial Terms
International commercial terms or Incoterms are a series of sales terms that are used by businesses throughout the world. Incoterms are used to make international trade easier. They are used to divide transaction costs and responsibilities between buyer and seller. This article describes in detail the thirteen incoterms that can be used.
Warehouse Best Practices
Companies are constantly trying to find ways to improve performance and warehouse operations is area where supply chain managers can focus to gain maximum efficiency for minimum cost. To get the most out of the operation, a number of best practices can be adopted to improve productivity and overall customer satisfaction. Although best practices vary from industry to industry and by the products shipped there are a number of best practices that can be applied to most companies.
Measuring Purchasing Performance
Measuring purchasing performance is important as the purchasing department plays an ever increasingly important role in the supply chain in an economic downturn. A reduction in the cost of raw material and services can allow companies to competitively market the price of their finished goods in order to win business. This article examines how companies are measuring purchasing performance.
Forecasting In The Supply Chain
In the supply chain, forecasting is necessary for manufacturers. Companies use material forecasting to ensure that they produce the level of material that satisfies their customers without producing an overcapacity situation where too much inventory is produced and remains on the shelf. This article examines the use of forecasts in the supply chain with statistical and non-statistical methods.
Selecting A Third Party Logistics (3PL) Provider
Third party logistics (3PL) companies are a becoming an important part of today’s supply chain. These companies offer services that can allow businesses to outsource part of all of their supply chain management function. This article examines the rise of the 3PL providers and the mechanism that should be used in the selection of a third party logistics provider.
Order Picking In The Warehouse
Order picking can be defined as the activity by which a small number of goods are extracted from a warehousing system, to satisfy a number of independent customer orders. Picking processes have become an important part of the supply chain process. Picking is seen as the most labor-intensive activity for almost every warehouse and this article examines order picking solutions that are available.
Negotiation In The Purchasing Process
Negotiation in the purchasing process covers the period from when the first communication is made between the purchasing buyer and the supplier through to the final signing of the contract. Negotiation can be as simple as trying to obtain a discount on a case of safety gloves through to the complexities of major capital purchases. This article looks at negotiations in the purchasing process.
Creating a Logistics Strategy
The supply chain constantly changes and that will affect any logistics organization. To adapt to the flexibility of the supply chain, companies should develop and implement a formal logistics strategy.
Inbound And Outbound Deliveries In SAP
In SAP the inbound logistics functionality incorporates inbound deliveries, inbound shipments as well as goods receipts. The outbound logistics functionality covers the picking and packing of materials as well as the outbound delivery and goods issue. This article gives an overview of the inbound and outbound delivery processes in SAP.
Inventory Carrying Costs
The cost of carrying inventory is used to help companies determine how much profit can be made on current inventory. The cost is what a business will incur over a certain period of time, to hold and store its inventory. This article looks at the different components that combine to produce an overall cost of carrying inventory.
Cross Docking in the Warehouse
The term cross docking refers to moving product from a manufacturing plant and delivers it directly to the customer with little or no material handling in between. Cross docking not only reduces material handling, but also reduces the need to store the products in the warehouse. In this article, the different types, benefits and products suitable for ctross docking are examined.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Classification
Commercial trucks that operate on US highways can be classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The classification is divided into eight classes, one through eight, although many people use the more generic terms, light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. This article examines the different types of truck classifications in the US.
Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI is a process where the vendor creates orders for their customers based on demand information that they receive from the customer. The vendor and customer are bound by an agreement which determines inventory levels, fill rates and costs. This article describes the VMI process.
Introduction to SAP
SAP ERP Operations solution has become the software backbone that contributes to companies ability to achieve efficiency in the supply chain.
Strategic Supply Chain Management
The strategic supply chain processes that management has to decide upon will cover the breadth of the supply chain. These include product development, customers, manufacturing, suppliers and logistics.
Logistics Functions In SAP
SAP is the number one vendor of standard business application software and the third largest software supplier in the world. SAP delivers scalable solutions that enable its customers to further advance industry best practices. This article looks at the various logistics components in SAP.
Transportation Worker Identification Credential...
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as an identification credential for all workers requiring unescorted access of port facilities and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA.
Implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) have been available for decades and initially allowed simple storage location functionality. Today WMS systems can be standalone or part of an ERP system and can include complex technology such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and voice recognition. However the basic principle of a WMS has remained the same, which is to provide information to allow efficient control of the movement of materials within the warehouse
Planning Your Warehouse Layout
The layout of a warehouse may need to be changed to accommodate new product lines or to add greater flexibility to the warehouse operations. When a new warehouse layout is proposed a detailed planning process should be followed to ensure the success of the project. The planning process is discussed in this article.
Lean Supply Chain Management
Lean supply chain management should be considered by businesses who want to streamline their processes by eliminating waste and non-value added activities. Companies have a number of areas in their supply chain where waste can be identified as time, costs or inventory. To create a leaner supply chain companies must examine each area of the supply chain.
Introduction to Lawson Software
When companies are considering an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the short list usually includes SAP and Oracle. However, Lawson Software offers an ERP system that has been ranked as the number one ERP software product for cost per user by the Aberdeen Group. This article examines the the history of Lawson Software and their current ERP applications.
Pallet Storage Methods In The Warehouse
Many companies store their products on pallets in the warehouse. There are a number of pallet storage methods that allow the warehouse staff to store pallets efficiently. This article will examine a number of the pallet storage methods that are commonly used.
Measuring Capacity in Manufacturing
Capacity is often defined as the capability of an object, whether that is a machine, work center or operator, to produce output for a specific time period, which can be an hour, a day, etc. Many companies ignore the measurement of capacity, assuming that their facility has enough capacity, but that is often not the case. This article looks at the different methids of measuring capacity.
SAP Inventory Management
Inventory management is the process of efficiently monitoring the flow of products into and out of an existing inventory in the warehouse. This process involves controlling the receipt of products in order to prevent the inventory from becoming too high where items are stored at an unnecessary cost, or too low where it can cause a stock-out and production could be halted due to lack of raw materials. This article examines inventory management in SAP.
Introduction to the Green Supply Chain
The public have become more aware of environmental issues and consumers are asking companies about their environmental policies. This article examines how some companies have found that starting to create a green supply chain can add to the bottom line.
Benchmarking In The Supply Chain
Supply chain operations within an organization should be constantly reviewed to identify where improvements can be made or deficiencies eliminated. One method to help do this is to perform a series of benchmarking tests on their supply chain processes. This article reviews the methods involved in benchmarking supply chain processes.
Reducing Transportation Costs
Transportation costs can be a significant part of a company’s overall logistics spend. With the increases in the price of fuel, the proportion allocated to transportation can be upward of fifty percent. Transportation costs are a major target for company’s to reduce and there are a number of transportation strategies that can be used by management to help reduce costs. This article looks at some of those strategies.
Order And Setup Costs
There are a number of costs that make up the total inventory costs for a company. Order costs include the expenses involved in placing an order for a quantity of material, but this does not include the actual cost of the material itself. Setup costs are incurred when production or assembly lines are changed for example when the manufacturing department has to change equipment for a different product or part to be manufactured. This article looks at both these types of costs.
Transport Documentation
These documents include the freight bill, the bill of lading and the FOB terms of sale. This article examines these transportation documents.
Small Business Guide to Manufacturing
Small businesses are often not associated with manufacturing, however in the US small manufacturers can be found in all fifty states. Organizations such as the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC) exist to promote small manufacturers and to lobby government to assist with legislation and federal programs. This article examines some of the manufacturing processes that are used by small businesses.
Freight Forwarding
The main function of the freight forwarder is to act as an intermediary between the client who is hiring them and various transportation services that are involved in getting the product overseas to the customer. This article looks at the different services that a freight forwarder can offer.
Measures Of Warehouse Productivity
Warehouse productivity is a number of measurements that management will analyze to monitor the performance of their warehouse operations. The basis of many of the measures used in warehouse productivity is based on how much it costs to perform an operation. is article looks at a number of measure used in warehouse productivity.
SAP Advanced Planning and Optimizer (APO)
An important component of SAP is the Advanced Planning and Optimizer (APO) application. APO is a suite of supply chain planner applications that increase overall knowledge of the supply chain and provide forecasting, planning and optimization. This article looks at the basics of the APO function.
Manufacturing Process
When a manufacturing company begins production of a new material, it has a choice as to the manufacturing process it uses. The type of process depends on the facility, the staff, and the information systems available. Each process has its advantages and some are best at certain tasks, for example, large batches of finished goods, or small numbers of custom items. This article looks at the many manufacturing processes.
Sales and Operations Planning
Sales and operations planning (S&OP), sometimes known as aggregate planning, is a process where executive level management regularly meets and reviews projections for demand, supply and the resulting financial impact. S&OP is a decision making process that makes certain that tactical plans in every business area are in line with the overall view of the company’s business plan.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The implementation of EDI is important for companies as it can significantly reduce the cost of sending documents. A paper purchase order requires resources to print the PO, fax it, or post it to the vendor. EDI automatically sends the electronic document to the vendor thus reducing the cost of sending the PO. This article describes the basics of EDI and how it is used by businesses.
Wal-Mart's Strategic Initiatives
Early 2009 Wal-Mart introduced a plan that was hoped to ensure that the company would remain the industry leader. Project Impact is based on three strategic initiatives that will improve the benefits to the customer. The three initiatives are; Save Money, Live Better; Win, Play, Show; and Fast, Friendly, Clean. This article examines aspects of the Project Impact initiative.
Warehouse Safety
Safety in American warehouses is regulated by a series of standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OHSA. The main focus of OSHA is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. This article examines the most frequent citations given by OSHA and some of the practical solutions that can be employed in the warehouse.
Calculating Safety Stock
Safety stock is required by businesses to ensure that they have sufficient quantities of material in stock. The safety stock provides coverage for unexpected customer demand, damage in the warehouse or quality issues found in production. However, there are situations where firms do not require inventory to be in stock. This article looks at the methods that can be used to calculate safety stock
SAP Extended Warehouse Management
SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) is a component of the SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) business suite. The EWM function is not a part of the SAP ERP suite, which contains standard warehouse management. SAP has announced that although they will continue to support SAP WM, they will not be enhancing the product, and all new warehouse functionality will be included in the EWM component.
Classification of Forklift Trucks
The forklift truck has been around for a little under a century, but today it is found in every warehouse operation around the world. Developed as a result of manpower shortages the forklift evolved from a tractor with attachments to the vehicle used today. Recent technology has led to new hybrid vehicles that are environmentally friendly. This article looks at the different classes of forklifts.
SAP Sales and Distribution
The sales and distribution (SD) function of SAP is part of the logistics area and contains the processes that help a company integrate with their customers. These processes include providing quotations to customers, receiving sales orders via phone, internet or EDI, shipping the finished goods, and finally billing the customer for the goods that they have received.
Ethics In Purchasing
Every day the media has reports of cases of unethical business practices that involves the purchasing of materials or services in almost every country in the world. Although we like to think that the people who determine contracts and purchasing agreements are fair and ethical, there are some that will accept coercion that may affect the award of contracts that are worth thousands of dollars to those that are worth millions of dollars. This article looks at the ethics involved in purchasing.
Six Sigma Concepts: The DMAIC Problem Solving...
The Six Sigma system uses a number of quality methods and tools that are used by Six Sigma trained professionals within the organization. The DMAIC problem solving method can be used to help with any issue that arises, usually by those who professionals in the organization who have reached green belt level. This article examines the elements that make up the DMAIC methodology.
Quality In The Purchasing Process
Quality is an important part of the supply chain, whether it is quality inspections during the manufacturing process or checking quality as raw materials and parts enter the factory. Before any part or raw material is used in a manufacturing it is the responsibility of the purchasing department to ensure that the materials that arrive are of the correct quality specification. This article looks at quality in the procurement process.
Purchasing Organization Structure
The purchasing function of any company is vitally important to the success of that company. By negotiating with vendors, a purchasing department can get the best quality items, at the best price, at the right delivery time. The way in which a purchasing department is structured is directly dependent on the way in which the company operates.
Product Life Cycle
The product life cycle can be divided into several stages characterized by the revenue generated by the product. A life cycle can be very short or very long. Most products start in the product development stage. Companies develop new products all the time and a small percentage of those reach the market. This article describes the different stages in the product life cycle.
Commercial Vehicle Size and Weights
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the US Department of Transportation (DoT). It is responsible for the federal size and weight regulations for commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The regulations are found in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 23 CFR Part 658. This article examines the size and weight limitations specified in the federal regulations.
SAP Quality Management
Quality Management (QM) is an integral part of the logistics function and within the SAP application it is fully integrated with complementary components including Materials Management (MM), Plant Maintenance (PM), and Production Planning (PP). This article gives an overview of the SAP quality management component.
US Export Regulations
Companies that want to export items from the United States need to understand that their exports fully comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements. Compliance involves the no-export of controlled goods and technologies and the restrictions on shipping to certain countries, companies, organizations, and individuals. This article exaplains some of the regulations that apply.
Introduction to Ariba
Ariba, founded in 1996 by Keith Krach, offers procurement departments the opportunity to manage, monitor and analyze purchasing expenditures.
Operating A Procurement Card Program
The procurement card, or P-card, is a form of company credit card that makes it easier for employees to purchase goods and services.
Federal Express (FedEx)
FedEx, previously known as Federal Express, is a major player in the package delivery market and a direct competitor to global leader, United Parcel Service (UPS). FedEx was founded in 1971 and now has an annual revenue of $40 billion and 300,000 employees. This article examines the history of the company from its early days in Little Rock to the global logistics company it is today.
Just In Time (JIT)
Just in Time or JIT method creates the movement of material into a specific location at the required time, i.e. just before the material is needed in the manufacturing process.
Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Supplies (MRO)
MRO items are consumed as part of the production and plant maintenance process.
SAP Production Planning
Production Planning is an integral part of the logistics function in SAP and it is fully integrated with other components including Materials Management (MM). Every business that has a manufacturing operation will have implemented some level of production planning functionality to ensure that finished goods can be manufactured at the necessary time for customer’s sales orders to be delivered.
Strategies For A Successful ERP Implementation
Every company that embarks on an implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project hopes that the implementation will be a success; on time and on budget. There are a number of critical success factors that could help ensure that success of a typical ERP project. This article highlights some of the most important strategies that can be adopted for a successful ERP implementation.
Operational Supply Chain Management
Operational supply chain decisions are made hundreds of times each day in a company. These are the decisions that are made at business locations that affect how products are developed, sold, moved and manufactured.
Implementing a World Class Purchasing...
Implementing a world class purchasing strategy will allow your company to stabilize or even increase profits at a time when your costs are rising. This step by step guide will show you the key points to helping you company implement the key elements for a world class purchasing strategy.
Pick To Light Warehouse Systems
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SAP Plant Maintenance
Plant Maintenance is an integral part of the logistics function and in SAP it is fully integrated with other components including Materials Management (MM) and Production (PP). The plant maintenance function covers three areas of maintenance; inspection, prevention and repair. this article gives an overview of the SAP Plant Maintenance functionality.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
When your company communicates with your customers the process can involve many different people within both organizations using a variety of different methods. To ensure that your company can provide the best customer service experience possible the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software should be considered. This article examines the elements that are found in customer relationship management software.
Less Than Truckload (LTL)
Products are moved from point to point by a number of different modes of transport; air, rail, water and truck. In the US, the movement of goods by truck offers shippers infinite flexibility due at a relatively low cost. Truck transportation can move large items faster than rail as the shipment is not dependent on the railroads timetable. This article looks at the Less Than Truckload (LTL) sector.
Continuous Improvement Tools
Total Quality Management is a popular approach to quality in a business that seeks to improve quality and performance which will meet or exceed customer expectations. One core component to TQM is the principle of continuous improvement. There are a number of tools available to ensure that continuous improvement is successful, including process mapping, root cause analysis, and the plan do check act (PDCA) cycle. This article examines these continuous improvement tools in more depth.
Reverse Logistics
Reverse Logistics can be defined as all activity associated with a product after the point of sale. The aims of reverse logistics include optimization of aftermarket activity, such as customer service, quality inspection and warehouseing, which can produce a new revenue stream, improve customer satisfaction and help the environment. This article examines the elements of reverse logistics.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
When a complex business requirement has been defined, a company is then ready to find a vendor to fulfill the requirements. The first step in finding a vendor is to create a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP should contain in detail every aspect of the business requirement, and what the company requires from a potential vendor to fulfill the requirements specified.
Introduction To Vendor Evaluation
Companies are constantly looking at their supply chain to reduce costs while improving the quality of the items they purchase. To select the appropriate vendor for a particular item, a purchasing department can use a vendor evaluation tool. The evaluation of vendors can be determined by using a number of criteria that are either derived from transaction data or observations. The article is an introduction into the vendor evaluation process.
SAP Purchasing
Businesses of any size has to purchase items to either manufacture finished goods or to provide services. Before a purchasing department can purchase material in SAP, the department’s unique infrastructure must be configured. To design a structure that best meets a business’s needs, you need to understand the SAP organizational structure and the decisions a purchasing department needs to make.
Tactical Supply Chain Management
Tactical supply chain decisions focus on adopting measures that will produce cost benefits for a company. Tactical decisions are made within the construct of the wider reaching strategic supply chain decisions that are made by company management.
Customer Service
Customer service is an important element for making a successful business. You can have a wonderful product, but without excellent customer service the item will never be purchased. The customer interacts with a company through a number of channels and the level of service that is afforded the customer goes a long way to achieving customer satisfaction and in turn more orders for the company. This article looks at the key elements for a world class customer service strategy.
Route Planning
For logistics businesses the rising cost of fuel has meant that they need to become efficient in the way that they plan their transportation routes. The traditional methods of route planning do not address real time events that affect businesses every day. This article looks at how modeling can create successful route planning.
Public Warehousing In The Supply Chain
A company’s supply chain will include warehousing functions. It can be company-owned, owned by a third party logistics (3PL) firm or a public warehouse. Extra warehouse space is sometimes required due to any number of factors including; seasonal inventory, warehouse re-organization or warehouse damage. This article examines public warehousing and the criteria used in selecting a public warehouse.
Inbound Quality Inspections
Quality is important all along the supply chain and one area that is very important in the monitoring of quality is the inspection of items that arrive at the facility from your suppliers. Ensuring that the parts and raw materials are of the correct quality or specifications before the item even enters the plant is a key aspect of ensuring total quality of the finished goods. This article looks at the importance of inbound quality inspections.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
The first use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) was documented in the 1940’s by the British Royal Air Force to identify aircraft in World War II and was part of the refinement of radar. During the 1960’s RFID was first considered as a tracking solution in the commercial world. The first applications involving RFID were developed over the next twenty years. This article looks at the benefits of RFID and its advantages over using barcodes.
Cross Docking
Cross docking reduces costs by shipping material as it is received.
SAP Supplier Relationship Management
The SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) application can connect a company with its supply base which allows multiple levels of suppliers, partners, and manufacturers to work together, while you reduce the cost of goods sold. There are a number of functions that are found in the SAP SRM application including procure to pay, catalog management, and supplier evaluation. This article examines the SAP SRM application.
Introduction to Current Good Manufacturing...
Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) are followed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to ensure that their items are manufactured to specific requirements. This article is an introduction to the regulations that govern the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and bioligicals in the US.
Origins and Principles of Lean Manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing has grown out of the production system developed by the Japanese automaker, Toyota. After WWII, Japanese manufacturers adopted production and quality procedures from US industry and expanded the principles to reduce waste in the manufacturing process. This article looks at the origins and principles of Lean Manufacturing.
Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS)
Companies require that quality is part of every link in the supply chain, whether it is raw material at a vendor’s facility or finished goods delivered to a customer. To ensure that the quality personnel are able to achieve the optimum results, a Laboratory Information Management System is vital to that success. This article describes the key features of the a LIMS system.
Inventory Classification
It is beneficial for a business to classify the inventory in their warehouse so that they can make decisions based on the type of inventory they have. Many companies use some kind of ranking system to classify their materials in the warehouse, such as the ABC classification.
Six Sigma Terminology
Six Sigma is a business management strategy that was initially developed by Motorola in the 1980’s, and now is used in many Fortune 500 companies. It is used primarily to identify and rectify errors and defect in a manufacturing or business process. Six Sigma uses a number of quality methods and tools that are used by professionals within the organization who have been trained on Six Sigma techniques. This articles explains some of the common terms used in Six Sigma projects.
Quality Inspections In The Supply Chain
Quality inspections are important when a manufacturing company creates finished goods; it cannot afford to wait until the items are coming off the end of the production line before they are inspected. Issues in production need to be addressed early in the process in order to correct problems. This article examines the use of quality inspections along the supply chain.
SAP Strategic Enterprise Management
The SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) product provides integrated software with comprehensive functionality that allows a company to significantly streamline the entire strategic management process. The SAP SEM product can be installed independently of a SAP ERP system as it does not require a direct link to the ERP software. This article examines the components of the SAP SEM product.
Introduction to Kanban
Kanban is a scheduling system that is used in manufacturing to help companies improve their production process. The kanban system is a “just-in-time” method that was developed sixty years ago in Japan by Toyota to improve manufacturing. The method has been adopted by companies all over the world and has been incorporated into many new enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This article looks at the basics behind the Kanban process.
RFID and SAP
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming more prevalent in the manufacturing industry as companies find ways in which its benefits can be used to greater enhance the accuracy of data collection and identification of products. This article examines the use of SAP Auto-ID for companies who look to implement RFID with their SAP ERP application.
Contract Termination
When you negotiate a contract with a supplier the terms of the contract specify details such as the quantity to be purchased, pricing, discounts, and delivery instructions. The contract will also contain clauses on what the procedure is to cancel the contract for certain reasons. This article looks at the ways in which a purchasing contract can be terminated.
Kuehne and Nagel
Kuehne and Nagel (KN) are the world’s second largest logistics company, the number one global seafreight forwarder, top three global air cargo forwarder, and top three contract logistics provider. The company was founded in 1890 in Germany, and has more than 1000 offices in over 100 countries, and over 63,000 employees. This article examines the history and growth of this logistics leader.
ISO 9000 Certification
In recent years many companies have been through the experience of becoming ISO 9000 certified. Sometimes this can be long and expensive process, but businesses are willing to go through certification for the benefits it brings. This article looks at the procedure that a company must follow to achieve ISO 9000 certification.
Vehicle Fleet Costs
A company may make a decision to have an in-house vehicle fleet based on the needs of the company to get goods to customers as quickly as possible. However the convenience of having a vehicle fleet to transport items at a moment notice comes at a considerable price. This article looks at the cost of owning a fleet of delivery vehicles.
Master Scheduling
Master scheduling is the detailed planning process that tracks manufacturing output and matches this against customer orders that have been placed. The master schedule is the next step in planning after the sales and operations planning (S&OP). This article will examine the master scheduling process.
Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
Export Processing Zones (EPZs) is a strategy for economic development in developing nations. The tool is used to attract foreign investment to create jobs, expand the industrial base, introduce technology, job creation, and create backward linkages between the EPZ and the domestic economy. However, there are so
Hazardous Materials In The Warehouse
Hazardous materials are often found in a warehouse. These materials can be either raw materials or finished goods depending on the nature of your company’s products. However, a hazardous material is one that is capable of producing harmful physical effects . This article examines the subject od hazardous materials in your warehouse and the regulations in place for their safe use.
Carrier Pricing and Rates
The transportation industry can offer a complicated price structure when it involves moving commodities from one location to another. Each carrier has a price to move a class of commodity to one specific point to another specific point. A number of variables can make the decisions for a transportation manager very difficult when finding the best rate for a company’s shipping needs. This article looks at the way in which carriers pricing and rates are developed.
Packaging In The Warehouse
Almost every product we purchase as a consumer or a business is packaged. The packaging was initially intended to provide protection for the item as it being handled in the warehouse or when the item is being shipped. Packaging can be extremely elaborate, and for the consumer it can be an art form to entice you to make a purchase. This article looks at the packaging used in the warehouse.
Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is extremely important in an economy where the vendors are having to work hard to win new business and keep their existing customers. If a company fails to satisfy their existing clients there are many other vendors who would like the opportunity to win the business. This article looks at how vendors can win and retain customers by providing a high level of customer service.
Manugistics - Profile of Manugistics Software...
Manugistics began life as a company called Scientific Time Sharing Corporation (STSC), formed in 1969. Initially STSC was geared towards writing programs using the APL computer language for IBM. After a number of years of developing APL programming for the personal computer and developing operational decision-support software, STSC changed its name to Manugistics in 1992. This article looks the rise and fall of Manugistics and its purchase by JDA Software in 2006.
Airborne Express
Airborne Express had an unusual beginning. It was founded as the Airborne Flower Traffic Association of California in 1946 to fly fresh flowers from the state of Hawaii to the US Mainland. In 1968 Airborne merged with Pacific Air Freight and the focus of the business moved towards regular freight movements. The company continued for another thirty-five years when it was finally purchased by DHL in 2003. This article looks at the history of the company.
Bill of Materials
A bill of materials is used in the manufacturer of a product and should contain raw materials, sub-assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each. Each line of the bill of materials (BOM) will include the part number of the item, description, quantity, unit of measure, and a procurement type which describes if the part is purchased or manufactured.
Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is the identification of parts of the market that are different. Segmentation gives a company a greater ability to better satisfy the needs of its customers. However, not all customers are the same and each has unique characteristics and requirements that may not be found in any other customer. This article examines some of the elements of market segmentation.
Lean Six Sigma
Many organizations see Lean Six Sigma as the evolution of the Six Sigma methodology rather than a modification. Six Sigma has been developed over the last thirty years and has become the de facto methodology to eliminate defects from a process and improve the quality of the manufacturing process. The objective of this article is to examine the key steps in the Lean Six Sigma process.
Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation...
Hazardous materials are transported across the US every day. The responsibility for safety lies with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which has developed the FMCSA Hazardous Materials Program. This article examines the regulations, the responsibilities of each party, and incident reporting.
Warehouse Zone Storage
When storing items in a warehouse it is sometimes advantageous to store together materials that have similar characteristics, i.e. that require refrigeration or that are over-sized. This article examines the storage zones that can be found in a typical warehouse.
SAP Transportation
Transportation is very important element of the supply chain, without transportation, no finished goods would reach their intended customers and no raw materials would ever reach the plant. The transportation functionality in the SAP system allows a company to efficiently ship items from a facility to the customer. This article gives an overview of transportation in SAP.
Pick To Voice Warehouse Systems
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Reducing Waste in the Supply Chain
Businesses are examining every area of their supply chain to reduce costs. Reducing waste has become a key component of any cost reduction program that is implemented. There are a number of processes that can be used in order to reduce waste in a company’s supply chain. This article shows some of the processes that can be adopted to reduce waste in the supply chain.
Green Supply Chain Best Practices
Trend towards developing a green supply chain is popular but most companies are wondering how this can be achieved and where to start. Businesses have been concentrating on improving supply chain visibility, refining efficiency and minimizing cost. Despite the focus being moving towards a green supply chain the goals of visibility, efficiency and cost reduction do not have to be discarded. Firms who have implemented green supply chains can offer a number of best practices that will help others.
Professional Supply Chain Certification
The Institute of Supply Management offers three certifications for supply chain professionals. the Certified in Supply Management (CSM), the Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). This article examines these certification programs.
Case Study in Purchasing Rationalization
A major American chemical company had completed a year of supply chain reengineering and decided upon a number of best practices that should be implemented. One element of the reengineering was that they decided upon creating a shared service function at their headquarters which rationalized the purchasing and accounts functions.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United Parcel Service (UPS) began as company founded with a loan of only $100 back in 1907. Since then the company has grown into the world's largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services. This article describes some of the history of this company and how it has grown to the multi-national corporation it is today.
DHL
DHL quickly became a leader in international air express delivery shortly after the company was founded in 1969. Initially the company operated a door-to-door express delivery service, transporting documents between San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. With expansion into the Asia the company soon became the leader in international overnight service. This article looks at the rise of the overnight delivery company.
Production Routing
In the discrete production process, a item is produced when a shop order is created for a requirement. The shop order will show all the tasks, materials and equipment that will be used in the manufacture of the part. The routing shows the flow of required work that needs to be achieved, which can in be one or more facilities and could include work being sent to a vendor for specialized tasks.
Supply Chain Management Certification
Supply chain management professionals are actively pursued by companies in the US and globally. In recent years companies looking to hire staff for supply chain positions are looking favorably at candidates with supply chain certification. This article examines some of the educational options that supply chain professionals can choose from.
Exporting And The Global Supply Chain
The supply chain incorporates all aspects of moving material from the vendor through the manufacturing process to the final customer. The supply chain focuses on vendors, manufacturers, intermediaries, logistical services and the customer. The supply chain is no longer contained within countries borders, but encompasses all nations, whether they are vendors, manufacturers or customers. This article will examine the ways in which companies can export their products to new markets.
Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics
management software have an increasing number of software companies competing for their business. For business owners who feel that products from Oracle, SAP and JDA are too complex and too expensive for their businesses, Microsoft has a range of products under the Microsoft Dynamics umbrella that are more applicable for small and medium businesses.
Reorder Methodologies in Manufacturing
A crucial activity for planners is to when to decide to place an order. There are a number of reorder methodologies that can be adopted. Although most computer systems are based on the materials requirement planning (MRP) method, there are other methods that planners can use which are examined in this article.
Standard for Wood Pallets
Wood pallets have traditionally been the way in which material is moved from vendor to customer and then onto the consumer. The wood pallet sits in warehouses and stores throughout the world. In the US there are millions of pallets in use every day and the vast majority is made from wood. For the manufacturer of the wood pallet there are voluntary guidelines and this article looks at these standards.
Total Productive Maintenance
In any modern manufacturing facility the equipment used requires a level of maintenance to ensure that the manufacturing process is not disrupted and the production plan can be achieved. World class organizations spend time and resources on maintaining their equipment using a preventative maintenance plan. This article looks at the processes included in Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).
Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
For companies that export items abroad the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) is important guide that should be adhered to. The EAR is administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which strictly enforces the EAR. The BIS regulate the export and re-export of many commercial items that also have a military or proliferation application.
Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM)
Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is the latest development in lean manufacturing where companies have progressed from the just-in-time (JIT) methodologies of the 1970’s. The QRM process looks at how lead times across the company can be reduced to increase productivity. This article examines some of the fundamentals of quick response manufacturing.
Open Source ERP
Open source software has gained a significant foothold in the business work and it is natural that open source ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are the next evolutionary step in the process. The open source ERP and CRM solutions can be purchased by a company and used as is. This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of open source ERP software.
SAP Customer Service
Customer Service functionality contains the processes that a company requires to deliver the services are offered to customers. These services can be for warranties that are offered with products or warranties that are purchased by customers. This article looks at the major aspects of the SAP customer service functionality.
Project Methodology
Project management methodology is important when a company initiates a number of projects across their enterprise. By either developing an in-house company methodology or adopting a standard methodology, each project should operate along a given set of principles that can be transposed from project to project. This article looks at what should be included in a project methodology.
Customer Complaints
Customer complaints are something that every business will have to deal with at some time. This can be many hundreds of times a day or very seldom. However many customer complaints you receive, there are ways in which they should be dealt with to ensure that the customer will remain your customer, and order from you again.
Higher Education In Supply Chain Management
With companies investing ever greater resources in their supply chain there is a distinct trend to have the best and brightest employees managing those supply chains. In the past companies have employed staff with various levels of education that covered a wide range of subjects. Higher education in supply chain management is becoming more important and this article looks at current trends.
Project Management
A company will have any number of projects in progress at one time. These may be as complex as installing a new enterprise wide computer system, creating a new warehouse, or as simple as purchasing a new commercial vehicle. Project management incorporates all of the interactions and interrelationships that need to occur to make the project successful. This article examines the basics of project management.
Containerization
Wherever you travel these days there is always a container nearby. Whether it is on a train, on a ship, or on a truck, intermodal containers are an integral part of today’s supply chain. The modern era of containerization started only fifty years ago and revolutionized the way in which goods were moved along the supply chain. This article examines the development of the shipping container over the last half century.
DB Schenker
DB Schenker is one of the leading globally integrated logistics service providers. It is part of the Deutsche Bahn company and employs in excess 94,000 staff in over 2,000 locations in more than 130 countries. This article looks back at the history of the Schenker company and its success today.
Restructuring the USPS
After 237 years, the USPS finds itself in a crippling financial where its future is in doubt. There have been many suggestions on the future of the postal service in the United States, which includes privatizing parts of the USPS or letting the USPS go into receivership. This article looks at some of the solutions that have been proposed to help the USPS return to profitability.
Finding New Customers
Every business has to have customers to sell to so that a profit can be made. Sometimes companies have great services or products, but fail due to their of lack of ability in finding the right customers. There are a number of ways in which companies can find and retain customers, from cold calling to collaborating with other firms. This article will examine a number of these options.
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)
A programmable logic controller (PLC) is a designed to perform industrial control operations which can occur on the production line. The PLC is a microcomputer which has a central processing unit (CPU) that controls all of the activity that is required of the PLC. The CPU contains the main processor and system memory. This article examines the history and uses of the PLC.
Product Recall
At some point during the product lifecycle a manufacturer may have to issue a product recall. The normal reason for a product recall is because of safety issues. This may be a safety issue caused by a manufacturing problem or by a faulty component supplied by a vendor. This article looks at all aspects of product recalls.
Computer System Validation
Computer System Validation is required for companies in certain industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, to ensure that the systems they use will not affect the quality of the product. Validation is the documentation of the processes used in manufacturing that demonstrate consistency, it is required on process systems, equipment and computer systems, such as ERP implementations. This article describes the validation process.
Supply Chain Performance Metrics
Each supply chain performance metric gives a slightly different view of a piece of the supply chain. The important decision for any company is to prioritize which supply chain metrics are important and how they will be used. Many companies use supply chain performance metrics that are easy to calculate but may not necessarily give a true indication of how the supply chain is performing.
Product Packaging
Packaging is a very important part of the product. Industrial packaging that is used to safely move the items from the vendor to the customer or from the production line to the distribution center. It is usually packaging that is external to the product and usually discarded before the it reaches the consumer. The other type of packaging is designed by the marketing department and is specifically designed with the consumer in mind.
Stockout Costs
One of the worse things that can happen to a business is to have a stockout. This means that with no inventory of a certain item, production has to be stopped or a customer order will not be fulfilled. For a warehouse manager it is a scenario that they most dread and with it comes a significant cost to the company.
Green Supply Chain Education
Companies are focusing a lot of energy and resources in making modification to their supply chain to make it more environmentally sound, or green. To realize these aims companies are having to education their supply chain professionals. In twenty years time the green collar worker may be commonplace and this article examines the content of green supply chain courses that are available now.
Process Control Systems (PCS)
Process control systems (PCS), sometimes called industrial control systems (ICS), are pieces of equipment along the production line that can be supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic controllers (PLC), or distributed control systems (DCS), that can gather and transmit data that is obtained during the manufacturing process.
Industrial Action In The Indian Automotive...
Many Western companies have taken advantage of the resource available in India and the willingness of Indian states and the federal government to encourage investment in some of its more rural areas. Companies have created large automotive plants and have been frustrated by union activities allowed by law. This article looks at some of the worst industrial action that has affect the Indian automotive industry.
Smartphones And The Supply Chain
The Smartphone is a popular consumer item that has made its way into the supply chain and is becoming an invaluable tool for a wide range of processes including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). This article examines the use of the Smartphone and the tablet in today's supply chain.
Euro Pallets
Pallets are everywhere. They are used in the supply chain to move raw materials and finished good, while billions of dollars of merchandise sits on pallets in tens of thousands of warehouses around the world. The pallet that most of us know is the traditional wooden pallet that is seen in warehouse stores such as Costco and Ikea. This article looks at the euro pallet and its use in Europe.
Assemble to Order
Assemble to order is a production method that occurs when an item is assembled after receipt of a customer's order
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration develops and enforces rules and regulations that relate to drivers, vehicles, and the carrier. As well as the enforcement of regulations, the FMSCA encourages the education of drivers and carriers. This article examines the work of the FMCSA.
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is released on the first business day of each month and is a key near-term indicator used by financial analysts and economists. Economists believe that the PMI is the single best snapshot of the condition of the factory sector and helps predict industrial production. this article looks at the PMI and how it is derived.
Food Safety In The Supply Chain
Today there is a drive in the food supply chain for food safety along all aspects of the supply chain. Keeping food safe requires that food growers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and importers work in unison to ensure that the end product that reaches the consumer is safe for consumption. This article examines food safety across the supply chain.
Project Management Certification
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an organization that is dedicated to the education of project managers so that they have the skills necessary to perform the tasks required of them. One way in which the PMI does that is to offer globally recognized credentials that certify project management expertise. This article looks at the certification offered by the PMI.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Licensing
To drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as person is required to have a commercial driving license. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 required that drivers of commercial motor vehicles were qualified to drive such vehicles to ensure greater safety on the highways of the United States. This article looks at different aspects of commercial vehicle licensing.

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