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Tag Archives: Logistics

How to Perform Warehouse Costing Using Cleansheet Analysis?

23 Feb

Warehouse2

Warehousing costs at most firms are extraordinarily higher than they ought to be.  Across the world, organizations spend around €300 billion annually on Warehouse Management.  With the boom in online retail stores and the increasing complexity of Supply Chain Management, this spending is going to surge further.

The leadership at these organizations understands that they should spend less on Warehousing operations, but is not aware of the real costs associated with it.  Most leaders are unable to tell how much is their human resources cost per facility.

Lack of appreciation of true Warehousing operations costs is one of the main reasons for failure of most Business Transformation programs.  Without this knowledge, the leadership is unable to comprehend where the improvement areas lie and how much value creation can be achieved from those.

Ascertaining these costs warrants a clear approach, which many organizations lack.  Most firms inquire about their operational costs from 3rd party Logistics (3PL) providers—by soliciting requests for quotations (RFQs).  However, this does not give an idea of what these principal activities really cost.  The most common approaches to Warehouse costing include:

Benchmarking

The Benchmarking method uses a top-down approach to analyze costs based on industry benchmarks.  However, accessibility of benchmarks at lower levels is hard to access, since benchmarks available for comparison are predominantly at high levels—e.g., Total Warehouse Cost as a proportion of Cost of Goods Sold.  Industry Benchmarking fails to take into consideration distinct product or service offerings.

Cleansheet Analysis

Cleansheet (or a Bottom-up Analysis) is a more comprehensive method to estimate Warehousing costs.  It is a numerical approach to ascertain precise costs of critical components of Warehousing operations, including facility spread out, workforce, and equipment.  This method facilitates in understanding where the cost exceeds and how it can be eliminated.

The focus of the Cleansheet Analysis is on determining the lowest possible cost of each major element, and comparing it with the actual cost being paid.  Identifying the lowest costs of major elements allows the organization to determine the most problematic areas and confront major cost inconsistencies.

The Cleansheet Analysis comprises of 3 main steps:

  1. Ascertain Critical Parameters
  2. Perform Bottom-up Calculations
  3. Determine Ideal Throughput Metrics

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the initial step.

Ascertain Critical Parameters

The first step of the Cleansheet Analysis entails scoping the Warehousing facility’s configuration, work, team, volumes, and orders.  Specifically, this includes evaluating:

  • The workforce, accountability distribution, workloads.
  • The actual warehouse activity levels.
  • The volumes.
  • The volume drivers—number of SKUs, order patterns, order lines.

Interested in learning more about the steps to using a Cleansheet Analysis?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Warehouse Costing: Cleansheet Analysis here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

3 Trends Driving Automation in the Logistics Sector

11 Feb

Technological advancement has come a long way.  Artificial Intelligence is taking charge of a number of repetitive logistics tasks.  Organizations are benefiting from Automation in streamlining their cumbersome processes and cutting down delivery times.

Automation is profoundly affecting the way Logistics are handled.  It is disrupting the entire Logistics Supply Chain, not just the warehousing, picking, and sorting functions.  The impact of Automation on roads, rails, and ports is immense.  Ports are increasingly embracing Automation, but they haven’t yet started getting the return on their investments.

In Logistics, ocean and air shipment has potential for Automation—which is certainly under way—but its effect on enhancing throughput is yet to be seen.  Logistics operations are being transformed at quite a pace with new models, concepts, and offerings evolving rapidly.  With the current pace of technology evolution, experts believe Logistics operations would be done autonomously in the not too-distant future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses and industries alike significantly.  Businesses are trying to grapple with the ambiguities the situation has presented to them.  Automation is being viewed by many Logistics companies to be the only option to prepare for and survive in the future.

Logistics companies are exploring ways to automate their businesses mainly due to 3 trends that are shaping their industry.  These 3 trends include:

  1. Shortage of Labor
  2. Proliferation of E-commerce
  3. Advancements in Automation

Let’s talk about these trends in a bit detail.

Shortage of Labor

Labor markets are stiffening globally with lowest unemployment rates and high wages.  Online retailers everywhere have a huge demand for skilled workers.  This demand rise steeply in the holiday season.  A sizable workforce is engaged in Supply Chain related jobs—about 4 million only in the US as packers, handlers, and supervisors in warehouses.  This translates to $100 billion in payroll costs.  Automation will definitely reduce this cost head.  However, it will have implications for the workforce.

Proliferation of E-commerce

Another trend that is affecting the Logistics industry immensely is the explosive growth of E-commerce retailers.  The sales of e-tailers are growing at a consistent pace every year.  With this trend, the range of products has grown considerably, benefiting the logistics businesses.  Logistic companies are making significant profit from this large volume of online shipment orders—saving about $12 to $20 on a sale of $100.

Interested in learning more about the trends that are shaping the Logistics operations?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on 3 Trends Driving Logistics Automation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

10 Technologies Disrupting the Way Warehousing Operations are Managed

22 Jan

Shortage of labor, intensified demand from e-tailers (online retailers), and technological disruption is forcing organizations in the Logistics and Warehousing industry to embrace technology, particularly Automation.

An investment in automating the picking, packing, sorting, storing, and shipping items can yield high returns for organizations.  Warehouses that will sort out the dynamics of e-commerce, select the ideal technology to implement, and eliminate uncertainties in their supplier contracts will outpace others.

Automation is facilitating the Warehousing operations predominantly by:

  • Assisting the movement of goods.
  • Improving the handling of goods.

In these two categories, there are 10 technologies that are fast disrupting the Supply Chain function and creating a breakthrough for warehouses.  These include:

  1. Multi-shuttle System
  2. Optical Recognition
  3. Conveyor Connection
  4. Warehouse Management Systems
  5. Smart Storage
  6. 3D Printing
  7. Swarm AGV Robots
  8. Analytics & Algorithms
  9. Smart Glasses
  10. Picking Robots

Let’s discuss a few of these disruptive technologies in detail.

Multi-shuttle System

Multi-shuttle systems (MSS) are employed to store and retrieve goods automatically—using automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS).  This system is able to transport goods 3 dimensionally (on pallets), and is instrumental in enhancing the throughput, flexibility and efficiency levels.

MSS consists of 3 modules, coordinated by a software module: a Shuttle car powered by power caps for 24-hour operations and moved by powerful motors, high-performance vertical lifts, and a special carrier to move the shuttle car to the exact location.  Communication in the multilevel systems’ carrier and shuttles is managed by radio links, whereas the movement is controlled by an integrated control system.

Multilevel Shuttle Storage System is ideal for cold storage, buffer storage, dispatching warehouses, commissioning warehouses, supply and distribution centers, and factories.

MSS offers a number of benefits, e.g.:

  • High item storage and retrieval velocity.
  • Optimum use of building space.
  • High storage density.
  • Ability to be retrofitted in existing warehouses.

Optical Recognition

Optical Recognition and Sensor technology expedites processes and increases productivity.  This technology is at the foundation of IoT, smart cities, automobiles and laser-guided vehicles, smartphones, wearable technologies, drones, barcode readers, and more.

Optical Recognition devices use a light source to read characters and barcodes.  They then convert these characters into digital data.  Optical Recognition devices scan items.  At times, this scanning is done on 6 axes.  The character recognition software then relates this image to the shapes of individual characters.

Optical recognition devices today use sensors to detect and respond to a specified input—light, sound, motion, pressure, temperature.  Once an input is received, a sensor either produces a resulting output—in the form of a light or alarm—or forward the information received to a network for processing.

Optical recognition sensors facilitate in:

  • Accelerating and improving processes, inspecting parts for error checking, and quality monitoring.
  • Delivering real-time data to make better decisions.
  • Handling repetitive and hazardous tasks and making workplaces safer
  • Freeing up people to manage more complex endeavors.
  • Slashing energy wastage and creating connected, smart factories.

Conveyor Connection

Connected Conveyor Systems are useful in transporting heavy or bulky materials.  These systems allow quick and efficient transport of a variety of materials (e.g. totes, cartons) in different warehouse configurations.  Advanced conveyor systems and connections perform various material handling requirements including accumulation, transportation, diverting, merging, and sorting products.

Interested in learning more about the other technologies reshaping the warehousing operations?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Warehouse Automation: 10 Technologies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

How to Use the Porter’s Value Chain in Identifying Cost Savings and Differentiation Opportunities?

26 Feb

The Value Chain concept, first described by Dr. Michael Porter in 1985, is a series of actions that a firm—in a specific industry—accomplishes to produce a valuable product or service for the market.  The value chain notion visualizes the process view of an organization, perceiving a manufacturing or service organization as a system comprised of subsystems of inputs, transformation processes, and outputs.

Another way to define the Value Chain principle is, “transforming business inputs into outputs, thereby creating a value much better than the original cost of producing those outputs.”  These inputs, processes, and outputs entail acquiring and utilizing resources—finances, workforce, materials, equipment, buildings, and land.

An industry Value Chain includes the suppliers that provide the inputs, creation of products by a firm, distribution value chains, till the products reach the customers.  The way Value Chain activities are planned and executed determines the costs and profits.

Value chains consist of set of activities that products must undergo to add value to them.  These activities can be classified into 2 groups:

  • Primary Activities
  • Secondary Activities

Primary activities in Porter’s Value Chain are associated with the production, sale, upkeep, and support of a product or service offering, including:

  • Inbound Logistics
  • Operations
  • Outbound Logistics
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Service

The secondary activities and processes in Porter’s Value Chain support the primary activities.  For instance:

  • Procurement
  • Human resource management
  • Technological development
  • Infrastructure

Value Chain Analysis Benefits

The analysis of a Value Chain offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Identification of bottlenecks and making rapid improvements
  • Opportunities to fine-tune based on transforming marketplace and competition
  • Bringing out the real needs of an organization
  • Cost reduction
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Increased profitability and business success
  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased waste
  • Delivery of high-quality products at lower costs
  • Retailers can monitor each action throughout the entire process from product creation to storage and distribution to customers.

Value Chain Analysis (VCA) Approach

Businesses seeking competitive advantage often turn to Value Chain models to identify opportunities for cost savings and differentiation in the production cycle.  The Value Chain Analysis (VCA) process encompasses the following 3 steps:

  • Activity Analysis
  • Value Analysis
  • Evaluation and Planning

Activity Analysis

The first step in Value Chain Analysis necessitates identification of activities that are essential to undertake in order to deliver product or service offerings.  Key activities in this stage include:

  • Listing the critical processes necessary to serve the customers—e.g., marketing, sales, order taking, distribution, and support—visually on a flowchart for better understanding.
    • This should be done by involving the entire team to gather a rich response and to have their support on the decisions made afterwards.
  • Listing the other important non-client facing processes—e.g., hiring individuals with skills critical for the organization, motivating and developing them, or choosing and utilizing technology to gain competitive advantage.
  • This stage also entails gathering customers’ input on the organization’s product or service offerings and ways to continuously improve.

Value Analysis

The second phase of the Value Chain Analysis necessitates identifying tasks required under each primary activity that create maximum value.  This phase is characterized by:

  • Ascertaining the key actions for each specific activity identified during the first phase.
  • Thinking through the “value factors”— elements admired by the customers about the way each activity is executed.
    • For example, for the order taking process, customers value quick response to their call, courteous behavior, correct order entry, prompt response to queries, and quick resolution of their issues.
  • Citing the value factors next to each activity on the flowchart.
  • Jotting down the key actions to be done or changes to be made to under each Value Factor.

Interested in learning more about the other phases of the Value Chain Analysis Approach?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Strategy Classics: Porter’s Value Chain here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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