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LSCMS Blog

Blog for updates and happenings in logistics in the Asia-Pacific region

May 30, 2015

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down

Filed under: Jobs,Logistics,News,Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:13 am

WallSupply management professionals are increasingly accepting cross-functional cooperation in purchasing, supply management, production and inventory control to optimize overall company performance and increase competitiveness. The author met with the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars winners, many of whom say that if their responsibilities are broadened across the entire supply chain, they feel they have a better opportunity to contribute, make a difference, and beneficially impact enterprise operations.

Driving this increase in cross-functional cooperation is a growing recognition that linking supply functions with demand will benefit overall enterprise performance. The industry organizations serving functions such as purchasing, production, and supply, which traditionally had little direct involvement in logistics operations, are recognizing this by starting to bring their members logistics information, research, and, in some cases, certification.

[Read more… Curated from Inbound Logistics]

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April 6, 2015

Women in Logistics, 2015: A Personal Journey

Filed under: Jobs,News,Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:31 am

PodcastAre the doors open to women looking to pursue a career in logistics?

The answer is a qualified yes. Without question, the field of logistics has shed much of the sexism that marked it over the years. Changes in the business, driven by globalization, technology, the internet and a widening talent gap, have resulted in new opportunities for all prospective entrants, male and female. Still, it’s not easy starting a logistics business from scratch – and learning about it as you go.

[Read more… Curated from Supply Chain Brain]

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August 5, 2014

Position Vacant: Operations Manager

Filed under: Jobs — admin @ 5:38 pm

karcher-logo-fargIn this exciting and versatile position you are managing the entire Order Processing and Logistics Department. You ensure smooth and efficient processes all the way from order to delivery.

Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for the Order Processing and Logistics department
  • Responsible for managing the stock days and stock values within the set targets, at the same time ensuring adequate stocks and spare parts availability to support local sales
  • Review and update processes to ensure smooth order-to-delivery and process efficiency
  • Responsible for managing the 3rd party logistics partners and ensuring that they achieve their set key performance indicators
  • Be able to analyse work flows in both departments to recognise areas for improvements, and to execute the according changes
  • Liaising very closely with other internal departments and with the headquarters in Germany
  • Managing the order and forecasting procedure with the headquarters

Requirements:

  • Degree in Logistics, Business or similar
  • Minimum of 8 years of logistics and operations experience, ideally in an MNC
  • Experience with customs clearance, sea freight forwarding, and local road transport is desirable
  • Strong SAP knowledge
  • Solid people management experience, and ability to motivate teams
  • Analytical with a keen eye for processes and efficiencies
  • Strong customer satisfaction orientation
  • Must be pro-active and independent in his/her work, able to perform under pressure
  • Ability to work well across departments and find the best possible processes and solutions for the customer
  • Very good communication skills, also with regards to international communication

Please email your application including an up to date CV, Cover Letter, earliest possible start date and salary expectations to nattanart.chanthavornkij@karcher- asia.com

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June 19, 2014

Women in Supply Chain: Are the Doors Open?

Filed under: Jobs,Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:09 am

Podcast.GIFYou’d like to think that the people who manage a global supply chain are as diverse as the pieces that make it up. But that’s not always the case.

To be sure, there are a good number of women occupying senior-level management positions in various parts of the supply chain today. Among them is Lynn Torrel, senior vice president of global supply chain and strategic accounts with Avnet, Inc. She has amassed 18 years of experience managing complex global supply chains for customers of a major distributor of electronics components and computer products. In this episode, Torrel traces the path of her career, and relates how she ended up in supply-chain management. (As with so many people in that discipline, it was something of a sideways journey.) She also offers a candid assessment of the leadership opportunities available to women today, in terms of advancement, mentorship and compensation. Hosted by Bob Bowman, Managing Editor of SupplyChainBrain.

[Read more… Podcast on Supply Chain Brain]

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May 17, 2014

Benefits of On-Line Learning

Logisticians occasionally write to us to enquire about courses and training. We are more than happy to assist with this.

More and more we are getting questions about on-line courses. Given the exponential growth of on-line learning over the last decade and the amazing growth of MOCC’s like Coursera on-line education is now a widely accepted mode of learning.

In many countries, access to good, recognised, quality education and training is not always accessible or available. On-line learning helps overcome this. Also, on-line learning can be just as challenging – maybe even more so – than conventional classroom learning.

Additionally, there are several benefits of on-line learning that will help you acquire valuable career skills that you will not get from any textbook. These skills are essential to succeed in the workforce; they are also skills that traditional classroom students often will not develop until long after they have graduated – if ever.

In many countries today, having a paper qualification is fairly common. The individual with the soft or less tangible skills like high EQ is what employers are looking for.

The following are just 4 benefits we see from on-line learning.

Benefit 1 — Self-Motivation: Traditional students are required to attend a class. They meet with an instructor on a regular basis. Instructors deliver lessons, answer questions, and help keep students on track.

In an on-line learning environment however, you rarely have a set class time. In progammes that do not incorporate on-line webinars and the like, it is unlikely that you will ever see your instructor face-to-face.

On the positive side, this allows for a flexible schedule but since there is no one there to make you show up and learn, you have to learn how to stay motivated. You have to hold yourself accountable. Self-motivation, once mastered, is an amazingly beneficial skill to possess in the real work world.

Benefit 2 — Communication: Being a highly motivated go-getter is terrific, but what good is that when you cannot convey your ideas to others? Being a good communicator will be highly valued wherever you work.

On-line learning is perfect for helping develop those communication skills. Because you do not get to sit next to your classmates on-line group projects and communication with your instructor is very common and carry their own unique communication challenges.

The primary way you will communicate with them will be through written assignments, e-mails, and posts. To them, you are essentially just “words” on a screen or someone they will see on-line for just a few minutes. Communication therefore has to be clear and succinct. Your communication skills have to be sharp. You want every message, every paper you submit, to communicate your thoughts as clearly as possible. Simple written misunderstandings can lead to bad grades. On-line learning teaches you to communicate well and often.

Benefit 3 — Organization & Time Management: It does not matter how motivated and eloquent you are if you cannot juggle your school work with the rest of your life. As an on-line student, you have to develop a time management plan and prioritise your coursework, otherwise you can easily get left behind.

How much time will you have each day to study? How can you make the most of that time? Will you be able to be more productive during the morning or evening? How many classes will you be able to take at once and still stay sane? You have to ask yourself questions about time management from the beginning, and constantly re-evaluate your time use as your tasks and priorities change.

Benefit 4 — Adaptability: Regardless of how well you plan and prioritize, there is always the chance that something unexpected will happen. You must be able to adapt quickly whether it is a  crashed computer, loss of internet connection, or something else.

In a nutshell, employers today are looking for individuals with these four highly beneficial skills:

  • self-motivation
  • communication
  • time management
  • adaptability

On-line learning students must acquire these same four skills in order to successfully complete an on-line course. Regardless of the programme you choose, the benefits of on-line learning will help you build career strengths that will pay off daily in the real world of work.

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March 10, 2014

Robotic Ships may become reality.

Running away to sea has been a dream of escape for centuries, but unless you plan to be a tap dancer on a cruise ship, that door may be closing. In a report on the future of cargo shipping, Rolls Royce Vice President for Innovation, Engineering and Technology, Oskar Levander, outlines a vision for a time not far from now when freighters and other ships are unmanned robots that cruise the oceans under remote control by shore based captains.

Imagine it’s 20 years from now and a cargo container ship bigger than anything afloat today approaches the port of Shanghai. Despite its size, it looks surprisingly simple with a hull designed for extreme efficiency. It has Flettner rotors for catching the wind and helping to save fuel, but below the slim equipment mast there’s no superstructure. There’s no space for crew’s quarters, and there aren’t even lifeboats or guardrails. When the pilot comes aboard to guide the ship into port from the minimalist bridge (if it has one) there’s no one to greet him or offer a cup of tea because the vessel is a robot, without a single person on board.

According to Levander, this scenario may come about because of the economic pressures being put upon the merchant fleets of the world. The Rolls-Royce report works on the assumption that the era of cheap energy is over and that rising fuel costs will require alternatives to the heavy fuel oil that currently powers the world’s shipping. In addition, shipping companies will have to contend with increasing burdensome national and international regulation, especially in regard to greenhouse gases, which will produce major rises in costs.

This will require a great deal of innovation, such as converting ships to burn biofuels, developing more efficient hulls, and installing solar panels or wind propulsion in the form of Flettner rotors and the like to cut down on energy bills. However, the biggest cost to shipping is labor – in fact, industry consultant Moor Stephens LLP put this expense at 44 percent in an interview with the BBC.

This cost isn’t just in the form of salaries and pensions. Crews need living quarters, galleys, washing facilities recreation areas, lifeboats, and a lot of other things to keep them safe and comfortable. These cost money to build and maintain, as well as fuel to cart it all around the world. Rolls-Royce’s plan is to take an holistic approach to future ship design aimed at tackling the problem by incorporating new hulls, engines, solar power systems, and partial sails.

In all of this, the most radical is turning merchant ships into robotic craft, where Horatio Hornblower sails his ship all over the world without ever leaving Plymouth. That may not seem like much fun, but it’s a path that marine engineering has been on since the time when some ancient ship’s master figured out how to balance his sails, so he wouldn’t have to steer so much. Since then, all sorts of automatic steering and navigation mechanisms have been developed until today when it isn’t uncommon to read news stories of ships steaming into port of their crews abandoned them prematurely in some disaster.

Even with the largest ship, steering a course is relatively simple and its rare for a helmsman to touch the wheel between ports. What’s really needed is the ability of a ship to pilot itself and keep watch under the guidance of shore operators. Many ships are already equipped with all sorts of cameras that can see at night and through fog, not to mention radar, sonar, GPS and a plethora of other sensors hooked up to high speed satellite data relays. Rolls-Royce foresees a time when these sensors and automatic systems will allow onshore crews to control and monitor ships from land-based centers with little difficulty.

Aside from the more obvious cost advantages, such an arrangement would allow one person ashore to control several ships. Levander sees this as both safer and making it easier to retain skilled crews, saying that it’s better for a ship to be operated by five operators on shore as opposed to 20 wrestling with the ship in a gale in the middle of the North Sea.

However, shiphandling is a complex task and a ship doesn’t operate in isolation. Before robot ships can set sail, there are serious safety issues to be answered about collision avoidance and similar concerns. There are also many legal hurdles about responsibility for the ship and compliance with regulations and maritime law, which might see a token crew kept aboard with nothing to do except fulfill salvage law. If these and other objections can be overcome, then the seas may be a safer and more efficient place, albeit a less romantic one.

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December 20, 2013

Amazon’s German workers strike as Christmas peak season takes off

Some 1,115 German Amazon.com workers went on strike out of a total of 23,000, demanding more pay and better working conditions in a dispute that has simmered for months just as pre-Christmas sales are peaking.

Germany is Amazon’s second-biggest market after the US, with sales growing 21 per cent to US$8.7 billion in 2012, a third of its overseas total, Reuters reports.

Amazon took its most daily orders in Germany last December 16, when almost four million articles were bought, with shipments peaking on December 17.

Amazon employs 9,000 warehouse staff and 14,000 seasonal workers at nine distribution centres in Germany. Thus far there had been no delays to deliveries, the company said.

“Our customers can continue to rely on us for the prompt delivery of their Christmas presents,” a spokeswoman said.

The Verdi union said up to 700 workers joined the strike in Amazon’s logistic centre in Bad Hersfeld, plus 500 to 600 in Leipzig. For the first time, the union also called a strike in Graben, where Verdi said 600 workers took part.

“The Amazon system is characterised by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts,” said Verdi spokeswoman Stefanie Nutzenberger.

Verdi has organised several short stoppages this year to force Amazon to accept collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry as benchmarks for workers’ pay at Amazon’s German distribution centres.

 

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August 27, 2013

Singapore plans to double capacity of Changi Airport

Filed under: General,Jobs,Newsletter,Singapore — admin @ 10:50 pm

ChangiSingapore will build a new terminal that will double the capacity of Changi Airport in a bid to retain its edge as a regional aviation hub, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday.

Construction work will begin soon and will be completed in 12 to 15 years, Lee announced in his annual policy speech.

“T5 (Terminal 5) sounds like a terminal, but it is actually a whole airport by itself, as big as today’s Changi Airport,” said Lee.

He did not reveal the cost of the new facility, but said it would include a third runway that would double the capacity of Changi, which handled 51.2 million passengers last year.

Changi Airport, named the world’s best by Britain-based consultancy Skytrax this year, currently has three terminals with a total capacity of 66 million passengers a year.

In February it started to demolish its terminal for budget airlines to replace it with a larger facility.

The new facility, Terminal 4, will have the capacity to handle 16 million passengers a year when it opens in 2017.

In his speech late Sunday, Lee said there was growing competition from other major international airports in Southeast Asia.

He noted that Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport are planning to expand.

“The question is do we want to stay this vibrant hub of Southeast Asia, or do we want to let somebody take over our position, our business and our jobs?” Lee said.

Passenger traffic at Changi totalled 51.2 million last year, the first time in the airport’s 31-year history that the number of people passing through crossed 50 million.

As of January 1, 2013, Changi handled more than 6,500 weekly scheduled flights with 110 airlines connecting Singapore to 240 cities in 60 countries.

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July 10, 2013

Supply-chain management grads – the new celebrities

Filed under: Education,General,Jobs,Newsletter — admin @ 6:30 pm

GraduateLooking for a major that’s nearly guaranteed to find you a job? Supply-chain management has grown to be in high demand as online shopping and home delivery of goods has taken the global market by store. Best of all, this business isn’t a fad. It will only continue to grow and development, creating new jobs in transportation, technology, and of course supply-chain management.

According to the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, almost 200,000 supply-chain related jobs will go unfulfilled in the U.S. each year until 2018. What does this mean? A very high demand and a very low supply means college graduates with qualifying degrees and skills have a very high value to employers – an edge they will want to take advantage of.

[Read More…]

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May 1, 2013

Nearshoring in the US looking more attractive

Filed under: China,Economics,Jobs,Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 10:39 am

In another sign that America is becoming more competitive in manufacturing, the U.S. is now equal to Mexico in “attractiveness” as a source for manufacturing operations and is on track to achieve cost parity with manufactured imports from China by 2015. These are among the findings from new research released by AlixPartners, a global business consulting firm.

According to the survey, 37% of manufacturing executives said they would choose the U.S. as their preferred location for nearshoring. An equal percentage of respondents cited Mexico as the most attractive nearshoring locale, but in the firm’s survey just two years ago, 63% chose Mexico, while only 19% said they would choose the U.S.

Foster Finley is managing director at AlixPartners and director of its Supply Chain Practice. In a recent interview, Finley spoke about the research and what it says about nearshoring and reshoring efforts among global manufacturers. He stressed the report’s statements on the attractiveness of various regions for the production of U.S.-bound goods is a projection – not a prediction – based on straight-line extrapolations from 2013 trends.

“If the United States reaches parity with China in 2015, that would be more about luck than any statistical certainty,” said Finley. “A lot could happen in the next few years.”

The cost gap with China has on average been closed by approximately 70% for the products AlixPartners analyzed. If current trends remain in place, on average, by 2015 the cost of importing manufactured products from China will be about the same as manufacturing them in the U.S, said Finley. However, other key low-cost countries, such as Mexico and India, will remain highly competitive.

With a resounding 84% of the C-level executives saying that the decision to nearshore their manufacturing would be an important one during the next year (versus just 53% who said the same last year), it is clear that nearshoring and reshoring decisions are moving to the front burner in 2013. Approximately 58% of the respondents said for production that has either already been nearshored or is being considered for nearshoring, they have either reduced or expect to reduce their total “landed cost” by 5% to 20%.

The third annual survey captures the sentiments of executives, but AlixPartners has also been tracking the raw macroeconomic data in seven key factors related to global manufacturing costs. They are:

Direct Labor
Direct Material
Overhead
Territory (time in transit between place of manufacture and destination market)
Harmonized tariffs
Transportation
Exchange rates

Generally, the raw numbers line up very well with the sentiments expressed by survey respondents, but Finley was careful to note that there are no direct lines between any one of these costs in a given country and the advantage of manufacturing there.

“Some of the less sophisticated companies are almost entirely focused on labor,” he said. “Depending on the product or mix of products made in a facility, labor could be inconsequential. It’s about an analysis of the products, not the facility, that will make the justification for relocation.”

For example, while the “China cost” for items analyzed such as machined aluminum parts, plastic molded parts, non-denim slacks, and knit apparel and sweaters is indeed on the rise, that cost is still lower than Mexico’s in each case – and is forecast to remain lower through at least 2015.

The one-time costs associated with a move are also critical to such a decision. Tax incentives, utility incentives and other governmental programs might help ease the transition to the U.S. or ensure a company doesn’t leave, but the U.S. is not alone in considering and implementing such incentives. “We think China will get into that as well, as they realize they need to get competitive to grow manufacturing or keep it in China,” said Finley. “China has its work cut out for it, because it has to deal with an export-based economy with a rising wage rate and a small consumer market.”

Automation will continue to play a big role as manufacturing welcomes what Finley called the “democratization of robotics.” In the list of economic factors above, automation seeks to transfer labor costs to overhead, which improves predictability. As the costs for automated technologies fall to the point where more small manufacturers can afford them, it increasingly places control of the labor costs in their hands

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