Amazon is building a strong reputation for leading the trend when it comes to different business models and processes. Typically these start Stateside before making their way elsewhere, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening there. The latest interesting Amazon development is that they are encouraging individuals to start their own small logistics business. The idea is that these entrepreneurs would have a network of up to 40 vans capable of undertaking small-scale deliveries. This could cost them as little as $10,000 in start-up costs according to Amazon. Read more
Autonomous trucks are a hot topic and, thanks to enthusiastic sharing of concept videos on social media, the casual observer may think that the world of logistics is about to be revolutionised by autonomous vehicle fleets. The reality is that the technology and the commercial viability are far from synchronised, and we’re looking at an evolutionary timespan of decades. In this article, we discuss the timescales and levels of autonomy being considered for UK fleets and the constraining issues for implementation. Read more
Driver recruitment and driver retention are still very much on the agenda for transport logistics operations. Whilst reporting this issue appeared to be a zeitgeist 12 months ago, it now seems to be dropping from the news radar in favour of the more exciting technological advances in logistics such as autonomous vehicles, AI and robotics. These developments are great and will undoubtedly revolutionise the logistics industry in time. However, driver shortages are a real and present issue and so in this article we propose a few, possibly unconventional, ideas for driver retention. Read more
Many companies already have access to what is termed ‘big data‘, providing information on almost every aspect of the supply chain. That’s great, but big data is only useful if it can be interpreted quickly and easily. Pumping big data to a team of analysts with spreadsheets is never going to leverage its maximum benefits, so analytical algorithms have been developed to support this analysis. However, algorithms must be developed and tweaked by people which takes time. The answer to this problem is now coming in the shape of artificial intelligence (AI). Read more
Logistics planning is the supply chain equivalent of conducting an orchestra – trying to unify a multitude of moving parts and people to deliver in time. The only difference is, for an orchestra who gets it right, there’ll be a standing ovation; for the logistics planner that gets it right, there’ll just be silence. Get it wrong and there will be anything but silence. In this article, we look at why logistics planning is possibly the most complex task in supply chain management. Read more
The objective of logistics network design is to create a logistics network where the material flow between source and demand points can move as quickly and as efficiently as needed. Of course, logistics is subject to a host of geographical and time constraints and the essence of good logistics network design is to build an optimal ‘path’ around these constraints.
In designing this path, the logistics network designer must consider the three ‘building blocks’ of the network – location strategy, transport strategy, and inventory strategy. Read more