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Tag Archives: Manufacturing

Putting The Trust Back Into The Supply Chain

supply-chainTo say this year has seen some scandals in the global supply chain would be a huge understatement. The horsemeat scandal has continued to dominate the headlines for the best part of three months now, and with the Asian market recently discovering rat meat being sold as lamb, this is clearly not something which is just going to blow over. The question is not only how long has this kind of fraudulent activity been going on, and what is going to be done about it?

Pressure is Building

Without knowing exactly how long this has been going on, and I think it is safe to say we are unlikely to never know the true scale of these scandals, it is impossible to say what the cause is. However, if this decision to substitute meats for cheaper alternatives without informing the consumer is a reaction to the current state of the economy across Europe, then there is at least some sense behind these crazy happenings.

Somewhere, decisions have been made to try and maintain the dwindling profit margins of companies and reducing their overheads by using cheaper meat products enables this. However, clearly this is at the expense of the consumer who is left paying over the odds for beef and lamb when they are actually buying lower quality and much cheaper produce.

Similar scandals have not been found to such a degree outside of the global food market supply chain, but what is clear is the pressure which is being put on companies which trade within it, and this pressure is likely to be felt across all supply chains worldwide as profit margins grow tighter and consumer demand continues to rise. The issue is, will consumer demand continue to stay as high as it is, especially when buying online, if there are questions asked about the confidence they can have in businesses if even going to their local supermarket for something as simple as meat can come back to bite them?

Trust Must be Restored in Supply Chains

It is all well and good saying restoring consumer trust must be the first port of call in moving onwards, but how exactly can this be managed? The first step must be for businesses that have been caught up in these issues to hold up their hands and admit they have made mistakes and are looking to put steps in place to make sure it does not happen again.

From there, the obvious step seems to be to put into place a series of rigorous tests on produce which is being traded throughout the supply chain, both before they leave the factory in which they are made, and once again when the retailer takes stock of the goods before selling them on to consumers. That way, if any issues are flagged up, there will be accountability, which in turn results in consumer trust being restored.

This can also be helped by firms using trustworthy companies to ship their goods across the globe; ones who they know will not compromise the quality of their products during what can be a very testing process, shipping produce across the globe under tight deadlines. Espace Global Freight is such a company, offering three kinds of top quality international freight; namely road, sea and air freight services.

By combining accountability, stringent testing of products and trustworthy companies handling the goods which are being traded within the supply chain, consumers can once again sleep well, knowing they are buying exactly what they expect when they next go to the supermarket for some meat.

Steven Capocci is a freelance writer who has studied supply chain mechanics in-depth and realises using trustworthy companies such as Espace Global Freight guarantees quality.

 

 

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How Businesses Can Keep Customers Safe From Product Injuries

The urgency to protect customers from injuries that can be inflicted by consumer goods is not only the responsibility of manufacturers, but of suppliers as well. In fact, they must ensure that the goods they offer in their business are not banned and meet all the necessary safety standards associated to them. As such, if a manufacturer fails to meet safety standards for his goods, yet distributes them, the possibility of saving customers from injuries will still be great if suppliers make an effort to make certain that the goods are safe. One way for manufacturers and suppliers to determine if their products are safe, is by having the goods tested by independent specializing companies.

How Can A Business Ensure Safety

There are a few ways for a business to acquire written evidence or certification that indicate the products are in compliance with safety regulations.

Businesses can:

  • Commission accredited independent laboratories to reliably test products regularly and provide test reports.
  • Conduct product and material testing by adding necessary facilities, equipment and specializing professionals.
  • Request safety compliance certification from material suppliers or manufacturers, or have third party certification including test report copies.
  • Commission a certification agency to assess the products and provide compliance certification along with safety standards. This option will allow businesses to use the certification on labels on respective products.

How To Choose A Testing Agency

Not all testing agencies or laboratories will carry accreditation, but it is to the advantage of businesses to commission or receive testing and reports from accredited agencies. This is because the agencies are often subjected to vigorous and regular assessments by an independent agency and their reports are considered highly credible in the event a court case is filed against the business by a customer.

It is essential to remember that just because the accreditation of the agency allows testing for a specific or a part of a standard does not imply that it can test for an entire or another standard. Thus, it is important that the accreditation for a specified testing is checked as well as any relevant factors.

In order to determine if the accredited testing agency or laboratory meets the business standards and product needs, here are a few questions to ask before doing business:

  1. What does the agency’s accreditation cover?
  2. Is the agency accredited to test for specific standards or parts of standards?
  3. What is the accreditation reference number?
  4. Is the accreditation directly related to the required testing?
  5. Is it a current accreditation?
  6. If the accreditation is limited, in what way is it so?

What Customers Can Do

Although it is the responsibility of suppliers and manufacturers to provide safe products that pass testing processes, customers can also play their part in ensuring that they are getting safe products. Many customers turn to the internet to make and read reviews about numerous products. As such, customers can base their shopping decision on these reviews or they can also run a background check on the business, the product and the certification the products claim to hold. In the event that a customer is injured due to neglect on the part of the business, then the business can be held liable. However the business in turn can also hold the testing agency or laboratory liable for possible negligence during the testing process that was supposed to identify flaws in order to prevent injuries.

Citations:

Valerie Hanks is a freelance writer specializing in product testing and business management. She regularly contributes articles to Professional Testing “EMI”, Inc. and other business and testing websites.

 

 

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How Global Supply Chains Bring Products to You

 

 

Carlsberg factory

The process of delivering goods and services has become more complex over the last century. Very few products are actually produced in the country where they are sold, and the supply chain is comprised of so many interlocking mechanisms that it’s difficult to say where something actually comes from. This enables companies to deliver products at lower prices because they’re able to hire laborers and buy materials from the regions where the things they need are cheap and plentiful. The modern world exists because of globalization, and it’s a process that everyone should be somewhat familiar with.

Where it Starts

Most supply chains begin with the regulation of various resources. While each element is at least somewhat important, the key thing is the political aspect. Local politicians need to be on board with what companies want to do before anything else is possible. Once that hurdle has been overcome, laborers can extract and refine the raw materials that will eventually become consumer products. This stage can have dozens of different parts to it depending on the materials in question, and sometimes companies will trade with each other in order to simplify certain parts of the process. The materials are then shipped to various storage units across the globe, and then they are finally transformed into products and delivered to stores.

The Different Kinds of Supply Chains

Different methods work better for different processes and products. Sometimes cost efficiency isn’t the only goal; economic growth in a particular area can serve as motivation for companies to utilize a supply chain that’s either less efficient or less lucrative. When profit is the sole concern, a globalized supply chain is usually the most favorable option, and even supply chains that focus on manufacturing items in specific locations may still involve imported materials.

The aim of all supply chains is to accomplish the stated goals in the most efficient way possible with the least amount of inventory. The incentives for choosing particular models are almost always wholly economic, but certain companies opt for more roundabout methods if they can gain something else of value for doing so. Since the push for globalization has destroyed a lot of manufacturing jobs in America, items that are produced within the US are very popular within the country, and the goodwill that’s earned by moving jobs into US communities can help ensure a business’ long-term viability. Sometimes the loss of efficiency can also be offset by raising prices, and that makes it so there’s no downside to establishing factories in areas with a higher standard of living.

Supply Chain Obstacles

As with any long and complex process, there are a lot of things that can go wrong between gathering materials and getting them to the final recipients. The fact that such errors are routine and yet no one ever notices is a testament to how stable the system is. Of course, sustainability is a big question going forward; there are plenty of issues with the current methods of production that could be problematic as resources dwindle, but the beauty of the supply chain model is that it’s extremely adaptable. It takes a lot of careful management to keep things moving as smoothly as they should, but at least the process keeps going even in sub-optimal conditions.

Dana Monty writes for several higher ed blogs. Interest in manufacturing and supply chains? Several universities offer MBA degrees including onlinemba.ohio.edu and www.unc.edu.

 

 

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Supply Chain Management

Depending on the type of product or service you provide, Supply Chain Management can be a complex job.  There are few companies that are lucky enough to be self-sufficient.  Most businesses rely on suppliers and outsourcing for at least part of their business, producing a delicate supply chain which can quickly fall apart if something disturbs any piece of it.  Supply Chain Management Software (SCMS) is designed to make monitoring and managing supply chain transactions easier.

There are several things that SCMS can handle, including:

  • Customer requirement forecasting
  • Purchase order processing
  • Inventory tracking
  • Warehouse management
  • Delivery tracking
  • Supplier management

While there are lots of vendors in the SCMS industry, there are a handful of key players that own the majority of the market share.  They include:

JDA

JDA offers Supply Chain Management Software for a huge range of industries, including grocery stores, aerospace and defence companies, pharmaceuticals, and the hospitality industry.  They offer a one-stop solution that covers supply chain management, transportation, and retail.  Their software is aimed at major enterprises.

SAP

SAP is a company that specialises in providing software for businesses.  Their Supply Chain Management solution aims to “transform your linear supply chain into a responsive network”.  It covers supply and demand planning, logistics, fulfilment, and delivery tracking.  SAP offers a range of solutions that will cater to most sizes of business.  They also offer SAP events where people can learn more about their products.

Intelex

Intelex have been producing business software for 20 years, and service hundreds of major businesses.  Their SCM software makes it easy to track supplier performance, evaluate and rate different suppliers, produce performance reports, and follow up on issues.

3PL

3PL Warehouse Manager is an enterprise-level supply chain management application aimed at the logistics market.  It offers automated reporting, EDI, and barcode scanning.  This software makes billing, logistics and tracking a breeze.

Accuware

Accuware’s ProActive Inventory Manager is a web-based inventory solution which has been built to run on Microsoft ASP.net and Microsoft SQL server.  This software is available in two forms – a self-hosted version, and a SAAS version hosted on ProActive’s servers.  ProActive Inventory Manager has a standard, inexpensive version for small and medium sized businesses, and a more sophisticated enterprise version.

Choosing Supply Chain Management Software

It’s important that you find the right supply chain management software early in your business’ life.  Investing in the wrong version can cause costly mistakes which could damage your reputation.  Deploying new software, and transferring over your existing inventory and orders can be a struggle.

Before you invest in any SCMS, consider attending a few industry events.  Whether you choose to attend SAP events and JDA events, and shop around in that fashion, or go to one of the major logistics conferences is up to you.  Consider taking up some free trials, and spending a weekend or two running test orders through different systems until you find one that you and your employees like to use.

Amy Fowler writes on technology, this post was written in conjunction with UK & Ireland SAP User Group, organisers of SAP events. For more information on their SAP events, click here.

 

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There are things you just shouldn’t try to do yourself

Hire an architect – by Seth Godin

Architects don’t manufacture nails, assemble windows or chop down trees. Instead, they take existing components and assemble them in interesting and important ways.

It used to be that if you wanted to build an organization, you had to be prepared to do a lot of manufacturing and assembly–of something. My first internet company had 60 or 70 people at its peak… and today, you could run the same organization with six people. The rest? They were busy building an infrastructure that now exists. Restaurants used to be built by chefs. Now, more than ever, they’re built by impresarios who know how to tie together real estate, promotion, service and chefs into a package that consumers want to buy. The difficult part isn’t installing the stove, the difficult (and scarce) part is telling a story.

I’m talking about intentionally building a structure and a strategy and a position, not focusing your energy on the mechanics, because mechanics alone are insufficient. Just as you can’t build a class A office building with nothing but a skilled carpenter, you can’t build a business for the ages that merely puts widgets into boxes.

My friend Jerry calls these people corporate chiropractors. They don’t do surgery, they realign and recognize what’s out of place.

Organizational architects know how to find suppliers, use the cloud (of people, of data, of resources), identify freelancers, tie together disparate resources and weave them into a business that scales. You either need to become one or hire one.

The organizations that matter are busy being run by people who figure out what to do next.

 

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