What is Reverse Logistics?


Moving Products is a Two Way Street – In More Ways Than One

Many businesses do not monitor the life of their products after they reach the end user. They leave it at that, and continue producing new products and pushing them into the market. In a world where sustainability is an issue, reverse logistics is an important aspect of any business.

What is reverse logistics? How can reverse logistics impact your business? Read on to discover more about reverse logistics.

  • What is meant by reverse logistics?

Many people reading this right now may be scratching their heads, wondering,“What is reverse logistics?” This is because it is a fairly new term, having been mentioned in a white paper for the first time in 1992 by James R. Stock.

According to Wikipedia, reverse logistics refers to the process of moving goods from their intended final destination back to the manufacturer for the purpose of capturing value or proper disposal.

Many companies experience the need for reverse logistics when a customer sends back a product.

Reverse logistics are also used for electronic devices, where refurbishment and remanufacturing are common practices. In essense, reverse logistics occur when goods are being sent backwards. 

  • What is green supply chain management?

Green supply chain management involves integrating environmental thinking into the supply chain process. Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental issues, and they want to buy from manufacturers that are taking care of the environment and using sustainable methods. 

  • How does reverse logistics work?

In the retail industry today, return policies are being used as a competitive element; this is when a company allows the consumer to send a product back to the manufacturer and get a refund or another product if it doesn’t work as they expected. The product is returned to the retailer, usually to a centralized holding facility. The product is assessed for problems; if it is repairable, it can be categorized as such and sent back to the manufacturer.

Large retail stores expect the manufacturers of the products they sell to have good return policies, to remain competitive by meeting customer needs.

Successful retailers now understand that it is imperative to have a working and well-managed reverse logistics system; customers are happy with retailers that have good return policies.

How can reverse logistics be improved? If you intend to use reverse logistics, or want to implement it in your company, here are some factors that can help improve your reverse logistics performance:

  1. Invest in durable packaging. The packaging should be able to protect your product on the trip forward and backward, so you avoid further damage to the items during the return.
  2. Repair, refurbish and resell damaged items. Reselling the returned items for a little less money can help you recoup money that would have otherwise been lost. There are many people looking for discounted products.
  3. Consider outsourcing your reverse logistics to a 3PL, so the process is handled effectively for you.
  4. Having a dedicated returns area can make it easy for you to process returns as quickly as they come in.

Types of Warehousing


Which Warehousing Option is Right for You?

Most people know that a warehouse is a place where goods are stored, or where a manufacturer places their goods for accumulation. It’s an important aspect of production and distribution of goods to the consumer. But did you know that there are different types of warehousing?

There are basically two different types of warehousing that a manufacturer or retailer can use, both of which will be discussed in this article.

What are the two basic types of warehouses?

Before understanding the different types of warehousing, it is important to know what the two basic types of warehouses actually are.

  • Private warehouses: Owned and operated by the channel suppliers and manufacturers for their own activities. Usually these warehouses are owned by big manufacturers, due to the huge capital required to construct a warehouse.
  • Public warehouses are owned by business establishments who provide warehousing—for a fee—to companies that do not have their own. They can also be operated by cooperatives. A public warehouse requires a license from the government to operate in accordance with the rules and regulations set out for such a business.

What is warehousing, and what are its functions?

Warehousing is more than just storage; it also includes other functions, such as receiving, identifying, holding, assembling, and packaging of products. Warehouses also assume responsibility for the goods until they have been collected.

Regardless of the type of warehousing you choose, here are the functions of warehousing;

  • Storage: This is the basic function of any type of warehousing. It means simply storing surplus goods and awaiting the distribution process to the customer.
  • Price stabilization: Warehousing creates time. This means that, if prices have fallen, the manufacturer can wait until they’ve stabilized to put their product back out on the market.
  • Risk minimization: Most warehouses are constructed in such a way to avoid theft, damage, and deterioration to the products within. Many also have features, such as climate control and high security, to further protect products.
  • Grading and packing: Many warehouses also now provide packing and grading services for products. The specifications are given by the manufacturer, and the warehouse provides these services as the goods await distribution.
  • Regular production: Manufacturers can continue producing their product, even when they are unable to store the product themselves.

What is the difference between warehousing and logistics?

Warehousing and logistics are different aspects with similar functions in the supply chain. All types of warehousing involve safe storage of the goods and inventory.

Logistics, on the other hand, is a complicated process that involves the management of the entire flow of goods, from the manufacturer to the end consumer. It involves aspects such as material handling, production, packaging, warehousing, transportation, inventory, security, and flow of information.

Logistics, which can be further categorized as inbound and outbound logistics, is a critical component of supply chain management.

What is Cross-Docking?


What is Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking is one of the more unusual aspects of the supply chain that many businesses are not taking advantage of nearly as much as they should. It might be because many companies don’t even know what cross-docking is. This article will provide information and insight to answer the question, “What is cross-docking?”, as well as the benefits this model can bring to your business.

So, what exactly is cross-docking? It involves delivering products from a manufacturing plant directly to the consumer or retail store without a lot of handling in between, or storage time.

Here is an explanation of what cross-docking is in simple terms: Goods come in to the receiving dock of the cross-dock terminal. They are then screened and sorted before being loaded to trucks on the outbound side of the cross-dock terminal. There is minimal handling of the goods or storage in between the time they come in, and when they leave to be shipped to the retailer or customer.

Here is an example of cross-docking:

Retail store A has ordered 10 fridges, and retail store B ordered 20 fridges from the same manufacturer. A truck arrives at the docking station carrying 30 fridges.

The items are sorted on the cross-dock terminal; there are two trucks waiting on the receiving end of the dock terminal. One truck is heading to retail shop A, and the other is heading to retail shop B. Truck A is loaded with 10 fridges, and truck B is loaded with 20 fridges.

Why is cross-docking used?  Now that you know what cross-docking is, let’s move on to the reasons why is it used. Cross- docking is utilized for three reasons:

  • To combine different products into one method of transport, as in the example above, to save on time and transportation costs.
  • To provide a central site where goods can be sorted and combined so they are easy to deliver to multiple destinations quickly and effectively.
  • To break down large products so they are small enough to be transported to the consumer.

What are the benefits of cross-docking? Cross-docking offers the following benefits:

  • Reduces delivery time significantly, as goods are not stored.
  • Reduces shipping costs, since there is no storage or other warehouse services involved.
  • Builds a strong shipping relationship for your business with one company.
  • Reduces risk of damage to the product, as it is being handled less.

How does cross-docking affect warehouse design? For cross-docking to be effective, the warehouse must be designed to facilitate this process. It should have different inbound and outbound dock doors, so that trucks can dock accordingly, to either deliver or receive goods.

The warehouse size, shape and layout should be considered when setting up across-docking warehouse. Also, the technology used to move the goods is an important consideration in determining the layout of the warehouse.

 

Choosing the Right Type of Shipping Container


Choosing the Right Type of Shipping Container

Before shipping your products, you will need to choose the right type of shipping container. Doing so will ultimately save on shipping costs.

Choosing the right type of shipping container also ensures that your products will get to you safely. Here are the most common types of shipping containers you can find—reviewing these carefully will assist you in the process of choosing the right type of shipping container:

  1. Dry Storage Containers: The most common type of container, especially in 20’ and 40’ sizes. They are used to transport dry goods.
  2. Flat Rack Containers: Used for transporting oversized items. They usually have collapsible sides without walls.
  3. Open-Top Containers: These have a removable top, and are used for transporting over-height products.
  4. Tunnel Shipping Containers: These have doors on both ends of the container, which makes loading and offloading easy and quick.
  5. Open-Side Storage Containers: These open up on the sides, not the ends. They make loading easy, especially for wide items.
  6. Refrigerated Containers: These preserve perishable goods for travel, like fruits, seafood, and flowers.
  7. Insulated /Thermal Containers: These have temperature-control features to transport products that need to be kept warm for the duration of the shipping process.
  8. Half-Height Containers: As their name indicates, these are half the height of normal containers. They are ideal for transporting heavy but low-volume cargo. They can be used on trucks to transport sand and gravel.
  9. Car Carriers: These are specially made to transport cars, to ensure their safety.

Other types of containers include tanks, refrigerated containers, drums, and swap bodies.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Type Of Shipping Container

Here are some of the factors to have in mind when choosing the right type of shipping container for your business:

  • What sizes do shipping containers come in? Shipping containers come in different sizes suitable for different products. The most common sizes of shipping containers are 10’, 20’, and 40’; the last two sizes are the most commonly used because they make transportation easy.
  • What is the cargo? While choosing the right type of shipping container, you need to consider the cargo that you are shipping or hauling. Some cargo is extremely heavy; other cargo is simple to load and unload. Special cargo, like perishable products, will require refrigerated containers. Oil, petroleum products, and other liquids require tanks. There are also custom-made containers for any sort of special cargo that you might have.
  • How much do shipping containers cost? There are various factors that go into determining the cost of a shipping container; size is one of them. The age and the condition of the container is important, too. If it is old and beaten up, it should cost you much less than if it is in pristine condition. On average, a 20’ container can cost anywhere between $1,400 and $2,500, while a 40’ container can cost between $3,500 and $4,500.

Why Use a Warehouse Management System?


Why Use a Warehouse Management System?

A warehouse management system is an essential component of a company’s supply chain. It tracks products and raw materials while incorporating specialized equipment and computer software that allows full control of warehouse operations.

How Does a Warehouse Management System Work?

Central to a warehouse management system is a database that describes a wide range of standards warehouse elements. Standard warehouse elements include:

  • Individual stock keeping units (SKU’s) that can consist of finished consumer goods, fabricated parts, basic materials, or assemblies
  • Warehouse storage locations
  • Type of storage, for example, cases or pallet
  • Storage restrictions
  • Expected labor units

A warehouse management system integrates these elements with all warehouse tasks, including receiving goods, inspections, acceptances, picking, packing, documentation, and shipping.

An effective system will divide orders into batches according to their locations. The system will also log products at various points as they move through the warehouse. This allows staff to know where products need to be around the warehouse at any given time.

What are the Benefits of the Warehouse Management System?

Lower Operational Costs

A warehouse management system calculates the optimal location for each warehouse element, which ensures the efficient use of space and reduces waste. It also increases the efficiency of the staff which, in turn, results in a higher output volume and lower demand for labor.

Improved Relationships with Suppliers and Customers

Quicker delivery times and less order accuracy errors mean that more customers are satisfied with their orders.

Efficiency is beneficial for supplier relationships as well. If your warehouse can accept incoming orders without delay, it means that your suppliers can start working on their next shipments.

Efficient Warehouse Staff

A warehouse management system can allocate on-the-floor tasks in a way that is as efficient as possible ensuring that the warehouse staff can meet material handling requirements in less time. The system also coordinates the warehouse staff’s activities so that there is no duplication of labor.

Enhanced Inventory Visibility

Warehouse management system software provides real-time data on inventory by making use of identifiers such as barcodes, serial numbers, and RFID tagging.

Increased visibility makes it possible to create demand forecasts, which is necessary to determine which products are most popular during specific times of the year.

What Are Some Warehouse Management Systems?

ProVision

ProVision is a high-end warehouse management system solution that is user-configurable to manage a wide range of warehouse operations and activities. This warehouse management system is popular among several reputable supply chain and logistics companies, including Brimich Logistics.

Infoplus

Infoplus is the ideal warehouse management solution for small to mid-sized companies in a wide range of industries. This warehouse system is a web-based solution and features core inventory management, demand forecasting, and inventory optimization.

Oracle SCM Cloud

Oracle is a cloud-based warehouse management system that is geared towards distribution manufacturing, inventory management, and fleet management. An additional feature of Infoplus is product development that companies can use to create a bill of material from a conceptual design.

Contact Brimich Logistics

If you feel your business could benefit from the addition of a new or updated warehouse management system, contact Brimich Logistics today for a free no-obligation quote.

What is the Role of Logistics?


What is the Role of Logistics?

Logistics is a subcategory of supply chain management that refers to the management of the movement of goods or services from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

What is Freight Logistics?

Freight logistics is a further subcategory of logistics involving only freight. There are two types of logistics, namely inbound logistics and outbound logistics.

Inbound logistics is a primary component of logistics and involves the procurement, transportation, and storage of products, materials, or parts from various locations for assembly or production.

Outbound logistics refers to all the supply chain activities involved in the transportation of the finished product to the distributor, to the retailer and, ultimately, to the end consumer. Transport can be carried out via air, sea, rail, or roads.

There are several other subcomponents of logistics, including:

  • Procurement logistics, for example, market research and supplier management
  • Distribution logistics, which involves the delivery of the finished product to the end consumer
  • Reverse logistics, which is all the activities related to the reuse of products
  • Production logistics, which refers to all logistic processes within a value-adding system

What is the Difference Between Shipping and Logistics?

There is often some confusion as to the difference between shipping and logistics. The essential difference between shipping and logistics has to do with scope.

Shipping refers to the transfer of goods from one place to another via air, sea, road, or rail. To understand logistics, one has to take a step back. Logistics is the administration of the process of acquiring goods, storing them and, finally, delivering them to the end user.

The logistics of physical products involves the coordination of specific areas of specialization, including information flow, production, inventory, and storage. Shipping is one of these areas of specialization that forms part of logistics and is, therefore, an integral part of logistics.

Logistics and shipping are both key components of a supply chain. If one or the other is lacking, chances are that the business will experience problems relating to inefficiency.

What is Freight Forwarding in Logistics?

Freight forwarding is a critical element of logistics and involves the movement of goods around the world by making use of a combination of sea, road, rail, and air shipping services.

Say, for example, you want to ship products from your warehouse in Dallas to a customer in London. The freight forwarder will pick up the product at your warehouse and pack it, place it into a container, and arrange for all necessary export permits.

The freight forwarder will then book the shipping, deliver the product to the port or airport, handle handovers between shipping companies, receive the product at the airport in London, take care of nationalization, and deliver the product to your customer’s door.

Freight forwarding differs from shipping in that shipping only involves transporting the product from point A to point B.

Contact Brimich Logistics

Brimich Logistics specializes in supply chain management and third-party logistics. If you are interested in learning more about freight logistics, or if you need high-quality logistics solutions, contact Brimich Logistics today.

What is HACCP Compliance?


What is HACCP Compliance?

HACCP stands for hazard analysis critical control point and is a management system that ensures food safety by analyzing and controlling biological, chemical, and physical hazards throughout the entire supply chain of a finished product.

What is HACCP Certified?

HACCP certification is an international standard that describes the requirements for ensuring control of food safety. Seven actions constitute this standard:

  • Conducting a hazard analysis of biological, chemical, or physical food hazards
  • Determining critical control points
  • Establishing critical control limits
  • Monitoring control of critical control points
  • Establishing remedying actions
  • Formulating and implementing procedures to verify that the HACCP system is functioning correctly
  • Record keeping

A food business can gain a HACCP certification by a reputable certification provider by undergoing an audit or assessment of its food safety policies and procedures, including:

  • Hygiene and overall cleanliness
  • Employed pest control measures
  • Safety and cleanliness of the equipment used to prepare or process food

–    Safety and cleanliness of product storage

–    Maintenance of vehicles

Why is HACCP Important?

A HACCP certification demonstrates to your customers, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities that you are committed to safe food trading or production. HACCP compliance is also mandatory for participants in the food industry in several countries, including the United States.

A HACCP certificate is also essential for a food business to be regarded as reputable and trade worthy. A company that is not HACCP certified runs a higher risk of making costly mistakes while carrying out their business activities.

Who Uses the HACCP?

Businesses don’t always obtain HACCP certificates for the same reasons. It is a condition of trade that business in the food industry, for example, food sellers and food manufacturers have HACCP certifications.

Although a HACCP certification is not a requirement for specific businesses or in some countries, many companies will make sure to have their certifications in place to mitigate risks and as a sound business practice.

What are the Most Common Critical Control Points?

A critical control point (CCP) is defined as a step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.

Food Purchasing

Critical control point examples of food purchasing include checking suppliers, menu creation, and managing packaged and frozen foods.

Delivery and Receipt

This critical control point refers to temperature control, record keeping, and transferring food to storage after delivery.

Food Production

Food production critical control points concern food handling and preparation. Examples of food production essential points of control include allergen management, cooking, reheating, and thawing.

Service and Display of Food

There should be clean facilities to protect display food. The critical control requirements depend on whether the display is for hot, cold, or frozen food. Serving staff should also be adequately trained and furnished with clean equipment.

Food Storage

Food storage critical control points are of the utmost importance to prevent cross-contamination, bacteria growth, and temperature fluctuations. Brimich Warehousing & Logistics provides storage solutions that are HACCP compliant. Contact us today for more information.

Benefits of Supply Chain Management


Benefits of Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is vital to the efficient operation of any business handling physical inventory. When implemented correctly, it can result in lower costs, shorter lead time, lower risks, and ultimately higher profits as a result.

What is Supply Chain Management, and Why Is It Important?

A supply chain is a network of individuals, firms, resources, operations, and technology that a company uses in the creation and sale of products or services from the delivery of raw materials by the supplier to the delivery to the end user.

Effective supply chain management allows a company to gain an advantage over their competitors in the industry as it lowers the inherent risks of buying raw materials and selling products or services.

A business with an adequate supply chain management system in place will also be able to reduce waste and overhead costs.

What is an Example of Supply Chain Management?

A well-known example of a supply chain management system is the one used by Walmart. Walmart doesn’t have many links in their supply chain, and, instead of buying branded products, they stick to generic goods purchased directly from manufacturers.

Walmart uses a system called “vendor managed inventory” to ensure that suppliers are responsible for the products that Walmart owns in warehouses.

Walmart also goes to extremes when it comes to choosing suppliers. They typically only partner with suppliers that can meet their demands and that are conveniently located to keep transportation costs as low as possible.

The concept of economies of scale is a crucial ingredient of Walmart’s successful supply chain. Walmart purchases goods in large quantities from manufacturers. They ship these goods directly to their warehouse before delivering them to their stores.

Since these are the only links in Walmart’s supply chain, their input cost per unit is low enough to provide their customers with more affordable products.

What is the Supply Chain Management Process?

The supply chain management process consists of several steps, including strategic planning, demand planning, supply planning, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, order fulfillment, and transportation.

  • Strategic planning refers to the design and optimization of the supply chain model.
  • Demand planning involves lifecycle planning and predicting the future based on various forms of data.
  • Supply planning includes safety stock planning and customer and supplier collaboration.
  • Procurement is a three-step process that provides for purchase order processing, receipt confirmation, and invoice verification.
  • Manufacturing refers to production planning and product manufacturing.
  • Warehouse processing includes inbound and outbound processing, as well as storage, physical inventory, and cross docking.
  • Order fulfillment process refers to the sales order and billing processes.
  • Transportation includes planning, execution, and costing processes.

What are the Key Benefits of an Effective Supply Chain?

Higher Efficiency

Effective supply chain management allows a business to adjust dynamically to changes in the economy and to predict and meet future demands.

Optimal Shipping

A functional supply chain enables a company to ship products to customers over vast geographical areas at minimal costs and within a short time.

Mitigate Risks

Another key benefit of a high-performing supply chain is that it reduces risks relating to product compliance and quality.

Contact Us

If you want to improve the supply chain of your business, contact The Brimich Group today.

The Nature of Cold Storage Solutions


The Nature of Cold Storage

Keeping Your Cool in Business

If ensuring your products or materials stay at a stable temperature is vital to their quality, cold storage solutions are likewise vital to your company’s success. However, not all cold storage solutions are created equally.

What is Cold Storage Used For?

Many products lose their value in normal storage conditions. These products require cold storage solutions for adequate storage and shipping.

Since cold storage is much more complex than dry storage and refrigerated warehousing tends to be expensive, many businesses opt to outsource cold storage to supply chain specialists.

If you are moving products that are temperature sensitive, you need cold storage solutions that include processing, packaging, and delivery without the products ever being exposed to fluctuations in temperature.

Cold storage is often used for products with varying shelf lives and temperature range requirements. These products include, but are not limited to:

–    Plants and flowers

–    Perishable food

–    Biopharmaceutical products

–    Perishable nutrient products

–    Artwork

What is Cold Storage in Food Preservation?

Due to the nature of certain food products, they can spoil if they are exposed to high temperatures. Not only can this result in losses, but also health hazards. Cold storage for food preservation is, therefore, an essential component of the supply chain of food businesses.

Perishable foods, including dairy products, fish products, and meats have to be kept in a temperature specification range along the entire supply chain. Temperatures higher than the required range can result in the growth of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms and can, ultimately, cause the product to be inedible.

Since the consequences of food spoilage can potentially be dire, food businesses have to ensure that they use reputable and experienced cold storage service providers to take care of their products.

Types of Cold Storage

There is a wide range of cold storage solutions from single units to entire warehouses. The types of cold storage include the following:

–    Refrigerated containers

–    Blast Chillers

–    Cold Rooms

–    Pharmaceutical-Grade Cold Storage

–    Plant-Attached Cold Storage

–    Custom Cold Storage Facilities

Companies that have a wide range of products typically have many different cold storage needs. If your products have to be stored at different temperature ranges, you may need more than one type of cold storage. Outsourcing your cold storage may be a viable solution if you don’t have cold storage facilities.

What is Cold Supply Chain?

The succession of cold storage applications along the supply chain to maintain the desired temperature is often referred to as the cold chain. If the integrity of the cold chain is breached and the risk is unknown or not reported, it can result in foodborne illnesses.

Developments in technology make it much easier and cost-effective to implement temperature monitoring and optimize stacking, which, in turn, make cold chain objectives more attainable.

Contact Brimich Logistics

Your business needs a partner to deliver the freshest food in the safest possible manner. Brimich Logistics is ideally suited to provide your business with high-end cold storage solutions along with your supply chain. We have more than 200,000 square-feet of food-grade cold storage space available.

All our facilities are Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) compliant, and we have safe quality food (SQF) certification. Contact us today to discuss your cold storage and supply chain needs.

What is SQF Certification?


Safe Food Storage

What are SQF Standards?

Safe Quality Food (SQF) is a food safety management certification scheme based on HACCP that demonstrates compliance with all the processes and requirements as defined in the SQF code.

What is the Importance of SQF in the Food Handling Industry?

Ensuring food safety over international supply chains can be incredibly challenging, and organizations in the food industry depend on suppliers to provide them with food products and ingredients that are manufactured, stored, or shipped safely.

Certification programs are widely regarded to be the most effective to ensure that organizations in the food industry have confidence in their suppliers. One of the most accepted food certification programs is SQF, especially since it is a certification that is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI.)

What is the Relationship to GFSI?

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven global food network that consists of food retailers and manufacturers around the world. The GFSI listed a set of requirements that are crucial to a food safety management system.

Consequently, the GFSI recognizes any food safety stand that includes their set of requirements, including SQF. The result is that if a business is certified to SQF, the GFSI will recognize the certification.

If one of your customers request that you become GFSI certified, an SQF certification will, therefore, be sufficient. Your business can also receive GFSI recognition if you have an FSSC 22000, BRC Issue 7, or International Food Standard Version 6 certification.

SQF Institute

What are the Different Levels of SQF?

There are three levels of SQF Certification. The appropriate level for your business depends on the type of food business you have.

SQF Food Safety Fundamentals

This level was formerly known as SQF Level 1 and applies to low-risk products. This level consists of fundamental food safety controls and is not recognized by GFSI.

SQF Food Safety Code

This level is a certified HACCP food safety plan and was formerly known as an SQF Level 2 Certification. Most businesses opt for this level because of its recognition by the GFSI. The SQF Food Safety Code has versions available for:

  • Manufacturers
  • Primary food producers
  • Food retailers
  • Food packaging
  • Storage and distribution

SQF Quality Code

SQF Quality Code is the highest SQF level and involves the extensive implementation of safety management systems that include the Food Safety Code.

How Do I Get SQF Certified?

  1. Download the Code and Guidance documents from www.SQFI.com, and learn what is required for SQF certification.
  2. Select the appropriate SQF level for your business.
  3. Register at SQFI and designate your SQF Practitioner.
  4. Apply the required process and food safety fundamentals and train your in-house audit team.
  5. Keep records, perform internal audits, review performance, and make improvements where necessary.
  6. Select a certification body.
  7. Schedule and undergo your inspections.

Work with an SQF Certified Company

Brimich Warehousing & Logistics’ food grade facilities are HACCP compliant, and SQF certified. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

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