No More Tom Tom, and This Is Just the Beginning
In an era where business and logistics have become global, satellite tracking has become a conventional means of pinpointing a person or object’s location anywhere in the world.
This tool for monitoring has changed logistics tremendously since its inception back in the 50s. Satellite tracking technology uses the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The GPS measures the distance between your location and the satellites that orbit the earth.
How Does Satellite Tracking Work?
The GPS is a worldwide radio-navigation device that is formed from a constellation of 24 satellites and their stations on the ground. The system works to find out exactly where an object is located.
The tracking system may be connected to items for this use, such as a vehicle or cell phone. The satellites will work to distinguish where it is located at all times. The device has a function of tracking the movement of the object across a geographical region. This form of satellite tracking has proved useful and changed logistics in several ways.
Real-time Satellite Vehicle Tracking
Satellite tracking has improved logistics by ensuring real-time monitoring of vehicles. Some of the tracking firms, such as Linxup have tracking equipment for vehicles that enable you to locate your car easily and quickly.
You can do so while it’s in motion or on-site. Here is how this happens:
- Vehicle satellite tracking systems offer updates once a minute when they are moving and each hour when turned off.
- Equipment, on the other hand, offers updates once each day when on battery and at an interval of 10 minutes when powered and in motion.
- A Google Maps interface that is intuitive distinguishes which objects are vehicles and which are equipment when at work.
- The system also offers updates on the fleet movement as it would with normal traffic conditions.
- Finally, the system gives you access to a bird’s eye view of every vehicle you have on the road and their logistics details.
Conventional satellite tracking systems have these functionalities and even more depending on their in-built conditions which influence logistics. This real-time GPS tracking allows you, at a glance, to identify:
- The direction as well as the speed the vehicle is traveling
- The interval between the GPS reports
- The current address of the equipment or car on the move
- The driver nearest to the location
What is the Difference Between GPS and Satellite Tracking?
In GPS Tracking, a GPS device receives and later transfers signals that it receives from the satellites around the region. With satellite tracking, the satellite tracker makes use of the signals that emanate from a GPS device.
The satellite software then uses these signals and combines them with a complete map to get the exact coordinates of an object.
GPS tracking systems have a variety of components that use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network.
The network includes a variety of satellite trackers that send microwave signals back to the GPS device and give real-time locations, speed of the vehicle, and direction as well as the time that this data was captured.
Validating the Satellite Tracking Argument
Ultimately, GPS tracking through various satellites can provide both real-time and historical data to improve inventory management and delivery. These innovations in satellite tracking have enormously influenced logistics.
Is It Time to Move Your Business in a Different Way?
You have a business, big or small, and it’s doing great. Your products are moving, and your orders keep growing—but as usual, you wonder, could we do more? The answer is yes, and warehouse logistics can help you expand.
What is a Logistics Warehouse?
Logistics refers to elaborate planning, organizing, and management of materials and products, as well as the implementation of various complex operations. Within several industries, such as warehousing, logistics also extends to define the flow of goods, both physical and informational.
Warehouse logistics encompasses all the details of product and information flow within a warehouse. Some of these details include shipment and receiving of parcels, management of the physical inventory, and the movement of more abstract goods such as time and information.
What is the Difference Between a Warehouse and Warehousing?
Beyond the definition of a logistics warehouse, one separates a warehouse from storage by the external use of each factor. A warehouse, for instance, serves as a commercial building that stores goods and is often used by business people.
Warehouses come in various forms; some can be temperature controlled while others have specialized designs to receive different kinds of goods.
Warehousing describes the function and actions required to ease the storing of goods. The intricate process of logistics within the business chain comes from efficient warehousing.
What are the Objectives of Warehousing?
The main goals of warehousing are:
- Essential storage-warehousing should result in a safe, central location to store your materials and product
- Accessibility -that location should be accessible and suitable for your product
- Better inventory management-increase turnover and decrease shrinkage by tracking your inventory more efficiently
- Shorter lead times-accessible, well-managed storage facilitates shorter lead times, which increases customer satisfaction
- Reduce cost-efficiency in the warehousing process should result in reduced costs
Why is Warehousing Required?
The benefits of warehousing are far-reaching, both in the short-term and long-term. Here are some benefits that are proven from businesses who have consistently adopted a warehouse logistics model and a clear argument of why warehousing is required.
- The inventory counts are real-time and accurate all the time. In a unified system, the warehousing process will calculate the inventory available at any given time, their specific locations, and their use.
- The accuracy of the inventory also means a decrease in return items. In most cases, the goods get checked before being sent.
- The inventory details also mean the stock will always be available. In most cases, the stock levels operate with a required minimum, which, when hit, will trigger the purchase of more stock.
- Warehouse logistics also ensure that space is utilized effectively.
What is Warehousing in Supply Chain Management?
Warehousing forms an integral aspect of the logistics and supply chain management pattern. Put simply, warehousing is the process that makes a warehouse or storage area run smoothly within the supply chain.
The success and expansion of any business largely depend on its ability to perform well in warehousing logistics.
How to Choose the Best Packaging Flute to Protect Your Product
One of the most crucial aspects of logistics is the packaging of goods. Packaging materials provide much-needed security for the items stored inside, and carton boxes are among the most popular packaging materials. The strength of these carton boxes is based on the flute.
Flute refers to the material contained between liner boards of the carton box. The construction of the flute helps to make the carton more durable and able to withstand more pressure. It affects how easily the box dents and the height the boxes can be stacked for shipping.
How thick is flute corrugated?
The thickness of the flute is essential in determining how sturdy the carton box or shipping container will be. Most flutes found in the packaging of products made by a standard flute lamination machine is around 0.25 mm in thickness.
This thickness can vary depending on the product being packaged and the specific requirements of the client. However, most clients will want to buy ready-made packaging materials, and most ready-made packaging utilizes a standard flute lamination machine.
What is the difference between E-flute and B-flute?
- The major difference between the E-flute and B-flute is the number of flutes per square meter. This number determines the strength of the box and its printability. While generally, E-flutes have more flutes per square meter, they are thinner in size. This gives them more storage space at the expense of strength. These types of flutes fold easily and can become distorted quickly. Additionally, they are the best to print on, as their size allows them to roll through printers easily.
- B-flute packaging is more suited to carrying heavier products or goods. These type of cartons contain fewer flutes per square meter, but the largest arch size, which adds to their strength at the expense of space. The thickness of the flute limits the space in the cartons; B-flutes are twice the thickness of E-flutes. B-flutes are also less suited to printing. All that matters when it comes to them is capacity and strength.
What is the strongest type of cardboard?
The strongest type of cardboard happens to be corrugated cardboard. Its strength is owed to the fact that it contains larger flutes. These larger flutes contribute to making the corrugated cardboard boxes sturdier and allow them to stack higher without bending. For the most durable type of cardboard, corrugated cardboard is the go-to option.
What is take up factor in corrugated cardboard?
Take up refers to the pressure that a corrugated box can withstand with other similar boxes stacked on top of it. It is directly related to the material used in making the corrugated box, the number of flutes, and their size. Boxes with B-flute are known to have a better take up ratio compared to boxes made with E-flute.
Logistics without proper packaging is a futile endeavour. It is crucial that you factor in matters such as the flute to facilitate good logistics.
Warehouse Automation, it’s Benefits and the Future of Logistics
If you work in the warehouse or logistics business, then chances are you have heard of the changes that warehouse automation is already bringing to the industry.
There are two sides to the coin, however, with some people saying that warehouse automation leads to loss of jobs, and others being happy that warehouse automation will lead to a new world of increased productivity, efficiency, and accuracy.
The truth is, however, that warehouse automation will not completely take away human jobs. There are so many things that people still must do in the warehouse that machines cannot. To form an educated opinion on this topic, let’s investigate warehouse automation a bit further.
- How do warehouses work? A warehouse is basically a place where goods are stored while awaiting distribution to the customer. However, with 3PLs, warehousingnow has incorporated so many other services and solutions. It is possible for a company to outsource all of its supply chain management duties to a 3PL.
In the warehouse, goods are received, inventory movement takes place, goods are stored, and shipped. At the receiving dock, a clerk receives the entire inventory and all the documents pertaining to it are collected.
A receiving log is made to ensure that all expected inventory of the day is received. The inventory is then moved to the space it has been assigned by the warehouse’s certified and licensed movers. When the time comes, the warehouse also ships the products to the final destination.
- What is an automated warehouse? Warehouse automation can help make the warehouse processes much easier, faster and more accurate. For instance, conveyor belts can be used to move products from one part of the warehouse to another. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) is another commonly used automation technique. Automatic data capturing, automated vehicles, bar code scanners and readers, back office automation, and inventory automation are all processes that can be done in a warehouse to ensure that efficiency is enhanced. All of these processes also require use of specialized software for the capturing and storing of data.
- What is warehouse process? Not all warehouses are the same, but most of them have a basic process that occurs for goods that are coming in and going out. This process is as follows: Receiving, put-away, picking, packing, dispatching, returns, and value addition.
An automated warehouse is one in which part of its day-to-day processes are carried out by machines and systems. It is difficult to automate all of a warehouse’s processes, because people are better at carrying out certain processes.
Warehouse automation can bring many benefits. It improves efficiency and accuracy in the warehouse, and can also help save money by reducing the number of employees needed to carry out warehouse processes.
And, with warehouse automation, space utilization is dramatically improved, as well as shipping costs; denser pallet cubes can be created, leading to more tightly packed trucks, and efficiency in shipping. This can reduce costs by up to 10%.
What Do You Do When Your Focus is on Making Products, Not Moving Them?
There are instances and situations when a business is not able to carry out the logistics and supply chain management functions. A third party logistics (3PL) can help out in these situations.
What is 3PL? It is a service that is provided by an external company to provide distribution and fulfillment of the products on behalf of the company.
Startups and growing companies are more likely to need 3PL services. But even big companies looking for convenience and those that want to avoid the hassle of logistics can use 3PL services.
There are many reasons that a company may decide to use 3PL. One of the reasons is lack of warehousing facilities. A company without warehousing may still need storage; they can choose 3PL warehousing for their products.
Also, growing companies may be faced with transportation problems, or struggle with up-front investment in vehicles and transport equipment. What is 3PL? It is a solution to these problems.
Companies that want to expand into other markets also find 3PL services very useful, as they can send their products to places where they have not built any networks yet. Most of the ecommerce providers need 3PL services, especially those that provide drop-shipment services.
What is 3PL? Here are a few questions and answers that will help explain this concept:
- What are logistics providers? A logistics provider is a company that provides the management of flow of goods and materials from the point of origin all the way to the end user. Logistics providers handle shipping, warehousing, transportation, packaging, security, and inventory. A 3PL is a logistics service provider.
- What is the difference between 3PL and 4PL? A 3PL provides outsourced logistics services to a company, and may include part or all of the supply chain management services of the company. The services offered by a 3PL include warehousing, inventory, order packing and fulfillment, transportation and shipping coordination, order tracking and status communication, customer service, picking, cross docking, IT solutions, freight forwarding, returns processing, and reverse logistics, among other supply chain management services.
4PL (fourth party logistics) services, on the other hand, perform all the functions of 3PLs—but also offer consulting services, management of technology, resources and infrastructure, logistics strategy, business planning, project management, change management, and so much more. With a 4PL, the company benefits from strategic advice in addition to operational support.
- How much does a 3PL cost? Each 3PL companies will price their services differently. There are no real set standard prices for 3PLs, and therefore you will find that the prices range and differ greatly from one company to the other. It is easy, however, to find a company that will offer you good value for your money, if you take time to calculate how the expense will affect your production costs and the pricing of your product.
For most of the companies, you will find that there are both fixed and variable costs, depending on the services that you utilize. Hiring a great 3PL comes with a lot of peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate on the growth of your company.
If You Thought Packaging was Just Packaging, Think Again
Packaging can have different applications, dependent on the stage of distribution that the product is in; the product has to go from the producer to the retailer, and from the retailer to the consumer.
Through its long journey, a product might require specialized packaging, so that it gets to its destination in perfect condition. But what that destination is will determine which type of packaging it will need. Here, we will explore the difference between consumer and industrial packaging.
Before understanding the difference between consumer and industrial packaging, however, it is important to know what roles the packaging serves in the product’s journey from the manufacturer to the consumer. Here are some of the functions of packaging;
- Market the product
- Provide information about the product
- Protect the product against damage and unsanitary conditions
- Contain the product, especially liquids
- Simplify transportation
What is industrial packaging and consumer packaging?
So what is the difference between industrial packaging and consumer packaging? Industrial packaging is typically used to deliver goods from the manufacturer to the retailer.
There are instances when the industrial packaging is also the consumer packaging. Take for instance animal feeds that come in sacks. The sacks are loaded to trucks from the manufacturer directly to the retailer, and arrive the same way to the consumer.
Consumer packaging, on the other hand, is the packaging that the product gets to the consumer in. This packaging goes from the manufacturer to the retail outlet, and finally to the consumer.
For example, a package of cookies that leaves the manufacturer arrives at the retail store exactly as it will be sold to the consumer.
Another vital difference between consumer and industrial packaging is labeling; they have different labeling requirements, such as in declaration of quantity, responsibility, and identity.
What are the three levels of packaging?
There are three levels of packaging:
- Primary packaging: Wraps the product directly, which arrives to the consumer as is. The main purpose for primary packaging is to preserve and protect the product.
- Secondary packaging: Used in addition to, or on top of, the primary package. This level of packaging markets the product, and also gathers the products for easy handling and sales. It can also be used to group the product.
- Tertiary packaging: Typically used in the transportation of the products from the producer to the retailer; it is also used to define the sales unit that the manufacturer uses to sell to the consumer. For instance, a crate or corrugated carton containing a certain number of units of the product within.
What is the difference between CPG and FMCG?
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are often used interchangeably, but the two terms mean different things.
FMCG are those goods that are used on a daily basis in a household, like soap, detergent, deodorant, and shampoo. CPG are items used less frequently in the household, like canned foods, spices, etc.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Consider outsourcing your reverse logistics to a 3PL, so the process is handled effectively for you.
- Having a dedicated returns area can make it easy for you to process returns as quickly as they come in.
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.
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.
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:
- Dry Storage Containers: The most common type of container, especially in 20’ and 40’ sizes. They are used to transport dry goods.
- Flat Rack Containers: Used for transporting oversized items. They usually have collapsible sides without walls.
- Open-Top Containers: These have a removable top, and are used for transporting over-height products.
- Tunnel Shipping Containers: These have doors on both ends of the container, which makes loading and offloading easy and quick.
- Open-Side Storage Containers: These open up on the sides, not the ends. They make loading easy, especially for wide items.
- Refrigerated Containers: These preserve perishable goods for travel, like fruits, seafood, and flowers.
- Insulated /Thermal Containers: These have temperature-control features to transport products that need to be kept warm for the duration of the shipping process.
- 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.
- 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.