A plethora of current trends reports, together with industry experts and academics all point to digitisation as the single key trend that will transform business models and supply chains over the next 5 to 10 years. Our last supplychainforesight publication served to highlight this by examining some key trends emerging within this arena. There is, however another transformation taking roots amongst consumers, companies and industries at large – a trend that challenges the very nucleus of organisations.
Within logistics and supply chain management, perishable food and pharmaceutical products make up a large part of the country’s supply chain. Transporting product while maintaining temperature may sound like a modern solution, but the first forms of cold chain logistics began as early as the 1800’s with fishermen and farmers using natural ice to preserve their produce for transportation to market. Fredrick McKinley Jones designed a portable air-cooling unit for trucks in 1935, and the modern form of cold chain was born. In South Africa, our love of ice cream means that our local cold chain needs to store and distribute over 60 million tonnes of frozen treats a year. Taken in isolation this volume is impressive, but once consider together with every other item requiring a temperature controlled supply chain – the demand for local cold chain becomes staggering.
Power dressing as a concept began in the 1970’s and is considered as a style of dressing that establishes authority. Initially, the style was a direct reflection of male dressing – incorporating a pencil skirt or suit matched with more feminine accessories. Today the idea of power dressing has evolved to reflect personal style and to espouse the adage “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have”.
Simple forms of robotics first entered the industrial space when General Motors began migrating its production line to a more automated process in the 1960’s. Manufacturing has since been the sphere in which robotics has taken hold, although these machines were simplistic – blind, unintelligent, stationary pieces of equipment performing repetitive tasks thousands of times a day. While these created improvements in efficiencies, they require uniformity of object, a constant speed of flow and repetitive function. The future of robotics in the logistics industry could not look more different. Logistics is a demanding environment requiring creativity, agility and complex thought. In warehouses and distribution centres world over, employees are assisted by various sorts of mechanisation from automatic sorters to conveyor belts and goods-to-picker solutions. Despite this, most large hubs still require hundreds of people to operate.
A TMS (or Transport Management System) is a niche subsection of supply chain management that focuses on the optimisation of transportation. It is a system that creates and enables digital interaction between order management systems and warehouses. This integration facilitates transportation planning, execution and follow-up to enhance efficiency. A 4PL transport management model, as run by Barloworld Logistics, plans and executes distribution from multiple source locations to multiple destinations utilising multiple service providers. Transport planning and management is centralised into a supply chain centre of excellence supported by a robust technology platform managing everything from daily administration to analysing data and providing business intelligence in order to enable an environment of continuous improvement.