November 21, 2010

From a Supplyline: 2

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: , — admin @ 1:34 pm

I keep my general’s army supplied with food, weapons and other items wherever they go. This isn’t an easy task, our army can cover up to 10 miles a day when they are travelling on our Roman roads and at the end of the day they are tired, hungry and have little tolerance for any breakdown in their supply lines.

I use several modes of road transport in my supply line. The first is the soldiers themselves, they are responsible for their immediate food ration and depending on the circumstances they may be carrying enough grain and other food to last them 3 days together with enough water to last them each a day and a night.

Circumstances in the field can be extreme to say the least, the climate and terrain we are travelling in may substantially alter the design of the supply line and seasonal changes in weather patterns will alter the quantity of food and water we need.

Other modes of road transport available to me are pack mules and oxen teams. Both of these are capable of carrying much larger loads than individual soldiers, and in all truth they have greatly contributed to the success of many of our campaigns. Probably like your transportation assets they come with their own challenges, the biggest of these is their speed, or rather their lack of it when compared to the soldiers.

Roughly speaking the oxen teams can only travel at one quarter of the speed of the contubernium, although that differential is reduced if the soldiers are using pack mule teams to carry their tents and weapons.

A second challenge for us is maintaining these assets. They have their own needs for food and water and can also break down and need replacing.

When I first started to work in supply line the speed differential greatly puzzled me, how could we possibly keep the army adequately supplied when an army cover perhaps 10 miles a day when they are marching and the baggage team could only cover around 3 miles? Surely a recipe for disaster?

Disaster isn’t allowed, it would be the death of me, literally! The answer to running a successful supply line lies in making detailed plans and executing them well and on a timely basis.

I would expect in the decades and centuries to come that these principles will continue to hold good. Those of you reading this journal in some future age will be able to judge the accuracy of my statement, and you may, as you read on, find other similarities between my supply line and yours. I’d certainly like to believe so.

November 15, 2010

Distribution Centre Operations Start-up: 1

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 11:31 pm

Starting up a distribution centre operation is always a challenge, always exciting, having done a few of them in both new and existing buildings I can tell you there’s nothing like experience to get you through those start-up challenges and successfully through your operating ramp-up.

Managing your start-up using project methodology and rigour is time-consuming and can at times be tedious, but it’s a good investment.

To get going, appoint a project manager, form the start-up team and establish a steering committee. The project manager and the team should agree a project charter with your executives and once this is done the team can write a detailed project plan using the charter and their own expertise to guide them. Expect your project manager to establish regular meetings to update and get feedback from the team, the steering committee and other stakeholders.

Recognise that communications and change management must be high on the team’s agenda. These aren’t exclusively for the team to look after though, everyone I’ve already mentioned should play their role.

As the project unwinds there will be a number of distinct project areas for your team to manage and deliver, these will include: distribution centre and site design; fitting out and equipping the operation; financial processes; operations including transportation; human resources; systems and information technology; loss prevention and security.

Decent planning and project management will give you a foundation for success. However, the key to a great start-up is in executing well, taking care of your customer and delivering on time and under budget.

I’ll visit the start-up process again and give you more detail on the things I’ve outlined above, if you need help before I’m able to get to the next article feel free to contact me.

November 12, 2010

From a Supply Line: 1

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: , — admin @ 4:39 am

My customers are unforgiving, they are not the kind of people to be messed with, they want their supply line to give them what they want, where they want it and at the time they want it.

Product availability  is the key to my success  and ultimately to that of my superior, in fact it may be a matter of life and death, his and mine! The supply line, which I’m in charge of, must be meticulously planned, preferably months in advance, although sometimes I’m only given a few weeks or days notice. Change happens on the fly, the number of customers can be very different from one day to the next and the delivery point can be miles away from where I was told it would be.

The products I procure are a mix of seasonal and standard stock items, my suppliers may be local or overseas and it’s important for my team to recognize that even my local suppliers must change from one month to the next. Procurement is a constant headache and my buyers spend most of their time on the road.

There is no I.T. software to assist me and my transportation assets seem to have a mind of their own!

You see, I am responsible for procurement and logistics for my master who is a most distinguished, successful and capable Roman general. Whether we are in barracks or out on a field campaign I must ensure that our soldiers are adequately supplied and fed, as I mentioned earlier, to fail in my task would not be acceptable, it is a matter of life and death. I hope that you return to these pages soon, I will be sharing some of my supply line stories with you.

November 7, 2010

Supplyline Logistics: What’s in a name?

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: — admin @ 7:48 pm

Let me introduce myself, my name is Steve Loveday and I operate as an independent supply chain consultant under my company name, Supplyline Logistics Inc.

Bit of a long name that, Supplyline Logistics, how did I end up with that? Well, the Supplyline bit came because I wanted the name to reflect the industry sector that I’m in and to acknowledge the historical context of supply chain. I like history.

Off I went on my domain name search for “Supplyline” only to find that I’d been beaten to the punch, by quite a few years apparently, “Supplyline dot com” was already taken.

I really liked the name Supplyline and wanted to use it, I could have tried throwing money at the owner of the domain name but I didn’t (no big surprise there!) instead, I decided to add a bit more to the name.

I toyed with Supplyline Supply Chain Inc., for about 3 milliseconds, ugly isn’t it? Next came Supplyline Distribution Inc., not so bad, but I already had the historical piece sewn up and the term “Distribution” isn’t so widely used these days.

Then came Supplyline Logistics Inc., I liked it, the “dot com” domain was there for the taking, and hey, my initials are SL so tell me it wasn’t meant to be!

Supplyline Logistics Inc. was born.

Thanks, Steve