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Packaging by Quadient – intelligent auto-packing systems for high-performance e-commerce

Packaging by Quadient – formerly Neopost – provides innovative automated packaging solutions that intelligently pack ecommerce orders into smart, fit-to-size cardboard packages – optimising at speed all steps of the package sizing, formation, sealing and labelling process. 

With over a decade of experience in the automated packaging industry, Packaging by Quadient is dedicated to eliminating excessive packaging and increasing operational efficiency in the fulfilment process. The business is active in helping companies rethink and streamline their parcel packaging processes, enabling ecommerce businesses to grow, increase productivity and achieve environmental goals.

Quadient’s involvement in automated packaging began over ten years ago in Drachten, the Netherlands, and here teams of specialists continue to work on creating revolutionary designs for intelligent, fast, flexible and reliable, fit-to-size packaging systems.  Following on the success of the CVP Impack, an auto-boxing system designed for mid-market volumes up to 500 packages per hour, Packaging by Quadient has recently introduced the CVP Everest. The CVP Everest is a high velocity fit-to-size auto-boxing system capable of tailor-making over 1,100 ecommerce packages per hour.

The system scans and measures the item, or group of items, to be packed and calculates the ‘best fit’ box shape and size. Material for the box and lid is cut and creased to size, erected around the item(s) and the lid glue-sealed – which is faster and more recyclable than using tape. Parcels are weighed, labelled and away.

Quadient’s innovative approach addresses problems of waste commonly associated with ecommerce packaging – cardboard usage is typically cut by 20%, and a tight fit eliminates the need for void fill. Total package volumes can be reduced by 50%, maximising the use of the truck or trailer cube and reducing shipping costs and environmental impacts

Packaging by Quadient’s solutions optimise all steps of the package creation and labelling process – reducing reliance on labour, saving on shipping and material costs, strengthening green initiatives and enhancing the customer experience.

More information on Packaging by Quadient at packagingbyquadient.com

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: QAD DynaSys Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)

Today, manufacturing companies operate in a new world; constant changes in geopolitics, the exponential speed of innovation and the digitization of everything. Customers are more demanding and less committed. Supply chains are no longer chains but a network of opportunistic demand, supply, and capacity entities. 

This has led to many companies struggling with a clear view of the business. In these times of change, we make decisions relying on a “gut-feeling” devoid of fact based analysis; assumptions are made without objective measurement and operational plans become disconnected from corporate objectives. 

It is within times of flux that Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) becomes more vital than ever. S&OP provides a unique capability to reconcile cross-functional plans, problems, risks, and objectives in a way that provides visibility, stability and alignment with corporate goals.

Visibility and Analytics. QAD DynaSys Demand & Supply Chain Planning (DSCP) offer a best of breed solution designed from the ground up to cohabitate with many systems of-record. It is uniquely engineered to bring together data from disparate transactions systems as well as IoT. DSCP solution embeds best of breed business analytics capabilities providing complete visibility across the supply chain in a decision supporting and intuitive manner. 

Business Simulation. Having potential future insights is only of value if one can quickly measure the impact of the business and its alignment with corporate objectives. DSCP supports the rapid execution of multiple what-if business scenarios; each scenario must be comparable side-by-side with key KPIs, risks and opportunities for presentation to a Pre-S&OP forum. 

Collaboration. Modern day supply chain plans require much more than just how much to make, sell, move and buy. There are volumes of real-time intelligence in the minds of S&OP stakeholders that can add business value. There are opportunities to be exploited, risks and assumptions to be measured, and new initiatives to be implemented. 

Operational Reconciliation. A key benefit of DSCP is the use of a single data model. This provides a tight synchronisation of S&OP planning decisions and the corresponding impact on operational plans.

S&OP could be considered as a control tower which is essential for guiding companies towards excellence and becoming an effective enterprise.

https://www.dys.com/en-US/solutions

sofco Supply Planning – Integrated Supply Chain Planning platform to maximise the returns from Assets & Investments

Nowadays supply chain networks are becoming ever more complex with many organisations turning to outsourcing and delocalisation and with increased distances between production and consumer locations.  It is vital to have the best level of alignment both horizontally and vertically to ensure the planning decisions made offer the very best solutions for the business and their customers.

sofco Supply Planning is a complete planning platform, aimed at offering a response to companies that need an integrated planning of production, procurement, distribution, replenishment and stock management, by synchronising flows at each node of the value chain, even in complex and distributed environments.

In this context, sofco Supply Planning helps to optimise business processes, enhancing visibility throughout the entire Supply Chain, which therefore becomes more agile, more efficient and demand-driven.  All of which is focused on achieving a better customer service level and on reducing overall operating costs for the company.

  • Improved customer service level
  • Reduced stocks of finished products, components and raw materials throughout the Supply Chain
  • Lower production, procurement and distribution costs
  • Levelled load peaks and maximised productivity by taking into account internal and external alternatives
  • Improved use of distribution resources
  • Shorter re-planning times and, therefore, planning-related costs
  • Exploit knowledge of limitations due to constraints
  • Greater efficiency in investment allocation

The feature list is extensive and includes Multi-Dimensional Data Modelling, Available to Promise (ATP), Capable to Promise (CTP), Work in Progress Management (WIP), Pegging Links, Simulation Capacity, Warnings, Configurable Alarms and Dashboards, Data Access via the web and Web services, Time Modelling, a range of sophisticated Algorithms, integration with Microsoft Office suite, VBA language integration, multi user/multi Language …. to name a few.

“We pride ourselves at sofco on having a robust, well established product, installed in many of the leading brand companies in Europe, that is functionally rich whilst having a great user interface”, explains CEO Keith Noble.  “We strive to provide great software and industry expertise at  affordable costs for our customers and sofco Supply Planning is a great example of fitting a product well to the needs of the market and providing solutions to the problems they face in their Supply Chain management.  Combining this with sofco Scheduling and sofco Demand Planning creates an integrated Sales & Operations Planning system. And most importantly, our Business Consultants have all been ‘at the coal face’ and provide a wealth of knowledge and understanding to our customers.”

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Sofco End-to-End Planning Solutions

sofco is a leading provider of integrated and collaborative End-to-End Planning Solutions for the Consumer Goods and Manufacturing sectors. Comprised of the existing management core and industry-experienced consultants and technical specialists, the team at sofco were an integral part of TXT Perform. Collectively, we continue to bring deep domain knowledge of the supply chain market in which our team have both worked and successfully implemented solutions for many years.

The sofco range of application solutions cover the key operational processes of Demand Planning, Trade Promotions Planning, Supply Planning (Production, Procurement, Distribution & Inventory), Production Scheduling as well as the strategic processes of Sales & Operations Planning and Integrated Business Planning.

sofco serves leading global organisations including manufacturers and distributors of many household brands as well as industrial and other manufactured goods, providing an End-to-End Planning and Supply Chain Visibility solution which also fully supports ‘Operational Analytics’ including ‘What If’ scenario-based planning and supply chain financial view. Whether on site or in the cloud, our customers have seen significant benefits from reduction in inventory, reduction in stock-outs for fast-moving goods, increased product availability and a reduction in working capital, through our focus on eliminating unnecessary cost and complexity without sacrificing functionality or business results.

sofco Ltd
5 Chapell Lane
Wynyard Park Business Village Wynyard
Teesside TS22 5FG
Tel. +44 (0) 1740 768360

www.sofco.co.uk | info@sofco.co.uk

Women in STEM: Empowerment in employment

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors are largely occupied by men. The number of women in these industries is particularly low — findings from 2017 reported that only 23 per cent of STEM employees are women. This is undoubtedly low, however is 105,470 higher than rates in 2016.

Attitudes appear to be changing towards women in the STEM workforce. This year has seen some of the biggest names and influential figures in the industry being women, such as Kate Bouman, the woman who engineered the first image of a black hole. In this article, we track how more women have entered STEM than any other field in the past four decades...

Research by LinkedIn stated that of all career fields, STEM had more female employees over the last 40 years than any other sector. Philanthropist and former general manager at Microsoft, Melinda Gates, said: “Innovation happens when we approach urgent challenges from every different point of view. Bringing women and underrepresented minorities into the field guarantees that we see the full range of solutions to the real problems that people face in the world”.

Health and fitness app Fitbit came under scrutiny in 2018 when they released their period tracker which had a 10-day cycle. If more women were involved in the creation, they would’ve realised this was 3 days too long. In the States, the tech industry is one of the highest paying fields — yet women are still paid less than their male counterparts.

Breaking Through Bias

Biases are unfortunately a part of the way people think. Especially when we’ve been raised with the idea that men are better suited for certain jobs than women. Charles Darwin described women as intellectual inferiors and universities rejected women up until the 20th century.

Senior vice president for the American Association of University Women, Laura Segal, argued: “Teachers and parents provide explicit and implicit messages starting in early childhood that boys and men are ‘better’ at math, and the gaps in the professions reinforce the opportunities, culture and lack of role models that perpetuate male dominance”.

Schools and universities have increased initiatives to promote women in STEM since 2012. Previously, female students reported avoiding STEM courses because of a lack of female role models to identify with. If girls were taught about female role models like Marie Curie, for example, who discovered the effects of radiation, perhaps they’d be more inclined to pursue a career in the field.

To tackle this issue, more content around women in STEM has been introduced by exam boards. Rosalind Franklin, a woman central to the understanding of DNA, has been taught across the nation. This has been linked to this year’s A-level results, which saw female students studying STEM courses (50.3%) outnumber male students (49.7%). 

Funding

There’s been an increase in funding to fix the STEM gender disparity. Philanthropists have donated $25 million to boost girls’ interest by changing the narrative that they’re masculine careers. It’s expected to inspire other girls to follow other successful women. 

Sadly, it’s been a common theme for women to leave STEM careers due to it being heavily dominated by men, such as the engineering industry. They noted that they had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and to earn respect.

125 female ambassadors were incorporated by Lyda Hill Philanthropists, representing the different STEM career paths. Part of the donation will be used to fund grants for women to study STEM courses.

Apprenticeships

Research by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that a shortage of STEM workers in the UK is costing around £1.5 billion annually. Apprenticeships have an equal gender balance, yet only nine per cent of STEM apprentices are women.

To overcome this disappointing figure, the UK government is helping women learn more about the opportunities apprenticeships offer to encourage them to pursue STEM. Lookers, who offer a range of motability cars, launched a female apprenticeship scheme back in 2018. The aim is to double the amount of their female apprenticeships and provide a positive environment to encourage and attract women to STEM.

Although it’s disappointing to hear about a gender disparity in today’s age, it’s encouraging to hear about how efforts are being made by many to make room for women in STEM.

Sources

https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2019/09/women-in-stem-percentages-of-women-in-stem-statistics

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/06/how-melinda-gates-used-computer-science-to-help-solve-this-tech-issue.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/10/women-stem-gaining-recognition-feature/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/03/07/breaking-the-stem-ceiling-for-girls/

https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2019/08/why-are-female-students-now-outnumbering-males-in-a-level-science

https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/5-ways-close-gender-gap-women-stem-ncna1070101

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47891902

https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancabarratt/2018/11/17/the-need-for-more-women-in-stem-roles-goes-beyond-simple-diversity/#388f2b8b45cb

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Elanders E2E solutions

Elanders offers global E2E solutions in supply chain management. Elanders can take an overall responsibility for complex and global deliveries encompassing procurement, transportation, warehousing, configuration, production, pick/pack and distribution. 

Our offer also includes e-commerce services, order management, payment solutions and after sales services for our clients.

Elanders business concept is to be a global, strategic and long-term partner to its customers in their work to streamline and develop their business critical processes.

https://www.elanders.com/

Tackling the changing nature of retail with a well-prepared supply chain

By Ian Stone, CEO, Vuealta 

Debenhams, House of Fraser, Arcadia – these are just a handful of once-reliable High Street retailers and brand groups who now find themselves battling for their place on Britain’s high streets.

With shops closing at a rate of 14 a day, traditional high-street players are now facing unprecedented levels of competition from online and digitally-focused disruptors. But has the High Street really been crippled? Ultimately the answer is no, it’s simply being reinvented.

In fact, it appears that 62% of shoppers still prefer to shop on the high street, but their expectations have changed dramatically, and retailers need to buck their ideas up if they’re to meet them. As such, there has recently been a resurgence of interest in physical stores from industry giants, but in an entirely new and integrated way. 

It’s now more important than ever that retailers entice customers back into stores with refreshed and exciting takes on what the physical store really is – crossing the realms of digital and physical so customers can get the best of both worlds. That’s why, while many brands are already mastering the art of personalisation online, they’re now also using these data-driven insights on consumer behaviour to bring the same levels of customer experience and relevancy to the physical store.

For example, Amazon has introduced various initiatives from its four-star experience to Amazon Go, which cater to very specific demographics and consumer needs. But the changing nature of retail is moving at an unprecedented rate, making it difficult to keep up. To do so, brands need to begin making the most of their data to carefully map their supplychains and streamline costs.

Keeping up with evolving consumer demands 

Running a physical store is expensive. The property price boom in the UK has only recently reached its peak and May saw retailers suffer their worst month in almost a quarter of a century. To try and overcome these challenges, retailers like Amazon are returning to the high-street with smaller footprints to streamline their expenditures and offer more personalised experiences for their customers. Aldi and Lidl, for example, continuously change their stock depending on seasons and current trends in order to maintain reduced costs and keep their bargain hunting customers loyal.

But today’s customers expect instant gratification and ventures like this are fragile. They rely on a robust supply chain that can cope with consistently changing consumer demand, meaning these new types of stores can no longer rely on traditional supply chain structures. They need expert stock management with the ability to respond and adapt to change at speed – especially when it comes to peak shopping seasons like Black Friday and Christmas. 

The need to be agile in the digital age 

It’s ironic, but the answer to coping with the demands of these new stores lies in the digital technologies that are creating the need for them. In today’s digital age, consumer behaviour can change as a result of one Instagram post, and supplychains need an agile solution that can react just as quickly as the market changes and plan for likely peaks in demand – whether that’s with the ability to deliver more strawberries to Aldi’s Wimbledon store in July or hairdryers to Argos when the latest reality TV star posts an ad on their story.  

While data may now be considered the world’s most valuable resource, it has always been possible to access a variety of external and internal data sources to provide hard evidence to back up insights and assessments when developing plans. The real challenge has been being able to bring all that together, across internal silos and in varying formats, to form a cohesive and clear direction. Now, however, supply chains and their respective retailers have the ability to quickly connect and verify different data sources. By breaking down the silos, they can then access a clear view of what’s needed in order to formulate solid, evidenced-based plans.

That connection then allows supply chain organisations to rapidly harness data from a variety of sources to quickly formulate and adapt plans. That could be rerouting shipments into a distribution centre where demand is higher, deploying trucks and drivers to new shops, or updating promotions and stock availability if deliveries are delayed or demand outstrips supply. And streamlining this process can lead to significant competitive advantages.

The supply chain is the backbone of retail

The speed at which markets change today may appear to render long-term planning redundant, but it does the opposite. The key to keeping up with consumer demand ultimately lies in a well forecasted plan.

When retailers and supply chains plan for all their ‘what ifs’, including unexpected peaks and troughs in consumer demand, they’ll be prepared to respond to any changes that may otherwise expose their fragility and bring them to their knees. And when customers’ needs aren’t met, they will be quick to shout about it online, ultimately harming the business’ reputation. But when these unexpected, and expected, challenges are handled appropriately and responded to in adequate time, retailers can truly reap the benefits of increased sales. 

Planning isn’t a static process, and by no means has a simple beginning and end. If you’re starting out from a disjointed and siloed process, organisations need to be prepared to go through some level of trial and error initially, which will take time and multiple iterations before they get it right. But the end result will truly pay-off as companies will be able to access and collate critical data sources enabling them to reduce the impact of uncertainty and build realistic, actionable responses to all their potential ‘what ifs’.

Retailers and supply chains that do decide to take the planning leap will therefore be in a much stronger position when it comes to keeping their customers loyal by seizing all opportunities that will inevitably appear.

Living the dream: How changing your pallet choice could save money AND the environment

By Pallite

Transit packaging that does the job you need it to do while saving you money and safeguarding the environment may sound like a dream that’s too good to be true, but one company has had more success than most turning that dream into a reality.

PALLITE’s lightweight yet strong, paper-based packaging products – including pallets, pallet boxes, layer pads and warehouse storage solutions – are made from sustainably-sourced materials and 100% recyclable after use. They contribute less to climate change and the disappearance of the world’s rainforests than wooden pallets, and result in reduced CO2 emissions and total cost of distribution for businesses that choose to use them.

There is a growing movement away from traditional wooden pallets towards alternatives like PALLITE. But many of these come with limitations or drawbacks – something that PALLITE strives to avoid.

“We were clear from the start that our products had to offer a credible alternative to wood, meaning they were strong enough to handle the kind of jobs customers routinely require,” explains PALLITE CEO Iain Hulmes. “It didn’t make sense to us to offer products that only a small proportion of businesses could actually use.

“You wouldn’t think something made from just paper and PVA glue, that weighs under 5kg itself and can be engineered to carry 1 tonne with ease. The fact a standard PALLITE pallet can do this, and hold up to 750kg in open-beam racking, is testament to the many design hours invested to create a product range that is truly innovative.” 

Thanks to the honeycomb-cell technology used in their design, PALLITE pallets are stronger than cardboard equivalents, and bespoke versions have been manufactured for customers allowing them to hold much more than the figures Holmes quotes.

This strength, together with a weight saving of around 20kg on their wooden counterparts, makes PALLITE pallets a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly choice for businesses large and small across a wide range of industries, whether they are transporting goods by land, air or sea. Even if businesses have very specific requirements that mean they can’t use PALLITE for all their transportation needs, switching to PALLITE for the journeys they can delivers significant benefits. These include reduced fuel costs when travelling by road, cheaper air freight, and lower CO2 emissions across the board.

What’s more, the entire PALLITE range contains no nails and does not splinter. It also has a higher resistance to mould than wooden pallets. These factors make PALLITE an ideal choice for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as reduce the risk of manual handling injuries in the workplace.

The PALLITE range is readily available and can be tailored to customers’ requirements. For more information, call 01933 283920 or email enquiries@pallite.co.uk.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Elanders electronics

The market for electronics is growing dramatically. Consumption is on the rise because of a growing middle class and the fact that prices for home electronics have dropped in the last few years.

The electronics industry is generally characterized by sensitive technology that requires special treatment and infrastructure in order to protect fragile units and instruments.

Handling returns, recycling and the reuse of products are becoming increasingly important in supply chain management.

Electronics is one of our largest customer segments. We have continually developed our offer in recent years to include services like quality control, assembly, installation, after-sales market, repairs and recycling/reuse of electronics in our Value Recovery Services.

Contact Elanders today to find out more : kevin.rogers@elanders.com

https://www.elanders.com/industries/electronics/

Elanders supply chain supporting high-profile brands in Fashion & Lifestyle

By Elanders

If one thing fits like a glove, then it’s our tailor-made concepts in textile logistics for the Fashion & Life Style sector. 

A portfolio of global fashion services from Elanders Group ensures you receive integrated solutions from a single source.  Our clients retain full control, from pre-production through to suppliers and all the way to the point of sale.

Our textile finishing services guarantees your products are looking their best, crease-free and spotlessly clean, for their big appearance at the end customer.  Fine feathers make fine birds – and we deliver your garments safely to their destination.

·  Picking of individual items

·  Quality control of goods incoming and outgoing (fit control, initial sample comparisons, AQL, processing & blocking station)

·  Packaging, repacking, shipping

Contact Elanders today to find out more : kevin.rogers@elanders.com

Alternatively, visit: https://www.elanders.com/industries/fashion-lifestyle/