domingo, 28 de agosto de 2016

Behind the scenes: Red Bull air racing

When you go to the races, when you go to your favorite concert, when you arrive at the awesome music festival or the amazing temporary collection, you only see a very little part of the spectacle. It hard to believe, but sometimes, the behind the scenes is even more impressive that what your eyes can see....

This is what you see:

But behind this, there is this:

I don´t believe those that think logistics are boring!

domingo, 26 de junio de 2016

The journey of a Spanish tomato, from the field to your table

The journey of a tomato, from the plan to de counter, how the downstream journey increases the price, how intermediates benefit and why the system needs to change to avoid wastage and ensure an even share of the costs and gains.

* Images from Kurioso blog (

domingo, 22 de mayo de 2016

Gartner 2016 top 25 Supply Chain companies

A year on, Gartner, the leading information technology research and advisory company has presented the list with the top 25 supply chain companies.

If you have been following this blog, you already know that this is a recurrent topic every year for us, and you can find out more about the criteria followed by Gartner to come up with this ranking in previous posts here.

This year, the usual suspects top the table with P&G and Apple being awarded the "Masters category" that highlights the accomplishments and capabilities of long-term supply chain leaders in the top 25. To qualify for the Masters category companies need to be in the top 5 ranking for at least 7 out of the past 10 years, so quite an achievement for both companies, that are the undisputed leaders in supply chain currently.

After these two "monsters" of the supply chain, in 2016 the companies that made it to the top  5 are Unilever, McDonalds, Amazon, Intel and H&M with textil giant Inditex fishing on the verge of the top 5.

Not major changes this year in the top 25 from 2015, with the exception of the inclusion of Glaxo that moved up the latter from position 42 in 2015 to making the top 25 in 2016 (position 23). On the other hand, consistent top 25 companies like Cummins and Qualcom didn´t make it this year to the exclusive 25 best supply chain companies.

You can find the complete list in the Gartener website, clicking here.

I look forward to next years list and to see if any of the current top 5 companies can dethrone Apple and P&G from the top of the list!

martes, 19 de abril de 2016

Sustainable and ethical supply chain

Always good to remind ourselves that in the end, not only Supply Chain, but all departments should be driven by a sustainable ethos, and that there are still millions of people in the modern days working under conditions of slavery.

Worth watching the below talk focusing on a topic that seems so unreal that even modern researches have overlooked the dimension of the problem.

sábado, 5 de marzo de 2016

WFP logistics blog

Searching for something interesting to inspire me to write a new post for the blog, I ended up in the World Food Programme (WFP) website, you know what happen when you look on Youtube for your favorite song and 15 minutes later you find yourself watching videos of cats singing ballads dressed as Elvis Presley!

It was a very pleasant surprise to discover that the WFP website also have their own blog where they write some pretty interesting stuff about what they do and how they do it, and it was an even a pleasanter surprise to find the also have specific section devoted to logistics.

I recommend anybody interested in logistics and specially to those that want to know more about the challenges an organization like WFP faces when trying to deliver they services to the remotest parts of the world to have a look at their blog.

Click in the below link for some taste of what they write about, and since you now know what they do and how challenging it is, support them!

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2016

The logistics of the future: Driver-less cars

One emerging technology that has been getting a lot of hype in the past few years is the self-driving car.
Not long ago driver-less cars seemed more something taken from a science fiction movie than a reality, but in the year 2016 as a result of increasing sophistication of computer navigation, GPS technology and camera technology, driver-less cars are a reality and multi million dollar companies like Google or Apple have been investing in the development of the technology that will send the majority of car and truck drivers to the dole office.
The logistics industry will probably be one of the first training grounds for such automated vehicles and shipping companies will probably adopt the technology faster than other industries.
But have you ever wondered what will be the impact of driver-less cars and trucks on the logistics field in general? Below you can see a few aspects that most defiantly will be affected:

- Safety: Improved safety driven by a reduction in human errors
- Lower environment impact: Driven by fewer vehicles on the road and more efficient fuel consumption
- Higher efficiency: By allowing trucks to travel 24/7 without requiring rest time
- Warehousing operations: through technology like autonomous loading, auto pallet movers and assisted order picking (we talk about this in another post that you can read here)
-  Last mile delivery
- Reduce drive shortage in the trucking industry:
- Costs savings: Some of them include: labor costs through the reduction of drivers, fuel consumption through a more efficient drive, vehicle utilization and insurance cost.

If you want to go in depth, I’d recommend you to read the below report by DHL that really go into detail:

DHL driver less cars report

And for those still reluctant to believe that this is coming, and I can tell you it’s coming soon, watch out!

miércoles, 9 de diciembre de 2015

Logistionary: Jidoka

Logistionary is back with new terms, definitions and concepts! And today it’s the turn for Jidoka.
For those of you that are familiarised with this term, there is still a lot to learn from this entry, for those that have never heard of Jidoka, watch out for what is one of the most important terms within the lean manufacturing environment.
First off, what is Jidoka, and why most of these terms have Japanese names?
Jidoka is the often forgotten pillar of the Toyota Production system but yet one of the most important, and the one that actually was a breakthrough in terms of achieving true excellence in manufacture.

Now, why most of these terms have Japanese names? Well, because they all actually were coined by the same person, Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries, and the person that revolutionised the rudimentary logistic processes of that time. 

Coming back to the term that concerns us; Jidoka began with the invention of a simple device that could stop the shuttle on an automatic loom should the thread broke. This will prevent the machine from not only creating defects but also alerted the operator of a problem. This meant that now the operator could operate several machines at the same time and not only focus on just one in case something went wrong. This principle became known as “automation with a human touch”

Jidoka is based in 4 very simple principles:
  1. Discover an abnormality
  2. Stop
  3. Fix the immediate problem
  4. Investigate the root cause and correct

These principles are not just confined to use of machines, but they are visible in almost every aspect of lean manufacturing. It’s about building quality into a process rather than having to inspect the outcome at the end of the process.
Every individual in a lean company is allowed and actually is expected to stop the process should they discover an abnormality, this way problems are highlighted and actions to solve them are taken. This is a concept many western companies find hard to implement as they fear a loss in productivity derived from lines being constantly stopped. This fear however undermines the core principle of Jidoka which is investigating the root causes of problems and working on tackling them.
Even though stopping the lines might seem contra intuitive, in the long term the number of line stops begins to reduce as problems are removed and productivity begins to improve as root causes of problems are removed.
Within companies such as Toyota line stop is a way of life, if an operator detects a problem they pull a cord or push a button to stop the production line at the end of that production cycle. This alerts the team leader or supervisor who will immediately rush over to help solve the problem. If it can be easily corrected then they do so and restart the line, otherwise they call in whatever support is required to solve the problem.
The major obstacle to implement Jidoka and any other lean principles is the fear of the short term implications when stopping the lines, but once this concerns are overcame Jidoka has proven to be a major advantage in adding value and increasing productivity across all lines.
I hope you enjoyed this entry and you learnt something new. Watch this space for more interesting concepts in the near future!

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2015

Singapore, world's busiest port!

A while ago, I posted one of the most amazing time lapse videos I have ever seen; you can find it here.

It´s fascinating the way every single container is organized, and it´s impressive the levels of coordination achieved to ensure every single one of them reaches its final destination in time.

Since Singapore is one of my favorite cities and the video about its port gave me a sneak peek of what I thought at that time was one of the most magnificent engineering infrastructure, I couldn´t resist posting a new entry when I found an episode of Megastructures dedicated to the busiest port in the world!

It didn´t let me down, absolutely astonishing!

domingo, 4 de octubre de 2015

Logistics behind 2015 rugby World Cup

The rugby World Cup is on! Whether you are a true rugby fan or a mere spectator, you must agree that rugby is one of the most beautiful sports in the world, and that the world cup deserves all the media attention it generates.

The hostages have been kicked out, and now a new debate starts after what has been named the biggest humiliation in home turf ever. Will Stuart Lancaster resign? Should he have picked a different team? It´s time now to recap and look back to ensure the rugby team don´t have to confront a tiles drought like the football team has been facing since 1966.

Since the World Cup is by far the biggest rugby event in the world, surpassing any other competition including the 6 Nations it´s safe to say that the logistic the organisation of a tournament like this requires is phenomenal.

German logistics company DHL has been chosen as the Official Logistics Partner of the 2015 rugby World Cup. One of the world’s leading logistics provider is undertaking one of its largest challenges ever in the UK to help deliver the year’s biggest international sporting event to millions of fans around the world.

DHL will be handling the logistics for the 19 teams taking part in the competition. Throughout the tournament, more than 48 tonnes of material will be transported from their origin countries to the UK, from match kids, scrum machines to tackle bags and all sort of digital equipment. On top of that all the material will need to be delivered to the 13 match venues.

Ken Allen, CEO at DHL has been planning meticulously this event for the last two years to ensure the ultimate rugby competition in the world is a success on and off the pitch.

If there is a company in the world with the resources and skills to deliver a seamless service, this is DHL. The world´s largest courier company has been instrumental in helping to fulfill the complex logistics requirements for the rugby World Cup and has been praised by both the organizers and the teams involved in the tournament.

It amazes me the level of organization and dedication that these extremely complex events require and how most of the time we give for granted the work behind the scenes required to deliver one of the biggest events in the year´s calendar.

With one of the favourites, not to say the favourite to win the tournament out, it´s time to raise the stakes. Will the south teams take over the traditional European teams in the home of rugby? Will find out in a month!

domingo, 13 de septiembre de 2015

Logistionary: Heijunka

Heijunka means sequencing or smoothing of production. It has been definied as: “Leveling the type and quantity of production over a fixed period of time. This enables production to efficiently meet customer demands while avoiding batching and results in minimum inventories, capital costs, manpower, and production lead time through the whole value stream”.

The goal of this technique developed by Toyota as a mean to standardise work, is to produce intermediate goods at a constant rate so that further processing may also be carried out at a constant and predictable rate. This is achieved by switching from a line dedicated to a single product, which is therefore sensitive to sales variations, to a flexible line capable of manufacturing several types of product.

Some of the advantages of leveling production are:

  • Flexibility to make what the customer wants when they want it.
  • Reduced risk of unsold goods.
  • Balanced use of labor and machines.
  • Smoothed demand on the upstream processes and suppliers

The video below explains in detail production levelling, but if you still want a more thorough explanation check the second video out!