viernes, 14 de abril de 2017

Collaboration as a Supply Chain strategy

This will be the first post of a series that will explore the importance and benefits of Supply Chain collaboration.

Why collaboration between business partners is shaping the supply chain of the future? what are the pros and cons, if there are any, of collaboration? why customer Supply Chain is a growing part of the logistics business and how can companies and individuals improve their relationships by embracing a new mentality of flexibility and openness?

I can think of a better way to start this series than by listening to one of the men that has been shaping the way Supply Chain at L'Oreal looks like today. His day to day work, his vision and a few examples of the positive impact collaboration has had in the recent past for L'Oreal.

domingo, 12 de febrero de 2017

Logistionary; Drum-Buffer-Rope

Drum Buffer Rope (DBR) is a planning and scheduling solution derived from the Theory of Constraints (ToC).

The fundamental assumption of DBR is that within any plant there is one or a limited number of scarce resources which control the overall output of that plant. This is the “drum”, which sets the pace for all other resources. In order to maximize the output of the system, planning and execution behaviors are focused on exploiting the drum, protecting it against disruption through the use of “time buffers”, and synchronizing or subordinating all other resources and decisions to the activity of the drum through a mechanism that is akin to a “rope”.

Theory of Constraints uses a 5 step process, called a ‘Process Of On-Going Improvement’ (POOGI), to improve any system. These steps are called the 5 Focusing Steps:

- Step 1. Identify the system’s constraint(s), the drum

- Step 2. Exploit the System’s Constraint(s). 

- Step 3. Subordinate everything else to the above decisions. 

- Step 4. Elevate the constraint(s). Basically improve the performance of the drum

- Step 5. If in the previous steps a constraint has been removed, go back to step 1 and identify the new bottleneck

The Boy Scout example in The Goal (I already wrote a post long time ago about one of my favorite books!)

A very illustrative example was how the protagonist of the book manages a boy scout outing, especially how to keep the group together while different boys walked at different speeds. The solution was to put the slowest boy scout Herbie at the front, and prohibiting all others from overtaking him. Additionally, he lightens Herbie’s backpack so that he can walk faster.

domingo, 15 de enero de 2017

domingo, 18 de diciembre de 2016

How UPS saved millions of dollars; this will surprise you!

In 2004, UPS announced a new policy for its drivers: the right way to get to any destination was to avoid left-hand turns.

This new policy might result surprising, but as a logistics company with some 96,000 trucks, much of UPS's business can be distilled to a series of optimization problems around reducing the amount of fuel used, saving time, and using space more efficiently.

UPS engineers found that left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency. Turning against traffic resulted in long waits that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents.

By mapping out routes that involved a series of right hand turns UPS improved profits and safety. As of 2012, the right turn rule combined with other improvements saved around 45 million litters of gas and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars of the road for a year.

Describing the policy in a speech, the CEO of UPS told his audience "I can see a few of you smiling out there, and I know what you may be thinking. But it really works."

If you don't believe it, well, that's why Mythbusters exists:

And of course there are still a few left turns!!

You will see UPS drivers take left turns on occasion, especially in residential neighborhoods without much incoming traffic. Since UPS uses software to map out routes, it can send drivers on right turn on heavy routes while making exceptions when a left turn is easier and faster.

This might not be worth implementing on your next run to the groceries, but keep in mind that is by no means as crazy as it sounds!

sábado, 29 de octubre de 2016

Pallets; when you thought that there was only one thing you can do we them

When you thought pallets were only meant to be used in warehouses and with the only purpose of storing merchandise, there is life for these awesome pieces of wood or plastic after they have served their time in the depot.

Don´t believe me? check the below video out and get started on recycling your old, or new, pallets! More than 200 hundred idead to take them back to life!

Bonus track: This is an awesome way to go across the city!

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!