Top 10 Supply Chain Concerns of 2011
Crimson & Co, the UK’s leading end-to-end supply chain management consultancy, revealed 2011’s biggest concerns within the supply chain, with Inventory Management and Planning topping the list of issues that are keeping supply chain leaders awake at night.
The new research conducted by Crimson through face-to-face interviews with 300 senior decision makers from over 200 companies identifies key supply chain issues that organizations view as most significant.
The top ten issues ranked in order of frequency of occurrence are:
- Inventory Management and Planning
- Demand Management and Forecasting
- Supply Chain Network Optimization
- Supply Chain Segmentation
- Training and Development
- Supply Chain Risk Management
- Sales and Operations Planning
- Performance Improvements in Warehouses and RDC’s
- Material Purchase Price Reductions
- Green Supply Chains
The interviews were dominated by pressures resulting from the continued economic downturn, along with a combined desire to squeeze every last drop of cost and cash out of the supply chain whilst supporting revenue growth, largely in emerging markets.
“For most, the issues included within this top ten will come as no surprise, especially when it comes to Supply Chain Segmentation, given the recent increased emphasis on this subject,” Dave Alberts, Director at Crimson & Co explains.
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The majority of those interviewed reported only a moderate reduction in cash-to-cash cycle times, despite an escalated understanding of the importance of cash in these difficult times, and the many initiatives underway.
Interestingly, whilst green issues made the top ten, the majority expressed a view that this topic had slipped down the corporate priority list.
The interest in topics such as Inventory Management and Planning, Demand Management and Forecasting, and Sales and Operations Planning were in most cases linked to the need to have more agile responses to changes in customer demands, whilst still achieving higher inventory turns and, as a minimum, maintaining current service levels.
Dr Janet Godsell from the Supply Chain Research Centre at Cranfield School of Management believes that the Crimson research provides insight into the challenges facing the supply chain.
“It reinforces the positioning of the supply chain as a key competitive weapon in enabling companies to reduce costs and increase sales. It highlights the need for excellence in planning (to balance demand and supply) and to provide the visibility of different demand patterns to enable the implementation of segmented supply chain strategy.”
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
DHL Express Invests in Electric Cargo Plane Fleet
DHL Express has ordered 12 fully electric cargo planes to supercharge efforts in reducing carbon emissions across its US delivery network.
The Alice eCargo planes are manufactured by Seattle startup Eviation, and are designed specifically to be configured for either cargo or passengers. The first planes are expected to be delivered to DHL Express in 2024.
“We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
The purchase forms part of DHL’s €7bn investment in reducing CO2 emissions by 2030, with a zero emissions target set for 2050.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” Pearson added. “On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
What is Eviation's Alice Aircraft?
- Manufacturer: Eviation
- Capacity: 1,200kg
- Range: 815km
- Charge time: 30 minutes
- Launching: 2024
Eviation’s Alice aircraft enable cargo and passenger airlines to operate zero-emission fleets. The plane can be flown by one pilot and is capable of carrying 1,200kg, with a maximum range of 815km.
The aircraft can be fully charged in 30 minutes, which can take place while the vehicle is loaded and unloaded between flights. Eviation says that, because the aircraft has fewer moving parts - or points of failure - than traditional aircraft, they are more reliable and reduce maintenance overheads and downtime.
“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network,” said Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express. “Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions.”
How Does Alice Compare with UPS’ eVTOLs?
DHL Express is not alone in electrifying the skies. In April, UPS announced a new fleet of eVTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, from Beta Technologies, which will enter service in 2024.
UPS’ vehicles can carry 635kg with a 400km range and cruising speeds of up to 170mph. The eVTOLs can carry cargo to several short-hops or one long route on a single charge, and are aimed at healthcare organisation, SMEs and businesses in small or remote communities.
“These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation,” said Juan Perez, UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer.
The first 10 eVTOLs will be delivered in 2024, with the option for UPS to order up to 150 more.