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31 Benchmarking

Rushton, Alan Kogan Page ePub

31

Benchmarking

Introduction

Benchmarking is the process of continuously measuring and comparing ones business performance against comparable processes in leading organizations to obtain information that will help the organization identify and implement improvements.

(Benson, 1998)

The continuous process of measuring our products, services and business practices against the toughest competitors and those companies recognized as industry leaders.

(Xerox definition of benchmarking)

Benchmarking can be crucial for a company because it enables useful and relevant performance measures to be developed based on good practice that has been achieved by best-in-class external companies. Although the process is quite straightforward to explain, it can be extraordinarily difficult to conduct successfully in practice.

In this chapter the reasons for benchmarking are summarized. A general framework for conducting a benchmarking project is described and then a specific approach to distribution benchmarking is outlined. This includes a detailed discussion of some of the key practical issues that may arise when conducting such a project.

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27 Road freight transport: vehicle selection

Rushton, Alan Kogan Page ePub

27

Road freight transport: vehicle selection

Introduction

As with most of the decisions that have to be taken in physical distribution, there are a number of aspects that need to be considered when trying to make the most appropriate choice of vehicle for a vehicle fleet. Vehicle selection decisions should not be made in isolation. It is essential that all the various aspects should be considered together before any final conclusions are drawn. There are three primary areas that need to be carefully assessed efficiency, economy and legality.

Efficiency, in this context, means the most effective way to do the job, based on a number of important factors. The truck should be fit for purpose. These factors might include:

The area of economy is concerned with the purchase price and operating costs of different choices of vehicle. There are a number of points that should be taken into account. These should be analysed and compared with the costs and performance of the various alternative vehicles. The main points concerning economy are:

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32 Information and communication technology in the supply chain

Rushton, Alan Kogan Page ePub

32

Information and communication technology in the supply chain

Introduction

There can be no doubt that the availability of cheap computing power has led to dramatic developments in the science of supply chain management. The ability to handle breathtaking amounts of data quickly and accurately has in the last 40 years literally transformed the way business is conducted. It has been described, with good cause, as the second Industrial Revolution. The ability to pass information between supply chain partners via mobile devices, satellite systems and electronic data interchange is being exploited by more and more companies daily. The advent of mass access to the internet has sparked off a boom in home and office-based shopping, to say nothing of the use of e-mail as a means of communicating with friends and business colleagues around the globe.

Information and communication systems along with the associated hardware used in supply chain management fulfil different roles. They may aid the decision-making process, help to monitor and control operations, create simulated systems, store and process data, and aid communication between individuals, companies and machines.

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12 Manufacturing logistics

Rushton, Alan Kogan Page ePub

12

Manufacturing logistics

Introduction

This chapter aims to provide the reader with an overview of the processes involved in the production of goods and services. These processes are known under various names, including manufacturing logistics and operations management (OM). The latter has been described as follows: Operations Management is about the management of the processes that produce or deliver goods and services. Not every organisation will have a functional department called operations but they will all undertake operations activities because every organisation produces goods and/or services (Greasley, 2009).

This should not be confused with operational management, which could of course be applied to almost any form of management. The thinking behind OM is based on systems thinking with a system defined as: A collection of interrelated components that work together towards a collective goal. A system receives inputs and converts them into outputs via a transformation process. This is most obvious in a manufacturing context where raw materials and labour play the part of inputs that are transformed by the production process into outputs in the form of finished products.

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19 Order picking and packing

Rushton, Alan Kogan Page ePub

19

Order picking and packing

Introduction

Order picking represents a key objective of most warehouses: to extract from inventory the particular goods required by customers and bring them together to form a single shipment accurately, on time and in good condition. This activity is critical in that it directly impacts on customer service, as well as being very costly. Order picking typically accounts for about 50 per cent of the direct labour costs of a warehouse.

Customers may require goods in pallet, case or unit quantities. In the case of pallet quantities, goods can be extracted from the reserve storage areas and brought directly to the marshalling area by the types of equipment described earlier (eg by a reach truck or a combination of stacker crane and conveyor). This chapter is therefore chiefly concerned with case and unit picking operations. For example, cases may be picked from pallets held in ground-floor locations for specific customer orders or individual units may be picked from plastic tote bins held on shelving. These would then typically be checked, collated with other goods, packed (if necessary) and moved to the marshalling area to form vehicle loads ready for dispatch.

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