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I interviewed Ajay Sapra who discussed Inventory Management and Innovation.







I'm Ajay Sapra who is [inaudible 00:00:04] from [inaudible 00:00:05] in [inaudible 00:00:06] steam, and later on, I did my MBA in international business from another government university called [inaudible 00:00:16]. I have a diploma in export marketing also from the most [inaudible 00:00:23] of the country. We call it IIFT, Institute of Foreign Trade [inaudible 00:00:27]. In 1985, I started my career with a company called [inaudible 00:00:33]. [inaudible 00:00:34] I was to look after the sales operations and support sales people in terms of submitting [inaudible 00:00:43], [inaudible 00:00:43], and [inaudible 00:00:45] without that company must supply their products.


Basically, that was a trading company, was importing various commodities, various components  from, various products from foreign countries selling it into Indian market as well as the Indian government agencies. So I worked there for 14 years, and then I got an opportunity to work with the LD electronics, the [inaudible 00:01:12] in the consumer industry. So I joined that in year 2000. I was there for almost 10 years. I was general manager of imports and during various stages of my career LD, I was promoted to the rank of general manager, complete supply chain and sourcing planning which included sourcing from domestic sources as well as imports.


Later on, my profile got added with [inaudible 00:01:44] also, and I used to look after the export logistics dealing with shipping lines, airlines, and also, I have been involved in dealing with government license. In Indian, it's [inaudible 00:01:55] as far as the permissions are concerned, for exports and as well as the incentives need to be claimed. So there are long procedures [inaudible 00:02:05] so I got involved various reforms, industry reforms, in presenting to the government what benefit can be extended to the industry to simplify the procedures. So there I got a fair knowledge of taxation as well as understanding of import/export policy of the country.


So after 10 years working, I worked with another company, shifted to another company called [inaudible 00:02:31]. [inaudible 00:02:32]. But my stint was very short over there, for only two years. Then I got the opportunity to work with the FrigidZone, the name was [inaudible 00:02:43] FrigidZone, which is a [inaudible 00:02:46], which is a very famous [inaudible 00:02:49].


And my last stint was with Intex Technologies. They're an organization manufacturing mobile handsets in India and other accessories like charges and earphone sector. So I worked there, as, again, the general manager of supply chain.And very recently, I started my own. Only a couple of months back, I started my own small organization where I'm manufacturing mobile accessories in India and creating a supply chain to channel sales across the country for distribution of these products.


So this is my brief review and my experience on innovation which was created with the help of the team, with the help of experience and the many men [inaudible 00:03:42] was how best we control the supply chain, how best we innovate the supply chain. And I think on occasions that there are huge [inaudible 00:03:54] for components and spare parts and other material lying in the factory, the raw material, which is lying unused. And only because those were imported in excess than requirement. Or those were imported, those were procured other than thoserequired, which is [inaudible 00:04:14] that the company has to spend money on warehousing. The company has to get their goods insured. And of course, there is the lifecycle of these products, which starts going down day by day. And of course, if there is technology in all of this, not every day [inaudible 00:04:30] and technology. So once you keep something in stock, it belongs to the technology which was [inaudible 00:04:38] on that day.


So last on various, I can say, [inaudible 00:04:42], only the [inaudible 00:04:44] only when the person in charge over there is unable to welcome the policy of a very sensitive, I can say, a very [inaudible 00:04:55] supply chain, which means that one has to get a as [inaudible 00:04:59] as possible focus from the respective sales team, that what we are going to sell for the next month — one month, two months, three months — depending on the kind of production, the kind of commodity they are dealing in.


I take an example of electronics. Since the company was manufacturing various [inaudible 00:05:21] electronics like refrigerator, washing machine, air condition, microwave oven, televisions, computer panels, and most of the products, most of the components — I'm sorry — were being imported either from South Korea or China and some parts were from a [inaudible 00:05:39], manufactured also.


So the total [inaudible 00:05:45] time, the total time required from the day we placed the order to the goods received in the factory was 60 days. So we had to plan everything 60 days before it is acquired in the plant.


Then after the works are received, the production cycle is there. Then the solution cycle is there [inaudible 00:06:04] to the final customer, you need another 30 days, which means we are [inaudible 00:06:09] in advance to ensure that on the 90th day, the goods that are available in the market, and they is no shortage, no scarcity of the product, which means the sales standard that is required from the sales team [inaudible 00:06:25]. So based on availability, lead time also, some components are being secured locally. Some are being procured by [inaudible 00:06:34], some are procured by [inaudible 00:06:35] and each and every segment has a different lead time.


And then there are suppliers who are very occupied, preoccupied. They need an order six months in advance like sheet metal, [inaudible 00:06:52] metal sheets, for refrigerator doors, etc.


So considering all of these operations, all of these metrics in mind, we are to work really very, I guess, [inaudible 00:07:03] to ensure that everything is available on time and the thing is coming before it is required. So at the same time, metrics was being created on an— I can say — simple XL sheet where we had the benefit of [inaudible 00:07:18] organization. But still we've performed that [inaudible 00:07:20] intervention and [inaudible 00:07:21] intelligence that it required to ensure the minimal possible [inaudible 00:07:27] in terms of maintaining or keeping their inventory in stock. And it is for the [inaudible 00:07:32] with what the sales team has said that they will sell X product after three months. [inaudible 00:07:38] percent. It never could be.


So let's say exporting the models, they confirm they will sell 100 units, but actual sales after three months was only 80, 85, which means you had excess inventory of 15 or something like that. So that also kept in mind, whatever inventory has happened then that also needs to be carried forward.


So I think somebody who is in position to look after all these sectors and calculate and then after compilation, he creates the ordering system, I think that is going to help any other nation to grow and to generate profits and outsource with minimal load off the inventory in stocks. I think this is very important. So this is my take with that because I want [inaudible 00:08:37] on this inventory management [inaudible 00:08:39].


Thank you.



About Ajay Sapra






Ajay Sapra


Global Supply Chain Management Professional


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jessica Hillyer who discussed Ways to Cut Transportation Costs.







Today we're speaking with Jessica Hillyer who will discuss ways to cut transportation costs. So, Jessica, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Hi, Dustin. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.


Well, real brief, I'm a logistics broker. And I come from the food industry, manufacturing industry, chemical background. And I've also got a little bit of electrical maintenance — not really, because I was just an apprentice. So really, I come from the manufacturing environment, and then I landed in transportation and fell in love with the puzzles.


Can you share some ways that you've successfully cut transportation costs?


Well, one of the things that I was able to do, and I'm able to provide that same service level to my prospects and clients is understanding cost per pound. Well, understanding what a cost per pound is quite literally cost divided by your unit, whatever your unit of measure is for... A food shipper, they're really going to measure their supply chain in pounds. And it's much easier to understand are we maximizing the truck inside of the reefer or van, whatever the type of transportation unit that we're using. So when we think about the cost per pound, we have to understand are we shipping super light products that's going to weight the truck out... I'm sorry. That's going to cube the truck out with the cubic footage that's allowed in the truck? Are we going to scale the truck out by not using up the actual space in the truck, but we're going to scale it out to 40—, 41,000 pounds? Because that's all a reefer can handle or 2150 cubic foot.


So understanding, we have to define what is a full truckload. And then from that one, we want to understand what does it cost to move that truck from point A to point B. And we're going to keep it simple, not do multi-stop. That is another headache. So what does it cost to move that truck from point A to point B.? If it costs $2,000, let's say... If it costs $2,000, so cost divided by pounds, and we're going to do 40,000 pounds. So we're going to quite literally divide 2,000 divided by 40,000, and we get it to be 5 cents a pound, $0.05 a pound.


So if I have a truck that is $2500 for that same 40,000 pounds, that truck is now costing me at a .0625 cost per pound. So my pounds went up. So understanding what that cargo value is worth and how much profit that the customer is able to get back on that shipment is all really centered around are we filling the truck up. Are we scaling the truck out to weight? Sometimes that doesn't happen because sometimes we ship really, really, really super light stuff in a truck. Sometimes it's insulation. Sometimes it could be plastic pellets. It could be sandwich binds. Whatever it is that we're doing. It could be a lighter product. But the cost is also a factor in here.


So the key is to negotiate rate, especially if we know that the fixed variable or the fixed number here is going to be the weight because I'm going to target my metric for the customers to ship out trucks at 40,000 pounds. Then the variable here is going to be the price of the truck.


So if we can control the fixed cost, then we can also try to shrink the variable cost. And how you're going to do that is you're going to negotiate those rates. Now you can do spot quotes, which is not good. Spot quotes is just madness, and brokers tend to want to steer from those types of shipments anymore, just because it's an unreliable market, and nobody wins. But it's also a good market for brokers to make a lot of money and take advantage of shipments — shippers, I should say. So to get locked in with one-year, two-years, three-year contract allows for a broker to build relationships with carriers or transportation aspect carriers in order to provide the transportation service for shipper.


So one of the things that a shipper can do is increase volume award and decrease the amount of vendors. So very much like going to the spot market where we send out a blank carbon copy email with 25 to 50 transportation vendors, the thing is, all of those 25 to 50 transportation vendors are going to be bidding on the same freight that's going to drive that cost down. But ultimately, what's going to happen is you're going to start to impact the actual market. And you want to be careful with being a shipper that wants to impact the market on that level. You don't want to get a reputation for having cheap freight because then none of your reliable carriers are going to want to haul your freight.


So the thing to do, what I would suggest to do, is to enter into an RFP. This helps you two-fold. Number one, it locks in rates so that you can have a very consistent freight spend and budget forecast for the year on what your transportation is going to be able to cost you. And it also allows you to build relationships and partnerships with folks that you're never going to see — your carriers. Because when you help feed them, they're going to help you, and they're going to help be that end meet-and-greet to your customer and your distribution.


So when you negotiate those rates, you want to take into consideration the rate per mile is [inaudible 00:06:21], the market rate. And then your fuel surcharge is either going to be your business development agent for that particular asset carrier. It could be their paycheck or a loan. Or it's going to be, if you're using a broker, it's going to be their paycheck as well. So it's your broker fee.


So the rate per mile is going to include fuel, whether you as the shipper want it to include fuel, it is. To negate this right here is to go to a company called Breakthrough Fuel. And what they're going to do is they're going to give you a real time-gate analysis because they've partnered with the Pilot stations, I believe– Pilot, or truck stops, throughout the United States to where they're going to go a real-time feedback on the diesel fuel market. And that is what your carrier is going to get on a weekly basis. That's not negotiable. They sign a contract. End of story. End of discussion. So now they can't price gauge you or do any price fixation on the fuel surcharge.


Another thing to tackle is your [inaudible 00:07:24]. If you’ve locked in what you're going to pay, then it's another predictability analysis, that you're going to able to say that I have heavy detention on this lane. And you can expect that a carrier or a transportations provider is going to expect to be paid a little more on that because that trucker is going to sitting there. And when those trucks aren’t moving, they're not making money.


The last but least in this little snippet way that you can reduce transportation cost is for vendor management. So your transportation providers, if they're getting one or two trucks from you a month, they're not going to be very... You're not going to be high on their list to take care of. Butif you're they're bread and butter, then they're going to take care of you. You want to be careful about the amount of volume that you're able to give a transportation provider because if they have a claim, you want to make sure that they can cover it with the right insurance, with the right brokerage bond or asset bond. You want to make sure that you're not going to put them out of business and ultimately stick it to your customers. So you want to keep that in mind.


But vendor management, you can develop scorecards for your vendors based on service levels, based on how well they interact in customer service, or how well managed they are, or the amount of volume that they can handle, whether or not you feel you're able to get the value added service that you're paying for based on the price. So with that comes metrics. So are your carriers meeting your metrics? So you have to define what metrics are important to you as a shipper so that I can clearly meet those metrics. And then you have to really go black and white and detail with those metrics are. If you're telling me that... Let's say flatbeds, that you need to have tarps. Well then I'm only going to 4-foot tarps. I'm not going to go look for 8-foot tarps. I'm going to get 4-foot tarps. So if your product's damaged, it's coming back on you because you didn't clearly define your metrics.


So I know it's a pain in the patootie, but it's well worth it in the end when everybody is on the same page, and even the shipper can provide ways for your partners to be able to service this account.


So once you're able to lock in rates, this is going to be able to provide a huge savings right away because it's able to be locked in and any deviation has to be approved. And that approval is going to come from your controller who is going to be, ultimately, to be able to say how much the buffer that they're going to add onto it.


Why did you choose these methods?


So the reason why I chose these methods is because when I was a logistics analyst at AdvancePierre Foods and went in to really start to dive into what was our biggest waste, we found that cost per pound was kind of out of control in certain regions, especially shipping from Georgia to Florida. In addition, I found that some of the SOPs were unwritten. So a lot of the carriers had no idea what we expected from them, yet we were holding them accountable to these metrics. And once we were able to pull these carriers in and out of meeting, one in particular was Rusty from Armstrong Transportation — great guy. He didn't really have an idea of what our metrics were, and it wasn't really fair to him because he didn't... It was never communicated to him on how to service this account. So when we developed — Greg Blackman and myself, who also I have to credit him for training me in Microsoft Excel — we created a lot of SOPs, standard operating procedures, for how to handle our freight. And with those SOPs, we were able to clearly define, okay, we had a deviation on XYZ. What drove that deviation? Is this a one-off? Is this going to be a reoccurring event? Do we need to reexamine any SOP? Because we would have periodic audits, especially when things went awry.


The strategy that we developed there was really just building that cross-functional chain with the warehouse, the carriers, the customer service, with supply planners, what other folks in the logistics department, to really see, okay, how can we all be on the same page here and move in that ebb and flow that is the harmony of supply chain that's really beautiful here.


And my last question is how can you find new ways to cut transportation costs?


Some of the other things that you can do to find new ways to cut costs — pay attention to digitization of supply chain. We're entering into a new type of...I kind of want to say a new world. But we're entering into a new type of future that we're going into with all of this technology. So how can we... You know you've heard of blockchain, value stream can we do that in a way that's not going to gouge us by having these electronic solutions, the Internet of Things, how can we do that and still keep the human element? Because at the end of the day, it's all about relationship, even with your vendors. Your relationships with your customers are what's most important. So to keep relationships [inaudible 00:13:06] with your vendors is what's really going to drive it because if they can expect you to do the same thing and be consistent, then they can consistently provide the service levels. Transportation spends and rates, all of those are negotiable. And if you don't like it, then you can risk going out and forging a new relationship, either saving those rates and starting all over. There's all different kinds of strategies. There's all different methods to do it. But it starts from relationships and team building.


So understanding where you are now and where you want to be and coming up with a roadmap for success for all team members. That's your transportation. That's your warehousing. That's your third-parties that you're never going to meet, or maybe you meet them in six months or every three years. But getting everybody on the same page and keeping everybody engaged. You always have to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to transportation because it can change in a [inaudible 00:14:06].


So I hope you've gotten something out of it. I try not to ramble but sometimes I get so excited about it. And, Dustin, I really appreciate you having me, and I look forward to seeing more from the Supply Chain Future. Thanks a lot. Jessica, out.


About Jessica Hillyer






Jessica Hillyer


Account Executive


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed James Eron who discussed eCommerce in China.







It's great speaking with you today, James. I'm looking forward to hearing your views today on ecommerce in China. Before we start, can you provide a brief background of yourself.


So thanks. I'm James Eron. I'ma partner at Kung Fu Data. We are an ecommerce operator and analytics firm. So I myself spend nearly a decade in China working in the data center services and ecommerce space.Previous to that, I was a consultant working in financial services in both China, Japan, and the US. So happy to be here today.


Can you first talk a little bit about what is ecommerce in China?


So ecommerce in China is literally one of the biggest things, biggest industries that's come out of China. The market in China is about 18%. All the B2C, or business to consumer purchases, transaction out of that, upwards of 18% are now done online via the ecommerce platforms.


How about foreigners that want to take advantage of opportunities in China with ecommerce. How can people take advantage of the opportunities?


So when you talk about foreigners, specifically we're talking about foreign brands, non-domestic brands. Many companies, many brands produce in China, but separate from that, we're looking at sales to Chinese consumers. So there are a couple of ways that foreign companies can participate in the China ecommerce market. One of the largest ones is via the Alibaba Tmall platform. So Alibaba itself has upwards of 65% of the market share for large online platforms in China. That compares to about 2% for Amazon in China — one to 2%. And foreign brands can join the Tmall platform if they have a...


First of all, the first way is if they have a domestic entity. You can register as a Tmall domestic site. But many foreign companies do not yet have a presence in China, or at least not beyond manufacturing in China. And so for those companies, you can set up what's called a Tmall global store. It's effectively run through or Tmall Hong Kong.


And how would the logistics and fulfillment be handled? Are there any significant challenges?


So for the logistics part of it, I get asked this quite often. And actually the logistics part is one of the easiest pieces in the overall selling into China equation because there's many 3PLs, or third party logistics companies. And also, Alibaba itself has its logistics arm called Cainiao which many of these thrid-party logistics companies plug into. So generally, producers or brands in the US and foreign countries will ship to... For Tmall global sites, they will ship into bonded warehouses in the free-trade zone. And then the fulfillment will actually take place from those warehouses to go across into China domestic proper. That's generally how things are moved into the country.


How about marketing and sales? What are some best ways that companies are doing marketing when they'reTmall or other ecommerce platforms?


That's a great question. SoTmall and Taobao JD and VIP, those are all platforms where the actual transaction takes place. It's the conversion. In sales terms, we call that the bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, you have creating the consumer awareness. There's search, and then there's web pages or ecommerce pages that go down, and then finally somebody clicks to buy. So the actual buying occurs on the Tmall and Taobao VIP shop and other platforms.


But in order for that transaction to take place, people have to know about your brand or know that your brand is being sold on that platform. So the question is how do you create awareness. The first way to do that is if you are in the platform itself, you can do keyword optimization. You can buy certain banners or adwords. So those are the things that are done inside the platform. But to even get to the platform, typically, you want to create your out-of-platform marketing, and that occurs on the generic search engines like Baidu. It also occurs on the WeChat channel and the Weixin and Weibo social media channels.


So what we do oftentimes for our customers is we have a...our marketing strategy includes both the online, which is buying keywords inside the platform, and also out-of-platform marketing, which includes social media.


Do you have any final recommendations regarding ecommerce in China?


We always say that understanding the data in the market is very important. So understanding [inaudible 00:06:21] type, how big is your market, how big is your category. So if you're selling cosmetics, for instance, how big is the cosmetics category? How big is your specific subcategory of lipstick?


Then within that category, how many people are buying at your price point. So if your price point is 20 RMB, that's a very different price point than 200 RMB. You want to know how many people are buying your products in that price range because those are your potential customers. So we say understand the market data.


Also, understand what's happening with your brand. How many sales, how many unit sales? What was the sales revenue in RMB for your products on the Tmall or Taobao platform or in China ecommerce?


The third thing we look at is what is your competitive landscape. How many people are selling, first of all, your products? How many people are selling your competitors' products? What are the sales volumes, the unit volumes of that? And how those trends are changing over time? And that includes looking, drilling into competitor stores to understand how those stores are being operated, how many SKUs, what price points, what type of advertising, keywords searches, etc. That there’re using.


Thank you for sharing today, James. 



About James Eron






James Eron


Partner, China eCommerce at Kung Fu Data


LinkedIn Profile


I interviewed Sanjay Desai who discussed Talent Management in SCM Function.







Thanks, Dustin. I appreciate this particular lead and the time that you're investing in me for this phone call. Let me introduce myself. I'm Sanjay Desai. I'm an end-to-end supply chain professional based in Singapore since 1998. I started my career as a blue-collar worker during 1983 for Unilever in India in the warehousing function. I used to do loading/unloading, pick /pack operation, and also drive a 3-ton vehicle to make deliveries to customers day in and day out.


I was in the last year of my grad studies, and I came from family background where making money was necessary. After competing my Graduation, I was offered a job as a clerk in the same warehouse, and that is where actually my progress started.


I worked in a few positions during my six years at Unilever and continued taking additional responsibility which kept me moving upwards in the food chain. I moved to AVENTIS in 1990 and then to RPG Group company called CEAT Tyres for a short stint. Exxon India pulled me from CEAT Tyres in 1996-97.  The Exxon move was cornerstone of my future, and it kind of exposed me to a regional platform in Singapore.


Exxon India [00:01:14] to advancing upward during 1998 and with my desire to take more functions, more work, I moved to Apple in 1999 followed by Dell Global and then to S. C. Johnson till 2010. In 2010, I got my first break into the leadership at Thermo Fisher Scientific, a medical devices company, as director of supply chain for Asia Pac. I left Thermo Fisher after five solid years. Then I joined HUNTSMAN as director of supply chain for Greater IPAC, which eventually I left in 2016, end last year. After working for 34 years and nine different geographies and many other functions in supply chain, I decided to work for myself. And from January 2017, I truly am a freelancer helping SMEs and homegrown companies in Asia to increase their appetite and passion in supply chain. I do a little bit of training as white paper writing and training in S&OP and other stuff


I'm indebted to God, my family, friends, and my network of professionals for the sustained journey of growth. Very proud of what I do, Dustin..


Can you talk about whether there is a talent gap and what you see in this as far as talent in supply chain?


The talent gap is there, definitely. But it is not so much exonerated as the talent gap that people typically tend to use. And I think professionals at higher or mid-management levels tend to overplay this word “skillset Gap”  there is a gap, definitely. And the gap has happened because of a couple of factors, and we will take a look during out call. But there is indeed a gap, but it's just overplayed a bit. The gap is not as wide as people made it out to look like that.


What are executives doing about this?


One of the things that we don't really do, we don't think longevity, and we don't think sustainability. And what I mean is that there may be a gap, at the same time, there's a gap in not able to identify, nurture and grow talent. So it works both ways. There is a gap, and then we are not doing it right now today, something for the talent to grow, nurture, retain and hire so that the gap does not widen. After a couple of years, this talent is available to take on additional responsibility and take management positions. But because we are not in that league because of the fast pace today, we are really not able to do talent management well. And that is creating a gap because we are not doing something today for the future.


Can you talk about what are the technology disruptions that will be in the supply chain world and related to talent management?


So if we look at the technology for the next five years, there are very broad mega-structures that we see. We have ecommerce coming in. We have direct delivery to customers by way of drone. We have 3D printing going to have a massive effect on manufacturing. And mostly, the manufacturing jobs are going to be in terms of some difficulty because when a robot can replace three to four humans very easily.


So having said that, the gap is going to widen further because the current set of people, especially in the manufacturing side, in the OMNI Channel inventory, those skillset are going to be less and less in demand. And a new skillset is going to win demand which can work with technology, which can work with 3D printing, and which will work with Additive manufacturing.


So there is going to be a transformation in the skillset of the existing skillset slowly waning out. But a new set of skillset would come in. And the recent “Z”  generation that we see is exactly kind of in the right position to take on those roles eventually because of their capability and “ease of Use’ with technology from a mindset perspective as well as from a change management perspective. So these are now the major trends that we see in supply chain,


So if you look at the next 10 years and the kind of ecommerce that is going to happen, the change in the mode of delivery to customers and if you look at healthcare sector as a DIRECT Delivery, if you look at oil and gas sector with the oil prices falling down, there are different composition of chemicals coming up. The end user markets are going to grow. In Asia and India and China, especially where we have a layered distribution structure, that structure slowly will go away.


There is a very definitive transformation and transition happening in supply chain. So we need people who are comfortable with technology. We need people with skillsets who are comfortable to work on ecommerce and high-change management teams which don't stand kind of longer term, short product life cycles. And more business happening on the ecommerce frame. So those are some of the broad skillset changes that you will see in supply chain.


The recent, resources that we have, which is the Millennials and the people who are in their mid-40s and 50s, we need to change things around otherwise I am thinking in the next five years. Even my job is going to go away when somebody else can he be...a younger generation can easily take over my job and ensure the same efficiency.


Thanks Sanjay for sharing today. Did we cover all the points you wanted to make?


Yes, most of it. Definitely with it. Because we talk about talent, management, grow, nourisher and I will doing enough in order to skillset for the future so we have definitely cover in our span as much wider it is in a talent management, Dustin.


Great I look forward to interview you in the future in a additional topic.


Thank you so much Dustin, you have a great day ahead. Take care.



About Sanjay Desai





Sanjay Desai


Strategic SCM Transformation, Manufacturing Planning, Inventory Mgmt, Network optimization, Service Segmentation & P&L


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Djamel Rezzig who discussed Transformation of the Supply Chain Business Model.







Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


My name is Djmal. I am French, living in Dubai. I've been working in UAE now for more than 10 years. I work with a company called [inaudible 00:01:08]. We are a franchisee of Ikea in Qatar, Oman, and I am in charge of supply chain and logistics division. I've also worked for the retailer Carrefour doing sales and supply chain. And today, my main objective is to combine the brick and mortar model and the omni-channels model within the region. We have some good competitors joining into the market. One of them is Amazon, and we would like to adapt our supply chain going forward to keep building a world-class supply chain.


Can you talk about what's involved with the transformation of the supply chain.


We operate at the regional office from here. The traditional way of managing the supply chain is actually facing some challenges and changes.  One of them is in terms of oil. which has affected the market, and the second is the omnichannel, e-commerce, online business which is a growing markets. And we need to adapt our supply chain models.


We need to re-design our supply chain model is we [inaudible 00:02:56]. First, [inaudible 00:03:01] more [inaudible 00:03:09].


Why is this important?


How is it important? It is important because the customer goes online from home and one of the main challenges that we have is sales into homes. However, it is not the only channel. Today, we need to attract visitors online on our online website.We need to transform our visitors into customers.


One of the main challenges is that our customers are asking for services in the furniture business. They are asking for delivery and assembly, and the cash and carry model that we used to have is changing year after year. On top of that our customer wants to have delivery and assembly as quickly as possible, which is, for our supply chain, something new.


We have some cases where we have a customer coming to our store or requesting online kitchens with a lead time of a week. Some customers want their kitchens to be set up by the next day.  Of course that is not out typical customer but it is something that we need to change.


On the other side, on the lower side, we have customers who want to deliver more smaller articles, mainly cash and carry. And we see a great trend where our customer wants to be delivered. So we need to re-adapt our supply chain and business model to be able to delivery at the lowest cost. Because the last mile delivery has a huge importance.


So all of these changes are happening. We are not yet there, but we believe that we are working towards redesigning our supply chain model and to adapt to the brick and mortar model but also to the online.


Thank you. Do you have any final recommendations for supply chain professionals that want to transform their supply chains?


Most of the companies try to go too fast.Study the market first. What is your penetration plan? Then evaluate where you are now. The third point is where we want to be. Then create strategies and tactics. 


Another thing that I would advise is there is many ERP and other systems in the markets. We need to be real careful when looking into acquiring systems for enabling more automation.



About Djamel Rezzig






Djamel Rezzig


Regional General Manager Logistics


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Mathijs Benink who discussed The Benefits of a Combined TMS and MTS Solution.






Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Hello, Dustin. Thanks for taking the time to interview me today. My name is Mathijs. You can call me Matt. I'm from The Netherlands, the logistics gateway into Europe. I've been in logistics since 2004, and before starting my company ShipTimized, I had several international mailing commercial and consultancy roles amongst others at TNT and Holland International Distribution Council. I specialize in transportation and more specifically in fine distribution related to transportation, or more specifically, to find a solution related to transportation, I should say.


Can you explain the differences between transportation management systems and managed transportation services?


Maybe before doing that, it's good to explain a little bit about ShipTimized as well. ShipTimized is a startup 4PL company. We provide solutions for optimization of transportation and related processes, focusing on mainly SME companies and our proposition is build those three billers. A solo transportation and management system that we make available to our clients. We source carrier contracts that we use to optimize transportation, quality, and transportation spent, transportation relatedand we offer some additional services, managed transportation service like single point of contact, exception management, invoice, auditing, and claim handling.


So you asked me if I can explain the difference between transportation management systems and managed transportation service. I think that's a very good question because we regularly see that our clients confuse the variety of services that logistic companies offer.


It's important for companies to understand the difference between transportation management systems, TMS, and managed transportation services, MTS.


Transportation management system is software and implementing it is often a long-lasting and expensive process. Many companies don't have the resources for such an implementation, therefore, there are still a lot of companies that are managing transportation without a TMS. Unfortunately, TMS solutions are still perceived as only for large companies. TMS is generally an empty shell. It's only the starting point of transportation optimization. More ingredients are necessary for actual optimization.


Then managed transportation services is a live version of a fully outsourced transportation department. And the service provider operates a DMS and runs a majority of the transportation functions for the client under the direction of the client.


TMS is only a tool that needs to be implemented, managed, and maintained while MTS is a transportation management solution where many of the functions are outsourced.


Can you talk about some of the benefits of a combined TMS and MTS solution?


That was actually the starting point of ShipTimized. We saw a gap in the market. There are quite some companies offering managed transportation services, and there are quite some TMS providers. We believe in a more combined and tailored TMS/MTS solution.


Maybe it's good to give you some examples. We, for example, make our easy-to-use transportation management system that we call ShipTimized control tower available to our clients at a relatively low price. We tailor it to their needs and take care of all the maintenance and management of the system. Implementing it generally takes less than three weeks,and all activities related to shipment, booking, tracking, etc., will remain in house at our client.


Then we combine that with several contracts that we have with carriers are all types of transportation. So together with the client, we decide which of our and their contracts to use to optimize transportation quality and cost. By taking over their contract and KPI management, we save or clients a lot of valuable time. We've developed a smart [inaudible 00:05:12] that helps our client to get ad hoc quotes for specific shipments that don't match with these contracts.


Before implementing our solution, our clients typically struggled with several activities that relate to transportation. And you can think of a company working with five different carriers for air freight, sea freight, fine distribution, and returns, for example. Invoice, auditing, and booking are very time consuming. We frequently hear from our clients that they don't check their invoices at all. Our TMS enables us to take over this process in a very efficient way and resulting in a single, consolidated, clean invoice to our clients, saving them a lot of time.


Five different carriers, and that means that at least five different contact persons at the customer service departments need to be contacted for all operational matters. Our customer service department acts as a single point of contact for our clients for all their shtransportation-relatedquestions.


Should there be a claim, then we take over all the claim-handling activities on behalf of our client. So it is, in fact, a combination of a full MTS solution and a TMS solution that we tailor to the needs of our clients to develop a customer-specific solution for transportation optimization. We believe that this is something relatively new. At least the approach is new with existing ingredients. This is what we're doing now.


About Mathijs Benink






Mathijs Benink


Founder / Managing Director at ShipTimized B.V.


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Cleber Genero who discussed Relation Between Go-to Market Strategy and the Level of Service you Provide to Customers and Clients.







Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


For sure.It's my pleasure. Thank you very much, Dustin. I have masters in technology Development, Graduated into Computer Science, Certified as PMP by PMI (Project Management Institute) and executive training in International Management by Stanford.


Ground experience management in multi-cultural, multi-site development teams over South America, North America & Asia Pacific. Right now I'm in charge of supply chain of Tigre which is among the most internationalized companies in Brazil, present in more than 40 countries, with 7.0000 employees and 23 factories.



Can you talk about the relation between go-to-market strategy and service levels?


For sure. Right now, the challenge to get a customer and maintain the customer are bigger and bigger. The commoditization of the products are going on. So what you need to do to maintain, to do the business again, is to provide the customer a great experience. And to do that is quite important align the goals and the desires of the customers with the capability to provide that. So that's the main issue right now. Addition to this the consumers are empowered by technical advances, smarter, informed and more demanding than ever.



How is this done in practice?


Since the balance of long-term and short-term can be extremely difficult, the most important thing, in my view, is to guarantee that the closely alignment between the Supply chain and overall business strategy. This is an effective way to make your company´s supply chain a true source of competitive differentiation.


First step is to understand the different needs of each channel of the GTM and prepare, change or adapt the internal process and IT to provide that,


Take advantage of technology, which is helping the companies to enhance the customer experience improving the interaction between the customer and the company at all touch points. (customer journey ) is a key issue as well.



Where have you seen some good results? Do you have any examples or suggestions?


Oh, yeah. I have seen many good examples of big companies that are doing that here in Brazil, especially for the retail and B2B market. When you are competing in a very strong market, and can deliver a better experience to the customer, certainly you get better results.  There are a research which indicates that companies that provide exceptional customer experience average almost 5 percent of higher EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.  Unilever, NetFlix, Apple , Amanzon. Southest Airlines are good example.



About Cleber Genero






Cleber Genero


Supply Chain Director Tigre S.A. - Tubos e Conexões


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Kelly Dockrell who discussed Logistics of Keeping the Planes in the Sky.







Today we're speaking with Kelly Dockrell, and we’re going to discuss Logistics of Keeping the Planes in the Sky. So, Kelly, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Yeah, absolutely. I went away to college up in Buffalo, New York, and probably like most college students, I didn't know what I wanted to do for a profession. And I was actually going to get into pharmaceutical sales, being that my father was a pharmacist and his wife was the vice president of McKesson. So they said, "You go away to college. You get good grades, a good degree, and then you'll move into a pharmaceutical sales position." Well, low and behold, I knew that the students that were coming out of college weren't getting hired for sales positions because they didn't have any experience. So I took a part-time job working at a freight forwarder in Miami, and all I did all day was read bill ladings and then call them on the accounts to try to find out where they ship from.


The beginning stages of my career in transportation was primarily Asia to the US, ocean containers. And then during that time, we were teaching the customers in Miami that rather than import into the US and then re-export to Latin America, we could do the foreign to foreign.


And a couple of years went by. I was recruited to work for Eagle Global Logistics, and it was actually during the time that Eagle became CEVA. So one I started with CEVA, I realized that they didn't have very competitive ocean rates compared to what I was used to. So, low and behold, I started calling on accounts, just old accounts. And I started in the A's. And it was aircraft and engine parts, AAR, aviation accessories, aviation inflatables — just starting with the A's. And I realized that aviation and aerospace was a lot bigger of an opportunity to make money because most of the material that has to ship internationally or even domestically is expedited, and it's heavy, and it's got to go via air.


I started calling on the aviation accounts, and slowly but surely, throughout the years, I've been accepted into the so-called aviation fraternity. And know I solely focus on anybody that would either repair an aircraft or an airlines that actually, that can't put materials on their own passenger aircrafts. I work with leasing companies, anybody that would lease an aircraft engine, parts, trading, and I work with companies all over the world at this point.


Can you talk about what'sinvld with the logistics of keeping planes in the sky?


One of the biggest terms that you hear thrown around in aviation is the term AOG, and that stands for aircraft on ground. So any time that there's a part missing or a part that's broken, you need to get that part — which could be an aircraft engine, it could be wheel, brakes, just about anything. But as long as that aircraft is sitting, that airline is just losing thousands of dollars every minute.


My job would be to pick up whatever that piece is coming from and get it there as quickly and safely as possible. In some cases, you actually have to charter an entire aircraft to get maybe a couple wheels from Miami going down to Bogota, just to make sure that aircraft flies.


The other part of it is that there's a lot of companies that do aircraft engine leasing. They'll lease the engine to an airline, and in some cases, where that engine's picking up. It could be anywhere in the world. So it's my job to pick up that engine and ship it properly. And we're talking, an aircraft engine could average $3 million. So you have to ship it properly. Get it there. You've got odd places, like Sharjah. We do a lot into Singapore, Amsterdam...


The other part of it is shipping parts. So a lot of the times, these companies will send their parts overseas to get repaired. There's a large repair facilities in Europe, and especially if you have to do repairs or even if you have to tear down an aircraft engine, most of the work is done overseas just due to pricing.


There's really not a limit on who I would call on in the aviation market. And in most cases somebody is working with partners overseas. So it's a lot of international business, a lot of international airfreight. And obviously, with airfreight, there's a lot more opportunity to make money.


Is there any more that you could say about how to do this successfully?


Oh, absolutely. I came from a large company. So CEVA, at the time, was like the 4th largest freight forwarder in the world. We had 1000 offices, and we didn't specialize in the aviation vertical. So, for instance, when you're moving an aircraft engine that's serviceable, that you're going to put on an aircraft, there's a lot of different components that you have make sure that the driver that picks up the engine understands.


One of the biggest issues is picking up an aircraft engine that has to be on an air-ride-equipped truck. You also have to tarp it. You have to strap it properly. And if any one of those components is done wrong, you're putting the engine at risk for... The bearings with get damaged due to the travel without being on an air-ride-equipped truck. We've had an engine that has actually hit bridge on the way to being installed on an aircraft just because the driver didn't know what he was doing.


If you're dealing with aircraft engines going overseas, you really have to know the laws of trading with that country, having the proper certificates. When you're shipping aircraft engines, it's important to understand that they do have oils, and they do have fuel residues, so to speak, 'sand you have to make sure that that engines purged of all oil and gas. By completing a purge document, then you're able to fly it on a passenger aircraft as non-hazmat.


Working for a smaller company, it's easier from my end to train my operations people to understand exactly how you need to handle specific pieces. Of course, there's a lot of lingo, just as in logistics and transportation that goes along. For instance, AOG is one term. There are different parts, so you have an APU, which is an auxiliary power unit. There's obviously all different types of engines. And just getting a pretty standard basis of what each company does in terms of either repairing the engine, trading the engine, tearing down the engine for scrap parts, you really have to understand what component that that customer has in terms of where they stand on their needs or their wants or their expectations. And everybody is different.


Thanks. Do you have any final recommendations?


Recently, I was asked to be a guest speaker at the largest university for aeronautical in the world, which is Embry-Riddle. And one of the reasons why is because the are very few women that are involved in aviation these days. I spoke on behalf of myself, being one of very few women in transportation, but also now, one of the very few women in aviation. I tell these women to go after the job that requires travel. I just tell them to go after the jobs, that they might want to be an engineer or a salesperson. And it might be male dominated, but you just have to go for it. I'd love to see more women in aviation. I'd love to see more women in transportation. And now is the time. Now is the time to step up and get in there.


Well thanks for sharing today, Kelly.


Thank you.


About Kelly Dockrell






Kelly Dockrell


Aviation/Aerospace Transportation/Logistics Expert - Speaker at Embry-Riddle & Broward College - Philanthropist


LinkedIn Profile