Archives June 2021

Chain Reaction Podcast Transport at Zero MPH

If you're wondering what transport at zero mph is listen to the episode. Tony Hines discusses why transport at zero is on the rise. Demand is increasing for goods but supply is often short in the time of Covid. Production capacity is short too as plant closures have occurred on a regular basis. In the last episode we discussed the problems due to shipping transport. This week we take a look at one very important aspect of distribution which is often underestimated but without it we would not be able to get goods on time for business, pleausre or everyday needs. Demand for warehousing is increasing as just in time systems (JiT) falter. In the UK we have turbulence due to Brexit bureaucracy adding to the challenges faced by business. The growing demand for bigger warehouses and the lower demand for retail stores are related. As town centers have seen footfall stall finger action on mobile, PC and tablets have hit max velocity for consumer demand. Triggering demand for space to hold inventories.

Chain Reaction Podcast Where’s My Box?

Miquel Serracanta Domenech asked me a question last week about my thoughts on the disruptions in global shipping following disruption at Yantian and other ports in China due to Covid 19. A supplementary question was what will the new normal look like? Many businesses are asking the question: Where is my box? This got me thinking more about the problems currently being experienced by many businesses who want to import or export their goods and the knock on effect it has on global supply chains. In this article I want to examine global sea trade carried by containers in a little more detail.

 Things are desperate for some businesses attempting to book containers to move their imports and exports. Reports of price increases as much as five times higher than a year ago for containers between Chinese ports and the UK with average box prices up by 400 per cent. Similar price increases are being experienced in the EU and in the United States. The main reasons given by shippers and logistic firms is that there is a box shortage and yet there are now more boxes in the world than ever according to the statistics held by UNCTAD, World Shipping Council and the large shippers operating in these markets. So where are they? Where's my box? Another reason given is that boxes are in the wrong places and the shippers have not been able to move as many empty boxes to the return ports as they would in normal times. Demand for boxes is also said to be higher than normal. While these reasons are plausible it is also clear that the profits earned by the largest players are increasing despite Covid 19. So is it the case that these large businesses dominating the global sea trade have seen an opportunity to clawback some profit by fixing higher prices through a quasi cartel? 

Listen to find out more…

Chain Reaction Podcast Ten Trends for Supply Chain Advantage

We like to spot trends and we like to make lists. So here is my list of ten supply chain trends creating supply chain advantage for 2021.

1. Develop Resilient Supply Chains
2. Digital Transformation of Supply Chains
3. Sustainable Supply Chains
4. Visibility and Transparency
5. Risk Reduction Strategies
6. Managing Layered Complexity
7. Demand Sensing Technologies
8. Contactless Commerce
9. Cyber Threat Strategies
10, Intermodal Logistics

Tony Hines discusses his ten trending strategies creating supply chain advantage.

Chain Reaction Podcast Pressing Problems

In this episode Tony Hines discusses pressing problems and how to solve them. In the discussion he defines and explains what is meant by a pressing problem. Drawing on supply chain concepts he puts pressing problems in context. The theory of constraints is used to focus attention on critical problems. A number of tools and techniques are briefly discussed that may help to solve an organization's pressing problem.

So what are pressing problems? When it comes to business we often think that we have many pressing problems. In truth there will be just a few. These are the problems that will disrupt the business if they are not addressed. In the strategy literature they refer to such problems as those that are critical. Identifying such problems is not always easy. Often this is because managers spend more time doing than thinking. It is essential that tiime is set aside for thinking.

We know that reflexive managers learn from their mistakes. In developing processes and practices with the aim of improving performance we learn to adapt and respond flexibly to the circumstances we are faced with. Resilience is a term that we use to talk about effective responses to bounce back from events that disrupt performance. 

The episode also contains supply chain news from around the globe.