Inbound Logistics is the flow of product into a production unit or warehouse and has not traditionally been the responsibility of a single individual. Production, procurement and supply chain have all played a part but the end result can be unsatisfactory.
The start of the supply chain is all-important. Quality of service provision inbound can be the difference between a successful sales promotions or a repackaged product being delivered late and left on the shelf. It can make or break the sales department's delivery promises and ultimately affect consumer perceptions. Taking control of inbound relies on a series of process improvements. The first is logistics. Once analysis of expenditure is complete, costs can be reduced in a number of areas. Methods include: increasing inbound stock visibility (for tracking and potential redirection), matching inbound and outbound, load consolidation and efficient order quantity management. The twin aims are to improve overall transport efficiency and reduce costly 'last minute' collections. The next stage is to reduce the amount of inventory in the supply chain, whilst maintaining a high level of availability to factory. This is achieved by: stronger management of core inventory such as packaging and ingredients; site storage optimization; improved resource allocation; better supplier collaboration and better forecasting and planning processes. The final phase, the focus switches to non-core activities that are currently undertaken in the factory. A good example is pre-production processes that could be managed and carried out externally and fed in on a JIT basis. This reduces production costs and on-site complexity. TDG's experience from having undertaken a number of consultancy projects within the FMCG sector is that manufacturers who are prepared to consider re-engineering the process stand to gain significant cost savings. The benefits of optimizing inbound logistics flow directly to the manufacturer, not the retailer,...
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