Supply Chain Blog

FMCG:Top 10 Smash Hits of Warehousing & Logistics

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, May 20, 2015

Hello pop pickers, here is this weeks’ top 10 smash hits in this important but often forgotten part of the FMCG Supply Chain.

FMCG_top_ten_warehousing_and_logisict_hitsAt number 10 is All Systems Go by Donna Summer – Do not cut costs on your Warehouse Management System (WMS) and avoid any untried local “specials”. Make sure all stakeholders are involved in the design specification at an early stage to avoid costly and “least worst” bolt-ons later.

Staying at number 9 is Prodigy with Out Of Space - Ensure your chosen Third Party Logistics Provider (3PLP) has sufficient space or can expand to meet your growth expectation. If your 3PLP offers you a site which is boxed in and cannot expand then walk away!

Old favourites Smokie with For A Few Dollars More lie 8th – avoid the temptation to accept the lowest 3PLP quote, however tempting. Cost is not everything and if you bite on the low quote you will probably pay for it in the long run. Evaluate 3PLP offers thoroughly including which staff they intend to deploy on your business. Also, is it really cheaper and more efficient to outsource your logistics capability?

Up And Away from the Banned of St Trinians pops up at number 7 this week – your fast moving, profit generating brands should be on the floor or lower racks to facilitate picking. Those slow moving or seasonal items (in that case why do you have ANY stock?) should be on the top row and up and out of the way.

Alliyah bringing us Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number stays at number 6 – your WMS must be capable of carrying out stock ageing analysis to prevent losses from expired products. If age analysis is not carried out you will lose sales when you realise your “stock” is not actually suitable for legal sale.

Holding steady at number 5 is Counting Every Minute from Sonia – if you want to avoid a severe financial shock at the end of the year then you must take responsibility for ensuring stock is accurately counted. In addition to statutory fiscal counting you should activate routine cycle counting to ensure your data retains accuracy. Secondly, if you see a stock mismatch early enough you may be able to rectify this before memories fade and time moves on.

Keep On Truckin’ by Eddie Kendricks sits at 4 this week – whether you chose electric powered narrow aisle or standard FLT’s do a simple check and ensure battery type are interchangeable across the fleet AND sufficient extra batteries are available to ensure 24/7 coverage. Surprisingly, idle FLT’s are a common sight when battery budgets have been cut. (They only seem to run out of power when it is busy. Right?)

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding begins the top 3 countdown – how many loading bays does your 3PLP have or propose for a new build? You have to get stock in at the same time as you move stock out. The almost inevitable month end bonus push from Sales will expose a simple lack of doors and bays.

Living In A Box by the delightfully titled Living in a Box is at number 2 – forgive my indulgence. I think this is a great Supply Chain themed song so it gets in!

It Takes Two Baby by ageing rockers Rod Stewart and Tina Turner leads the warehousing chart this week – do not assume your 3PLP knows enough about your business to leave him alone on a day to day basis. You need daily discussions to resolve operational issues plus monthly performance reviews at an appropriate senior level. Get yourself an office in the 3PLP premises and work hard at the relationship on a daily basis.



Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at and Enchange Ltd.


Tags: FMCG, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, WMS, Cost Reduction, Logistics Management

FMCG Supply Chain IT : ERP and WMS – use it or lose it Mr CEO!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Feb 19, 2014

In a development similar to buying your first colour TV (yes my dear daughter, we watched black & white telly) or the first microwave cooker, I have finally bought a Smartphone. This is a significant step as my previous sets have all been robust, no nonsense sensible equipment which could probably survive a nuclear attack. The new telephone has a huge screen and the sales lady in the Vodafone shop told me it had the latest hemorrhoid operating system and piles of apps, or something like that anyway.

CEO Supply Chain IT resized 600Now I can access the internet, use Skype, check my email, see where I am on a map, store files in the cloud and even call people. Tapping numbers on a screen rather than depressing buttons is very new to me and this is providing an unexpected hazard. After ending a call I find that I inadvertently activate call-back dialing when I place the telephone in my pocket. While I am blissfully unaware other people and children in particular can hear my wife shouting “Dave, Dave you’ve done it again, stop calling me back”. The innocent and confused children ask “Mummy, why is there a girly voice coming from that man’s trousers?”

While I have so much extra functionality at my fingertips I doubt I will progress much past looking at the football scores on the internet. To be honest this is likely to be the situation until our daughter returns from university and shows me what to do.

All that technology, functionality and connectivity simply wasted. No, not me and the new Smartphone but you Mr. CEO; you and your Supply Chain IT purchases. In global companies there is usually a corporate IT buying strategy that all units have to adopt without argument and without the ability to “localise” the offering. Smaller companies can have more flexibility in their choice of IT supplier and they could and should certainly receive a bespoke solution tailored to their specific needs.

Yet last week I was surprised to see FMCG company XYZ had purchased various SAP modules including APO but had failed to install the software. Similarly, a new WMS was sitting in a virtual shiny box on the bookshelf. When you think about it, that is quite an investment which has not returned even 0.01% of the purchase price.  Why would you do this? Your employees are struggling along with an ERP that Noah rejected for its lack of numeracy power and Excel files the size of a small village. And guess what? Your in-market performance is continuing to slide down into an abyss from where even Bear Grylls could not escape.

Take the cellophane off the boxes and get your software installed before both your career and the IT become obsolete. Call me if you need any help.

By the way, I have purchased the same Smartphone for my wife. Be afraid children, be very afraid!

Image courtesy of anankkml at



Tags: Dave Jordan, CEO, Telecoms, WMS, ERP/SAP