APEC samples industry's best

Delegates from APEC economies tour leading edge Toll and Linfox Distribution Centres in a bid to improve regional supply chain efficiency

APEC samples industry's best
APEC samples industry’s best

By Anna Game-Lopata | June 23, 2011

Delegates from six APEC economies toured leading edge Toll and Linfox Distribution Centres in a bid to improve regional supply chain efficiency

Eighteen government and industry people from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the site visit, part of an AusAid funded project developed on behalf of APEC.

An initiative of Australia's
Department of Infrastructure and Transport, the project involved the site visit and a two-day workshop run by Victoria University’s Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (ISCL) in Melbourne.

ISCL Director Dr Hermione Parsons says the delegates currently face common challenges – among them the need to improve efficiency and to eliminate choke points in regional supply chains.

"They also share the need to understand, and deal with issues affecting their global competitiveness," she says.

With a view to addressing efficiency, delegates viewed Toll IPEC’s automated sorting systems and Toll in2store’s flexible warehousing and distribution model geared to customised or category-specific fulfilment.

Later in the day the visitors toured Linfox’s Coles Warehouse in Altona, Melbourne and its Truganina-based Foster’s Group warehouse.

"Non perishable products are cross-docked and distributed to the Coles’ stores network in New South Wales and Victoria from this distribution centre," says Distribution Centre Operations Manager Tom Tighe, who hosted the tour.

"The distribution centre has integrated state-of-the-art systems that facilitate improvements in forecasting, activity based delivery tracking, and live GPS-initiated SMS messages to prepare stores for receiving deliveries."

Warehouse Manager Wayne Duffy demonstrated the Foster's Group warehouse management system Linfox utilises at the Truganina site.

"The warehouse management system uses voice recognition and verbal commands to instruct the inventory picking team," Duffy told the group.

The visitors also had the chance to inspect a selection of products in transit had safety briefings in each of the facilities.

Dr Parsons says the project was inspired by the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework endorsed by APEC leaders last November in Japan.

"The Framework aims to improve trade opportunities and strengthen regional economic integration by expediting the flow of goods and services within the APEC region," she says.

The project workshop intended to directly assist Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia establish or enhance their own national logistics associations.

Detailed descriptions of seven different national logistics association models were examined and discussed, with delegates learning each model works in a different way with associated challenges.

"The delegates heard streamlining logistics through industry-government partnerships can significantly improve the economic future," Dr Parsons says.

"The workshop generated a strong sense of enthusiasm among the delegates about the opportunities that can be generated by national cooperation and improving supply chain efficiency.

"This project is an opportunity to promote a meeting of minds; to share ideas and solutions and to contribute to the progress of individual economies and the region as a whole."

The next workshop held as part of the APEC project will take place in Bangkok, 7-11 November 2011. It will be followed by a another four-day workshop in Hanoi by May 2012.

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