Sourcing goods from around the world and offering them to customers at competitive prices can only make economic sense if there are cost effective ways of bringing them to market. Logistics plays a vital part in achieving the efficient supply of goods to retail outlets.
In the supply and retail area, sales are subject to seasonal demand variations, congestion on the roads, the weather or the need to be first in the market place. (In the 19th century, the tea clippers arriving first at London could command higher prices before the rival ships arrived and the market saturated). Goods in transit represent a cost to the supplier and the cost of time is important.
With increasing congestion on roads, there is concern to reduce the number of road miles travelled, and bring into play alternate modes of distribution (rail, coastal shipping, inland waterway).
Reverse Logistics are equally important. Too many lorries run their return journeys empty. container ships return to the Far East carrying waste paper.
According to Jacques Barrot, Vice President of the European Commission and Transport Commissioner, transport logistics represents an effort of about 1000 B Euros per year. The final cost of products includes between 10% and 15% costs due to logistics.
Sollerta has carried out various logistics studies for private industry and for public bodies.
We have worked in cooperation with UK retailers to study their current methods of distribution within the UK, and have proposed alternative multimodal solutions.
We have designed a high speed ship for fast transport of containers for a UK retailer.
Sollerta associates have worked with counterparts in UK and France in the study of food distribution through UK ports into the South East of England, working with UK supermarket companies to understand their distribution process.
We have carried out studies with business associates in Europe addressing multimodal issues, marine freight and its economics (with naval architect expertise to address current and future ship designs), short sea shipping and inland waterways, port infrastructure and the environment.
Sollerta associates, working with Marine South East and MTCP has carried out a study for the European Commission regarding the need for training in transport logistics, and how such training is available in different member states of the EU.
This has resulted in a detailed report submitted to the EC and a presentation made to an EC sponsored logisitcs workshop in brussels. Subsequently a similar presentation was made by invitation to the European Logistics Association ELA in Berlin in October 2007, under the auspices of the German Logistics Association.
As an adjunct to the study of transport logistics training, the EC required to know whether quality standards were adequate with regard to transport logisitcs and how might they be improved.
Our study concluded that in general the standards already available could be were adequate, but there was resistance
to the EC mandating them.
Our study proposed a step by step (building block) approach to achieving increasing quality, using the ISO standards
and CEN standards already available.
In service support of equipment has often been the neglected area of procurement. In many situations, to support the system requires many lines of expenditure from different budgets,
and it can be difficult to evaluate what the actual cost of ownership is and what the true cost drivers are. In Service support can have a large impact on the cost of ownership to the customer or user. Logistic arrangements are
an important factor.
Sollerta has a number of skills to offer in this area. Firstly being very much involved in the support of equipment, we know how to turn a disparate
collection of expenditure lines into a structured project where savings can be identified more easily.
Our work in Ship Repair and Refit is an example of this.
Sollerta offers clients a detailed analysis of the cost of ownership of a system or equipment, identification of the cost drivers, and advice on how ownership costs can be reduced.