Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management

In pursuing my Post-Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management – Global Logistics, I could not help to draw parallels between the components of SCM and my previous career in mass-participant sports event operations. This indirect background in Supply Chain greatly facilitated the program as I had a constant supply of past professional examples to which I could relate many concepts. The biggest take-away was that all three segments of Supply Chain Management, which include: purchasing, inventory management and logistics are required for a well-managed event, whether on a large or small scale. This article focusses on how mass participant event operations relates to the supply chain management component of inventory management and is the third in a series of three articles on the topic. The first on purchasing can be found here and the second on logistics can be accessed here.

 

Warehousing

 

In event operations, both Just-In-Time (JIT) and traditional warehouse inventory (AKA Just-In-Case) is employed. Re-usable equipment and other objects are stockpiled in storage locations that can include a warehouse, shipping container, trailer or within the event’s office space. Trailers and shipping containers are particularly handy as they are both modular and mobile. One or all containers can be sent to the event venue or moved to an alternate lot and as they are already packed, there is no need to transfer the equipment from storage to a transportation device. Trailers are especially useful for events that tour multiple locations throughout the season and can incorporate highway with rail transportation in the form for intermodal piggybacking. Operations managers will want to perform the light integrity test to ensure the container’s contents will be safe from the elements. However, trailers and shipping containers are not perfect: items stored inside are difficult to access and their outdoor placement puts them at risk of theft, overheating and freezing.












On-demand warehousing is often an attractive option for events who desire the reliability of traditional warehousing, with the scalability of an on-demand service. Storing items inside a traditional warehouse allows for greater access to items that are required by event staff on a moderate basis, regular to intermittent item picking and offers protection from the elements. On-demand warehouse space also allows for organizations to take advantage of potential economies of scale offered in the form of lot size discounts and transportation discounts. Here an event can spread out the procurement of a lot size of items across multiple events, acquiring time and cost savings. Warehouses are an ideal storage location for safety stock.




Just-In-Time

 

For items that are required for the specific event, it often makes no sense to have them delivered to your warehouse, just to have them loaded up and transported to the event venue at a later date. As many medium to large scale events have access to their venue in the days or week leading up to the event, inventory holding savings, transportation savings and time savings can be achieved by having those items shipped directly to venue. This works particularly well for high volume items that you will receive in the days leading up to the event, including food, water, new signing, sponsor banners and other last minute items. The Just-In-Time benefit of eliminating inventory carrying costs is countered by the high risk of stock-out (in this case, not receiving your items on time), due to unexpectedly long delivery lead times. JIT should therefor only be employed with trusted suppliers, with reliable carriers, and for items that make sense to only arrive in the days before.

 

 

A combination storage location types

 

On-demand warehouse space can be useful in alleviating the downsides of trailer and shipping container storage, yet warehousing overhead costs need to be taken into account. It is not uncommon for large scale events to diversify their inventory across office space, warehouse space and trailer/ shipping containers. This was you can take advantage of the mobility of shipping containers and trailers while taking advantage of the convenience of in-office storage locations for items that require regular access. In addition, items that require temperature control and moderate access, whether in the form of intermittent picking or otherwise will benefit from in-demand warehousing.

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Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Transportation

Hyperloop pod transportation has gathered plenty of attention in recent years where magnate propelled capsules are pushed upwards of 1,200 km/h with an average speed of 700km/h. Additionally, Hyperloop transportation is completely automated, which promises to eliminate delays and overbooking. While consumers are quick to fantasize of the benefits of high speed Hyperloop travel, the ramifications of Hyperloop freight cargo will be felt throughout the supply chain, and in consumer’s wallets.












There are currently 10,000 trucks en route from Toronto to Montreal every day, with delivery lead time totaling half a day. A similar Hyperloop will take half an hour, while contributing to a reduction in highway traffic in the process.

 

Benefits:

Inventory

Hyperloop’s fast speed and promised reliability will support lean and Just-In-Time inventory practices. Organizations will have the ability to hold less inventory, therefore decreasing their required warehouse footprint, payroll, operational and overhead costs.

 

Lower product costs for consumers and businesses

With the decrease in inventory costs highlighted above, consumer and industrial goods prices will decrease. These cost savings will ripple down the supply chain, all the way to the wallets and budgets of consumers and businesses.

A decrease in traffic along the 401, 7 and 417 highways

If high-speed TransPod travel becomes widely adopted, a decrease in commuter and freight traffic on the highways commuting between Toronto and Montreal or between Toronto and Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and Ottawa and Montreal (depending on whether TransPod Hyperloop or Transpod One meet the required Transport Canada regulations). This will directly lead to a decrease in highway transportation between those destinations. Transpod travel will subsequently force traditional trucking and rail companies to lower their rates and lead to shorter delivery lead time throughout all modes.

Increase in Tourism

A decrease in travel time will benefit the domestic tourism industry. Time savings resulting from the alleviation of airport security, the elimination of delays and of course, the significantly faster speed of Transpod travel, will motivate business and domestic tourists to displace themselves for more business, weekend and holiday trips.

 

Environmental Benefits

Mass-transit Transpod pods are propelled electronically at low speeds: during arrival and departure, then magnetically for the majority of the time. Resistance (air) is continuously vacuumed out of the tube using a passive system, leading to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. This results in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly mode of long-range transportation.

Truck Drivers Should Not Be Affected

As the proposed Canadian Hyperloop route is unlikely to be completed prior to 2025, truck drivers are most likely to already have been disrupted by driverless trucks in the form of platooning.


In Canada, two Hyperloop start-ups are competing for regulatory rights from Transport Canada to construct the first domestic route.

TransPod Hyperloop has proposed an eastern Canadian route, back-and fourth from Toronto to Montreal. The trip is estimated to take 30 minutes.

Hyperloop One’s proposed Canadian route runs from Toronto, through Ottawa, ending in Montreal. Time estimates are as follows:

  • Toronto to Ottawa in 27 minutes
  • Ottawa to Montreal in 12 minutes
  • Toronto to Montreal in 39 minutes

Photo Credit: Hyperloop One, TransPod Hyperloop

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