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Capacity Challenges

Question:

Discuss about the Cold Chain Logistics Distribution Network.

Bolton St vegetable company is a business supplying vegetables of different sizes in major stores and retails in Ireland. The company is currently scrambling with problems relating to capacity, efficiency and safety. Some of the problems it’s facing include: large quantity of vegetables are being discarded from its supply chain system, several complains are emanating from customers due to incorrect orders, and its employees are complaining of workloads and safety issues. Recently the company acquired a new major order in which the management is uncomfortable that it might affect its capacity, efficiency and safety of its operations. In addition they feel they might not handle the nature of the order.

‘Any kind of new additional order can affect a company’s capacity to handle, store and process’ (Mangan, Lalwani & Lalwani 2016, p.56). Bolton St vegetable company is using one operator and a forklift to handle the fresh vegetables supplied. With addition of extra supplies the existing manpower and machine lacks capacity to handle. ‘The company lacks storage capacity due to lack sufficient storage space and poor stores layout’ (Waters & Rinsler 2014, p.34). The current scenario is that when new supplies are brought they are stacked together with the old ones showing lack of inventory control measures. Another capacity issue is on the processing end of the produce. ‘The current system used in configuring and scheduling processed produce is slow and it leads to unnecessary complains among the truck drivers’ (Zhu, Crainic & Gendreau 2014, p.390). In terms of capacity of storage, handling and processing the company is not ready enough to deal with the new order acquisition.

Acquisition of the new order will affect efficiency of the company operations. From the current complains emanating from the truck drivers and customers it justifies lack of efficiency in the company. ‘The load configuration and scheduling system takes more time in releasing orders creating a backload in the dispatch area’ (Downing 2017, p.115). The transporting and packaging area is equally affected because it leads to wrong orders delivery to customers. ‘Stacking of new supplies of vegetables over old ones is a quality issue that needs to be corrected in ensuring quality produce is being delivered’ (Daofang, Jinfeng & Danping 2015, p.9). Lack of efficiency from the cases reported shows that the company is not ready to handle new emergence of a new order. A new order can lead to inefficiency leading to more time wasted, several complain, and an increased in quantity of vegetables discarded.

Efficiency Challenges

Safety of employees and produce is a critical component in any operations of a company. Improvement of safety needs to take place at each stage of production. ‘Safety of the produce in the company can be enhanced by employing electronically aided machines’ (Pitts 2017, p.143). Several tasks in the supply chain of the company are manually done that increases handling risks. Employees are directly in contact with several of the operations that also contribute to their safety. From the case it is reported that there is a rush among drivers delivering fresh vegetables who want to secure return order. The rush among the drivers can be a security risk that needs to be addressed. It can lead to quicker handling of produce resulting to breakages leading to more losses. ‘Appropriate timing and handling need to planned to reduce the nature of the rush created by the truck drivers’ (Guo & Peeta 2015, p.44).

In conclusion the company can be able to handle the new order if only it improves its logistic and supply chain systems. Changes of the two systems will enhance the company’s capacity, efficiency and improve its safety. The customers, and employees will have few complains leading to more productivity. The following are the recommendations for the company on its logistic and supply chain changes:

  • Adopt an automated system to replace the manual system in handling and packing of the produce. The automated system will quicken processing and scheduling needs and reduce work load among the employees.
  • The company can decide to have packaging done at the source to avoid double handling risks and costs emanating from the activity. It will also lead to fewer vegetables being discarded due to spoilage.
  • Adopting a just in time policy that is post ponding processing and acquisition in order to fulfill certain orders. That will reduce the space for storage and increase capacity to handle more orders.
  • Using a cold chain policy that ensures vegetables do not lose its nutritive appearance during transportation. It can be achieved by operating refrigerated fleet/trucks with suitable facilitations. The use of such will increase capacity storage needs and be able to manage the quality of the produce.

The 2015 to 2016 increased levels of rail freight industry was brought about by diversification of cargo delivered. ‘The diversification of freight cargos helped Ireland rail industry to thrive with much deliveries coming from soft drinks and medical supplies’ (Mangan, Lalwani & Lalwani 2016, p.78). A total of 10.5 million tons kilometer of soft drinks and medical supplies were transferred using rail in a year. The two types of cargo contributed to an increase in the number of freight trains operating in 2016 by 6%. The transportation of the two cargos’ led to emergence of multi modal service train that operates along Dublin base, and warehousing logistics emerging across the rail ports. In 2015 the number of bulk trains carrying zinc ore and pulpwood increased by 6% which were operating from Ballina to Water ford where the industry is located. That made the industry to explore other areas of freights.

‘In 2016 there was a breakthrough in the area of rail freight in Ireland when the industry employed diversification of the cargo’ (Waters & Rinsler 2014, p.78). The rapid rails and the navigator were introduced. The rapid rails were used to deliver parcels to different destinations while the navigator rail trains were used to distribute automobile car parts. ‘The two areas of rail freight positioned Ireland as one of the best providers of rail freights services in Europe’ (Gevaers, Maes, Van de Voorde & Vanelslander 2015, p.140).

Cargo handling is a major component in ensuring success in rail freight business. There should be suitable tools and equipment’s that can provide cargo handling solutions. ‘Ireland parcel and automotive parts rail freight deliveries have invested in handling equipment’s that help in service delivery’ (Zhu, Crainic & Gendreau 2014, p.395).


Navigator rail freight is concerned with distribution of automobile car parts. The industry has employed manual and automated equipment’s that facilitate movement and distribution of the kind of freights. ‘Order picking of car automated parts is provided by using pallets picking solutions which is aided by agile mobility automated guided vehicles’ (Nash 2015, p.62). The picking machine helps in raising huge parts of automotive and transferring them to containers ready to be transported. This machine is an example of lifting equipment’s employed by the rail freight industry. The industry is using containers attached to rails that are used to transport the bulky car automotive parts. ‘Use of containers provides durability and security to the freight during transportations’ (Henderson & Dell Products 2016, p.4). A conveyor sortation machine is used to sort smaller parts to ensure proper packaging is done. ‘Huge cranes machinery is used to lift the large containers to be fitted to the rail trailers’ (Kolga, Rakhmangulov, Osintsev, S?adkowski & Stolpovskikh 2015 p.35). The layout of the yard is designed in a way to allow space for several operations including storage and offloading of containers to take place.

Safety Challenges

Development of rapid rails freight was purposively designed and implemented to deliver parcels to several destinations. That prompted the industry to have several equipment’s and handling tools its use. ‘The company is using a water proof sacks and wooden boxes to package a collection of parcels to be delivered to various destinations’ (Iwan, Kijewska, & Lemke 2016, p.655). Carousels handling systems with storage rotating bins makes it easier for picking, sorting parcels and delivering them to several locations. ‘Conveyors with belt are also use to quicken handling and transfer of parcels to ideal locations’ (Evangelista 2017, p.33). A sorting machine is fitted with the conveyors to establish the size and weight of each parcel to facilitate sorting and packaging. An automated scanner machine is available to check and ascertain the contents of the parcels and ensure security compliance. ‘Forklifts are other mechanically operated machines used to transfer and stacking of the parcels ready for dispatch’ (Kokkinou 2015, p.45).

‘The future development in the two rail freight areas is on the use of technology and computerization’ (Guo & Peeta 2015, p.68). A reduced human contact to the freight will be the main focus of future freight initiatives. Use of intelligent robots will come to place in future to replace human beings. For example the robotics will be used in sorting of car automotive parts. The use of automated delivery methods with aid of robots will replace certain handling machines in both areas of freight. In parcel industry the use of drones will replace the use of forklifts and other handling equipment’s. In the area of logistics the global integrators which uses complex information technology infrastructure will be employed. The complexity of the information technology system in parcel and car parts automotive freight delivery will facilitate communication and tracking solutions. Other rail freight industry changes on the two types of cargo’s are the employment of automated sort hubs. The hubs are to provide efficient and quicker solutions that will increase capacity to sort more parcels within a certain period of time.

Reference lists

Daofang, C., Jinfeng, Z. and Danping, L., 2015. Cold chain logistics distribution network planning subjected to cost constraints. International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology, 75, pp.1-10.

Downing, J., 2017. Food hubs: The logistics of local. California Agriculture, 71(3), pp.114-116.

Evangelista, P., 2017. Information and communication technologies: a key factor in freight transport and logistics. In Training in Logistics and the Freight Transport Industry (pp. 29-50). Routledge.

Gevaers, R., Maes, J., Van de Voorde, E. and Vanelslander, T., 2015. Incumbents and new entrants in European rail freight. In Rail economics, policy and regulation in Europe.-Cheltenham, 2015 (pp. 138-170).

Guo, Y. and Peeta, S., 2015. Rail–Truck Multimodal Freight Collaboration: Truck Freight Carrier Perspectives in the United States. Journal of Transportation Engineering, 141(11), p.23-450.

Iwan, S., Kijewska, K. and Lemke, J., 2016. Analysis of parcel lockers’ efficiency as the last mile delivery solution–the results of the research in Poland. Transportation Research Procedia, 12, pp.644-655.

Kokkinou, A., 2015. A Note in the Logistics, Transportation and Competitiveness. Journal of Regional & Socio-Economic Issues, 5(1).

Kolga, A., Rakhmangulov, A., Osintsev, N., S?adkowski, A. and Stolpovskikh, I., 2015. Robotic transport complex of automotive vehicles for handling of rock mass at the process of open cast mining. Transport Problems, 10.

Henderson, G.L., Dell Products LP, 2016. Adaptive information handling system rack rail mount. U.S. Patent 9,229,492.

Mangan, J., Lalwani, C. and Lalwani, C.L., 2016. Global logistics and supply chain management. John Wiley & Sons.

Nash, C., 2015. The evolving global railway industry. The Routledge Companion to Network Industries, p.82.

Pitts, E., 2017. Agricultural Marketing in Ireland. In Food and Agribusiness Marketing in Europe (pp. 137-150). CRC Press.

Waters, D. and Rinsler, S., 2014. Global logistics: New directions in supply chain management. Kogan Page Publishers.

Zhu, E., Crainic, T.G. and Gendreau, M., 2014. Scheduled service network design for freight rail transportation. Operations research, 62(2), pp.383-400.

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