Discuss about the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Strategies Service.
Technological developments have indeed shaped commerce and industry. This technological breakthrough has widened the scope at which the entire processes and operations in most organizations are executed. Similarities are experienced in most institutions regarding the use of technology in the research, production, distributions, marketing and promotion. Logistics and supply management is the most important aspect organizations are supposed to consider making everything right to avoid the distraction of any process (BTRE, 2001). For example, poor connection between the supply of the inputs and the production department can adversely affect the subsequent operations. The quantity produced can be affected, and both the business and the consumer will be negatively impacted by the disconnection. The company can miss the profit target due to reduced quantity of sales as the consumers can miss the varieties of products.
It is because of this reasoning that the report has addressed logistics and supply management. Simply, logistics involves the process of planning, execution and the control of material and other resources (Martin, 2004). The movement involves inventory, commodities, the stationing of personnel and more. This process is usually planned and coordinated by specialists to enhance safety, and further ensure raw materials, vehicles, and any commodities timely reach the client (Martin, 2004). In the company set up, the topic of procurement is similarly addressed as supply chain management. Here is where the corporation programs on how to get and transport the raw materials into the company. Afterwards, the same people are obligated with ensuring the shipment of the products to the stores and further to the distribution centers where the customers can collect the products (Bain, et al. 2011, p. 615-622).
In particular, the report has explored Qube Holdings that was incorporated in Australia and carries most if not all of the operations there. Besides the background information about Qube, the report has extended to discuss major problems existing in the logistic networks in New South Wales. Also, it has unfolded some measures to resolve the challenges and the role the administration of the New South Wales can play to address logistic problems.
Qube Holdings was established was incorporated in 2007 by Chris Corrigan. The company is currently specialized in providing ports, logistics and bulk handling services. It has a total investment of $2 billion. The primary services provided by Qube are categorized as; provision of logistic services to imports and exports containers and the ports and bulk division. The ports and the bulk section have many operations and handle motor vehicles, heavy machinery and project cargoes. However, the diversification this company has undertaken has largely supported its growth and expansion mission. Consequently, Qube has managed to survive despite numerous hurdles posed by discriminative regulation changes enacted by the New South Wales government (Harland, et al. 2007, p. 42-59).
The key challenges currently faced by Qube at the New South Wales
Qube has incorporated sophisticated technology in its operations which are some of the strategies implemented to enhance the security of the cargoes, materials and products transported (Krumwiede and Sheu, 2002, p. 325-333). Customers however, can trace and track the status of their luggage worldwide using the GPS that are enabled on all the containers and trains (Mayhew, 2001). The effectiveness of logistics business relies on the infrastructural developments in the country. Qube majorly use road and railway to transport the products to customers’ destinations and warehouses. In the New South Wales, Qube Logistics has four sites within Port Botany. They include Port Botany Freight Terminal and Port Botany Empty Park. The NSW also has Macarthur Intermodal Terminal. Finally, the site has Yennora Intermodal Terminal that is connected with the railway with Port Botany Whart Terminal.
As earlier noted, the success for Qube is attributed by technological advancements in the country. Also, the level of expertise the company has hired to effect such changes deserves credit. Qube has employed experts who handle the cross-docking facilities, global forwarding and customs. To manage the diversification strategy, however, requires experts to spearhead in all the functions of the organization. Therefore, the high consideration of expertise, specialization and division of labor has been fundamental in helping Qube Holdings to continue to lead in technological advancements (Pilbeam, Alvarez & Wilson, 2012).
Usually, the logistic and supply chain industry faces numerous challenges. Both the internal and external hindrances have prolonged without a concrete solution. Qube has successfully addressed most of the internal hurdles. For instance, the quality of services has been enhanced by employing highly trained and specialized individuals to lead in establishing strategies that foster efficient execution of daily services and alignment of the organization goals with the strategic plans (Bowersox, 2000). Besides, technology has been the primary aspect that has enhanced the competitive edge of Qube by harnessing all the available resources for the betterment of the organization processes.
Most importantly, the management has relied on the various logistics theories like resource dependency theory, agency theory transaction cost, game theory, system theory, value theory to establish an integrated supply perspective. For instance, the stipulation in the agency theory is applied in drafting the consignment agreements where both parties commit in taking the responsibility adequately. The game theory on the other side enhances the computation of the probability of the workability of processes and networks. The theory further aids in the assessment of the viability of the transport strategies and modes enacted by the management (Hosmer & Stanley, 2000).
However, the following are main challenges Qube experiences in the logistics and supply chain management industry. To start with, there is poor road and rail infrastructure in Australia and NSW. Logistics business significantly depends on the infrastructural establishments in the country. And these developments majorly focus on the road networks that and interconnections with other forms of transports. For instance, the railway transport needs to be supplemented by roads transports at the terminal points (Cuninghame, et al. 2010). With the fact infrastructural developments is part of the initiatives the governments is obligated to undertake using the tax collected from individuals and business. This company, however, faces a challenge from the low connectivity of between the railways, roads and the ports. Moreover, road congestions hamper smooth transportation of materials from the ports to the clients’ warehouses. The roads in the urban areas are characterized with many vehicles, pedestrians and pumps with makes containers to take more time on transit than projected. This setback has therefore affected Qube from serving the ever growing demand for logistic services by companies (Currie and Delbosc, 2011, p. 111-122).
Secondly, the industry is affected by adverse regulations. The national policies and strategic planning enacted by the New South Wales government keep on the fluctuation for the government. The key players in the industry like Qube are disadvantaged and left with without an option to regarding investments in infrastructure. With the need for the establishment of modern structures in the main towns, logistics industry is negatively affected by the planning policies concerning development. The events are characterized by increasing human settlement in the cities posting a challenge on parking facilities available for containers.
Thirdly, the rail transport has numerous problems that hinder efficiency at which products and materials are transported (Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011). Besides the area having limited railway networks, problems associated with regulations on the usage poses a significant challenge. The existing systems hinder transferring from road to rail. And this may be as a result of few terminals. Also, the growing safety regulations are another factor that reduces the performance of the sector. Based on the factor that large quantities of materials are transported through the rail, the efficiency and faster delivery of the luggage and people have been a problem. The regulations have resulted to fatigue. For instance, a journey that could have lasted 10 hours ends up taking sixteen hours. Also, there is network interface problem. The system is managed by different parties who establish discriminative legislations that negatively affect the industry, more so, Qube that majorly transports its products using rail (Freight Rail Operators Group, 2011).
Lastly, the Botany freight and intermodal terminals is exposed to several challenges. Among them includes larger container vessels, the urban encroachment on ports, port traffic and the impacts of empty container parks. The larger container vessels reduce the efficiency for entering and leaving of new cargos. The urban encroachments hamper expansion programs because the management is left with no place to establish parking or increase final size. The success of expansion plan automatically gives room for better planning on parking, entrance and further exit channels.
These issues require hard measures to bring efficiency in the management and operation of the logistic industry. They are challenges that can be effectively handled if relevant stakeholders converge and brainstorm on appropriate measures of solving the problems. Some measures include;
Qube should work with the government to foster effort in developing roads to connect railways and port terminals in the region. The connectivity problem is a critical area that needs a joint consideration by both the government and Qube Holdings. The infrastructural developments, however, require a lot of funds which if Qube is not supported by the government, it may create a financial crisis and fail to meet operational costs. These roads establishments can promote network developments at the intermodal facilities (Hensher and Chung, 2011). Additionally, the congestion and traffic jams experienced on the roads can be solved. The infrastructural developments should extent to the ports to enhance service delivery as well as the flow of containers, vehicles and people at the port terminal (Thompson and Taniguchi, 2001).
Secondly, Qube should involve and discuss with relevant authority and bargain for harmonization of regulations and legislations. Doing this will assist to solve railway transport safety regulations, network interface issues and government regulations regarding urban planning and development. Apparently, through negotiation with the relevant authorities, the freight business will be given voice during the urban planning, the encroachment of urban dwellers towards the ports can be restricted, and the entire transport sector will be streamlined to give room for logistics and supply industry in the New South Wales.
Thirdly, the NSW government should support the development of intermodal terminals. This initiative can be done through freight strategy that can result in improvement of port infrastructure and facilitate the objective of sensitizing people to refrain from establishing settlement closer to the ports. And the distance from roads will become competitive with the road network. As a result, there will be a network of efficient intermodal facilities.
Finally, Qube should adopt a proper supply chain management through application of on-site warehousing for supply chain savings. This strategy will save the cost of transporting some commodities to another site for storage. The company can therefore directly collect the products from the warehousing that is on-site and transport them to various clients’ destinations. The same strategy can allow Qube to adopt a cost leadership strategy which can consequently sharpen its competitive edge in logistics and supply industry in New South Wales (Taniguchi, et al. 2001, p. 3-33).
The government has a significant influence in resolving the above-discussed problems. Most of the problems are, however, posed by the external imperatives. And they are majorly emanating from the government side. Concerning this matter, the government consideration of logistics and supply chain industry can result in the formulation of non-discriminatory policies that govern urban development and planning. In the recent days, NSW government has failed to consider freight sector which has negatively affected Qube (Freight Rail Operators Group, 2011). Additionally, issues regarding railways usage, network control and regulations concerning are all under the umbrella of the government. If the government's representatives agree to involve the logistics and supply industry while formulating such policies could enhance enactment of favorable policies (Burt, et al. 2003). Lastly but not least, the involvement of the government in these issues can make it realize the role in fostering investment in infrastructural developments to make NSW a business hub and spur economic development (Lonsdale, 2012, p. 85-110).
In conclusion, logistics and supply industry have received a new definition after companies have realized the need for outsourcing transportation of raw materials and products to and from the institution. It is one of the opportunities that have developed because of the advancement in technological know-how and need by companies to cut operational costs. Qube utilized the opportunity of investing in the logistic sector and has recorded a significant growth because of the management ability to suppress external challenges through maximization of the opportunities and strengths. The government has to understand its role and enact regulations that are meant to promote investment and business activities in the country rather than keeping quiet on business matters. The infrastructural establishment should be basic issues the government should address in promoting business activities. For instance, developments of roads networks to facilitate the flow of people and vehicles in all parts of the country. With such measures in place, logistics companies, in particular, Qube will succeed and expand to other nations.
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