Supply Chain Supply Chain
Supply Chain
Supply Chain
Supply Chain
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Introducing Aptitude4 Inc.

Aptitude4 a company that understands your supply chain, especially in today's economic environment. We provide solutions to solve challenges and improve your bottom line. Our consulting team members have many years of experience with the core competency and knowledge to help with supply chain strategy, leadership, process improvement and cost reduction. We are a solution provider with excellent project management skills that can help your company's competitive advantage.
Services Menu
Sharing the Load, Collaborative Transportation
Rate and Wrong, Consumption Based Fuel Surcharge
Finding The Win Win Deal, Freight Negotiations
Fuelling Your Supply Chain, Inbound Freight Programs
Green Your Logistics, Reducing Emissions
Out Of The Woods, Lean Logistics
Putting Out the Call, Request for Proposals
Affordable Supply Chain Technology, Transportion Management Systems

Sharing the Load

Collaborative Transportation

With today's focus on reducing costs and protecting the environment, the time for collaborative transportation management may be here.
Canada, the second largest country in the world - about 5,000 km from Vancouver to Conception Bay - is one of the most challenging, high-cost countries in which to distribute goods.
Forty-two percent of the population inhabit five urban areas where manufacturing and distribution facilities face common transportation challenges. Meanwhile, disproportionate shares of transportation resources are required to service the balance of the population, scattered over 10 million square kilometers. The situation dictates a high use of less-than-truckload delivery, and all-too-frequently, pick-up and delivery trucks simply aren't full.

Rate and Wrong

Consumption Based Fuel Surcharge

Fuel needs to be a flow-through consumption-based charge - a system that would fair for everyone.
Fuel costs are the largest ongoing financial concern for both carriers and shippers. Fluctuating fuel costs create challenges for companies to remain on budget, which ultimately impacts bottom lines.
The current recession has tempered the volatility we've seen creating chaos in previous years. Rack fuel prices this year have been trending between $0.692/litre and $0.792/litre, according to Freight Carriers Association (FCA) data. The truckload rate for fuel surcharges ranges from 16% to a recent high of 21.4%. Compare this to July 2008 when fuel peaked at a rack price of $1.33/litre with the truckloads surcharged at 49.9%.

Finding The Win Win Deal

Freight Negotiations

Freight negotiations don't need to be like poker games, where only one side can win the pot.
Negotiation is something logistics professionals will be called upon to conduct many times throughout their careers. It comes with the territory. Successful negotiation is essential in business - especially when the economy is struggling. Everyone strives for the best value and the lowest costs when obtaining the best service possible.
Unfortunately, however, when it comes to freight negotiations, many companies specialize in the "win-lose" approach - a positional or distributive negotiation whereby one party's gain is another party's loss.

Fuelling Your Supply Chain

Inbound Freight Programs

When purchasing and transportation come together they are not only helping to improve operations, they are also contributing to the bottom line.
One of the hottest trends in business by large corporations is Inbound Freight Programs. Most perceive this program as a means to reduce costs by capturing the transportation component included in the line item price by receiving a discount or refund from the vendor which creates a revenue stream. The revenue stream is then applied to the costs of transportation for the goods which returns a margin due to their buying power with their carrier(s) of choice. At Aptitude4 our perception of an "Inbound Freight Program" has more opportunities then the transportation savings.

Green Your Logistics

Reducing Emissions

GHG emission reductions must be tackled the same way you achieve safety in the workplace. You need to implement a strategic plan and stick to it.
10 ways to reduce your environmental footprint and improve profitability.
Many companies talk about reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but too often there's a large gap between words and action. Most companies seem to be holding off on taking any real steps to reduce their environmental footprint because they believe the investment cost is too high.

Out Of The Woods

Lean Logistics

Lean logistics will help any company - during hard times and hay-days alike.
Recent business reports indicate that the recession is over. This may be the case for some leading companies, but not all. Many businesses are still just barely holding their own. Others are in obvious distress. They'd take great exception to overstated optimism.
The true sign that we've come out of the recession is when businesses begin adding full-time jobs again. This will restore consumer confidence and spending. But even then, we will have to continue applying lean principles to our logistics operations.

Putting Out the Call

Request for Proposals

Requests for proposals and quotations show suppliers that you're organized, impartial. and growing.
Generally speaking, logisticians at small- to mid-size logistics firms make too little use of standard Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests for Quotations (RFQs).
Both are important parts of the logistics buying process, allowing potential suppliers to join the competition to provide a business with goods or services. The issuer makes available the specifications and requirements to several candidates, and then waits for the competitive responses to be submitted.
Both are important parts of the logistics buying process, allowing potential suppliers to join the competition to provide a business with goods or services. The issuer makes available the specifications and requirements to several candidates, and then waits for the competitive responses to be submitted.
But while RFPs and RFQs have similar structures, they are used in slightly differently ways.
The objective of RFQs is to set pricing, terms and conditions for a well-defined and quantifiable service or goods. For example, companies may be invited to bid on specific lane transportation services, or the leasing or purchases of equipment.
RFPs, on the other hand, are issued when there is complexity to the business requirement, such as in constraint-based complicated distributions requiring various services or in the total outsourcing of services to a third party. The RFP process is more time consuming, from preparation, through final selection, to the signing of a contract. It should be used for longer term relationships, beginning with a strategy, incorporating a needs assessment, and ending with a deliverable. Effective RFPs reflect long-term business objectives, and provide detailed insight into a business.
Both RFPs and RFQs are excellent methods for leveraging a company's negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers, no matter how large the purchase or size of company issuing them. There are many key benefits to issuing them.
They provide you with a template to fully map out your requirements and specifications, so crucial in the preplanning process. They bring structure to the logistics buying decision. And they generate a healthy "buzz" about you in the industry.
They also let potential candidates know you're serious, so they'll provide their best pricing and solutions. Furthermore, it reassures them that you've set a structured response analysis and selection procedure demonstrating your impartiality. This is absolutely crucial in today's business environment for corporate governance and credibility.
There are many templates available out there to develop a proper RFP or RFQ. All should begin with a letter that invites responses and spells out the objectives. You'll also want to include a statement of confidentiality that needs to be returned by candidates within a specified time.
Make sure there's no misunderstanding about the process. Instructions for responding to the proposal (including number of copies, who to direct the response to, and the deadline date) should be clearly stated, and the ramifications of missing the deadline should be set out in this section. Typically, all responses are accepted at the discretion of the analysis team.
Once the process is underway, candidate questions should be directed to all participants, with a cut-off date for further questions.
The detailed services requirement - including data or specifications of the equipment - must be part of the information provided. The better the quality of information provided or the more complete the specifications, the better the chances that the proposal will have a proper response.
When it comes to the information you get back from respondents, of course you'll want things like company history, company financials (including bank references), insurances and guarantees, their business continuance plan, a detailed implementation plan, and references.
One of the most important parts of the process is candidate qualification. RFPs and RFQs should be sent only to companies that can provide the services and equipment required. Find your targets using the Internet, and through discussions with colleagues and your own business network. Remember, if you spread the word, candidates will find you. Have frank discussions with potential suppliers. Candidates will let you know if they're able to fulfill the requirements, as the effort to respond is very time consuming.
Once the responses are in, it is up to you to analyze them in a consistent manner, to ensure the right outcome.
RFQs are easier to analyze, as they tend to be price and terms-oriented. A simple Excel spreadsheet will suffice with a matrix of respondents down one side and pricing and terms on the other.
RFPs, on the other hand, are challenging to evaluate. You'll want to set up the criteria in advance, as part of the process, and then review the services portion separate from pricing. Use a weighted point system to compare the candidate offering against specific service requirement criteria.
When it comes time to review the short-list candidates, invite them to make a presentation to your response analysis team in a boardroom session. A one-hour presentation, with a half hour question-and-answer period, ought to suffice. Limit the number of people from the respondents, typically three. Who attends the meeting is crucial. I know of at least one respondent in a recent session who did not bring the senior operations person. That demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the requirements.
RFQs and RFPs are an excellent way to acquire the services and equipment that are so important in the logistics process. Large companies use them on an ongoing basis. And small- to mid-size companies can definitely benefit from learning the process.

Affordable Supply Chain Technology

Transportion Management Systems

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) over the internet allows any company, regardless of size, to obtain the benefits of a good transportation management system.
Not long ago the high cost of Transportation Management Systems meant they were used almost exclusively by large shippers and carriers.
Well, things have certainly changed - especially with the advent of "software as a service" or SaaS as it is commonly called.
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