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.
Below are four areas that require continued focus.
Key Performance Indicators
Historical data is interesting but not a compelling tool because business operations have changed in recent years. Collecting, analyzing, and understanding key data points specific to your category is a must. Develop a baseline around your current operation, and then set attainable objectives for improvements. Equally important, though, is to have someone to hold accountable for reaching the target.
Some key numbers that should be tracked include: 1) cost/unit shipped; 2) accessories charges plus total surcharges as a percentage of total freight expenditure; 3) claims percentage of freight costs; 4) fuel consumption by power unit (dedicated fleet); 5) on-time arrival; 6) average shipment size by customer; 7) container/trailer utilization; 8) cost/unit received; 9) empty miles (dedicated fleet); 10) error-free freight bill versus bills paid; and 11) cases delivered/hour.
Theft increases during a recession. A recent Chubb security study indicates that cargo theft usually occurs on the weekend, with truck stops and rest areas as common settings for the crime. Your freight is certainly vulnerable (hijacking accounted for 3% of theft) but so are your transportation assets, and even consumables like fuel. A fuel audit program, by driver, must be in place to monitor consumption trends.
It's very important to review security procedures on a regular basis. More importantly, though, work to establish a culture of security within your company. Train employees on theft prevention, pre-screening new hires carefully, conduct semi annual police checks, and draft a detailed facility security plan. High-risk travel areas should be avoided and drivers shouldn't stop within the first four hours of their start point, in case they're being followed. You want to select your transportation partners and brokers very carefully, and conduct random security audits.
How we ship to customers has a major impact on the transportation costs. Order size, geography, transportation mode, and delivery turn-around time are all key decisions that need to be constantly reviewed.
Companies may think shipping collect doesn't cost them, but a low minimum-orders quantity means higher costs because of the fixed portion in preparing every order. Delivering many small orders for the prepaid shipper has a great impact on the transportation spend.
Geography serviced is also very important. I know of one Ontario furniture manufacturer that went into company creditor arrangement because of an arrangement to ship into the southern U.S. with selling terms prepaid. Profitability was lost in transportation costs, including ancillary and fuel charges.
In another case, a transportation manager used expedited services because the sales department said order cycle time was a paramount consideration for the client. But it turned out the customer simply wanted consistent delivery schedules, and regular ground transportation was all that was required.
In all cases, better communication with the customer could have gone a long way to reducing costs.
Carriers Selection
Your selection process needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. With most companies, the review process is done when a new set of rates are presented. A more effective way is through a Request for Proposal process. Develop a clear strategy, and communicate it to the carrier community.
Some companies still fragment the carrier selection process across departments and business units. Centralizing the process under one group is much more effective. Of course you'll have to decide whether all transportation services - both inbound and outbound - are available for quotation. The more volume you have, the better the quotes you'll get. I know of two non-competing beverage companies that put out a joint Request for Proposal, combining their volumes as an opportunity to reduce costs.
These approaches to leaning your logistics operations are important any time, but even more so during an economic slowdown. If we have truly entered a recovery period, they'll make your organization that much stronger moving forward.

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.

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.
Ontario Division
210 Main Street, P.O. Box 159
Erin, ON N0B 1T0
Telephone: (519) 833-0820
Quebec Division
18 Quarry Point Road
Hudson, QC J0P 1H0
Telephone: (514) 213-5321
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