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Logistics and supply

Innovation, Logistics and supply

LOGISTICS 4.0 IS MAKING SPACE TO SUPPLY CHAIN 5.0: ARE WE READY?

23/08/2021
LOGISTICS 4.0 IS MAKING SPACE TO SUPPLY CHAIN 5.0: ARE WE READY?

The concept of industry 4.0 is strictly linked to the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution that has its origins in 2011, when the digitization of industrial processes began the transformation that eventually lead to enhanced business productivity and flexibility. In this context, in order to respond to an increasingly efficient production, logistics 4.0 became an essential asset. Despite not having an official definition yet, we could state that every activity encompassing the planning, the storage flow of raw materials, semi-finished and finished products, in order to meet customer requirements via the use of enabling technologies, is part of this recent approach to logistics.

As far as automation, connection and decision making are concerned, the introduction of advanced robotics, A.I., Internet of Things, Big Data Analysis and augmented reality brought important changes to the supply chain sector. These innovations fostered major improvements in four areas. A more efficient handling of raw materials, semi-finished and finished products, combined with a wider availability of data, lead to an improvement in production and traceability. Safety benefitted from it as well, reducing at the same time the risk of litigation with customers. Last but not least, the sum of all these benefits lead to an estimated cost reduction of about 30%.

According to the most recent literature, companies that are still struggling to cope with these changes are the ones which do not promote an internal culture of constant learning and understanding, especially when it comes to Big Data Analytics. As a new revolution is on our doorstep, a different cultural approach becomes necessary. It is the so-called Lean Thinking, a transformational framework which integrates in a very holistic way improved management of human resources, optimization of the entire supply chain and a constant update of all the players involved.

Since industry 5.0 will pair all these highly automated, connected and intelligent digital ecosystems with a human touch, this interaction should be leveraged in a way that maximizes both the input from the people and the one coming from the new technologies involved in the process, in order to deliver greater value to customers faster.

Logistics and supply, Technology

FROZEN FOOD IS A HEALTHY AND WASTE-CONSCIOUS CHOICE

12/04/2021
FROZEN FOOD IS A HEALTHY AND WASTE-CONSCIOUS CHOICE

Frozen food has earned a negative reputation over the years for being highly processed and less nutritious than fresh food. You may be surprised to learn that this is far from the truth. Frozen food can be just as healthy, if not healthier, than its fresh counterpart: it all depends on how quickly and efficiently the food has been frozen and also on how professionally the supply chain has been managed before that frozen food reaches our kitchens.

Freezing food to avoid spoilage is a practice that has been popular since 3000 BC when the ancient Chinese used ice cellars to preserve food through the cold winter months. Also the ancient Romans used to store food in compressed snow in insulated cellars. Even if technology has made a remarkable progress over the centuries, the basic principles behind this method remain the same: by lowering the temperature of the food to a degree where germs and bacteria are unable to thrive we can prolong its life while keeping the nutrients intact.

In the food industry, technological progress is happening at such high speed that when it comes to mechanical freezing even the once popular Cold Store freezing, with its slow freezing time and the consequent formation of big ice crystals that stress the membrane and the delicate structure of the product, is now rather obsolete and it has been replaced by IQF. Individual Quick Freezing is the most recent development in freezing technology: this high-tech, intelligent system relies on components, materials and operating systems that provide the best food safety, low maintenance and energy efficiency. In a few words, the advantage of IQF freezers is their capacity to quickly and separately freeze small, flat, unpackaged food products without creating large ice crystals that damage the cells of the product. The high quality achieved by using IQF pairs well with the benefit for the final customers to defrost the exact amount of food they need for their meals thus reducing waste.

As the frozen food market is experiencing a rapid expansion, new freezing methods supported by innovative technologies are being trialed to better control the crystallization process and to accelerate the freezing rate: high pressure freezing, ultrasound assisted freezing and radio-frequency assisted freezing are some of them.

Logistics and supply

INTELLIGENT LOGISTICS SOLUTION: GROUPAGE SHIPMENTS

29/01/2021
INTELLIGENT LOGISTICS SOLUTION: GROUPAGE SHIPMENTS

Since our core business is the export of high quality Italian food all over the world, a well-functioning supply chain has always been essential to us. As if to say, there is no excellence without a timely delivery. This is the reason why, for the past twenty years, we have always improved our logistics management with the intent of constantly ensuring a perfect service. Many years ago we introduced in our range of services the sea freight groupage shipment: we chose it because it is a cost-effective, eco-friendly way of transporting goods and at the same time it allowed us to anticipate the needs of an ever-changing market.

As a matter of fact, recent studies show how the demand for LCL (less-than-container load) services has been rapidly growing in the past five years: so much so that nowadays – despite stagnating figures in TEU handling – customs authorities report increased numbers in clearance. This does not come as a surprise if we consider that the ever-increasing competition due to the globalization and the subsequent success of e-commerce are forcing more and more companies to reassess their overall performances, especially with regards to the optimization of their logistics management. In this sense, sea freight groupage has proved to be a valid alternative to air freight as it allows larger senders to counterbalance the seasonal fluctuations in volume by splitting their shipments into smaller ones when necessary.

As far as we are concerned, groupage and consolidation make it possible for us to supply diverse types of Italian food produced by different local companies to all our clients worldwide, minimizing the shipping costs while maintaining the high standards that the market demands. As many of our clients started appreciating the advantages of minimum inventories and a more rational stock management, having such a service already in place allowed us to be prompt in adapting to their requests and be fully operative when the demand for this service increased due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The pandemic in fact not only impacted air traffic but it also called for a new system to better manage decreased orders while still keeping trading alive.

Since we deal with many different local producers, the biggest challenge for us was consolidation; thanks to the cooperative relationship we have with our suppliers and to the innovation of some of our internal processes, we managed to coordinate them in a way that they could all supply their products to us at the same time. Moreover, the advantage of having opted for groupage shipments before many other companies was the creation and implementation of a solid logistics network that is now fully efficient as all the processes are constantly monitored by our staff and managed as an integrated and unique company strategy.