Wind energy – a big challenge for logistics

29 03 2011

Logistics in the wind energy industry requieres special solutions. Tower elements, rotor blades and generator units with huge dimensions and weights could only be transported with special equipment and a lot of Know-How.

The following video points out how a windmill is transported from Freeport in Texas to Suape in Brazil. The logistician have to handle parts like for example the generator nacelle with a weight of 82,6 tons or the blade attachment hub with 18,9 tons. A frame with two blades weights 33 tons.

The next video demonstrates how windmills are transported on the road. Therefore special heavy goods transporters are requiered.

As you see, logistics of windmills is a very big challenge. But there are plenty of well equiped companies with experience offering distribution services for windmills. Because renewable energies are booming, this could be an expanding market for logistics.


Supply Chain Management

28 03 2011

Supply Chain Management is defined as the management of material and information flow in a supply chain to provide the highest degree of customer satisfaction at the lowest possible cost. (

This picture below gives an example for a supply chain:

To get more familiar with Supply Chain management watch this movie, which gives an short introduction:

The aims of a supply chain management are the following:

  • Reduction of inventory throughout the supply chain
  • Increased transparency
  • Increase the precision in the planning
  • Reduction of process- and lead times
  • Increase the flexibility
  • Improvement of capacity utilization

Therefore SCM requires commitment of supply chain partners to work closely to coordinate order generation, order taking, and order fulfillment.

The results which can be achieved by introducing a supply chain are shown in the figure below:

As you see, managing your company with a supply managment system will give you an competitive advantage.

Logistics in the food industry

28 03 2011

Imagine a Burger King Restaurant run out of stock and no chips are available. Imagine a whopper without a meat slice. Unthinkable!

Fast food logistics requires three special abilities. First of all it requires reliability, secondly it requires quickness. And thirdly the most special one fast food logistics requires temperature control. As you see logistics in the food industry is a big challenge.

The company  Meyer Quick Service Logistics manage the storages for Burger King in Germany, which are located in Wildau close to Berlin, Essen, Heppenheim and Dornstadt close to Ulm. The way logistics works in this industry should be demonstrated by an example of the storage in Dornstadt.

A total area of 6200m² is available in the logistic centre Dornstadt. An area of 1600m² is used for fresh-cold-storage, 2300m² for frozen storage and 600m² for drink-storage. An area of 1700m² is used for goods receipt and goods issue.

In the development phase there was a failure rate of five failures per 25.000 picks in the logistics centre. With the aid of Pick – by – voice, as it was introduced in another blog, the failure rate reduced to zero.

210 Burger King Restaurants are supplied by the logistics centre Dornstadt. Therefore 15 vehicels are in use. But the vehicles are not common transport vehicels, they are multitemp-compatible. That means they are able to transport goods in three temperature ranges: frozen, fresh and dry.

Furthermore the logistician uses a “living route plan”, which means that the route of the vehicles depends on the delivery quantity which is required.

The employees in the control office of the logistics centre are able to track the vehicles by using a special system which also provides further information like for example the temperature within the vehicles storage.

As you see Meyer QSL gained a lot of Know-How during its logistics operation in the food industry. Due to this the company is enlarging its business and operates also with Yum, the mother company of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.


Logistic in the view of the balcony

28 03 2011

Today I wondered a lot of my next topic for the logistic blog. Having a coffee at the balcony the next topic was obvious. I watched the unloading of a truck for probably a consum market. Looking at the picture below you will understand the situation easily:

As you see in the picture, first of all the goods were unloaded by one person of the truck to a kind of “intermediate store” directly in the street. Another person picked the pallets with the goods by using a handlift and transported them into the store. Another person watched the procces.

It tooks about one hour to unload the truck and transport the goods to the store. Three people was involved in the process and the road was very hard to pass because of the truck.

In this case this was seriously not the best logistic solution. Doubtless there is some space for improvement in order to save time and money. One improvement could be to build up a dumping station close to the store, if there is enough space. Furthermore the intermidiate store should be eliminated from the process, so that every palette have to be taken just one time with the handlift, not twice.

The Nord-Stream-Project

27 03 2011
Project: New gas supply route from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea.
Project duration: 4 years
Pipelines: 2 x 1,220km
2 x 100,000 pipes
Gross load weight: about 4,600.000 tons
Transportation weight: about: 90,000.000 tons
Length of one pipe: 12,2m
Diameter: about 1,4m
Weight of one pipe: 20-30 tons


Handling this huge amount of pipes is a big challenge. But the Nord Stream AG solved the problems in an excellent way, so that the company was awarded the German Logistic Price in 2010.
The basic idea was a “short way logistic”. That means the pipe storages have to be located less than 185km away from the lay barge, so that the delivery ships can cover the distance to the lay barge and back within one day.
Furthermore the transportation ways from the present pipe producers in Norway and Scotland were analyzed. Nord Stream realized that the transportation cost would be 60 Million Euro.
Taking environmental aspects into account Nord Stream decided to invest the money into two new pipe producing facilities in the area of the Baltic Sea instead of in the transport. Thereby 200,000 tons of CO² emissions were avoided.


26 03 2011

Logistic within companies changed dramatically in the last years. Toyota was the first company which introduced a production system called the Toyota Production System or short TPS.  This production control system was introduced for the objective of making the vehicles ordered by customers in the quickest and most efficient way. Regarding logistics TPM creates a lean production which means there are now big stocks in the production and material is in a continuous flow. Lean Production is based on the concept of Kanban, wich is described in the following figure:

As you see a Card is used to signal that a new box of material is required. The material is in a continuous flow, heavy load storage racks besides the production line are not further more necessary. Plenty of companies, especially car companies, introduced this system within their production in order to reduce the material stock which results in less capital commitment and enhancement of the productivity.

How you’re personal Apple computer is delivered to you

24 03 2011

Apple is one of the world’s most valuable brands nowadays. In 2010 they reached a turnover of 65,225 Mrd. US-Dollar. Doubtless the innovative and well-designed products of Apple are a huge part of this success story. But besides this Apple’s distribution framework plays an important role for the brand.

If you decide to buy a personal computer from apple you have the following opportunities to do this:

  • Online Store
  • Retail Store
  • Third party wholesaler

A lot of customers prefer ordering their personal computer in an Online Store. After ordering, the personal computer has to cover a very huge distance to reach the customer, which requires a well developed distribution system. Below you see the way the computer do:

Location Date Time Activity
China 27.02.2011 12:45 AM Order Processed: Ready for UPS
Shanghai, China 27.02.2011 2:16 PM Origin Scan
Shanghai, China 27.02.2011 7:05 PM Departure Scan
Shanghai, China 27.02.2011 9:00 PM Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany 28.02.2011 9:54 AM Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance
Shanghai, China 28.02.2011 9:37 PM Export Scan
Shanghai, China 01.03.2011 6:05 AM Departure Scan
Incheon, Korea 01.03.2011 8:37 AM Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany 01.03.2011 2:55 AM Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance. Released by Clearing Agency. Now in-transit for delivery
Incheon, Korea 01.03.2011 12:35 PM Departure Scan
Almaty, Kazakhstan 01.03.2011 3:59 PM Arrival Scan
Almaty, Kazakhstan 01.03.2011 6:28 PM Departure Scan
Warsaw, Poland 01.03.2011 6:41 PM Arrival Scan
Warsaw, Poland 01.03.2011 9:49 PM Departure Scan
Koeln, Germany 02.03.2011 11:30 PM Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany 02.03.2011 2:10 AM Import Scan
Koeln, Germany 02.03.2011 8:17 AM Departure Scan
Herne-Boering, Germany 02.03.2011 9:48 AM Arrival Scan
Herne-Boering, Germany 02.03.2011 3:28 AM Departure Scan
Frankfurt, Germany 02.03.2011 6:39 PM Arrival Scan
Frankfurt, Germany 03.03.2011 12:23 AM Departure Scan
Nürnberg, Germany 03.03.2011 3:45 AM Arrival Scan
Nürnberg, Germany 03.03.2011 5:40 AM Out for Delivery
Nürnberg, Germany 03.03.2011 4:32 PM Delivered

The delivery takes 5 days, which is quite fast for an air line distance of about 8659 km. Without a powerful structured distribution system Apple would not be able to deliver their products in a quick and reliable way like the personal computer mentioned above.