Gulf Air Selects Supply Chain Solution from AAR and Gulf Technics

The national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Gulf Air has recently announced a partnership between AAR and Gulf Technics to provide Gulf Air with an integrated supply chain and component repair solution. The five-year program began in April 2011.

The partnership between AAR and Gulf Technics will combine parts supply, distribution, component repair, information technology, and logistics capabilities to help Gulf Air cost-effectively and more safely operate its Airbus fleet.

AAR and Gulf Technics will manage the rotable components supply chain for 14 A320s, 10 A330s and four A340 aircrafts. In addition to the rotable program, the two partners are exploring a joint supply chain and component repair capability.

This joint supply chain and component repair capacity was outlined in an LOA and signed by both AAR and Gulf Technics in March 2011.

Division President, AAR Allen Asset Management, John Holmes says the program builds upon the excellent relationship AAR and GT have established with Gulf Air in support of their operations and will leverage their extensive planning.

Holmes added that as they focus on executing the program, they are also working closely with GT to develop a joint supply chain and component repair capability to serve Gulf Air, as well as other Airbus operators in the Middle East and North Africa.

GT is just as excited by this achievement as they strive to provide a fantastic program for Gulf Air and Bahrain. The partnership with AAR will bring direct benefits to Gulf Air, as well as to the economy and technical sector in Bahrain, says Ahmed Elnenaey of GT.

Elnenaey is the Head of Research and Business development for GT, and he adds that the program is only the launch pad for a greater endeavor to establish a competitive aviation asset management hub in Bahrain.

Supply Chain Merger Evolves as Glen Road Systems and Invata Intralogistics Announce Agreement

GRSI and Invata Intralogistics, Inc. have merged their two companies to further benefit their already 10-year long working relationship in hopes to achieve synergies and benefits from their partnership.

GRSI is a global provider of supply chain execution software, distribution center automation and system integration. Invata Intralogistics, Inc. is a global supplier of supply chain optimization, facilities integration, software and controls.

The two conducted thorough research into the needs of the marketplace in preparation for their merger. Results of the study were a key factor in the unanimous agreement by both company directors to conclude in this merger agreement.

Many supply chain and C-level leaders across a broad range of target markets were interviewed about their attitudes and experiences related to large asset-based system integrators, those with in-house supply chain software and controls and dealer channel integrators, as well.

CEO of GRSI, Steve Martyn, says their approach to managing inventory in motion is essential as companies implement more sophisticated automation projects. Martyn also notes that traditional WMS suppliers are simply too removed from these sophisticated devices to manage them efficiently or cost-effectively.

Invata is a system integrator with in-house software products and services, in addition to its focus on logistics network optimization. CEO, Ryan Sheehan, says the company views the market through a different lens than typical integrators as they approach the market with a focus on inventory, transportation, infrastructure and labor. The company is able to invest in the best people and technology to meet the needs of their clients.

GRSI is the developer of FastTrak WM+, a warehouse management suite that seamlessly integrates traditional WMS functionality with a Warehouse Control System, Order Management System and Packaging Integration applications.

Supply Chain Examined for Gasoline Costs

An Energy Information Administration study was done a few years ago and remains relevant today with its results. In their weekly report, they highlighted how crude prices work their way through the system in about eight weeks.

Usually, it takes only two weeks for the pump prices to increase and analysts say that for every $10 bbl increase in the price of crude it will usually translate to a 24 cent increase in the per gallon cost of gasoline.

The report showed a 0.5 cents decline in the U.S. retail gas price average for regular grade as of March 21, but at $3.562 gallon, that is little consolation for American drivers.

Likely, the average will again move higher after this brief pit stop due to the fact that wholesale costs are still moving through the supply chain.

In recent weeks, wholesale gasoline costs moved higher across the country, climbing alongside the advance by crude features. Weekly data released on March 23 by the EIA showed a sharp increase in implied demand and big drop in domestic supply levels.

The EIA shows there is increased demand and data shows a year-on-year growth through March 18 at 0.8% higher than that comparable to 2010. The data further shows acceleration in that growth, up 1.2% from a year ago.

However, what really caught the market’s attention was a steep 5.3 million barrel drawdown in U.S. commercial gasoline inventory. The drop is 2.2 percent less than a year ago at this time.

Gasoline stocks have fallen to 21.4 million a barrel or 8.9 percent from a 21-year high registered on Feb. 11th of this year and are now near the five-year average.

Historically, gasoline prices move higher from winter into spring as the market anticipates increased demand as the weather warms so this will be a factor to watch.

Supply Chain Management Providers Enjoy Boost in Sales

Two recent reports show that supply chain management software grew in this first quarter of the year. Manufacturers and other businesses bought the software in growing numbers as an upstart economy freed up budget dollars for improvement initiatives.

The two recent reports were from Supply Chain Management and ERP vendors and in them JDA Software reported revenue for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010 of $168.8 million. That far exceeds the $107.1 million it took in for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The 58 percent increase in revenue from JDA’s supply chain management products and services came mainly at the hand of its i2 Technologies’ subsidiary. They have long been a rival in the supply chain management software market until JDA acquired them in 2010.

JDA still managed to improve its supply chain management and related sales by 6 percent over the final quarter of 2009, even stripped of the i2 boost. They took in $113.9 million in revenue in the final quarter of 2009.

In announcing all of the recent results, JDA also said that it intends to grow its presence in the supply chain management market, expecting double-digit sales growth each year on its way to becoming a billion dollar company.

Total revenue in 2010 was $617.2 million for JDA and they continue to predict strong demand for supply chain management products in 2011.

On a smaller scale, CDC Software indicated that buyers in the fourth quarter purchased one of its supply chain management packages in greater numbers. CDC Software is an ERP and supply chain management provider also.

Previewing its fourth-quarter results, CDC said its TradeBeam global trade management offerings demonstrated solid growth in sales during the fourth quarter of 2010 but did not divulge the full results.

Supply Chain Agreement Reached Between Total Kenya and DHL

Recently, Total Kenya and DHL Supply Chain announced they have signed a three-year supply chain contract covering diesel, petrol, lubricants and LPG gas.

The contract also allows DHL Supply Chain personnel to use the Total Bon Voyage card for purchasing petroleum products from the network. There are more than 160 Total service stations throughout Kenya.

The supply chain card system eliminates cash payments and helps DHL Supply Chain with the tracking of movements of their vehicles and with general fleet management.

The Managing Director of Total Kenya Limited, Alexis Vovk, and the Operations Director of DHL Supply Chain, Ben Clay, signed the three year contract at a ceremony held in the DHL Supply Chain Regional Office located at the Nairobi Business Park, Ngong Road in Central Africa.

DHL Supply Chain is a full subsidiary of German multinational Deutsche Post DHL. They are the largest supply chain management and logistics service provider in Kenya providing solutions in inbound and outbound logistics, warehousing and distribution, as well as reverse logistics.

During the signing ceremony in Africa, Vovk repeated Total Kenya’s commitment to the provision of quality products and services. He stated that the company will be operating responsibly and in an innovative way.

Total Kenya will offer value to all of their partners in general and commercial business in particular, as a way of helping them grow their businesses sustainably.

This agreement between the two companies not only extends the capabilities of the supply chain, it also helps to strengthen the brand for both providers as this contract will have far-reaching implications. As long as it is handled with a quality approach to service, everyone is bound to win.

Supply Chain Excellence Results from DEX, DHL Partnership

DEX and DHL Supply Chain have agreed to a partnership deal. The merger will provide end-to-end technical services for service parts, finished goods and parts management to new and existing customers across all sectors.

DEX delivers innovative supply chain solutions to clients by leveraging expertise in consulting, engineering, software, systems, and operations.

Founded in 1980, DEX offers four types of business services addressing all aspects of supply chain management. The company has facilities in the Eastern and Western U.S., as well as in Europe and Asia.

DHL manages the supply chains for 200+technology, electronics and engineering companies. They are devoted to expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers.

The joining of DEX and DHL will give the customer exemplary customer service and technical support and will reduce turnaround time of services by as much as five days.

Sheldon Malhicoff, Chairman and CEO of DEX, says that in addition, the combination of the two companies will allow them to deliver customers a fully integrated operation of service parts, finished goods and parts management.

The expertise of DEX and the capabilities of DHL will bring customers a reduction in transportation time and costs, as well as outstanding repair capabilities to DHL’s customers on a worldwide basis.

The operation will use the DEX IT system with its suite of software modules that will give DHL customers a full vision of the reverse logistics of their operation. It will include inventory statistics engineering data, failure analysis and parts consumption data.

The companies are both eager to see results of their merger and to keep providing customers with exceptional solutions in supply chain innovations.

Brightpoint Brings Wireless Supply Chain Services to Poland

Brightpoint, the Indianapolis, Indiana-based company has re-entered the market in Poland. The company has expanded its wireless supply chain service capabilities and is now able to better serve its partners in that eastern European nation.

The move was prompted, at least in part, by the introduction of a new and more sophisticated mobile gadgets which are now available there. The combination of the new devices, along with over-the-air technology and a faster mobile network with larger bandwidth is a much needed service for those customers throughout Poland.

Brightpoint will also focus on the need to develop the mobile business for its channel and vendor partners. They will now offer expanded product and service offerings which will include an advanced E-toolbox with white-label Web shops as well as procurement services. This product will offer forecast and demand planning tools also.

Brightpoint recognizes that its customers need a broader range of value-added services and the decision to re-enter Poland is part of their global strategic plan to expand their geographical footprint. Brightpoint officials have shared that the company is aware that Poland is one of the largest markets in Europe and that they have a growing demand for wireless devices.

The company will provide its supply chain services to both vendors and the channels and thus reinforce their position as a leading provider of value-added logistics and distribution services in Europe, according to Anurag Gupta, the president in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

As the demand for innovative supply chains continues to increase in international markets, opportunities for companies like Brightpoint continue to grow. At the same time, competition demands that companies take innovation and leverage key platforms to drive visibility and success. An inability to do so will quickly render a supply chain competitor ineffective.

Apple Lines Up New Supply Chain Partners for iPhone, iPad

Now that the iPhone 4 has landed on the Verizon network, demand for the popular smartphone is sure to increase. With Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market, as well as its leadership in tablet computers, the company is focused on refreshing its products in order to maintain its strong market positioning.

As a result, supply chain sources indicate that Apple has already lined up four new component suppliers for the iPhone 5, the latest in the line of iPhones scheduled to launch summer of 2011. Considering the overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, supply chain partners will have to prove their worth.

According to the Taiwanese trade publication, DigiTimes, Apple is also bolstering its printed circuit board supply chain as it prepares for the next iPad release. Apple once relied on just three printed circuit board suppliers to meet manufacturing demand for the iPad; the company has now boosted that number to seven.

This growth in the company’s supply chain efforts shouldn’t be a surprise for the industry, given that Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010. According to the DigiTimes, the company is scheduled to begin small volume shipments next month, with a full-blown launch in April. As the company sets its sights on a refresh cycle, a spring launch will be perfectly timed to meet strong demand.

Always focused on innovation and improving upon successful products, Apple has some new ideas for the iPad 2, including a thinner design. The manufacturing will be the same unibody design the company uses for the MacBook and will feature an LCD backlit display, Facetime video chat support and a front-facing camera. The iPad 2 is also expected to be powered by multimode chips from Qualcomm and to run on GSM and CDMA-based networks.

Canadian Innovation Gets Boost from Supply Chain Partnerships

Canadian manufacturers looking to stay competitive will need to focus on cost and risk mitigation, according to a recent survey from KPMG LLP. The report says that they should find new ways to compete with their global counterparts when faced with the reality of a strong Canadian dollar and lower cost jurisdictions.

Cost is a key factor in addressing supply chains, according to one executive. He also stated that they are looking at their entire supply chains to establish partnerships and generate efficiencies. Canadian companies should enlist multiple strategies to remain competitive, including a focus on innovation and product development.

The survey conducted among executives in Canadian manufacturing showed a number of differences between how Canadian manufacturers and their global counterparts approach their supply chains. In fact, 60 percent of Canadian executives shared that they have been forced to develop new business models to reduce supply chain risk. Only 43 percent of global manufacturers have reported the same.

The survey also found that global manufacturers are prepared to accept and manage more risk to achieve lower costs, improve efficiencies, and access innovation. Canadian manufacturers prefer to avoid high-risk jurisdictions that would provide competitive opportunities.

Canadian businesses have traditionally been very conservative and more risk averse. However, if they want to succeed with increased globalization and a strong Canadian dollar, manufacturers should develop strategies to drive innovation at home and through collaborative partnerships with supply chains abroad.

Logistics are largely fulfilled by Canadian manufacturers at home and in the United States, while global manufacturers look to new low-cost districts such as China and India. To help spur growth in Canadian manufacturing, drastic changes may have to be made.

Rapid Ratings Turns to Supply Chain Risk Management Expert

Rapid Ratings is making some internal changes as part of its strategy to improve its supply chain offerings. The company has added Rose Kelly-Falls, a respected supply chain risk management expert, to expand its supply chain risk management services to corporations and financial institutions.

Rapid Ratings is also expanding its operations, opening a new office in Indianapolis at the Purdue Research Park of Indianapolis. Supply chain professionals throughout the financial services industry rely on Rapid Ratings to assist in monitoring the risks of public and private companies with which they are doing business.

James H. Gellert, chairman and CEO of Rapid Ratings believes the company will benefit significantly from the addition of Kelly-Falls as she offers extensive knowledge regarding the implementation of best practices for mitigating risks within the supply chain. As a former Rapid Ratings user, Kelly-Falls brings valuable insight for clients seeking to better understand and mitigate the risks involved with their overall supply chain.

Gellert also highlighted that the company has a strong client base in the Midwest and the expansion to the Indianapolis market will continue to support the company’s strategy for growth. In addition, the location of the Purdue Research Park offers an extensive network for potential collaborations and partnerships.

Rapid Ratings operates as an independent ratings, research and analytics firm focused on managing risk for companies worried about the health of their supply chains. With superior analysis generated with unbiased, forward-looking tools, companies can make comprehensive decisions to move the focus of the company in a positive direction. The company’s proprietary ratings have been proven effective and are in use by Fortune 1000 companies for complete supply chain management.