As we enter a new year - yet again, despite the Mayans' & Discovery Channels' best efforts - the team at Alien Logistics had a think about what we could do as a young, upwardly mobile company to make a difference to our own supply chain.
One thought which formed the basis of our drive for change was that of to keep it simple, and change for the better did not necessarily mean reinventing the wheel - and sometimes, the simpler the change, the stronger the ripple effect. So, I've listed out the changes we made and are making, to usher in 2013.
1. Going Green, Alien Style
So, going green is supposed to be not just good for the environment, but supposed to save you $$ as well? So, we got a shredder. I have to admit it came in really useful - for packing up & moving, document security as well as it meant less printing because the shredder made so much noise shredding that the staff were hesitant to print & shred. Ta da!
Oh yes, and when the air conditioner broke down, we delayed fixing it for a month because these monsters suck electricity and cause water pollution. Once we fixed it, the monster worked so well, we increased the temperature from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius. The result? A 20% drop in our electricity bill... and a little bit more $$ for outlays, hence contributing to our quest for world domi... sorry, global inter-connectivity. Ahem.
2. P(r)aying it Forward
Prepaid and pre-booked freight is nothing new in the industry, but when it is planned to coincide with customers' production schedules, then it really means something to both the customer, as well as Alien Logistics. Firstly, the customer has no qualms about moving to the just-in-time manufacturing model while working with a young company such as Alien; and for us, it means the ability to plan our purchasing of slots much better than calling liners up and looking for space like last minute shoppers at Christmas. One reason why this is not a common practice for quite a lot of freight forwarders, is because the planning & implementation part of it takes a little bit of faith on our part. And a whole lot of trust and communication between client & forwarder. If a customer's production schedule changes due to a drop in demand or the buyer shifts sources from one country to another due to better pricing, then the forward buying would then cause a freight forwarder to have to fill a black hole or pay penalties, depending on how late the bookings were cancelled. So, in 2013, we aim to increase our email box capacity & up our phone line credits to make this recycled idea work for us. We'll let you know in 2014 if its paid off!
3. Negotiating the Learning Curve
Reading & understanding in sixth gear required! This goal for 2013 wasn't inspired from the untouched stacks of manuals & newspapers lying around the office. Namely because we don't have stacks of manuals & newspapers, but more so that we learnt that there are so many new industries which enterprising individuals and companies have come up with, and along with this comes new stuff to ship from one port to another. The other day, we were asked to explore shipping out live, hatching eggs that would, um, hatch in 72 hours. The question was how to get the eggs from its farm to the airport, pass them through customs at both origin & destination and onward ho to the buyer within that time? That was an interesting challenge. Throughout the last year, I also learnt that there are about 15 different types of sugar (and counting), when to recommend a flat rack versus an open top container, as well as how to transport coal as non-dangerous goods. So, what lies ahead? Mankind seems to be ever inventive in their exports, and the imports which make for the exports. And thus, the reading must begin - so that the team at Alien Logistics will be better equipped when we are called to handle shipping for items that may seem to fit right into the Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus.