ACQSYS blog

Goodbye cheap labour and how to automate your supply chain

Posted 20-02-20, Tags: lost transit equipment, recover lost rollcages, roll cage abuse, roll cage recovery, roll cage recyling, supply chain management, supply chain strategies, sustainability, transit equipment, UK immigration policy

No, I’m not talking about the clueless Marxists and Trotskyites running Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition (why do they insist on calling it Corbynism?). I’m referring to the low skilled migrants who have saved the UK economy the inconvenient cost of investing in labour-saving technology, over the decades we have been members of the EU club. 

Free movement of the cheapest available labour has left us under-invested and less productive than France, who spend more time blocking the streets than turning up for work.

Should I automate our supply chain?

Whether you like it or not, automation will need to replace cheap labour, but what will that mean in practice?  Well, it’s not just about missing our fruit pickers and shelf stackers. It’s about the equipment that’s going to be needed as we become more efficient.  It’s also not about replacing British jobs with automation, because we already did that with underpaid workers from the EU.

In the future, for every underpaid labourer who’s replaced by automation, there’s a piece of equipment needed to replace them.  Roll cages, trays, totes, magnums - the more you automate, the more you need kit that can travel on wheels, conveyors or drones, and that means the use of transit equipment must inevitably increase. 

As a consequence, we need to become better at managing that equipment and spending less on replacing it, when so many of us have historically treated it as “natural wastage”. 

Even The Economist concluded this week, from the research on the impact in a fall in the number of immigrants that “bosses will invest in labour-saving machinery, which can reduce the pay of remaining workers”.[i]

“Natural wastage” is not sustainable

Let’s not forget the waste of natural resources either as the focus shifts to measuring sustainable activities across our industries. The great shot across the bows came from Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock last month when he announced that they were implementing the usage of sustainability metrics for the companies they invest in. They are going to start forcing companies to disclose their climate risk according to the standards set by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).[ii] Shareholders and potential investors are taking a growing interest in how sustainable your business really is.

Helping to better control your transit assets

At ACQSYS we help over forty major national businesses maintain their stocks of transit assets because they are already aware of the cost of not managing those fleets. They will be the ones best prepared for the new efficiencies that will rely on increased use of re-usable equipment. Those who don’t recognize the importance of controlling these assets will become the losers, when their equipment becomes free game to those who don’t want to buy their own.

A different focus needed

So, while the Labour party spout Marxist rhetoric about supporting our out of date economy with free movement of a proletariat, (who want to be capitalists anyway), I would recommend a different focus. That is to invest in technology and its supporting accessories to create real and sustainable wealth. Prosperity that can be distributed according to effort, not dogma. 

Bill Howie

 

[i] The Economist The Economics of migration – Delayed reaction https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/02/13/immigration-to-america-is-down-wages-are-up February 13, 2020

[ii] https://www.blackrock.com/uk/individual/blackrock-client-letter “Sustainability as BlackRock’s  new standard for investing” January 14, 2020

How to deal with Election Blues

Posted 26-11-19, Tags: ., Brexit, lost transit equipment, recover lost rollcages, recovery of lost roll cages, retail peak periods, retail peak season, retailers, roll cage cost savings, roll cage recovery, Roll cages, rollcages, transit equipment, UK economy, UK elections

Here we are folks, at the start line of the UK Political Demolition Derby.  The aim of the race is to make as many unachievable promises as possible between now and 12 December, while giving or not giving an opinion on Brexit.  The winner is the one left standing with no majority to make good on any of their promises.

On the left we have Comrade Corbyn and on the right, Flashman Johnson.  In between we have various grass munchers and delusional characters, hoping to do anything but achieve a clear result. 

Last week the Corbynistas welcomed his manifesto speech but must be wondering why he left out curing cancer, establishing world peace and free Corbyn hats to all party apparatchiks. 

All at no cost to anyone earning less than someone more successful than them. 

Meanwhile, “The Boz” has aimed money at the NHS and the police but it’s just pocket money compared to the plans of the socialists, who want to take us back to the 1970s of high taxes, rampant unemployment and trades unions on steroids.  So, he’s staking everything on achieving Brexit, in the face of every other party who either think the original result was the result of stupidity or are running scared of their own constituents.

About now, I would probably start preaching that you should use ACQSYS to protect your roll cages and plastic trays in the face of chaos but I’m too depressed, so I’ll just say good luck and we’ll see who is left standing on Friday the 13th.

 

Bill Howie

Photo Credit - Pixabay Pete Linford.  Left to Right in photo only - Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn 

The thrill is gone

Posted 30-07-19, Tags: lost roll cages, lost rollcages, recover lost rollcages, recover rollcages, recovery of lost roll cages, roll cage recovery, Roll cages, rollcages

Picture this. After the first flush of passion, the emotions subside and in some cases desire turns to disdain.  But when he described this cycle the late B.B. King wasn’t describing his love life, it was a customer who had wronged him, and there aren’t many among us who haven’t experienced the same feelings as B.B. at some time.

Over the years we have had a couple of customers who started out believing ACQSYS was The Saviour of the Western World but came to resent paying for a service that was mopping up the results of their own incompetence.  It’s a simple example of focus on cost rather than value and it can drive a stake into the heart of a once beautiful thing.  What’s more, it’s usually the service provider who takes the pain, just like B.B.

Does this ring a bell?

At ACQSYS we take a slightly different approach to things that leave a sour taste in the mouth, we spit them out.  You might try it someday; it’s quite refreshing.  It happens rarely but it will happen again and when it does and the thrill is gone, we will move them along.  Our limited time should be devoted to people we care about.

“And now that it’s all over
All I can do is wish you well”*

Bill Howie

* B.B. King “The Thrill is Gone”

Photo Credit: Tom Beetz Flickr

Life is not like a nursery rhyme

Posted 13-12-18, Tags: how to find lost roll cages, how to report stolen roll cages, lost roll cages, lost rollcages, lost transit equipment, peak retail trading times, recover lost rollcages, recovery of lost roll cages, retail peak periods, retail peak season, roll cage abuse, roll cage recovery

Remember the tale of Little Bo Peep?  Trusting in blind faith she did nothing and her lost sheep came home.  Unfortunately life’s not like that.

It’s getting awfully close to Christmas and the stores are hanging onto your roll cages, stuffed with stock they haven’t had time to move onto the shelves.  That wasn’t part of the plan when you worked out how many cages you would need to survive peak trading.

As the cages are emptied they become a nuisance and they get pushed outside onto the loading bay or in the car park where they become prey to all and sundry who have a desire to help themselves.  That’s how your assets find their way into other supply chains and you never see them again.  Come January you are wondering how it was possible to lose so many.

With our national asset recovery service we are likely to find a lot of those cages in places your vehicles never go and where you would never expect to find them. 

So before you start making a case for more capital to replace lost cages, why not call us?

We recover equipment across the country for major distributors, retailers, wholesalers et al and we can do the same for you.  They used to think like Bo Peep but they don’t need to anymore.

Bill Howie

Don't have your head turned by a pretty roll cage

Posted 21-01-18, Tags: how to find lost roll cages, how to report stolen roll cages, lost roll cages, lost transit equipment, recover lost rollcages, roll cage abuse, roll cage recovery, roll cage theft

If you take a stroll down to your despatch dock and look at the roll cages about to be loaded onto vehicles, you might be surprised to find a number that don’t belong to you.

Understandably, you might not want the hassle of emptying the “foreign” cages but, when they come back, you should isolate them, because using other people’s equipment for your own purposes is against the law.

I know they might get into your system by accident but once you use them again it’s no longer an accident, it’s called conversion and it has consequences.  The sensible thing to do is to contact us at ACQSYS and we will return them to their rightful owners.

It might seem harmless enough but it’s depriving the rightful owner of the opportunity to use a valuable asset and the law takes a dim view of that.  Our clients think the same way and that’s why you might find us knocking on your door asking for their cages back.

At the extreme end, there are some companies who never buy a cage of their own and misappropriate everyone else’s.  Indeed, one company was caught removing the original owners’ identifying marks and the directors spent some time making furniture at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

So don’t be tempted by someone else’s, find your own.

If you’re in a fix and need some roll cages fast then don’t forget you can rent them from our sister company Roll Cage Rental.

We’re in Supply Chain Strategies in The Times this week with complimentary copy for you

Posted 24-02-17, Tags: lost transit equipment, recover rollcages, roll cage recovery, rollcage rental, supply chain strategies

170224_Image-of-Supply-Chain-Strategies-(1).jpg

Some of you may have seen the Supply Chain Strategies supplement in the Times yesterday and read the stories about some of the supply chain disasters and what we can learn from them. If you want to find us we’re right next to a picture of Ed Sheeran and those 12 valuable lessons on page 13 (lucky for some). We’ll also be in this supplement in the Sunday Times this weekend. There is also an article on the internet of things (IOT) from Senior VP Hans Thalbauer at SAP and how that might affect your supply chain. 

A global map showing world trade flows for the UK, Germany, US, China, Brazil Australia and China may also be of interest for those musing on the future impacts of BREXIT and US protectionism on their global supply chains.

As we gear up for the Spring rush and the Easter holidays there will be plenty of other supply chain disasters we can prevent with our roll cage recovery and roll cage rental services. 

We thought you might enjoy reading about some of these supply chain disasters such as the one about UK retailers at Christmas in 2014 and not planning for the final mile delivery, when everyone is trying to use the same delivery company which can’t cope.

We’ve negotiated a special complimentary copy of Supply Chain Strategies for you, click to download and read your very own copy either online or offline.  

Let us know how we can prevent abuse and shortages of your transit equipment and the likely supply chain disaster which normally follows.   Contact us now.

How green is your valley?

Posted 23-11-16, Tags: carbon footprint, lost rollcages, roll cage cost savings, roll cage recovery, roll cage recyling, rollcage rental, supply chain management, sustainability

Picture of waste metal mountain

Living in a city it’s hard to consider oneself as a particularly fine example of a waste recycler. However when I think about it, the work we are doing at ACQSYS is at least having its own impact on the amount of fresh metal and plastic being manufactured every year.

This reduction in waste happens because we track down and recover lost and misappropriated roll cages and plastic trays, belonging to our clients, thus saving them the cost of buying replacements.  Those replacements would be using valuable raw materials and their manufacture contributes to the carbon footprint.  Our clients are not only saving themselves valuable capital, they are contributing to the protection of our planet.

Our new rental business rollcagerental.co.uk is continuing in the same vein.  When you rent from us we recover cages that you lose and not only reduce your charge for losses, but also keep existing equipment in play, reducing the need to replace it.  In the last six months alone we have helped one of our clients avoid purchasing £750,000 worth of new equipment.

So, the questions are:
How do you measure your performance against environmental targets?
Have you ever considered why you are spending capital every year replacing missing equipment that could be recovered, or even rented?

When you set out to buy new transit equipment this year why not contact us first to see how we can not only save you money but also help you meet some of your softer business objectives?

You may be surprised to find we can even help you to reduce your carbon footprint too. 

Photo credit: Russ Allison Loar Junk Mountain via photopin (license)

Self help aids recovery

Posted 05-06-13, Tags: roll cage cost savings, roll cage recovery, UK economy

The British Chambers of Commerce recently upgraded its long-term growth forecasts for the UK up to the end of 2015. The BCC said it expected output to increase by 0.9% this year, up from a previous growth prediction of 0.6%. It sees gross domestic product (GDP) for 2014 being raised from 1.7% to 1.9%, and for 2015 from 2.2% to 2.4%.[1]

While this is good news, the government and the banks should not be planning to take any credit for it. In particular, the banks should be hanging their heads in shame because the improvement in business performance has not been funded by imaginative lending, but by painful cost cutting and cost avoidance.
 
The companies we deal with have embraced ways to reduce expenditure on non-core but expensive activities so they are able to focus spending on stores, products and services. It’s no coincidence that our new asset recovery business is growing every month, when you consider the scale of the problem of stolen and misused transit equipment and the cost of replacing it. We locate and repossess stolen and abused roll cages, totes, stillages, etc. for about 20% of the cost of replacing them with new. This frees up capital running into millions of pounds for our customers every year. That money can now be spent positively rather than simple replacing what’s been stolen.
 
One unexpected benefit of being in a long period of stagnation is that firms start to become innovative when it’s clear the government hasn’t got a clue and the institutions could care less. Eventually, new methods start to flow through to the bottom line and the trends start to improve, no thanks to the government or the banks.
 
When we started the ACQSYS asset recovery business it was three years after the 2008 crash and we aimed the business squarely at a major problem. Millions of pounds worth of transit equipment disappears every year from supply chains but, no matter how big the company, the cost of putting in place effective recovery programmes is too great. What was needed was a multi-customer consolidated approach, in which the costs would be spread across far greater quantities than any one company could muster.
 
The result is that our customers can redirect valuable capital towards growth generating activities. We have grown and taken on staff and none of us had to waste valuable time listening to a bank business development (?) manager bleating about his lot. Poor thing.

Bill Howie

Click here to get in touch.

Bill Howie is Chief Executive of ACQSYS Supply Chain Solutions Limited, a company that specialises in the management and recovery of mobile and transit assets for manufacturers distributors and retailers

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22723384  “British Chambers of Commerce raises UK economy forecast".

Some of our clients

“As part of a wide network of supply chain professionals I always go to ACQSYS when I'm looking for smart asset management programmes.”

William Randall, Chief Executive LAWS Ltd

Powered by Kentico, an intelligent website by ie Intelligent Marketing