In this interview series we’re introducing some of our senior staff in a little more detail. What makes them tick? What ticks them off? But also: Why do they love supply chain management so much?
Today we’re talking to James Bannister. He’s been with Logistics Bureau as a Consultant & Senior Analyst since 2015.
1. James, before joining Logistics Bureau you spent seven years with BCI Australia. How did working there prepare you for a life in the supply chain world?
BCI gives its subscribers access to a database of construction project across Australia. In my position of Research Improvement Lead, I learned a great deal about how products flow across the country. I spent three years in Manila including setting up a new research team. The importance of getting supply chain right and keeping costs low really hit home with me during my time there. It was also when I decided to swap my major from Economics to Supply Chain Management. The biggest draw for me was the applied problem-solving side of it.
2. What is your area of expertise at Logistics Bureau?
Solving problems is what gets me up in the morning. I’m analytical, mechanically minded and love getting a handle on how clients’ businesses operate. At Logistics Bureau I’m involved in all kinds of matters related to supply chain, but I focus on distribution network reviews and route optimisation. Together with clients, I determine how many warehouses they should have – and where. What’s the financial impact of moving? What is the impact on service? How can they deliver in the most efficient way to all their customers? And what is the cost-to-serve of different product customer combinations? Those kinds of questions are puzzles I love to crack.
3. Which “puzzle” are you most proud of cracking in 2017?
One that comes to mind involved a major beverage and food company that we consulted for on their network, warehouses and routes in two states in Australia. The biggest problem initially was getting the data correct, a common issue. We helped them with their data collection and based on that information were able to paint a clear picture to realise benefits. One sizeable improvement revolves around realigning customers to the right warehouse. No small feat considering their fleet size in that area. Route optimisation is a twist on the classic problem of the travelling salesman; the problem of connecting the dots. It’s about maximising efficiency. This project helped achieve just that.
One of James’ favorite pastimes is brewing beer.
4. You’re relatively new to Logistics Bureau, but based on the past two and a half years, what would you say sets it apart in supply chain consultancy?
Everyone I’ve worked with at Logistics Bureau has held senior operations roles. They know their stuff in their respective areas of expertise. You would be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable expert in warehouse design than Mal Walker, for instance. Sure, there might be slicker operations out there in terms of presentation, but what sets us apart is we get our hands dirty. We work around problems when necessary. We show our creative side. And, most importantly, we care that the work that is handed over is accurate and valuable. It’s not about making a quick buck. It’s about achieving lasting progress for the companies we work with.
5. One of your favorite pastimes is brewing beer. What’s your methodology?
I’m a homebrewer, yes. I’ve got a pretty cool set-up. Recently, I added a temperature controlled freezer for fermentation which means I can start making lager. One of my favorite television shows, MythBusters, coined the phrase which I apply to my brewing: “The only difference between science and screwing around is writing it down”. You want to make variables controllable; to follow where mistakes come from. It’s all about process and record keeping – and drinking delicious beer, of course.
You can get in touch with James directly by calling him at +61 422 276962 or shooting him an email.