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Case Study

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited is one of the largest producers of sulphur in the country. They supply sulphur to various industries/consumers requiring it. The powder and granular sulphur are primarily used for the manufacture of paper and fertilizer. Superfine Sulphurs management realized that quality packaging, proper material handling, and effective storage and warehousing systems are important to customer service as well as cost control. Therefore, to obtain an efficient and effective logistics operations, Superfine Sulphur periodically reviewed its system.

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


Superfine Sulphurs products are palletized or packed in bulk bags. A pallet hold forty bags (eight layers of five bags each), each bag weighing 20 kgs. The firm ships about 85% of the finished product on pallets. The company uses 2,500 wooden pallets per month, each pallet costing Rs 1,000/-. The bulk bags hold between 250 kgs to 500 kgs. The work flow is listed below for the packaging and the material handling system.

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


It consists of the following stations and machines: 1. Automatic-drive bagging machines have three conveyor lines. 2. Power-driven live roller chain conveyors move the bags horizontally and at a slight elevation to the respective stations. 3. Automatic weight checking machines identify and reject over-weight and under-weight packages. 4. Metal detectors identify and reject bags with foreign metals. 5. Bags which have been rejected by the weight-checking machines and the metal detectors are conveyed to a panel for further investigation

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


6. Palletizing machines automatically lift and place the packed products in the desired pattern 7. After palletizing, the packed products are conveyed to the semi-automatic stretch wrapping machine. This machine wraps the products in stretch film. Since this machine is semi-automatic, three warehouse workers operate the machine one to operate the system, one to put the top sheet on to the palletized goods, and one to cut the end film and staple the end film on the pallet.

After stretch wrapping the products, the material handlers move the palletized product to the designated storage place. Presently, Superfine Sulphur owns one private warehouse and rents two public warehouses. The rent paid to each of the two public warehouses was Rs. 150/- per square per month. The floor area of both the public warehouses together is 50,000 square feet. The monthly rent to the public warehouses is expected to double next year.

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


Superfine Sulphurs pallets are neither customized nor standardized. Hence, its customers have trouble in unloading the pallets from the containers. This takes too long to unload the pallets. Also, the hand of pallet trucks truck rollers of the customers stick to the pallets that is, create sort of a difficulty in the unloading of the containers.

Customers have also complained about the contamination of the two top layers of the product due to water/dust/atmospheric conditions during transportation and storage.

M/s Superfine Sulphur Limited


Questions : 1) Critically analyze the material handling systems of both, the company as well as the customers and suggest suitable logistically viable alternatives