2021 and Beyond: The Outlook for Logistics and Supply Chain Management

What Shippers Can Expect in the Next 18 – 24 Months

Key takeaways
  • Supply chain disruptions will continue to challenge daily global operations.
  • Market uncertainty and volatility will remain high for the foreseeable future.
  • Strategic planning and Supply Chain Risk Management will take on greater significance.
  • Adopting new technologies requires a more-highly-skilled and trained workforce.
  • To survive and profit, future supply chains must be agile, resilient, and responsive.

Since the start of 2021, we’ve seen global supply chains tested. Cybersecurity breaches. Extreme weather. Geopolitical upheaval. Spiking inflation. Supply shortages. The list goes on…

And the next 18 – 24 months promise little change from today’s turmoil.

This blog post delves into steps you, as a shipper, can take to build flexibility into your supply chain. Doing so will help you hone your competitive edge and keep your customers happy.

The Advantage of Preplanning

Given today’s non-stop supply chain disruptions, preplanning has become mandatory. Of course, most businesses are already engaged in preplanning. However, now, businesses must take preplanning to a new level. It must be more comprehensive and more detailed.

You must consider all manner of disruptions and risks to survive. Those who excel at this will profit. Those who don’t will likely struggle to survive or fail.

Global supply chains remain under pressure. Capacity constraints continue as the Delta variant surges. Supply chain bottlenecks will likely continue, so you should consider distribution alternatives to avoid bottlenecks.

You should also consider relooking your inventory stockage policies. Besides that, you shouldn’t forget about hiring the right mix of qualified employees. You should also consider training your employees due the demands of new technologies.

As for technology investments, you should review how they fit into your strategic plan. Any short-term adjustments to today’s situation should fit into your strategic plan. Nesting your short-term plans into your long-term plans, results in a more responsive supply chain.

Done correctly, preplanning can guide you through the daily issues. At the same time, it can prepare you for tomorrow’s obstacles.

Update and Adjust Your Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) Plans

It almost goes without saying, you need to dust off your supply chain risk management plans – now. One of the key features of successful companies is having a viable SCRM plan.

You SCRM plan must cover the gamut of risks from Covid-19’s Delta variant to supply shortages. Without a crystal ball, you need to take steps to eliminate, prevent, or mitigate risk.

Many issues are obvious, but others are not. Hurricane Ida is the most recent example of the havoc an unknown event can wreak on supply chains. There’s no telling the full impact on supply chains yet, but the costs are monumental. Bloomberg reports financial costs will come to about $18 billion.

Meanwhile, capacity issues will affect operations through 2022, according to some industry leaders. This means you can expect pricing pressures to continue as well.

Also, projections in 2021, called for rising risks, making SCRM planning imperative. Complexity has come in the form of sourcing issues arising from trade wars. Hence, on-shoring and near-shoring activity is on the rise.

Also, cybersecurity, supply chain digitization, and resiliency remain key challenges to consider.

According to Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of Association for Supply Chain Management stated, “…companies will need to focus on resiliency, in conjunction with risk prevention, to mitigate adverse events faster than the competition, take market share, and outperform”. (“11 Supply Chain Predictions for 2021 – Inbound Logistics”)

So SCRM should be a major component of both short- and long-term planning. Your business’s success depends on it.

Adjusting and Adapting to New Trends Shaping the New Normal

Coming out of the pandemic has increased complexity for everyone. So, adjusting and adapting to a new operating paradigm takes on greater importance.

It has fazed companies with issues like capacity constraints and supply chain bottlenecks. These have led to rare supply shortages global supply chains have strained to tackle.

We’ve already mentioned some of the changes shaping the New Normal. Adding to them are container shortages, increased online shopping, and shifting distribution modes.

For example, some companies have shifted to air shipping to ensure inventory availability. Those decisions reflect a renewed focus on customers as opposed to costs and the bottom line.

The customer-cost dynamics were changing before the pandemic. But now it appears they’ve shifted in favor of ensuring customer satisfaction. At the same time customers want their goods better, faster, and cheaper. So, expect cost pressures to continue.

This is where digital technologies enter into the picture. Understand, technology is not a cure-all. Yet it’s a major factor in aiding businesses adjust and adapt their supply chains to the New Normal

Those technologies include AI, Blockchain, and, robotics, to name a few. That immediately suggests you must relook your workforce. Adopting these new technologies will result in a shift from lower level jobs to higher level ones. Hence, you will need a more highly-trained and educated workforce.

New technologies demand employees be more strategic and analytical. Specifically, they will need to manage algorithms and track and interpret decision-making systems. Demand for data scientists will soar. To remain competitive, you need to prepare for that now.

Strategic Next Steps

Until now, global supply chains fared well by mastering tactical and operational challenges. Tomorrow, that will no longer be true. Future supply chains will demand a strategic approach.

That is your business must look beyond the enterprise. Your business must consider the ecosystem in which it operates. That means you must examine your supply chain from your suppliers to your customers.

Global supply chains have become more complex, more dynamic, and more volatile. That introduces greater uncertainty that may exceed your capabilities.

That leads to another emerging trend. We’re seeing a move to partnerships to address the complexities, dynamics, and volatility of the New Normal. Partnering with a reliable, and experienced 3PL can fill that void. It can make a difference.

American Global Logistics is 3PL, which can make that difference in your supply chain. We’ll address today’s concerns while preparing you for long-term success.

Contact us to learn more about how partnering with us can help you. We’d be happy to discuss your needs, issues, and concerns.

The Advent of Big Data: The Shifting Data Analytics Landscape

Key takeaways
  • Data analytics, like logistics, is transforming before our very eyes.
  • Data analytics, like data, is a strategic asset.
  • Data analytics will promote and establish data-based decision making.
  • Data analytics will advance the “survival of the fittest”, separating successful from unsuccessful businesses.

As we stated in one of our posts, the logistics industry is entering a data-first world. That’s a loaded term to some extent. What it conveys is that data will drive business decisions in the future.

How does data do that?

The short answer is through data analytics and reporting.

Big data analytics and reporting can be descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. We’ll look at each one and the value each can offer to your business.

Descriptive Data Analytics and Reporting

This represents the first level of data analytics.  In logistics it helps to describe the effectiveness of business processes. In doing so it highlights areas doing well and areas in need of improvement.

Another way to look at descriptive data analytics is to determine what happened. That implies the use of historical data. And it lends itself to pre-planned or “canned” reports.

Examples of descriptive data analytics are:

  • Logistics Performance
    • Order Accuracy
    • Inventory Turns
    • On-time Shipping
  • Financial
    • Transportation Costs
    • Warehousing Costs
    • Cost of Damaged Goods
  • Customer Service
    • Customer Wait Time
    • Gross Margin Return on Investment
    • Supply chain Cost vs. Sales

Again, descriptive data analytics and reporting represents the first level of measurement and reporting. This is your starting point for data analytics.

Diagnostic Analytics and Reporting

In contrast to descriptive data analytics, diagnostic analytics focuses on why something happened. It represents the next level of data analytics and reporting. As such, it is more dynamic or ad hoc. You can also use diagnostics as alerts. It is especially helpful where an unexpected event occurs hampering supply chain operations.

For example, you might use diagnostic analytics to understand why something happened. Diagnostics allow you to use both short-term and long-term data to identify trends.

Diagnostics can help you to improve supply chain effectiveness and efficiency. Think of diagnostic analytics as a drill-down capability that give you deeper insights than descriptive analytics. Diagnostics can help in reducing customer wait time, inventory accuracy, and transportation costs. These are only a few examples.

Predictive Data Analytics and Reporting

Predictive analytics represents yet another level of data analytics and reporting. Think of it as the strategic level. Predictive data analytics and reporting analytics focuses on what could or will happen. That means you can use it to test hypotheses or “what-if” analyses.

You can leverage two kinds of analytics here. You can use data mining and big data. The former focuses only on structured data. Whereas the latter includes structured and unstructured data.

Big data analysis is predictive because it helps reveal insights not otherwise clear. That is, some insights are not obvious in descriptive or diagnostic analytics. It gives you deeper insights. Like descriptive and diagnostic analytics, predictive analytics uses historical data and information.

Its main benefit is that predictive data analytics apply to the enterprise. It is not limited to business processes or functional areas. It is holistic, facilitating big picture analyses.

Prescriptive Data Analytics and Reporting

As the term implies, this form of data analytics and reporting gets at how to implement recommendations. It informs you of what you can do in the future to create a more competitive supply chain.

So, it is prescriptive in nature, identifying options for making changes. This is the fourth level – and most sophisticated one – making it the most beneficial. It is the most valuable because it reveals the future, as it were, about what you can do to gain competitive advantage.

So, the main distinction between predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics is the outcome. Predictive analytics arms you with data and information for making informed decisions.

Prescriptive analytics, meanwhile, presents you with data-based options you can assess. More specifically, it enables comparative analyses of viable options from which to choose.

But getting to prescriptive data analytics and reporting isn’t easy. It is only achieved through a deliberate process. But in taking a step-by-step process, you can simplify your approach.

That briefly explains the four levels of data analytics and reporting enabling data-based decision making.

The Emergence of Data-based Decision Making

You could say the future is here. It is, but we are in the early stages of the future state of decision-based enterprises. We’re probably in the second or third inning. Transformation has started, but it has a long way to go.

That said, the pandemic accelerated this transformation that was already underway. Now, it has a greater sense of urgency as you and your competitors adjust to the residual chaos.

You and your competitors will always need descriptive analytics. You and your competitors most likely have some form of predictive analytics.

Those who don’t are accelerating their adoption of predictive analytics. Finally, as technology delivers greater capabilities, prescriptive analytics is the next frontier.

In a data-first world, you must have a healthy and robust data analytics capability. However robust your analytics, you must keep up with emerging threats and capabilities.

Data analytics, like data, is a strategic asset. But data is only as valuable as your analytics. Soon, businesses will exploit predictive and prescriptive analytics. You should consider adding this to your existing BI capability.

At American Global Logistics, we’ll help you keep pace with the industry’s dynamic changes. We’ll

keep you ahead of your competitors.

If you’re unsure about your next steps, then contact us today. You can’t lose.

Serving Customers with Smart Logistics: It’s All About the Data…

Key takeaways

  • Supply chains run on data, so you must treat data as a critical asset.
  • In a data-first world, you must consider data first before launching an IT initiative.
  • Businesses that failed to pay attention to data upfront have regretted that oversight.
  • Reliable data enhances sound decision-making, whether on-the-spot-or long-term, leads to and cements competitive advantage.

Customer service is the new logistics driver in the New Normal. Customers have changed their buying patterns. They’ve raised their expectations. They want to be in the loop.

As a result, customers are a more integral part of the supply chain than in pre-pandemic times. To provide the service and support your customers demand, you need reliable data.

Logistics technology by itself self is ineffective.

Business processes are the foundation, which technology helps to optimize. That is, technologies enable new business processes. But technologies need accurate, accessible, and clean data.

Simply put, data is critical to your business processes and your technologies. But data is often an overlooked asset. The graveyard of failed IT initiatives is full of projects that did not treat data as a critical asset.

The success of logistics IT projects rests on the viability of their data. Business processes, IT solutions, and data have a symbiotic relationship. To work in harmony, you must consider all three. By heeding data issues upfront, you can ensure your supply chain performs as intended.

The outcome will be a superior supply chain that works when others fail in the face of disruptions. Relegating consideration of data as an afterthought puts your supply chain at risk.

With that background, let’s focus on four critical criteria. They are data integrity, data standardization, data cleanliness, and data security.

You need all four to achieve reliable data you and your customers can count on.

1 – Data Integrity. This refers to data accuracy and consistency. Data integrity is important because supply chains run on data. More and more, the post pandemic world is moving towards a data-first world. That means the flow of goods will follow the flow of data. (Recall, the four flows underpinning logistics are goods, paper, money, and data.)

The pandemic has accelerated technology initiatives. And to have any value they rely on incontestable data. When you have reliable data, you can rest assured data-based decisions are accurate. Decisions informed by accurate data lead to increased effectiveness and efficiency.

2 – Data Standardization. This refers to data formats that are the same. Standardization enables seamless data exchanges across systems and networks.

Furthermore, it provides a Common Data Format by creating a structure for disparate datasets. It enables the “…storage and manipulation of multi-dimensional data sets”. (Wikiwand)

Data exchanges in the New Normal will extend beyond your enterprise across organizations. They will extend to your suppliers, logistics providers, and customers. This benefits all stakeholders.

It does that by facilitating closer collaboration and coordination. With everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to work in tandem towards the same goal.

3 – Data Cleanliness.  This aspect of data is crucial.  It refers to the process… “of fixing or removing incorrect, corrupted, incorrectly formatted, duplicate, or incomplete data within a dataset”. (“Introduction To Data Cleaning | My Master Designer”). Compromised data, on the contrary, leads to flawed decisions.

Dirty data can sabotage lead times and create chaos instead of order. Dirty data can corrupt warehousing, transportation, and real-time visibility. At worst, dirty data can bring your business to its knees.

Your supply chain must be agile and responsive. So, you must ensure data cleanliness at the outset of any IT project.

4 – Data security.  We all should be familiar with this aspect of data. Data security is the… “practice of protecting digital information from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft throughout its entire lifecycle”.

Highlighting the importance of data security, we need only look at the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

Data security can make or break your supply chain. Taken together with business processes and enabling technologies, data represent a force multiplier. It’s the lifeblood that feeds your supply chain. Therefore, your network should be impenetrable with data operating behind a virtual shield of armor.

Given the increased value of data to your business, you must rethink how to secure your data. That should be a proactive event – not a reactive one. Once cyber criminals breach your network, you’re fighting a losing battle.

Data is not something you can improve and fix in an ad hoc manner. Therefore, you must account for data security at the beginning of a project.

Wrapping Up…

In summary, technology is important to today’s supply chain initiatives. However, you cannot afford to overlook data. It’s a critical asset you must consider upfront in all your IT projects.

Relegate consideration of data as a secondary factor at your own risk. Recall, there’s a graveyard full of failed logistics IT projects.

Data reliability is a “must have”. Without it, your business will fail. That’s not subject to debate. Given data’s clear-cut value to any logistics IT project, it only makes sense to treat data as a strategic asset.

Data represent the lifeblood on which your supply chain runs. More important, reliable data will inform daily as well as future business decisions.

Your Next Steps…

Reliable data puts decisions on a firm footing, whether making tactical or strategic decisions. Reliable data will help guide you through the ups and downs of today’s market landscape. You’ll be ready to respond to fluctuations with confidence and conviction as they occur.

That said, tackling logistics IT projects requires meticulous attention to data. That being the case, it’s prudent to find an experienced partner who can help you.

At American Global Logistics, we’re all about data. We understand the value of data. And more important, we understand the value of planning your data needs early and upfront.

Contact us today to learn more. We treat data as a critical asset because it enables smart logistics.

If you want to cement your competitive edge, then contact us today.

The Apparent and Hidden Value of Big Data and Data Analytics

  • Key takeaways

    • Big data and data analytics offer great promise now, in the near future and beyond.
    • Some benefits are obvious others are not – but they’re real and have lasting value.
    • Besides providing insights into improving performance, financials, and customer service, big data and data analytics support innovation.
    • Routinizes data-based decision-making, giving your business a clear competitive edge.

Big Data and Analytics is an emerging technology trend. It’s a growing trend because it generates real value – apparent and hidden.

Big data and analytics are not a panacea. But they can make consequential contributions in the logistics industry.

That is, big data and analytics can address many of the industry’s top challenges. Properly implemented, big data and analytics can be a game changer.

Challenges exist in supply chain visibility, transportation, finance, customer service, and more. More important, big data and analytics provide concrete value, some of it clear and some of it not so clear.

This blog post will look at the value big data and data analytics bring to logistics, transportation, and supply chain management.

Noticeable Value of Data-based Decision making from Big Data and Data Analytics

Data-based decision making is coming to logistics and supply chain management. According to a Forbes article citing an Accenture study, 79 percent of enterprise executives say that not embracing big data will cause companies to lose competitive advantage. Worst case, they will die.

Also, according to Terradata , data analytics can improve efficiency, optimization, and customer satisfaction. Below are benefits of big data and data analytics.

  • Enables precise decision making eliminating guesswork based on assumptions.
  • Reduces waste in daily operations, reducing costs.
  • Enables quicker decision making reducing decision-cycle time.
  • Enables optimized operations through shortened cycle times improving customer service.

The use of real-time data enhances rapid decision making that is becoming a fixture of the New Normal. Customers as well as you will recognize the immediate value of this capability.

All in all, data-based decision making leads to more effective and efficient operations. That will leave your competitors without this capability at a competitive disadvantage.

Noticeable Value of Reduced Disruptions from Big Data and Data Analytics

  • Analysis of real-time data helps prevent, avoid or mitigate supply chain disruptions.
  • Analysis of historical data helps identify alternative responses to past disruptive events.
  • Analysis of relevant data helps promote reliability, seamlessness, predictability.
  • Reduces overall risk posture through improved risk detection and management.
  • Enhanced supply chain risk management – will facilitate greater agility, reliability, and resilience.

This will prepare your business for operating at the highest level. You won’t get waylaid by increased volatility and uncertainty of the New Normal.

Noticeable Value of Financial Benefits from Big Data and Data Analytics

Big data and data analytics applied smartly can reap financial benefits. Here are two key financial benefits you can expect when you embrace big data and data analytics.

  • Operating on data-based decisions results in noticeable cost reduction.
  • Operating on data-based decisions enhance profitability.

Thus, big data and data analytics will strengthen your bottom line. You’ll be able to invest more in your people, plant and equipment, and innovation.

It helps create a virtuous cycle of investing. The more you invest, the more revenues you can earn. The more you can earn, the more you can profit.  The more you can profit, the more you, your employees and you can prosper.

Hidden Value of Savings/Cost Avoidance from Big Data and Data Analytics

Businesses that employ data-driven projects saw profits rise up to 10%. Moreover, these same businesses experienced cost reductions of 10 percent.

Here are some benefits you can expect from implementing big data and analytics.

  • Improved operating tempo resulting in more efficient operations daily, weekly, monthly.
  • Increased reliability, seamlessness, and predictability, over time, will result in tangible financial benefits.
  • Improved bottom line will increase revenues, market share and competitive advantage.

Moreover, hidden from clear view are real benefits. They’re, hidden yet unmistakably there. As you compare year-over-year metrics, the hidden benefits will come to light.

Benefits will accrue from end-to-end visibility, better financial visibility, and other digital transformation efforts.

Hidden Value of Predictive Analytics from Big Data and Data Analytics

To begin with let’s define predictive analytics. It belongs to a branch of advanced analytics that uses historical data to forecast future outcomes. With that below are some key benefits you can expect from predictive analytics.

  • Predict outcomes enabling informed decision making – pivoting from reactive to proactive decision making.
  • Identify root causes of problems enabling quicker, targeted, and lasting solutions.
  • Gain tactical insights that inform current operations.
  • Gain strategic insights that inform future direction.
  • Head off problems… before they occur.
  • Reduce cost and risk.

Predictive analytics can also promote innovation by identifying gaps and opportunities. Innovation can improve business processes. It can enhance sustainability and compliance. And it can find new ways of providing enhanced customer service.

The Promise of Big Data and Data Analytics

It should now be obvious that big data and data analytics offer you a big promise. They offer both clear and hidden benefits. Moreover, these benefits are enduring. They can result in permanent changes that improve operations, finance, customer service, etc.

More specifically, data-based decisions can give your business a clear competitive edge. The value of data-based decision making becomes clear-cut once you drill down beyond the obvious to the hidden benefits.

A solid business intelligence program will put you on the path to competing at a higher level. You’ll be doing business better, faster, cheaper despite increased volatility and uncertainty.

More important, you can further leverage these emerging capabilities. That is, you can further benefit by working with a 3PL who’s familiar with data-based decision making.

At American Global Logistics, we use a mix of technology solutions that benefit our clients. We help our clients get what they need, and we can help you get what you need.

We can help you achieve consequential benefits associated with data-based decision making.

Data-based decision making may be the perfect antidote to operating in today’s New Normal.

Contact us to find out how we can help as you take your next steps into the future of the New Normal.

 

How Technology Improves Customer Experience

The pandemic was a wakeup call. Previous disasters came and went without lasting change for the better. Change that resulted was reflexive and short-sighted – focusing on the immediate problem. So, progress has been slow and incremental.

But that’s changing as reflexive changes of years past won’t work this time. In today’s market, volatility and uncertainty have increased in pace and impact. So, any solution must address that.

They must be swifter and more far-sighted.

Now there’s an increased sense of urgency with more attention paid to consumers and technology. Consumers are more demanding. They’ve changed the way they shop by shopping online. And they’re doing so in growing numbers.

The thrust of this post is as follows:

To compete in today’s highly volatile and competitive markets, businesses that focus on the consumer will enjoy disproportionate benefits. In investing in technology focused on improving performance with the consumer in mind you will yield outsized benefits.

Supply chain performance focused on the consumer experience means improving agility, resilience and service and support.

Let’s delve into how each of these can improve customer experience.

 

Improving Performance Focused on Customer Needs

Agility is all about responding to the situation at hand. Responsiveness to customer needs stems from the ability to respond instantly and automatically to changing dynamics along the supply chain. It begins with planning and ends with satisfaction of customer needs.

Planning for agility considers preventing, avoiding, and eliminating disruptions. Planning for disruptions facilitates responses to interruptions in sourcing, network planning, route adjustments, to name a few.

You can plan for expected disruptions in detail, while unexpected disruptions only lend themselves to high-level planning. Nonetheless, planning is a key element of building agility into your supply chain.

That said, you can further build agility into your supply chain with access to “real-time” data and information. That capability enables you to make decisions “on-the-go”. You can achieve real-time visibility from technologies that offer end-to-end visibility.

You can further achieve ground truth from social media. That can help inform traditional dissemination of breaking news. One example is impending weather events – catastrophic or otherwise. Tapping into a variety of information sources via available technologies can provide a well-informed version of ground truth. This further enhances agility.

But that’s not all.

You can also leverage Big Data and Analytics for strategic and tactical advantage. You can achieve that with periodic reports of daily business operations. And you can employ real-time analytics technologies that synthesize structured and unstructured data providing greater insights.

Existing and emerging technologies meaningfully applied can inform your business decisions with data-based decision making that improves customer service and support. It does so by building agility and resilience into your supply chain.

Resilience is closely related to agility but also differs from it. Resilience means “bouncing back”. It’s kind of a reflexive action. It implies flexibility. In supply chain, it means recovering from a disruptive event and returning to normal operations. Another description of resilience is to view it as a “snap back” from a disruptive to a steady state.

Similar to agility, resilience lends itself to planning. More specifically, it lends itself to detailed, long-term planning. Unlike agility, which applies to short-term dynamics, resilience applies to long-term issues. Again, agility refers to responsiveness, whereas resilience refers to durability.

Nonetheless, a primary advantage of resilience is that you can fortify your supply chain by planning for and building in resilience. You’ll be ready when crisis hits.

Resilience covers expected and unexpected disruptions, low-probability and high-probability events. Planning strategically, allows you to prioritize your risks for the long-term. That enables you to allocate resources based on your constraints.

Technology you can bring to bear in achieving resilience can be found in traditional technologies like TMS and WMS. Moreover, it also affords you the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies like Big Data, Robotics, the Internet of Things, and AI.

Deliberate planning for resilience takes time but has potentially outsized benefits. It allows for considering risks as well as relevant technologies – existing and emerging. As technologies become more sophisticated, so will your solutions.

Planning for resilience reinforces the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Customer Service and Support is where all your efforts and actions come to fruition. If you’ve planned with your customers’ needs in mind from the outset, you’ll have a better than average chance of meeting or exceeding your customers’ demands.

Your customers’ needs should drive the details in your planning and execution. They should inform the streamlining of your business processes. Doing due diligence during planning will aid in reducing and optimizing cycle times.

Next, you would apply technology solutions to enable those reengineered business processes.

Technologies you can apply include:

  • analyzing and optimizing transportation networks with TMS systems
  • up-to-date status messaging, from order-to-delivery
  • ad hoc and deliberate data analytics and reporting
  • timely, accurate, and automated billing
  • E2E visibility
  • the Cloud
  • IoT

Plus, you have other promising technologies like AI and Blockchain.

What’s more, your customers should benefit from cost efficiencies resulting from improved performance effectiveness.

You can also offer different distribution channels to enhance convenience. Examples are direct-to-customer, retail pick-up, and customized time-definite delivery.

The paradigm is shifting putting the customer in control. Paying attention to customer service and support should be a primary planning consideration.

That raises the value and significance of customer service and support. Simply stated, it places customer needs at the forefront in supply chain management.

Think Amazon, which epitomizes the customer experience.

 

Targeting Technology Investments to Build Customer-centric Supply Chains

Achieving an enhanced consumer experience begins with the customer in mind. In today’s world, finding customer-centric solutions must be swift and far-sighted.

Former responses to supply chain crises, which were slow and incremental. Now they are outdated, given today’s chaotic markets and emerging technologies.

Logistics and technology are in a period of transition.

Both are transforming how business gets done. The key to success is having a customer-focus. That customer focus should translate into improved customer experience all along the supply chain.

Technology can be an effective enabler leading to improved customer experience and long-term competitive advantage. But you must align technology solutions with your business processes and focus them on your customer.

Are your logistics technologies focused on improving performance with the customer in mind? If not, do you know how to reverse that?

To get trusted and timely assistance with improving your customers’ experience, contact American Global Logistics!

Work with us if you want to enjoy disproportionate benefits, as you focus on your customers.

When you make your customers number one, they will make you number one.

Contact us today to help you add value for your customers and increase your sales, profits, and competitive advantage.

 

News Update: Momentous Infrastructure Bill Passes in the U.S. Senate

On August 10, 2021, President Biden stated: We’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that… will transform America”. He said that as a polarized Congress passed a momentous infrastructure bill to invest in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

The result is a $1 trillion dollar historic bill that promises to bringing infrastructure and supply chain to the forefront.

After months-long negotiations, Congress passed this bill against the odds and. The bill passed with all Democrats voting for it along with 19 Republicans. The final vote was 69 – 30 with one senator not voting. Hence we have a bipartisan bill that will now go to the House of Representatives for further action.

This bill, while a potentially pivotal achievement, must also pass in the House. And that is far from guaranteed. With that, this post will go over the next steps and the outlook for passage into law. It will also put this bill in perspective and wrap up with how this may shape the New Normal.

Next Steps. To begin with, the House of Representatives is on its summer break.

Representatives won’t return to the chamber until August 25, 2021. But, the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has stated she will not take up the bill immediately.

Rather, she wants to lay the groundwork for a larger $3.5 trillion spending bill. That would address many of the “human” of ‘soft” infrastructure issues progressives want to include that the Senate bill omits.

The Senate bill addresses very little of the “soft” infrastructure investments. Instead, it focuses on traditional infrastructure investments. They include roads and bridges, transit, electrical grid and energy production.

Nonetheless, the Senate bill does include some investments to expand the Internet and clean energy. For example, it makes provision for investment in broadband. And it also addresses “Green” initiatives, such as charging stations for electric vehicles.

Specifically, Speaker Pelosi wants to set the framework for a Reconciliation Bill that skirts the Senate’s filibuster rule. That would open up the path to putting the bill on the floor for a vote.

Further, the Speaker wants to lock future spending down. Reconciliation would allow for funding of the “soft” infrastructure items. Those include items such as childcare, paid family leave, free community college, to name a few.

Democrats, however, can’t agree on how to proceed. Some want to get agreement on a Reconciliation Bill first, others want to address the Senate bill now. Expect delayed action on the infrastructure bill, until Democrats agree on the path ahead.

Outlook for Passage from Bill to Law.  The outlook of a fast, smooth and easy process to passage in the House is unlikely. It faces several obstacles to final passage, but in the end passage may prevail.

Besides making Reconciliation a condition before considering the Senate bill, other hurdles exist. One is the debt limit increase that’s required. Funding the final bill would require raising the existing debt limit. This a major hurdle.

Another hurdle revolves around how to fund the projected “socially-oriented investments. Republicans have made their opposition to unchecked task-and-spend well-known. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who supports infrastructure investments stated: “I believe we need to live within our means.” So, this, too, is a major hurdle.

Another issue is that the current bill leaves some spending decisions to the States. Progressives in Congress want to put restrictions in place to curtail that leeway. They prefer tight restrictions that would stop any dilution of spending on “soft” infrastructure items.

There are more hurdles, but these are the major ones. Regardless, pundits view infrastructure as an historically bipartisan issue, so they believe passage is achievable.

Putting this in Perspective.  Whether the final bill is $1trillion or $3.5 trillion, is unprecedented.  It’s the largest funding for infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration, which oversaw the investment in the nation’s interstate highway system.

It addresses hard-core, big ticket items aimed at boosting the nation’s supply chains. It sets the framework for the New Normal. It does that by addressing weaknesses and deficiencies the pandemic laid bare.

In that regard, this bill sets in motion a strategic effort to redress the gaps and shortcomings in the nation’s supply chains:

  • Dilapidated roads, bridges, and dams.
  • Inefficient transit systems.
  • An overburdened and vulnerable electrical grid.
  • The transition from unsustainable energy sources to clean energy.

All in all, the bill in its current form is a gamechanger. Richard Geddes, Cornell University’s Director of Program in Infrastructure Policy stated this bill is: “…  at least a once-in-a-generation bill.”

The major takeaway from all this activity signals supply chain’s role in the New Normal.

 

The Ascension of Supply Chain Management as a Strategic Asset

The passage of the infrastructure bill in the U.S. Senate demonstrates the ascent of supply chains as a strategic asset. Supply chains affect both the public and private sectors’ competitive advantage.

Yesterday, supply chain issues were relegated to industry trade journals and academia.

Today, you can find stories about supply chain in headline news daily. Resilience, agility, integration/seamlessness are the new watchwords. They’re in the daily news, as they dominate the transition to the New Normal.

The fact is politicians and businesspeople agree tomorrow’s supply chains need a robust supporting infrastructure.

As you’re well aware, getting to passage of this bill was not an easy task. It took many, long hours of negotiation. It took teamwork to find common ground among competing interests. And it took skillful leadership to stitch together this massive bill.

As an innovative 3PL, American Global Logistics can help you transition to the New Normal.

Like the 60 senators who succeeded in passing this gargantuan bill, we will work with you today to achieve long-lasting results.

We accomplish that with a commitment in time to your goals and objectives. And we will help you achieve your goals and objectives with teamwork and skillful leadership.

Contact American Global Logistics today to find out how we can help you keep pace with the future.

 

Logistics Technologies: Five Issues to Consider Before Digitizing Your Supply Chain – Part II

This blog post is a continuation of another post with the same title. That was Part I and this post, obviously, is Part II.

As a reminder, in Part I, we covered these five issues: Change Management, Business Processes vs. IT, ROI & Time to Recover Investment Costs, Integration, and Enterprise vs. Non-Enterprise solutions.

This post will cover training, proprietary solutions, cloud computing, implementation, and cybersecurity.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this post.

  1. Training

Training is another cornerstone of successful implementations. Without comprehensive and detailed planning any implementation will likely fail. So, you should take this seriously. A

critical factor of successful training is to begin the planning of training early in the process.  It should be one of the first steps you take, once you know what your solution will be.

Starting early allows you to identify issues as they arise. It also allows you to make changes – adding or modifying detail as needed. In starting late in the process, you may not have enough resources (personnel, time, and money) to fully address all your training requirements.

Finally, you should do training transparently and collaboratively. You should consult with users early and often – periodically is best. That sets expectations as to the value of training and the value of your stakeholders. The more input you get, the better. That reduces the chances of omitting something critical.

  1. Proprietary vs. Out-of-the box Solutions

This issue is like the one above. Here you need to address whether a customized, proprietary solution is more appropriate. And this consideration applies to all sizes of business; small, medium, and large. So size is not a factor.

Instead, you must determine whether it makes more sense to spend the time, money, and other resources to develop an “in-house” solution. Do the costs outweigh the benefits of an out-of-the- box solution? If so, then an out-of-the-box solution may suffice.

Finding the answer lies in examining your existing business processes. In addition, it calls for a capabilities analysis of the out-of-the-box solution. The analysis of your business processes and the solution will inform your decision.

Most out-of-the-box solutions have gaps between your needs and your desired capabilities. If only a few gaps exist, the question then becomes whether the out-of-the-box solution is “good enough”.

  1. Cloud vs. Internal hosting

Cloud computing is one of those emerging technologies promising to revolutionize supply chains. The allure of cloud computing is appealing, if not enticing.

It’s appealing because it relieves you of the intricate, behind-the-scenes work of ensuring your IT is operational. It’s like outsourcing your logistics operations to a 3PL. It’s complicated, and it’s hard work because it requires constant attention to detail.

So, hosting your programs and data remotely/offsite may make sense.

The primary benefit is that you can concentrate your resources on your core capabilities. You can focus exclusively on delivering relevant and timely products and services.

One downside to not hosting via the cloud is the dilution of your scarce resources. Why do that when you can outsource that function? Another potential downside is security. Given today’s real threat of cyberattacks, that’s a compelling reality you must consider. You might take on a higher risk by maintaining your data and programs on in-house servers. Which is riskier? To address this issue, you must consider total costs. That means including the cost of cybersecurity.

  1. Implementation

This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you put all your planning to the test. Many implementations fail because adequate planning wasn’t done. Implementations also fail, as mentioned previously, because change management was not sufficiently addressed.

Let’s assume neither of these are at issue. You still need to ensure a unified team approach to implementation. That means coordinating and collaborating constantly. It means having situational awareness throughout the process.

Your implementation team, like your supply chain, must be agile. It must be able to pivot on-the-spot to keep everything on track. Implied is the need for solid teamwork and the need for solid leadership.

Leadership during implementations is like an X-factor. It there, it’s present. It’s influential, yet unobtrusive. The main point is leadership must be engaged. It’s a crucial ingredient without which any implementation won’t succeed.

So, successful implementations depend on detailed planning, cohesive teamwork, and engaged leadership.

  1. Cybersecurity

We touched on cybersecurity earlier in considering hosting options. It is evident that companies have not given this issue the attention it deserves. So, you would be well-advised to consider this issue separately. The recent cyber-attacks underscore that point. Whether it’s government-sponsored or rogue cyberhackers, you must address cybersecurity in depth.

If a cyberattack shuts your systems down and compromises your data, you can’t do business. So, it goes without saying, your digitization efforts must address cybersecurity.

The U.S. Government recognizes this new reality and addressed it in its “American Jobs Plan”. The Plan calls for a “Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force” to manage disruptions end-to-end.

So, before digitizing your supply chain, you should take heed of the government’s lead.

Namely, any digitization effort must consider cybersecurity in great depth. In today’s environment, you cannot have digitization without cyber security.

 

Before You Embark on Digitizing Your Supply Chain…

You have many things to consider before launching a technology initiative. Yes, the lure of technology is great, especially in today’s uncertain and volatile times. Often times, tech firms pitch bold promises. They offer hassle-free solutions that deliver speed and ease of use.

But before making the leap, be prudent and check out the landscape – today’s and tomorrow’s.

Doing that entails a good amount of planning and preparation. Here’s the main reason for exercising due diligence. It will give you a decided competitive edge. It will do so, because you will have identified what your automation needs are based on improving your business processes.

Now that you’ve read about these five issues that can affect your technology initiative, consider yourself relatively informed. Let’s set-up a mutually agreed upon time to consider your options – before you lock-in a path ahead.

Contact one of our experts at American Global Logistics today. Or, if you prefer, call 1.404.480.4593 to set up an appointment. Either way, we’re standing by to assist you.

 

Logistics Technologies: Five Issues to Consider Before Digitizing Your Supply Chain – Part I

Logistics technologies (Logtech) are all the rage. They’re today’s answer to tomorrow’s problems. Call it the Logtech moment.

Increased global competition, random cyberattacks, and pandemic-induced disruptions all have hastened the drive for solutions. Now, everyone seems to be rushing headlong to technology for solutions.

That’s clear when you when read the latest headlines about how Logtech has the answer to all the industry’s issues. The promises of Logtech proclaim a connected, streamlined, optimized, zero defects, data-driven, real-time future supply chain.

It almost sounds like a magic bullet.

But is technology a magic bullet? Or is it a sinkhole investment?

As you might surmise, this post suggests technology may not be the panacea it’s advertised to be. At the same time, this post doesn’t discount the value or benefits of Logtech.

Rather it seeks to dig deeper into issues impeding a smooth transition to Logtech. The industry is definitely in a transition to a more digitally driven world. And that’s a good thing.Before buying into those bullish promises, you should be aware of the potential issues, pitfalls, and obstacles. A sober view of the challenges will help set expectations. Doing so prepares you for success rather than disappointment.

Logtech definitely seems to have the capabilities to drive change. More streamlined and efficient operations are not a bridge too far. The promise of improved performance seems attainable. But getting to the Promised Land of a lean, mean supply chain presents many challenges.

Let’s pull back the curtain on these to get a better idea of the challenges involved. Then you can better decide what works for you… and what doesn’t.

 

  1. Change Management

The first issue you must consider in digitizing your supply chain isn’t about technology. It’s about management – change management in particular. Many companies vastly underrate and overlook this aspect of planning a digitization project. And they do so to their detriment.

Change management lays the foundation on which to build change. Yet it’s the number one issue causing IT implementation failures. It prepares employers (users) for impending workplace (organizational) and business (workflow) changes. Yet many companies overlook this crucial step.

Omit this basic step at your risk.

  1. Business Process vs. IT

This comes up as a persistent question when considering supply chain digitization. Some argue business processes take precedence and technology follows. That supports the rationale that technology is an enabler. More recently, along with the surge in digitization, some now claim Logtech takes priority.

Let’s step back for a moment and drill down into this issue.

First, in the greater scheme of things, logistics industry is changing its focus. The industry is becoming more customer focused. As a result, innovative, creative, customer focused solutions call for examining existing business processes.

Thus, discovering improved solutions results from a study of current business processes. With that done, the role of technology is to support those new business processes.

That makes designing, developing and implementing technological solutions easier and more user-friendly. The solution revolves around the business – not the technology.

  1. ROI & Time to Recover Investment Costs

This one seems like a no-brainer. Yet many IT initiatives are undertaken without doing due diligence of total costs. That includes not only ROI but also the recovery of investment costs.

Many implementations litter the graveyard of failed implementations. And the consequences can be disastrous as well as terminal. Some companies recover, but many do not.

So, as you head down the path to digitizing your supply chain, ensure you consider all costs. Specifically, you must consider ROI and the time it takes to achieve profitability. If the numbers don’t support your initiative, there may be other, missed alternatives.

  1. Integration

This is a bugaboo! In digitizing your supply chain, integration must be top of mind. It must be a top criterion you consider before launching a full-blown digitization program.

To determine your integration needs, you must look at re-engineering your business processes. Opportunities for integration will make themselves evident. This process will make clear who needs to share data with whom and when.

Once business processes reveal that, you should check for vertical and horizontal data-sharing. You should look for internal opportunities to share data. And you should also look at opportunities to share data outside your organization.

In the end, you should have robust data flows that support your business processes. To be useful, integration should support frictionless, transparent, and secure data-sharing.

  1. Enterprise vs. Non-Enterprise

Another issue you must consider is whether to use an enterprise solution. If not, then you might decide to take a piecemeal approach to an enterprise solution. That approach can be more costly than tackling the enterprise from the start.

That said, this issue is thornier than that. The real answer is…”it depends”. That might come across as a non-answer but it if you stay with me, you’ll find it’s spot-on.

Your business’ needs should drive the type of IT solution best suited for your business. You might need a total overhaul. Or you might need only a few adjustments.

You can easily answer this question by peeling back your business processes. The answer about enterprise or not will reveal itself. Your particular situation should inform your ultimate decision.

Before You Embark on Digitizing Your Supply Chain…

Be aware technology – Logtech – is coming, and it’s coming fast to the logistics industry. Before jumping headlong into any solution, it’s wise to take a step back and assess your needs. Once you’ve assessed your needs, you can determine the best option(s) for your business.

You should understand the features, the benefits, and the disadvantages. Knowing the full scope of each potential solution will avoid investing in a sinkhole.

Instead, it will improve your chances of success in transitioning to a secure, stable, reliable, proactive operating environment.

It will give you a competitive edge and leave your competitors behind, struggling to catch up.

Unsure about your next steps? Talk to us. Let’s set-up a mutually agreed upon time discuss your next steps. You can call 1.404.480.4593 to set up an appointment.

Or you can contact us here, and we’ll call you.

Either way, take a step in the right direction. Contact one of our experts at American Global Logistics today.

 

Ground Transport: Peering into the Future of the Trucking Industry

The future of trucking is in sight. Call it the New Normal. Call it the Brave New World. Call it what you like. The trucking industry is transforming, and its future is on the horizon.

As you know, the trucking transformation did not begin in 2021. However, it will likely go down as the year transformational trends accelerated.

Trends shaping the trucking industry are infrastructure investment, eCommerce, technology, and sustainability. We discussed some of this in a prior blog post on opportunities in the industry.

Now, we’ll peer into the future to see how trucking will likely change.

 

Future Infrastructure Investment for Efficiency and Competitive Advantage

To no one’s surprise, Congress is still negotiating the infrastructure bill. But, in reading the tea leaves, it appears Congress might send a bill to the President before the summer break. Maybe.

Democrats are under growing pressure to get an infrastructure bill passed. So, there’s hope – but no guarantees.

At issue is the definition of infrastructure. Democrats want to expand the traditional definition to include housing, day care, education for a broader definition. Republicans, meanwhile, want to stick to the less expansive definition we’re all familiar with. That’s the standard definition that includes, roads, bridges, ports, water and power supplies.

Any bill “expansive” or “not-so-expansive” will be long-term in nature. It would have long-term effects shaping the industry’s future. That makes infrastructure investment a potential game changer.

Sticking to the standard, “not-so-expansive”, definition of infrastructure, the industry would see newer and improved roads, bridges, and ports. Improved infrastructure will assist more efficient transportation of goods. It will help reduce delays and wasted time for drivers on the road.

Also, improved traffic management, such as streetlights managed by “smart technologies” will help optimize flows and reduce waiting time. Technology can’t end traffic jams. But it can mitigate them.

Reliability will improve. That will result in improved on-time deliveries, safer road conditions and fewer accidents. That means improved traffic flows on urban roads, highways and at ports/terminals.

New and improved roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and railheads will likely boost efficiency. Higher efficiency should generate economic growth. That, in turn, should increase U.S. and private business competitive advantage. That’s a powerful incentive for infrastructure investment.

 

The Inevitable Rise of eCommerce

Two trends are shaping the rise of e-Commerce today. First, we have increased consumer demand caused by the lockdown. Next, we’re seeing a dramatic and enduring consumer shift to online purchasing.

Those two trends have popularized eCommerce, and they show no signs of waning.

Along with infrastructure improvements, we will likely see an expansion of urban distribution centers. We’re seeing that now. Last September, Prologis built a multi-story warehouse in Seattle, mainly for Amazon. Now, Prologis is building another multistory warehouse in New Your City. That will help improve shipping performance with expedited deliveries.

eCommerce will also attract new entrants to the less-than-truckload (LTL) market. You will see that with more new firms. You will also see big firms like Knight Transportation and DHL enter the market. Knight Transportation just bought out AAA Cooper, an LTL carrier in Alabama on July 5, 2021.(JOC.com)

Another change is the use of crowdsourced delivery. Amazon Flex, Uber and Postmates have already entered this space. This will ease the pressure on the existing driver shortage and capacity availability. Crowd sourced delivery is growing quickly as more companies continue to enter this space.

As shipping volume increases over time, we will see the LTL sector grow. But it will grow in an efficient, effective, and sustainable way. (More on sustainability below.)

 

The Rapid Adoption of Emerging Technologies

The trucking industry will profit by the rise of AI, Robotics, End-to-End visibility, and Big Data and Analytics. Technology won’t replace drivers entirely. But it may ease the persistent driver shortage, as technology matures.

Also, AI will help with improving on-time delivery through “sense and respond” technologies.

That will enable drivers to avoid traffic jams and accidents. Real-time data will be a boon to trucking by promoting agility and resilience. All in all, “sense-and-respond” technologies will introduce must-have flexibility into ground transportation.

But some argue emerging technologies also have an Achilles heel. That is, emerging tech will cut jobs. That’s true, but it will also create new jobs.

For example, AVs will, need assistant drivers to enable manual overrides to avoid accidents. Also, technology will create a demand for software technicians who can fix glitches on-the-spot as needed. So, emerging technologies may eliminate some jobs, but it will also create others.

Besides that, new technologies will lead to more interesting and meaningful jobs. The adoption of technologies, like telematics, will change the nature of driving. That will create a demand for more highly skilled workers.

Technology will also flatten organizations empowering workers while keeping everyone in the enterprise informed. More specifically, technology will drive decisions down to where they should be made. We will witness the empowerment of staff as well as drivers with greater decision-making responsibilities.

New duties and responsibilities and new organizational models require a more sophisticated workforce. Driver shortages should decline as their jobs become more meaningful. And that should improve efficiency and effectiveness.

 

The Global Movement Towards Eco-friendly Sustainability

The trucking industry is not alone in shifting towards “Greener” operations. The Green movement has become a global mandate. That said, trucking companies in the U.S. are embracing that trend from many avenues.

In the future we’ll see more fuel-efficient trucks and more aerodynamically designed trucks.

Improved design will reduce drag and improve efficiency. That will contribute to lowered carbon emissions, improved distribution, and reduced customer wait times.

All in all, sustainability will not only enhance environmental conditions. It will also enhance daily as well as strategic operations. Trucking companies should see increased profits and reduced costs as they enjoy the benefits of optimized networks, better fuel economy, safer trucks, and improved road conditions.

 

The Future of Trucking is Happening Now…

Transformation in the trucking industry is happening now. Of course, it has been in the works, but initiatives have accelerated since the pandemic.

Trucking is adapting and adjusting to those pandemic-induced changes. The industry isn’t standing still. Instead, it is transforming by innovating and developing creative solutions.

As the trucking industry transforms, American Global Logistics is carefully tracking these trends. We’re tracking infrastructure investment, e-Commerce, technology, and sustainability so you don’t have to.

A lot is at stake as the industry recovers from the pandemic. Not sure what to do next?

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take charge of the future. We’d love to discuss your challenges and your opportunities.

Ground Transport: Leverage Today’s Challenges to Realize Tomorrow’s Opportunities

It’s a Brave New World for ground transport. The trucking industry faces many challenges, perhaps more than ever before. But that’s a reason for cautious optimism because those challenges also present opportunities.

By tackling supply chains’ many issues, as a shipper you can update your supply chain for the Brave New World.

Efficient ground transport plays a huge role in keeping supply chains running smoothly. That means preventing or mitigating disruptions and dislocations, while improving service.

Besides that, efficient ground transport includes providing unmatched customer service and support. Lastly, opportunities abound in shift to offering sustainable ground transport solutions.

This post will delve into potential opportunities from the labor shortage. It will also consider emerging technologies and new business practices for opportunities. Finally, this post will address the benefits these opportunities have to offer.

Let’s get started.

 

Solving the Labor Shortage

The labor shortage has affected the trucking industry since 1990. The industry just can’t seem to shake this problem. And the pandemic exacerbated that problem.

The question remains whether the trucking industry can solve this problem… ever?

It turns out, many possible solutions, working together may, however, end the labor shortage.

  • Expanding the Hiring of Women. Trucking is a historically male-dominated business. But, with today’s changing culture where you can work in any field you desire, we will likely see more women in trucking.

Today, women comprise 7% of the driver population. Yet women make up about 51% of the U.S. population. Hiring more women, can make some inroads into the labor shortage.

To that end, the Women in Trucking Association is working to grow women ‘s presence in trucking.

  • Automated Vehicles (AVs). AV driverless trucks are being designed, manufactured, and tested. Over time, driverless can alleviate the driver shortage.

Yet some driverless trucks aren’t completely driverless. Some will require a human driver to override the auto-piloting of a truck as a safety precaution.

In some cases, two assistant drivers are on board. One serves as an assistant driver and the other is a software engineer. The latter is on board to correct any software glitches. But AVs can reduce the need for drivers, especially in convoys with one driver in the lead truck and one at the rear.

  • The Rise of E-Commerce and the Use of Drones. Besides AV systems, drones offer some relief in the last-mile delivery market. Championed by Amazon, drones are growing, becoming a standard mode of delivery.

As drones become more widely adopted, they will improve performance delivery metrics. Also, drones may provide enough relief to mitigate the driver shortage.

In addition to alleviating the driver shortage, technology plays a major role in improving performance

 

Emerging Technologies that Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness

  • Optimized Transportation Networks. One issue foiling a solution to the labor shortage is inefficient transportation operations. As mentioned in a previous post, if each driver drove an extra 12 minutes per day, the driver shortage would end. That’s according to an MIT study. So, incredibly, better transportation management systems can help end the labor shortage.
  • Transparency and End-to-End Visibility (E2E). These have been longtime goals in supply chain management. Now, as a result of the pandemic, more businesses are adopting E2E technologies. The value of adopting this technology lies in the agility it builds into supply chains.

E2E visibility can enable real-time decision-making. That can enable rerouting trucks from traffic jams/accidents. That helps avoid wasted time and late deliveries. And that helps keep a lid on increased costs. In other words, real-time visibility is a definite game changer.

  • The Rise of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing). 3D printing is a new, disruptive technology that’s beginning to make its presence felt. 3D printing capabilities are growing, printing anything from spare parts to pizzas.

This innovation benefits the trucking industry and supply chains by printing items on-demand. That cuts down on ordering, transportation, stockage, and inventorying among other things.

Like E2E visibility, this capability is also a game changer that can curtail the demand for transportation.

 

Adopting New Business Practices that Improve Customer Service

Technology always seems to occupy the spotlight when it comes to innovation. However, business practices drive technology, not the other way around.

  • Changing Supply Chain Business Practices. One change in business practice is the redesigning of transportation networks by improving customer service. The following criteria define that by focusing on (1) reliability, (2) transit time, (3) efficiency, (4) cost and damage minimization.

So, the emphasis of new business practices is changing from cost to quality. Its focus is on providing elevated levels of service with higher quality at reduced cost – in that order. (Freight Management Operations)

These changes should benefit the driver as companies engage in long-term partnerships. Long-term commitments with trucking firms/3PLs can result in more consistent work for drivers.

We also see a rise in government interest in changing supply chain business practices.

 

Government Regulation and Sustainability that Enhances Competitive Advantage

Environmental issues are gaining increased attention by government. The government for its part

has concerned itself with pollution and energy scarcity. That includes: “…climate change, carbon emissions, biodiversity, air and water quality, deforestation, and waste management”. (Sphera

Here are two areas impacting the trucking industry.

  • The Design and Manufacture of Fuel-efficient Engines
  • The Increased Regulatory Emphasis on Alternative Fuels

“Green” initiatives are part of the Brave New World. It’s driving change more and more every day. For example, due to increased government regulation, the industry is now manufacturing Class 8 trucks averaging 10.1 miles per gallon.

In addition to the manufacture of more fuel-efficient engines, retrofitting engines is also becoming popular. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, OEMs can convert engines to use propane, natural gas, or electricity.

Regulation has also led to the creation of alternative fuels. Some examples are biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, and renewable diesel, to name a few.

Besides governmental interest in these initiatives, private companies are moving forward because they see progress on these “Green” issues as a competitive advantage.

 

Competing in an Environment of Increasing Change and Competition

The pandemic has shown the industry is dynamic. Daily operations are anything but static. To survive and profit you must adapt to the cadence of constant change.

You must plan strategically for changing circumstances. Hence, logistics/supply chain management requires a strategic view focused on the long-term.

To succeed in these challenging times, you must look for future opportunities in the Brave New World. The trucking industry, in particular, offers a host of opportunities you can leverage.

At American Global Logistics, we anticipate trends and leverage them for your benefit.

Tracking these trends is a full-time job and takes a long-term commitment. That’s why we pursue long-term partnerships.

If you’re looking for a long-term partner, contact American Global Logistics today.

Contact us today to make an appointment to find out how we can help you benefit from the new opportunities the trucking industry has to offer.