Summer Reading in Logistics

6 Books for Summer 2022 and More…

We’re at the mid-year break for 2022. NW risks and challenges have presented themselves into what’s popularly referred to as the New Normal.

This year we’re recommending six books around the theme of the New Normal. That’s the predominant theme going forward in the logistics industry, and it’s shaping the future. 

The recommended books help define the New Normal in the areas of management, change management, customer service, and support, data-driven decision-making, and the future of the industry.

As with last year’s recommendations, these recommended reads draw from the past and the present. That ensures you have a balanced summer reading plan.

Finally, in keeping the vast distribution of content, this year’s recommendations also offer a variety of related and valuable content. So, you’ll find articles, blog posts, podcasts, and webinars. 

These recommendations are timely, topical, and condensed so that they won’t consume as much of your time. That makes these recommendations valuable as a complement or supplement to the recommended books.

Let’s dive into the recommendations.

Why You Should Read This Book: Peter Drucker is known as the “Father of Management.” So it only makes sense that if you’re going to read anything about management, you might as well read a book by one of the industry’s foremost thought leaders.

Although Peter Drucker passed away in 2005, his works are considered classics. They’re timeless, having as much relevancy today as when he authored his books. That said, Drucker did not author this book. 

Instead, Elisabeth Haas Edersheim wrote this recommendation, whom Drucker gave special access to his files, notes, and works almost 2 years before his death. So her insights and analysis are rare and extremely useful.

This book covers the landscape of management with direct applicability to the New Normal. They include 1) the influence of customers; 2) the impact of innovation; 3) the benefit of long-term partnerships; 4) the value of knowledge workers; 5) the power of breakthrough decision-making.

This book is also an excellent way to overview Drucker’s thinking. After reading this book, you can decide which of his many other books to read based on your needs and interests.

Alternate Recommendation: Drucker on Leadership, by William A. Cohen (304 pages)

Why You Should Read This Book: This book was published on August 24, 2021. So it’s a book with a message that’s arrived just in time. This book applies to organizations as well as individuals. 

This category is called Change Management+ (note the +) because, as stated in the preface of this book, Flux is more than change management. It’s about adapting to change with a Flux mindset. It’s about changing your perspective at the organizational and individual levels to survive.

The main theme of this book is that change and uncertainty are not new. They’ve been with us for a while now. But now, change and uncertainty are happening at a more rapid pace than ever before. 

Thus, we live and work in a state of Flux. And to survive the unending change and uncertainty, we need to adapt. Accordingly, the author, April Rinne, provides 8 superpowers for thriving. She dedicates one chapter to each superpower. 

Knowing and understanding our environment is critical to managing change in a positive and productive manner. This book makes for a good read because its message is timely and positive. That goes a long way in times like these where fear and pessimism seem to prevail.

Alternate Recommendation: Change Management: The Adaptation Advantage by Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley (272 pages)

Why You Should Read This Book: Although this is an older book, published in 1999, its message resonates with today’s priorities and realities of the New Normal. This book reflects IBM’s approach to customer value management. And as the title suggests, IBM views the customer as the most important aspect of a business.

Importantly, this book focuses on how businesses can thrive in changing times. Again, the key to success is to focus on the customer. This thinking puts the customer ahead of profit. So, today’s shift in planning for optimal customer service and support is not new. But it shows the enduring awareness of that tenet. Businesses must embrace that tenet if thriving in an environment of constant change is imperative. 

Themes prevalent in customer-centered enterprises are listening to your customer. Listening to your customer facilitates continuous change. In turn, that approach will lead to increased profitability because you will deliver what the customer wants.

Profitability comes from alignment with your customers’ needs and wants. One indirect effect is that this approach reinforces customer loyalty and reduces attrition. According to a University of Pennsylvania study, a reduction of attrition to 5–10 percent can increase profits from 25 to 75 percent.

Following a customer-centered approach will give your company a competitive advantage, despite today’s uncertain markets. 

Alternate Recommendation: Exceeding Customer Expectations, Kirk Kazanjian (256 pages)

Why You Should Read This Book: Data-driven decision-making is a much-discussed topic nowadays. Talk about that is not new, but now companies are leveraging new technologies that support data-based decision-making.

Several key themes run through this book. Among them are the need for digitization, holistic planning, strategic partnering, and adapting to survive and thrive. So, this book is chock full of useful information, especially concerning today’s market dynamics. It is timely, and it is irrelevant. In fact, it has been called groundbreaking.

Again, the concept of data-driven decision-making is not new. However, what’s new is the accelerated shift to building data-driven digital networks. This is a race for the swift and sure. They are the businesses that will succeed in the New Normal and beyond.

The discussion of company size takes a back seat to adopting data-driven digital networks, irrespective of size. It’s simply the new path ahead for operating in extremely competitive markets.

Better business decisions, informed by data, can deliver tangible results in all aspects of your business. Informed decision-making about investments, human resources, training, procurement, and inventory, to name a few, can cut costs and increase revenues.  

Competing in the future means maximizing a data-based decision-making capability — without exception.

Alternate Recommendation: The One Thing, Gary Keller (240 pages)

Why You Should Read This Book: Published in 2006, this book may seem dated, but its projections address the volatility rampant in today’s markets. He focuses on practical advice, not just prognosticating the future.

Almost like a crystal ball, Canton discusses energy and its tenuous future. Think about the impacts of the Russo-Ukraine war. Canton also discusses the future of the workforce and the strategic drivers of change for businesses. Climate is another major theme, as well as globalization. 

Canton cites these and others while offering a way to position your business for the coming changes. 

Beyond that, he tackles issues affecting America today, such as individual rights, a neutral media, and the looming threat of a growing China.

This is an all-in-one book about the future that informs and fascinates you. Overall, this book has both projections and prescriptions. It also provides insights into future threats.

Alternate Recommendation: The Next Global Stage, by Kenichi Ohamae (312 pages)

Why You Should Read This Book: This book covers many bases. It discusses the future of work, innovation, and adapting to new circumstances. In addressing these themes, Palmer and Blake focus on achieving a competitive edge through learning. 

Reading this book brought back memories of Peter Senge’s book: “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.” While Senge’s book focused on organizations, Palmer and Blake’s focus more on individuals. 

The connection between both books is that you can derive competitive advantage through learning. In today’s increasingly technologically advanced world, technical skills are gaining importance. They can serve as a means of differentiating one business from another in a meaningful way. 

Having a skilled workforce can make up for underemployment, and it can also create a competitive edge. Besides competing for human resources and engaging in smart training, businesses can build a loyal employee base and minimize turnover. 

Understanding the ramifications of the expertise economy can help you build a business positioned to succeed in the future.

Alternate Recommendation: The Future Workplace Experience by Kevin Mulcahy (304 pages)

 

Articles, Blog Posts, Podcasts, and Webinars

If you don’t have time to read a book and would prefer to listen to a podcast or watch a video, here’s a mix of a few select and timely topics for you below.

Sources: Supply Chain Brain Wall Street Journal, Journal of Commerce, InBound Logistics, and Supply Chain Management Review. (Note: Some of these require subscriptions to access.)

 

YouTube Videos

Supply Chain Brain

The Big Logistics Challenges Now and Tomorrow (12:26 minutes)

The Impact of the Baby Formula Shortage, (11:30 minutes)

Data-Driven Predictive Supply Chains, (54:14)

 

Articles, Blog Posts, and Podcasts

Wall Street Journal

Warehousing Giants Are Consolidating in a Shifting Real-Estate Market by Liz Young

Biden Blasts Ocean Carriers as Congress Readies Tougher Shipping Regulations by Paul Berger

 

Journal of Commerce

East Coast’s Busiest Seaport Gets New Leadership as Shipping Challenges Mount by Paul Berger

‘Spillover’ cargo market shows signs of waning by Janet Nodar

Demand for digital truckload spot quotes rises as prices fall, by William B. Cassidy

Red-hot ocean carrier profits face cooling volumes by Greg Knowler

 

Inbound Logistics

Reshoring? Not So Fast, by Keith Biondo

PODCAST 134: Industry Outlook: What investments can draw collaboration from the chaos, Guest: David Ross, Chief Strategy Officer, Ascent

Podcast 133: Sustainability: In today’s business climate, just how sustainable is sustainability? Guest: Jason Traff, Shipwell

 

Supply Chain Management Review

Future-Proofing the Supply Chain in 2022, by S&P Global KY3P®

Are we running into a freight recession? By Dale Rogers, Arizona State University

Supply chains in the age of scarcity by Michael Gravier

 

Reading with a Purpose… and Taking Action

After completing some of these books, articles, etc., consider where your business is in the transition to the New Normal.

  • Is your business scrambling to future-proofing your hiring, employee training, technology, and sustainability? 
  • Is your business surviving the heightened risks facing your supply chain? 
  • Is your business surviving the erratic swings of supply chain processes? 
  • Is your business transitioning to a data-driven enterprise?

Whatever the case, if you’re looking for a partner to help you address your current challenges, look no further than American Global Logistics.

Summertime is a great time to reflect on your path ahead for the rest of the year. As you assess where you are and want to be, why not contact us? We’re standing by ready to assist you in addressing your questions and concerns about your path ahead.