Video: Shelli Austin on Overcoming Logistics & Supply Chain Challenges
At the most recent MercuryGate users conference Shelli Austin, InTek Freight & Logistics President, and Adrian Gonzalez, Founder of Talking Logistics, had an opportunity to talk on a number of logistics and supply chain challenges shippers face in today’s market.
In this interview, Shelli and Anthony discuss how shippers and carriers can and need to work in harmony to get the best logistics and supply chain performance through technology and people.
Below is a quick summary of the interview, but suggest watching the video to hear these two well respected logistics professions cover a lot of ground on the topic of how to find the most freight capacity both today and in the future.
Finding Freight Capacity
Finding reliable freight capacity within budget is a challenge every shipper faces. Some years it is more difficult than others, but the fact is this challenge never disappears entirely.
Companies are constantly looking for more effective and efficient ways to find capacity for their freight and logistics requirements and with today’s logistics and supply chain complexities is why having the best transportation management system (TMS) software package stands in the center of the solution.
Today’s TMS solutions integrate quickly into the various big data platforms that allow its users to tap into current market conditions and help find the trends required to quickly adapt to the ever changing landscape logistics professional require to optimize their logistics and supply chains.
Freight capacity has economic and seasonal patterns that drove particular logistics strategies for freight capacity. The patterns were fairly consistent, which made the logistics playbook fairly easy to navigate in both tight and loose freight capacity markets.
Fast forward to today and we find that while seasonal and economic patterns still exist, there are additional components that need to be included into the capacity equation to ensure best price and service. The new factors include: more frequent and disruptive natural disasters, bankruptcies, trade policies, federal reserve policy and an errant tweet or two.
The newer freight capacity factors have the ability to quickly change the freight landscape in and out of various markets. This “new normal” has driven today’s freight and logistics professional to be more nimble in their decision making process to optimize their company’s cost, capacity and service equation used in determining how they will access freight capacity.
To be successful, logistics professionals need to have the ability through technology to pivot their execution and strategies on a dime to be 10 steps ahead of the competition, so they can optimize what the market conditions give them to work with for their customer and organizational requirements.
The ebbs and flows of all the factors previously outlined has driven the “new normal” on how to drive the best logistics solutions. Stacks of reviewing paper invoices, communicating strictly by phone calls, operating within spreadsheets and internally developed databases has all but disappeared. These old methods of looking at the freight and logistics strategies could not keep up with what is needed today to meet demand and beat out competition.
The capacity options found through a strong TMS using all environmental factors, combined with users that understand how to work with the information is the method today’s professionals use to access freight capacity requirements at the intersection of customer and supplier demand.
Having a great TMS today does not mean the job is done in ensuring the best TMS is in place for tomorrow. It is key to pay attention to outside resources, like the Gartner Magic Quadrant on TMS technology, to continue to evaluate the growing functional capabilities in today’s systems.
The underlying TMS platform needs to be one that allows the logistics team to be focused on broadening its capabilities by bringing in the emerging technologies that push its users toward business intelligence, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
Today’s technologies has put the days of analyzing the past to determine the future in the rear view mirror. Driving a company using the rear view mirror does not give its logistics teams enough time to react against the competition, which is only getting better.
The Wal-Marts and Amazons of the world have changed the world of logistics and supply chains to be more than just a person with a truck. Some of the most cutting edge technologies used by these two companies have nothing to do with the truck, but the information and how to optimize it for a better customer experience.
Logistics and supply chain excellence has changed the winning customer proposition of everyday low pricing to one where the winning formula is delivering the best customer experience on product and price in the most transparent and friction-less environment that cause buyers to be delighted and return for their next purchase.
While technology is the critical enabler in optimizing a shipper’s logistics and supply chain, there is more to the equation companies need to consider. Having the “right” team in place and strong business relationships solidify the effectiveness of the technology to get the most out of the available capacity in the market.
The end goal for those delivering customer delight is having the shipper and carrier succeed together, which requires the human touch to bring in an integrated holistic view of a logistics and supply chain strategy.
So, with all the above in mind, tomorrow’s logistics leaders will be the individuals with an open mind on technology, an eye in the market and the ability to bring these components together to create execution and strategy that continue to push their company’s logistics and supply chains so to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
About InTek Freight & Logistics
InTek Freight & Logistics is where companies come when faced with a freight and logistics problem.
Domestic Freight Services: Intermodal, Truckload, LTL
MercuryGate TMS Platform Integrator
InTek's scalable, TMS cloud platform is easily configured to provide 100% transparency on cost and performance for supply chain excellence.
About Talking Logistics
Talking Logistics is an online video talk show and blog featuring industry expert Adrian Gonzalez interviewing Thought Leaders and Newsmakers in the supply chain and logistics industry. Featured guests include supply chain and logistics executives from leading manufacturing and retail companies, professors from leading academic institutions, executives from third party logistics (3PL) and technology companies, and authors. The show provides supply chain and logistics professionals, as well as students and others interested in the field, with an interactive and engaging platform to learn and network with other practitioners and thought leaders. Talking Logistics is brought to you by Adelante SCM.