Can We Go Back to the Start? – Chris Kane on Distribution

Can We Go Back to the Start?

By Chris Kane | 03/09/2012 | 11:20 AM

If you watched the Grammy Awards this year, you may have seen a rather unusual commercial from Chipotle. The 2-minute spot was the 18-year-old company’s first national ad. Ever. It got its start on YouTube where it currently has more than 5 million views. During the spot, a farmer questions the industrialization of his industry and attempts to return to the simple farming life. He gets a little help from a retailer who has the same notion.

The commercial made we wonder about the business of logistics and if we could rewind the supply chain. With all of our technological advances, our real-time expectations, and just-in-time orders, is it possible? Our manufacturing and distribution models were created to provide better access to the goods we need, but in the chase to be better, faster, and more efficient, did we ever stop to consider if our industry was heading in the right direction?

Maybe going back to the start isn’t realistic for distribution. Customer expectation levels are too high, margins are too small and delivery windows are too narrow. But perhaps the increasing awareness that the supply chain is a vital contributor to the success of a product will allow manufacturers, 3PLs and retailers to work together more closely to create a system that is better for everyone.

The point is clear, but let’s share it again, “the supply chain is a vital contributor to the success of a product will allow manufacturers, 3PLs and retailers to work together more closely to create a system that is better for everyone.”

That philosophy, idea, and mission is what created Global Cargo Manager. Born out of frustration of not being able to access rates instantly and frustrated on how to effectively manage multiple carrier rates and ocean contracts, GCM was created by passionate, every day users who knew what was lacking in logistics process and then filled a niche by addressing the needs listed below, which are common complaints being voiced by all.

Integration: Shipping platform that works for manufacturers, retailers, 3PL’s and Agents, that can be incorporated into all TMS systems using an API connection.

Process Simplification: Integration of Import/Export process, while integrating Ocean, Air, Drayage, LTL and Parcel shipping modalities in a user-friendly visible global platform from the moment of pick up to delivery.

Costing Complexity: The ability to visibly cost compare rates side by side and rate multiple shipping modalities allowing the user to choose the most cost-effective modality in seconds.

Contract Negotiations: No pressure, No cost, No contract, No user fees. Opening the door of opportunity for all size businesses to establish a foundation for success, re-defining the process from the traditional sign-on the dotted line approach. Logistics Simplified.

Lack of Experienced Support: 1-800- aspect of support is inconsistent and often is lacking in knowledge, experience, caring and concern. No system, idea, or concept can work effectively without user training, an experienced support team, and continued educational outreach based upon the fluctuating and changing needs of business.

Our goal is to create a core environment where everyone thrives.
By establishing mutually beneficial relationships and working together as partners,
opportunities grow and creativity flourishes. Success can be the only the outcome.

Posted in Weekly Blog- Best Practices

Cultivating Trust and Collaboration

7 Questions on HOW to take Trust to the Next Level

By: Sonia Di Maulo

Microsoft has a Trust Center… shouldn’t we have one too? What services would a Trust Center for people have? Wouldn’t it be great if we could control what people say and do to facilitate the trusting process? What about controlling which people approach us or what locations we visit to allow a constant state of trust? A Utopian ideal?

Trust equals Security… At least that is the case at the Trust Centers within Microsoft’s various 2007 Office applications.  Microsoft’s welcome message explains… ” The Trust Center is where you can find security and privacy settings…”. Here I can make decisions about if I trust and whom I trust.

Here’s my take on how to take Microsoft’s Trust Center to the next level; it’s not about if you trust, it’s about how you trust! Being a control freak could have it’s benefits if you want to live in a bubble… realistically speaking we need to step up our level of awareness and look at trust in a new light.

Here are seven questions to get us started. Ask yourself:

  1. HOW can I get people to trust me more?
  2. HOW can I show others that I trust them? What actions would enable a stronger connection? Stronger collaboration?
  3. HOW can I get people to trust each other? What could I say and do?
  4. HOW can I look at my work, home, or community environments to better identify where the lack of trust impacts the relationships?
  5. HOW can I say things that will bring people on my team? HOW can I act?
  6. HOW do I interpret actions and words? Does this allow me to facilitate/block trust?

Looking at the HOW has it’s benefits! Here’s a great example and a true story…

Getting to Dubai on Trust and Collaboration

In March I flew to Dubai to facilitate a 5-day workshop on presentation skills and instructional techniques for Emirates trainers. The workshop was a huge success and the experience we created was exceptional.  That was the easy part!  Getting to Dubai called for me to look at how to trust and not if to trust. That was the hard part!

Two days before my departure, I still did not have tickets or a visa. Finally with paperwork in order, I did not realize that this was only the start of the ordeal. On the day of departure, a snowstorm on the east coast cancelled my flight to New York.  I called my client in Dubai… they were on it.  I emailed my contact in Montreal and Geneva, they were on it.  No flights out!

How can I stay positive and make this trip a success? How can I trust the airline industry to get me to Dubai to do what I do?

With a new flight through London for later that day, I thought the worst had passed!  Little did I know that the worst was yet to come! Additional flight delays on my new flight meant I would not make the connection in London to Dubai. Back on the phone… at this point everyone had gone home for the day.

I kept telling myself, it’s not about if, it’s about how.
How can I get the check-in agent to trust me and this story? How can I explain this calmly and respectfully (understanding her perspective) so that she gets me out on a flight and checks my bags through to final destination (even without a confirmed flight out of London to Dubai)?

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, I decided to give it a try! I put my faith in the system and it’s people.  I explained my situation… and managed to get on the only flight out to London and the amazing attendant also checked my baggage through to my final destination!  Being calm, confident and respectful, instead of frustrated and desperate helped!

The situation was scary for about an hour… What got me through was my focus on the how!

A simple shift in perspective allowed me to see things from their perspective… this helped me to create a bridge from my frustration/stress/anger to a place where I could cultivate trust and collaboration.  The team effort, emails, phone calls, respectful conversations, and focus on trust got me to Dubai!  Of course Air Canada, Emirates, and IATA staff helped!

What About You?

  • Can you think of an event where your focus on the if caused the situation to go from bad to awful?
  • How could these seven questions have helped you be successful?
  • What situations are you in where trust in the team is the only way to success?
  • How can these seven simple questions help you cultivate trust and collaboration in your workplace?

How can cultivating trust and collaboration be applied within your daily logistics processes?

Do you think an attitude based on trust and collaboration would change the way you feel about the shipping process? It takes a process involving many different people to get a shipment from A to B, and we all have to be accountable to our part in that process. Do you trust the process? Do you trust who you are working with? Do you feel that the daily processes of quoting, scheduling and shipping would become more manageable and easier  by creating relationships that are built on trust and collaboration? Trusting allows for a bigger picture to present itself during a stressful situation.  As Sonia pointed out, “Being calm, confident and respectful, instead of frustrated and desperate helped! The situation was scary for about an hour… What got me through was my focus on the how!”

People tend to hit the panic button first, and often don’t focus on the solution which can  aggravate and add more stress to the situation. It is in these moments that a relationship can be moved to a deeper level of collaboration and trust, ultimately realizing that our goals are the same, we are playing for the same team; trusting in those elements will establish and create a foundation for success.

Keeping a focus on trusting who you are working with will spur creative collaborative solutions in which everyone will benefit; these elements ARE essential for success.

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How to create a collaborative logistics network that works for you


The Logistics Industry is traditionally defined by a rigid system defined by  complicated rate structures, rules and tariffs, then add into it the all to common scenarios of unforeseen complications, additional charges and issues that come up while moving freight from point A to point B. Commonly shippers don’t feel that they have any control of the process and are at the whim of the logistics industry, freight carriers and the immediate needs of their customer. The industry has severely outdated practices, methods, archaic policies and procedures that are time-consuming and often complex to understand. A recent blog post has called attention the complexity Ocean contract management, just to name one area that presents its own unique set of challenges.

How can you re-define your daily methods and practices to create a flexible, proactive logistics structure that is collaborative, flexible and responsive to your needs, while extending your global reach? Outlined below are a few basic elements that are essential to create a collaborative logistics network that empowers your business.

Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.

Simplified: In a world that “clicks” to make things happen and wants it now, a collaborative logistics network will start with a shipping platform that is simple, easy to use, allows you to quote, book and ship all size freight and modalities in seconds offering US and International carrier representation and multi-modal shipping options. This type of foundation is THE future of freight efficiency. It will support you in getting your product from A to B worldwide instantly. It will create immediate value by taking the complexities out of shipment planning, costing, scheduling and booking processes.

Implementation & Accessibility: Can you implement it without expensive software to purchase or download? Can it easily be incorporated with all major TMS systems? Can you implement into your business without long training sessions and studying a training manuals? Is it a web-platform based secure platform providing you 24 hour access from any computer and a cell phone?

Solution Oriented: For every seeming problem, there is a solution.  A collaborative logistics network will be solution oriented expanding your transportation options which will allow to you to network carriers, rates and modalities in one place and offer worldwide options. Effective solutions are not solutions if you are waiting for quotes to be returned. Waiting does not just take time, is causes stress, it costs money and keeps you away from the things that matter. Instant solutions that offer a fully visible presentation, are easy to understand and incorporate into your structure will allow you to quickly choose the most cost-effective solution to satisfy your needs AND your customers needs the moment that you need them.

Supportive: As grandma used to say, you get what you pay for! In this age of technology the package may be dressed-up with a pretty little bow, but how does it support you in time of urgency? This is where the rubber meets the road. When you have an issue do you get the run-around or the same old line, or a representative who started 3 weeks ago and has no clue how to handle your issue or a representative that frankly doesn’t care one bit about your shipment issue. Does the solution offered meet the needs of the situation? How long does it take to resolve a situation? How are claims and damages handled? Are you on your own to maneuver through the claim process or is there an educated team of people who know how to deal with claims so that you don’t have to take time away from your business to deal with red tape.

Education & Training: Staff come and go, personnel transfer, business expands, and needs constantly change. Are you proactively supported and offered education and training when you need it without additional costs? Are you supported by a monthly newsletter and regular communications offering you best practices, shipping tips and ways to save you money and time?

The goal is to be empowered by the logistics process by creating a collaborative logistics network that integrates all freight shipping modalities in one place so that they collaboratively work together and empower and grow your business.

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Supply Chain, Shipping Strategy & Performance

How is your supply chain performing? If you are reading this article I have a notion that there may be some areas that you might not be completely happy with. Is your supply chain healthy, productive, does it offer domestic and international shipping options that can grow and expand with your transportation needs? Or is it not producing the results you want, sickly in some areas and performing perfectly in other areas? Accounting for all of the outside factors that influence the supply chain; International and National Freight Carriers, Rate Negotiations, rising fuel costs, and then account for the many shipping modalities that the supply chain needs to incorporate within it, it is no wonder that assessing supply chain performance can seem like you are the main chef creating a dinner at the White House; too many cooks in the kitchen with many different agendas and roles to play.

How do you get from point A to point B? Segment the assessment process by starting with your supply chain strategy first and then move onto a performance assessment. The supply chain strategy self test is a valuable tool that will point you in the right direction of where your supply chain is, and easily allow you to decide where improvements can be made. The information below is an excerpt from the article,” Developing a Supply Chain Strategy for the Years Ahead.”

Figure 1: Elements of a Supply Chain Strategy
As with any strategy, a supply chain strategy must analyze all of the inputs above, determine the critical issues to address, define a strategy to deal with these critical issues, and then identify a set of action plans to develop new and enhanced capabilities.

How Good is Your Supply Chain Strategy? A Self-Test
This self-test is included to help you assess the sufficiency of your supply chain strategy.

Question

Rating from 1 to 10
1= Not Done
10= World Class

(Note, if you do not know what “world class” is, the maximum rating should be “5”.)

1. Do you know what your customers will need in the future, and have you translated the future needs of your customers into supply chain requirements?
2. Have you completed a SWOT assessment for your supply chain, comparing your capabilities versus best-in-class?
3. Have you assessed the external environment,   including the supply chain mega trends and how they may impact you? (Assuming you have identified the supply chain megatrends?)
4. Have you analyzed the supply chains of your major competitors?
5. Have you evaluated the future technology environment for your supply chain?
6. Have you prioritized the risks associated with your supply chain, and do you have a risk mitigation plan in place to deal with the highest priority risks?
7. Have you assessed the global requirements of your supply chain? Have you identified the supply chain issues in each country you will do business in?
8. Do you have in place a three-year or longer roadmap of supply chain initiatives driven by a strategic plan?
9. Are the initiatives prioritized and project-managed in a disciplined way such that they are delivered on time, on budget, and on benefit?
10. Do you completely update the strategy at least every three years?
11. Are you delivering world-class results in cost reduction, working capital management, and product availability that are best in class?

Table1-2: Supply Chain Strategy Evaluation Scoring: If you scored 85- 110 points, congratulations. You have the foundation of an excellent strategic planning process. If you scored 70-85 points, you have the foundation of a good strategy process. If you scored below 70 points, you have much work to do to develop and implement a supply chain strategy process. 

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LTL’s are feeling pressure from freight brokerages

http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/ltls_are_feeling_pressure_from_freight_brokerages

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 24, 2012

While the less-than-truckload (LTL) marketplace pales compared to truckload in terms of market share, it remains an important sector on myriad fronts.

And with so many more active players than its truckload brethren, it also is marketplace that has more than its fair share of challenges, too. And one of these challenges is the pressure LTL’s are facing from truck brokerages, of which there are many.

I am not telling you anything you don’t already know in that regard. But I do hear from LTL carriers on a pretty regular basis that they are feeling the heat from the truck brokerage side.

Earlier today, an LTL sales executive told me that there is a significant influx of truck brokerage players that are active in the LTL market, which is reducing margins for carriers that are “struggling for pennies.” What’s more, the LTL executive said it is fair to estimate that brokers are selling 25 percent of total LTL loads today and that figure is rising.

The proliferation of brokerages on the LTL side, according to the executive, has more to do with a slow economy and overcapacity.

“The poor economy drives customers to seek cheaper rates,” he said, “and overcapacity drives carriers to offer lower rates to fill capacity. Those two things together put the third party in the middle, and third parties are doing an effective job of making our money their money. We are allowing them to do that as a collective carrier group.”

When asked about the disparity between what an LTL carrier receives for a load compare to what a broker receives for a load, the executive said that publicly traded LTL carrier operating margins are in the low 100s range, while on the transactional side brokerages had margins that averaged 12 percent.

This, he said, gives an indication that carriers are more and more buying into broker’s cheap rates in order to get volume, with brokers subsequently marking those rates up to shippers.

“3PLs/brokerages get paid, because they bring these TMS (transportation management systems) in and consolidate the look of all the carriers—LTL and truckload alike—that a small shipper would use and it appears to be more efficient from for a shipper,” he said. “It may be, and that is an advantage they have over us as carriers, because we are such a fractured industry and that makes us vulnerable.”

A 3PL executive with an active trucking brokerage told the LTL executive that 50 percent of LTL company revenues that offers better margins to carriers, meaning that half of the business represents variable costs—or the costs of doing business.

The other half, of course, represents profits, much of which comes from smaller customers that often do not have contractual—or lower rates—than larger shippers with more freight to haul. Subsequently, this is a major driver in small shippers turning to brokers to find cheaper loads.

“What this indicates to me is that smaller shippers are targeting securing loads more through brokerages and more third parties are going to ‘commoditize’ LTL, and LTLs will really be working for third parties in the future, as opposed to being an independent industry as they are today,” said the LTL executive.

This current situation makes for a very interesting dynamic in that when looking at various utilities and services that have been deregulated—like airlines—and the fallout, with many airlines either leaving the industry or going bankrupt.

Our conversation changed course a bit when I noted that it seems apparent that LTLs have much better pricing power now than they did back in 2009, when many chased volume in exchange for lower rates—a strategy that was not viewed as a success and saw many shippers turning to brokerages in search of even lower rates. And I asked if this made for an exasperating situation for LTL carriers.

Here is his answer: “Yes. It was because our industry has no response to it, and we are sitting there watching it happen before our eyes. It was like watching a river overflow and not being able to do anything about it.”

And while using truck brokerages appeals to shippers’ high-level executives, LTL carriers tend to deal more with traffic managers and people in similar positions whose bonuses and evaluations are based to a degree on discounts.

Brokerages, he said, are rolling out TMS and audit pay features in conjunction with low rates, which appeals to shippers. This, in turn, leaves carriers defenseless to an extent, as they don’t have things like TMS which pulls all modes together, and they also have to remain separate as an industry for many reasons, with antitrust being the biggest, according to the LTL executive.

“We cannot talk pricing together with other LTLs but you have brokers using other brokers about pricing when they find a customer that can fit the carrier program and can save money,” he said. “Brokers selling down to other brokers is happening all the time. And when you Google ‘cheap LTL rates’ it opens up a whole different world for LTL.

Image

 Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “Freight carriers are struggling for pennies?” Post your comments below and share your thoughts.

 

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The Real Cost of Trucking – Per Mile Operating Cost of a Commercial Truck

Cost of Trucking Per Mile

Trucking Infographics by TruckersReport

 

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Shippers to 3PLs: give us more! 3PLs to shippers: then open the door! – DC Velocity

Shippers to 3PLs: give us more! 3PLs to shippers: then open the door! – DC Velocity.

http://www.dcvelocity.com/authors/Mark_B_Solomon/

To hear shippers tell it, third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) need to come to the table with fresh and innovative ideas they could proactively implement to improve service levels, response times, and overall efficiencies.

To hear third-party logistics providers tell it, shippers need to open their upstream organizational channels so 3PLs can glean the strategic intelligence they need to proactively implement fresh and innovative ideas.

It’s the logistics world’s version of “cognitive dissonance.” And while it hasn’t kept freight from moving, it has become a source of frustration on both sides.

In the 2010 edition of the annual “Third Party Logistics Study” by the noted academic C. John Langley Jr. with Capgemini Consulting, the Swiss 3PL Panalpina, and the U.K. publication eyefortransport, only 68 percent of shippers surveyed said their 3PL partners were delivering “new and innovative ways” to improve logistics effectiveness. By contrast, 95 percent of 3PLs said they were bringing new ideas to the shipper relationship. Despite the apparent disconnect, nearly 90 percent of shippers said they were generally happy with their 3PL relationships.

Two years later, some shippers say little has changed. Speaking on a panel earlier this month at the Georgia Logistics Summit in Atlanta, Mark Holifield, The Home Depot Inc.’s senior vice president, global supply chain, declared that 3PLs “need to rise to the challenge to bring real value and solutions” to shippers.

Holifield is not alone in that assessment. An executive of a large consumer products manufacturer, who asked not to be identified, said at the conference, “we’re looking to 3PLs to bring new ideas to the relationship. But innovation has been lacking from the 3PL space.”

Both executives said they take pains to bring their 3PLs into the strategic loop. The consumer products executive said the company’s senior management meets regularly with high-level 3PL counterparts and provides a 23-point checklist that outlines its strategy for its 3PL partners. Holifield said Home Depot annually holds two-day meetings with its leading 3PL partners to discuss strategy and execution.

A different view

Not surprisingly, 3PLs take a different view. In a white paper issued late last year, Scranton, Pa.-based Kane is Able Inc. said 3PLs understand the consequences of broad strategic decisions because of their experience working in and around the customer’s business, yet shippers don’t capitalize on the insights the providers can offer. Shippers “often don’t leverage this understanding, and limit 3PL involvement to execution, not problem solving,” according to the Kane paper.

The paper cited an example of a large consumer goods company that designed a point-of-purchase display that initially took 28 hours to assemble and was inefficient to ship. The firm’s 3PL—which the paper did not identify—then suggested changes that would cut assembly times in half and would improve the truck loading process for better cube utilization, all the while preserving the basic look of the display.

The changes, which were adopted, saved the shipper hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the paper. “But these dollars could have been saved from the outset with a zero investment by inviting a 3PL representative to participate in early-stage meetings,” the paper said.

The solution, according to the Kane paper, lies in more widespread implementation of the “vested outsourcing” model developed several years ago by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Executive Education. Under the model, a contract between a shipper and service provider is structured to clearly articulate the relationship’s objectives and the mutual rewards for achieving them. The goal is to give the provider the freedom to determine the best way to solve the customer’s problems. To do that, the shipper must invite the 3PL to embed one or more of its employees at a customer’s designated site.

“An onsite relationship manager ‘embedded’ within the client is a good start for building a stronger relationship and can lead to better results from the 3PL,” supply chain guru Kate Vitasek, a major proponent of the vested outsourcing concept, said in the Kane white paper. “There’s a fear factor that must be overcome in relation to sharing forward-looking plans. But companies that have invested to become more strategically and structurally aligned with their partners are seeing the benefits of that investment.”

Roadblocks to change

Shippers may say they want their 3PLs to offer innovative solutions, but as David Howland, vice president of land transport services for APL Logistics, has seen, the shipper’s own organization often resists the kinds of changes 3PLs propose.

Howland once suggested to a customer, a U.S.-based manufacturer, that it could save about $300 per southbound container by utilizing a new route that linked Los Angeles and Mexico City through Mexicali, located near the U.S. border and a relatively short hop from Mexico’s capital. No longer would the customer need to use the traditional southbound gateway of Laredo, Texas, which would require a circuitous move east before heading into Mexico.

But Howland ran into a roadblock trying to convince the shipper’s Mexican employees to execute the strategy because it resulted in a change in the way traffic would be cleared and handled once it entered Mexico. After much back and forth, he brokered a deal where the two geographies would split the $300-per-container savings.

Howland said APL Logistics’ strategy could have been implemented more quickly and cleanly if he could have proposed it to the customer’s top executives instead of going through the shipping department. And it is not an isolated case, he said. Many traffic departments are resistant to change because it could impact their jobs and, in Howland’s words, “disrupt their world.”

In an e-mail to DCVELOCITY, Howland said, “we had to find a way to break through their current thinking to find a way to satisfy all parties.” At some shippers, he added, “there is a layer of protectionism of a group, department, or individual that keeps you from getting to what would ultimately be a better solution for the customer, and you have to keep working to find a way around or through that roadblock to success.”

Third-party logistics executives know that when it comes to this issue, they need to tread lightly for fear of angering the customers that are their bread and butter. “Why would I question the customer’s motives?” asked Jim Butts, senior vice president of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., a major 3PL. “Our customers are really smart and they make rational decisions. We have to assume that what they do in this area is a rational decision.”

Butts surmises that shippers may not want to let 3PLs get too close out of concern that they will lose the objectivity that comes with being a third party. He also said that the reason may be as basic as “us not being welcome in someone else’s organization, because it is someone else’s organization.”

Still, Butts doesn’t believe 3PLs like C.H. Robinson are cast out in the wilderness with virtually no visibility into the strategies of their customers. “I don’t think we are on the outside looking in,” he said.

What are your thoughts and insight? What new innovations in the logistics industry in the last 5 years has impacted your daily shipping practices and management of your freight?

Unlocking the Logistics puzzle will be imperative for future success to eliminate waste while increasing operating efficiency for all its users.

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Are off-line TMS systems capturing all accessorials?

USF announced on Thursday a new accessorial charge for High Cost delivery points. Good news is they confirmed that the charges will show up in their website rating as well as incorporated into their API. The concern for those using off-line TMS systems is if this charge is included in your rate quoting? The carrier’s have every right to add this service charge since the expense to deliver to these areas are higher and the cost of $29 minimum and $83 maximum can eat into profit margins of the shipper and must be accounted for at time of quoting. I would suggest that if you are using an off-line TMS system, double check with your provider to insure these additional service fees are being accounted for.

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A Lost Art? – Inbound Logistics

Strength of will. Toughness. The refusal to be deterred from the goal no matter what impediments stand in the way. Do we have much of that in our culture today? In our leaders? In our own businesses?

Retracing the Trails of the Iron Horse takes us back to a simpler time in America’s past, where strength of will, toughness, and an indomitable drive to succeed helped create a fundamental part of the transportation network that fuels much of our economic success today. The underpinning of that effort more than 150 years ago was a concept called Manifest Destiny—”to overspread and possess the whole of the continent for the development of our great experiment in liberty and self-government.” That call motivated strong-willed people to create pathways of commerce and growth where none existed before. Sadly, that concept has fallen out of favor in some quarters these days.

Is it just the varnish of history that makes the past seem so different from today? Or have we truly lost something in the intervening years that could drive us to a fuller measure of economic success?

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell seems to think so. “Policy-makers in Washington need to make smart infrastructure investments a priority because if we don’t, we will only fall further behind the rest of the world,” he said in a recent speech. He was specifically referring to a World Economic Forum report that concluded, among other troubling findings, that while the United States is the number-one global economic market, it ranks 23rd in port infrastructure behind countries such as Namibia, Barbados, and Estonia.

And as the article TIGER Grants: Road Work Ahead? illustrates, we continue to spend plenty of our future generations’ yet-unearned treasure on bike paths and lightly used light-rail projects. Add road, rail, and bridge infrastructure needs to the mix, and it is clear we need a better transportation vision and the fortitude to make it real.

Some modern industry leaders have exhibited the toughness and vision to accomplish much from little or nothing. The late Don Schneider of Schneider Trucking and Pat Quinn of U.S. Xpress are two who come to mind. And there are many others in transportation and logistics, unseen and unsung, facing the seemingly endless series of challenges and impediments required to get product to the demand point as seamlessly, quickly, and efficiently as possible.

Who are they? Look in the mirror. You, and others like you, take a never- ending stream of variables and integrate them like Tinkertoys, crafting them into a thing of beauty, answering the call, the need, and the demands of millions of customers around the globe one billion times each day. Tough, practical, unfazed by the specter of supply chain failure—that is the mark of today’s supply chain professionals.

Refusing to be deterred from the goal no matter what impediments stand in your way? Yes, we do have some of that in our culture today. But we need more of it.

“Tough, Practical, unfazed and the refusal to be deterred from the goal no matter what impediments stand in the way.”  This serves as a great reminder of what continues to passionately move us onward and upward everyday. By continually striving to push the boundaries of innovation and by establishing  a consistent stream of contact with our clients throughout the entire shipping process, as we collaborate together,  we can create a scenario which allows our client base to achieve their customer service goals and cost objectives during each shipment transaction.

globalcargomanager.com Worldwide Transportation Shipping Platform combines  innovation and superior technology that will streamline your shipping process instantly by offering a centralized platform to obtain multi-modal shipping rates instantly.  Rate compare, quote, ship, book , track and audit with full visibility in seconds: Ocean, FCL, LCL, Air, Drayage, LTL and Parcel. Download our brochure here: Global Cargo Manager Worldwide Shipping Platform Brochure

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THE Logistics Bucket List – The Essential Guide to Logistics Success

Have your assessed what your logistics strategy and goals are for this year? Taking time out to address the key areas for improvement will guide you to choosing options that best will suit your needs.

THE Logistics Bucket List – The Essential  guide to Logistics Success

  1. Instant Rate Quoting: Quoting, Booking and Scheduling – International & Domestic
  2. Global Shipping Platform (TMS): Transportation Management System Platform which offers   Multimodal shipping options from one centralized platform Import/ Export, Ocean Containers, Drayage, Air, Parcel, LTL.
  3. Rate Management/Carrier Options: Technology superior platform which manages a portfolio of carrier options and services which effectively manages carrier rates and negotiations with the ability to incorporate your rates within the platform and the technology to connect with API options, and offer white label options.
  4. Visibility, Auditing, Tracking: Get answers in real-time when you need them with instant accessibility on-screen options to visually track, audit and offer proof of delivery images instantly on-screen.
  5. Support: Align yourself with an experienced and knowledgable team which supports you by offering your staff training, support and educational classes and material which supports your team and will adapt to your changing logistics needs in the future.
  6. Leadership: Collaborate with a Logistics provider that can take a leadership role within your logistics structure and work effectively with your co-workers, management team and vendor partners.
  7. Innovation: Work with a trend setting company who is creative and innovative and has a vision to incorporate new ways to serve clients by thinking outside the logistics box and who is continually adapting and incorporating new services and options and forward thinking to continually improve supply chain proficiency.
  8. Experience & Trust: Work with someone who has a proven, successful, long-term established record and presence within the logistics industry.  Build a relationship within someone who is and cares about making an impact within the industry and their client base. Do research and get background information before establishing a new logistics relationship.
  9. Proactive Collaboration: When working with a representative teach, share and allow them to know your business as you do. Give them a phone list and email list to your key personnel and vendor partners so that in the event something goes awry, they can proactively handle situations. Trust them to become your partner and allow them to be closely involved with how to proactively handle issues and deal with urgent situations and changing circumstances.
  10.  Passion: Work with a provider and or agent who is passionate about what they do. Are they willing, able and ready to manage your freight as if it were their own? Are they going to be accountable?  Are they passionate about your level of satisfaction and do they have a willingness and vision to offer new service options and tools that will grow your company in the future that will continue to streamline your logistics structure?

The building blocks of a strong logistics program are essential in having the competitive edge within your marketplace today, and one that will grow and adapt with your changing needs and the global market place and the worlds ever-changing economic conditions. It is essential that your logistics foundation is one that offers superior technology, proactive account representation, cost-effective global and domestic multi-modal shipping options and a passion and dedication to your company’s future success.

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