UltraShipTMS (and many of its employees) is native to the New York metro area. We all grew up with Yankees baseball among the constants of life in this part of the world. That is why it was with great sadness that we marked the passing of Yogi Berra, who, like the Yankees and like UltraShipTMS, grew to be more than just a player, a ball club or a TMS provider. Yogi’s homespun way of conveying life’s truths was something people all over the world came to admire. It is in this spirit of admiration that we borrow a handful of Berra’s most beloved malapropisms and apply them to our own industry.
Transport Topics reports cutting edge shippers are mining information about freight delivery and conditions to improve timeliness and quality of their service. Fleet operators are mining equipment maintenance data to detect trends; some even mine data from social media. These early adopters are leaving companies that don’t even have a TMS (or those that have outdated systems) behind. (more…)
Omni-channel retail selling does not involve the same list of considerations as omni-channel fulfillment for logistics planning, but it does correlate. Whenever a truly disruptive business development impacts an entire industry, it is almost certain that there will be ramifications for other industries. In this case, the transformative effect of the internet and ecommerce has radically reshaped the nature of retail and, as such, the nature of supply chain logistics for retail operations. This post puts some definition around omni-channel retail selling and discusses the implications for logistics and transportation management. (more…)
Transportation industry watchers are witnessing a clash of titans as a leading OTR carrier sues a leading provider of transportation management solutions (TMS), claiming that after years of a lengthy and complicated implementation, the logistics IT solution proved to be “virtually useless”. The TMS provider has filed a countersuit claiming “poor planning” on the carrier’s end is to blame for the failure and that the carrier has been making illegal use of their intellectual property. Let’s look beyond the legal posturing to examine the roots of this dispute. (more…)
The Collaborator has been reviewing respected sources of industry analysis to gain perspective on the trends being predicted to materialize in supply chain logistics for 2016. What follows are highlights from the trends reports we’ve read and some analysis of what the trends portend for mid-sized to large-volume shippers in the US. (more…)
191 qualified global logistics practitioners were surveyed in 2015 by American Shipper magazine for their seventh annual benchmark study of transportation management. The report examines the trends impacting how shippers and logistics service providers manage freight transportation processes and the technologies used in support of these processes. The 31 page report was full of valuable insights and is worth reading in its entirety. However, here is a distillation of the best practices for approaching transportation and logistics IT initiatives provided at the conclusion of the report. (more…)
More than a year ago, the Supply Chain Collaborator blog examined the trend toward crowd sourcing and wondered aloud whether an “Uber for commercial shipping” was imminent. In that post which you can re-read here, we took the position that it was highly unlikely to occur given the myriad impediments to effectively developing such a solution. Sixteen months later, a virtual lifetime in the technology realm, the crowd sourcing economy shows no signs of slowing with numerous solutions emerging across a host of industries. Yet, as an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal concludes, we are still nowhere near developing a killer app for crowd sourced commercial shipping. Why?
An article in this week’s Transport Topics detailed the operational challenges facing intermodal shippers in the face of growing economic activity. The double whammy of increasing freight volume and an ongoing, acute driver shortage has driven a boom in the utilization of intermodal truck to train shipping. The article reports that intermodal carriers are having a great year in spite of “an array of operational, financial and technical issues” challenging their ability to handle the growth. The inadequacy/inflexibility of planning strategies and processes is frequently to blame for the inefficiencies identified by intermodal carriers in this article. Here’s some insight into how the struggle is effecting all shippers; but particularly those reliant on imports such as retailers. (more…)
Savvy shippers have been taking the long view in their efforts to overcome what promises to be an ongoing capacity crisis, by investing in private fleet resources. Yes, it is a front-loaded capital expense to purchase equipment and add costs associated with driver training, retention and compensation. However, several pieces of news this week seem to validate the long-term efficacy of this strategy. Follow past the jump for details on why now is a great time to be a private fleet operator.
Benjamin Disraeli said, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” There are some retailers – whose industry is characterized by high volume imports from China and elsewhere – who can vouch for the verity of this statement. They’d be the ones who were able to flex their supply chain and logistics plans to overcome some very challenging obstacles in the last 12 months. The ability of some retailers to modify their transportation programs on the fly, in response to serious external disruptions (i.e. West Coast Port closures) reflects their readiness to grasp a competitive opportunity when it presented itself this year. What are the contours of the opportunity and how were some retailers prepared to seize it while many others weren’t? (more…)