Using Data-Driven Stage Gates to Course Correct in Logistics


A container ship takes a long time to turn. Course corrections and re-routing are common when input data changes. When the staff is confronted with new information from stakeholders at the origin and/or destination, the ship can alter its course to create a better outcome.

The same is true for supply chain logistics. However, course correcting an entire supply chain is more complicated, takes much longer to implement, and involves more people than redirecting a single container ship. But if it can save margin, resources, or even somebody’s job, it’s worth the effort.

The ability to correct the course is available at every stage of operation, even before a deal is signed.

For example, responding to a tender, RFP or bid can be an incredibly expensive process. If data (historical or real-time) clearly shows the viability of the deal, the account owner can make the recommendation to pursue the deal aggressively, or to pass on it altogether.

So why are course corrections in supply chains vastly underutilized? Poor visibility, agility and collaboration.

Improve visibility with the right Process Tools

Supply chains generate more data than almost any other process, yet companies and logistics providers admit they haven’t been able to effectively use the data to make better real-time (or near real-time) decisions to win business, deliver on their promises, and increase margin.

Information silos commonly found within an organization’s sales, production, or distribution departments are a big part of this inefficiency. Emails and phone calls prolong response time and prevent opportunistic action.

Gain top-down visibility into internal processes and external factors.

Lanetix, the most widely used software suite in the logistics industry, has the proper tools to increase visibility through the entire supply chain process, from response to tender to customer lifecycle management. The workflows within the app are designed specifically for the needs of LSPs.

Increased visibility and transparency in the entire logistics workflow is crucial for decision-making intelligence. It helps organizations identify trends as well as efficiency and savings opportunities.

Improve agility with a process-based approach to Customer Engagement

Some logistics providers are still pushing their way through the supply chain process, grabbing margin where they can based solely on what (or who!) they know now and, at times, losing money before they’re even finished with the sales cycle.

Clear processes with appropriate collaboration and approvals at every stage can smooth out a logistics workflow and provide a wider, and potentially longer term, view of the opportunities to correct the course.

This is especially evident with a feature of Lanetix called Stage Gates — milestones that pause a project until the proper approvals and due diligence are in place. At a Stage Gate, logistics providers can analyze the deal and collectively poll dozens of stakeholders involved in the opportunity. Finance can weigh in with their assessment of credit risk. The Asian operations group can offer their insight on resource requirements, costs and their ability to execute.

When properly implemented, Stage Gate processes provide a way for logistics providers to correct their course prior to planning and implementation.

Create a laser-focused workforce by sharing new objectives and goals with your team.

When a member of your team discovers information that, if implemented in real-time, can have a huge effect on your bottom line, you don’t have days to wait for emails and voicemails to be returned. You need to correct the course quickly, with all the proper approvals in place. With Stage Gates, everyone knows what your team member knows immediately, and the rules don’t allow for more action until that piece of information has been addressed.

Imagine a line of cars at a red light. When the light turns green, the first car takes off. If the second car isn’t looking or isn’t aware that it’s time to go, the entire line of cars stalls.

Stage Gates are only one feature of Lanetix, a Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) suite of apps designed specifically for third-party logistics providers to reduce costs, increase revenue, improve service delivery and performance, and reduce time to value.

Contact us to schedule a solution tour to see the rest of the features that make Lanetix a world leader in providing cloud-based CLM solutions for the supply chain logistics industry.


BILL ALDRIDGE

Bill Aldridge, a 30 year veteran in the International supply chain space, has recently launched Allport Cargo Services USA Inc., part of the Cargo Services Group in Hong Kong. Bill started his career on the ocean carrier side of the business with Hapag-Lloyd and American President Lines and later spent five years in Hong Kong leading APL’s consolidation entity, ACS. In 1996, he founded United States Consolidation Ltd. which he sold to Exel/DHL in 2002 and in the past 10 years has held several executive level positions leading the end to end supply products for global forwarders Kuehne + Nagel and CEVA Logistics.