The Day Information Became More Valuable Than Assets and Infrastructure

The ocean carrier industry has changed dramatically over a short period of time. No, the ocean did not notice??

But many people did—particularly, the customers of ocean carriers and as a result, the customers of 3PLs.

For many years, the customer wanted to know: What’s the size of the ship? What is your transit time between point A + B? Where is my container?

During this time, the carriers were focused on lowering their operating costs (gray ships, terminals, equipment etc.) while at the same time trying to create differentiation, however, in the end — if you were cheaper, had the equipment and met the required delivery date (RDD) you got the business.

The New IT: “Innovation Technology” as a Key Differentiator

IT has changed dramatically over the past few years. Not too long ago, Information Technology departments were cost centers and its functions were limited to:

  • Capturing information
  • Reporting information
  • Administrative and desktop support

Nowadays, IT stands for “innovation technology” because it has become a strategic differentiator for businesses.

What this means is that successful LSPs are using their IT department as a core component of their services. Continue reading The New

How Solution Design Impacts Margin, Productivity and Morale

Name an area of logistics that directly impacts the profit margin, productivity and the morale of your sales and account management teams. If you said solution design, you’re on the right track.

Solution design is what sets the logistics industry apart from virtually every other industry. When you think about it, what other industry has the same amount of complexity throughout the entire business cycle, followed by such a precarious handoff between sales and operations? It has a ton of moving parts:

  • International language, currency, regulatory and cultural considerations
  • Collaboration and project management spanning clients, asset-based vendors, and 3PLs
  • An incredible amount of data created and exchanged during the process

Continue reading How Solution Design

Creating a Metrics Driven Culture Focused on Results

In logistics, what we’re really selling is an outcome. An outcome is much different than an output, and it’s how logistics service providers become strategic partners for their customers instead of just tactical providers.

Since a logistics solution typically depends on so many different people, providing a uniform outcome can be challenging. If we’re all using the same information and have the same set of experiences, we might all agree, but that’s hardly ever the case.

For example, picture a conference call trying to get several people to agree on a forecast. With different experiences and different data sets, this can be a huge challenge. But getting that outcome—where everyone is happy, the profit margins are good, and the execution is seamless—can be the difference between a one-off project and a long-term business relationship.

Continue

How Millennial Employees Can Set You Apart From The Competition

Everybody has an opinion on Millennials because everybody knows one — maybe it’s your child, your employee, or even your boss.

We’re sick of hearing about how to manage Millennials in the workforce because the conversation around them is mostly hype. When you have consultants that sell classes on how to work with Millennials, the media cherry-picking facts about Generation Y, and the self-critical nature of Millennials themselves — it creates the perfect storm of hype. Continue reading How Millennial Employees Can Set You Apart From The Competition

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. Continue reading Using Data-Driven Stage Gates to Course Correct in Logistics

How To Succeed In Third Party Logistics

In the logistics industry, there is a fine line between stressed companies and distressed companies. Sometimes, it’s a misunderstanding of capital; other times, it’s a lack of focus on changing customer requirements. For all its complexity, however, logistics has a simple formula for success:

People + Process + Technology = Operational Excellence and Success

While the formula is simple, the consequences of missteps are dire. If you ignore one part of the equation or solve the formula in the wrong order, you will fail. For example, if you invest in technology to improve your process and you expect your people to follow suit, it won’t happen; in fact, it will accelerate your failure. Continue reading How To Succeed In Third Party Logistics

Collaboration in Logistics is a Game of Chess

“Multichannel is so 1990s.”

We say this tongue-in-cheek, but for anybody who hasn’t been asleep at their desk for the last decade, it’s obvious that the omni-channel consumer is here to stay. The digital disruption that’s happening in retail has brought about a consumer democracy and a deep involvement of the consumer in the supply chain, where the last mile is more important than ever.

Consumers want what they want, when they want it, delivered where they want it. Oh, and they also want sustainable and ethical processes ….. and they don’t want to pay any extra for it. Continue reading Collaboration in Logistics is a Game of Chess

The New 3PL Sales Leader: Beyond Great Relationships

You see him at the logistics trade shows. The VP of Sales greets you with a firm handshake, warm smile and a comment about last weekend’s football game. He might remember a funny comment you made at the steak dinner last quarter or ask about your mother who was sick last summer. On the relationship-management scale, he scores a perfect ten.

Strong relationship skills were enough to get by in the logistics industry ten years ago. Back then, you could invest in remembering birthdays and sponsoring golf tournaments and lead a team to make its numbers…but not anymore. Things have changed! Continue reading The New 3PL Sales Leader: Beyond Great Relationships

What Do 3PLs Need from the Software Industry?

One area that still holds significant promise for logistics companies is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, since few logistics companies use CRM systems to their full potential. Often, it’s due to lack of full integration with operating platforms, lack of holistic commercial processes or the product itself lacks functionality. In any case, many 3PL’s end up with is a very expensive “contact management” tool.

Continue reading What Do 3PLs Need from the Software Industry?