Transport 2017: what keeps supply chain professionals busy?

Five topics that keep supply chain professionals awake at night, from risks disrupting the chain to new legislation in customs, timings or data management.

Uncertainty about what will happen in the world tomorrow keeps some supply chain professionals awake at night. The subjects are diverse, from risks that could disrupt the chain to new legislation in the area of customs, driving and resting times or data management. This article collects five of the most important topics that are likely to disrupt the sleeping pattern of supply chain professionals, working for shippers.

1. Smaller transport capacity

The smaller transport capacity makes shippers uncertain. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, there is more to transport. A number of hauliers have also gone belly up during the economic crisis. Investments in modern equipment are not always made faithfully, which makes it impossible to deploy all vehicles for all types of transport. In addition, the pool of drivers is not increasing and the improving economy leads to increasing congestion. This results in the fact that shippers as well as hauliers choose to deploy more vehicles in order to make it to the customer on time. A good TMS like Transwide and supplementary tools such as a freight exchange platform can help to take off the pressure. Transwide also helps as a Time Slot Management tool.

2. Satisfying retailers’ requirements

The challenge to meet the delivery times imposed by retailers and associated penalties whenever this is not possible, should encourage shippers to invest in time slot management tools. With the help of the correct software it is possible to reduce waiting times in the logistics field. It is in the best interest of shippers to combine data on load quantities and transport performance from various corners of the logistics chain in their TMS. Subsequently they have to sit at the table with the haulier or logistics service provider. Obviously data must preferably be available in real-time.

3. Rare talent

New times call for the hiring of new talent. Such talent is not always readily available in the logistics sector. Fortunately, the new way of conducting business also has its advantages, as talent must not necessarily have had sound logistics or supply chain training in order to come up with fresh ideas. Talent, however, must understand IT.

4. Inadequate TMS

Another topic that keeps supply chain professionals working for shippers awake, is the lack of an adequate TMS package. Because what happens if you as a shipper are faced with a natural phenomenon and you do not have the tools to properly monitor the dozens or hundreds of transports for that day? Do you delegate this to your logistics service provider, to your haulier or forwarding agent? By good transport 2017, we also mean that as a shipper you have to run transport management software, which can be used anywhere, comes with a good graphic reproduction, is able to deal with KPIs and preferably can also put the data of chain partners on the screen in real-time.

5. Embracing additional technologies

‘Transport 2017’ also includes embracing other advanced technologies besides TMS. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, personalisation and automation will make their appearance. Supply chain professionals should preferably sit at the table with the shipper’s IT department as soon as possible to discuss to what extent all these technologies can enhance each other. By having better delivery/company/customer/load data available than before, logistic services can be improved. Behind the scenes, this information must be exchangeable and it is not only up to the Chief Innovation Officer to deal with it. Perhaps this appears like an extra challenge to supply chain managers, but it is one that will earn them extra credit.

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