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Down To Freight
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Down To Freight

Author: Vector

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We interview transportation, logistics, and supply chain leaders to discuss technology initiatives that transform their business operations
20 Episodes
Drowning in data is not always useful for organizations unless you know how to make sense of them for decision-making and understanding customers. When Microsoft went through a major transformation in their supply chain, they knew that analytics and data science would play a big role. Putting their data together allowed them to see a pattern, one that became even more relevant to predict trends and future behavior that ultimately helped them address their customers' needs in the right way. Don't miss out on this insight and more from Dave Weinman, Director of Supply Chain Capabilities for Microsoft. Listen to our podcast now!
Streamlining processes is crucial, especially for organizations with large-scale international supply chain operations. Take it from full-service logistics company CastleGate Forwarding with bases in Boston, Berlin, and Hong Kong. To successfully do that, they worked with the right partners with excellent tech capabilities and prioritized transparency and open communication.We talked to Jack Echeverria, Senior Manager for Global Logistics at CastleGate Forwarding, about the role of tech and partnerships in managing a global supply chain operation.
How long does a relationship with an information/analytics firm lasts❓For Paul Bingham, Director of Transportation Consulting for IHS Markit Now Part of S&P Global, it might depend on the kind of goals the client has. Some have definite goals that can be addressed depending on budget, level of effort, etc. while others remain as ongoing relationships where Paul and their team continue to work together to help improve their client's service or features.🎧 Don't miss out on this insight and more. Listen to our podcast now!“Some of those changes can be matched up to a company's budget years, pretty readily. We can scale the level of effort and the type of work to match iteratively, really to match the appetite of a company and their management to do that so that they're not biting off more than they can chew in terms of how much they're trying to change their current supply chain profile and the current way that they serve their customers. And maybe align it over several years, even. If it's going to be a major effort, it may be one where you can lay that out with a strategic plan to say, "Okay, in year one, we're going to attempt to do this. And in year two, depending upon the results of that, we'll attempt to..." Additional increment in the sophistication and complexity and so forth.And then really for some of the greatest relationships we have, it's an ongoing relationship where it really doesn't have an end to it, that we're providing information, we're getting feedback from our customers in terms of what's proved to be relevant for them, where they would like some enhancement, perhaps in terms of the level of information or the speed with which it's being updated, or perhaps sometimes adding to some of the metrics that are being provided in terms of additional information that can be found useful for those particular companies.”
How can you successfully implement a phased supplier management process?For Nicole Engelman, Director of Planning and Logistics at ASML, the key is to always involve your supplier earlier in the process. This gives them the opportunity to be part of the solution early on, and not having to force fit something in the later stage of development.Don't miss out on this insight and more. Listen to our podcast now!"If we involve the supplier earlier in the process, we prevent having to reengineer things that could have been ironed out with more frequent communication. This helps the manufacturer better and faster. While they're part of the design, we can start to release requirements that they can act on before the design is even finished." – Nicole Engelman, Director of Planning & Logistics at ASML
“We started in the world of digital transformation with EDI many years ago. We built an amazing platform that allows our customers to trade information, such as purchase orders and forecasts. We've advanced that by not only being able to take traditional EDI types of formats but all formats, whether it's Excel, CSV files. That allows us to automate our business processes.Over the last few years, APIs have become one of the most important elements of the supply chain. It drives speed through our business, not only for Future but also for our customers. The API capability allows customers, whether they're large or small, in North America, Europe, or EMEA, to be able to have access to information. That information allows them to make quick business decisions.”– Tom Galligani, Global Vice President of Supply Chain, Future Electronics
How can you be more agile in adapting to the changes in your industry?For Craig Adderley, Former Global Transportation and Logistics leader at Air Liquide and now Distribution and Logistics Leader at Stryker Endoscopy, it’s important to have an integrated and robust ERP system that allows you to streamline information, remove small inefficiencies, and solve more important problems. Stryker did it in phases with strong emphasis on the value of value stream mapping and getting everyone onboard.Don't miss out on this insight and more. Listen to our podcast now!"If you have a robust ERP system and you have everything documented, you have this value stream map where you know where you need to focus on relieving your bottlenecks because that's what's adding or is taking away the most value. You have more clarity, and you have more perspective. With more perspective comes more clarity. With clarity, it just becomes a better way of decision-making because you see the whole picture." - Craig Adderley, Distribution and Logistics Leader at Stryker Endoscopy
"We are very interested in how machines, without necessarily a lot of human intervention or minimal human intervention, can actually do this negotiation themselves to allocate who gets access to various spots within the center for loading and offloading.In the maneuver, it is getting from the gate to that location safely and with respect to the limitations of any of the vehicles: their turning radius, their ability to back up and do particular kinds of maneuvers. It ensures that all of that happens efficiently and safely. That is our application that we're working on now.It's this tight maneuver transaction, smart transaction between relatively autonomous trucks and other vehicles that ensures all the stuff gets moved as quickly as possible. It is subject to the urgency as dictated by the supply chain and by the ability of the individual entities that operate these machines to place a value on what it means to be first in line that day or to getting access to a specific loading or unloading zone."- Dr. Karl Wunderlich, Director of Surface Transportation, Noblis
We all love data. We all love our technology. Sometimes, we have too much of it. The challenge is to figure out how to turn all the data into usable information.The most recent and applicable example is our yard management project:Connect end-to-end, both from the manufacturing facilities and warehouse operations team for the empty trailersCreate visibility to inbound raw materials Looking for specific SKUs and line items that are coming in inboundThe goal is to manage the yards more efficiently.
"What we learned very quickly was that not all of the technical knowledge that we had gained in all these different parts of the world were immediately transferable into the market.We talk about being a startup business here in the U.S. The reality is that we have a storied reputation with our customers in Europe, and we need to make sure that the level of service that we provide pays homage to that.To do that, we've had to look at different solutions within the framework that the global team provided to manage our parcels and parcel deliveries.We've had to look at integrating software to produce compliance labels for label requirements within the U.S., working to establish API connections with key marketplaces, such as Shopify and WooCommerce.We're putting together an easy, simple, and cheap EDI option portfolio for smaller clients, so they're able to reduce some of the manual work involved in order processing."- Andrei Jansen, Director of Contract Logistics USA, Gebrüder Weiss
"One of the first ones I'll talk about is one of our big infrastructure customers that do an awful lot with the logistics companies. They spent about the last 6 to 12 months doing an intelligent operations project. They're very asset-rich. One of the important things for them is decreasing the amount of downtime. Whenever one of their assets is out of action, money goes out the door and is lost with every minute of downtime they have.How can they be more predictive?How can they be proactive with things like maintenance schedules and so on?We've spent an awful lot of time doing things like sensors and the Internet of Things, ensuring that we can report on the assets they've got. We're collecting a vast pool of data through that, what we would call a data lake. That data lake will be used to feed all sorts of incremental insights. It's a powerful end-to-end proposition for this customer, and it's all about collecting that data.More importantly, nobody wants a bunch of data from which they can't get any intelligence. The next piece of the puzzle is how do we give dashboards? How do we alert people what the next best action would be when something occurs?"- Dave Sayers, Travel, Transport and Hospitality Director, Microsoft
"I'll focus on a recent initiative that's been a long time in planning and execution. That initiative is the establishment implementation of a standard Canon warehouse management system across our entire distribution network. You can imagine the challenge of implementing a standard system across five different 3PLs and Canon facilities.We recently completed implementation at all 12 DCs, and we continue to refine the system to meet our business needs.Previously, we worked with a number of different warehouse management systems, from best-in-class to unique homemade solutions in some locations. We went out and selected a middle-market WMS software from a WMS provider. That was very scalable. We could scale it from 10-man operations to 100 people operations in our larger DCs."– Dan Schultz, Senior Director, Canon USA
🚛 Are 3PLs worth investing in? 🎧 In today's podcast episode, we're chatting with Muhammad Imran Tahir, Logistics Advisor for Aramco Americas. Join us now to learn about the benefits of 3PLs and more! “We've been in business for many years, and we would handle our own logistics from ground zero. When I say ground zero, meaning sourcing, trucking, packaging. We would do the whole nine yards to deliver what we have for our end-users, our customers. But for a period of time, we were not able to see the economies of scale that we could achieve by what we currently do as a practice versus what the market would be using. And here, we decided to go with a 3PL model and use the services of freight forwarders who are actually greater subject experts on the shipping requirements and trade lanes. And they collectively have better pricing strategies because they use volumes of a lot of other clientele that they have more bargaining power.”
🦾 API is the key!How do you keep up in a world where there’s just tons of data, everything moves fast, and needs real-time updates? For Wayne Wayne Ellis, SVI’s VP of Supply Chain North American Operations, utilizing API was key in solving these issues and more! 🎧 Listen to our podcast today to learn more about this exciting program.“So the problem is there's a severe global shortage of many electronic components today, making it very difficult to find available inventory in the market. So we need real-time information from our suppliers so that we can review stock availability and pricing. And this project allows us to obtain information electronically in real-time, allowing us to better service the needs of our customers. So by utilizing API our system can communicate with our suppliers, allowing stock visibility, pricing comparison, and actually place POs directly with key suppliers without any human involvement.”
📍 What are the considerations for cross-dock network optimization that you should consider?According to Ivan Hernandez, Director of Transportation, Operations and Procurement for Daimler Trucks North America, improving customer service and building relationships with partners are essential considerations when it comes to working on and leveraging solutions to cross-dock network optimization.🎧 Listen to our podcast today to learn more!“Major consideration, as I mentioned, is customer service. In this case, our plants. Second, we are a truck manufacturer. It was very important that through this process, we could keep the relationship with the carriers very close to Daimler. We didn’t want to hand this over to a logistic provider. We want to keep this very close to us in a sense, the carriers that move our freight are also our customers. That's why it was very important for us to keep that.Another important element was to give them the strategic consideration of the location of those cross docks. We wanted to make sure that in this particular case in Mexico, we could keep control of the facility. So that as time goes on, we have that control so that we can choose based on the performance of the provider that should be running that facility. That was also one of the main topics.”
Is transitioning to new processes worth it❓YES! Considering the current trends and other developments in the industry, it might just be the right time to check your process and how you manage logistics and costs. It's best to see if these and other aspects can be improved for better business development and customer experience. 🎧 Listen to our podcast as we sit down with Candy Heien, Logistics and Trade Compliance Manager for Daikin Applied Americas. She shares with us her expertise and experience on process transitioning, its benefits, and more. “We are now utilizing a new TMS system to improve our ability to manage our logistics processes and costs. This transition also included integration from our Oracle ERP system into this new TMS solution that was provided by our 3PL partner. In which we share dimensions, weights, dock scheduling, appointments, appointment setting for our customers.”
What solutions are you putting in place to keep your supply chain agile?With buying natural products, we rely on crops and if there's a drought in an area or locusts or something that affects the harvest, you have to predict it. Not only do I have a partnership with my suppliers, I have to have a very close partnership with my sales team.  Knowing what their customers are actually going to need and getting my resources in time is very important.Sometimes it means pulling in supply earlier than I typically would have, because if I wait too long, it won't be available.Adjusting my forecasting as much as I can, communicating with my suppliers, working closely with the sales team while making sure that they're getting the answers we need from our customers is key to our success.-Grant Sackett, Supply Chain Manager, D.D. Williamson Colors
“The global logistics team is handling shipments on a truly global scale. We're moving everything from small parcels to complete rigs working with numerous carriers, lanes, modes, and service levels.And we've automated the invoice processing and audit. So with greater visibility and control, we were able to reduce the number of carriers we use and better leverage our logistics spend to negotiate for improved pricing.We also connected the TMS application with our existing back-office applications, providing a seamless end-to-end experience for our internal customers, but also for our external partners.”-Heidi Lovstad
“Shippers tend to be data rich but information poor. Shippers have access today to more data than at any point in history. Because of the fact that their data sources tend to be disparate, meaning I've got data coming out of a purchase order management system, out of a warehouse management system, out of a transportation management system and then probably downstream in a freight audit payment solution.What that means is that shippers tend to not have a way to pull out actionable insights and turn that data into information. So those disparate data sources mean there's no single source of truth.”
"We’re very environmentally focused. We have an environmental pillar as one of our strategic pillars.We want to reduce the amount of paper being used in our operations. Right now, prior to this week, we printed two or three pages per order. And we had people manually picking orders and checking off the boxes making sure that the right products were picked and so forth. So we've gotten away from that.We are reducing our paper usage down to zero with web order picking and packing."-Tony Whyte, Group Director of Operations & Supply Chain, JackBlack
“ The system allowed us to load the rates for all of our parcel carriers into one centralized location and to shop rates between different carriers and service offerings without having to rely on the human factor. It gave us a system which allows us to force the operator to use the best possible service at the best possible rate with the fastest delivery for the customer's purchase.”
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