Working With the Right Enterprise Logistics Provider Makes Good Companies Significantly Better.
In any economy, the key for manufacturers, distributors or retailers is competitive advantage. When companies lack competitive advantage—or worse yet, experience competitive disadvantage—a difficult economic environment amplifies the pain. Principal reasons many good companies have struggled with this issue are limited exposure to best practices, technology, tools, training and internal resource capacity.
Companies are increasingly turning to Enterprise Logistics Providers who are uniquely qualified to help them overcome these limitations of “insourcing.” The right logistics partner can also serve as a business strategist to show companies better ways to achieve competitive advantage and, ultimately, dominance in their market sector. Leading Enterprise Logistics Providers deploy technology, leverage carrier relationships across multiple modes and apply an engineering mindset to evaluate core data. These tools can make a transformative impact on waste elimination and process change, resulting in a more competitive organizational framework.
Why is this so important right now? The pace of change, competition and customer demands are continuously increasing. Service requirements are reaching unprecedented levels as the “Amazon effect” takes hold across all markets, setting expectations for ever-tightening delivery windows. Add in pricing pressure from the declining supply of truck drivers and the shakeout of companies since deregulation, and you have a “double whammy” of reduced capacity that challenges shippers to successfully navigate the supply chain. Further, the proliferation of mergers, acquisitions and consolidation in North American manufacturing and distribution is increasing the complexity of engineering the supply chain network, prompting many companies to ask:
- Where do we locate facilities for optimal service?
- How do we best consolidate facilities?
- How do we re-engineer the go-to-market process to deliver product?
To help shippers find optimal solutions to questions like these, the right Enterprise Logistics Provider will deliver customized applications of its myriad tools to improve market advantage. Before Transportation Insight prescribes solutions, we fully assess the current state of the client’s value stream, from the point of order placement to when cash is received. We then map an optimized “order to cash” future state, but instead of dictating the road ahead, we show the delta between current and future states: This is where you are today, and this is where you can be if you partner with us.
It may be a journey of a few months or multiple years, but an effective Enterprise Logistics partnership shows clients where waste disappears, where true process change occurs and where clients see the most total impact.
The Picture of True Optimization
For many shippers, optimization often is limited to carrier management, making sure they are selecting the right carriers, so that they get fair, value-based pricing rather than what their “limited” market will bear. To see more substantial improvements, though, companies should consider examining and redesigning their network. For example, a company may have their Dallas hub serving the West Coast when significant efficiencies could be achieved by relocating that hub in Chicago, or they should combine several facilities into one to serve another region. Effective network redesign can shave significant dollars from the bottom line, while improving service for your end clients.
A great deal of Transportation Insight’s optimization toolkit involves technology, especially execution technology such as Insight TMS®, our system that improves everyday operations by streamlining the process of data collection, tendering loads and choosing carriers. Another aspect of optimization occurs through business insight. Our suite of business intelligence tools collects supply chain data and delivers it to corporate decision-makers in Insight Fusion®, our proprietary interactive portal. This actionable information shows positive and negative organizational trends through KPIs, location-specific metrics or simple reporting. The information details the facilities that are using the road-map from current to future state (and in many cases saving millions of dollars) and those that are still ingrained in their past practices.
Whether you ship products to a job-site, a loading dock, a retail store or someone’s front porch, visibility to overarching trends is key to improving a company and establishing competitive advantage. An Enterprise Logistics partnership that makes good companies better—significantly better—maximizes that advantage to help you dominate your market.
By Chris Baltz