Commentary | Viewpoint

If Yogi Berra Were a Logistics and Supply Chain Manager

Tags: Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain

Anthony Vitiello, Director of Marketing, UltraShipTMS, 201-458-1079

UltraShipTMS (and many of its employees) is native to the New York metro area. We all grew up with Yankees baseball among the constants of life in this part of the world. That is why it was with great sadness that we marked the passing of Yogi Berra, who, like the Yankees and like UltraShipTMS, grew to be more than just a player, a ball club, or a TMS provider.

Yogi’s homespun way of conveying life’s truths was something people all over the world came to admire. It is in this spirit of admiration that we borrow a handful of Berra’s most beloved malapropisms and apply them to our own industry.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” We often tell prospective clients/users about the significant benefits to be gained by automating transportation logistics processes. You cannot improve what you cannot measure. If you leave your transportation planning to best guesses, anecdotal evidence, or analysis of incomplete data, you may wind up someplace other than where you want to be in terms of on-time delivery, cost efficacy, and customer service.

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” Users of TMS and optimizer solutions always know where (and when) their freight is coming and going.

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” This quote could just as perfectly be applied to the process of implementation of any new software like TMS, YMS, fleet management, or optimizer tools. It is one thing to assess the “as-is” state of a transportation program and then map the ideal “to-be” state as a goal to be achieved. Yet, no matter how perfect your plan may seem on paper, the messy realities of the real world will always test your plan and threaten to hamper your progress.

The key to overcoming this kind of challenge is to understand what Yogi meant in this quote and be prepared for on-the-fly changes to your plans. To be successful in this discipline, it is critical to partner with a provider offering a well-developed change management methodology during implementation. Ensure your team will not be demotivated or worse, derailed by unexpected challenges.

“You can observe a lot by watching.” Having the ability to capture transportation data, performance metrics/KPIs, exception reports, reason codes, and a host of other data points is imperative. A world-class TMS delivers all the tools one needs to watch over all the activities of a transportation program and then to observe the trends and tendencies impacting the overall efficacy of the decisions being made. Without one, a transportation manager can neither watch nor observe what works and what needs improvement.

“It gets late early out there.” This is important. What Yogi refers to here is the preciousness of time. There never seems to be a good time to consider implementing or upgrading logistics IT systems. More pressing issues like peak season business activity always seem to take precedence over the more prosaic concerns like supply chain logistics IT. Yet, failure to remain competitive may cause the sun to set even more quickly on profitability. Seize the opportunity to establish a more effective and efficient supply chain logistics capability early.

Godspeed Mr. Berra! You (and your wisdom) will be greatly missed.

Reposted with permission from UltraShipTMS






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