October 2015 | Commentary | Checking In

Timely Timeline Reminder 

Tags: Trucking, Supply Chain Management, Partnership, Logistics

Keith Biondo is the publisher of Inbound Logistics magazine.

In the past 30 days, I heard and saw much that reminded me why so many IL readers tell me they love working in logistics. My travels included 30 site visits and two industry conferences. Here's part of my timeline:

At an early morning meeting, I spoke with one visionary who is forging public-private partnerships to transform a regional hub into a truly global logistics center offering road, rail, air, and sea transport, and logistics solutions and capacity. It should be a model for public-private partnerships elsewhere.

Later that day, I had a spirited (in both senses) discussion on pending government regulations. My conversational combatant was a senior executive at a large trucking company who supported more regulation. My position? Anything discouraging drivers ultimately limits capacity. We both agreed that safety comes first. Unresolved was how small carriers and owner-operators can have a level playing field, and how drivers' independent spirit would react to increasing government control.

The talent gap was the topic of discussion with a vice president of a transport company. His challenge? Forty percent of his workforce will soon retire. Working with local politicos, and reaching down into high schools, will solve part of that, but not all. The gray hair gap in our industry is here, and it is scary.

Speaking of gray hair, one seasoned pro told me how he came back from retirement, and now calls on shippers at Amazon and Google. He says, "Those kids buy differently than we did back then. They may lack practical experience, but they are buying more strategically." Generational, I wondered? "Definitely," he replied.

On generational differences, the wide-eyed wonderment of college kids expressing excitement about a future in supply chain was on display at both logistics conferences. It was also encouraging to see shippers, carriers, and IT companies dedicating time and resources to recruit veterans. I even heard of one company that is recruiting and training military air traffic controllers as train dispatchers.

I saw a practical demonstration of how drones are tracking assets in real time; in this case, power units in a large yard. I was introduced to the phrase "Last 100 Feet," jokingly meant to replace Last Mile.

I met with an industry newcomer who is investing billions to build a global company. His goal is to provide a vast array of solutions that match the future needs of global business. Is his vision of your future logistics needs clearer than most? Read IL's interview with him, then you can make the call.

One logistics luminary described helping Russia craft a tariff system when its economy opened up. He has tapped his next-gen daughter to help his company build next-gen transport technology enabling shippers to solve ever-evolving challenges.

My timeline may not read like a Facebook page, but it was a timely reminder of why so many of us are challenged, yet inspired, by working in logistics.






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