Hub Group’s Leading Supply Chain Solutions Facilitated Clear Sailing During 2021-2022 Port Congestion
This past year presented extreme challenges for the supply chain. By providing the industry’s leading supply chain solutions for more than 50 years, Hub Group supported its customers by leveraging experience in strategic planning across the supply chain, tailored solutions, dependable capacity, and advanced visibility.
Q. These past two years were some of the most challenging for everyone, but especially for key players in the supply chain. How did Hub Group approach it? What did Hub Group do on behalf of its customers to get their freight through the ports unfettered and unrestrained?
A. It certainly was a challenge. We were able to deliver for our customers because of our overall approach and culture. For Hub Group, having a holistic, customer-focused approach gives us the ability to analyze the entire supply chain and find multiple areas for improved efficiencies and possible economies of scale. This proved to be an important capability when disruptions occurred. That holistic perspective, coupled with the ability to leverage our company-owned assets, was a huge advantage.
Q. What tactics did Hub Group use to deliver for customers?
A. Part of our culture is “innovating with purpose” and that’s exactly what we do. One example is our ability to move freight around port delays. As our new containers are built overseas, we worked with customers to bring their freight, stuck elsewhere, over in our newly built containers.
We streamline the import process for our customers through inland international drayage, transloading, and expedited OTR solutions, delivering containers directly to DCs while providing consistent, reliable service levels.
Having one point of contact for customers also helped simplify their supply chain processes, reducing complications that are typical when using multiple transportation providers.
Q. What proactive steps did Hub Group take to “switch gears” when faced with delays?
A. We have always been nimble, but over the past few years that has been a huge advantage. Whether we’re finding chassis to move our customers’ freight or switching modes of transport, such as using rail instead of OTR, we had a solution for every challenge.
Some of the other strategies we used were accessing nearby warehouse and storage facilities, employing multiport diversification, and accessing OTR team drivers to expedite freight when needed.
Q. What was the role of technology during the past few years?
A. Technology is a critical part of the supply chain and we’ve always seen the value in it. In fact, we were the first to have a fully GPS enabled fleet. Our technology integrates machine learning and AI, giving us complete end-to-end visibility into our customers’ supply chains. This gives us and them real-time updates, so they always know where their freight is in the system.