Responsive and Flexible Logistics Management Solutions for 2012 and Beyond

For many companies, the biggest challenge is that the world is changing, and they are asking, "How should we respond to the rapid growth in Asia and other emerging markets and manage the longer supply chains? And, how do we react to volatile fuel pricing and unpredictable demand, security issues and changing regulations affecting the supply chain? How do we prepare for the merger and acquisition activity that’s occurring?"

These are very real concerns, and companies require a logistics technology platform and an integrated set of services that can adapt to all of these changes and pressures.

From my experience, companies are seeking a partner that has the ability to be extremely flexible and fast in this rapidly evolving climate. They also are looking for increased stability at a time of great uncertainty. One very effective approach to managing in this environment is to supplement internal supply chain management staff with experienced logistics professionals who have visibility to data and global market information to help deal with these and other challenges, known and unknown. Companies need to work with a logistics partner who they can trust and collaborate with, to identify waste and opportunities, and provide multiple-mode choices on a global scale.

Process Standardization

In most organizations, work processes vary in different regions of the world. Many companies even have variability within individual regions. For example, within North America, one facility could be doing things one way and another company facility might be doing things entirely differently. Factor in global expansion, and it only compounds the issue.

In the international environment, it can be especially difficult to control the supply chain. There are often a lot of cargo hand-offs, as goods ultimately make their way to the end consumer market, that require dealing with a huge variety of work processes. A lead logistics provider with international scope has the ability to help standardize workflows across all regions and can improve the control and flow of materials by offering a global technology solution that allows visibility no matter how many steps and hand-offs there might be throughout the entire supply chain.

A lead logistics provider also can help struggling companies develop common best practices and work processes to map and integrate with the right technology, again allowing for much-needed visibility and control across the long international supply chains. The right solution can move a logistics team beyond execution and beyond meeting operational milestones.

On Scaling Up

Another challenge is increased security. Experienced lead logistics providers offer knowledge in the use of a variety of global resources, making it easier for the client to make cargo hand-offs across every country boundary in the world. As companies extend their global reach and seek growth in new markets, it’s critical that the logistics provider have in-country experience and service offerings. Even crossing into Mexico can become a problem for U.S. domestic clients. One company recently shipping from the U.S. into Mexico was having difficulty scaling up. While they were comfortable with relatively small and few shipments—handling each one on a one-off basis—management really wanted to ramp up the business and send a lot of cargo into Mexico.

Since OL&T owns its own freight forwarding organization, as well as its own logistics design and contracting group, we put an end-to-end solution together that allows this company’s cargo to easily move across the border and deliver much more efficiently. In cases like this, a global logistics solution means significant improvement in a company’s cross-border trade. More importantly, with access to a global network of carriers and services, companies expanding geographically can quickly respond to changes in demand, and better manage their logistics spend.

The Changing World of Business and Logistics

No matter the geography or equipment needs, logistics managers should desire a lead logistics provider that partners with the right carriers to move their goods—ones that get the best from the marketplace with transparency. This especially includes providing visibility to the choice of carriers since it is critical that the provider does not force a solution based on the assets it owns.

While the world has and will continue to change, some things have not. You owe it to yourself to identify a trusted lead logistics provider that is focused on safety, cost optimization, service, and quality—with meeting your needs as the ultimate goal.

Odyssey Logistics & Technology provides the logistics professional with technology, processes and information for better decision making.

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