May 2020 | Commentary | Good Question

What's the most unexpectedly good advice you've received about the supply chain?

Tags: Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain


Speed is not always the solution. Breaking shipments into inventory replenishment and just-in-time SKUs allows price and transit time optimization. Asia-to-U.S.-East-Coast transit through the Panama Canal versus the Suez Canal differs by 7 to 13 days. Pushing inventory cargo to the slower/lower-cost options provides free warehousing on the water while reducing overall landed cost.

—Alan Baer
President, OL USA


Start small. Challenges like data quality and supply chain visibility require supply chain-wide cooperation that does not happen overnight. Quick wins through tests and pilots can give an organization confidence to expand innovation.

—Angela Fernandez
VP, Community Engagement
GS1 US


Don't try to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are the smartest person that isn't necessarily a good thing. It's about building teams with diverse viewpoints to help you learn and grow. Recruiting and developing people with different skill sets is essential.

—Darlene Wolf
SVP Strategic Partners
Arrive Logistics



Look beyond the numbers. Early in my career at a 3PL, I headed up a truckload bid for a large customer. The first round saved more than $25 million. To my surprise, the client was disappointed. We revised our analysis and retained most of the client's incumbents, ultimately netting $2.5-million savings.

The client's supply chain director pulled me aside and said, "There's a lot more to running a supply chain than just beating up carriers on price. Performance, keeping your word, and delivering on commitments have value. Our incumbents understand our service needs and provide a quality service at a fair price. It's a balance that saves in other areas of our supply chain and keeps customers happy." That's a lesson I still apply to this day.

—Greg Orr
President, CFI


Leverage a value calculator to select the right carrier because there's no such thing as "good and cheap" when it comes to moving your supply chain. When you consider transit delays, claims, chargebacks, fines, and customer complaints, the service you need may require a bigger price tag up front, but will save your reputation and money in the long run.

—Marty Freeman
EVP and COO
Old Dominion Freight Line


Don't just show up to inspect and point out errors. Show up at the beginning. Meet the artisans and workers. If the craftspeople are able to look into your eyes and understand your larger mission, the product will reflect that care.

—Emily Soloby
Founder, Juno Jones Shoes


Remove information silos between ALL the moving parts of your supply chain. For example, one very large BCO had no clue they were shipping up to 60 containers into the same port, on the same day, until they moved all their data to one platform.

—Brian Laung Aoaeh, CFA
Co-founder & GP, REFASHIOND Ventures
Co-founder, The New York Supply Chain Meetup


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What COVID-19 supply chain pivot has impressed you the most? Why?

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