What capabilities does a transportation management system (TMS) need in order to meet the demands of a lean supply chain?
The concept of lean has been around for a long time. It may seem that we know all the wrinkles and don’t need to give much thought to which TMS applications are the most effective in these environments.
That view is a little shortsighted for a couple of reasons.
First, the definition of lean embraces a much wider range of supply chains than was the case when the concept first revolutionized manufacturing.
Reducing safety stock to a bare minimum has become the norm in many industries in the wake of the global economic meltdown. The ultimate in lean may be direct-to line-delivery, but now days a company that reduces its inventory levels from, say, 30 days to 15 days can call itself a “lean” operator. Read More…
On November 4, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some long-awaited changes to the presentation of the BASIC data and the information available on a motor carrier’s roadside inspection history. The intent of this release is to alleviate some of the confusion that had existed between the official safety rating of a motor carrier (Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory, or Not Rated) and the BASIC data that is used as a prioritization tool for safety interventions and compliance reviews. Read More…
Shippers that invest in a transportation management system (TMS) have a clear idea of the issues they want to address. However, when the system is in place, the range of tools that become readily available can be intimidating.
This is perfectly natural; any new tool comes with a learning curve.
Although the steepness of that curve differs from shipper to shipper, in broad terms there are often three learning stages that users go through as they master the intricacies of a TMS.
This applies for both in-house acquisitions and when the shipper opts to work with a third-party TMS provider. In this post I’ll concentrate on the latter situation.
During the first year or so of the implementation, the main focus is on the high-priority issues that the shipper identified when they decided to invest in the technology. Improving network visibility and developing a more effective billing process are two examples of these overarching goals. Read More…
The age of cloud connectivity is here, and it has already brought capabilities that we could only dream about a decade or so ago.
The planning systems of hundreds of thousands of companies are now co-hosted and interconnected in a way that changes how processes coordinate with each other.
But the next chapter in this fast-moving story could be much more exciting. If the pools of data generated by various mobile devices can be connected into the planning system cloud, we can increase the value of these systems by several orders of magnitude. Read More…
How do you put a value on avoiding a problem that seemingly no longer exists because you’ve already spent money on eliminating it?
This is the classic Catch-22 dilemma faced by many corporate security managers when trying to justify further investments in steeling the supply chain against disruptions.
It’s a vexing problem, but there are ways around it.
The obvious conundrum is that hardening the corporation, its processes, and its supply chain requires investment. If nothing happens and no crises materialize, this effort is, in hindsight, deemed to be a waste of money by senior executives. There is some justification if an actual disruption was sidestepped or its impact mitigated. But even then, it is difficult to quantify the benefits of dodging the bullet. Read More…