Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

Reflections on an Eventful Year

2012

It hardly seems possible that we’re quickly closing in on the end of 2012 and moving into 2013.   This year, our blog following has grown and we’ll top out at 50 total posts for the year.  As we exit 2012, let’s take a look at the posts that captured the most interest in this year.

Below is a list of the top ten TMC blog posts published in 2012 in terms of page views.  Hot topics ranged from procurement to global issues to shipper and carrier relationships. 

Top Ten TMC Blog Posts 2012

  1. Demystifying LTL
  2. What is the Shelf Life of a Freight Rate?
  3. Five Features that Define a Global TMS
  4. Turning the Tables on Scorecarding
  5. Carrier Friendly Policies – A Savings Boost?
  6. The Insane (China) Supply Chain
  7. Cutting the Cord
  8. Fresh Procurement Insights from Stale Rates Study
  9. TMS Managed Services Advancing as Expected. What’s Next?
  10. Benchmarking the Benchmarks

Surprising to us, taking the cake as the top post of 2012 is Demystifying LTL. In this post, we spotlighted a mode that has an underserved reputation for being overly complicated.  Perhaps its top position is an indication that there are still many industry professionals that have questions regarding LTL pricing.

Truckload procurement is another feature of freight transportation that attracted interest in 2012, as evidenced by the inclusion of two posts in the top ten: What is the Shelf Life of a Freight Rate? (2) and Fresh Procurement Insights from Stale Rates Study (8). Both pieces are based on the white paper Stale Rates Research: Benefits of Frequent Transportation Bids.  This research highlighted that the frequency of procurement events is directly tied to cost savings – a subject that is always top of mind for supply chain managers.

How would you react to a transportation service provider’s scorecard of your performance as a customer?  We posed this question in the post Turning the Tables on Scorecarding (4).  By answering the question, shippers can gain new perspectives on their relationships with service providers. Along similar lines, Carrier Friendly Policies – A Savings Boost? (5), sought to help transportation managers figure out how far they should go to create procedures and policies that are carrier-centric. While such practices come at a cost, the payback in terms of access to capacity and avoiding costly spot market moves can be significant.

Globalization is never far away from any discussion about managing freight networks, so it isn’t surprising to see two posts in the top ten list that relate to this topic.

The challenge of turning a domestic-oriented transportation management system (TMS) into a solution that is attuned to managing global networks was tackled in the post Five Features that Define a Global TMS (3). To stay competitive, a single view of global freight movements is becoming an absolute necessity.

As discussed in our post The Insane (China) Supply Chain (6), we discussed how companies should approach China, an emerging growth market for many shippers, in terms of supply chain management.  Beyond gaining an understanding of the consumer market, supply chain technologies included within a global TMS give shippers a detailed view needed to succeed in managing their freight network in such a vast, complex country.

While topics directly related to supply chains are the focus of our blog, we occasionally veer from this approach and discuss topics that may have an impact on our personal and working lives.  One of these posts, Cutting the Cord (7), explores an innovation that could have a big impact:  the remote recharging of wireless devices. Imagine being able to recharge your cell phone or connect your PC to the power grid without the need for a physical connection to an outlet.  Clearly the popularity of this topic indicates we are all eager to see the endless stream of cords under our desks quietly disappear.

A trend much closer to home that we believe is transformative is the continued growth of Managed TMS services. We outlined the drivers of this trend in the post TMS Managed Services Advancing as Expected. What’s Next? (9). Two of the drivers cited in the post, world population growth and economic expansion in emerging countries, add a global dimension to Managed TMS that is redefining supply chain management.

Readers also wanted to delve deeper into freight market analytics in 2012. Tenth in this year’s list is the post Benchmarking the Benchmarks, the first in a two-part series on the correct use of benchmarking. This is “one of the most widely used freight network management tools,” and one that is also open to misinterpretation.

Topics like these, and the many aspects of freight management addressed by our bloggers in 2012, promise to make the coming year just as exciting and challenging.  Please send us any ideas or comments you have on what topics you would like us to write about in 2013.

Thank you for making the TMC blog such a great success in 2012.

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