A Wave of InnovationSM

Supply-Chain | Collaboration | Sustainability

Designing a flexible transportation network – preparation and collaboration create stability

Recently, I came across CH Robinson’s white paper, “Where to Find the Biggest, Fastest Transportation Savings.”  I agree with the article’s hierarchy, collaboration and continuous moves can be a difficult way to produce transportation savings.  “Even when both pickup and delivery happen at the same facility, inbound and outbound are typically controlled and scheduled by different individuals and departments.”  After reading this passage, the article inspired the following thought:  Why only look solely at internal touring?  This approach hinges on one load from one location.  In short, it is unbalanced and unstable.  Why not look at horizontal collaboration to create a balanced network?

By utilizing two (or more) shippers’ capacity and freight, a true partnership and viable savings initiatives can be created.   Although collaboration is not an easy task, by adding another company’s freight and shipping points, one can gain flexibility within his own network.  Imagine what an augmentation to an already robust network can create—more geographic options and cost reduction opportunities.  Better planning and preparation reduce a network’s fragile nature and the need to be reactive.  This is especially true when a truck shows up to a facility and can only haul to one specific destination.  When that one load isn’t ready, what then?  Allowing one’s dedicated or private fleet to be entirely dependent on one lane is not a best practice.

While collaboration can reduce emissions and cost, it can fail due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is competing goals.  Too often, in the name of cost savings, companies will try to force a fit with others.  True collaboration takes effort and the willingness to share information. A company’s logistics network can be complex, and collaboration can intensify its complexity.  However, by using the right neutral facilitator, the shipper can create a multitude of transportation options with other shippers.  With balance and flexibility, a transportation network can stand on its own, not worrying about one piece causing it to crash.

CH Robinson Whitepaper Source

Preparing for tomorrow’s transportation needs takes action

Shippers often want to talk about creating partnerships. Some have quarterly meetings with their carriers in order to discuss carrier performance and future business. A select few will even talk over the idea of collaborating with another shipper(s). What these meetings lack is action and an outlook for success.

The idea of collaboration between two shippers and their private or dedicated fleets isn’t new. More and more shippers believe they need to be involved in collaborative efforts. Many Fortune 500 shippers have collaboration initiatives in place, yet can show no results. The irony is that collaborations themselves take a lot of effort. Some shippers who have tried to collaborate say that it doesn’t work. In the famous words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.” People who fail to achieve success usually approach the situation with “I will try”.

Fortunately, there are companies who can help; companies with a “can do” attitude and a proven track record. Neutral parties with extensive logistics, supply chain and collaboration experience allow horizontal collaborations to set SAIL. By facilitating wins for both shippers and their private/dedicated transportation providers, these unbiased companies take action and drive results.

Congratulations to TidalSeven Co-Founder Kevin Isenberg for completing his 11th half-marathon.

The law of transportation averages

February 10, 2012TidalSevenCollaboration0

Transportation Volume by the Seasons

On average, the law of averages fails every time. Well, almost every time. Shippers tend to want to package their freight volumes into nice neat packages. The truth is that the transportation market will vary. January is slow and September can be robust, especially for those in the retail industry.

However, most shippers tend to either display their respective volumes annually or by monthly average. They will end up calling their carriers in September to ask, “Where is my capacity?” This is the traditional way of thinking. Annual volume equals annual capacity needs, until the fall rolls around.

What if there was an alternative? I can think of two solutions:

  1. Instead of simply sending out an RFP with annual volumes, why not show detailed calendar year data. In other words, list volumes per month from the prior year’s January to December, for each o/d pair. This way, your service providers know what to expect as the calendar year progresses.
  2. Shipper-to-shipper collaborations. They can not only provide year round stability, but also optimal flexibility. By utilizing private and dedicated fleets, a shipper gains the ability to have capacity that can flex with the market. The fleet’s network will remain constant, but its capacity can seasonally rise along with the shipper’s needs.

Unlike a one way carrier, whose service territory can change, a private or dedicated fleet continues to serve stores or end users. Collaboration takes trust, dedication and time, and in many cases is most efficient when coordinated by a neutral party. In either solution, transparency is key and creating strong relationships with your transportation providers is a must.

Fitting a square peg in a round hole

January 15, 2012TidalSevenCollaboration0

“Collaboration” is probably the second most overused word today (behind “strategic”). However, rarely do shippers appreciate how difficult collaborating can be. While collaboration can reduce emissions and cost, it can fail due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is competing goals. Too often, in the name of internal initiatives, companies will try to meld with each other, attempting to put the proverbial square peg in a round hole. Do you approach customers or suppliers? Who should lead the initiative? How much information should be shared? With so many questions, how in advance can companies know that the peg is a fit? This can be solved by using a trusted, experienced and neutral party.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, many times the hardest part of collaboration is finding the right shipper partner. This could take years, many failed attempts and a lot of FTE effort. A company’s logistics network can be complex, and collaboration can intensify its complexity. If the two partners’ service platforms or goals aren’t in sync, customer service and on-time performances could be negatively impacted.

So, how does one fit a square peg in a round hole? Simply put, he doesn’t. The best course of action is to engage a neutral party with expertise to facilitate the process. The neutral party vets the potential partner, prior to collaboration. With the right due diligence, the shipper knows in advance whether or not his peer will be a good fit. This saves time and prevents any unnecessary square peg in round hole frustrations.

Welcome to TidalSeven

December 26, 2011TidalSevenCompany News0


Today marks a great day for us here at TidalSeven, the go-live of our new website!

We hope you enjoy the new site and find it easy to navigate as well as an informative view of all our solutions and services. For those new to TidalSeven, we provide supply chain collaboration services to companies looking for transportation capacity, service and savings. We are committed to furthering collaboration in the transportation industry through our innovative solutions and services that aim to bring parties together and build lasting relationships. SAIL, BEACON, TENDER, and ATLAS are our current solutions and services that bolster supply chain collaboration initiatives and enable partners to work with each other finding mutually beneficial results.

Feel free to explore our solutions and leave us a comment or contact us for more info.

-The TidalSeven Team

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