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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

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