Viewpoint: New culture of collaboration

We’ve certainly been reading and hearing more about the benefits of improved communication and collaboration in logistics management—be it with our carriers, third party-logistics (3PL) providers, suppliers, and even competitors.

By ·

We’ve certainly been reading and hearing more about the benefits of improved communication and collaboration in logistics management—be it with our carriers, third party-logistics (3PL) providers, suppliers, and even competitors.

You’ve heard the basic collaboration axioms by now: Through more real-time contact with carriers we can cut driver detention time. By sharing long-term plans with our 3PLs, we can expand existing relationships, put more of their services to work, and create a strategy that benefits both parties. We can improve freight visibility and inventory management through collaborative planning with our suppliers. And we may even be able to cut rates and help our TL and LTL carriers improve service if we’re willing to fill more trailers with the help of our competitors down the street.

And that list is just scratching the surface. Collaboration can come in many shapes and sizes and now needs to happen at every level of supply chain management. The very foundation of e-commerce, for example, is built on the backbone of improved collaborative planning between distribution center operations and transportation. The most sophisticated order fulfillment operation in the world is useless unless the trucks are at the dock to move the goods.

Logistics Management has covered the growing culture of collaboration extensively through case studies and columns—and based on some of the results we’re hearing, we are not about to stop.

This month’s cover story is an inspiring example of the power of collaboration between a shipper and an existing 3PL partner. Starting on page 26, Executive Editor Patrick Burnson explains how international home and leisure goods giant Hermes-OTTO set out to re-launch the Bombay Company brand and expand in North America with the help of the 3PL partner that was with them at the start.

“In these situations, shippers are often faced with the difficult decision of either spreading the risk of network expansion among multiple 3PL players or sticking with the provider that got them there in the first place,” says Burnson. “It was refreshing to report that, even though Bombay considered other capable players, they decided to collaborate and build on the existing trust.”

By setting up new pricing arrangements and customizing the existing contract to meet Bombay’s needs in the region, the expanded 3PL partnership yielded a multi-channel supply chain built from the ground up. “They now openly share volume forecasts and are able to maintain a fully optimized fulfillment network with deliveries direct to stores, direct to customers, or back through the reverse loop.”

Beginning on page 32, Contributing Editor and Columnist Peter Moore offers his unique insight into the power of collaborative LTL contracting. According to Moore, LTL plays a critical role in our national supply chain network, yet all too often shippers look at these carriers as little more than a commodity—a perception that Moore contends is causing harm to the budgets of both parties.

“It’s time to toss out the traditional LTL contract and impersonal RFP,” says Moore. “Both the shipper and the carrier need to envision themselves sitting across the table from their mutual challenges.” The objective, adds Moore, is for both parties to share the benefit of optimized costs and improved service. What’s not to like about that?


About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Leveraging Florida Ports to Expand Two-Way Trade with Asia
Florida’s geography is convenient to global markets and serves as the perfect conduit for Asia-focused container trade. Florida Ports, seaport white papers, Benefits of using florida ports
Download Today!
From the April 2018 Logistics Management Magazine
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing workforce is being asked to deliver more than ever before. While our survey respondents aren’t griping about the workload, they maintain that new challenges require more resources.
LM Viewpoint: 2018 Salary Survey, delivering more than ever
Smoother execution through S&OP
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Reshaping the Restaurant Supply Chain in the Digital Age
Get an inside look at how a leading restaurant group Bloomin’ Brands Inc (BBI), coordinates its complex supply chain to deliver an exceptional restaurant experience at the lowest cost to serve.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Salary Survey: Salary growth slows, tasks soar
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing...
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...

State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...