I was speaking with a couple of large shippers recently and they were talking about how difficult it has become being a shipper in these uncertain times. One shared that her company literally put the transportation group “out to bid” within the corporation to see if anyone would want them. Fortunately, the group had been able to produce significant cost savings and clearly provided value and was snapped up by the CFO. Now the challenge becomes explaining (another word for selling) the function to a group that is unfamiliar with transportation. Another shipper had her corporate group add international transportation to the domestic group’s workload with very little additional resources to do the job. Consequently, their workload doubled and the stress level increased proportionately.
As I was listening to their stories and thinking about the shippers in our membership and those who haven’t found us yet…I pictured the scene from the movie “The Matrix” where Morpheus shows Neo what the earth really looked like. It was a scorched panorama of burned out cities and towns with little life left in them. Is that what is happening to shippers? If so, why is this scene being repeated so frequently throughout corporate America, and what can we do about it?
The days when transportation was the invisible department somewhere down in the warehouse are gone. As transportation costs increase, it has now become front and center in the minds of senior management. What are you doing to insure that your senior management understands your function and has a basic knowledge of how outside elements are affecting your transportation budgets? I can tell you this, if you’re not thinking about that and taking some action, you better start freshening up your resume. More and more companies are looking to outsource their transportation function, not considering the fact that in order to be successful, these 3PL relationships need to be managed and their activities overseen by educated and informed personnel. There are some excellent 3PL companies out there, but they can only be as effective as the companies who contract and work with them are.
NASSTRAC is here to help. Our Education Committee is working on building a year round educational program to help our members develop a comprehensive transportation strategy and more importantly, provide help in selling your function and strategy to the corner office. The importance of transportation in the supply chain cannot be understated or ignored and it is your responsibility not just to negotiate the best rates for your company, but to help your company understand that those are the best rates and that cheap and efficient don’t always go together.
Join us this Friday, September 9th on the NASSTRAC View as we talk about developing and selling your transportation budget. This View is open to NASSTRAC regular members only and will be moderated by Mike Regan, of TranzAct Technologies and NASSTRAC’s Advocacy Chairman. Attendance is limited, so make your reservation early.
We have also begun planning for our 2017 conference and many of the sessions will revolve around helping you do your job better. Watch for details here and on www.nasstrac.org as they develop.
Finally, we are all in this together, so please share your shipper story here with us and together we can all become better.