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Something New on the Transportation Horizon

Posted By Gail Rutkowski, Friday, October 6, 2017

I have shared with you folks in the past about my geek like affection for this industry. There are times when transportation is tough to love but I always manage to muddle through the dark days and step into the light.

Recently, NASSTRAC has embarked on a new project that I’d like to share with you. It’s still in developmental stages but I haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time. It all started with a conversation at the last NASSTRAC conference between Mitch MacDonald from DC Velocity and me. Mitch and I had wanted to do something together but couldn’t get our heads around what that something should be. Then Mitch recommended that I read Thomas Friedman’s latest book “Thank You for Being Late…An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations”. We were discussing the book when Mitch suggested that NASSTRAC and DC Velocity launch a research project engaging NASSTRAC members, sponsors, and other logistics and supply chain groups to gather views and identify critical challenges and opportunities facing the logistics field in the next 10 years focusing primarily on freight transportation and emerging enabling (and potentially disruptive) technologies.

Our objective was to provide our members with actionable ideas they can implement to meet emerging challenges and opportunities. Also to provide valuable insight into current state and future outlook for freight transportation and enabling technologies.

As we moved down the road to putting together the outline for the project, I suggested to Mitch that we focus in on the transportation function as it exists within the shipper community today.

As I mentioned, I’ve been highly influenced by Friedman’s book as he wrote about jobs being pushed up, down and sideways and the importance of providing continual training/learning of new skill sets in order to keep employees engaged and happy. Our hope is that this project will allow us to rip apart the transportation functions currently being performed among shippers and redefine it, as well as identify the new skills needed for our members to “push up” into their new responsibilities. If NASSTRAC, in partnership with other groups and academics can provide that continual learning, it would give us the opportunity to fill a need within the transportation community. Additionally, we may be able to help ease the bunker mentality that exists among the transportation professionals within the shipper community today. I’m excited about the possibility of NASSTRAC being on the cutting edge of redesigning the transportation management function within the shipper community and I hope you will join me in making this project a reality.

I'm proud to announce that NASSTRAC has launched this project in partnership with DC Velocity, CSCMP, Supply Chain Quarterly and Auburn University. We plan on this being a multi-year project, focusing first on transportation and then on to other disciplines within the supply chain. We will be assembling focus groups to help us delve into the shipper community to discover how transportation departments are currently structured, what is lacking, what skills are no longer needed and what new skills need to be learned. Stay tuned for more information from NASSTRAC. In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in one of the focus groups, please email us at [email protected] and put Logistics 2030 in the subject line.

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