Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turning Over Procurement of Carriers to a 3PL?

I have met many companies recently who not only have outsourced their operations to a 3PL but they have also turned over the procurement and carrier relations functions as well.  I think this is a bad idea.

I believe this for at least three reasons.  First, and the most obvious, is you have turned over the entire budget to a company which, most likely, has conflicting interests to your own.  At some level, the 3PL is interested in making money for their company and many times actions which accomplish this do not also help the client company.  Can you develop complex gainshare algorithms which limit this problem?  Yes, but it is very unlikely you will get them to work.

Second, you limit your ability to exit the 3PL relationship if needed.  Everyone goes into 3PL relationships thinking they will never end and this makes sense.  You do not get married and immediately plan on getting a divorce.  However, in business, ensuring you have an exit strategy is a good and prudent thing to do.  When you turn over the procurement portion to the 3PL you have complicated any exit if needed.

Finally, you will lose critical intellectual capital.  When dealing with a 3PL it is important the shipper maintain the intellectual capital needed to fully understand the areas of warehousing and transportation management.

For all these reasons I would highly recommend shippers retain the procurement function.  Just seems to make sense to me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Are You Truly Dedicated to Sustainability?

This is a question I ponder all the time. While I am thrilled when people do anything to help the planet, regardless of motives, I do wonder what would happen if people really were dedicated to this important initiative.  While we all know the "big things" to do (i.e., alternative fuels, recycle, etc.) I wonder how much impact we could make if we all just did some of the small things.  So here are just a few things you can do starting TODAY to make the planet a better place:

1.  Regardless of the type of vehicle you own, drive the speed limit.  Reduces emissions and saves gas.  Nothing infuriates me more than to see a hybrid drive driving 80 - 90 miles an hour.

2. Recycle, recycle, recycle.. Including composting

3. Buy less stuff.. Everything you buy comes to you on a truck, using fuel and will eventually have to be disposed of.  Less stuff means less of all that.

4.  Go on a diet and eat locally grown items.  This is an amazing task which is great for everyone.  You will be healthier (I know, I am one to talk but I have lost a lot of weight and will continue!), less food will need to be grown, and less trucks needed to drive all that food around if you buy locally.

Here is a small example:  We are spreading mulch to make our garden better and hopefully return oxygen to the environment.  We needed to put down weed blocker and rather than go buy it, we used old newspaper to do this.  It got rid of waste, we saved money and it eliminated the need for the weed blocker which means one less roll needed to be shipped.  If everyone did this and we reduced the need by thousands (Sorry if you are in the weed blocker industry) then we could actually take trucks off the road, reduce emissions and reduce the need for diesel fuel.

Here are some other ideas from The Wall Street Journal.

This is the way we can all contribute on a small level as we all work hard to make big changes as well.

Just a thought...

Happy Earth Day!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sustainability - It is About A Complete and Holistic Strategy

I am somewhat fascinated when I discuss sustainable supply chains with people.  I usually either get an "all or nothing" answer, an answer which is tied to a pet project, or the occasional "sustainability does not matter" answer (thankfully those people now are few and far between).

The clear proposal is good sustainable supply chain programs have to encompass a holistic view involving everything from how products are designed and packaged, how they are shipped, the type of fuel used when shipped and how the product is recovered at the end of life.  You cannot have a true sustainability program without looking at at least all the attributes listed above (they are not all inclusive).

So, the next time you address this topic make sure the "all or nothing" group does not rule the conversation.  Break the problem down into small pieces and attack each one.  This is your best solution.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ryder Launches Military Veteran Site

Great progress from Ryder Corporation.  I guest blogged on Logistics Viewpoints recently about how great companies will leverage the returning veterans as a great base of fantastic employees.  This week Ryder announced (as reported on Logistics Viewpoints) a new employment website targeted at military veterans. Apparently you can put in your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and it will filter to the jobs available for your skill.

Congratulations to Ryder for "getting it" and leveraging the skills of our returning veterans.