Coffee and Logistics: What’s the Right Brew for Maximum ROI?
Coffee drinkers have many options when they grab a cup on the way to work – mocha, whipped cream, sprinkles, caramel, hot or iced. And, with so much to choose from, it’s best to know exactly what you want when you place your order, or customers in line behind you may become impatient. Isn’t everyone impatient before their first cup of coffee?
The same is true for logisticians. The availability of transportation management technology options has expanded in recent years with SaaS solutions making it possible for companies of all sizes to realize the benefits of these systems.
By the same token, logistics services providers continue to enter the market, with offerings that range from highly transactional to strategic. And, in some instances, shippers can access the best of both worlds – a combination of technology and managed services. A new offering by MercuryGate, the Logistics Integrator Program, combines the power of MercuryGate’s Transportation Management System (TMS) with experienced managed services.
It’s about “the right mix of technology, services and advice to achieve desired outcomes more quickly and with less effort, cost, risk and resources than going it alone.”
– Adrian Gonzalez, President, Adelante SCM
So, faced with many options and high expectations for meaningful results, how can you select the right “brew” for your supply chain?
1. Begin with a goal
Before you invest in either technology or logistics services, your goals must be very clear to you and to your prospective vendors. What are your pain points? Is your primary goal cost containment or do you compete on speed – getting your product to consumers faster than your competition? It’s critical that everyone shares a common view of what success looks like for your company.
2. Understand your in-house capabilities
With a finite number of internal resources, it is important to know which tasks can be automated and those that require the expertise unique to your team. If you purchase technology, like a Transportation Management System (TMS), you will need to have a solid plan for implementation. If you don’t have adequate bandwidth with internal resources, you may need to look at additional services to make sure you optimize the performance of the technology.
3. Assess your company’s strategic vision and how it impacts the supply chain
It’s also very important to understand your company’s vision. Is the company planning to grow or expand globally? Will you enter new markets or offer new services? The answers to these questions will shape your company’s supply chain and help determine the best solution to support your needs today and in the future.
4. Select the products and vendors that are compatible and collaborative
In many instances, the solution for your supply chain goals may involve multiple products and vendors. If that’s the case, it’s critical to know what assets you want to own and control, like your data, and which you are comfortable totally outsourcing.
Flexibility, scalability and customization are also factors to consider. And, most importantly, can your vendors communicate with each other and with you? Compatibility of systems and personalities can make a big difference, from implementation through execution.
Shippers can now access the best of both worlds through MercuryGate’s Logistics Integrator Program, which combines the power of MercuryGate’s Transportation Management System (TMS) with experienced managed services providers. For more information about this new offering, watch this video.
As Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM, noted recently, it’s all about “the right mix of technology, services and advice to achieve desired outcomes more quickly and with less effort, cost, risk and resources than going it alone.”
The good news is that just like a cup of coffee – there are now lots more options than cream and sugar.