This Week in Logistics News (April 1-5, 2019)

“I’m worst at what I do best.”

Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, killed himself 25 years ago today.

I remember the first time I saw the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on MTV, back in the days when MTV still played music videos. I was sitting on the couch with my dad, probably close to 11 at night, and we were both entranced by the sights and sounds of that video. When it ended, I looked over at my dad and said Wow. He didn’t say anything, but he looked at me and nodded. For a man who mainly listened to Cuban music from the 1940s and 50s, a nod was amazing. It was a clear sign that even he recognized this was new and different and the beginning of something, even if we could not name it.

Kurt would have been 52 years old today.

“Here we are now, entertain us.”

Moving on to this week’s supply chain and logistics news…

12-Hr U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing Delays

Supply chains are fragile systems. Toss a little sand into their gears and they grind to a halt. We see this all the time with weather storms and the havoc they create on transportation and distribution operations. This week, as reported by Reuters, a different type of storm disrupted supply chains: “trucks delivering goods from Mexico to the United States are facing up to 12 hours of gridlock, drivers said, after a transfer of [750] U.S. border agents to immigration duties slowed the flow of commercial traffic at several border crossings.”

“Industry is most affected by this situation, due to the millions in fines they have to pay when deliveries arrive late to clients,” said Manuel Sotelo, head of the truckers union in Ciudad Juarez.

What should supply chain professionals do in response? Jason Craig, Director of Government Affairs at C.H. Robinson (a Talking Logistics sponsor), shared some good advice in a blog post this week.

The bottom line is that if your supply chain is highly dependent on cross border trade between the U.S. and Mexico, you have to plan for a multitude of scenarios unfolding in the days, weeks, and months ahead — and be ready to take corrective actions if necessary. Today the threat is border closings, tomorrow it could be Congress not approving the USMCA (“new NAFTA”) trade agreement.

Transplace Partners with Riskpulse

Speaking of supply chain risk management, Transplace (a Talking Logistics sponsor) announced this week a partnership with Riskpulse “to enhance real-time, predictive risk analytics capabilities.” Here are some details from the press release:

Riskpulse helps shippers, carriers, distributors and receivers increase their on-time performance, reduce unnecessary freight spending and avoid waste caused by operational variability, as well as natural, social or infrastructure-driven disasters. The company’s suite of cloud-based software applications quantify and standardize their clients’ understanding of risk across their transportation networks and provide real-world, actionable recommendations on how to plan more effectively, days prior to tendering loads out to carriers.

Transplace CTO Jim French stated, “Today’s complex, dynamic supply chains require greater levels of visibility, predictability and control, and further integrating analytics and machine learning into Transplace’s Control Tower and managed services solutions enables us to deliver those things to our customers. Partnering with Riskpulse allows Transplace shippers to mitigate disruption by providing true visibility to those shipments most at risk of service delays and proactively making decisions to make adjustments to optimize shipping performance and reduce losses.”

Being able to see what is happening in your supply chain is important, but the real value comes from understanding and interpreting what you’re seeing so that you can take smart actions.

This partnership is the latest example of how leading supply chain visibility solutions are starting to embed machine learning capabilities and leverage a broader set of data sources — including weather, traffic, location, and social networking — to enable predictive capabilities.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana