Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (April 10, 2020)

I’ll make it quick this week: COVID-19 is continuing to disrupt supply chains around the world, and companies across most industries (including trucking and ocean carriers) are hurting financially. Cash is king again.

See the links below for all the details, along with the rest of this week’s supply chain and logistics news.

Real-Time Freight Visibility Helping With COVID-19 Response

Earlier this week, I talked about how much more difficult it would have been to navigate this COVID-19 crisis if it had happened in 1999. Back then, for example, most enterprise applications were client/server architecture (implemented locally) and wifi was orders of magnitude less powerful than today, which would have made working from home very challenging, if not impossible.

Another example: real-time freight visibility was not as ubiquitous in 1999 as it is today. 

This technology is helping shippers and logistics service providers respond more quickly and intelligently to fast-changing market conditions and demands driven by the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s an example from Descartes Systems Group (a Talking Logistics sponsor) and its client Circle Logistics:

“Our team is truly rallying in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve shifted our entire transportation network to manage a 700% increase in volume from customers moving critical freight, including personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators and cots for FEMA and grocery loads for major brands,” said Andrew Smith, VP Sales and Operations at Circle Logistics. “Descartes MacroPoint provides the visibility platform that our whole organization can use to track the movement of these goods. Without it, pivoting business and moving our 12 offices to a work-from-home environment would have been much more challenging.” 

You can point to other technologies that didn’t exist twenty years ago (or weren’t as mature or sophisticated as they are today), like AI and machine learning capabilities, that are also helping companies navigate through this crisis.

To paraphrase Billy Beane from his keynote presentation at the Food Shippers of America Conference in February, you can’t manage your supply chain operations through a pandemic in 2020 like it’s still 1999.

BluJay Solutions and Loadsmart Partnership: Connecting TMS to Capacity 

The integration of transportation management systems (TMS) with digital freight platforms continues. BluJay Solutions (a Talking Logistics sponsor) announced this week a strategic and technical partnership with Loadsmart, a digital freight technology company, “that delivers greater transportation efficiency and visibility to shippers.” Here are some details from the press release:

The API-enabled integration of Loadsmart’s digital freight platform with BluJay’s cloud-based transportation management software (TMS) allows customers access to Loadsmart’s offering of instantly bookable truckload rates and guaranteed capacity directly within the BluJay platform.

Customers benefit from improved efficiency and reduced transportation costs. The integration allows for Loadsmart’s real-time, bookable rates to appear within BluJay’s Transportation Management application in the Carrier Shop, Routing Guide, or both. As a result, shippers can automatically tender the load and receive status updates from pickup through delivery, with near-real-time tracking.

In short, TMS applications are providing shippers with more real-time and better integrated sources to capacity that go beyond the traditional (typically static) routing guide.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Crazy” by Seal