Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (January 7, 2022)

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022! (Or is it 2020 too?)

I woke up this morning to a foot of snow outside — the first significant snowfall of the season here in Boston. And it’s still snowing.

Before I go find my snow pants and boots, and bring out the snow shovels from the garage, here is the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week (and from late December):

Blume Global Acquires LiveSource: Expanding the Scope of Supply Chain Operating Networks

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, we saw the rise of best-of-breed software applications — that is, software applications that focused on a specific supply chain business process, like transportation management or manufacturing execution. The goal was to provide customers with the most feature-rich capabilities in that area, especially compared to ERP solutions.

Over the years, mostly via mergers and acquisitions, these best-of-breed applications have been brought together — first under the banner of “solution suites,” but now they’re called “platforms” in light of changes in architecture and delivery models.

A similar evolution is happening with Supply Chain Operating Networks (aka multi-enterprise supply chain business networks). Many of these networks originally focused on specific supply chain processes and trading partner communities, such as shippers and carriers or suppliers and manufacturers. Now, once again driven by mergers and acquisitions, these networks are starting to come together.

The latest example is Blume Global’s (a Talking Logistics sponsor) acquisition of LiveSource, “a leading multi-enterprise supply chain business network for complex manufacturers.” Here are some excerpts from the press release:

[LiveSource], which has offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia, provides sourcing and procurement orchestration technology, among other solutions, to the automotive and industrial manufacturing sectors.

The deal will give current LiveSource customers access to Blume’s extensive logistics execution technology and supply chain management expertise, empowering these customers with total control of the freight transportation end of their operations and giving them transparency to alternative suppliers. Blume’s multi-leg transportation visibility and multimodal international TMS capabilities complement LiveSource solutions.

“Blume is focused on supply chain orchestration. The acquisition of LiveSource complements Blume’s logistics orchestration and visibility with LiveSource’s sourcing and procurement orchestration and visibility,” said Blume Global CEO Pervinder Johar.

We’re way past the “ERP vs. best-of breed” debates of the past. And the evolution of software applications to suites and platforms is not the end point. I believe this acquisition is another example of how moving forward, in the world of supply chain and logistics, it will no longer be just software that will be eating the world (to use Marc Andreessen’s famous quote from 2011), but software and networks.

Emerge, EDRAY, and The Final Import Mile

There are many moving parts to the end-to-end supply chain. One part that has traditionally been in the shadows, until last year when it emerged as one of several bottlenecks in bringing imported products to market, is drayage. 

Right before the holidays, Emerge (a Talking Logistics sponsor) announced a partnership with EDRAY, “a technology-driven platform that enables collaboration between cargo owners, drayage companies, steamship lines, and ports.” Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Listening to the needs of enterprise shippers and seeing EDRAY’s innovation within the drayage space, Emerge identified EDRAY as the perfect partner to begin providing shippers accurate visibility into the complex freight procurement process, starting with drayage. Combined with EDRAY’s technological advancements within their extensive managed transportation and destination management solutions, the partnership will offer a new level of simplicity for both shippers and carriers. 

The challenges experienced by shippers, carriers, and other industry stakeholders in 2021 underscored the ongoing waste and inefficiencies that still exist in transportation management — from the way transportation is procured to how goods are delivered to consumer doorsteps.

Will 2022 be the year we finally take action on the lessons learned? I hope so, and based on some of this news, it appears we’re moving in the right direction.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Afternoons & Coffeespoons” by Crash Test Dummies