Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (June 3, 2022)

Erik Weihenmayer, the adventurer and first blind person to summit Mount Everest, was this year’s Commencement Speaker at the University of Vermont. His talk was very inspiring, as you might expect, and funny too. For example, he shared some stories about his friend and fellow climber Chris Morris, who had a whole collection of “posi-pessimism” sayings. 

What is a posi-pessimism? Erik explained: “You’re sitting out in a storm, and Chris would say, ‘Sure is cold, but at least it’s windy’ or ‘Sure have climbed a long way, but at least we’re lost.’”

This got me thinking: What are some potential supply chain posi-pessimism sayings? Here are a few I came up with:

“We can’t retain drivers, but at least fuel prices are high.”

“Sure, there’s a shortage of semiconductors, but at least there’s no baby formula either.”

“Our containers are stuck at port, but at least we’ll get to markdown those products.”

Have some supply chain posi-pessimisms of your own? Inspire us and post them in the comments. If you need some inspiration, there’s plenty in the news below.

The Convergence Continues

Back in August 2014, I wrote an article for CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly titled “Convergence is the Word” highlighting what I saw was a transformative trend in the third-party logistics (3PL) industry. Here’s an excerpt:

If I had to describe the state of the 3PL industry in one word it would be convergence, which is happening on two fronts. The first front is the convergence of fragmented logistics services into integrated logistics solutions — as 3PLs fend off the risk of commoditization by positioning themselves as one-stop-shop (or end-to-end) solution providers.

But there’s another convergence taking place in the market, one that’s driven by the changing needs and expectations of customers. This second convergence is transforming the very definition and value proposition of 3PLs. What we are seeing is the convergence of business models, specifically the business models of service providers, technology companies, and consulting firms.

I revisited the topic in a July 2020 Talking Logistics post titled, “The Ongoing Convergence Of 3PL And TMS Business Models.” Here’s an excerpt:

What is a 3PL? What is a TMS?

Those questions are becoming less important. The only question that still matters is the first question manufacturers and retailers must ask themselves when defining their supply chain strategies and initiatives: What are our desired outcomes?

It’s the answer to that question, the desired outcomes of customers, that’s driving the convergence of business models, and the expansion of solution footprints, in the supply chain market today.

Well, as two news items from this week show, the convergence continues.

First, Lineage Logistics, “the world’s largest and most innovative temperature-controlled industrial REIT and logistics solutions provider,” announced that it has acquired Turvo Inc., “a leading provider of supply chain management, collaboration, and visibility software.” 

“The acquisition comes amid a spike in demand for transportation and warehousing and at a time in which the supply chain faces unprecedented challenges,” said Sudarsan Thattai, Lineage’s CIO & Chief Transformation Officer, in the press release. “In joining forces with Turvo, we have a unique opportunity to alleviate the impact of those challenges for customers. Driver shortages and port congestion, for instance, are addressable by decreasing the number of trucks or containers required to deliver a product from farm to fork. Turvo’s platform matches customers to truck, rail or container assets that would otherwise be underutilized.”

Turvo bills itself as “The Only Collaborative TMS For A Modern Supply Chain.” However, the company’s definition of TMS is not the traditional one focused solely on transportation planning and execution (e.g., consolidating LTL shipments into truckload shipments). Instead, it aims to bring together (and provide real-time visibility to) orders, inventory, and shipments via a common platform. 

This redefinition of TMS is itself another trend in the industry. For example, see how MPO and Blume Global (both Talking Logistics sponsors) are talking about TMS in “‘TMS-Plus’ Is Helping To Break Down Silos & Optimize Across Domains” and “Going Beyond The TMS Status Quo.”

The other related news this week is UPS’s acquisition of Delivery Solutions, “a same-day SaaS delivery management and orchestration technology company.” This follows UPS’s acquisition of Roadie — “a technology platform that enables local same-day delivery with operations throughout the U.S.” — in September 2021.

This ongoing convergence brings up the age-old “Build vs. Buy” question for logistics service providers when it comes to technology. Except now the “Buy” option is not just procuring software from a software company, but also the option of buying the software company too! (For related commentary, see “Is Every Company A Technology Company?”)

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Supermodel” by Måneskin