Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (July 29, 2022)

It’s the last Friday in July and I’ve yet to go to the beach.

Well, I did visit a beach in Iceland, but the water was way too cold for my Cuban blood (and probably Icelandic blood too), and there were signs everywhere warning about “sneaker waves” that can pull you out to sea. This was a beach to admire from a safe distance, not one to swim in. 

I think I should go to the beach today,

spend some quality time with my two oldest kids before the summer is over and one starts working and the other goes back to college. 

The water here is still too cold for me, and although there are no sneaker waves to pull me in, there might be a shark or two lurking in the water. So, I’ll keep a safe distance here too, 

maybe dig a hole in the sand and wait
for the tide to come in and wash it away.


While my kids pack the car, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

Be Nimble

All you have to do is read the first eight headlines above and you get a quick picture of the risks and uncertainty still facing supply chain and logistics professionals: slowing economic growth, pockets of port congestion, and labor issues with ocean, rail, and trucking workers. All of this while we head into the busy holiday season.

To use Webster’s definition, a nimble supply chain professional is “marked by quick, alert, clever conception, comprehension, or resourcefulness.”

Stay nimble, my friends.

Manhattan Associates and C.H. Robinson Record Quarters

It’s not all doom and gloom in the market, however. Many supply chain software vendors and logistics service providers continue to report strong financial performance. Here is what the CEOs of Manhattan Associates, C.H. Robinson, and UPS said in their Q2 2022 press releases:

Manhattan Associates president and CEO Eddie Capel
“Manhattan delivered a record second quarter and first half results. Our business momentum is strong, as Q2 cloud revenue growth of 48% and service revenue growth of 19% exceeded our expectations and drove excellent operating results. While we continue to operate in a turbulent global macro environment, our teams are executing very well for our customers, and demand for our cloud-native solutions remains robust. With our business fundamentals strengthening and revenue visibility increasing, we are again raising our 2022 guidance.” 

Bob Biesterfeld, President and Chief Executive Officer of C.H. Robinson
“Our second quarter was another quarter of record profits, as our business model performed as we would expect it to in this part of the cycle. Our investments in our customer relationships through the early part of the cycle, while the cost of purchased transportation was rapidly increasing, are paying dividends as we retain and gain share with these customers through the terms of our agreements. Our strong results were again driven by significant operating margin expansion in our North American Surface Transportation business, as we further improved the profitability of our truckload and less-than truckload businesses and grew our truckload volume in a declining market. Our Global Forwarding team continued to deliver strong financial results, while benefiting from the market share they’ve gained over the past couple of years.”

Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer
“I want to thank UPSers around the world for delivering outstanding service to our customers. While the external environment is ever changing, our better not bigger strategic framework has fundamentally improved nearly every aspect of our business, enabling greater agility and strong financial performance.” [UPS announced second-quarter 2022 consolidated revenues of $24.8 billion, a 5.7% increase over the second quarter of 2021. Consolidated operating profit was $3.5 billion, up 8.5% compared to the second quarter of 2021, and up 9.3% on an adjusted basis.]

Congrats to all on a great quarter. But can you imagine the hurt these companies would be in today if Manhattan Associates hadn’t transitioned to the cloud, if C.H. Robinson hadn’t committed to investing $1 billion in technology, and UPS hadn’t shifted its strategy to focusing on profitable freight instead of volume growth?

A reminder that foresight, timing, and the will to change (and the right leaders to drive it) are critical for success in this ever-changing industry.

Tive Tag

Imagine a cloud-enabled temperature logger, in the form of a thin, flexible shipping label, and at half the cost of a conventional logger. Now make it last for a year, design it to be reused trip after trip during that year, and then give it a non-Lithium earth-friendly battery. Introducing the Tive Tag. It’s like a shipping label – just one that has an incredible amount of tech embedded inside.

That’s how Tive describes its latest innovation, the Tive Tag. Krenar Komoni posted a short video on LinkedIn describing and demonstrating the tag. Check it out here.

As an engineer myself, and someone who used old-school temperature loggers back in the 90s (the ones with paper scrolls), all I have to say is, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

Will the Tive Tag usher in a paradigm shift in the design and use of temperature loggers, just like the iPhone transformed the cell phone industry? Time will tell, and so will customers.

And with that, have a happy weekend! 

Song of the Week: “Free” by Florence + The Machine