Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (April 12, 2024)

April showers bring May flowers.

If it rains any more, though, we’ll be drowning in daisies soon. 

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow,” Annie promises. I hope she’s right

because I’m betting my bottom dollar on it.

While it rains outside, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

Necessity Is the Mother of Collaborative Shipping

Everyone in the transportation industry knows that there’s a lot of waste in the system. Waste in the form of under-utilized capacity and empty miles, for example, which results in added costs and inefficiencies for shippers and carriers. One way to address this problem is through collaborative shipping. Although this has always been a hot topic in the supply chain and logistics industry, relatively few companies have “walked the talk” and taken the necessary action to make collaborative shipping work. 

Until, apparently, you’re forced to do it.

“FamilyMart and Lawson, Japan’s second and third largest convenience store chains, will begin partnering on deliveries as a driver shortage is expected to deepen,” reports Nikkei Asia. Here’s more from the article:

A driver shortage in the country is becoming more acute due to stricter regulations on truck drivers’ overtime hours that recently took effect. The so-called 2024 problem is expected to heap more stress on the logistics industry.

Beginning Thursday, FamilyMart trucks will depart from the chain’s distribution facility in Tagajo carrying the company’s frozen food products. They will later be loaded with Lawson products at the rival’s distribution hub in Morioka. The trucks will then make their way to the companies’ respective logistics hubs.

It seems like necessity is not only the mother of invention, but of collaborative shipping too!

Descartes Solution to Combat Fraud in Transportation and Logistics

As I wrote in September 2022 in “Who Is Actually Hauling Your Freight? (Another Supply Chain Visibility Blind Spot),” many companies have a critical blind spot in their supply chains: a lack of visibility to the carriers actually hauling their freight and their safety records. 

The sad reality is that there is a lot of fraud happening in transportation and logistics, with double brokering being just one example. This week Descartes (a Talking Logistics sponsor) announced “the availability of Descartes MacroPoint™ FraudGuard to help freight brokers, third-party logistics companies (3PLs) and shippers identify and prevent fraudulent activities related to carrier information, load tracking, and shipment status.” Here are some excerpts from the press release:

Descartes MacroPoint FraudGuard uses advanced technology to proactively assess and flag certain potential instances of carrier or driver fraud by evaluating billions of data points on freight location and status for accuracy. It helps to combat fraud by verifying the location of the freight and driver, blocking location tracking points that are determined to be false and managing the interaction with the customer when fraud is detected. 

“Fraud is a serious and growing problem in the industry. The costs associated with, for example, stolen loads, double brokering and mode switching, can be significant. Worse, it’s extremely challenging for stakeholders to find effective and timely resolutions when incidents do occur,” said Omer Ramušević, Director of Business Development, Swick Logistics. “With Descartes MacroPoint, we will have a new way to automate the early detection of potential fraud, which will be crucial to preventing disruptions for our customers, mitigating financial risk, and building trust with our shipper and carrier communities.”

Simply put, fraud in transportation and logistics is real, it’s a growing problem, and if you’re not addressing this blind spot in your supply chain, you risk landing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal like Amazon did  (see “Amazon Routinely Hired Dangerous Trucking Companies, With Deadly Consequences”).

For additional information and advice on this topic, check out this alert from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

And with that, have a meaningful weekend!

Song of the Week: “Silver Lining” by Mt. Joy