Transportation Management 2018: Navigating the new realities

Transportation Management 2018: Navigating the new realities

As we do every December, we avoid “year in review” content and instead aim to help readers prepare for the year ahead through our annual virtual summit—an online educational event that puts the current market realities into context and offers logistics professionals practical advice to help streamline operations.

When the editorial teams of Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review put our collective heads together, it didn’t take us long to fine-tune the theme of this year’s summit.

Nearly every U.S. shipper can see that rising freight bills, driver shortages, capacity imbalances, federal government regulations, e-commerce growth and overall robust economic conditions are all wreaking havoc on transportation costs and causing pain points for logistics and supply chain operations.

It’s clear that we’re facing a historically tight logistics market, and success—especially on the ground— demands creative thinking and innovation on the part of shippers, carriers, third-party service partners and the technology providers that are fueling today’s digital revolution.

With all of this in mind, we decided to title this year’s summit: “Navigating the new realities.” The idea was to program sessions to better understand the causes of the transportation issues that are staring us squarely in the face and offer practical advice for how to use the tools at our fingertips to improve operations.

Setting the tone in this year’s keynote address, Nick Vyas, executive director of USC’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management, does an exceptional job of reminding us of how this capacity crisis has evolved over the years and that it extends far beyond the U.S. borders.

“The pace of globalization continues to create a growing consumer class with many of the same expectations taken for granted in the developed world, and this is putting unprecedented capacity pressures on supply chains in every sector in the United States and around the world,” says Vyas. As a consequence, he adds, logistics operations are tasked to experiment with emerging technologies to address problems before they reach a critical stage—some with more success than others.

In their session that shares the finding our Annual Logistics and Transportation Trends Survey, Mary C. Holcomb, Ph.D., and Karl B. Manrodt, Ph.D., say that while it’s encouraging that logistics operations are open to applying technology, these new tools alone will not solve the age-old problems we continue to face.

“When you boil it down, logistics and supply chain managers are grappling with issues their predecessors faced years ago,” says Manrodt. “And while today’s technology tool kit is more complete, the question remains as to whether or not we’re willing to work together. Sometimes an age-old problem can be solved with an age-old solution—like an honest conversation.”

And that’s just the beginning. This year we’re thrilled to bring you sessions by Dr. Chris Caplice of MIT; Victoria Brown from IDC Manufacturing Insights; Bob Hood from Capgemini; and Ben Hartford from Baird & Co. This top-notch line up touches on the role brokerage, 3PLs, last-mile delivery and TMS play in solving today’s transportation management crisis.