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At Jacobson Companies, collaboration means creating cooperation by working with customers in an open manner and sharing information in a proactive way, says Peter Knapp, president of international logistics services. This leads to operational excellence and reliability, he says, because when both providers and customers understand supply chain events, they are able to work together to achieve the best possible results.
"In a collaborative and reliable environment, customers never have to ask about what is going on in the supply chain," Knapp says. "They always have information and updates available." Equally important, he says, is ensuring that employees view the customer as a collaborative partner and understand that they are not offering a commodity service. "We believe that the future of our business is in open and true collaboration with our customers, and our customers appreciate that," he says.
A robust technology platform is essential to support this approach, Knapp says. "Collaborative and reliable supply chains require optimization on a continual basis to be able to deliver at the right time," he says. Jacobson also uses optimization to help determine the best mode for each shipment. "With oil getting more expensive, industry is striving for this kind of optimized solution, but it is actually quite a hard task. An ability to manage information is key and creates the efficiency and reliability we are looking to provide."
Jacobson uses a combination of off-the-shelf software systems and proprietary customizations. "Acquiring even the best software is not enough," he says. "You need to have the capacity and knowledge to manage the software and to tailor it for customers."
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