Supply-chain execution encompasses the movement of product all the way from dock door to final destination, Yearling says. "It requires a significant amount of human capital to execute." Many large companies possess elaborate planning engines, but have "no means of closing the loop" with execution. Complications arise when it comes to tracking shipments and understanding the reasons for glitches in the supply chain.
What's missing, says Yearling, is an "I.T. bridge." To close the gap, companies need to be able to measure it, aided by sensors and devices that can track movements across the network.
The ability to collaborate with carriers is an integral part of the process, he says. By replicating and deploying best practices, shippers can determine who are the best-performing carriers. But manual systems prevent them from accessing the necessary data. “It’s very pen-on-paper,” Yearling says of legacy practices, “and requires spreadsheets to dissect.”
The potential benefits of automation are great, he says. Companies can realize better utilization of their assets, improve the velocity of orders and enhance interactions with the customer.
Shared responsibility between shipper and carrier, making use of key data, reduces ambiguity. “You can’t argue with information that’s produced by machines,” says Yearling. “When you start taking the human element out of it, everyone’s looking at the same data.”
Companies that undertake the steps toward collaborating closely with carriers can make critical decisions about the performance of their fleets, whether dedicated or contracted, Yearling adds.
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