By Kyle Vamvouris, Sales Development Manager
Over the last two weeks I had the pleasure of traveling across the country to listen to leaders in supply chain and logistics speak about the future of our industry. This industry is changing quickly and currently in the epicenter of massive innovation. The only challenge is that this world is so complex that it can be easier to be passive instead of trying to make sense out of all this innovation. I, like many other professionals who touch this industry, am actively doing my best to understand how these changes are impacting the future of supply chain. To do this I went to the NASCES conference in Chicago IL and CSCMP EDGE conference in Anaheim CA. Supply chain and logistics innovation, deep dish pizza and Disneyland; that’s quite the combo!
Both events were packed with quality content and industry leading speakers. Each event was a unique learning experience, but both spent significant time discussing a few similar topics. Today I will be sharing the three main takeaways I had from attending both NASCES and CSCMP EDGE.
Data Is the New Oil
The first takeaway from both events is the importance of data. Data has quickly bubbled up to the top of the priority list for most large shippers, especially those that move a lot of freight. This makes sense, the better your data the better decisions your organization can make. This is easier said than done. Any company that has tried to get a handle on their own data has come face to face with these common challenges. Data is messy, hard to organize and once you have it the follow-up question quickly becomes, “What is it trying to tell me?”
Take for instance a marketing campaign. Finding the return on investment for a marketing campaign is typically simple, asking questions like, “How many people saw my ad and how many of those people made a purchase?” In supply chain and logistics, this binary data analysis is just not possible. Smart organizations are the ones who prioritize cleaning up their data and leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to glean better insights.
Innovate, Automate, Standardize
My second takeaway is the value of innovating, automating and standardizing business processes. Many companies are working diligently on automating basic, manual functions within their organizations. Both CSCMP EDGE and NASCES had speakers that stressed the importance of automation as well as innovating and standardizing new processes. Without innovation organizations will be stuck in the past, waving as their competition passes them by. Without standardization companies will have trouble scaling, which will cause problems as employee count grows. All this comes together to illustrate the importance on innovating, automating and standardizing.
Time and Convenience Are Currency
Finally, there was another big takeaway I had, which was an important topic at both events. The idea that time and convenience are currency is very interesting and really get me thinking. In today’s world, more and more customers are expecting their checkout experience to be simple and easy. From being able to order something on your phone and get it in 2 days to pulling up to a Target and having an employee walk a bag of products out to you, consumers want simple options. This pressure demands that modern supply chains, and the companies involved in the logistics, enable that convenience. It isn’t just the responsibility of one organization, it’s the responsibility of all of us involved in the supply chain.
That’s it folks! Those are my three takeaways that were present across both events. A lot is changing and now, more than ever, we need to pay attention. The good news is that companies are more ready to adapt than ever before. If we all work together and share our collective knowledge, we will all come out the better for it.