Yamini Vellore is a key member of the leadership team at Blume Global, a supply chain execution technology provider delivering a digital operation platform that goes beyond the TMS status quo. As CIO and head of customer success, Vellore helps steer logistics innovation at the company while keeping solution development tied to customer needs.
Vellore has achieved great success during her 30-year supply chain technology career as an architect of some of the fundamental systems freight transportation stakeholders use to collaborate. Global Trade magazine recently recognized Vellore as a top female leader in the supply chain. Vellore recently sat down to discuss her career and her work in supply chain technology.
What is the main challenge facing Blume Global customers that are fueling the trend toward supply chain digitization?
Broadly, supply chain planning and adaptability to logistics disruptions is the major challenge facing the global supply chain. The challenge has an added dimension because all supply chain stakeholders thought they were equipped with shipment visibility technology and that they had a contingency plan for any issues; COVID changed everything. Visibility became so much more important, and it became clear that shipment transparency wasn’t all that was needed: visibility must stay tied into execution, back to the order level, so stakeholders not only always know where their goods are, but they can change course as needed. Visibility and execution working in tandem gives supply chains agility; efficiency is no longer enough.
By monitoring orders throughout their journeys and receiving continuously updated ETAs and alerts when orders are late, stakeholders know exactly where their goods are, how to take advantage of faster or cheaper shipping opportunities, and what to do when supply chain disruptions emerge.
A large apparel retailer recently engaged Blume Global for just this purpose. For years, the manufacturer had a standard shipment routine using logistics technology that worked just well enough to get the job done. This company manufactured products in factories in Asia, then shipped them to distribution centers around the world using ocean freight, sending them on the final leg of the journey via LTL, truckload, and parcel transportation. Due to the evolving nature of the supply chain arena, it needed a supply chain that could quickly adapt to constantly changing demands and increasingly shorter order fulfillment times.
In addition to injecting agility into the supply chain, the customer also created a more efficient operation with Blume. Using its current setup necessitated coordinating among three disparate systems for freight booking and execution; this resulted in fragmented messaging, poor shipment visibility, and inaccurate lead times.
How do you think Blume has helped shape the global supply chain?
The environmental impact of the global supply chain is significant, and we’ve worked hard to show customers how to use supply chain technology to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of freight transportation. In order to reflect the importance of sustainability in logistics, Blume this summer became a carbon-neutral company. While Blume is focused on expanding its solutions to provide customers the means to reduce carbon emissions throughout the supply chain, it is also dedicated to eliminating its own unsustainable corporate practices and offsetting any carbon emissions Blume emits.
Another major theme over here at Blume is democratizing access to supply chain technology for all stakeholders, no matter how small. By bringing small, domestic trucking companies onto the Blume platform, we’re helping shippers access more capacity in a tight market while allowing the smaller players to compete with large companies by providing them with TMS-lite capabilities.
What challenges have you faced in the supply chain industry?
I work in two historically male-dominated industries: supply chain and technology. At this point in my career, my role in the leadership team at Blume Global ensures that my perspective helps shape the company’s strategy while also steering hiring practices toward diverse candidates that have been traditionally overlooked in the industry.
Historically, transportation was limited to a back-office function, but it’s now apparent to leadership teams at companies all over the world that freight transportation and logistics is a value driver and a way for companies to differentiate themselves. The pandemic has brought global focus to how the supply chain functions, and companies that do not consider logistics risk opening themselves to customer service issues.
I’ve faced numerous challenges simply getting my foot in the door at the supply chain and technology companies, but I’ve worked hard to rise above any prejudices that may have existed in my past career path.
It is now becoming a little easier for women to get a start in the industry. As reflected in Blume’s recent hiring practices in its India and U.S. offices, there is a new generation of women interested in supply chain technology. I’d like to think that these young women look to me and other women in logistics for guidance and to realize that an industry that has been historically male-dominated is finally changing.
Vellore’s team is dedicated to creating innovative supply chain execution solutions that go beyond the standard TMS applications by infusing supply chains with agility and increased flexibility. Click here to schedule a demo to see Blume Global’s execution and visibility solutions in action.