Stifel Webinar Recap: How Visibility is Transforming Your Transportation Networks

February 23, 2018

project44 joined forces with Stifel, Estes Express, and GE Transportation Transport Logistics for a webinar focused on helping companies achieve end-to-end visibility. The discussion went over the trends they’re seeing in the industry, and how to plan for the future of supply chain visibility. Check out some of the highlights.

Participants: David Ross, Research Director at Stifel Capital Markets, Rob Estes, President & CEO of Estes Express, Jennifer Schopfer, Vice President of GE Transportation Transport Logistics, and Tommy Barnes, President of project44

Everyone agrees that supply chains need to be more efficient, and that gaining that efficiency is a prominent goal across the industry. To this point, the roadblock has been the legacy technology that the industry uses to communicate. Whether it’s EDI, phone calls, faxes, or emails, relying on this old technology has caused suppliers, carriers, customers, and other supply chain partners to operate on stale data. Right now visibility is fragmented across different systems.

Supply Chains are Complex

The shipment lifecycle is incredibly complicated. Especially now, with eCommerce gaining more market share every day, the number of individual shipments is increasing dramatically. With so many individual shipments each day, however, the likelihood of errors increases. What’s more, is that legacy technology doesn’t have the data transferring capabilities to mitigate those errors. The solutions are out there, they just need to be adopted by more companies in order to be truly effective.

Modern Technology is Crucial to Success

Cloud technology is making a massive impact on the supply chain. When suppliers, carriers, systems, and customers are able to gain more visibility into shipments, documents, costs, inventory, and invoices, they’re able to reduce those errors. Cloud technology allows supply chain partners to communicate in real-time, keep track of shipments down to the individual item, manage exceptions, and retrieve documents instantly. The only way to effectively manage the modern supply chain is by leveraging the kind of visibility data that this technology provides.

It’s becoming plain to see that the gap is widening between tech savvy companies and their less tech savvy competition. What’s more is that the longer you wait to integrate with new technology, the more it’s going to cost you in the long run.

Planning and Implementing Technology Solutions

GE has been putting a lot of focus into transportation technology in the last year. One of the ways in which they’re doing this is by partnering with the Port of Los Angeles for a pilot test. They’re trying out some different tech-based ideas to make port operations run more smoothly, and the results so far have been beyond encouraging.

Estes Express is also heavily focused on updating their technology. They’re participating in a recent trend among carriers to institute integration programs. Putting a focus on integrating different companies is a big step in the right direction, as not all companies are as technologically inclined as others. Integration programs provide both a means and an incentive for companies to get onboard with technology, and the more companies that participate, the stronger the supply chain becomes.

Things like cloud technology, visibility, blockchain, and so much more have the power to revolutionize transportation and logistics. These are some of the ways we’re going to mitigate the errors caused by supply chain complexity and legacy technology, but in order for them to have the effect we need, supply chain partners have to be smart about implementation, and they need to collaborate and share data. There is an incredibly bright future out there for us, but we have to want it.

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