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January 6 2020

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Page 124 of 147

Januar y 6 2020 | The Journal of Commerce 123 Executive Commentary | Logistics ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK 2020 AGL Supply Chain Solutions Jon Slangerup Chairman & CEO Visibility technology has made great advance - ments, but there are still gaps. As noted in a 2017 Jour - nal of Commerce article, "End-to-end visibility remains one of the most sought-after services by shippers in a never-ending battle to limit disruption to supply chains and avoid the damag - ing knock-on effects generated by delays and uncertainty." Indeed, connecting all the supply chain components — including con- tainers, suppliers, and transportation carriers — with the shipper is difficult for supply chains that have become more complicated in today's environ- ment. Today's environment is rife with risks that include trade wars, Brexit, climate change, and more. Supply chains need to be proactive and have the ability to flex and adapt quickly to changes. One supply chain disruption can have a crippling effect. For example, the 2016 collapse of Hanjin Shipping Company resulted in customers having to retrieve an esti - mated $14 billion worth of goods that were still on board its container ships. The result was delays for customers and additional supply chain costs for the shippers. Of course, visibility is much more than monitoring and managing extraordinary exceptions such as the Hanjin collapse. Visibility needs to be a part of operations in a manner that drives better performance and uncov - ers unknown facts. The number of visibility solutions providers has grown over the years; however, visibility requirements continue to be high on shippers' list of concerns. For true end-to-end vis - ibility, solution providers and supply chain partners should collaborate and partner together. This year has witnessed such partnerships as Kon - tainers and, Catapult and Xeneta, and the Port of Long Beach's Port Optimizer leading the way. In 2020, we will see more. Ascent Global Logistics Bill Goodgion President Some of the more pressing challenges in serving our clients will undoubtedly be (and not necessarily in this order) the ongoing global trade war, IMO 2020, and the ability to procure truck capacity and rates in a volatile market. We will continue to respond in the same way we always have. Clients count on our people to help them navigate these types of uncertainties. Although we cannot always make challenges disappear, we can keep clients informed and edu - cated, and provide them with tools to better manage their businesses. At Ascent, we believe in com- bining our people's knowledge with powerful technology to deliver a seamless and intuitive experience. The biggest change in how we serve our clients in 2020 will be the deploy- ment of a series of enhancements to our client technology, PEAK. We are making significant investments now and in the future to provide cli- ents with a multimodal technology platform that simplifies how clients, carriers, and agents interact with us. Along with the growing impor- tance of ease of use, there is an increased need for tools that help cli- ents manage activities deeper in their supply chains. It is no longer enough to inform clients of a shipment's location or provide past reports. 3PLs must be able to give clients insights into their businesses that will assist with a better understanding of what may happen in the future. In a perfect world, we would work closely with our clients to determine what we can do to reach better outcomes together than each client could on its own. While technology is certainly needed, it becomes less valuable with - out skilled and experienced people behind it. The best way to future-proof ourselves against new technology is by continuing to empower and invest in our people. 319 Capital Partners Tom Barnes CEO One of the capabilities that provide significant benefit to corporations is improved visibility of their imports. In recent years many companies have made dramatic shifts in their supply chains without fully understanding the hidden costs and implications of shifts made in a rapid manner. Although many times it is clear that a shift will be of benefit, there are additional opportunities that could be realized with better information. Perhaps the organization could leverage a trade agreement based on the shift. A change that is viewed as good could become great. Along with measuring benefits, it is important to ensure that in the midst of the change, compliance was not com - promised. As new brokers and service providers are introduced, one must ensure that they are rolled into the compliance program. This can't be done without visibility enabled through integration. Finally, it is important to understand associated costs. The way to do this is to ensure that all information is tied into a global trade management (GTM) platform. I have seen many cases where companies invest in GTM technology, yet have limited integration between their supply chain and their GTM platform. That is an inappropriate use of a valuable resource. One of the causes for this data shortage is that many companies try to prioritize this integration internally with IT departments that have many other priorities and do not necessarily have the experience or focus on inte - grating with supply chain partners. This makes the process less efficient and difficult to prioritize ahead of other corporate needs. There are consultancies and managed services firms focused on broker management and supply chain optimization. They specialize in facilitating this integration for importers and can do it in a rapid and cost effective man- ner. With their assistance, importers can realize savings more efficiently and improve compliance. "In recent years many companies have made dramatic shis in their supply chains without fully understanding the hidden costs and implications of shis made in a rapid manner." "Supply chains need to be proactive and have the ability to flex and adapt quickly to changes." "3PLs must be able to give clients insights into their businesses that will assist with a better understanding of what may happen in the future." ▶ Bill Goodgion

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