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July10, 2017

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4 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE Editor's Letter William B. Cassidy WHEN IT COMES to supply chain vis- ibility, are we looking at the right things? There's a great deal of talk about visibility these days, espe- cially when discussing the need to get a clearer view of where ship- ments, inventory, and product are in supply chains. But perhaps tracking a ship- ment or container or trailer isn't as important as being able to clearly see what it costs to move that shipment. Greater visibility into the fundamen- tal components of transportation costs are needed to truly improve supply chains, Wally Lynch says. Lynch is CEO and a co-founder — along with his brother, Andrew Lynch, John Rodeheffer, and E.R. Williams — of Zipline Logistics, a third-party logistics provider in Columbus, Ohio. The 3PL has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fast growing companies for six consecutive years. Lynch thinks something is being missed in the continuous rush to find the next "disruptive" technol- og y player in transportation and l ogistics. "The noise around tech disruption in the future seems to be eclipsing real problems that need to be solved today," he said in June. "There are two main problems that come up in any shipper survey: service and price," Lynch said. "These are perennial issues, always in the top three or four. How do you balance them? That is an age-old question, but it still needs to be solved." The reason it's not being solved is lack of visibility, he said, not into physical freight location, but into actual costs and expenditures. That answers lie in the realm of so-called big data that can be broken down and analyzed to provide business intelligence. Better analysis of shipment and supply chain data can provide a clearer vision of what a service really costs and how it should be priced, Lynch said. "Understanding your supply chain provides the flexibility you need in your organization to make trade-offs," he said. "You learn what needs spe- cialization and what doesn't to dissect your book of business on price versus service and understand what decisions you need to make." The ability to dig into historical and real-time data and provide busi- ness intelligence on key performance indicators is something 3PLs such as Zipline can provide that will be dif- ficult for new app-based logistics providers to disrupt or disinterme- diate, Lynch believes. "Who's in charge of looking at this data overall?" he asked. What's needed, he said, are tools that help shippers dive into data "in an unin- timidating way," meaning without reams of spreadsheets, for one. "Data visualization techniques are spawning conversations about price versus service, warehousing locations, and other important top- ics that beforehand were either done on the fly or didn't take place at all," he said. But first, you need that data. Finding it isn't easy. "So many large shippers are using antiquated sys- tems in almost everything they do," Lynch said. Mindsets, as well as information systems, need to change. Zipline has long offered ship- ment t racking ser v ices, Ly nch said. The key there is identifying and managing exceptions, such as shipments that are in danger of being late, he said. But beyond that tactical approach, there's a strategic approach shippers need to take. Shippers need to use data to find the "sweet spot," he said, not the exception but the optimal combina- tion of service and price. "How can we make sure everything looks as similar to that as possible?" Lynch asked. "That's where the conversation around data gets interesting." JOC Spectrum of Visibility The Journal of Commerce (USPS 279 – 060), ISSN 1530-7557, July 10, 2017, Volume 18, Issue No. 14. The Journal of Commerce is published bi-weekly except the last week in December (printed 25 times per year) by JOC Group Inc., 450 West 33rd St., 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001. Subscription price: $595 a year. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and additional mailing offices. © All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be copied or reprinted without written permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to The Journal of Commerce, Subscription Services Department, 450 West 33rd St., 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001. JULY 10.2017 EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE AND JOC EVENTS Chris Brooks 609 649 2181 EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE AND JOC.COM Mark Szakonyi 202 872 1234 MANAGING EDITOR Barbara Wyker 908 777 3217 SENIOR EDITORS Joseph Bonney, Breakbulk/Project Cargo, Gulf Coast 973 508 2417 William B. Cassidy, Trucking and Domestic Transportation 202 872 1228 Bill Mongelluzzo, West Coast 562 428 5999 Hugh Morley, Northeast, Mexico 646 679 3475 Greg Knowler, Asia Editor, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, +852 3975 2647 Turloch Mooney, Global Ports, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, +852 9011 9109 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Reynolds Hutchins, Intermodal, Government/Regulation, Southeast Ports 202 572 1487 ASSISTANT WEB EDITOR Dustin Braden 646 679 3450 SENIOR ECONOMIST, MARITIME & TRADE, IHS MARKIT, Mario O. 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