Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

5 Key Takeaways from TMC’s 2017 Customer Forum

future_of_logisticsEach and every day, shippers are tasked with delivering the right products to the right place, at the right time and for the right cost. Businesses are evolving and consumers’ demands are ever-changing—both of which require supply chain professionals to push harder, deliver faster, and do more to exceed their expectations. Daily. Market dynamics, globalization, competition, ecommerce, and technology innovations continue to add challenges and complexities to achieving supply chain excellence.

5 topics impacting today’s supply chains and the future of logistics
Recently, we hosted our seventh annual Customer Forum in Chicago. This event brings our customers from across the globe together, and we facilitate discussions about the topics that impact their supply chains and uncover answers to advance their supply chains. Over the coming weeks, we will take a more detailed look at some of the topics we discussed at the forum. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview of some key takeaways:

  • We have seen tremendous change in the logistics and supply chain industry over the last few years, and we anticipate even more change to come as ecommerce and technology continue to influence consumer decisions.
  •  Data and advanced analytics are revolutionizing the industry, creating value in three stages:
    1. Descriptive: data to describe what happened
    2. Predictive: data to anticipate behaviors and occurrences
    3. Prescriptive: data to help determine what to do to achieve goals and real-time decision making
  • In the NAFTA modernization, the United States is expected to push Mexico and Canada to increase their de minimis levels to be more in line with the United States. Additionally, there’s a need and opportunity for the de minimis process to become automated, allowing all importers to take advantage of the increased level.
  • Based on new research, shippers that are utilizing multi-stop truckload strategies need to plan ahead to reduce rates and increase acceptance of multi-stop loads. Where possible, they should include multi-stop lanes in the procurement event, minimizing the introduction at time of shipment tender.
  • There are five main barriers to achieving full vehicle autonomy:
    1. The cost of the technology.
    2. The need for 3D maps of the world, which are essential for vehicles to be able to interpret or see the world around them.
    3. Limited talent availability to perform 3D mapping.
    4. Infrastructure in the United States will require a transformation.
    5. Legislation and social acceptance will need to come a long way.

Final thoughts
While technology is one crucial key to advancing your supply chain, it cannot replace the value of connecting with peers in the industry to gain insights from the experiences and perspectives they share. Not every shipper has every best practice down, but they certainly have a lot of them. Thank you to all of our customers who participated in our 2017 Customer Forum. When we network and share knowledge, our collective industry becomes stronger.

- Vice President of Business Development
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