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Four Logistics Trends to Watch

Posted by Dennis Anderson on April 18, 2017 - 8:11 AM

In the transportation industry, change is the one constant. We hear every day from our customers that they face increased supply chain complexity. At ArcBest®, our creative problem solvers constantly strive to understand and adapt to our customers’ needs as they evolve.

As I also discussed in the March/April edition of Supply Chain Management Review, below are four key trends that are affecting supply chains of all sizes.

How is e-commerce affecting supply chain management?

E-commerce is causing structural changes to supply chains with intense focus on delivering what consumers want, how and when they want it. Many retailers and vendors are creating more regional distribution models and shipping in smaller quantities. The need for delivery options also is expanding.

It can be difficult to find a provider who can reliably deliver to people’s homes within a small timeframe. Through our U-Pack® business and final-mile solutions, ArcBest has 20 years of experience with residential deliveries. We are well-equipped to handle the increased logistical demands that e-commerce brings.

We understand that supply chains are evolving rapidly, and our people work hard every day to simplify that process for our customers.

How can the rise of data analytics aid shippers?

We haven’t yet dreamed of all the potential uses for data and analytics and how it will help us in the future. Data and analytics can change the game if a shipper responds to uncovered trends. Most shippers are looking to increase their analytics capabilities to help drive supply chain decision-making either on provider selection, supply chain design or fulfillment strategy.

Who will you turn to when you need to redesign your supply chain? A strong strategic supply chain partner like ArcBest can help with leveraging analytics to uncover trends, then address them with a customized supply chain strategy. We can leverage our decades of expertise in areas such as less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), ground expedite and time-critical shipping, or supply chain optimization.

Will the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate impact U.S. trucking capacity?

Carriers and drivers who use paper logs or logging software to record their hours of service are required to be using ELDs by December 18, 2017. The effects of the mandate are something to continue to watch, as it could affect millions in the industry.

Many industry experts believe it will take perhaps a significant portion of trucking capacity out of the market as some drivers or carriers decide to leave the industry rather than comply with the mandate. The only real points of debate between industry watchers are how painful the disruption will be and when it will begin to occur.

At ArcBest, we adopted this technology ahead of the mandate. Our entire Panther Premium Logistics® fleet has leveraged ELDs for years, and we’ve nearly completed installation of ELDs in the road and city tractors of our LTL carrier ABF Freight®. Savvy shippers will seek deeper relationships with compliant transportation partners ahead of the mandate to dampen the impact of any capacity tightness on their supply chains.

What are shippers seeking as their own logistics needs change?

Change is constant, and the complexity and continued evolution of supply chains reflect that. Shippers want expert logistics solutions, partners they can trust, up-to-date technology, reasonable prices and value for their money. They want a reliable and excellent experience.

At ArcBest, we offer an array of solutions to address almost any shipping need. We know that today’s supply chains demand more than a single service offering. We are well aligned to handle shipper challenges through an expanded set of logistics solutions. We have guaranteed capacity, we continue to make investments in technology, and we have remarkable people who build exceptional strategic relationships.

The transportation business is not for the faint of heart, but strategic partnerships with a provider like ArcBest can help customers navigate its increasing complexity. Logistics and supply chains are complicated — but we make it simple for our customers. Welcome to Simplistics. Discover ArcBest and how we provide integrated logistics solutions to meet your needs.

Dennis Anderson is the Chief Customer Experience Officer for ArcBest. He oversees the company’s customer focus and growth strategy, with responsibility for the associated functions of marketing, strategy and customer experience. He joined ArcBest in 2003.