How would you summarize the last year in the supply chain industry?
2020 included a multitude of challenges for supply chains. One key area was carrier procurement. The imbalance of manufacturing versus retail created a bottleneck in the transportation market that increased transportation rates by more than 30 percent in certain markets. It also made it difficult to even procure equipment to move your goods from one place to another.
What major challenges did shippers experience this past year?
There were challenges in manufacturing which made it more difficult to procure inventory in order to satisfy the demand in the market. We saw a lot of customers with depleted inventories without the ability to procure new products in order to satisfy the customer demand. Moving forward, what we’ll see is a change in activity in the way inventories and safety stock are managed and all of those components all interconnected through a supply chain ecosystem.
How has this past year shaped the transportation management market for years to come?
Over the last 10 years, transportation management has been one of the fastest growing supply chain service offerings in the industry. I think that that growth will continue and even increase to a greater extent than before. Given what we’ve experienced in 2020, there was so much volatility, it was hard for supply chains to manage their networks with the existing people. They had given the peaks and valleys and volumes in certain verticals and what a transportation management provider is able to do is create that level of scale and pull resources from different areas of the network in order to satisfy that increasing demand that may occur without notice.
Joining NFI in 2014, Jeff Kanterman oversees our transportation management division. Jeff and his team combine people, processes, and technology to help businesses enhance their supply chain networks.