Insider Blog

Is technology a competitive advantage in the modern supply chain industry?

During the Connections 2019 supply chain conference, attendees heard from transportation executives about a host of topics regarding the health of the supply chain industry. CEOs of motor carrier and 3PLs told the audiences about significant industry challenges, and economists noted the presence of monetary storm clouds on the horizon.

New technology and the introduction of innovative supply chain solutions into established supply chain processes is one way to combat transportation issues. Brian Thompson, Chief Commercial Officer of SMC³, sees the uptick in technology adoption, and a broader adoption of transportation management systems among even the smallest transportation companies, as a sign of how companies are now confronting a challenging supply chain arena.   

What are the key trends that are shaping the supply chain industry?

Tight capacity in 2018 led to a growth in the adoption of transportation management systems because shippers needed to have better control of shipment visibility. These shippers soon learned that the technology at the heart of their supply chain is a competitive advantage. By linking up with the right provider, shippers learned that they can imbue all aspects of their supply chain with best-of-class solutions that benefit their customers, create better carrier partnerships, and save time and money.

What are the biggest challenges facing shippers today?

Complete visibility into all corners of the supply chain is a must, and for shippers, visibility starts with choosing the right mix of providers. Using the latest technology to find and establish relationships with the optimal carriers for a shipper’s business needs is critical. Once these partnerships are established, it’s easier for shippers to find the right capacity, in the right places, when the market tightens up.

While integrating directly to freight transportation carriers through APIs is nothing new, finding the right transportation logistics provider to enable real-time shipment communications is a challenge. Not all technology partners are created equal; shippers should partner with technology companies that provide the resources, the horsepower and the experience to get the job done right every time.

How is the application of technology helping logistics professionals overcome these challenges?

Removing manual processes from the supply chain will help a shipper’s business rise above the rest. Major transportation technology game changers are still on the horizon, but there are technology-fueled steps shippers can take today to optimize their processes. For example, by automating volume LTL pricing, shippers can not only redeploy resources to revenue-generating activities, but also broaden their prospective carrier pool for large LTL and small truckload moves.

Shippers can also automate the transportation procurement process. We’ve found that shippers who remove the manual aspects of finding and sourcing freight transportation also receive responses from a wider net of carriers – 30, on average, for a single bid event. And while automated bidding tools are crucial for shipper sourcing events, the solution brings benefits to all parties involved. Carriers that receive more data from shippers are able to make optimized pricing decisions, which leads to shipper savings.

How do companies put these new technologies to work?

Powering the entire transportation industry, and solving challenges for both the large shippers that handle 10,000 shipments each day and the small shippers that send out 100 shipments each week, requires a broad range of tailored solutions. Shippers should find a provider that listens to their unique business issues that best fits their transportation needs.

To discuss how SMC³ tailors its transit-time and rating solutions to optimize your transportation spend and fit your logistics and supply chain needs, contact

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Categories: Supply Chain, Technology