In one quick, short remark, Andy Damkroger, associate vice president of logistics strategy for Werner Logistics, summed up one of the main reasons companies are recognized with SMC³’s Alliance Awards, given out each January at the Jump Start supply chain conference.
The award recognizes shippers and service providers that collaborate to overcome significant supply chain issues. Winners craft innovative solutions to extraordinary challenges. A panel discussion with the winners, followed by a brief awards ceremony, highlighted day two of Jump Start 2020.
“Our investment in technology has led to us being up here to be recognized today,” he said.
Damkroger was joined on stage by Wesley Barrell of the Georgia Ports Authority, Jaron Klopstein of Motus Logistics and Bargain Hunt’s Steve Silverman – all representatives from winning three-company teams. Each team member walked the audience through their specific logistics challenge, explaining how collaboration won the day.
A few hours prior, a panel of female supply chain leaders discussed collaboration of a different sort – working hand-in-hand with customers to create successful, sustainable customer service programs. The panel, moderated by AWESOME’s Heather Sheehan, included Elizabeth Dixon from Chick-fil-A, Colleen Hackley of UPS Captial and The Home Depot’s Heather Tenney.
“We’re in a world of data now, and it’s fantastic,” Tenney said. “Data drives all our decisions.”
Dixon told the audience that the goal has always been to create a frictionless customer experience and gave an example of overcoming a customer-service obstacle. Going to the counter to order a sandwich used to be a very different experience; customers didn’t have set physical lines to enter, so they just came up to order in one big jumble. This wasn’t very efficient; one customer, giving the company feedback, even referred to it as “a grace-filled mosh pit.” To straighten everybody out, the company created physical lines for the customers to use. Customer feedback also forced a change when diners told the company that giving the associates a name for their order and hearing it called out when the order was done just got too personal. It’s a balance, she said.
Hackley offered, “You always have to have people in the organization thinking, ‘How does this impact the customer?’”
The impact of the customer was also front and center during a discussion of regulations titled “Winds of Change: Washington is listening, but to whom?” During the panel, regulatory advisory Randy Mullett told the audience that the general public isn’t quite ready for autonomous vehicles. One of the big challenges the industry faces is people getting comfortable with 80,000-pound trucks that aren’t being constantly controlled by an actual person. This significant detail, and the fact that nobody has really solved logistical and operational issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, led him to a prediction.
“I’m convinced we’re going to have autonomous trucks,” he said, adding that it just might not happen while he’s around to see it.
The three-day Jump Start 2020 supply chain conference facilitates meaningful knowledge transfer and collaboration between logistics and transportation professionals from carrier, shipper, logistics service provider and technology verticals. To learn more about SMC³ supply chain conferences, visit http://www.smc3.com/supply-chain-education.htm.