Jim Caine participates with other experts on where they see the logistics industry heading.
Our team attended and participated in the recent Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) 2022 Conference in San Diego, CA. After years of virtual meetings for the TIA, the in-person event attracted over 1,000 enthusiastic attendees. The sessions covered everything from capacity and labor shortages to implementing new technologies.
SUPPLY CHAIN OUTLOOK
Our very own Jim Caine, Vice President and General Manager of Simple Logistics, was a part of a panel in the Supply Chain Outlook: 2022 & Beyond session. The panel of shippers, carriers, and brokers provided their perspective on a variety of topics and an outlook for the rest of 2022 and beyond. Here are some of the highlights of the panel discussions.
Jim Caine, VP General Manager, Simple Logistics
Biggest Lessons from 2021
“Improvise, adapt, and overcome. That was our theme for 2021, with a focus on increasing communications with both shippers and carriers,” said Jim. “It was a crazy year for us, and especially hectic for our shippers, so it was essential for us to continue to adjust. What was happening daily in the market didn’t follow classic predictions, but in the end, 2021 was an opportunity to grow relationships even more and develop new ideas for how we can work together.”
The conversation among the other panelists centered on the fact that even in a hostile marketplace the freight still needs to get from point A to point B, and it still needs to be delivered on time. At the end of the day, the number one necessity is a smooth freight pick‐up and delivery process. To achieve this, repricing, adapting, and more frequent communications, were all required.
RFP (Request for Proposal)Changes
Many panelists have seen a higher frequency of RFPs. This frequency can vary depending on the mode of transportation and the length of the contract, but across the industry the increase has been felt.
“RFPs have increased everywhere which has led to changes and adjustments for load planners. Many shippers who used to do annual RFPs are now going month-to-month. Since they are being requested more regularly, there is a high demand to streamline the process,” Jim explained.
Technology Integrations and Impacts
Technology in our industry was a hot topic among the panelists. They discussed exploring how it could help with easing load tracking with GPS, creating smoother RFP processes, and improving back-office processes.
Jim illustrated a key market analysis during the panel discussion: “The innovation diffusion curve highlights the various levels of adopting new technology. As you move from left to right, you have the innovators and early adopters, followed by the early majority and the late majority in the middle, and the late adopters at the end. Those who see the value early and adopt early are first in line to try out new tech. Most people wait until others have tried it out, and yet others are much slower to come around,” he explained.
“From an industry standpoint, technology is already being adopted by many companies. There are a lot of vendors at this conference who are highlighting how their technology could help a business. Brokerage owners would benefit from some self-reflection on where they fall on this curve and in making an honest evaluation of their comfort level and where they’d like to be.”
“There are a lot of brokerage firms that are late adopters who are going to lose shippers to companies that have started adopting tech already. Those who wait too long are going to look very outdated in our industry and could have a hard time catching up to technology standards as they evolve,” Jim concluded.
Employee Attraction and Retention
The tough labor market was also addressed. “It’s in any business owner’s best interest to explore ways to utilize the skill sets of existing employees. When you dig in to get to know your people there can be great opportunity for businesses to challenge employees with more responsibilities, promote from within and show your team opportunities for advancement. It’s a win-win,” added Jim.
“Retention starts in the interview process and continues in perpetuity. Hiring processes need to be efficient and streamlined. We need to ask questions in the interview to discover the key drivers of the candidate so they can see how they would fit in with the company values, culture, and direction. Listen to people. Treat them well. Find new ways to promote and compensate them for that work to keep the momentum going.”
Simple Logistics Team Photo, March 2022
Advocacy is always a main topic at TIA events. 3PLs were encouraged to pay attention to the work being done at a national and local level for industry advocacy. These legislative and regulatory efforts help to better position and support transportation businesses. “We’ve got this window of opportunity on Capitol Hill and with the media to tell our story,” TIA Chairman Mike Riccio said.
“People are starting to understand the importance of what we do.” The TIA holds a 3PL Policy Forum in Washington, DC, in September, where TIA Members can meet with over 100 members of Congress and their staff to support the 3PL industry. Learn more by visiting the Policy Forum page at tianet.org.
“We had a great time at the TIA 2022 event and look forward to future gatherings of industry experts! The TIA offers a great opportunity to learn and network with other professionals,” concludes Jim.