Throughout the year, supply chain and logistics business intelligence company, eft, gather the industry’s top supply leaders to discuss the future of logistics as part of its running 3PL and Supply Chain Summit series. The most recent event took place earlier this month in Chicago, where experts weighed digital technologies and trending strategies against the rising demands of customers during a multiple-day schedule full of workshops, discussion panels, keynotes, exhibitor booths and more.
CAI’s own AVP of sales and business development, Carl R. Citelli, attended the summit and was since interviewed regarding his thoughts and takeaways from the experience. Here’s a recap of what he had to say:
The 3PL & Supply Chain Summit brings together some of the most influential thought leaders in the industry. What were the main issues/themes being discussed among them this year?
Overall, there were four dedicated tracks on Logistics Strategy, Supply Chain Strategy, Technology, and eCommerce. Much of the discussion was around customer demands, and building a supply chain to meet those demands - one that is both flexible and resilient. It’s about scaling digital capabilities, optimizing warehousing and transportation, fulfillment, and coming up with solutions for same day delivery, driving security around the Value Chain - and making all of this visible for the customer.
In the age of Amazon and eCommerce, especially when you’re talking about same day delivery, drones and other robotic delivery methods, we’re coming together to discuss ways in which we can all thrive during such a radically evolving time in the supply chain industry.
How is CAI Logistics evolving to keep up with the ever-increasing demands and expectations of today’s digital age?
It all starts with listening to potential and existing customers’ requirements, challenges and goals so we can determine the best path that will provide greater flexibility and blended customer solutions. By listening, we can create an environment that flows with effective communication to all decision makers across our customers’ entire supply chains.
At CAI Logistics, it is a frame of mind to become a leading first-class transportation provider focused on delivering an experience for our customers, employees, and vendors that exceed all expectations.
Information must be available, accurate and supported by a staff who monitor events and proactively manage the movement of our customers’ supply chain. We strive every day to put our assets and expertise to work for our customers, and our FourKites technology allows tracking and tracing which gives us unparalleled visibility into our shipments, and superlative collaboration with vendors and customers.
Of course, you can’t talk about the digital age without talking about big data. How does data factor into the products and services you provide?
First, we need to make sure we understand the definition of big data. It is a new term in the supply chain, and it encompasses ways to analyze and capture information systematically from sources of data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing applications.
Momentum is building around emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital type technologies including big data analytics infrastructure and, very soon, Blockchain is expected to revolutionize the visibility and accountability from the farm field to the table - whether that table is at a 5-star restaurant or in your kitchen.
We’ve seen a significant boom in supply chain technology with progress on visibility and operation optimization. Cloud, big data, and real-time integrated services with SCEM provide greater visibility with easy dashboard views across all modes and trading partners end-to-end, from source to the store shelf.
What do you think we’ll be talking about after next year’s summit, or the year after that?
Of course, predicting the future is hard to do. I can only speculate on how the industry will respond to the ever-changing needs in supply chain management through final mile execution. Procurement and sellers are faced with adapting to challenges, and being tech savvy while technologies are changing how we plan, forecast, and execute all supply chain links and logistics.
There’s also potentially a lot to talk about with the rising pressure from global competition and the looming effects of trade wars and tariffs. For me, when it comes to preparing for an uncertain future, it’s important to be both offensively and defensively minded. We need to be offensive by taking actionable supply chain data to minimize risk and be defensive by maintaining awareness of troubling signs of struggle associated with underlying and often unforeseen supply chain disruptions.
You can learn more about eft’s recent 3PL & Supply Chain Summit on their website.
At CAI Logistics, we have 30 years of experience providing transportation solutions that meet our customers’ specific needs, and we’d love to talk to you about how we can do the same for your company. Contact us today.