What about visibility within an organization?
Many companies are using ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems and that's a step in the right direction because they have one source of information. But there are still a lot of retailers and suppliers that have not gone in that direction and are dealing with their systems' hair ball––they've got multiple sources of information within their company. I'd like to see more companies getting involved with data synchronization. It would help significantly reduce errors throughout the supply chain.
How have retailers been impacted by rising fuel costs?
Transportation is 75 percent of logistics costs. Retailers are saying they want to reduce their transportation cost despite rising fuel prices. Well, how do you do that? Consolidation. In the past, companies didn't want to consolidate, but they're starting to get it now.
Consolidation will play a key role in outsourcing from Asia. We're working on something right now called DC Bypass, where products that are manufactured in Asia will go directly to the U.S. retailer's distribution center. They'll by-pass the manufacturer's distribution center and take a lot of steps out of the supply chain.
That will also help reduce fuel costs.
It certainly will. Sustainability is a hot topic right now. Everybody wants to stop polluting the environment and that ties into transportation. If we're moving product shorter distances and handling it fewer times, we're going to use less fuel. — Katherine Doherty