Logistics executives came to the Transplace Shipper Symposium this week hungry for solutions to what seem to be intractable problems of tight capacity and rising prices. And they received more than a few from Transplace CEO Frank McGuigan.
FRISCO, Texas — Logistics executives came to the Transplace Shipper Symposium here this week hungry for solutions to what seem to be intractable problems of tight capacity and rising prices. They’re grappling with the “new normal” in transportation, said Frank McGuigan, CEO of the global logistics company, with headquarters here near Dallas and Fort Worth. McGuigan sat down with JOC.com Senior Editor Bill Cassidy at the symposium for a discussion of the surface transportation market, technology, and the road ahead for shippers.
JOC: Your first speaker at the conference, consumer behaviorist Ken Hughes, talked about the need to stay relevant as technology and consumer expectations change rapidly. He talked about the “blue dot consumer,” the consumer that expects things to come to them, rather than to go out and find them. How do you see that applying to the supply chain world today?
CEO Frank McGuigan: I talked to a couple of shippers about this. His presentation was so focused on the end-use consumer, the person who’s sitting on the couch eating pizza. You might ask what does that have to do with trucks.
First, you could logically take it up upstream and think about the supply chain implications, but the other thing you have to remember is you’re dealing with humans in your everyday business interactions. Forget about the supply chain implications, you have to think about the person you’re sitting across the table from. Increasingly, they’re getting used to getting things shipped to them.
There’s a whole new buying philosophy that parallels the industrial supply chain. People want speed, they want digitization. When we talk to our customers about blockchain and control tower, they know that’s out there. But that’s not what they’re pressing us for. They’re pressing us on speed and visibility. That’s what’s most important to them right now. They know that when all this technology matures, we’re going to bring it into our logistics platform.
Take real-time status updates. We understand your business situation and might recommend a visibility solution from one of our partners. But we know one size doesn’t fit all. We have to understand they want a bundled solution. They don’t want to deal with 25 software companies sitting on top of the platform. That’s what we’ve evolved to do over the past four years.
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