Dynamic Decision-Making

Cultivating the Art of Agility

trendsCompanies in today's rapidly changing global economy face both increased customer demands and increased vulnerability to supply chain disruptions. To meet these challenges and remain competitive, companies need to respond to changes quickly and accurately.

To support enhanced supply chain decision-making skills, UTi last year hosted a client event on the subject. The event was designed as a forum for logistics industry professionals to expand their networks while participating in a two-day, interactive learning experience with scholars, management consultants, and supply chain executives.

During the event a variety of speakers addressed the factors that influence decision-making on a personal, departmental and organizational level. The main influencers identified were:

  • Data: The ability to turn data into information rapidly allows a company to react to changes in the environment. This requires a decent business intelligence (BI) strategy, which relies not only on the IT platform, but also touches people and processes. Big Data has become a hot business topic; the increasing amount of data generated demands proper BI.
  • Culture and leadership: Closed cultures inhibit all forms of decision-making, whereas open cultures foster dynamic decision-making. Departments or individuals not empowered and taught to make decisions lead to delays in changing ingrained, dependent behavior. This requires proper leadership. Changing a culture requires more than changing a mission statement; it requires leading by example.
  • Bias and evidence: Academic research has found that reducing bias and increasing evidence significantly raises the quality of decisions. Reducing bias requires awareness of pitfalls such group-think and confirmation bias. Increasing evidence positively influences the quality of a decision, but requires more time and could therefore negatively affect overall outcomes. Balancing "time-to-decide" with the amount of evidence gathered and evaluated is an essential skill to mastering dynamic decision-making.
  • Supply chain planning: Once the drivers of each supply chain have been identified, planning on strategic, tactical and operational levels can begin. Depending on the main driver and volatility of each supply chain, flexibility should also be considered. This ensures dynamic decisions are enabled in later stages of operating these supply chains.
  • Creativity: Throughout life we are conditioned to reason in straight lines. However, when facing complex problems, we sometimes require out-of-the-box thinking to get the best results. Through the process of gamification -- creating a game to solve a problem -- we can enable people to think more creatively and to find solutions more quickly.

In addition to the presentations from scholars and management consultants, several UTi clients discussed their own supply chain decision-making processes, successes and challenges. This combination of theoretical and applied perspectives on dynamic decision-making sparked many interesting, eye-opening discussions at the event. To start a conversation about driving dynamic decision-making in your own supply chains, contact UTi's Supply Chain Design & Innovation (SDi) consulting division through your local office or account representative.

TSA Moves Up Rate Increase

tsa imageTo mitigate rate erosion in February and early March, container shipping lines in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) have agreed to move up a May 1 rate increase to April 15.

The increase of $300 per 40-foot container follows similar hikes on January 15 and March 15. The TSA said in a press release that this "final $300 GRI is intended to offset rate erosion in preparation for 2014-15 contract renewals."

The TSA is a group of container shipping lines operating from Asia to ports and inland points in the U.S. Its members are APL, China Shipping, CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai, "K" Line, Maersk, MSC, NYK, OOCL, Yang Ming and Zim.

TSA executive administrator Brian Conrad said the increases have been necessary to correct rates that misrepresent conditions in the Asia-U.S. freight market. "The downward rate pressures we are seeing do not reflect the steadily improving cargo picture eastbound from Asia," he said. "The Lunar New Year period was strong, with average vessel utilization numbers in the 95 percent range; while most people tend to focus only on the supply/demand imbalance, what is getting lost in the pricing discussion is service value."

Conrad compared the rate situation in the transpacific to decisions by governments worldwide to defer needed infrastructure investment. "We are in effect negotiating the annual operating budget for a major piece of global transportation infrastructure that happens to be privately financed," he said.

"Competitive pressures to match the lowest short-term rate levels and lock them into 12-month service contracts across the board amounts to a significant deferred investment in the trade. Eventually we will have to stop pricing based solely on supply-demand and pay more attention to long-term service reliability and flexibility – hopefully before a crisis makes the problems more acute and the solutions far more costly."

Getting More Out of Your LTL Moves

In today's competitive business environment, clients continually need more effective and efficient ways to manage their transportation spend as a means to improve their bottom line. Simplifying carrier management will save time, money and internal resources.

Managing less-than-truckload (LTL) movements can pose a challenge for shippers because the many options available tap your time and resources. uBook LTL allows you to work with a single point of contact – UTi.

LTL shipping made simple

UTi puts shippers in the driver's seat by providing one point of contact for all LTL tendering needs. Featuring a database of preferred contracted carriers, uBook LTL allows users to compare and choose from UTI's negotiated rates based on the volume of our entire network. This means that you receive preferred rates for your specific shipment requirements.

uBook LTL is a web-based tool that help you manage every LTL shipment electronically with pinpoint accuracy by providing:

  • Immediate shipment rating and bookingLTL Video
  • Carrier selection by rate and transit times
  • Electronic BOL
  • Track & Trace visibility
  • Management reports
  • Single billing source
  • Claims and carrier compliance

Understanding your needs

UTi understands that companies of all sizes need to improve their transportation capabilities without investing in major system changes to core business processes. Whether clients need more consistent and accurate reporting, better transaction visibility, additional carrier options, or simply do not want their limited resources to focus elsewhere, uBook LTL can make these things happen. Contact us at 1 (855) Ship UTi to learn more about how uBook LTL can be a real asset in your transportation selection.

UTi Connections
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