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Load Planning: Solutions to the Capacity Squeeze

Proper transportation management and data leverage overcome the capacity constraints brought on by the pandemic, says Jason Lockard, senior vice president of BlueGrace Logistics.

By Russell W. Goodman | SupplyChainBrain
Published May 16, 2022

Given the capacity constraints caused by supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, creative thinking and smarter decisions are mandatory, Lockard says. “That means consolidation. If we move the same amount of product on fewer trucks going fewer miles, we should find ways to reduce costs. So we’ve had to think outside the box quite a bit.”

Even the automotive industry, which had one of the most consistently static supply chains, has seen disruptions, he says. It has had to become more dynamic, in Lockard’s view. “I think that’s the key: being dynamic.”

Of course, few companies are the size of major players in the automotive industry. Nevertheless, they’re still going to be dealing with these constraints. “This is not just a Fortune 100 opportunity,” Lockard says. “This goes all the way down to mid-market shippers, especially the ones experiencing exponential growth.”

Optimization of their systems begins with data, he says, but all too often shippers don’t have access to clean, accurate data. A good provider begins value stream mapping to understand what a customer’s baseline is.

“Usually, if we have that, combined with the data, it gives us a full picture of what’s happening,” Lockard says. “So once we’ve established that current state or that baseline, then we start using that data to make observations — let’s call it at the 50,000-foot level. And we start peeling back that onion and looking for something that is actionable, that can be proved with data that’s time-specific and has an ROI allocated to it.”

Once problems in the transportation area are ironed out, other parts of a company benefit as well, Lockard says.