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US Shippers Seek Clearer View of Demand in Patchwork Reopening

As states across the U.S. begin the slow and cautious process of reopening, business leaders are now confronting a new challenge: restarting their supply chains to support increased business activity. In this article in the Journal of Commerce, David Commiskey, vice president of customer solutions at GlobalTranz, joins industry experts to share insights on the patchwork nature of the economic recovery and how companies in different industries are tweaking their supply chains to adjust to the new reality.

“There are still a lot of companies that are still coming up for air,” David Commiskey, vice president of customer solutions at third-party logistics provider GlobalTranz told JOC.com. “Everyone’s dealt with the shock of the pandemic and now they’re stepping back and locating assets and inventory across the supply chain.” GlobalTranz is seeing delays in less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload, and home deliveries as a result of the shakeout, he said.

“About 25 percent of the companies I work with have an idea of what their demand is going to look like,” Commiskey said. “In certain segments it may be 80 percent and in others it may be 10 percent.”

Supply chain changes initiated by shippers in response to the pandemic have involved turning retail stores into mini-fulfillment hubs, assessing carrier networks, and working to forecast sales volumes, and hence, manufacturing and transportation needs. However, the pandemic has also caused many shippers to reassess their approach to partnerships, technology, and visibility.

“We’ve seen a lot of people who were price-driven buyers all of a sudden become much more collaborative and they’re leaning on analytics technology,” Commiskey said. “There will be much more emphasis on visibility. The pandemic has forced some customers into a more collaborative mindset that wouldn’t have emerged in a ‘normal’ recession with low freight rates. This has been a true wake-up call (with shippers realizing) that it’s time to assess what the risk is in my supply chain. We have to come up with strategies beyond contingency plans.”

To read the full article, please click here (subscription required).