January 19 2023 | 10 Min Read

"OK, let’s do this!" The unlikely (yet necessary) convergence of logistics and bravery

Posted By
Krista Blakeney

Logistics, you could say, is the art of narrowing down the odds. Do logistics well, and the chance of something going wrong between here and over there diminishes to improbability. Manage a supply chain with aplomb, and you’ll end up with a neat line chart proving that your stitch in time saved no fewer than nine superfluous stitches between your manufacturing plant and your client’s loading bay.

Bravery isn’t that.

A brave soul straps wings to their back, roars “the odds be damned” and leaps into the unknown — often wearing some kind of impressive helmet. A brave soul invents new approaches. They stick a proverbial finger in the ear of convention and wiggle it about. What they don’t do is sensibleness. No maverick decided to keep a bag of barley sugars in their glove box just in case a passenger gets low blood sugar. No. It’s up to the logistician to dot those I’s and cross those T’s.

So where does that leave us sober-minded supply chain types?

Do we spurn acts of daring-do? Are we calculators, not innovators? Have people of our ilk traded epic tales of courage for sensible anecdotes about on-time delivery?

Nay, say we! Logistics and courage can march shoulder to shoulder. In fact, they should. And in this blog, we (courageously) intend to prove it. Strap on your hero wings and aviator helmet because it’s time to talk about bravery.

How we can be (sensibly) brave together

Here’s the thing. When we work with any client, IL2000’s leading goal is to generate supply chain security. When we sign up with a client, we’ll guarantee an ongoing level of freight savings and that number gets hard-baked right into the contract. We don’t offer estimates of how much we can save you on freight. We guarantee it, which means we are as vested in success as you are. It’s easier to trust someone when you’re strapped to the same parachute!

Historical bravery motorcycle jumping steam trainBut to get to that safe place, sometimes a client needs to face up to difficult challenges.

  • Perhaps an approach to shipment always worked until one day it didn’t.
  • Or new competition emerged and the company suddenly found itself needing to ship faster, cheaper, more reliably —  or (eek) some combination of all three.
  • Or overnight, a natural disaster decimates transportation infrastructure with the client left to figure out what to do about it.

We can help when the unknown comes knocking.

IL2000 specializes in solving seemingly intractable logistics problems. Through a rigorous upfront supply chain analysis, we blaze a bright trail through a dark cavern of unknown quantities. We crunch the numbers, weigh variables, and prove the case … but sooner or later it’s our client who needs to give us the green light. It’s our clients who need to say:

“OK, let’s do this!”

And this is where supply chain bravery comes into play. This is the moment when logistics and courage go hand-in-hand. Let’s look at a few clients who hit their “OK, let’s do this” moment and what happened next.

Inventing new approaches

You can’t be lily-livered if you plan to invent something new. You have to put yourself out there. You have to go for it.

Consider the case of this auto parts manufacturer.

  • The problem: This company was growing fast. But as it expanded into a vibrant new client base, the company’s supply chain gradually began to grind its gears. They just couldn’t secure reliable carriers like they used to. Company execs saw all this growth potential slipping away just because they couldn’t find the right carriers to shift their product. There was a growing fear the company had reached the outer limits of its supply chain’s capacity to grow.
  • The plan: IL2000 performed an analysis. We discovered their problem wasn’t carrier availability, it was a lack of data. Freight managers needed a way to efficiently choose a carrier while balancing transit time against rate. We presented the blueprint for a customized vendor portal that would streamline the carrier selection process.
  • The leap: The leap for this company came in the form of a decision to give us the green light to invent this new tool and build it into their shipment process. Would it fix the problem? What if IL2000 was wrong? They decided to go for it.
  • The landing: Order fulfillment accelerated. Boosted carrier routing efficiency and on-time delivery performance contributed to saving the company $400k per year in freight costs.

Going in a new direction

Another manifestation of courage is an openness to zigging when everyone else zags. When received industry wisdom is that success only comes in the shape of business model A, it takes boldness and vision to cross the floor to business model B.

Case in point: the fork in the road this packaging manufacturer faced.

  • The problem: This company made pharmaceutical products. This is an industry mired in tough regulations and predicated on tight delivery windows. To meet such rigorous industry parameters competitively, manufacturers in the space typically have little choice but to maintain their own delivery fleet for short-haul shipping. But that’s hideously expensive. They came to us with a question: Is there another way?
  • The plan: We analyzed fleet operations for this client and found another way. By leveraging IL2000’s round-the-clock managed transportation services, we determined this company could ditch its fleet. Our number crunchers could demonstrate the move would ultimately position our client’s supply chain to outperform those of the competition.
  • The leap: This particular leap was more of a slow-motion glide. We worked with the client to gradually phase out its fleet, transitioning shipping to a highly adaptable array of third-party carriers in its stead.
  • The landing: Within 12 months, all ongoing fleet costs had vanished from the company ledger. Suddenly our client were well-placed to scale up distribution faster than the competition. The decision to do it differently paid off in spades.

Fixing a mistake

Some of the greatest acts of courage begin with acknowledging a mistake. Admitting to fallibility isn’t easy — not for an individual and even less so for the collective intelligence bound up in a company.

Do we have an example lying about? Well, would you look at that! Consider this food manufacturer’s difficult realization.

  • The problem: To cater to the rapid-fire pace of its freight, this company built a shipment pricing system to expedite carrier selection. It was all great in theory, but there was a problem. The system was a disaster. For an unidentifiable reason, seemingly overnight the carrier selection process became drastically harder. One-by-one carriers ghosted them. Delivery reliability tanked. What was going wrong?
  • The plan: After some careful delving, we saw the problem wasn’t the software itself but the logic it had been built on. The pricing system was built with pre-COVID-19 assumptions about the shipping market. The world had shifted to a carrier-favorable market, and the company’s software had not kept pace. The plan we offered was simple: fix the shipping algorithm and your shipping efficiency will right itself.
  • The leap: The leap here for this client was that to adopt our plan, the company first had to abandon an approach for which they’d already invested considerable time, money, and training. A do-over when freight was already dead in the water felt like make or break. Company executives reviewed our logic, readjusted their thinking, and ripped off the bandaid.
  • The landing: Our client hoped our intervention might deliver a 6% saving on freight outlay within 12 months. We hit that target in months and sailed past it to a freight savings figure of over 10%. On-time performance increased from around 50% to over 90% in around six months.

Ready to be brave?

Man helping brave climber up peakSometimes you have to strap wings on your back and just take the leap. If big supply chain decisions leave you shuffling in hesitation, come talk to us at IL2000. With our rigorous supply chain analysis approach, a guarantee of freight savings, and years of industry insight, we’re you’re ideal supply chain copilots. Ready to feel the bracing air of bold new possibilities blast your face as your supply chain wings unfurl?

Then we want to know you!

Talk to IL2000 today about the art and science of making sensibly brave decisions.

Topics: Entrepreneurial Spirit, Supply Chain Management, Core Values

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