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How Generational Gaps Impact Talent Retention & Recruiting Strategies

talent retention

How Generational Gaps Impact Talent Retention & Recruiting Strategies

Workforce development in the modern age presents a new level of opportunities and challenges to companies seeking to enhance their talent pool. Factors such as technology innovation, information overload, and new generations entering the workforce require thought leaders and experts to identify the best options to meet company needs. In order to attain this, recruiters must understand potential employees at their core and visualize the potential value and growth for both parties. This level of expertise is difficult to find. Dozens of talent recruiting websites and services exist in the marketplace with a similar promise: guaranteed results. What they don’t guarantee is the right kind of results. If a company is provided with five candidates with years of experience, but lacking the knowledge, skills, and company culture needed to thrive, the “results” go stale and the process is restarted, resulting in a never-ending cycle with a low success rate. 

“This is a relational business, not a transactional one. If you view it as the latter, you’ll surely fail long term,” explains Anthony Fletcher, President and CEO of My Future Consulting. “Whether you’re in search of a new business opportunity or an exceptional candidate, I found that organic, genuine, and empowering relationships enable businesses to build a network comprised of the most talented, knowledgeable, influential, and accomplished professionals in the world.” 

Anthony Fletcher boasts a wealth of knowledge developed over 20 years managing Fortune 100 company’s operations, manufacturing, planning and sales. Through his dedication to understanding people, Mr. Fletcher demonstrates competitive knowledge required to develop a successful approach in matching the right people with the right jobs and beyond. My Future Consulting differentiates the recruiting process through a carefully developed process that considers the needs of both employers and candidates, ultimately ensuring life-long partnerships while tackling the challenges in workforce development head-on. 

Candidates in the modern workforce come with a variety of personalities, levels of skills, experience, and expectations. Furthermore, generational gaps create complexities that can be difficult to navigate, especially for a company looking to fill a vital position quickly and successfully. The hiring process has evolved significantly in recent years and now requires a granular approach to recruiting the right people to build a lasting team. Simply put, there is no “one size fits all” approach and it takes an expert in people to successfully achieve such results. That’s the difference My Future Consulting brings to companies in eight different industries, boasting a 93 percent employee placement retention rate. 

“’Your Future is Our Priority’” is embodied in every phase of the search process. Our end goal is to make the process both seamless and stress-free for all stakeholders,” adds Mr. Fletcher. “Unlike most recruitment firms where recruiting is approached transactionally, My Future Consulting approaches it as a relationship-based business. We take tremendous pride in critically evaluating necessary steps to ensure all of our clients have a phenomenal experience during each and every phase of the recruitment process. Additionally, 95 percent of our candidates and 90 percent of our clients lack the knowledge and/or resources to effectively negotiate salary and compensation. This is another reason why our services are greatly valued as we are able to propose a competitive compensation – a package that presents a win-win outcome for both the candidate and client.” 

Taking it a few steps further, My Future Consulting focuses on presenting candidates to clients that bring results through a thorough understanding of company culture and the differences presented in different generations of employees seeking a family of companies to grow with. Among the major differences in the talent market today is the emergence of Gen Z into the mix of millennials and baby boomers. Communication, experience, goals, and skills are unique to each candidate presented. An example of this is seen with the level of experience in technology. While a seasoned Millennial candidate presents skills in communication and writing, a Gen Z candidate with less experience might present a deeper knowledge of platforms vital to a company’s audience. If an overwhelmed supervisor is tasked with the responsibility to fill a position quickly, identifying these factors could very well be overlooked and the right candidate dismissed. 

“From a recruitment standpoint, it can be extremely challenging for Baby Boomers who may not be knowledgeable of the many social media platforms and networks that exist today, as this has become a primary connection point for most millennials, Gen Z and a few straggling Baby Boomers,” adds Fletcher. “Lack of engagement on the aforementioned could result in a competitive disadvantage in the war of talent that exists in today’s job market.”

More so than before, finding the right talent has proven to be increasingly difficult as more factors present themselves in a variety of industries. The workforce culture is changing while technology is advancing and companies are confronted with the need for change in developing a strong team. What proved to be successful previously is not guaranteed to work in the modern age. Hiring managers and business owners alike are beginning to realize addressing these challenges is best left for the experts to tackle. 

“For Gen Z and Millennials, technology is the most appealing aspect of a job and lack thereof will only lead to high turnover. Today’s candidates lean towards organizations that are always on the cutting edge of technology. For those companies that have an antiquated approach in running their organization, they are perceived to be out of touch, stifling the individual capability of the organization, thus leading to morale and performance issues – a recipe for mass exodus.” 

Understanding a candidate from a generational, cultural, and skills point of view is not something companies can rely on an average recruiting website or firm to deliver on. What many recruiters fail to understand is how to determine which candidates are ready for the next step in an industry and which candidates need some finessing for placement success. From the personalized, 10-point resume assessment services to its career transition services, the experts at My Future Consulting address recruiting from both sides to ensure the right candidates are set up for success and while companies are paired with the best option. Instead of isolating one side, both participants in the process are evaluated holistically, resulting in satisfied clients and employees. 

“Every search begins with the goal of it lasting. When uniting candidates with clients, we go into each search with the thought of it being a long-term business marriage,” adds Fletcher. “Long term viability is our end goal, so we go to great lengths to understand the needs and goals of both the candidate and the clients. Once we identify what we perceive to be the ideal candidate we begin to court them accordingly.” 

“Based on the unsolicited feedback we’ve consistently received from both the candidate and our valued client base, our unique methodology, timely and personalized style of communication clearly differentiates us from any perceived competitors. We firmly believe that effective communication is critical and serves as the foundation for our firm. It enables us to provide clear direction and impeccable service to our clients.” 

Another critical element in today’s workforce is the theme of diversity and inclusion – regardless of the industry. This directly ties in with the Gen Z and Millennial generations entering the workforce and what is expected as a standard, not a “perk.” There’s a direct correlation between company culture and employee satisfaction, quality of work, and most importantly, company reputation. If a company neglects its own culture (i.e. people), employees can lose motivation, creating more positions to fill, raising turnover rates, and restarting the never-ending cycle. If a company is known for extensive hours, poor culture, and lack of technology, a qualified candidate – particularly a Gen Zer, can become quickly disinterested and offer their skills to a competitor. Even worse is when that employee spreads the message of poor culture and working conditions to other potential candidates. Word of mouth plays an equal part in developing your company’s profile in the talent pool. 

Fletcher adds: 

“Jobs that lack an intense level of engagement from a digital space could lead to boredom, which if not addressed could result in high turnover. Gen Zers appear to be more motivated by security versus millennials, who tend to be motivated by purpose. This explains the constant job-hopping and indecisiveness when it comes to career choices among these generations of workers. This also shows how critical it is to know your employee’s career goals and motivations as well as talent opportunities.” 

“Work experience and skill set are equally critical when identifying solid talent to present to our clients. However, a vibrant, inclusive, and engaging work environment is where we expend immeasurable energy in to ensure that we’re putting candidates in a position to succeed from the moment their step on the campus of the new employer.” 

Taking it another step further is balancing the needs of both employers and employees once the right candidate has been identified and hired. This is one of the most critical steps once an employee has been selected and begins integrating into a company’s atmosphere – beyond the deliverables and daily tasks. An example of this is commonly found with Gen Z candidates and accurately assessing career paths against personal goals, expectations, and skills development. Today’s workforce requires career-mapping and consistent goal setting for success. 

“Gen Zers operate with an entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic, meaning they are high energy, self-motivated, and independent in thought. This poses a tremendous challenge for most hiring managers that typically oversee more traditional operations where policies and procedures not only guide, but sometimes place a stranglehold on employees and their success. Striking a balance is the key to success,” adds Fletcher. “Studies have shown that both Gen Zers and Millennials want to be catered to quite intensely. I believe that applies to all generations, but the latter is simply more outspoken about it. This can pose a problem to hiring managers that are Baby Boomers, as their inclination is to not to coddle candidates, leading to miscommunication and unmanaged expectations which ultimately results in loss of job opportunities, career advancement, and retention rates dropping.” 

From managing expectations to providing the right amount of challenges and feedback for this generation, it takes an expert in people to ensure the match is successful in the long-term. This is another way My Future Consulting differentiates itself among talent recruiters. It’s through the extensive knowledge and expertise offered that 93 percent of their candidates thrive in their new roles, followed through with consistent checks and balances to ensure retention is achieved. 

“We identify the five most critical skills sets that are required to be successful in the role we’re recruiting for and provide a detailed analysis of each that is included in our candidate submission summary. Once a candidate is converted to employee, our firm check-in with the candidate on day 60-90-180. No other search firm in the world has a similar practice. We send congratulatory gifts to the client and candidate up signing. We also celebrate the candidates 1st year anniversary and follow-up with the candidate twice a year to discuss performance, culture, and transition.” 

The My Future Consulting difference speaks for itself through satisfied clients and successful employees the firm has placed in a multitude of industries over the years. The unmatched knowledge found within the team of experts at My Future Consulting goes beyond addressing recruiting and retention roadblocks and spotlights the importance of company reputation. Not only does the firm take pride in connecting companies to candidates but takes the time to prepare the next generation of workers for their ideal job while growing businesses nationwide. 

“Over 95 percent of the candidates that we look to present to our industry leading clients are passive professionals, thus not actively searching for a new opportunity. We are often referred to them by trusted associates, both past and present. New business opportunities tend to arise from satisfied clients and business partners who refer new clients to our firm. In fact, 80 percent of our new business is a result of unsolicited client referrals. This data point, as you would imagine, makes us very proud as an organization,” Fletcher concludes. 

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Anthony Fletcher, Sr. (@Real_AFletcher) is the owner and president of My Future Consulting and Integrity Sports Agency. Drawing from over two decades of Executive Management experience in leading innovative solutions, staff building and talent recruitment, Mr. Fletcher founded My Future Consulting (MFC) in 2007. Working towards innovation based on his experience of matching the right person with the right job, this innovative staffing company has revolutionized how organizations meet their need with experienced and high-potential talent. My Future Consulting was founded on the principle that people are an organization’s most important asset and was ranked as a Top 20 Employment Agency in Chicago by Expertise.com in 2018 and 2019. 

Mr. Fletcher is a popular keynote speaker and can often be found sharing his story and insights on leadership, empowerment, and the importance of people with professional, civic, and community organizations. He is also a lecturer and visiting professor at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. 

Anthony lives in Orlando Park, Ill. with his family. He is a dedicated philanthropist and volunteer, serving as a chairperson and fundraiser for many area nonprofit organizations. Mr. Fletcher has raised over $54,000 for MS Walk and volunteers as an executive advisor to organizations, 

including the American Diabetes Association, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Feed Our Starving Children. 

Wando Welch Terminal

SCPA’s Wando Welch Terminal Confirmed for Sustainable Crane Upgrades

RTG cranes at South Carolina Ports Authority’s Wando Welch Terminal will soon operate on sustainable and eco-friendly engines thanks to a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Through a great partnership with DHEC, we have secured EPA funding to upgrade our 12 least efficient RTG cranes with high performing, environmentally friendly battery/genset hybrids,” said Stephen Brisben, Mechanical Technical Specialist for SCPA’s Heavy Lift Maintenance Department. “This aligns with our efforts to upgrade equipment to both improve air quality standards in the Lowcountry and enhance terminal operations.”

The grant was issued as part of the  Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program supporting the upgrading of various fleets from school buses, transit airport buses, long and short-haul trucks, marine engines, locomotive replacements, and more for cleaner environments and an overall reduction in harmful emissions.

“For the past 10 years, the DERA program has played an important role in helping to reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines while simultaneously creating opportunities for economic growth and development in South Carolina,” DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality Chief Rhonda Thompson said. “We are excited about this new opportunity to work alongside the South Carolina Ports Authority — an entity whose work is crucially important in supporting both our state and regional economies.”

SCPA’s Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin confirmed the 12 rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTG) upgrades are part of the overall vision to implement sustainable and efficient equipment solutions. Additionally, the upgrades were reported to support reducing fuel consumption while cutting up to 96 percent of particulate matter, air toxins, and nitrogen oxides.

new york

New York is the Place to Be for Business, Pleasure, Reflection

Business trips and New York tend to go hand-in-hand for travelers. From its major convention centers and expo arenas to its breathtaking skyscrapers and rooftop bars, New York is truly a treat for the business traveler; just make sure to bring an extra pair of shoes for walking and an appetite for adventure, regardless of what part of the state you end up in. 

New York is known for hosting some of the most notable annual trade show events, boasting an international presence in sectors including fashion and retail, global logistics, business expos and more at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Brooklyn’s Expo Center or one of the many luxurious hotels in the region. 

In the Empire State, there’s a plethora of transportation options to choose from. But make sure to always know your options as you navigate various parts of the city and don’t limit yourself to one means of transportation. All in all, the subway and occasional Uber will most likely be your best options; travelers will walk a significant amount either way. 

Upon your arrival, expect to be greeted with the cliché hustle and bustle atmosphere paired with crowds of people trying to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. You’ll find there’s so much to do compact in one state that it would take a couple of weeks to check them all off the list. This quick reference list is for business travelers seeking adventure in between business. The best part is, this list doesn’t require more than a couple of days to knock out. 

BAR 54

There are few rooftop bars that deliver the experience found on the 54th floor of the Hyatt Centric Times Square. Bar 54 offers some of the most fascinating photo opportunities while providing a modern and relaxing atmosphere guaranteed to help one forget they are in New York for business. If you’re seeking a delicious meal, elegant cocktails, upbeat tunes and views that don’t disappoint, Bar 54 is the perfect place for you. Take in the views of the Chrysler Building and take a peek at Times Square from the top, minus the crazy crowds and stuffy streets. Bar 54 is the ideal environment for business networking if you’re seeking an untraditional and exhilarating environment to talk business in. And if you’re simply seeking asylum after a long day of meetings and conferences, Bar 54 has a spot ready for you and you alone. Either way, you’re bound to connect with someone on the rooftop terrace. Also, if your curiosity peaks, a rooftop telescope supplies up-close views of the dozens of buildings and views surrounding the region. Get ready for some unmatched photo opportunities here!

THE VESSEL AT HUDSON YARDS

Yes, you read that correctly–it’s literally a vessel comprised of one giant spiral staircase offering unique viewpoints paired with magnificent river and city views. Let’s face it, if one visits New York and doesn’t relish the views, it’s not really a trip to New York. The Vessel features 154 flights of stairs equating to roughly 2,500 individual stairs. And it gets better: Admission to experience this Thomas Heatherwick/Heatherwick Studios masterpiece is free on the same day. So, spontaneity is fully supported and encouraged. Again, brace yourself for remarkable photo opportunities and an experience you won’t find anywhere else. It’s ideal for those who might have a fear of heights but still crave some high-towering adventure. Don’t worry, there is an elevator that goes straight to the top if the thought of climbing 154 flights of stairs makes your feet hurt. However, we highly recommend taking the stairs due to the intricate and funky mirror images one experiences on the way to the top. 

THE HIGH LINE

We promise we’re not trying to add more steps to your New York adventures, but The High Line is simply a must-do exploration of a different side of New York. In short, this is an all-in-one experience combining the best and most beautiful aspects of nature, art and design throughout a 1.45-mile stretch of elevated rail track showcasing the city’s history and beauty. Owned by New York City, The High Line delivered meat to the Meatpacking District and agricultural goods to local warehouses and factories from 1934-1980. Nowadays, it offers residents and visitors an open invitation to wander and explore its path of various viewing spurs, crossroads and natural scenery. If you happen to catch an appetite on the trail, there are a variety of food options depending on the time of year visited. Throughout the year, Santina serves some of the tastiest Italian-themed dishes that are sure to satisfy the hunger. The High Line is ideal for unwinding and de-stressing and is sure to satisfy one’s need for adventure and wandering or for those seeking a healthy dose of tranquility and a glass of wine.  

9/11 MEMORIAL & MUSEUM

In true patriotic style, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is an unmatched experience, taking its visitors through one of the most devastating events in our country’s history and reiterating the importance to never forget the service and sacrifice given by America’s first responders and the lives lost so abruptly that day. Interestingly enough, what some don’t realize is how the early 1990s World Trade Center bombing is also remembered along with the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, paired with the world’s response. Although this is a much heavier and serious place to visit, anyone who claims to be an American needs to pay tribute to the beautifully developed memorial, Survivor Tree and museum. If you already know the dates of your upcoming New York trip, take a glance at the Events Calendar to see if you can pencil-in a visit to experience a critical part of America’s history and learn to pause and appreciate the more important aspects of what we do and what we stand for as a united country. 

CarrierGo

Blume CarrierGo Provides Motor Carriers with All-Encompassing Business Solutions

This year’s Intermodal Expo in Long Beach, California featured some of the latest solution offerings disrupting the transportation sector. Among leading industry experts including logistics and supply chain solutions provider, Blume Global unveiling their latest product offering, Blume CarrierGo. Blume Global boasts over 25 years of transportation solution offerings in the cloud enabling international multimodal operations including shipment planning, execution, visibility, invoicing, invoice processing & settlement.

“Blume CarrierGo is a product we created that offers our global network of 7,000-plus carriers more than just execution, adding more value for both the carriers and the drivers,” explains Glenn Jones, GVP Product Strategy at Blume Global. “CarrierGo is localized in 22 languages and utilized by customers around the globe, so it’s not limited to the United States. This solution enables carriers to increase turns per day while reducing empty miles and maximizing efficiencies.” 

The days of manual processes are becoming a thing of the past, particularly in transportation and carrier services as automation continues setting a new and more improved standard of streamlining operations. Blume CarrierGo solution identifies processes such as appointment scheduling for carriers lacking levels of automation needed for optimization. Another example is opportunities with street turns found within the Blume import and export-heavy freight forwarding customers.

“We have insight into what independent freight forwarders might not be able to see, such as import and export maps leading to an opportunity for a street turn recommendation or automatic allocation. Dwell times also provide an opportunity for automation. We may have 20, 30, or even 50 carriers trying to pick up containers out of the same terminal. By leveraging our visibility across multiple freight forwarders we can either make recommendations or we can delay making appointments through the insight we have into marine terminals with delays,” Jones adds. 

And how about invoicing? Blume covers all bases for carriers in terms of accessorials and eliminating the element of surprise when it comes to unpredictable charges backing up processing times. The Blume solutions process requires carriers to gain approval for accessorials before they even happen. 

“If a carrier needs to get to a port and they’re unable to, there might be a demurrage charge or there might be a carrier in a dwell time charge situation unexpectedly. They can gain approval from the buyer for that accessorial and when it appears on the invoice days – or hours later, there’s no surprise and the invoice will be processed faster,” Jones adds. “This is particularly useful for carriers in 3rd world countries, where the carriers tend to be much smaller and require payments quicker than what the freight terms offer,” Jones adds. 

Processes like these are found within the CarrierGo solution, providing maximized efficiencies and reducing costly and time-consuming overhead freight audits and manual payment processes. Carriers are not only paid on time, but have increased opportunity for invoice factoring discussions in international markets. This is a major differentiator found within the Blume solutions structure impacting global scale capabilities across the supply chain, creating seamless flows between all players and competitors in the multimodal sector. 

For more information about how Blume CarrierGo can improve your cargo needs, please visit booth 512 at Intermodal Expo or visit Blume Global on the web. 

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Glenn Jones, GVP Product Strategy, Blume Global

 Glenn has a proven track record of growing businesses by building and leading product management/marketing and R&D organizations to define, develop, position, and sell highly innovative and high value enterprise solutions delivered in the cloud. He was formerly the COO of Sweetbridge and the CTO of Steelwedge Software. He also held leadership positions at several other companies, including Elementum and E2Open.

WHY THE DRIVER SHORTAGE AND TRUCKING-CAPACITY CHALLENGES ARE NOT GOING AWAY

In the busy and demanding world of trucking, industry players are inevitably reminded of two significant challenges that show no signs of lessening now and in the near future: trucking capacity and the driver shortage. Neither issue will solve itself with current approaches. Companies are now faced with the reality that change must be embraced through improving training standards and the utilization of advanced technology solutions. 

This might not come as a surprise to some, but for others still operating with outdated practices, reality presents its own set of challenges. To look at the numbers the industry is dealing with, a report released by Insurance Journal confirmed the driver shortage figure has reached 51,000–up from 36,000 in 2016.

Some industry leaders, such as Advanced Training Systems CEO John Kearney, are confronting these issues at every angle–from a legislative, cultural, educational, and technological positions. 

“The issue is that the existing workforce is aging,” Kearney maintains. “The truck is a different piece of equipment from what it was a few years ago–it’s very sophisticated. The technology advances are significant and the regulations are outdated. Simulators are really emerging as a major change to the training field. A lot of companies are now going to simulators because there are some things they can do that are not possible to train any other way.”

Advanced Training Systems (ATS) has spent more than a decade developing cost-effective training simulators and preparing aspiring truck drivers across the United States through many of the training schools in the country. These driver training schools offer students unmatched training experiences that have propelled ATS in a leading position in the driver training field. 

“In 2008 we started the process of developing simulators because we know they are an excellent part of the training process,” Kearney says. “Today, we have simulators in a number of places around the U.S. and Mexico with operations in California where we do manufacturing and technology development while our corporate offices are in Florida.”

Among the scenarios truckers are faced with at a moment’s notice that traditional training methods can’t address include sudden road obstructions, aggressive drivers, inclement weather and truck malfunctions. These unavoidable situations present some of the most challenges in preparing the next generation of truck drivers

“Let’s take the example of a front tire blowout,” Kearney suggests. “If someone does that in a real truck, they could kill someone. There’s also the risk of something coming out on the road all of sudden and if the driver swerves, they could create an accident. These types of scenarios can be taught in a simulator.” 

He continues, “Ice is another example. If a driver is sliding on ice, what do they do? They don’t want to slide in a real truck, so what we do is have simulators that train properly so drivers know how to react if that happens. The reaction time is improved through the process of repetitive proper actions needed to teach muscle memory in the training process.”

Earlier this year, 28 vehicles were involved in a devastating truck collision in Lakewood, Colorado, that claimed the lives of four people. Since then, conversations surrounding improved training methods have taken priority among industry players, with simulators leading the position of potential solutions. 

“Technology is a big part of the answer,” Kearney maintains. “If we use technology, we use better methods of training and we’re not sending someone to sit in a classroom for too long. Change in technology expands on the number of people who can become interested in the field. The methodology of training using simulation and various other training methods available today—such as virtual reality—will provide the industry with better drivers and more people interested in a career in the field.”

Beyond technology, Kearney urges legislators to consider how current age restrictions limit the industry’s growth. Current laws only permit young adults over the age of 21 to drive a truck over state lines, limiting both driver populations and proactive education efforts. The desire to learn is there, but current laws restrict motivated and qualified students to begin training, leaving high schools with little reason to further pursue efforts in education. 

“High schools are not teaching students to drive in a truck. What’s beginning to happen is we are realizing young people are very qualified, they’re very used to working with things like simulation, and we need to allow the young driver to enter into the profession from the time they leave high school, between ages 18-21 once properly trained.”

The trucking industry is sometimes generalized as an exhaustive, demanding and less-than-glamorous profession. It’s time for a refresh of trucking culture to mirror what a career in the industry really looks like, beyond long hours and demanding schedules, according to Kearney. 

“The other part of the issue is we must educate young people to think about truck drivers differently. A truck driver today has much more involvement than just being a truck driver. The industry needs to change the name of what truck drivers are to something that better indicates what they do and what they are. The current trucking condo is actually a very nice place to live and travel around the country.”

The first step in creating reliable and effective solutions for the trucking industry begins with expanded training for existing and future drivers and elevation to a professional level. The technology available in today’s markets enable companies across the nation to improve operations and prepare the next generation of drivers for fulfilling careers. The reality is, trucking is not what it used to be both operationally and professionally. 

“The driver of today has become a manager of multimillion dollars’ worth of freight, managing the technology with careful compliance to the delivery schedule, serious regulations and changes in the method of operating a $100,000-plus vehicle and the method of driving as it develops. The driver of today can move up in the company they work for. Many drivers will be moving up in the industry from driving a truck.”

Opportunities now exist that weren’t fathomable in previous decades. The challenge now is to overcome antiquated mindsets and operation patterns to boost productivity, driver satisfaction and safety. It’s up to industry leaders to step up and initiate change. 

lean supply chain

LEAN OR AGILE? FOR A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN, THE ANSWER IS BOTH

Maintaining competitive advantage in the global logistics playing field is no easy task. There are hundreds of companies striving to earn the loyalty and business of global and domestic clients and the competition is becoming more intense with each passing day. Thanks to technology, companies are now able to take a step back and truly evaluate what structures make the most sense to meet customer demands in unpredictable markets.

Technology offering features such as predictive analytics are enabling logistics leaders to employ proactive measures for even the most complex of disruptions. However, readily available technology does not prove successful without careful consideration of the right platform and what supply chain management structure will meet the needs for specific company goals and customer demands. Company A might require a lean approach, while company B requires characteristics of both lean and agile supply chain structures. Before diving into which one benefits the most, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. 

An agile supply chain structure focuses heavily on layered benefits including visibility, predictability, and speed in terms of reaction times. Lean supply chain focuses on the most cost-effective options, ultimately reducing costs and recovering what’s been spent. Both are extremely important and attainable, but the trick is finding the right balance between the two while recruiting the best partners fit to support meeting the needs of customers. This element is critical in maintaining competitive advantage and ultimately makes or breaks customer relationships. 

“Everyone is striving to find that balance between having an agile supply chain and a lean supply chain because logistics and transportation costs fall to the bottom line,” explains Matt Castle, vice president, Global Forwarding Products and Services at C.H. Robinson. “These costs need to be recovered at some point in time, regardless of what business you’re in. There’s always going to be a focus on ensuring a lean supply chain in terms of cost and the economy, as well as how to find that balance of also maintaining flexibility based on the needs of the business. Having that agility can be a major differentiator in delivering on customer expectations.”

Castle adds: “Another question to think about is how to approach diversification in your supplier base. There can obviously be restraints based on a particular importer or exporter in terms of where they’re sourcing or buying product and availability, but I recommend ensuring you have an outlet from a secondary supplier. It’s worth the front-end legwork from a planning perspective to ensure you have a multitude of choices.”

The advantages of agile supply chain go far beyond mastering efficiencies or recovering costs and requires taking a holistic look at all the moving parts of your business. Implementing this type of approach relies heavily on planning and thinking differently in approaching the management of customer expectations while ensuring your business can offer a level of flexibility your competitors can’t offer. 

“When I think about an agile supply chain, I think about having flexibility—the ability to adapt at a quick pace, speed and the ability to recover from a certain level of uncertainty,” Castle says. “I believe it’s important to collaborate with a company that has a diverse portfolio of services. This is so businesses are able to adjust quickly from an ocean service to an air service, from an intermodal to a truckload, or even breaking down at a warehouse facility, LTL or small parcel.

“Having a provider that can seamlessly move from one product to the next is extremely important. It’s also important to ensure you’re engaging with a provider that has a global footprint. There are different scenarios playing out in different countries, so your ability to have a presence that can engage a global environment is critical.”

Any business implementing an agile supply chain approach must ensure supporting providers and partners are a good fit. Choosing the right third-party logistics provider can determine just how quickly your business can recover from an unpredictable situation and continue operations. Uncertainties cannot be completely eliminated, but they can be managed in a way that your business and customer relations do not suffer with the right partner. Without this, an agile supply chain structure is limited. 

“When thinking about uncertainty in the supply chain, having a third-party logistics provider that’s multimodal or that offers a variety of products allows you to seamlessly move from one product to the next,” Castle advises. “That is one of the best defenses against being able to navigate any level of uncertainty–from speeding up or slowing down products. It comes back to having some level of a global presence, as it’s something a lot of importers and exporters are trying to navigate today.”

Technology is equally important when aligning operations with an agile approach. This also requires careful consideration of what works in terms of what kind of products and the regions associated with operations. The technology needs to provide a level of visibility that enables your business to react to a variety of disruptors–from weather to policy, disruptions can come in different forms and require proactive, quick solutions to mitigate additional risks. 

“Put simply, it’s a matter of having product available–whatever your business may be, to either sell or have within the production cycle so that you’re not ending up with a plant shutdown,” Castle says. “An agile supply chain creates an opportunity to deliver product on the shelf that a competitor isn’t able to.”

“For C.H. Robinson, Navisphere is our technology platform. Managing any kind of supply chain is about how you bring visibility to what’s happening with the movement of your goods. What’s changing in terms of expectations around technology is how do you start to weave different factors in so that it starts to align with more predictive elements.”

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Matt Castle is vice president of Air Freight Products and Services at C.H. Robinson. He joined C.H. Robinson in 1996 and has 25+ years of experience in the transportation industry. Castle is responsible for driving growth through global airfreight product. He received his degree in Aviation Administration and Management from the University of North Dakota.

ATLANTA OFFERS DELIGHTS FOR THE EYES, MIND AND BELLY

Rich in history, food and culture, Atlanta is a city that never seems to disappoint visitors. You’ll discover a variety of things to do if you’ve found yourself in Atlanta with time to kill in between meetings and conferences. Bring your appetite, a comfy pair of shoes and plenty of camera space as Atlanta boasts some of the most beautiful things to eat, see and experience. Global Trade magazine took time to vet the best spots to visit while maximizing your Atlanta experience after-hours—whether you’re seeking fancy cocktails, thrills at new heights or simply wanting to learn more about the city’s robust history. 

Centennial Park District

Take the time to unwind while taking in breathtaking views at The Glenn Hotel’s SkyLounge. This distinguished rooftop experience is among the top 23 in the world, as voted by ABC.com, and among the top five in Atlanta according to Forbes Travel Guide. Located in the heart of the city in Centennial Park District, SkyLounge offers unmatched views paired with a refreshing variety of perfectly crafted drinks to satisfy any cocktail lover’s taste buds. If you’re seeking more sustenance during your visit to The Glenn, stop by Glenn’s Kitchen for a tasty meal doused in Southern style for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Seeking more heights? Take a stroll over to the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel on Luckie Street. Towering 20 stories high, it boasts 42 gondolas with temperature-controlled features. Feeling fancy? Take advantage of the VIP gondola and enjoy Ferrari-style seats and a glass floor to enhance the experience. 

If you’re a sports fanatic, look no farther than the College Football Hall of Fame located just off of Marietta Street. Be fair warned, however, and bring yourself dressed appropriately with a comfy pair of shoes if you dare give the Indoor Running Field a try. Test your skills by kicking a field goal or challenge yourself to the obstacle course. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t demand your inner athlete, take your college football team pride to the next level at The Quad, where you can register your team of choice and watch it light up on a three-story helmet wall. There’s also the “Game of Your Life” 4K feature film showing at the Game Day Theater, bringing the big screen to life with all the college football action your heart desires. 

Old Fourth Ward

If you’re a history buff and seeking a region rich in history and heritage, exploring the sites and monuments in the Old Fourth Ward are well worth your time. Established in the 1800s, Old Fourth Ward boasts the very historic birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitors get the opportunity to experience the very home he grew up in and the church he preached at, Ebenezer Baptist Church at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, also known as “Atlanta’s Top Tourist Destination” by the National Park Service. Take a moment to appreciate the Behold Monument unveiled by the civil rights martyr’s wife, Coretta Scott King, or the beautiful World Peace Rose Garden featuring themes of peace and non-violence through 185 different kinds of roses with unique colors and scents.

Once your craving for history is satisfied, take your appetite for a trip to the Ponce City Market Food Hall, where you can find options ranging from Indian street food, Szechuan-style cuisine, Asian favorites, traditional American dishes, Southern favorites and an impressive elevated craft beer garden at Nine Mile Station. Boasting views that pair well with the beer or cocktail of your choice, if you’re in town on the right day, you might even be able to catch the weekly cult classic film featured on the rooftop. You won’t regret visiting Ponce City Market and might even find yourself going back for seconds. Did we mention there’s also a wine tasting room? 

If the weight of a business trip starts to get heavy, what better way to alleviate it than with laughter? Head on over to Dad’s Garage Theater in the Little Five Points neighborhood for some uniquely showcased humor from classic improv to sketch. It goes without saying, there’s a lot to do in this part of the city. 

Buckhead District 

Buckhead is sure to please those seeking a fancier Atlanta experience–from shopping and fine dining, to historical sites and classy cocktails–all paired with modern landscapes and a refreshing atmosphere that can’t be overlooked when in Atlanta. 

If you have an appreciation for a fine bourbon and fancy atmosphere, be sure to check out the Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Buckhead. Southern Art takes a different approach to cooking and boasts a fresh cuisine experience with the finest versions of Southern favorites that rely on the seasons to determine their character. Considering Southern Art was founded by Art Smith–known for serving as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for a decade–this choice spot is definitely worth a visit that will leave guests satisfied and impressed. If you’re stuck wondering what to do on a Friday or Saturday evening, Southern Art has you covered through its weekly featured “Bourbon Bar Unplugged” with live music and entertainment up until midnight. 

For another taste of history, be sure to give the Atlanta History Center a visit and plan to spend a generous amount of time exploring attractions such as the 1928 Swan House, the Smith Family Farm, the Margaret Mitchell House, and 33 acres of breathtaking gardens, woods and nature’s beauty at the Goizueta Gardens. 

Finish off the night with an elegant cocktail atop the W Atlanta’s Whiskey Blue Bar that sits 125 feet above the city skyline, where you can take in the scenery at one of the two offered patios. If you’re curious about what’s inside, head over and enjoy a cozy yet chic experience at the W’s Living Room Cook Hall or lounge area. 

With Southern hospitality at the forefront of ATL culture, you’re bound to find some interesting and kind folks to mingle with. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed. 

TeleSense Addresses Global Grain Ecosystem Challenges

Grain spoilage may soon be a thing of the past for global grain operators and transporters. IoT tech innovator TeleSense recently announced its acquisition of Danish wireless sensor technology company, Webstech. Through this acquisition, TeleSense announced it will amp up IoT efforts as it now has access to the largest global remote-sensed dataset and plans on integrating Webstech’s industrial automation capabilities, solar/battery power functionality and sensor spears to its current solution.

“Spoilage and energy optimization in drying grain continue to be multi-billion dollar issues; TeleSense provides the data insights needed for players throughout the global grain ecosystem to improve safety and profitability,” TeleSense CEO Naeem Zafar said. “The acquisition of Webstech greatly accelerates our entry into the European market and provides millions of additional historical data points to further refine our machine learning technology and predictive algorithms.” 

The TeleSense GrainSafe™ AI platform serves the grain supply chain as a scalable solution through monitoring temperature and humidity levels and providing real-time view of the stored grain to ensure quality conditions are maintained. With this innovative, portable, and wireless solution, the company is ready to expand its presence beyond the U.S. and Australia and make its entry in the European regions.

“How grain is stored, handled and traded in the years to come will change as new IoT-enabled technologies take hold throughout the supply chain,” added Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen of Maersk Growth Ventures. “We think that this acquisition by TeleSense will accelerate the mission of higher sustainability and efficiency in the grain supply chain.”

The company also confirmed it will expand with a new Denmark office and onboard two new additions to the team. Maersk Growth Ventures’ Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen will serve on the Board of Directors of the newly created TeleSense Europe ApS subsidiary and Webstech’s CEO Thomas Kylling will serve as managing director for TeleSense’s European team.

“After operating in the European remote sensing space for almost a decade, I was absolutely blown away by TeleSense’s integration of data science with an IoT solution for grain,” noted Kylling. “I think that TeleSense will help drive the automation of the grain supply chain, and I’m excited to help lead the effort in Europe.” 

10 Things to Look for in an IaaS Tool

Nearly 30 years after the emergence of its widespread use, the internet has evolved from a novel in-office communication tool to a sprawling information network that businesses can’t live without. We are practically swimming in data. Luckily, cloud computing – a technology service that offloads files to external servers located around the country – has stepped in to help ease the burden of terabytes of sensitive company data.

A new form of data management tech has also recently emerged onto the scene: Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS. Compared to traditional cloud computing services, IaaS takes care of the nitty-gritty details normally located in your own office infrastructure, such as servers, software, data centers and security. To put things into perspective, traditional cloud computing is like having a big storage drive somewhere else in the country, while IaaS is the storage drive and your workplace’s nervous system safely stored miles away – but directly networked with your office nonetheless. This frees up your business to devote its resources to the tasks that matter while another company takes care of the heavy lifting.

Several major players have quickly taken up the IaaS mantle – namely, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Choosing the right cloud IaaS for your business isn’t a clear-cut task. Once you’ve wrapped your head around how IaaS works, your brain will likely be swirling with a maelstrom of other questions: How can I guarantee that I’m getting the most storage out of what I’m paying? Should I invest in an IaaS provider that controls most of my data’s storage? How much do I want to customize my network?

These 10 tips will cover the key points to consider when choosing the cloud IaaS for you:

Public and Private Platforms

IaaS companies typically offer two different platforms for your business: public and private. Each offers its own distinct advantages for different types of businesses.

Public platforms give you and your team the opportunity to quickly access IT resources. This ease-of-use allows you to make changes to your work environment on the fly. Public platforms also come pre-configured, meaning that businesses with less IT experience or with teams that are already stretched thin might do better with this option.

Private platforms grant your business maximum security within your data center. These servers are also typically faster since they operate on a closed circuit. Moreover, private platforms allow you to customize your network and security features to a greater degree than public platforms. IT-savvy businesses can use a private IaaS platform for greater control over their data management.

Customization

Depending on how comfortable you are with IT, you’ll want your IaaS platform to have at least some degree of customizability. Your business might require multiple channels through which to exchange data, for example, or it might require the IaaS to act as a test server for a new website.

Other examples of customization features include website layout templates, user interface storage and the ability to upload your own HTML and CSS files, like those included with Microsoft Azure. The apps and operating systems that different IaaS platforms offer should play a role in determining how well they will serve your business.

User Friendliness

Above all, the IaaS you choose should be easy to understand for you, the end user, especially since third-party apps will take care of the hardest IT work for you. Responsive customer support is another factor to consider, as are transparent documentation and neatly organized client-side interfaces.

Relativity

Cloud computing may be a marvel of information management, but, for the time being, our networks are still bound to the physical limits of cable. Ensure that the IaaS you choose operates with an extensive infrastructure or at least manages servers located close to your business. This will ensure that you can easily and quickly transfer data to and from your IaaS servers.

Usage Charges

Ensuring that an IaaS will lower costs for your business is key. Though the prospect of placing your workplace’s vitals in the care of a trusted IaaS is attractive, keep in mind that each company offers different pricing models. An IaaS platform might require you to pay by the hour, week or month based on the number of gigabytes you use. Some charge only by data upload (hot storage), while others charge for data you aren’t currently using (cold storage). Still, others will charge you for each service you use. Be prepared to see many different entries for different services on your first IaaS bill.

Also consider scalability, or the IaaS’ ability to adapt to your changing data requirements, when deliberating on a company’s pricing model. Microsoft Azure, for example, forgoes an upfront charge for a pay-as-you-go model. Businesses that project rapid growth may wish to consider this pricing model.

Support

Even the best IaaS will pose problems at one point or another. Glitches, misaligned services or any number of issues may prevent you from fully managing your data. When researching IaaS providers, be sure that the services you choose offer friendly and responsive chat or call centers so that you can resolve issues quickly. Ask about what support is available as you get started with an IaaS and how you can resolve issues once you’ve started upscaling your use of the service.

Server Infrastructure

Similar to the relativity issue, an IaaS provider with many servers will also increase its computing power for quick data access. Make sure that the IaaS you choose can handle your data requirements. Also, keep in mind that you aren’t the only company using your IaaS’ servers – an even larger company than yours could require massive amounts of data use at any time, causing bottlenecks and slowdown for the entire service.

Data Security

At the end of the day, your IaaS of choice should be able to securely store your data. Remember that an IaaS server is your data center and your workplace’s nervous system; you wouldn’t hang either out in the open. Not only should it ensure that prying eyes can’t peek into your cloud-stored documents, but your IaaS should also have the capability to reliably back up your data in case of an outage. Microsoft Azure, for example, will migrate your virtual machine’s data to another physical machine if it detects a Microsoft software update or a malfunction in its original hardware through a service called Live Migration.

Service Levels 

Get to know your IaaS provider. Consider arranging to meet with a representative in person and aim to establish a strong rapport between your business and theirs. Doing so will allow you to familiarize yourself with the provider, determine their trustworthiness and receive more thorough support due to your established relationship.

Manageability

Every organization operates in its own unique way, but some require more niche infrastructures than others. Make sure that the IaaS you choose will be able to easily integrate with your workplace and that it addresses all of your unique needs. If you would like to tailor the IaaS to your specifications, ensure that the provider offers a great degree of flexibility. If not, ensure that the provider is willing to help you with every step of the integration process.

Choosing the Right IaaS For You

Once you’ve decided on an IaaS that you’d like to explore, the next step is finalizing your choice and integrating it with your workplace. With nearly 40 years of expertise in the computing industry, Ingram Micro is prepared to answer your questions and help you transition your business to cloud IaaS. For inquiries, please contact a representative at 800-705-7057 or uscloud@ingrammicro.com. To place an order or learn more, please visit our cloud marketplace here.

About the author

Jason has held sales, pre-sales engineering, business development, and sales leadership positions for resellers, professional services organizations, and distributors over the last 20+ years. Jason earned an undergraduate degree in International Finance and a MBA in pursuit of his educational goals. He has also earned many technical certifications including a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Design Professional (CCDP), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), and Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) in additional to numerous sales and licensing focused certifications. In his current role, Jason is focused on developing sales enablement strategies designed to help channel sales professionals promote the adoption of Azure by focusing on the positive business outcomes unlocked by cloud computing.

BYD

BYD Expands Electric Transportation to Canada

As part of the electric-vehicle company’s efforts to expand its footprint, BYD opened its first Canadian bus assembly plant in Newmarket, Ontario leading efforts in providing electric buses for the Toronto Transit Commission. BYD will supply 10 fully electric buses with the option of an additional 30. The company currently boasts operating or on-order buses for Toronto, Vancouver, Longeuil, St. Albert and Grand Prairie regions.

BYD is a leader in providing emissions-free transportation options through utilizing innovative technology options for cars, buses, trucks, forklifts, and rail systems.

Following the recent announcement pledging climate-considerate transportation options across Canada, Build Your Dreams (BYD) released comments and information surrounding the topic of emissions-free initiatives in the Canadian region.

“We applaud today’s announcement in British Columbia and commend the funders behind this forward-looking initiative. The investment today by the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia will support communities and help the environment. It’s this type of climate leadership and investment in zero-emissions public transportation across Canada that led BYD, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, to open an assembly facility in Canada,” said Bobby Hill, Vice President BYD Coach and Bus.

“This announcement reaffirms the country’s stature as a world leader in reducing harmful emissions and makes us proud of our decision to come here.”