New Articles

How Data Is Helping Reduce the Supply Chain’s Carbon Footprint

chain global failure friedman footprint relationship chinese registrar supply analytics life

How Data Is Helping Reduce the Supply Chain’s Carbon Footprint

More and more businesses around the world are putting sustainability at the center of their growth strategies, and the logistics industry is no different. This is a crucial decision towards a green future, as the supply chain is one of the major contributors to emissions for basically every company that sells physical products.

According to a global supply chain report released in 2020 by CDP, supply chains amount to 92% of an organization’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is because, on average, supply chain emissions are 11.4x higher than operational emissions.

To make global logistics more sustainable for any business, efforts have to be made to make the supply chain eco-friendly.

Aside from the moral and regulatory imperatives, there’s a strong business case for cleaner supply chains. Some 85% of consumers will opt to purchase from a company that is sustainable if the prices are the same. This makes all the investment for a greener supply chain worth it.

One way to make progress in that direction is by leveraging data. Data reveals the ins and outs of a process objectively, quantifying things to help us see if we’re making progress towards a goal.

In this article, we have pointed out three ways in which data has helped brands all around the world reduce their supply chain carbon footprints.

1. Secure shipment of goods

According to Packaging Digest, 11% of goods sustain some degree of damage by the time they reach the distribution center.

Transporting volatile products that are sensitive to environmental conditions is challenging to say the least. Even a temporary deviation from recommended storage conditions during shipping can render the goods unusable by permanently damaging them.

Goods damaged in transit do more than just hurt your profits and business partnerships. Involved parties have to put in extra work to make sure that the damage is undone and the customer’s requirements are fulfilled.

That extra work drastically increases the carbon footprint, as it involves transporting the damaged goods again, spending resources to repair/replace them, and re-shipping them back to the destination.

Logmore, a company out of Finland, solves this problem by developing a data-based logistics condition monitoring solution. Shipping containers and even individual packages are equipped with sensors that constantly monitor the vitals such as temperature and shock. The stats are securely updated to the cloud when the QR code outside the container is scanned through a smartphone.

This makes it easy for vendors and other interested parties to track the health of shipped goods, in real-time, remotely. Furthermore, vendors can set customizable triggers that will let them know if any of the vitals deviate from within the desired range. Logmore has already helped many pharmaceutical companies, food wholesalers, and other global enterprises reduce the spoilage of goods in transit. 

Accurate surveillance also makes the quality assurance (QA) process easier. For instance, bioMérieux, an industry leader in in-vitro diagnostics, slashed its QA workload by 25% through automated temperature analysis.

2. Eco-friendly packaging

As the eCommerce industry continues to boom, the demand for packaging has increased. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the eCommerce packaging market was valued to be $27.04B in 2020 and will be at $61.55B by 2026.

Inefficient packaging methods consume more-than-necessary resources and waste energy, leading to an overall higher carbon footprint.

Many companies are emerging to help solve this problem. One such company is EcoEnclose, which has started to make a difference by providing personalized eco-friendly packaging solutions to eCommerce brands. They have already helped many online stores reduce their carbon footprint through biodegradable and compostable packaging materials.

The packaging solutions they offer are plastic-free, and even the ink that they use on the box is compostable, giving back to the environment. EcoEnclose offers packaging solutions for multiple products including consumable products like oils and soaps.

Let’s take a quick look at an example where innovative packaging has made an impact. Amazon, the global eCommerce giant, has made great leaps in this regard by eliminating more than 25K tonnes of plastic per year. They have included paper-based mailers, using recycled paper boxes, and reduced plastic in their packaging solutions.

3. Automated warehousing

Lack of updated inventory, suboptimal picking paths, and inefficient storage of goods are some of the challenges faced in warehouses. Again, these roadblocks consume more than necessary resources for the same outcome.

For instance, if the picking-and-dropping paths of goods are not optimized, it will take longer than usual to get the product shipped. To make the process faster, the interested parties have to invest in a larger warehouse or hire more individuals.

With more people and a larger working area, the possibility of human error increases. All these mistakes result in rework that consumes more resources, ultimately increasing the overall carbon footprint of the warehouse.

One solution to this is using warehouse automation, something Swisslog is helping eCommerce companies achieve. The Switzerland-based company specializes in developing tools and layouts that help eCommerce companies automate their warehouse operations.

As a result, they get more done in less time, with fewer mistakes. This means less rework, and minimum wastage of their resources, reducing supply chain carbon footprint. The company has helped various industries such as beverage, pharmaceuticals, and retail automate their workflows and managed to reduce energy consumption by 20% through automated distribution.

One of the best examples of automated warehousing is Ocado Retail. With the help of robots, they have managed to automate their entire warehouse. This has eliminated human error completely and also enables them to run the warehouse in a “lights-out” mode.


Many other elements of the supply chain are becoming eco-friendly with the help of data. Advances in machine learning, alternative fuels, and material science promise a more sustainable supply chain in the future.

For example, Maersk, the global shipping giant, uses e-methanol in its vessels, which is a carbon-neutral fuel and is 100% renewable. The use of drones and self-driving trucks to deliver packages can further reduce energy consumption in the last-mile delivery.

All in all, big data is and will continue to play a key role in optimizing the supply chain carbon footprint.


Cyber-Security Takes Its Rightful Place At The Forefront of Multinational Corporation (MNC) Growth Strategies

Over the last few years, cyber-attacks have become more and more prevalent across the United States and no doubt in the global news cycle. ‘Ransomware’ has become a household name and in short, found its potential to hold America and its businesses hostage.
From the attack on the JBS meat plants to the Colonial Pipeline, the correlative effects are clear and present to both small enterprises and multinationals.

The potential for digital warfare to spill beyond Russian and Ukrainian IP addresses should serve as additional notice that companies need to be thinking pragmatically and be on high alert.

Atlantic Data Security is a Cybersecurity solutions provider that manages, consults, and offers wholescale security protection solutions. Named the “Most Promising Cyber Security Solution Provider by CIOReview,” Atlantic Data Security can analyze all types of system configurations, then recommend, deploy and manage all critical security components of a company’s network.

Scott Kasper serves as the company’s CEO, herein addressing the challenges and opportunities inherent to the industry of cyber and to cyber stakeholders.
Please provide our readership with background on the steer and scale of Atlantic Data Security?SK: Atlantic Data Security has over 30 years of experience in the cyber security industry providing high-level cyber consulting and professional services to some of the world’s top corporations.  We also provide end-to-end value from architecture to professional services, managed services, post-deployment support, and consulting.

We have physical offices up and down the East Coast.  We partner with the leading suppliers of cyber technology to meet the ever-evolving needs of our clients.

The notion of quasi-‘State Capture’ through ransom-ware has captivated the media cycle as of late. Where are the pain points in an organization assessing their weaknesses against ‘phishing’-oriented and cyber-security threats?

SK: Phishing attacks are considered among the most challenging cyber-security threats faced by all organizations.  Regardless of how much you train your employees, or how cautious they are online, there remains a high probability that your company or agency will still be attacked.

Phishers keep developing their techniques over time and as long as there is electronic media, they will find vulnerabilities to exploit.  Ransom-ware attacks are becoming daily headlines precisely because they are so prevalent.  360-degree knowledge about your environment is the first step of being prepared for an attack.  Here’s our approach:

First, we conduct a Readiness Assessment.

A Readiness Assessment will improve your organization’s ability to respond to a ransom-ware attack quickly and effectively.  Our firm is made up of experts who have extensive experience in cyber-security and incident response (IR) plans.  We will review your IR plan, capabilities, and technologies. If you don’t have such a plan, we’ll help you craft one.  Our consultants will highlight gaps and identify areas for improvement to bolster your readiness and strengthen your overall cyber defense capabilities.

Here’s what we’ll do as part of our typical Assessment:

1.  Analyze relevant firewall and network device configurations for security weaknesses;

2.  Review user activity logging and audit configurations to prepare for a potentially broader investigative efforts;

3.  Review network and endpoint security monitoring solutions and processes;

4.  Evaluate email and web filtering options and configurations to prevent phishing attacks and malicious payload delivery;

5.  Review access and privileged access controls and processes; and

6.  Evaluate overall vulnerability and patch management controls and processes

Next, we’ll teach you to run a Ransom-ware Tabletop Exercise.

Performing the Ransom-ware Tabletop Exercise will improve your organization’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to a ransom-ware attack.   At Atlantic Data Security, we will design and facilitate a ransom-ware attack tabletop IR exercise.  We base the exercise on the many investigations our IR team will have performed to test your readiness by means of a simulated attack.

We also educate and train your teams to practice IR processes and workflows. It is important to keep up-to-date on modern day attack techniques to evaluate effectiveness in, and be ready for, real-world scenarios.

Where are the opportunities for industry growth in the arena of cyber security?

SK: At Atlantic Data Security, the opportunities for growth are nearly infinite.  We are building a generation of expertise in an area where real world experience is frighteningly rare in the existing talent pool.  While it is said there is a zero percent unemployment rate in cyber, that fact does not take into account the dearth of practically tested experts. We provide that real world experience because we’ve been there since the beginning.

Today there is an even greater need for top-level, defensive talent. With increased use of the cloud and the accelerating rate of people working remotely, the market needs professionals trained and experienced in keeping organizations safe.

Where does Atlantic Data Security seek to expand within the course of five years’ time?

SK: Atlantic Data Security is poised for vibrant growth over the next five years.  Towards the end of 2020, I was tasked with engineering our business practice to take fuller advantage of our primary resources – our consultants.  Atlantic Data Security’s long history and background puts us in the unique position of being one of the top cyber consulting firms in the world.

Like the business management firms McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company, Atlantic Data Security is becoming the leader in cyber consulting.

As we grow, we are investing in 5 key areas:

Brand name:  Our brand is our promise to our customers. We see it as our responsibility to provide advice, guidance, and assistance to protect against cyberattacks with proactive, focused, industry-relevant threat intelligence. That’s why our name gives our clients the confidence that comes from knowing their business is secure.Strategy work: At Atlantic Data Security, we focus on strategy work, which is the cutting-edge of consulting work in the cyber industry.   We also partner with other leading cyber agencies and leaders to ensure we are providing the latest and absolute best advice and counsel to our clients.

Strong client relationships:  Advising and standing by our clients for over three decades, we have built very long-standing relationships. Atlantic Data Security has a history of client retention because we put tremendous value on client trust and on the quality and impact of our work.  We feel as though we are truly an extension of each of our clients’ team, and that is how we work.

Investment in personal development: Atlantic Data Security invests heavily in the professional development of our consultants. Some of our consultants come to us with years of experience, but that is never where the learning ends.  Our consultants have the opportunity to learn and develop many skills, both hard skills and soft skills, in a short period of time. Atlantic Data Security believes mentorship is essential and facilitates frequent peering sessions and exposure to best practices among all divisions.

Talented, smart people: Atlantic Data Security hires the smartest, most talented people around. Our clients know that when a consultant is working with them, they are not part of a training cycle or in the middle of a learning curve.  We have the most knowledgeable and professional consultants in the industry.

Lastly, in the era of en masse virtualization accelerated by COVID-19 social distancing, how can technology safeguard work-from-home employees of MNCs?

SK: There are a number of ways companies and employees can safeguard work from home especially if they are working for Multinational Corporations.  For instance:

For the Employer:

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

The use of a VPN is a fundamental safeguard when users access the company’s network from home or a remote location. A VPN also allows for encryption of data, which adds a level of protection for information such as passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive or private information. A VPN can also provide a level of anonymity through capabilities such as masking of location data, website history and IP addresses.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

The simple principle of MFA is that an authorized user must provide more than one method of validating their identity. Even if a cyber attacker has obtained a user ID and password, MFA decreases the risk that an attacker can gain access by requiring an additional means of validation. Multi-factor Authentication uses something you have such as an authenticator app on a smartphone, something you are such as a fingerprint or something you know like a PIN number.

Ensure systems, software, technologies, and devices are updated with the latest security patches.

Employers should track the equipment to be used in a home environment and provide a means of updating software security patches.

For the Employee:

Prevent unauthorized users on company resources (e.g., laptops, mobile devices).

Employees should not allow anyone to access company resources, including family members.

Use only company-authorized devices for remote work.

Personal devices may not have the same level of security and privacy protections as company devices. If your company has a “Bring Your Own Device” policy, be sure that your use of a personal device is in accordance with that policy. This includes home printers and personal email accounts.

Dispose of company documents properly.

Review your company’s records retention and management policies, as well as information management policies, to ensure compliance. If you must dispose of hard copies of company documents, either shred them or securely retain them for proper disposal when you return to the office.


Taking The Mystery Out Of AI: 4 Ways It Makes Life Easier

Artificial intelligence is significantly impacting the world, yet there’s still a great amount of mystery – and misconceptions – about it.

The public’s imagination has been heavily shaped by science fiction, with the term AI evoking images of robots like WALL-E, C3PO from Star Wars, and David from Stephen Spielberg’s movie A.I. Scientists and technologists refer to this kind of humanlike AI as “general artificial intelligence.” General AI attempts to mimic the kind of abstract thought and typical problem-solving skills seen in humans.

I say attempts because there is currently no existing general AI system even approaching the sophistication of the human brain. The technology is nowhere close to creating a system capable of abstract thought or general intelligence. But “applied AI” is rapidly becoming a mainstream technology, improving the efficiency and profitability of businesses in many industries.

Why applied AI is faster but not yet smarter than us 

Current AI systems, for all their computational ability, do not have the ability to understand and analyze context the way human brains do. For example, we can see a barking dog and instantly determine the threat level. Sufficiently advanced AI can recognize the dog but may be unable to determine the breed, its physical agility, and whether it has been encountered before. Unlike humans, AI cannot connect dots and judge context to solve problems creatively.

But AI systems can make decisions far more rapidly and accurately than humans. The strengths and limitations of the current generation of artificial intelligence make it most applicable for solving fit-for-purpose business problems. (Fit-for-purpose is the concept in which a product or service is adequate for the purpose for which the consumer selected it.) AI systems are designed to handle a specific task while operating within imposed contextual constraints. These fit-for-purpose systems and tools are known as applied AI.

There are four primary business applications of applied AI in industry. Here is a look at each and how they create efficiencies and value:


Automation saves countless man hours and resources, as computers can process

data in a fraction of the time it takes humans. Some of these processes require decision-making. This is where AI comes into play. Most business processes involve a structured set of inputs, and decisions are made based on defined policies and guidelines. The variables in the equations are well known and operate within a narrow context. Algorithms can make these decisions rapidly and accurately.

These algorithms allow much of the workload that companies do to be offloaded onto automated systems. That advancement provides conveniences for consumers in the age of online shopping. Capital One Shopping, for example, offers customers a browser add-on claiming to save money by automatically comparing prices, applying promo codes and providing deal alerts.

Banks use AI to automate the loan process. Relevant financial records are collected automatically, validated, and analyzed. The system can give a recommendation on the loan before a lender ever sees the application. This may sound frightening and impersonal, but these systems actually assess loans more accurately and fairly than humans. They look at a borrower’s credit history, credibility, liabilities, and other factors and make an impartial decision. Quite often, these individual metrics are also calculated by AI. Credit scores, for example, are calculated automatically.


The data produced by automated business processes holds valuable insights. These insights can be about almost anything; they may reveal something about a business process, unlock untapped opportunities, or even allow companies to make predictions about the future.

The data analysis that leads to insights is mostly automated. Given the volume of data that companies now work with, we need these automated AI systems to find the signal in the noise. AI looks for patterns and makes decisions based on training and defined guidelines. The exponential power of these systems can be seen in machine learning.  IBM Watson, for example, can predict when an elevator is going to fail. AI systems are able to return insights about insights into their own operation, and this allows them to improve their data sets and algorithms. As a result, AI systems draw insights that the designers may not have ever considered or been looking for.


Insights have many applications, but one that is rapidly transforming industries is personalization of user engagement. The insights drawn from consumers, users, and other stakeholders can be used to improve their experiences by engaging with them in a personalized manner.

There are many ways companies can use data to personalize the experience for the stakeholders they serve. Google maps knows through habits a driver’s route and daily schedule and will give them an outlook for the day based on the current data. Retail companies have their websites feature inventory designed to appeal to the specific viewer. Online ads are micro-targeted at individuals based on insights into their specific consumer behavior. Social media platforms also customize news feeds to increase user engagement. Search engines provide results that are tailored to the user’s location, demographics, search habits, online shopping history, and other data.


Sensing produces a kind of insight that deserves special mention due to its revolutionary potential. The exponential explosion in data and computing power now allows us to better recognize patterns as they are forming and predict how they will develop, which in turn allows us to actually sense trends as they form and develop.

This ability has huge business applications. Consider the sudden rise and success of TikTok. ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company that developed the app, hit it big by filling an emerging niche for teens who could use a platform for recording and sharing short videos. TikTok noticed the trend among teens, built a dedicated app, and marketed it to the emerging user base as the trend developed. TikTok is now worth billions of dollars and is changing the social media landscape.

Many companies using applied AI have built fortunes and improved the world for billions of people. They did so by leveraging exponential technology and riding the development curve. We can likely achieve higher levels of AI-powered efficiency and improvement in all industries.


Rajeev Ronanki ( is the president of digital platforms at Anthem Inc., and the ForbesBooks author of You and AI: A Citizen’s Guide to AI, Blockchain, and Puzzling Together the Future of Healthcare. Before joining Anthem, Ronanki was a partner at Deloitte Consulting, where he spearheaded a myriad of technological healthcare innovations. Ronanki is a frequent contributor to Forbes and other publications. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Osmania University and a master’s in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania. 

demand planning

Demand Planning: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Demand planning has evolved to be an integral function of business over the past decade. It addresses the major concerning issue of matching the demand while avoiding wastage. In this article, we will try to cover everything important related to demand planning and why has become so important for business. Before we delve into the details of demand planning, let us understand the concept of demand planning vividly.

Demand Planning: Definition and Concept

As the name suggests, demand planning refers to planning the stock against the forecasted consumer demand. It is a cross-functional process that enables businesses to always have the necessary stock of products while minimizing excess inventory and avoiding supply chain disruptions. It is a continuous process that forms an important function of a business. The constant improvement in technology has made this business function possible. However, its accuracy is still not dependable.

Demand Planning Vs. Demand Forecasting

Often the two are used interchangeably but they differ in their scope and function. Demand forecasting is only a part of the supply chain demand planning process. Demand forecasts are usually done for a specific period of time that varies for different organizations. The demand forecasting process lays the groundwork for the crucial process of demand planning.

Demand Planning: Process

Demand planning is done through close observation of sales, seasonality data, historical sales, and consumer trends. This assessment enables the business to meet customer demand in an efficient manner. In order to achieve accurate results, businesses use statistical forecasting. In statistical forecasting, statisticians use historical data to generate supply chain forecasts using various advanced statistical algorithms. Data-backed forecasts in demand planning help to avoid stock-outs or overstocks while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Each business has different demands and hence demand different algorithm. In order to select the best algorithm for a business, the statisticians have to try different algorithms to see which forecast is more accurate by reviewing each model’s accuracy and bias measures. With the help of statistical forecasting, demand planners can easily identify outliers and exclusions that are based upon user-defined parameters that include standard deviation or the interquartile range.

Demand Planning: Significance

The most important function of demand planning is to strike the right balance between customer demand and stock inventory. This is imperative for delivering customer satisfaction and thereby filling the sales funnel of the business. Although the function of demand planning is very crucial, it is very difficult to achieve accurate results. The complexity associated with demand planning is due to the fact that it requires coordination across the entire organization.

Excess inventory not only blocks the working capital of the business but also adds inventory carrying costs that could otherwise be utilized towards buying fresh stocks or developing the technologies used in the business. On the other hand, a shortage of stock supply can lead to backorders, hasty buying of costly raw materials, and most importantly a bad image of the organization. Shortage of stock is one of the most prominent causes of customer dissatisfaction that can adversely affect the goodwill of the organization.

Demand Planning: Procedure and Best Practices

Demand planning is as complex as it is important for the business. It is a multi-level process that involves speculation and good analytical skills. To make you understand things better, we have broken down the entire process into simple steps.

1. Defining and Collecting Relevant Data

The first and most important step is understanding the data that would be relevant in forecasting the demand. The data is subjective to the nature of business and the scope of its operations. For this, the planners discuss the data with the internal sales and marketing team about the timing of price changes, marketing campaigns, and promotions that could affect demand.

2. Utilizing External Data

Now that your internal database is ready, the next step is to collect the relevant external data. The external data could include metrics regarding the recent performance and delivery timelines of suppliers and distributors and the latest purchasing habits of your key customers. Other factors include the economic conditions that can have a bearing on the demand and sales of your product.

3. Analyze Demand Forecast

After collecting and analysing the internal and external data, professionals decide upon the most appropriate forecasting model that is relevant to your business. After a model is decided, the next step is to determine how much inventory is needed to fulfill the forecasted demand.

4. Measure Results

The final step is to measure the results against the forecasted demand. This step is very important to ensure that you are able to plan the future forecast accurately. For measuring the results, demand planning professionals identify the Key Performance Indicators(KPI) that help you determine the efficiency of your planning.

Your Takeaway

Now that you know the importance and other nuances of demand planning, it is just about time that you invest in a good team that can ensure a smooth flow of supply.


What B2B Marketing Trends Can We Expect to See in 2022?

Major shifts in the global market are impacting how B2B companies approach marketing. After 18 chaotic months, innovation is accelerating at a rapid pace. The digital transformation of the economy and the rise of e-commerce are likely to spark significant change in 2022.

Current data suggests these trends are likely to define B2B marketing in the coming year, so businesses would be wise to embrace them.

1. Spending Shifts to Mobile-First Strategy

In 2022, mobile and digital advertising will continue to become central to B2B marketing efforts. At the same time, marketers are also adjusting to a work-from-home reality. Around 70% of B2B buyers and decision-makers prefer remote or digital interactions with vendors.

Gartner predicts this number will tick up by an additional 10 percentage points by 2025. These buyers will likely respond better to more digital marketing strategies, as well.

Many marketers will likely shift to a digital-first marketing approach that prioritizes mobile advertising and content over offline and more traditional strategies. This will probably come with growing ad spend — though growth is on track to be slower next year than it has been in the past, partly due to the lingering effects of COVID-19.

As the amount of millennials in decision-making roles has grown, so has the number of buyers who want a seller-free experience. Less personal and direct approaches to marketing may become more popular among B2B marketers as a result.

2. Changing Lead Generation Channels

Generating quality leads remains a top goal of B2B marketers. How they are developed is likely to change significantly in 2022 and through the rest of the decade.

COVID-19 impacted how events are hosted. While some businesses pivoted to online events and others chose to delay or cancel, all marketers had to adapt quickly to the reality that in-person events were no longer always available to generate leads.

Jurgen Desmedt, head of marketing at Europe-based CDP vendor NGDATA, told CMSWire that social media is emerging as a major lead-generation channel.

B2B marketers are more often taking to social advertisements to generate leads that previously came from events. Uncertainty in B2B marketing may also be driving the pivot to social media. Marketers unwilling to commit fully to in-person interactions may instead look toward other methods requiring less commitment.

The most popular style of social media marketing is also changing. Many marketers are now more interested in highly targeted and personalized strategies. Many platforms offer targeting tools with extremely fine levels of detail so they can deliver niche content to specific audiences.

Scheduling apps may help smaller businesses and solo entrepreneurs manage an increasingly complex strategy that delivers niche content to various audiences.

3. Growing Focus on Customer Psychology

The “neuromarketing” strategy allows B2B marketers to spend more time than ever focused on the individual psychology of key buyers and decision-makers. In practice, this may look like a shift from topic-driven to persona-driven marketing in B2B. Marketers will focus on honing in on their target audience’s particular needs, desires, and interests to generate more effective ads, content, and events.

Client personas will become a more important marketing consideration as a result. There’s also likely to be a greater focus on matching searcher intent and developing deeper content calendars.

4. Innovation to Engage B2B Customers

Cutting-edge technology will help marketers create campaigns that more effectively engage potential buyers in 2022. Optimizing for new types of search — like image and audio — may be essential to capture traffic. AI and marketing chatbots could help marketers reach more customers and reduce the amount of time potential buyers spend waiting.

In some cases, new technology and the focus on psychology may also mean the growing use of high-tech advertisements that generate interest and secure potential buyers’ attention.

Interactivity in emails can increase conversions and improve ROI — helping businesses get more out of their email campaigns. AMP emails, which enable marketers to provide app-like functionality inside a message, are one common method for delivering this interactivity.

Similar uses of personalization and interactivity in other forms of marketing may also provide results like these.

5. Original Research and Top-Quality Content

Online resource centers, blogs, content hubs and more have become a valuable tool for B2B marketers. In 2022, original research is likely to become even more important for marketing efforts.

According to data from the 2020 Demand Gen Report, B2B buyers increasingly look to a business’s original content when making purchasing decisions. This has become a significant trust marker, signaling to buyers that the company puts stock in its organizational knowledge and experience. Research also provides some early value to a potential buyer,

Because content has become a trust marker, simply writing posts to generate traffic and leads will no longer be enough. Information needs to be top-quality to encourage buyers to investigate the brand further or get in touch with the business’s sales team.

Various content strategies will likely be necessary to deliver high-quality information relevant to B2B buyers’ interests.

Customer psychology will likely be important to content teams. Effective use and reuse of posts will allow marketers to take full advantage of what they develop. Breaking things up to enable the tracking of micro-conversions could provide marketers with additional insights into reader behavior and interests.

Certain content types will also probably be more valuable than others. A business’s niche, original research, white papers and other forms of highly valuable and in-depth content may provide the most value to readers — building trust and generating interest.

Video content remains one of the top content types, overtaking blog posts and infographics in popularity. However, the high cost of producing video content may be a barrier to its use by some businesses.

How B2B Marketing Is Likely to Change in 2022

Uncertainty and digital transformation will likely have a significant impact on B2B marketing next year. Marketers are beginning to leverage mobile-first approaches, invest more in social media and adopt cutting-edge technology, like chatbots and interactive emails. This will be vital to effectively reach people and boost sales moving forward.

These new strategies and tools may help companies adapt to a market where buyers are more interested in digital channels and personalized content. Marketers must be prepared to embrace the upcoming changes to effectively reach their target audiences in 2022.



Gaps in operations are not biased. Whether you are a warehouse manager navigating scheduling oversights or a fleet manager solving the next best approach to reducing costs, gaps in operations within the global logistics arena are inevitable. The real concern is how the modern-day 3PL provider can successfully mitigate risks while minimizing common gaps before they become a critical problem. 

Until one can jump to the list of solutions ranging from technology applications to hybrid work models, the most common (and possibly least talked about) gaps must be identified. Taking it a step further, 3PL providers should have a solid understanding of the why behind the what. In other words, they should ask themselves: Why are these gaps present within our operations and can they be resolved? Are these gaps common within the industry or are they unique to my company?

“One of the bigger gaps in the industry is the availability of timely and accurate data back to the shippers and to the community,” states Jason Carl, vice president of 4PL Solutions at BridgeNet Solutions. “3PLs are sitting on a wealth of data and information, and the ability to harness that effectively has always been a gap from my perspective. Delivering standardized timely information and data makes all the difference for a shipper in today’s environment.”

Carl has more than 15 years of experience in the logistics arena, ranging from ocean exports to operations. He originally started his career with Evergreen Line before moving on to BDP International for 13 years, managing operations for several multinational clients. He moved to BridgeNet two years ago to head the 4PL product.

BridgeNet Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BDP, provides sourcing, outsource sourcing procurement and managed transportation services focusing primarily on data analytics for more effective supply chain management.

BridgeNet’s cloud-based data solution, Xonar, is the company’s analytics and execution platform based on a foundation of accurate data collection combined with a robust analytics layer. Xonar enables BridgeNet to effectively collect and share critical information from shipper ERP systems, 3PL providers and freight payment companies. Carl cites this solution and the above capabilities as a game-changer for the company among competitors.

“Oftentimes what you find is that providers offering these solutions could be largely just software as a service or a technology company,” he explains. “At BridgeNet, we extend both the technology and the execution components to our customers, ensuring they can rely on an excellent integration hub paired with customizable technology based on the customer’s needs. We also offer a network of control tower operations based in Asia, Europe and the Americas to oversee that and to orchestrate the flow of information that’s moving through Xonar on a day-to-day basis.”

To be successful at identifying and eliminating common gaps in processes, the provider must consider the quality of the information coming in and going out. It is critical the provider understands where this information could be compromised–or even worse, completely missed. 

“3PLs need to understand the why,” Carl says. “Not just at the strategic level but also down to the desk level. It enables better decision-making on a day-to-day basis that really benefits shippers in ways that are often overlooked. The quality of the data can be a game-changer for planning processes and for decision-making overall. There is an increased recognition of that at least in the conversations I’m having.”

Beyond closing gaps in operations and day-to-day processes, Carl emphasizes the importance of looking at the big picture rather than just the result, citing innovative technology as a distraction for what is really going on layers deep within a data solution. 

“If the underlying data is not high quality, not standardized, not tightly controlled, then it’s not going to yield the results that providers want to achieve from that piece of technology. The value of that underlying information cannot be discounted. Before you go on the tech journey, providers should focus on the information that is going to fuel operations. This is where 4PLs can step in.”

As for the role of the 4PL provider, they are part of the bigger picture of where your data is coming from and what it all means. Data translation is equally as important as data collection. If a provider cannot identify the value from the data, the role of analytics becomes a moot point. That’s why Carl emphasizes the need to look and think outside of the box for solutions that are not only more cost-effective but add significant value to client needs. 

“4PLs can act as a translator or the intermediary to help provide data-driven insights to shippers by standardizing information from a multitude of 3PLs and then translate shipper’s needs and strategies for actionable change from the 3PL,” he says. “This bridge between the two entities can be a great help but it is not always the right fit for every shipper or for every supply chain. There are many situations where, now more than ever, a 4PL provider can provide a lot of value and support for 3PL operations and processes.”

Whether it is a pandemic or random disruption (think Suez Canal), the conversation of eliminating gaps in operations would be incomplete without addressing how the logistics industry has shifted looking back at the last year and a half. Buzzwords such as “agile” and “adaptable” might very well be accurate, but in what ways are 3PL providers being challenged to maximize their position in a competitive market? Carl points to letting go of the past as many companies still utilize lessons learned to affirm the success of the future.

“Gone are the days where the 3PL can rest on proverbial laurels and be complacent based on past success and relationships,” he warns. “The past 18 months have proven this. The existing network that 3PLs may have been operating for a customer for many years may no longer be sufficient in 2021. The needs are going to change, and it’s important that 3PLs are responding effectively to compete and be good partners for the shipping community.”


Jason Carl is vice president of 4PL Solutions at BridgeNet, a BDP International company, where he oversees the development, performance and operations of the 4PL product and global control tower teams. He has more than 15 years’ experience helping customers improve and optimize complex supply chains through technology and process optimization. Carl holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and an MBA in Strategy from Temple University’s Fox School of Business. He can be reached at

commodity risk management

Five Surprising Facts About Commodity Risk Management

Between a major global pandemic, intercontinental freight capacity shortages, and events that have ground supply chains to a complete halt, it’s been an active 18 months for those managing commodity risk.

We’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons during this period – many of which have helped us compile and create our new white paper exploring commodity risk management maturity. Inside, we explore what it takes to enable a mature approach to commodity risk management that helps commodity managers make proactive decisions and create value even when facing the most severe supply chain crisis events.

The paper looks in detail at the different stages organizations find themselves at along a maturity curve, exploring the characteristics of teams at each stage, and what those teams need to do if they want to push ahead along their journey to maturity. But, it also includes many other insights about the state of commodity risk management maturity today – several of which you may find surprising.

Here’s a quick look at five of the more unexpected takeaways from the paper:

#1: There is such a thing as too much commodity risk data

When organizations recognize the value of investing in their commodity risk management capabilities and start taking steps towards empowering commodity and category managers with greater insights, one of the most common mistakes they make is overwhelming their experts with an excess of charts and data.

Too much data can muddy the waters and make it harder for managers to identify valuable trends and translate data into actionable insights that drive value. For organizations at the earlier stages of the commodity risk management maturity curve, it’s often far more valuable to start small and work with more focused datasets.

#2: Mature CRM isn’t just about data and insights – it’s about culture too

While data, insight quality, insight delivery, and the processes that surround them are all very important factors in commodity risk management maturity, they aren’t the only factors that influence it.

Culture is also extremely important if an organization wants to reach the highest stage of maturity. In the most mature organizations, there’s a culture of respect and acknowledgment of the value that procurement teams can deliver through the strategic management and optimization of commodity risk.

In these teams, stakeholders from across the business take an active interest in the insights generated by and acted on by procurement teams. They understand that commodity risks are fundamentally business risks and can even represent the greatest commercial opportunities available at any given time – and that understanding is reflected in their operations.

#3: A huge number of organizations haven’t aligned intelligence and strategy

Commodity risk management maturity isn’t just about having the right data, insights, or culture either. To have the right impact on the organization, the insights generated, gathered, and used by these teams need to be tightly aligned to their strategic objectives.

No matter how strong, recent, or reliable insights are, if they don’t help the team move towards achieving their goals, or support the overall strategic goals of the business, they’re not going to deliver value.

That’s a huge stumbling point for a lot of teams. They’re actively gathering and using insights, but they’re not seeing the results they need. That’s a big indicator of a strategy that appears mature, but it actually still in the earlier stages of the maturity curve.

#4: Sophisticated AI and data science capabilities aren’t for everyone

Like any other data-driven area of modern business, AI and data science have incredibly powerful applications in commodity risk management. The right capabilities can help teams make the critical leap from reactive decision-making to proactive operations that keep the organization ahead of developing commodity market trends.

However, they’re not for everyone. These capabilities demand significant volumes of clean, structured, and actionable data, and some teams don’t have access to data of that quality. For many organizations, simple forecasting and traditional manual approaches to data analysis can be just as effective for what they’re trying to achieve at their current stage of maturity.

#5: There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to optimize commodity risk management

When you look at the latter stages of maturity, it’s easy to conclude that every organization should be striving to reach that point, using all the technology and intelligence available to enable proactive, value-driving commodity risk management.

In practice, however, that’s not really the case. The level of capabilities required to optimize commodity risk management is proportional to an organization’s risk exposure.

For example, pharmaceuticals companies – where the global supply of active ingredients is relatively isolated against major fluctuations and ingredient costs have little impact on the final market price of drugs – may only need fundamental commodity risk insights to see strong results.

On the other hand, in food processing or oil and gas, where margins are much slimmer, companies need deeper intelligence and stronger insight capabilities to see significant value from their efforts.

Master post-pandemic commodity risk management

Want to learn more about what it takes to manage commodity risk effectively and transform emerging threats into powerful opportunities for value creation?

Download your copy of our new white paper to discover which stage of maturity your organization is at today and get practical advice to advance your journey towards proactive, crisis-ready commodity risk management.


How Payment Automation Can Positively Transform Your Logistics Company

Cutting down on your business’ costly, high-effort administrative tasks is always a great idea. Especially when doing so also increases accuracy and limits human errors.

One of the many operational areas where automation can play a positive role in your company is in its accounts payable (AP) departments. 

Despite how incredibly admin-heavy payment processes typically are, AP departments still seem stuck in an outdated paradigm. We get it, though. It feels risky to digitize long-established manual processes. It rocks a boat that feels stable, albeit moving really slowly. But digitization and automation, as scary as it sounds, is an absolute necessity if you want to survive in the world of logistics. 

As we referenced in a previous article on this topic, the AFP reported that 42% of all payments that businesses make still happen by printed checks. This represents a shocking amount of wasted effort. Especially if you consider the many alternatives available to AP departments nowadays.

At the same time, the payment automation industry has matured significantly. As a result, the available solutions in this space have grown in number, capabilities, and reputation. The genuinely exceptional products in this niche are enabled by innovative technology and supported by intuitive workflows. They utilize reliable, secure financial processes. 

Here are some tangible rewards your logistics company will enjoy once you’ve modernized it with one of these automation solutions.

It Speeds up Invoice Approval

According to Stampli, 57% of companies who switched to AP automation did so because it reduces invoice approval time.

In the logistics industry, where businesses rely on the services of many external service providers, unpaid invoices can quickly start piling up. This can cause an admin backlog that’s not only an operational headache to fix but can also have more serious consequences. In extreme cases, unpaid invoices can disrupt supply chains and damage the reputations of both logistics companies and their customers.

Automatic payment solutions typically enable effective workflows that simplify approvals and lower the risk of unpaid invoices falling through the cracks. 

These tools act as a dedicated, real-time communication channel between AP staff and other resources within the company. They also offer digital approval mechanisms that almost entirely remove the need for physical interaction and document handovers.

It Improves Morale and Accuracy

Data entry and invoice management both feature very prominently in Business Insider’s list of organizational morale-killers. 

Unfortunately, the nature of an AP department’s work dictates that these two tasks take up quite a bit of the average clerk’s time. Repetition leads to boredom, and boredom can lead to a lack of focus and mistakes.

This is human nature. Management or incentivization are not sustainable solutions to this inescapable reality of the manual workplace. 

What’s the answer, then? (No prizes for guessing.)

Tools that enable payment automation often include features like automatic data extraction, AI-powered data matching, and character recognition, and automated ledger capturing. 

All of these are excellent alternatives to an analog approach that’s compromised by tedium and an inevitable lack of focus.

It Prevents Payments Being Overlooked

People make mistakes. They forget to do stuff, even things that are a core function of their job. No one is infallible. 

Even when all the necessary details are taken care of, the human being responsible for clicking on the “pay” button or for taking a check to the bank can still simply forget to do so.

The fallout from this little oversight can be significant. Late payments hurt reputations. They can severely disrupt supply chains. And missing out on early-payment discounts can damage cash flows, especially when dealing with large invoice amounts as logistics companies often do.

By design, automated payment systems avoid this scenario entirely. Each tool offers a slew of features that help AP teams make sure payments are made on time. 

It Creates an Additional Source of Usable Data

One of the biggest rewards of being a data-driven company is that strategic decisions can be based on cold, hard facts rather than hunches. 

In a professional environment that’s as cutthroat as logistics, we cannot afford to rely on hunches. No matter how much instinct or insight a manager may have, nothing is going to beat meaningful data when it comes to supporting important decisions.

In all likelihood, your logistics company is already using an operations tool like CarLo, Descartes, and SBT to create meaningful information. You may even be using your CRM, accounting, or HR tools to contribute to the data pool that drives strategy.

This is a great position to be in. The usefulness of data improves dramatically as one combines information from various sources within the organization.

If your AP department is still running on pens, ink, and visits to a bank, it’s creating no digital data. And there’s no way for it to contribute to the data stacks that inform important decisions within the company.

A solid payment automation tool will solve this problem, creating cloud-hosted data that your business intelligence software will easily be able to reference.

In Closing: the Importance of Finding the Right Fit

Not all payment automation solutions are created equal. They differ in terms of price, workflow enablement, technical features, and sensitivity to industry regulations.

That’s why it’s vital for you to do a thorough investigation into the products in this space and choose one that best suits your logistics company. 

Take your time and think through what sets one solution apart from another. Be sure to invest in one that’s not only ideal for the nuances of your industry but also your company’s established workflows and culture.

This is a big decision. The stakes are high. Don’t hesitate to involve your entire AP team to get their input. Each of them will be able to provide unique insights into their daily tasks and advise on how a particular product could help them or hinder them.


7th National Conference on CFIUS

The American Conference Institute is pleased to announce the 7th National Conference on CFIUS taking place virtually on April 20-21, 2021! Attend to ensure deal success amidst expanded scrutiny of foreign investments in Technology, Infrastructure, Data and Real Estate. Plus, obtain government insights from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense Trusted Capital, Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Embassy of Australia to the United States, and the U.K. Department for International Trade (DIT).


-A 360 Degree View of Today’s CFIUS Landscape 1 Year Post-FIRRMA Implementation

-Interactive Think-Tank with CFIUS Alumni: Addressing FIRRMA Pressure Points and Challenges

-Examining New Rules on CFIUS Mandatory Filings: Implications for Critical Technology Investments and the Interplay with Recently Issued Export Control Reform

-Updating Your Mitigation Approach to New and Evolving CFIUS Requirements and Trends

-Managing the New Enforcement Regime and the Uptick in Investigations of “Non-Notified” Transactions

-How CFIUS’s Expanded Jurisdiction Over Sensitive Data is Affecting Deal Reviews, Deal Flows and Mitigation Approaches

-And More!

View the Full Agenda and List of Distinguished Speakers and Register Today!

SAVE 10% off registration with Global Trade Magazine Code: D10-858-858GX08.



Phone: 1-888-224-2480

IT hires

The Soft Skills You Should Look For When Recruiting IT Hires

When you hear soft skills, you may wonder what it means. Like software, soft skills are innate, internal, and interpersonal skills that help people maximize their hard skills. Soft skills are so named because; you mostly don’t have a certificate to show for it. They reflect who you are independent of your educational and professional IT certifications

Soft skills include your communication skills, how you perform under pressure, your collaborative skills, etc. As an employer, it’s okay to want the most qualified person for the job, but much more than the certificate, you should look out for these soft skills too when recruiting your IT hires.

1. Integrity

As an employer, probably recruiting the first set of your IT hires or filling a vacant position, one uncompromising soft skill you will want to look out for is integrity. Yes! Integrity can’t be compromised, as your IT hires have to people you can trust wholeheartedly. 

The top signs of persons with integrity include the ability to give an honest report. They would also be forthcoming and straightforward. While this skill is not easily observed except when tested or the situation demands it, there are a set of interview questions you can ask to determine the strength of a person’s integrity. 

You can ask questions that border on past experiences like:

-What was your response to a situation that tested your integrity in the past?

-Can you tell lies to protect the company’s image?

Now, it’s not so much about the answers the applicant gives, but about how they answer the questions. Someone with integrity will not lie for any reason; instead, they will find ways to tell the truth in a way that won’t harm the company.

2. Intelligence

This is another very essential soft skill for an IT hire. Intelligence isn’t just about your school grades or awards. Intelligence is how well you can apply all the lessons you’ve learned since growing up to do a seemingly difficult task. To put it simply, intelligence is the activities you do that gets you out of a difficult situation, especially when you don’t know what to do.

As an IT employer, you shouldn’t just employ an honest person. They should be someone that is proactive and can think on their feet. You can assess this type of skill when interviewing by asking ‘on the spot questions’ unrelated to the technical field. Questions that require fast and on the spot thinking. 

The goal is to check the thinking pattern and how fast they can think. Another quick method to determine this is to play a game. Games such as ‘Chess game’ or caught in the maze require your intelligence to play effectively. 

3. Time Management Skills

There will be times when your IT Company will have to meet tight deadlines. The best approach to get the work done is to prioritize tasks in order of deadline. It is important your employees are people that understand the significance of keeping to time and managing time effectively. 

The time management skill will ensure they know how to prioritize tasks when necessary. You can assess this skill by asking hypothetical behavioral questions. You can also give some sets of mini-tasks within a stipulated time and see how well and how fast they get the job done. 

4. Communication Skills

The ability to communicate with people on a personal level will go far in growing your IT Company. It’s easy for IT recruiters to get caught up in the technology and forget to pay attention to the candidate’s communication skills. There is a fine balance between being tech-savvy and having a friendly personality – so you need to be clear on which quality the candidate possesses. 

As a recruiter, you need to know that your employee also has a soft side and is willing to connect with people personally. If the candidate doesn’t seem capable of doing that, it may be a good idea to find someone who does!

Besides, if the candidate can connect well with those in charge, they’ll likely do a better job – and the results will reflect that. It’s one of the many reasons that soft skills are essential in today’s IT industry.

5. Creativity 

Being creative is non-negotiable. The ability to be creative goes hand in hand with being intelligent. The only twist is that being creative gives you the edge of seeing more than one way to get a task done. With the ability to see more than one approach, you are usually at the forefront of most tasks. A creative person has a highly active and imaginative mind that makes innovation a part of them. 

Being innovative is a soft skill, but like intelligence, it also comes with being creative. This means that being creative allows you to have more than one or two soft skills. As a recruiter, one skill you have to set your eagle eyes on when searching for soft skills in your IT hires is the ability to be creative. 

You can test the skill by asking hypothetical behavioral questions or giving a task that demands creativity. 

6. Self-Motivation

Dragging employees around or giving instructions for every little detail can be tiring. You need employees that are self-motivated and can work independently with little or no supervision. The thing is, you may not be able to assess a person’s self-motivation easily. 

However, you can determine how self-motivated he is by checking the number of extra-curricular activities he has done before. These should be well highlighted in the resume. You can also ask questions like:

-How did he get to know about the job vacancy?

-Have you been in any leadership position before?

-Give instances where you worked with little or no supervision?

7. Enthusiasm 

One of the things you should look for when it comes to a potential candidate is their interest in learning more about the industry in which they’re interested in working. If the candidate seems excited about the opportunity they’re applying for, they’ll probably be happy to help you. 

If the applicant asks questions that show an interest in understanding the company more, they’ll likely do even better. This indicates that the candidate is interested in the company and can easily take the initiative. 

If you get a chance to meet such an applicant behind the desk, take advantage of this opportunity – you’ll get a great feeling from their personality that could easily transfer to the position you’re looking to fill. 

8. Teamwork

Some IT tasks require the ability to work effectively with a team. As a recruiter, you need to watch out for people that can work and cooperate well with others on the same task. Some skills required to achieve teamwork include excellent communication skills and the ability to follow instructions.

This is because cooperation can only be achieved when communication is effective. For instance, if the job role is coding, you may not need to worry about teamwork that much, but if the applicant roles involve networking or administration, they will definitely need to work with a team. You can check the resumes to see instances of teamwork done in the past.

The Right Hires Will Have The Necessary Soft Skills

Recruiting IT hires demands that you sharpen your eagle eyes and sense to recognize soft skills to promote your IT Company. Most companies now have IT departments that need people with hard skills like computer programming, software engineering, website designing, etc. And truthfully, there a lot of people with these qualifications. 

However, you also need people with soft skills that are self-motivated, good communicators, and enthusiastic about the company’s growth. The right hires are people that have balanced soft and hard skills. With these people in your team, your company can grow to its potential. And you do want that, don’t you?