Global Logistics: Control what you can

The editorial staff of Logistics Management has focused much of this issue on helping global shippers better manage what they can control. And, we shed some light on the technology and partnership options that savvy shippers are putting to work to help mitigate risk and dull some of the headaches.

By ·

Setting up a global logistics network has always been a puzzle for logistics management professionals, no matter the size of the organization. Constantly changing trade agreements, complicated Customs regulations, and service disruptions caused by uncontrollable factors—extreme weather, political unrest—have long positioned global logistics management as a bit of a gamble.

Fast-forward to 2019 and many Logistics Management readers are scratching their heads. While it’s impossible to escape the news of new tariffs and pending trade wars, the most frustrating part is that no one, not even the most connected of our global sources, can honestly say they know how the results of the political bluster will pan out for global freight management stakeholders.

With that in mind, the editorial staff of Logistics Management has focused much of this issue on helping global shippers better manage what they can control. And, we shed some light on the technology and partnership options that savvy shippers are putting to work to help mitigate risk and dull some of the headaches.

We offer a comprehensive update on how ocean carriers are keeping pace with global economic trends; we take a broad-sweeping look at the growth of trade protectionism and the condition of global infrastructure; and dive into the state of the global trade management (GTM) software market and show how the current complexities are pushing adoption rates up.

Maybe you’re tiring of consultants and trade media focusing on the concepts of “partnership” and “collaboration” as magic remedies to all that ails us. It’s true that those terms are too often discussed in theoretical platitudes in conference sessions and white papers. But, this month we’re happy to share a case study about a shipper that’s leveraging a third-party logistics (3PL) provider partnership to manage massive growth and create a scalable, global supply chain network.

Contributing editor Bridget McCrea shares the global success of Ember, a company of innovative engineers that created the world’s first temperature-controlled mug. As McCrea reports, the company’s first offering was a travel mug that hit Starbucks shelves in 2016 and sold out within weeks. Word of the new and novel invention spread quickly, so Ember released its next offering: a more traditional coffee mug offering temperature control. Best Buy joined Starbucks as a customer for both mugs quickly taking sales from $1 million to $14 million.

“And then Apple signed on,” says McCrea, “and the game quickly changed.” With that signing, Ember needed to place SKUs in Apple stores in 26 different countries, open global e-commerce channels, and supply TMall China, a massive business-to-consumer site operated in China by the Alibaba Group.

“With the overwhelming sales growth and new logistics complexity, the Ember team decided to streamline its global distribution and partner with a single, global 3PL,” says McCrea. “What unfolds is a tale of truly impressive communication, collaboration and alignment that will help Ember scale as far and wide as the sales take them. This story will inspire any shipper looking for reliability around the globe.”

About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of American Truck Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [ protected]

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