Another in our series of Guest Blogs from our NTPDA Members. This has to do with shipping changes and critical information for our membership and our friends from Steven Haas of DLS Worldwide. Also if you would like to hear the audio of the news story that aired this week just click the audio link below:
As of this writing, over twenty states have made "shelter in place" warnings...
The good news is that auto, truck and tractor parts (new, used and remanufactured) have been deemed essential commodities so freight will keep flowing as usual.
These items have been deemed critical commodities because we can assist aid and assist in the uninterrupted supply of the essential replacement parts that keep ambulances, fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles moving not to mention the fact that the parts we supply are also needed to keep trucks and ag equipment running to maintain crucial supply chains that provide food, home deliveries and medical supplies.
The bad news is that more states will inevitably follow, and we expect the remainder of states to put similar orders in place within the first few weeks of April.
During the last several days, I have reached out to a number of Associations within these industry segments in an attempt to get a "pulse" of the situation and assess their respective supply chains. Pretty much all are reporting "business as usual" and that most of their members are still getting things done but sometimes in unusual ways.
One way to look at things is that this is a "Grand Reboot" for both people and businesses and that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to re-invent ourselves and our business models.
And - we've been here before...when the internet went mainstream in 1995 it forced a somewhat painful and costly re-invention of both business and society, and we all ended up much better off with some incredibly useful technologies in place. Not far after, social media came into play, online commerce began to go gangbusters and now we have the underpinnings in place to both thrive and survive in a challenging new world.
The following are a few simple recommendations that will help you keep your supply chain intact and eliminate complexities and costs:
Deploy a Multi-carrier Platform
For starters, if you’re not already using a multi-carrier rate shop platform you need to get one in place. The DLS platform (available through DLS and/or your association) provides thousands of quality carrier options for all major modes including truckload, partial truckload and less-than truckload (LTL) service. If a carrier suspends service on a national, regional or micro-regional level our customers have more than enough options already in place.
Keep Advised of Carrier Updates
You should also do your best to tune into carrier updates on a daily basis if possible.
The team at DLS Worldwide is doing our best to keep your association professionals advised of carrier embargos, restrictions and/or closures on a daily basis and are encouraging them to pass that information immediately on to you.
Call Ahead to Confirm Pick-ups and Deliveries
Communication is key!
We will do our best to keep you advised of the various carrier changes, restrictions and closures by state. If you need to schedule a pickup or delivery in one of those states we suggest you contact your pickup or delivery location to confirm they are operating and if they have any special needs or protocols for the carriers.
As of now, only a small percentage of our customers within the recycling and remanufacturing sectors have been closed (temporarily) but this one proactive measure can save you a considerable amount of time, money and aggravation.
Stay In Touch With Your Suppliers and Customers
Use those proactive calls to check in with your suppliers and customers to ASK them about their personal health and the health of their businesses. We are all in this TOGETHER so if you take the time to ask those concerned questions and perhaps share some innovative best practices it will help you strengthen and deepen relationships and build goodwill for the future.
Determine What you Can Control and Cannot Control
And finally - remind yourself that there are things that you can control and things that you cannot control. No one was able to predict the gravity of this pandemic but you can do your part to lessen its impact by following governmental recommendations and through the rapid re-invention of your business.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like some suggestions about the rapid reinvention of your own supply chain or business. You can reach me at 612-296-1806 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to share my thoughts and ideas.
You can choose to view this as a tragedy or an opportunity – I for one, choose the latter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Steven P. Haas handles Association Partnerships for DLS Worldwide a 3rd party logistics company based in Chicago Illinois. If you would like to streamline your supply chain and fortify your carrier options he can set you up with a multi-carrier rate shop platform through your association partnership or in free-standing form. If you would like him to perform a courtesy rate review and/or supply chain evaluation you may reach him at the contact information above.