It’s Possible. But to utilise the solution, we first have to understand the problem.
With industries bumping against internal productivity ceilings, creative methods to improve transport and logistics are now viewed as targets for improving supply chain efficiencies. However, individual business sectors are typically unable to control factors in the supply chain that impact overall effectiveness. Industry leaders are quickly recognising the need for collaboration between all segments of a supply chain to improve operational effectiveness.
What is Involved in Collaborative Logistics?
Collaborative logistics is far more complex than even some industry insiders realise, as each segment of the chain has unique issues to explore in the quest for greater efficiency. Changes made at one level to improve efficiency could, in fact, negatively impact another part of the chain. For that reason, industry led collaboration together with governmental input is arguably the best venue for improving productivity. NICTA’s new knowledge lab, the Transport and Logistics Living Lab (TALL) seeks to “increase the productivity, efficiency, and safety of NSW and Australia’s transport and logistics industry by fostering industryled collaboration.”
“This is the fifth Knowledge Hub to receive NSW government support with an investment of $1.7 million over two years,” said Victor Domminello, Minister for Innovation. “Bringing together government and industry is key to promoting digital innovation and the Transport and Logistics Living Lab, along with the existing Knowledge Hubs, will do just that.”
But, do the current experiments go far enough?
What Specific Types of Improvements Are Currently Being Considered? Collaboration, by its very nature, assumes a variety of players are involved in designing and implementing transformative measures. Since supply chains tend to be significantly different, depending on the needs of chain members, innovations must be carefully thought out to avoid creating new issues throughout the chain.
So, what ideas are being bounced around? Rachel Botsman suggests what she describes as “crowdshipping” as a way to significantly reduce waste in all shipping arenas. The technique involves looking at reducing less-thanfull loads in trucks and shipping containers as one area where efficiency can be dramatically improved.
“We created our Container Roll Out Warehousing System (CROWS) which is an innovative inter-connectable, all-steel, cargo-carrying platform that can be rolled in and out of standard ISO shipping containers,” said Shaun Moore, managing director of Sea Box International.
The system would clearly reduce loading and unloading times for both shippers and customers.
Are Incremental Improvements Really Enough?
The answer to that question is likely to create more arguments. For some industries, incremental improvements in the supply chain may appear to be sufficient. For others, especially emerging technologies, more dramatic changes may be required. That’s why NICTA’s experiments, for example, are crucial to Australia’s future success in reducing inefficiency and promoting progressive innovations.
Everyone in the supply chain is impacted by both positive and negative changes anywhere along the chain. That includes end users as well as raw material suppliers. To remain competitive internationally as well as locally, Australia’s industries must use existing and evolving techniques to improve efficiency, and collaboration is, at this time, one of the best ways to achieve that goal.