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Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Operators Discussion

Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Operators Discussion


Chapter 14, “Determining Project Progress and Results.”  Topics include:

  • Change control systems.
  • Monitoring and controlling risks.
  • Reporting project progress.
  • The importance of reporting.

Wall Street Journal, “U.S. port backups are extending into freight rail supply chains,”  Link:

  One year ago ports were back upped, not one year later, ships yards have a lot of empty containers. 

Wall Street Journal, “Idled ships, empty containers. Ocean shipping faces biggest slump in years” link:

Please read Chapter 14 and the Wall Street Journal articles before answering the questions below.

  1. How could transportation and logistics operators work to develop a balanced scorecard for project determination (Exhibit 14.1) focused on reduced demand and empty containers?
  2. How could project progress communication, either from the ports or freight rail supply chains, help with the empty containers?

Last discussion board question: Please tell the class 3 concepts that you learned more about, or learned about for the first time. How will you be able to utilize that knowledge in future projects?

(Tanner Freed)

1. The transportation and logistics industry’s should work hand in hand by first determining what aspects each industry could change or improve to help the other and ultimately themselves run smoother. They can create a way for a strategic impact for both, while ensuring each of their customers needs are being met adequately and timely. Recognizing and identifying an internal process that is an issue is key. For example realizing that the demand level is being reduced should lead to company’s in the industry to change some of their processes for a more effective approach. Whether it be controlling the cost of shipments or the timing so that company’s still want to conduct business with you and not leave you out to dry like the company’s who have empty containers stacked 6 high.

2. Project progress communication could be used to make sure and keep everyone in the industry and the stakeholders informed about the current situation. Once everyone in the ports and rail supply is aware and understands the issue changes can be made. Improved transportation will help reduce the waste of time and resources so those in the supply chain should communicate better to fulfill demands. Everything in the supply chain must be discussed and carefully planned. This includes order processing, distribution, inventory management, supply chain management and customer delivery. Communication between organizations about their strengths and weakness in these listed areas would lead to stronger transportation and logistics industry’s.

3. There has been a lot of great information and insight from this course but if i had to pick the most beneficial for myself would be a how to use and build a project charter, communication matrix, and a requirements traceability matrix. Learning about these concepts and matrix’s will certainly benefit me not only will college project but also in my career. I plan on utilizing them whenever possible to help better prepare and monitor future projects. 

(Jared schmid)

Chapter 14: Determining Project Progress and Results

  1. With softening demand in many consumer markets, it will be important for Transportation and Logistics professionals to manage their inventory amid uncertain markets. These professionals, specifically in retail-type markets, can develop a balanced scorecard to help focus on reduced demand and empty containers. First, the transportation and logistics operators need to consider the multiple perspectives of customers and internal organizations among numerous dimensions. From the customer perspective, Transporation and Logistics professionals will need to consider what types of products customers are buying, how much they are buying, and how much product is needed to support the desired levels of demand. Understanding this from their Sales Team will help them to direct and manage their project of forecasting their supply chain needs and control the scope to which they buy their products/build inventory. From the internal perspective, these professionals will then need to investigate how they need to control their resources, scheduling, and costs. For resources, this will include controlling their freight needs by coordinating with the railroad and/or trucking companies based on what the Logistics professional is hearing in the market. They will need to manage to schedule of deliveries by coordinating with their freight brokers up and down the supply chain to ensure scheduled deliveries for products are met. Finally, the Logistics professional will need to manage and control costs through the product they are buying and the rates they are receiving on their transportation. Putting all these elements and considerations into a balanced scorecard can help Transportation and Logistics professionals to manage these elements in an organized and efficient manner for their business.
  2. Freight transportation providers and ports are in consistent communication and have representatives from both parties that work together to ensure fluidity. However, this communication may not be as consistent or reliable in times of economic uncertainty. Therefore, project progress communication can become even more important between ports, freight transportation providers, and end customers. Project progress communication will help in the issue of empty containers because companies will then have the ability to provide updates to their freight transportation provider on when order deliveries are complete when containers are needed for loads, and more. This information will then be used between the freight transportation provider and the port to coordinate picking up loads and dropping off empty containers. From there, the ports will be able to coordinate with ocean carriers on taking back empty containers to their loading point of origin and clearing out congested ports. Overall, project progress communication will help all areas of the supply chain to remain fluid and operate as efficiently as possible in high and low-demand times.

Class Reflection: “Three concepts that I learned more about, or learned about for the first time. How will I be able to utilize that knowledge in future projects?”

Over the course of this class, we were able to learn about many important topics relating to project management from the initial steps of planning the project through the execution stages. I found incredible value in the many topics discussed throughout the course content. While many topics are items that may have been covered in prior undergraduate business courses taken, the content of this course touched on specific items within topics that I may not have learned or was given a different perspective on. Specifically, I found the three topics that provided the largest takeaways for me and my future career included project selection/prioritization, project charters, and partnerships/contracts. As stated above, I found incredible value in all topics covered in the course, but these three topics were found to be the most applicable to my career.

  • Project Selection and Prioritization – The biggest takeaway for me in this section was how to utilize specific criteria needed to evaluate a project. I plan to use this in my career by providing strong business cases to superiors about the work I am doing and projects I am developing to help provide justification for them on how to select and prioritize my project versus other projects across the organization. This will also help me in the future when I am in a position of choosing between specific projects that can help to impact the organization as a whole.
  • Project Charter – This was a concept I had learned, but this course taught this in a unique way to provoke ideas I had not considered. The main concept I learned that I had not considered previously was the inclusion of a Steering Committee in the project chartering process. Now that I have gained applicable work experience, I can more fully understand the importance of getting guidance and buy-in from leadership within an organization when beginning a major project. This comes especially when funding and additional resources are needed for a project opportunity. This will come in handy in my career.
  • Partnerships and Contracts – In Marketing & Sales, partnerships and contracts are one of the largest parts of developing business relationships that are long-lasting with customers. Learning about different types of contracts, how to identify which type of contract works best, and how companies form partnerships is information that will greatly help me in my career when I am looking to form partnerships with my customers through contractual agreements. This will also come in handy when evaluating the types of contracts that my customers will also desire when forming partnerships. 

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