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Building Resilience in Supply Chains: The Power of Carrier Diversification & Real-Time Visibility

August 28, 2023

February 5, 2024

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Chaos reigns supreme in the logistics industry of 2023. Labor unrest, the collapse of national carriers, critical supply shortages, and geopolitical upheaval are just a few factors sending shockwaves through global trade. The once-stable paths to delivering goods have become a minefield of unpredictability. Faced with these issues, one question echoes in boardrooms worldwide: how do you ensure reliability amidst such turmoil?

The answer lies in carrier diversification—a strategy more vital now than ever before. Business leaders are prioritizing increased efficiency and cost management over the next 12-18 months, as highlighted in PwC’s 2023 Digital Trends in Supply Chain Survey. The demand for innovative solutions—ones that can weave through the chaos without losing sight of safety, quality, or timeliness—is growing louder by the day.

Luckily, a cure to these problems is already available. Meet Tive, a guiding force in today's unpredictable logistics environment. Fostering carrier diversification with real-time visibility and a suite of cutting-edge solutions, Tive is changing the tide by transforming uncertainty into opportunity, making the unpredictable predictable, and ensuring that even in these volatile times, shipments reach their destination seamlessly—and with integrity. This article offers a deep exploration into how.

The Need for Carrier Diversification

As the logistics industry confronts unexpected disruptions and challenges, the question of carrier diversification becomes more pertinent. By examining recent events—including the UPS strike threat, the Yellow bankruptcy, and a potential FedEx pilots' strike—an urgent need to avoid single-carrier dependency becomes evident. 

UPS Strike Threat: A Call to Attention

The narrowly-averted strike by 350,000 unionized UPS workers highlights the severe risk of single-carrier dependency. Had this strike happened, it could have unleashed a $7 billion fallout in the U.S. economy—with consequences ranging from supply chain delays to escalating costs for businesses and consumers. This high-stakes situation underscored the importance of carrier diversification, and stressed the essential role of having multiple transportation options when bracing for unforeseen challenges. 

Yellow Closure & Bankruptcy: Another Warning Sign

Once the nation’s third-largest carrier, Yellow Corporation’s sudden shutdown and bankruptcy  is a grim warning about single-carrier dependency. After years of financial turmoil, a $700 million COVID relief loan, and recent labor issues, Yellow collapsed—resulting in the elimination of 30,000 jobs and leaving customers stranded. FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller warns, “Anyone who has ever been in a trucking shutdown knows the last thing you want is your freight on a truck or a dock.” For customers solely reliant on Yellow, this nightmare has now become a reality. 

FedEx Pilots' Strike: Are You Paying Attention Now?  

The escalating tension among FedEx's pilots, with 57% rejecting a contract featuring notable pay and pension improvements, signals the possibility of a strike. Though legal complexities make a strike less likely than in the case of UPS, the situation reveals how fragile the labor market is for large carriers. It serves as a timely reminder of the need for carrier diversification, emphasizing the importance of having varied transportation options to safeguard against unexpected disruptions. As The Wall Street Journal notes, "America's Truckers, Cargo Pilots and Package Carriers Are Fed Up."

Lessons Learned?

The UPS, Yellow, and FedEx disruptions reveal a deep vulnerability in relying on a single carrier, likened to "putting all your eggs in one basket." Recent labor disputes have ripped the band-aid off underlying issues—such as potential extended delivery times or unforeseen challenges including price hikes and weather complications—leading to possible delays and customer frustration. These collective risks underscore the wisdom in Deloitte's recent recommendation for carrier diversification to “support growth and delivery performance.” 

Challenges in Carrier Diversification

Though clearly advantageous, diversifying between several carriers also presents risks and challenges including handling various freight specifications, dealing with newly-onboarded carriers, and the amplified risk of cargo theft.

Handling Different Freight Specifications

Carrier diversification introduces the challenge of managing different freight specifications. Careful evaluation of each carrier's unique capabilities, such as handling heavy or hazardous materials, is essential. The complexity rises with the need to balance large-scale traffic, potentially straining regional carriers with limited resources. This diversity demands meticulous coordination and oversight, turning what seems like an opportunity to reduce risk into a multifaceted logistical puzzle that requires additional expertise—and precise management.

Dealing with New Carriers

Embracing carrier diversification means dealing with the challenge of new carriers, not to mention the complexity of managing multiple contracts and relationships. Variability in pricing, availability, and reliability across carriers—coupled with inconsistent terminology and data formats—adds difficulty to supply chain analysis. Achieving the right balance between two to six carriers, ensuring that no single carrier dominates more than 50% of shipping volume, mitigates dependencies but demands rigorous oversight to maintain consistent quality and reduce risk.

Increased Risk of Cargo Theft

Making carrier changes amplifies the challenge of cargo theft when combined with carrier diversification. As referenced in a previous article, a striking 41% spike in theft occurred in the first 20 weeks of 2023—and according to the FBI, cargo theft could cost trucking companies and retailers as much as $30 billion a year. . “Strategic theft,” in which criminals employ deceptive, sophisticated schemes in order to part shippers from their goods, surged 600% YoY, illustrating a widespread and evolving threat. Key areas such as California witnessed a 41% YoY increase, emphasizing the need for vigilant planning to ensure safety without compromising the benefits of diversification.  

How Tive Solves the Diversification Problem

Tive, the global leader in real-time, end-to-end shipment visibility solutions, offers innovative products that ensure that the real-time location and conditions of freight are always known. Here's how Tive stands as a pivotal tool in modernizing logistics as a solution for carrier diversification.

Enabling Constant Visibility  

Tive's real-time visibility solutions provide logistics professionals with a steady hand in a world where carrier diversification is becoming increasingly essential. With cellular, GPS, and WiFi capabilities, Tive’s tracking technology provides real-time, hyper-accurate shipment location data. No matter the number or variety of carriers, Tive helps shippers maintain a clear line of sight to their products during transit—ensuring on-time and in-full delivery.

Leveraging Geofencing for Improved Security & Accountability

With Tive, users can set up custom geofences, and can configure immediate alerts when a shipment is inside or outside of a specific area (e.g., high-risk zone or “redzone”) or deviates from its expected route. Tive goes beyond what single-location geofencing can accomplish, and is invaluable for monitoring and managing shipping routes. 

Maintaining Product Quality with Real-Time Visibility

With Tive’s real-time solution, shippers can monitor the condition of their temperature-sensitive products throughout their journey, from origin to destination. This is especially important when working with new carriers who may not have the same familiarity or trust with your product and needs. Tive’s solution is easy to use, cost-effective, and syncs instantly with the cloud platform, providing an audit trail for compliance and accountability. If something goes wrong, you can see where and when it happened and take corrective actions. 

Embracing Complexity: Tive's Solutions for Carrier Diversification in Modern Logistics

The volatile 2023 logistics industry requires more than mere adaptability; it demands a strategic embrace of carrier diversification. Diversification becomes the key to resilience and success in a world rife with challenges, including labor unrest, carrier collapses, and global uncertainties.

In this environment, Tive truly shines—delivering solutions that ensure shipment safety, quality, and timeliness without sacrificing diversity. By converting the unpredictable into a strategic advantage via advanced technologies such as real-time visibility, Tive supports businesses and simultaneously revolutionizes their logistics approach, empowering them to pivot with agility, minimize risks, and elevate the shipping experience for their customers.

As the industry continues to evolve, the choice to align with proven expertise and forward-thinking solutions becomes clear. Consider Tive for your logistics operations, and reach out today to confidently steer your business through the ever-shifting seas of global trade.

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