Focus on Transportation Operations:  Defining What We Are Doing Well

by Mike Starling

How do YOU define what your are doing well when it comes to Transportation Operations Tactical Execution? You work hard at your job, and you clarify what it means to be effective and efficient in accomplishing your assigned tactical mission.

Take a look at your current transportation operations requirements. These typically are tactical situations that are dictated either by an internal business requirement or by external customer expectations. These requirements are essential and necessary for your business to survive and ultimately prosper. This, in turn, dictates the transportation tactics employed to satisfy these requirements.

In order to fulfill the transportation aspects of specific business requirements, the business has to do a number of things:

A. Understand and define what constitutes successful fulfillment.

B. List the options available (i.e., tactics) to accomplish the requirement.

C. Determine which has priority—service or operating expense.

D. Determine how it will be measured.

E. Make a management decision about which tactic will be employed each time this requirement is encountered in the course of day-to-day business.

F. Document the process to be followed to provide consistent execution and performance of resources and assets involved.

G. Train and educate those responsible for accomplishment.

H. Share and coordinate with others involved in the process, both internally and externally.

I. Continually assess and evaluate performance, making necessary adjustments to service performance and operating expense as you go.

Any transportation tactic performed in this manner can be classified as good.

Most companies are good at tactical execution. The problem is that they often don't recognize that the tactic they are executing well may be flawed. This is due to a lack of either experience or expertise with the tactic employed; or the business requirements have changed and necessary adjustments have not been made.

Another possibility is that the tactic employed is a work-around or bandaid that is required because of a flawed process in some other part of the organization. The best solution in these cases is often a fresh pair of eyes to help shine a light on these organizational blind spots. A fresh pair of eyes is immune to the internal biases and turf-protection motivations that create these situations in the first place.

A good supply-chain coach can help you identify and validate what you are doing well in the transportation area. That is a good thing, because this helps isolate the other areas where you are in need of help.



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