Maxime Petit

Maxime Petit

Consultant - Transportation & Networks

Automation plays an increasingly significant role in the modernization of business processes, and the supply chain is no exception. Companies worldwide are seeking ways to optimize their logistical processes to remain competitive in an ever-evolving market. In this article, we will explore the impact of automation on the supply chain, specifically focusing on the transportation domain. The selection of tools presented below highlights the advantages in terms of operational efficiency and flexibility, while considering the challenges and logistics trends in 2024.

Current Logistics Challenges

Before introducing digital tools in logistics, this section provides an overview of the key logistical challenges facing businesses in 2024. In this year, it is essential to be familiar with the term ‘resilience’ to navigate the logistics field. Only 21% of supply chain leaders believe it to be sufficiently resilient (data from 2024). Indeed, recent global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, and climate change have posed significant challenges for supply chains, including inflation of raw material prices, increased transportation costs, new consumer expectations, and heightened environmental requirements.

Automating Transport Processes

One of the options to address these new challenges is to automate processes. Indeed, automation will allow freeing up from administrative tasks and focusing on data analysis and proactive decision-making. Below, we will present several automation solutions for transport management, traceability, and procurement.

Transport Management

Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

When transportation is a crucial aspect for a company, implementing a TMS is often the primary step to automate transport management and make it more efficient. A TMS provides a centralized platform to plan, execute, and optimize transportation operations, thereby gaining efficiency, visibility, and control over transport flows. The key functions of a TMS include:

  • Shipment planning
  • Route optimization
  • Collaboration with carriers
  • Delivery tracking
  • Automated document management
  • Performance analysis

Furthermore, the main benefits observed among our clients after implementing a TMS are:

  • Reduction in transportation costs (5 to 15% according to Gartner)
  • Improved visibility into transportation operations
  • Automation of repetitive tasks (data entry, document management, report compilation)
  • Increased service levels
  • Enhanced internal and external collaboration with suppliers/clients
  • Reinforcement of regulatory compliance

To learn more about implementing a TMS and how we successfully achieved it for one of our clients, check out our case study here.

Vehicle Route Optimization

For companies whose transportation focuses mainly on last-mile delivery, it would be more relevant to prioritize the adoption of a vehicle route optimization tool (Routing Tool). Such a tool focuses on network and load optimization. A Routing Tool can take into account a wide variety of parameters such as truck capacity, opening and closing hours of delivery or pickup points, handling constraints, downtime, etc., and propose different optimization options, such as mileage minimization, carbon emission reduction, minimizing trips with suboptimal loads, or considering driver-related constraints. 

At Conseil2.0, we have successfully assisted numerous clients in implementing TMS or routing tools. However, we can also help you with the preliminary analysis of your transportation management automation needs. To determine if these systems are necessary for your company, check out our article here.

Real-time Traceability

A traceability software provides real-time information on the status of deliveries, a functionality not included by default in a TMS. The tracking tool allows identifying each batch of goods uniquely, tracking the logistics flow of each batch, obtaining precise location of each item, and receiving notifications with each status update. The benefits of such a tool include:

  • Real-time visibility
  • Delivery time management
  • Better synchronization of operations
  • Improved quality of customer service
  • Predictability of the supply chain

A traceability software can focus on external or internal fleet. In the case of an external software, such as Shippeo, the focus is on tracking receptions and deliveries at suppliers’ and customers’ premises to provide them with real-time tracking. Conversely, with software focusing on internal fleet, data can be used to better synchronize operations, perform preventive maintenance, or gather extremely useful data for potential future improvements. To know more about the importance of traceability, consult our article here.

Transport Procurement

A significant part of the transportation process lies in purchasing transport services themselves. Indeed, few organizations internalize all these processes. Often, companies prefer to lose some degree of control over their transport in exchange for economic and organizational gains by outsourcing transport management. To avoid a total loss of control over transport and maximize cost reduction, it is essential to have the most efficient transport procurement process possible. Obviously, as a strategic part of logistics, this function presents significant potential for automation. There are several digital tools to automate strategic transport procurement function, such as Coupa, Jaggaer, or Keelvar.

From an automation standpoint, these solutions allow:

  • Centralizing communication
  • Automating bid calculations
  • Comparing bids against each other
  • Strengthening and speeding up the decision-making process

The operation of such a system is as follows: data collection and cleaning remain activities that must be carried out upstream of the solution and cannot be replaced by the solution. Once this data is cleaned and prepared, it can be uploaded into the system. From there, the entire process can take place within the system, where the tender is created and launched. Suppliers can submit their bids directly into the digital procurement solution. It is also possible to collaborate with suppliers, request additional information, up to the awarding of the contract to the selected supplier(s). Thus, email exchanges and complex Excel document comparisons become obsolete, while allowing humans to retain control over the tool.

One of the main strengths of such a solution lies in its analytical component in transport procurement. Indeed, with a reliable data source and a few supplier offers, the tool can perform powerful calculations and suggest complete or partial market allocations based on numerous constraints defined by the buyers. It is possible to compare different scenarios such as:

  • Maximum number of carriers globally and/or by region
  • Adherence to the transport capacities (number of available trucks) of each carrier
  • Minimum percentage of historical carriers
  • Consideration of any other constraints specified during an RFI (EDI capabilities, ESG vision, systems used by the carrier, etc.)

Finally, the use of such a tool can be autonomous, meaning it does not require pre-implementation or complex integration with other systems. A reliable and comprehensive data source (e.g., from a TMS) is sufficient!

Conclusion

While we sincerely hope that this article has inspired you and encouraged you to delve into the implementation of a new transport automation solution, we encourage you to do so thoughtfully and rigorously. Indeed, using such tools requires not only skills in computer engineering and data management but often involves new processes that can impact the organization and operation of the entire supply chain. That’s why adopting the right approach is crucial. At Conseil 2.0, we recommend a general 5-step approach:

  1. Assess the need: Identify pain points, map the current IT architecture, agree on the overall company strategy.
  2. Prioritize initiatives: Categorize pain points, evaluate internal competencies, prioritize opportunities.
  3. Select the solution: Inform yourself about different solutions, conduct a tender, consider non-IT aspects (People & Process).
  4. Implement the solution: Integrate the system into the company’s architecture, test the solution, train users, communicate, go-live.
  5. Ensure its operation: Confirm that integration is adequate, ensure team buy-in.

With these sources of inspiration and an example of a methodological approach, you are now a little more equipped to embark on or continue your digital transition. If you would like to discuss this in more detail or have any questions or suggestions on the subject, feel free to contact us.

Maxime Petit

Maxime Petit

Supply chain consultant

In an increasingly connected world, digitization has profoundly transformed many aspects of our lives, including how businesses operate. Once considered a competitive advantage just a few years ago, digitizing business processes has now become essential for any company wishing to remain competitive in the market. Gartner’s figures confirm this trend: 69% of companies have already implemented or are in the process of implementing a digital procurement solution that will enable them to achieve savings of 10 to 30%. As a crucial element of the supply chain, procurement is not exempt from the digital revolution. From supplier research and selection to invoicing, and contract management, all procurement procedures in a business present significant opportunities for digitization and even automation.

The primary goal of procurement digitization is obviously to reduce the risk of errors, centralize data, or streamline processes. However, with current technologies, it is also possible to go much further. For example, did you know that artificial intelligence can predict a potential stockout from a supplier, adjust inventory levels accordingly, and even search for alternative options on the market, all without any human intervention? Of course, all these advanced technologies are not even conceivable without the prior digitization of the company’s key procurement processes. That’s why this article presents the various possibilities of digitization, their advantages, and some future trends.

Procurement Digitization

To visualize the functionalities and possibilities brought by digital tools, we use a visualization of the “Source to Pay” process that defines the entirety of the purchasing cycle.

Depending on your needs, it may be wise to implement one or more specific solutions targeting a single procurement function at a time or to resort to the most comprehensive solutions on the market covering the entire Source To Pay (S2P) process, such as Coupa, our partner, and one of the market leaders. Whether by implementing a comprehensive solution comprising several modules or different solutions per function, it is essential to ensure that information is transmitted smoothly between the different modules, but also to other IT systems of the company (ERP, accounting information, HR, transport systems, etc.).

1.Source To Contract

The Source to Contract (S2C) function is a key step in the procurement process within a company. It encompasses all activities related to identifying potential suppliers, negotiating contractual conditions, and managing contracts throughout their lifecycle.

This part of the process generally involves many manual tasks involving multiple actors. By implementing a digital solution, we can reduce these manual tasks to focus on more strategic tasks. A digital S2P solution allows, among other things, to:

  • Send RFx via the platform.
    Collaborate among all internal parties during supplier selection.
  • Automatically create a contract draft based on the selected offer.
  • Centralize and make contracts accessible to all authorized persons.
  • Track deadlines and receive notifications as they approach.
  • Create reports that facilitate supervision.

2.Procure To Pay

The Procure to Pay (P2P) function represents all processes related to the acquisition of goods and services up to supplier payment. It includes all stages, from supplier selection to finalizing payments.

With a digital P2P solution in place, the system allows users to:

  • Make purchases as on any other B2C online shopping platform.
  • Directly see existing contracts to prioritize contract purchases.
    Approve purchase requests.
  • Track the approval of their purchase requests in real-time.
  • Automatically send an order to the supplier after approval.
  • Receive goods.
  • Create reports to control, supervise, and make informed decisions.

Regarding invoicing, a digital invoicing solution provides the ability to:

  • Receive supplier invoices automatically based on orders.
  • Digitize a PDF invoice using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tool.
  • Authorize payment if the invoice matches the order and receipt information.

Of course, a digital P2P solution must be adapted according to the needs of each company. Multiple parameters are customizable, such as authorizations, approval chains, automated elements with or without prior control, notifications, accounting data, etc. An implementation partner, such as Conseil 2.0, is of strategic importance to build a solution that meets the exact needs of the organization.

Advantages of Digitization

1. Reduction of Manual Tasks and Focus on Value-added Tasks

One of the main advantages of digitization in procurement is the reduction of manual tasks and the potential errors associated with them. This frees up time for employees to focus on high-value tasks such as supplier selection, contract negotiation, or expense analysis. Combined with better visibility and integration of the organization’s data, this productivity gain can quickly become exponential. Additionally, digital tools ensure reliability and traceability of actions, as well as a distribution of tasks performed among different actors, enabling easier management by managers and empowering employees.

2. Increased Data Visibility for Better Decision Making

The second advantage we chose to highlight is not limited to the procurement function but extends to the entire organization. Indeed, thanks to the digital tools in place, we can collect, store, and analyze purchasing data in real-time. This allows us to have a complete and precise view of expenses, including the most spent product or service categories, the most used suppliers, price trends, categories requiring new contracts, etc.

This increased visibility allows us to make more informed and strategic decisions. For example, we can more easily identify cost reduction opportunities by spotting categories where we can consolidate purchases or negotiate preferential rates by reducing our supplier base. The logistics department can also use this data to anticipate market fluctuations and adjust procurement strategy accordingly, optimizing performance and remaining competitive.

All this data can also be compiled into dashboards that centralize important information. For example, we can compile data into a dashboard to easily find contracts nearing expiration, for which we need to renegotiate the budget, for which market prices have decreased, etc. In turn, these dashboards can be used in a control tower, a concept we discuss in more detail in our other article.

For more information, feel free to consult our article dedicated to control towers in the supply chain.

3. Process Standardization and Cross-functional Collaboration

Implementing a P2P solution is also an opportunity to standardize procurement processes across the organization. First, the implementation of a new tool involves organizational transformation and is therefore a good time to collect everyone’s needs and redefine existing procurement processes. Then, by implementing a single tool for the entire organization, we ensure compliance with purchasing policies throughout the organization. The purchasing department, therefore, increases control over purchasing operations without diminishing the freedom of the rest of the company, or even increasing it. Furthermore, digitizing procurement through a single tool promotes collaboration by facilitating communication and information sharing between internal teams and also with external partners. This improves operational efficiency, strengthens relationships with suppliers, and better meets internal customer needs.

4. Integration of Sustainable Development in Decision Making

At a time when climate issues are becoming increasingly important, it is clear that the procurement function will have an important role to play in the ecological transition. Indeed, it is through procurement that emissions are mostly emitted, even if they are indirect emissions. According to Gartner, the lack of data is the main barrier to more sustainable procurement according to companies. Digitizing procurement functions now allows us to collect and analyze relevant data on our purchases, such as the carbon footprint of products, the ethical practices of suppliers, or the use of recycled materials. Provided that our suppliers are able to provide us with this information, digital tools allow us to compare and make informed choices in terms of environmental impact. These tools also help us to provide this information as comprehensively as possible to our suppliers. This demand for information will certainly become more frequent and rigorous in the near future.

For more information, do not hesitate to consult our article dedicated to sustainable development in procurement or our ESG service page.

If this article has piqued your curiosity or if you would like to learn more about the various ways to increase the digital maturity of your organization, do not hesitate to contact the Conseil 2.0 team. Our team consists of multidisciplinary experts in the supply chain, including procurement digitization specialists capable of meeting your needs. Conseil 2.0 contributes to value creation in the supply chain by offering solutions tailored to each company.

Audrey Lépine

Audrey Lépine

Consultant - Transportation & Networks

In an era of globalization where the supply chain must face increasingly unforeseen circumstances and uncertainties, it is crucial that it be responsive and adaptable to all situations. Recent years have taught us that managing this chain is essential to a company’s success. A malfunction at any point in this chain can have an exponential impact on the entire company. However, this chain has become increasingly complex, with suppliers, production sites, and customers spread across the globe, making it difficult to control each stage.

For some years now, a new optimization tool in this field has been highlighted by several technology solution providers to assist in daily and strategic management.

But what is a control tower in the supply chain and how can it be beneficial?

A control tower, also known as a “supply chain control tower”, is a centralized system or platform that allows stakeholders in the supply chain to control and optimize the entire chain end-to-end. The goal is to:

  • Centralize data and provide comprehensive visualization.
  • Facilitate decision-making through analysis and simulation.
  • Improve communication between different departments.
  • Simplify and automate event management.

The supply chain encompasses several departments such as procurement, logistics, transportation, planning, distribution, and customer service, among others. Each department has its own performance indicators, goals, and tools, often leading teams to work in silos. However, when an issue arises in the supply chain, such as a supplier delivery delay, all departments can be affected.

For example, the procurement department may be notified of a supplier delivery delay. It can then choose to accept the delay or opt for expedited delivery, which would increase costs. A delay in receiving raw materials can lead to delays in production, distribution, and delivery to customers. Without a control tower tool, the procurement department risks making decisions based solely on its own performance indicators, without considering the impact on the entire chain and on customers. Other departments will be informed late of these impacts, leading to multiple communications.

With access to a control tower tool, the various affected departments can be notified of a supplier delivery delay and immediately assess its impact on their operations. They can then collaborate and conduct simulations to determine how to mitigate the consequences of the delay while limiting costs. The problem is thus addressed proactively, and all stakeholders have visibility into the situation.

By aggregating data, the supply chain team has better visibility into each stage of the chain in real-time. They can monitor the movement of products and inventories regularly to identify risks and issues upstream. Many software solutions offer simulation tools that use historical, real-time, and trend data to validate decisions and assess their impacts.

This tool is used daily by all stakeholders in the supply chain to track their operations and assist in decision-making. For example, if a customer requests a product urgently, the sales team can submit the request, and each link in the chain can check if they have the capacity to respond to the demand without impacting other customers. Additionally, this tool can be used to assess the additional costs that an urgent order would entail.

Factors to Consider

While control tower solutions offer complex analysis and visibility tools, it is important to also adjust the processes and working methods of stakeholders to fully benefit from them.

When implementing a control tower tool, it is crucial to consider the various aspects of technological transformation:

  • The scope of the project must be defined, and the technology must be selected based on identified needs and objectives. The tool must integrate with the software already used in the company.
  • A change in processes and work habits is necessary to have a positive impact on the company. The tool must be integrated into daily tasks, and the interfaces must be adapted to the needs of each group of employees.
  • Employees must be trained on the new tools and supported throughout the transition. Change management strategies must be implemented to ensure adoption by all departments of the company.

Conclusion

A control tower tool in the supply chain can have positive impacts on companies. However, having a tool that provides visibility alone does not guarantee positive results. It is essential to accompany the project with change management throughout the organization to ensure the buy-in of all stakeholders and thus fully benefit from it.

Steven Poirier

Steven Poirier

Consultant - Procurement

Recently, a subject has prompted me to reflect: the realm of sustainable procurement practices. In a time when social responsibility takes center stage worldwide, it is not surprising that I have taken an interest in this subject. With over 30 years of experience in the procurement field, I am here to guide you through the complex world of sustainable procurement.

While my journey in procurement has been extensive, it is the recent emergence of sustainable procurement practices that has drawn my attention to their intriguing challenges. I am exploring how to effectively integrate my procurement expertise with sustainability values.

Benefits for Businesses

In my quest to understand sustainable procurement from a business perspective, I have realized that it is not just a trendy buzzword. Its importance cannot be underestimated, as it can lead to numerous advantages, especially in the business and procurement realms. The most tangible, of course, is cost savings. By choosing suppliers that reduce waste, minimize energy consumption, and operate ethically, businesses can enhance their profitability.

Another significant advantage is reputation improvement. In an era where conscious consumers prefer brands committed to sustainability, a robust sustainable procurement strategy can become a powerful marketing tool.

Moreover, we cannot overlook the aspect of risk management in sustainable procurement. It shields companies from potential disruptions in the supply chain, regulatory fines, and public relations crises. A robust sustainable procurement strategy can be a bulwark in an unpredictable world.

Where to Begin?

Understanding sustainable procurement requires adopting the triple-bottom-line approach, where the interests of people, the planet, and profit converge. This comprehensive approach ensures that procurement decisions not only serve financial outcomes but are also aligned with broader global sustainability goals. It requires considering the economic (Profit), social (People), and environmental (Planet) impact of our decisions.

As I delve deeper into my research, I’ve come to understand the importance of a solid structure. It encompasses a series of complex steps: assessment, strategy development, implementation, monitoring, transparency, and continuous improvement. Without this roadmap, one risks getting lost in the process and simply sidelining the project.

So, where do novice organizations start with sustainable procurement? The initial steps involve evaluating current procurement practices. Tools such as supplier surveys, environmental impact assessments, and ethical procurement audits are essential for reconstructing the full picture. Additionally, employee training and education are crucial to building a sustainability-focused corporate culture.

Next, we set clear and SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). These objectives provide a framework for our sustainability puzzle, guiding us toward a clear picture of what success in sustainable procurement can be and ensuring organizations progress in the right direction. The role of standards and certifications, such as Fair Trade or ISO 14001, is essential to ensure compliance with sustainable practices.

In the procurement puzzle, implementing sustainable strategies is akin to finding the right pieces that fit together. This involves ethically selecting suppliers, responsible sourcing, and analyzing the complete life cycle of products to create a coherent sustainability picture.

Finally, the journey does not end with the initial implementation. Sustainable procurement is an ongoing process, emphasizing continuous monitoring, feedback, and adaptation. The goal is to make sustainability an integral part of the procurement culture, where each procurement decision reflects a commitment to people, the planet, and profit.

In Brief…

Sustainable procurement practices are not just a moral obligation; they are a strategic imperative. By integrating sustainability into procurement strategies, businesses can achieve financial success, enhance their reputation, and safeguard against risks. As a procurement specialist, I am here to advocate for the cause of sustainable procurement, helping organizations in their quest for a more sustainable and prosperous future. If you want to delve deeper into the issue of sustainable procurement and understand how our procurement consulting firm can assist you in navigating this essential field, feel free to contact us. We are here to guide you toward a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Charles Mbadinga

Charles Mbadinga

Business analyst

Needs Analysis 

The first crucial step in implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) is to thoroughly understand the specific needs of the warehouse. This is where the business analyst comes into play. They are responsible for analyzing existing processes, identifying improvement opportunities, and understanding the unique requirements of the company regarding inventory management, order tracking, space management, and much more. To illustrate this, let’s take an example of an e-commerce company that sells shoes online. Their rapid success has led to exponential growth in orders, and they are now overwhelmed by manual warehouse management. The business analyst begins by analyzing these specific needs, including the need to automate the processes of receiving, storing, and preparing orders to meet the growing demand. 

WMS Selection 

 

Once the needs have been clearly defined, the business analyst helps select the warehouse management system that best fits those needs. This could be an off-the-shelf system or a customized solution, depending on the size and specific requirements of the company. After analyzing the needs of the e-commerce company, the business analyst reviews the various WMS systems available on the market to determine which one offers the necessary features. They ensure that the chosen WMS can effectively handle automated order processing, real-time inventory, and warehouse space optimization. 

Planning 

Planning is a crucial step in WMS implementation. The business analyst plays a key role in developing a detailed plan that defines the goals, timelines, and responsibilities of each stakeholder. This plan serves as a roadmap for the entire project. The business analyst plans the gradual implementation of the new WMS by determining the steps to follow, deadlines, and required resources. 

Testing and Validation 

Once the planning is in place, the WMS system must undergo rigorous testing. The business analyst coordinates these tests to ensure that the system functions correctly and meets all organizational requirements. The company simulates different scenarios, such as delivery delays or unexpected route changes, to ensure that the new system responds appropriately. The business analyst oversees these tests to ensure their success. 

Training 

After conducting tests and obtaining validation, employee training can begin. An effective WMS relies on employees’ ability to use it correctly. The business analyst is responsible for planning and implementing training programs for the staff. This ensures effective and uniform adoption of the new system. The business analyst organizes training sessions for warehouse staff, teaching them how to use the new system to process orders, manage inventory, and monitor warehouse performance. It is also essential to assess the level of knowledge of various stakeholders (IT, field personnel, etc.) to whom business analysts provide training. 

Data Migration 

Once the staff is trained, migrating data from the old system to the new WMS is a delicate operation. The business analyst ensures that this process goes smoothly and that all essential data is transferred accurately. The business analyst supervises the migration of historical data on orders, customers, and products from the old system to the new WMS, ensuring the continuity of operations. 

Implementation / Go Live 

After completing training and data migration, the WMS system is deployed in real-time in the warehouse. The business analyst plays a central role in supervising this implementation to ensure a smooth launch. During the deployment of the new system, the business analyst works closely with operational teams to ensure a seamless transition, monitoring system performance, and promptly resolving any issues that may arise. 

Michael Muro

Michael Muro

Senior consultant - Transportation & Networks

Achieving the Ideal Carrier Mix for Savings and Service Quality

In an era of increasing complexity in transportation RFPs, shippers face a multitude of challenges when selecting the best carrier mix to achieve both cost savings and service excellence. The recent bankruptcy of Yellow, one of the oldest LTL trucking company, only confirms that transportation RFPs are a mean to reinforce a shipper’s carrier network and that the expected service level must balance the targeted savings.

The traditional approach of relying on Excel sheets for carrier selection is no longer sufficient to handle the growing complexities in the transportation industry. As a result, leveraging advanced analytics solutions, such as the Coupa Sourcing Optimization (CSO) tool, becomes imperative for logistics professionals seeking to make data-driven decisions. It is the safest way to ensure that overall spend and savings (that we typically see ranging from 5 to 15% after final allocation) are accurately calculated, factoring in base rates, accessorial charges, discounts as well as carrier’s capacity.

Identifying your RFP complexity

Selecting the cheapest carrier for each individual lane is straightforward, but results in an unrealistic distribution of carriers. The real challenge lies in achieving an optimized carrier mix across thousands of lanes, various modes of transport and hundreds of competing carriers. To overcome this, shippers must establish specific objectives and constraints for carrier selection.

1.1. Defining Objectives and Constraints

Shippers need to articulate clear objectives for their RFPs beyond just cost savings. Are you seeking long-term partnerships with carriers that align with their values and business goals? Are environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria an essential consideration in the carrier selection process? Do carriers need to integrate with your systems? By defining these qualitative elements, shippers can streamline their search for the right carriers and forge more strategic partnerships.

1.2. Considering lane / network Specific Criteria

The complexity multiplies when considering various specific criteria, such as evaluating different types of equipment, dedicated fleets versus regular shipments, brokers versus asset-based carriers, one-way lanes versus round trips, etc. To tackle this challenge, it is essential to create comprehensive scenarios that account for all these factors and assess the optimal mix of carriers for each specific lane.

Defining the RFP Strategy

Before embarking on the RFP process, it is essential to carefully strategize to ensure that the best results are achieved. Key components of the RFP strategy include:

2.1. Defining the Baseline

Shippers need to analyze historical data to set a baseline for evaluating the savings at the end of the RFP. We typically use 12-months data sets that are representative of the shipper’s business. This historical data should encompass at least cost data, # shipments, weights, incumbents, and any other relevant performance indicators for the shipper, at the lane level. Hypothesis can compensate for missing data, as long as they are validated by the whole tender team.

2.2. Considering Future Network and Lanes

While assessing carriers for current lanes is crucial, it is also important to consider future growth and expansion plans. New lanes and modes of transportation may be added to the network, necessitating carriers that can accommodate such developments. That can obviously impact the baseline and the bid itself, which is why these discussions need to take place from the start.

2.3. Identifying Scenarios for Evaluation

You should also identify various scenarios that align with your transportation goals. These scenarios could include cost optimization, service level improvement, or specific sustainability objectives. You need to think about maximum number of carriers overall and per region, ensuring full coverage, avoid brokers for specific lanes, etc. By considering a range of scenarios, it is possible to make more informed decisions that align with your long-term strategic vision.

Leveraging Analytical Capabilities

Navigating the complexities of modern transportation RFPs requires not only advanced analytics but also a strategic framework like the one provided by the Coupa Sourcing Optimization (CSO) model. Shippers should seek advanced analytics solutions that can:

3.1. Compute Complex Formulas

The evaluation of carriers involves complex calculations, such as minimum charges and bracket skipping, accessorial charges, or outlier management. The feedback you give to carriers is also crucial for a successful second round and future negotiations, thus the need to think about which feedback you are giving them. How to notify carriers they performed well without letting them know they are the best? How to tell incumbents they are not competitive without discouraging them? An analytics tool, and someone with the right skills in your team, must be capable of performing these computations accurately to avoid skewed results.

3.2. Incorporate Business Intelligence (BI) Intelligence

The integration of BI intelligence into the analytics tool enhances the decision-making process. It allows for a deeper understanding of carrier performance, overall bid activity, scenario benefits and potential risks.

A comprehensive and exhaustive BI dashboard is a step we believe is essential to ensure shippers make the right choices.

Conclusion

With the complexities in transportation RFPs, shippers need a well-rounded approach that combines advanced analytics and a strategic framework that we can provide at C2.0. By leveraging advanced analytics solutions such as CSO, defining clear objectives and constraints, and strategically evaluating carriers for various scenarios, you can strike the delicate balance between savings and service quality. Through a well-structured RFP strategy and robust analytical capabilities, logistics professionals can forge strategic partnerships with carriers and achieve optimal transportation solutions in a dynamic and competitive market.

C2.0 has a full team of people trained in CSO that has conducted dozens of transportation RFPs across all transportation modes (TL, LTL, parcel, IMDL, LBM, air, etc.). We stand ready to provide you with the necessary consulting expertise, assisting you in making data-driven decisions and unlocking substantial gains in your carrier mix selection process.

To contact us : [email protected]

Steven Poirier

Steven Poirier

Consultant - Procurement

Inventory management is a crucial aspect of running a successful retail business. It involves tracking and controlling the flow of products through a company’s supply chain. Effective inventory management helps retailers meet customer demand, reduce waste, and increase profitability.

One of the most significant benefits of inventory management is its ability to enable retailers to efficiently respond to customer demand. By accurately tracking stock levels, retailers can ensure they always have enough inventory to fulfill customer orders. This means they can avoid stockouts and delivery delays, which can lead to unhappy customers and lost sales. Retailers who prioritize inventory management can provide better customer service, which contributes to customer loyalty.

Following the pandemic, global spending on technology is projected to reach over $225.5 billion according to Gartner, with a particular focus on e-commerce, supply chain management, and customer experience.

Effective inventory management can also help retailers reduce waste. Ordering excessive stock can result in excess inventory that cannot be sold, leading to wastage of resources such as profit margins, time, and storage space. On the other hand, ordering too little stock can result in missed sales opportunities. Efficient inventory management helps retailers strike the right balance between having enough inventory to meet demand and avoiding excess stock.

Furthermore, inventory management can contribute to increasing retailers’ profitability. By optimizing stock levels, they can reduce costs associated with storage and inventory management, such as storage space, labor costs, and insurance premiums. By reducing these costs, retailers can improve their profitability and reinvest in other areas of their business.

A key element of effective inventory management is forecasting. This involves predicting customer demand and estimating the quantity of inventory retailers need to meet that demand. While forecasting may be challenging without a crystal ball, there are several methods that retailers can use to improve accuracy. For example, historical sales data can be used to identify patterns and trends, market research can be conducted to understand customer preferences, and software tools can be used to automate the forecasting process.

Several AI tools can accelerate these analyses. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize how retailers make purchasing decisions by providing powerful tools for analyzing data and generating insights. Here are some ways AI can help make better purchasing decisions:

Demand Forecasting: AI can help retailers predict product demand more accurately, taking into account factors such as seasonality, trends, and historical data. By using AI-powered forecasting tools, retailers can optimize their purchasing decisions to ensure they have the right products in sufficient quantities at the right time, thus reducing the risk of overstocking or stockouts.

Product Recommendations: AI can also help retailers make better product recommendations to customers based on their purchase history, browsing behavior, and other data points. By using machine learning algorithms to analyze customer data, retailers can provide more personalized and relevant product recommendations, increasing the likelihood of conversion and customer loyalty.

Vendor Performance Analysis: AI can be used to analyze vendor performance data, enabling retailers to make more informed decisions on which suppliers to work with and how to negotiate better prices and terms. Using AI-powered vendor analysis tools, retailers can identify potential issues with suppliers, such as late deliveries or quality problems, and take proactive steps to mitigate these risks.

Price Optimization: AI can assist retailers in optimizing their pricing strategies by analyzing competitor data, market trends, and customer behavior. By using AI-powered pricing tools, retailers can identify opportunities to adjust their prices in real-time to maximize profits while remaining competitive.

Inventory Management: AI can be used to optimize inventory management, allowing retailers to better control their stock levels and reduce waste. By using AI-powered inventory management tools, retailers can analyze data on factors such as seasonality, product turnover, and supplier delivery times to make more informed decisions on replenishment and stock allocation.

To better manage your inventory and be better prepared for the future of retail, it is essential to maximize the use of historical data to make better purchasing decisions to meet customer demand. Using inventory management software to monitor inventory levels and receive alerts before depletion can help improve order management.

Thibaut Maenner

Thibaut Maenner

Consultant - Procurement

Sustainable procurement – ESG approach

Sustainable procurement is closely linked to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues. Indeed, corporate priorities have changed, especially over the past five years. Companies no longer see procurement solely as a means of reducing costs, but also as an opportunity to make a positive impact. Irresponsible sourcing practices, such as excessive offshoring or the use of unethical labor, must be abandoned.

To reduce the impact of the supply chain, it is essential to select environmentally-friendly materials, processes and modes of transport. In addition, natural resources must be used responsibly, and human rights must be respected throughout the supply chain.

Collecting and analyzing the data needed to assess the impact of the supply chain was difficult in the past. Not least because of the many suppliers companies work with, the different products that make up their range, and the huge investment required to manage such a mass of information. However, the emergence of new technologies and systems now makes it possible to process this information efficiently and access global data.

Last May, the C2.0 team took part in the Gartner SCM Supply Chain ESG Symposium in Orlando, Florida. One of the key issues discussed at the event was data availability. Despite the evolution of technology, supplier and internal data remains very limited, posing a challenge to accurately assess the impact and benefits associated with ESG criteria related to procurement.

Levers to reduce the impact of our supply chain

It is essential to involve all levels of the organization in ESG objectives, and to set measurable targets. It’s also important to engage suppliers, to strike a balance between costs incurred and impacts avoided, and to implement sustainable programs to guarantee meaningful results. As far as targets are concerned, indicators such as the CO2/km emissions of products purchased, the % of recycled packaging used or the proportion of suppliers certified to an ESG label are all factors on which companies can commit to making progress.

While the financial aspect is an essential lever, applying a sustainability lens in addition to price can deliver a good deal while guaranteeing other results. Case in point: a consumer goods company achieved $0.4 billion in electricity savings and a 12% reduction in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) footprint by using sustainability-based approaches.

Digital tools, such as integrated purchasing solutions (S2P) and purchasing management platforms (P2P), offer opportunities to effectively apply these principles in day-to-day procurement operations. They make it possible to select suppliers committed to sustainable development, track suppliers’ carbon neutrality objectives, and highlight sustainable products.

In conclusion, the use of digital purchasing solutions and the commitment of all employees can help companies to anchor their approach in a virtuous and responsible way, while contributing to a sustainable future for our planet.

The pressure on supply chains has greatly increased in recent years. The global COVID-19 pandemic and labor shortages have revealed the weaknesses of the system. Among these are outdated computer systems that have reached their capacity limits and management models that lack flexibility. The crisis has also highlighted the strategic role of procurement within business ecosystems, demonstrating that it is much more than just a transactional function.

Moreover, the organizations that have been most successful are those that had already initiated a digital transformation prior to the upheavals of recent years and adopted a more strategic approach to procurement. Access to real-time data, combined with a deep understanding of their sector and a network of key partners, has allowed them to respond to unforeseen events with resilience and agility.

To navigate the coming years, when economic instability and labor shortages will be major challenges, organizations will need to more than ever turn to strategic procurement.

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Every year, many companies are created around the world with the aim of solving the problems and challenges that the society is facing. Let’s just think of Elon Musk’s company, Tesla. Its mission to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport” takes aim at a great challenge faced by countries all around the world consisting in transitioning to a carbon-free society. 

Ironically, these companies themselves are subject to many challenges and problems such as poor communication, incorrect billing, unfilled shifts, etc. 

Fortunately, thanks to the technology, there are many software able to help businesses in their day-to-day operations. As an example, communication wise, video conferencing software like Teams or Zoom have paved the way for remote work, allowing employees to continue working from home. A relatively recent phenomenon that was not very common just a few years ago. 

Have you ever tlost a contract due to an oversight? Have you ever missed an important appointment with a client?

If so, you will surely want to keep reading. Through this blog, we will be exploring in more detail Customer Relationship Management software (CRM). Specifically, what it is, what are the benefits for your business and how Conseil 2.0 can help! 

Concretely, what is a CRM? 

According to Salesforce, a customer relationship management is a “technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.” A CRM is interesting from a marketing point of view, by being a great asset during a targeted advertising campaign, as well as from a sales perspective, by making it easy to follow prospects to convert potential customers into actual clients. 

There is a wide range of functionality offered by CRM software, including the tracking of new leads, the source of these leads, the number of contracts won and lost, revenue growth, etc. To better understand, below is an example of a CRM dashboard: 

We can rapidly see that the dashboard presents all the necessary information that the sales’ team is looking for. It can be the name of the salesman responsible for a new lead, the number of contracts closed, or even, the projected revenues for the next quarter and those to come.  

There are many CRM systems. According to Zoho, we can subdivide CRMs into 4 categories.  

  1. The first category is on-premises CRM. This type of customer relationship management software implies that the architecture is done in-house in an internal server. Being more secure and safe, let’s keep in mind that we need to take in charge all expenses and workload related to maintenance and updates.  
  1. The second category is cloud-based CRM. This type of CRM allows you to access your data from any browser, as well as supporting system maintenance and updates. However, a company choosing a cloud-based CRM is linked in a business relationship with the solution provider, losing some flexibility and control along the way. Moreover, we need to keep in mind the cost related to access management and software licenses.  
  1. The third category is industry-specific CRM. This type of CRM is specialized in a certain industry. For example, some customer relationship management software is more focused on the hospitality industry, like Revinate, which integrates with online reputation applications such as TripAdvisor, while other CRMs are more focused on e-commerce, like Pipedrive, which allows the creation of advertising campaigns via emails.  
  1. The fourth category is all-in-one CRM. This type of CRM has the particularity to be highly personalized, to have lots of functionality and to integrate easily with other business software.   

Also, let’s add that an important aspect to keep in mind when selecting a CRM is the ability of the software to be easily integrated with other ERP systems or modules. This will allow for an integrated flow of information from start to finish – from a potential customer’s led to the billing by accounting. 

What is the utility of a customer relationship management software?  

A CRM provides many advantages to its users. According to a survey conducted by Salesforce based on 3,384 clients selected randomly, benefits have been detected in 5 major categories: sales, marketing, customer service, digital commerce, and information technology. In particular, the customers surveyed saw the conversion of leads into contracts increase by 30%, customer satisfaction increase by 30%, online revenues increase by 15%, all that while costs related to information technology decrease by 26%. 

To continue, Zoho also lists some benefits of using its CRM. One of them is a better data organization, given the fact that all the data is centralized in one database accessible to all. That way, we avoid working in silos, and communication between the different departments is improved. Also, having at your disposal a CRM allows you to better manage your communication flows with your customers. For example, it is possible to schedule reminders to ensure that the follow-up is carried out, or to create email templates. 

Let’s use a fictitious example to better understand the function of a CRM. Victoria, a salesperson, works for an appliances company. She was in contact with potential clients. However, she had to leave the office for a few months, recently giving birth to a young boy. When transferring its customers to other sales representatives, some of them were lost or forgotten, due to flaws in the process. On the other hand, if the company had a CRM in its possession, all of Victoria’s clients could have been easily transferred to other sales representatives without any hassle, due to the centralized database. Moreover, her colleagues could have been notified and reminded, using an automated message, to execute the follow-up. 

Conseil 2.0 is there to answer all your CRM needs  

Several companies offer their own customer relationship management software, such as Salesforce, Zoho, HubSpot, etc. According to Gartner, there is more than 1,000 CRM software available on the market today. It quickly becomes extremely difficult to navigate throughout all these options. Therefore, implementing a CRM in your company is not an easy task. That is why you should surround yourself with experts. Indeed, they will allow you, among other things, to avoid costly errors 

At Conseil 2.0, the methodology of implementing a new IT system is usually done in 3 phases. The first one consists of defining the specific needs of each client. To do so, a diagnosis of the client’s current processes is carried out as well as an assessment of its needs. The second phase is the software’s evaluation. In this phase Conseil 2.0 takes in charge the selection process of the suppliers, each one offering different solutions at different prices. The third phase consists of identifying the best solution from the selected provider’s list, considering the specific needs of each client, as well as implementing the winning solution. 

In short, this article was about customer relationship management software (CRM). Concretely, what is a CRM and what is it the purpose? Also, we have explained how Conseil 2.0 can help you throughout the entire process of implementing a CRM. For any questions related to your CRM needs, do not hesitate to contact the Conseil 2.0 teams who will be more than happy to answer them!  

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