Last week’s 2015 LogiChem conference was held in Philadelphia, PA, the birthplace of the signing of our Declaration of Independence. I always come back from these conferences inspired and fascinated at how diligent chemical supply chain managers must be to mitigate risk and adverse events.
At LogiChem, attendees interacted through roundtables and panel discussions on topics that identified best practices around inventory and supply chain metrics, third party logistics provider (3PL) management, rail logistics strategy to combat the driver shortage dilemma, and a host of other topics.
The chemical supply chain continues to faces significant challenges, with more global and complex supply chains, leaner inventories, and rising customer expectations. These chemical manufacturers must improve their supply chain resilience in order to thrive, be successful, and—ultimately—be safe. Over the past few years, this industry has been hit with many headwinds, from labor strikes at major ports to unprecedented weather events that have disrupted many chemical shipments. The capacity crunch in North America has led to rising transportation costs, while new tank car regulations will bring significant challenges in the years to come.
ChemSolutions®, a division of C.H. Robinson, was a proud sponsor of this year’s conference. It was a great opportunity to share expertise and insights, not only about the global logistics marketplace, but also about a 3PL’s perspective on the bulk chemical supply chain. Sri Laxmana, director of Ocean Services, participated in a panel discussion on Effective Supply Chain Risk Management. The panel touched on the following issues:
- Supply chain disruptions. Unexpected events will always be the constant. Chemical shippers and suppliers need to be proactive in order to mitigate risk. Safety and risk go hand in hand.
- Risk management. Diversifying your service providers helps ensure that agreements are mutually beneficial for both parties.
- Supply chain segmentation. To help alleviate the driver shortage situation, chemical shippers are looking at bulk intermodal options to keep products moving to their end customers.
If you are a chemical shipper or are a supplier in the chemical industry—and whether you did or didn’t attend the conference—you can still learn more about best practices in the industry. I would highly recommend that you download and read the white paper New Ideas to Strengthen the Chemical Supply Chain.