Enticing young supply chain professionals with SaaS

cni screenHow do you attract today’s 80 million Millennials (born ~1982-2002) to careers in supply chain?  As reported in a recent post by Dan Dershem on LogsticsViewpoints.com, there are “dwindling numbers of younger professionals” coming in to the field.  Dershem strongly suggests luring this talent pool with the right technology to do their jobs — specifically SaaS-based systems.

SaaS, short for Software as a Service, essentially enables one to use software, while the provider maintains the hardware, performs upgrades, backs up the data… and keeps the software running (learn more here).

Millennials — also known as Generation Y — have grown up immersed in technology and it is second nature to them.  Supply chain systems that are SaaS-based are a natural fit.  According to Dershem:

“For example, most VPs of Supply Chain know that their [trade management system] needs to have a high uptime, but Millennials know that installed and hosted software is challenging when it comes to keeping things up and running.  Crashes, slow loading times, or constant upgrades are not the way to win over this group.  Instead, SaaS-based, web-enabled solutions that can be accessed from anywhere will provide Millennials with the right technology to keep your business moving.”

Other benefits of SaaS-based systems appeal to Millennials:

  • Conducting business with service providers across the globe, and leveraging data in the cloud to evaluate performance of those providers
  • Providing real-time visibility to transactions and communications with business partners
  • Enabling simplified collarboration with vendors, carriers and shippers via online networks

CustomsNow offers CPB-approved ABI software that is delivered via the SaaS model.  Please contact us if you’d like to learn more.


Register now for CBP’s East Coast Trade Symposium

tssUS Customs has announced that the 2013 East Coast Trade Symposium will be held on October 24 – 25, 2013 at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC.  This year’s theme is “Increasing Economic Competitiveness Through Global Partnerships and Innovation.”

Register here.  For more information, visit CBP’s ECTS page.

Here is the 2013 ECTS draft agenda.



Panama Canal expansion driving US port projects

Port of Savannah, GA.  © Henry County Development Authority
Port of Savannah, GA. © Henry County Development Authority

Anticipating the mega-ships that will traverse the Panama Canal when its expansion project is complete, the Port of Baltimore has already spent millions on enormous cranes that can service those vessels.  Moreover, Vice President Joe Biden just announced a federal grant of $10 million for “widening and straightening the shipping channels into the port.”

Other East Coast ports are following suit.  The federal government is helping to expedite the developing and deepening the harbors for New York and New Jersey; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Miami.  Eager to capture their share of mega-ship traffic, these ports are taking on debt to finance upgrades in advance of the canal project’s completion, set for 2015.  Not to be outdone, West Coast ports, such as LA and Long Beach, are undertaking their own projects to gain market share.

Outside of deeper channels and bigger cranes, ports will have to consider other improvements in port infrastructure, such as on-dock rail service to quickly move containers, and labor — ensuring that there are enough longshoremen to unload the larger vessels, and sufficient harbor pilots (and tugs) to guide the ships.


American Shipper: C-TPAT, ISA benefits questioned


In the August 2013 print edition of American Shipper, the magazine highlighted its Import Operations and Compliance Benchmark Study which was released in May.  In particular, the focus was on the results of one part of the study — a survey of over 100 shippers on the effectiveness of US Customs’ C-TPAT and ISA programs.

Unfortunately, the results were not particularly positive.

As for C-TPAT:

  • 11% – Receiving all promised benefits of C-TPAT
  • 29% – Receiving some, but not all, of the expected benefits of C-TPAT
  • 7% – Receiving less than expected benefits of C-TPAT
  • 20% – Receiving no benefit from C-TPAT
  • 33% – Uncertain if C-TPAT is effective

As for ISA, “a third of respondents say they derive no benefit from the program, and nearly one half say they are uncertain of its benefits.”

The study is available here (registration required).