Overcoming Supply Chain Constraints: Think Like A Shipper, Execute Like A 3PL

Jul 19, 2021

By Paul Jensen, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Solutions

Paul Jensen HeadshotConstrained capacity in the current logistics environment affects almost every area of the nation’s supply chain. Equipment availability, component availability, labor tightness, facility availability, driver capacity, and container capacity are all causing bottlenecks in the supply chain. Each of these factors are creating cost pressures and delays in sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution. 

Because Ruan offers both transportation and warehousing services, our partners benefit from the unique and customized integrated solutions we provide them. Understanding what it takes to run a world-class warehouse makes Ruan a better transportation provider. Understanding what it takes to run a transportation operation makes Ruan a better warehouse operator.

Our customers need the ability to quickly adapt to the changing supply chain landscape. Ruan provides proactive strategic planning, end-to-end visibility, and innovation to help our partners emerge from the stress of the pandemic’s capacity constraints. Our solutions include dynamic optimization based on material availability, capacity availability, or any other constrained resource in the supply chain to help our customers beat their competition to market. 

When Ruan operates a customer’s warehouse and transportation network, we utilize our visibility tools to be more responsive to impending disruptions and to mitigate their impacts. An integrated warehouse and transportation solution also eliminates process hand-offs between third parties or between our operations and the customer’s operations because we control the end-to-end processes, resulting in a smoothing effect to their supply chains. End-to-end management of a customer’s distribution results in a lower overall cost of operation. 

To further take advantage of the synergies of an integrated solution, Ruan has undertaken an organization-wide Freight Visibility initiative that integrates data from the various operations’ platforms to create a single point of visibility for our customers. We provide real-time ETAs based on shipment tracking and positioning at the shipment, stop, order, line, or part number level. Visibility can be auto-triggered based on event management criteria or displayed on demand using a secure URL.

Another pressing challenge that the pandemic has exacerbated for shippers is the difficult labor market. Ruan is driven by our People First Guiding Principle and our strong desire to be a Great Place To Work, beginning with the solution design process. Ensuring that we meet customer objectives while creating attractive positions for our driving team members and warehouse associates drives satisfaction and long-term success for all parties. 

On the innovation front, Ruan has a team of information technology professionals that support our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform. Using state-of-the-art technology, our team develops Bots that perform routine data entry, manipulation, management, and auditing so that our team members can focus on the exceptions and add value. RPA technology touches day-to-day operations to back office functions like payroll and invoicing. Operationally, our customers benefit from enhanced speed of information delivery and improved and consistent data quality, which we use to optimize and manage the business. 

One of Ruan’s biggest advantages as an asset-based 3PL is our skill at fully executing an end-to-end solution, integrating each aspect of the logistics network that supports our customers’ supply chains. Our ability to “think like a shipper”—whether operating a warehouse, a dedicated fleet, or executing a customer’s transportation network—positions us to create significant value within our customers’ operations.