10 Nov 2020

How a Unified Logistics Approach Drives the Customer-Centric Supply Chain

Terence Leung
Blue Yonder

No matter the hurdles of 2020, Logistics was up for the challenge. It kept production running and critical supplies flowing while adjusting to the shocks in demand and supply patterns and delivering essential goods. 

The industry has already begun its transformation into a pull paradigm. To adjust to a new logistics footprint, operations are catering to smaller and more frequent shipments, while increasing its stronghold in eCommerce. With shippers and Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) attempting to increase their capabilities for market share gain, gone will be reactive bulk handing, serial execution, and long planning cycles. 

Now it’s time for logistics to up its game — again.  

How can it morph from inside-out, efficiency-focused to a model that’s outside-in and centered around the customer experience? We believe the future of logistics is unified logistics, where shippers and LSPs can seamlessly plan, optimize, and orchestrate across nodes and networks, resulting in consistently higher customer service levels and efficiencies. 

Let’s discuss the aspects that make unified logistics a reality. 


Boundaryless Orchestration 

Existing logistics systems are usually configured with static, pre-setup actions, and often lack advanced visibility. Even if visibility exists, the functionality does not allow timely execution. Warehouse systems may not be able to consider transportation information and vice versa.  

Now with boundaryless orchestration, logistics operations can take advantage of real-time visibility and Transportation Orchestration to prepare advanced plans for activities like inbound shipment arrivals, to prioritize and execute tasks based on real-time ETA. 

Similarly, outbound prioritization can be aligned with carrier arrival for pickup to streamline the process as well as to meet increased customer expectations on tighter ETA windows. With Transportation Planning as a service, more organizations can plan and optimize their operations in a cost-efficient manner.  


Upstream Supply Chain Knowledge 

Traditionally, transportation systems lack order visibility and updated supply chain plan information. In the warehouse, traditional distribution and fulfillment operations rely on aggregate and longer-term forecasts to plan labor schedules. The inventory positions in warehouse systems are determined by historical patterns and longer-term forecasts, causing operations to be reactive.  

Now with transportation going digital, operations can build inventory-aware full truckloads from fulfillment orders and provide optimal load containerization plans, maximizing trailer utilization. 

With unified logistics and artificial intelligence (AI), operations can dynamically predict real-time order volumes and profiles at the lowest granularity, as well as provide dynamic guidance for labor and inventory needs at any point in time. With connected real-time demand information, operations can promise and execute orders dynamically to significantly improve service levels. 


Digital Ecosystem and Network  

The historic approach to collaboration and point-to-point integration won’t create an easy path to real-time communications for carriers and LSPs. Now with access to the digital network, shippers can tap into carrier networks, take capacity into considerations for order promising, and select last-mile delivery providers. Before, the carrier selection process was highly manual and used static rates, and now shippers can perform Dynamic Price Discovery to view freight rate quotes from carrier marketplaces. 

Unified Logistics, powered by our Luminate Logistics and Luminate Platform solutions, arms shippers and LSPs with the ability to seamlessly plan, optimize, and orchestrate supply chain execution. They can gain consumer confidence by truly delivering the right product, to the right place, at the right time — even if the lot size is small. 

To find out more about Unified Logistics and how Blue Yonder’s solutions give an operational edge, visit blueyonder.com.  






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