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David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 0:00
The supply chain industry responds to the challenges of Covid-19. Digital freight-matching platforms steer shippers to find carriers of choice. And estimates show that more supply chain disruptions are on the way. Pull up a chair and join us as the editors of DC Velocity discuss these stories, as well as news and supply chain trends, on this week's Logistics Matters podcast. Hi, I'm Dave Maloney. I'm the editorial director of DC Velocity. Welcome. Logistics Matters is sponsored by Fortna. Fortna partners with the world's leading brands to transform their distribution operations to keep pace with digital disruption and growth objectives. Known worldwide as the distribution experts, Fortna designs and delivers intelligent solutions powered by their proprietary software to optimize fast, accurate, and cost-effective order fulfillment. For more information, visit Fortna.com As usual, Senior News Editor Ben Ames and Senior Editor Victoria Kickham will join us to provide their insight into the top stories of this week. But before we get to Ben and Victoria, allow me to first introduce our guest today. Our good friend Kathy Fulton is the executive director of the American [Logistics Aid] Network, better known in the industry as ALAN. Kathy's expertise is at the intersection of supply chain and emergency management. She concentrates on the critical role that supply chain professionals play in disaster relief. Kathy, welcome to Logistics Matters. It's great to have you with us. For those who are not familiar with ALAN, can you briefly share about the role of this great organization?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 1:34
Yeah, thanks. Thank you. So ALAN is really here to leverage the skills, resources, and knowledge of logistics and supply chain professionals--specifically, the complex challenges that occur during disaster. So we bring, you know, across sectors, together, it's businesses and nonprofits and government entities, really to collaborate. And we're helping to provide information and services to the people who are really affected by a particular crisis, get the nourishment and the hydration, and the medical care that they need.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 2:10
And this was really a grassroots effort that started with the logistics community realizing that there was a great need. I believe it was after Hurricane Katrina, correct?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 2:20
That's right. Way back in 2005. This is our 15-year anniversary this year. Wow, what a way to remember our founding, by dealing with the things that we're dealing with early in 2020.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 2:35
Yeah, that's for sure. It's a great organization, and we're happy to have been a part, in support of it, as well, over the years. Now, normally your work deals with specific disaster areas--a hurricane here, an earthquake there, that sort of thing. But with Covid-19, the entire world is facing a disaster and needs that are really unprecedented. How is this different from what you're used to?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 2:59
Yeah. So, I mean, we've been monitoring this since way back in mid- to late January, when China went into their lockdown mode, and really looking at what the supply chain's ripple effects were going to be. Now, at that time, we had hoped that we wouldn't be dealing with the consequences of the virus in the U.S. the way that we are now. Unfortunately, that changed. So, now we're dealing with this global pandemic, and we're really dealing with the virus and the things that have happened because of the virus--the complications, the deaths, the surge in grocery demand--all of these things that have been causedbecause of the virus. But we're also dealing with policy decisions that are really disrupting the nature of the way supply chains operate. Whether it's the policy decisions to close, to shelter in place, or to close down certain rest areas, those things can really inhibit the volume and velocity of freight that's able to be moved. You know, we're looking at huge demand spikes on the grocery side, right? Huge challenges with food banks being able to get what they need. And at the same time, we have these so-called non-essential industries that are shuttered, this big disparity in freight markets right now. We're looking at all of those things in addition to working with on our nonprofits, who are in desperate need of logistics activities to fulfill their missions right now.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 4:43
So what ways are the logistics community coming together, then, to help to alleviate some of the concerns and problems that take place in supply chain right now?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 4:53
Yeah, so--you know, I'm so excited about a couple of different things that we see happening. Number one, the logistics community just continues to step up. We have organizations who have donated supplies like boxes or donated transportation, or donated containers so that organizations who are standing up mobile field hospitals, organizations who are packing boxes full of food, they are getting what they need because of the generosity of the logistics and supply chain community. The other thing that we're seeing is, all of the logistics and supply chain associations are gathering weekly to talk about common problems. They are, they're very focused on supporting their members with the problems that their members of dealing with, right? So it's things like, how do you get access to personal protective equipment? Where do you find hand sanitizer? How do you navigate all of these different policies? What are the best practices? So there's really this unity that we're seeing in supply chains right now, and that's a really kind of cool thing to see happening.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 6:11
Obviously, for that to happen, you have to have a lot of coordination and collaboration and cooperation. Are you seeing that both with the membership as well as the federal agencies and others that you work with, in state agencies?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 6:25
Yes. So there is communication, coordination, collaboration, cooperation. Our nonprofit partners call those the four Cs, right? So it is happening, especially within the industry. But also, you know, there are forums with which government and business can talk. So there are daily calls, either with the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, which is the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] private-sector integration component, or with FEMA's [Federal Emergency Management Agency's] National Business Emergency Operations Center. So they alternate calls every day. And that's a forum for businesses to engage. We also are helping support the coordination activities, right? So if people are coming to us with questions, we can help source the answers to that. People are coming to us with problems. You know, we can help them find a resource to solve whatever that particular concern may be.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 7:29
We talked about this last week on the Logistics Matters podcast, that supply chain in general is finally being noticed. People realize the importance of the supply chain and the work that we do. And I can imagine that that's also, it's something that other people in the industry and business and in government are realizing now as well, right?
Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network: 7:51
Yeah. You know, the number of times that I have heard the term supply chain, or I've heard people talk about, you know, "Thank a trucker," or "Thank a warehouse worker" or "Thank a dockworker," just throughout this crisis, I think people finally are starting to understand that you can't just go to the grocery store or the pantry shelf and pull something off of it if it wasn't delivered there, and understanding what that means, all the way back to the food manufacturing facilities, the food production facilities. There's so much in the news about those production facilities right now, and the impact that the virus is having on their workforce. So, supply chain, farm to fork, right now is really, I think, starting to be understood.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 8:44
And if we could just get the amount of toilet paper we need out there, folks, I think, will be in pretty good shape going forward. Kathy, I wish we had time to talk to you more in detail on this. For those of you would like more information on the good work that's done by the American [Logistics Aid ] Network, please visit Alanaid.org. That's A-L-A-N-A-I-D dot org. Now let's turn to our news editors. Ben Ames and Victoria Kickham to talk about some of the stories and trends that we've seen emerge this past week. Victoria, you've seen estimates on how the global supply chain disruptions we've already seen and experienced could actually double in May. Could you share more of what you've seen?
Victoria Kickham, Senior Editor, DC Velocity: 9:23
Sure, absolutely. I was listening in on a webcast yesterday by Resilinc, which is a supply chain software and risk-management, risk-monitoring group. And they have been monitoring the current virus outbreak in China since mid-December, and they say what they're seeing is about a 400% growth in the number of supplier impacts per month globally. Now, those are supplier sites around the world. They monitor data from more than, its like tens of thousands of companies and public entities, and they track disruptions to supplier sites, as I said, globally. And what they're seeing is just a regular study increase. And they say that it shows no signs of slowing down globally.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 10:06
And, Ben, you reported this week, too, on how several freight, digital freight-matching companies are helping shippers during the Covid-19 crisis. Can you share more about that?
Ben Ames, Senior News Editor, DC Velocity: 10:16
Yeah, of course. And it really echoes some of what Kathy Fulton was saying about the disruption that we're seeing in the freight markets between some of the non-essential industries and the others that are seeing an enormous rush. There's really a disparity there. Some certain fleets and some certain sectors are practically idle and others are running at almost Christmas peak now, so it's part of a response to that, what we're seeing. As Kathy had also mentioned that's really, different sectors of the supply chain are stepping up and really using some of the tools that they have in new ways. In this case, just on Monday, there's a digital freight marketplace that's called Transfix. It matches loads and carriers. And they launched a program that singles out their most exceptional carriers and steers more loads to them. How Transfix determines an exceptional carrier, is those with the best scores on things like high load volume and acceptance rate and low cancellation rates, and on-time delivery, and a lot of those metrics that you see around the industry. So it was really interesting in their efforts, to try to equalize some of the big disruptions that we're seeing. And it really, it followed another effort, similarly, by Convoy, which is another online brokerage, which just last week made a similar move to provide a lot more metrics on how carriers are operating.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 11:49
And in time of crisis, it's important to be able to get that load from one place to another as quickly as you can. Ben, we also want to remind listeners of some of the great Covid-19 related resources on DCVelocity.com. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Ben Ames, Senior News Editor, DC Velocity: 12:04
Of course. As we talk with people throughout the industry, our in boxes have been full, our voicemail has been full of so many examples of ways in which the supply chain and logistics-sector folks are stepping up in this time. So we've been writing a daily collection of those and rounding up some of the really impressive examples that we see. So, most every day if you click on the DCV dot com, you're going to see a roundup story that shows some of those efforts. And we have a landing page that collects all of our Covid-19 coverage that's on the DCV home page. In addition, we have also compiled a list of specific links to industry sites that really gives a specified look at how the virus crisis is impacting the logistics sector, particularly. There's so much general information out there that we all hear, but we've tried to really funnel it down to the impact on the sector that we all work in here. And so that's another specific page on our home page.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity: 13:09
To find that landing page, just look at the top lefthand corner where it says Covid-19 and click on that to get to all the stories and coverage that we've done. We also have a direct link that you can get to the resources that Ben had just mentioned. That's DCVelocity.com/covid19resources. That'll get you directly to all those things in the supply chain that could be helpful to you in moving your freight or getting things that you need to have done to keep your businesses operating. Thanks Ben and Victoria for sharing the highlights of the news this week. And again, our special thanks go out to Kathy Fulton of the American [Logistics Aid] Network for sharing with us today the good work that they do. If you'd like more information on the stories we discussed today on Logistics Matters, be sure to check out DCVelocity.com for details. And we also encourage you to provide any comments or feedback that you'd like to make on a new podcast by emailing us at email@example.com. And a reminder that Logistics Matters is sponsored by Fortna. Fortna partners with the world's top brands to transform distribution operations into competitive advantage. Expertise includes distribution strategy, DC operations, micro-fulfillment, automation, and intelligence software. Distribution solutions designed today for tomorrow's challenges. Learn more about the distribution experts at Fortna.com. We'll be back again next week with another edition of Logistics Matters. Please stay safe in the meantime, and we'll see you then.