A Change in Plans

Now that a new year has started, it’s time to reflect on last year, and to plan for 2022.

Last year, unprecedented supply chain disruptions were top of mind, along with Volatility and Unpredictability. The supply chain was spotlighted in the nightly news as shippers experienced bottlenecks and delays, capacity limits, high rates, labor shortages and rising wages.  

For me, 2021 was also the year of the logistics professional. When systems and processes couldn’t cope, creative and agile supply chain leaders collaborated to overcome bottlenecks.

Nimble beats lean nearly every day.  Smart and creative solutions saved tremendous cost. Whether it was converting passenger aircraft into cargo carriers, or chartering vessels to bypass congestion and space constraints, new ideas and innovations kept the supply chain moving. Our clients put a premium on their partnerships, collaborating and trying new services and solutions. Winning is always about the team and the game plan as you play.

The Big Got Bigger

Transportation providers benefited from companies looking for solutions at any cost. They reacted to the market disruption by investing in scale and by expanding into new service lines.

Strategic M&A.  DSV integrated Panalpina and bought Agility. Kuehne + Nagel purchased Apex. The Canadian Pacific/Kansas City Southern Railroad merger created a truly North American railroad.

Integrated Logistics became the new watchword as companies expanded into non-traditional business lines. CMA CGM bought aircraft, started a cargo airline, and purchased Ingram Micro’s e-commerce distribution business. Maersk Lines expanded its air capabilities with the purchase of Senator and added contract logistics capabilities in Asia with a purchase of LF Logistics. MSC made an offer for Bollore’s African logistics operation. Amazon became an air and ocean carrier.

Whether these expansion strategies succeed in the long run remains to be seen. Adding more complexity may not lead to improvements, especially when being nimble is key.

Our Successes

2021 was transformative for Baker, too. We are proud to have helped bring Chicago Public School students back to in-class learning by providing warehousing and fulfillment services of COVID testing materials. We operated four distribution sites for CPS that supplied teams of nurses each day with the COVID tests needed for schools to reopen safely. We added talent and broadened our consulting practice with new service offerings such as candidate searches and temporary logistics staffing. We added new software tools and just relaunched our website. Check it out here.

Looking ahead, we see continued disruption with more volatility and roadblocks. As obstacles arise, we’ll be nimble and offer cost sensitive solutions with adaptive alternatives. We’ll bring expertise and fresh ideas to our clients, helping them achieve their goals.  As we prepare for another challenging year, I’m grateful for my colleagues and professional contacts who make the global supply chain work. Let’s work together to make 2022 a fantastic year!

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022,

Baker Logistics Consulting

Lauren Pittelli
Founder & Principal

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