Hey everyone, Tom Raftery here with another enriching episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast! I had a fascinating chat with Rob Haddock, a seasoned supply chain professional, about navigating disruptions and creating resilient systems. We delved into the idea of a 'shipper of choice' initiative, discussing how treating drivers with respect and keeping them moving can dramatically improve efficiency in logistics operations.
Rob also shared some candid insights on finding the right tech solutions for supply chain efficiency in a market teeming with options. We also took a detour into the exciting realm of electric transportation. While it’s clear we have some way to go before we see a majority of Class 8 trucks going electric, the industry is undoubtedly moving in the right direction.
Lastly, Rob left us with an important thought on the expansive definition of 'logistics'. It's not just about moving goods from A to B, but also the strategies and tools that can justify investment and translate into real-world value for customers.
Don't miss this insightful episode (also available in video format on YouTube)! As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome. Tune in, get inspired, and let’s reshape the future of supply chains together!Support the show
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there's a lot of, activity that, each one of these teams manage and economic conditions, weather conditions, production breakdowns, you know, anything can get in the way of delivering that product to the end customer. And, well, when that happens, they're not very happy about it. So you have to do your best to to make a very resilient supply chain that's able to absorb both what we know and potentially what we don't know.Tom Raftery:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Digital Supply Chain Podcast. My name is Tom Raftery. And before we kick off today's show, I'm going to address the bandage in the room. So, if you're wondering, what's Tom doing with this big bruise on his nose and this big bandage there? It's not that I got into a bar fight last night and I'd be saying, you should see the other guy. No, it's not. I had a minor surgery on my nose last Monday. That's it. We're recording on Thursday. So last Monday, three days ago now, I had this minor surgery on my nose to remove a cyst. And if I were to say, you should see the other guy, the other guy was a surgeon, so he's fine. So with that out of the way, my special guest on the show today is Rob. Rob, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?Rob Haddock:
Well, Tom, yeah. Thank you so much for having me. Good afternoon. Good day, everyone. I'm Rob Haddock. I'm formerly with the Coca Cola company here in the U. S. I'm in my, uh, fifth day of, post, Coca Cola retirement. So, uh, I'm starting to ease into the next chapter of my life. I've been with Coke Company for over 40 years. Most recent roles were in transportation strategy, and, uh, looking forward to having some dialogue with you today, Tom.Tom Raftery:
Fantastic. And talk to us a little bit about the transportation strategy, Rob, for a large company like Coke. Is it Coke or Coca Cola? Which, which is the correct? You used both.Rob Haddock:
Well, it's uh, it's Coca dash Cola is the appropriate, the Coca Cola company with a hyphen. Right. Is the, uh, the company, but Coke for short. Yeah, anyways, you know, transportation strategy, it's, it's far reaching. And when you think about our Coca Cola network, we are, a mix of bottling companies around the globe. We have a very large North America, domestic, You know, Canada and U. S. presence with non carbonated soft drinks, brands such as Minute Maid, Simply Orange Juice, Powerade, et cetera. So we, we have just lots of distribution, between production and distribution sites. You see a lot of red trucks around the world. You know, those are mostly targeted at last mile, but I was really focused on the middle miles. I was getting production from wherever we were making it in the North American network to bottling outlets, to food service distributors, to grocery retailers. So a little bit different route to market model than I think Europe and other parts of the world has. But one of the larger supply chains that the Coke system has here in the North America landscape.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And for that kind of transportation fleet, what kind of challenges were you hit with typically?Rob Haddock:
Well, if you think about it, you're partnering with, 3PLs because the size of the volume that the company deals with, you know, the red trucks can get it to the last mile and they can do some limited moves between production and distribution centers. But overall, you are dealing with third party logistics companies, either asset based or brokerage based companies who, manage those miles for you. So it's all about the relationships that you have with those team members and, trying to find the best service, the best price and just keep constant flow going, because there's a lot of, activity that, each one of these teams manage and economic conditions, weather conditions, production breakdowns, you know, anything can get in the way of delivering that product to the end customer. And, well, when that happens, they're not very happy about it. So you have to do your best to to make a very resilient supply chain that's able to absorb both what we know and potentially what we don't know.Tom Raftery:
And how do what kind of strategies or even tactics do you deploy to try and make that more resilient that supply chain?Rob Haddock:
Yeah, I think when I look back over time when we didn't even know what the word resiliency meant, because it just kind of came out during the, uh, the covid pandemic. But, You know, looking back over time, it was a series of do we have the right people tied to the roles. Do we have the right technologies that are providing is maybe leading indicators versus lagging indicators. And, you know, the processes, if something is going wrong, is there somebody assigned to go a little bit deeper in it and, and take a look and see, okay, this is what I think is going wrong. And this is the recommendation as to what we should probably do going forward. Yeah, I would tell you that my, uh, resiliency journey probably started back in 2018, when I was put into the role to try and do something different with transportation versus the traditional methodologies. And didn't really look back and say, okay, we've done a lot of things until just recently to say, okay, all of these things that we did over time gradually seem to make it more robust. And now as we are looking at what's the next downturn that, uh, you know, ground transportation, air transportation, ocean might be facing. Is that have, have the supply chains done enough? Have they thought about what is potentially going to be the next item that that gets in the way. And I think about, you know, just, uh, you know, my first day after retirement, I'm thinking, do we have a resiliency readiness score? Do we have a way to measure it? If you were to say, okay, here's the scenario, how would you approach it? So I think there's a lot of opportunities that every company could look at, you know, now, while things are still a little bit on the calm side to say, all right, well, let's throw a couple of scenarios out there. Okay. And how would we behave? And what would be the results?Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Yeah. No, it's a fascinating idea. One I've not heard mentioned before a kind of a metric for resilience. I don't know what that metric would be. But if there was some kind of standard, metric, you know, three crises averted per kilometer or something.Rob Haddock:
Well, I think one of the one of the things that made me think about it is I mean, we have you know, North America has deals with hurricanes and, you know, we start tracking them and we, we predict their path and there's not much you can do about it once it's set on a destination. But you do start to assess, okay, what's my readiness prior to the storm and what's my recovery post the storm. So you, if you take that same mindset and you go, all right, we're going to have a driver shortage in six months. What do I need to do today to behave in a way, or the economy is going to rebound, or something is going to be a significant issue, have you done what you needed to, to get ready for that?Tom Raftery:
Okay. And do you think that it would be possible to have a kind of cross industry metric for resilience scores that, you know, you could compare one organization against another?Rob Haddock:
Well, I think there's, you know, if you, if you tie it back to like, what's your supply chains' maturity, and you just make it easy, you rank a few attributes, one to five. and, uh, you know, are you a, a one and you're going, Oh my gosh, I couldn't, uh, you know, I couldn't survive the next rainstorm, uh,Tom Raftery:
cross my fingers and hope everything's okay. Yeah.Rob Haddock:
Yeah. Nothing comes apart. Or you're feeling pretty good about what you've done and you're, you're in that three to four range and you're going, okay, I could probably absorb this. And each, each one of the geographies around the globe probably have their own, you know, local and global issues that they're dealing with. But, you know, just, you know, reflect back and go, am I ready for what we don't know is going to happen next?Tom Raftery:
Okay. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. I can see that. We, we talked in the prep for this about the shipper of choice initiative. For, for people who might be unaware, can you talk a little bit about what that is and why that is?Rob Haddock:
Yeah, what we've seen, I think, uh, also around 2018, 19, the idea of a shipper of choice started to come out as, what shippers are doing the best possible job of keeping drivers moving. So when you come to a pickup or receiving dock, are you, are you there for hours? Are you there for minutes? And when you're, you're greeted through either the, the security checkpoints or the shipping office, are people happy to see you just like you were checking into a nice hotel or they throw in the paperwork at you? Are you being treated with respect? So we thought that in combination with making sure the drivers are being taken care of, also thinking about what's my relationship with the management teams of these carriers. When you start to think about the shipper of choice, it's how, what is my relationship behavior, both at the strategic level with the ownerships and with at the tactical level with the drivers. And am I being treated like I would expect to be treated in any one of these environments? So the Shipper of Choice has started to grow in terms of its relevance here in the US. I was in an event two weeks ago where they, they identified, you know, 25 top companies who are shippers, considered shippers of choices through nominations from drivers, carriers, maybe even some self nominations. But, you know, to be on that list, it's saying that at least these companies are, aware of the value that transportation has in the industry, in the economy. And, you know, efficiency is paramount when you're keeping the drivers moving. There they're called drivers for a reason. They're not sitters. So if you keep them moving, you know, you release capacity back to the industry because you basically it's like manufacturing 101. If the line's not running, you're not making product. So, you know, just think about, the trucks as that product that you're moving from A to B, right? So it's, uh, you know, the Coke network was recognized as their shipper of choice. Very pleased, proud of that accomplishment. But I want to continue to get them the mindset out across others, you know, in the North American landscape to say, here's, here's potentially the way that you should behave that would, you know, put you in that shipper of choice category and the carriers that we partner with, they do appreciate us the way that we go to market the way that we try and keep the drivers moving. It's recognized.Tom Raftery:
Okay, is, is this initiative widely known across the U. S. Or is it something that's still very much in its infancy?Rob Haddock:
I think it's, you know, five years in now, Tom, and I think it's starting to get relevance because there was a big reveal, at this event, industry event a couple of weeks ago. And it's by an organization that is very big in, promoting or reporting stuff, in the world of transportation here in the, in the States and in Canada. So I think it's getting, getting a lot of eyeballs on it. The more people do see it, and then there could grow desire to, you know, become considered, as a shipper of choice.Tom Raftery:
Okay. Okay. And does it have, does it have knock on implications for business as well?Rob Haddock:
Well, you know, in a, in a, in an environment where there is ample supply, you don't have to be your best self, but, in an environment where there's choices. So if a provider has choices between company A and company B, I would rather be the shipper of choice, that, you know, helps them decide. If I have one truck and I have two loads, who's going to get it?Tom Raftery:
That makes sense. That makes sense. In terms of increasing efficiencies for organizations and finding the right technologies. To do that, because, you know, there's an alphabet soup of solutions out there to make organizations more efficient and I have 330 episodes of this podcast recorded now. Many of them have been with organizations who claim to increase the efficiency of supply chains. How do you go about sourcing the solution to make your organization more efficient or solutions?Rob Haddock:
Tom, I've been, I've been intrigued by a couple of questions. One is how do people define logistics? So there's the, you know, the continuum of logistics. I think most people understand what manufacturing is. It's, you're converting stuff into a finished good. It's pretty defined by a starting point and an end point. We, you start to talk about logistics. Logistics could be inbound logistics, outbound logistics, it's the warehouse management, it's the yard management. I tend to have a couple of technologies that help me in the production space. For the, everything from the planning of logistics to the execution of logistics. You know, I've been to many of these event exhibit halls where there could be 100, 200 different exhibitors. All with the technology that is designed to help me. I'm going, all right. Where in my logistics flow does it fit into? Is it replacement? Is it complimentary? If I do think it's going to add value, how do I get the rate of return, you know, under, under control so I can sell it up through the organization to get the funding and the buy in to go ahead and do it? So I, I remember being in an event earlier this year and there were a couple of folks from, uh, one of the other industries. And they were sitting on the sidelines, looking out over the hall, and I just started a casual conversation with them, and they said, we, we're so far behind, we don't even know where to start. Uh, and, and, and it got me thinking, as, as a shipper who's sought after from time to time during these events, I tend to try and stay, you know, down the middle of the aisle, because I don't want to get brought into a conversation with a provider who may have a technology that's wonderful, but it's nowhere near what I need. So I just thought, wouldn't it be a good idea if you are going to one of these events, you have a rough understanding of how well your tech stack is today, and what is the complementary technologies that might be in that room that you go have that that conversation with. Because right now I just I, I feel if I'm the vendors out there, I feel like I'm just throwing, uh, you know, I'm fishing, I'm throwing lines into the water and hoping that I can snag somebody from the stream.Tom Raftery:
Right. Yeah. Yeah. No, I, I've been to these events as well. And you, you, you wander the halls and look at everything there, but, finding one that actually, solves an actual need is, is quite challenging. I got to think. Yeah. Yeah.Rob Haddock:
Yeah. Well, and my wife's funny. Sometimes she'll come to these events with me and we'll go through the vendor halls. And of course, she's looking for all the little gizmos that people are offering. And I'm like, no, no, don't don't get sucked in or else I have a conversation. Yeah, don't get don't fall for the trap. But I just thought maybe there's a better way. And I want to continue to think about that because most text, you know, most logistics teams have, you know, they have an ERP, they have a TMS, they may have a YMS. But, you know, that's just for a, a shipping company. I, I, transportation companies to have the same problems. What are the things that I really need that would add value? And there are so many core technologies like your SAPs, your, your ERP systems or your, uh, TMS systems, but then there are all these auxiliary items that you can bolt on, you know, it's like accessorizing a vehicle per se. Am I gonna get more out of that vehicle after I do all the accessories?Tom Raftery:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, fair point. Fair point. I was at a couple of events recently. I was at the ASCM event in Brussels a couple of weeks back and a couple of weeks before that, the CSCMP event in Barcelona where we met and at both events talking to people during the coffee breaks and things, I ran into a couple of people at each event. And it just happened to come up in the course of the conversation that they were in a transition from one role to another. And, you know, so am I. I was laid off last year and I'm looking for a new role at the moment. And it occurred to me, and I shared this with the organizer subsequently, that if the name badges that we all had on had an option that you could get a little sticker or something, you put it on the name badge and it says, I'm looking for a role, or I'm hiring. Then as you're wandering around, during the, in the exhibition hall, or during the coffee breaks, or at the receptions, you know, you could quickly identify and match up people, and of course if this was advertised ahead of time to people, it would make the event even more attractive to people who are trying to hire and for people who are trying to be hired. But, to take that a little further, I mean, to your point, if you had one that said, you know, I'm interested in talking to people about logistics, or I mean, interested in talking to people about warehousing or whatever it is, then again, you could have, uh, that could make your, your search for solutions a little easier. I want to think.Rob Haddock:
Yeah. Well, the, you know, the event I was at in a few weeks ago, it wasn't a large vendor hall, but, you know, 25, 30 vendors there. And honestly, I recognized two or three. So, and I, I talked to the event organizers and I said, wouldn't it be great if you had a listing of all of the, the service companies that are here and then, you know, one to two lines, a short paragraph as to what are they offering? Yeah. Um, because I, I, I learned a little bit from some of their presentations and I thought, well, I'm, I don't need this, but I know somebody who does. So, you know, I helped put the, put a connection there. The bigger the room, the more complex, the more unaware of what am I looking for.Tom Raftery:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I've been to events with hundreds of booths and stands and things and it just becomes crazy at that point. Yeah, yeah. The electrification of transportation, Rob, is something you have had to have been watching with interest in the last few years as it started to take off. How do you see it progressing?Rob Haddock:
Well, I, I see a lot of, you know, continued a lot of dialogue on, you know, the larger vehicles, the class eight vehicles. And when I think about, you know, the, the degradation of payload density that it would have on these vehicles, plus you start to think about the long haul charging station requirements, the time to charge, it seems like I know that would be very, it would have a lot of presence in, in the industry saying, okay, yeah, we're now running a lot of our long haul vehicles on electrics. But I think the realities are is that the smaller vehicles really should be where the focus is. And I think about, you know, the last mile should be the focus versus the middle mile until we get really good at this because, you know, most of the, the last mile delivery fleets, and I don't think it's even delivery fleets. It could be, it could be buses. It could be, uh, you know, anything that's running in a closed loop where it's coming back to a domicile where it can go through the recharging process. Those are the areas where you probably should start to focus on and just see what a dent that would have. How many vehicles does it take? And I think you even mentioned that some of those companies. Whether it be taxi companies or the last mile delivery companies are starting to really invest in, you know, expanding their fleets in the world of electrification. Yeah. I know a lot of companies are, you know, here there's a lot of hype about, you know, class eight vehicles, but, you know, you know, one or two of them on the road, but they can only go a couple hundred miles and you lose 10, 000 pounds of payload. I don't think that's the place to start. It would be probably some of the most obvious where you could get a lot of, you know, marketing value from it, but in terms of relevant impact, I wouldn't go there. Plus the, the, the grid, some of the studies would tell you that the grid needs to be much larger, especially during the summer periods where, you know, air conditioners are being fired up here in the US and the grid gets put under quite a bit of stress.Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, speaking to, the head of, the Electric Vehicle Association in Norway, I've forgotten her name, but she was telling me that, you know, in Norway now, they're at about 90% of new vehicle sales being electric, and have been for some time. it's a little over 90%. And they've seen that the, increase in demand for electricity is around 7%. So it's not a, it's not as big as, as people, are concerned about. And the other thing about it is that most people who have an EV and... Okay, I get that this is, generally we're talking residential here as opposed to commercial, but still a lot, a lot of this would apply to commercial as well. A lot of the vehicles are charged overnight when there isn't that pressure on the grid and then it doesn't become so big an issue. But I think the, the, the point about the Class 8 vehicles is well made. The Class 8 vehicles are still very early to be electrified. I think they're going to be. And I think it will take time. The only real decent offering out there in that space for now, I think is the Tesla Semi, just in terms of the range and the haulage that it has, but the others won't be far behind and the, the road network of chargers still needs to be built out. That is an issue. The Tesla Semi can do 300 and 500 miles depending on the battery, option that you go for, uh, mm-hmm . And of course, also, depending on the, the load that's in it. If you have a load of potato chips in it, it'll go further. If you have a load of, uh, bottles of drink, that's gonna be, it's gonna go, it's gonna have a shorter range. But the whole, the whole thing about, the batteries is that they are improving every year, year on year in terms of their energy density and consequently the range and their prices dropping as well. So I, I would be, I'd be quite confident that within five to 10 years, pretty much all new class eight trucks will be electric. People won't be buying diesel ones anymore. Other people talk about hydrogen, but I think that's a non starter in terms of both cost and complexity. Electricity is ubiquitous. Hydrogen isn't really, I mean, it's ubiquitous in the universe, but not right, not right here, where we're looking to put it into, into trucks. So, any, any, comments or feedback on that?Rob Haddock:
Yeah, I think, if your payloads weigh out before they cube out, you're probably going to be some of the last candidates to adopt electric. Right. You know, kind of use that as your rule of thumb because then you are, you are reducing the number, well, you're adding the number of trucks to move the same amount. So that's kind of counterintuitive. You know, and it's not to say that like a class seven, a day cab that doesn't have the sleeper on it is not a bad idea for a larger vehicle that has a closed route that can get out and back within the same day and then charge overnight. All for that technology. But if you're coast to coast shippers in a country as vast as the United States, you don't want to be, it comes a lot more challenging. So let's, you know, let's work on things that are close to the nest, before we start, migrating, you know, across states and, you know, continents end to end.Tom Raftery:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember talking to Geotab a little while back, and they had developed a tool which could examine your fleet and look out, look all across your fleet and see which routes were the best ones to electrify first. So it would say, okay, for this particular routing and for this particular one, you could do it tomorrow, but for this one and this one, this one, maybe not so much or, you know, so there's a lot of things like that out there as well, I think, which are which are going to help people.Rob Haddock:
Yeah, absolutely. No, it someday, Tom, it'll be there. it just, you know, it'll probably start with the more smaller, more nimble vehicles and then gradually get it. I mean, where we're at today took some 100 some years. Exactly. Very difficult for it to, uh, to, uh, move overnight.Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rob, we're coming towards the end of the podcast now. Is there any question I have not asked that you wish I had? Or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to think about?Rob Haddock:
Well, I just, you know, one of the things I do, um, I do wonder about and I'm going to probably put some more thought into it is just just the overall definition that that logistics. What do you think about logistics? Or what do people think about when they were logistics comes up? So I've been very curious as to how different organizations defined logistics. The reason being is that I, you know, I've I've worked forever in a sales and marketing type organization. Yeah. Most C suites might be, you know, sales and marketing individuals or finance. And the word logistics is so broad. You know, how do you define it to those folks who maybe it's not their forte? Especially when you're trying to come up with solutions to solve logistics gaps. And when decisions have to be made between I'm going to invest in something over here on the sales and marketing side versus on the logistics side, and there's only, you know, only so much to go around. How do you get your fair share? And I thought maybe the way you tie logistics into, justification of, of approvals is you tie it back to what's it mean to the end customer. So, is there a toolkit that logistics professionals could use that would help simplify their message back to the organization to say, I need this shiny new thing because it's going to do X. So that's, that's been some of my struggles over the years is, you know, we all want to be better at what we're doing. There's lots of solutions out there, but it's finding that right solution and then finally getting the financial backing or the change management backing for it.Tom Raftery:
How to justify it. Yeah, gotcha.Rob Haddock:
Yeah, how to justify it at the end of the day.Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Nice. Cool. Rob, if people would like to know more about yourself or any of the things we talked about in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?Rob Haddock:
I would say, uh, you know, LinkedIn is always a great avenue to reach out. And then, um, I do have, uh, an Outlook email address. It's rob. haddock at outlook. com. So if anybody wants to continue to have ongoing dialogue, Tom, I look forward to it. I have to, I have to mix, you know, golfing and hiking and tennis with a little bit of staying connected to the industry.Tom Raftery:
It's a tough life, tough life Rob. I feel for you. Great. Rob, thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.Rob Haddock:
All right. Thank you, Tom. Have a good one.