Just last month, members of the CSafe team attended the fall annual Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference and found a number of topics to share as this month’s Blog posting. The conference website, at http://hpclcnet.org/, describes the conference organization as a group of logistic professionals, holding conferences designed to continually examine the logistics field and provide a forum to discuss, examine, and exchange ideas with its peers. The conference programs keep its members current with the latest industry research and logistics trends, as a resource for pertinent case studies and technology updates.
The fall conference, entitled Changing Global Health and Personal Care Networks, focused on the major restructuring of global health and professional care (HPC) supply chains that is taking place as firms evolve their business models following the devastating recession. The meeting centered on key decision areas wherein HPC supply chain managers must excel, including:
- Network design
- Sourcing and total cost management
- Shipper-service provider governance
The CSafe team expressed their pleasure at attending the conference in Longboat Key, Florida as a great venue for new thoughts, vibrant discussion, and learning; CSafe’s President, Brian Kohr describes the visit in the following way:
Attendees were shippers (mainly life sciences and personal health product companies) and service providers (mainly freight forwarders and trucking operators). One of the presentations was on the RFP process, describing not only the items that work well in the process but also highlighting those that do not. The relatively short time required for service providers to respond to RFP’s received some attention. A participant from a major global freight forwarder stated that they see an average of sixteen days provided for the response. Within sixteen days, respondents must review the RFP, ascertain how best to respond and gather all of the relevant information. Typically this would include soliciting quotes from many airlines, ocean carriers, truckers, as well as other logistics providers.
This was of great interest to me in my role at CSafe. I observed a firm sense from both shippers and service providers that the fast turnaround required for responses may not provide adequate time for service providers to perform ‘out of the box thinking and analysis.’ So the typical process does not promote the development of innovative ideas that could result in new solutions, services or products for shippers. Lost are possible opportunities to improve performance and/or reduce cost. Options that may not receive full consideration include modal shifts and review of the costs savings from the application of active packaging solutions where passive pallet shippers or dry ice containers are utilized.
I learned a lot from this individual session and the related break out session as to why the process is the way it is, with one of the reasons being the timing of the corporate budgeting process. A recent article in a financial officer magazine discussed this very subject; how there are downsides to the formal budgeting process that are often unforeseen and how some large companies are now looking at more dynamic and timely budgeting processes. There were many other takeaways from the conference presentations and roundtable discussions. I would recommend others to consider attending a HPCLC conference in the future.
  HPCLC 2012 Fall Conference, Session 10. RFP Creating a Win-Win Solution Through Effective Collaboration.
 “CFO Magazine,” September 1, 2012, Freed from the Budget: Many companies see budgeting as a time-consuming exercise of limited value. Some are resorting to a radical fix: getting rid of the budget by Russ Banham.