As 2014 draws to a close, supply chain managers still find themselves plagued with some of the obstacles to maintaining a satisfactory level of customer service at a reasonable cost to their firms and their customers. Such things as fewer internal resources, driver shortages, infrastructure issues, and government regulations continue to have a negative impact on the supply chain and its cost, but there are signs that things are looking up.
Jobs creation has been particularly strong for the past few months, and even the skeptics are beginning to express a little optimism about the economy. Another bit of good news has been the decline in diesel fuel prices – down almost 28 cents per gallon from late 2013 levels. For truckers this has a major impact. According to government estimates, the long haul trucker uses about 20,000 gallons annually. The recent reduction equates to about $5000 per truck, and should afford some relief to carriers and shippers alike.
Certainly, we are not out of the woods yet, but conditions are much more favorable than they were this time last year. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the poor economic conditions of the past few years has been the reduction in available resources. Most of us have been asked to do more with less. This is not likely to change any time soon, if ever. In spite of this, over time most supply chain managers have proven themselves to be resilient and able to offset this through innovation and creativity, and they must continue to be so
At this time of year however, it is appropriate to reflect that there is life beyond the supply chain and outside our offices. Take some time to enjoy the season with friends and family and be thankful for what we have rather than dwell on what we don’t. Then as 2015 greets us we can approach our supply chain tasks with new enthusiasm and the fresh thinking we will need to meet new challenges.
To all of you who read our blogs (as well as those who don’t) we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.