Insights & News

​Change, Complexity, and Accountability in Your Supply Chain

Posted On September 6, 2016

Remember how expensive—and difficult—it used to be to communicate with other people? Remember the cell phones of 1995, which weighed roughly 20 pounds, and cost roughly $20 per minute to use? That’s a bit of an exaggeration.

But it used to be really hard, and really expensive, to communicate on a global scale. If you wanted to talk with a potential business partner in Europe, you could pay expensive long distance fees on your landline, or take out a ridiculously large cellular telephone (that’s what they were called back then) and make a ridiculously expensive call.

Or you could purchase expensive airplane tickets and go see your European (or Asian, or Latin American) business partner in person. There was a time when your choice of telephone provider and airline were also limited—and highly regulated, further driving up costs.

Then everything started to change.

Airlines were deregulated. Telephone companies were broken up. The Internet was invented. Cellular telephones became cell phones, which became smartphones. The media became more “social.” Centuries old trade barriers began to be eliminated. The world opened up and became flatter.

And as a result, your supply chain became far more complex.

All of the sudden your company needed visibility in Akron and Beijing, and everywhere in between. After all of that change, there couldn’t possibly be any more complexity introduced into your supply chain, right?


The world of logistics is constantly changing. For example, Uber just purchased a new startup, called Otto, which aims to make the world of self-driving semi-trucks a reality. What will that do to your supply chain? Will it drive down the cost of materials? Will those materials arrive sooner?

It’s too early to tell, but one thing the automated future will do is make your supply chain different than it is today.

What about trade agreements, and globalization? Will new markets continue to open to American manufacturers and companies? Again, no one is quite sure, but we do know that change in the world of logistics and in your supply chain is going to continue at a rapid pace—far too rapid for most businesses to keep up with on their own. After all, you make gym equipment.And travel trailers. And barbeques.

And everything else we use to keep our businesses, our households, and ourselves running.

As a result you can’t afford to focus exclusively on your supply chain. You have products to build, jobs to create, and mouths to feed.

But you do need a partner who can focus on your supply chain with laser-like intensity. You also need a partner that is making sure your carriers are doing what they say they are going to do—and then holding those carriers accountable when they don’t follow through. You need a partner that ensures your carriers are committed to the same sense of operational excellence that you are. That’s what we do. Operational excellence is in our company DNA—and we make sure it’s in your carrier’s DNA, too.

At the Flat World Family of companies, which includes RAM International, we have a Preferred Carrier Program and Strategy where we:

Measure carriers on 24 different export and import activities.

Review carriers on a quarterly basis.

Employ a planned escalation process to minimize service failures.

Require preferred carriers to employ a planned resolution process.

Link carrier performance to penalties. We believe in partnerships, and you need a partner who will help you understand the future of your supply chain—while making sure you are getting the best service, and the best deal, from the carriers you work with today. The world will continue to change as fast as it ever has. As a result, your supply chain will become more complex. You need a partner who will help make sure your carriers aren’t using increased complexity and change in your supply chain to their advantage. We are proud to be that partner.