The prevailing view on supply chain management is that a key to a firm’s overall success can be found in establishing stronger relationships with the partners in a supply chain. On the other hand, I think we all have seen supply chains where the customer (meaning the partner that has the most customers) is using their power to “leverage” the partners, presumably increasing their margins. Various examples of how firms prevail financially as channel relationships are strengthened have been published. The lesson here is that supply chain management is not a zero sum game – the more we cooperate, the more we all prosper. 

The combination of global competition and economic slowdown resulted in a bright light that illuminated opportunities in supply chains to align more closely with their chain to co-create additional value. These actions often require more investment in technology, larger unit volumes and are based on mutual trust. We are looking for your input in order to provide information back to you on exactly how this is working for you in today’s environment.

Jared is pursuing a PhD at the University of Memphis in Marketing and Supply Chain. He has extensive experience in Sales Management roles with FedEx for 28 years (including managing the entire catalog industry). 

We have teamed up to gain a more complete picture of what is occurring within supply chains and have framed 10 questions to Shippers, Carriers and Logistics Providers who read PARCEL and supply chain leaders of major shippers selectively invited. The information will be shared in summary form completely for comparison to respondents and in the next issue of PARCEL. To see the first article in this three part series of Command and Control, go to the content section of and search Shirley.

Please answer online or write on this document and fax in order to gain a comparative of your supply chain vs. others:
For responding via fax, 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree. Your contact information is necessary to participate and you can either use this page and fax to 866.657.2902 or go to: 

• The support from our Information Technology department (IT) is sufficient to manage our supply chain _____
• Our major supply chain is being utilized to squeeze lower prices to benefit one of the partners ________
• The dashboard we use lets us recognize and correct exceptions_________
• We are below our projected quarterly budget with regards to transportation spend________
• Our distribution centers are managed to centralized and measurable controls________
• We have the most upside potential for cost savings on our inbound traffic________
• In making vendor selections, system interface is an important consideration_____
• The new dimensional weight formula for parcel and express had a big effect on our cost_____
• We use a Transportation Management Solution (TMS) for logistics cost control______
• For LTL, we still utilize CzarLite rather than another negotiated price_______

Don’t forget, only those that answer the survey will receive the summary information electronically to compare to their own input.

With the alarming changes going on in the world’s supply chain caused by a multitude of disasters, dependency upon non-developed countries, fuel price acceleration and a surprisingly lack of visibility upstream from vendors, it is safe to say that the value of supply chain expertise based on knowledge, experience and technology will continue to accelerate.

Rob Shirley is President of ExpresShip, a strategic technology partner in the global supply chain.
Jared Oakley is a PhD candidate at The University of Memphis. His email is