Chemistry & Life Sciences

Logistics Service Providers Are Equal Partners

07.05.2014 -

Complexity management

P. Viebig: Before taking specific steps, we need a shift of perspectives. Only if we regard logistics as part of the value chain rather than a factor of costs, both sides can work together in order to master the challenges. For this to work out, logistics service providers need to be seen as equal partners.

This way, shippers and logistics providers can build closer links while enabling the logistics partner to take on more responsibilities with cooperation agreements termed over two to three years. As soon as the industry is ready for this, logistics services can make their contribution toward better quality, safety and cost-efficiency.

Cooperation with logistics service providers

P. Viebig: Logistics service providers, even if they cooperate among each other, can only ever provide a part of the solution. What we need is closer cooperation between shippers and logistics providers. For instance, in terms of reliability of planning: If logistics providers can plan over the long term, they can make sure the right equipment is available when it is needed and ensure consistent quality at the best possible price. Closer cooperation also covers information flows: If, as a service provider, I know which product or material will be available when and where, I can plan accordingly - and react quickly to any disturbance in the supply chain in order to mitigate the negative impact. Goals such as reducing idle time costs or increasing loaded mileage can only be achieved together.

Standardization of logistics processes

P. Viebig: Standards make sense in many different places, for instance, when it comes to assessing the carbon footprint. Different approaches are used here, despite the fact that the Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), the European Chemicals Industry Council (Cefic) and the European Chemical Transport Association (ECTA) have had the topic on their agendas. Consequently, the values obtained are not comparable. For a logistics service provider, this means that carbon emissions need to be measured according to different standards, depending on customer requirements.

The same flexibility is also expected when it comes to load securing or when booking time slots for loading. Again, we have to react to different requirements from customer to customer. In these areas, standards would help to increase efficiency, reduce costs and create more transparency.