We have been talking a lot about Supply Chain Management Control Towers. Yes, transportation (usually under logistics) is included in the control tower. In many companies, transportation is outsourced to a 3PL, 4PL or 5PL provider. This provider is an expert at hooking your company up to any required transportation resources. Your provider already has some excellent tools available. A popular concept since the 1990's has been the "Load Control Center" (LCC). We are looking at outsourcing, but yes, excellent software is available if you do it yourself.
Shipping - it's one of the most critical components of the supply chain. And the logistics providers are increasingly feeling their position. With the growth, consolidation, and differentiation going on in the logistics sector there is no lack of attention on companies and their function. In fact, there the definitions are expanding all the time. With logistics providers being the central link in the supply chain, they are increasingly finding themselves in the power position; so much so that suppliers making unreasonable demands may be at risk of losing the service from their chosen logistics provider.
You are in the process of staffing your SCM Control Tower. This group will be drawn from different areas of your company (different "silos") and different skill sets (for example, a "hazmat" expert). Is your SCM Control Tower going to be a team building melting pot or a boiling cauldron of dis-function. You could draw the brightest and most hard working employees in and outside of your company; but if they don't get along, it could wreck your business.
The supply chain would be nothing if products never reached their destinations. But there's a difference between getting product to where it needs to be and getting it there on time. No matter what position your organization holds in the supply chain, timely delivery is a determining factor between success and failure. The key ingredient to staying on top of product delivery is timely and accurate updates.
Retailers are shuttering their own warehouse operations in favor of third-party logistics providers. Even grocery chains are turning to third parties; Kroger and Ahold USA are just a few examples of the growing number of grocers handing over operations to 3PLs, according to MWPVL International, a specialized supply chain, logistics and distribution consulting firm.