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ArcBest CCO helping steer customers through supply chain volatility

Dennis Anderson tells Craig Fuller during North American Supply Chain Summit his objective is to follow demand wherever it may be

CCO talks about his role in steering customers through volatile times. (Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The new role of chief customer officer at trucking and logistics firm ArcBest Corp. (NASDAQ:ARCB) will become increasingly critical to help guide shippers through an ever-more unpredictable and asymmetrical supply chain environment, Dennis Anderson, who was tapped for the post earlier this year, said Tuesday during FreightWaves’ North American Supply Chain Summit.

Speaking to FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller during a Fuller Speed Ahead segment, Anderson said volatile supply chains have been a fact of life long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The post-COVID world will only amplify that trend, Anderson said.

The biggest challenge facing ArcBest, Anderson said, will be in meeting customer demand wherever it originates. ArcBest needs to “know where [demand] is coming from, and I can’t rely on history,” Anderson told Fuller.

Founded in 1923 as a less-than-truckload carrier, the company has expanded aggressively over the past 10 to 15 years into asset-light businesses to complement its LTL operations. Anderson said that one of his key responsibilities is to show customers how ArcBest’s myriad of services “make sense together.” To do that, Anderson’s team will collaborate closely with ArcBest’s service units and he will put himself and his team “in the customer’s shoes” to determine which solution works best for each.

Logistics and supply chain functions have soared in relevance in the wake of the pandemic, Anderson said. As a result, ArcBest has been in more high-level dialogues with its customer organizations than ever before, he said. Just as information technology before it, supply chain management is morphing from a cost center to a competitive weapon, with its value increasingly being recognized at the corporate level, he said.

Supply chain executives will be reporting to the C-suite more frequently than ever before, according to Anderson. As a “trusted adviser” to its customers, ArcBest will add value by helping provide a deeper and clearer picture of supply chain trends and strategies that the top executives will understand, he said.

Anderson said the strong demand for supply chain services will extend into 2021 as a post-COVID recovery spurs growth in the retail and industrial segments. Anderson also said that the work-from-home trend will have staying power, resulting in shifts in product flow away from densely populated urban areas and to suburban and more remote areas where more people will live and work.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.