Redwood Logistics spoke on the importance of technology in the retail supply chain at the 2019 LINK supply chain conference in Orlando.
“If you were to have come to this conference [LINK] five or 10 years ago, you would not have seen nearly as much technology here,” said John Centers, executive vice president of sales at Redwood. “It’s one of the biggest transformations our industry [supply chain] is going through.”
“For many years the transportation and logistics sector was the last group that got its resources from technology. Now it’s on the forefront of technology because of the on-demand product environment. We have not seen – outside of food – any huge price inflation of consumer products. And that is because of the innovations taking place in the supply chain.”
Redwood Logistics, based in Chicago, is a logistics provider that manages freight, operates an extensive carrier network and is increasingly focused on supply chain technology solutions.
Centers also commented on the current challenges facing retail supply chain providers.
“If you think about the Amazon effect, everything is in an on demand environment right now,” said Centers. “That requires a retailer today to connect very disparate systems and parties. You’re trying to connect the supplier to the warehouse, the import center, warehouse management, transportation planning, merchandise and so on.”
Centers said that each segment of the retail supply chain has traditionally been “siloed” (isolated from other parts of the supply chain). He referenced Redwood’s business-to-business integration platform RedwoodConnect as the company’s solution to supply chain connectivity.
“When you talk about having on-demand transportation and solutions for your customers, those things [supply chain segments] need to connect. RedwoodConnect is a really good platform that connects all those disparate systems and allows companies to create real-time actionable insights into their business.”
Redwood is optimistic that its freight management achievements in 2018 will assist the company to expand its supply chain solutions in the retail market in 2019.
“We have been growing pretty extensively this last year; we actually got up to about $800 million in revenue and managed over $1 billion in freight,” said Centers. “We primarily have a very heavy influence in manufacturing and durable goods, with a lesser extent in consumer goods and retail. That’s [consumer and retail goods] an area we’ve really focused on this year.”