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Working with the Logisticians of Tomorrow

December 2015

By Lynn Gravley CEO

 

In the past year, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the University of North Texas Logistics and Supply Chain Management program in Denton, TX. This program is the fastest growing national collegiate logistics program for the past 8 years. The UNT students recently took the top prize in the Intermodal Association of North American (IANA) Case Study Competition for the third year in a row. Working with these young students, who will soon be entering the industry, is a special opportunity that I enjoy.

My involvement began when I agreed to provide a case study for students in a class. Since that time, my involvement has grown to a new level that includes a formally recognized NT Logistics Case Competition. The students are divided into teams and I provide the teams with a case study. Team members from both first and second place receive tuition assistance awards that NT Logistics provides.

 

This past semester, the student’s challenge revolved around the important issue of the driver shortage that I last wrote about. Specifically, I tasked them with developing a plan that can help shippers become known as “friendly shippers” – thus helping combat the driver shortage. The teams were required to consider the following variables in creating a solution:

 

  • What are the upcoming headwinds regarding government regulations with respect to truck drivers and the proposed timetable for implementation?
  • What are the demographics of the current driver population as well as the sources of new recruits?
  • What other factors are creating potential issues within this industry and the economy as a whole that affect these drivers?
  • What are the specific needs and desires of the provider network with respect to driver retention and how can shippers help?
  • What are the consequences of not becoming a preferred shipper?
  • What other steps could a Shipper take in order to guarantee priority in the quest for capacity in this environment?

The teams were required to:

 

  • Provide a set of Near-Term (0-6 months); Mid-Term (6-18 months); and Long-Term (18+ months) recommendations
  • Provide NT Logistics with a written consultancy report and oral presentation of recommendations.
  • Provide a 10 minute presentation summarizing their report and recommendations

At the presentation program last week, I was very impressed with the work submitted by each team. The winning team took a proactive and unprecedented approach and surveyed over 30 carriers to learn about the challenges facing today’s drivers. Their research resulted in a litany of issues being brought forth that highlight what a driver looks for in order to classify a carrier as a “Friendly Shipper”.

 

Below are photos of the winning team, the 2nd place team, and then a group photo that includes many of the participants (note, I am the older one in the photo with the thinning hair). It was truly an honor to work with these creative, determined, and excited young students. I am thrilled to have the opportunity for NT Logistics to interact with our community while also providing students an opportunity to advance their knowledge in the logistics world. In future blogs, I hope to share some details from the winning team’s proposals.

 

But for now, Go Eagles and Go UNT Logistics Students! You can and will make a difference in many supply chains.

 

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