New Freedom, PA. – February 23, 2023 – Nexterus, a world-class supply chain management and third-party logistics (3PL) services provider discusses Modern Supply Chains: Distributed and Redundant at a breakout session at the State of the Ports event hosted by the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI). Ryan Polakoff, President of Nexterus, moderated the panel represented by a distributor, manufacturer, and shipper. Each panel representation shared the problems they faced during and after the pandemic and the lessons learned.
“As companies continue to deal with disrupted supply chain logistics caused by the pandemic that impact businesses and consumers daily, supply chain leaders are having to adapt by implementing structural changes, broadening sourcing strategies, or embracing regional networks,” says Ryan Polakoff, President, Nexterus.
Maryland is home to two of the US’s largest transportation and trade hubs. Each year, people throughout the Mid-Atlantic come together for the State of the Ports meeting to hear about the current challenges the Maryland ports face, major infrastructure projects, and technology solutions being implemented. The panel “Modern Supply Chains: Distributed and Redundant,” moderated by Ryan Polakoff, included the following panelists:
- Elda Devarie, President, EMD Sales
- Perry Menzies, Vice President of Warehouse Operations, Terminal Corporation
- Salim Benjelloun, Vice President of Operations, Pompeian Olive Oil – manufacturer
The questions the panel discussed and some answers are below, with more detailed answers on the Nexterus blog.
Supply chain volatility is still rampant and real. What has your company learned?
Elda – We strive for flexibility in our day-to-day operations and focus on creativity. To continue shipping products during disruptions, we try to stay three steps ahead of the disruption by changing ports or finding new suppliers.
Categorized as an essential business during the pandemic, what responsibilities did you face, what were the challenges, and how did you fix them?
Perry – We partnered with our customers and found innovative solutions. For example, one forestry products shipper needed additional space in our warehouse, so we asked them to sign a fixed contractual storage arrangement and commit to long-term space in exchange for ensuring their availability. We also split shifts, with the evening shift unloading cargo at the pier and leaving the empty chassis for the truckers to use the next day.
In today’s supply chain marketplace, with increasing fuel and raw materials costs, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?
Salim –The pandemic forced us to be more sustainable and efficient. We investigated making our bottles more sustainable and shaped differently to store more products. We educate people about the health of our product. Consumers will pay more for products that are healthy and sustainable. Still, you want to make sure your product quality stays consistently high.
People make a difference in a company. What are you doing to retain and attract talent?
Perry – As an essential business, we could keep our employees working. Still, we doubled down on our company culture and began recognizing and rewarding employees. We expanded our employee appreciation programs and invested in leadership training. On the warehouse side, our weekly meetings changed to daily meetings to improve communication and collect feedback.
How have geopolitical issues impacted your business?
Elda – Our sourcing has been affected by geopolitical issues. Hurricanes in the area where our products came from destroyed crops and affected the ports, making products harder to attain. We saw many suppliers suffer, so we had to be flexible and source from other parts of the world.
How did you accommodate disruption? What was your greatest success when you were hit with the “oh no, what do we do now” moment?
Salim – We had severe spikes in demand. We saw that our competition couldn’t keep up, but we maintained supply daily. It took the entire organization to do this.
Nexterus solves urgent and complex supply chain issues, applying expertise and technology to manage and optimize global supply chains. As America’s oldest private, non-asset-based, third-party logistics (3PL) company, Nexterus helps small and medium-sized companies better compete through the power of their supply chains. With best-in-class strategies and services, Nexterus gives clients the freedom to build their businesses without being distracted by complex supply chain challenges and tedious tasks, allowing these companies to improve productivity, efficiencies, and customer service.