Interview with Michael Cherney of Load Delivered Logistics

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Michael Cherney is Director of West Coast Operations at Load Delivered Logistics, a fast-growing third-party logistics provider that provides truckload transportation services to supply chains of all sizes. During his time at Load Delivered, he has specialized in helping companies in the foodservice, retail, and bottled beverages industries manage their logistics.

What are some of the more pressing issues supply chain managers are facing today? And how is Load Delivered Logistics hoping to counteract this?

One of the most pressing issues that we are facing is a shortage of drivers which in turn means fewer trucks on the road. What Load Delivered (LD) does provide is a greater reach than an asset based truck company could. A company that owns their own trucks is limited to servicing all that their trucks can service where LD has relationships with 3000 truck companies and can provide trucks all across the country. There are a lot of times where an asset based truck company will make commitments to companies of all sizes and due to this driver shortage, be unable to honor the commitment. LD will then come in and provide a truck from their network to help service that customer’s customer and keep everyone happy.

What countries or regions do you see as becoming more important to global supply chains?  

One of the biggest and most impactful regions in the entire continent is California. The produce market and the harvest season creates an huge disruption in the North American freight market. Outbound costs skyrocket to more than 50% or double normal costs, and it creates a shortage of capacity all across the country. So California really dictates higher market prices all across the United States.

What are some upcoming technologies which you expect to have an impact on the way supply chains are built and managed?

Load optimization tools come into play when companies purchase smaller quantities of goods and limit their inventory levels. So instead of purchasing an entire truckload, they only purchase 2 or 3 pallets of a good in order to lower costs.  With the help of load optimization tools, truck companies then combine these different pallet orders and have one truck make 4 or 5 deliveries, instead of five trucks making five deliveries, bringing the product cost down significantly. In addition, intermodal (train) technology is going to get more and more prevalent as the country gets greener and driver shortages increase.

What is causing this driver shortage?

A combination of two things. First, many of the truck drivers today are Vietnam Vets and baby boomers who are reaching the age of retirement and second, more and more people are getting college educations which deter them from going into trucking as a career.

What skills or expertise do you see as being in high demand for supply chain managers? What nontraditional skills do people in the supply market need?

For supply chain managers who work in companies that do manufacturing and distribution: experience working with load optimization tools, six sigma, and systems such as SAP. What’s interesting though is I never actually utilize all of that stuff at Load Delivered, as my company supports the supply chain in a very niche role. You can have all the data analytics in the world with efficient purchasing and forecasting, but unless you have a strong transportation system in place to move products from distribution centers to points of sales, all that data is moot. But for all Supply Chain Managers, looking outside and thinking outside the box is extremely crucial, as well as being able to formulate solutions for all parties involved. Supply chain is very much a give and take industry. You have your transportation providers, raw material providers, packaging providers, et cetera. And everyone has to be a part of the equation, helping to achieve the same goal. It’s not dependency, it’s partnership.

How does advanced supply chain education help companies prepare their employees to manage the supply chains of tomorrow? How integral do you think education like Lean Six Sigma and SAP is?

It will decrease the learning curve. Going into a manufacturing company, not many people have an educational background in Lean Six Sigma and they have to learn on the job.

How important is experiential learning (learning by doing) on a global scale to becoming a successful supply chain manager?

Practical experience goes so much further than theoretical. Being book smart can only take you so far until you actually do and find out your strong suits, learn what you do best, and apply the theories that you learn in class to real situations. Any internship or experiential learning trip like the Singapore trip the MS students took last year will really help solidify whether or not supply chain is something you want to do as a career and whether or not you can actually apply the things you learn in school. The education you get from the MS program at USC is very applicable to the daily duties of any supply chain manager.