Remember the childhood game of pick-up sticks or spillikins? Well that’s the image that comes to mind when thinking of the complexity of large transportation networks. You can’t see what’s going on, and it’s difficult to predict what will happen when you make your next move.
What happens next is… nothing. Massive complexity combined with the real danger of unintended consequences means that many logistics service providers are understandably reluctant to re-design their transportation networks as often as they should.
Does this matter? Well, yes it does – especially in a business environment where volatility is the new normal. Logistics providers who review their networks infrequently are at a real disadvantage. Their networks remain sub-optimal for longer periods, with all the missed opportunities and unnecessary costs that accompany sub-optimal capacity and infrastructure.
Transportation network design requires more than an overview of the entire network. Due to the complexity of large transportation networks and the possibility of unintended effects, logistics providers also need easy access to what-if insights that:
- Allow them to see past a decision to all its consequences
- Highlight decisions that help them achieve business goals
Over the years, we’ve noticed that logistics providers with poor visibility into the consequences of network design decisions tend to exhibit the following symptoms:
- A mismatch between how frequently they review their network, and the speed with which demand is changing
- Difficulty in gauging the resilience of their network – and in making it more resilient
- Expensive resources that remain in certain locations because that’s the way it’s always been
What you can’t see can hurt you; especially when the things you aren’t seeing may be costing your business millions. To learn more about the tell-tale signs that point to poor network visibility, download the free management briefing, ‘Transportation network visibility test’.