Building an Intermodal Logistics Network: Bridging the Gaps in Communication and Technology

Adam B. Guilbault
2016 Journal of Management and Strategy  
This paper delves into the global logistics market with an eye on technological advancements and the future of the industry. Expanding across all modes of transportation, a review of historical progress and current market situations reveals what lies ahead for the industry and what obstacles exist moving forward. A proposed network solution is examined via a case study involving two international logistics providers as a means of exploring potential resolutions to existing and forthcoming
more » ... nges in the industry. The proposal focuses on an intermodal logistics model that integrates all modes of transportation into a centralized network accessible by both users and suppliers, alike. Across a global landscape, this study outlines the lack of communication and information sharing that adversely affects the industry's ability to keep pace from a technological perspective. Introduction For decades, we have witnessed technology grow at an incredible rate in our everyday lives, and the business world has been transformed in many ways. Technological advancements throughout the industrial sector have had significant impacts on cost structures, process efficiency and, maybe most important, customer expectations. Concepts such as automated manufacturing machinery, bar coding, and just-in-time inventory are only a few examples of how the industry has evolved. They have changed the workplace and created cost effectiveness and efficiencies; it is now imperative for all markets, and the organizations within them, to keep pace. In the industrial sector, the most notable technological developments have taken place in the manufacturing and communication aspects of the market. As processes become further automated and information is more readily available, the expectations of everyone from suppliers to end consumers have changed. The logistics industry has been privy to some of the technological benefits, and has given rise to the question of how this sector will take the next steps in order to keep pace with the speed at which the supply chain is becoming accustomed to. In order to determine an appropriate strategy, a first step of importance is to determine what technological changes have affected the logistics industry, both directly and indirectly. It is then necessary to examine how this sector has dealt with changing expectations in the market place as it pertains to information flow, response times, international trade, communication challenges, environmental concerns and speed of delivery. The major problem facing the logistics sector is: what are the next steps and/or advances available, and when are we likely to see them develop? As this paper explores potential solutions and the obstacles/challenges in the current market, we begin to unveil an environment where significant change could prove difficult. Review of Literature The logistics industry features several major avenues for transportation: ocean, air, rail, road and, to a much lesser extent, pipelines. The existing research data outlines many of the major issues faced by each method, but offers little in solutions to a unified and cohesive, interconnected relationship. An Overview Container trade, representing 90% of worldwide cargo (Harris, Schroer, Anderson, & Moeller, 2010) , is most often routed through a port system using ocean travel. Although slow moving, a large vessel can transport substantial
doi:10.5430/jms.v7n1p10 fatcat:id4akosob5ckfccozp4heabfie