Chain Reaction: Jeff Plumley of ASF Logistics on Delivering Efficient Solutions with Advanced Technology
What industries do you primarily serve? Which industry do you think has the most to teach fashion about improving their supply chain logistics?
ASF Logistics was founded in 1999 with a singular idea: bringing integrity and honor to the freight forwarding market. Today, we are a leader in human-centric global logistics and got here by staying true to our core values—saying what we mean and doing what we say.
We serve beneficial cargo-owning (BCO) shippers with global supply chains, a large number are transpacific importers. We value our longstanding business relationships, many are major retail brands and furniture companies including Raymour & Flanigan, Haverty Furniture Company, Liberty Furniture Industries, Inc., Dollar Tree, Lenzing Fibers Inc., Family Dollar and Bernhardt Furniture Company.
For Vietnam to U.S. transpacific imports, ASF is a top 15 non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) providing a dependable, multi-carrier network of ocean transportation services.
When it comes to creating efficiencies, there are quick wins and longer plays. What are a few things your company is doing to help its partners succeed on both fronts?
While some forwarding companies operate with a one-size-fits-all approach, we take a different path. We offer individualized customer care, taking the time to truly understand a clients’ requirements. Unlike the assembly line approach of others, at ASF, people come first, ensuring a personalized, human touch at every step of the logistics journey which results in high efficiency, optimal supply chain logistics results.
In addition, ASF is a resource for its clients, readily available to discuss all industry and market trends. We embrace challenges with agility and creativity seeking innovative solutions that forge deep personal connections, driving tangible, effective business outcomes for customers.
When it comes to supply chain logistics challenges, there are things companies can fix, and things that are beyond their control. How can the former help the latter?
Shippers often face market and infrastructure challenges, such as hazardous weather events, geopolitical complexities and labor issues, which are beyond their control. While these supply chain logistics risks cannot be eliminated, the key lies in effective continuity planning in collaboration with an experienced logistics provider. This planning enhances logistics resiliency and flexibility while providing the guidance necessary when unanticipated issues occur.
Which area of logistics isn’t receiving the industry attention it deserves?
One persistent challenge that disrupts the seamless flow of cargo is the inconsistency and poor quality of data throughout a shipment’s journey. Container shipment data is often riddled with incompleteness, inaccuracies and lacks global shipping industry standards. This not only hampers the efficient movement of cargo but can also lead to unforeseen expenses.
What is your company doing to make the movement of goods more sustainable?
We’re focused on helping our customers reduce the impact of their supply chain logistics on the environment. We accomplish this by supporting shipping industry stakeholders to prioritize green, climate-friendly initiatives and tactics including, optimizing travel routes and transportation modes, maximizing efficiencies, reducing waste and refining loads and last-mile distribution.
What are the main things brands and retailers could do (or stop doing) right now that would immediately improve logistics?
Brands and retailers should work with a freight forwarder that supports its customers’ logistics supply chain with advanced technology that provides visibility insights to shipments. Timely visibility data enables management the ability to boost time and cost savings, tracking of detention, demurrage free-time and surcharges and improve customer satisfaction through more timely freight updates.
At ASF, active communication and collaboration with clients ensure they’re aware of any exceptions and are informed of any industry issues or events that could impact their supply chain.
Freight data insights at the pre-shipment, in-transit and post-delivery levels offer a comprehensive view of where cargo is always positioned. Through this proactive stance, the handling of inbound containers and maintaining consistent communication with all supply chain partners greatly enhances performance.
How can brands and retailers make better use of technology to improve logistics?
Brands and retailers would benefit from working with a freight forwarder that has invested in an advanced freight platform that streamlines end-to-end cargo flows. Our industry-leading logistics platform delivers complete visibility at the pre-shipment, in-transit and post-delivery level based on highly predictive and accurate container milestone information.
Summarizing shipment data so it is easy to review and act on is also critical. Our dashboards summarize upcoming sailings and arrivals and provide a full breakdown of shipments on-the-water or preparing-to-sail. From purchase order management to delivery, shipper customers can easily and accurately manage their cargo shipments and have a clear view of the status of their freight.
Are you optimistic about the state of supply chains in the next few years?
While supply chain challenges exist, there are numerous reasons for optimism in the logistics industry, including the fact that ongoing advancements in technology—including the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)—have the potential to revolutionize supply chain management.
Meet Our Expert
This article is reviewed by Jeffrey D. Plumley, Chief Commercial Officer and Licensed US Customs House Broker.
Jeff has an extensive background in global logistics, spanning various freight forwarding executive management positions. As a Licensed US Customs House Broker, he has managed regulatory compliance and is a worldwide expert in Flexitank transportation logistics.
In addition to his strong forwarding and Flexitank background, Jeff was also Head of Regulatory Compliance and Sales for a major global logistics software provider. He has over 30 years of logistics experience and a strong leadership background having graduated from the Citadel.