Tag Archives: Logistics

Pints with Peers | Midwest Supply Chain Management Conference Reception

Let’s talk logistics over a beer.

Professional conferences can be a wonderful thing.  They often start early, go all day, and provide new ideas, concepts, or strategies that we can take back to our own businesses.  The Midwest Supply Chain Management Conference is no different.

After spending the day at the Conference, we at Columbian figured we could all use a chance to unwind, network with our peers, and discuss what we learned or what struck us most strongly.  What better way to do that in Beer City, USA, than host it at one of Grand Rapids’ hottest new tasting rooms?

Join us at the brand new Atwater Brewery tasting room in the southwest corner of the newly renovated Rowe Building, in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.  Our Pints With Peers reception will feature the full line of Atwater Brewing Company beers a spread of the restaurant’s finest offerings.

We’ll be there from 4pm-7pm, and we hope you can join us. Even if you are not attending the conference, we would love to have you as our guest!

P.S. Did we mention free beer?

REGISTER HERE!

Questions? Email Marion Donahue, at mdonahue@columbian.us

**Parking options:

  • Parking garage across from Atwater on Michigan Street behind DeVos Place
  • Parking garage on Monroe Avenue underneath the Ford Federal Building
  • Street parking with meters north of Atwater on Monroe Avenue

REGISTER HERE!

A Busy Week for Columbian

A Busy Week for Columbian

As the busy week wraps up and the holiday weekend begins, two of our employees wrap up separate speaking engagements. Ryan Skruch, product integrity manager, participated in a breakout session at the Food Defense ConferenceBlair Thomas, director of customer care, was selected for a public-private partnership to deliver warehouse training to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a support agency within the US Department of Defense.


Food Defense Conference

Food Defense ConferenceRyan filled in for Jim Gadziemski, Vice President of Warehouse Operations, and quickly picked up the pieces with agility and confidence. The Food Defense Conference is put on by the Food Defense Conference

Ryan’s presentation explained 5 key points to successfully building a food defense program at a third party logistics provider.

Ryan spoke about his experience at the event, “Attending the event has provided a great opportunity to hear professionals from all industries speak on the very real threat of intentional tampering in the food industry.”


Defense Logistics Agency Training

Defense Logistics AgencyBlair Thomas was selected for a public-private partnership to deliver warehouse training to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a support agency within the US Department of Defense. This week-long event had classes every day, and Blair even led some discussions. Defense Logistics Agency

“It was an honor to be a part of this project.  There are lots of smart, hard workers in the DLA, but they deal with several complexities and constraints that we just don’t see on the mainland and in the private sector,” says Thomas.  “Serving a global customer base in a situation where service failure could be a matter of not only life and death, but also national security, is very difficult, especially when you consider environmental, historical, and other logistical limitations.  According to the feedback we received, our week together opened their eyes to industry best practices as much as it opened our eyes to the complexities of serving a military customer.”

Click here to read more.


After a busy week here at Columbian, we’re ready to celebrate our independence and spend time with our families. Happy Fourth of July!

Carrier Management Tips

Congratulations! You have successfully executed your Request for Proposal (RFP) event and contracted all of your new carriers. You have even acquired some pricing locked in for two years. All of your plant locations have routing instructions, and your vendors are onboard with entering your inbound material shipments into your Enterprise Resource Planning’s (ERP) transportation module for automatic carrier selection and tendering.

Your freight is ready to be moved within the model you have set up. You have spent a significant amount of time on network design, planning, procurement, and contracting. Then suddenly, you realize that you did not clearly and formally define expectations for performance, measures, score-carding, communication, performance improvement, and corrective action. How will you control this beast?

First, do some reflection on your business. What value, service, or product are you selling to your clients? Is the nature of your market place and competition dynamic with compressed timelines and high volatility or is it more relaxed with a slow-boat modus operandi? This element and many other business rules will determine how you choose to measure performance and success in your supply chain. Functional areas from Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) integration, freight invoicing, status tracking, timely acceptance of orders and load tenders, and communication of all information related to your supply chain is fair game when considering how to manage relationships with carriers.

The key to keeping a strong and positive relationship with your carrier partners is setting realistic expectations early enough in the procurement process. Make sure to have clear expectations for measurement types and frequency, time period, intent of the program, improvement, and corrective action processes toward mutual benefit. If there is value to the partner beyond retention of your business, you will be much more successful.

Carrier Management