agilityWhen I think of agility, I think of agility training for a dog. Have you seen it? There’s an obstacle course of hurdles and tires to jump through. Ramps and teeter-totters line the way. Big and small dogs alike show their skills.

Then there’s the elongated tunnel. Now, the tunnel can be scary and confusing for some dogs. I have watched dogs refuse to enter. Some go halfway and stop, and then there’s the bravest of dogs that barrel through it. Not my dog.

My dog jumps on top of the tunnel and runs its entire length. That’s right. She runs on top of the tunnel. This particular trick has become her standard approach to getting from one end to the next. Apparently, she prefers not to follow the crowd.

She makes me think of our industry. When you’re looking at logistics providers, remember that most have access to some modes of transportation and maybe some warehousing space. Usually, you’ll find an individual with some experience and a software system of some sort. From the outside they all look pretty similar.

The difference lies in what’s on the inside and how they respond to challenges put in front of them. Not just with your shipments, but also with their employees, and the company.

Consider your logistics provider. Have they saved you money since they won the bid years ago? Have they put in process improvements recently? Have they met with you to discuss how your business has changed and given you recommendations? Has their business changed, and are there innovations in their business that might help you? Do you have KPIs in the contract to keep them on task?

Like a dog running through an agility course tunnel, a lot of logistics companies can master traditional approaches. But what happens when a new challenge arises? Is your provider agile enough to get past it?