Caterpillar relies upon supply network, not ‘chain,’ Georgia event attendees told

By: | at 08:00 AM | Channel(s): Intermodal  

Caterpillar relies upon supply network, not ‘chain,’ Georgia event attendees told

Don’t tell Caterpillar Inc.’s vice president and chief procurement officer that his job includes overseeing the heavy equipment company’s supply chain.

Rather, as Frank Crespo told attendees of the eighth annual Georgia Logistics Summit, Caterpillar depends upon its “global supply network” to move massive products from construction and mining equipment to engines and turbines to diesel-electric locomotives plus half a million different parts throughout the world.

“There’s nothing linear about it,” Crespo said of Caterpillar’s logistics network in closing the April 19-20 event at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. “It’s no longer a chain.”

Crespo said Caterpillar, which ships machine and engines to 32 countries via Georgia’s ports of Savannah and Brunswick, in addition to importing parts and materials through Savannah, benefits from on-dock rail, direct Interstate highway access and flexible pickup and delivery hours and looks to soon gain from a deeper Savannah harbor.

Caterpillar relies heavily on intermodal rail, according to Crespo, and focuses on maximizing visibility throughout the supply network.

“Visibility is a premier asset,” he said. “More and more, visibility will drive success.”

In a discussion of regulatory onuses, Jason N. Craig, director of government affairs at third-party logistics leader C.H. Robinson said the soon-to-be-implemented mandate for electronic logging devices in trucks should definitely bring higher trucking rates.

“Whether rates go up because of fear or because of actual capacity shortage, it’s the same for shippers: Rates go up,” Craig said.

Rhett Willis, president and chief executive officer of Savannah-based D.J. Powers Co. Inc., said the Automated Commercial Environment requirement for a single data window, to take full effect by yearend, places a heavy burden on freight forwarding and customs brokerage firms such as his.

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American Journal of Transportation

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.

Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.

A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.