Digitalization is revolutionizing the logistics and supply chain industry, including critical aspects like yard management and dock scheduling. Modern digital tools are automating and refining logistics operations, improving real-time visibility, and communication, and reducing idle times.
Advanced technologies like AI and IoT are contributing to efficient dock scheduling and yard resource utilization, reducing costs and improving planning. Meanwhile, cloud-based solutions are enhancing adaptability, accessibility, and integration, thereby delivering a comprehensive logistics solution.
Shipping and Freight Resource caught up with Marc Tomkinson, CTO of C3 Solutions an industry leader in Yard Management and Dock Scheduling Solutions as part of the Executive Insights series to discuss developments and innovations surrounding automation and optimization in yard management and dock scheduling..
SFR : Marc, with your experience at C3 Solutions since 2001 and varied roles including Director of Product Innovation and VP of Product Development, how has this journey and breadth of roles shaped your vision and approach for the company as its new Chief Technology Officer..??
MT : Having been with C3 Solutions since its early days, I’ve seen the company’s growth into a leader in the YMS and Dock Scheduling sectors. This journey, coupled with my diverse roles in product development, implementation, IT, and sales, has given me a comprehensive understanding of our operations, our industry, and our customers.
This knowledge has been instrumental in shaping my vision for the company as CTO, where I place great emphasis on innovation and customer focus in developing effective logistics solutions. The technical and practical insights I’ve gained will guide my approach as CTO, ensuring our innovations are technologically advanced yet aligned with customer needs and market trends. This balanced perspective will enable me to promote collaboration among departments, steering us toward our shared objectives.
SFR : You’ve expressed your passion for challenging the boundaries of the supply chain industry.. What are some specific areas or aspects that you believe need reimagining..??
MT : In the logistics and supply chain industry, there are numerous areas that need reimagining. First and foremost, communication and interactions between various stakeholders, such as end customers, brokers, carriers, and suppliers, should be made seamless and efficient. Systems can be deployed to enable real-time updates and streamline these operations. Next, real-time driver and load tracking need a revamp.
GPS and IoT devices should be able to track all shipments accurately and in real-time, enabling warehouses to reduce uncertainties and improve planning. Finally, integrating AI and IoT into the mix can unlock significant potential in terms of predictive analytics and process automation and streamlining which in turn can drive cost down and reliability up. As CTO I’m committed to exploring these areas, always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our sector.
SFR : You have successfully managed numerous projects across various industries such as grocery, retail, and post and parcel.. Can you share some key learnings from these experiences that you plan to bring into your new role..??
MT : The most crucial learning from managing and participating in various projects across multiple industries is the understanding that companies and projects are fundamentally human-centric. Successful implementation and operation of any new platform hinges on the people involved – their skills, mindset, and ability to collaborate. As CTO, I aim to implement solutions that recognize this human element, ensuring that our technologies are intuitive, user-friendly, provide immediate value and contribute to enhancing user satisfaction and efficiency.
SFR : How does C3 Solutions’ cloud-based Dock Scheduling and Yard Management systems streamline and optimize logistics operations for businesses..??
MT : C3 Solutions’ product line is distinguished by its ability to automate and optimize key YMS And Dock Scheduling processes. Our Dock Scheduling system allows for seamless management of dock appointments, minimizing delays, automating communications, and improving overall dock productivity. Meanwhile, our Yard Management system provides real-time visibility into yard operations, enabling efficient yard asset utilization, minimizing driver and trailer detention, and ensuring smooth product flowthrough.
Both systems offer superior flexibility in their ability to adapt to the specific workflows of a broad range of industries. They’re cloud-based which allows for easy implementation and access from anywhere, providing key stakeholders with critical data whenever needed. Moreover, the integration capabilities of our systems ensure that they can communicate seamlessly with other existing logistics software, providing a comprehensive and interconnected logistics solution.
Above all, our products prioritize ease of use. We understand that an effective solution is not just about advanced features but also about creating an intuitive user experience. This emphasis on usability ensures quicker adoption rates, minimal training requirements, and overall higher user satisfaction. In essence, C3 Solutions’ product line represents a potent combination of sophistication, flexibility, and user-friendliness, creating a unique value proposition in the logistics technology sector.
SFR : What role do you see conferences and discussions with opinion leaders playing in the promotion of C3 products and technology and in enhancing the company’s public relations activities..??
MT : Active participation in conferences and thoughtful discussions with opinion leaders is crucial to C3 Solutions’ commitment to being a thought leader in the logistics technology sector. These engagements offer platforms to present our innovative approaches, share insights, and showcase our solutions. More importantly, they provide opportunities to spark dialogues and foster a spirit of collaboration within our industry.
I firmly believe that greater efficiencies and technological breakthroughs can be achieved more swiftly and effectively when companies collaborate and pool resources and knowledge. In this way, we can jointly address common challenges and devise holistic solutions for the benefit of our customers and the industry.
SFR : How does C3 Solutions differentiate itself from competitors in the logistics technology sector..??
MT : C3 differentiates itself by providing highly tailorable, scalable solutions, fostering strong client relationships, and constantly innovating its product offering. Our focus is on both the technology driving our products and industry, and the people using it, which sets us apart in the logistics technology sector.
SFR : What tips or strategies do you have for those interested in mentoring managers to cultivate innovation and sustain a high-performance team environment..??
MT : Creating an open culture that encourages diverse thoughts or ideas and risk-taking is a critical first step to fostering innovation and high performance. It’s also essential to maintain clear communication so that everyone understands the company’s vision and what their role is within it.
Next, implementing robust learning and development programs, including cross-functional training and mentorship not only enhances skills but also demonstrates the company’s commitment to its employees’ growth. Finally, celebrating successes and providing continuous, constructive feedback encourages a growth mindset and instills resilience and adaptability.
For managers specifically, it’s crucial to act more as mentors by understanding individual strengths and promoting autonomy which will allow employees to take ownership of their tasks and drive innovation and performance.
SFR : Looking towards the future, what plans does C3 Solutions have for innovation and growth in the logistics technology sector, and what strategies will be implemented to ensure the company’s technology solutions remain competitive and effective in this dynamic market..??
MT : As we look ahead, C3 Solutions plans to foster innovation by facilitating seamless driver management, tracking, and collaboration through the efficient use of technology. Our approach includes developing systems that enhance real-time visibility, reduce idle time, and improve site throughput, thereby democratizing dock scheduling. Furthermore, we aim to streamline communication between all supply chain parties, building on our existing platforms to create integrated, intuitive interfaces for swift and transparent information exchange.
Our vision is to unify all logistics touchpoints using technologies like AI and IoT, leading to smoother operations, cost reductions, and improved user satisfaction. In terms of strategies to remain competitive, we continually offer tangible value to our users and clients through a customer-centric approach to innovation. We embrace emerging technologies, consistently improving our products based on market trends and client feedback.
This strategy, combined with our agility in rapidly deploying these solutions, enables our clients to realize benefits quickly, including enhanced efficiency, cost savings, and improved operations, allowing us to adapt swiftly to market changes and meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers.