With the combination of enterprise resource systems (ERPs) and new developments in production and distribution methods that harness the advantages of proximity, the emergence of port-centric corridors is quickly becoming the new major trend in supply chain management.
The seaport, an invaluable commercial resource, is once again getting respect in today's globalized economy. The port-centric supply chain approach is gaining ground, largely because it allows for an integration of resources that is thought to lead to supply chain savings and efficiencies. DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem defined the port-centric distribution approach as a "center that is located at a port as opposed to inland, [in effect] bringing companies closer to the markets they serve and decreasing freight miles."
DP World - developer of port-centric projects like Dubai's Jebel Ali port located within strategic proximity to the Free Trade Zone, as well as the London Gateway project, a 9.25 million square foot deep-sea container port being developed adjacent to Europe's most sophisticated road and rail networks - sees the integration of people, resources and data gathering as ingredients to achieving an optimized global supply chain.
Integrating such a widespread array of logistics resources requires equally powerful integrated solutions, and the port-centric approach could not be possible without the added component of advanced ERP solutions and automated data collection systems.
"Integrated logistics corridors bring together people from different organizations, empowering [suppliers] to provide solutions and resolve issues that straddle traditional boundaries," said bin Sulayem to the Khaleej Times. "[By] working together, [those in the global supply chain] bring multiple skill sets to resolve problems that organizations working in isolation often cannot solve on their own."
Advancements in technology, manufacturing and shipping are all critical components of an intricate global economic web. The future of supply management appears to be borrowing some tried and true ideas from the past to chart its future, one that will bring logistics solutions physically closer together as well.