Do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? More on this later, now for the news…
- Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI): Freight Shipments Rose 1.9% in March from February
- Retailers Lead Economic Charge With 10 Straight Months Of Sales Gains, According To NRF
- Exxon says oil barrel should be in $60-$70 range (from Reuters)
- Managed Services Gain Momentum for JDA Software
- Deloitte Makes Acquisition to Strengthen its End-to-End Analytics Portfolio of Services
- Pitney Bowes to Launch SendSuite® Live: Enterprise Shipping Platform with Full-Range of Cloud-Based Services
- EU Seeks to Trim List of Tariff Beneficiaries (from Wall Street Journal)
- EU to Say Location Data Private (from Wall Street Journal)
After a decline in February, the Freight TSI Index increased 1.9 percent in March from February, reaching its highest level since July 2008. According to the press release, “shipments measured by the Freight TSI rose 15.1 percent over the last 23 months, starting in May 2009, after declining 15.7 percent in the previous 16 months beginning in January 2008.”
So, you would expect capacity to continue to tighten, right? Well, according to the latest figures from the Morgan Stanley dry van index, capacity has actually loosed up in recent weeks. Back in late March, the index was above the level it was during the same period in 2004, when capacity was at its tightest. Now the index is actually below where it was at this time in 2010, although it is still above 2008 and 2009 levels.
Are carriers adding capacity? Are there time lags in these data sets? Are we comparing apples to oranges? I haven’t had a chance to analyze these trends in more detail, but it’s difficult (and unwise) to draw conclusions from short-term upswings and downswings. My key takeaway is that we’re still operating in a volatile and uncertain market. One day experts are proclaiming oil prices will reach record levels again in the near future, the next day oil prices tumble 10 percent and an oil executive suggests prices should be even lower.
My advice: develop clear, honest, and ongoing lines of communication with your suppliers, customers, and partners. There is arguably no better source of business intelligence than those closest to you. The more you can compare notes and align your efforts, the better prepared and more effective you’ll be in responding to whatever peaks and valleys come your way.
I’ve been preaching for a long time that technology plus managed services offers a powerful value proposition for companies seeking supply chain and logistics solutions (see “Buying Supply Chain Outcomes, Not Software”). It is why the business models of software vendors, third-party logistics companies, and consulting firms have been converging in recent years. Two more data points this week: Deloitte announced that it has acquired the assets of Oco, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of business analytics solutions. Here is a quote from the press release:
“More and more businesses are looking for both analysis and real insights gleaned from multiple sources without having to make significant investments in internal infrastructure and support,” said Jane Griffin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Analytics leader. “This acquisition enhances our ability to help further an organization’s existing business analytics and data management strategy. We can help businesses realize faster time-to-value [emphasis mine] through more immediate access to critical business data from disparate sources.”
Meanwhile, JDA announced that its managed services offerings continue to gain momentum with organizations around the world, including Lenovo and Sun Products. Here is a quote from the press release:
“JDA grew its managed services business by 112 percent in the last 12 months,” said Joseph King, global vice president, managed services, JDA Software. “We are adding more than 10 managed services customers a quarter and are one of the fastest growing areas within the JDA.”
I made the point a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t believe license revenues were the best indicator of a software company’s health anymore (or at least it shouldn’t be the overriding metric). In my opinion, growth in recurring revenue streams, such as subscription fees from SaaS offerings, and growth in managed services are just as important, if not more.
And by health, I don’t just mean financial stability, but also a vendor’s ability to deliver faster time-to-value to customers on an ongoing basis. More on this topic in a future posting.
Now, back to friggatriskaidekaphobia. You suffer from it if you’re afraid of Friday the 13th, which is today. I’m not sure what people with this phobia do on this day, but I assume catching a hockey game or having lunch with anybody named Jason is not on the agenda. I hope the hours go by quickly for them.
Have a great weekend!
(Note: JDA Software is an ARC client)