In logistics, one thing is connected to the next. You buy an item online and although it may seem like it miraculously appears on your doorstep a few days later, it actually goes through many coordinated steps to arrive there.
A supply chain is just thatâ€•individual links that make up a long chain. For example, you want to buy a dinosaur action figure from an online retailer who acquires them from China. Before you’ve clicked the add to cart button, your dinosaur action figure has already begun its long journey.
Dinosaur Action Figure Supply Chain
- Raw materials are sent to a manufacturing plant in China via boat, plane, train, or truck.
- Manufacturing plant molds plastic into the perfect dinosaur action figure.
- Manufacturing plant sorts and ships dinosaur action figure to a port via truck or plane.
- Shipments are loaded into shipping containers and loaded onto a ship bound for the U.S.
- At the U.S. port, containers are off-loaded and wait for further transportation.
- Shipping container or its contents are loaded onto a truck,train or plane and sent to a warehouse.
- You place your online order and the dinosaur action figure is on the move again.
- At that warehouse, the freight is sorted and then loaded onto a truck to be sent to another warehouse. This process could happen several times before the dinosaur action figure arrives at a retail outlet or distribution center for online orders.
- Distribution center uses 3PL to deliver your dinosaur action figure to your doorstep. Hurray!
Of course, this is merely an example of the way a product could get to your front door and the journey is dependant on many things such as starting point and destination, location of the retailer, and the manner in which the shipper chooses to ship their freight. You may order directly from a foreign company that uses 3PL to get the product to you. Or you could drive to a retailer and buy a product that was flown to the U.S. instead of being shipped by boat.
The one thing all of these supply chains have in common is that they rely on trucks to move products. Even if boats or planes are links in the chain, trucks are used to get freight to and from them. Even when trains are used for cross-country journeys instead of long-haul trucking, trucks are still needed to get freight to and from the trains.
Whether trucks are big rigs or 3PL vans, they will remain the backbone of every supply chain around the world. It’s why there’s such a high demand for truck drivers with no hint of slowing anytime soon.
If you’re a trucker who’s interested in becoming one of those important links in the supply chain, a good load board like Direct Freight Services is a great place to start. With helpful features like a mobile app, quick pay, deadhead miles, text alerts, and turn-by-turn routing, Direct Freight will help truckers find the loads they’re looking for. Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see how Direct Freight can start working for you!