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Execu t i v e S ummary
Transportation Management in the Federal Government
| Best Practices Report: 2012
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Executive Summary
In the private sector size and scale often provides the opportunity to create
freight transportation savings through optimization. American Shipper’s
research shows that the federal sector is no different. This report will discuss
the many challenges that federal agencies face in managing both inbound and
outbound transportation. Using those challenges as a backdrop we will explore
the benefits—and savings opportunities—related to adopting best practices
observed in the private sector.
In specific, this report takes an up-close look at the freight payment processes
prevalent among civilian federal agencies. Government auditing regulations
mandate these agencies follow the same guidelines on a critical piece of the
transportation management function. On the surface this single, common trait
may seem insignificant, but our research demonstrates this critical element can
be leveraged to integrate disparate operations for mutual benefit, both in terms
of operational effectiveness and efficiency.
Federal agencies no doubt face numerous challenges when it comes to
managing their transportation efficiently. Some of these challenges are unique
to the federal sector, such as complying with outdated regulations and policies.
However, both the government and private sector suffer from organizational
issues related to talent acquisition and development, change management,
and slow systems adoption. On a positive note, these challenges are not insur-
mountable. In many cases, established best practices pioneered in the private
sector can light the way for federal agencies looking to improve their operations.
At a high level, American Shipper’s 2012 benchmarking series—focused
primarily on the private sector—points to a set of key best practices that federal
agencies should also consider when evaluating transportation optimization
opportunities. The most critical best practices for the purposes of this report
include consolidating transportation systems and processes where possible,
collaborating with agencies with similar missions and objectives, increasing
resources for federal transportation management groups, embracing mandated
freight payment processes, and setting goals to better manage both outbound
and inbound freight flows.
Applying these best practices will allow the federal sector to exploit several
significant opportunities, including creating a single source for transportation
systems and data which becomes a platform for inter-agency visibility and
collaboration. The following report, based on interviews with more than a
dozen leaders in the federal transportation management market, provides
actionable guidance for federal agencies looking to improve transportation
effectiveness and efficiency.