An integrated approach focusing on Visibility, Affordability, Resilience and Sustainability helps to cope with the current transport challenges. BCI Global has developed this so-called VARS framework to support companies improving their transport operations.

Transport operations across the globe are under pressure. Whether due to the vulnerability of global supply chains, COVID-related capacity shortage in air and ocean transport or the lack of upstream & downstream visibility, transport related issues are all over the place. The resulting decrease of service levels and “record-high” cost has put transport on the radar screen of senior management. Therefore, transport operations and managers feel that they are in the eye of the perfect storm, but the current situation also offers opportunities.

Design principles of today’s transport operations

To cope with the existing transport challenges, a structural approach towards operations and management is needed. In BCI’s view future-proof transport operations need to embed 4 design principles: Visibility, Affordability, Resilience and Sustainability (VARS). BCI defined 16 questions to assess your company’s status on these 4 objectives.

Design principles of today’s transport operations

Fourteen tactics to make your transportation VARS proof

BCI has identified a total of 14 tactics to improve transport operations and performance on all 4 of the VARS angles.

Source: BCI Global, 2021

As the visual shows per design principle different tactics have proven to be useful for the companies adopting them:

  • Visibility: a transport control tower/transport management operation support by a good IT landscape can significantly improve the visibility on shipments. Selecting the right platform and carriers are key to make a control tower work. However, based on BCI’s experience a transport management operation (in or outsourced) is an initiative that can support a company on its journey to make a transport operation VARS proof.
  • Affordability: transport cost savings can often be achieved by system-based solutions like dynamic carriers selection and full freight audit check on shipment level.
  • Resilience: during the last 18 months the need for resilience in the supply chain became evident. Transportation can support, whether adding alternative modes of transport to your portfolio (using train or truck transport for shipments from China into Europe) or making sure transport capacity on the company’s power lanes is secured (with additional transport companies or more extensive partnership with main suppliers).
  • Sustainability: modal shift (use of different more eco-friendly ways of transport) will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a company. Next to moving from road to rail or barge, also the use of the so-called eco-combis (or in the future the super eco-combis) can improve transport operations from a sustainability perspective.


Although these are difficult times from a transport point of view, there are definitely solutions to mitigate the negative impacts and even to improve your transport operations by using BCI's VARS framework.


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