• Inland Distribution
  • September 30 - October 2, 2024 | The Westin Chicago River North

Eric Johnson

S&P Global

Senior Editor, Technology, Journal of Commerce

Eric Johnson is the JOC's Senior Editor, Technology, where he leads coverage and analysis of technology’s impact on global logistics and trade. Johnson regularly reports on how shippers, carriers across all modes, and logistics companies use software, as well as new concepts impacting core freight transportation processes like procurement, execution, visibility, and payment. Johnson is a regular presenter and moderator at industry events and webinars. Prior to joining the JOC in May 2018, Johnson spent 13 years with American Shipper in a variety of roles, most recently covering logistics technology and leading the production of a series of benchmark studies on the logistics industry. Johnson has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international business from the University of Leeds, UK. He has lived and worked in Southern California, the UK, and India, and now resides in the Washington, D.C., area.

Sessions With Eric Johnson

Wednesday, 27 September

  • 08:35am - 09:05am (CST) / 27/sep/2023 01:35 pm - 27/sep/2023 02:05 pm

    Inland Fireside Chat Series: A Conversation with AVRL CEO Chadd Olesen

    Automation is a loaded word in business circles these days. One person’s efficiency tool is another person’s job killer. Even among those who appreciate the potential of automation in logistics, the definition of what automation is and what it can do varies widely. Is it a vehicle to take the burden of mundane tasks off the desks of humans, or is it an intelligent tool that does more than follow instructions well? As products like chatGPT and other so-called generative AI creations infiltrate the public’s consciousness (and commercial initiatives), it’s important to take stock of where the freight transportation industry is with regards to automation. In this one-on-one chat, AVRL CEO Chadd Olesen will give an inside peak into how all parties involved in freight transportation are — and aren’t — using automation to get a leg up on their competition. 

  • 09:10am - 09:45am (CST) / 27/sep/2023 02:10 pm - 27/sep/2023 02:45 pm

    Have We Entered a New Age in Pricing Dynamics?

    Getting a “true” rate in truckload freight has always been more art than science, but a cohort of technology providers now are arming shippers and brokers with tools and data to make more accurate pricing and buying decisions. But many questions linger: How plug and play are the solutions? How many tools does a single organization need to invest in? Is the source of information neutral? Can the same process be used for contract and spot? This session will explore the present and future of pricing through the lens of using technology to make things better and simpler, not more confusing for those tasked with freight procurement. 

  • 09:45am - 10:15am (CST) / 27/sep/2023 02:45 pm - 27/sep/2023 03:15 pm

    Can TMS Solutions Become Cool Again?

    At one point, getting a TMS was an aspirational state for shippers, one that enabled them to transition a spreadsheet- and email-based approach to tendering loads and tracking freight milestones to a system-based approach. But somewhere over the last VC funding-fueled decade, the TMS lost its glow amid a bunch of new shiny objects. It became a tool of necessity, not luxury or differentiation. As the freight environment settles back into its more normalized patterns post-pandemic, the question now is whether the market still sees TMS solutions as crucial as they once did. Adding complexity to that question is that many companies trying to redefine how freight is managed digitally are essentially building transportation management systems, only ones that sync with more modern, browser-based approaches to enterprise software. This session will explore the state of play in the world of TMS with a trio of experts.
  • 10:45am - 11:30am (CST) / 27/sep/2023 03:45 pm - 27/sep/2023 04:30 pm

    Process Automation and the Road to Efficiency

    Virtually every shipper is somewhere on a journey from mediocre data quality and manual processes to improved data quality and some level of automation. Improving data and the logistics processes that rely on good data generally revolves around engaging with third parties that specialize in technology, services, or both. The choice generally boils down to choosing a software vendor that enables a shipper to help itself or a technology-forward 3PL that provides solutions to the shipper. All of these strategic choices are in the service of efficiency, with process automation the eventual goal. That doesn't mean humans will be excluded from core logistics functions, just that automation plays an ever-increasing role in moving freight. This session will offer a glimpse into how one shipper is managing this journey, from a starting point of improving rail data and knock-on effects that has, to the broader goal of automating data feeds and, eventually, whole processes. The other panelists, a logistics technology vendor and a large freight broker, will give insight into what level of process automation their shippers want from them, and where this is all going in the years to come.

  • 02:20pm - 03:00pm (CST) / 27/sep/2023 07:20 pm - 27/sep/2023 08:00 pm

    Waiting on the Rebound: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?

    The three days of Inland23 have dissected data, analyzed market conditions, and featured forecasts. Pulling everything together, what are the ideas, warnings, lessons, and perhaps even solutions we can take home that will help us catch the rebound when it comes? In this closing session of Inland23, our conference co-chairs will sit down with select experts to cut through the noise and deliver the consensus takeaways you need as you plan for 2024.