Transportation TIP List: Week of October 16th, 2016

It’s a busy time of year. All four major sports leagues are in play and the retail and transportation industries are gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Luckily, this week’s TIP List has a score of stories on what trends to scout including an increase of diesel prices, how automation is impacting the supply chain and the Department of Transportation’s allocation of funds to make U.S. cities smarter – see the full line-up of these stories below!

  • How Automation is Changing the Supply Chain: The supply chain marketplace is greatly benefiting from its embrace of technology—however, although automated to a degree, the industry still faces the challenges brought about by a large amount of people having to perform slow, manual tasks and manage a complex web of interdependent parts.
  • Retail’s Ups and Downs: the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales would climb 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion and that online sales alone would climb 7–10 percent this year.

What industry trends are you scouting?

How We Put Fresh Talent To Work For Our Customers

transplace-15461By: Mark McEntire, Sr. Vice President of Operations, Transplace

As Transplace Operations Sr. Vice President, part of my responsibilities include working with our Professional Development Program (PDP) group, which I whole-heartedly believe is a differentiator for our company.

The PDP is a 2-3 year rotational program that allows participants to take on various transportation and operational roles. My goal is to help new hires fresh out of school grow into leadership roles at Transplace. They achieve this through active participation in cross-functional special projects, by working with different groups within the company and through the development of direct relationships with members of the executive team.

People are what make or break customer relationships, and through this program, we are able to help prepare our new employees for delivering the service our customers rely on so they can rest easy while we go to work for them.

Why does this matter? Because not only do we benefit from investing in our own talent to shore up their experience and knowledge base, but our customers also benefit by gaining fresh perspectives on their business.

How the PDP Program Works

  • First, we narrow down a list of 10-20 candidates to 4-6 PDP participants, who typically come aboard during the summer to begin a 6-month rotation in either a tactical or analytical role. This could be anything from working with our operations teams to culling through customer data looking for opportunities to drive value.
  • After the first 6 months is up, every PDP participant gets switched to a new role for another 6 month rotation. So, if someone started in a tactical role, such as resolving carrier invoice discrepancies or track and tracing of load status, he/she would then switch to a more analytical position like reviewing an entire data set to gain experience in reviewing information to uncover value for customers.
  • Participants will also rotate through our brokerage and international groups, as well as spend time learning about the RFP and sales cycle process. This helps them gain as much knowledge as they can about the different roles available to them across the company, which ultimately helps them figure out what direction they want to pursue for their career over the long run.

A PDP Legacy

What’s great about this program is that I get to directly mentor at least one participant, as well as coach many others. We have a few examples of a PDP participant being placed on-site at one of our customer’s locations, and these accounts have really seen tremendous value having a PDP participant around as a new, fresh mind on the team. Having someone the customer’s employees feel comfortable going to makes a difference in their overall experience, and with their Transplace relationship.

In fact, one customer enjoys participating in the program so much that – by their request – almost every single PDP participant that has ever gone through the program has been a part of that team.

As a mentor, I’m checking in with my PDP mentee every few months to answer thoughtful questions and offer support and guidance however needed. At some point, either in the hiring process or early on in the first rotation, almost everyone in the program asks: What does it take to be successful in this role? And while I don’t think there’s a secret sauce for success, I do believe it takes 3 very important characteristics:

  • Intellectual curiosity. Asking why things are the way they are will get you far and keep your mind constantly questioning and working to understand things better.
  • Being a gym rat, which is just my way of saying you need to have great, unequalled work ethic. You cannot achieve tremendous success without putting in the time and work.
  • A sense of humility. Without it, I think it’s very hard to navigate any company environment.

I very much enjoy working with the PDP participants and sharing secrets of success with our young leaders of tomorrow. The PDP is so valuable because it encourages participants to learn a ton in a relatively short amount of time, but these rich experiences will be the ones remembered 30 years from now. In thinking about my career and who I’m influencing along the way, I want to be sure I leave behind a long list of people that I helped.

How do you pass on your insight to young talent within your company?

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 9th, 2016

This week, the nation tuned in to the second presidential debate, where the candidates addressed questions that spoke to the future of the country. And while there are many important topics to consider when discussing the future of the United States, this week’s TIP List is also looking ahead with a few of the key trends in the supply chain. From the impact Hurricane Matthew has had on logistics and retail, to some safe driving tips for the upcoming month – check out all the stories below!

What are some industry topics that you think are important as we move into election season?

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 2nd, 2016

As we flip the calendar from September to October, Major League Baseball transitions to its postseason with the first pitch of the wild card games this week. And like the pressures and challenges of playoff baseball, there is certainly pressure when it comes to guiding shippers through an ever-evolving transportation industry. This week’s TIP List takes a closer look at a number of key aspects in the future of the supply chain.

  • Omni-Channel’s Ripple Effect on Transportation: For retailers, direct-to-consumer fulfillment is causing purpose-built store replenishment DCs some frustration. These “omni-channel” behaviors have changed demand patterns and affected transportation.
  • Logistics Hotspots: Nine That Shine: As U.S. manufacturers continue to expand their operations, they often look for cities that have either recently emerged as logistics and distribution center hubs, or are about to, such as Columbus, Eastern Pennsylvania and Greenville-Spartanburg.
  • A Smart Supply Chain Starts With Smart People: The supply chain industry is currently lacking key talent, and with a growing interest in implementing IoT and big data initiatives, a certain skill set must be cultivated within an organization’s workforce.

What is the “wild card” of industry trends that you’re keeping an eye on this week?

3PL Industry Update: Combining Technology and Industry Expertise


By: Frank McGuigan, President and Chief Operating Officer, Transplace

The 3PL industry continues to evolve and grow – presenting tremendous opportunity for shippers. As we get ready to head into Q4, I wanted to briefly comment on some of the changes that we are seeing in the market.

Speed and Market Choice are Key Factors

In recent years, shippers have encountered new standards of velocity, market choice and cost for their products. The consumer, who is everyone’s end user, is demanding better variety (SKU proliferation) and greater availability at the lowest possible cost – further increasing complexity and intensifying pressure on supply chains. This has created what some in the industry are referring to as “supply chain impatience.”

In order to meet continually-changing consumer demands and expectations in an increasingly competitive market, shippers need a fast, efficient supply chain. As a result, velocity, visibility, predictability and control are more important than ever. But just how do shippers get there?

 Technology and Industry Expertise Combine

About 10-15 years ago, shippers would engage with 3PLs simply as a means to access technology. Transportation management technology has evolved, and there are many enhancements to its functionality that are delivering greater efficiency and visibility throughout the supply chain, offering a much higher return on investment for many shippers. And today, that technology is much more ubiquitous and more readily accessible.

However, what’s as critical as this advanced technology, if not more important, is the deeper, understanding of the businesses and the key processes that are necessary for supply chain excellence within the specific verticals in which a shipper resides. This experience, as well as the strength and depth of the 3PL’s network, is what enables the ultimate value delivery that shippers are trying to derive from a technology investment. If I want to get to the North Pole, a compass is just one of many factors necessary to achieve the mission. Given all of those factors, shippers should find a partner that has a demonstrable ability to deliver and execute throughout the entire supply chain, creating both enhanced velocity and a high level of service to customers.

Understanding and executing upon on-time delivery is a given nowadays. 3PLs are being asked by shippers to create better metrics to provide both added understanding and a deeper perspective as to what’s occurring inside their business both yesterday and in real time. Status updates that are more timely and proactive are becoming essential in the supply chain: the standards keep getting greater, and so should we.

True Partnership to Drive Operational Excellence

Is a great transportation management system automatically going to “fix” your entire network? No. You need the right strategy and processes behind it. If you’re looking for technology to incorporate into your transportation operations, you should first take the opportunity to benchmark your entire network. Then, and only then, can you determine what technology solution, or if outsourcing to a 3PL, is best for your business. From an operations and carrier relations standpoint, it’s critical to find the right technology that includes data management and real-time status that will enable you to use all parts of your network.

For shippers, a 3PL should not just be prescribing a technology for your transportation network, but must truly have the ability to offer the operational expertise and ideas for continual improvement necessary to drive supply chain excellence. Transportation optimization is more than moving freight at the lowest cost or finding a short-term performance boost; it’s about continuous improvement delivered through smart, data-driven planning and efficient execution. If you do choose to outsource your transportation management, your 3PL should be a true partner, allowing you to step “behind the curtain” and see exactly what is going on in your supply chain network.

Transportation TIP List: Week of September 25th, 2016

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down and fall is officially upon us. And while we’re excited about all of the festive changes that the new season brings, we’re even more thrilled about some of the positive developments that are happening in the transportation industry. This week’s TIP List includes new logistics innovations, changing FMCSA regulations and increasing retail sales. Dive in to all of the details below!

  • The Feds Just Got Real about Self-Driving Cars: The idea of autonomous cars used to be farfetched, but that has begun to change. Within the past year, the government has defined what it means to be a driver, put new guidelines in place and implemented more industry regulations.
  • New Food Safety Regulation Impact Truckers: A new checklist of rules implemented by the FDA aims to help manufacturers make their products safer while on the road. The rules fall most heavily on food manufacturers, but they also impact truckers.
  • Texas Legislators to Consider Higher Truck Weights: A heavyweight fight is brewing over proposals to allow trucks to carry heavier loads over the state’s highways. On one side are producers of plastic and forest products, and on the other are communities near ports, railroads, and independent drivers.

What are some of the positive industry trends you’re keeping tabs on this week?

Transportation TIP List: Week of September 18th, 2016

With the NFL season off to an official start, we’ve been thinking about how many transportation and supply chain technology advancements are out there to tackle. Here’s to hoping we see some big gains in ELD adoption, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and other trending topics on our TIP List this week. Check out the blitz of stories below!

  • Hanjin Says U.S.-bound Ship is Being Held ‘Hostage’: Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd., the failed South Korean container carrier, says a U.S.-bound vessel was held “hostage” by disputes over payments, adding to the struggles in getting $14 billion of cargo off its ships stranded at sea.
  • Five Tips for Managing Your Logistics More Effectively: The more steps in your logistics plan, the more efficient your entire process needs to be. If several different materials need to be supplied to a certain location at different times, your supply chain not only needs to be efficient, but also able to quickly respond to problems as they arise.
  • Capacity Crisis, Rate Boom Likely in the Coming Year: The regulatory swath barreling toward the trucking industry — highlighted by ELDs and greenhouse gas emissions standards —could push the trucking industry into a full-fledged capacity crisis as soon as late next year.

What top technology trends are on your radar this week? Has a Fresh, New Look!

After many months of hard work, we are thrilled to share the new Our corporate website has been fully revamped with a clean, fresh and user-friendly look that makes for easier navigation and access to everything you may need to know about Transplace and our expertise. We’ve added a number of new details on our services, solutions and experience, noting tangible differentiators that reveal what we think really sets Transplace apart.


Additionally, we wanted to make sure that anyone who visits our site will be able to quickly find the thought leadership and media resources they need. Now, whether you’re looking for a video, case study or other piece of content, you can find it with ease on our Resources page.


We also want to ensure that we’re there where and when you need us. You can reach out directly and connect with an expert for any support you may need, or submit a transportation management RFP or request a quote as a first step to partnering with us. You can also easily find all of our Centers of Excellence across North America.

And to continue to grow our connection with our people, partners and customers, we’ve made sure that our social media pages, the Transplace blog and the Logistically Speaking blog are easy to find. Now it’s simple to stay up-to-date on all the happenings of Transplace on our News and Events page. You can also use this page to join industry conversations and manage communications with our team.


Anyone coming into our site can find exactly what they’re looking for, see who we are and what we do and discover a number of new helpful resources. Be sure to visit and check out the new site today. We’d love to hear what you think!

What do you think of the new




Siphiwe Baleka Talks Living Healthy While on the Road

At our recent Shipper Symposium, keynote speaker Siphiwe Baleka took the main stage to discuss the importance of living healthy while on the road as a truck driver. A former world-class competitive swimmer, Baleka is unofficially titled the “Fittest Truck Driver in America” because of his combined success as an entrepreneur and a health and fitness coach for truck drivers across the country. Baleka’s presentation addressed his firsthand experience with food and fitness while driving, as well as how he overcame the challenges of having inadequate access to good nutrition and exercise while on the job as a truck driver. Here are the key takeaways from his presentation.

The Issue at Hand: Truck Driver Health

Truck driving is one of the unhealthiest professions in America, as 69% of truck drivers are obese. Since these drivers lack access to a kitchen, a way to store food and appropriate exercise facilities, Baleka compares long haul truck driving to being an astronaut in outer space without the proper space suit.

And there is a direct connection between the health of a truck driver and the amount of accidents they may get in. This makes the health of truck drivers an issue that everyone should be concerned about because we all share the roads.




After recognizing this problem, Baleka saw that there was “a nutrition and fitness program for everyone in America, except one that was designed specifically for long haul truck driving in their unique environment.” He set out to create such a program in order to boost truck driver health, longevity and overall wellbeing.

Health: The Prerequisite to Everything That You Want to Do

When Baleka posed the question, “What’s most important to you?” many responded with “family.” While family is important, Baleka pointed out, “Your health is the prerequisite for taking care of your family, doing your job and living your life. Health is the most important thing. When it comes to your health, in the moment of truth, when you have to decide to go do your workout, you’re not actively thinking of the consequences.”

Changing Your Mindset: Considering the Consequences

As individuals, we are motivated to work hard at our jobs, complete tasks and strive to be successful, because if we don’t, there are going to be consequences.

However, we hardly look at our health through this lens. Each time that an individual has an unhealthy meal or skips a workout, they fail to think about the negative long-term health consequences. By changing that person’s mindset about nutrition and exercise to focusing on long term consequences, his or her life will have a healthier outcome overall.

Optimal Health and the Abundant Life

Siphiwe Baleka’s main goal for himself and when working with clients is to reach “Optimal Health.” When you live a healthy lifestyle with limited stress, healthy eating and exercise, you increase your vitality. This is what Baleka calls being “fit in all areas of your life.” An increase in vitality leads to a growth of opportunities and experiences in everything that you do and want to do, or what he refers to as an ‘Abundant Life’.”

The Four Minute Movement

The “Four Minute Movement” is what Baleka has created to help anyone, especially truck drivers, lose weight. He helps individuals “turn their metabolism on” by exercising for four minutes with maximum intensity and eat lean proteins every three hours. He says this is something “everyone can do, not just truck drivers, but before a shift at your computer, too!”

To learn more about what Siphiwe Baleka had to say about the strategies and importance of living healthy while on the road as a truck driver, watch the video from Shipper Symposium below!


ELD Survey Series: The Data, the Facts and How ELDs Affect Carriers


By: Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Consulting

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, created to improve safety within the transportation industry, is currently the hot topic on everyone’s mind. ELDs synchronize with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) logging, which translates to greater safety on the road.

Carriers and drivers who are subject to the rule must install and use ELDs by the appropriate deadline – those using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017, and those using AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.

This mandate has left both shippers and carriers with many questions about how the industry is going to react to the full transition to these devices, such as:

  • How will this impact driver productivity?
  • Will drivers leave the industry as a result of ELD implementation?
  • Will smaller carriers close up and leave the industry?
  • How will this impact industry capacity moving forward?

The Electronic Logging Device Survey

Recently, Transplace surveyed over 2000 carriers in order to gain insight into the implementation preparedness of transportation carriers and the expected industry impact of the widespread use of these devices. The survey included responses from more than 500 carriers and allowed Transplace to hear directly from our carrier partners and gain first-hand insight into how they are responding to the mandate and their expectations for how the use of ELDs will impact their businesses.

One of the key takeaways from the survey shed light on how ELDs are being implemented across the transportation industry. Most importantly, we learned that ELD device implementation varies by fleet size, with large fleets leading the implementation charge. The study revealed a significant difference in the amount of implemented ELD devices between large and small fleets:

  • 81% of large fleets with more than 250 trucks reported that they had achieved full ELD implementation, with the remaining 19% currently working towards implementation.
  • However, small fleets of less than 250 trucks have been much slower to integrate ELDs, with only 33% having fully integrated ELD devices into their fleet.
  • Another 29% have begun the implementation process, while the remaining 38% stated that they have no immediate plans to begin implementation.
  • One response noted, “I am a very small fleet with only two trucks. I have just begun doing my homework on the program and will implement it by December 1, 2016.”

ELD Impact on Small Carrier Fleets

The implementation of ELD devices has been significantly slower for carriers with smaller fleets, and while some carriers are still researching the different technologies and creating implementation plans, others indicated that they are holding out in hopes that the mandate will be overturned in court. For example, one carrier responded to the survey by saying, “I will sell out first” and another remarked: “Hoping this is overturned in court. Will comply when all efforts have been exhausted.”

This slow rate of EDL adoption by small carriers, a significant part of the nation’s truckload capacity, is a real concern for shippers and a threat to continued access to capacity to meet shipper volumes. And while a lot can happen between now and when the mandate takes full effect on December 16, 2017, most carriers – large and small – anticipate a noticeable impact to utilization and capacity.

You can find more information about the ELD Survey here, and be on the lookout for part 2 of this series coming up on Logistically Speaking.

How is the ELD mandate affecting your organization?