Transportation TIP List: Week of April 16th, 2017

The recent beautiful weather has us anticipating the blossoming of May flowers and the opportunity for more outdoor activities. And just as natural as the spring season, this week’s TIP List includes emerging transportation trends such as Tesla’s plan for introducing electric trucks and expected gasoline prices for this summer’s commute. See what’s blooming in all of the articles below!

  • Drivers Won’t Pay Much More at Pump This Summer: According to the Energy Information Administration, regular gasoline averaged $2.42 per gallon April 10. While prices are 35 cents higher than a year ago, they’re just 4 cents below what the EIA sees fuel averaging all summer.
  • How the Two Basic Types of ELDs Operate: All compliant ELDs can record data coming in from the system that controls the truck’s engine and component parts. However, there are two ELD options for organizations to choose from: dedicated units and BYOD.
  • Will Knight-Swift Transportation Shake Up the Trucking Industry: Phoenix-based major truckload carriers Swift Transportation and Knight Transportation recently announced that they would combine to form Knight-Swift Transportation. The new entity is set to emerge as a formidable challenger to freight-starved North American truckload carriers.

Would you consider implementing electric trucks into your supply chain?

 

Transportation TIP List: Week of April 9th, 2017

Although there will be plenty of opportunities to search for hidden eggs at your Easter celebration this weekend, our TIP List presents quite the opposite, as it includes this week’s most noticeable trends impacting the transportation industry. Highlighted are innovations in digital technology, the impact of legislation on the supply chain industry and manufacturing growth — check out all of the “can’t miss” articles below!

  • Supply Chains and the Trump Roller-Coaster: The first months of Trump’s presidency have added new uncertainty regarding transportation operations and raised questions as to how companies can prepare for changes in trade, taxation and investment.
  • U.S. Manufacturing Keeps Expanding at Robust Pace: America’s factories continue to expand, demonstrating momentum in an industry that has struggled over the past two years. The manufacturing index has increased in six of the last seven months, underscoring building optimism among factory managers.

 How is digital technology innovation impacting your trucking operations?

 

Shipper Symposium Series Webinar Recap: Bid Activity Strategies and Trends

By: Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Strategic Carrier Management, Transplace & Ratna Prabhu, Engineering Lead, Transplace

Bid optimization and procurement are truly foundational for companies to achieve supply chain excellence and drive value. Procurement process and bid activities have a significant impact on shippers and carriers, making it critical for companies to establish good sourcing practices.

In our most recent Shippers Symposium Series webinar, Ben Cubitt and Ratna Prabhu analyzed last year’s bidding market and shared some best practices for successful bidding in 2017. Below are a few of the highlights.

2016 Recap of Procurement and Bid Activities:

2016 was a record year in terms of bid activities due to an industry-wide desire to lock in rates in the anticipation of an uncertain 2017. Overall, it was a great year for shippers to go to market. With plenty of available capacity, shippers had their choice of carriers within their networks to bid on different lanes, and they were able to save money. Even as shippers were able to achieve savings, incumbent carriers were able to retain many lanes – in part due to the fact that many shippers have been willing to leave money on the table to align with core carrier partners for future capacity.

 

 

2017 Brings Bid Competition

The later part of 2017 has the potential to be more challenging for shippers than 2016 due to expectations of tighter capacity and increased pressures on rates. In addition to this general market shift, each vertical within the transportation industry faces its own challenges and opportunities during a competitive bid response. It is important for shippers to keep these factors in mind throughout the entire bid process and seek out proactive solutions in light of capacity fluctuations.

A few key examples of these specific industry vertical challenges are:

  • Consumer Packaged Goods: Challenges range from very large spends to high volume and low volume lanes. The end result of these bids must deliver freight on time, damage free and at a market-competitive cost to demanding customers that all have their own requirements.
  • Retail: Inbound flow for retail has challenges that include many low-to-medium volume lanes.
  • Manufacturing: Paper and packaging companies require different equipment types—this can span from traditional dry van to light-weight equipment. Balancing dedicated lanes and OTR lanes can be part of this challenge.
  • Oil and Gas: With fracking recently taking a leap forward in the last few years, helping maneuver the sourcing of sand and water has seen barriers but has also had great rewards.
  • Chemical: Shipping hazardous substance presents challenges in regards to regulation and safety risks.

Sourcing and Bid Strategies:

In order for shippers to proactively tackle these challenges, it is important to consider a few key sourcing strategies when engaging in bid activities:

  • Shippers and their logistics and/or procurement partners should give at least a month of preparation time before going into a bid.
  • Bidding the entire network is an effective strategy as it allows companies to leverage their entire freight spend and gives enhanced visibility to an entire network of carriers.
  • Truckload and intermodal should be bid out together because many carriers have similar freight characteristics.
  • The results of the bid needs to be implemented, at the most, 30 to 45 days after completion of the process. Sometimes a bid can get pushed back to the 60-day mark, but anything past this timeframe can reflect a change in capacity in the shipper and/or carrier’s network.

Additionally, while there are many practical bid strategies for shippers, there are also important factors that core carriers should address when facing the bidding process. Shippers negotiating with their top 5 or 6 carriers has become a more significant trend, thus removing some lanes from a specific bid process. It is also important to remember that, because of the changes within networks for both shippers and carriers, a single year contract is recommended, especially for truckload shipments (due to different environments, LTL could get pushed out to a 2-year contract).

With the entire bidding process comprised of an aggregate of steps, it is important to stay up-to-date on current industry trends and strategies. Proactive, good communication between all parties involved and following best practices will help make the process smooth and increase the success for a business’s bidding scenario.

To see all of what Ben Cubitt and Ratna Prabhu shared about bid activity strategies, trends and more take a look at the full video here. Want to learn even more about this topic? Keep an eye out for our Shipper Symposium breakout sessions, where it is featured in our 2017 event!

 

Transportation TIP List: Week of April 2nd, 2017

Just as college basketball recently crowned North Carolina its national champion, this week’s TIP List is following suit with trends that are winning over the transportation industry. Showcasing the news of the strategic alliance between Walmart, Facebook and Uber and potential legislation surrounding the sourcing of electricity — this list is a great rebound from all of the college basketball madness.

  • Grupo Mexico to Buy Florida East Coast Railway: Mexican mining and railroad company Grupo Mexico SAB has agreed to buy Florida East Coast Railway in a $2.1 billion deal, expanding its transport operations in the U.S. with the acquisition of the 351-mile railway.

What do new regulations mean for your logistics and supply chain operations?

Transplace Employee Training 2017: Always Striving to Thrill

By: Jessica Lynch, Vice President of HR, Transplace

It’s an especially exciting time for Transplace. From an HR perspective, our company has been growing steadily both organically from new business and through acquisitions, and we focus on attracting and developing talent in order to best meet the needs of customers and carriers. This growth has impacted the makeup of our employee base and training programs. My objective is to help new hires understand the Transplace business so we’re setting them up to be confident in their roles and to successfully thrill the customer – one of our company’s core values.

Historically, most of our new employee training, known as the new hire roadmap or learning plan, would be administered online through our learning management system. This year, our format has changed so that we’re overlaying the roadmap with a comprehensive classroom training including follow-up from the training manager over the course of a new hire’s first four weeks. We’re also measuring the trainer’s performance each week to see if he/she is getting better as we’ve also put structure around the actual training program itself.

The new hire classroom training builds from week to week – starting with an introduction to supply chain management, logistics, transportation and Transplace’s solution and service offerings. During Week 1, employees are also introduced to our customer service philosophy of exceeding customer expectations through superior quality and value.

We kick off Week 2 with hands-on training in our transportation management system (TMS) following the full order to cash cycle. These interactive sessions include coaching on what questions to ask in real work environments and situations. This week allows new hires to get a better feel for “A Day in the Life” of working for Transplace. Woven into the training are lessons learned and feedback received from customers to ensure everyone within the organization – from new hires and trainers to the HR department and our CEO – understands their needs and are equipped to deliver outstanding service.

Week 3 of training has new hires job shadowing the first half of the week before jumping in the seat themselves to put their training into action while trainers observe their progress. The final week of training means our new hires are ready to be independent and apply everything they’ve learned during the previous 3 weeks of training. The group of employees that go through this training together, regardless of what team they land on, will have built strong relationships and comradery with each other. It is extremely helpful for new hires to have others in the company to go to and depend on if need be.

Making these shifts to our training programs reflect our beliefs of keeping our customers and carriers of central focus by investing in new hires and developing them as intergral members of the Transplace family from Day 1 – prepared and excited to serve. To our customers, this directly translates into improved financial performance, operational excellence and confidence and peace of mind in us as your partner. It’s our employees who execute projects for our customers and always push themselves to do better, and what makes Transplace great is the fact that we don’t settle for status quo, and this shines through in how our employees are constantly striving to “Thrill the Customer.”

When internal support is happening – from taking a more structured approach to training new hires and investing in manager empowerment – the desire to do what it takes for the success of the customer not only comes from the top-down, but from bottom-up as well. At Transplace, you can guarantee that as a new hire, a customer or carrier – we’ll have your back.

What new hire training do you employ? How is it similar or different than ours? I would love to hear about it.

Transportation TIP List: Week of March 26th, 2017

With the potential for plenty of pranks and practical jokes during the upcoming April Fool’s Day, we’ve decided to present this week’s TIP List without any tricks. Featuring stories on recent health care legislation, food delivery technology and more of the latest trends impacting the supply chain industry, this list is no joke. Take a look at all of the articles below!

  • Robots Are About to Start Delivering Food in California: The on-demand restaurant delivery service DoorDash will begin using robots to deliver food, following an extensive trial period. The deliveries will transport food from restaurants to customers within a one and two mile radius.
  • Three Steps to Creating a Low-Risk Supply Chain: Supply chain risk management has become a hot topic in recent years. The decision to more closely manage the supply chain requires the right tools and careful analysis to understand the risks and prepare for disruptions.
  • Supply Chain Resiliency in the Wake of Industry Disruption: Many executives face the decision of whether to defend their supply chain, or begin to invest in digital capabilities promising better integration and resilience. And the arguments in favor of creating smart supply chains are powerful.

What are you doing to mitigate risk within your supply chain?

Shipper Symposium 2017 – The 15th Year of Logistics Excellence!

The 15th annual Shipper Symposium is quickly approaching! This year’s signature event is located at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas on May 8-10, and you can count on some of the best and brightest transportation and supply chain industry leaders to be in attendance.

The Shipper Symposium is an educational forum that focuses on bringing together shippers, transportation practitioners, analysts and academics to identify strategies for navigating the latest trends and challenges impacting the supply chain. This year’s broad range of panels and seminars from leading supply chain and economic visionaries will address current issues and trends such as big data, the internet of things, capacity constraints and regulatory issues that affect the transportation of goods across the globe.

To start getting you into the Shipper Symposium spirit, you’ll find a preview of this year’s keynote speakers below. Check it out and let us know who you are most excited to see in the comments!

Shipper Symposium 2017 Keynote Speakers

Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting, has previously served as the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). She is an expert in law enforcement and public safety, and will join Sword & Sea Transport Advisors President Thom Albrecht, CFA, and Transplace CEO Tom Sanderson (back by popular demand!) to discuss transportation trends and examine the regulatory and safety landscapes within the industry.

Navy commander of USS Benfold, Mike Abrashoff used leadership and culture to take a ship plagued by low morale and high turnover and turn it around. Abrashoff’s solution was to establish a set of management principles he calls “The Leadership Roadmap,” and he will speak to how these principles are critical for businesses to survive and thrive in the global marketplace.

Dr. Alan Beaulieu is the president of ITR Economics and co-author of Prosperity in the Age of Decline, an insightful look at how to make the most of U.S. and global trends over the next 20 years. One of the country’s most informed economists, he will speak on how to forecast, plan and increase an organization’s profits based on business cycle trend analysis.

Paul Zikopoulos is the vice president of big data analytics for IBM and an expert in harnessing the power of big data. Zikopoulos will share insight into where big data comes from and will deconstruct the roles of data collection and decision-making for executives seeking opportunities to disrupt their industry and leap-frog the competition.

President of KGC Direct, LLC, Ken Gronbach, is an elite demographer who focuses on forecasting societal, commercial, economic, cultural and political phenomena. He will present some of the many ways that the modern workforce is changing, the future of communication and the fate of mass media, shedding some light on which countries are demographically positioned to excel in the future.

The big event is right around the corner — if you haven’t already, you can register for the 15th annual Shipper Symposium and learn more about the agenda and speakers here!

You can also stay in-the-know with all of the latest Shipper Symposium updates by following us on Twitter (@Transplace), Facebook and Instagram.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Shipper Symposium?

 

Transportation TIP List: Week of March 19th, 2017

As the spring season begins, shippers are adjusting to the seasonality of produce and retailers are incorporating warmer-weather wares into their stores. And this week’s TIP List is also in “full bloom” with stories about transformational industry trends like the launch of UberFreight and the impact of wind power on shipping. Spring into all of the stories below!

  • Uber: The Newest Entry on Your Carrier Scorecard: Uber officially launched UberFreight right after Christmas last year, but there still isn’t much information on the homepage other than its creative tagline: “We’re in for the long haul.”
  • The Next Innovation in Shipping: Wind Power: More than a century after shifting away from wind power, the shipping industry is looking at ways to harness ocean breezes once again—this time to reduce reliance on fossil fuel.

As you see new industry technologies emerge, which would you consider adopting in your organization?

Going Beyond Brokerage: How North American Capacity Solutions Can Go to Work for You

Matthew Menner
Brian Kenney

By: Matthew Menner, SVP, Strategic Account Management and Brian Kenney, SVP, Truck Brokerage, Capacity Solutions

 

With 2017 now in full swing, many companies are evaluating their current logistics strategies and looking to make structural improvements in the new year and beyond. In order to see the best return, some shippers immediately look to making significant changes such as implementing new technology solutions or redesigning their distribution network. But is your organization thinking more strategically about its capacity strategies?

It may be time to evaluate your transportation network and approach to procurement and make the move from simply fixing logistics problems as they present themselves, to a more strategic, scalable model derived from analytics and not simply rates. Don’t view procurement as a tactical, annual exercise routine (how is your new year’s resolution coming along?) item that must be completed quickly in order to meet your current customer demand at the lowest possible cost. Getting ahead of the game with creative, tailored and comprehensive capacity solutions is going to give your business the supply chain edge it needs as we head into the increasingly-uncertain future.

Your organization needs to be agile and resilient to take on the challenges of an ever-evolving industry – instead of simply moving freight at the best possible price. Here are some key questions for shippers to consider when it comes to their freight solutions:

  • Maximum modal optimization: are you using the right mode on each and every order you ship, regardless of freight flow type?
  • Do you have a resilient and “stress-able” routing guide?
  • Have you thought through your sourcing strategy to make certain you have the necessary elasticity within your capacity network employing asset, non-asset-based, dedicated fleets and opportunistic backhaul carriers?
  • Are you looking beyond the readily-available traditional truck brokerage solution? This could be more sustainable over the long run, successfully weathering the continual ebb and flow of the transportation industry cycles tied to both controllable as well as non-controllable circumstances.

It’s important to ensure that your organization has access to the transportation solutions that it needs to succeed. And with ongoing additional pressures on line-haul costs (drivers, ELDs, potential economic growth due to infrastructure spending, etc.), you also must to be able to find untapped market capacity and leverage it to your distinct advantage. Working with a partner that provides you access to carriers that compliment your network and make moving your freight faster and easier, and also has the ability to handle expedited, urgent and last-minute needs, is essential. Thinking more strategically and deploying a scalable, long-term solution is going to allow your business to go that much farther.

For example, brokers typically sell on price and will generally price every lane that a shipper has, whether they can actually service it or not – and this creates a potential exposure in a shippers’ routing guide. In contrast, a 3PL partner will be constantly looking for matches within their own dense freight network. This type of data-driven approach will ultimately identify complimentary network freight flows or fits and deliver value for both participating shippers and hauling carriers.

At Transplace, we are always looking to earn a long-term, collaborative relationship with our customers in order to provide them a customized transportation management solution that is truly tailored to their needs. Our comprehensive capacity expertise allows us to leverage our entire North American network to solve large-scale, complex supply chain problems for each and every one of our customers. Whether domestically, cross-border, collaboratively or via intermodal transportation, we can create unique, flexible capacity solutions that deliver meaningful benefits to shippers throughout all of North America.

Our experts can tap into our full-spectrum, vast network in order to craft a strategic solution tailored to each individual business, uniquely fusing together the best of our managed services and capacity solutions. Our goal for 2017 is to push even farther beyond a traditional truck brokerage services to deliver a better transportation network to our customers.

Big or small, capacity solutions are not one-size-fits-all. We’re committed to taking the building blocks of your unique business and creating a customized solution that is truly tailored to the needs of your organization. We’re working hard to leverage our actionable data and transportation management expertise to go beyond traditional brokerage and craft dynamic solutions that work for your business – today, tomorrow and beyond your expectations.

Is your organization ready to #GoBeyondBrokerage?

Transportation TIP List: Week of March 12th, 2017

With supply chain operations and logistics, sometimes you just need a little luck of the Irish – especially for those who find themselves transporting Guinness to local pubs during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Some of the treasures highlighted in this week’s TIP list include the newest FMCSA report and a look at cross-border shipping in light of recent Mexican fuel price volatility. Grab yourself a pint and dive into the stories below!

  • Cross-border Shippers Confront Volatile Mexican Fuel Costs: As Mexico rolls out its fuel price liberalization scheme, shippers moving goods across the border and within the country are dealing with a new problem: determining the impact of fuel price volatility on their transportation costs.

As the supply chain continues to evolve, how are you adjusting your operations to best fit this dynamically-changing marketplace?