Transportation TIP List: Week of November 27th, 2016

With the celebration of Thanksgiving this past weekend and Giving Tuesday this week, the winter holiday season is in full force and our morale is in high spirits! And our TIP List is showcasing a surplus of transportation and supply chain information for you to cherish. As shipping owners are celebrating the surge in freight rates and the sales of durable goods continue to rise, the industry is joining in the upbeat holiday spirit. Give the stories below a look!

  • Largest Ever Pack Expo Breaks Records: The 2016 Pack Expo International became the largest processing and packaging show in its history, with a record-breaking 2,512 exhibitors spread over 1.25 million net square feet of exhibit space welcoming more than 47,000 targeted buyers.
  • Trump Drops Asia Trade Pact, Opening the Way for China to Lead: An ambitious Asia-Pacific trade pact linking the United States and 11 countries lay in shreds on Tuesday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said he would eliminate the deal on his first day in office. Trump termed the Trans Pacific Partnership “a potential disaster for the country.”
  • Dry-Bulk Shipping Owners Get Reprieve as Rates Rebound: A recent surge in freight rates has dry-bulk shipping owners rejoicing after a deep slump had pushed many of the world’s biggest shipping companies into the red and some smaller ones out of business. The Baltic Dry Index is hovering at a two-year high of 1,232 points.

 

What other transportation industry trends do you think we may see this holiday season?

 

TransMATCH: A Shipper Solution

greg-umsteadBy: Greg Umstead, Vice President, Fleet & LTL Services, Transportation Management, Transplace

Increasing visibility, speed-to-market and efficiency remain constant goals for shippers to continue working to improve. And at Transplace, we’re relentless when it comes to looking for new ways to optimize our offerings to help shippers meet these goals. Recently, we’ve made a number of changes to our TransMATCH program to create more opportunities to consolidate in a multi-shipper environment and truly provide the best possible supply chain outcomes for our customers.

Our TransMATCH program provides an optimization opportunity for shippers with under-utilized capacity through a multi-faceted collaboration network. The TransMATCH program leverages not only our deep knowledge of the shipping industry and technology, but also a network of shippers and years of logistics experience to help create the perfect load – with measurable results.

This program offers the opportunity for multiple shippers to combine large LTL and/or partial TL freight to create multi-stop TL shipments. And a great shipper match results in:

  • Transportation cost savings
  • Reduced working capital
  • Inventory improvement
  • Greater order fill rates
  • More frequent deliveries
  • Increased flexibility to support customers
  • Reduced dock congestion and delays
  • Reduced carbon footprint

With the revamped program, Transplace will be working to proactively consolidate shipments across our entire active customer base for all clients. And there are a number of key shipment criterion for a good “TransMATCH”:

  • Origin and destination
  • Number of pallets and weight
  • Distance of greater than 500 miles
  • Partial TL rated shipment
  • High LTL benchmark
  • Temperature control shipment with cube space
  • Shipments that require reduced transit time

map

Using these criterion, we have created an environment in which we are looking load by load across our whole customer network to see exactly where and how we can save our customers time, capacity time and money.

Collaboration has long been a focus in the transportation industry, but its realization has been a challenge because of the manual processes and lack of scalability. Transplace continues to work with its partners and customers to provide solutions that allow for enhanced scalability, visibility and velocity in the market.

Have you considered trans-loading as an option for time savings and enhanced efficiency?

Your Next Transportation Management System: TMS 2.0 – Part 2: Software, Data and Analytics

mike-dieterBy Mike Dieter, CTO, Transplace

In part one of this two-part blog series, I explained how today’s advanced technology systems now give you the visibility and capabilities necessary to control your supply chain more effectively than ever before. The next generation of TMS now allows organizations to harness data from a number of different sources and apply it in order to enhance many aspects of their logistics and supply chain operations. In part two of this series, I’ll explain how in this next-generation TMS, software and data are finally being combined to better access and utilize important supply chain data.

Software and Data: More Powerful When Combined

While you sleep at night, shipments keep moving. Or, while your operations staff is busy taking care of one problem shipment, other shipments must be tracked. And not all carriers have the technology to transmit pickup, delivery or in-transit events to a TMS, but that information might be on the carrier’s website. In that case, a TMS featuring software robots–a type of “web crawler” similar to what Google uses to constantly scour the internet for relevant data–can be programmed to collect status information from websites and update your system or your customer’s system. The robot can automatically go to a carrier’s website, insert an ID number, and gather the latest shipment information.

Since the supply chain never sleeps, neither do these robots. They are working 24/7, constantly searching the internet for logistics transportation and data–something that is just not possible from a human employee.

Consider this: an online distributor of consumer packaged goods (CPG) or electronic products may receive hundreds or even thousands of emails each day with orders from their customers. When customers place an order for an item such as a book, piece of clothing or Fitbit, there are often human beings responsible for opening up each individual email, reading the message and then manually inputting that information into a system. This is a tedious, time-consuming manual process that is subject to human error. However, with today’s systems, software robots can do that tedious work for us. They are not only scouring the internet looking at carrier sites and gathering status information, but they are also doing the menial operations work that take up so much of an employee’s precious time.

Using software robots to handle to track shipments and provide status updates allows your other employees to focus on more pressing tasks, such as taking care of problem shipments. This can be extremely beneficial for companies lacking the budget to scale during busy shipment seasons. The advent of software robots gives transportation department additional bench strength to track and trace shipments when more hands on the keyboard are needed or when your system is not fully integrated with your trading partners.

The Future of Predictive Analytics

Where tracking a shipment in real-time was once the next frontier of supply chain management, with today’s TMS 2.0 systems, shippers can now use predictive analytics to make better and more informed decisions. Predictive analytics can give you a global view, telling you where your active shipments are, and providing key stats about who your best and worst carriers are. Shippers want to find out if a shipment is going to be late before it actually happens. They want to see if those 100 shipments are going to be delayed because of a snowstorm in Boston and proactively adjust.

Additionally, business intelligence (BI) tools have taken many large steps over the past few years. In past years, reports for shippers would take quite a bit of time to pull, and the end result would look much like an Excel spreadsheet report. With new TMS, there are available databases specifically for shippers to access where they can customize their own reports. These “self-service” type of reports are much more engaging, and can drill down into specific shipments, regions and areas by accessing data warehouses full of this information via a cloud-based TMS.

By exposing shippers to more data quickly and easily, we are giving them the tools to help their shipment process. This also allows for a rapid turnaround of reports–shippers don’t have to file a request and wait for an IT organization to create the report, wasting valuable time.

What capabilities would you like to see from a “TMS 2.0”?

 

*Note: A version of this article originally appeared in CIO Magazine.

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Transplace! Gobble Up These Turkey Day Stats

While many families have different Thanksgiving traditions and may celebrate in a variety of ways, the holiday is an important time for being thankful for all that you have. Thanksgiving highlights include turkey dinners, football games, Black Friday shopping and time spent with the people who matter the most to you. This year, we wanted to serve up some interesting facts to get you in the (Thanks)giving spirit.

Do you know how many people attend Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year? Or how NFL games on Thanksgiving Day became a tradition? Gobble up all of these answers and more in the infographic below!

 

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*Click on the image above for full view.

What are you thankful for this year?

 

ELD Survey Series: See How Carriers Large and Small Alike Have Responded to the ELD Mandate

It’s no secret that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is currently top of mind for many in the transportation industry. Results from our recent ELD Survey of more than 2000 carriers revealed that the implementation of ELDs and the expected impact to capacity and utilization varied heavily by fleet size.

From implementation to driver impact to capacity and utilization, the infographic below showcases how large and small carriers are responding to the mandate and their expectations for how the use of ELDs will impact their businesses. Check out the fleet size stats!

 

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*Click on the image above for full view.

How has the ELD mandate affected your organization in 2016? What do you see coming ahead in 2017?

Transportation TIP List: Week of November 13th, 2016

Election Day has come and gone, but the top trends in the transportation industry keep moving. If you could vote for the most important trends in logistics, how would you cast your ballot? This week, retail holiday preparation and autonomous delivery vehicles are some of the top candidates on our TIP List. The stories below take a look at how the results of the 2016 election will affect the transportation and supply chain industry – both short-term and beyond.

  • Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Faces Speed Bumps: Donald Trump’s current proposal for $1 trillion worth of new infrastructure construction relies entirely on private financing. However, industry experts say it may fall short in funding improvements to roads, bridges and airports.
  • Last Week’s Spot Truckload Rates Jump on Increased Demand: Spot truckload market availability gained 4.8 percent, while the number of trucks posted dropped 2 percent in the week ending Nov. 5th. The average spot truckload van rate was up 5 cents week-over-week, just 1 cent below last year’s levels.

What do you think are the most important post-election industry trends?

Transportation TIP List: Week of November 6th, 2016

We appreciate all that our servicemen and women do for our country each and every day, but we are especially grateful this Friday as we observe Veterans Day. And this week, our TIP List looks at some of the ways that the transportation industry can join forces to help combat some of its biggest concerns. Below, you’ll find a full formation of these stories, such as cargo theft, the ELD mandate and consolidation in the shipping industry. Forward march!

  • Logistics Hiring Surged by 7,500 Jobs in October: Logistics companies returned to hiring last month after a dip in September. Transportation and warehousing payrolls rose by a total of 7,500 jobs in October, with trucking fleets adding 3,000 jobs.
  • Top 5 Packaging Treats Of October: This month’s must-read packaging stories included the influence of Amazon, Mars Drinks’ redesign, Walmart’s new sustainable packaging initiative and more – check out the top 5 here.
  • Supply Chain Strategies For A Post-Global World: Globalization is on the ropes, and we may have already seen its high water mark. Global trade volumes are down, and international trade with the U.S. has fallen during a period of GDP growth for the first time since World War II.
  • Preventing Cargo, Truck Theft is A Multi-Layered Attack: The International Cargo Security Council estimates that more than $10 billion in merchandise is stolen or damaged each year. And that cost soars to upwards of $60 billion with productivity losses and higher insurance premiums.

Are you doing anything special for Veterans Day this week?

Get Ready for Pack Expo 2016!

Chicago’s McCormick Place is all prepped and ready to go for Pack Expo 2016! At next week’s event, there will be over 2,300 exhibits and a whopping 50,000 expected attendees. And a number of different industries, including supply chain, manufacturing and retail will be represented at the show to deliver new information about the packaging industry and showcase innovative packaging expertise. As we prepare for the event, we wanted to share some fun facts about the Windy City and its connection to the packaging industry. For example, did you know that Chicago is the U.S. leader in the food manufacturing industry? Check out that stat and more in the infographic below!

pack-expo-01

*Click on the image above for full view.

If you are attending Pack Expo this year, stop by our booth E-8942 and say hello! You can also follow us on Twitter (@Transplace) to keep up with all that is going on at the show.

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 30th, 2016

Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, which means we “fall back” and gain an hour of both sunlight and sleep. And that extra hour should free up a little bit of time to “fall into” this week’s TIP List. See below for all the stories, including intermodal transportation trends, news of Uber’s first self-driving truck and the impact of 3D printing on the supply chain industry.

  • Intermodal Transport: The Little Engine That Could: After two years of steady acceleration, intermodal transportation in North America hit a slowdown in 2016. Volume in the second quarter of 2016 fell by 6.1 percent compared with the same quarter in 2015.
  • Amazon Could Be A Lot Bigger Than We Think: Amazon’s data-savvy e-commerce model may have a far bigger reach in retail than commonly understood — signaling more threats to mass market retailers. In fact, Amazon’s yearly sales account for about 15% of total U.S. consumer online sales.
  • US Crude Oil Stockpiles Drops Unexpectedly: Nationwide crude stockpiles unexpectedly fell 553,000 barrels in mid-October. Supplies along the West Coast decreased by 2.26 million barrels to 47.1 million, the lowest since January 2015.
  • Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap: The nation’s 44th president has led a regulatory assault on American business, specifically the $748 billion trucking industry. During Obama’s two terms, Washington regulators have produced 600 major regulations, with dozens more in the pipeline.

What industry trends are you gaining insight into this week?

Is Your Transportation Network a Nightmare? – The Top 10 Things Keeping Supply Chain Professionals up at Night

Halloween is a time for ghosts and goblins, pumpkins and candy corn, fun and festivities. But for many supply chain and logistics professionals, sometimes the transportation network is far from a treat – in fact, it can get seriously tricky. As we head into the end of the year, we wanted to take a look at some of the things that may be keeping supply chain professionals feeling uneasy – and carve up some possible solutions to these tangled scenarios. Check out the list below for what may be haunting your supply chain!

  1. The Upcoming ELD Mandate Implementation Deadline: The FMCSA’s ELD mandate, created to improve safety within the transportation industry, is currently a very hot topic. And while a lot can happen between now and when the mandate takes full effect on December 16, 2017, most carriers anticipate a noticeable impact to utilization and capacity, making this a big industry priority to tackle.
  2. The Next Generation of Transportation Management Systems: What if you wake up one morning to find out that there is a blizzard about to hit the Midwest, and you have 100 time-sensitive shipments heading into Chicago that day? A next-gen TMS may have the solution, from web crawlers, weather and traffic data to a graphical view of shipments and key KPIs.
  3. The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: Good talent can be hard to find, especially in the supply chain industry. But great mentoring and a solid talent program can give your business a serious boost. And, not only do you benefit from investing in your own talent to shore up experience and knowledge, but your customers also benefit by gaining fresh perspectives on their business.
  4. The Truck Driver Shortage: From HOS mandates to keeping drivers healthy on the road, many in the industry are focused on recruiting and retaining truck drivers. Shippers want to be sure that carriers can efficiently deliver their freight on time, and carriers in turn want to ensure they will have enough drivers to meet demand. Finding this delicate balance is no easy feat.
  5. The Evolution of the 3PL Industry: As technology advances and provides more and more visibility into the supply chain, it’s important not to forget the value of industry expertise to effectively apply the power of tech. What’s as critical as a “TMS 2.0” is the deep understanding of key processes within the specific verticals in which a shipper resides.
  6. The Ever-Changing World of Legislation and Regulation: There is always something changing transportation. And as these changes happen in various, diverse markets – for example, the chemical industry and the food industry – carriers and shippers alike must always be keeping abreast of the latest happenings – which leads us to our 7th scary topic…
  7. Staying Ahead of Industry Trends: With so many things happening in the industry, sometimes transportation and supply chain professionals might find their heads swimming trying to keep up with it all. Taking the time to keep yourself informed and stay ahead of trends is important, and there are ways to help make it simple and easy!
  8. Reducing Costs and Gaining Supply Chain Visibility: Many companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to gain enhanced supply chain visibility for improved efficiency and cost savings. And whether they are looking to optimize shipment costs or rebalance time versus cost to stay competitive, leveraging the industry expertise, logistics technology and innovative processes of a 3PL might be a good way to start!
  9. Navigating Cross-Border Transportation: Tackling the many diverse complications of shipping cross-border can give many organizations a real headache. Troubles at the border such as the imbalance in northbound-southbound trade and peak season surges can be a real obstacle for shippers. Luckily, transloading and intermodal options have helped to alleviate some of the burden!
  10. Packaging and Retail Trends: With big buzzwords like drone delivery, the Industrial Internet of Things and self-driving delivery vehicles, the retail and packaging industries are certainly on the minds of many this fall. (Especially with big shows like NRF and Pack Expo coming up soon!) Are you ready to tackle some of the hottest trends in these industries? Stay tuned here on Logistically Speaking for a Pack Expo preview!

 

Which of these spooky supply chain troubles are keeping you up at night?