USPS Is Testing Self-Driving Trucks With TuSimple Autonomous Technology Kuebix

USPS Is Testing Self-Driving Trucks With TuSimple Autonomous Technology

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has awarded autonomous-truck creator, TuSimple, a contract to conduct a 2-week pilot program of self-driving trucks starting on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The self-driving truck startup reached “unicorn status” earlier this year with a $1 billion valuation.

This trial run will transport mail more than 1,000 miles each way between Phoenix and Dallas over the two week period and be used to gauge the affect self-driving trucks could have on delivery times and operational costs for the mail service. TuSimple will complete five round-trips, hauling USPS trailers from a distribution center in Phoenix to another in Dallas.

Each autonomous shipment will be accompanied by a safety engineer to ensure nothing goes wrong during the journey. TuSimple’s self-driving trucks are ranked as Level 4 autonomous, which means that they are capable of operating without the need for a human driver or monitor in certain conditions. Safety engineers will only be present during test runs and are not expected to be needed long term.

During the USPS pilot, the TuSimple trucks will autonomously navigate I-10, the southernmost cross-country interstate highway in the American Interstate Highway System. The I-10 is one of the busiest highways in the country and roughly 60% of all U.S. economic activity touches its pavement at some point.

TuSimple vehicles will also traverse the I-10 in the USPS pilot, indicating that road conditions are suitable for Level 4 autonomy. 60% of U.S. economic activity touches I-10 at some point, according to TuSimple’s press release announcing the contract. In addition to good operating conditions, the length of the route along with on OTD pressures makes it an ideal candidate for self-driving trucks to replace traditional, human-operated ones where drivers work in teams to relay shipments, often working overnights. These factors make it the ideal testing grounds for a long-haul pilot program.

“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” said Xiaodi Hou, the founder, president and CTO of TuSimple.

TuSimple’s announcement comes after stalling news about autonomous trucks throughout the industry. Self-driving vehicle creators must battle challenges from regulations to different weather conditions nationwide before they can hope to begin selling to the public or government. TuSimple’s new contract with USPS to conduct a two-week pilot is seen as the next step in the process of making autonomous delivery a reality in the United States.

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How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Trucking Industry

Virtual reality (VR) is most commonly known for its recreational use in video games. However, the advanced application of technology is beginning to gain traction and be recognized for its improvement of training programs in a multitude of industries. Forbes Magazine reported that VR-based training programs can reduce the amount of time it takes to train a new hire by 40% and improve that employee’s performance by 70% in comparison to a traditionally trained new hire. Through the incorporation of programs involving VR, companies can cut costs and improve performance at the same time.

Virtual Reality in Trucking

The trucking industry is no exception to this steadily rising trend. UPS has estimated that by the end of 2018, they will have put 4,000 new package delivery van drivers through a training program that involves virtual reality.

With VR-based training programs, new hires have the ability to train for their new position as a driver without incurring costs related to insurance, gas, maintenance, or repairs. Traditional methods of training require either physical experience on the roads or watching videos of other people explaining the dos and don’ts of vehicle operation. While physical experience can be costly and tutorial-like videos can be disengaging, virtual reality eliminates both of these concerns and promotes a hands-on, remote method of training.

Companies who implement virtual reality into their standard training methods are also finding that it reduces the risk associated with traditional approaches. Potential accidents or vehicle damage that may happen during the training process are both costly and dangerous. Through VR-based training programs these two scenarios are avoided. In fact, programs can actually give new hires a chance to repeat dangerous situations that are rare and often times turn out to be costly. If the driver ends up in that situation or a similar one later down the line, they will be better equipped and feel more prepared for how to handle it.

According to a report by the American Trucking Associations, approximately 90,000 truck drivers need to be replaced each year for the next decade to combat the truck driver shortage the industry is experiencing throughout America. VR-based training programs teach new drivers quicker than traditional methods, getting them out on the roads faster while still being just as effective.

Not including the cost of accidents, traditional styles of training for truck driving can cost up to $7,000. Despite the growing need for more drivers in the industry, many companies cannot afford such a steep price. Companies adopting VR-based training are experiencing lower costs as well as better quality training programs that are finished in less time. Although it requires an initial investment, VR-based training programs are rapidly gaining traction in the trucking industry.

 

Amazon Prime 1 Day Shipping Kuebix

What Amazon’s One-Day Delivery Promise Means for Supply Chains

Amazon is once again raising the bar for speed of delivery with its announcement that the company’s new goal is to make 1-day delivery standard for Prime customers. Amazon’s 2-day free shipping guarantee has already had huge implications on supply chains, so much in fact that the term the “Amazon Effect” was coined just to describe it.

The Amazon Effect is a trend where customers expect incredibly fast delivery, full visibility to tracking information, and great customer service because of the experience they get with Amazon Prime deliveries regularly. Customer expectations have increased because Amazon has proven it’s possible to deliver products in just 2 days, and to do it for free.

How Does Amazon Plan to Make 1-Day Delivery a Reality?

Amazon has laid out an aggressive strategy to make their 1-day standard delivery promise a reality. The company has announced that they will be greatly expanding their Delivery Service Partner program by incentivizing current employees to open their own package delivery businesses. Current employees will be offered $10,000 and three month’s pay to open their own delivery business, greatly reducing the risk and difficulties associated with staring a new company.

By removing many of the barriers to entry, Amazon hopes to expand the number of available trucks to deliver final mile packages across the country. With more available capacity to hand, Amazon will be able to get products to end customers faster. According to Amazon, entrepreneurs who take advantage of this new incentive program will have access to logistics technology, insurance, and support to be successful. Delivery partners who expand their fleets to 40 vehicles can earn as much as $300,000 in annual profits.

As Amazon increasingly replaces human labor in their warehouses with technology, this is also a strategy to move employees into new, fruitful positions with upward mobility. Many employees who may find their jobs in jeopardy of being replaced by robots can make the switch now to being delivery partners. Amazon is not only encouraging current employees to begin final mile shipping operations; the company will also be reimbursing military veterans up to $10,000 to start their own programs.

What Does This Mean For Companies With Their Own Supply Chains?

Customer expectations are about to rise again. Companies with freight to ship will need to work even harder to deliver superior customer experiences without going into the red. Every business will need to emphasise fast shipping and complete shipping visibility in order to compete with the outstanding service Amazon provides its customers.

What Can Companies Do to Keep Up With Increasing Customer Expectations?

Companies need to leverage network-based technology like Kuebix TMS to optimize their supply chains and connect to the greatest number of opportunities to collaborate with other businesses.

It isn’t feasible for most companies to create their own extensive private fleets like Amazon is doing with its Delivery Service Partner program. Instead, businesses need to connect with capacity already available in the industry to find opportunities to cut back on costs and improve speed of delivery.

Programs like Kuebix Community Load Match help shippers quickly and easily connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers. Through Community Load Match, shippers can receive spot quotes and book loads without needing to pick up the phone.

Amazon is expanding their network by incentivizing employees to create delivery services. Other shippers can expand their networks by leveraging Kuebix to access new, valuable sources of capacity alongside their negotiated carrier rates.

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

For shippers, calculating freight costs can be one of the hardest expenses to predict and can seriously impact the bottom line.

Using a transportation management system (TMS) can help optimize your shipping process and cut freight costs for LTL, truckload, parcel, intermodal, and other shipping modes. There are a variety of factors that impact how freight rates are calculated. It is helpful to understand these when making strategic shipping decisions on freight.  Below are a few of the top factors impacting your freight costs.

Mode of Transportation – The mode you choose to ship your freight will have a large impact on the cost of goods. Shipping a product by air is generally more expensive than driving a truck from point A to point B in the United States. Air can, of course, increase the speed of delivery, making it an important factor to weigh when comparing customer expectations and cost. Full TL is another example of a cost-saving mode when compared with LTL loads. If consolidation of several LTL shipments into one FTL shipment is possible, money can be saved in unloading costs, fuel charges and labor. Consolidation into FTL is often not an option, however, and the best shipping mode remains LTL.

Modes Icons

Weight – The shipping industry uses the hundredweight pricing model, which means that freight costs are calculated per hundredweight (CWT). Carriers consult a pricing chart that lists these costs and weight brackets. Under this model, the more your shipment weighs, the less you pay per hundred pounds. Many carriers will offer more competitive prices on volume shipments. Using Kuebix TMS, volume spot quotes can be leveraged directly through the technology.

Distance – The further your freight needs to travel, the higher the freight rate will be. This is due to wear-and-tear on assets, fuel utilization and driving time. It is important to always optimize each load so that the truck takes the most direct route to all stops and fewer trucks are utilized.

Kuebix is taking some of the guess-work out of calculating LTL freight rates through its free TMSKuebix Community Load Match

If you’re looking for great freight rates on truckload shipments, the best place to look is a community with thousands of shippers, carriers, vendors and brokers collaborating to create the best loads. Kuebix Community Load Match is a truckload spot market where any shipper can easily connect to trucks with available capacity.  If you have freight to ship and are looking for additional capacity, you can request and receive truckload spot quotes through Community Load Match for free!

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now with Kuebix Free Shipper.

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019 - Kuebix TMS

Join Kuebix at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019

The team from Kuebix will be exhibiting and speaking this year at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019! This conference is the world’s most important gathering of supply chain leaders and promises to be a great event. The Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference takes place May 13 – 16 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.

Kuebix will be showcasing our transportation management system (TMS) and doing demos at our booth. Our technology is the industry’s fastest-growing TMS with over 16,000 companies within the Kuebix shipping community already. If you’re planning to attend the conference, we’d love to schedule a demonstration at our booth. Click here to request a meeting through this link.

Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President, will also be speaking at the conference. Dan’s session, Community Powered TMS: Driving Profits for Shippers and Carriers, will teach attendees how a cloud-based transportation management system can be the foundation of a vast shipping community where shippers and carriers realize new levels of efficiency and savings.

Dan’s speaking session will begin at 5:15 PM on Wednesday, May 15 and take place in the Grand Saguaro Foyer at the JW Marriot. We hope to see you there!

About the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019 is the world’s most important gathering of supply chain leaders. Disruptions large and small confront today’s supply chains on a daily basis. At this year’s conference, chief supply chain officers and their leadership teams focus on how to recognize the impacts of disruptions and create transformational strategies that empower the organization to exceed performance expectations.

Strategic Partnerships Expand Opportunities in Cloud-Based Transportation Communities

Cloud-based transportation communities are digital networks where companies connect to find opportunities for efficiency and cost savings. These networks are comprised of shippers, carriers, suppliers, brokers, freight forwarders and every other type of company involved in the shipping of freight. On these digital networks, members connect to leverage efficiencies such as finding additional truckload capacity and filling empty fleet miles.

A new eBook, Putting Community in TMS: Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management by industry analyst and President of Adelante, SCM, Adrian Gonzalez breaks down how the network effect can be enabled in transportation management. He discusses how network-based transportation management systems (TMS) act as a conduit for shippers to maintain thousands of relationships without needing to manually forge relationships one-by-one with other companies.

“Instead of establishing and maintaining hundreds or even thousands of one-to-one connections, companies make a single connection to the network to communicate and collaborate with their existing trading partners.”

In order to attract the most users and keep them engaged on a routine basis, network-based transportation management systems serve as the operating system for these communities. Shippers are already accessing the TMS for their daily logistics needs and can therefore easily pivot to community-specific features like truckload spot markets and load matching services.

To make these community-specific services enticing and valuable for shippers leveraging the TMS, there need to be a multitude of opportunities flowing into the network-based TMS from the other end. That’s to say, there needs to be extensive available capacity exposed to the community of shippers for opportunities to be found. That’s where partnerships come in.

Kuebix, as the first and only network-based transportation management system, is pioneering this concept. By partnering with external communities and thousands of individual brokers and carriers, Kuebix is able to expose available capacity from all over the supply chain industry to its TMS users.

Partnering with Emerge Private Freight Marketplace

A new partnership with Emerge has enabled Kuebix to rapidly expand the number of opportunities available to its customers in Kuebix Community Load Match, a truckload spot marketplace. Through this partnership, members of the community can tap into Emerge’s Private Freight Marketplace and seamlessly book with thousands of verified carriers without needing to maintain individual relationships.

Partnerships like that with Emerge quickly grow the shipping community and provide users with more opportunities for collaboration. The key is to connect every transportation player through a single system where it is easy to find opportunities for collaboration while simultaneously keeping users engaged with the community, even when they aren’t actively looking for additional capacity.Kuebix and Emerge

 

Kuebix TMS and the Network Effect in Transportation Management

Kuebix TMS was built around the concept of the network effect and is proving the theory in conjunction with transportation management as described by Gonzalez in Putting Community in TMS. As more users join Kuebix’s logistics community by becoming users of the TMS, more carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and other supply chain players can be partnered with to expose available capacity. This creates a snowball effect where when more shippers join to leverage the new opportunities, new partnerships with carriers and brokers can be established to take advantage of more shippers seeking capacity. It’s a win-win for all supply chain players and grows the cloud-based community exponentially.

Currently, there are over 16,000 members of Kuebix’s shipping community and that number continues to grow. The new collaboration with Emerge and other strategic partnerships will continue to drive shippers to the technology, encouraging more partners with available capacity to expose their assets through the technology, and so on and so forth, creating the industry’s largest cloud-based shipping community.

TMS Benefits and Advantages

The Advantages and Benefits of Transportation Management Systems (TMS) *Infographic*

Challenges like the driver shortage, capacity crunch, increased final mile delivery expectations and rising freight prices have shippers looking for ways to improve their supply chains. The solution to these problems is to implement a transportation management system (TMS). A robust TMS can speed up logistics operations, reduce waste and improve the company’s bottom line. Here are a few of the main advantages and benefits of transportation management systems (TMS).

TMS Advantages Infographic Small

  1. Save between 10 – 20% on your total freight spend depending on your supply chain’s current processes.
  2. Gain visibility to all your loads and always have an answer to the question: “Where’s my truck?!”
  3. Select the best rate & best service type for every shipment by comparing all options side-by-side.
  4. Optimize and consolidate loads and routes to reduce empty miles and improve efficiencies.
  5. Track and trace orders down to the SKU level to provide better service to customers.
  6. Analyze reports, dashboards, and carrier & supplier scorecards to make strategic changes to your supply chain.
  7. Centralize all order and load information so that it can be easily accessed by any team member, creating continuity for logistics teams.
  8. Exceed customer expectations and improve customer satisfaction by shipping faster, cheaper, and with improved visibility.
Sustainable Supply Chain Kuebix

6 Ways to “Go Green” With Supply Chain Technology

Sustainability initiatives and efforts to “go green” are trending through every industry and many are focusing on the supply chain. There are innumerable reasons why companies are prioritizing sustainability. These reasons range from everything from worries about climate change, the need to save money and streamline operations, to increasingly eco-friendly customer bases and the need to please investors that are prioritizing sustainability.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported in January that global venture capital investment into startups focused on sustainability jumped 127% to $9.2 billion in 2018, which is the highest seen since 2010. If that increase in investments doesn’t show where the economy is headed, Forbes recently reported on a study which found that:

  •      •     68% of Millennials bought a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months.
  •      •     87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  •      •     88% will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  •      •     87% would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity.
  •      •     92% will be more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues.

There is plenty of evidence that sustainability initiatives can improve companies’ bottom lines and strengthen customer loyalty and brand awareness. Finding the opportunities to implement these green initiatives, however, can be seen as a challenge for many organizations unfamiliar with this new terrain. For most companies selling physical products either B2B or B2C, the low-hanging fruit for environmental change lies within their supply chains.

The simplest and most effective way for companies to understand, streamline and make strategic changes to their supply chains is to leverage supply chain technology like transportation management systems (TMS). With the help of technology, companies can make environmentally friendly changes to their supply chains and add to their overall company sustainability initiatives.

Here are 5 ways supply chain technology can help companies can “go green”:

  1. Plan Routes More Effectively

According to the American Trucking Associations, 3 billion gallons of fuel was consumed for business purposes in 2016. That number has likely grown as gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States increased 2.3% from 2016 – 2017 as reported by the World Bank. Reducing fuel consumption should be a priority for businesses not only to benefit the environment but also to reduce transportation costs.

Technology can help logistics professionals choose the best route for every load, something that can be nearly impossible to do by hand. Instead of manually comparing routes and consolidating loads one by one, routers and warehouse employees can leverage optimization technology to automatically create the perfect load based on predetermined parameters. An algorithm in the technology will ensure the fewest number of miles are driven for the maximum number of orders per truck, reducing overall fuel consumption.

  1. Select the Best Mode

Selecting the best mode for every shipment is another way to ensure less fuel (and money) is used on a shipment. Many shippers don’t have time to compare LTL, FTL, ground freight pricing, and parcel for every order, however. With a transportation management system in place, every available mode type can be easily compared on a single screen. That means orders which would normally be shipped as LTL, for example, may be able to be shipped as parcel. By choosing the best mode type for every shipment, companies reduce wasted space on trucks and save money in the process.

  1. Fill Empty Miles

For companies with their own fleet assets, filling empty backhaul and deadhead miles can be a lofty goal. Finding and booking available backhaul freight can be nearly impossible to do manually. It can require one or more individuals to dedicate all of their time to find opportunities, and more often than not those opportunities aren’t repeatable. By connecting to a transportation management system with a large shipping community like Kuebix, fleet owners can be easily matched with available backhaul freight. This means that trucks drive empty less of the time and less fuel goes to waste.

  1. Waste Less Fuel Idling in the Yard

Idling is a large culprit of wasted fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical long-haul truck “idles about 1,800 hours per year, using about 1,500 gallons of diesel.” That’s a shocking amount and most certainly cutting into companies bottom-lines, not to mention contributing to overall fuel emissions. While much of this time idling comes from regulated rest periods, some of it comes from long waits at gates and for available docks in yards. Not only are detention fees being racked up, fuel usage is as well.

Companies who want to reduce idling time in their yards can leverage supply chain technology like yard management systems (YMS) to streamline operations. Features like gate check, dock scheduling and hostler optimization can speed up operations in the yard and get drivers in and out quickly.

  1. Embrace the Circular Supply Chain

The circular supply chain is about taking apparent waste materials and returned goods and turning them into products which can be resold. Shippers can embrace this level of “reduce, reuse, recycle” by using a transportation management system to help track their orders and returns. Complete visibility to products down to the SKU level can help OS&D and customer service departments understand exactly where returns or damaged products are and turn apparent trash into revenue streams.

Circular Supply Chain

 

  1. Reduce the Paper Trail

At their core, supply chain technologies are helping move traditionally operating supply chains to the digital age. That means saying goodbye to the physical paper-trail associated with shipping and instead keeping track of all operations online. By leveraging cloud-based supply chain technology, companies save paper while also speeding up their operations.

Should My Company “Go Green?”

If you’re asking yourself if your company should try to improve their environmental footprint with a sustainability initiative, the simple answer is yes. No matter why you decide to “go green” there will likely be positive benefits for your company. You’re likely to save money, please customers and investors and make a positive impact on the environment. A large portion of companies’ carbon footprints stems from the supply chain, making it the obvious place for many companies to begin their green initiatives. With the help of supply chain technology like transportation and yard management systems, the overall environmental impact can be reduced in a smart and simple way.

Network Effect Kuebix

Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management [eBook]

According to Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante, SCM, Supply Chain Operating Networks are the business equivalent of LinkedIn and Facebook. These cloud-based networks can enable companies to embrace collaboration and realize huge efficiencies. But Supply Chain Operating Networks are few and far between. One of the reasons for this absence is because the majority of technology traditionally used by supply chains have been housed within the “four walls” of individual companies. New SaaS, cloud-based technologies like Kuebix TMS are changing this.

As traditional, on-premises transportation management systems become replaced by SaaS, cloud-based ones, companies have the opportunity to digitally connect with one another via new Supply Chain Operating Networks. Kuebix is the first TMS to fully embrace this concept, with Kuebix’s technology acting as the backbone for a rapidly growing community.

The swift growth of Kuebix’s shipping community is proving the idea that the Network Effect can be used to great advantage in the supply chain industry. With over 16,000 companies in the Kuebix’s shipping network, thousands of suppliers, shippers, carriers, brokers, and other supply chain players are able to connect with one another for new collaboration opportunities.

These opportunities can lessen the impact of tightening capacity, help fill empty backhaul miles and ensure that shippers are always aware of the most cost-effective and customer-friendly options to ship.

Read an excerpt of Gonzalez’s eBook, Putting Community in TMS: Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management, to learn more about the Network Effect in transportation and supply chain operations.

Transportation management is inherently a network-based business process. It involves an ecosystem of different parties — a community, if you will, of shippers, carriers, consignees, brokers, and others that need to communicate and collaborate with each other in order to transport products and utilize assets and labor as efficiently as possible.

This transportation community is analogous to the connections and relationships enabled by social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. A big difference, however, is that unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, which are powered by network native software, the transportation community has historically been powered by enterprise-centric software — that is, transportation management systems (TMS) that were designed for, and used primarily by, the transportation function within the four walls of a company.

This fragmented, “inside the four walls” approach makes it challenging to quickly and efficiently match transportation demand with available capacity, as companies of all sizes experienced in 2018. This growing need in the market for better matching of supply and demand, coupled with the rise of cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), application programming interfaces (APIs), and other emerging technologies, is driving the next evolution of transportation management systems.

Simply put, transportation management systems are transitioning from being “inside the four walls” applications to becoming operating systems that power transportation communities and enable network effects.

Click here to download the full eBook!

 

What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

What is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

The term ‘Transportation Management System’ or TMS has become more common in the supply chain industry as companies turn to technology to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. Technology has revolutionized everything from how we watch TV, to how we buy our groceries, and even how we meet each other. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that a key component of the American economy (the movement of goods, materials and other freight) would eventually turn to technology to keep pace. Transportation management systems are the logical next step. Now, companies of all sizes are researching transportation management systems to learn more about how technology can save them money, streamline logistics operations and improve customer satisfaction.

But What Exactly is A Transportation Management System or TMS?

Definition – According to Gartner, an analyst firm providing companies with insight, advice and tools to evaluate technology:

“A TMS (transportation management system) is used to plan freight movements, do freight rating and shopping across all modes, select the appropriate route and carrier, and manage freight bills and payments.”

Simply put, a TMS is a system that companies can use to digitally manage their freight operations instead of calling and emailing internal and external partners. Transportation management systems often sit between a company’s ERP system and a warehouse management system (WMS) and connect the two for increased supply chain efficiency. Orders flowing between these systems create continuity and speed up the time from customer order to final delivery.

At their core, most transportation management systems have rating, booking and tracking functionality. Others have advanced reporting and dashboards, freight pay and audit, and other modular features that can be added as needed. Transportation management systems come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some of the potential benefits companies can gain by implementing a TMS:

  •      •     Save money and grow your bottom-line
  •      •     Save time and repurpose labor to value-added projects instead of “firefighting”
  •      •     Improve customer satisfaction
  •      •     Get insight into your operations to make strategic changes
  •      •     Grow your business!

Step-by-Step Guide on What You Need to Know About Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

Types of Transportation Management Software – Transportation management systems have been around since the 1980s, but they’ve come a long way from the clunky, monolithic machines of the past. Now there are many varieties which cater to companies from every industry and of any size. Some TMSs focus on small – to – medium-sized businesses (SMB) and only offer very basic functionality including rating and booking. Many TMSs that cater to a smaller market don’t offer customization or advanced features like reporting and analytics or integrations. Instead, they focus on being low total cost to own (TCO).

Other TMSs focus on the high end of the market and cater to enterprise-size companies. These TMSs often only have a few customers and their price-points make it nearly impossible for smaller companies to benefit from them. According to Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM, “In the case of shippers, large enterprises (over $1 billion in revenues) were the early adopters of transportation management systems (TMS), due in large part to the high cost of buying and implementing on-premise applications (typically over $1 million).”

Kuebix IntegrationsEnterprise-class TMSs usually offer advanced functionality like integrations, freight pay and audit, order and route optimization, and many other features. Unfortunately, most of these legacy systems come as a complete (and pricey) set, leaving companies who don’t need certain features with a bill for the technology they won’t use.

The solution to this is to find a TMS that will expand and contract along-side your business so that you always have the features you need and aren’t paying for the ones you don’t. Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are built to serve companies of all sizes and needs.

Kuebix Free Shipper was the industry’s first truly free TMS and has removed all barriers to entry to SMB customers looking for rating, booking and tracking functionality. Companies looking for financial management, advanced analytics and other premium features can upgrade to Kuebix Business Pro and Kuebix Enterprise and then seamlessly add additional features.

What’s the Difference Between Cloud-based / SaaS, and On-Premise TMS?

Besides being geared toward specific audiences, transportation management systems are housed and accessed in two different ways. The traditional way which many early adopters of transportation technology used was on-premise software.

On-premise software is installed and run directly on local computers. This requires a representative from the TMS provider to physically install the TMS “on-premise” at the user’s headquarters so that the company can gain access to it. This can cause difficulties whenever a problem arises or a new version needs to be updated, not to mention the customer’s inability to take their TMS on the road with them.

Cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) TMS are becoming strongly preferred over on-premise software. They are much more agile and easier to install, maintain, and upgrade, leading to a faster return on investment (ROI) and less hassle. With software that is housed on the “cloud” (online), users can access it from anywhere, even from mobile devices, and aren’t constrained to “the four walls” of their office building.

Most cloud-based transportation management systems are sold as software-as-a-service (SaaS). This means that users subscribe to the technology on a monthly or annual basis instead of purchasing the technology outright. Not only is this more cost-effective, it also means that users are always on the most recent version of the software.

What is the Core Functionality of a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

As mentioned above, most transportation management systems provide these three core features:

  1. Rating
  2. Booking
  3. Tracking

This means that any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery. Instead of needing to call individual carriers or visit each carrier’s website, the user can simply access the TMS to see all of their negotiated rates laid out side-by-side. Then they can quickly choose the rate with the best price and service level and book it directly through the system and track it through delivery.

Common Transportation Management System (TMS) Upgrades

Though most TMSs provide the standard rating, booking and tracking, other more advanced TMSs also offer additional features. These can sometimes be added on in a modular fashion so that the user only pays for what they need, or may come as a package deal with the TMS. Here are some of the common capabilities of more advanced transportation management systems:

  •      •     Freight Pay and Audit – This feature helps companies automatically audit each carrier invoice. TMSs like Kuebix indicate which bills are within the predetermined threshold and can be paid and calls-out others which do not fall within the limit. This makes it much faster for financial teams to pay carriers and helps them avoid overpaying on accident.
  •      •     Order Integrations – An integration between the TMS and an ERP or a financial system like NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, or QuickBooks can vastly improve the speed and accuracy of booking. Order information flows directly from the ERP system and automatically populates within the TMS so that users never need to re-key information. This eliminates user-error which can lead to endless firefighting and incorrect deliveries.
  •      •     Order and Route Optimization – Some TMSs offer load and route consolidation and optimization through algorithms within their technology. The system can suggest the most efficient and cost-effective method of shipping a group of orders and the user can book the load quickly and easily.
  •      •     Reports and Dashboards – Analytics are a major draw for many companies interested in improving their logistics processes. Actionable reports and dashboards let users understand every detail of their freight spend and make strategic decisions on the basis of data. They can be used to evaluate carrier KPIs, total freight spend by item, and to provide insight to leadership.

Order and Route Optimization Infographic What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

How Can a Transportation Management System (TMS) Software Save Me Money on Freight Spend?

Compare Rates: Transportation management systems let users automatically access all their negotiated carrier rates side-by-side for easy viewing and comparing. TMS users save time by no longer switching between individual carrier websites but instead have all their tariff information contained in one, user-friendly screen. Often, logistics professionals don’t have time to check the rate with every carrier, so inevitably end up missing out on quality rates. With a TMS users can choose the most attractive rate out of all their carriers for each shipment, saving them money on every load.

Pay Bills Correctly: Invoice audit is another way many companies use a TMS to save on total freight spend. Often, accidental or incorrect charges can be added to a shipment. Things like lift-gate fees and incorrect detention charges can increase the final amount on an invoice. These miscellaneous accessorial fees are easy to overlook when manually auditing invoices and are often even intentionally ignored because they waste too much time to rectify. These fees add up quickly, however, so having a system to automatically audit every carrier invoice can save huge amounts each year.

Understand Freight Spend: With a TMS that isn’t tied to a certain carrier or 3PL, users can access all of their rates side-by-side in an unbiased way. And with the addition or reports and analytics, users know exactly how well each carrier is performing on each lane. With this knowledge and understanding of the market rate, TMS users are positioned to negotiate for better rates and service levels with their partner carriers. This saves money overall and helps to improve relationships and customer service all at once.

Gain Visibility: Shippers leveraging a TMS like Kuebix also gain benefits from improved visibility to their supply chain operations.  All stakeholders can use the common platform to plan their moves, receive alerts to changes as they occur, see every status update made, and make real-time adjustments to keep the supply chain moving smoothly and the customer happy. By sharing a single common system, suppliers can plan inventory levels more effectively to offer better customer service. Carriers can move shipments in and out more efficiently, making their operations more cost effective and the customer can improve the management of their inbound operations and warehouse.

Optimization: For companies with large or complex supply chains, features like order and route optimization can also save significant money. This is because manually building the perfect load is a challenge, and more often than not too time-consuming to bother with. There are countless factors a logistics professional needs to take into consideration such as delivery date, location, class, weight and size. Weighing all of these factors without the help of technology usually results in missed opportunities and wasted resources. Instead of pouring through spreadsheets and manually grouping orders onto a single truck, Load Builders and Optimizers can be leveraged to help logistics teams build and optimize the perfect load every time to save significant money.

Click here to see how one company saved $2.2 million dollars in cost-avoidance within one year by leveraging a TMS!

Will a TMS Save Me Time?

Many people are concerned that a TMS won’t actually save them time because they’ve been doing their job for years and know how to do it like the back of their hand. While “tribal” knowledge and relationships gained over a career aren’t easily replaced, a TMS can speed up even the most seasoned logistics professional. Instead of managing an inbox and voicemail of hundreds of loads, every load and stop on a route is tracked in one place. Spreadsheets are no longer required to transfer order information back and forth and users can spend more of their valuable time working on strategic projects instead of troubleshooting errors.

From shippers with only a few loads a week to enterprises with hundreds of complex orders to sort through each day, leveraging technology can save countless hours. ERP integrations to automatically flow order information back and forth between systems not only improves accuracy but also makes the process of rating and booking much faster. Auditing and optimization features remove previously tedious processes and result in a faster speed from order to delivery. A few minutes saved per order adds up quickly no matter what size company is doing the shipping.

Inmod Furniture Case Study

Not all transportation management systems (TMS’s) are created equal. Make sure to be aware of these common TMS challenges and if you’re thinking of implementing a TMS within your organization:

  •      •     Not every TMS supports all modes of transportation

What to ask: Ask the TMS provider what modes of transportation they do support and whether support is included in all of their purchase levels. Find out if they support full truckload (FTL), less-than-load (LTL), ground freight, air, intermodal, and ocean.

  •      •     The technology wasn’t built on the cloud

What to ask: Find out whether the technology is/ has always been housed on the cloud. If it hasn’t been, make sure that customer reviews reflect the provider’s ability to support a cloud-based technology. Many legacy transportation management systems have not had smooth transitions to a SaaS cloud-based model.

  •      •     Biased in favor of one carrier or 3PL

What to ask: Ask whether the technology is owned by a carrier or 3PL. If it is, determine whether you will be able to add all of your negotiated carrier rates to be viewed side-by-side in the technology. Many TMSs owned by a carrier or 3PL have preferred rates which could detract from your savings. Remember, a TMS should give you an agnostic way to find the best carrier rates.

  •      •     Bad customer reviews

What to ask: Ask to see some customer references before deciding on a TMS. If the TMS provider cannot show you any customer case studies or videos, that should be a red flag. Check out technology review sites like Capterra and Gartner Peer Insights for unbiased reviews from real customers.

So, what is a Transportation Management System?

A TMS is a tool that any size company can use to improve the efficiency of their shipping processes. TMSs like Kuebix TMS help companies capitalize on supply chain opportunities through visibility, control and the use of predictive analytics. And since Kuebix is built on the latest cloud technology, it can be implemented quickly so that any company can begin seeing rapid ROI.

In conclusion, to learn about Kuebix TMS visit here.

boeing 737 kuebix Kuebix

One Man’s Solo-Trip on a Boeing 737 is Really Additional Backhaul Revenue

On March 16th, Skirmantas Strimaitis discovered he was the lone passenger on a Boeing 737-800 with a seating capacity of 189 people headed from Vilnius, Lithuania to Bergamo, Italy. When tour operator company Novaturas realized the flight they had chartered earlier for guests was going to fly back empty, they decided to put one-way tickets on sale in an attempt to generate additional profit on a trip they had to take regardless. This process is one commonly referred to in the supply chain industry as filling backhaul miles, which has become vital to the success of supply chains worldwide.

Courtesy Skirmantas Strimaitis

How Can This Concept Help Companies?

Whether freight is moving via flight, drive, or boat ride, all modes of transportation have one thing in common- the trip back. It has to happen, so why not utilize it? Through filling their backhaul miles with additional freight, fleets are largely improving their business. Delivering additional freight on a trip that they had to take anyways is generating additional revenue and reducing the amount of gas waste simultaneously. Having truck drivers deliver at a time where they have to commute regardless helps lower the cost of labor and maintenance necessary for the fleet to run smoothly.

Why Aren’t More People Doing it?

It may seem puzzling that filling backhaul miles isn’t common procedure if it is as helpful as it sounds. This is largely due to the fact that organizing and managing backhauls has proven to be time-consuming and oftentimes expensive. There are limitations as to how far and for how long drivers can be on the roads, which often makes it difficult to find feasible opportunities to execute backhauls in the first place. Routes that are already being driven face even more challenges because they are operating steadily and adding a backhaul can sometimes seem to be impossible based on location.

What Do We Do?

The most efficient and effective way to start filling backhaul miles is to utilize technology. Doing so allows companies to work even more efficiently and removes some of the pressure from the process. For example, Kuebix created FleetMAX, which is a program that matches backhaul capacity with freight to consistently reduce the number of empty miles and make the most of each trip. It simplifies the process of scrambling to find freight and provides real-time visibility into routes that have been planned and the locations and movement of freight. Letting a program like FleetMAX do the heavy lifting in a process as involved as filling backhaul capacity makes it a much more feasible task for all supply chains.

Kuebix - Driver Shortage Study

New Study Questions Validity of the Truck Driver Shortage

It’s been taken as fact for many years that there is a shortage of truck drivers in the United States. Companies report problems covering their loads and even the American Trucking Associations announced that there will be a shortage of 174,000 drivers by 2026 if the current climate continues. Here are just a few of the logical reasons many believe there is a driver shortage.

For instance, the growth in popularity of e-commerce ordering has increased the frequency of shipments, especially for the final mile. Trends like “the Amazon Effect” have warped customer expectations to the point that most people expect their orders in just a few days, meaning shippers need to work hard to position orders to arrive in time. It’s also understood that Millennials aren’t replacing Baby Boomer truckers at a swift enough rate as the older generation enters retiring age. All of these reasons couple together to paint a picture of a truck driver shortage.

A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is questioning this assumption. The study released in March 2019 questions whether the U.S. labor market for truck drivers is really broken. According to the study, discussion of a supposed driver shortage has been happening in the industry on and off since the late 1980s. They posit that real disequilibrium in a specific job market can only be sustained long-term if there is a systemic issue.

“This disequilibrium suggests either some unusual and persistent causal factor at work, such as a skills mismatch or a regulatory constraint preventing workers from entering employment or changing occupations, or a misapplication of economic terminology in describing the business situation.”

In layman’s terms, there needs to be some external factor making it impossible for enough drivers to be hired. Otherwise, as the study suggests, the market would naturally correct itself with rising wages and benefits. They suggest that since there are no causal factors preventing entry into the truck driving job market, there cannot be a driver shortage.

If you’ve ever taken an Economics course, you’ve probably come across the Law of Supply and Demand. This theory is generally used when discussing markets for purchased goods but is also relevant when discussing jobs. “The correlation between price and how much of a good or service is supplied to the market is known as the supply relationship. Price, therefore, is a reflection of supply and demand.” In this case, price = drivers’ salaries.

According to the study, if there is a real need for a service, prices will rise to bring the market back to equilibrium. There were, however, “indicators suggesting that the market for truck drivers has been tight over the period from 2003 through 2017: wages in the occupation have been strong relative to those in similar occupations…” To put it simply, there has been a shortage of drivers, but the market rebalances itself with adjusted wages to entice new talent to the industry.

Even though it may be difficult for companies who need to ship product to find drivers, in the end, they are finding enough. Somehow products are being delivered and sellers in every industry continue to be able to do business. If this is all true, the argument could be made that the availability of drivers is tight and getting tighter, but not at the point yet where vast changes in salaries take effect to bring the industry back to equilibrium.

Kuebix - Magic Quadrant for TMS

Kuebix Advances Position in 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

It’s a known fact that technology is helping companies around the world speed up their supply chains. According to Gartner research*, “The challenges in transportation around scarce capacity, higher costs and more demanding customers are increasing the need for technology.”

Making the decision to implement any new piece of technology can be a large commitment though. That’s why it’s essential that companies thoroughly understand the different transportation management system (TMS) options before they commit to what could be a lengthy and expensive implementation process if they don’t choose wisely.

Luckily, Gartner, Inc. provides the unbiased insight into the TMS marketplace that business leaders need. Each year, Gartner releases the Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems*. This analysis covers all major players in the TMS marketplace and highlights their varying strengths and cautions. Some TMS’s positively advance their position and others descend.

Kuebix is proud to have advanced its position in this year’s Magic Quadrant for TMS and be recognized for its ability to execute.

“Over 16,000 companies have joined the Kuebix shipping community, recognizing that we are providing an easy to use, fast-to-implement, enterprise-class TMS that delivers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,” commented Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President. “We believe that Kuebix’s advancement in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems is due to our unprecedented market growth, product innovation, and commitment to the success of each and every one of our customers.”

Shippers in any industry with freight to ship can leverage Gartner’s research to help them determine which TMS will provide them the best tools and service to improve their supply chains. They can also view first-hand reviews by real customers on Gartner Peer Insights. Read reviews about Kuebix such as “Core product exceeded expectations as did integration team” and “Implementation was very collaborative and they presented real solutions.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, 27 March 2019

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

ELD Mandate Kuebix

5 Ways the ELD Mandate Has Changed the Supply Chain for the Better

The “U.S. federal government regulation specifying that operators of commercial motor vehicles covered by this law will be required to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs” was first announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2015 and the first deadline to comply was in December 2017“. Since then, the ELD Mandate has sparked conversation through businesses worldwide as they adapt to this change and debate whether or not it’s best for their supply chain. On the pro-ELD side of the debate, here are 5 ways some supply chains have reported benefits since the ELD Mandate went into effect.

Increased Accuracy

Before ELDs, records of service were kept in a logbook. This simple pen-and-paper method cannot guarantee accurate information because it leaves room for miscommunication. With ELDs, the information truckers enter into the system can instantly be sent to a recordkeeping facility or database or immediately become available to the Department of Transportation Authorities. This new and improved process protects the authenticity of the information being entered into the system and allows mistakes or miscalculations to be caught much quicker.

More Information

Management that has their fleets using full-service ELD routes now have a significantly larger amount of information on their fleet operations than they did with the traditional logbook. This new insight gives them more information on how well their operations are running and what they could do better. They have a much easier time planning maintenance for vehicles and appropriately scheduling and staffing. Carriers will also have a better idea of how traffic is affecting their routes and what they could do differently next time to avoid disruptions along with how their gas is being used and how to allocate trucks more efficiently.

Downtime for Drivers

With traditional logbooks, there were a lot of tricks available to be able to cut breaks shorter. ELDs eliminate this possibility and ensure that drivers are getting the required amount of rest between routes. Drivers who are tired are vulnerable to car accidents. Ensuring that they are recording their hours through an ELD helps protect drivers from finding themselves in these situations and makes the roads safer for everyone who drives.

Easier IFTA Calculation

Fleets are required to file IFTA reports at the end of every quarter. This process can be time-consuming and daunting for those working in administrative departments. ELDs solve this problem by automating the calculation process. This saves thousands of dollars by relieving some of the administrative pressure and operational cost. IFTA reports automated by ELDs also eliminate the possibility of inconsistencies or errors, drastically improving the accuracy and ease of the reports altogether.

Higher Profits

ELDs directly result in much higher profits through better route management, increased accuracy in time logs, unparalleled vehicle monitoring, automated IFTA reports, and a reduction in fuel waste. These all contribute to the notoriously high price of supply chains.  Although separately these aspects may seem like minor pieces of the larger supply chain puzzle, a reduction in the cost and increase in efficiency of each of these leads to an overall increase in profits for businesses.