Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020

Let the Bargains Begin: Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become infamous discount-filled holidays. Many families enjoy the tradition of camping outside retail locations and being some of the first to shop at midnight. Those who feel overwhelmed by this often chaotic process can enjoy many of the same sales on Cyber Monday, which starts the Monday after Black Friday.

The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Foundation (NRF). They had noticed a recurring spike in online traffic and sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving. The NRF believed the substantial increase in revenue was a result of consumers making purchases at work because of stronger internet connection and privacy from kids wanting a sneak peek at their gifts.

As online shopping continues to gain traction, many big-name retailers are now offering their Cyber Monday discounts early to try to get an upper hand against the competition. Early offers are attractive to consumers because they are able to get good deals on in-demand products. Not to mention they can avoid the chaos of shopping in stores on Black Friday!

Below are a few retailers starting Cyber Monday early:

  •    •    Target – Hauls on Target’s e-commerce website are even more appealing to consumers with their recently added free two-day shipping offer running until December 21. Their “HoliDeals” program will feature thousands of deals on electronics, décor, toys and more throughout the holiday season. To kick off the holidays, Target is having a Black Friday preview sale on November 8 and 9 that will include 4x the number of discounts last year had. The company is hoping to make it easier for consumers to save by having their markdowns available for an extended period of time.
  •    •    Walmart – Walmart start November off strong by unveiling a series of amazing deals on electronic devices including Apple MacBook Airs, HP 14 Laptops, Apple AirPods, Smart TVs and more. These deals are congregated on their “Deal Drop” page that is steadily expanding as the holidays approach. Walmart is offering free next-day delivery on eligible orders that are worth $35 and over. By offering more promotions than ever and hosting in-store visits from Santa, Walmart hopes to serve as a one-stop-shop for all holiday gift needs and fun.
  •    •    Amazon – Amazon has dubbed its page of various discounts for the holidays as “Happy HoliDeals.” This section of their website is currently live and offering up to 70% off on products including Dyson vacuums, Alexa gadgets, Bose headphones, bedding essentials and more. Amazon is offering deals that last through the shopping season along with Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day. These subcategories of discounts only last for a certain amount of time in hopes of leading consumers to make a purchase and avoid missing out.

What to Expect from Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is still the busiest shopping day for retail stores, but it should be noted that foot traffic is declining. In 2018, the number of people visiting stores decreased by 9% in comparison to the previous year. Each holiday shopper spent around $1,007.24 in 2019 on seasonal products including gifts, food, decorations and greeting cards. They also shop for non-holiday products to take advantage of seasonal deals and promotions. Consumers spent a grand total of $717.50 billion in 2018 (up 4.3% from 2017).

It’s estimated that Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and the days in between capture 20% of all holiday online shopping! Cyber Monday drew in $7.9 billion worth of online sales (up 19.7% from 2017). The NRF cited a mixture of self-spending and gifting along with high confidence among shoppers for this upward trend.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Have Ample Inventory on Hand

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday closing in, it’s important to take a step back and identify what your supply chain needs to have a successful holiday shopping season. Retailers need ample stock of their inventory that can move throughout their supply chain and between other locations based on sales volume easily. Preparing for the season can only take companies so far – a portion of their profit is dependent on the ability to adapt to consumers’ responses as promotions begin to roll out.

Know the Customer

The average holiday shopper’s knowledge of substitute products and standards has increased since the dawn of the internet. Retailers are responsible for knowing what shoppers want instead of simply telling them what they need – meaning power is given back to the consumer. Shoppers expect the same discounts offered in-store to be available online so they can shop within the comfort of their own home. Stores who don’t make this a reality or offer exclusive in-store promotions run the risk of losing their share of online holiday shoppers to competitors.

Offer a Shipping Incentive

Big-name retailers who have successfully navigated Black Friday and Cyber Monday have one thing in common: Shipping incentives. Consumer demand has been steadily increasing for some time now. Shoppers are more concrete in what they want and are looking to have the product in their hands as soon as possible. Retailers have adjusted to this by offering a shipping incentive like 24/7 free shipping, free shipping after spending a certain amount of money or free two-day shipping. Consumers are already more inclined to shop online and free shipping that transports their products is another convincing factor.

The 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

A successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday both rely on balance. Retailers must have sufficient inventory for online and in-store sales to provide holiday shoppers with the best experience possible. They need to be aware of what consumers like to see in person before buying and what they prefer to order online. Inventory has to be adjusted to meet these preferences. Shipping incentives getting products to the consumer quickly and for free are often the tipping point in the purchase decision.

Ready or not, holiday shopping is right around the corner! How are you preparing your supply chain?

AI ML Predictive Analytics

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics in the Supply Chain

The world of transportation and logistics management looks completely different than it did even 50 years ago. Gone are the days of pen and paper and jotting down haphazard notes when on the telephone with a carrier booking freight. Now, technology is now ruling supreme. With the advent of advanced cloud-based transportation management systems, there is a cornucopia of detailed data that can be stored and accessed on the cloud. Just about every touchpoint in the supply chain can create data, and lots of it, from initial order through final mile delivery. You might hear this type of data referred to as “Big Data.” Simply having Big Data isn’t enough to improve your supply chain, however. It’s what you do with the data that can revolutionize your business.

There are several buzzwords circulating the technology industry that relate to the use of this new-found trove of information. These terms are “Predictive Analytics,” “Machine Learning (ML),” and “Artificial Intelligence (AI).” Each of these buzzwords refers to advanced processes for leveraging Big Data to improve processes and business outcomes.

If you’re like many shippers in an industry undergoing rapid change, you’re probably wondering how these terms apply to you.

Predictive Analytics

Definition: Predictive analytics refers to the concept of extracting information from data (such as from Big Data) using technology in order to decipher patterns and extrapolate likely future outcomes. In other words, using data to forecast what might happen in “what-if?” scenarios.

You might be able to imagine a situation in which predictive analytics could help your company’s supply chain. Maybe you want to know the likely delivery times on a specific lane so that you can determine the lead time you need for manufacturing your product. Or perhaps you want to estimate the likely disruption you’ll experience in the wake of a forecasted hurricane about the hit your service area. These and many other “what-if?” questions can be answered (as close as possible) with the help of predictive analytics.

If you’re like many shippers, this type of advanced technology might seem outside of your grasp. With the help of a transportation management system with built-in predictive analytics functionality, however, any shipper can leverage this futuristic tech. TMSs can provide predictive analytics to give you the immediate intelligence you need to make better logistics decisions every day. Whether it’s holding your carriers accountable through carrier scorecards, managing your yards and docks more efficiently, or simply ensuring that you are paying the lowest rates for the best service, predictive analytics gives you the information you need to make decisions that will be real game-changers for your business.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Definition: Artificial intelligence, often refered to as simply AI, is the practice of training computers to perform tasks that would typically require human-level intelligence to complete.

You’ve probably come across several different forms of AI in your day to day life. Common examples include Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa technologies. These are artificial “humans” which can listen and provide back answers as though having a real-life conversation. In the supply chain industry, artificial intelligence can come in the form of information gathering platforms for customers and suppliers to interact within. Chatbot interfaces and other data-gathering technologies can help retailers, manufacturers and customers work together more collaboratively. AI can help to identify trends and analyze changes in demand.

Machine Learning

Definition: Machine learning is the a branch of artificial intelligence and refers to the method that computers use to learn and change their behaviors based on data gathered through analytical model building. This concept is based on the idea that a computer can process data, much like a human’s brain can, and change its decision making processes to suit the new information without human intervention.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence often get confused because of their close correlation. The simplest way to understand their differences are through examples. One example of ML-based technology is that of any streaming music app. These apps make suggestions to the user based on location, demographics, and other inputs. This is an example of AI. What makes it an example of machine learning is the fact that music apps often “learn” their users’ preferences. As a user spends time listening or fast-forwarding past certain songs, the technology learns the user’s preferences and can suggest more relevant music. Other examples of technologies that “learn” include spam filters on email servers and ads displayed on social media accounts based on past purchases.

While AI is a system designed to act with intelligence, ML is a system designed to use information and learn from it, creating a decision or insight. In the supply chain, machine learning uses historical data to improve existing processes, define new routes, uncover bottlenecks, discover shipping errors and more. It is adaptive so that the data utilized increases efficiencies while providing value to shippers and carriers for things like pricing models.

In an article in Forbes, Machine Learning (ML) is described as making it “possible to discover patterns in supply chain data by relying on algorithms that quickly pinpoint the most influential factors to a supply networks’ success, while constantly learning in the process.”

Determining What’s Best for Your Business

Many people are confused about the differences between predictive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Predictive analytics uses data to help you understand possible future events by analyzing the past. It uses a variety of statistical techniques, including machine learning and predictive modeling, along with current and historical statistics to predict future outcomes, which may be customer behaviors or market changes.

Bill Cassidy in the JOC says to “think of AI as Machine Learning on steroids. It functions through an ongoing series of algorithms and internet-connected devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), to make data-based decisions before shippers overlook something.” AI can help to better manage freight bills by automating audit and payment processes to uncover billing and compliance issues, for which it can then trigger chargebacks to carriers.

With AI, you can proactively identify potential disruptions, such as changes in weather patterns that can lead to flooding. Proactively mitigating risk ensures your shipments can be made on time to the right place for the right price.

Predictive analytics, AI and ML may overlap in certain areas, but these technologies can help us to uncover hidden capacity or make important cost-to-serve decisions by viewing carrier rates side-by-side. The bottom line is that technology is making shipping operations smarter for companies of all sizes.

Veterans Day 2019 - Supply Chain

The Supply Chain Wouldn’t be the Same Without Veterans

Veterans Day is an opportunity for everyone in the United States to take a moment to stand together in respect for all those who have served our country. Each year, Veterans Day (formerly called Armistice Day) falls on November 11th, the day that World War I ended. It’s a chance for all of us to reflect on the courage and sacrifices our veterans have made, and a time to honor the contributions veterans make every day in the private sector even after they leave the military.

Top Industries Veterans Join After the Military

Some of the top industries that veterans join after their service include the information technology sector, manufacturing, and the transportation & warehousing industry according to Military.com’s list of the top ten career paths for veterans. In particular, veterans play a crucial role in keeping the supply chain running smoothly.

According to TruckerNews, “There are almost 22 million veterans of the U.S. armed services in this country, according to the Census Bureau. About 9 million of them are part of this country’s workforce and about 11 percent of them work in the trucking and affiliated industries.” This means that nearly 1 million supply chain professionals in the U.S.A. are veterans!

Why Veterans Make Ideal Supply Chain Professionals

One of the reasons that so many veterans join the supply chain industry after leaving the armed forces is their proven experience. Being a logistics professional takes a level of dedication and hard work that can be difficult to be gained places other than the military. Additionally, veterans often have hands-on experience transporting, tracking and delivering goods; experience which can translate seamlessly into virtually any logistics position.

Many carriers, 3PLs, suppliers and warehouses make a point of hiring veterans because of these characteristics and because veterans are known to learn quickly, work effectively under pressure and think innovatively when solving problems. There are many programs that actively recruit military veterans to join their corps and many others which can help get veterans the training they need when transitioning from the military to the private sector.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that you are likely to run into veterans in all types of supply chain career paths. Whether they become the truckers that keep our economies moving and our communities functioning, they’re handling logistics and tracking in a team setting in an office, or working in warehousing and demand planning, veterans are in an invaluable part of the supply chain industry.

Thank You for Your Service

Veterans Day is a day to remember the sacrifice and bravery of our country’s veterans and a time to acknowledge the important roles veterans play even after they leave the military. To all those who have served our country, and all who continue to serve, Happy Veterans Day!

Parcel Shipping Best Practices for Companies Preparing for the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season - Kuebix TMS

Parcel Shipping Best Practices for Companies Preparing for the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

Many companies are currently gearing up for the holiday shopping season. Whether they are brick-and-mortar businesses or e-commerce companies, the peak season for many sellers begins in mid-November and ends in early January. This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s annual shopper survey revealed that more than half of consumers said they would shop online.

To keep up with rising customer expectations about home delivery, even traditional brick-and-mortar companies are branching out with e-commerce platforms so as not to lose business. In order to keep up with the pace of holiday shopping, retailers need to be aware of several parcel shipping best practices.

Best Practices for Any Company Shipping Parcel During the 2019 Holiday Season

Know Important Dates During the Holiday Season

The first thing shippers need to be aware of when planning their shipping strategy for the holidays is important shopping dates. These are days when consumers will be expecting to see discounts and when many shoppers will make significant purchases ahead of the holidays. The unofficial holiday shopping season begins on November 11 and ends January 1 (though returns strategies must continue well past then).

Here is a breakdown of important shopping dates to be aware of this year:

  •  • November 11 – Veterans Day
  •  • November 29 – Black Friday
  •  • November 30 – Small Business Saturday
  •  • December 2 – Cyber Monday
  •  • December 14 – Free Shipping Day

These dates are days that many retailers expect heavy shopping volume and consumers expect discounts and promotions. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the most well known of all of these days, but Small Business Saturday and Free Shipping Day can be important to businesses holiday revenue as well.

Free Shipping Day, in particular, is gathering steam and may present an opportunity for retailers to win back market share from competitors who offer free shipping year-round. This unofficial holiday is a one-day event that retailers who are shipping parcel can participate in with a pledge to their customers to have products delivered for free ahead of Christmas day.

By offering specific promotions around any of these important shopping days, retailers can capture new business and continue to delight their customers. However, just advertising around important shopping days isn’t enough if the company fails to deliver products in time for specific days. Be aware of these important shipping deadlines when evaluating your logistics process prior to the holiday season.

  •  • November 28 – Thanksgiving
  •  • December 22-30 – Hanukkah
  •  • December 25 – Christmas
  •  • January 1 – New Year’s Eve

These are the most common days consumers expect to receive their parcel deliveries by. If a retailer cannot deliver in time for a specific holiday, the shopper is likely to abandon their cart and look elsewhere to make their purchase.

Leverage a TMS for Greater Parcel Shipping Flexibility

In order to keep up with deliveries ahead of specific holidays, retailers need to have a strategy to keep up with demand and deliver orders on time. This means doing the work ahead of time to have a concrete parcel shipping strategy in place. For many companies, this means connecting with several parcel shipping services.

Being able to quickly access different carriers’ parcel shipping rates through a single platform is essential for companies looking to optimize operations during the holidays. By leveraging a transportation management system (TMS) retailers can quickly and easily compare different parcel rates to ensure that orders are being delivered to customers before holiday deadlines at the lowest rate. This practice also helps companies organize increased order volume and provide their customers with different self-serve delivery options.

Companies with large e-commerce presences may find it beneficial to set up a direct integration between a TMS and e-commerce platform. By doing so, they give their customers the ability to select the shipping rate and delivery length that best suits their needs. This cuts down on the workload for teams and ensures that customers are always satisfied with their parcel delivery experience.

Consider Offering Free Shipping

According to an NRF quarterly Consumer View report, “75 percent of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68 percent a year ago (2018).” That’s a big deal for retailers looking to see positive growth in online sales this holiday season. The decision to buy or not to buy can easily hinge on whether or not the retailer offers free parcel shipping.

While many may assume that younger consumers are the ones shifting the expectation of free shipping as an e-commerce norm, that assumption is incorrect. The report goes on to state:

“Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) demand free shipping the most, with 88 percent expecting it. That compares with 77 percent for Generation X (1965-1980), 61 percent for millennials (1981-1994) and 76 percent for Generation Z (1995 and later).”

This proves that no matter which segment of the marketplace your company targets, it’s likely a good idea to offer some form of free shipping. Whether it’s free shipping on orders that pass a certain threshold or free shipping on orders with longer lead time.

Insure Yourself Against Poor Service Levels

One pitfall that companies who ship final mile to their customers’ homes face is the missed delivery. Whether the delivery is simply late, it gets damaged in transit, or worst of all, lost, companies run the risk of disappointing their customers and eating the cost of shipping. This can be a lose-lose situation if a plan isn’t put into place ahead of time.

Shipping partners like Pitney Bowes offer 3-day guaranteed delivery that retailers can take advantage of when shipping products via USPS over the holidays. This Guaranteed Delivery program provides shippers with a full refund if their parcel isn’t delivered within the three-day window. This level of security helps companies confidently expand their e-commerce presence without worrying about the possible negative effects that can arise from unpreventable missed deliveries.

Have a Solid Returns Strategy

Even when the major shopping days and holidays are through, logistics and customer service teams across the country will still be hard at work managing the returns process. Pitney Bowes’ 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide details how companies can best manage post-holiday returns with three tips:

  1. Make Returns Fast and Easy
  2. Challenge Your Real Motivations
  3. Make the Label Easy to Find

Essentially, the returns process for parcel orders shouldn’t be something for companies to shy away from. Consumers will appreciate a fast and efficient returns process and are more likely to turn into repeat customers if their returns experience is treated as a priority by the company. Instead of making the process difficult by hiding returns information in the fine print or charging exorbitant shipping fees, companies can win customer loyalty and positively impact their businesses long term by making the process simple.

The 2019 Holiday Shopping Season is Here

As we approach Veteran’s Day on November 11th this year, retailers should keep in mind these parcel shipping best practices so that they can delight their customers and grow their businesses. Any company that ships parcel during the holidays can benefit from being more informed, having plans and strategies ahead of time, connections with different parcel carriers, and a strategy for post-holiday returns. By following these best practices, companies can position themselves for the best chance of success during the 2019 holiday shopping season.

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

Retailers used to be able to lean on the stability of brick-and-mortar stores to provide a satisfactory customer experience. When a customer walked into a physical store, they knew exactly what to expect and were rewarded with instant gratification and the ability to take their purchases home the same day. Since the rise of the digital age, technology is shaping how customers purchase from retailers, and the customer experience is fundamentally different online.

According to Gartner, customer experience is defined as “the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, channels, systems and products.” At a physical store, a retailer maintains control of the overall shopping experience by training staff, creating a pleasing shopping environment and streamlining the check-out process. With a digital storefront, retailers can only influence their customers’ experience through user-interface enhancements and supply chain improvements. This makes supply chain operations more important than ever.

Improving the Customer Experience

Digital shoppers are expecting more and more from their online shopping experience. These final mile capabilities will help supply chains improve the end customers’ experiences:

• Flexibility – Customers want the ability to choose the service type they need. By allowing customers to self-serve at checkout by picking the shipping time and rate, companies can give their customers additional flexibility. Choosing the mode helps shoppers customize their experience.

• Speed – Getting products quickly and when desired is becoming more important as 2-day delivery becomes the industry norm. Designating when the product will arrive helps customers plan ahead and allows them to be more self-sufficient. It’s important to shorten the lead time by processing orders quickly and working with trusted carriers to deliver products on time.

• Free Shipping – Adding the option for free shipping is a great way to improve customer experience and earn customer loyalty and their repeat business. Free shipping can come with longer lead times or minimum order amounts to reduce costs for the seller. For companies that don’t want to offer free shipping year-round, offering it as a promotion during the holiday shopping season can be a great advertising tool.

• Tracking – Customers everywhere are demanding tracking capabilities. In order for customers to have confidence that their product has shipped and will arrive on time, a standard tracking feature needs to be implemented. These features allow customers to request or view updates in real-time.

• Alerts – In addition to tracking capabilities, up-to-date alerts keep customers’ expectations realistic when unforeseen events take place in the supply chain. Customers appreciate alerts on weather delays and other interruptions so that they can react proactively to late deliveries. Emailing and texting updates when there has been a disruption in the delivery plan shows customers that you respect their time and are doing everything in your power to rectify the situation.

Customer Experience is Important for All Businesses

These attributes are especially important for e-commerce companies processing online orders but can be equally important for brick-and-mortar retailers. When a customer walks in the doors, they expect that their experience of purchasing products in-store will be quick and efficient. If a product isn’t in stock, they will expect it to be available for quick order and pickup. Customer expectations are rising as some e-commerce retailers like Amazon perfect the online shopping experience.

As e-commerce now makes up a total of 17% of all retail sales in the USA, retailers need to put their focus on improving their supply chains in order to win and retain business. According to EFT, “Today’s connected consumers demand both choice and flexibility when it comes to receiving their online orders – and will not hesitate to move loyalty if they encounter unsatisfactory delivery options.” This means that if a company doesn’t put a significant emphasis on improving the delivery experience for the customer, that customer will find it easy to move their business over to a competitor that does.


In order to keep customers coming back, technology needs to be implemented to offer customers choice and tracking capabilities. With the help of a robust transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, retailers can offer their customers this level of flexibility and control directly from their own websites. To read more about how Kuebix integrates with e-commerce and quoting platforms, click here.

Kuebix TMS

How to Buy a Transportation Management System (TMS)

In today’s market, shipping is one of the biggest expenses for any shipper, growing at a rate of over 5% per year, depending on the lane. There are many variables that go into freight costs, including mode, service level and carrier. Manually trying to lower freight spend can be challenging, not to mention extremely time-consuming. Leveraging technology gives logistics teams the boost they need to become more efficient. By implementing a transportation management system (TMS), companies can keep freight costs as low as possible while still meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations.

How to Choose the Right TMS

A broad range of TMSs exist in the marketplace. These range from the old-fashioned on-premise systems favored over the last two decades to more recent platforms that live on the cloud and connect users for heightened levels of collaboration.

Some TMSs incorporate features like automatic invoice audit while others can streamline route optimization and yard management. Many incorporate advanced analytics that can help teams make better strategic decisions about their freight. Others provide seamless integrations to external systems like e-commerce platforms and ERP systems.

With all these features and options, how does a company go about buying a TMS system?

It’s important to determine what your company’s needs are before starting the process to find the right TMS.

Understand your company’s goals for deploying a TMS – is the goal to cut shipping costs, improve customer service, become a preferred shipper, consolidate loads, etc.?

Without a thorough understanding of your company’s goals, you could find yourself locked into a piece of technology that won’t scale as your company grows, or locked into paying for features you won’t use. No company is exactly the same, so make sure to choose a TMS that can be configured and scaled to your company’s needs over time.

Catalog Image 10 Essential Questions Kuebix TMS

Think about how your company could benefit from increased collaboration with other players in the industry. When comparing different transportation management system options, find out if the TMS can connect you with an ecosystem of potential collaboration partners. Programs like built-in truckload spot networks can provide you more capacity at better rates.

A TMS should offer the following:

  • ·       Automatic rating, booking and tracking of shipments, managing carriers and communicating with shippers and customers in real-time
  • ·       A network of carriers incorporating all modes with the ability to consolidate and optimize shipments
  • ·       A wide variety of reports and dashboards to monitor cost, shipping status and service levels
  • ·       Management of the carrier bid process from initial set up to tendering of shipments
  • ·       Extensive analytics to manage performance in real-time
  • ·       A quick implementation time and return-on-investment (ROI)
  • ·       Integration with enterprise resource planning platforms (ERPs) and 3rd party applications
  • ·       The ability to track and trace any shipment in real-time, anywhere in the supply chain
  • ·       The ability to easily add functionality as needed such as order and route optimization, dock scheduling, yard management and container tracking
  • ·      Access to a connected community of shippers, carriers, freight marketplaces, brokers, and suppliers

Some TMS providers like Kuebix offer a free version of their technology to help shippers get started and see real results from their operations risk-free. Unlike a demo, Kuebix Free Shipper gets shippers managing their freight and gaining true ROI even before adding modular features and capabilities.

If you’re looking to improve your company’s logistics operations by adding a true, cloud-based TMS, check out The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems to get answers to questions like “What should I look for?” and “How much should a TMS cost?” before committing.

ERP Integration - Kuebix TMS

Extend the Benefits of Your Transportation Management System (TMS) with an ERP Integration

At their core, transportation management systems (TMS) help shippers perform logistics management functions like rating, booking and tracking. These functions help save companies money, improve efficiency and keep data stored in one place for strategic decision making. However, transportation management systems aren’t only limited to rating and booking. If they were, we’d call them “rate aggregators.” What makes a TMS a TMS is the ability to perform numerous supply chain functions to extend the benefit of the technology. That’s where ERP integrations come in.

ERP integrations (integrations with enterprise resource planning systems) are one of the most popular additions shippers make to their TMS. This type of integration extends the benefits of the TMS by sharing data between internal systems. By adding additional functionality like an ERP integration, any shipper can configure a TMS that is right for their business.

What is an ERP integration?

An ERP integration is a process that allows information to flow between an ERP system and a TMS. Essentially, any information inputted into an ERP system can be seamlessly displayed within the TMS and vice versa. This is especially useful for sharing product, order, and shipment information between systems.

How is an ERP integration with a TMS used?

Many teams can benefit from an ERP integration. When the order processing team receives an order from a customer, they can input it into the ERP as usual. With the integration, that order information is automatically displayed within the TMS and is ready for the logistics team to rate and book the shipment. Once the shipment has been processed, the rate along with any miscellaneous charges or accessorials are mapped back to the ERP for financial teams automatically. Instead of managing a huge paper trail of order information, teams all operate from a “single source of truth.”

Why is it beneficial to integrate my ERP with my TMS?

Here are 4 ways shippers benefit from integrating:

  •  • ERP integrations facilitate the rapid creation of shipments – With an order integration between a TMS and an ERP, orders automatically flow from the ERP to the TMS for easy rating, booking, and tendering. Instead of going back and forth between systems and spreadsheets, the order information is automatically populated, eliminating the need to rekey anything.
  •  • ERP integrations ensure 100% order accuracy – Since information is automatically populated within the TMS, the information is right, every time. It’s amazing the difference it can make when there is no longer any risk of human error because of rekeying. PRO numbers, product SKUs, weights and every other metric of an order appear automatically, resulting in 100% order accuracy.
  •  • ERP integrations give shippers complete order visibility – Once an order has been booked for shipment, shippers don’t lose visibility to that order. All shipment details are mapped back to the target ERP system for accurate record keeping and visibility for all stakeholders.
  •  • ERP integrations help shippers understand the true landed cost of goods – Since all order information is tracked and shared between systems, shippers can leverage reports and analytics to view the true landed cost of goods down to the SKU level. This means they can make smarter decisions regarding their company’s bottom line when they integrate purchase orders directly from an ERP system.

How Do ERP Integrations Work?

  1. By leveraging a common middleware connector, the team performing the integration can map ERP order and item information to automatically creates orders within the TMS.
  2. These orders are stored within the TMS in preparation for shipping departments to simply scan or enter the order number into a lookup field to get rates and begin shipping.
  3. Once the order is shipped, the TMS notifies the ERP system and updates the ERP order with shipment details. (Tracking number, cost, carrier, time in transit, GL code, etc…)
  4. Each ERP connector includes a configurable trigger function to automatically create orders, status changes or approval processes to tell the TMS to pull the order details. This process allows for a seamless flow of data between the two systems.
  5. Once shipped within the TMS, shipment details are mapped back to the target ERP system for accurate record keeping and visibility for all stakeholders.

Click here to learn more about Kuebix’s ERP Integration Highway.


Examples of Companies that Use ERP Integrations

ERP Integration with Microsoft Dynamics and Kuebix TMS

Microsoft Dynamics Integration

OBJECTIVE – Save time and improve order accuracy by consolidating processes into a single transportation management system.

CHALLENGES – TMS needs to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics and connect to a variety of LTL carriers. Scale to incorporate container tracking. Be usable by multiple departments within the organization.

RESULTS – Significant time savings on each LTL order processed. Improved order information accuracy. Optimized interactions between multinational teams.


ERP Integration with NetSuite and Kuebix TMS

NetSuite Integration

OBJECTIVE – Automate the order creation process to save time manually inputting orders and avoid human error while operating in a centralized transportation management system.

CHALLENGES – Previous process was too manual and relied on team members entering orders one-by-one into different carrier websites.

RESULTS – Implemented an integration between NetSuite and Kuebix to automatically allow order information to flow from their ERP system to Kuebix TMS.


Examples of ERPs Shippers Integrate With:

  •  • NetSuite
  •  • Oracle
  •  • Microsoft Dynamics
  •  • Infor
  •  • Quickbooks
  •  • SAP
  •  • Claritysoft
  •  • Epicor
  •  • Sage

Integrating Your ERP with Kuebix TMS

Unlike many TMS providers who direct users to external or third-party integrators, the Kuebix team has internally developed an array of integrations that our customers use to enhance and expand their ever-evolving supply chains. Gone are the days of trying to view a product’s lifecycle by exporting data from internal, carrier, broker and 3rd party monitoring systems. Instead, with an integration, users get the information they need automatically and human error is drastically reduced with the help of technology.

Kuebix offers out-of-the-box integrations based on EDI formats as well as integrations that use more direct APIs/web services. Kuebix can also customize an integration to meet your company’s specific needs.

3 Times Social Media Upended the Food & Beverage Supply Chain

3 Times Social Media Upended the Food & Beverage Supply Chain

Social media has changed every industry and the supply chain hasn’t escaped unscathed. In fact, social media has been behind some of the biggest, and most well-publicized, disruptions in the supply chain over recent years. It’s a question of supply and demand. In the past, forecasters were able to rely on historical data to approximate how much of a certain product would be needed. Now, viral videos, tweets, and even memes can throw off those calculations severely by influencing customer expectations.

This phenomenon is particularly apparent for food and beverage supply chains that deal with hundreds of thousands of sales each week of products with short shelf lives. Huge upticks in sales on a particular product can disrupt production and test the agility of procurement and logistics teams to keep up. Below are three examples of times social media upended the food & beverage supply chain.

Starbucks Gets An Unexpected Endorsement

Early in 2019, Starbucks’ Cloud Macchiato got an endorsement on Twitter by Ariana Grande, a wildly popular singer, songwriter and actress. Grande tweeted about how much she loved the new iced drink and her fans, self-proclaimed Arianators, rushed to their local Starbucks locations to purchase their own.

Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer at Starbucks, Kelly Bengston, recalled how the company hadn’t counted on the huge popularity of the drink brought about by Grande’s social media followers and fans. Speaking in regards to the increase in demand, Benston said, “It creates an amazing opportunity to test how agile your teams are… How do you get to business? How can you move it from store to store?”

The challenge for Starbucks lay in judging how much product was needed to satisfy fans while the Tweet was trending on social media while not overbuying to the point where there was wasted product. It’s a delicate balancing act that forecasting cannot fully take into account.

Rick & Morty Joke Presents McDonald’s With an Opportunity

Disney’s Mulan was released more than 20 years ago. To promote the release of the movie, which takes place in Han dynasty China, McDonald’s added Szechuan Sauce as a condiment option for their Chicken McNuggets. The sauce was a limited release and had been largely forgotten until 2017 when social media would resurrect it and disrupt McDonald’s supply chain.

After an episode of Adult Swim’s popular show Rick and Morty referenced the long-forgotten dipping sauce, the joke was turned into a meme that went viral across the internet. To capitalize on the social media presence, McDonald’s decided to bring the sauce back for a one-day promotion in limited quantities at certain locations. Fans purportedly drove across state lines and even from Canada to get their own Szechuan sauce experience.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the promotion vastly outweighed the amount of Szechuan sauce packets distributed to McDonald’s locations and thousands of fans missed out on the opportunity to participate in the “pop-culture phenomenon.” Furious fans took once again to social media to expound upon their disappointment and urge McDonald’s to bring back the sauce in a larger release.

Rising to the challenge, McDonald’s announced that it would ship some 20 million Szechuan sauce packets to stores in late February 2018. This curbed the social media debacle and ended with McDonald’s being able to satisfy their customers and earn back loyalty. Even though the Szechuan sauce joke in Rick and Morty was just a throw-away joke, it had real-world supply chain implications when it hit social media.

Twitter Feud Sparks a Run on Chicken Sandwiches

More recently, a Twitter feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A sparked a social media controversy about which retailer sold the better chicken sandwich. The controversy began in August 2019 when Popeyes introduced a new chicken sandwich item onto its menu. The sandwich was an instant success, even being ranked by Business Insider as the No. 1 fried-chicken sandwich. This prompted Chick-fil-A to tweet “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the <3 for the original.” Popeyes quote-tweeted it directly, adding “…y’all good?” and igniting a flurry of tweets by chicken sandwich fans nationwide.

Due to the huge social media attention it was receiving, Popeyes sold out of its new menu item in just two weeks after it was introduced. Supplying enough buns for all the chicken sandwiches the company was selling was a main issue. In a creative supply chain move, Popeyes launched a campaign called “Bring Your Own Bun” so that more sandwiches could be sold. The program encouraged guests to order the three-piece chicken tenders off the menu then construct the sandwich themselves.

Popeyes has announced that the sandwich would be returning to its 150 Popeyes locations in early November this year. In order to keep up with the production of the hugely popularized sandwich, Popeyes is adding an additional 400 employees. Up to two people per store will be solely designated to making the sought-after menu item going forward.

Can Supply Chains Stay Ahead of Social Media Trends?

Social media’s influence across the supply chain is a new frontier for most companies. It can be a challenge to react to unexpected endorsements (or negative comments) in a productive way. These stories about Starbucks, McDonalds and Popeyes can act as examples of how to handle demand shifts for other food and beverage supply chain companies. By seizing the opportunity to promote their brands, these companies were able to restructure their supply chains by increasing production, altering logistics, communicating with customers, and even adding staff. The key is to stay informed on social media trends and not be afraid to be flexible in the face of social media’s influence on customers.

Halloween Infographic Spooky Scorecard

Consumers Aren’t Scared to Spend Money on Halloween

October is nearly over and that means Halloween is approaching, heralding the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Many supply chains have been preparing for months, some starting as early as January to prepare for the busiest shipping time of the year. Even if your company doesn’t supply or manufacture Halloween-related merchandise, it’s likely that you and your family will fuel the demand for products in some way. In fact, almost 70% of Americans plan to participate in Halloween celebrations this year. Whether you’re purchasing candy, porch decorations or a costume for your dog, few Americans escape the commercial aspect of this spooky day.

Halloween Shopping by the Numbers

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated that Halloween sales will top $8.8 billion ($86.27 per household). This year’s total is expected to be the third-highest out of the fifteen years the survey has been conducted. While the total amount spent hasn’t changed too drastically in the past few years, there’s a noticeable change in the motivation of consumers. Many purchases they make are influenced by friends, neighbors or celebrities on social media. Here are a few consumer statistics to consider as the season reaches its peak.

Kuebix Halloween Infographic

Balancing Supply and Demand

Most consumers know the type of candy, costume or decoration they want before going to the store. They expect retailers to be fully stocked to make the selection process as easy as possible and establish brand loyalty. This is especially important for Halloween staples like bite-sized candy to hand out and pumpkins for carving into jack-o’-lanterns. Consumers who walk into a grocery store or department store and don’t find what they’ve come for are unlikely to stick around to buy additional merchandise, resulting in lost sales and poor customer satisfaction. This lack of supply is bad for business.

The inverse is also just as detrimental for retailers trying to make a profit from Halloween sales. If retailers have forecasted incorrectly and have too much Halloween merchandise in stock, they will be left “holding the bag” and need to deeply discount merchandise in an attempt to sell it quickly after Halloween. This is particularly important for items with expiration dates that need to be off shelves quickly.

Demand planners should also keep in mind regional preferences. Running out of Skittles in California or Florida may be worse for customer satisfaction than in Massachusetts. Check out this interactive map from the CandyStore.com to see your region’s favorite Halloween candies.

Source:  CandyStore.com.

While some people look forward to the 75% off candy sales on November 1st each year, these sales are a result of inaccurate demand planning leading up to the holiday. Balancing supply and demand is crucial leading up to any retail holiday.

Where Are Consumers Doing Their Halloween Shopping?

Though this year isn’t anticipated to be a record-setting year in terms of overall sales (that record was set in 2017), the total amount being spent by Americans is still impressive. That means that consumers are opening their wallets with the plan to spend. However, having products for sale in the right locations is becoming more of a challenge for retailers and manufacturers. In order to capture customers, many companies are diversifying where they sell. Consumers now have many more options than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. They can shop online, at local grocery stores, at specialty stores, department stores and even at convenience and pharmacy locations. Retailers like Target and Walmart have expanded their online presence in order to capture customers that prefer to shop online.

In 2018, the National Retail Federation reported that 24% of Halloween shoppers who bought costumes or Halloween supplies did so online. While this number continues to rise, many shoppers still prefer to see what’s for sale in-store.

Don’t Be Frightened by the Halloween Shopping Season

Whether you’re a manufacturer, retailer or consumer, Halloween is a busy time of year for the supply chain. Stores become full of seasonal merchandise and consumers see advertisements and Halloween decorating inspiration on all sides. Hopefully, most companies have their logistics operations well in hand and are on track to meet customers’ needs without excessive leftover stock. If you’re planning to participate in any Halloween activities this year, we hope you have a spooky day!

Kuebix Transportation Management

Why is Transportation Management Important?

Before transportation management systems (TMSs) came into the picture, nearly all logistics processes were done on paper. Shippers spent countless hours calling and emailing internal and external partners just to ship their freight. Transportation management technology changed all of that.

The first TMSs were housed on-premise and did speed up shipping processes. However, since these pieces of technology resided solely within the “four-walls” of the company, they presented many challenges. These included difficulty updating to the latest version and integrating with other platforms. These issues inspired the creation of cloud-based transportation management systems. Cloud-based transportation management systems allow users to connect with internal and external partners and applications much more easily and offer scalability impossible with on-premise software. This modern version of a traditional TMS also offers a quick start-up, low usage costs and greater flexibility.

Many members of the industry often wonder why transportation management is important and why it continues to evolve. The truth is technology is changing every industry and transportation and supply chain are no exception. Many businesses feel that their current operations are working just fine. That doesn’t mean they aren’t missing opportunities for time and money savings, collaboration with other industry members and an increase in customer service quality. Ignoring the significance of transportation management and all it has to offer means missing out on opportunities and the rapid return-on-investment competitors who have adopted a cloud-based TMS are already experiencing. So, what are the reasons transportation management is important?

Benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Save Time and Do More Without Adding to Labor Costs

The implementation of a TMS keeps companies from wasting a significant amount of time on mundane and repetitive paperwork. Technology speeds up the performance of necessary tasks and allows companies to delegate time to other aspects of the business, allowing them to do more without driving up costs.

Reduce Human Error and Streamline Operations

Time spent comparing carrier rates and booking shipments is significantly reduced through the use of a TMS. Options are displayed on a single screen to make comparison and final decision making faster and easier. Users that integrate their ERP with their TMS eliminate the concern of human error occurring when re-keying orders.

Improve Visibility and Customer Satisfaction with Better Information to Communicate

Transportation management systems provide users with real-time tracking and order information. Companies are equipped with detailed and accurate information to pass onto customers, providing visibility across the supply chain and improving their customer service.

Aggregate Your Shipping Data in One Place to Easily Analyze for Strategic Decision-Making

Shipping data funneled into actionable reports and dashboards allow users to understand every detail of their freight spend. Companies can make strategic decisions based on data provided to further improve their operational efficiencies. They can also be used to evaluate carrier KPIs and total freight spend by item.

Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Utilizing a TMS drives down expenses through improving the timeliness and accuracy of operations across the board. Logistics teams can save significantly on total freight spend by always comparing rates to select the best one for every shipment. Companies who implement a cloud-based TMS have increased visibility throughout their supply chain, opportunities for communication and collaboration with carriers and customers, and significant time and money savings.

How Do I Know What Kind of TMS Software is Right for Me?

To determine which kind of transportation management system (TMS) suits your company best it’s important to think about how many shipments you’re making each month and how many locations you have. By answering a few simple questions, Kuebix can provide your company with a personalized recommendation to help answer this question.

AMMEX Case Study with Kuebix

How One Company Benefits from an Integration with Microsoft Dynamics & Kuebix

Global Importer, AMMEX, Realizes Significant Time Savings By Leveraging an Integration Between Kuebix and Microsoft Dynamics

About AMMEX

AMMEX is a global importer of disposable gloves providing retailers and distributors with high-performance, high-margin products. The company sources disposable rubber, latex, and nitrile gloves from vendors across Asia before transporting their goods via direct shipping containers to North America. AMMEX uses third-party warehouses located in Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Canada to fulfill orders across North America with LTL shipments.

Currently, AMMEX ships between 80 – 100+ LTL shipments every day from their domestic warehouse locations. As a massive enterprise organization, AMMEX decided to turn to technology to streamline their logistics operations and make shipping processes more transparent.

How AMMEX Is Using Kuebix Today

In 2018, AMMEX conducted an RFP to discover the best fitting transportation management system for their needs. Being able to connect their ERP system, Microsoft Dynamics, to streamline order processing was a significant factor in the company’s final decision.

After evaluating several options, AMMEX implemented Kuebix TMS in late 2018 and has continued to add functionality and features to expand its usage across their offices in the USA and the Philippines. Currently, 15 logistics and supply chain professionals within the company are registered users of the TMS.

AMMEX’s logistics team uses the TMS on a daily basis to rate, book, and track their LTL shipments to retailers and distributors nationwide. The company’s Operations Manager, Patricia David, leads a team of 9 people who oversee the company’s logistics processes.

David handles daily organization with the warehouses, manages returns and sales, and also deals with vendors and brokers. David, who is based in Metro Manila, Philippines, has worked at AMMEX for 12 years and has seen significant0 operational improvements since implementing Kuebix.

“The ease of comparing rates between different carriers makes the process of rating and booking much faster for us,” said David. “Instead of going between multiple carrier websites, we only have to look at a single page!”

Integrating with Microsoft Dynamics

Not only does the technology make rating easier, it also consolidates the company’s LTL shipment information into a single source of truth.

Instead of re-keying information between their ERP system and Kuebix TMS, AMMEX is leveraging an ERP integration between Microsoft Dynamics and Kuebix to automatically populate order information between systems. This greatly speeds up the order creation process and ensures that issues don’t arise because of human error.

David went on to say, “Our PO team simply processes orders in our ERP system and they appear in Kuebix. Then, all my team needs to do is book the shipments and process the BOL (bill of lading) in the TMS! Once it’s been processed, it comes back automatically with a PRO number. When we were doing BOLs manually, it was taking us between 3 – 5 minutes per shipment since we needed to check the weight, pallet count, etc. With Kuebix and an integration to Microsoft Dynamics, we’ve cut that time down to 2 minutes and are ensuring accuracy every time!”

Being able to have full visibility to exact order information is especially helpful for AMMEX as an organization with teams located across the globe and with third-party warehouses. Accurate communication is essential to keeping operations running smoothly and having all information consolidated into a single TMS creates efficiencies. All records, invoice payments, and financial analytics are also stored within the system when an ERP integration is added.

Adding Additional Functionality With Kuebix TMS

AMMEX has decided to continue to scale with Kuebix by adding container tracking for inbound visibility. Once this has been configured for AMMEX, the team located in Kent, Washington will also begin using Kuebix to manage inbound container shipments from China, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Click here to download this case study as a PDF.


Kuebix is a Gold Sponsor of the Microsoft Dynamics User Group Summit North America on October 15 – 18, 2019 in Kissimmee, FL. Stop by Booth #1713 at the conference for a demonstration or to learn more about Kuebix’s seamless integrations to Microsoft Dynamics.

Kuebix TMS Holiday Hiring Trend

Retailers and Carriers are Increasing Labor Ahead of the Holiday Shopping Season

Fall is here and retailers are already preparing to get in the holiday spirit! Many businesses announced their seasonal hiring plans before summer ended. A recent Indeed holiday hiring survey indicates that holiday job searches per million job seekers rose by 11% in comparison to last year. The unemployment rate is holding steady at an unusually low 3.7%, so it should come as no surprise that retailers such as Kohl’s, Famous Footwear and Bath & Body Works are scrambling to fill open positions pre-holiday season.

Deloitte’s annual holiday retail projections anticipates that e-commerce sales revenue will fall between $144 billion and $149, an increase from last year’s $126.4 billion spent online. Total retail sales are expected to land somewhere between 4.5% and 5.0% for the period (up from 2018’s 3.1%). The combination of open full-time positions and an increase in money spent makes it critical that seasonal employees are hired before the first holiday hits.

Retailers aren’t the only ones gearing up for holiday season. Both FedEx and UPS have made announcements regarding seasonal hires. FedEx plans on adding 55,000 workers to its already expansive staff of 450,000. Majority of workers added will contribute to the FedEx Ground network.  UPS is set to hire 100,000 seasonal workers to combat the holiday shipping rush. They’re expecting daily package deliveries to nearly double compared to their average 20 million per day. Long-term positions with UPS aren’t out of the question – 35% of people hired for seasonal jobs over the last 3 years have been made permanent employees.

Companies everywhere are struggling to identify the best method to successfully navigate the incoming holiday season. An easy solution to reduce operational inefficiencies is implementing a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS). Through utilizing a cloud-based TMS, companies can lower usage costs, have greater flexibility and experience a rapid return-on-investment (ROI). A cloud-based TMS gives all businesses complete supply chain visibility, saving them time and helping them provide better customer service.

A cloud-based TMS connects users with other shippers, carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and 3PLs in the network. Users can streamline manual processes and manage all of their shipping functions within a single system. This simplified process creates opportunity for users to earn more while saving time.

No matter how you approach it, pre-holiday season is here and shoppers are ready!

Network-Based Platform

What is a Network-Based Platform?

Every year there are new buzzwords about technology circulating the industry. You probably see terms like blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and big data regularly take over your inbox. The latest trend revolutionizing the software and technology space are Network-Based Platforms. Network-based platforms have been around for several years in the consumer space, but now, this methodology is being adopted in SaaS and other cloud-based solutions to add value for users.

Network-Based Platform: Definition

A network-based platform is a piece of technology or software that connects users with other members of a community to create mutually beneficial opportunities. Instead of simply being a tool to use within the four walls of an organization, network-based platforms help users find opportunities by connecting them with other users in the network while simultaneously fulfilling a function. The usefulness of the platform snowballs as more and more members join the network. This phenomenon is known as the Network Effect.

What is the Network Effect?

“The Network Effect” exists when the addition of another person or company makes all the existing members of the network better off.

“In a November 2014 video for UPS, MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi described the power and value of the network effect as follows:

“The network effect exists when the addition of another element [to the network] makes all the existing elements in the [network] better off,” explains Sheffi, citing cell phone networks and Facebook as examples. “It’s a positive feedback loop. As the network grows, the more value it provides. The more value [the network] provides, it grows even bigger. It’s the economics of having an extra point on the network, and the fact that you can build a lot more services on the existing network, that’s the power of the network.”[1]

Therefore, to paraphrase Professor Sheffi, the network effect exists in transportation when the addition of another shipper, carrier, freight broker, or other participant to the network makes all the existing members of the network better off — by more quickly and efficiently matching demand with supply; by executing transactions in a more streamlined and automated way; and by providing everyone with network-based business intelligence and analytics about capacity, rates, on-time delivery, and other metrics.”

A network-based platform is a piece of technology that builds value by leveraging the network effect.

Examples of Network-Based Platforms

Social media – Network-based platforms have become incredibly popular, and very common, at a consumer level. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram rely on the network effect to retain users and scale their operations. The more people who join the platform, the more valuable the platform is for everyone else.

Ride-sharing – Ride-sharing technology has also taken off thanks to the network-effect. Companies like Uber and Lyft are based on a network of people looking for rides and people who can offer rides for a fee. This service isn’t merely a regular car rental, instead, these ride-sharing platforms connect thousands of individuals who otherwise would never have an opportunity to collaborate.

Fitness tech – The fitness industry has also incorporated the network effect into their technologies. Fitbit, for example, isn’t only a personal health monitoring device, it’s also a service to connect individuals with similar lifestyle goals. Getting people to collaborate isn’t only an added social benefit for users, it can literally make the technology more effective for achieving fitness goals.

What’s the Difference Between Network-Based Platforms and Traditional Software?

Network-based platforms let users connect and collaborate with other stakeholders outside of the four walls of their offices or homes. As more and more people become accustomed to network-based platforms like social media, companies are beginning to expect similar benefits from their business software. Instead of simply managing day-to-day processes with technology, companies are demanding opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders in their industry directly through the platforms they use every day.

In the transportation and logistics industry, a network-based transportation management system (TMS) allows users to collaborate with a vast shipping community for greater efficiencies such as accessing truckload spot quotes in addition to contracted carrier rates. Unlike traditional platforms for managing logistics operations, a network-based TMS connects shippers with an entire ecosystem of other shippers, carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and 3PLs.

The Network TMS

Kuebix TMS is the only true Network TMS. At Kuebix, we’re building the largest connected shipping community driven by our modular, cloud-based TMS that scales to meet the needs of small to enterprise companies. Kuebix customers can manage all their modes and contracted carriers in Kuebix as well as take advantage of savings on truckload spot quotes, opportunities to fill fleet backhaul, and other discounts and benefits because they are part of our network. That’s the Network Effect in transportation management at work!

[1] http://talkinglogistics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/1_The_Network_Effect_Part1.mp4

Kuebix TMS Fall Seasonal Products

Seasonal Flavors Like Pumpkin Spice Add Complexity to Supply Chains Before the Holidays

October is almost here and with it comes seasonal favorites such as apple cider, candy corn and pumpkin spice. With every brand that tries to stay on this theme comes additional supply chain complexities. The chaos of keeping up with consumer demand is already heating up despite holiday season still being a month away!

Data from Grubhub shows the three most popular months for pumpkin and pumpkin-spice-flavored dishes are October, November and September, respectively. Other flavors such as apple cinnamon, pear and maple grow in popularity around this time as well. The five states with the highest number of pumpkin-related orders are California, Oregon, Washington, Ohio and Utah.

While the most common forms of pumpkin treats are baked goods like cakes and cookies, nonconventional businesses are getting in the spirit as well. Spam launched its own Pumpkin Spice Spam this year and sold out within seven hours. Last year Buffalo Wild Wings offered customers a limited-edition pumpkin ale sauce to accompany their infamous chicken wings.

The most challenging part of pre-holiday season is making sure that inventory is in the right place at the right time. Companies who struggle with this face out-of-stocks and missed chances for sales. It can be difficult to predict which seasonal products will resonate with consumers and drive business. It’s important to be able to move product efficiently and minimize operational delays.

Visibility throughout the supply chain also allows shippers to provide accurate and real-time information to retailers and customers alike. Retailers will have accurate information about when they will be restocking and consumers will know when they can expect to receive their product. This additional information allows retailers to provide better customer service and leaves pre-holiday shoppers more satisfied.

Implementing technology into supply chains creates a smoother shipping process for all involved and provides complete visibility throughout the supply chain. Transportation management systems (TMS) eliminate operational inefficiencies while providing benefits to all parties. Customers, suppliers and carriers can collaborate on a singular platform with real-time tracking information and side-by-side rate comparisons to save time and money. This is especially important as retailers and distributors gear up for the busy holiday season and start introducing seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice flavors to store shelves!