Construction Industry Blog Post

Surmount Supply Chain Challenges in the Construction Industry with Technology

Between companies regularly distributing, manufacturing or using construction products, the construction industry experiences a steady flow of business. One thing all construction companies can agree on is the importance of operating efficiently in order to meet project deadlines. There are a number of barriers between smooth logistics operations and successful project completion for the construction industry. Below are just a few of the obstacles present in their logistics operations:

New Site Safety Regulations

In most cases, completing a project requires a number of professionals to be on-site completing tasks as a group. The pandemic has restricted the amount of workers that can safely work together at once. Adjusting to having fewer team members on-site and able to contribute to the project has resulted in a decrease in overall productivity

Rising Cost of Construction Materials 

The cost of raw materials needed for manufacturing construction materials rose by 2.2% in June. The surge in price can be largely attributed to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. Construction companies who realize they’re short on materials in the middle of a project will have an even harder time replenishing their stock in addition to dealing with a hefty price tag.

Strict Deadlines 

Deadlines are common within the construction industry, but Covid-19 is making them more difficult to meet. New rules and regulations in warehouses, supply chains and on construction sites slow down operations to ensure cleanliness. Anything sourced internationally has even more stops to make before it can reach its final destination. Visibility throughout the supply chain is essential for companies to make sure they’re able to comply with new rules and regulations and that their deadlines are feasible. 


Technology’s Role in the Construction Industry 

With the help of a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, any construction company can take control of their supply chain and overcome industry-related challenges. Kuebix TMS helps logistics teams plan, book and gain visibility over all of their shipments. Whether the company is sourcing raw materials for delivery to a manufacturing plant or shipping to a construction site, Kuebix TMS can simultaneously cut costs and improve operational efficiencies.

Kuebix TMS users can seamlessly rate, book and track their freight to save time and improve customer service. Real-time tracking information keeps users informed and allows them to provide customers with better information in regards to the location and estimated arrival time of their purchase. Kuebix TMS provides users with detailed reports and dashboards that can help them make better informed decisions to further improve their logistics operations.

Integrating Kuebix TMS with an ERP like Microsoft Dynamics or NetSuite can drive additional cost savings. An ERP integration eliminates the need to re-key long lists of order line items, decrease labor costs and increase order accuracy.

The construction industry involves a wide range of products and professionals, but that doesn’t mean their logistics operations have to be overwhelming. Any construction company can leverage technology to help them successfully complete a project, meet deadlines and more!

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Unique Challenges Facing Food & Beverage Supply Chains

Food and beverage companies produce and distribute essential products every day. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in food shoppers buying supplies for a longer period of time (ex. shopping for 2 weeks at a time instead of 1) and purchasing products such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes in bulk. Practicing new skills like baking banana bread and sourdough bread have become popular ways to pass time. A recent study by Acosta revealed that 50% of respondents are spending more on groceries than they did pre-pandemic. Below are just a few of the elements challenging food and beverage supply chains as they race to keep up with heightened consumer demand.

Temperature Control Needed for Freshness

Not all products are able to travel in a standard truck responsible for the delivery of many different types of freight. Some food and beverage products must be stored at a specific temperature. Failing to meet the optimal conditions can result in the degradation of the quality of food and render products unsellable. To meet the needs of these products, shippers have to use refrigerated trucks. Making sure that a temperature-controlled truck is available and able to fit all of the required products is an added process for logistics professionals to consider.

Products Sensitive to Expiration Dates 

Nearly all food and beverage products have an expiration date on their label. While non-perishable items offer more flexibility in terms of when they hit the shelves, products like fresh produce and vegetables are not as forgiving. Time-sensitive products must be moved efficiently to ensure they reach their final destination in a condition that’s prime for selling. Shoppers want fresh vegetables and produce that will remain fresh for a period of time even after purchasing. It’s up to food and beverage companies to make sure their perishable products are in the right place at the right time.

Rapidly Expanding Product Variety

Consumers are starting to gravitate towards healthier products made of fewer ingredients. However, they are not interested in compromising on taste. Manufacturers are constantly adjusting to consumer taste and preferences which creates a wider variety of products. For example, a product as simple as yogurt now dominates the refrigerated aisle of grocery stores to accommodate different flavor preferences and dietary restrictions (oat, almond and soy bases to substitute for dairy). With each new product comes new storage and transportation specifications, making it even more complex for supply chains to keep stores stocked.

How Technology Can Help Keep Food & Beverage Supply Chains Moving

Food and beverage businesses are juggling unique challenges within their industry and those brought on by Covid-19. Implementing technology like Kuebix TMS into their supply chains gives power back to the shipper and lightens their workload. With Kuebix TMS, food and beverage companies can rate, book and track their shipments in a single system. Kuebix TMS gives users complete visibility and control over their logistics operations, making it easier than ever to keep even the busiest supply chains moving. Real-time tracking information and detailed analytics empower shippers to improve their customer service and make better informed decisions.

Chemicals Blog Post Image

What to Keep in Mind When Managing a Chemical Supply Chain

The chemical industry faces a unique set of challenges regarding safety in their logistics operations. The transportation of chemicals requires next-level care and expertise as it deals with sensitive and potentially dangerous materials. Errors in shipping chemicals that are hazardous can have serious consequences.

While logistics operations are typically intricate by default, shippers and manufacturers responsible for the production and transportation of chemicals have to pay even closer attention. Here are some of the things to consider when preparing your logistics team to transport chemicals:

Appropriate Number of Drivers 

Companies shipping chemicals need to be aware of the number of truck drivers they have and the strain they’re put under based on the number of hours spent on the road. The risk of an accident is heightened when hazardous materials are involved. Truck drivers must be well-rested and prepared to transport goods or products that carry the weight of these additional risks.

Accurate Product Labeling and Storage

Such sensitive materials must be accurately labeled to ensure they’re going to the right place and are properly stored. Many chemicals call for temperature-controlled trucks or especially cautious handling. Improper labeling or storage can result in delivery to the wrong destination or a potentially harmful reaction. 

Product labeling and storage relies heavily on effective inventory management. Knowing how much of a product you have and where it’s located is crucial in being able to successfully load and ship orders. Ineffective inventory management can lead to higher levels of waste and excess storage costs. Companies that are shipping chemicals need to be especially careful because of expiration dates on their products that can be dangerous if forgotten or neglected.

Strategic Route Planning

Chemicals need to be transported both quickly and safely. Detailed route planning is a significant factor in helping truck drivers make their deliveries on time. It can also help truck drivers navigate roadblocks or construction sites that they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Route optimization requires logistics professionals to be aware of the number of required stops, requested delivery time and traffic patterns in the area.

How to Manage Complex Chemical Supply Chain Needs

Upon first glance, managing the demands associated with a successful chemical supply chain may seem overwhelming. However, implementing a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS can simplify the process regardless of your supply chain’s size. 

Kuebix TMS is a cloud-based platform that enables customers, suppliers and carriers to collaborate and have complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Kuebix TMS offers features necessary to combat the unique challenges in the industry including product compatibility when building loads involving hazardous materials, route optimization and detailed analytics that empower shippers to make better informed decisions.

July 4th Infographic Featured Image

*Infographic* Americans Plan to Spend Big on Independence Day

American Independence Day is a holiday most commonly celebrated with hotdogs, hamburgers, refreshing beverages and festive fireworks. Enthusiasm for the 4th of July isn’t hard to find in the U.S. – celebrations of all sizes take place at homes throughout the country! Though this year may look a little different due to the pandemic, Americans are planning to celebrate safely from their homes. This means that the supply chain is still hugely important for making the 4th of July celebrations happen. Here are some statistics on consumer spending in preparation for Independence Day!

Kuebix July 4th Infographic

It’s up to supply chains to keep store shelves stocked and able to keep up with consumer demand. E-commerce shopping is even more important this year as consumers social distance and grow increasingly accustomed to online shopping. Seasonal products like red-white and blue decorations depend on efficient logistics operations to move them from warehouses to retailers as quickly as possible. Maximizing on sales during a time of year with heightened demand is critical for the success of businesses. No matter how different the 4th of July may look this year, Americans are still planning on spending big to celebrate!

Loadsmart and Kuebix Blog Image

Loadsmart Provides Instant Truckload Spot Quotes in Kuebix

Kuebix and Loadsmart just announced that every shipper in Kuebix can now receive real-time Loadsmart spot quotes on truckload shipments. The collaboration builds upon Kuebix’s current API integration with Loadsmart’s digital freight platform with an API integration that automatically provides live Loadsmart freight rates to any Kuebix user looking for a truckload spot quote.

“At Loadsmart, we are really proud of our work with Kuebix and the value we deliver to our joint customers,” said Casey Monahan, Director of SME at Loadsmart. “Combining a best in class TMS with instantly bookable spot quotes is a game-changer that reduces phone calls and lag time, allowing customers to book the best price instantly and track it all in real time 24/7. With a deep collaboration at many levels, a strong understanding of our customers, and a long term strategy, we not only provide the value clients want, but the exceptional service they need.”

When a Kuebix user searches for a truckload spot rate in Community Load Match, a real-time Loadsmart rate will appear that can be immediately booked and managed in the Kuebix TMS. The addition of instantly bookable Loadsmart rates further enhances Community Load Match’s current contract and spot rate capabilities. Community Load Match’s rapidly growing carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks offers access to contract rates for shippers with regular lanes. For small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs) and shippers with occasional spot requirements, Community Load Match provides competitive spot rates when shippers don’t have the volume to set up contract rates. For carriers, Community Load Match’s spot opportunities help to balance lanes, offset empty miles and reposition assets.

“Growing our strategic collaboration with Loadsmart makes our community even stronger,” said Peter Coumounduros, General Manager Load Match Group, Kuebix. “Our goal is to remove the friction from finding and securing trucks. We are extremely pleased to have Loadsmart’s real-time spot quotes available to all shippers in Community Load Match, as this new capability makes the sourcing process even more efficient.”

To help companies manage their supply chains efficiently in today’s market environment, Kuebix is offering shippers 60 free days of its award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS. With Kuebix Business Pro, logistics teams can collaborate remotely across multiple locations, source spot and leverage actionable reports and analytics for improved strategic shipping decisions.

Read the original release here: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/30/2055376/0/en/Loadsmart-Provides-Instant-Truckload-Spot-Quotes-in-Kuebix.html

ML and AI Blog Post Image

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Can Help “Future-Proof” Supply Chains

Over the past couple of months, most supply chains have weathered an unexpected storm. Rules and regulations are updated frequently in order for manufacturers, retailers and distributors to continue delivering. There’s no doubt that supply chains are feeling strained as they continue to adapt to these circumstances while operating efficiently and cost-effectively. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two emerging technologies offering an exciting opportunity to supply chains looking to strengthen their operations.

Machine Learning Makes Way for Predictive Analytics

Integrating machine learning in logistics operations can help automate a number of repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Businesses are then able to focus on more delicate aspects of their operations that require more attention. Managing inventory is much simpler with the assistance of machine learning. Supply chain managers can optimize their inventory and ensure they’re making better informed decisions.

Additionally, machine learning gives companies access to predictive analytics. Through predictive analytics, machine learning models are able to identify patterns in historical data regarding demand. Companies can utilize the data to forecast demand as precisely as possible. Through accurate demand forecasting, businesses are able to make better informed decisions about how much inventory to hold and when to restock.

Artificial Intelligence Simplifies Warehouse Management

 Supply chains that utilize artificial intelligence are able to handle larger sets of data at a time and better inform those involved in decision making processes. Artificial intelligence applies advanced algorithms to a variety of data sets, producing results that lead to more effective strategizing. Using artificial intelligence helps businesses maximize operational efficiencies while minimizing costs.

Artificial intelligence is especially useful in both maintaining and managing warehouses. More advanced models are able to supervise unmanned warehouses and keep track of who’s coming in and out. Artificial intelligence eliminates the need to manually count inventory as it can scan the barcode of each item and count that way.

 Both machine learning and artificial intelligence help companies prepare for uncertainties the future may hold. While it is impossible to accurately predict everything that’s going to happen, machine learning enables predictive analytics to give companies a better idea of what to expect. The key to overcoming adversity in supply chains is to make sure that logistics teams are prepared.


Preparing your supply chain for what comes next starts with leveraging advanced technology with additional features to fit your company’s specific needs. By implementing a transportation management system (TMS) you can quickly add efficiencies to your supply chain through visibility, integrations, automation and optimization features.

Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS can integrate with ERPs like Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, NetSuite or any other platform to further simplify logistics operations and drive cost savings. With Kuebix, you can even add order and route optimization for maximum efficiency. This technology empowers behavioral changes leading to dramatic cost savings. Kuebix’s Dock Scheduler even provides predictive learning to adjust scheduling estimates based on actual results and behaviors. Using technology to increase operational efficiencies can help even the most complex of supply chains stay informed and be prepared for the future!

Inventory Management Blog Post

Inventory Management’s Crucial Role in the Supply Chain

What is Inventory Management and Why is it Important?

 Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing and using a company’s goods or materials. Successfully managing inventory allows businesses to meet the demand level of their consumers with an appropriate amount of supply. Ineffective management can result in excess inventory which runs the risk of spoilage, damage or a shift in demand that causes stock to pile up even further. If inventory isn’t sold before any of these happen, it is often sold at clearance prices or destroyed.

 In a survey of 2,467 U.S. supply chain professionals conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), 58% of respondents reported that inventory management is a top technical skill in their field. It’s an essential component of keeping supply chains running smoothly. Effective inventory management requires a reliable technology platform and communication between all parties involved.

 Without inventory management, businesses would experience higher levels of waste and excess storage costs. Communicating with customers about product availability and estimated shipping dates becomes impossible when accurate and up-to-date information is missing.

 How Can I Improve Inventory Management in My Supply Chain?

 Effective supply chain management starts with technology. Eliminating traditional and often manual strategies saves time and reduces the risk of error. Digitally managing operations makes any information recorded simpler to share across an entire supply chain. If your company has already implemented a transportation management system (TMS), you’re already halfway to full supply chain optimization!

 Transportation management and inventory management are two essential parts of a successful supply chain. Transportation management systems (TMS) deal with the movement of products across the supply chain and provide a necessary platform for carriers, shippers and manufacturers to communicate. Inventory management platforms focus specifically on the quantity and type of product in a warehouse or other storage facility. Together, these pieces of technology form the basis for companies to get their products into the hands of customers as efficiently as possible.

For instance, when a company leverages a TMS to react quickly to a customer’s order, product moves swiftly out of the warehouse and is no longer taking up inventory space. That space is then available for fresher inventory to replace it. Inventory management systems can react to those quick shipments and ensure that the oldest inventory is being shipped first.

Tracking spoiled or faulty inventory is also made easier when inventory management and a TMS work hand in hand. With a TMS, products are tracked down to the SKU level and can be easily traced once they leave the warehouse. When an item is on recall, inventory management teams have all the relevant information they need to find and isolate bad product.

Certain transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are able to integrate directly with ERPs like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics. When integrated, these technologies offer logistics professionals increased shipment accuracy by eliminating the need for manual entry, significant time savings, and access to meaningful analytics for SKU-level cost allocation.  Integrations between a TMS and an ERP can help bridge the gap between inventory management and transportation management by sharing data between systems to make sure all parties involved have accurate, real-time information on inventory.

Kuebix Predictive Analytics TMS

What is Predictive Analytics and How is it Used in Supply Chain Operations?

You may be familiar with the term predictive analytics – but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it really means for your supply chain? Analytics help companies streamline process efficiencies and make sure important trends aren’t overlooked. Regardless of the industry your company is operating in, predictive analytics can help your company interpret their current performance to help them better understand and predict their future. 

Breaking it Down – Defining Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is formally defined as “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.” It extends beyond analysis of current operations and provides the best possible projection of what a company’s performance will look like in the future. Businesses who utilize predictive analytics can uncover patterns and relationships in their structured and unstructured data. 

Predictive analytics is especially useful because it automates the process of forecasting. Companies who utilize predictive analytics can then place their focus on critical daily tasks instead of going through a manual forecasting process. The biggest challenge associated with predictive analytics is that it requires a substantial amount of historical data. If the software doesn’t have enough data, it will have a hard time finding and visually displaying patterns and trends.

The MHI Industry report revealed that the number of supply chain professionals using predictive analytics has grown 76% from 2017 to 2019. Earlier implementations of predictive analytics focused on inventory management to help reduce cycle times and improve customer service. Over the past couple of years, the concept of predictive analytics has evolved and can now be applied across industries including healthcare and transportation planning.

Companies utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) are already taking steps towards collecting the data needed for predictive analytics. Whether they realize it or not, the data they’re collecting can fuel their efforts towards projecting and improving the future of their supply chains. For example, a company utilizing predictive analytics in their supply chain can view historical data about on time delivery (OTD) to make better decisions about who they book with in the future. 

Harnessing the Power of Predictive Analytics in Supply Chains

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.

 

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How Automation is Providing Businesses with a Way to Move Forward

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered the traditional business model. Companies looking to resume business are searching for ways to operate at a normal pace while maintaining new standards regarding cleanliness and social distancing. While wide-scale automation has always seemed like an inevitable part of the future, the pandemic is undoubtedly accelerating the push.

According to ABI Research, more than 4 million commercial robots will be installed in over 50,000 warehouses in the world by 2025 as a result of worker shortages attributable to the pandemic. This is a significant increase from the under 4,000 warehouses that reported using commercial robots in 2018.

Locus Robotics, a Massachusetts-based robotics startup, has raised over $105 million in funds since April of last year. Their bin-moving robots are already well-received in the U.S. and they are starting to expand into global markets. In February, Locus Robotics announced that their robots have passed 100 million units picked. The company plans on continuing to support retail, industrial and healthcare businesses to help them emerge stronger on the other side of Covid-19.

While LocusBots work collaboratively with human associates, they still minimize walking and interaction between employees. Their ability to minimize the risk of exposure is becoming increasingly important as the world continues to social distance and businesses comply with new health regulations.

Many businesses may have ruled out robotics as a viable option for their supply chains at first, but the impact the pandemic will have on the future of the supply chain is changing their minds. Even before Covid-19, manufacturing had been looking at robotics as a potential solution to tight labor markets. The adoption rate for robotics and automation increased drastically between 2019 and 2020. Beyond taking the place of humans, robots like LocusBots can also improve operational efficiencies while reducing costs.

The future of the supply chain continues to change each day as the world navigates through Covid-19, but it is clear that robotics and automation are going to play a critical role in business operations. Technology continues to propel traditional business models forward into a new era.

Like automation in a warehouse, streamlining and automating logistics operations is another way companies can position themselves for success in a changed world. Companies looking to leverage technology to simplify operations should consider Kuebix TMS as a way to get started. Kuebix TMS enables customers, suppliers and carriers to collaborate on one platform. Power is given back to the shipper, giving them complete visibility and control of their shipping operations.

Kuebix is offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help businesses of all sizes expand capacity and manage supply chains remotely. For more information about the offer and how to get started, click here.

 

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix & Trimble Announce Joint Launch of New ‘Community Load Match’

Kuebix and Trimble announced today new capabilities for its Community Load Match platform, a solution that facilitates collaboration between shippers and carriers to optimize how freight moves throughout the supply chain. Kuebix is a Trimble Company and part of the Transportation Sector.

This latest version of Community Load Match marks the first milestone in achieving Trimble and Kuebix’s mission of a connected transportation supply chain since Kuebix was acquired in January 2020. Now, Community Load Match enables shippers to use advanced matching capabilities to more easily find available carriers for their truckload shipments and leverage improved map visualization through Trimble MAPS. For carriers, these capabilities give them direct access to Kuebix’s community of more than 20,000 shippers for matching shipment requirements with available truckload capacity.

“Just four months post-acquisition, a joint Trimble-Kuebix team is releasing the next-generation capabilities of Community Load Match, powered by our community of shippers and a rapidly growing network of Trimble carriers,” said Dan Clark, Kuebix founder and Trimble vice president of Product Innovation & Strategy. “This is an exciting first step as we pursue our vision of a truly connected supply chain.”

Kuebix integrates with Trimble’s Innovative, TMW.Suite and TruckMate carrier transportation management systems (TMS), allowing shipment data to seamlessly flow between systems for maximum efficiency. Connecting Kuebix shippers with Trimble’s carrier network through a single integrated platform brings together two of the largest shipper-carrier ecosystems in North America.

“Trimble’s acquisition of Kuebix is part of our strategy to enable a collaborative, fully-connected supply chain,” said James Langley, senior vice president, Trimble Transportation. “The evolution of the Community Load Match platform represents a tangible step toward achieving this mission, making it easier for shippers and carriers to work together to identify capacity and more efficiently move freight.”

Community Load Match connects shippers with a rapidly growing carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet truckload needs on one platform. Shippers can easily request and receive rates from the carrier community, including their contracted carriers. Kuebix’s shipping community is composed almost entirely of direct shippers and manufacturers, resulting in a high-quality source of freight for carriers. Community Load Match provides the ability to designate preferred lanes, ensuring that carriers are only connected with shipping customers with requirements in lanes they are looking to fill. Kuebix also offers shippers complimentary rate assessments leveraging community carriers to optimize logistics operations and source new capacity.

 

Shippers can begin leveraging Community Load Match with 60 free days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS. Carriers can begin filling their open capacity and finding new customers by becoming a Kuebix Community Carrier.

For more information, contact the Kuebix Load Match Group by emailing LoadMatch@kuebix.com

Is it the Right Time to Invest in a TMS

Is it the Right Time to Invest in a TMS?

It might seem counter-intuitive to spend money during the present climate, but the companies that invest in technology now are going to have a competitive edge tomorrow when the economy recovers.

It’s a simple combination of direct, dollar-for-dollar ROI and customer satisfaction – in other words, more business with fewer expenses. Instead of trying to go back to “normal,” businesses should use this time of uncertainty to solidify their operations and set their supply chains up to compete in a changed economy.

Doing More With Less

It’s an unfortunate truth that most businesses will be trying to do more with less for the rest of 2020 and even into 2021. This includes labor, materials and revenue as the economy reacts to world-wide stay-at-home orders. International supply chains are in turmoil, especially as pre-bought raw materials and products from Asia aren’t refreshed with new deliveries.

Closer to home, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in April that “the unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent… The sharp increases in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.” Apart from being terrible for the individuals and their families, these numbers are bad news for businesses. Mass layoffs have already taken place in many sectors, making it harder for logistics teams to complete tasks with fewer man-hours and fewer external partners like “mom and pop” carriers.

Greater unemployment and economic uncertainty cause consumers to be more conservative with their spending. As such, even businesses that have managed to stay open during Covid-19 are unlikely to see the sales they had expected. That means every last penny needs to be spent wisely.

Managing disrupted operations with fewer team members, partners, and inbound dollars is a difficult task. Streamlining operations is essential to make sure these disruptions don’t overwhelm an already overtaxed supply chain. A transportation management system (TMS) can automate mundane processes previously wasting valuable time like keying order information, invoice audit, and rate comparison.

A TMS can also give teams visibility into inbound and outbound orders so they can stop asking “where’s my truck” and can instead turn their attention to more productive initiatives like rate negotiations and Covid-19 preparedness.

Tightening the Purse Strings

On the topic of more productive initiatives is finding ways to spend less money without sacrificing service to customers. Before a company can start to discover and eliminate waste, they need to have an accurate understanding of their current costs. This includes total freight costs, freight costs down to the SKU level, costs by carrier, carrier service levels, OTD percentages, detention and accessorial fees to name a few.

All of these metrics can be neatly summed up in reports and dashboards provided through a cloud-based TMS. These analytics can be used to find waste and make the necessary changes to save money.

For example, it may be common practice to book the cheapest carrier on a lane. However, it’s possible that that carrier is late 30% of the time. Anecdotal evidence might not be enough to make the case to switch to the slightly more expensive carrier, but hard facts are enough. With the data in hand, it’s easy to make the case to switch to a carrier with superior OTD percentages to improve customer satisfaction and win repeat business.

By adding an ERP integration on top of a TMS, users can even track their true landed costs down to the SKU level so that they can better allocate freight spend.

It’s not only long-term that transportation management systems help users save money. On the contrary, most users find themselves saving money on their freight spend almost immediately with the help of a TMS. This immediate ROI is derived from comparing rates from a variety of carriers on several modes.

Let’s face it, not every logistics team has time to manually compare rates for each load with every carrier they’re acquainted with. Instead, they use their best judgment to rate and book with familiar carriers. With the addition of a TMS, all of their contracted carrier rates are quickly and easily displayed so that teams can find the best rate and mode for every shipment. This translates into rapid ROI for the TMS.

Growing Customer Expectations

Just because there’s been an international pandemic doesn’t mean that customer expectations are any lower. On the contrary, many people are becoming more and more used to rapid delivery and “Amazon-like” customer experiences since being quarantined at home. It’s the shipper’s job to meet these growing customer expectations.

With the help of a TMS, companies can make sure that their products are tendered to the carriers that will deliver the fastest for the smallest price tag. A TMS also gives shippers a heightened level of visibility to order statuses. This means that customers can receive better status updates on their orders and are more likely to be flexible if something goes wrong along the way.

For final mile delivery, shippers can even add an e-commerce integration that allows their customers to choose the rate and delivery type that best suits their needs. This level of customization improves customer satisfaction and personalizes the delivery experience for them.

More Rate Options

The U.S. economy doesn’t look anything like it did at the end of 2019. As such, it doesn’t make sense to continue to operate a business the same way either. One way shippers can set themselves up for success is by “building their bench of carriers.” This means connecting with a larger assortment of carriers, brokers, and freight marketplaces to have the greatest chance to find the capacity they need when they need it.

The easiest way to connect with a large number of available trucks is through a community like Kuebix Community Load Match. What makes Community Load Match unique is the connection of shippers with a rapidly growing carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet truckload needs on one platform. Shippers can easily request and receive rates from the carrier community, including their contracted carriers. This means that they are always sourcing rates from as many providers as possible!


Interested in learning more about why investing in a TMS makes sense, even during the current economic climate? Hear what Dave Lemont, General Manager & VP, and Luke Lefkowitz, Supply Chain Expert at Kuebix have to say in this webinar: Making the Case for Cloud-Based TMS

Making the Case for TMS

State of Supply Chain Blog Post

Transportation of Goods in a Changed World

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of both small and large businesses for the foreseeable future. Supply chains throughout the country are adapting to changes in demand and new rules and regulations. Manufacturers, suppliers and truck drivers are adjusting to changes posed by Covid-19 every day.

 How Truck Drivers are Operating in an Economy That’s Weathered Covid-19

 Roughly 70% of America’s freight travels by truck. Many of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the country are busier than ever as a direct result of the pandemic. However, their operations are not exempt from change. Meals once looked at as a healthy break or chance to unwind are now spent inside trucks instead of rest stops. According to a survey released this month by Change to Win, 7 in 10 truck drivers reported operating in more dangerous working conditions during the pandemic. Their job, like most essential workers, requires them to risk exposure every day they are out on the roads.

 The Department of Transportation issued new guidance for truck drivers as a result of their critical role in keeping the U.S. economy moving throughout the pandemic. The new set of rules is based entirely on feedback from members of the industry. Drivers are now allowed to split their mandatory ten hours of rest in two different ways – either an 8-2 split or a 7-3 split. Prior to the change, drivers were forced to take the entire ten hours at once. Allowing drivers to split rest time is designed to allow them to have more flexible hours without compromising their safety.

 The trucking industry is working tirelessly to keep essential businesses stocked and running, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to the negative effects of Covid-19. The Labor Department recently reported that 88,300 trucking and warehouse positions were lost even though firms are busy delivering critical supplies to hospitals, clinics and grocery stores. When the pandemic hit America earlier this year, there was a surge in demand as the world started shopping in bulk. This surge fell in April and continues to slow down as individuals and companies plan their recovery. Regardless of changes in demand and available staff, truck drivers continue to perform an essential service.

What Trucking Companies Can Do to Succeed In a Changed World

 Kuebix recognizes that it’s never been more important to keep America’s supply chains running. That’s why we are offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS. Kuebix Business Pro TMS is a cloud-based platform that allows users to expand their capacity and effectively manage their supply chains remotely. Users can increase operational efficiencies by utilizing features that allow them to connect with all of their carriers in one spot, grant access to multiple users in multiple locations and leverage integrated analytics to make more informed decisions.

 Kuebix TMS provides access to Community Load Match. With Kuebix’s Community Load Match, the process of finding truckload capacity is drastically simplified. Users can connect with Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet all of their truckload needs on one platform. Community Load Match allows users to supplement existing capacity with reliable alternatives and ensure they’re choosing the best provider for every truckload shipment.

Through leveraging technology, businesses can ensure that their truck drivers are prepared and informed regardless of the challenges presented by Covid-19. While no one can be sure of what the next couple of months will bring, utilizing data and staying informed will set the transportation industry up for success!

Kuebix TMS Covid-19 Alcoholic Beverage Industry Blog Post

Beer, Wine and Liquor – The Alcoholic Beverage Industry During Covid-19

Social distancing has redefined business operations and everyday life throughout the country. Companies are changing their traditional business models to adapt to rules and regulations put in place to keep customers safe. Those that remain open or are starting to reopen are adapting to significant changes in consumer buying habits. One of these significant consumer buying habits is an unexpected surge in sales within the liquor industry.

In comparison to last year’s sales, beer and cider purchases went up by 20% from March 29 to April 4. Packs of beer containing 24-30 beverages grew by 90% that week compared to the previous year, and ready-to-drink cocktails like spiked lemonades and seltzers increased by 106%. Everyone doing their part and staying home means no more refreshments at restaurants or bars. Aside from restaurants that sell craft or specialty beverages in addition to their food, stocking up at a liquor store has been the only remaining option for many looking for a drink. Liquor stores can expect to profit from this surge for a while – it’s going to take some time for all customers to be comfortable going into restaurants again once the lockdown has ended.

Not all branches of the liquor industry are experiencing a positive surge in business, however. Craft beer companies are hurting. A significant portion of their revenue is from being served on tap at restaurants. Without restaurants catering to sit-down clientele, they have to depend on liquor store sales. The number and variety of craft beers varies from store to store because they’re more expensive for retailers to carry and consumers to purchase. As a result, craft beer sales within liquor stores aren’t consistent. Experts say that majority of the 8,000-plus craft brewers in the U.S. don’t sell their product in grocery stores and can’t afford to produce larger cases. With so many consumers shopping in bulk to spend as much time home as possible, they are even less likely to pick a smaller pack of specialty beers.

Many breweries have the kegs they were supposed to distribute to restaurants and bars to worry about. Bell’s Brewery in Michigan reported that even though they have seen an increase in sales through stores, they are struggling to determine what to do about the 50,000 kegs – about 6.2 million pints – of their summer beer they were supposed to distribute. While packaging and selling the beer in 12-packs makes sense, bottles and cans aren’t easy to come by. Craft breweries still have to compete with larger beer manufacturers for supplies.

Companies experiencing a surge in demand can look to Kuebix to keep their supply chains running smoothly during Covid-19. Kuebix is offering 60-days free of our award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help companies battle through the pandemic. Its cloud-based TMS technology helps shippers expand capacity while successfully managing their supply chains remotely.

As the world adjusts to social distancing even as economies begin to open back up, it will be interesting to see how craft and specialty breweries entice consumers as liquor store profits continue to rise. Supporting these successful small businesses in this uncertain time is both refreshing to consumers and rewarding to the industry!

Kuebix TMS Medical Equipment and Supplies Blog Post

Battling Medical Device and Equipment Supply Chain Disruptions During Covid-19

Medical devices and equipment are tantamount to tactical gear and weaponry in the war against Covid-19. Without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like disposable gloves, masks and gowns, our healthcare workers are entering the battlefield without the assets they need for success.

It’s not only PPE and products like ventilators that are essential during this grueling period of history; the supply chains of standard medical devices and equipment are also being disrupted. Everything from heart disease to seasonal allergies haven’t been put on pause just because there’s a global pandemic. The disruption in the global supply chain is putting strain on all facets of the medical industry and putting people at risk if the medical companies they rely on to keep them healthy falter.

Medical Device and Equipment Shortages

During times of enormous strain on the medical industry, the U.S. government is called upon to provide states access to the emergency stockpile. According to two health officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, however, the national stockpile of masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, and face shields was already severely depleted at the end of March. To put this into perspective, a report by the U.S. Oversight Committee in mid-April confirmed that New York had received 4,400 ventilators and another 3,520 went to places like New Jersey, Washington, Michigan, Illinois and Florida. Currently, there are 1 million+ confirmed cases in the United States.

To combat the shortage, individual manufacturers of medical equipment have stepped up their production efforts. Sourcing materials from international supply chains has proved to be highly complex, as different countries have responded to Covid-19 in different ways, some even halting raw material manufacturing completely.

Other companies in various industries have added their production power to the medical device and equipment shortage fight. Companies like Lego, Under Armor, and Xerox are manufacturing face shields, masks, and hand sanitizer respectively to help out the overburdened medical industry.

Connect Remotely by Leveraging a Cloud-based TMS

In a pre-pandemic world, many logistics teams were still relying on email, phone calls and shared Excel sheets to manage their freight. With a majority of people working from home, these more traditional forms of collaboration aren’t enough for medical equipment and device companies trying to navigate a turbulent supply chain.

Cloud-based transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS have changed this, however. Now, with the help of technology, every supply chain stakeholder from the logistics department, AR/AP, sales and customer service can collaborate in a single system and work off of the same transportation information. This means that teams scattered across multiple location can quickly rate, book and track their essential deliveries to ensure the public is supplied with life-saving equipment without ever having to pick up the phone.

By leveraging a cloud-based TMS like Kuebix TMS, teams can work off of the same set of information, maintain historical data for analysis and digitally connect with carriers for rating, booking, tracking and managing freight.

Plan Ahead to Instantly Access Truckload Capacity

With so many supply chains in chaos and trucking companies either overburdened by spikes in demand of struggling to fill empty lanes, finding real-time capacity and pricing for domestic freight may seem like a challenge. Companies that rely on the same small set of carrier partners will find themselves overpaying or missing deliveries as the pandemic’s effect on the supply chain worsen.

To get set up with the best chance of covering every load at the best price, medical companies need to ‘build their bench’ of carriers. With a wider selection of carrier partners to choose from, the likelihood of optimally covering every load increases dramatically. This means that tight margins can be maintained and business can proceed as smoothly as possible.

The best way any company can quickly and easily ‘build their bench’ is by connecting digitally with a vast network of asset-based carriers. Instead of negotiating spot quotes one-by-one, manufacturers and distributors can instead turn to their connected community to request bids all at once and tender proceed with tendering their freight. From there it’s a simple process to turn those direct carrier relationships built off of spot quotes into negotiate contracted carrier rates as needed.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix Community Load Match is a platform that allows any Kuebix TMS user to quickly connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and direct carrier assets. The system enables shippers to request and compare spot rates from their carriers and the Kuebix community with the touch of a button, while retaining control of their freight by choosing the carrier or broker directly.

Users’ job is simplified by tendering all shipments using one system for spot quoting as well as booking with regularly negotiated carrier rates. Instead of switching between carrier websites or hammering the phone, shippers can instead view all of their bids in a single place to choose the best one for their freight.

By connecting digitally with a platform like Kuebix Community Load Match, medical companies can quickly build their bench of carriers and meet the surges in demand arising from this crisis.

How Kuebix is Helping Medical Device and Equipment Companies During Covid-19

The essential role medical device and equipment companies play during the Covid-19 pandemic is unquestionable. For that, everyone at Kuebix would like to say Thank You. Their continued efforts keep households, doctors and hospitals equipped with the products they need to keep everyone healthy.

At Kuebix, we want to help keep America’s supply chains moving. That’s why we’re offering 60 free days of our award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help companies during Covid-19. As many of us switch to remote operations, cloud-based TMS technology like Kuebix can help shippers collaborate within their supply chains and gain access to the carriers and capacity they need.