The Future of Drones in the Supply Chain

Logistics industry innovators are always looking to create solutions that will cut costs and improve operational efficiencies. One application of technology that’s becoming increasingly popular within supply chains is drones. While drones are commonly applied in warehouses to help with inventory management, their purpose is starting to extend further down the supply chain to final mile delivery.

To ensure delivery drones are used safely, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a set of rules regarding remote identification and flying over people. These rules require drones to be remotely identifiable and give smaller drones permission to fly directly over people during the day. Remote identification, also known as a “digital license plate,” can be scanned to check the drone’s control station location and make the identification process easier for law enforcement. These regulations are the first step in making sure that an increase in drone presence is comfortable and safe for everyone involved.

The details of delivery operations involving drones varies between companies. The FAA gave Amazon permission to use drones to deliver packages under five pounds starting last September. Verizon and UPS have also started using drones. Companies that implement delivery drones into their operation are looking to help drivers save time and fuel by leveraging drones to deliver small packages to hard-to-reach locations. Most companies are starting to roll out drone initiatives in rural areas as regulations for more populated areas are still needed. 

Additionally, the technology behind all types of drones is still being developed. Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) unveiled several drones with new technology that will accelerate drone usage even further. Sony released a sneak peek of their Airpeak drone which features an obstacle avoidance system and a first-person view (FPV) for the pilot. Autel Robotics showcased their EVO Dragonfish and EVO 2 RTK series. The EVO Dragonfish is designed to fly for longer and tolerate harsher wind conditions while carrying up to 3.3 pounds of product. The EVO 2 RTK series leverages the latest technology to make tracking and flying drones to a specific location even more precise. 

How Drones Can Help Supply Chains

Drones are a way to cut back on costs associated with final mile delivery. It can be costly to reach certain rural areas with low delivery rates. Drones remove the need for large trucks to make the journey many miles off-route to residences. While the initial implementation cost is high, delivery drones make up for it quickly with significant fuel and time savings. Truck drivers can focus on larger packages along their route and reduce the number of necessary stops. With consumer expectations continually increasing, an efficient delivery process is extremely important. 

While delivery drones are still in the beginning stages of implementation, it will be interesting to see how common they become and what efficiencies they bring to supply chains!

Kuebix Named to Food Logistics’ 2020 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers

Food Logistics, the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food supply chain, has named Kuebix to its 2020 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list.

The annual FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers honors leading software and technology providers that ensure a safe, efficient and reliable global food and beverage supply chain.

Kuebix transportation management system (TMS) gives power back to the shipper and lightens their workload. Food and beverage companies can rate, book and track their shipments in a single system. Kuebix TMS users have complete visibility and control over their logistics operations, making it easier than ever to keep even the busiest supply chains moving. 

“From fleet management to warehouse management to simply just track and trace along the cold food chain, these software and technology providers have definitely stepped it up to ensure cold food and beverage products continue moving along the line without incident,” says Maina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “This pandemic has thrown the food industry a curveball, but many of these providers fast-tracked the development and deployment of their solutions to ensure food safety, traceability, visibility and quality assurance. So, to these winners and others in the industry working to make a difference, thank you!”

Companies on this year’s 2020 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list will be profiled in the November/December 2020 issue of Food Logistics, as well as online at www.foodlogistics.com.

About Food Logistics: 

Food Logistics is published by AC Business Media, a business-to-business media company that provides targeted content and comprehensive, integrated advertising and promotion opportunities for some of the world’s most recognized B2B brands. Its diverse portfolio serves the construction, logistics, supply chain and other industries with print, digital and custom products, events and social media.

How Truck Drivers Can Stay Ahead of Winter Weather

January is upon us which means unpredictable winter weather. Truck drivers are preparing for freezing temperatures, snow and ice in the air and on the ground as well as  corrosive road treatments. Below are a few ways that truck drivers can withstand a season filled with harsh conditions and sometimes unexpected roadblocks:

Check Air Systems and Maintain Tire Pressure

A truck’s air system plays an integral part in braking, automated manual transmissions and emissions controls. As temperatures begin to drop, any moisture trapped in the air system freezes which often leads to brake and valve malfunctions. Tires deflate as temperatures drop for the same reason. It’s important to regularly check and empty the air system and monitor tire pressure to ensure they don’t fall victim to the cold weather.

Keep Fuel Tanks Full

Regardless of vehicle size, it’s common knowledge that fuel tanks should be kept more than halfway full throughout winter. This is especially important for truck drivers because any moisture trapped in partially empty fuel tanks can freeze and ice fuel lines. Keeping fuel tanks over halfway full throughout the winter is critical in avoiding situations where trucks refuse to start. The added pressure of a full fuel tank can give them much needed traction when there is a surplus of snow on the ground. 

Plan A Route Ahead of Time

If any amount of snow is going to be on the ground, it’s important for truck drivers to have their routes planned out ahead of time. Logistics professionals can leverage advanced mapping technology to simplify the process. Taking a look at all the different ways to reach the destination makes it easier to avoid any narrow or windy roads that a driver wouldn’t feel comfortable navigating in winter weather. Additionally, drivers that know the route they’re taking ahead of time can identify rest stops in case road conditions become unbearable.

Leverage Supply Chain Visibility

Communicating information regarding a shipment’s current location and estimated arrival time is especially difficult during the winter. Truck drivers often face barriers along their routes like roadblocks, accidents and weather that forces them to pull over and take a break. Logistics professionals can leverage visibility in technology to provide stakeholders with real-time tracking information and updates regarding the location of their drivers. 

Keep Snow off the Roof

While snow-covered roads are more commonly recognized as a danger when driving in the winter, piles of snow and ice on the roofs of trucks and truck beds pose an equally significant risk. Any snow or ice left on top of a vehicle could end up falling off and causing an accident for someone else. Some companies have even started working on technology to clean the snow off of truck beds and save drivers the hassle.

Kuebix Receives Supply & Demand Chain Executive 2020 Green Supply Chain Award

We’re excited to announce that Kuebix, a Trimble Company, has been selected as a Supply & Demand Chain Executive Green Supply Chain Award winner! 

The Green Supply Chain Awards recognize companies making sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategy, as well as those working to achieve measurable goals within their operations. Recipients of this year’s award have made sustainability a priority in a time of crisis, focusing on ways to reuse or recycle items throughout their operations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed supply chain risks and vulnerabilities that were previously overlooked. Companies are scrambling to adapt to new rules, regulations and shipping delays. Kuebix TMS empowers shippers to take control of their supply chains with next-level visibility and new opportunities for collaboration. 

Leveraging supply chain technology like Kuebix TMS makes it possible for companies to improve their operational efficiencies and move towards a more sustainable supply chain. In times of uncertainty, it’s especially important that shippers are able to leverage a platform that brings them significant ROI and time savings. By making better informed decisions, Kuebix users are able to automatically reduce fuel usage and overall expenses!

Handling Supply Chain Disruptions with Warehowz & Kuebix TMS

Supply chains throughout the U.S. are feeling the impact of massive disruptions in their logistics operations brought on by the pandemic. Manufacturing, transporting and storing products while meeting new rules and regulations regarding health is a lot for companies to handle. These best practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are subject to change as new information emerges. The best way to handle these challenges is by leveraging technology created specifically to simplify logistics operations. Below are a few of the latest forms of technology that can help supply chains navigate this uncharted territory: 

Warehowz

Companies that utilize technology in their supply chains are more digitally agile, making it easier for them to adapt to the unexpected. Fluctuations in consumer demand can lead to empty store shelves and shipping delays. The amount of inventory needed is subject to abrupt change and has led businesses to turn to on-demand warehousing.

On-demand warehousing makes it possible for companies to find additional storage/ warehousing services without making a long-term financial commitment. With the pandemic requiring many businesses to keep larger amounts of inventory on hand, Warehowz is the perfect solution for those in need of extra space.

Warehowz is a cloud-based online marketplace that provides additional warehouse storage. Businesses in need of additional short-term warehouse space can use the platform to connect with warehouses that have unused space they are looking to fill. Warehowz is dedicated to providing users with a solution that provides flexible, easy to procure and reliably managed solutions.

Leveraging Warehowz is easy. After users create an online account, they can publish their listing and receive detailed project proposals from potential matches. Once a user accepts, Warehowz provides the download, billing and payment tools needed for a swift exchange! 

Kuebix Transportation Management System (TMS)

A smoothly running supply chain depends on effective management of each of its parts. Logistics professionals need to be aware of details from the warehouse all the way to the store shelf. While supply chain management is already a daunting task, disruptions brought on by the pandemic make it even more complicated. Businesses looking to improve operational efficiencies across their supply chain will benefit from a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix TMS. 

With Kuebix, customers, shippers and carriers can collaborate on the same platform. Users are able to compare rates side-by-side instead of flipping between multiple carrier websites. Kuebix TMS generates detailed reports and analytics that enable users to make better informed shipping decisions and hold carriers accountable. 

Finding capacity in the right lane is especially difficult with so many fluctuations in demand and raw material shortages. Users can leverage Kuebix Community Load Match and become a part of the community made from 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. With Kuebix Community Load Match, shippers get a new source of truckload capacity and carriers can fill their empty trucks.

To discover even further time and money savings, users can integrate their enterprise resource planning platforms (ERPs) like Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and Sage 100 with Kuebix TMS. An integration between Kuebix TMS and an ERP means that product and order details flow directly between the two systems. Users don’t have to waste time re-keying information or worry about human error.

Both Kuebix TMS and Warehowz enable their customers to stay digitally agile and handle whatever disruptions their supply chains face!

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The Supply Chain’s Critical Role in Successful Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

The creation of a Covid-19 vaccine has been on the top of everyone’s mind since the illness first began to spread. A November Gallup poll revealed that 58% of Americans would get a Covid-19 vaccine. Leading pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer have created vaccines with efficacy rates of more than 90% that will be ready for distribution by the end of the year. Now that trustworthy vaccines are in production, there’s one problem that remains – distribution. 

Transporting vaccines is more complicated than loading them into a truck and driving. Moderna’s vaccine requires a temperature of -20° for long-term freezing but can be stored for up to one month in a regular refrigerator. On the other hand, Pfizer’s vaccine needs a temperature of -70°C for long-term freezing and can last in a regular refrigerator for five days at most. Both variations must be sealed in sterile containers before leaving the production facility.

Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two shots given weeks apart to the person being vaccinated, making the logistics even more complicated. Hardware companies responsible for producing glass vials, syringes and needles started ramping up production over the summer to prepare for the inevitable creation of a vaccine. U.S. Government officials are working directly with McKesson, a medical supply company, to assemble vaccination kits and make distributing and administering the vaccine easier. 

The infographic below highlights some of the major challenges supply chains are facing on top of determining how to distribute the vaccine.

With people across the globe wanting a dose of either vaccine as soon as possible, the pressure is on for supply chains. Both Moderna and Pfizer need reliable temperature-controlled trucks to transport their vaccines. Even the smallest deviation from the required temperature can render an entire truckload of vaccine doses ineffective. Securing a large fleet of specialized trucks is a challenge in itself and transporting substantial quantities of either vaccine requires supply chains to move quickly.

It’s equally as important that those responsible for distributing the vaccine have access to tracking information. Distributors need to be sure the doses they’re administering stayed within temperature and time regulations before reaching their final destination. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities have already expressed concern that they don’t have enough ultracold storage capacity to act as a distribution center. Rushing any part of this fragile supply chain can compromise the quality of doses the entire world is depending on. 

In order to successfully transport and distribute doses of Covid-19 vaccines, stakeholders will need to  leverage the most advanced supply chain technologies on the market today. The latest applications of technology will improve collaboration and visibility within logistics operations to help both Moderna and Pfizer produce and distribute their vaccines.

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2020 Projected to be the Busiest Peak Capacity Season Yet

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has made many consumers value e-commerce shopping above traditional in-store experiences. As the holiday season begins in full force, the transportation industry is realizing that online shopping is creating what may be the busiest peak capacity season yet.

Popular transportation companies including FedEx, UPS and DHL are all experiencing a surge in order volume thanks to online shopping. Order volume is expected to continue trending upwards as consumers shop for holiday presents and décor.

While brick and mortar locations won’t have to worry as much about the foot traffic coming through their doors, shippers will have additional freight to transport.

Technology’s Role in Conquering Peak Capacity Season

The secret to handling a next-level peak season (and an overall unpredictable year) lies within technology. Shippers worried about an extra busy peak capacity season should consider joining a network that benefits both shippers and carriers to find beneficial opportunities for collaboration.

A shipping network makes it easier than ever to find truckload capacity. Users can compare negotiated truckload rates from their carriers against carriers that are a part of the network. With so many carriers to choose from, shippers can be sure they are getting the best rate for their freight. Instead of juggling multiple websites, making phone calls and sending emails to find a truck, users can satisfy all of their shipping needs on a single platform.

Shippers are not the only ones who benefit from a shipping network. Carriers looking to establish long-term relationships with shippers and fill backhaul can leverage a shipping network. When they join, carriers can specify their preferred lanes to make sure they are only connecting with shippers doing business in those lanes. It’s a win-win, carriers get more business and shippers can take advantage of the best prices.

Some advanced shipping networks offer RFP and lane analysis services as well. With a shipping network, the process of running bids and conducting RFPs is simplified, allowing shippers to consistently secure capacity. Carriers are able to take short-term opportunities on the spot market with shippers whose logistics goals align with theirs and turn them into long-term relationships with the help of an RFP service.

In order to make it through peak capacity season, shippers and carriers need to work together in a way that works for both parties. Technology like Kuebix’s Community Load Match makes mutually beneficial collaboration possible. Whether you are a shipper in search of the best rate for your freight or a carrier looking to fill empty capacity, technology is key in helping you make the most of this year’s peak capacity season!

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The Turkey Day Supply Chain in 2020

The holiday season during Covid-19 means smaller gatherings and changes to long-standing traditions for many families. Healthcare professionals are recommending everyone stays home and stays safe for Thanksgiving this year. Regardless of any changes in plans, there’s one thing that will be at the center of most families’ tables – turkey.

A grand total of 46 million turkeys are eaten for Thanksgiving every year. Research has shown that the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest it’s been since 2015. Turkey prices are 7% lower than they were last year at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird, equating to $1.21 per pound. A Thanksgiving meal for 10 people including classic dishes like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie costs about $46.90, which is 4% less than last year.

Lower prices can be attributed to the fact that a significant number of people are staying home and cooking their own meals because of the pandemic. More people buying ingredients involved in signature Thanksgiving dishes is good news for many companies, but those who handle turkeys are in a unique predicament.

The “ideal” Thanksgiving turkey typically weighs between 28 to 30 pounds. Distributors were used to operating under the assumption that the best turkeys were the biggest ones. For many families, this rang true. However, as this year’s gatherings downsize, so does the weight of the ideal turkey. The majority of Thanksgiving shoppers are in search of smaller turkeys, making them seemingly impossible to find. 

The entire supply chain is affected as consumers, butchers, meat suppliers, grocers and chefs are left scrambling to secure smaller birds. Some consumers don’t mind cooking a larger turkey because it means plenty of leftovers for sandwiches the next day. To accommodate smaller gatherings that aren’t interested in leftovers, butchers are breaking down large birds and selling parts individually or in smaller bundles. 

Households who don’t want to cook their own turkey regardless of its size are turning to restaurants. To capitalize on the change of pace for this year’s celebrations, restaurants are offering traditional meals that can be ordered in advance for individuals or small households. Those who either don’t want to cook or are unable to cook can still enjoy the classic Thanksgiving meal they know and love in the comfort of their own home.

The circumstances around this year’s Thanksgiving are unusual, but there are still plenty of options in terms of securing the perfect turkey. The key to making sure your table is filled with all the classics is planning ahead. Shop for popular ingredients early and don’t leave anything for the last minute! Place an order for a turkey as soon as you confirm how many people will be at your dinner table and remember it’s never a bad idea to have leftovers!

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Veterans Make Significant Contributions to the Transportation Industry – Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day, celebrated annually on November 11th, recognizes veterans for their sacrifices, the honor they’ve shown, and celebrates the freedom they have brought our nation with their service. It’s an opportunity for everyone to thank those that have served and to commemorate their bravery.

Veterans in the Transportation and Supply Chain Industry

Transitioning out of the military and finding a fulfilling job after serving can be challenging. Many veterans prefer jobs that allow them to continue using their leadership and problem-solving skills. Their experience in unpredictable situations helps them under pressure and makes them ideal team-members. Given this, it’s unsurprising that the transportation industry is full of veterans, as the supply chain can be a complex and demanding place to work.

Kuebix, like many companies in the transportation and logistics space, is proud to employ veterans. One such is Kuebix’s own Doug Taylor, a Business Development Specialist who found his way into the logistics world this year to continue his career in sales. Doug served for four years as an Aviation Specialist (SAR Swimmer, Air Crew) with the U.S. Navy. During his time in the Navy, Doug held many positions, though one of his most memorable assignments was as a member of a search and rescue team that required him to jump out of helicopters.

Doug has taken many lessons from his time in the U.S. Navy and applied them to his career as a civilian. Now, he brings those attributes to Kuebix. When talking about the lessons drilled into him during his time serving, Doug said, “Organization and efficiency were critical. We learned Doug Taylorto always be prepared and be ready to pack our things and go at a moment’s notice.”

The transportation industry is constantly evolving and logistics professionals must be able to pivot quickly in response to a changing environment. The industry is rapidly embracing new technologies, incorporating new regulations into everyday practices, and at the forefront of the pandemic relief efforts. In many ways, veterans embody all the best practices and attributes that are needed to maneuver within this sphere. 

“From bootcamp on, the Navy stresses the importance of paying attention to detail,” commented Doug. “As a swimmer you could lose a fin or a mask but you still have to keep going. We practiced these scenarios to make sure that we could adapt in unexpected situations.”

In an industry that’s constantly changing, the ability to adapt is an especially important skill. This year has prompted supply chains throughout the country to adapt to changes in consumer demand, international shipment delays and raw material shortages. The transportation companies who emerged successful were able to rise above these challenges and meet the expectations of their consumers.

As a newer member of the supply chain industry, Doug notes that the sense of community within has been remarkable and exceeded his expectations. “Being a part of the Kuebix team has been a great experience. I’ve been able to really connect with other people in the transportation and logistics industry,” Doug added. “Our community of shippers is growing every day and our software keeps getting better!”

The supply chain wouldn’t be the same without veterans. To all those who have served our country and to all who continue to serve, Happy Veterans Day!

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Trends in the Supply Chain and Their Impact on the Transportation Management System Market

This year has reminded everyone to expect the unexpected – even in the supply chain which is one of the most unflappable industries out there! Covid-19 has disrupted the logistics operations of companies throughout the U.S. Technology is rapidly advancing as new tools and integrations become available and consumer shopping habits have been directly affected in the process. In order to overcome these and many other challenges, companies can leverage the latest supply chain technology and find mutually beneficial opportunities with one another as part of connected logistics networks. Understanding the state of the industry and how it relates to the TMS market is the first step any company trying to ‘weather the storm’ must understand.

We believe Gartner’s recently published research titled Gartner Research: Macro Trends Affecting the Transportation Management System Market offers insight regarding current trends that are influencing the buying process for transportation management systems (TMS) and is a great place for any potential technology user to start with. It’s important that logistics professionals understand these trends as it will empower them to make better informed decisions when selecting technology for their supply chain. 

 

Leverage this report to:

  • •   Evaluate key factors such as usability, ease of implementation, and carrier networks
  • •   Understand important trends shaping the TMS industry
  • •   Identify TMS vendors that bring innovation to a changing marketplace

 

One of the major trends affecting the buying process for transportation management systems is the constant maturing of technology. As technology advances, consumer expectations heighten. Think of it like the “Amazon Effect.” Now that the world knows 2-day shipping is possible, everyone starts to expect this from every retailer, not just Amazon. Factors like user experience and implementation times are becoming more important. TMS providers have to work harder to meet these expectations, but it’s up to the potential buyer to determine whether they will be up and running quickly enough to generate rapid ROI. Additionally, if the TMS doesn’t provide a user-friendly user interface (UI), it doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the technology has if teams won’t adopt it into their everyday operations.

Nearly all transportation management systems on the market today are cloud-based, even those legacy systems with their main capabilities based in hardware are trying to play catch up. Solutions that are cloud-based make it easier for users to store data and regularly update software. As more digital networks and platforms arise in the transportation industry, providers continue to expand their capabilities and work together to create partnerships and integrations.

Technology is constantly evolving and as a result, shippers are thinking ahead before investing in a TMS. Decision making is no longer focused solely on the software’s current features but rather a combination of its current functionality and efforts to expand partnerships and capabilities. Shippers want a transportation management system that will be able to grow alongside their needs and take on new challenges in an uncertain market.

These trends and their impact on the market are important for shipping companies planning to grow their business in 2021. Understanding the effects of Covid-19, a changing technology landscape and consumer expectations will help any company make the best decisions for their supply chains in the face of uncertainty.

Gartner, Macro Trends Affecting the Transportation Management System Market, 17 September 2020, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Carly West, Oscar Sanchez Duran

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The Supply and Demand of Halloween Candy in 2020

Halloween is an exciting time of year for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers alike. The holiday is marked by spiders, cobwebs and most importantly candy! In fact, candy may be one of the few aspects of Halloween that will remain largely unchanged during this tumultuous time. With October 31st approaching quickly, chocolate and candy manufacturers have worked hard to make the most of the season despite the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Shoppers spend a total of $4.6 billion on Halloween candy every year in the United States. Most retailers placed their orders in preparation for the holiday back in March when the pandemic was still in its early stages. As October has drawn closer, retailers have had to place additional orders or adjust current ones based on consumer demand in their area. 

Fewer public events this year have brought the overall Halloween spend down to an estimated $8.05 billion in comparison to last year’s $8.78 billion. However, those who are participating are spending an average of $6 more than last year on more outdoor decorations and greeting cards. Despite the pandemic, Americans are finding ways to celebrate while still practicing social distancing and mask wearing. 

What This Means for Candy Consumption

While Halloween celebrations will look different this year, the practice of buying and consuming candy will stay the same. A study conducted by marketing research firm Suzy found that 80% of consumers plan to purchase at least the same amount of Halloween candy this year as in the past. Manufacturers are taking a couple of different approaches to ensure that consumers stock up on sweets regardless of their holiday plans.

Leading chocolate brand Hershey produced more of its popular assortment and snack size bags featuring Reese’s, Hersey’s, Kit Kat and variety brands this year. All of these treats have had an increase in sales during the pandemic. To account for changes in consumer shopping habits related to the pandemic, Hershey focused on producing smaller-sized variety bags instead of the 200-plus count bags used for trick-or-treating. The brand limited the amount of product they released with Halloween-inspired wrapper designs to minimize waste that would be offloaded at a discount after the holiday.

Hershey is forecasting flat sales this year during Halloween, the season that makes up 10% of it’s annual sales. “We’re tracking it very closely and we’re ahead at this point,” said Phil Stanley, the company’s chief sales officer“The category has proven to be resilient.”

Other Candy manufacturers like Mars Wrigley have spent the summer and fall getting ahead of what they knew would be a challenging Halloween season. In an effort to bolster sales early, Mars’ subsidiary companies strategically targeted states and cities with marketing efforts in line with safety guidelines put in place by governors. They also elongated the Halloween candy season by putting up displays in stores early to tempt consumers stuck at home.

Candy makers have also worked to elongate the season, moving displays into stores earlier to bolster at-home consumption. Total Halloween chocolate and candy sales were up 13% for the four weeks ending Sept. 6, with Halloween chocolate specifically up more than 25%, according to IRI data. Most of these sales appear to be for personal consumption however, as detailed by the IRI survey.

Halloween Statistics 2020According to Sebastian Garcia-Dastugue, Ph.D., marketing & logistics professor at Florida International University, “It’s a very important moment to gain customer’s trust, to show that you are top of your operation and that you are on top of what’s going on in the world.” Though the pandemic continues to persist across the globe, shoppers are turning to ordinary things, like Halloween candy, to feel a sense of normalcy. By supplying the products consumers have come to expect, companies can earn brand loyalty from customers for years to come.

How to Prepare Your Supply Chain

Chocolate and candy companies and their supply chains have to be flexible to get through this Halloween. Consumer shopping habits are constantly changing and orders must be adjusted in response. With a transportation management system (TMS), manufacturers, suppliers and retailers can all collaborate on a single platform. Complete supply chain visibility makes it possible for supply chain stakeholders to have real-time tracking information and make necessary adjustments. 

Data from past holiday seasons has been instrumental in helping chocolate and candy companies prepare for this year. A TMS collects user data and uses it to generate detailed reports and dashboards that empower logistics professionals to better plan for the future. 

Whether you purchase candy for yourself, family or to mail to friends, a lot of thought went into getting your sweet treat on store shelves this year!

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Forward-Thinking Technology is Improving Safety on the Roads

In recent years, technological advances have influenced nearly every aspect of the transportation industry. Technology has improved the ease and efficiency of training new drivers, optimizing truck routes, managing inventory and more. Kuebix’s parent company Trimble Transportation offers video intelligence, onboard event recording and safety analytics to help understand accidents and prevent future collisions. More recently, technology has been enhancing safety for truck drivers on the roads. 

Accidents involving trucks are less common than those between passenger vehicles. However, accidents that do involve trucks are especially dangerous because trucks weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles. A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that outfitting large trucks with high-tech, front crash prevention systems stop two out of five rear-end truck collisions. 

Front crash prevention systems use cameras, radars or other sensors to monitor surrounding traffic. These systems incorporate forward collision warning (FCW) technology which is designed to make drivers aware of obstacles directly in their path. Additionally, many incorporate automatic energy braking systems (AEB) to detect nearby vehicles and automatically apply brakes when obstacles get too close. 

Data collected by the IIHS revealed that rear-end crashes in trucks equipped with FCW were reduced by 44%. Similarly, trucks using AEB reduced their number of rear-end crashes by 41%. In cases where accidents couldn’t be prevented, technology was still able to reduce the speed of the truck involved by 50% and lessen the damage done by the collision. 

While advanced safety technology’s main goal is to improve safety directly within the transportation industry, FCW and AEB technology have a positive impact on the roads as a whole. Newer models of commercial vehicles have also been integrating forward-thinking technology, bringing the number of accidents between commercial vehicles down as well. 

As more companies adopt new technology, the safety and efficiency of populated roads and highways throughout the U.S. will only get better!

What an Early Holiday Shopping Season Means for Supply Chains

Whether or not consumers, suppliers and retailers are ready, holiday shopping season is right around the corner! Experts predict that due to evolving shopping habits, Covid-19, a delayed Amazon Prime Day and general supply chain disruptions, consumers will start shopping for the holidays earlier than usual this year. This newly extended holiday shopping season creates many opportunities for retailers as long as they’re prepared.

One of the driving forces behind the early start to holiday shopping season is Amazon Prime Day. Supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic led Amazon to delay the event (traditionally held in July) until October of this year. Amazon Prime day acts as a catalyst for Amazon’s competitors like Target, Walmart and Best Buy to create their own limited-time offerings. Instead of pausing promotions when Amazon Prime Day ended on October 14th and restarting closer to Thanksgiving, many retailers are taking a more continuous approach. Target has promised its customers “Black Friday pricing all November” while popular hardware store Home Depot has vowed to make their offerings available until the end of December.

Companies that don’t run promotions around the time of Amazon Prime Day run the risk of a decline in business. Starting promotions after the unofficial holiday makes it harder for retailers to ensure they have enough inventory to keep their shelves stocked when they’re running low. Retailers that started early or plan to start earlier in November than Black Friday will be able to identify and keep up with new consumer shopping trends. 

Popular Holiday Purchases

With so many different companies offering discounts well into the holiday season, all that’s left for consumers to do is shop. However, the pandemic is expected to have a direct impact on this year’s popular purchases. Instead of luxury items being the focal point of the holidays, consumers are gravitating towards practical purchases. Products like winter coats, snow shoes and fire pits are at the top of many lists because they enable friends and family to gather outside during colder months as social distancing efforts are still in place.

Electronics have always been a popular item on wish lists and this year they hold even more importance. With so many people still working on furnishing their home office or remote learning space, laptops, keyboards, monitors and desk decór are all in high demand this holiday season. Internationally sourced electronics will have an especially difficult time keeping up because of widespread shipping delays brought on by the pandemic.

Making the Most of the Early Holiday Season

Taking full advantage of the early start to the holiday season requires more than launching a new discount. Companies that want to stay ahead need complete visibility throughout their supply chains. Supply chain visibility makes it possible for logistics professionals to view each aspect of their supply chain in detail as moves are being planned, alerts are sent and real-time adjustments are made along the route.

Achieving true supply chain visibility starts with implementing a transportation management system (TMS). Companies that leverage a TMS are able to seamlessly rate, book and track their freight. Visibility makes it possible for users to quickly view the status of shipments and pass-along tracking information to customers and partners. With the power of a cloud-based TMS and supply chain visibility, logistics professionals can improve operational efficiencies, provide better customer service and leverage detailed analytics to make better informed decisions.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Blog Post

What Supply Chains Should Expect from Amazon Prime Day this Fall

Amazon Prime Day is approaching quickly with a start date of October 13, 2020. While Amazon typically holds this digital shopping ‘holiday’ in July, supply chain disruptions brought on by Covid-19 led to a postponement of the event. Despite setbacks beyond their control, Amazon has high hopes for this year’s Amazon Prime Day!

The 3-day holiday filled is the most important event of the year for Amazon, drawing in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2019, Amazon made over $7 billion from the 48-hour event. In addition to being an opportunity to increase sales, Amazon Prime Day draws in many new Prime membership registrations for Amazon. The great digital deals entice many consumers to become part of this growing community of shoppers.

Popular Amazon Prime Day Deals 

While the offerings of this year’s Amazon Prime Day will remain a mystery until it begins, the past couple of years have had a focus on electronics. Popular purchase items included e-readers, vacuums, blenders, smartphones and smart TVs. Amazon has already started offering a discount on the Apple iPad 2020 to entice customers to start shopping. 

With so many kids attending school remotely and parents working from home, products like laptops and computers are already experiencing a surge in consumer demand. New discounts and limited-time offers just before the holiday season are going to tempt consumers further. 

In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime Day, competitors like Walmart, Target and Best Buy often launch their own series of discounts to compete for customers. There are plenty of options for consumers to choose from, but they’ll have to wait until Amazon Prime Day to find out who has the best deals! 

What Amazon Prime Day Means for Supply Chains 

When it comes to Amazon Prime Day, supply chains should be prepared for anything. With so many different offerings on a wide range of products, there’s no way to predict how many orders will come in for each. Companies manufacturing in smaller quantities may have to pick up the pace on production ahead of the holiday. 

Manufacturers of products like laptops, monitors and headphones are already experiencing a higher volume of orders because of the pandemic. Discounts are likely to amplify the number of orders. Since this year’s Amazon Prime Day is closer to the holiday season than usual, many shoppers have more concrete lists and are ready to order. This, combined with the fact that many consumers are choosing to keep their shopping digital during the pandemic, makes it likely that this year’s Prime Day will dwarf previous years’.

The best way for supply chains to prepare for the impact of Amazon Prime Day and the sales that follow is by leveraging visibility tools in their supply chains and remaining proactive instead of reactive. Companies need to provide real-time tracking information and shipment details to meet consumer expectations. The same information can empower retailers to make strategic decisions regarding their freight.

The key to true supply chain visibility is a transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix. With Kuebix TMS, stakeholders can collaborate on a single platform for complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Real-time tracking information helps everyone to stay informed and detailed reports and dashboards help companies analyze their performance and identify areas to improve. 

Regardless of where customers shop for this year’s Amazon Prime Day, supply chains have their work cut out for them!