KBXAnnouncement_Webiste

Trimble to Acquire Kuebix to Transform and Connect the Transportation Logistics Ecosystem

Dear Kuebix Customer,

I’m excited to share the news that the transportation industry has taken a giant leap forward today with the acquisition of Kuebix by Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB). Our mission has always been to save companies time and money by leveraging cloud-based technology that empowers visibility, collaboration and efficiency across the supply chain. We have been building a strategic alliance with Trimble over the last year, and when the opportunity came along to become part of Trimble to accelerate the full realization of our vision, we had to be part of it.

This acquisition brings together Trimble’s network of private fleet and commercial carrier customers, which collectively represents more than 1.3 million commercial trucks in North America, with our community of more than 21,000 shipping companies, creating the largest connected network of shippers and carriers in the North American transportation supply chain.

Imagine a world where shippers have visibility not only to the real-time location of trucks, but into the fleets’ operational plans to understand both asset availability and the trucks’ next moves. This kind of intelligence would empower unprecedented efficiency and savings for all parties by achieving continuous truck movements. A world of maximum transportation efficiency only becomes possible when shippers, carriers and intermediaries share a common platform, powered by a common TMS. With the announcement that Trimble has acquired Kuebix, this world will become a reality and every customer and partner of Kuebix and Trimble will reap the rewards.

You are probably wondering what this acquisition means for you right now. Everything you love about Kuebix will remain the same: the ease of use, the customer service, the innovation. In addition to being able to leverage true supply and demand access to assets and capacity in North America’s largest transportation network, Kuebix customers will benefit from Trimble’s investment in our platform and services. This investment will result in the development of new and improved capabilities and even better customer service.

Perhaps most importantly, the Kuebix team, including myself and Dave Lemont our CEO, are staying with the business and are thrilled to be part of Trimble.

Thank you all for your support. You, our customers and partners, are at the heart of our success. Bringing efficiency and savings to your supply chain is our motivation to join Trimble and ensure we continue to provide you with solutions that deliver maximum value. Please be assured that our focus on customer success and our drive to make your logistics operations run as efficiently as possible will remain our number one priority.

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and the Kuebix team at info@kuebix.com.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,

 

Dan

 

Dan Clark

Founder, Kuebix

On Demand Trucking - Kuebix

Status of On-Demand Trucking

The U.S. transportation market is quickly ramping up technology-enhanced options to move products, goods and people in an effort to keep up with demand. Consumers are accustomed to free two-day shipping and detailed tracking information to follow their package every step of the way. Any business looking to fulfill these requirements should anticipate the need to outperform their traditional operations. On-demand trucking is a viable solution to meet all of these needs. Trucking companies can use it to find additional product that needs to be moved in the area to eliminate wasteful empty backhaul and businesses can deliver their products faster. It’s a win for everyone involved!

What’s driving the growth of U.S. on-demand trucking?

It’s no wonder there’s such a big demand for on-demand trucking. The tight U.S. job market, changing import/export levels and new technology have all combined to speed the shift to on-demand trucking:

  • •Capacity crunch. In recent years, lack of trucks and a scarcity of drivers-for-hire have combined with high freight demand to severely restrict U.S. trucking capacity/availability.
  • •Electronic logging devices (ELDs). Federally mandated ELDs closely scrutinize and monitor drivers to be sure they follow hours of service (HOS) laws, which can impact driver productivity.
  • •Rising spot and contract rates. Trucking rates continue to rise while capacity remains tight, driving some shippers to move portions of their freight to intermodal transportation or “rail.”
  • •Trucking apps. New apps are taking center stage: Uber Freight’s app operates much like its ride-sharing service. Both Convoy and Amazon have apps that target on-demand freight, as well, matching trucking companies with shippers who have freight that needs to move. This “at-your-fingertips” flexibility means shippers have flexible options for meeting their trucking needs; carriers can choose higher- and faster-paying freight.
  • •Rising interest rates. Higher rates mean higher costs for transporting goods, so shippers are best served by choosing their best transportation options.

How does on-demand trucking work?

On-demand trucking has a bright future for freight and transportation management and load matching:

  • •Provides a broad network of real-time carriers. This is not the old days of contracting with carriers to lock in capacity months or even years in advance: The capacity just isn’t there. On-demand trucking apps and spot markets let shippers connect with thousands of independent “owner-operator” drivers with empty truck space to sell.
  • •Leverages technology to handle settlements. Real-time freight visibility is important, of course, but it’s just as important to ensure driver certification and timely, accurate freight pick-up and delivery and settlement processing. Having a transportation management system (TMS) connect directly to the asset (driver) through a platform that provides access to drivers and ensures drivers’ certification and compliance–as well as manages the settlement through an Uber-like payment configuration–can be a great way to simplify and streamline your business.
  • •Focuses on getting shippers normal or “specialized” capacity on a transactional basis. Unlike dealing with large, asset-based carriers, the Uberization of freight means shippers can connect with drivers who offer capacity and even specialized freight treatment—like refrigeration–on back-hauls, making it a win-win for shippers and carriers.

On-demand trucking offers shippers a proven and flexible way of conducting their business, with real-time visibility over truck assets and a simpler way to access settlement, liability and other functions via a single interface. Read how recent innovations in web service technology mean shippers can get direct carrier rates, POD and BOL images, online shipment scheduling, and real-time status updates from all carriers on one platform to optimize shipment, financial and customer relationship management and ensure better freight intelligence.

 

10 Keywords Logistics Professionals Should Keep an Eye on in 2020

The start of a new year means that it’s time to realign priorities and set new goals. This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch! There are plenty of topics and information from 2019 that are important to carry over into 2020. Below are a few keywords that are sure to make headlines this year:

1. Network-based Communities

A network-based community is a group of people interacting through their network-based platform. Network-based platforms are formally defined as a piece of technology or software that connects its users to create mutually beneficial opportunities for all involved.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Often referred to as AI, artificial intelligence is gradually becoming more common in the transportation industry. Artificial intelligence is the development of computers that allows them to perform tasks that traditionally call for human intelligence.

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment a user experiences through sensory experiences created by a computer. The user’s actions alter what happens within the environment. In addition to its popularity in video games, virtual reality (VR) has begun to extend beyond the realm of entertainment. Many trucking companies use VR-based training programs for new hires.

4. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics extends beyond a traditional view of operations. It refers to the process of using data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to provide the most accurate projection of a company’s future performance possible. Predictive analytics uncovers patterns and relationships within data that create room for growth and improvement within supply chains.

5. Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is one that can direct itself without human conduction. While many don’t realize it, autonomous vehicles are already making deliveries in some parts of the country and are projected to be a significant part of the transportation industry!

6. Digital Supply Chain

The term “digital supply chain” refers to a supply chain dependent on capabilities provided by the internet to operate. Digital supply chains are always on and hyper-collaborative with carriers, suppliers and shippers on a singular network.

7. Transportation Management System (TMS)

A transportation management system (TMS) is the key to staying competitive in a continuously evolving marketplace. It is a system that companies can use to digitally manage their freight operations and eliminate traditional processes like calling and emailing partners.

8. Customer Experience

As consumer expectations continue to rise, their experience as customers become more and more important. Customer experience refers to the customer’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions regarding the employees, channels, systems and products of the company they are interacting with. Satisfaction with delivery is a big part of customers’ overall experience.

9. Sustainability

Growing environmental concerns mean that sustainability should be on every company’s mind. Those who are considered to have sustainable operations often utilize a TMS to transition into greener, more eco-friendly habits. Users are able to optimize truck routes and reduce supply chain waste – All while helping the environment!

10. Amazon Effect

It’s no secret that Amazon is dominating the retail industry. Amazon’s free, 2-day shipping guarantee to its Prime members has become an industry standard. The “Amazon effect” refers to customers demanding Amazon-like services such as fast shipping and visibility throughout the supply chain.

 

What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

What is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

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

But What Exactly is A Transportation Management System or TMS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Rating
  2. Booking
  3. Tracking

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

Common Transportation Management System (TMS) Upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will a TMS Save Me Time?

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

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

Inmod Furniture Case Study

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

  •      •     Not every TMS supports all modes of transportation

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

  •      •     The technology wasn’t built on the cloud

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

  •      •     Biased in favor of one carrier or 3PL

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

  •      •     Bad customer reviews

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

So, what is a Transportation Management System?

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

In conclusion, to learn about Kuebix TMS visit here.

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. 

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.

 

Kuebix TMS Cyber Monday Black Friday Statistics

Did Black Friday/Cyber Monday Tax Your Logistics Operation?

 

This year’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail sales broke records. According to Shopify, over 25.5 million consumers made a purchase from a Shopify merchant on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or in between. Shoppers spent an average of $83.05 per order and focused heavily on makeup, mobile phone accessories and jackets. Cell phones dominated the holiday shopping season with 69% of sales made on phones or tablets.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reached over $2.9 billion, a huge success in comparison to last year’s $1.8 billion. It’s estimated that at the peak of the shopping frenzy, shoppers were spending over $1.5 million per minute!

The Aftermath

Now that orders have been placed, they must be delivered. As a shipper, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • • Can your logistics operation keep up with the velocity of orders speeding through your e-commerce engine?
  • • Will you have to pay expedited freight charges to make sure customers get their orders on-time?
  • • Can you quickly find capacity with your contracted carriers to stay ahead of demand?
  • • Can you easily contract with carriers for any mode to book a load?
  • • Can you effortlessly compare your contracted rates to the spot market to find a better rate?
  • • Once the holiday rush is all over, can you look historically at shipment data to find areas for improvement?

With Kuebix’s transportation management system (TMS), shippers can do all of the above – and more!

Kuebix Shipper is a free TMS that allows shippers of any size to rate, book and track shipments via LTL, TL and Parcel – all in about the time it takes to purchase an airline flight online. Join our online global community of shippers to help match demand with capacity during this busy holiday season.

Kuebix Business Pro is a full-service TMS for multiple users with advanced analytics and carrier scorecards, freight bill audit and pay, claims management and integrations with other solutions. Using Kuebix Business Pro during the busy holiday season allows you to uncover rate exceptions and discrepancies for added savings; integrate your order management system for streamlined transport planning; and leverage analytics to reduce freight spend.

Kuebix Enterprise is a configurable TMS that offers advanced applications to meet your logistics operation’s needs. Managed services provide shippers partnerships with Kuebix freight experts to uncover even greater efficiencies and savings, with full-tracking and visibility of your freight from the dock to your customer’s doorstep.

 

 

 

By choosing the right TMS, retailers can keep up with the exponential growth of their e-commerce operations during this holiday season and beyond!

 

Kuebix TMS Winter Weather Challenges

Keeping Your Supply Chain Ahead of Winter Weather This Holiday Season

It’s the holiday season and the skies aren’t hesitating to remind us that things are about to get very, very cold! Supply chains everywhere are getting ready for the impact.

A winter outlook published by The Weather Company has mixed reviews. It revealed that regions from southwest Oregon into California, the Great Basin, Desert Southwest and southwestern Texas are forecasted to have warmer than average temperatures during the holiday season stretching from December to February. Unfortunately, northeastern North Dakota into northern Minnesota, far northwestern Wisconsin, and the far western Upper Peninsula of Michigan aren’t as lucky. Temperatures in these regions are projected to be near or below average from December to February.

In the midst of the first set of snowstorms, it’s important to consider how these long-term weather conditions are going to impact supply chains nationwide. Low temperatures are frequently paired with snowstorms, black ice and harsh winds – none of which are good for transportation. Regardless of delivery date guarantees, weather can be unpredictable and roads quickly become hazardous. At one point or another, every shipping company experiences delays.

Adverse Winter Weather in 2018

Container terminals at the ports of Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey faced the consequences of severe storms in March of 2018. Weather forecasts of the storm estimated three inches of snow in New Jersey and up to two feet in certain parts of New Jersey. The four main terminals of the ports were closed for nearly four hours.

The southern region of the U.S. dealt with over 500 car crashes as a result of a harsh winter storm in December of 2018. Snow was falling at a pace too rapid for cleaning crews to keep up with and impairing the vision of drivers. Black ice dominated the roads and citizens were urged to stay home for safety. Drivers who neglected the warning were continuously skidding out of control in whiteout conditions. The storm left 385,000 people residing in southern states without power.

Needless to say, all of these barriers stemming from harsh weather conditions pose a challenge to supply chains. Below are a few ways to stay ahead of unexpected winter weather:

Identify if You are in an Area At-Risk of Dangerous Weather Impacts

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to recognize that snow affects each   region differently. Be conscious of where the base of your operations is and how severe winter weather tends to be in your area. Simply knowing that you are in an area that receives a substantial amount of snow is the first step in preparing for a safer winter.

Gain Visibility Throughout Your Supply Chain

Visibility across each aspect of your supply chain instantly provides an opportunity to be better-prepared. Being able to track your orders and access real-time information about the location of your shipment is crucial for successful communication with customers. Ease frustrations in the midst of weather delays with accurate information about when shipments can be expected and ensure operations are running smoothly.

Learn from the Past to Prepare for the Future

Collecting and organizing data and analytics are an essential part of growing as a business. It’s important to take stock of how well your business operated in such severe weather conditions in previous years. Taking note of how long it took your shipments to reach their destination and the overall cost and efficiency of transportation makes it easier to identify things that could be done better upon the arrival of the next storm.

 

The Top 3 Commodities Shipped By Truck in all 50 States

The Top 3 Commodities Shipped By Truck in all 50 States

Have you ever been driving on the highway and wondered what kind of freight was on the truck beside you? Unless it’s a clearly defined Coca-Cola or retail branded truck, you probably have no clue. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top ground freight commodity types shipped by truck in each of the 50 states! Check out the top three commodity types in your state to guess what you might be passing on the highway.

Curious about other types of freight? Check out this dashboard from explore.dot.gov

Top Three Ground Freight Commodities Transported via Truck Between Oct 2018 – September 2019 (by value & weight)

Alabama

By Value

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Vehicles Other than Railway
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Iron and Steel
  3. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement

Alaska

By Value

  1. Iron and Steel
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Iron and Steel
  3. Vehicles

Arizona

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Vegetables and Roots
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vegetables and Roots
  2. Fruit and Nuts
  3. Inorganic Chemicals

Arkansas

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Vehicles
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Iron and Steel
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

California

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Vegetables and Roots
  3. Fruit and Nuts

Colorado

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Vehicles

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Vegetables and Roots

Connecticut

By Value

  1. Pearls; Stones; Metals and Imitation Jewelry
  2. Zinc
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Zinc and Articles
  2. Copper and Articles
  3. Sugars and Confectionery

Delaware

By Value

  1. Works of Art and Antiques
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Mineral Fuels
  3. Electrical Machinery

Florida

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Fruit and Nuts
  3. Vehicles

Georgia

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Vehicles
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Beverages
  2. Sugar and Confectionery
  3. Computer Parts

Hawaii

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Beverages
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

Idaho

By Value

  1. Vegetables and Roots
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Fruit and Nuts
  2. Preparations of Vegetables; Fruits and Nuts
  3. Vegetables and Roots

Illinois

By Value

  1. Beverages
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Beverages
  2. Mineral Fuels
  3. Electrical Machinery

Indiana

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Vehicles

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Vehicles

Iowa

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Furniture

Kansas

  1. Aircraft
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Special Classification Provisions

By Weight

  1. Iron and Steel
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Rubber and Articles

Kentucky

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  3. Vehicles

Louisiana

By Value

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Vehicles
  3. Iron and Steel

By Weight

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  3. Iron and Steel

Maine

By Value

  1. Aluminum and Articles
  2. Vehicles
  3. Not Knitted or Crocheted Apparel

By Weight

  1. Aluminum and Articles
  2. Vehicles
  3. Vegetables and Roots

Maryland

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Sugars and Sugar Confectionery
  2. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  3. Vehicles

Massachusetts

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Paper and Paperboard
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Electrical Machinery

Michigan

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement

Minnesota

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Fruit and Nuts
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Iron and Steel

Mississippi

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Vehicles
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Iron and Steel
  2. Organic Chemicals
  3. Electrical Machinery

Missouri

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Vehicles
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Glass

Montana

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Tobacco
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Tobacco
  3. Computer Parts

Nebraska

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Iron and Steel
  2. Vehicles
  3. Inorganic Chemicals

Nevada

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Beverages
  3. Toys; Games and Sport Equipment

By Weight

  1. Beverages
  2. Miscellaneous Articles of Base Metals
  3. Electrical Machinery

New Hampshire

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Measuring and Testing Instruments

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Measuring and Testing Instruments

New Jersey

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Cereals and Flour

By Weight

  1. Cereals and Flour
  2. Fruit and Nuts
  3. Electrical Machinery

New Mexico

By Value

  1. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vegetables and Roots
  2. Live Animals
  3. Plastics and Articles

New York

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Beverages

By Weight

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement

North Carolina

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical machinery
  3. Plastics and Articles

By Weight

  1. Plastics and Articles
  2. Organic Chemicals
  3. Vehicles

North Dakota

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Iron and Steel
  3. Computer Parts

Ohio

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

Oklahoma

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Article of Iron and Steel
  3. Iron and Steel

Oregon

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Iron and Steel
  3. Vehicles

Pennsylvania

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

Rhode Island

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Articles of Iron and Steel

South Carolina

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Computer Parts

South Dakota

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Paper and Paperboard

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Paper and Paperboard
  3. Computer Parts

Tennessee

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

Texas

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Electrical Machinery
  3. Vehicles

By Weight

  1. Mineral Fuels
  2. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  3. Vehicles

Utah

By Value

  1. Pearls; Stones; Metals and Imitation Jewelry
  2. Vehicles
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Cocoa and Cocoa Preparations
  3. Plastics and Articles

Vermont

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Meat and Edible Offal

By Weight

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Meat and Edible Offal
  3. Vehicles

Virginia

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Vehicles
  2. Vegetables and Roots
  3. Computer Parts

Washington

By Value

  1. Vehicles
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Electrical Machinery

By Weight

  1. Salt; Sulfur; Plaster and Cement
  2. Vehicles
  3. Wood and Articles

West Virginia

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Vehicles
  3. Special Classification Provisions

By Weight

  1. Articles of Iron and Steel
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Vehicles

Wisconsin

By Value

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Measuring and Testing Instruments
  3. Computer Parts

By Weight

  1. Electrical Machinery
  2. Computer Parts
  3. Vegetables and Roots

Wyoming

By Value

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Vehicles
  3. Iron and Steel

By Weight

  1. Computer Parts
  2. Articles of Iron and Steel
  3. Iron and Steel

 

ERP Integration with NetSuite - Kuebix TMS

Optimizing Transportation Management with an ERP Integration with NetSuite

Supply chains are getting leaner, faster and more efficient every year. In order to keep up with rising customer expectations, increasingly complicated shipping processes and growing business, many shippers are turning to ERP integrations to give them a leg up on the competition. Integrating a transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix TMS with an ERP or order processing system like NetSuite can streamline logistics operations. By adding additional functionality like an ERP integration, any shipper can configure a TMS that is right for their business.

First, we need to understand what an ERP Integration actually is:

An ERP integration is a process that allows information to flow between an ERP system (NetSuite, for example) and a TMS. In layman’s terms, any information inputted into an ERP system can be seamlessly displayed within the TMS, or vice versa. This is especially useful for sharing order, product, and shipment information between systems.

How Do ERP Integrations Work?

By leveraging a common middleware connector, the group performing the NetSuite integration can map ERP order and item information to automatically create orders within the TMS. These orders are stored within the TMS in preparation for shipping departments to simply scan or enter the order number into a lookup field to get rates and begin shipping. Once the order is shipped, the TMS notifies NetSuite and updates the ERP order with shipment details. (Tracking number, cost, carrier, time in transit, GL code, etc…)

Each ERP connector includes a configurable trigger function to automatically create orders, status changes or approval processes to tell the TMS to pull the order details. This process allows for a seamless flow of data between the two systems. Once shipped within the TMS, shipment details are mapped back to NetSuite for accurate record keeping and visibility for all stakeholders.

Why do Shippers Integrate NetSuite with Their Transportation Management System?

With an ERP integration, shippers can:

  • •     Ensure 100% order accuracy – Since information is automatically populated within the TMS, the information is right, every time. It’s amazing the difference it can make when there is no longer any risk of human error because of rekeying. PRO numbers, product SKUs, weights and every other metric of an order appear automatically, resulting in 100% order accuracy.
  • •     Gain complete order visibility – Once an order has been booked for shipment, shippers don’t lose visibility to that order. All shipment details are mapped back to the target ERP system for accurate record keeping and visibility for all stakeholders.
  • •     Understand the true landed cost of goods – Since all order information is tracked and shared between systems, shippers can leverage reports and analytics to view the true landed cost of goods down to the SKU level. This means they can make smarter decisions regarding their company’s bottom line when they integrate purchase orders directly from an ERP system.

Building Trust with ‘Built for NetSuite’ Accreditation

Built for NetSuite’ is a program for NetSuite SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN) partners that provides partners with the information, resources and methodology required to verify that their applications and integrations meet NetSuite standards and best practices. The Built for NetSuite program is designed to give NetSuite customers additional confidence that SuiteApps have been built to meet these standards. Built for NetSuite Kuebix TMS

When a partner achieves this noteworthy status, prospective integration customers can trust that the integration process has been thoroughly vetted by NetSuite itself.

Kuebix achieved this status in 2018 and maintains it to this day. The SuiteApp is built using the Oracle NetSuite SuiteCloud Computing Platform and drives supply chain efficiencies by providing out-of-the-box and customizable integrations to connect ERP and TMS systems.

With NetSuite and Kuebix TMS, organizations can achieve a significant return on investment by streamlining shipping processes and identifying cost savings. Automation of processes, including re-keying order information, helps eliminate manual tasks while access to more data, such as the cost of goods and SKU level, help organizations make smarter, faster decisions.

Case Study: How One Company Benefits from its ERP Integration with NetSuite

Summit Supply began as a Kuebix Business Pro account with multiple user seats to manage their logistics operations.

They immediately began seeing the benefits of the system, including time savings and reduced freight spend. With Kuebix, Summit Supply ensures that every order is shipped with the quickest or least expensive option to maximize savings and service.

After their first year, Summit Supply decided to expand its use of Kuebix by connecting their ERP functionality with Kuebix TMS through an integration with NetSuite.

Summit Supply NetSuite ERP Integration Kuebix TMS Case Study

An ERP integration serves to automatically populate order information into Kuebix from NetSuite. This means that Summit Supply never needs to rekey line items and they always achieve 100% order accuracy by avoiding human error. After making the decision to integrate its ERP with Kuebix is 2018, Summit Supply was up and running with its integration in about 8 weeks.

According to Cory Storr, a Client Care Specialist who uses Kuebix daily for logistics operations,

“The entire integration process took about 2 months. Kuebix’s engineering and integrations teams worked closely with ours to make sure everything was working the way we needed it to.”

Summit Supply’s logistics processes are now greatly sped up, making it easier for them to focus on their mission to deliver high-quality products to customers quickly and with great service. Instead of wasting time navigating between carrier websites and manually entering order information, all details are automatically populated within Kuebix to make rating and booking fast. Not only that, but documents such as BOLs can be automatically generated with the correct information every time!

Storr goes on to add,

“The integration with NetSuite alone probably saves us 2 minutes on each order. When you multiply that by 80 orders a day, that’s a lot of time savings!”

Summit Supply made the leap to eliminate many of their manual logistics processes by leveraging Kuebix TMS and is benefiting from that choice every day. Now they can be confident that each and every order is accurate based on the

information within their ERP system and know that the lowest cost carrier with the best service is chosen on every load. The company is looking forward to expanding its use of Kuebix by adding in automatic invoice audit to further speed up their operations. With every choice they make, Summit

Supply is able to deliver on its promise of being a team-driven, customer-focused organization that strives to deliver quality products in a timely manner, at a fair price, with unmatched customer service.

Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020

Let the Bargains Begin: Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019

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

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

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

Below are a few retailers starting Cyber Monday early:

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

What to Expect from Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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

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

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Have Ample Inventory on Hand

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

Know the Customer

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

Offer a Shipping Incentive

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

The 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

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

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

AI ML Predictive Analytics

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

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

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

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

Predictive Analytics

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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

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

Machine Learning

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

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

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

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

Determining What’s Best for Your Business

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

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

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

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

Veterans Day 2019 - Supply Chain

The Supply Chain Wouldn’t be the Same Without Veterans

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

Top Industries Veterans Join After the Military

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

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

Why Veterans Make Ideal Supply Chain Professionals

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

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

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

Thank You for Your Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

Know Important Dates During the Holiday Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leverage a TMS for Greater Parcel Shipping Flexibility

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

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

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

Consider Offering Free Shipping

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

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

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

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

Insure Yourself Against Poor Service Levels

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

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

Have a Solid Returns Strategy

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

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

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

The 2019 Holiday Shopping Season is Here

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

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

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

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

Improving the Customer Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Experience is Important for All Businesses

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

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


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