Importance of Visibility - Kuebix Supply Chain

The Power of Supply Chain Visibility for Complicated Supply Chains

Shipping some types of product, like fragile or hazardous goods, isn’t quite like shipping anything else. There are special considerations to take into account like product compatibility, axle weight distribution and unconventional loading equipment. The driver might need to be specially certified as well, since the product being shipped requires special care. For shippers transporting these types of goods, being able to view the status of their orders through every step of the supply chain is necessary to avoid accidents and understand performance.

What exactly is supply chain visibility?

Supply chain visibility is the ability to view every cog of the supply chain as moves are being planned, alerts are sent, and real-time adjustments are made. This keeps supply chain operations running smoothly and customer satisfaction high. The backbone of visibility is a cloud-based collaboration portal that can be shared by the customer, the supplier and carrier partners. This single platform will be used as a dynamic record of truth for the changes that need to occur across the supply chain to keep the delivery of goods moving efficiently. Visibility and collaboration go hand-in-hand and result in improved efficiencies across the supply chain.

How can visibility help improve my supply chain?

Collaborate with suppliers to plan labor and deliveries more efficiently – Before product can leave the distribution center, it’s important that the supplier can view the full backlog of orders they need to fill. By employing a shared portal based in the cloud, suppliers and customers can collaborate to exchange order information. This provides the supplier the information they need to plan production and commit to promise dates so that the customer can plan their business. When shipping untraditional goods like bulk chemicals or fragile glass products, its especially important to know that the appropriate labor or assets are available for moving product. Without the right equipment, entire truckloads can be delayed or missed, causing repercussions all along the supply chain.

Collaborate with carriers to improve performance and customer service – Once the order has been booked, the carrier participates in the collaboration portal and begins to provide status updates on their delivery. Many carriers provide electronic notifications through various protocols including EDI or web services driven from GPS or ELDs. Electronic tracking provides visibility to the customer and supplier on the true status of their orders. By giving carriers a platform to house shipment information, suppliers and customers alike can always know where their goods are and when to expect them to arrive at the next destination. When discrepancies like damages or late deliveries arise, it becomes easy to track where in the supply chain the process broke down. Tracking orders down to the SKU level helps to weed out underperforming carriers and eliminates the time previously spent calling carriers asking the same question, “where’s my truck?

Getting supply chain visibility for complicated supply chains.

With complete supply chain visibility, shippers and suppliers can ensure their supply chains are running smoothly. For businesses shipping fragile or hazardous goods, it is especially important to be able to view each node of the supply chain to foresee potential risks and trace issues. Implementing a cloud-based platform to act as the “record of truth” encourages efficiencies when planning labor and deliveries while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction. To learn more about how supply chains can achieve visibility, download Kuebix’s ebook, Driving Supplier, Carrier and Customer Collaboration: The Power of Supply Chain Visibility.

Kuebix Carrier Crisis Courting

A Modern Dating Game: Shippers are Courting Truckers

In today’s market, shippers have to “court” carriers if they want to get capacity. They can do this by making sure turn-around times are fast, drivers are well-paid and paid on time and that processes like tendering flow smoothly. Some trucking companies are refusing to service particular markets. Others are refusing to pick up loads for shippers they’ve had trouble with in the past.

What can shippers do to “court” truckers?

Offer better pay and perks to entice drivers – At the Transportation and Logistics Council’s Annual Conference, shippers discussed what they could do to make themselves more competitive in the race to secure capacity for freight. A key suggestion was to compensate truckers with higher wages to bring in more capacity. Other ideas included providing break rooms, bathrooms, free coffee, showers and more – in short, providing things to keep drivers happy while treating them with respect. The goal being that happy drivers will increase the likelihood of repeat capacity.

Improve operations to reduce turn-around times – With electronic logging devices (ELDs) accurately measuring the amount of time a driver is on the road, shippers need to focus on keeping truckers in the driver’s seat. Dock scheduling solutions allow carriers and suppliers to book appointments online and monitor statuses in real time, leveling the flow of activity in and out of the yard to decrease congestion and help truckers get back on the road as soon as possible. Ensuring the appropriate number of personnel are available for loading or unloading also allows drivers to get their trucks turned around faster. When wheels turn, drivers make money. If shippers want capacity, they are obligated to watch the clock and not cause delays for drivers.

Streamline processes to strengthen relationships – By tendering loads with plenty of lead time, shippers can give carriers the time they need to best plan routes and ensure driver availability. Shippers can also offer more flexible requests, such as wider shipping windows. This flexibility helps carriers offer the best lane and service for the job. Making sure that payments are made on-time is also essential for maintaining a strong reputation and good carrier relationships. When shippers improve these processes they make it easier for carriers to “sell” the shipper to their drivers, which increases the likelihood that drivers will want to do business with the shipper again.

In the past, only shippers kept scorecards on their carriers to measure performance. Now, carriers are also keeping track of shippers’ behaviors; things like ease-of-pick up, idling times, wait times, billing/payment accuracies, etc. In order to secure reliable capacity, shippers need to give their carriers the best working experience they can.

Changing all of these behaviors might seem like a daunting task, but with the help of a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, these changes can be put into place with ease. Kuebix TMS enables shippers to compare rates side-by-side so that the lowest rate can be booked directly with the carrier without the need of a middle-man complicating the process. Kuebix also offers Dock Scheduling, Carrier Relationship Management and other programs and features which improve tracking and visibility to effectively communicate with carriers. By “courting” carriers with these operational and technical improvements, shippers can rely on capacity from carriers who are happy to handle their freight!

Don’t Let Your 4th of July Holiday Fizzle Out

Happy Birthday America! The Fourth of July holiday celebrates the birthday of the United States of America, but no one ever stops to think how this holiday gets pulled together. There is food – hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, etc. – and of course, fireworks – that must arrive from suppliers to retail outlets or consumers’ homes at the right time.

The National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend $6.9 billion on food over the 4th of July holiday. Other results from the NRF survey include:

  • 9 out of 10 adults will celebrate the Fourth of July
  • 31 million will be traveling
  • 27% of people plan to purchase patriotic merchandise
  • 62% of people are planning a cookout or picnic
  • 61+ million cases of domestic beer will be drunk
  • $325 million will be spent on fireworks in the US

For supply chain managers, the 4th of July holiday consists of a lot of variables that add complexities to supply chains. These include regional tastes, weather conditions, traffic patterns and local regulations that increase demand variability, making transporting the 4th of July goods on time to the right location quite hard to coordinate without the use of technology.

With the increase in shipments needed to get 4th of July merchandise, food and fireworks to retailers’ shelves, the decrease in capacity and lack of truck drivers to carry loads could potentially fizzle out any supply chain. Hopefully you planned early and can be flexible. Using a transportation management system (TMS) that collects data from across the supply chain and generates reports that help management make better, more informed decisions, can help you plan for seasonality within your operations.

A TMS that has thousands of carriers connected in a global network, or that allows you to access the spot market, can help you find the capacity you need, quickly and easily. A TMS that manages inbound freight can speed operations at the dock, helping distributors improve their operations and maximize efficiency.

With technology like Kuebix TMS managing your freight, your 4th of July with be the best celebration of the year.

How Breaking Away from a 3PL Helped One Company Save 30% on their Freight Spend

Hyperline Cabling Systems, a company continuously striving to remain ahead of the curve, was dissatisfied with their third-party logistics provider (3PL) and recognized the need to regain control of their logistics operations by implementing a transportation management system (TMS).

In May of 2017, Hyperline made the switch to Kuebix TMS, making the Kuebix technology their logistics system of choice for their national distribution center in Buford, GA. Since implementation, Hyperline has been able to take control of their own supply chain and benefit from tremendous savings, increased flexibility and visibility, saving about 30% on their freight spend.

Hear what Otis Johnson, Warehouse Manager at Hyperline, has to say in the video below:

How Inmod Sped Up Their Supply Chain

Inmod, Furniture Manufacturing and Retail, Teaneck, NJ – International manufacturer and distributor offering lighting and décor items to home and contract markets, delivering obtainable modern design and superior customer care.


Inmod knew there had to be a smarter way to manage their transportation operations. As one of the fastest growing companies in America according to INC500|5000, Inmod needed a way to keep their standard of quality and customer service high, all while reducing the amount of time spent processing an increasing number of shipments.

With their old process, Inmod’s logistics team could spend upwards of 15 minutes to quote a single shipment. In 2015, Inmod found the solution to their problem by implementing Kuebix TMS. By leveraging Kuebix’s rate comparison feature, Inmod has saved roughly 40 hours each week! Since Kuebix makes it easy to connect carriers, Inmod has been able to increase their carrier network from 6 to 10. With more options to compare, Inmod can be sure to always choose the best rate for their shipments.

Besides helping Inmod add hours back into their supply chain, Kuebix has been able to eliminate waste from other, initially-unexpected areas. For example, Kuebix’s automated invoice auditing process has helped their billing department save roughly 10 hours a week. This is accomplished via an API integration that matches up each invoice against the quoted amount.

Another area Inmod has been able to gain more control over is their understanding of their financials. Before Kuebix, Inmod hadn’t been able to get a good indication of their overall cost per pound by carrier. The reports within the technology now allow Inmod to see precise metrics regarding these figures.

The company continues to integrate new time saving features and are currently adopting Kuebix’s claims management processes. By expanding their supply chain capabilities with Kuebix, Inmod is well equipped to continue its impressive growth in the furniture industry.

To read Inmod’s full success story, click here.

The State of the Supply Chain Industry: Mid-Year Predictions

It’s June and the half-way point of the year. Kuebix made predictions about the industry at the first of the year. We still believe that this year will be an enormous change in the supply chain industry due to the issues around the ELD mandate, rising diesel prices, the capacity crunch, increased customer expectations, tariffs and more.

To meet these challenges, businesses are using technology to transform their logistics operations, leading to improved customer service, sustained profits and greater efficiencies. Utilization of transportation management systems is at an all-time high, proven by Kuebix with the adoption of our technology by over 11,000 companies.

For the remainder of the year, this is what Kuebix believes will happen in our industry:

  • •     The ELD Mandate is here to stay and shippers need to embrace the rules while turning the constraint into an opportunity to leverage technology to track their delays and put fixes in place to combat them. TMS can also reduce the number of trucks on the road and improve unloading and loading times by consolidating and optimizing loads.
  • •     Tariffs – The 25 percent tariff imposed on imported steel from the EU, Mexico and Canada, and the 10 percent tariff on aluminum continue to be a trend. Many are predicting that the import duties will drive product prices up for the consumer. The day before the tariffs kicked-in, the stock market fell 250 points as people questioned the stability of the economy, foreseeing retaliation from countries affected by the tariffs.
  • •     Diesel prices – Diesel prices have already jumped 7 cents in the most recent weeks. To keep costs contained, businesses need to reduce mileage to help lower fuel usage.
  • •     Cloudbased TMSs continue to grow in popularity as they can be up and running in a manner of minutes or days, depending on the complexity of your supply chain. They are also easier to maintain and have a lower cost of ownership.
  • •     Higher rates – Shippers are concerned with increasing transport rates from carriers. One method to keep rates level is to help make carriers more efficient with technology for shipment consolidation and yard management that maximizes carrier capacity and minimizes time wasted in the yard.
  • •     Capacity Crunch – The continuing capacity crunch is getting worse, with some carriers saying they have 20+ loads to move per truck. By using a collaborative network of carriers, suppliers and fleet owners, shippers can have visibility to the best truck to move their product from original to destination.
  • •     Customer Experience – E-commerce now makes up a total of 17% of all retail sales in the US. Those consumers are demanding customer experiences to rival that of brick-and-mortar stores. To keep customers from purchasing from the competition, shippers must provide tracking statuses, shipping flexibility and improved delivery speed. Emphasis on the final mile is increasingly important for customer retention.
  • •     Next-generation technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are growing in popularity within the industry by integrating with predictive analytics to fuel better decision making.
  • •     As the driver shortage worsens as more truckers retire and leave the industry, carriers need to take more aggressive actions to recruit new drivers while retaining existing drivers. These actions can include pay increases, using technology to let carriers schedule their own activities, and improving turnaround times for loading/unloading so that truckers can keep their wheels moving as soon as possible.

Supply chains will only become smarter and more valuable as shippers adopt new technologies that help them better compete within our digital supply chain ecosystem. Kuebix TMS enables companies to capitalize on supply chain opportunities through visibility, control and the use of predictive analytics.

Supply Chain Change

The Supply Chain Industry’s Changing, Are You Keeping Up?

It’s no secret that the world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and supply chain professionals are scrambling to keep up. The trends affecting the global marketplace are having an impact on an industry that has relied for years on a very tangible regimen of pickups and drop-offs. As technology continues to shape the world, supply chain executives must keep pace with the trends and incorporate them into daily processes to keep their companies competitive in the new, dynamic environment.

Concepts supply chain executives can leverage:

Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Technology isn’t only becoming more widespread, the technology itself is getting better. Have you ever thought about the ads you see on your social media? If not, consider whether the ads appear catered directly to you, odds are a machine has learned your likes and dislikes. Technology now has the ability to ‘learn’ from accumulated data to predict future actions, like your shopping habits. This is particularly important for supply chains which can leverage predictive learning and AI to estimate unloading times, carrier performance, traffic delays, and more.

The Internet of Things (IoT) – The web of everyday objects connected to the internet is becoming more and more commonplace. Wearables (think FitBit) are everywhere, Dash Buttons let us order more detergent when we run low and even our homes are “smart,” letting us control the thermostat from anywhere with the touch of a button. This concept is rapidly being adopted by supply chains. Prominent among them is the ELD Mandate, a federal mandate requiring all trucks to monitor driving time to be compliant with hours of service (HoS) laws. RFID tags are being used more frequently too, letting supply chain professionals digitally track individual containers, pallets or even products.

Blockchain – Bitcoin is the largest example of a company using blockchain, but this concept isn’t only reserved for transferring money over the internet. Broken down into its simplest form, blockchain is a digital ledger that can be used to exchange, track transactions, make payments and sign contracts. It’s highly transparent, extremely efficient and scalable in nature. This new method of exchange is reshaping globalized trade, making it easier to interact with companies and customers abroad. Supply chains can use blockchain to keep better track of their products, deal in foreign currencies without the need of an intermediary and store better data for record keeping.

What do all of these concepts have in common?

Each one of these concepts is rooted in connecting people and processes together more efficiently via technology. All three make it easier for companies to access their customers, forge useful relationships and scale their businesses. One result of employing these connectivity strategies is a Network Effect where “more usage of the product by any user increases the product’s value for other users” (Evergreen). Each layer of connectivity serves to support the other users, building customer loyalty and adding value to the organization.  For supply chain professionals, this can mean providing better customer service, having better on time delivery rates and streamlining tracking and tracing processes.

Supply chain offices deserve their own network to build upon, one where they can find the latest technology to improve their operations and keep up with market trends. The Kuebix Global Logistics Community is serving just that purpose. As a collaborative group of shippers and carriers from around the world, members work together to discover opportunities, foster cost reductions and build trusted-partner relationships.

Driver Shortage

O Truck Driver, Where Art Thou?

The driver shortage is real, and getting worse. The American Transportation Association says that the US needs to hire about 900,000 drivers to keep up with demand. According to an industry analysis by DAT Solutions, just one truck (and driver) was available for every 12 loads to be shipped at the start of 2018. If there isn’t a driver for a truck, the truck won’t be going anywhere.

The strong growth of the economy and rise in e-commerce orders means more deliveries need to be made, so more drivers are needed. To make the shortage even worse, the average age of a truck driver is 55, which means many are retiring. Young people don’t want to pursue a truck driving career because they fear the quality of life of always being away from family, long hours of solitude on the road and low pay.

At the 2018 National Industrial Transportation League Annual Summit, the CEO of a large trucking firm said that, “of the 113K applications they received last year, only 3% were qualified drivers that they could safely put on the road. This challenge has led trucking companies to increase driver pay in order to attract qualified drivers, which in turn means higher rates.”

One problem is that drivers have to be 21 to drive a truck on the interstate, although drivers can obtain a commercial driver’s license at 18. So even if young drivers are recruited, they have to be 21 years old to drive trucks across states. The DRIVE-Safe Act will hopefully ease the situation by helping to qualify more drivers for the trucking profession by allowing 18 year-olds to take the wheel, yet require them to perform more rigorous training.

The reality is that the truck driver shortage is here today and causing deliveries to be missed and transportation costs to increase. According to USA Today, “Trucking companies have increased rates 6% to 10% in the contracts they’ve signed with shippers over the past year to offset higher wages and take advantage of the strong demand and limited supplies.”

What is the solution?

Truck drivers want better work/life balance. They want to be paid well, receive benefits and have time at home with their families. Some carriers are rewarding drivers for good driving behavior, others are offering a guaranteed minimum number of miles/week so that pay is more predictable. Drivers want to be treated with respect and offered training programs for continuous improvement. Many carriers are offering programs to improve driver health with access to exercise equipment, both at the office or in the truck. Most importantly, drivers want to get home more often, so they want shorter routes and fewer overnights.

All of this costs money, but having happier drivers will be the result.

Shippers can address the truck driver shortage by leveraging technology in the form of a transportation management system to help them work smarter and gain access to a much larger community of carriers. Kuebix TMS allows shippers to compare all carrier rates side-by-side, then book the best carrier for a particular job. After scheduling a shipment, Kuebix creates and prints required paperwork, tracks shipments, audits invoices, manages claims and more.

Using Kuebix TMS, shippers gain control of their transport operations, allowing them to work strategically with their carriers of choice to build long-term relationships. This can lead to improved services, more capacity and available drivers.

Digital Supply Chain Kuebix

Digital Supply Chains are Becoming the Industry Norm

In the Material Handling Institute’s (MHI) 2018 annual survey on next generation supply chains, 80 percent of the respondents “believe that the digital supply chain will be the predominate model within the next five years—with just 16% saying it’s happening today.” The report describes digital supply chains as “information ecosystems in which a connected and carefully coordinated set of movements and actions must be tracked at every level in order to maximize efficiency and meet customer demands for increased flexibility, visibility and transparency.

Sounds like the foundation of the ecosystem should be a transportation management system – one that allows users to track and trace all movements of freight through all parts of the supply chain, providing SKU-level visibility from the supplier to the end customer.

The digital supply chain has several distinctive characteristics:

  •      •     It is always on – 24/7/365. Because supply chains are global, they must operate around the clock.
  •      •     It’s hyper-collaborative with carriers, suppliers and shippers connected to a robust network where everyone can communicate and collaborate with everyone else on the network, coordinating loads for continuous moves, consolidation and more.
  •      •     A digital supply chain focuses on customer service to better meet the exponential increase of e-commerce orders with faster delivery times and Amazon-like experiences.
  •      •     It’s driven by predictive analytics that utilize real-time data feeds from across the enterprise, producing deep insights for better decision making.
  •      •     It can adapt and grow alongside a business by adding modular features, such as dock scheduling to keep trucks moving while eliminating wait times.
  •      •     It can respond quickly to disruptions so as to mitigate risk due to sudden weather changes, socio-economic issues and other challenges.
  •      •     The digital supply chain reduces fuel and energy consumption which minimizes environmental impact and benefits sustainability initiatives.

The digital supply chain includes a number of innovations that will disrupt the status quo and give competitive advantage to participants. These technologies include: robotics, predictive analytics, Internet of Things, sensors and automatic ID, inventory and network optimization tools, artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles and drones, wearable and mobile technology, cloud computing, blockchain and 3D printing. All of these innovations can work together to create operational efficiencies and competitive advantages.

A digital supply chain is a connected ecosystem that orchestrates activities end-to-end, bringing visibility, risk mitigation, cost reductions and greater efficiencies that contribute to shareholder value. The technology for a digital supply chain starts with a transportation management system like
Kuebix TMS that supplies the digital connections, collaboration and coordination needed to maximize efficiencies and innovation.

Don’t get left behind, waiting to see what others are doing. Your digital transformation can begin today with rapid on-boarding and implementation of Kuebix TMS.

Kuebix TMS - Cargo Theft Claims Management

Cargo Thieves’ New Strategy Hitting Shippers Hard

Cargo theft continues to be a pain-point for shippers in every industry as metrics from Q1 of 2018 roll in. Though technically the overall total of cargo related thefts has decreased 23% year-over-year in North America (CargoNet), it is presumed that many more cargo thefts are going unreported by shippers. All cargo theft numbers are voluntarily reported, meaning operations and finance teams who are already scrambling to ascertain their losses may be neglecting to report the theft to the proper authorities. Potentially more worryingly, shippers may not be realizing the extent of their missing products because of inadequate claims management.

Thieves targeting trucks in transit are using a new strategy to carry out their crimes. As opposed to stealing entire loads or many pallets of product, thieves are being more selective in what they are taking and only lifting a small amount of product at a time. Besides the obvious benefit of increased speed to avoid detection, thieves may also be leaving shippers unaware that there was a theft at all. Pallets go missing all the time for perfectly legitimate reasons that can be tracked down, but shippers without a system to track their historical claims may not be aware to what extent they have been targeted by thieves.

Food and Beverage remains the commodity with the highest losses, closely followed by Household Items and Electronics. In the first quarter of 2017, the average value of a reported cargo theft was $164,185. In the first quarter of 2018, the average value of reported goods stolen rested at $90,883. On first glance, this seems like a success story for law enforcement, but it could also paint the picture that pre-meditated theft sizes are actually dropping. Without ascertaining the accurate number of cargo thefts, it will be impossible to determine whether the number of individual events is rising correspondingly.

According to SensiGuard, 92% of large-scale incidents occur in unsecured parking areas. Other locations reported include warehouses and secured parking lots. Often, determining the exact location of the incident, if it is even noticed by the driver, is difficult. Drivers often travel hundreds of miles before unloading, and if they do not do a thorough walk-around of their vehicle at each stop, determining the exact location of the theft becomes more and more unlikely. The best way to catch a theft early is for drivers to remain vigilant about checking their trailer’s seal or lock.

3 Steps to Prevent Cargo Theft

  1. Check it – Drivers should thoroughly check their trailers’ seals and locks after leaving their truck even for a short period
  2. Report it – Notify the proper authorities if cargo has been stolen to encourage appropriate action be taken on thieves
  3. Track it – Make sure to track all historical claims to determine the scope and pattern of incidents, whether benign or malicious

Many shippers lack a process to track and manage their claims with carriers when items don’t arrive at their destinations as planned. This causes a lot of confusion and lost revenue if managed incorrectly, especially if those items have actually been stolen and their value can’t be recouped. By leveraging a Claims Management system like Kuebix TMS’s, shippers can tie claim information directly to the shipment to make tracking and research easy. By maintaining historical claim details no claim goes overlooked and patterns and totals can be discovered, making a real impact to a company’s bottom line.

Kuebix ERP Integration Highway

The ERP Integration Highway

Many companies are discovering the benefits of using a TMS to streamline their transportation operations. A well-rounded TMS offers many modular features to support the changing needs of any type of supply chain. One of the most universally beneficial features is the ability to integrate purchase orders automatically from an ERP system directly into the TMS.

Why is integrating POs directly from an ERP so beneficial?

Integrating POs directly from an ERP system facilitates the rapid creation of shipments by avoiding the need to re-key a long list of order line items, ensuring 100% order accuracy.

Since the integration is two-way, shipment data is populated back into the ERP system for record keeping and to provide stakeholders with complete visibility. This enables information down to the SKU level to be leveraged in claims management, meaning the shipper always has the information they need to protect their company’s interests. Shippers can also better understand the true landed cost of goods to make smarter decisions regarding their company’s bottom line when they integrate purchase orders directly from an ERP system.

Use the ERP Integration Highway to get started:

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

Kuebix TMS leverages this methodology to provide shippers a pain-free way to integrate their ERP system directly into the TMS. The ERP Integration Highway is a common integration approach to all ERP systems, meaning the process is smooth and efficient for shippers with any ERP system. To learn more about Kuebix integrations, click here.

Carrier KPI Reporting Scorecards

Tracking KPIs on Carrier Scorecards to Improve Shipper-Carrier Relationships

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an effective way to measure the performance of your transportation operations, including the performance of your carriers. With transport costs having a direct impact on the bottom line of the business, KPIs are of the utmost importance for managing cost. Plus, shippers can leverage KPIs to strengthen the relationship with their carriers while harnessing greater control over transportation operations and freight spend.

To start, you will need to identify the metrics that are most important for your logistics operation; specifically, the ones that will help you meet your business goals. If your goals are to reduce costs, then you will need to choose KPIs that measure cost-related activities.

Measurements must be easy to understand and well defined. Measurements used in KPIs are not meant to finger point; instead they are designed to encourage appropriate behavior, so should reward productive activities. A consistent open conversation between carriers and shippers can eliminate any surprises.

There are an unlimited number of KPIs to measure your logistics operation and each company should have unique measurements to reach their corporate objectives. Some of these include:

  • ·       On-time arrivals of pickups and deliveries
  • ·       Average loading and unloading times
  • ·       Percentage of shipments that equal the bill of materials
  • ·       Percentage of shipments that arrive in good condition
  • ·       Average transportation cost per miles/volume/weight
  • ·       Average number of deliveries made per driver/truck/route
  • ·       Percentage of shipments using LTL /TL/Parcel
  • ·       Load acceptance rate
  • ·       Carrier rate benchmarking by lane
  • ·       Claims percentage for freight costs
  • ·       Truck turnaround time
  • ·       Planned time in transit vs. actual
  • ·       Length of time between inbound load acceptance and scheduling a pickup appointment

Most importantly, carriers and shippers need to review the numbers, identify opportunities and take corrective actions for any issues that arise. KPIs identify a problem that must be traced back to its root cause to understand how to solve it. The problem could be with the carrier; it could be with the shipper, so the information must be reviewed carefully and analyzed extensively.

Working together, shippers and carriers can collaborate to improve their relationship by using the wide variety of measurements. By leveraging Kuebix TMS’s actionable reports, dashboards and carrier scorecards, shippers gain easy access to their KPIs and can begin this conversation with their partners.

Cloud-Based TMS Kuebix

Why a Cloud-Based TMS is Better

A decade ago, if you wanted a TMS, you had to buy the software and install it within your organization. Today that has changed as more TMSs are moving to the cloud. Transportation management systems (TMS) based in the cloud are being adopted at faster rates than ever before. Industry analyst firm Gartner sees a 15% growth in TMS usage within small- to mid-sized businesses with some vendors reporting more than 20% growth.

So why are cloud-based TMSs growing in popularity?

We can think of 10 good reasons:

  1. Lower Barriers to Entry – Upfront expenditures related to hardware and software are eliminated with a cloud-based TMS allowing businesses of any-size to gain access to the technology. No longer do companies have to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars on installed software. Instead, with a cloud-based TMS, you pay subscription or usage fees.
  2. Enhancements Made Easy – The cloud-based TMS software provider is responsible for upgrades and enhancements to its solution, which includes maintaining the application and ensuring its availability and reliability. Most application upgrades can be easily deployed automatically, eliminating the need for internal IT staff involvement.
  3. Connectivity – Cloud-based computing enables the TMS to connect to a global group of supply chain trading partners. As more and more carriers, shippers and suppliers connect to this network of trading partners, the ability to collaborate and conduct business with more and more companies brings value to the participants. Under a cloud model, the TMS can become a central marketplace where you connect to a variety of supply chain stakeholders.
  4. Flexibility as You Grow – Cloud-based TMS systems offer lots of flexibility, starting with basic features that can be easily upgraded with additional functionality as your business needs change. Start with the ability to rate, book and track shipments, then add other features as needed – from predictive analytics to freight bill audit/payment and more.
  5. Level the Playing Field – Deploying a cloud-based TMS levels the playing field as businesses of any size have access to a larger variety of rates and carriers, allowing your business a greater chance to get better rates.
  6. Software Always Up & Running – Cloud-based TMS vendors deploy their systems across multiple data centers to ensure 24/7/365 operations. So, no matter if there is a widespread power outage or weather-related event, you will have access to the TMS and your data to ensure you can always get your products out the door.
  7. Fastest Route to Implementation – Cloud-based TMS systems are easy to deploy and easy to use with typical start-up within minutes or a few hours. Some systems offer online how-to videos to help new users begin.
  8. Faster ROI – Cloud-based TMS users get a faster return on investment (ROI) because of the low upfront investment and quicker start-up. You’ll be up and running quicker, making smarter decisions on rates and carriers.
  9. Smarter Shipping Decisions – Smarter decisions can be made by your transportation operations team by leveraging actionable reports and dashboards within a TMS housed on the cloud. Every transaction is captured and can be analyzed for improvements in service levels, freight spend, KPIs and more.
  10. Lower Freight Spend – Using a cloud-based TMS will lower your freight spend, reports say between 10 – 20% on average, because you have more choices of modes and access to more carriers and lanes.

A cloud-based transportation management system like Kuebix TMS offers a wide variety of benefits for shippers. Before you take the plunge with a new cloud-based TMS, use this Complete Buyer’s Guide to figure out exactly what your needs are!

Kuebix Global Network Effect

Kuebix and The Network Effect

Following Kuebix’s announcement last week of reaching 10,000 companies using Kuebix TMS, industry analyst Adrian Gonzalez wrote in his newsletter Talking Logistics: “At the time, Kuebix expected tens of thousands of shippers to take advantage of this free technology, building a massive global community where Kuebix can efficiently help the industry match capacity to demand across supply chains. Reaching that critical mass will be a challenge, I said last October, but it’s a challenge worth pursuing if you believe in the power of networks and communities. Well, it appears that Kuebix has met this challenge. The question now is how will the company leverage this growing community to drive ‘network effect’ solutions and value?”

What exactly is the ‘network effect’ Adrian is talking about?

He first wrote about this concept in 2003 when he discussed that “Supply Chain Operating Networks bring together trading partner connectivity with software-as-a-service applications.” Think Facebook or LinkedIn where people or businesses are connected together. The more connections, the better the network. All participants on the network can be connected to each other through the network for improved collaboration and communications. Basically, the more users, the more value the users get from the network.

When users connect to a network, they are empowered to create new value, and as more value is added to the network, users become more valuable. The ‘network effect’ means that participants on the network are more valuable to everyone on the network. Electronically connecting to suppliers, customers, and other supply chain partners enables each business to collaborate and innovate. Fully leveraging these connections allows suppliers to collaborate on forecasts and demand; customers to collaborate on inventory and forecasts; while others can collaborate on shipments and delivery requirements.

Networks are built with technology, but ultimately the network is about people: why they want to connect, how they will connect, when they will connect, and what they want to get from the connection. The ‘network effect’ grows exponentially in value the denser the network becomes. The more trading partners that are connected, the more valuable the network is – provided the connections participate and collaborate with others on the network. The ‘network effect’ is a supply chain game-changer.

With a global logistics network there is an increase of collaborative opportunities as the number of network participants increases. In this time of driver shortage, hours of service regulations, and capacity shortages, shippers are finding it hard to make deliveries. Using a global logistics network, shippers can forecast with their carriers that are connected to the network, who will then translate this into a volume by lane schedule in order to get capacity for shipping their products. The value of a network increases as more companies with shipping needs and an increased number of trucking operators carrying cargo join the network.

The rapid growth of Kuebix’s global shipping community lends credence to the industry’s need for a network where shippers can collaborate with each other, suppliers and carriers. Leveraging the power of a global network unified by the power of technology, freight can be matched to available capacity. This helps to fill empty backhauls, maintain control over demand peaks and reduce freight spend all around. Based on the accelerated adoption of Kuebix TMS within the industry, the ‘network effect’ is proving to drive value for companies wishing to optimize their freight.