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How Automation is Providing Businesses with a Way to Move Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kuebix Community Load Match

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Is it the Right Time to Invest in a TMS

Is it the Right Time to Invest in a TMS?

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

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

Doing More With Less

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

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

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

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

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

Tightening the Purse Strings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing Customer Expectations

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

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

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

More Rate Options

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

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


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

Making the Case for TMS

State of Supply Chain Blog Post

Transportation of Goods in a Changed World

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

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

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

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

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

What Trucking Companies Can Do to Succeed In a Changed World

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

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

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

Kuebix TMS Covid-19 Alcoholic Beverage Industry Blog Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuebix TMS Medical Equipment and Supplies Blog Post

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

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

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

Medical Device and Equipment Shortages

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

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

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

Connect Remotely by Leveraging a Cloud-based TMS

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

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

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

Plan Ahead to Instantly Access Truckload Capacity

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

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

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

Kuebix Community Load Match

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuebix TMS Manufacturing Infographic

*Infographic* Kuebix TMS Has the Manufacturing Industry Covered

The manufacturing industry is facing unique challenges during Covid-19. While the rest of the world is put on hold, manufacturing companies continue to operate and produce essential products. They are keeping stores stocked and making sure that we can all have exactly what we need during this time of uncertainty. Manufacturing companies provide a crucial service to the entire country every day, and their continued dedication during the pandemic is admirable.

With Kuebix TMS, manufacturing companies can make significant improvements to their logistics operations and transportation management regardless of size. Adapting to the new rules and regulations prompted by Covid-19 calls for visibility throughout supply chains. Kuebix Transportation Management System (TMS) provides real-time tracking information for better communication amongst all logistics stakeholders. The cloud-based platform seamlessly integrates with ERP and WMS systems and provides actionable analytics. Kuebix TMS empowers shippers to make smarter decisions and hold carriers and suppliers accountable.

At Kuebix, we understand that it’s never been more important to keep America’s supply chains moving. In support of businesses operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kuebix is offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help users expand capacity and manage supply chains remotely. To learn more about Kuebix’s Stimulus Free Offer, click here.

Kuebix TMS streamlines the entire shipping process including creating and printing BOLs, tracking and tracing invoice shipments, automating invoice audits and much more. Simplify managing your supply chain remotely with complete visibility and collaboration for all logistics stakeholders. Sign up to unlock increased operational efficiencies and learn why over 2,714 manufacturing companies trust Kuebix TMS.

Manufacturing Infographic Image

We Understand the Unique Challenges in Your Industry, That’s Why Kuebix:

  1. Is in production fast – complete implementations measured in weeks and months rather than quarters and years
  2. Seamlessly TMS integrations with ERP and WMS systems
  3. Provides actionable analytics that help shippers, makes smarter shipping decisions and hold carriers and suppliers accountable
  4. Scales to meet the changing needs of any size supply chain

From automobile and aviation to agriculture, we’ve got your industry covered!

Thank A Trucker Blog Post Kuebix

Trucking Companies Continue Service During Covid-19 – #ThankATrucker

Truck drivers perform an essential service to our country with every trip they take, especially during times of crisis like what’s happening now. It’s paramount that we take a moment to #ThankATrucker for everything they do to keep our country and economy on its feet during Covid-19.

Trucking is the Backbone of the U.S. Economy

There are an estimated 3.5 million professional truck drivers populating the roads and delivering 71.4% of the country’s total freight tonnage. They are responsible for the consistent flow of food, water, medical supplies and other necessities in stores worldwide. More than 80% of communities in the United States depend on truck drivers to deliver all of their goods. Their job demands an extensive number of hours on the road, time away from family and trading in home-cooked meals for whatever fast food is available at rest stops. Being a truck driver is a serious commitment and every sacrifice they make ensures life continues normally for the rest of the country.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has shifted the spotlight onto these hardworking individuals as supply chains throughout the country are struggling to adjust. Losses for U.S. retailers from production and transportation shortages from March 9 to April 20 are estimated to amount to $700 million. Businesses of all sizes that have been deemed non-essential have halted in-store operations entirely while manufacturers of household products like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes are experiencing a next-level increase in demand.

How Trucking Companies are Going Above and Beyond to Handle the Crisis

 Estes Express Lines

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced a partnership with Estes Express Lines to ship 56,000 meals to food banks throughout the state. Estes has also teamed up with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to aid in the distribution of personal protective equipment to hospitals and first responders.

 Paper Transport Inc.

Truckload carrier Paper Transport, Inc. announced a minimum charitable pledge of $100,000 to the support of Covid-19 victims with hopes of either doubling or tripling it over the next month. With news of how the virus has affected communities and schools continuing to spread, the ownership team at Paper Transport decided to pledge to donate half of their profits during the month of April.

J.B. Hunt Transport

Trucking company J.B. Hunt is providing a one-time $500 bonus for its drivers and personnel at field operations and customer facilities as a result of their hard work and dedication. CEO John Roberts said “All of our employees have gone above and beyond the call to action during this crisis. They have kept pace with the evolving supply chain needs of our customers in the face of great uncertainty.”

UPS

UPS is working directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to distribute N95 masks and gloves for healthcare workers. FEMA will utilize UPS’s air hub in Louisville, Kentucky to stage shipments from overseas. CEO David Abney stated that “UPS Healthcare has the expertise and experience to move vital, life-saving medicines, medical devices, diagnostic specimens and supplies everywhere they are needed.” UPS is also working with LestGetChecked, Henry Schein and Pharmatech.

Tyson Foods

Earlier this week, Tyson Foods announced that they will be giving the 116,000 truck drivers and frontline workers responsible for keeping their food distribution running smoothly a $500 bonus. Tyson also changed part of their meat production to instead focus on retail packaging to adjust to the heightened demand for frozen goods. “Our team members are leading the charge to continue providing food to the nation. The bonuses are another way we can say ‘thank you’ for their efforts,” said CEO Noel White.

How Kuebix is Helping Shippers Keep Their Supply Chains Moving

Kuebix understands the importance of keeping supply chains moving in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. To help companies battle through Covid-19, Kuebix is offering 60-days free of our award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS. Our cloud-based TMS technology can help shippers expand capacity and effectively manage their supply chains remotely.

Dan Clark Kuebix

Kuebix VP of Product Innovation & Strategy Recognized as Supply Chain Pro to Know

Kuebix’s VP of Product Innovation and Strategy, Dan Clark, has been selected as a 2020 Supply Chain Executive Pros to Know by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. Dan was chosen for his extensive knowledge of the logistics industry developed from over 20 years of hands-on experience, combined with his remarkable expertise in creating supply chain efficiencies via SaaS technology.

Dan Clark is a logistics industry innovator. He possesses extensive experience gained from years of working with leading freight carriers and multibillion-dollar companies with highly sophisticated supply chains. Dan continues to deliver on his original vision of using best-of-breed cloud technologies to create an innovative and intelligent transportation system that returns control and visibility to freight shippers at companies of all sizes.

“Dan’s vision enables transparency between all logistics stakeholders resulting in unprecedented collaboration and efficiencies,” says Dave Lemont, VP and General Manager of Kuebix. “By using a TMS for the masses, companies can manage their supply chains efficiently while leveraging a digital freight marketplace that delivers access to much-needed capacity.”

The Pros to Know Awards recognize supply chain executives, and manufacturing and non-manufacturing enterprises, that are leading initiatives to help prepare their companies’ supply chains for the significant challenges of today’s business climate. This year’s list includes more than 200 individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies or academia, who helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large prepare to meet these challenges.

“The supply chain profession is the most exciting it’s ever been. With cutting-edge technologies designed to help the industry run smoother, easier and safer, coupled with professionals leading the charge for change, innovation and sustainability, it’s an exciting time to be in the supply chain industry,” says Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “These Pros to Know are the best of the best in their industry, and I look forward to seeing how they continue to revolutionize today’s—and tomorrow’s—supply chains.”

Kuebix’s innovative platform allows shippers, carriers and intermediaries to leverage the same powerful TMS platform. Shippers gain complete access to available capacity and competitive pricing, while brokers are exposed to new business opportunities and gain superior asset utilization. This unprecedented level of collaboration enables new levels of visibility and efficiency for all logistics stakeholders.

Covid-19 Transportation Supply Chain Digital Cloud-Based Technology Collaboration

Keeping Supply Chains Moving During Covid-19 Requires Digital Collaboration and Access to Capacity

As the crisis from the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the complex workings of the United States’ supply chain have been thrust into the general public’s view. There are shortages of toilet paper, food items, and over the counter medications just to name a few. Lockdowns of communities, counties, and states are causing backups and decreased available freight capacity. Workers are moving to remote work setups and need to find new ways to collaborate and to efficiently manage logistics operations from anywhere. One thing’s for certain, however, logistics and supply chain companies remain the backbone of the U.S. economy and way of life.

So, how do supply chains continue to function smoothly during such an unprecedented and unplanned-for crisis? 

Supply Chain Challenges During Covid-19

Unlike with a hurricane or other natural disaster, Covid-19 comes with a number of unforeseen challenges. For example, staple products like flour and beans are flying off of shelves while more specialty items see a complete halt in sales. Forecasters can use historical data to plan for the response needed to a natural disaster. With Covid-19, the supply chain’s ‘symptoms’ are completely unforecast, leaving manufacturers and distributors either with excess inventory or un-meetable demand.

Not only are demand forecasts completely unreliable, but there is added confusion as most companies switch to remote-working models. Instead of coming into the office to manage shipping, teams must connect over the internet to manage freight operations. Without a technological framework in place, many teams may be left struggling to stay afloat.

This shake-up of standard shipping procedures has also resulted in disruptions in lanes and carrier availability. In an effort to provide some relief to companies shipping essential goods, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 18th issued an expanded national emergency declaration that provides hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers. Commenting on this dramatic change, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao said, “The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain.

According to a new report from Gartner, ¹How Digitized Freight Platforms and Other Transportation Technologies Can Help With Current Domestic Transportation Capacity Challenges, “As capacity decreases, shippers are confronted with increasing volumes of tender rejections and increasing rates.” Volatility in capacity and pricing is expected to continue even after the worst of the pandemic passes. Price gouging will also likely become a wider-spread issue as some entities see an opportunity to make extra cash during the crisis.

In order to ‘weather the storm’ and emerge on the other side set up for success, shipping companies should be turning to technology now to connect with additional truck capacity and collaborate with supply chain stakeholders working remotely. 

Leveraging Cloud-Based Technology for Collaboration

For many companies, day-to-day collaboration takes the form of email, phone calls and shared Excel sheets to manage freight. Cloud-based transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS have changed that narrative. Now, with the help of technology, every supply chain stakeholder from the logistics department, AR/AP, sales and customer service can collaborate in a single system and work off of the same transportation information. In addition to internal collaboration, teams can digitally access their carrier connections to quote and tender freight without ever picking up the phone.

As remote work becomes the standard for companies across the country amid the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that organizations move their logistics operations to the cloud to improve collaboration. By leveraging a cloud-based TMS like Kuebix TMS, teams can work off of the same set of information, maintain historical data for analysis and digitally connect with carriers for rating, booking, tracking and managing freight.

Connecting with Digitized Freight Platforms to Find Additional Capacity

Even finding real-time capacity and pricing for domestic freight may seem like a challenge right now, especially for companies relying on the same small set of carrier partners during this crisis. In order to get set up with the best chance of covering every load optimally, shippers need to ‘build their bench’ of carriers. With a wider selection of carrier partners to choose from, the likelihood of optimally covering every load increases dramatically.

The best way for shippers to quickly and easily build their bench is to connect digitally with a vast network of carriers. Instead of negotiating every spot quote in a piecemeal fashion, shippers can instead turn to their connected community to request bids en-masse and tender freight. From here, shippers can build direct relationships with carriers in the network and negotiate new contracted carrier rates as needed.

Kuebix Community Load Match is a platform that allows any Kuebix TMS user to quickly connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and direct carrier assets. The platform enables shippers to request and compare spot rates  from their carriers and the Kuebix community with the touch of a button, while retaining control of their freight by choosing the carrier or broker directly. Users’ job is simplified by tendering all shipments using one system for spot quoting as well as booking with regularly negotiated carrier rates. Instead of switching between carrier websites or hammering the phone, shippers can instead view all of their bids in a single place to choose the best one for their freight.

By connecting digitally with a platform like Kuebix Community Load Match, shippers can quickly build their bench of carriers and get prepared for the inevitable surges in demand for capacity arising from this crisis.

How Kuebix is Helping Shippers During Covid-19

At Kuebix, a Trimble company, we know that keeping the supply chain moving matters more now than ever as businesses battle through the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s why we are offering 60-days free of our award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help companies during Covid-19. As many of us switch to remote operations, cloud-based TMS technology like Kuebix can help shippers collaborate within their supply chains and gain access to the carriers and capacity they need.


¹Gartner, How Digitized Freight Platforms and Other Transportation Technologies Can Help With Current Domestic Transportation Capacity Challenges, 2 April 2020

Kuebix Gartner Magic Quadrant Challenger 2020

Kuebix Positioned as a Challenger in the Latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

Kuebix, a leading transportation management system (TMS) provider and creator of one of North America’s largest connected shipping communities, has been recognized as a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems. Kuebix is a Trimble Company.

“Our velocity in the marketplace continues with 24,000 customers and growing as a result of our superior user experience, rapid implementations, and innovative technology,” said Dan Clark, Vice President of Product Innovation & Strategy at Kuebix. “We are excited to be recognized as a Challenger and believe that Kuebix’s positioning in the Challengers Quadrant validates our leadership, vision, and ability to continuously deliver value to our customers.”

Kuebix TMS can be implemented more quickly than more traditional monolithic software. Kuebix is a modular cloud-based solution that allows small to medium-sized companies up to the largest enterprises to select features and integrations to configure the ideal TMS for their business. In January 2020, Kuebix was acquired by Trimble, bringing Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks together with Kuebix’s extensive shipping community, which will create unprecedented opportunities for freight demand-capacity matching and other efficiencies.

“Combining Kuebix’s innovative TMS and growing shipping community with Trimble’s strength and scale will allow us to accelerate the innovation we are delivering to the marketplace,” said James Langley, Senior Vice President, Trimble Transportation. “This combination also positions us to provide maximum transportation efficiency to all of our customers.”

According to the Gartner research, “By 2022, spend on TMS applications will be $1.94 billion, accounting for 31% of the $6.2 billion supply chain execution (SCE) market. This growth will be driven by the replacement of on-premises software with SaaS applications.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.


Source: Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, 25 March 2020.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

robots shaping the future of warehouse operations

Robots are Shaping the Future of Warehouse Operations

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics have all become hot topics when it comes to the future of the supply chain. Advanced robotics are already being utilized in warehouses around the world. As robots continue to prove themselves through real-life applications, this field of technology is on course to solidify its presence in warehousing. Here are some examples of companies changing the landscape of supply chain focused robotics.

Companies Shaping the Future of Robotics in Supply Chain

Amazon Robotics

One of the biggest examples of success with robotics in the supply chains is e-commerce leader Amazon. Their Amazon Robotics program utilizes two different forms of robotics that specialize in picking and packing: collaborative systems and non-collaborative systems. Non-collaborative is more prominent within warehouses because it allows employees to stay in place while robots move goods around the warehouse. This method doesn’t require physical interaction between warehouse workers and advanced technology. 

Amazon’s robots carry shelves of products around a chain-link cage using QR codes on the floor for navigation. The shelves are then loaded and unloaded based on order demand by warehouse employees. Amazon’s robots increase fulfillment speed, picking accuracy and make employee tasks less repetitive and sedentary. 

Fetch Robotics

Fetch Robotics has come up with a more independent application of robotics in the warehouse to replace forklifts. They have created freight robots including the automated version of Freight 1,500 (coming later in 2020) and CartConnect500 that can pick up items from one place and move them to another without any human interaction. 

Both of these models have attachable, industrial-grade carts that can carry a variety of containers to improve efficiency and organization. CartConnect500 can transport up to 1,100 pounds while the fully autonomous version of Freight 1,500 will be able to hold 3,300 pounds. The CartConnect500 and other freight-focused robots aim to automate repetitive processes and enable warehouses to operate efficiently with fewer employees doing manual tasks. 


Robots promise to provide increased productivity in warehouses around the world. As new models of non-collaborative and collaborative robotics are integrated into the workplace, it will be interesting to see how they join forces with humans! 

 

Women's History Month Supply Chain Transportation Truck 2

Women’s History Month: Spotlight on Women in Supply Chain and Transportation

Each year, Women’s History Month is celebrated in March to honor women who have made waves in their various spaces. It’s a time to reflect on women’s contributions to culture, history, and society as a whole. Influential and impactful women are prevalent, though sometimes overlooked. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th and Women’s History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on three women whose contribution to supply chain and transportation should be remembered.

1928

Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan

The First Licensed Female Truck Driver & Trucking Firm Owner

Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan was born in Galveston, Texas in 1897. As a young woman, she lost most of her hearing as a result of scarlet fever and would be forced to wear hearing aids for much of her adult life. Despite this adversity, Drennan started the Drennan Truck Line with her husband in 1928.

To grow the business, Drennan began driving her own truck. Her hard work was rewarded with success and the Drennan Truck Lines continued to grow into a thriving business with multiple drivers and trucks. However, in 1929, Drennan and her husband divorced, leaving her as the sole owner of the trucking company.

The industry that she had worked so hard to be a part of suddenly became a much less accommodating place without her husband. She struggled to obtain a driver’s license from the Railroad Commission in charge of regulating motor-freight at the time, allegedly because of her hearing loss, though Drennan believed it to be related to her gender. After challenging the commission to find a man with a cleaner safety record than hers, the Railroad Commission relented and Drennan was awarded a license. For the following 24 years, Drennan was an accident-free driver and owner of an expanding trucking company.

Despite discrimination because of her gender and disability, Lillie Drennan is remembered as a pioneer for women who want to work in industries traditionally dominated by men.

More About Lillie Drennan

During World War II, the army praised Drennan for her help in recruiting women drivers to the war effort. She was known to wear khaki pants, work boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Her constant companion was her loaded revolver and she was well known for cursing. When criticized for her language, she was known to reply, “Me and God have an understanding.”

Lillie Drennan Truck Driver Women's History Month

Lillie Drennan - Women's History Month Truck Driver

1973

Edwina Justus

The First Black Woman Train Engineer Working for the Union Pacific Railroad

Edwina Justus was a trailblazer for women, especially women of color, who want to enter traditionally male-dominated fields. In the 1970s, Justus didn’t let the fact that she was a black woman stop her from pursuing her dreams. After meeting up with a friend who worked for the railway, Justus decided there was no reason she couldn’t work there too and asked, Why don’t you see if you can get me on?”

In 1973, Justus became a traction motor clerk with the job of monitoring when traction motors were pulled out of trains. She didn’t know exactly what this was and decided to see for herself. Despite being dressed fashionably in a skirt and heels, Justus continued to learn about how the yard worked and her unerring curiosity and desire for knowledge led her to apply for a position there.

Justus gained the position of yard hostler. For three years she moved cars in the yard to be repaired, cleaned and picked back up when ready to go. Quickly gaining experience, she was appointed as a full railroad engineer by Union Pacific working out of North Platte, Nebraska. North Platte, at the time, was Union Pacific’s largest railroad operation in the U.S.A.

Though rapidly gaining experience in her new profession, Justus faced the discrimination many black women did when working in predominantly white, male-dominated industries in the 1970s. When asked whether her co-workers had positive attitudes about her appointment, she recalls, “Oh, hell no! Guys didn’t want to work with me… One old guy tried to kiss me. Don’t forget my age; I was 33.”

Now, 22 years since her retirement in 1998, Justus is a symbol of perseverance for many who desire to break into professions they wouldn’t commonly “fit the mold” for. Her story is part of the exhibit, Move Over, Sir!: Women Working on the Railroad, which is on exhibition at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Edwina Justus - Women's History Month Transportation RailroadEdwina Justus

Current

Melonee Wise

CEO and Co-Founder of Fetch Robotics

Melonee Wise is one of few women to found and manage their own robotics company. Growing up, Wise demonstrated her interest in robotics by building her very own plotter out of Lego blocks. Plotters are printers that use automated pens to make line drawings by making continuous lines. Her passion for robotics brought her to the University of Illinois where she studied mechanical engineering and developed a well-earned reputation for research in different fields.

After college, Wise held a number of internship positions before becoming a Manager for Robot Development at Willow Garage, a research lab specializing in both hardware and software creation for robots. Following her tenure at Willow Garage, Wise co-founded the company Unbounded Robotics and then went on to co-found Fetch Robotics, the company she currently oversees. Now with over 19 years’ experience designing, building, and programming robotic hardware, Wise is the CEO of her company.

As the CEO of Fetch Robotics, Wise is now taking the autonomous warehousing industry by storm. On Monday, March 9th at the Modex 2020 trade show, she is expected to debut her new Freight 500 robot, a replacement for a manual forklift which can transport up to 1,000 pounds of product. It’s anticipated that her team’s fully autonomous version of the Freight 1,500, which is in development, will launch later in 2020.

Automated warehouses are anticipated to completely revolutionize the supply chain in the next decade. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that Wise has already been the recipient of a number of prestigious recognitions. These include the 2015 MIT Technology Review’s TR35 award for technology innovators under the age of 35, Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Women of Influence and 40 Under 40 lists, and Business Insider named Wise as one of eight CEOs changing the way we work.

 Melonee Wise - Fetch Robotics FreightMelonee Wise - Fetch Robotics Freight


For the first time Gartner, in partnership with AWESOME, reports that “there have been increases in women represented across the pipeline for the first time, with an 8% jump at the VP level.” This gain in representation in leadership positions is due in part to the legacy of other female supply chain and transportation influencers like Lillie Drennan, Edwina Justus and Melonee Wise.

 

 

Woven City Toyota Kuebix TMS

Construction of Toyota’s ‘Smart City’ is Set to Begin in 2021

Artificial intelligence, robots and self-driving cars are establishing themselves within the transportation industry thanks to improved operational efficiencies and long-term benefits. These technologies are being adopted more commonly as their success stories continue to grow in number. Toyota, a Japanese automobile manufacturer recognized for their reliable and durable cars, has another plan to accelerate the development of this forward-thinking technology.

Toyota recently unveiled its plans for Woven City, a futuristic location dedicated to the testing and development of autonomous vehicles, smart technology and robot-assisted living. Woven City will be located in the foothills of Mount Fuji and about 60 miles away from Tokyo. The site is 175 acres and was previously home to a Toyota factory.

Woven City 2

Woven City will serve as a testing ground and give researchers and scientists the ability to test futuristic technology in a “real-life environment.” Toyota also revealed that the city will be powered exclusively by hydrogen fuel cells and rooftop solar panels.

This greener, technology-centered city provides an unparalleled opportunity for the growth and development of artificial intelligence products, robots, self-driving cars and other emerging technologies. Woven City’s dedication to testing real-life applications of these technologies will make it easier to identify and resolve problems. Their success stories and examples of everyday uses for the 2,000 individuals set to live there will serve as inspiration to those outside of the city.

Futuristic Technology in the Transportation Industry

The continued development of artificial intelligence, robotics and self-driving cars will unlock new levels of accuracy and efficiency for the transportation industry. Companies are using artificial intelligence and robotics to help with inventory, warehouse management and refining the skill sets of new truck drivers. Self-driving cars are a huge help in filling available truck driver positions.

While all of these different technologies have already started to prove their worth, it will be interesting to see how they continue to grow and collaborate with the transportation and supply chain industries!