Back to School - Kuebix

Where Did Summer Go? Back-to-School Shopping Is Here!

Why are we thinking about back-to-school when it’s still July? Didn’t summer just start? In some places in the US, schools have not been out for the summer that long, but in others, schools start back around the 1st of August. Each year around this time, parents and kids flood stores to fill their back-to-school list.

Now is the time for back-to-school shopping!

This year, total US back-to-school spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $82.8 billion. Families with children in elementary through high school will spend on average $684.79 each, for a total of $27.5 billion, per the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. For people heading off to college or graduate school, the survey quoted the average spend as $942.17 per person for a total of $55.3 billion.

The leader in back-to-school purchases are clothes and accessories, expected to reach $15.1 billion. School supplies come in at $6 billion, computers and hardware hit $3.7 billion and electronic gadgets are predicted to reach $2.8 billion.

Shoppers will be active from late July to early August, spending about a third of the projected seasonal spend. Many consumers will research their purchases online before buying items in-store, while 52% said they will purchase from online retailers that offer free shipping.

Some retailers are getting creative when it comes to getting back-to-school orders into the hands of consumers, faster and for less cost. Some retailers are setting up kiosks or pop-up booths on campuses, other have special buses that drive students to local stores, still others are offering click-and-collect boxes at convenient locations. For college students, retailers are offering direct delivery to college dorm rooms.

It is critical that retailers ensure that the right items are on shelves in time for back-to-school shopping. Getting items from suppliers to the DC or from the DC to store shelves, consumer homes or click-and-collect boxes requires a scalable, flexible transportation management system.

Kuebix TMS integrates with e-commerce platforms, allowing online retailers to gain real-time visibility with estimated delivery times and alerts if a shipment will be delayed. The result is a streamlined logistics operations that controls costs and ensures delivery accuracy for shippers working hard to meet back-to-school demand.

Stop the Double-Entry Madness!

When most people think of the supply chain, they picture pallets arranged on trailers or colorful shipping containers being loaded off of ships. However, there are a lot of moving parts to the supply chain even before product starts moving from point A to point B. Getting those pallets and containers to where they need to be takes time and a lot of pre-planning. To keep the supply chain running smoothly, orders need to be received, product needs to be produced to meet demand and transport needs to be arranged for pickup.

These steps require a high degree of attention in order to work successfully. Orders are tracked by PO number, SKU and many other metrics which might encompass anything from dimension to Haz-Mat classification. Many shipping departments studiously key order information from their ERP systems to their carriers’ websites to arrange transport. In some cases, printouts are even being re-keyed into spreadsheets. For anyone who has keyed product or order information back and forth between systems, you know that it can take considerable time and be riddled with manual errors.

Technology is helping shipping departments stop the double-entry madness. By integrating purchase orders directly from their ERP system, logistics professionals can automate the rapid creation of shipments by avoiding the need to re-key a long list of order line items. Integration is also two-way, meaning financial and customer service teams can gain visibility on all transactions as information flows seamlessly back to the ERP system.

By allowing order and product information to populate automatically, the need to re-key information between systems is completely eliminated. This decreases labor costs by saving time manually typing orders while simultaneously increasing order accuracy. Better order accuracy means never shipping the wrong product or quantity because of a simple typo and never having to explain to a customer why human error was to blame for your poor service.

Leveraging technology to automate a previously manual and tedious process is saving countless companies valuable time. Some companies have been slow to integrate their ERP with their TMS for fear of a long, complicated process. However, by seeking a TMS that offers a common integration approach to all ERP systems, shippers can be assured of rapid implementation and ROI. Kuebix TMS offers out-of-the-box ERP integrations. Click here to check out how we integrate with Microsoft DynamicsNetSuite and QuickBooks!

Kuebix - Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day’s Impact on the Supply Chain

Amazon Prime Day kicks off today at 3:00 PM EST and is one of the biggest e-commerce days of the year, with sales growing over 60 percent year-over-year since 2016. Prime Day features deep discounts for Amazon Prime members and will generate sales to rival those of the holiday season, even during one of the year’s lowest sales periods. Retailers supplying the 560M+ items available every day on Amazon in the USA are upping their game with the help of technology to meet expectations for quick deliveries and excellent service by optimizing their shipments and improving visibility.

Amazon Prime Day is like Black Friday, only in July, and demonstrates how consumers’ adoption of e-commerce shopping is growing at a pace that far exceeds expectations. E-tailers shipping into Amazon fulfillment distribution centers (FDCs) are focusing on improving efficiencies within their supply chains and streamlining operations to keep pace with the increased volume. By leveraging the power of technology, retailers are lowering transportation costs, finding needed capacity, and gaining visibility into operations to ensure customer service expectations are met.

Prime Day comes at a time of year that has been traditionally slow for the supply chain industry. There aren’t any major holidays, and back-to-school hasn’t quite started. However, the popularity of the event coupled with the capacity crisis and driver shortage are causing roadblocks for some retailers who haven’t already optimized their supply chains. To keep up with the heightened order volume, retailers must streamline internal processes, ship products more efficiently and maintain a heightened level of visibility to order line items.

Retailers are turning to technology to improve their internal processes through order integration, rate-comparison and freight pay and audit features. Global logistics communities are uniting carriers and shippers to find optimal routes to share assets and fill empty miles. Powerful optimization tools are consolidating loads and planning the most efficient routes to cut down on transit time as well as costs. All these processes are being made possible by technology and are helping to combat the capacity crunch by making shipping more efficient and utilizing assets to their fullest.

Amazon has set the bar high in terms of order visibility. Companies are now taking advantage of technology to gain visibility into their supply chains, resulting in superior customer service and more efficient operations. The adoption of technology like tracking devices, on-board computers, and cloud-based portals means that retailers can collaborate with carriers to improve performance. Carriers can provide an updated status of their delivery so that retailers know where goods are at all times and when to expect their arrival. If a delay is going to happen, the customer can be alerted, which improves satisfaction.

The industry is braced for “Christmas in July” as the countdown to Prime Day draws to a close. The deep discounts on more than one million items, both Amazon-branded products as well as items from third-party sellers, are guaranteed to have a large impact on the supply chain this year. In order to keep up with increased order volume and inventory turns, shippers are turning to technology to improve their processes and speed up delivery.

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.

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

Customer Experience in the Age of E-Commerce

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

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

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

Flexibility – Customers want the ability to choose the service type they need. Choosing the mode helps customers customize their experience.

Speed – Getting product quickly and when desired is becoming more important as 2-day delivery becomes standard. Designating when the product will arrive helps customers plan ahead and allows them to be more self-sufficient.

Tracking – Customers everywhere are demanding tracking capabilities. In order for customers to have confidence that their product has shipped and will arrive on time, a standard tracking feature needs to be implemented.

Alerts – In addition to tracking capabilities, up-to-date alerts keep customers’ expectations realistic when unforeseen events take place in the supply chain. Customers appreciate alerts to weather delays and other interruptions so that they can react proactively to late deliveries.

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

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

Kuebix TMS

How to Buy a TMS

The combination of the capacity crunch and new government regulations are causing transportation costs to soar – and are expected to continue this trend into the future. In today’s market, shipping is one of the biggest expenses for any shipper, growing at a rate of over 5% per year, depending on the lane. Implementing a TMS solution can bring a business the freight savings and intelligence they need to keep transport costs as low as possible.

A broad range of TMSs exist, ranging from cloud-based to on-premise, automating freight bill audit and pay, streamlining execution and optimization, integrating with disparate systems, analyzing data for performance monitoring, and on and on. With all these features and options, how does a company go about buying a TMS system?

First of all, the goals for deploying a TMS need to be determined – is the goal to cut shipping costs, improve customer service, become a preferred shipper, consolidate loads, etc.? Do these goals align with the corporate strategy? They should!

Next, make sure that the TMS is easily scalable to meet current business needs and those of the future. Additional features and functions should be able to be easily added without having to start from scratch. A spot market should be accessible for volume quotes and the system should also easily integrate with other software to extend the value of the technology.

A TMS should offer the following:

  • ·       Automatic rating, booking and tracking of shipments, managing carriers and communicating with shippers and customers in real-time
  • ·       A network of carriers incorporating all modes with the ability to consolidate and optimize shipments
  • ·       A wide variety of reports and dashboards to monitor cost, shipping status and service levels
  • ·       Management of the carrier bid process from initial set up to tendering of shipments
  • ·       Extensive analytics to manage performance in real-time
  • ·       A quick implementation time and return-on-investment (ROI)
  • ·       Integration with enterprise systems and 3rd party applications
  • ·       The ability to track and trace any shipment in real-time, anywhere in the supply chain
  • ·       The ability to easily add functionality as needed such as order and route optimization, dock scheduling, yard management and container tracking

Some TMS providers like Kuebix offer a free version of their technology to help shippers better understand how to use the system and see real results from their operations risk free. Unlike a demo, Kuebix Free Shippergets shippers managing their freight and gaining true ROI even before adding modular features and capabilities.

When looking for a new TMS, check out The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems to get answers to questions like what to look for and how much a TMS should cost before committing to a system.