Digital Agility Blog Post Image

How Digital Agility Can Help Prepare Your Supply Chain for Anything

Businesses’ ability to successfully navigate unexpected events is a large part of an overall successful supply chain. Many companies have found ways to mitigate the effects of events like hurricanes and blizzards. However, most organizations were not prepared for the implications of a pandemic like Covid-19 and its long-term impact on global supply chains.

In a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 50% of respondents cited that digital agility is their greatest opportunity for post-Covid-19 resilience. Understanding the full impact of the crisis and learning from the many unexpected circumstances the pandemic has caused will help companies strengthen their supply chains moving forward.

Digital agility is formally defined as “the ability to move quickly and easily by applying and leveraging digital technology and tools.” By utilizing technology, businesses can secure their supply chains by improving real-time visibility, securing last-minute capacity, tracking KPIs dynamically, and generally setting themselves up for the best chance to weather ‘the unexpected.’ 

The most effective technology for digital agility that’s designed to better logistics operations while offering a number of benefits is a transportation management system based in the cloud. With an advanced TMS, companies can plan and book freight across all modes, find the best route and carrier, manage payments and so much more! Below are a few of the features a well-rounded TMS  must have to help companies improve the digital agility of their operations:

The Latest Cloud Technology

The best transportation management systems leverage the latest cloud technology. TMSs that are cloud-based store data in the cloud rather than on a local server or computer. Storing information on the cloud makes for a faster start-up, lower usage costs and greater flexibility. Installing updates doesn’t require an in-person visit and the process of troubleshooting is simplified. A TMS that operates on the cloud helps supply chains stay digitally agile and prepare for the unexpected.

Complete Supply Chain Visibility

Companies that have complete visibility throughout their supply chains are able to continuously improve. Transportation management systems that provide real-time information on the location and estimated arrival time of shipments improve logistics operations, digital agility and customer service. Companies can leverage visibility to answer questions from partners which makes for better collaboration. Visibility throughout the supply chain helps companies strengthen their logistics operations and prepare for the unexpected. 

Detailed Reports and Dashboards

It’s important that data is collected and organized in a way that companies can utilize it to make better informed decisions both during and after unexpected events. With a transportation management system, data is collected and used to generate detailed reports and dashboards that digitally agile companies can leverage to improve their logistics operations and address issues as they arise. Data can be overwhelming and difficult to understand, but a transportation management system makes it easy.

Truckload Spot Market

Having a diverse selection of carriers and potential truckload volume is a key component of a flexible supply chain that’s able to adapt to adversity. Companies looking to strengthen their digital agility need an alternative for when situations arise where they can’t get their freight covered by a traditional negotiated rate but have a delivery date that needs to be met.

Kuebix TMS users gain access to Community Load Match, Kuebix’s load matching platform and shipping community. Community Load Match leverages Trimble MAPS to provide advanced matching capabilities and map visualization. Since it’s built inside Kuebix TMS, shippers can meet all of their truckload shipping requirements on the same platform that handles the rest of their shipping needs.  

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Staying digitally agile is especially important for companies in such an unpredictable environment. Implementing a transportation management system that leverages the latest technology like Kuebix TMS ensures companies are prepared for anything. Click here to learn more about the benefits Kuebix can bring to your supply chain.

Inventory Management Blog Post

Inventory Management’s Crucial Role in the Supply Chain

What is Inventory Management and Why is it Important?

 Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing and using a company’s goods or materials. Successfully managing inventory allows businesses to meet the demand level of their consumers with an appropriate amount of supply. Ineffective management can result in excess inventory which runs the risk of spoilage, damage or a shift in demand that causes stock to pile up even further. If inventory isn’t sold before any of these happen, it is often sold at clearance prices or destroyed.

 In a survey of 2,467 U.S. supply chain professionals conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), 58% of respondents reported that inventory management is a top technical skill in their field. It’s an essential component of keeping supply chains running smoothly. Effective inventory management requires a reliable technology platform and communication between all parties involved.

 Without inventory management, businesses would experience higher levels of waste and excess storage costs. Communicating with customers about product availability and estimated shipping dates becomes impossible when accurate and up-to-date information is missing.

 How Can I Improve Inventory Management in My Supply Chain?

 Effective supply chain management starts with technology. Eliminating traditional and often manual strategies saves time and reduces the risk of error. Digitally managing operations makes any information recorded simpler to share across an entire supply chain. If your company has already implemented a transportation management system (TMS), you’re already halfway to full supply chain optimization!

 Transportation management and inventory management are two essential parts of a successful supply chain. Transportation management systems (TMS) deal with the movement of products across the supply chain and provide a necessary platform for carriers, shippers and manufacturers to communicate. Inventory management platforms focus specifically on the quantity and type of product in a warehouse or other storage facility. Together, these pieces of technology form the basis for companies to get their products into the hands of customers as efficiently as possible.

For instance, when a company leverages a TMS to react quickly to a customer’s order, product moves swiftly out of the warehouse and is no longer taking up inventory space. That space is then available for fresher inventory to replace it. Inventory management systems can react to those quick shipments and ensure that the oldest inventory is being shipped first.

Tracking spoiled or faulty inventory is also made easier when inventory management and a TMS work hand in hand. With a TMS, products are tracked down to the SKU level and can be easily traced once they leave the warehouse. When an item is on recall, inventory management teams have all the relevant information they need to find and isolate bad product.

Certain transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are able to integrate directly with ERPs like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics. When integrated, these technologies offer logistics professionals increased shipment accuracy by eliminating the need for manual entry, significant time savings, and access to meaningful analytics for SKU-level cost allocation.  Integrations between a TMS and an ERP can help bridge the gap between inventory management and transportation management by sharing data between systems to make sure all parties involved have accurate, real-time information on inventory.

Kuebix Predictive Analytics TMS

What is Predictive Analytics and How is it Used in Supply Chain Operations?

You may be familiar with the term predictive analytics – but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it really means for your supply chain? Analytics help companies streamline process efficiencies and make sure important trends aren’t overlooked. Regardless of the industry your company is operating in, predictive analytics can help your company interpret their current performance to help them better understand and predict their future. 

Breaking it Down – Defining Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is formally defined as “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.” It extends beyond analysis of current operations and provides the best possible projection of what a company’s performance will look like in the future. Businesses who utilize predictive analytics can uncover patterns and relationships in their structured and unstructured data. 

Predictive analytics is especially useful because it automates the process of forecasting. Companies who utilize predictive analytics can then place their focus on critical daily tasks instead of going through a manual forecasting process. The biggest challenge associated with predictive analytics is that it requires a substantial amount of historical data. If the software doesn’t have enough data, it will have a hard time finding and visually displaying patterns and trends.

The MHI Industry report revealed that the number of supply chain professionals using predictive analytics has grown 76% from 2017 to 2019. Earlier implementations of predictive analytics focused on inventory management to help reduce cycle times and improve customer service. Over the past couple of years, the concept of predictive analytics has evolved and can now be applied across industries including healthcare and transportation planning.

Companies utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) are already taking steps towards collecting the data needed for predictive analytics. Whether they realize it or not, the data they’re collecting can fuel their efforts towards projecting and improving the future of their supply chains. For example, a company utilizing predictive analytics in their supply chain can view historical data about on time delivery (OTD) to make better decisions about who they book with in the future. 

Harnessing the Power of Predictive Analytics in Supply Chains

If you’re like many shippers, this type of advanced technology might seem outside of your grasp. With the help of a transportation management system with built-in predictive analytics functionality, however, any shipper can leverage this futuristic tech. TMSs can provide predictive analytics to give you the immediate intelligence you need to make better logistics decisions every day. 

Whether it’s holding your carriers accountable through carrier scorecards, managing your yards and docks more efficiently, or simply ensuring that you are paying the lowest rates for the best service, predictive analytics gives you the information you need to make decisions that will be real game-changers for your business.

 

Kuebix TMS 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.

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

SDCE Green Award Kuebix TMS

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

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

The Green Supply Chain Award recognizes companies making green or sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategy, and are working to achieve measurable sustainability goals within their own operations and supply chains. The awards also recognize providers of supply chain solutions and services assisting their customers in achieving measurable sustainability goals.

This year’s 10th-annual awards recognize small, mid-size and large enterprises that leveraged green practices and solutions to further drive sustainable improvements in their supply chain. 

Kuebix is committed to providing technology that improves every part of their customer’s supply chain. Shippers who leverage the platform experience significant ROI and time savings and are also presented with the opportunity to use Kuebix TMS as a means to a more sustainable supply chain. 

Many companies don’t realize that environmental efficiencies come part-and-parcel with supply chain improvements and don’t have to negatively affect their bottom-lines. With Kuebix TMS, shippers are able to choose the most direct and cost-efficient load configuration and rate. Fuel usage and overall expense are automatically reduced by being able to make better-informed decisions! 

Supply and Demand Chain Executive

“Every year our Green Supply Chain Award recipients demonstrate what is achievable in supply chain sustainability,” says John R. Yuva, editor for Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “It is clear that while sustainability is not a new concept, there is always more we can accomplish.”

 “We extend our congratulations to this year’s award recipients and their commitment to green initiatives,” adds Yuva. “The entries serve as best-in-class examples for other companies to model and create value for their supply chains.”

 

On Demand Trucking - Kuebix

Status of On-Demand Trucking

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

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

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

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

How does on-demand trucking work?

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

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

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

 

10 Keywords Logistics Professionals Should Keep an Eye on in 2020

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

1. Network-based Communities

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

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

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

4. Predictive Analytics

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

5. Autonomous Vehicles

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

6. Digital Supply Chain

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

7. Transportation Management System (TMS)

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

8. Customer Experience

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

9. Sustainability

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

10. Amazon Effect

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

 

Kuebix Transportation Management

Why is Transportation Management Important?

Before transportation management systems (TMSs) came into the picture, nearly all logistics processes were done on paper. Shippers spent countless hours calling and emailing internal and external partners just to ship their freight. Transportation management technology changed all of that.

The first TMSs were housed on-premise and did speed up shipping processes. However, since these pieces of technology resided solely within the “four-walls” of the company, they presented many challenges. These included difficulty updating to the latest version and integrating with other platforms. These issues inspired the creation of cloud-based transportation management systems. Cloud-based transportation management systems allow users to connect with internal and external partners and applications much more easily and offer scalability impossible with on-premise software. This modern version of a traditional TMS also offers a quick start-up, low usage costs and greater flexibility.

Many members of the industry often wonder why transportation management is important and why it continues to evolve. The truth is technology is changing every industry and transportation and supply chain are no exception. Many businesses feel that their current operations are working just fine. That doesn’t mean they aren’t missing opportunities for time and money savings, collaboration with other industry members and an increase in customer service quality. Ignoring the significance of transportation management and all it has to offer means missing out on opportunities and the rapid return-on-investment competitors who have adopted a cloud-based TMS are already experiencing. So, what are the reasons transportation management is important?

Benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Save Time and Do More Without Adding to Labor Costs

The implementation of a TMS keeps companies from wasting a significant amount of time on mundane and repetitive paperwork. Technology speeds up the performance of necessary tasks and allows companies to delegate time to other aspects of the business, allowing them to do more without driving up costs.

Reduce Human Error and Streamline Operations

Time spent comparing carrier rates and booking shipments is significantly reduced through the use of a TMS. Options are displayed on a single screen to make comparison and final decision making faster and easier. Users that integrate their ERP with their TMS eliminate the concern of human error occurring when re-keying orders.

Improve Visibility and Customer Satisfaction with Better Information to Communicate

Transportation management systems provide users with real-time tracking and order information. Companies are equipped with detailed and accurate information to pass onto customers, providing visibility across the supply chain and improving their customer service.

Aggregate Your Shipping Data in One Place to Easily Analyze for Strategic Decision-Making

Shipping data funneled into actionable reports and dashboards allow users to understand every detail of their freight spend. Companies can make strategic decisions based on data provided to further improve their operational efficiencies. They can also be used to evaluate carrier KPIs and total freight spend by item.

Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Utilizing a TMS drives down expenses through improving the timeliness and accuracy of operations across the board. Logistics teams can save significantly on total freight spend by always comparing rates to select the best one for every shipment. Companies who implement a cloud-based TMS have increased visibility throughout their supply chain, opportunities for communication and collaboration with carriers and customers, and significant time and money savings.

How Do I Know What Kind of TMS Software is Right for Me?

To determine which kind of transportation management system (TMS) suits your company best it’s important to think about how many shipments you’re making each month and how many locations you have. By answering a few simple questions, Kuebix can provide your company with a personalized recommendation to help answer this question.

Kuebix TMS Holiday Hiring Trend

Retailers and Carriers are Increasing Labor Ahead of the Holiday Shopping Season

Fall is here and retailers are already preparing to get in the holiday spirit! Many businesses announced their seasonal hiring plans before summer ended. A recent Indeed holiday hiring survey indicates that holiday job searches per million job seekers rose by 11% in comparison to last year. The unemployment rate is holding steady at an unusually low 3.7%, so it should come as no surprise that retailers such as Kohl’s, Famous Footwear and Bath & Body Works are scrambling to fill open positions pre-holiday season.

Deloitte’s annual holiday retail projections anticipates that e-commerce sales revenue will fall between $144 billion and $149, an increase from last year’s $126.4 billion spent online. Total retail sales are expected to land somewhere between 4.5% and 5.0% for the period (up from 2018’s 3.1%). The combination of open full-time positions and an increase in money spent makes it critical that seasonal employees are hired before the first holiday hits.

Retailers aren’t the only ones gearing up for holiday season. Both FedEx and UPS have made announcements regarding seasonal hires. FedEx plans on adding 55,000 workers to its already expansive staff of 450,000. Majority of workers added will contribute to the FedEx Ground network.  UPS is set to hire 100,000 seasonal workers to combat the holiday shipping rush. They’re expecting daily package deliveries to nearly double compared to their average 20 million per day. Long-term positions with UPS aren’t out of the question – 35% of people hired for seasonal jobs over the last 3 years have been made permanent employees.

Companies everywhere are struggling to identify the best method to successfully navigate the incoming holiday season. An easy solution to reduce operational inefficiencies is implementing a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS). Through utilizing a cloud-based TMS, companies can lower usage costs, have greater flexibility and experience a rapid return-on-investment (ROI). A cloud-based TMS gives all businesses complete supply chain visibility, saving them time and helping them provide better customer service.

A cloud-based TMS connects users with other shippers, carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and 3PLs in the network. Users can streamline manual processes and manage all of their shipping functions within a single system. This simplified process creates opportunity for users to earn more while saving time.

No matter how you approach it, pre-holiday season is here and shoppers are ready!

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.