What will be the #1 Challenge for Supply Chains in 2019 blog

What do you think the #1 challenge for supply chains will be in 2019?

The supply chain industry is rapidly changing as demographics, consumer tastes, and technology make their mark the world. 2019 is primed to be a year full of new opportunities, as well as its share of challenges. We want to hear what you think will be the biggest challenge supply chains face in the coming year!

 

Kuebix Halloween

Get Excited for Halloween with These Fun Facts!

All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween, began as a Celtic festival where people donned costumes and masks and lit bonfires in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Over the years, the holiday has changed to be more about dressing up as your favorite character and lighting pumpkins for decorations. Today, Halloween is the second most commercial holiday in the US, creating one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.

The National Retail Federation forecasted that Halloween spending by Americans will reach $9 billion, the second-highest level in the survey’s history. The NRF study, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, “estimates that those celebrating the spooky day will spend, on average, $86.79 per person, up from $86.13 last year. And the survey, based on 6,900 adults, forecasts that at least 175 million Americans plan to celebrate somehow.”

Of the $9B, $3.2B will be spent on costumes – for adults, children, and pets. $2.7B will be spent on decorations and another $2.7B will be spent on Halloween candy. On average, most people will spend $25 each on candy. That equates to about 90 million pounds of chocolate for the season.

Did you know that the candy industry lobbied to have Daylight Savings Time pushed later into November to allow more daylight time for kids to Trick or Treat for candy?

Where do people shop for Halloween supplies? Forty-seven percent buy them in discount stores, 37.5% buy from Halloween stores and 25% buy supplies at grocery stores. Online shopping for Halloween supplies is picking up and will continue to grow as more and more people become accustomed to the convenience offered by e-commerce.

What about the pumpkins? Back in the days of the Celts, turnips and potatoes were carved with faces to light the way to peoples’ homes for the good spirits to find them. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin, which is native to America, that pumpkins carved as jack-o’-lanterns became the norm.

Most people shop for Halloween goodies in early October, so stores must have items in place before then. Balancing supply with demand requires efficiencies in the supply chain so that stores have the right amount of product in the right location. Too much candy and stores will need to run sales after Halloween, causing them to lose revenues. Too few supplies and stores lose business to competitors.

Candy companies have had to ramp up production over the summer to meet Halloween demands. This means more ingredients have been sourced months early. Once the candy is produced it has to be shipped in temperature-controlled batches to retail outlets across the country and overseas. Shippers need to use a transportation management system (TMS) to make sure deliveries to stores arrive in time.

Kuebix gets the food and beverage industry, working with hundreds of suppliers to help them manage their shipments so Trick or Treaters will have what they need to enjoy Halloween to the fullest.

Don’t get scared by empty store shelves! Try Kuebix Free Shipper today to start rating, booking and tracking your Halloween products before it’s too late.

Vendor Inbound Compliance VICS Kuebix

Using a Vendor Compliance Program as a Tool to Improve Behavior

Companies can’t always control their suppliers’ actions or the efficiency of suppliers’ systems. What they can do is implement a set of Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards (VICS) to help improve supplier behavior. The goal is to increase collaboration to improve supplier behavior and drive out supplier related inefficiencies at the distribution center.

What is a VICS program?

A VICS program is a comprehensive set of compliance procedures which establish rules and processes that must be followed by suppliers when making deliveries. These accountability levels should also extend to the company’s own supply chain/logistics department and procurement group, both of which play a role in ensuring that products get quickly from their origin to the distribution center (DC). The goal? Improve supplier behavior so that their inefficiencies are not wasting time and money at the DC and to forge strong relationships with those suppliers.

Simply going to a supplier and demanding delivery improvements isn’t a productive method for advancing a mutually beneficial relationship. With a VICS program, the goal-posts are clearly outlined and can be tangibly measured. Everyone remains aware of the expectations and violations are clearly outlined. With some simple analytics, it becomes easy to pinpoint the areas which need improvement and take action on them. This leads to collaborating to solve issues as opposed to fighting over claims.

Common VICS Violations:

  •      •     No Advanced Shipment Notification (ASN)
  •      •     Re-weighing or re-classification of product
  •      •     Proper paperwork wasn’t presented at unloading
  •      •     Damaged or inappropriately transported product
  •      •     Late delivery or no-show

These common violations can be recuperated, measured and modified with the help of a VICS program. A VICS program shouldn’t be implemented as a solution to “punish” suppliers. Rather, it should be implemented to streamline processes on both sides of the dock door. The program should provide consistency for inbound deliveries from suppliers and internal activities alike.

Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards are just one way to take control of inbound freight operations. To learn more about implementing a VICS program along with other optimization tools to manage the inbound, download Kuebix’s e-book The Art of the Inbound here.

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.

Kuebix Capacity Crunch

Managing the Capacity Crunch

Everyone’s talking about the trucking capacity crunch in 2018. Due to weather issues, increased manufacturing output, strong consumer confidence and the ELD mandate going into effect to track drivers’ hours, available capacity is at an all-time low. There is just simply too much freight to move and too few trucks and drivers to move it.

Carriers are benefiting from the crunch by raising rates and being more selective in who they want to do business with. In a recent WSJ column, Heard on the Street, Justin Lahart wrote, “Freight carriers are benefiting from surging demand while passing costs on to customers, a shock for shippers used to years of flat or depressed rates.” He reports that some carriers and freight brokers are charging double-digit price increases.

Gone are the days when a shipper could dangle a load in front of a list of carriers and wait to get their desired price and service. Now shippers are happy to find capacity anywhere they can, even if they have to pick a different mode of transportation – rail, air, ocean – instead of trucks, to help with the capacity issues.

What can help a shipper better manage the capacity crunch?

Technology can – in the form of a transportation management system – leading to improved efficiencies, lower costs and better services.

A TMS, as the backbone of a global logistics network of carriers and shippers, allows trading partners to connect, collaborate and consolidate to find more capacity. A strong network of thousands of shippers and carriers extends the reach to find capacity, allowing shippers to leverage their existing rates and relationships or find new opportunities via the spot market.

Shippers can collaborate with other shippers across the network to find additional capacity with shared loads or to facilitate continuous moves.

Finding opportunities for consolidating inbound shipments to full truckloads to reduce the number of LTL shipments is another way a TMS can help with the capacity crunch. For example, if a shipper has several orders going to the same geographic area, these orders can be combined to create a full truckload shipment to a pool point; from there the truck is broken down into LTL shipments to end customers.

A TMS collects data from transactions between carriers and shippers, then analyzes this wealth of information to identify trends that can improve carrier selection based on costs, service levels and performance. Reports can be created that provide insights into which carriers respond more quickly and reliably so shippers know who can meet their capacity needs.

Shippers who pay their carrier invoices in a timely manner often become preferred shippers. Becoming a preferred shipper means you treat carriers as a partner and strive to have a mutually beneficial relationship. With the help of a TMS with a freight bill audit and payment offering, shippers can quickly reconcile expenses to pay invoices, so their carriers are happier.

Besides paying on time, using scheduling tools to speed turnaround times at the dock doors improves carrier relationships. Carriers prefer not to wait for a dock to open. Using a TMS with a dock or appointment scheduler means carriers won’t be kept waiting in the yard.

While the capacity crunch is not going away anytime soon, using a transportation management system will help shippers better navigate the current rough waters so they can ship their orders to the right location, at the right time, for the right price.

For more information on how to choose the TMS that best fits your supply chain needs, read The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems.

Rate Calculator Weigh Station

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

For shippers, calculating freight costs can be one of the hardest expenses to predict and can seriously impact the bottom line. Using a transportation management system (TMS) can help optimize your shipping process and cut freight costs for LTL, truckload, intermodal, and other shipping modes. There are a variety of factors that impact how freight rates are calculated. It is helpful to understand these when making strategic shipping decisions on freight.  Below are a few of the top factors impacting your freight costs.

Mode of Transportation – The mode you choose to ship your freight will have a large impact on the cost of goods. Shipping a product by air is generally more expensive than driving a truck from point A to point B in the United States. Air can of course increase the speed of delivery, making it an important factor to weigh when comparing customer expectations and cost. Full TL is another example of a cost saving mode when compared with LTL loads. If consolidation of several LTL shipments into one FTL shipment is possible, money can be saved in unloading costs, fuel charges and labor. Consolidation into FTL is often not an option however, and the best shipping mode remains LTL.

Weight – The shipping industry uses the hundredweight pricing model, which means that freight costs are calculated per hundredweight (CWT). Carriers consult a pricing chart that lists these costs and weight brackets. Under this model, the more your shipment weighs, the less you pay per hundred pounds. Many carriers will offer more competitive prices on volume shipments. Using Kuebix TMS, volume spot quotes can be leveraged directly through the technology.

Distance – The further your freight needs to travel, the higher the freight rate will be. This is due to wear-and-tear on assets, fuel utilization and driving time. It is important to always optimize each load so that the truck takes the most direct route to all stops and fewer trucks are utilized.

Kuebix is taking some of the guess-work out of calculating LTL freight rates through its free Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator. By simply entering in the basic freight specifications such as origin, destination and weight, any logistics professional can instantly receive a freight rate estimate on their LTL shipment.

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now with Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator

Kuebix SupplierMAX

The Recipe for an Unbeatable Inbound Freight Management Strategy

Managing inbound freight operations is an ongoing challenge for businesses with large numbers of suppliers. Companies are impacted by the inefficiencies, low levels of visibility and lack of standardization associated with the management of their inbound freight. These problems are exacerbated when companies lack comprehensive strategies for obtaining the lowest possible shipping and unloading costs or a plan to improve the behavior of their suppliers. A complete strategy for inbound freight management needs to encompass the following three aspects; visibility, collaboration and accountability.

Visibility  Although companies control their own destinies on the outbound side of the equation, that level of control dwindles when it comes to inbound freight. In the end, the receiving company does not have full planning and visibility for shipment arrivals and dock reservations. To optimize their inbound, stakeholders can benefit from better visibility of information (e.g., knowing what carrier is being used, exact timing of deliveries, how much manpower is in the DC to load/unload shipments, etc.), real-time data sharing and the knowledge that everyone is working toward a common goal.

Collaboration  By using a comprehensive inbound freight plan based on a collaborative ecosystem of shippers, suppliers and carriers, companies can effectively establish a dynamic rating and unloading allowance program. As companies work in partnership with their suppliers to determine the most cost-effective method to handle each shipment – customer pick-up (CPU) or vendor controlled (VDS), the goal should be to reduce overall shipping costs. By giving suppliers choices, they’ll be able to pick the most effective service and billing procedure. Convert inbound shipments from VDS to CPU shipments only when it’s feasible, and then establish preferred rates with a select group of carriers to handle those inbound shipments at the lowest possible cost and best service type. Use a standard routing guide to establish a set of mandatory carriers that will be used for all VDS and CPU shipments. This will enable LTL pricing improvements, superior service levels and maximize opportunities for LTL consolidation.

Accountability  While companies can’t always control what their suppliers do or the efficiency of suppliers’ systems, they can implement Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards (VICS) to help improve supplier behavior. A comprehensive set of compliance procedures will establish rules and processes that must be followed by suppliers when making deliveries. These accountability levels should also extend to the company’s own supply chain/logistics department and procurement group, both of which play a role in ensuring that products get quickly from their origin to the distribution center (DC). The goal? Improve supplier behavior so that their inefficiencies are not wasting time and money at the DC. It’s also important that a company’s inbound strategy includes leveraging detailed analytics to measure the results of the program and take action where necessary to improve service with suppliers and carriers.

By following this general recipe, companies can work with specialists in inbound freight to develop an unbeatable inbound freight management strategy. But knowing what to do and being able to do it effectively are two entirely different hurdles companies need to jump. It’s for that reason Kuebix has developed SupplierMAX, a program where companies can leverage Kuebix’s technology and logistics experts to manage all or a portion of their inbound freight program. SupplierMAX improves supplier behavior and increases the efficiency of warehouses and distribution centers by incorporating a series of comprehensive strategies to improve inbound operations. To learn more about this program, click HERE to read the SupplierMAX press release in full.

What Should You Pay For Your Freight?

Calculating freight rates is a critical step for any business with product to ship. Freight rates may be for a variety of destinations, multiple classes and different weights, but how much it costs to ship product will always be a key driver of your total cost of goods. Getting all the information is necessary to positively impact your bottom line by lowering your cost of goods and getting your product shipped on your terms.

Enter the Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator – a new free tool for all transportation and logistics professionals to research and get instant estimates on their LTL freight.

Here are 3 Reasons to Use the Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator:

  1. Do you have freight to ship but no negotiated carrier rates?
  2. Are you working with a 3pl and have no idea what your freight should actually cost?
  3. Are you just curious if the rate you are currently using is a good rate?

Using the Freight Rate Calculator is simple and only requires the basic information on your freight. Simply visit the calculator by following this link and type in your shipment information. You will need the postal code (zip code) for the origin of the freight as well as the destination postal code. The origin city and state will automatically populate below. Then simply enter your freight’s quantity, weight and dimensions and instantly receive an LTL freight rate.

After receiving your LTL freight rate estimates, you can explore even better rates on LTL, TL and Parcel shipments plus book and manage all your freight by signing up for Kuebix Free Shipper, the free multimodal TMS for unlimited rating, booking and tracking. Kuebix Free Shipper allows you to view all of your carrier rates side by side, empowering you to book the best rate for every shipment.

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now

Imported Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

“My business is booming,” said one of our clients in the steel and metal industry. Another commented that “my business is through the roof!” We weren’t sure why until we asked, “What’s the big deal?”

It appears that steel and aluminum manufacturers, producers and distributors are enjoying a boost in revenues thanks to the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that Trump is imposing. As a result, many of the companies that rely on metals affected by these tariffs aren’t sure what will happen, so they are stocking up on raw materials, parts and components.

The new tariffs will impose a 25 percent price increase on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum to protect national economic security, effective March 23. The plan has been widely criticized by government officials and corporate America who feel the tariffs will cost U.S. jobs, raise consumer prices and hit American manufacturers.

Other countries are threatening trade wars. The EU has warned it will impose a 25 percent tariff on the $3.5 billion of American goods that it imports. Trump’s next move is to impose tariffs on up to $60 million of Chinese imports of technology, telecommunications and apparel.

Many businesses feel that a cost increase is on the way and will likely be pushed down through the supply chain to other businesses like beverages and automobiles. Some US companies that use steel and aluminum in their products may reduce production in the US in favor of foreign production where they can avoid cost increases. Other policymakers think that US manufacturers will no longer have to compete with foreign materials and can instead charge higher prices.

Since many aren’t sure what will really happen as a result of the tariffs, they are building up inventory levels, buying raw materials and stocking up on parts to keep ahead of price increases or lack of materials.

Instead of worrying about stocking up on inventory, Kuebix believes that a greater focus on reducing supply chain costs is needed. As transportation is one of the biggest expenses for a company, often up to 40%, ways to lower logistics costs while boosting efficiencies are a must in this uncertain economic environment.

By leveraging Kuebix TMS, retailers and manufacturers can quickly and easily receive better rates for any transportation mode. Our free TMS, Kuebix Shipper, can even be up-and-running the same day, so companies can immediately begin offsetting costs by receiving lower rates. And by upgrading to add modular features to optimize routes and consolidate loads from LTL to FTL where possible, companies can cut down on the total cost of goods and put money back into other needs, such as raw material purchasing.

Logistics professionals uncertain about the future of steel and aluminum imports can improve their companies’ outlook by utilizing technology to cut costs.

Kuebix Recognized by Gartner with First-Time Positioning in 2018 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

Thoroughly vetting the capabilities of different providers is a monumental task most companies undertake before choosing to integrate new technology into their business. For supply chain companies, this is of paramount importance, as transportation management software (TMS) can make or break a company in terms of service to the customer, cost of goods and efficiency. Luckily, Gartner, Inc. is an indispensable asset that business leaders can turn to for guidance and objective insight when making these onerous decisions. Each year, Gartner publishes the Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, an unbiased analysis that logistics professionals can leverage to understand the TMS marketplace. This year, Kuebix has the great honor of being positioned in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems*.

“We are pleased to be recognized by Gartner in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems. We believe this acknowledgement is due to our rapid market growth and comprehensive enterprise solution,” commented Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President. “We feel that our large enterprise customers have found that Kuebix offers a best-in-class, modular solution delivered by a team of industry experts committed to their success. In our view, inclusion in this year’s Magic Quadrant further validates our mission and will help us spread the word to companies everywhere.”

We believe what sets Kuebix apart is:

·       Rapid implementations

·       Modular solution that expands with a customer’s needs

·       True cloud-based multi-tenant solution built on the Force.com platform

·       Low total cost of ownership

·       Premier Applications for optimization, collaboration, visibility and much more

·       Unique managed service programs include inbound and fleet optimization

·       Most importantly, our customers are raving about Kuebix.

Read what they have to say:

“Best TMS on the Planet…Kuebix” -Logistics Manager on Gartner Peer Insights

Get the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

*Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems” by Bart De Muynck. March 2018.

Gartner Disclaimer

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, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

How Food & Beverage Companies Can Optimize Their Inbound

Food and beverage businesses have complex supply chains with many unique characteristics: ever-changing customer tastes, tight margins on store shelves, fresh products that may spoil, expiration dates on products, and more. Getting the right volume of products at the right time, and at the right location, is no easy task. Visibility into and control of supply chain processes will allow food and beverage businesses to address these challenges while meeting business goals.

Frequently overlooked and often pushed to the bottom of a shipper’s supply chain agenda, good inbound freight management can help companies improve shipment visibility, save money, and enhance customer service—all of which add to the bottom line and boost profitability. Done right, inbound freight management does more than just help companies gain an understanding of where their shipments are in real time. It also enables better relationships with carriers and suppliers for consolidation efforts, establishes routing guides that lead to much better dock efficiency, and empowers strategies for continuous improvement initiatives.

Food and beverage companies get dozens of deliveries a day from different suppliers. These inbound shipments aren’t coordinated or consolidated, fostering inefficiencies from the excess number of deliveries. Little visibility into arrival times and frequent changes to inbound deliveries wreaks havoc at the dock and warehouse, which can make accessorial charges skyrocket and your inbound transport costs go off the charts.

Small to large food and beverage companies have found a TMS to be the perfect tool for addressing the many challenges that come with managing inbound freight. For example, one food retailer that operates over 200 stores across seven states had a couple hundred LTL deliveries per week, but by using Kuebix TMS, they were able to lower the number of deliveries to 20 or 30 per week by combining LTL deliveries into full truckload deliveries from the consolidation points. The typical cost for unloading a truck is $200, leading to approximately $34,000 in savings per week just on unloading costs!

Here are three steps you can take to start managing your inbound freight more effectively today:

1. Partner with your suppliers to lay out a plan of action. Determine the most cost-effective and efficient way to ship and unload your freight, and build a plan with your suppliers that benefits both parties. There is no “magic number” for a percentage of shipments that should be vendor-controlled vs. customer controlled. Give your suppliers a choice so that they can select the most effective service and billing procedure. Then, implement a standard routing guide for supplier compliance. This will establish a set of mandatory guidelines that will be used for all vendor-controlled (VDS) and customer pick-up (CPU) shipments. Supplier compliance programs reduce your cost of goods by making your carriers and warehouse more efficient. In the event your suppliers fail to comply, they will share in your cost through violations outlined in the routing guide.

2. Create strong alliances with your carriers. Consolidate inbound shipments to full truckload wherever possible to reduce freight and unloading costs. Reducing the number of individual LTL shipments will decrease the cost of freight, dramatically increasing the efficiency of your distribution center and significantly reducing unloading costs. Think how much more efficient your operations will be with fewer trucks and fewer deliveries. For example, unloading 10 to 14 different LTL shipments can be five times the cost of unloading a single truckload. The customer and the supplier can share all of these savings through the efficiency of consolidated shipments and drop trailer programs. By consolidating your LTL pool, you can simplify yard management and maximize consolidation opportunities. Select carriers that provide attractive rates and superior service and try to limit that set to two to four different carriers, whether the shipments are CPU or VDS. This will give each carrier enough business to ensure LTL consolidation does not affect service levels. Having a strong partnership with your carriers also opens up other opportunities for additional savings such as backhaul agreements with LTL carriers to consolidate freight to single truckload for pick up by your own fleet for the final mile.

3. Leverage technology to your advantage. Utilize a transportation management system (TMS) to maximize inbound freight management. For example, leverage your TMS to implement an allowance program for freight costs and unloading expenses with your suppliers. In most cases, allowances are negotiated once or twice a year, and rarely take into account fluctuating costs and carrier rates. Oftentimes, market rates rise above negotiated rates. Kuebix TMS enables the creation of dynamic rate allowances to ensure savings on both TL and LTL shipments by calculating the best possible real-time vendor allowances based on actual carrier rates as demand dictates. Additionally, a TMS will also automate tracking, scheduling and door assigned, which will directly reduce your labor spend. Finally, if you cannot measure something it is hard to improve it. An effective TMS will capture every relevant piece of data and return reports, dashboards and scorecards that allow you to analyze your inbound freight program and identify opportunities for increased efficiency.

Ultimately, good inbound freight management facilitated by technology helps shippers achieve cost and productivity goals that very often get overlooked in the logistics space. By taking a step back and gaining a better understanding of your current inbound environment—then working with suppliers and carriers to come up with a plan of action to improve it—you’ll be able to leverage all of the market’s capacity, get the best rates, and gain better visibility over your end-to-end supply chain.
To learn more about optimizing your inbound read “The Art of the Inbound”.

2018 Predictions

2018 Supply Chain Predictions

In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”

To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in 2018. Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms, and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch. Digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.

These are the innovative technologies that I predict companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:

Cloud-based technology deployments lower cost of ownership due to not having a large capital expenditure on hardware and upgrades. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for any size business because they can be scaled up as your business grows and are easier to set-up and manage.

Advanced Analytics will support real-time decision making based on data captured across the supply chain. With analytics, businesses can more effectively predict and fill demand. You can also manage relationships with carriers, suppliers and customers while improving processes. Using advanced analytics in a transportation management network to look at historical traffic patterns, you can plan a truck’s route that takes into account time delays for more accurate arrival times.

Tracking and Tracing of raw materials through manufacturing to the end customer must take on Amazon-like capabilities, meaning customers will know where their orders are at any one time, just like when you order from Amazon. With track & trace, you will get deep visibility to SKU-level information from first-mile to last-mile, including the tracking of costs to better monitor transport spend. Communications with customers will be proactive instead of reactive, alerting customers if their order will be late or when it will arrive.

Supply Chain Visibility will make data collected from end-to-end across the supply chain available to all stakeholders, giving them greater control and visibility into what is happening across the enterprise. You can uncover roadblocks within your supply chain that could lead to delays in shipping.

Blockchain will provide interconnectivity between ledgers of supply chain trading partners, enhancing traceability of transaction history. Automating the flow of information among trading partners provides transparency and boosts efficiencies. Blockchain works with cryptocurrency to determine payment amounts, allowing drivers to be paid as they complete parts of their journey. This completely removes the transport broker from the equation, giving drivers access to quicker settlement. However, blockchain is still a technology that needs further development before it can be proved useful to some businesses.

Artificial Intelligence initiatives require specialists who are hard to find, potentially stalling any projects. AI utilizes algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning such as predicting whether a carrier will be on-time based on weather conditions and past performance.

Predictive Analytics, often combined with Artificial Intelligence, helps shippers understand, automate and optimize their supply chain processes to gain better efficiencies. Predictive analytics provides shippers with actionable intelligence to guide the decision-making process, helping you to reduce costs and optimize operations. Scorecards on carrier performance can alert shippers on which carriers can better meet their service obligations.

The Internet of Things (IoT) – More devices, from pallets to trucks will have sensors embedded to transmit status and performance data. This real-time information will be used for monitoring everything from equipment health to asset locations to order tracking and more. Advanced analytical systems use the data to uncover trends that lead to performance improvements and cost reductions.

Kuebix TMS is a game-changer for your business in 2018, regardless of the company size because Kuebix offers advanced applications to meet the needs of even the most complex supply chain operations. Kuebix TMS finds the best freight rates for all modes, books and tracks shipments, audits and manages transport finances and utilizes advanced analytics to measure and monitor trends and performance activities. Kuebix TMS offers full tracking and visibility of your freight expense down to the SKU level across every mode and along every step of its journey.

Kuebix Named to FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers

Kuebix was named to the 2017 FL100+ awards by Food Logistics magazine! The FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list serves as a resource guide of software and technology providers whose products and services are critical for companies in the global food and beverage supply chain. Kuebix was selected for helping shippers increase efficiencies and visibility within their logistics operations, while decreasing costs.

“Kuebix gets food and beverage with clients in the grocery, manufacturing and distribution space, helping these businesses to improve efficiencies and lower prices for a competitive advantage. Whether helping food and beverage businesses to meet new government regulations with real-time track and trace or eliminated paper-based processes, any size business can more effectively manage their freight operations with Kuebix TMS,” said Dan Clark, President and Founder of Kuebix. “We are extremely proud to be selected for this prestigious award.”

“New developments and innovations in the software and technology sector are making sizeable impacts on the global food supply chain,” notes Lara L. Sowinski, editorial director for Food Logistics and its sister publication, Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “The result is a greater visibility, improved regulatory compliance, enhanced shelf life for perishables, and the emergence of a more proactive and nimble food supply chain that benefits both the food industry and its logistics partners, as well as the end consumer.”

For a number of its grocery clients, Kuebix streamlines inbound and outbound freight activities resulting in the reduction of LTL deliveries per week. These companies also use Kuebix TMS for online scheduling, a process that was previously handled manually. The retailers can now give their suppliers specific delivery time frames via Kuebix’s cloud-based, interconnected solution, streamlining the scheduling process and providing tracking information that wasn’t previously available. Kuebix provides insights into the value of lane rates and the value of pickups, allowing these clients to make better informed decisions on managing their transport operations.

Companies on this year’s 2017 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list will be profiled in the November/December 2017 issue of Food Logistics, as well as online at www.foodlogistics.com.

The ELD Mandate Adds to Truck Driver Shortage Woes

Did you know that many truck drivers have said that they would rather quit the industry than use an ELD device? In April of this year, Overdrive did a survey of its readers that showed 70% of truck drivers were opposed to the ELD mandate. The magazine goes on to speculate what the marketplace would look like without these truckers, “Assume the 71 percent of independents who say they’d quit actually do, and apply that to carriers in the for-hire population with one to five trucks. This would equate to an overall loss of about 260,000 trucks, according to data mined by RigDig Business Intelligence, Randall-Reilly Business Media’s equipment- and business-data analysis unit. That would remove more than 10 percent of the industry’s capacity. When the 71 percent is applied to carriers with up to 15 trucks, it leads to a capacity reduction of more than 27 percent, or about 709,000 trucks.”

The American Trucking Association (ATA) expects the driver shortage to grow to 239,000 by 2022, primarily due to retirement and increased driver demand. Combine this with the notion that many drivers will quit when the ELD mandate becomes live next month and the ATA has seen double digit gains in the annualized turnover rate for both small and large truckload fleets, jumping 16 percentage points to 90%, the highest it has been since Q4 2015. For smaller carriers with less than $30M annual revenues, the turnover rate grew by 19 percentage points to 85%, the highest since Q1 2016. This news cements the acceleration of the driver shortage, making it an ever-critical challenge to be solved.

At Kuebix, we believe that the best approach to solving the driver shortage is for shippers to implement a four-part plan that focuses on young age groups to ensure a steady flow of skilled and energized individuals that see the profession in a new light. The plan to mitigate the driver shortage includes:

· Embracing Robust Technology – As younger age groups spend lots of time online and with their smartphones, using mobile device apps to track vehicle location and to update the driving experience should be a key focus for shippers. Virtual reality is being used by many transportation companies to train drivers. This age group also seeks tech-savvy employers that continue to apply technology to address transportation management challenges in the form of social media and disruptive technology, along with pursuing startups that use advanced tech to drive their business forward.

· Recruiting the Recruited – Tackling the driver shortage by opening the profession up to those with actual truck driving experience who find it difficult to move from a trucker in the armed forces and/or driving chops in war zones is another way to increase the number of drivers. The most attractive aspects of recruiting the recruited is the fact that drivers from the services are already experienced, which should lighten the load substantially from a training and education standpoint.

· Tapping into the STEM pipeline – As the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curricula gains greater adoption from grade school on up, graduates learn problem-solving skills that can be used in transportation, along with other industries. By sponsoring STEM events, corporations can open the doors to their future workforce by showing students career paths to follow in the transportation industry.

· Recasting the Profession – Sitting back and waiting for the driver shortage to solve itself is not an aggressive enough solution that will end the issue quickly. The industry needs to get more determined, go on the offense and purse the above-mentioned opportunities. Think like the youth of today and reach them where they live, offer the tech they use, catch them at an early age and make sure they’re well aware that driving is much more than just steering a vehicle. Be at high school (and trade school) career fairs, be on campus just like college recruiters are and where members of the armed forces are concerned – be there for them when they need your support the most.

Plus, shippers need to be more creative and think of new ways to gain efficiencies and reduce costs. Technology like the Kuebix TMS can help by giving shippers high levels of visibility across their entire transportation networks—and connectivity among all partners. Cloud-based Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are helping companies connect in one place to less-than-truckload, truckload, and parcel carriers; receive real-time LTL quotes using direct carrier rates; and request and receive spot quotes using a single shipment management interface. Technology can help put a dent in the driver shortage challenge, while improving transportation operations – that’s a win-win for all parties involved.