Full Truckload - Less Than Truckload - FTL LTL Shipping

LTL and FTL Shipping: What’s the Difference?

The terms less-than-truckload (LTL) and full-truckload (FTL) get thrown around often within the shipping and logistics community. However, newcomers may find themselves at a loss for what these terms actually mean. To clear this up, we are breaking down each term individually before directly comparing them so that you can choose the best shipping modes for your freight. Understanding the difference will help you make better freight choices.

Freight Shipping

First and foremost, it’s important to know what freight shipping actually is. The term freight shipping refers to the paid process of shipping goods by ground, sea, or air. Freight is typically composed of goods that are being transported to another location in bulk. Two subcategories that fall under the umbrella of freight shipping are less than truckload (LTL) shipments and full truckload (FTL) shipments.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Less than truckload freight shipments, commonly abbreviated as LTL, are shipments that exceed the size limit required to be able to ship as a single package through the mail (a parcel shipment). Despite being too large for a parcel carrier, less than truckload shipments are too small to fill an entire semi-truck trailer, leaving lots of wasted space and contributing to “empty miles.” In order for shipping to be mutually beneficial between the shippers and trucking companies, carriers often ship multiple LTL shipments together to make the trip economically sensible. This way trailers aren’t traversing our highways carrying only air.

Benefits

• Lessen environmental impact

This method of ‘carpooling’ with LTL shipments from other companies reduces the impact transportation has on the environment. Less fuel is used when fewer trucks are needed to transport the same number of total shipments.

• Decrease warehouse expenses

By adopting LTL shipping, companies relieve themselves of the stress that comes with having too much product built up in their warehouse or staged at their docks. Through shipping consistently, companies are able to keep less in their warehouse and also keep a more accurate inventory as a result.

• Minimizes costs on smaller shipments

Traditionally, the lowest rates are reserved for shippers that can fill the entire semi-truck trailer and qualify for full truckload rates. LTL shipping gives companies that aren’t able to fill an entire truck the opportunity to minimize costs by consolidating their freight with other company’s freight. With LTL shipping, companies only pay for the weight of their freight and the space it uses on the trailer.

Full Truckload (FTL or TL)

Conversely, full truckload shipments (abbreviated FTL or TL) are large enough to fill up an entire semi-truck trailer. Unlike LTL shipments which might ride alongside other shipments, FTL freight is contracted to one carrier and rides alone, meaning there don’t need to be extra stops along the way. This reduces the number of “touches” and reduces the likelihood of damages. When there is enough freight to qualify for a full truckload rate, this is usually the most economical choice.

Benefits

• Save money on larger shipments

If you have enough freight to fill an entire trailer, a FTL shipment will be the most efficient mode. It’s less expensive to ship a single FTL shipment when compared to splitting up the freight into multiple LTL shipments.

• Lower risk of damage

Shipping a full truckload means that from start to finish, your freight will remain in the same semi-truck trailer. This simplifies the transportation process and eliminates the potential risks associated with LTL shipments being handed off to other trucks along their route. Decreasing the number of “touches” freight undergoes during transport reduces risk.

• Ship products faster

When shipping FTL, the only factors considered in the truck’s route are the origin of the freight and its final destination. With LTL, there may be multiple origins and final destinations involved that can lengthen the travel time and impact delivery times as a result. FTL shipments ensure that freight is arriving as quickly as possible by traveling from point A to point B.

Which Should I Choose?

LTL and FTL shipping are both beneficial types of freight shipping. For smaller shipments that are too big to be shipped parcel, LTL shipping is often the best choice. For larger shipments that are able to completely fill or almost fill an entire truck, FTL is less expensive. Both are acceptable options when thinking about how to ship your freight, but each has specific scenarios in which they are most beneficial to the shipper.

It is always a good idea to compare the freight rates of multiple LTL or FTL carriers to choose the carrier with the best rate and service level for your shipment.

Why Should You Compare Your Freight Rates?

Comparing rates is the best method to avoid overpaying. Whether shipping LTL or FTL, different carriers will offer different freight rates and service levels and it’s important to shop around. Looking into what’s available often makes way for the discovery of less expensive rates or particular lanes that have the ability to speed up delivery. Prices constantly fluctuate and what initially seems like the better option may not be best in the end.

How Can a Transportation Management System Help?

Leveraging technology is the easiest way to ensure that you are shipping your freight most efficiently. By utilizing a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, shippers can compare all of their negotiated and spot rates within a single platform. With the ability to compare rates instantly, shippers have the power to book confidently and quickly.

Many companies also use optimization technology in their TMS to combine LTL shipments into FTL shipments for greater efficiencies and cost savings. Kuebix TMS offers a variety of advanced functionalities including Order and Route Optimizer, which optimizes shipments for maximum rate and route efficiency.

How a Transportation Management System (TMS) Can Benefit a Business of Any Size

A Transportation Management System (TMS) helps companies streamline their logistics processes so that they are as efficient and connected as possible. Instead of manually managing logistics operations over the phone and email, companies can use technology to save money, reduce processing time, scale operations and improve accuracy. At their core, TMSs help companies rate, book and track shipments. Additional functionality like reports and dashboards, integrations, yard management, financial management and spot services can be added to increase the value companies realize from their TMS.

Many organizations incorrectly believe that TMSs are only for large, enterprise organizations. This notion may have been true once when the time and monetary expense limited the implementation of technology to only the largest companies. Now, however, technology has advanced and companies like Kuebix have democratized the booking for freight with plans for every size company.

According to Inbound Logistics magazine, “most Tier 1 shippers – those that spend $100 million+ annually on freight – already use TMS solutions.” These companies say that a TMS contributes to critical business drivers, such as complexity, scale, customer experience and freight cost savings.*

Smaller firms still use manual approaches to manage their freight, relying on in-house expertise using spreadsheets, fax, phone and email, often resulting in excess admin time, errors and duplicated efforts.

However, with globalization and the growth of e-commerce opening up new markets and reaching customers around the world, the time has come for smaller firms to take advantage of TMS solutions that can bring better customer service, lower freight spend, improve performance and more.

To get up and running quickly, small to medium-sized businesses can adopt cloud-based TMS solutions – getting rates, booking and tracking shipments and communicating with carriers and shippers in real-time – all on a single platform. Because of the cloud, these systems offer a much lower total cost of ownership, are simpler to implement and require no internal IT support.

 

Using a TMS, compared to manual approaches, can help your business to:

• Optimize and consolidate shipments

• Improve service levels, giving customers a great first impression

Save on freight costs

• Lower admin costs and reduce errors

• Access a large carrier pool

• Address all shipping options and modes, all on one platform

• Monitor shipments in real-time

• Quickly evaluate carrier performance through historical reports

• Increase visibility into what is happening within your transport operations

• Communicate shipment status to customers

• Get much-needed carrier capacity in a tightened market

 

What if you need more functionality? Choose a TMS that is flexible enough to grow as your business grows, allowing you to add features in a modular fashion as needed. Kuebix TMS lets you begin rating, booking and managing your LTL, TL, parcel, rail, ocean and air freight in minutes. For more complex supply chains, Kuebix can be configured with Premier Applications and Integrations to meet the needs of even the largest enterprise.

Check out our free Kuebix Shipper TMS for unlimited rating, calculating freight cost, booking, and tracking!

*Primary Research in Evaluating the Business Case and Approval Process for Supply Chain Execution Systems Acquisition – Jim Hendrickson, Professor, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University.

UK Drug Bust Port Shipping Containers

Is Globalization Causing an Increase in Illegal Shipping Container Activity?

The United Kingdom carried out its largest-ever heroin bust at the Port of Felixstowe last week on August 30. Officers from the Border Force as well as the National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered a shipping container loaded with 1.3 tons of the drug stowed aboard the Maersk Gibraltar. This record-setting bust had a street value of £120 million ($148 million).

News of this discovery was kept silent until authorities could follow the shipping container’s planned path to Antwerp in an attempt to discover more details about those behind the shipment.

“The smugglers had hidden the drugs within a cover load of towels, stitching the 1 kg blocks of heroin inside some of the towels,” said Jenny Sharp, Border Force assistant director at Felixstowe. “In total, it took my officers nearly six hours — working in the early hours of Saturday morning — to remove the drugs.”

Authorities returned the shipping container to the Maersk vessel after removing all of the hidden heroin and proceeded to track the ship’s progress until it docked in the Belgian port city on September 1st. Working collaboratively, the British and Dutch authorities were able to track the container after it made landfall. The shipping container made its way by truck to a warehouse located in Rotterdam where police arrested four people unloading the now empty container.

By foiling the shipment, organized crime syndicates have been denied tens of millions of pounds of profits, marking an impressive win for Europe in the war against drugs.

Is Globalization to Blame?

The world has gotten smaller with the advent of the internet and increased international trade. This phenomenon, often referred to as globalization, has had a marked impact on nearly every economy. As more and more businesses start to operate on an international scale, efficiencies law-abiding shippers receive from moving larger shipments across oceans provide the same cost-saving opportunities to drug smugglers.

In 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) produced a policy paper that predicted that the global shipping industry “would be used for the transport of narcotics, arms and other illicit cargo.” Container shipping was called out in the paper to be a specific risk. The nature of maritime trade makes it difficult for authorities to monitor and the scale of container shipping means that there are many opportunities for smugglers to capitalize on.

According to the report, “Containerization provides trafficking with the same cost- and time-saving transport mechanisms that have allowed the world’s multinational companies to deliver their products quickly and cheaply, penetrate new markets and expand their global customer base.”

Blockchain and Tracking Technologies Can Help Curb Illegal Activity

New technologies like blockchain and advanced tracking systems may make drug smuggling via containers harder for organized crime groups. As technology like RFID, GPS tracking, gate check, and connections through transportation management systems make tracking easier for companies (and by extension the police), it will be harder for smugglers to hide their activity.

Container tracking is still a new frontier for many companies who have been accustomed to limited or zero visibility to their inbound shipments across the ocean. As more and more companies adopt tracking technologies, it becomes easier for everyone to understand exactly where individual containers originated from, stopped, and may have potentially had their contents altered.

The level of international trade we see in 2019 is still a relatively new occurrence. For example, international trade with China was practically non-existent in the 1980’s. Now, China represents trillions of dollars’ worth of global trade. Many manufacturers have moved production offshore to countries with cheaper labor costs as well. Increasing international trade will undoubtedly result in an increase of international smuggling. As technology continues to advance, however, there is hope that new tools will become accessible to every company to help fight drug smuggling.

Bahamas - Hurricane Dorian Supply Chain Kuebix

Hurricane Dorian Threatens Supply Chains Needed for Recovery

When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane this past Sunday, it left devastation in its wake. The storm brought with it high winds and extreme flood waters that would rip off roofs and ruin houses. Adding to the destructive nature of the storm was its slow movement up the coast. Instead of traveling quickly over several areas, Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas, traveling at a mere 1 mph at times. This left buildings and infrastructure along its path to be relentlessly pummeled for up to 12 hours at a time.

Now, Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane. While this still poses a threat to the states of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, weather forecasters hope that the storm will blow itself out over the Atlantic without additional destruction in the United States. However, many islands and coastal communities have been evacuated and transportation and supply chains have ground to a halt as Americans prepare for a potential disaster to rival that seen in the Bahamas.

In addition to individuals preparing for the storm, many businesses are also feeling the direct effect of Dorian. Manufacturers and suppliers located in the southeast have been preparing for the impact for more than a week. This means rushed production, rushed delivery and around the clock monitoring of the storm’s trajectory. Many businesses are in a state of unknown paralysis as they’re unable to open business back up until the threat of Dorian is over.

Getting the labor force back to work will also be a challenge when Dorian finally passes later this week. Families are displaced across the country, many homes will be uninhabitable, and communities will still be picking up the pieces. Roads are likely to be dangerous or impassible as well, adding to concerns about shipping necessary products. Some aid organizations are choosing to deliver supplies like food and water by helicopter to areas already impacted since extensive debris litters roads and makes ground transportation impossible.

Hurricane Dorian’s Destruction

  •      •     Five confirmed deaths, though this number is anticipated to rise as rescue efforts persist
  •      •     Storm surges between 12 – 18 feet hit Grand Bahama Island, causing extensive flooding
  •      •     An estimated 13,000 homes have been completely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable (approximately 45% of all homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco)
  •      •     Winds reaching upwards of 185 mph
  •      •     60,000 – 62,000 people will need to be provided with food and water according to the Red Cross
  •      •     Airports are closed – Hurricane Dorian has caused more than 1,300 flights to be canceled within, as well as into and out of, the US.
  •      •     Several Florida ports have closed including Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Jaxport, Port of Tampa Bay and the Port of Palm Beach

The recovery efforts in the Bahamas will undoubtedly be extensive. Many nodes of the supply chain were broken or stalled by Dorian and need to be fixed before recovery efforts can truly move forward. These are a few of the ways that the government and private organizations are working to keep supplies flowing and the supply chain operational:

  •      •     The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expanded its Hours of Service regulations suspension to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  •      •     Police in Florida are escorting gas trucks in order to keep fuel moving to areas in need
  •      •     Highway authorities are reversing lanes to make room for evacuees
  •      •     More than 5,000 national guardsmen and 2,700 active-duty personnel have been deployed or positioned to respond in 24 hours or less

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas,” said Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis said at a news conference late on September 2, 2019. “Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”

While the world watches to see the final results of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, supply chain and logistics professionals work tirelessly to get things back to normal. Food, safe water, medical supplies, fuel, and just about every other necessity rely on the supply chain.

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.

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”.