3 Innovations Driving Sustainability in Supply Chains

Sustainability has been an increasingly important topic of conversation in business operations. In order to better understand the source of harmful gas emissions, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol has broken them down into three categories

Scope 1 – All direct emissions from the activities of an organization that are under their control.

Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organization.

Scope 3 – All other direct emissions from the activities of the organization from sources they don’t own or control.

Scope 3 emissions are the biggest problem for shippers. Reducing them through sustainability initiatives is especially complicated because they are indirect in nature and require engagement throughout the supply chain. However, consumer priorities have shifted in recent years and they are more inclined to do work with businesses that have initiatives in place. A recent supply chain report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) revealed that over 1,000 companies are working to reduce their scope 3 emissions and 94% of them have science-based targets to help reach their goals. Here are a few different innovations and technologies helping supply chains work towards a more sustainable future:

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Logistics companies and airlines have been working towards creating and using more sustainable aviation fuel. Kuehne + Nagel and American Airlines recently announced they are going to invest in 11 million liters of sustainable fuel. Things like plants, used cooking oil and solid waste can all be used to make a version of aviation fuel that’s better for the environment.

Battery-Powered Trains 

Research conducted by The Association of American Railroads revealed that if 25% of truck traffic moving at least 750 miles went by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 13.1 million tons. Moving freight by train instead of truck has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. BNSF and Wabtec are creating a train powered by a battery instead of an engine that could reduce the transportation industry’s carbon footprint even more.

Alternative Truck Fuel

Battery-electric vehicles, fuel-cell-electric vehicles and vehicles that run on renewable fuels are the most widely discussed alternatives to vehicles dependent on fuel. Large truck manufacturers are looking into battery-electric vehicles and full-cell-electric vehicles because of their success in standard cars. The biggest challenge so far has been batteries – a larger truck needs a larger battery which is heavier and takes more time and energy to charge. However, renewable fuels show promise too. Energy company Neste is selling its own renewable diesel that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% in comparison to petroleum diesel.

The driving force behind these sustainable innovations is technology. As alternative fuels and trucks continue to be developed, it will be interesting to see exactly what the future of sustainability in supply chains looks like!

Packaging Automation is Becoming a Reality for Supply Chains

The development of technology within supply chains has accelerated significantly in the last year. The pandemic presented businesses of all industries with challenges regarding inventory, transportation and health and safety standards that have been difficult to overcome. As a result, supply chains have started looking into automating a number of traditionally manual processes.

Automated technology in supply chains exists in a number of forms, but one that has been top of mind for logistics industry innovators is packaging automation. Companies who relied heavily on labor to complete mundane and repetitive tasks associated with packaging felt an especially heavy strain when Covid-19 forced most companies to cut back on in-person labor. It was a turning point for packaging automation as it went from being a possibility to a necessity to keep up with other industry leaders. Packaging operations are adopting new forms of automation as a way to reduce labor costs while creating a safer work environment and improving their efficiency and cost of goods.

The term “secondary packaging” refers to the packaging on the exterior of a product which has the biggest need for automation. Applying this layer to products is usually continuous and repetitive. Companies looking to cut back on labor are finding that secondary packaging is significantly slowing their operations down. A report on secondary packaging trends by PMMI revealed that 85% of manufacturers are looking to expand their current portfolio of automated solutions when it comes to their secondary packaging process. 

How Packaging Automation Works

In general, packaging automation does a traditionally manual and repetitive task at a faster pace and eliminates the risk of human error. While the initial implementation of the technology can be costly, it pays for itself with the number of benefits it brings to logistics operations. 

One of the most efficient examples of packaging automation is a long-travel cartesian robot with custom end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) and advanced sensing capabilities. These robots can replace a variety of packaging machines and perform manual tasks like feeding carton and tray making machines and separating nested cardboard containers for use on conveyor lines. Cartesian robots can even handle palletizing and de-palletizing orders.

A long-travel cartesian transfer robot. | Photo Credit: Bell Everman

By using a single long-travel cartesian transfer robot like the one pictured above, logistics professionals can tend multiple packaging machines without needing to rearrange them for the convenience of the robot.

What the Future Holds for Packaging Automation in Supply Chains

It’s clear that packaging automation has gone from being a want to a need for logistics operations looking to move forward and jump any hurdles caused by the pandemic on the way. As innovations like the cartesian robot become readily available, you can expect automation to have a hand in packaging the products you pick off of store shelves every day!

The Ever Given Continues to Impact Supply Chains Despite Being Freed from the Suez Canal

The world received exciting news this week as a 220,200-ton cargo ship named the Ever Given was freed from the Suez Canal after being stuck for six days. The Suez Canal is one of the most important trade arteries in the world. It connects Asia to Europe and the U.S. East Coast. On average, 50 ships pass through the canal daily. It stretches to cover 120 miles and aids in the transport of up to 12% of commercial shipping and about 2.5% of the world’s oil. It’s pretty clear that there are a number of businesses counting on their freight being able to pass through the canal. While it’s great news that the Ever Given is out of the way, the effects of the unexpected pause in transit are ongoing.

When the Ever Given first got stuck, there were at least 360 ships waiting at the canal’s northern and southern entrances. Roughly 300 ships were scheduled to pass through the Suez Canal in the following two weeks, meaning the pressure was on for salvage crews working to set it free. However, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be an easy fix. By the third day of the jam, many carriers were starting to consider an alternate route.

Those who aren’t passing through the Suez Canal have to travel around Cape of Good Hope which is located on the southern tip of Africa. This alternate route takes considerably longer – ships traveling via the Suez Canal to Port of Rotterdam (Europe’s largest seaport) can make it there in roughly 18 days while going around the Cape of Good Hope takes over 31 days. Carriers taking longer to reach their destination also means they’re going to have additional expenses – the voyage around Cape Hope can cost more than $26,000 in fuel daily. 

While it’s great news that the Ever Given has been freed from the Suez Canal, the accident’s effect on supply chains around the world is far from over. Ships that made the decision to travel around Cape of Good Hope can’t just turn around and those who waited face a significant increase in congestion.

Even though this ordeal has only been going on for a week, companies are already feeling disruptions throughout their supply chains. Shortly after the Ever Given got stuck last week, Nike shared that its imports have dropped 39%. While demand for their product has held steady, port congestion has played a huge role in their struggle to effectively distribute. The factors surrounding this decrease include container shortages, transportation delays and port congestion – all of which may cause an even bigger strain as companies attempt to recover from the last six days. 

Popular retailers like Walmart and Ikea and automotive and technology companies all rely on the passing of product through the Suez Canal. With everyone looking to leverage the same channel to recover from the delays experienced this past week, it’s important that companies stay organized and leverage visibility throughout their supply chain to communicate any changes!

Dan Clark Kuebix

Dan Clark Recognized as 2021 Supply Chain Pro to Know

Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and VP of Product Innovation and Strategy, Trimble, has been selected as a 2021 Supply Chain Executive Pro to Know by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. Dan was chosen for his extensive knowledge of the logistics industry developed from over 20 years of hands-on experience, combined with his remarkable expertise in creating supply chain efficiencies via SaaS technology.

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

For the last 21 years, SDCE’s editorial has vetted hundreds of nominations for the annual award, finding the best leaders in the supply chain industry. The Pros to Know award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments offer a roadmap for other leaders looking to leverage supply chain for competitive advantage.

Kuebix, a Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) Company, provides a transportation management system (TMS) that powers one of North America’s largest shipping communities. Developed on multi-tenant cloud technology, Kuebix’s connected platform enables customers to simplify ERP and other integrations to drive rapid onboarding and ROI. 

How Plant-Based Protein is Shaking Up the Food Industry

When most people think of plant-based proteins they picture products like tofu and veggie burgers. However, the plant-based foods industry has started to move towards products that look and taste like meat without any animals involved. These new options are being advertised as a healthy and sustainable alternative for those who choose not to consume meat in addition to those who do.

Plant-based versions of burgers, sausage patties and chicken nuggets created to taste like the real thing are starting to appear in most grocery stores. More recently, they have started to gain traction and appear on the menus of popular restaurants and fast food chains. Technomic Ignite menu data predicts that plant-based proteins will grow 35% on menus by the end of 2022. Their rise in popularity can be credited to a change in consumer perspective. Plant-based proteins are largely recognized as an alternative for vegetarians, vegans and other lifestyles that choose not to consume meat or animal products. While this still holds true, growing sustainability concerns have consumers outside of these lifestyles picking plant-based options off of the menu. Meat consumption is a major contributor to environmental damage and consumers are in search of another option that tastes just as good. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are working to provide a solution.

McDonald’s recently announced its three-year deal with Beyond Meat, making them the “preferred supplier” for the meatless burger in the McPlant. The two companies plan on exploring and co-developing other plant-based items like chicken, pork and eggs. Beyond Meat also has partnerships with PepsiCo and Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Tesco, a grocery and general merchandise retailer based in the U.K., pledged to increase its sale of plant-based proteins and meat alternatives by 300% by 2025. To reach their goal, Tesco plans to make these products more available, affordable and visible to shoppers who visit their stores. Tesco will also be working directly with their suppliers to bring new plant-based innovations to customers.

What this Means for Supply Chains

The popularity of plant-based proteins and other alternatives have disrupted the global meat industry in a way that traditional burger companies did not expect. Before plant-based options became popular, burgers made of meat did not have a competitor.  As demand launches meat-free alternatives out of grocery stores and into restaurants all over the country, plant based proteins and their supply chains have their work cut out for them.

As the plant-based protein industry continues to expand and create new products, companies will need to rely on their supply chains to keep things running smoothly!

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month in the Supply Chain

March is an especially important month as it’s Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is today! 

 The first Women’s History Day was held in 1909 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the garment workers’ strike when 15,000 women marched through lower Manhattan. The day became Women’s History Week in 1978 because the National Women’s History Alliance wanted to draw attention to the fact that women’s history wasn’t included in K-12 school curriculums. Finally in 1987, activists lobbied Congress to declare March Women’s History Month.

As recently as 50 years ago, a single woman in the U.S. could not get a line of credit, a mortgage or a car loan without the signature of a responsible male or spouse. Fast forward to present day and America has its first female vice-president, every board of directors in the S&P 500 has a woman on the board and women now make up a quarter of all the members of the 117th Congress. Women continue to take on leadership roles in the workforce and challenge notions of tradition!

This time of year is perfect for reflecting on and recognizing the significant contributions powerful women have made to better our personal and professional lives as a whole. To celebrate, we are highlighting the sacrifices and accomplishments women have made in the transportation and supply chain industries.

Women in the Transportation Industry

Spotlight on Female Truck Drivers

The PBS American Portrait series recently shared a feature following a truck driving team of two women, Laura Hathaway and Terry Roberts. Hathaway became a truck driver to provide for her family and while she loves the freedom of the road, she is always thinking of her family back home. 

Hathaway and Roberts each work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are on the road away from home anywhere from three to seven weeks. There’s a bonus for truck drivers who drive over 19,600 miles per month and since teaming up, Hathaway and Roberts have surpassed that number every month.

It’s inspiring to hear stories of the sacrifices that Hathaway, Roberts, and many other female truck drivers make to provide an essential service and support their families. 

Ramona Hood Makes FedEx History

President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical Ramona Hood made company history when she was promoted on January 1, 2020. Hood is the first African American woman to lead a FedEx operating company. 

Hood started working as a receptionist for Roberts Express (which later became FedEx Custom Critical) in 1991. She wanted a job with a consistent schedule to support her family while continuing to raise her daughters. Hood’s role as a receptionist evolved into roles in operations, safety and sales, allowing her to offer valuable input and learn more about the critical components of FedEx Custom Critical’s business operation.

One of Hood’s earliest successes in the company was launching a pilot program allowing FedEx Custom Critical employees to work from home in 2002. At the time, it was uncommon for call centers to support employees working remotely. Hood evaluated their processes and technology, realized it was possible and made it happen. 

After spending some time heading subsidiary FedEx Truckload Brokerage, Hood moved to an officer position at FedEx Supply Chain in 2016. From there, she returned to FedEx Custom Critical and ultimately became CEO.

Ramona Hood’s success with FedEx is a testament to what hard work and determination can bring women in the transportation industry!

Melonee Wise Makes Waves with Fetch Robotics

Melonee Wise is the founder and CEO of Fetch Robotics, a company producing technologies focused on enhancing efficiency in supply chains and logistics operations. Wise has over 19 years’ experience designing, building and programming robotic hardware. 

While truly independent automation still has a ways to go, warehouse robotics are making significant contributions to supply chains. Wise and her team at Warehouse Robotics are creating robots that are able to complete mundane and repetitive or potentially dangerous warehouse tasks. Fetch Robotics is setting itself apart by offering a wide range of robots capable of completing moving tasks that are controlled by a cloud-based coordination service, removing the need for people in the warehouse space.


Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on and recognize the women who have made a significant impact on society. Remembering parts of history that wouldn’t have been possible without them serves as inspiration to everyone.  

Women in the transportation and supply chain industries continue to challenge traditional logistics operations and change logistics operations for the better. Their creative thoughts and ideas are pushing the industry forward and making room for seamless communication and collaboration throughout the supply chain in 2021 and beyond!

The Logistics of Valentine’s Day at Home

Valentine’s Day is all about spreading love to those closest to us and is the second highest ranking holiday in terms of expected spending. Traditional celebrations include pink and red greeting cards, roses, chocolates and candlelight dinners. While the pandemic has made doing so in person a little more complicated, consumers are still finding ways to celebrate. 

According to NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual Valentine’s Day survey, 52% of people are celebrating in one way or another this year. With consumers spending $32 less than last year and preferring to stay at home, retailers and restaurants are getting creative to remain a part of any celebrations! 

Flower Purchases and Deliveries

One of the most common gifts on Valentine’s Day is a bouquet of flowers. After all, bright, crisp flowers can brighten just about anyone’s day! Florists and flower companies as a whole are eager for the business that Valentine’s Day brings. Deliveries of bouquets of beautiful roses and assorted flowers are a perfect way to celebrate and brighten up a room during the pandemic.

The United States produces fewer than 30 million roses a year. This barely makes a dent in the 200 million roses that are generally bought for Valentine’s Day. Most of these flowers are imported from Columbia before they’re sold to consumers in the USA.

Meal Kits

Many of those who are celebrating are looking to share a romantic meal that differs from the takeout they’ve been ordering in quarantine. Popular meal kit companies and restaurants have curated recipes for people to cook at home that will be just as delicious as their restaurant-quality meals of years past! Whether you’re looking for a seafood, steak or vegetarian meal, companies like Omaha Steaks and Maine Oyster Company have got you covered. 

Boxes of Chocolate

Big heart-shaped boxes of chocolate have been a staple in Valentine’s Day celebrations for a long time. As time has gone by, the box and its design has become just as important as the taste of the treats inside! Companies are working with leading chocolatiers and artists to come up with all different shapes and sizes of boxes and chocolates. They continue to branch out with chocolate fillings, drawing customers in with flavors like blueberry, passion fruit, pineapple and more! 

Regardless of how you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, seamless delivery is crucial. If a customer walks into a store they expect to be able to purchase roses from, and finds no roses, their experience with the brand is going to suffer. Logistics professionals need to balance final mile delivery to homes with keeping shelves stocked at brick and mortar stores. With so many people placing online orders for Valentine’s Day specific items, logistics professionals have their work cut out for them. It’s important that supply chains operate effectively and efficiently so that no products are left behind.

Mass Personalization: An Emerging Trend and What it Means for Supply Chains

What is Mass Personalization?

Personalization is formally defined as “the act of tailoring a product or service based on what customers desire.” Most companies that incorporate personalization have a base product that shoppers can customize as they’re checking out. Manufacturers are able to produce large quantities of the base product and only add personalizations when they’re ordered. 

Mass personalization takes the idea of products being uniquely catered to consumers by making the product itself customizable. Rather than having an element of the product that can be personalized (like adding embroidered initials to a pre-set backpack), the entire thing is curated based on the specific wants and needs of the customer placing the order.

Do you remember The Jetsons? This popular television show from the 1960’s was set in the year 2062. It imagined a world where a family could sit down to dinner and “select” what they wanted to eat from a machine and their order would be magically printed out. Mass customization is a step closer to realizing this lofty dream of instant, customizable customer satisfaction. Today, mass personalization has been adopted by companies selling hair products, skincare and even vitamins. 

An example of a modern mass personalization company is Take Care Of, a vitamin brand that has customers answer questions based on their values, goals, and lifestyle to create a custom daily plan involving vitamins, proteins and/or collagens. The name of the customer is printed on each daily package as well.

How Does Mass Personalization Impact Supply Chains?

Mass personalization is a great way for customers to have an experience catered to their individual needs, but it demands a lot more work from supply chains. With the result of each question leading to a different product recommendation, companies need to have a large number of product variations on hand. Instead of following a traditional manufacturing model and having an excessive amount of inventory to support custom orders, many companies are starting to explore on-demand manufacturing. This type of production leverages new technology like 3D printing to make necessary order customizations without keeping so many variations on-hand. 

The technology behind on-demand manufacturing is still being developed, leaving many businesses to rely on the abilities of their machines. Flexible systems make it possible for manufacturers to produce larger numbers of smaller, individualized orders. These machines will be especially helpful for companies within the consumer industry as the shift towards mass personalization becomes more widespread.

Mass customization complicates the distribution of products too. Say a company has 3D printed a specific item for a customer, they can’t simply ship a version from the nearest distribution center. Instead, they have to work to ship that item all the way through the final mile. That might mean shipping from the manufacturing site in California to the consumer is Maine. If the company hadn’t been customizing the product, they could have had a warehouse in Massachusetts to cross-dock out of instead. 

Tracking customized products is even more important than tracking regular ones. Say there is a mix-up on the dock and a customer receives someone else’s item, they will return the product and it will be up to the company to try to trace where their original one has gone. It’s likely that the erroneous product will end up in OS&D instead of in the hands of who it was meant for. This means starting the customization effort fresh and wasting money and time. Shipping customized products effectively as possible can be a challenge, but it can be even more important than with regular goods.

How Can Companies Selling Mass Customized Products Set Themselves Up for Success?

Companies implementing a mass personalization business model have to ensure their supply chains are equipped to handle a large number of product variations that each have their respective inventory sizes. Product needs to be transported effectively and efficiently. By leveraging transportation technology, mass personalization companies can ship a large number of product variations at the lowest possible cost. Supply chain visibility gives them access to real-time tracking information so they can make sure each portion of their inventory ends up at the right place and provide customers with accurate estimated arrival dates and updates.  

Consumers are learning to expect more than a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to picking products and making purchases. As the mass personalization trend continues to take over, companies need to leverage technology to have complete control and visibility over their supply chains to keep everything running smoothly!

The Future of Drones in the Supply Chain

Logistics industry innovators are always looking to create solutions that will cut costs and improve operational efficiencies. One application of technology that’s becoming increasingly popular within supply chains is drones. While drones are commonly applied in warehouses to help with inventory management, their purpose is starting to extend further down the supply chain to final mile delivery.

To ensure delivery drones are used safely, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a set of rules regarding remote identification and flying over people. These rules require drones to be remotely identifiable and give smaller drones permission to fly directly over people during the day. Remote identification, also known as a “digital license plate,” can be scanned to check the drone’s control station location and make the identification process easier for law enforcement. These regulations are the first step in making sure that an increase in drone presence is comfortable and safe for everyone involved.

The details of delivery operations involving drones varies between companies. The FAA gave Amazon permission to use drones to deliver packages under five pounds starting last September. Verizon and UPS have also started using drones. Companies that implement delivery drones into their operation are looking to help drivers save time and fuel by leveraging drones to deliver small packages to hard-to-reach locations. Most companies are starting to roll out drone initiatives in rural areas as regulations for more populated areas are still needed. 

Additionally, the technology behind all types of drones is still being developed. Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) unveiled several drones with new technology that will accelerate drone usage even further. Sony released a sneak peek of their Airpeak drone which features an obstacle avoidance system and a first-person view (FPV) for the pilot. Autel Robotics showcased their EVO Dragonfish and EVO 2 RTK series. The EVO Dragonfish is designed to fly for longer and tolerate harsher wind conditions while carrying up to 3.3 pounds of product. The EVO 2 RTK series leverages the latest technology to make tracking and flying drones to a specific location even more precise. 

How Drones Can Help Supply Chains

Drones are a way to cut back on costs associated with final mile delivery. It can be costly to reach certain rural areas with low delivery rates. Drones remove the need for large trucks to make the journey many miles off-route to residences. While the initial implementation cost is high, delivery drones make up for it quickly with significant fuel and time savings. Truck drivers can focus on larger packages along their route and reduce the number of necessary stops. With consumer expectations continually increasing, an efficient delivery process is extremely important. 

While delivery drones are still in the beginning stages of implementation, it will be interesting to see how common they become and what efficiencies they bring to supply chains!

Covid-19 Blog Post Image

The Supply Chain’s Critical Role in Successful Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

The creation of a Covid-19 vaccine has been on the top of everyone’s mind since the illness first began to spread. A November Gallup poll revealed that 58% of Americans would get a Covid-19 vaccine. Leading pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer have created vaccines with efficacy rates of more than 90% that will be ready for distribution by the end of the year. Now that trustworthy vaccines are in production, there’s one problem that remains – distribution. 

Transporting vaccines is more complicated than loading them into a truck and driving. Moderna’s vaccine requires a temperature of -20° for long-term freezing but can be stored for up to one month in a regular refrigerator. On the other hand, Pfizer’s vaccine needs a temperature of -70°C for long-term freezing and can last in a regular refrigerator for five days at most. Both variations must be sealed in sterile containers before leaving the production facility.

Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two shots given weeks apart to the person being vaccinated, making the logistics even more complicated. Hardware companies responsible for producing glass vials, syringes and needles started ramping up production over the summer to prepare for the inevitable creation of a vaccine. U.S. Government officials are working directly with McKesson, a medical supply company, to assemble vaccination kits and make distributing and administering the vaccine easier. 

The infographic below highlights some of the major challenges supply chains are facing on top of determining how to distribute the vaccine.

With people across the globe wanting a dose of either vaccine as soon as possible, the pressure is on for supply chains. Both Moderna and Pfizer need reliable temperature-controlled trucks to transport their vaccines. Even the smallest deviation from the required temperature can render an entire truckload of vaccine doses ineffective. Securing a large fleet of specialized trucks is a challenge in itself and transporting substantial quantities of either vaccine requires supply chains to move quickly.

It’s equally as important that those responsible for distributing the vaccine have access to tracking information. Distributors need to be sure the doses they’re administering stayed within temperature and time regulations before reaching their final destination. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities have already expressed concern that they don’t have enough ultracold storage capacity to act as a distribution center. Rushing any part of this fragile supply chain can compromise the quality of doses the entire world is depending on. 

In order to successfully transport and distribute doses of Covid-19 vaccines, stakeholders will need to  leverage the most advanced supply chain technologies on the market today. The latest applications of technology will improve collaboration and visibility within logistics operations to help both Moderna and Pfizer produce and distribute their vaccines.

Peak Capacity Blog Post Image

2020 Projected to be the Busiest Peak Capacity Season Yet

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has made many consumers value e-commerce shopping above traditional in-store experiences. As the holiday season begins in full force, the transportation industry is realizing that online shopping is creating what may be the busiest peak capacity season yet.

Popular transportation companies including FedEx, UPS and DHL are all experiencing a surge in order volume thanks to online shopping. Order volume is expected to continue trending upwards as consumers shop for holiday presents and décor.

While brick and mortar locations won’t have to worry as much about the foot traffic coming through their doors, shippers will have additional freight to transport.

Technology’s Role in Conquering Peak Capacity Season

The secret to handling a next-level peak season (and an overall unpredictable year) lies within technology. Shippers worried about an extra busy peak capacity season should consider joining a network that benefits both shippers and carriers to find beneficial opportunities for collaboration.

A shipping network makes it easier than ever to find truckload capacity. Users can compare negotiated truckload rates from their carriers against carriers that are a part of the network. With so many carriers to choose from, shippers can be sure they are getting the best rate for their freight. Instead of juggling multiple websites, making phone calls and sending emails to find a truck, users can satisfy all of their shipping needs on a single platform.

Shippers are not the only ones who benefit from a shipping network. Carriers looking to establish long-term relationships with shippers and fill backhaul can leverage a shipping network. When they join, carriers can specify their preferred lanes to make sure they are only connecting with shippers doing business in those lanes. It’s a win-win, carriers get more business and shippers can take advantage of the best prices.

Some advanced shipping networks offer RFP and lane analysis services as well. With a shipping network, the process of running bids and conducting RFPs is simplified, allowing shippers to consistently secure capacity. Carriers are able to take short-term opportunities on the spot market with shippers whose logistics goals align with theirs and turn them into long-term relationships with the help of an RFP service.

In order to make it through peak capacity season, shippers and carriers need to work together in a way that works for both parties. Technology like Kuebix’s Community Load Match makes mutually beneficial collaboration possible. Whether you are a shipper in search of the best rate for your freight or a carrier looking to fill empty capacity, technology is key in helping you make the most of this year’s peak capacity season!

Kuebix Named a 2021 FreightTech 100 Winner

FreightWaves – the industry leading provider of news, data and analytics for the logistics market – has named Kuebix a winner of the 2021 FreightTech 100 Awards. The FreightTech 100 shines a spotlight on some of the most innovative companies across the industry that have stepped up during these uncertain times and provided a reliable solution. 

The FreightTech 100 Awards are based on nominations from FreightWaves readers, many of whom are industry leaders and experts. Readers submitted over 500 nominations for more than 200 companies in the U.S. this year! 

For more information on the FreightTech 100 Awards and read the full list of recipients, click here.


Kuebix transportation management system (TMS) makes it possible for shippers, carriers and suppliers to collaborate on a single platform. Users are able to rate, book and track their shipments without navigating between multiple websites or dealing with messy paper trails. With Kuebix TMS, users are able to have complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Shippers looking to improve their logistics operations even further can integrate their ERP with Kuebix TMS. An integration between the two systems allows information to flow seamlessly, reducing the risk of human error and saving time by eliminating the need for re-keying information. 

Kuebix’s load matching platform, Community Load Match, ensures shippers are selecting the best rate for their freight while helping carriers fill otherwise empty capacity. The service provides users with advanced matching capabilities and cutting-edge map visualization via Trimble MAPS. Members of Community Load Match are able to choose from the rates of their carriers as well as the carriers from Community Load Match’s extensive community.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Blog Post

What Supply Chains Should Expect from Amazon Prime Day this Fall

Amazon Prime Day is approaching quickly with a start date of October 13, 2020. While Amazon typically holds this digital shopping ‘holiday’ in July, supply chain disruptions brought on by Covid-19 led to a postponement of the event. Despite setbacks beyond their control, Amazon has high hopes for this year’s Amazon Prime Day!

The 3-day holiday filled is the most important event of the year for Amazon, drawing in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2019, Amazon made over $7 billion from the 48-hour event. In addition to being an opportunity to increase sales, Amazon Prime Day draws in many new Prime membership registrations for Amazon. The great digital deals entice many consumers to become part of this growing community of shoppers.

Popular Amazon Prime Day Deals 

While the offerings of this year’s Amazon Prime Day will remain a mystery until it begins, the past couple of years have had a focus on electronics. Popular purchase items included e-readers, vacuums, blenders, smartphones and smart TVs. Amazon has already started offering a discount on the Apple iPad 2020 to entice customers to start shopping. 

With so many kids attending school remotely and parents working from home, products like laptops and computers are already experiencing a surge in consumer demand. New discounts and limited-time offers just before the holiday season are going to tempt consumers further. 

In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime Day, competitors like Walmart, Target and Best Buy often launch their own series of discounts to compete for customers. There are plenty of options for consumers to choose from, but they’ll have to wait until Amazon Prime Day to find out who has the best deals! 

What Amazon Prime Day Means for Supply Chains 

When it comes to Amazon Prime Day, supply chains should be prepared for anything. With so many different offerings on a wide range of products, there’s no way to predict how many orders will come in for each. Companies manufacturing in smaller quantities may have to pick up the pace on production ahead of the holiday. 

Manufacturers of products like laptops, monitors and headphones are already experiencing a higher volume of orders because of the pandemic. Discounts are likely to amplify the number of orders. Since this year’s Amazon Prime Day is closer to the holiday season than usual, many shoppers have more concrete lists and are ready to order. This, combined with the fact that many consumers are choosing to keep their shopping digital during the pandemic, makes it likely that this year’s Prime Day will dwarf previous years’.

The best way for supply chains to prepare for the impact of Amazon Prime Day and the sales that follow is by leveraging visibility tools in their supply chains and remaining proactive instead of reactive. Companies need to provide real-time tracking information and shipment details to meet consumer expectations. The same information can empower retailers to make strategic decisions regarding their freight.

The key to true supply chain visibility is a transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix. With Kuebix TMS, stakeholders can collaborate on a single platform for complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Real-time tracking information helps everyone to stay informed and detailed reports and dashboards help companies analyze their performance and identify areas to improve. 

Regardless of where customers shop for this year’s Amazon Prime Day, supply chains have their work cut out for them!

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2020

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week holds a special meaning this year as truck drivers have gone above and beyond to keep stores, hospitals and other healthcare facilities stocked in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 3.5 million truck drivers working in the U.S. continue to safely and securely deliver essential goods. From passing out lunches to decorating highways with ‘I 💚  Truck Drivers’ signs, everyone’s finding a way to get involved and show their gratitude. Here are just a few of the reasons to be thankful for truck drivers:

 

1.   Truck Drivers Work Long Hours

Being a truck driver demands a lot of time spent on the road. The average truck driver works 60 hours a week and drives 107,000 miles per year*. Long weeks paired with long drives require a serious amount of dedication!

2.   The Trucking Industry Keeps Our Economy Strong 

The trucking industry is responsible for the transportation of products that are classified as essential. Keeping stores stocked and supply chains moving requires a lot of involvement – that’s why 5.8% of jobs in the U.S. are related to the trucking industry.

3.   Truck Drivers Adapt to the Unexpected 

Covid-19 has required truck drivers to adapt to new conditions on the road. Many rest stops have closed for business in the spring and restaurants have introduced new restrictions. Even though finding a place to park or eat is looking a little different, truck drivers are still powering through.

National Truck Diver Appreciation Week 2020 Infographic

4.   They Leveraged Reduced HOS Restrictions to Work Even Harder 

The Covid-19 emergency declaration resulted in the reduction of hours of service (HOS) restrictions. Truck drivers throughout the U.S. took this in stride, working harder and for longer hours to transport essential goods across the country.

5.   Truck Drivers Keep Our Shelves Stocked 

The full shelves shoppers have grown accustomed to wouldn’t exist without truck drivers. In 2019, the transportation industry was responsible for 72.5% of all freight in 2019. Without truck drivers, it would be a lot harder for so many products to make it from point A to point B! 

6.   The Transportation Industry Supports Front Line Workers 

The transportation industry has worked tirelessly through the pandemic to keep hospitals, care centers and homes supplied with the essentials they need. Products transported by truck drivers empower front line workers to perform their jobs as safely and securely as possible.


Kuebix is extremely thankful for the work truck drivers do every day, and it has never been clearer than now that truck drivers are our heroes on the road! 

 

*source cdc.gov