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

Food Distribution and Restaurant Blog Post

Flexible Food Distribution and Restaurant Business Models

Covid-19 has left restaurants and food distribution companies scrambling to stay afloat. Many are straying away from their traditional business models to keep their companies from going under. The food distribution industry is already expecting to take a $110 billion loss for a year which is a third of their 2019 revenue. The industry lost somewhere between 60% – 90% of their sales in April.

Changing Rules and Regulations

Guidelines for restaurants and food distribution companies looking to operate in the midst of the pandemic vary by state, but they all agree that smaller crowds limit the chance of exposure. Restaurants are advised to limit the use of shared items like condiment bottles, salt shakers, menus and avoid pre-setting tables with silverware.

Regardless of steps being taken to make dining out safer, many people still aren’t comfortable with the idea of going out again. A survey by the Democracy Fund and UCLA Nationscape Project found that only 50% of respondents feel comfortable going out to eat. Restaurants are getting creative in an attempt to change this statistic by setting up patios for outdoor eating, launching new menus, offering cocktails to-go and creating QR codes to allow guests to view their menu online.

Changes to the traditional food distribution and restaurant business models demand a change from their supply chains in return. Many restaurants and food distribution centers had to shut down for a period of time when Covid-19 began to spread. Pausing a company’s supply chain altogether is expensive and leaves products at a standstill. Restarting a supply chain, especially when perishable goods are involved, can be just as costly. Food distribution companies and restaurants were left to find a way to continue to operate under these new circumstances. Here are a few examples of how companies are making it work:

How Traditional Business Models are Responding

Restaurants Become Grocery Providers and Distributors

The Cork and Barrel Wine Bar in Zionsville, Indiana is one of the many businesses that temporarily shut down as a result of Covid-19. Rather than wait until they were allowed to resume business as usual, owner Sarah Hine transformed the bar into a delivery business and mini grocery store.

The restaurant partnered up with Piazza Produce, a wholesaler in Indianapolis that was also looking for a way to keep their operations moving in the midst of Covid-19. Together, the companies produced consumer-sized quantities of products that people needed but were struggling to locate at the grocery store. They began doing 30-40 deliveries a day and while it didn’t replace the business lost, it helped the Cork and Barrel Wine Bar and Piazza Produce keep their doors open.

Both businesses were fearful of not being able to re-open should they have to close their doors. While shifting to a delivery model changed the stock and supplies they needed for operations, it prevented them from having to press pause on their supply chains altogether.

Deli Counters Utilize Grab-and-Go Method

Many deli counters initially responded to the pandemic by shutting down because they were unsure of how to operate. However, deli meats are convenient and easy to snack on – two qualities that are especially important to consumers during the pandemic. To meet rising consumer demand, deli counters are starting to pre-package popular products. While Covid-19 has made it uncomfortable for customers to stand in lines or crowds, they are more than happy to adapt to a grab-and-go method for their favorite deli meats.


While retail food and beverage companies have always needed to remain nimble to respond to changing customer demand, the pandemic has forced many to rethink their supply chains in order to stay open. Having a flexible supply chain that is able to adapt to a changing environment ensures that companies that need to rethink their business models can do so and continue to thrive even after economic hardships like the Coronavirus pandemic.

Construction Industry Blog Post

Surmount Supply Chain Challenges in the Construction Industry with Technology

Between companies regularly distributing, manufacturing or using construction products, the construction industry experiences a steady flow of business. One thing all construction companies can agree on is the importance of operating efficiently in order to meet project deadlines. There are a number of barriers between smooth logistics operations and successful project completion for the construction industry. Below are just a few of the obstacles present in their logistics operations:

New Site Safety Regulations

In most cases, completing a project requires a number of professionals to be on-site completing tasks as a group. The pandemic has restricted the amount of workers that can safely work together at once. Adjusting to having fewer team members on-site and able to contribute to the project has resulted in a decrease in overall productivity

Rising Cost of Construction Materials 

The cost of raw materials needed for manufacturing construction materials rose by 2.2% in June. The surge in price can be largely attributed to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. Construction companies who realize they’re short on materials in the middle of a project will have an even harder time replenishing their stock in addition to dealing with a hefty price tag.

Strict Deadlines 

Deadlines are common within the construction industry, but Covid-19 is making them more difficult to meet. New rules and regulations in warehouses, supply chains and on construction sites slow down operations to ensure cleanliness. Anything sourced internationally has even more stops to make before it can reach its final destination. Visibility throughout the supply chain is essential for companies to make sure they’re able to comply with new rules and regulations and that their deadlines are feasible. 


Technology’s Role in the Construction Industry 

With the help of a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, any construction company can take control of their supply chain and overcome industry-related challenges. Kuebix TMS helps logistics teams plan, book and gain visibility over all of their shipments. Whether the company is sourcing raw materials for delivery to a manufacturing plant or shipping to a construction site, Kuebix TMS can simultaneously cut costs and improve operational efficiencies.

Kuebix TMS users can seamlessly rate, book and track their freight to save time and improve customer service. Real-time tracking information keeps users informed and allows them to provide customers with better information in regards to the location and estimated arrival time of their purchase. Kuebix TMS provides users with detailed reports and dashboards that can help them make better informed decisions to further improve their logistics operations.

Integrating Kuebix TMS with an ERP like Microsoft Dynamics or NetSuite can drive additional cost savings. An ERP integration eliminates the need to re-key long lists of order line items, decrease labor costs and increase order accuracy.

The construction industry involves a wide range of products and professionals, but that doesn’t mean their logistics operations have to be overwhelming. Any construction company can leverage technology to help them successfully complete a project, meet deadlines and more!

Food and Beverage Blog Image

Unique Challenges Facing Food & Beverage Supply Chains

Food and beverage companies produce and distribute essential products every day. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in food shoppers buying supplies for a longer period of time (ex. shopping for 2 weeks at a time instead of 1) and purchasing products such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes in bulk. Practicing new skills like baking banana bread and sourdough bread have become popular ways to pass time. A recent study by Acosta revealed that 50% of respondents are spending more on groceries than they did pre-pandemic. Below are just a few of the elements challenging food and beverage supply chains as they race to keep up with heightened consumer demand.

Temperature Control Needed for Freshness

Not all products are able to travel in a standard truck responsible for the delivery of many different types of freight. Some food and beverage products must be stored at a specific temperature. Failing to meet the optimal conditions can result in the degradation of the quality of food and render products unsellable. To meet the needs of these products, shippers have to use refrigerated trucks. Making sure that a temperature-controlled truck is available and able to fit all of the required products is an added process for logistics professionals to consider.

Products Sensitive to Expiration Dates 

Nearly all food and beverage products have an expiration date on their label. While non-perishable items offer more flexibility in terms of when they hit the shelves, products like fresh produce and vegetables are not as forgiving. Time-sensitive products must be moved efficiently to ensure they reach their final destination in a condition that’s prime for selling. Shoppers want fresh vegetables and produce that will remain fresh for a period of time even after purchasing. It’s up to food and beverage companies to make sure their perishable products are in the right place at the right time.

Rapidly Expanding Product Variety

Consumers are starting to gravitate towards healthier products made of fewer ingredients. However, they are not interested in compromising on taste. Manufacturers are constantly adjusting to consumer taste and preferences which creates a wider variety of products. For example, a product as simple as yogurt now dominates the refrigerated aisle of grocery stores to accommodate different flavor preferences and dietary restrictions (oat, almond and soy bases to substitute for dairy). With each new product comes new storage and transportation specifications, making it even more complex for supply chains to keep stores stocked.

How Technology Can Help Keep Food & Beverage Supply Chains Moving

Food and beverage businesses are juggling unique challenges within their industry and those brought on by Covid-19. Implementing technology like Kuebix TMS into their supply chains gives power back to the shipper and lightens their workload. With Kuebix TMS, food and beverage companies can rate, book and track their shipments in a single system. Kuebix TMS gives users complete visibility and control over their logistics operations, making it easier than ever to keep even the busiest supply chains moving. Real-time tracking information and detailed analytics empower shippers to improve their customer service and make better informed decisions.

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What to Keep in Mind When Managing a Chemical Supply Chain

The chemical industry faces a unique set of challenges regarding safety in their logistics operations. The transportation of chemicals requires next-level care and expertise as it deals with sensitive and potentially dangerous materials. Errors in shipping chemicals that are hazardous can have serious consequences.

While logistics operations are typically intricate by default, shippers and manufacturers responsible for the production and transportation of chemicals have to pay even closer attention. Here are some of the things to consider when preparing your logistics team to transport chemicals:

Appropriate Number of Drivers 

Companies shipping chemicals need to be aware of the number of truck drivers they have and the strain they’re put under based on the number of hours spent on the road. The risk of an accident is heightened when hazardous materials are involved. Truck drivers must be well-rested and prepared to transport goods or products that carry the weight of these additional risks.

Accurate Product Labeling and Storage

Such sensitive materials must be accurately labeled to ensure they’re going to the right place and are properly stored. Many chemicals call for temperature-controlled trucks or especially cautious handling. Improper labeling or storage can result in delivery to the wrong destination or a potentially harmful reaction. 

Product labeling and storage relies heavily on effective inventory management. Knowing how much of a product you have and where it’s located is crucial in being able to successfully load and ship orders. Ineffective inventory management can lead to higher levels of waste and excess storage costs. Companies that are shipping chemicals need to be especially careful because of expiration dates on their products that can be dangerous if forgotten or neglected.

Strategic Route Planning

Chemicals need to be transported both quickly and safely. Detailed route planning is a significant factor in helping truck drivers make their deliveries on time. It can also help truck drivers navigate roadblocks or construction sites that they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Route optimization requires logistics professionals to be aware of the number of required stops, requested delivery time and traffic patterns in the area.

How to Manage Complex Chemical Supply Chain Needs

Upon first glance, managing the demands associated with a successful chemical supply chain may seem overwhelming. However, implementing a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS can simplify the process regardless of your supply chain’s size. 

Kuebix TMS is a cloud-based platform that enables customers, suppliers and carriers to collaborate and have complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Kuebix TMS offers features necessary to combat the unique challenges in the industry including product compatibility when building loads involving hazardous materials, route optimization and detailed analytics that empower shippers to make better informed decisions.

July 4th Infographic Featured Image

*Infographic* Americans Plan to Spend Big on Independence Day

American Independence Day is a holiday most commonly celebrated with hotdogs, hamburgers, refreshing beverages and festive fireworks. Enthusiasm for the 4th of July isn’t hard to find in the U.S. – celebrations of all sizes take place at homes throughout the country! Though this year may look a little different due to the pandemic, Americans are planning to celebrate safely from their homes. This means that the supply chain is still hugely important for making the 4th of July celebrations happen. Here are some statistics on consumer spending in preparation for Independence Day!

Kuebix July 4th Infographic

It’s up to supply chains to keep store shelves stocked and able to keep up with consumer demand. E-commerce shopping is even more important this year as consumers social distance and grow increasingly accustomed to online shopping. Seasonal products like red-white and blue decorations depend on efficient logistics operations to move them from warehouses to retailers as quickly as possible. Maximizing on sales during a time of year with heightened demand is critical for the success of businesses. No matter how different the 4th of July may look this year, Americans are still planning on spending big to celebrate!

Kuebix TMS Manufacturing Infographic

*Infographic* Kuebix TMS Has the Manufacturing Industry Covered

The manufacturing industry is facing unique challenges during Covid-19. While the rest of the world is put on hold, manufacturing companies continue to operate and produce essential products. They are keeping stores stocked and making sure that we can all have exactly what we need during this time of uncertainty. Manufacturing companies provide a crucial service to the entire country every day, and their continued dedication during the pandemic is admirable.

With Kuebix TMS, manufacturing companies can make significant improvements to their logistics operations and transportation management regardless of size. Adapting to the new rules and regulations prompted by Covid-19 calls for visibility throughout supply chains. Kuebix Transportation Management System (TMS) provides real-time tracking information for better communication amongst all logistics stakeholders. The cloud-based platform seamlessly integrates with ERP and WMS systems and provides actionable analytics. Kuebix TMS empowers shippers to make smarter decisions and hold carriers and suppliers accountable.

At Kuebix, we understand that it’s never been more important to keep America’s supply chains moving. In support of businesses operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kuebix is offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help users expand capacity and manage supply chains remotely. To learn more about Kuebix’s Stimulus Free Offer, click here.

Kuebix TMS streamlines the entire shipping process including creating and printing BOLs, tracking and tracing invoice shipments, automating invoice audits and much more. Simplify managing your supply chain remotely with complete visibility and collaboration for all logistics stakeholders. Sign up to unlock increased operational efficiencies and learn why over 2,714 manufacturing companies trust Kuebix TMS.

Manufacturing Infographic Image

We Understand the Unique Challenges in Your Industry, That’s Why Kuebix:

  1. Is in production fast – complete implementations measured in weeks and months rather than quarters and years
  2. Seamlessly TMS integrations with ERP and WMS systems
  3. Provides actionable analytics that help shippers, makes smarter shipping decisions and hold carriers and suppliers accountable
  4. Scales to meet the changing needs of any size supply chain

From automobile and aviation to agriculture, we’ve got your industry covered!