Kuebix Back to School

7 Back-to-School Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

Schools will be back in session in a few short weeks, and for some, classes have already started! As kids cram an array of notebooks into their backpacks and parents rush to assemble lunches so their kids are ready to hop on the bus, it’s important to remember that this change in season has a significant impact on the transportation industry. Below are a few of the ways that truck drivers can keep the roads safe as kids head back to school.

Limit Distractions

In order for truck drivers, busy parents and bus drivers to peacefully coexist on the road, it’s important to eliminate any potential distractions. Resisting the temptation to check your cell phone or get distracted by talking is crucial to your own safety as well as that of other drivers and passengers nearby. Other potential distractions include eating, adjusting the navigation system, or even finding the right station to listen to. Encouraging everyone to commit to a more focused approach to driving will improve the overall safety of the roads each and every day.

Be Aware of School Zones

No matter where you’re heading, school zone rules and speed limits must be followed. Drivers should always slow down to obey the speed limit, especially in unfamiliar areas. Keep an eye out for school zone signs, and if these signs have flashing lights, that means reduced speed limits are in effect. Also pay attention to crosswalks and highly pedestrianized areas as there is likely to be more foot traffic than usual. Many trucks now come equipped with an electronic logging device (ELD) which may monitor speed as well as total hours driven. This can help companies keep track of trends and make changes when needed. 

Anticipate Areas with Heavier Traffic

If a school bus in front of you is parked with its stop sign extended, you are legally obligated to stop and wait until the bus drives away. When a school bus is stopped like this, it usually means that it is either picking up or dropping off children. It is very dangerous to pass a stopped bus as there may be children crossing the street. 

This change can be frustrating, especially for truck drivers who have strict delivery windows and hours of service (HoS) rules to adhere to. To mitigate delays caused by stalled traffic behind school buses, it’s important to plan ahead for the inevitable change in traffic associated with back-to-school season. 

Be Aware of Student Drivers

Beyond traditional academic courses within their schools, many students will also be participating in driving courses to prepare for their license tests. These courses are a combination of lessons in the classroom and on the roads. As the volume of student drivers on the road picks up, it’s important to drive with patience and understanding for those in front of you – especially new drivers! 

Use Highways and Interstates Instead of Back Roads

Some drivers will choose to use backroads and main streets to navigate their routes. This strategy might shave a few miles off of the total route and make the drive faster during the summer, but it could be a completely different story in the school year. When school is back in session, roads closest to homes and schools will experience the most significant increase in traffic compared with highways and interstates. Choosing to use major highways will likely save you time during the school year and help keep the roads safe.

 Proceed with Caution When Backing Up to a Dock

The process of loading and unloading freight at the dock must be approached carefully – you never know who is nearby! It’s advisable to get out and look at how much space is available or use a spotter when backing a truck into position. Communication between truck drivers and dock workers should be clear and consistent to keep the potential for risk to a minimum. This is especially important in areas where there might be children. Starting the process blindly and continuing without communicating intentions leaves room for error and injury. 

Keep Up with HoS Rules and Regulations

HoS rules and regulations are frequently being adjusted by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) in an attempt to find a healthy balance between efficiency and safety. Regularly checking for changes will ensure that drivers are aware of when they are allowed to be on the road, when they aren’t and how many hours they can drive each week. Utilizing this information will allow for better-planned routes to maximize efficiency.

Green Supply Chain Fuel Types Kuebix TMS

5 Alternative Fuels that Will Reenergize the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry relies heavily on diesel to help it successfully transport products from manufacturers to consumers via trucks worldwide. Technology has been instrumental in reducing the number of empty miles driven, and finding an alternative fuel source is the next step for eco-conscious companies.  As concerns about the longevity of fossil fuels grow, the search for a more sustainable fuel is intensifying.

There are more than 222 million licensed drivers in the U.S. today and the amount of fuel needed to power their vehicles is astronomical. The transportation of people and goods accounts for about 25% of all energy consumption worldwide. Gasoline is a byproduct of fossil fuels, of which the earth has a limited supply. The discovery of an alternative to gasoline is vital to preserving our modern way of life and avoid running out of fuel altogether.

Fortunately, scientists and engineers are already tackling this problem. The switch toward alternative forms of fuel is still in its infancy, but researchers are working tirelessly to create cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Below are just five potential forms of less harmful and more sustainable fuel that have the potential to replace gasoline and introduce a new wave of cleaner, more efficient vehicles:

Electric

There are currently three types of electric cars: battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). According to The Guardian, there are already over 3 million electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the road today. Electric cars are known to be environmentally and economically friendly as they drastically reduce harmful emissions and save users all of the money they would have spent on fuel.

However, electric vehicles are restricted to a specific number of miles they can drive before they need a recharge (the average is about 100 miles). Outside of major cities charging stations are difficult to come by, making electric vehicles less than ideal for lengthier trips. In order for electric trucks to become a viable option for the supply chain, a solution to the limited range needs to be found. Once electric vehicles are able to carry heavy loads for longer stretches of road, the logistics industry will have a new, viable option for shipping.

Ethanol

Ethanol fuel consists of the same alcohol that is in most cocktails. It originates from plant matter including algae, trees and corn. Ethanol fuel is renewable and much better for the environment than gasoline as it produces less carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions.

The production of ethanol can support farmers and create agricultural job opportunities. Ethanol production can also be domestic, which helps reduce dependence on foreign oil. Gasoline is often blended with a high percentage of ethanol to create a cleaner-burning fuel because of its higher octane levels.

A transition to fuel made only of ethanol would be simpler than other options because newer trucks are consistently manufactured with the ability to burn ethanol-mixed gas and wouldn’t have a problem burning pure ethanol. Since many gas stations are already selling a blend of gas with ethanol in it, potential infrastructure problems are not as likely if the industry ever makes the switch.

The point of concern with transitioning shipping entirely to ethanol fuel is the effect it would have on crop prices. Utilizing crops as fuel rather than as food would drastically increase the price of corn and other produce. In order to have ethanol completely replace gasoline, a significant amount of the world’s forests and free spaces would have to be dedicated to farmland.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats and can be used before cooking or recycled even after use in cooking. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and emits less harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Biodiesel can work in any diesel engine, making for an easy integration into the transportation industry.

Although there are many positives to biodiesel fuel, it still presents its fair share of challenges. For one, it is much less powerful than regular diesel and gasoline fuels. Biodiesel is reportedly 10% weaker than traditionally used fuel types. The storage of biodiesel fuel can also cause some major problems over time. When it’s stationary for an extended period of time, biodiesel tends to thicken which can clog filters and create corrosion.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a popular and highly innovative alternative to gasoline. Fuel cell vehicles are technically considered electric vehicles, but they rely on a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity rather than a traditional battery. These cars are similar to gasoline and diesel vehicles as they are refueled in the same conventional manner and share the same long-distance driving range, allowing them to drive further and faster than battery-powered electric vehicles.

A vehicle with a fuel cell and electric motor running on hydrogen can be two to three times more efficient than gasoline. These vehicles discharge zero harmful emissions, only water. Hydrogen fuel can be produced domestically from nuclear power, natural gas, biomass and renewable powers like wind and solar energy.

The biggest problem associated with hydrogen fuel is cost. The fuel cells required to power hydrogen-fueled cars are very expensive, and there are very few gas stations that currently offer hydrogen as fuel. Should the transportation industry ever decide to make the switch to hydrogen-powered trucks, the eventual ROI could make it worth it.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel mostly comprised of methane. This alternative to traditional fuels can be produced domestically and is less expensive than gasoline. Natural gas could cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by 10% as well.

The reason natural gas hasn’t supplanted gasoline as the preferred fuel type is because of the limited number of vehicles on the market with the capability to utilize it. Making trucks natural gas-friendly would be a very costly investment for the trucking industry. There are very few fueling stations that provide natural gas and it provides fewer miles-per-tank than vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.

92% of the U.S. transportation sector uses petroleum products such as gasoline or diesel for fuel. These resources won’t last forever and soon we will have to find a new way to fuel our cars, trucks, boats and airplanes. Our economies are powered by supply chains, and whatever fuel becomes the fuel of choice in the future will have to work for the supply chain industry, not only for personal drivers. While some alternative fuels are already being implemented, research is still being done to develop a fuel that is truly sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

blockchain kuebix

Blockchain and Cloud-based Platforms Usher In New Era of Complex Data Streams in Freight Shipping

Blockchain and cloud-based platforms are revolutionizing the way logistics operations are being conducted around the world. Big Data has been a hot topic in the industry for years, but the way to truly harness it has remained out of reach for many companies. Blockchain technologies and cloud-based platforms are changing the narrative. Now, complex data streams from logistics operations are being funneled through these technologies to make shipping freight more efficient as supply chains continue to become more complex.

What is Blockchain?

According to Merriam-Webster, blockchain is “a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network.”

In layman’s terms, blockchain is a technology that lets companies track and initiate an action based on a digital or physical event. For example, blockchain technology can help trace contaminated food products when there has been a safety recall. Blockchain technologies act as a single source of truth that can be referred back to at any time, much like a ledger for every interaction. Here are 30+ Real Examples of Blockchain Technology In Practice from Forbes.

What are Cloud-based Platforms in the Supply Chain?

Cloud-based platforms in the supply chain are also streamlining Big Data repositories and making them actionable and transparent. Platforms such as cloud-based enterprise management systems (ERP), transportation management systems (TMS), and warehouse management systems (WMS) can track and trace the lifecycle of a product from initial order all the way through customer returns. When these systems integrate and combine with external tracking devices, they can have the same benefits as blockchain as a service (BaaS) technologies, only in a more accessible form.

ELDs, RFIDs, GPS, Sensors and Gate Check Technologies

Tracking technology is becoming more prevalent as costs associated with implementation lessen. Blockchain and cloud-based platforms consolidate all of the data generated by devices like ELDs, RFIDs, GPS, Sensors and Gate Check technologies into actionable reports and dashboards. Actions can even be predetermined to initiate when a physical or digital event type occurs. Now, companies can retain real-time visibility to their pallets, trucks, drivers, and even individual products no matter where they are in the supply chain.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review describes how blockchain and platforms will transform logistics. “Data created by sensors, ERP systems, inventory palettes, and shipping events can automatically add records to the blockchain, which can launch cascading events farther along the value chain.” Being able to see the moment when a container leaves the port and being able to track individual products from that container to customers is a level of visibility that hasn’t been available before.

Why do Supply Chains Need These Types of Technology?

Our world is shrinking, metaphorically. Globalization has made it commonplace for an end product to contain materials from all over the world. When you buy an iPhone, you may actually be buying an accelerometer from Germany, a battery from China, a camera from Japan, a Gyroscope from Switzerland and a glass screen for the United States. Being able to track and initiate actions based on completed events such as when a shipment of batteries has left the port in Shanghai speeds up the supply chain and mitigates risk.

Customer expectations around visibility and speed are also increasing, almost exponentially. 15 years ago, it may have been acceptable to receive an order purchased online in 3 – 4 weeks. Now, consumers are demanding their products in as few as 2 days, with 1-day shipping and even 1-hour shipping already on many retailers’ minds. Amazon’s 1-day delivery promise to their Prime members has added pressure to companies just now becoming used to faster shipping times. With blockchain or a cloud-based, data-centralizing platform, companies can initiate actions to keep their supply chains moving without waiting for a physical paper trail to catch up.

According to FedEx business fellow and blockchain strategist, Dale Chrystie:

“Twenty year ago, you put the word ‘internet’ in front of everything and now you don’t. Today, we’re putting the word ‘blockchain’ in front of everything and I don’t think we’re going to in the future; it’s just going to be the way it works.”

Big Data has proved lucrative to those companies who have been able to harness it to understand their customers and streamline their logistics operations. New blockchain technologies and cloud-based platforms are providing this opportunity to companies worldwide, but the changing market structure may appear too complex for some. Companies that adapt quickly will find that they gain a competitive advantage over those companies that do not leverage technology in their freight shipping.

 

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How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Trucking Industry

Virtual reality (VR) is most commonly known for its recreational use in video games. However, the advanced application of technology is beginning to gain traction and be recognized for its improvement of training programs in a multitude of industries. Forbes Magazine reported that VR-based training programs can reduce the amount of time it takes to train a new hire by 40% and improve that employee’s performance by 70% in comparison to a traditionally trained new hire. Through the incorporation of programs involving VR, companies can cut costs and improve performance at the same time.

Virtual Reality in Trucking

The trucking industry is no exception to this steadily rising trend. UPS has estimated that by the end of 2018, they will have put 4,000 new package delivery van drivers through a training program that involves virtual reality.

With VR-based training programs, new hires have the ability to train for their new position as a driver without incurring costs related to insurance, gas, maintenance, or repairs. Traditional methods of training require either physical experience on the roads or watching videos of other people explaining the dos and don’ts of vehicle operation. While physical experience can be costly and tutorial-like videos can be disengaging, virtual reality eliminates both of these concerns and promotes a hands-on, remote method of training.

Companies who implement virtual reality into their standard training methods are also finding that it reduces the risk associated with traditional approaches. Potential accidents or vehicle damage that may happen during the training process are both costly and dangerous. Through VR-based training programs these two scenarios are avoided. In fact, programs can actually give new hires a chance to repeat dangerous situations that are rare and often times turn out to be costly. If the driver ends up in that situation or a similar one later down the line, they will be better equipped and feel more prepared for how to handle it.

According to a report by the American Trucking Associations, approximately 90,000 truck drivers need to be replaced each year for the next decade to combat the truck driver shortage the industry is experiencing throughout America. VR-based training programs teach new drivers quicker than traditional methods, getting them out on the roads faster while still being just as effective.

Not including the cost of accidents, traditional styles of training for truck driving can cost up to $7,000. Despite the growing need for more drivers in the industry, many companies cannot afford such a steep price. Companies adopting VR-based training are experiencing lower costs as well as better quality training programs that are finished in less time. Although it requires an initial investment, VR-based training programs are rapidly gaining traction in the trucking industry.

 

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

For shippers, calculating freight costs can be one of the hardest expenses to predict and can seriously impact the bottom line.

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

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

Modes Icons

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

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

Kuebix is taking some of the guess-work out of calculating LTL freight rates through its free TMSKuebix Community Load Match

If you’re looking for great freight rates on truckload shipments, the best place to look is a community with thousands of shippers, carriers, vendors and brokers collaborating to create the best loads. Kuebix Community Load Match is a truckload spot market where any shipper can easily connect to trucks with available capacity.  If you have freight to ship and are looking for additional capacity, you can request and receive truckload spot quotes through Community Load Match for free!

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now with Kuebix Free Shipper.

What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

What is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

The term ‘Transportation Management System’ or TMS has become more common in the supply chain industry as companies turn to technology to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. Technology has revolutionized everything from how we watch TV, to how we buy our groceries, and even how we meet each other. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that a key component of the American economy (the movement of goods, materials and other freight) would eventually turn to technology to keep pace. Transportation management systems are the logical next step. Now, companies of all sizes are researching transportation management systems to learn more about how technology can save them money, streamline logistics operations and improve customer satisfaction.

But What Exactly is A Transportation Management System or TMS?

Definition – According to Gartner, an analyst firm providing companies with insight, advice and tools to evaluate technology:

“A TMS (transportation management system) is used to plan freight movements, do freight rating and shopping across all modes, select the appropriate route and carrier, and manage freight bills and payments.”

Simply put, a TMS is a system that companies can use to digitally manage their freight operations instead of calling and emailing internal and external partners. Transportation management systems often sit between a company’s ERP system and a warehouse management system (WMS) and connect the two for increased supply chain efficiency. Orders flowing between these systems create continuity and speed up the time from customer order to final delivery.

At their core, most transportation management systems have rating, booking and tracking functionality. Others have advanced reporting and dashboards, freight pay and audit, and other modular features that can be added as needed. Transportation management systems come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some of the potential benefits companies can gain by implementing a TMS:

  •      •     Save money and grow your bottom-line
  •      •     Save time and repurpose labor to value-added projects instead of “firefighting”
  •      •     Improve customer satisfaction
  •      •     Get insight into your operations to make strategic changes
  •      •     Grow your business!

Step-by-Step Guide on What You Need to Know About Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

Types of Transportation Management Software – Transportation management systems have been around since the 1980s, but they’ve come a long way from the clunky, monolithic machines of the past. Now there are many varieties which cater to companies from every industry and of any size. Some TMSs focus on small – to – medium-sized businesses (SMB) and only offer very basic functionality including rating and booking. Many TMSs that cater to a smaller market don’t offer customization or advanced features like reporting and analytics or integrations. Instead, they focus on being low total cost to own (TCO).

Other TMSs focus on the high end of the market and cater to enterprise-size companies. These TMSs often only have a few customers and their price-points make it nearly impossible for smaller companies to benefit from them. According to Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM, “In the case of shippers, large enterprises (over $1 billion in revenues) were the early adopters of transportation management systems (TMS), due in large part to the high cost of buying and implementing on-premise applications (typically over $1 million).”

Kuebix IntegrationsEnterprise-class TMSs usually offer advanced functionality like integrations, freight pay and audit, order and route optimization, and many other features. Unfortunately, most of these legacy systems come as a complete (and pricey) set, leaving companies who don’t need certain features with a bill for the technology they won’t use.

The solution to this is to find a TMS that will expand and contract along-side your business so that you always have the features you need and aren’t paying for the ones you don’t. Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are built to serve companies of all sizes and needs.

Kuebix Free Shipper was the industry’s first truly free TMS and has removed all barriers to entry to SMB customers looking for rating, booking and tracking functionality. Companies looking for financial management, advanced analytics and other premium features can upgrade to Kuebix Business Pro and Kuebix Enterprise and then seamlessly add additional features.

What’s the Difference Between Cloud-based / SaaS, and On-Premise TMS?

Besides being geared toward specific audiences, transportation management systems are housed and accessed in two different ways. The traditional way which many early adopters of transportation technology used was on-premise software.

On-premise software is installed and run directly on local computers. This requires a representative from the TMS provider to physically install the TMS “on-premise” at the user’s headquarters so that the company can gain access to it. This can cause difficulties whenever a problem arises or a new version needs to be updated, not to mention the customer’s inability to take their TMS on the road with them.

Cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) TMS are becoming strongly preferred over on-premise software. They are much more agile and easier to install, maintain, and upgrade, leading to a faster return on investment (ROI) and less hassle. With software that is housed on the “cloud” (online), users can access it from anywhere, even from mobile devices, and aren’t constrained to “the four walls” of their office building.

Most cloud-based transportation management systems are sold as software-as-a-service (SaaS). This means that users subscribe to the technology on a monthly or annual basis instead of purchasing the technology outright. Not only is this more cost-effective, it also means that users are always on the most recent version of the software.

What is the Core Functionality of a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

As mentioned above, most transportation management systems provide these three core features:

  1. Rating
  2. Booking
  3. Tracking

This means that any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery. Instead of needing to call individual carriers or visit each carrier’s website, the user can simply access the TMS to see all of their negotiated rates laid out side-by-side. Then they can quickly choose the rate with the best price and service level and book it directly through the system and track it through delivery.

Common Transportation Management System (TMS) Upgrades

Though most TMSs provide the standard rating, booking and tracking, other more advanced TMSs also offer additional features. These can sometimes be added on in a modular fashion so that the user only pays for what they need, or may come as a package deal with the TMS. Here are some of the common capabilities of more advanced transportation management systems:

  •      •     Freight Pay and Audit – This feature helps companies automatically audit each carrier invoice. TMSs like Kuebix indicate which bills are within the predetermined threshold and can be paid and calls-out others which do not fall within the limit. This makes it much faster for financial teams to pay carriers and helps them avoid overpaying on accident.
  •      •     Order Integrations – An integration between the TMS and an ERP or a financial system like NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, or QuickBooks can vastly improve the speed and accuracy of booking. Order information flows directly from the ERP system and automatically populates within the TMS so that users never need to re-key information. This eliminates user-error which can lead to endless firefighting and incorrect deliveries.
  •      •     Order and Route Optimization – Some TMSs offer load and route consolidation and optimization through algorithms within their technology. The system can suggest the most efficient and cost-effective method of shipping a group of orders and the user can book the load quickly and easily.
  •      •     Reports and Dashboards – Analytics are a major draw for many companies interested in improving their logistics processes. Actionable reports and dashboards let users understand every detail of their freight spend and make strategic decisions on the basis of data. They can be used to evaluate carrier KPIs, total freight spend by item, and to provide insight to leadership.

Order and Route Optimization Infographic What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

How Can a Transportation Management System (TMS) Software Save Me Money on Freight Spend?

Compare Rates: Transportation management systems let users automatically access all their negotiated carrier rates side-by-side for easy viewing and comparing. TMS users save time by no longer switching between individual carrier websites but instead have all their tariff information contained in one, user-friendly screen. Often, logistics professionals don’t have time to check the rate with every carrier, so inevitably end up missing out on quality rates. With a TMS users can choose the most attractive rate out of all their carriers for each shipment, saving them money on every load.

Pay Bills Correctly: Invoice audit is another way many companies use a TMS to save on total freight spend. Often, accidental or incorrect charges can be added to a shipment. Things like lift-gate fees and incorrect detention charges can increase the final amount on an invoice. These miscellaneous accessorial fees are easy to overlook when manually auditing invoices and are often even intentionally ignored because they waste too much time to rectify. These fees add up quickly, however, so having a system to automatically audit every carrier invoice can save huge amounts each year.

Understand Freight Spend: With a TMS that isn’t tied to a certain carrier or 3PL, users can access all of their rates side-by-side in an unbiased way. And with the addition or reports and analytics, users know exactly how well each carrier is performing on each lane. With this knowledge and understanding of the market rate, TMS users are positioned to negotiate for better rates and service levels with their partner carriers. This saves money overall and helps to improve relationships and customer service all at once.

Gain Visibility: Shippers leveraging a TMS like Kuebix also gain benefits from improved visibility to their supply chain operations.  All stakeholders can use the common platform to plan their moves, receive alerts to changes as they occur, see every status update made, and make real-time adjustments to keep the supply chain moving smoothly and the customer happy. By sharing a single common system, suppliers can plan inventory levels more effectively to offer better customer service. Carriers can move shipments in and out more efficiently, making their operations more cost effective and the customer can improve the management of their inbound operations and warehouse.

Optimization: For companies with large or complex supply chains, features like order and route optimization can also save significant money. This is because manually building the perfect load is a challenge, and more often than not too time-consuming to bother with. There are countless factors a logistics professional needs to take into consideration such as delivery date, location, class, weight and size. Weighing all of these factors without the help of technology usually results in missed opportunities and wasted resources. Instead of pouring through spreadsheets and manually grouping orders onto a single truck, Load Builders and Optimizers can be leveraged to help logistics teams build and optimize the perfect load every time to save significant money.

Click here to see how one company saved $2.2 million dollars in cost-avoidance within one year by leveraging a TMS!

Will a TMS Save Me Time?

Many people are concerned that a TMS won’t actually save them time because they’ve been doing their job for years and know how to do it like the back of their hand. While “tribal” knowledge and relationships gained over a career aren’t easily replaced, a TMS can speed up even the most seasoned logistics professional. Instead of managing an inbox and voicemail of hundreds of loads, every load and stop on a route is tracked in one place. Spreadsheets are no longer required to transfer order information back and forth and users can spend more of their valuable time working on strategic projects instead of troubleshooting errors.

From shippers with only a few loads a week to enterprises with hundreds of complex orders to sort through each day, leveraging technology can save countless hours. ERP integrations to automatically flow order information back and forth between systems not only improves accuracy but also makes the process of rating and booking much faster. Auditing and optimization features remove previously tedious processes and result in a faster speed from order to delivery. A few minutes saved per order adds up quickly no matter what size company is doing the shipping.

Inmod Furniture Case Study

Not all transportation management systems (TMS’s) are created equal. Make sure to be aware of these common TMS challenges and if you’re thinking of implementing a TMS within your organization:

  •      •     Not every TMS supports all modes of transportation

What to ask: Ask the TMS provider what modes of transportation they do support and whether support is included in all of their purchase levels. Find out if they support full truckload (FTL), less-than-load (LTL), ground freight, air, intermodal, and ocean.

  •      •     The technology wasn’t built on the cloud

What to ask: Find out whether the technology is/ has always been housed on the cloud. If it hasn’t been, make sure that customer reviews reflect the provider’s ability to support a cloud-based technology. Many legacy transportation management systems have not had smooth transitions to a SaaS cloud-based model.

  •      •     Biased in favor of one carrier or 3PL

What to ask: Ask whether the technology is owned by a carrier or 3PL. If it is, determine whether you will be able to add all of your negotiated carrier rates to be viewed side-by-side in the technology. Many TMSs owned by a carrier or 3PL have preferred rates which could detract from your savings. Remember, a TMS should give you an agnostic way to find the best carrier rates.

  •      •     Bad customer reviews

What to ask: Ask to see some customer references before deciding on a TMS. If the TMS provider cannot show you any customer case studies or videos, that should be a red flag. Check out technology review sites like Capterra and Gartner Peer Insights for unbiased reviews from real customers.

So, what is a Transportation Management System?

A TMS is a tool that any size company can use to improve the efficiency of their shipping processes. TMSs like Kuebix TMS help companies capitalize on supply chain opportunities through visibility, control and the use of predictive analytics. And since Kuebix is built on the latest cloud technology, it can be implemented quickly so that any company can begin seeing rapid ROI.

In conclusion, to learn about Kuebix TMS visit here.

Kuebix - Magic Quadrant for TMS

Kuebix Advances Position in 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

It’s a known fact that technology is helping companies around the world speed up their supply chains. According to Gartner research*, “The challenges in transportation around scarce capacity, higher costs and more demanding customers are increasing the need for technology.”

Making the decision to implement any new piece of technology can be a large commitment though. That’s why it’s essential that companies thoroughly understand the different transportation management system (TMS) options before they commit to what could be a lengthy and expensive implementation process if they don’t choose wisely.

Luckily, Gartner, Inc. provides the unbiased insight into the TMS marketplace that business leaders need. Each year, Gartner releases the Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems*. This analysis covers all major players in the TMS marketplace and highlights their varying strengths and cautions. Some TMS’s positively advance their position and others descend.

Kuebix is proud to have advanced its position in this year’s Magic Quadrant for TMS and be recognized for its ability to execute.

“Over 16,000 companies have joined the Kuebix shipping community, recognizing that we are providing an easy to use, fast-to-implement, enterprise-class TMS that delivers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,” commented Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President. “We believe that Kuebix’s advancement in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems is due to our unprecedented market growth, product innovation, and commitment to the success of each and every one of our customers.”

Shippers in any industry with freight to ship can leverage Gartner’s research to help them determine which TMS will provide them the best tools and service to improve their supply chains. They can also view first-hand reviews by real customers on Gartner Peer Insights. Read reviews about Kuebix such as “Core product exceeded expectations as did integration team” and “Implementation was very collaborative and they presented real solutions.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, 27 March 2019

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

ELD Mandate Kuebix

5 Ways the ELD Mandate Has Changed the Supply Chain for the Better

The “U.S. federal government regulation specifying that operators of commercial motor vehicles covered by this law will be required to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs” was first announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2015 and the first deadline to comply was in December 2017“. Since then, the ELD Mandate has sparked conversation through businesses worldwide as they adapt to this change and debate whether or not it’s best for their supply chain. On the pro-ELD side of the debate, here are 5 ways some supply chains have reported benefits since the ELD Mandate went into effect.

Increased Accuracy

Before ELDs, records of service were kept in a logbook. This simple pen-and-paper method cannot guarantee accurate information because it leaves room for miscommunication. With ELDs, the information truckers enter into the system can instantly be sent to a recordkeeping facility or database or immediately become available to the Department of Transportation Authorities. This new and improved process protects the authenticity of the information being entered into the system and allows mistakes or miscalculations to be caught much quicker.

More Information

Management that has their fleets using full-service ELD routes now have a significantly larger amount of information on their fleet operations than they did with the traditional logbook. This new insight gives them more information on how well their operations are running and what they could do better. They have a much easier time planning maintenance for vehicles and appropriately scheduling and staffing. Carriers will also have a better idea of how traffic is affecting their routes and what they could do differently next time to avoid disruptions along with how their gas is being used and how to allocate trucks more efficiently.

Downtime for Drivers

With traditional logbooks, there were a lot of tricks available to be able to cut breaks shorter. ELDs eliminate this possibility and ensure that drivers are getting the required amount of rest between routes. Drivers who are tired are vulnerable to car accidents. Ensuring that they are recording their hours through an ELD helps protect drivers from finding themselves in these situations and makes the roads safer for everyone who drives.

Easier IFTA Calculation

Fleets are required to file IFTA reports at the end of every quarter. This process can be time-consuming and daunting for those working in administrative departments. ELDs solve this problem by automating the calculation process. This saves thousands of dollars by relieving some of the administrative pressure and operational cost. IFTA reports automated by ELDs also eliminate the possibility of inconsistencies or errors, drastically improving the accuracy and ease of the reports altogether.

Higher Profits

ELDs directly result in much higher profits through better route management, increased accuracy in time logs, unparalleled vehicle monitoring, automated IFTA reports, and a reduction in fuel waste. These all contribute to the notoriously high price of supply chains.  Although separately these aspects may seem like minor pieces of the larger supply chain puzzle, a reduction in the cost and increase in efficiency of each of these leads to an overall increase in profits for businesses.

breaking down tms transportation management system jargon kuebix

Breaking Down Transportation Management System (TMS) Jargon

There is a lot of jargon associated with transportation management systems (TMS) that many people find hard to navigate at first. You may never have come across some terms if you don’t have a history of working with TMSs or other forms of tech. The saying “it’s all Greek to me!” might spring to mind.

If you find yourself lost in TMS jargon, take a look at this list of some of the most common phrases and terms used when talking about transportation management systems.

Transportation Management System (TMS)

This one might seem obvious, but actually understanding what a TMS does is crucial before you can understand how the other terms relate. A TMS is a collection of tools housed under a single umbrella technology that help supply chain professionals manage transportation operations. These systems usually sit in between ordering systems (ERPs) and warehouse management systems (WMS) and help streamline rating, booking, and visibility to orders, among other things.

Integration

The term Integration in regards to a TMS means to digitally connect the TMS with another, external system. Intuitively, an integration is a pairing or merging of two entities, ie two pieces of software. Common integrations to a TMS include ERP integrations, API integrations and e-Commerce integrations. Information flows between the TMS and the external system that is integrated.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service, more commonly known as SaaS, is a method of delivering software to users. The software is accessed via a subscription model as opposed to being paid for and owned by the end-customer. This makes implementation, managing issues and getting updates much easier.

Cloud-based

This term is used to refer to a piece of software that was built to be accessed from the internet or “cloud.” Cloud-based applications or services are available on demand via a provider’s cloud computing servers. Cloud-based TMSs are becoming more common as supply chain professionals increasingly need to access their systems remotely.

On-premise

On-premise is the opposite of cloud-based software. Instead of the software being housed online, the software is installed and runs on local computers. This was the first method of selling software and has become an outdated model as the benefits of cloud-based software become even more apparent. On-premise TMSs are becoming obsolete as cloud-based ones are implemented quicker, return faster ROI, and are generally easier to manage.

Managed Services

Transportation-related managed services are programs provided to companies wishing to partially or fully outsource management of their logistics operations. Some companies choose to outsource certain processes to experts to gain efficiencies and dedicate more time to other areas of their business. These programs are often run in tandem with transportation management systems.

Logistics Community

A logistics community is a collaborative group of shippers and carriers around the world. Members of the community benefit from opportunities to collaborate and community-specific functions like truckload spot markets. Communities can be built around a TMS and foster an environment where freight savings and efficiencies can be gained.

Optimization

When someone talks about optimization and TMS together, they are usually talking about load and route optimization capabilities. Advanced TMSs offer optimization tools to their users to build perfect loads based on a variety of parameters. Instead of manually pouring over spreadsheets, TMS users with Optimization functionality can automatically build consolidated loads and route them efficiently.

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Why You Should Be Comparing Your Full Truckload (FTL) & Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Freight Rates

Logistics professionals have their work cut out for them just to get their freight to the customer on time without the added pressure to shop around to find the best deal. At least, that’s the case for folks who are still managing their freight operations in the old-fashioned way, with phone calls to carriers and spreadsheets to track loads. Companies that have already turned to transportation technology to help them optimize their supply chains can easily compare freight rates without wasting extra time.

Technology lets companies automatically pull in all their negotiated carrier rates side by side for easy viewing and comparing. Instead of needing to switch between vendor portals, logistics professionals have all their tariff information contained in one, user-friendly location. This means that they can choose the most attractive rate at the service level they need for every shipment.

Why Should You Compare Your Freight Rates?

Many shippers have carriers that they partner with over and over again, and those relationships can be crucial for the success of the delivery. But if you never get a feel for the market price on a particular lane, you could be vastly overpaying. By comparing rates, you can go back to your carriers to negotiate better terms. You may also discover cheaper capacity is available, helping you save money on total freight spend if you alter your processes for certain lanes.

By shopping around for different freight rates, you could also discover opportunities to deliver faster to your customers. Trends like the “Amazon Effect” are increasing customer expectations, namely the speed at which they can expect their deliveries. Even if you don’t discover freight savings when you shop around, you may discover ways to improve your customer satisfaction.

Another reason to constantly be comparing your freight rates is that prices are continuously changing. Diesel prices fluctuate, the driver shortage and capacity crunch alter carriers’ ability to service their customer base, and competition for capacity grows worse. What may have been the best price one day could suddenly be outperformed by another rate the next. Instead of doing a monthly or quarterly audit of tariffs, companies should be comparing their freight rates each and every time.

Comparing freight rates also allows logistics professionals to determine what mode they want to ship their product. This is particularly important for orders that could be either a parcel shipment of an LTL load. Many people wouldn’t consider shipping what they assumed to be an LTL load as a parcel shipment, or vice versa, though there could be significant savings. By using technology to display multiple mode options all on one screen, companies can be sure to pick the best price, no matter what mode is selected.

Using Technology to Rate Shop

Technology is the answer to this problem for most shippers. By leveraging a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, companies can quickly view all their options and select the best one. This is like booking a flight online were each and every price and timeline is viewable. At Kuebix, we believe that logistics should be just as easy as booking a flight online. And by comparing multiple modes side by side, users get even more opportunities to save money and provide superior service to their customers.

kuebix 10 reasons to get a tms

10 Reasons Every Shipper Should Get a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Transportation management systems (TMS) are becoming more widely adopted throughout the industry as these systems become cheaper (or free like Kuebix Free Shipper) and easier to use and implement. But some companies are still on the fence about whether to manage their logistics operations the old-fashioned way with phone calls and spreadsheets or to leverage technology to help streamline the process.

According to Bart De Muynck, Gartner’s research vice president, transportation technology, “Last year was a great year for TMS. In fact, in 2018 we saw investments go up across the entire supply chain technology spectrum.”¹

Companies are implementing TMSs at record numbers to achieve many different benefits. Here are 10 ways getting a TMS can help your business:

Everything in one place

By using a TMS, companies can manage their entire transportation operations all from a single place. This means they can rate, book, track and interact with their orders no matter whether they’re full truckload, LTL, parcel, air, intermodal or ocean. It also means that they don’t need to bounce between different carrier websites to rate shop.

Lower freight costs

Transportation management systems almost always help to lower overall freight costs for companies. By being able to rate shop within a single screen, logistics professionals can choose the least expensive option at the service type they need every time. It also means that companies have easier access to more carriers, creating beneficial competition and providing more options.

Reduce manual entry

With a TMS, especially one that is integrated with an ERP or ordering system, manual entry is greatly reduced. Information like PRO numbers, pallet weights, and destinations can be automatically populated to reduce human error. And instead of making notes on stickies or disjointed spreadsheets, all the order and route information is in one place, meaning reliable information can be transferred between stakeholders.

Optimize routing and load consolidation

With many TMS systems, you can build more efficient loads and routes with the help of an optimizer. Optimization tools allow the user to specify different parameters for the load and then suggest or even build the optimal load and route for easy tendering. Users can even view the route on a map to have a visual of where the order is planned so that they can make changes as necessary.

Get meaningful analytics

Since all of a company’s logistics information will pass through the TMS, that data can be transformed into actionable reports and dashboards. With a TMS companies can see freight cost per item right down to the SKU level to make strategic changes that impact their bottom line. They can also see things like carrier KPIs, real-time tracking data and vendor scorecards. These reports and dashboards help logistics professionals stay on top of key metrics affecting their company’s profits.

Gain visibility

With real-time tracking and analytics, you can provide your customers with the visibility to their orders that they expect. You can even add features like Dock Scheduler, RFID and ELD integrations, and Gate Check to make it easy to tell exactly where each truck is on the route.

Make paperwork easier

Transportation management systems make the little paperwork that is still necessary way easier. BOLs, PODs and other paperwork can be printed directly out of the system to make processing easy, efficient, and most importantly correct every time. This not only puts time back into the day, but it also speeds up pickup/drop-off times when drivers have accurate information with them.

Scalability

With a TMS, a company is free to grow or change their business without having to worry about how they will handle their transportation operations. When new facilities or more products are added to the business, the TMS will scale right along-side it. TMSs with modular features offer companies extra customizability. For example, if the company begins to sell products online, they can add an e-commerce integration to improve shipping options for their customers.

Meet rising customer expectations

Speaking of e-commerce, the growth in popularity of online shopping is changing customer expectations and making shipping more difficult for supply chains. Companies need to get orders to their destinations faster, cheaper, and with complete visibility. With a TMS, all three of these things are made possible and companies can provide exceptional customer service while meeting rising customer expectations.

Integrate external processes

Another benefit many companies take advantage of once they implement a TMS is to integrate it with their other systems. As mentioned above, some choose to integrate with their e-commerce platforms or their ERP and ordering systems. These and other integrations help to smooth processes across different teams and departments to help keep the flow of information clean and consistent, not to mention speed up the entire operation and improve overall visibility.

All-in-all, there are plenty of reasons a company should consider implementing a TMS to manage its transportation operations. These span from cost to time savings and improve data accuracy and visibility. As put by Logistics Management in their 2019 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Market Update, “As the true workhorses of the supply chain management software cluster, transportation management systems (TMS) have become the “must have” for companies that—working under the pressures of e-commerce and omni-channel—need to move beyond clipboards, spreadsheets, and phone calls to manage their increasingly sophisticated transportation networks.”

¹Logistics Management Magazine

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Building and Optimizing Truckload Shipments with Technology

There’s increased pressure on logistics teams to build perfect truckloads and optimize every route. Freight costs are rising due to the capacity crunch and rising consumer expectations, so cutting freight costs is top of mind for many companies this year. But building the perfect truckload is a challenge for companies that are still manually building and routing their truckload with only the help of a spreadsheet and tribal knowledge.

There are countless factors to take into consideration such as delivery date, location, class, weight and size. Weighing all of these factors without the help of technology usually results in missed opportunities and wasted resources. Instead of pouring through spreadsheets and manually grouping orders onto a single truck, companies can leverage technology to build and optimize the perfect load every time.

Smart algorithms suggest combinations which make sense, save time and help companies achieve the lowest possible costs for their shipments, all while still adhering to pre-determined parameters. Users set the parameters for the truck they want to build, adding in LTL constraints, specifying single stop, pickup and delivery date, maximum capacity, or unit of measure, etc. This ensures that logistics teams still have the flexibility to make changes based on customer requests and other unknown factors.

When load building and optimization technology is built directly into a transportation management system (TMS), the router or scheduler can view all unscheduled orders in an intuitive portal before seamlessly routing the shipment. They can filter by route, warehouse, order type, commodity group, date for delivery, account, order source or even pooling location to build a load with the parameters of their choosing.

Technology like Kuebix’s Load Builder and Optimizer is helping companies move away from manual processes and ensure they are always building the most optimized truckloads. Users can view routes on an interactive map, consolidate shipments with easy drag and drop features, and get alerts if any pre-determined parameters aren’t met. Users save time by comparing the most cost-effective and optimized loads and routes and can easily manage first mile, final mile and pool distribution shipments.

With load building and route optimizing technology, companies gain complete control overload consolidation and optimization. They never miss an opportunity to save money and can plan loads and routes with transparency in an organized way. With pricing analytics at their fingertips, logistics teams can even compare pre-consolidation and post-consolidation costs to see exactly how much money is being saved.

How Breaking Away from a 3PL Helped One Company Save 30% on their Freight Spend

Hyperline Cabling Systems, a company continuously striving to remain ahead of the curve, was dissatisfied with their third-party logistics provider (3PL) and recognized the need to regain control of their logistics operations by implementing a transportation management system (TMS).

In May of 2017, Hyperline made the switch to Kuebix TMS, making the Kuebix technology their logistics system of choice for their national distribution center in Buford, GA. Since implementation, Hyperline has been able to take control of their own supply chain and benefit from tremendous savings, increased flexibility and visibility, saving about 30% on their freight spend.

Hear what Otis Johnson, Warehouse Manager at Hyperline, has to say in the video below:

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Why A Free TMS is A Really Good Thing

Some people have questioned why Kuebix is offering a free TMS and whether the free version is worth their while. The answer is a resounding, “Yes, a free TMS is really a good thing!”

When comparing apples to apples, i.e. free TMS to free TMS, it is apparent that Kuebix Shipper wins over others. Even when comparing apples to oranges, i.e. free TMS to “not free” TMS, Kuebix outshines the competition. Here’s why:

  1. Excellent Customer Service – but don’t take our word for it: “With Kuebix, we can quickly view all our carrier rates side by side and choose the best rate for our shipments. Kuebix is extremely easy to use and the customer support is exceptional.” R.L. Bunting at Chesapeake Spice
  2. UNLIMITED Shipments – Yes, you read that correctly. Some of our competition limits their shipments on paid versions and keep charging you more as your volume increases, but we don’t. Why would you pay when Kuebix has unlimited shipments for free?
  3. Supports All Transportation Modes – Some TMS vendors limit their offering to LTL shipments only. Kuebix, on the other hand, supports all modes – LTL, TL and Parcel – (even with our free version) so you can connect to all your carriers, letting you ship the way you want for the optimal cost.
  4. Multiple Users, Stored Data and So Much More – Kuebix Shipper is a single-user system, allowing any shipper to begin using the core functionality of a TMS – rate, book and track – for free. For business that want to add more users, access shipment data, and so much more, simply upgrade to Kuebix Business Pro for just $99/month.
  5. Scalability – Kuebix Shipper can be scaled up to our enterprise edition as your business grows. The Kuebix TMS uses the same software core – and as your business grows, you can easily add new functionality, without having to learn a whole new system. Our modular solution scales all the way up to the enterprise level with Premier Applications, Integrations and Managed Services to meet the needs of any supply chain.

Most importantly, the free TMS supports our vision, of a global community where all members gain value from membership. We have removed the barrier of cost to let all shippers get started with a powerful TMS and take control of their freight operations. This is similar to how the widespread adoption of affordable smart phones changed the way we communicate and interact. A TMS that is available to any size business and budget will have the same impact on the shipping world, moving it into the collaborative digital era.

A global community of shippers and service providers will help to match demand with capacity, allowing trucks to fill more efficiently.With collaboration across the community, fleets and drivers move more continuously, shippers get faster access to available capacity, and load consolidation becomes something that’s easy to accomplish.  All of this improves the bottom line – giving value to everyone in the community.

Now that is worth its weight in gold, even if it doesn’t cost you a thing.