Back to School 2020 Blog Post Image

Back to School Looks Different for Supply Chains This Year

Fall is approaching and with it comes back to school season. However, Covid-19 has left the 2020-2021 academic year looking different than previous ones. School districts throughout the U.S. are deciding between in-person, online or a mix of the two instruction styles for their students. Many of the country’s major K-12 schooling systems including Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago have chosen to move forward with a remote learning environment. With so many districts expected to follow their lead, companies manufacturing products considered essential for a successful online learning experience are scrambling to keep up with heightened demand. 

Preparing for the unpredictability of the school year has proven itself costly. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending will increase by 26% in comparison to last year. Families with children attending K-12 plan to spend an average $789.49 per family, while college students and their families expect to spend an average $1,09.20 per family. Additionally, 55% of families expressed that they’d be shopping online for back-to-school items rather than in person.

The most essential back-to-school item every student needs for online learning is a laptop. Three of the world’s biggest computer companies, Lenovo, HP, and Dell, have reported a shortage of nearly five million laptops. Schools purchasing electronics in bulk for students started to experience shipment delays in the spring. Setbacks worsened as the pandemic continued to spread. A combination of increased demand and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 have made it challenging for these companies to prepare themselves for back to school season.

Accessories like wireless headphones, microphones and monitors are also experiencing an increase in consumer demand. Many students have traded in their concerns about the first day of school outfits for ones about the proper desk setup and gadgets to have the best video call possible. 

Adjusting to New Shopping Patterns

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of electronics and other office products have their work cut out for them this fall. Products that may have previously been considered optional on back-to-school shopping lists are a necessity for those starting their school year at home. Clothing stores dependent on students shopping for their first day of school outfits are trying to stay on trend and produce more loungewear. 

A successful supply chain must be able to adapt to changes regardless of how unexpected they are. The best way to stay on top of things is to leverage technology like Kuebix TMS. With Kuebix TMS, users have visibility throughout their transportation supply chains and can adapt to last minute changes by leveraging the built-in truckload spot market, Kuebix Community Load Match

Being aware of details regarding shipment location and order information helps companies stay prepared. Users are able to automate manual processes and allocate the time saved to more sensitive areas of their supply chains and improve customer service. Detailed reports and analytics serve as feedback for companies by helping them identify potential opportunities for improvements and strengths. A transportation management system strengthens logistics operations as a whole, making it easier for companies to handle any fluctuations in demand the school year brings!

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
  •      •     Simplify collaboration with supply chain stakeholders
  •      •     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. It’s important to realize that not all companies operate in the same way, and a scalable transportation management does just that. 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.Cloud-based platforms create an opportunity for next-level collaboration across supply chains. 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: Any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery.
  2. Booking: 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. Picking the rate with the best price and service level is both faster and easier!
  3. Tracking: Transportation management systems provide detailed tracking information on shipments all the way from the warehouse to their final destination.

Together, these features unlock potential for improved operational efficiencies and increased visibility throughout the supply chain.

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.

Many transportation management systems can be implemented within a matter of days or weeks. The cloud-based nature of the platform makes online updates and troubleshooting significantly easier for users. Simplified installation and upkeep leads to significant and long-term time and money savings.

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.

TMS’s Can Be Integrated with Users’ ERP Systems

Most transportation management systems (TMS) have several out of the box ERP integrations but can also customize an integration for any ERP system capable of sending and consuming data. Shippers can seamlessly integrate with some of the most popular ERP systems including NetSuite, Sage 100 and Microsoft Dynamics.

ERP integrations are commonly added to a TMS like Kuebix to increase efficiencies for shippers and drive cost savings. These integrations allow information like product and order details to flow automatically from an ERP or ordering system directly into TMS software and vice versa. This means that users don’t need to waste their time rekeying data between different systems and removes the risk of human error.

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. Kuebix TMS allows all supply chain stakeholders to collaborate on a single platform. Actionable analytics and detailed tracking information help to improve customer service. 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.

Trimble Visibility Blog Post 2

Complete Supply Chain Visibility with Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS

Supply chain visibility is the ability to view each aspect of the supply chain in detail as moves are being planned, alerts are sent and real-time adjustments are made. Shippers with complete visibility across their supply chains are able to improve operational efficiencies, provide better customer service and leverage detailed analytics to make better informed decisions. 

True supply chain visibility relies on a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS). Companies that utilize a TMS automatically have a dynamic record of their logistics operations they can use to identify improvements that need to be made. For Kuebix TMS users, achieving and utilizing visibility is even easier thanks to their recent integration with Trimble Visibility.

Overview: Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS 

Trimble Visibility inside of Kuebix TMS is helping shippers gain true visibility to their supply chains. With Visibility, any shipper can track and trace orders in real-time by modularly adding Trimble Visibility as a Premier Application. This means there’s no need for external or disjointed systems, improving usability and accelerating customer service. 

This Premier Application offers companies real-time insights and aggregated supply chain data for the answers they need on their FTL, LTL, and parcel loads. With Trimble Visibility, shippers can leverage GPS technology in use by their carriers to track shipments and leverage predictive analytics to proactively manage exceptions.

Key Features

  •     •  Real-time status updates
  •     •  Automatic text and email alerts for milestones
  •     •  Predictive analytics to determine loads in jeopardy
  •     •  Geo-fencing and GPS tracking
  •     •  Live mapping

Key Benefits

  •     •  Quickly view the status of shipments
  •     •  Be able to act on loads in jeopardy before they become late
  •     •  Pass-along tracking information to customers and partners
  •     •  See exceptions in minutes, not days
  •     •  Accurately report on OTD, detention, etc.
  •     •  Do it all from one platform!

How Does Trimble Visibility in Kuebix Work?

Trimble Visibility aggregates tracking information from EDI and API connections, mobile apps, ERP or WMS integrations and telematics from carriers. Any way a carrier reports out on statuses can be captured with Trimble Visibility, or even an Excel spreadsheet sent through an FTP channel. From here, Trimble Visibility applies advanced algorithms and predictive analytics to present users with important alerts like loads which are in jeopardy of being late.

Kuebix has integrated Trimble Visibility fully into the TMS so that users can seamlessly access Visibility data on their shipments without needing to leverage separate software. When accessing Trimble Visibility through Kuebix, a user can simply click on the tracking icon on a shipment in Kuebix’s Manage Shipments grids to ‘drill down’ into quick view information like origin, destination, routing, and a shipment progress bar. From here, users can view information including departure times, in-transit statuses, delays, and warnings based on traffic, weather, and other predictive analytics.

Users can dig further into the status of an order by viewing shipments in real-time on a live map for a visual representation of all their loads. This view is fully customizable and filterable based on pre-defined parameters such as location, product brand, customer, SKU, or business unit, etc.

Mobile App for Carriers

Carriers that don’t already have connections via traditional EDI, API or other integrations can incorporate Trimble Visibility’s mobile app, VisibilityDrive, into their operations to provide seamless tracking information to shippers. Drivers simply download the app on their cell phone, select statuses like “In-Transit” and deliveries are tracked via satellite GPS. Drivers can also upload pictures of damages, discrepancies, or signature captures so that customer service departments have the information they need to act quickly when issues arise. Any type of OS&D message can be lumped into the Exception status type. Information is transited automatically back to Kuebix for accurate record-keeping and ease-of-access.

Proactive Shipment Alerts and Status Updates

Instead of combing through shipment statuses looking for trucks which are in jeopardy of missing their delivery windows, users can leverage Trimble Visibility’s dynamic alerting capabilities to get notified via email or text message. Alerts can be automatically sent to vendors, suppliers and customers as well, cutting down on communication time and improving visibility. Alerts are easy to set up and customized using a menu of options within the platform so that important shipment milestones never get missed.

In addition to automatic alerts, users can click the “Share” button on a shipment to send a scrubbed, ‘shared view’ to customers or vendors via text or email.

Location Settings and Polygonal Geofencing

Users can define specific locations by importing or drawing on satellite images or specifying radiuses around a target location. For example, a user could set a .2 mile radius around a customer’s warehouse to know when the driver has arrived for delivery. This provides users with an independent and accurate version of a truck’s location. When a truck passes a predefined marker, an alert will trigger marking the delivery as “Arrived” or “Departed” from the location. Shippers can use this information to get specific detention accessorial and OTD reporting.

Optional Branded Web Address (or URL)

Companies that want their own fully customizable URL can opt for their own instance of Trimble Visibility. This allows the format of the page and tracking links sent to customers to be branded with the company’s colors and positioning. For example, Anheuser-Busch used www.TrackMyBud.com for their customer portal. SSO support is also available to dedicated tenant users looking to access the application without keeping track of separate user credentials.

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.

Chemicals Blog Post Image

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.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix & Trimble Announce Joint Launch of New ‘Community Load Match’

Kuebix and Trimble announced today new capabilities for its Community Load Match platform, a solution that facilitates collaboration between shippers and carriers to optimize how freight moves throughout the supply chain. Kuebix is a Trimble Company and part of the Transportation Sector.

This latest version of Community Load Match marks the first milestone in achieving Trimble and Kuebix’s mission of a connected transportation supply chain since Kuebix was acquired in January 2020. Now, Community Load Match enables shippers to use advanced matching capabilities to more easily find available carriers for their truckload shipments and leverage improved map visualization through Trimble MAPS. For carriers, these capabilities give them direct access to Kuebix’s community of more than 20,000 shippers for matching shipment requirements with available truckload capacity.

“Just four months post-acquisition, a joint Trimble-Kuebix team is releasing the next-generation capabilities of Community Load Match, powered by our community of shippers and a rapidly growing network of Trimble carriers,” said Dan Clark, Kuebix founder and Trimble vice president of Product Innovation & Strategy. “This is an exciting first step as we pursue our vision of a truly connected supply chain.”

Kuebix integrates with Trimble’s Innovative, TMW.Suite and TruckMate carrier transportation management systems (TMS), allowing shipment data to seamlessly flow between systems for maximum efficiency. Connecting Kuebix shippers with Trimble’s carrier network through a single integrated platform brings together two of the largest shipper-carrier ecosystems in North America.

“Trimble’s acquisition of Kuebix is part of our strategy to enable a collaborative, fully-connected supply chain,” said James Langley, senior vice president, Trimble Transportation. “The evolution of the Community Load Match platform represents a tangible step toward achieving this mission, making it easier for shippers and carriers to work together to identify capacity and more efficiently move freight.”

Community Load Match connects shippers with a rapidly growing carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet truckload needs on one platform. Shippers can easily request and receive rates from the carrier community, including their contracted carriers. Kuebix’s shipping community is composed almost entirely of direct shippers and manufacturers, resulting in a high-quality source of freight for carriers. Community Load Match provides the ability to designate preferred lanes, ensuring that carriers are only connected with shipping customers with requirements in lanes they are looking to fill. Kuebix also offers shippers complimentary rate assessments leveraging community carriers to optimize logistics operations and source new capacity.

 

Shippers can begin leveraging Community Load Match with 60 free days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS. Carriers can begin filling their open capacity and finding new customers by becoming a Kuebix Community Carrier.

For more information, contact the Kuebix Load Match Group by emailing LoadMatch@kuebix.com

State of Supply Chain Blog Post

Transportation of Goods in a Changed World

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of both small and large businesses for the foreseeable future. Supply chains throughout the country are adapting to changes in demand and new rules and regulations. Manufacturers, suppliers and truck drivers are adjusting to changes posed by Covid-19 every day.

 How Truck Drivers are Operating in an Economy That’s Weathered Covid-19

 Roughly 70% of America’s freight travels by truck. Many of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the country are busier than ever as a direct result of the pandemic. However, their operations are not exempt from change. Meals once looked at as a healthy break or chance to unwind are now spent inside trucks instead of rest stops. According to a survey released this month by Change to Win, 7 in 10 truck drivers reported operating in more dangerous working conditions during the pandemic. Their job, like most essential workers, requires them to risk exposure every day they are out on the roads.

 The Department of Transportation issued new guidance for truck drivers as a result of their critical role in keeping the U.S. economy moving throughout the pandemic. The new set of rules is based entirely on feedback from members of the industry. Drivers are now allowed to split their mandatory ten hours of rest in two different ways – either an 8-2 split or a 7-3 split. Prior to the change, drivers were forced to take the entire ten hours at once. Allowing drivers to split rest time is designed to allow them to have more flexible hours without compromising their safety.

 The trucking industry is working tirelessly to keep essential businesses stocked and running, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to the negative effects of Covid-19. The Labor Department recently reported that 88,300 trucking and warehouse positions were lost even though firms are busy delivering critical supplies to hospitals, clinics and grocery stores. When the pandemic hit America earlier this year, there was a surge in demand as the world started shopping in bulk. This surge fell in April and continues to slow down as individuals and companies plan their recovery. Regardless of changes in demand and available staff, truck drivers continue to perform an essential service.

What Trucking Companies Can Do to Succeed In a Changed World

 Kuebix recognizes that it’s never been more important to keep America’s supply chains running. That’s why we are offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS. Kuebix Business Pro TMS is a cloud-based platform that allows users to expand their capacity and effectively manage their supply chains remotely. Users can increase operational efficiencies by utilizing features that allow them to connect with all of their carriers in one spot, grant access to multiple users in multiple locations and leverage integrated analytics to make more informed decisions.

 Kuebix TMS provides access to Community Load Match. With Kuebix’s Community Load Match, the process of finding truckload capacity is drastically simplified. Users can connect with Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet all of their truckload needs on one platform. Community Load Match allows users to supplement existing capacity with reliable alternatives and ensure they’re choosing the best provider for every truckload shipment.

Through leveraging technology, businesses can ensure that their truck drivers are prepared and informed regardless of the challenges presented by Covid-19. While no one can be sure of what the next couple of months will bring, utilizing data and staying informed will set the transportation industry up for success!

Kuebix TMS Medical Equipment and Supplies Blog Post

Battling Medical Device and Equipment Supply Chain Disruptions During Covid-19

Medical devices and equipment are tantamount to tactical gear and weaponry in the war against Covid-19. Without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like disposable gloves, masks and gowns, our healthcare workers are entering the battlefield without the assets they need for success.

It’s not only PPE and products like ventilators that are essential during this grueling period of history; the supply chains of standard medical devices and equipment are also being disrupted. Everything from heart disease to seasonal allergies haven’t been put on pause just because there’s a global pandemic. The disruption in the global supply chain is putting strain on all facets of the medical industry and putting people at risk if the medical companies they rely on to keep them healthy falter.

Medical Device and Equipment Shortages

During times of enormous strain on the medical industry, the U.S. government is called upon to provide states access to the emergency stockpile. According to two health officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, however, the national stockpile of masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, and face shields was already severely depleted at the end of March. To put this into perspective, a report by the U.S. Oversight Committee in mid-April confirmed that New York had received 4,400 ventilators and another 3,520 went to places like New Jersey, Washington, Michigan, Illinois and Florida. Currently, there are 1 million+ confirmed cases in the United States.

To combat the shortage, individual manufacturers of medical equipment have stepped up their production efforts. Sourcing materials from international supply chains has proved to be highly complex, as different countries have responded to Covid-19 in different ways, some even halting raw material manufacturing completely.

Other companies in various industries have added their production power to the medical device and equipment shortage fight. Companies like Lego, Under Armor, and Xerox are manufacturing face shields, masks, and hand sanitizer respectively to help out the overburdened medical industry.

Connect Remotely by Leveraging a Cloud-based TMS

In a pre-pandemic world, many logistics teams were still relying on email, phone calls and shared Excel sheets to manage their freight. With a majority of people working from home, these more traditional forms of collaboration aren’t enough for medical equipment and device companies trying to navigate a turbulent supply chain.

Cloud-based transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS have changed this, however. Now, with the help of technology, every supply chain stakeholder from the logistics department, AR/AP, sales and customer service can collaborate in a single system and work off of the same transportation information. This means that teams scattered across multiple location can quickly rate, book and track their essential deliveries to ensure the public is supplied with life-saving equipment without ever having to pick up the phone.

By leveraging a cloud-based TMS like Kuebix TMS, teams can work off of the same set of information, maintain historical data for analysis and digitally connect with carriers for rating, booking, tracking and managing freight.

Plan Ahead to Instantly Access Truckload Capacity

With so many supply chains in chaos and trucking companies either overburdened by spikes in demand of struggling to fill empty lanes, finding real-time capacity and pricing for domestic freight may seem like a challenge. Companies that rely on the same small set of carrier partners will find themselves overpaying or missing deliveries as the pandemic’s effect on the supply chain worsen.

To get set up with the best chance of covering every load at the best price, medical companies need to ‘build their bench’ of carriers. With a wider selection of carrier partners to choose from, the likelihood of optimally covering every load increases dramatically. This means that tight margins can be maintained and business can proceed as smoothly as possible.

The best way any company can quickly and easily ‘build their bench’ is by connecting digitally with a vast network of asset-based carriers. Instead of negotiating spot quotes one-by-one, manufacturers and distributors can instead turn to their connected community to request bids all at once and tender proceed with tendering their freight. From there it’s a simple process to turn those direct carrier relationships built off of spot quotes into negotiate contracted carrier rates as needed.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix Community Load Match is a platform that allows any Kuebix TMS user to quickly connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers, brokers, freight marketplaces and direct carrier assets. The system enables shippers to request and compare spot rates from their carriers and the Kuebix community with the touch of a button, while retaining control of their freight by choosing the carrier or broker directly.

Users’ job is simplified by tendering all shipments using one system for spot quoting as well as booking with regularly negotiated carrier rates. Instead of switching between carrier websites or hammering the phone, shippers can instead view all of their bids in a single place to choose the best one for their freight.

By connecting digitally with a platform like Kuebix Community Load Match, medical companies can quickly build their bench of carriers and meet the surges in demand arising from this crisis.

How Kuebix is Helping Medical Device and Equipment Companies During Covid-19

The essential role medical device and equipment companies play during the Covid-19 pandemic is unquestionable. For that, everyone at Kuebix would like to say Thank You. Their continued efforts keep households, doctors and hospitals equipped with the products they need to keep everyone healthy.

At Kuebix, we want to help keep America’s supply chains moving. That’s why we’re offering 60 free days of our award-winning Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help companies during Covid-19. As many of us switch to remote operations, cloud-based TMS technology like Kuebix can help shippers collaborate within their supply chains and gain access to the carriers and capacity they need.

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!

Kuebix Gartner Magic Quadrant Challenger 2020

Kuebix Positioned as a Challenger in the Latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

Kuebix, a leading transportation management system (TMS) provider and creator of one of North America’s largest connected shipping communities, has been recognized as a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems. Kuebix is a Trimble Company.

“Our velocity in the marketplace continues with 24,000 customers and growing as a result of our superior user experience, rapid implementations, and innovative technology,” said Dan Clark, Vice President of Product Innovation & Strategy at Kuebix. “We are excited to be recognized as a Challenger and believe that Kuebix’s positioning in the Challengers Quadrant validates our leadership, vision, and ability to continuously deliver value to our customers.”

Kuebix TMS can be implemented more quickly than more traditional monolithic software. Kuebix is a modular cloud-based solution that allows small to medium-sized companies up to the largest enterprises to select features and integrations to configure the ideal TMS for their business. In January 2020, Kuebix was acquired by Trimble, bringing Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks together with Kuebix’s extensive shipping community, which will create unprecedented opportunities for freight demand-capacity matching and other efficiencies.

“Combining Kuebix’s innovative TMS and growing shipping community with Trimble’s strength and scale will allow us to accelerate the innovation we are delivering to the marketplace,” said James Langley, Senior Vice President, Trimble Transportation. “This combination also positions us to provide maximum transportation efficiency to all of our customers.”

According to the Gartner research, “By 2022, spend on TMS applications will be $1.94 billion, accounting for 31% of the $6.2 billion supply chain execution (SCE) market. This growth will be driven by the replacement of on-premises software with SaaS applications.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.


Source: Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, 25 March 2020.

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.

Kuebix TMS Valentine's Day Flowers

The Supply Chain of Your Valentine’s Day Flowers

The History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day existed in a variety of forms before settling into its fixed date of February 14th. It can be traced all the way back to a mid-February holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, existing as a day to celebrate the possibility of new life even before Saint Valentine was around. 

Saint Valentine’s reputation became permanently linked to love because of his work as a Roman priest. Soldiers were forbidden to marry because a Roman Emperor believed married soldiers did not make good warriors. Saint Valentine married these soldiers anyways and wore a ring with a Cupid on it – a now infamous symbol of love – to help soldiers identify him. This legend is largely responsible for Saint Valentine becoming known as the patron saint of love.

Medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer solidified Valentine’s Day as a holiday for romantic love in 1381 with a poem he wrote, and the “modern” commemoration of a romantic partnership with one other person on February 14th began. 

Valentine’s Day Flowers By the Numbers

Celebratory staples for Valentine’s Day include chocolate, stuffed animals and bouquets of flowers. The Society of American Florists estimated that 35% of Americans will purchase flowers this year, equating to about $2 billion in sales. Most shoppers don’t stop to think where the abundance of beautiful flowers come from, but it takes a lot more than love in the air to get stores stocked in time

The U.S. produces fewer than 30 million roses, barely making a dent in the 200 million roses that are expected to be purchased for Valentine’s Day. Most of these flowers are imported from Columbia before being sold and sent to recipients in the United States. In total, UPS expects to ship 89 million flowers this year, weighing in at roughly 9 million pounds! 

The Complicated Logistics of Shipping Flowers

Having a perfect Valentine’s Day is difficult for anyone – supply chains included. Flowers are highly perishable and depend on a multinational cold supply chain to ensure quality and delivery within as little as two days. Trucks responsible for the transportation of flowers have to be temperature controlled and stick to a tight schedule to ensure customer satisfaction. 

UPS is no stranger to the pressure of Valentine’s Day. They recently announced the addition of 50 flights to handle over 517,000 flower-filled boxes traveling through Miami International Airport. Temperature-controlled aircrafts and trucks are responsible for importing flowers from fields all over the globe to the United States. UPS rushes to meet the shipments at their Miami facilities and get them into a refrigerated warehouse cooler. From there, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents inspect and sort boxes for clearance before they’re ultimately received by their distributors to be delivered. 

Whether you’re giving or receiving a fresh bouquet of flowers this Valentine’s Day, be sure to thank the complex supply chain that made its safe delivery possible! 

 

G2 Blog Image

We’re In the Leaders Category in the G2 Grid® for Transportation Management Systems

Kuebix, a Trimble Company, has advanced from the High Performers category to the Leaders category in the G2 Grid® for Transportation Management Systems! The grid spotlights the highest-scoring transportation management systems (TMS) based on verified user reviews and aims to help shippers evaluate the best TMS options. Kuebix has an overall score of 4.8 out of 5-stars.

G2 is a respected, unbiased source of real user reviews for all types of technologies. The company scores products and vendors based on reviews gathered from its user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. G2 applies a unique algorithm (v3.0) to its data to calculate the customer Satisfaction and Market Presence scores in real-time.

“Being recognized as a Leader in this year’s G2 Grid® for Transportation Management Systems shows the value of our connected community and industry-leading technology,” said Dan Clark, VP of Product Innovation & Strategy at Kuebix, a Trimble Company. “Receiving this recognition proves that we have been able to overwhelmingly satisfy our customers, which is our #1 priority at Kuebix.”

Users of Kuebix TMS who left reviews on G2 said:

  • “Easy to use and great support,” said one operations professional.
  • “Kuebix is the best!!! Kuebix is super user-friendly and very efficient to use,” said one Logistics Manager.
  • “Kuebix is a huge timesaver! I love how Kuebix lets us sort through quotes from all of our different vendors,” said one user in the Wholesale industry.

Click here to view Kuebix’s full profile on G2 and read other verified user reviews.

About G2, Inc.

The world’s leading marketplace for business software and services, G2 drives better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on more than 500,000 peer reviews and synthesized social data. Over 23 million business buyers around the world have trusted G2 to gain unique insights. Co-founded in 2012, G2 aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. The company also offers scholarships to college students who are aspiring entrepreneurs.

To learn more about G2 or write a review, please visit https://www.g2.com/.

 

10 Keywords Logistics Professionals Should Keep an Eye on in 2020

The start of a new year means that it’s time to realign priorities and set new goals. This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch! There are plenty of topics and information from 2019 that are important to carry over into 2020. Below are a few keywords that are sure to make headlines this year:

1. Network-based Communities

A network-based community is a group of people interacting through their network-based platform. Network-based platforms are formally defined as a piece of technology or software that connects its users to create mutually beneficial opportunities for all involved.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Often referred to as AI, artificial intelligence is gradually becoming more common in the transportation industry. Artificial intelligence is the development of computers that allows them to perform tasks that traditionally call for human intelligence.

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment a user experiences through sensory experiences created by a computer. The user’s actions alter what happens within the environment. In addition to its popularity in video games, virtual reality (VR) has begun to extend beyond the realm of entertainment. Many trucking companies use VR-based training programs for new hires.

4. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics extends beyond a traditional view of operations. It refers to the process of using data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to provide the most accurate projection of a company’s future performance possible. Predictive analytics uncovers patterns and relationships within data that create room for growth and improvement within supply chains.

5. Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is one that can direct itself without human conduction. While many don’t realize it, autonomous vehicles are already making deliveries in some parts of the country and are projected to be a significant part of the transportation industry!

6. Digital Supply Chain

The term “digital supply chain” refers to a supply chain dependent on capabilities provided by the internet to operate. Digital supply chains are always on and hyper-collaborative with carriers, suppliers and shippers on a singular network.

7. Transportation Management System (TMS)

A transportation management system (TMS) is the key to staying competitive in a continuously evolving marketplace. It is a system that companies can use to digitally manage their freight operations and eliminate traditional processes like calling and emailing partners.

8. Customer Experience

As consumer expectations continue to rise, their experience as customers become more and more important. Customer experience refers to the customer’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions regarding the employees, channels, systems and products of the company they are interacting with. Satisfaction with delivery is a big part of customers’ overall experience.

9. Sustainability

Growing environmental concerns mean that sustainability should be on every company’s mind. Those who are considered to have sustainable operations often utilize a TMS to transition into greener, more eco-friendly habits. Users are able to optimize truck routes and reduce supply chain waste – All while helping the environment!

10. Amazon Effect

It’s no secret that Amazon is dominating the retail industry. Amazon’s free, 2-day shipping guarantee to its Prime members has become an industry standard. The “Amazon effect” refers to customers demanding Amazon-like services such as fast shipping and visibility throughout the supply chain.