Kuebix Transportation Management

Why is Transportation Management Important?

Before transportation management systems (TMSs) came into the picture, nearly all logistics processes were done on paper. Shippers spent countless hours calling and emailing internal and external partners just to ship their freight. Transportation management technology changed all of that.

The first TMSs were housed on-premise and did speed up shipping processes. However, since these pieces of technology resided solely within the “four-walls” of the company, they presented many challenges. These included difficulty updating to the latest version and integrating with other platforms. These issues inspired the creation of cloud-based transportation management systems. Cloud-based transportation management systems allow users to connect with internal and external partners and applications much more easily and offer scalability impossible with on-premise software. This modern version of a traditional TMS also offers a quick start-up, low usage costs and greater flexibility.

Many members of the industry often wonder why transportation management is important and why it continues to evolve. The truth is technology is changing every industry and transportation and supply chain are no exception. Many businesses feel that their current operations are working just fine. That doesn’t mean they aren’t missing opportunities for time and money savings, collaboration with other industry members and an increase in customer service quality. Ignoring the significance of transportation management and all it has to offer means missing out on opportunities and the rapid return-on-investment competitors who have adopted a cloud-based TMS are already experiencing. So, what are the reasons transportation management is important?

Benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Save Time and Do More Without Adding to Labor Costs

The implementation of a TMS keeps companies from wasting a significant amount of time on mundane and repetitive paperwork. Technology speeds up the performance of necessary tasks and allows companies to delegate time to other aspects of the business, allowing them to do more without driving up costs.

Reduce Human Error and Streamline Operations

Time spent comparing carrier rates and booking shipments is significantly reduced through the use of a TMS. Options are displayed on a single screen to make comparison and final decision making faster and easier. Users that integrate their ERP with their TMS eliminate the concern of human error occurring when re-keying orders.

Improve Visibility and Customer Satisfaction with Better Information to Communicate

Transportation management systems provide users with real-time tracking and order information. Companies are equipped with detailed and accurate information to pass onto customers, providing visibility across the supply chain and improving their customer service.

Aggregate Your Shipping Data in One Place to Easily Analyze for Strategic Decision-Making

Shipping data funneled into actionable reports and dashboards allow users to understand every detail of their freight spend. Companies can make strategic decisions based on data provided to further improve their operational efficiencies. They can also be used to evaluate carrier KPIs and total freight spend by item.

Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Utilizing a TMS drives down expenses through improving the timeliness and accuracy of operations across the board. Logistics teams can save significantly on total freight spend by always comparing rates to select the best one for every shipment. Companies who implement a cloud-based TMS have increased visibility throughout their supply chain, opportunities for communication and collaboration with carriers and customers, and significant time and money savings.

How Do I Know What Kind of TMS Software is Right for Me?

To determine which kind of transportation management system (TMS) suits your company best it’s important to think about how many shipments you’re making each month and how many locations you have. By answering a few simple questions, Kuebix can provide your company with a personalized recommendation to help answer this question.

UK Drug Bust Port Shipping Containers

Is Globalization Causing an Increase in Illegal Shipping Container Activity?

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

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

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

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

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

Is Globalization to Blame?

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

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

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

Blockchain and Tracking Technologies Can Help Curb Illegal Activity

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

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

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

Importance of Visibility - Kuebix Supply Chain

The Power of Supply Chain Visibility for Complicated Supply Chains

Shipping some types of product, like fragile or hazardous goods, isn’t quite like shipping anything else. There are special considerations to take into account like product compatibility, axle weight distribution and unconventional loading equipment. The driver might need to be specially certified as well, since the product being shipped requires special care. For shippers transporting these types of goods, being able to view the status of their orders through every step of the supply chain is necessary to avoid accidents and understand performance.

What exactly is supply chain visibility?

Supply chain visibility is the ability to view every cog of the supply chain as moves are being planned, alerts are sent, and real-time adjustments are made. This keeps supply chain operations running smoothly and customer satisfaction high. The backbone of visibility is a cloud-based collaboration portal that can be shared by the customer, the supplier and carrier partners. This single platform will be used as a dynamic record of truth for the changes that need to occur across the supply chain to keep the delivery of goods moving efficiently. Visibility and collaboration go hand-in-hand and result in improved efficiencies across the supply chain.

How can visibility help improve my supply chain?

Collaborate with suppliers to plan labor and deliveries more efficiently – Before product can leave the distribution center, it’s important that the supplier can view the full backlog of orders they need to fill. By employing a shared portal based in the cloud, suppliers and customers can collaborate to exchange order information. This provides the supplier the information they need to plan production and commit to promise dates so that the customer can plan their business. When shipping untraditional goods like bulk chemicals or fragile glass products, its especially important to know that the appropriate labor or assets are available for moving product. Without the right equipment, entire truckloads can be delayed or missed, causing repercussions all along the supply chain.

Collaborate with carriers to improve performance and customer service – Once the order has been booked, the carrier participates in the collaboration portal and begins to provide status updates on their delivery. Many carriers provide electronic notifications through various protocols including EDI or web services driven from GPS or ELDs. Electronic tracking provides visibility to the customer and supplier on the true status of their orders. By giving carriers a platform to house shipment information, suppliers and customers alike can always know where their goods are and when to expect them to arrive at the next destination. When discrepancies like damages or late deliveries arise, it becomes easy to track where in the supply chain the process broke down. Tracking orders down to the SKU level helps to weed out underperforming carriers and eliminates the time previously spent calling carriers asking the same question, “where’s my truck?

Getting supply chain visibility for complicated supply chains.

With complete supply chain visibility, shippers and suppliers can ensure their supply chains are running smoothly. For businesses shipping fragile or hazardous goods, it is especially important to be able to view each node of the supply chain to foresee potential risks and trace issues. Implementing a cloud-based platform to act as the “record of truth” encourages efficiencies when planning labor and deliveries while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction. To learn more about how supply chains can achieve visibility, download Kuebix’s ebook, Driving Supplier, Carrier and Customer Collaboration: The Power of Supply Chain Visibility.

Team process visibility

Driving Collaboration Through Visibility

According to Supply Chain Insights, supply chain visibility comes in as one of the top “elements of business pain in supply chain.” Why is visibility within the supply chain such a big challenge?

First, there are many players involved, from suppliers to producers, manufacturers, shippers, carriers and end customers. Next, add more complexities to the mix: globalization, customer expectations, volatile demand and mounting regulations. These factors create a messy and complicated environment for supply chain professionals trying to see what is happening up and down their entire network of stakeholders.

What is needed is end-to-end supply chain visibility.

To facilitate visibility, all stakeholders need to use a common platform that allows them 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.

What is this common platform?

It is a cloud-based collaborative portal, like that offered by Kuebix TMS, that can be accessed by all stakeholders from any device and from any location. This single platform serves as a dynamic record of truth for all the changes that occur across the supply chain, keeping the delivery of goods moving efficiently.

First, a purchase order is made.  Suppliers look at the portal and plan production and inventory schedules to meet customer demand. Suppliers will notify their customers through the collaboration portal which deliveries they can make on time and which need to be back-ordered due to low stock.

When suppliers commit to a promise date, customers can look at the portal to plan their business based on delivery dates. If the customer has chosen to pick up the order using their own carrier, the supplier can print shipping labels for those orders directly from the portal. Because every stakeholder is referencing the same information via a collaborative portal, they have immediate access to everything they need to make informed decisions and plan their supply chain.

Carriers can provide updates on the status of their deliveries through the collaboration portal as well. If carriers are using electronic logging devices (ELDs), customers and suppliers can visibly track the real-time status of their delivery. Dock scheduling solutions like Kuebix’s allow carriers to see open time slots and locations at the dock, empowering carriers to reserve an appropriate time for delivery so they are not left idling in the yard.

Part of the backbone of visibility and collaboration is a set of rules and procedures that suppliers and carriers need to follow. These procedures on yard, safety, consolidations, etc. promote proper supplier and carrier behavior and ensure the most efficient operation. Any violations which occur are shown in the portal, so all parties know the status of issues and can work together to address them. This provides a heightened level of visibility and accountability for all stakeholders.

Kuebix TMS provides supply chain professionals the visibility they need to maximize efficiencies, minimize costs and improve customer service. Working together via a collaboration portal is a win-win-win for suppliers, carriers and shippers.

Other inbound logistics management best practices to improve visibility can be found in The Art of the Inbound.

Busy distribution center

3 Fundamental Issues of Inbound Shipping and How to Correct Them

There is a profound difference between inbound and outbound logistics – inbound deals with the delivery of raw materials or goods coming into a business, while outbound logistics refers to goods leaving the business. Inbound logistics operations involve a relationship between suppliers and a business, while outbound relates to the business, its products and its end customers.

When businesses start using a TMS, they often focus first on outbound logistics processes because these operations are less complex. However, according to the Aberdeen Group, a business can spend more than 40% of its annual freight budget on inbound operations. A more efficient inbound freight program can streamline processes and achieve greater savings.

There are 3 fundamental issues that occur when a company doesn’t manage its inbound operation:

     · An excessive number of inbound deliveries leads to congestion, greater idling times and higher unloading costs.

     · Little visibility into arrival times and deliveries wreaks havoc at the dock and warehouse.

     · No standard routing guide or compliance procedures opens the door to inefficiencies, driving up the cost of goods and introducing additional problems throughout the supply chain.

How can businesses begin to streamline their inbound operations?

As a starting point, businesses should collect data on their freight volumes, frequency and cost for shipments being shipped inbound. This will help them to understand what to measure and how to recognize improvements.

It’s important that companies partner with suppliers to determine the most cost-effective shipment method – whether customer pick-up (CPU) or supplier controlled (VDS). After determining the shipping method, the next step is to implement a standard routing guide for supplier compliance procedures to change inefficient supplier behavior that are driving costs into the supply chain. Companies can also establish a dynamic rate allowance program by leveraging technology to calculate the best possible vendor allowance for every shipment based on actual carrier rates.

Once a company has established control over how their inbound goods are being shipped, they can focus on what constitutes an optimal inbound order. Part of the routing guide should establish a set of carriers for all shipments whether CPU or VDS to increase opportunities for consolidation. Consolidating shipments to make fuller trucks reduces the number of deliveries and all the associated costs.

A freight industry technology leader, Kuebix has been named to Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Provider for 2018. This accolade is given to providers whose solutions are central to solving transportation, logistics and supply chain challenges, and serves to reinforce Kuebix’s commitment to helping businesses streamline their inbound operations.

Additional, more detailed inbound logistics management best practices can be found in The Art of the Inbound.

Kuebix Global Logistics Community

Global Online Logistics Community: If You Build It They Will Come, Sometimes

Over the past decade, there has been a focus in the transportation industry on creating new avenues for finding capacity, getting better rates and improving customer service. To this end, a number of online communities have popped up with the promise of freight savings through matching carrier capacity to shipper demand.

However, over the years many of these communities have failed. Here are 5 reasons:

  1. A focus on spot rates only
  2. No support of negotiated carrier rates
  3. No direct connection to carriers
  4. No sticky factor to keep the shippers coming back
  5. High barrier of entry to get shippers on boarded

Many online logistics communities were originally established as a marketplace for volume spot transactions. A major reason these communities failed was because they focused on just a small piece of the way companies ship freight. On average, 90%+ of freight is booked via negotiated carrier rates, leaving just 10% or less for volume spot rates. Most communities built around volume spot rates alone failed because they didn’t offer access to the negotiated carrier rates that companies use to ship their freight the vast majority of the time.

Many communities also underestimated the importance of long-standing carrier relationships. However, direct connection to carriers was not possible until just a few years ago when carriers began exposing their APIs for rating, booking and tracking on their websites. Now technologies like Kuebix can build direct connections to carriers, allowing companies to view all their carrier rates, book shipments and track freight on one platform.

Communities also need a “sticky factor” to entice members to join and keep them “glued.”  An online logistics community must offer a tool that logistics professionals use every day, like a transportation management system.

Finally, a community must have a very low barrier to entry. Free versions of technology are very appealing for this reason. Think about what would have happened if, when Facebook was started, people were charged to connect to the network and use its features. Because Facebook is free, millions of people were able to join the community without any barriers.

The idea of building a community that offers dramatics savings by matching carrier capacity to shipping demand is appealing, but communities that are not built with shippers’ day to day needs in mind are destined to fail.

Learn more about Kuebix’s Free TMS and the Global Logistics Community. Try our new Freight Rate Calculator.

Gaining Supply Chain Visibility Doesn’t Have to be a Daunting Task

Supply chain visibility (SCV) is at the forefront of supply chain leaders’ minds in 2018. Today’s businesses need to know where their product is, when it is going to be delivered, and every detail regarding the contents of their freight. It’s also essential to provide this level of visibility to all the stakeholders in the supply chain. Silos between procurement, warehouse ops, finance and the customer cause breakdowns in the system, resulting in wasted time and lost revenue. Imagine connecting all the logistics professionals who are working to ship your freight from point A to point B on one seamless interface. Giving stakeholders access to the same actionable information in real-time sets them up for better communication and the ability to remove roadblocks.

For many companies working diligently to compete in the new landscape, the prospect of enhancing visibility to their supply chains is daunting. The expected time commitment and resources required to integrate legacy systems with a transportation management system (TMS) is often seen as too costly and inefficient; outweighing the benefits of such a system. These barriers to service are hindering many companies’ ability to gather data on their supply chains and compete at the high-level Amazon has made the industry standard.

Kuebix is revolutionizing logistics management with its intelligent TMS. By seamlessly connecting legacy ERP systems with Kuebix and bolstering the direct customer-carrier relationship, Kuebix enables shippers to see every node of their supply chains. Stakeholders can use one solution to view and manage their freight, saving time and breaking down silos. And depending on the scope of the integration needed, Kuebix TMS can be ready to use in a few weeks to a few months. This modular, scalable solution gives companies previously unable to cope with the commitment of old-fashioned TMS systems the ability to make data collected across the supply chain available to all users and gives them greater control and visibility into what is happening across their enterprises.

Supply chain visibility will be a weighty topic in 2018, as the industry acclimatizes itself to new levels of supply chain control. The question is no longer whether visibility is essential for shipping companies, but how long customers are willing to patronize suppliers without it. The competition will become fiercer and the bar continue to be pushed higher. Here are Kuebix we are excited to see how the demand for increased visibility will continue to evolve the supply chain.

Amazon Effect

Retailers vs. The Amazon Effect

Consumers are enamored with Amazon and its superb treatment of its customers, providing customers with visibility to their orders from dock door to the final destination – all shipped within a timeframe that ranges from a few hours to a few days. Consumers expect every retailer they order from to have the same customer service capability. While this may not be fair, its reality, and retailers need to revamp their operations to comply.

E-Commerce businesses need to provide accurate, on-time delivery of customer orders to keep customer satisfaction and profits up, but successful shipments for the right price require a transportation management system (TMS) that integrates with e-commerce platforms. By integrating with a TMS, e-commerce businesses get complete control over carriers, rates and modes of transportation and can gain access to more quality carriers across all modes, offering the most competitive rates and opportunities for freight consolidation.

E-commerce platforms integrated with Kuebix TMS put world-class shipping power within the reach of any business, regardless of the size. E-commerce businesses have a one-stop transportation shop to choose any transportation mode and services at their fingertips when their e-commerce platform is integrated with a TMS, creating flexibility in deliveries, such as consolidation opportunities.

A TMS provides the ability to batch, rate, schedule, track and analyze orders for improved operations when serving customers, creating greater efficiencies and lowered costs. Using an e-commerce platform integrated with Kuebix TMS streamlines logistics operations to control costs, ensures delivery accuracy and speed, and enhances customer service.

Recently, Kuebix integrated with e-commerce platforms, Big Commerce and Shopify, allowing merchants to better serve customers. Real-time visibility across the entire supply chain from checkout cart to the end user’s door allows you to communicate estimated delivery times and supply alerts if a shipment will be delayed. Because Kuebix TMS supports all modes, including parcel, LTL and TL, e-commerce you can choose whether it is more profitable to ship heavier items via LTL than the traditional parcel method.

With an integrated TMS, e-commerce merchants are empowered to choose the best mode that best accommodates each shipment’s freight amount, weight and dimensions; distance to destination; delivery speed and priority; special handling requirements; and other direct-to-consumer variables. Kuebix TMS offers advanced analytics to monitor and influence issues at a granular level, allowing managers to quickly visualize freight spend savings or carrier performance.

Access to the most competitive rates from all transport modes boosts sales as more customers expect competitive pricing on shipments. Merchants are able to see their logistics operation as a profit center, rather than a cost center by saving on delivery costs. Kuebix TMS offers full tracking and visibility of your freight expense down to the SKU level across every mode and along every step of its journey.

Got an e-commerce shop? Look into how you can better price your transportation transactions so you don’t lose money and so that your customers will get their orders when they want them. Contact Kuebix today.

2018 Predictions

2018 Supply Chain Predictions

In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”

To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in 2018. Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms, and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch. Digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.

These are the innovative technologies that I predict companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:

Cloud-based technology deployments lower cost of ownership due to not having a large capital expenditure on hardware and upgrades. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for any size business because they can be scaled up as your business grows and are easier to set-up and manage.

Advanced Analytics will support real-time decision making based on data captured across the supply chain. With analytics, businesses can more effectively predict and fill demand. You can also manage relationships with carriers, suppliers and customers while improving processes. Using advanced analytics in a transportation management network to look at historical traffic patterns, you can plan a truck’s route that takes into account time delays for more accurate arrival times.

Tracking and Tracing of raw materials through manufacturing to the end customer must take on Amazon-like capabilities, meaning customers will know where their orders are at any one time, just like when you order from Amazon. With track & trace, you will get deep visibility to SKU-level information from first-mile to last-mile, including the tracking of costs to better monitor transport spend. Communications with customers will be proactive instead of reactive, alerting customers if their order will be late or when it will arrive.

Supply Chain Visibility will make data collected from end-to-end across the supply chain available to all stakeholders, giving them greater control and visibility into what is happening across the enterprise. You can uncover roadblocks within your supply chain that could lead to delays in shipping.

Blockchain will provide interconnectivity between ledgers of supply chain trading partners, enhancing traceability of transaction history. Automating the flow of information among trading partners provides transparency and boosts efficiencies. Blockchain works with cryptocurrency to determine payment amounts, allowing drivers to be paid as they complete parts of their journey. This completely removes the transport broker from the equation, giving drivers access to quicker settlement. However, blockchain is still a technology that needs further development before it can be proved useful to some businesses.

Artificial Intelligence initiatives require specialists who are hard to find, potentially stalling any projects. AI utilizes algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning such as predicting whether a carrier will be on-time based on weather conditions and past performance.

Predictive Analytics, often combined with Artificial Intelligence, helps shippers understand, automate and optimize their supply chain processes to gain better efficiencies. Predictive analytics provides shippers with actionable intelligence to guide the decision-making process, helping you to reduce costs and optimize operations. Scorecards on carrier performance can alert shippers on which carriers can better meet their service obligations.

The Internet of Things (IoT) – More devices, from pallets to trucks will have sensors embedded to transmit status and performance data. This real-time information will be used for monitoring everything from equipment health to asset locations to order tracking and more. Advanced analytical systems use the data to uncover trends that lead to performance improvements and cost reductions.

Kuebix TMS is a game-changer for your business in 2018, regardless of the company size because Kuebix offers advanced applications to meet the needs of even the most complex supply chain operations. Kuebix TMS finds the best freight rates for all modes, books and tracks shipments, audits and manages transport finances and utilizes advanced analytics to measure and monitor trends and performance activities. Kuebix TMS offers full tracking and visibility of your freight expense down to the SKU level across every mode and along every step of its journey.

The ELD Mandate Adds to Truck Driver Shortage Woes

Did you know that many truck drivers have said that they would rather quit the industry than use an ELD device? In April of this year, Overdrive did a survey of its readers that showed 70% of truck drivers were opposed to the ELD mandate. The magazine goes on to speculate what the marketplace would look like without these truckers, “Assume the 71 percent of independents who say they’d quit actually do, and apply that to carriers in the for-hire population with one to five trucks. This would equate to an overall loss of about 260,000 trucks, according to data mined by RigDig Business Intelligence, Randall-Reilly Business Media’s equipment- and business-data analysis unit. That would remove more than 10 percent of the industry’s capacity. When the 71 percent is applied to carriers with up to 15 trucks, it leads to a capacity reduction of more than 27 percent, or about 709,000 trucks.”

The American Trucking Association (ATA) expects the driver shortage to grow to 239,000 by 2022, primarily due to retirement and increased driver demand. Combine this with the notion that many drivers will quit when the ELD mandate becomes live next month and the ATA has seen double digit gains in the annualized turnover rate for both small and large truckload fleets, jumping 16 percentage points to 90%, the highest it has been since Q4 2015. For smaller carriers with less than $30M annual revenues, the turnover rate grew by 19 percentage points to 85%, the highest since Q1 2016. This news cements the acceleration of the driver shortage, making it an ever-critical challenge to be solved.

At Kuebix, we believe that the best approach to solving the driver shortage is for shippers to implement a four-part plan that focuses on young age groups to ensure a steady flow of skilled and energized individuals that see the profession in a new light. The plan to mitigate the driver shortage includes:

· Embracing Robust Technology – As younger age groups spend lots of time online and with their smartphones, using mobile device apps to track vehicle location and to update the driving experience should be a key focus for shippers. Virtual reality is being used by many transportation companies to train drivers. This age group also seeks tech-savvy employers that continue to apply technology to address transportation management challenges in the form of social media and disruptive technology, along with pursuing startups that use advanced tech to drive their business forward.

· Recruiting the Recruited – Tackling the driver shortage by opening the profession up to those with actual truck driving experience who find it difficult to move from a trucker in the armed forces and/or driving chops in war zones is another way to increase the number of drivers. The most attractive aspects of recruiting the recruited is the fact that drivers from the services are already experienced, which should lighten the load substantially from a training and education standpoint.

· Tapping into the STEM pipeline – As the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curricula gains greater adoption from grade school on up, graduates learn problem-solving skills that can be used in transportation, along with other industries. By sponsoring STEM events, corporations can open the doors to their future workforce by showing students career paths to follow in the transportation industry.

· Recasting the Profession – Sitting back and waiting for the driver shortage to solve itself is not an aggressive enough solution that will end the issue quickly. The industry needs to get more determined, go on the offense and purse the above-mentioned opportunities. Think like the youth of today and reach them where they live, offer the tech they use, catch them at an early age and make sure they’re well aware that driving is much more than just steering a vehicle. Be at high school (and trade school) career fairs, be on campus just like college recruiters are and where members of the armed forces are concerned – be there for them when they need your support the most.

Plus, shippers need to be more creative and think of new ways to gain efficiencies and reduce costs. Technology like the Kuebix TMS can help by giving shippers high levels of visibility across their entire transportation networks—and connectivity among all partners. Cloud-based Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are helping companies connect in one place to less-than-truckload, truckload, and parcel carriers; receive real-time LTL quotes using direct carrier rates; and request and receive spot quotes using a single shipment management interface. Technology can help put a dent in the driver shortage challenge, while improving transportation operations – that’s a win-win for all parties involved.

hand shake

How to use Data to Build a Stronger Carrier Relationship

Strong partnerships between carriers and shippers are important for the most efficient and effective freight operation. When shippers and carriers work together as a team, respecting one another’s time and business objectives – a win-win partnership is created that leads to continuous improvement in logistics efficiency and customer service.

How can shippers and carriers improve their relationship? Shippers should provide accurate weight and size measurements of their freight, file claims quickly, not keep drivers waiting at their warehouse and fulfill promises of consistent loads. Carriers must negotiate fairly with shippers, adhere to routing guide compliance, pickup shipments on time, invoice shippers accurately and provide a consistent level of exceptional service.

How can this be done?

The answer is technology that can help manage the carrier and shipper relationship by capturing all transactional information and using this data to foster accountability. The Kuebix Transportation Management Systems (TMS) capture data across every shipping event to provide visibility into true levels of service and efficiency. The accurate and timely data from the TMS can be used to monitor and validate communications and interactions between shippers and carriers, but Kuebix takes this one step farther.

Kuebix Carrier Relationship Manager uses this information to deliver Freight Intelligence to easily analyze the performance of carriers in the form of carrier scorecards. Typical analysis can be performed on:

  • • Carrier rate benchmarking by lane
  • • Carrier responsiveness
  • • Load acceptance rate
  • • Claims percentage by shipment – how many damages occur and by which carrier
  • • Rate exception percent
  • • On-time performance
  • • Invoice and freight bill accuracy and solving inaccuracies
  • • Driver performance
  • • Reliability of equipment and processes
  • • Documentation – accuracy, availability, etc.

Leverage this feature to work with your carriers with a set of metrics and facts rather than anecdotes. Carriers will appreciate the fact-based approach to performance monitoring, resulting in stronger relationships and improved service levels.

Keep the logistics team more organized with all contact information, schedules and tasks kept in one location. The new functionality will relieve admin of countless hours of chasing paperwork and tracking communications, while keeping carriers accountable. Carriers will benefit from clearly defined goals, while shippers will benefit from improved performance and service levels.

Kuebix Carrier Relationship Manager is a new, standard feature of Kuebix Business Pro TMS, a full-service transportation management system that features unlimited shipment management, advanced analytics, carrier scorecards, financial management with freight rate invoice and claims control, and much more. Kuebix Business Pro is available for a free 14-day trial.

Did Black Friday/Cyber Monday Tax Your Logistics Operation?

This year’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail sales broke records. According to Shopify, orders exceeded 10,000 a minute on Black Friday. Shoppers purchased more than 600,000 apparel items, 360,000 accessories and 210,000 houseware products from Shopify merchants in a single day. Over $1B US in sales was processed by Shopify e-commerce stores over the past weekend. During the past 4-days, Shopify merchants shipped orders that travelled globally 12.6 billion miles to reach customers, “more than 10 times the distance from the Earth to Saturn.”*

Adobe Analytics, which tracks the 100 biggest online retail shops, says that US retailers brought in a record $7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving and an additional $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday. It is estimated at the peak of the shopping frenzy, shoppers were spending close to $1M per minute. That is a lot of orders!

Now that orders have been placed, they must be delivered. As a shipper, can your logistics operation keep up with the velocity of orders speeding through your e-commerce engine? Or will you have to pay expedited freight charges to make sure customers get their orders on-time? Can you quickly find capacity with your contracted carriers to stay ahead of demand? Can you easily contract with carriers for any mode to book a load? Can you effortlessly compare your contracted rates to the spot market to find a better rate? And once the holiday rush is all over, can you look historically at shipment data to find areas for improvement?

With a Kuebix transportation management system, shippers can do all of the above – and more.

Kuebix Shipper is a free TMS that allows shippers of any size to rate, book and track shipments via LTL, TL and Parcel – all in about the time it takes to purchase an airline flight online. Join our online global community of shippers to help match demand with capacity during this busy holiday season.

Kuebix Business Pro is a full-service TMS for multiple users with advanced analytics and carrier scorecards, freight bill audit and pay, claims management and integrations with other solutions. Using Kuebix Business Pro during the busy holiday season allows you to uncover rate exceptions and discrepancies for added savings; integrate your order management system for streamlined transport planning; and leverage analytics to reduce freight spend.

Kuebix Enterprise is a configurable TMS that offers advanced applications to meet your logistics operations’ needs. Managed services provide shippers partnerships with Kuebix freight experts to uncover even greater efficiencies and savings, with full-tracking and visibility of your freight from dock to customer door.

 

 

 

By choosing the right TMS, retailers can keep up with the exponential growth of their e-commerce operations during this holiday season and beyond.

 

* https://www.shopify.com/blog/black-friday-cyber-monday-2017-recap

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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.

The Future of Freight: Why We Launched a Free Transportation Management System (TMS)

The Future of Freight: Why We Launched a Free Transportation Management System (TMS)

In October of 2017, Kuebix launched its free transportation management system (TMS), Kuebix Free Shipper. This platform offers unlimited rating, booking and tracking of TL, LTL, and parcel freight. It was the first step in the evolution of transportation management systems.

Why it’s Important

In the past, it was common practice to manage freight with spreadsheets and other manual processes or outsource to third-party logistics providers, both of which soaked up vast amounts of valuable time and money. With Kuebix Free Shipper, businesses of any size have the opportunity to streamline operations with a single cloud-based platform, removing room for potential miscommunication and monotonous tasks.

Bart De Muynck, Vice President of transportation technology research at Gartner, says that “Transportation management systems (TMS) have become the ‘must have’ for companies that – working under the pressure of e-commerce and omni-channel – need to move beyond clipboards, spreadsheets, and phone calls.”[1]

Though transportation management systems have been around for some time, the implementation and ownership costs typically associated with TMSs have been too high for small and midsize companies. Kuebix Free Shipper removes the cost barrier for those companies that only need a base TMS. Companies looking for advanced functionality can take advantage of Kuebix’s modular and premier features with an upgrade to Kuebix Business Pro or Kuebix Enterprise. The TMS adjusts seamlessly to fit the needs of any size business so that logistics operations can be performed at peak efficiency.

Free TMS Features

Regardless of budget or company size, Kuebix Free Shipper allows users to:

  • • View and negotiate LTL, TL, and Parcel rates and transit times
  • • Get spot quotes for volume freight
  • • create, book and manage shipments
  • • Access and print BOLs and shipping labels
  • • Receive real-time tracking updates on shipments, providing more accurate information to pass onto customers

Improving supply chain visibility and efficiency is made easy through the adoption of Kuebix Free Shipper. Companies who experience growth and find that they need more advanced features can upgrade at any time rather than jumping ship and searching for another TMS platform to manage their logistics operations. Kuebix TMS has the unique flexibility to fit the mold of any company at any stage of their growth.

What Customers Say About Kuebix’s Free TMS

 

Marc Orlando, Logistics Manager at hardware and software manufacturer, Bizerba, says that “Kuebix has allowed us to create a marketplace for our business with our carriers and help us better manage the day-to-day logistics operations with real-time information in ways we were not able to do previously.”

Through the implementation of the TMS, Bizerba was able to improve visibility across its supply chain and improve their operations through the insight they obtained as a result of this change. Additionally, having shippers and carriers utilizing the same platform has improved communication between everyone involved in the shipping process.

Gunner Kennels, a dog kennel manufacturing company, used a 3PL to manage their freight prior to partnering with Kuebix. Brandon Beasley, Vice President of Operations at Gunner Kennels, says that they “realized we were wasting a lot of money by using a 3PL to manage our transportation operations. We knew that if we had contracted rates directly with carriers, we could save a lot of money.”

Transparency throughout the supply chain is vital in terms of ensuring that your company is getting the best rates. Gunner Kennels realized that sacrificing visibility and trusting an outside party to handle their operations was no longer worth the cost. They wanted to have more direct involvement in their transportation operations to ensure that they were saving as much money as they could. By implementing Kuebix, Gunner Kennels was able to part ways with their restrictive 3PL and make this vision possible.

Our Goal

Kuebix has set out to eliminate the price barrier that traditionally excluded small to midsize businesses and establish a community of shippers by making transportation management systems more widely accessible throughout the supply chain. With Kuebix Free Shipper, the amount of time and effort it takes to compare rates and set up shipments is drastically reduced. Users have access to all their negotiated and spot rates to compare and choose the rate that best fits their shipping needs.

Kuebix is challenging the way shippers traditionally think about transportation management systems and ensuring that these digital advantages are not reserved only for larger companies. Establishing and maintaining this all-inclusive platform not only allows companies to save time and money, but also collaborate through visibility across their supply chains.

Benefits of Scale

By offering a free TMS that shippers can easily add modular or premier applications to with the choice to upgrade, Kuebix is creating a community like no other in the industry. Kuebix’s Shipping Community has brought together 16,000+ shippers of all sizes and with all different business needs.

Every shipper that uses Kuebix TMS expands the Kuebix Shipping Community and the community is connected to a vast network or carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and carrier marketplaces creating an ecosystem that generates efficiency for all stakeholders. This ecosystem of supply chain professionals is formed by all shippers, brokers, suppliers, and carriers actively using the cloud-based platform, therefore creating more opportunities with scale. Key among these opportunities is the chance to match available freight with available capacity. The larger the community, the bigger the potential benefits through greater collaboration. The community continues to grow as we add new, valuable features like Kuebix Community Load Match for our users.

[1] https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/2019_transportation_management_systems_tms_market_update_keeping_pace_with