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3 Innovations Driving Sustainability in Supply Chains

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

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

Battery-Powered Trains 

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

Alternative Truck Fuel

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

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

Packaging Automation is Becoming a Reality for Supply Chains

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

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

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

How Packaging Automation Works

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

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

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

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

What the Future Holds for Packaging Automation in Supply Chains

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

Kuebix is a Challenger in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

Kuebix, a leading transportation management system (TMS) provider and connected supply chain innovator, is recognized as a Challenger for the second consecutive year in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems. Kuebix is recognized in the research for its Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. Kuebix is a Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) Company.

“We believe our positioning in this year’s Magic Quadrant for TMS reflects our accelerated customer growth and continued commitment to product innovation,” said David Lemont, Kuebix General Manager. “This includes a significant movement to the right for Completeness of Vision this year and upward movement for Ability to Execute, a category Kuebix has moved up on every year since its initial inclusion in this research.”

According to the research, “TMS technology is on the rise… Factors such as the need to reduce costs; improve internal productivity, efficiency and customer service; increase visibility; and make better use of capacity are driving the growth of the market through 2024.”

Kuebix is a modular cloud-based solution that allows a range of companies from small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises to obtain an optimized transportation management system (TMS) for their business by selecting modular capabilities and integrations. The addition of Kuebix to Trimble is enabling the connection of Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks with Kuebix’s extensive shipping community, creating unprecedented opportunities for freight demand-capacity matching and other efficiencies. Kuebix’s ability to integrate with native complementary capabilities of Trimble such as Mobility vehicle telematics solutions, Visibility freight tracking solutions and Trimble MAPS solutions is empowering Kuebix to produce next-level transportation management solutions for the marketplace.

“Our vision for a truly connected supply chain continues to be proven with our growth surpassing 25,000 customers as a result of our exceptional user experience, proven time-to-value, and industry-leading technology,” said Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and Vice President of Product Innovation & Strategy for Trimble Transportation. “We are extremely pleased that Kuebix continues to be positioned in this important research, and believe that this positioning highlights our leadership, vision, and ability to continuously deliver value to our customers.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.


Source: Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, Carly West, 30 March 2021.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our 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 research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Clark Kuebix

Dan Clark Recognized as 2021 Supply Chain Pro to Know

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

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

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

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

How Plant-Based Protein is Shaking Up the Food Industry

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

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

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

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

What this Means for Supply Chains

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

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

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month in the Supply Chain

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

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

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

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

Women in the Transportation Industry

Spotlight on Female Truck Drivers

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

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

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

Ramona Hood Makes FedEx History

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

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

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

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

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

Melonee Wise Makes Waves with Fetch Robotics

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

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


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

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

The Logistics of Valentine’s Day at Home

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

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

Flower Purchases and Deliveries

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

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

Meal Kits

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

Boxes of Chocolate

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

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

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

What is Mass Personalization?

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

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

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

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

How Does Mass Personalization Impact Supply Chains?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Demand Trucking - Kuebix

Status of On-Demand Trucking

On-demand trucking is the process of finding capacity for shipments “on-demand,” rather than through negotiated agreements ahead of time. When a shipper leverages a load matching platform to find last minute truckload rates, for example, that is what is known as on-demand trucking. This type of trucking helps carriers fill empty miles and shippers find the trucks they need when their regular lanes don’t suffice.

The U.S. transportation market is quickly ramping up technology-enhanced options to move products, goods and people in an effort to keep up with demand. Consumers are accustomed to free two-day shipping and detailed tracking information to follow their package every step of the way.

These expectations are becoming increasingly hard to reach as Covid-19 disrupts supply chains throughout the world. Businesses are struggling to adapt to new rules and regulations, shipping delays and material shortages. Consumers are stocking up on essential products like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and flour, making it increasingly difficult for stores to keep their shelves stocked.

Any business looking to fulfil these requirements and navigate through changes brought on by the pandemic need to outperform their traditional operations. On-demand trucking is a viable solution to meet all of these needs. Trucking companies can use it to find additional product that needs to be moved in the area to eliminate wasteful empty backhaul and businesses can find reliable coverage when they need it most. It’s a win for everyone involved!

What’s driving the growth of U.S. on-demand trucking?

It’s no wonder there’s such a big demand for on-demand trucking. Unpredictable market conditions, changing import/export levels and new technology have all combined to speed the shift to on-demand trucking:

  • Volatile market conditions. In recent years, lack of trucks and a scarcity of drivers-for-hire have combined with high freight demand to severely restrict U.S. trucking capacity/availability.
  • Electronic logging devices (ELDs). Federally mandated ELDs closely scrutinize and monitor drivers to be sure they follow hours of service (HOS) laws, which can impact driver productivity.
  • Rising spot and contract rates. Trucking rates continue to rise while capacity remains tight, driving some shippers to move portions of their freight to intermodal transportation or “rail.”
  • Trucking apps. New apps are taking center stage: Uber Freight’s app operates much like its ride-sharing service. Both Convoy and Amazon have apps that target on-demand freight, as well, matching trucking companies with shippers who have freight that needs to move. This “at-your-fingertips” flexibility means shippers have flexible options for meeting their trucking needs; carriers can choose higher- and faster-paying freight.
  • Rising interest rates. Higher rates mean higher costs for transporting goods, so shippers are best served by choosing their best transportation options.

How does on-demand trucking work?

On-demand trucking has a bright future for freight and transportation management and load matching:

  • Provides a broad network of real-time carriers. This is not the old days when you had to contract with carriers to lock in capacity months or even years in advance for every single one of your lanes. On-demand trucking apps and spot markets let shippers connect with thousands of independent “owner-operator” drivers with empty truck space to sell in real-time to cover last minute or unusual loads.
  • Leverages technology to handle settlements. Real-time freight visibility is important, of course, but it’s just as important to ensure driver certification and timely, accurate freight pick-up and delivery and settlement processing. Having a transportation management system (TMS) connect directly to the asset (driver) through a platform that provides access to drivers and ensures drivers’ certification and compliance–as well as manages the settlement through an Uber-like payment configuration–can be a great way to simplify and streamline your business.
  • Focuses on getting shippers normal or “specialized” capacity on a transactional basis. Unlike dealing with large, asset-based carriers, the Uberization of freight means shippers can connect with drivers who offer capacity and even specialized freight treatment—like refrigeration–on back-hauls, making it a win-win for shippers and carriers.

On-demand trucking offers shippers a proven and flexible way of conducting their business, with real-time visibility over truck assets and a simpler way to access settlement, liability and other functions via a single interface. Read how recent innovations in web service technology mean shippers can get direct carrier rates, POD and BOL images, online shipment scheduling, and real-time status updates from all carriers on one platform.

The Future of Drones in the Supply Chain

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

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

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

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

How Drones Can Help Supply Chains

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

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

How Truck Drivers Can Stay Ahead of Winter Weather

January is upon us which means unpredictable winter weather. Truck drivers are preparing for freezing temperatures, snow and ice in the air and on the ground as well as  corrosive road treatments. Below are a few ways that truck drivers can withstand a season filled with harsh conditions and sometimes unexpected roadblocks:

Check Air Systems and Maintain Tire Pressure

A truck’s air system plays an integral part in braking, automated manual transmissions and emissions controls. As temperatures begin to drop, any moisture trapped in the air system freezes which often leads to brake and valve malfunctions. Tires deflate as temperatures drop for the same reason. It’s important to regularly check and empty the air system and monitor tire pressure to ensure they don’t fall victim to the cold weather.

Keep Fuel Tanks Full

Regardless of vehicle size, it’s common knowledge that fuel tanks should be kept more than halfway full throughout winter. This is especially important for truck drivers because any moisture trapped in partially empty fuel tanks can freeze and ice fuel lines. Keeping fuel tanks over halfway full throughout the winter is critical in avoiding situations where trucks refuse to start. The added pressure of a full fuel tank can give them much needed traction when there is a surplus of snow on the ground. 

Plan A Route Ahead of Time

If any amount of snow is going to be on the ground, it’s important for truck drivers to have their routes planned out ahead of time. Logistics professionals can leverage advanced mapping technology to simplify the process. Taking a look at all the different ways to reach the destination makes it easier to avoid any narrow or windy roads that a driver wouldn’t feel comfortable navigating in winter weather. Additionally, drivers that know the route they’re taking ahead of time can identify rest stops in case road conditions become unbearable.

Leverage Supply Chain Visibility

Communicating information regarding a shipment’s current location and estimated arrival time is especially difficult during the winter. Truck drivers often face barriers along their routes like roadblocks, accidents and weather that forces them to pull over and take a break. Logistics professionals can leverage visibility in technology to provide stakeholders with real-time tracking information and updates regarding the location of their drivers. 

Keep Snow off the Roof

While snow-covered roads are more commonly recognized as a danger when driving in the winter, piles of snow and ice on the roofs of trucks and truck beds pose an equally significant risk. Any snow or ice left on top of a vehicle could end up falling off and causing an accident for someone else. Some companies have even started working on technology to clean the snow off of truck beds and save drivers the hassle.

Kuebix Receives Supply & Demand Chain Executive 2020 Green Supply Chain Award

We’re excited to announce that Kuebix, a Trimble Company, has been selected as a Supply & Demand Chain Executive Green Supply Chain Award winner! 

The Green Supply Chain Awards recognize companies making sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategy, as well as those working to achieve measurable goals within their operations. Recipients of this year’s award have made sustainability a priority in a time of crisis, focusing on ways to reuse or recycle items throughout their operations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed supply chain risks and vulnerabilities that were previously overlooked. Companies are scrambling to adapt to new rules, regulations and shipping delays. Kuebix TMS empowers shippers to take control of their supply chains with next-level visibility and new opportunities for collaboration. 

Leveraging supply chain technology like Kuebix TMS makes it possible for companies to improve their operational efficiencies and move towards a more sustainable supply chain. In times of uncertainty, it’s especially important that shippers are able to leverage a platform that brings them significant ROI and time savings. By making better informed decisions, Kuebix users are able to automatically reduce fuel usage and overall expenses!

Handling Supply Chain Disruptions with Warehowz & Kuebix TMS

Supply chains throughout the U.S. are feeling the impact of massive disruptions in their logistics operations brought on by the pandemic. Manufacturing, transporting and storing products while meeting new rules and regulations regarding health is a lot for companies to handle. These best practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are subject to change as new information emerges. The best way to handle these challenges is by leveraging technology created specifically to simplify logistics operations. Below are a few of the latest forms of technology that can help supply chains navigate this uncharted territory: 

Warehowz

Companies that utilize technology in their supply chains are more digitally agile, making it easier for them to adapt to the unexpected. Fluctuations in consumer demand can lead to empty store shelves and shipping delays. The amount of inventory needed is subject to abrupt change and has led businesses to turn to on-demand warehousing.

On-demand warehousing makes it possible for companies to find additional storage/ warehousing services without making a long-term financial commitment. With the pandemic requiring many businesses to keep larger amounts of inventory on hand, Warehowz is the perfect solution for those in need of extra space.

Warehowz is a cloud-based online marketplace that provides additional warehouse storage. Businesses in need of additional short-term warehouse space can use the platform to connect with warehouses that have unused space they are looking to fill. Warehowz is dedicated to providing users with a solution that provides flexible, easy to procure and reliably managed solutions.

Leveraging Warehowz is easy. After users create an online account, they can publish their listing and receive detailed project proposals from potential matches. Once a user accepts, Warehowz provides the download, billing and payment tools needed for a swift exchange! 

Kuebix Transportation Management System (TMS)

A smoothly running supply chain depends on effective management of each of its parts. Logistics professionals need to be aware of details from the warehouse all the way to the store shelf. While supply chain management is already a daunting task, disruptions brought on by the pandemic make it even more complicated. Businesses looking to improve operational efficiencies across their supply chain will benefit from a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix TMS. 

With Kuebix, customers, shippers and carriers can collaborate on the same platform. Users are able to compare rates side-by-side instead of flipping between multiple carrier websites. Kuebix TMS generates detailed reports and analytics that enable users to make better informed shipping decisions and hold carriers accountable. 

Finding capacity in the right lane is especially difficult with so many fluctuations in demand and raw material shortages. Users can leverage Kuebix Community Load Match and become a part of the community made from 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. With Kuebix Community Load Match, shippers get a new source of truckload capacity and carriers can fill their empty trucks.

To discover even further time and money savings, users can integrate their enterprise resource planning platforms (ERPs) like Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and Sage 100 with Kuebix TMS. An integration between Kuebix TMS and an ERP means that product and order details flow directly between the two systems. Users don’t have to waste time re-keying information or worry about human error.

Both Kuebix TMS and Warehowz enable their customers to stay digitally agile and handle whatever disruptions their supply chains face!

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