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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2020

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week holds a special meaning this year as truck drivers have gone above and beyond to keep stores, hospitals and other healthcare facilities stocked in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 3.5 million truck drivers working in the U.S. continue to safely and securely deliver essential goods. From passing out lunches to decorating highways with ‘I 💚  Truck Drivers’ signs, everyone’s finding a way to get involved and show their gratitude. Here are just a few of the reasons to be thankful for truck drivers:

 

1.   Truck Drivers Work Long Hours

Being a truck driver demands a lot of time spent on the road. The average truck driver works 60 hours a week and drives 107,000 miles per year*. Long weeks paired with long drives require a serious amount of dedication!

2.   The Trucking Industry Keeps Our Economy Strong 

The trucking industry is responsible for the transportation of products that are classified as essential. Keeping stores stocked and supply chains moving requires a lot of involvement – that’s why 5.8% of jobs in the U.S. are related to the trucking industry.

3.   Truck Drivers Adapt to the Unexpected 

Covid-19 has required truck drivers to adapt to new conditions on the road. Many rest stops have closed for business in the spring and restaurants have introduced new restrictions. Even though finding a place to park or eat is looking a little different, truck drivers are still powering through.

National Truck Diver Appreciation Week 2020 Infographic

4.   They Leveraged Reduced HOS Restrictions to Work Even Harder 

The Covid-19 emergency declaration resulted in the reduction of hours of service (HOS) restrictions. Truck drivers throughout the U.S. took this in stride, working harder and for longer hours to transport essential goods across the country.

5.   Truck Drivers Keep Our Shelves Stocked 

The full shelves shoppers have grown accustomed to wouldn’t exist without truck drivers. In 2019, the transportation industry was responsible for 72.5% of all freight in 2019. Without truck drivers, it would be a lot harder for so many products to make it from point A to point B! 

6.   The Transportation Industry Supports Front Line Workers 

The transportation industry has worked tirelessly through the pandemic to keep hospitals, care centers and homes supplied with the essentials they need. Products transported by truck drivers empower front line workers to perform their jobs as safely and securely as possible.


Kuebix is extremely thankful for the work truck drivers do every day, and it has never been clearer than now that truck drivers are our heroes on the road! 

 

*source cdc.gov

What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

What is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

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

But What Exactly is A Transportation Management System or TMS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solution to this is to find a TMS that will expand and contract along-side your business so that you always have the features you need and aren’t paying for the ones you don’t. It’s important to realize that not all companies operate in the same way, and a scalable transportation management does just that. Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are built to serve companies of all sizes and needs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Rating: Any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery.
  2. Booking: Instead of needing to call individual carriers or visit each carrier’s website, the user can simply access the TMS to see all of their negotiated rates laid out side-by-side. Picking the rate with the best price and service level is both faster and easier!
  3. Tracking: Transportation management systems provide detailed tracking information on shipments all the way from the warehouse to their final destination.

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

Common Transportation Management System (TMS) Upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will a TMS Save Me Time?

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

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

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

Inmod Furniture Case Study

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

  •      •     Not every TMS supports all modes of transportation

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

  •      •     The technology wasn’t built on the cloud

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

  •      •     Biased in favor of one carrier or 3PL

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

  •      •     Bad customer reviews

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

TMS’s Can Be Integrated with Users’ ERP Systems

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

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

So, what is a Transportation Management System?

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

In conclusion, to learn about Kuebix TMS visit here.

Trimble Visibility Blog Post 2

Complete Supply Chain Visibility with Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS

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

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

Overview: Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS 

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

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

Key Features

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

Key Benefits

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

How Does Trimble Visibility in Kuebix Work?

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

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

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

Mobile App for Carriers

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

Proactive Shipment Alerts and Status Updates

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

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

Location Settings and Polygonal Geofencing

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

Optional Branded Web Address (or URL)

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

Digital Agility Blog Post Image

How Digital Agility Can Help Prepare Your Supply Chain for Anything

Businesses’ ability to successfully navigate unexpected events is a large part of an overall successful supply chain. Many companies have found ways to mitigate the effects of events like hurricanes and blizzards. However, most organizations were not prepared for the implications of a pandemic like Covid-19 and its long-term impact on global supply chains.

In a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 50% of respondents cited that digital agility is their greatest opportunity for post-Covid-19 resilience. Understanding the full impact of the crisis and learning from the many unexpected circumstances the pandemic has caused will help companies strengthen their supply chains moving forward.

Digital agility is formally defined as “the ability to move quickly and easily by applying and leveraging digital technology and tools.” By utilizing technology, businesses can secure their supply chains by improving real-time visibility, securing last-minute capacity, tracking KPIs dynamically, and generally setting themselves up for the best chance to weather ‘the unexpected.’ 

The most effective technology for digital agility that’s designed to better logistics operations while offering a number of benefits is a transportation management system based in the cloud. With an advanced TMS, companies can plan and book freight across all modes, find the best route and carrier, manage payments and so much more! Below are a few of the features a well-rounded TMS  must have to help companies improve the digital agility of their operations:

The Latest Cloud Technology

The best transportation management systems leverage the latest cloud technology. TMSs that are cloud-based store data in the cloud rather than on a local server or computer. Storing information on the cloud makes for a faster start-up, lower usage costs and greater flexibility. Installing updates doesn’t require an in-person visit and the process of troubleshooting is simplified. A TMS that operates on the cloud helps supply chains stay digitally agile and prepare for the unexpected.

Complete Supply Chain Visibility

Companies that have complete visibility throughout their supply chains are able to continuously improve. Transportation management systems that provide real-time information on the location and estimated arrival time of shipments improve logistics operations, digital agility and customer service. Companies can leverage visibility to answer questions from partners which makes for better collaboration. Visibility throughout the supply chain helps companies strengthen their logistics operations and prepare for the unexpected. 

Detailed Reports and Dashboards

It’s important that data is collected and organized in a way that companies can utilize it to make better informed decisions both during and after unexpected events. With a transportation management system, data is collected and used to generate detailed reports and dashboards that digitally agile companies can leverage to improve their logistics operations and address issues as they arise. Data can be overwhelming and difficult to understand, but a transportation management system makes it easy.

Truckload Spot Market

Having a diverse selection of carriers and potential truckload volume is a key component of a flexible supply chain that’s able to adapt to adversity. Companies looking to strengthen their digital agility need an alternative for when situations arise where they can’t get their freight covered by a traditional negotiated rate but have a delivery date that needs to be met.

Kuebix TMS users gain access to Community Load Match, Kuebix’s load matching platform and shipping community. Community Load Match leverages Trimble MAPS to provide advanced matching capabilities and map visualization. Since it’s built inside Kuebix TMS, shippers can meet all of their truckload shipping requirements on the same platform that handles the rest of their shipping needs.  

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Staying digitally agile is especially important for companies in such an unpredictable environment. Implementing a transportation management system that leverages the latest technology like Kuebix TMS ensures companies are prepared for anything. Click here to learn more about the benefits Kuebix can bring to your supply chain.

Food Distribution and Restaurant Blog Post

Flexible Food Distribution and Restaurant Business Models

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

Changing Rules and Regulations

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

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

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

How Traditional Business Models are Responding

Restaurants Become Grocery Providers and Distributors

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

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

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

Deli Counters Utilize Grab-and-Go Method

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


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

Save Money on Truckload Shipping Kuebix

9 Ways to Save Money on Truckload Shipping

Keeping freight costs down while maintaining efficient logistics operations is no small task. Consumers are relying heavily on e-commerce in the wake of Covid-19 and aren’t sacrificing their heightened expectations. The transportation industry is struggling to keep up with the surge in order volume with a limited number of truck drivers. Supply chains are one of the largest cost centers for businesses, so finding ways to save on truckload freight is a top priority.

Here are 9 ways to save money on truckload shipping:

 

1. Improve Internal Efficiency

One of the easiest ways to save money is by streamlining logistics operations. Leveraging a transportation management system will help save time rating, booking and tracking orders. Replacing traditional methods with a transportation management system will eliminate tedious and repetitive tasks, cutting labor costs and saving time that can be reallocated into other areas important for operations

2. Increase Lead Time

Increasing the lead time of full truckload shipments will help companies save on shipping costs. Working a few days in advance helps companies avoid higher rates for last-minute capacity and gives them a wider selection of carriers to choose from. Carriers will be able to better manage their time and plan routes more effectively, all of which contribute to meeting consumer expectations.

3. Eliminate Manual Entry and Paper Trails

Recording everything by hand and calling carriers for every truckload shipment is old-fashioned and inefficient. Additionally, these traditional processes hold a higher risk for mistakes made due to human error. If the incorrect order quantity or weight is recorded, paperwork is likely to get messed up and getting paid gets complicated.

Instead, companies who implement a transportation management system (TMS) can integrate it with an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics or NetSuite. An integration between a TMS and an ERP allows information to travel automatically between the systems and ensure that BOLs are correct every time. With an ERP integration, logistics professionals can avoid wasting time bouncing back and forth between systems and re-keying information.

4. Treat Carriers Well 

It’s important for companies to treat carriers with the same level of respect as they would any other partner. Getting carriers in and out of the yard quickly by clarifying expectations (i.e. who is unloading the truck) and paying bills on time should be a priority.

5. Monitor Accessorials 

Accessorials are a tricky thing for most companies to manage. They are difficult to budget and often have spend that goes unnoticed until it’s too late. In order to keep overall truckload costs down, companies should constantly monitor and evaluate their accessorial charges. Find the root cause of carriers being told the wrong weight and address it. Communicating about any complications ahead of time will result in lower charges than if the carrier discovers them mid-trip.

6. Leverage Volume 

Truckload shippers are in a unique position to leverage volume. Instead of working with dozens of different carriers and only giving each one a small percentage of their volume, truckload shippers should identify preferred carriers and establish routine, reliable lanes with them. Preferred carriers may be able to offer truckload shippers a discounted rate based on the fact that it’s repeat business. This strategy is a win for everyone involved – truckload shippers maintain enough capacity to ship their routes more efficiently, resulting in better service to the end customer.

7. Leverage Kuebix Community Load Match 

Circumstances where regular or preferred carriers can’t fulfill a truckload that needs to be shipped will always exist. Maybe it’s a last-minute shipment or maybe it’s going to a new destination. Whatever the case, sometimes companies need to find truckload capacity fast. A situation like this works best when a full truckload spot market is available. Spot markets are places where companies can go to have different carriers bid on their freight. From there, they can select the best bid and book their freight.

Kuebix Community Load Match connects users with its extensive carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to satisfy every truckload need. Users can input their shipping parameters and freight information and view carriers with available capacity in the lanes they requested. By comparing every option on a single platform, users can be sure they’re getting the best rate for their freight and maintain control over their logistics operations.

8. Stay Flexible

The supply chain industry requires teams to be ready for anything, including unforeseen circumstances like inclement weather or mechanical failure. Visibility down to the SKU level for orders helps companies react to situations they can’t plan for. Having all of the information regarding shipments in one place helps make answering questions like ‘Where’s my order?’ or ‘When is the truck arriving?’ easy.

Staying flexible goes beyond handling negative situations. Companies should aim to always be flexible when booking their truckload shipments. Orders with specific due dates are often flexible in terms of what time they get dropped off. Companies who work with all available options are able to discover the best rates for each and every shipment!

9. Leverage Analytics

Analytics on truckload shipments empower companies to make strategic decisions that will benefit their operations. Reports can reflect important information about carriers like their OTD percentage. Analytics down to the SKU level also help companies calculate their freight cost per item and determine if they are making enough of a profit. With a TMS, all of these different metrics and more are captured in one place for easy analysis.

 

Construction Industry Blog Post

Surmount Supply Chain Challenges in the Construction Industry with Technology

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

New Site Safety Regulations

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

Rising Cost of Construction Materials 

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

Strict Deadlines 

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


Technology’s Role in the Construction Industry 

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

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

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

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

Food and Beverage Blog Image

Unique Challenges Facing Food & Beverage Supply Chains

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

Temperature Control Needed for Freshness

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

Products Sensitive to Expiration Dates 

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

Rapidly Expanding Product Variety

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

How Technology Can Help Keep Food & Beverage Supply Chains Moving

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

Chemicals Blog Post Image

What to Keep in Mind When Managing a Chemical Supply Chain

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

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

Appropriate Number of Drivers 

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

Accurate Product Labeling and Storage

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

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

Strategic Route Planning

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

How to Manage Complex Chemical Supply Chain Needs

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

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

July 4th Infographic Featured Image

*Infographic* Americans Plan to Spend Big on Independence Day

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

Kuebix July 4th Infographic

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

ML and AI Blog Post Image

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Can Help “Future-Proof” Supply Chains

Over the past couple of months, most supply chains have weathered an unexpected storm. Rules and regulations are updated frequently in order for manufacturers, retailers and distributors to continue delivering. There’s no doubt that supply chains are feeling strained as they continue to adapt to these circumstances while operating efficiently and cost-effectively. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two emerging technologies offering an exciting opportunity to supply chains looking to strengthen their operations.

Machine Learning Makes Way for Predictive Analytics

Integrating machine learning in logistics operations can help automate a number of repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Businesses are then able to focus on more delicate aspects of their operations that require more attention. Managing inventory is much simpler with the assistance of machine learning. Supply chain managers can optimize their inventory and ensure they’re making better informed decisions.

Additionally, machine learning gives companies access to predictive analytics. Through predictive analytics, machine learning models are able to identify patterns in historical data regarding demand. Companies can utilize the data to forecast demand as precisely as possible. Through accurate demand forecasting, businesses are able to make better informed decisions about how much inventory to hold and when to restock.

Artificial Intelligence Simplifies Warehouse Management

 Supply chains that utilize artificial intelligence are able to handle larger sets of data at a time and better inform those involved in decision making processes. Artificial intelligence applies advanced algorithms to a variety of data sets, producing results that lead to more effective strategizing. Using artificial intelligence helps businesses maximize operational efficiencies while minimizing costs.

Artificial intelligence is especially useful in both maintaining and managing warehouses. More advanced models are able to supervise unmanned warehouses and keep track of who’s coming in and out. Artificial intelligence eliminates the need to manually count inventory as it can scan the barcode of each item and count that way.

 Both machine learning and artificial intelligence help companies prepare for uncertainties the future may hold. While it is impossible to accurately predict everything that’s going to happen, machine learning enables predictive analytics to give companies a better idea of what to expect. The key to overcoming adversity in supply chains is to make sure that logistics teams are prepared.


Preparing your supply chain for what comes next starts with leveraging advanced technology with additional features to fit your company’s specific needs. By implementing a transportation management system (TMS) you can quickly add efficiencies to your supply chain through visibility, integrations, automation and optimization features.

Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS can integrate with ERPs like Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, NetSuite or any other platform to further simplify logistics operations and drive cost savings. With Kuebix, you can even add order and route optimization for maximum efficiency. This technology empowers behavioral changes leading to dramatic cost savings. Kuebix’s Dock Scheduler even provides predictive learning to adjust scheduling estimates based on actual results and behaviors. Using technology to increase operational efficiencies can help even the most complex of supply chains stay informed and be prepared for the future!

Inventory Management Blog Post

Inventory Management’s Crucial Role in the Supply Chain

What is Inventory Management and Why is it Important?

 Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing and using a company’s goods or materials. Successfully managing inventory allows businesses to meet the demand level of their consumers with an appropriate amount of supply. Ineffective management can result in excess inventory which runs the risk of spoilage, damage or a shift in demand that causes stock to pile up even further. If inventory isn’t sold before any of these happen, it is often sold at clearance prices or destroyed.

 In a survey of 2,467 U.S. supply chain professionals conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), 58% of respondents reported that inventory management is a top technical skill in their field. It’s an essential component of keeping supply chains running smoothly. Effective inventory management requires a reliable technology platform and communication between all parties involved.

 Without inventory management, businesses would experience higher levels of waste and excess storage costs. Communicating with customers about product availability and estimated shipping dates becomes impossible when accurate and up-to-date information is missing.

 How Can I Improve Inventory Management in My Supply Chain?

 Effective supply chain management starts with technology. Eliminating traditional and often manual strategies saves time and reduces the risk of error. Digitally managing operations makes any information recorded simpler to share across an entire supply chain. If your company has already implemented a transportation management system (TMS), you’re already halfway to full supply chain optimization!

 Transportation management and inventory management are two essential parts of a successful supply chain. Transportation management systems (TMS) deal with the movement of products across the supply chain and provide a necessary platform for carriers, shippers and manufacturers to communicate. Inventory management platforms focus specifically on the quantity and type of product in a warehouse or other storage facility. Together, these pieces of technology form the basis for companies to get their products into the hands of customers as efficiently as possible.

For instance, when a company leverages a TMS to react quickly to a customer’s order, product moves swiftly out of the warehouse and is no longer taking up inventory space. That space is then available for fresher inventory to replace it. Inventory management systems can react to those quick shipments and ensure that the oldest inventory is being shipped first.

Tracking spoiled or faulty inventory is also made easier when inventory management and a TMS work hand in hand. With a TMS, products are tracked down to the SKU level and can be easily traced once they leave the warehouse. When an item is on recall, inventory management teams have all the relevant information they need to find and isolate bad product.

Certain transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are able to integrate directly with ERPs like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics. When integrated, these technologies offer logistics professionals increased shipment accuracy by eliminating the need for manual entry, significant time savings, and access to meaningful analytics for SKU-level cost allocation.  Integrations between a TMS and an ERP can help bridge the gap between inventory management and transportation management by sharing data between systems to make sure all parties involved have accurate, real-time information on inventory.

Kuebix Predictive Analytics TMS

What is Predictive Analytics and How is it Used in Supply Chain Operations?

You may be familiar with the term predictive analytics – but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it really means for your supply chain? Analytics help companies streamline process efficiencies and make sure important trends aren’t overlooked. Regardless of the industry your company is operating in, predictive analytics can help your company interpret their current performance to help them better understand and predict their future. 

Breaking it Down – Defining Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is formally defined as “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.” It extends beyond analysis of current operations and provides the best possible projection of what a company’s performance will look like in the future. Businesses who utilize predictive analytics can uncover patterns and relationships in their structured and unstructured data. 

Predictive analytics is especially useful because it automates the process of forecasting. Companies who utilize predictive analytics can then place their focus on critical daily tasks instead of going through a manual forecasting process. The biggest challenge associated with predictive analytics is that it requires a substantial amount of historical data. If the software doesn’t have enough data, it will have a hard time finding and visually displaying patterns and trends.

The MHI Industry report revealed that the number of supply chain professionals using predictive analytics has grown 76% from 2017 to 2019. Earlier implementations of predictive analytics focused on inventory management to help reduce cycle times and improve customer service. Over the past couple of years, the concept of predictive analytics has evolved and can now be applied across industries including healthcare and transportation planning.

Companies utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) are already taking steps towards collecting the data needed for predictive analytics. Whether they realize it or not, the data they’re collecting can fuel their efforts towards projecting and improving the future of their supply chains. For example, a company utilizing predictive analytics in their supply chain can view historical data about on time delivery (OTD) to make better decisions about who they book with in the future. 

Harnessing the Power of Predictive Analytics in Supply Chains

If you’re like many shippers, this type of advanced technology might seem outside of your grasp. With the help of a transportation management system with built-in predictive analytics functionality, however, any shipper can leverage this futuristic tech. TMSs can provide predictive analytics to give you the immediate intelligence you need to make better logistics decisions every day. 

Whether it’s holding your carriers accountable through carrier scorecards, managing your yards and docks more efficiently, or simply ensuring that you are paying the lowest rates for the best service, predictive analytics gives you the information you need to make decisions that will be real game-changers for your business.

 

Automation Blog Post Image

How Automation is Providing Businesses with a Way to Move Forward

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered the traditional business model. Companies looking to resume business are searching for ways to operate at a normal pace while maintaining new standards regarding cleanliness and social distancing. While wide-scale automation has always seemed like an inevitable part of the future, the pandemic is undoubtedly accelerating the push.

According to ABI Research, more than 4 million commercial robots will be installed in over 50,000 warehouses in the world by 2025 as a result of worker shortages attributable to the pandemic. This is a significant increase from the under 4,000 warehouses that reported using commercial robots in 2018.

Locus Robotics, a Massachusetts-based robotics startup, has raised over $105 million in funds since April of last year. Their bin-moving robots are already well-received in the U.S. and they are starting to expand into global markets. In February, Locus Robotics announced that their robots have passed 100 million units picked. The company plans on continuing to support retail, industrial and healthcare businesses to help them emerge stronger on the other side of Covid-19.

While LocusBots work collaboratively with human associates, they still minimize walking and interaction between employees. Their ability to minimize the risk of exposure is becoming increasingly important as the world continues to social distance and businesses comply with new health regulations.

Many businesses may have ruled out robotics as a viable option for their supply chains at first, but the impact the pandemic will have on the future of the supply chain is changing their minds. Even before Covid-19, manufacturing had been looking at robotics as a potential solution to tight labor markets. The adoption rate for robotics and automation increased drastically between 2019 and 2020. Beyond taking the place of humans, robots like LocusBots can also improve operational efficiencies while reducing costs.

The future of the supply chain continues to change each day as the world navigates through Covid-19, but it is clear that robotics and automation are going to play a critical role in business operations. Technology continues to propel traditional business models forward into a new era.

Like automation in a warehouse, streamlining and automating logistics operations is another way companies can position themselves for success in a changed world. Companies looking to leverage technology to simplify operations should consider Kuebix TMS as a way to get started. Kuebix TMS enables customers, suppliers and carriers to collaborate on one platform. Power is given back to the shipper, giving them complete visibility and control of their shipping operations.

Kuebix is offering 60 Free Days of Kuebix Business Pro TMS to help businesses of all sizes expand capacity and manage supply chains remotely. For more information about the offer and how to get started, click here.

 

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