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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!

Peak Capacity Blog Post Image

2020 Projected to be the Busiest Peak Capacity Season Yet

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has made many consumers value e-commerce shopping above traditional in-store experiences. As the holiday season begins in full force, the transportation industry is realizing that online shopping is creating what may be the busiest peak capacity season yet.

Popular transportation companies including FedEx, UPS and DHL are all experiencing a surge in order volume thanks to online shopping. Order volume is expected to continue trending upwards as consumers shop for holiday presents and décor.

While brick and mortar locations won’t have to worry as much about the foot traffic coming through their doors, shippers will have additional freight to transport.

Technology’s Role in Conquering Peak Capacity Season

The secret to handling a next-level peak season (and an overall unpredictable year) lies within technology. Shippers worried about an extra busy peak capacity season should consider joining a network that benefits both shippers and carriers to find beneficial opportunities for collaboration.

A shipping network makes it easier than ever to find truckload capacity. Users can compare negotiated truckload rates from their carriers against carriers that are a part of the network. With so many carriers to choose from, shippers can be sure they are getting the best rate for their freight. Instead of juggling multiple websites, making phone calls and sending emails to find a truck, users can satisfy all of their shipping needs on a single platform.

Shippers are not the only ones who benefit from a shipping network. Carriers looking to establish long-term relationships with shippers and fill backhaul can leverage a shipping network. When they join, carriers can specify their preferred lanes to make sure they are only connecting with shippers doing business in those lanes. It’s a win-win, carriers get more business and shippers can take advantage of the best prices.

Some advanced shipping networks offer RFP and lane analysis services as well. With a shipping network, the process of running bids and conducting RFPs is simplified, allowing shippers to consistently secure capacity. Carriers are able to take short-term opportunities on the spot market with shippers whose logistics goals align with theirs and turn them into long-term relationships with the help of an RFP service.

In order to make it through peak capacity season, shippers and carriers need to work together in a way that works for both parties. Technology like Kuebix’s Community Load Match makes mutually beneficial collaboration possible. Whether you are a shipper in search of the best rate for your freight or a carrier looking to fill empty capacity, technology is key in helping you make the most of this year’s peak capacity season!

Veterans Day 2020 Blog Post Image

Veterans Make Significant Contributions to the Transportation Industry – Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day, celebrated annually on November 11th, recognizes veterans for their sacrifices, the honor they’ve shown, and celebrates the freedom they have brought our nation with their service. It’s an opportunity for everyone to thank those that have served and to commemorate their bravery.

Veterans in the Transportation and Supply Chain Industry

Transitioning out of the military and finding a fulfilling job after serving can be challenging. Many veterans prefer jobs that allow them to continue using their leadership and problem-solving skills. Their experience in unpredictable situations helps them under pressure and makes them ideal team-members. Given this, it’s unsurprising that the transportation industry is full of veterans, as the supply chain can be a complex and demanding place to work.

Kuebix, like many companies in the transportation and logistics space, is proud to employ veterans. One such is Kuebix’s own Doug Taylor, a Business Development Specialist who found his way into the logistics world this year to continue his career in sales. Doug served for four years as an Aviation Specialist (SAR Swimmer, Air Crew) with the U.S. Navy. During his time in the Navy, Doug held many positions, though one of his most memorable assignments was as a member of a search and rescue team that required him to jump out of helicopters.

Doug has taken many lessons from his time in the U.S. Navy and applied them to his career as a civilian. Now, he brings those attributes to Kuebix. When talking about the lessons drilled into him during his time serving, Doug said, “Organization and efficiency were critical. We learned Doug Taylorto always be prepared and be ready to pack our things and go at a moment’s notice.”

The transportation industry is constantly evolving and logistics professionals must be able to pivot quickly in response to a changing environment. The industry is rapidly embracing new technologies, incorporating new regulations into everyday practices, and at the forefront of the pandemic relief efforts. In many ways, veterans embody all the best practices and attributes that are needed to maneuver within this sphere. 

“From bootcamp on, the Navy stresses the importance of paying attention to detail,” commented Doug. “As a swimmer you could lose a fin or a mask but you still have to keep going. We practiced these scenarios to make sure that we could adapt in unexpected situations.”

In an industry that’s constantly changing, the ability to adapt is an especially important skill. This year has prompted supply chains throughout the country to adapt to changes in consumer demand, international shipment delays and raw material shortages. The transportation companies who emerged successful were able to rise above these challenges and meet the expectations of their consumers.

As a newer member of the supply chain industry, Doug notes that the sense of community within has been remarkable and exceeded his expectations. “Being a part of the Kuebix team has been a great experience. I’ve been able to really connect with other people in the transportation and logistics industry,” Doug added. “Our community of shippers is growing every day and our software keeps getting better!”

The supply chain wouldn’t be the same without veterans. To all those who have served our country and to all who continue to serve, Happy Veterans Day!

Tech in Trucking Blog Post Image

Forward-Thinking Technology is Improving Safety on the Roads

In recent years, technological advances have influenced nearly every aspect of the transportation industry. Technology has improved the ease and efficiency of training new drivers, optimizing truck routes, managing inventory and more. Kuebix’s parent company Trimble Transportation offers video intelligence, onboard event recording and safety analytics to help understand accidents and prevent future collisions. More recently, technology has been enhancing safety for truck drivers on the roads. 

Accidents involving trucks are less common than those between passenger vehicles. However, accidents that do involve trucks are especially dangerous because trucks weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles. A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that outfitting large trucks with high-tech, front crash prevention systems stop two out of five rear-end truck collisions. 

Front crash prevention systems use cameras, radars or other sensors to monitor surrounding traffic. These systems incorporate forward collision warning (FCW) technology which is designed to make drivers aware of obstacles directly in their path. Additionally, many incorporate automatic energy braking systems (AEB) to detect nearby vehicles and automatically apply brakes when obstacles get too close. 

Data collected by the IIHS revealed that rear-end crashes in trucks equipped with FCW were reduced by 44%. Similarly, trucks using AEB reduced their number of rear-end crashes by 41%. In cases where accidents couldn’t be prevented, technology was still able to reduce the speed of the truck involved by 50% and lessen the damage done by the collision. 

While advanced safety technology’s main goal is to improve safety directly within the transportation industry, FCW and AEB technology have a positive impact on the roads as a whole. Newer models of commercial vehicles have also been integrating forward-thinking technology, bringing the number of accidents between commercial vehicles down as well. 

As more companies adopt new technology, the safety and efficiency of populated roads and highways throughout the U.S. will only get better!

What an Early Holiday Shopping Season Means for Supply Chains

Whether or not consumers, suppliers and retailers are ready, holiday shopping season is right around the corner! Experts predict that due to evolving shopping habits, Covid-19, a delayed Amazon Prime Day and general supply chain disruptions, consumers will start shopping for the holidays earlier than usual this year. This newly extended holiday shopping season creates many opportunities for retailers as long as they’re prepared.

One of the driving forces behind the early start to holiday shopping season is Amazon Prime Day. Supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic led Amazon to delay the event (traditionally held in July) until October of this year. Amazon Prime day acts as a catalyst for Amazon’s competitors like Target, Walmart and Best Buy to create their own limited-time offerings. Instead of pausing promotions when Amazon Prime Day ended on October 14th and restarting closer to Thanksgiving, many retailers are taking a more continuous approach. Target has promised its customers “Black Friday pricing all November” while popular hardware store Home Depot has vowed to make their offerings available until the end of December.

Companies that don’t run promotions around the time of Amazon Prime Day run the risk of a decline in business. Starting promotions after the unofficial holiday makes it harder for retailers to ensure they have enough inventory to keep their shelves stocked when they’re running low. Retailers that started early or plan to start earlier in November than Black Friday will be able to identify and keep up with new consumer shopping trends. 

Popular Holiday Purchases

With so many different companies offering discounts well into the holiday season, all that’s left for consumers to do is shop. However, the pandemic is expected to have a direct impact on this year’s popular purchases. Instead of luxury items being the focal point of the holidays, consumers are gravitating towards practical purchases. Products like winter coats, snow shoes and fire pits are at the top of many lists because they enable friends and family to gather outside during colder months as social distancing efforts are still in place.

Electronics have always been a popular item on wish lists and this year they hold even more importance. With so many people still working on furnishing their home office or remote learning space, laptops, keyboards, monitors and desk decór are all in high demand this holiday season. Internationally sourced electronics will have an especially difficult time keeping up because of widespread shipping delays brought on by the pandemic.

Making the Most of the Early Holiday Season

Taking full advantage of the early start to the holiday season requires more than launching a new discount. Companies that want to stay ahead need complete visibility throughout their supply chains. Supply chain visibility makes it possible for logistics professionals to view each aspect of their supply chain in detail as moves are being planned, alerts are sent and real-time adjustments are made along the route.

Achieving true supply chain visibility starts with implementing a transportation management system (TMS). Companies that leverage a TMS are able to seamlessly rate, book and track their freight. Visibility makes it possible for users to quickly view the status of shipments and pass-along tracking information to customers and partners. With the power of a cloud-based TMS and supply chain visibility, logistics professionals can improve operational efficiencies, provide better customer service and leverage detailed analytics to make better informed decisions.

Kuebix Named a 2021 FreightTech 100 Winner

FreightWaves – the industry leading provider of news, data and analytics for the logistics market – has named Kuebix a winner of the 2021 FreightTech 100 Awards. The FreightTech 100 shines a spotlight on some of the most innovative companies across the industry that have stepped up during these uncertain times and provided a reliable solution. 

The FreightTech 100 Awards are based on nominations from FreightWaves readers, many of whom are industry leaders and experts. Readers submitted over 500 nominations for more than 200 companies in the U.S. this year! 

For more information on the FreightTech 100 Awards and read the full list of recipients, click here.


Kuebix transportation management system (TMS) makes it possible for shippers, carriers and suppliers to collaborate on a single platform. Users are able to rate, book and track their shipments without navigating between multiple websites or dealing with messy paper trails. With Kuebix TMS, users are able to have complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Shippers looking to improve their logistics operations even further can integrate their ERP with Kuebix TMS. An integration between the two systems allows information to flow seamlessly, reducing the risk of human error and saving time by eliminating the need for re-keying information. 

Kuebix’s load matching platform, Community Load Match, ensures shippers are selecting the best rate for their freight while helping carriers fill otherwise empty capacity. The service provides users with advanced matching capabilities and cutting-edge map visualization via Trimble MAPS. Members of Community Load Match are able to choose from the rates of their carriers as well as the carriers from Community Load Match’s extensive community.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Blog Post

What Supply Chains Should Expect from Amazon Prime Day this Fall

Amazon Prime Day is approaching quickly with a start date of October 13, 2020. While Amazon typically holds this digital shopping ‘holiday’ in July, supply chain disruptions brought on by Covid-19 led to a postponement of the event. Despite setbacks beyond their control, Amazon has high hopes for this year’s Amazon Prime Day!

The 3-day holiday filled is the most important event of the year for Amazon, drawing in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2019, Amazon made over $7 billion from the 48-hour event. In addition to being an opportunity to increase sales, Amazon Prime Day draws in many new Prime membership registrations for Amazon. The great digital deals entice many consumers to become part of this growing community of shoppers.

Popular Amazon Prime Day Deals 

While the offerings of this year’s Amazon Prime Day will remain a mystery until it begins, the past couple of years have had a focus on electronics. Popular purchase items included e-readers, vacuums, blenders, smartphones and smart TVs. Amazon has already started offering a discount on the Apple iPad 2020 to entice customers to start shopping. 

With so many kids attending school remotely and parents working from home, products like laptops and computers are already experiencing a surge in consumer demand. New discounts and limited-time offers just before the holiday season are going to tempt consumers further. 

In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime Day, competitors like Walmart, Target and Best Buy often launch their own series of discounts to compete for customers. There are plenty of options for consumers to choose from, but they’ll have to wait until Amazon Prime Day to find out who has the best deals! 

What Amazon Prime Day Means for Supply Chains 

When it comes to Amazon Prime Day, supply chains should be prepared for anything. With so many different offerings on a wide range of products, there’s no way to predict how many orders will come in for each. Companies manufacturing in smaller quantities may have to pick up the pace on production ahead of the holiday. 

Manufacturers of products like laptops, monitors and headphones are already experiencing a higher volume of orders because of the pandemic. Discounts are likely to amplify the number of orders. Since this year’s Amazon Prime Day is closer to the holiday season than usual, many shoppers have more concrete lists and are ready to order. This, combined with the fact that many consumers are choosing to keep their shopping digital during the pandemic, makes it likely that this year’s Prime Day will dwarf previous years’.

The best way for supply chains to prepare for the impact of Amazon Prime Day and the sales that follow is by leveraging visibility tools in their supply chains and remaining proactive instead of reactive. Companies need to provide real-time tracking information and shipment details to meet consumer expectations. The same information can empower retailers to make strategic decisions regarding their freight.

The key to true supply chain visibility is a transportation management system (TMS) like Kuebix. With Kuebix TMS, stakeholders can collaborate on a single platform for complete visibility and control of their shipping operations. Real-time tracking information helps everyone to stay informed and detailed reports and dashboards help companies analyze their performance and identify areas to improve. 

Regardless of where customers shop for this year’s Amazon Prime Day, supply chains have their work cut out for them!

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

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