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Circular Supply Chain Kuebix

Why Circular Supply Chains Will Replace Linear Supply Chains in the 2020’s

Since humans began making and distributing products to one another, the structure of the supply chain has remained predominantly untouched. Raw materials flow in, are changed into a product and are then distributed and used until finally they are thrown away. This linear chain has been sufficient to keep economies churning, but a new, more profitable supply chain methodology is gaining in popularity: the circular supply chain.

The circular supply chain is a model that encourages manufacturers and sellers of products to take discarded materials and remake them for resale. The traditional model of “take, make, and throw away” is an economic dead-end and is costing businesses as they struggle with raw material costs and volatility. Instead of producing one-time-use products, companies are refurbishing used parts or melting down products to turn back into their raw material form.

Instead of a linear “in and out” methodology, businesses are increasingly opting to loop their supply chains to cut down on costs and create less waste. Contrary to popular belief, this process is actually more economical in the long run for companies. It’s the initial investment is process changes that cause many to ignore opportunities to reuse materials. Once processes are in place, companies spend less money on raw materials, help the environment (which can result in government incentives), are at less risk of price volatility, and, perhaps most important of all, please their customers.

Circular Supply Chain Infographic Kuebix

Here are some of the reasons why circular supply chains will replace linear supply chains in the 2020’s:

Save Money and Grow Business Value

The circular supply chain, at first glance, appears to predominantly be a methodology for companies to reduce environmental impact, but it’s much more than that. By reusing parts and materials, companies can get the maximum benefit out of the raw materials they purchase. Instead of throwing products away at the end of their lifecycle, they can be turned back into profit with lower costs than making a new product from scratch. Throwing away products wastes the investment companies have already poured into the product (labor, materials, and energy). It simply costs less to refurbish or recycle materials into new goods. By connecting the end of the linear supply chain with the beginning, companies can save money by reducing the overall cost of producing their products.

Societal Benefits of the Circular Economy

Going green remains a hot topic in just about every industry. The EPA reported that Americans produced 262.43 million tons of trash in 2015. That’s up by about 3.5 million tons compared to 2014 and 54.1 million tons since 1990. As consumers create more and more waste each year, it’s up to both businesses and individual consumers to choose products that have small environmental footprints.

Consumers are increasingly conscious of their shopping decisions. According to a report by Nielsen, 66% of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands. A full 73% of millennial shoppers (those born between 1977 – 1995) are willing to pay more for sustainable goods over traditional ones. Companies that want to stay relevant and grow market share need to be catering to a public that is increasingly conscious of their environmental impact.

Recycling and Reusing Protects Against Price Volatility

Raw material prices are constantly a struggle for many companies trying to plan their budgets and keep total costs of goods under control. Many categories of virgin materials are constantly shifting in price, especially metals which have seen more volatility recently than any decade in the 20th century. By anticipating the amount of reused and recycled materials that can be used in the production of new goods, companies can more accurately gauge their expenditures and keep costs under control.

Circular Supply Chains Help Companies Meet Regulation Standards

Many government regulations are pushing businesses to adopt the circular supply chain by creating laws and regulations around recycling and waste disposal. Others are offering incentives to companies that make active efforts to “go green,” no matter whether their end goal is to reduce environmental impact of simply boost their bottom lines.

These are some examples of laws around the world that are now in place:

•    EU Packaging Directive – requires all countries in the EU to recycle 50% of their packaging waste.

•    Japanese Recycling Laws – require businesses to recycle packaging materials into something reusable.

•    California Recycled Content Laws – no plastic bags, 25% of all plastic containers must be recycled, and more.

•    UK Landfill Directive – all UK-based companies must recycle or treat their waste products, regardless of their size and turnover.

Circular Supply Chain Success Stories

Nike’s “Reuse-A-Shoe” program and Adidas’s partnership with Parley for the Oceans are demonstrating the power of the circular supply chain. Nike encourages customers to recycle their old shoes at local Nike sellers. Those old shoes are then turned into Nike “grind material” and transformed back into new shoes for sale. Not only does this keep old shoes out of landfills, it helps boost Nike’s image and saves them on material costs.

Adidas is perhaps even more famous for its circular supply chain project. They have pledged to make 11 million sneakers out of recycled plastics pulled from the ocean. They have already seen tremendous success with their recycled line of shoes and are on track to make $1 billion helping solve the problem of ocean plastic.

One company that began using the circular supply chain model even before the term was coined is Renault, a French vehicle manufacturer located outside of Paris. In 1949, the company was looking for ways to recover from the devastating effects of WWII. They began offering used vehicle parts at discounts between 30 – 50%, but with the same warranties and guarantees as new parts. Their goal was entirely to drive profits and create a business that could flourish in an economy low on raw materials. Today, that same plant outside of Paris generates annual revenue of roughly $270 million! Now, it even designs its major vehicle components to be easy to disassemble for even more profitability.

The Circular Supply Chain is the Future

If you’ve ever heard the quote, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” you can understand the concept of the circular supply chain. Circular supply chains turn waste into opportunities as regulations on recycling and proper disposal of manufacturing byproducts become tighter. Often byproducts can be reclaimed and re-used within the manufacturing process where companies can develop new revenue sources for products that were previously discarded. Companies looking to stay profitable in the 2020’s will be looking for ways to reduce their costs and please their customers. Adopting the circular supply chain methodology, therefore, just makes sense.

There are many ways to reduce the environmental impact of shipping freight, if you’re interested in learning more, click here to see how Kuebix helps shippers reduce theirs.

kuebix shipping containers homes

How Shipping Containers are Helping the Homeless

When most people think of shipping containers, they think of exactly what’s in the name: shipping. Formally known as an integral part of virtually any product moving across a supply chain, shipping containers keep products safe from external forces like weather and theft. However, recent advancements have been made to use shipping containers to solve an ongoing issue unrelated to their conventional use.

In Cardiff, Wales, shipping containers are being transformed into homes. It may sound questionable, but shipping container homes have proven to be a cost-effective solution to the ever-present struggle of providing proper housing to people in need. The new homes are also easy to relocate whether it’s an individual unit or an entire group. Cardiff Council paid for thirteen containers featuring amenities such as solar panels and sprinkler systems.

shipping container homes cardiff

The project consists of two different variations of shipping container homes to meet the needs of a variety of household sizes. Seven of the thirteen homes are going to be two-bedroom homes made of a 40 foot and a 20 foot container, while the remaining six one-bedroom homes will be comprised of a singular 40 foot container. The two-bedroom homes are geared towards homeless families with children and will all have direct access to a fenced garden so that the children have a proper, safe place to play. One-bedroom homes will feature a roof terrace and a front door.

Perhaps the most notable features of the new designs are their energy efficient operations and ability to transport with ease to meet demand. If there are certain areas that begin to develop a higher volume of people in need of temporary housing solutions, moving the containers will save time and money in comparison to building new housing solutions.

Communities consisting of shipping container homes are already up and running in Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham. Shipping containers are already used internationally, so it will be interesting to see if this new take on providing temporary housing will extend beyond the United Kingdom if it is met with success.

Is it Time To Upgrade to A Cloud-Based Transportation Management System

Is it Time To Upgrade to A Cloud-Based Transportation Management System (TMS)?

Many companies are still using the transportation management system (TMS) they installed 15 or even 20 years ago! Technology has changed and improved significantly over that time. So if you’re still using an outdated TMS to manage your logistics operation, it’s time to upgrade to a modern, cloud-based system.

Why Should I Replace My Old TMS?

The old mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t work when it comes to technology. Just because a system is functioning doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and better features to improve your shipping operations. A horse and cart are likely faster than walking up the road, but that doesn’t mean a car isn’t the better option to get to your destination efficiently. The same is true when it comes to technology, without exploring all the options, you may be missing out on valuable features.

Legacy TMS systems often don’t provide the transparency and visibility you need to monitor shipments, optimize routes, lower costs and improve efficiencies. What sufficed for customers in the past probably doesn’t cut it with your current customers. Customers have become accustomed to Amazon-like delivery options and visibility to their orders. It’s up to you to meet these heightened customer expectations with technology.

With legacy transportation management systems, there’s no way to tell if a delivery is going to be late so you can warn your customers. You don’t have the ability to collaborate in real time with your carriers and onboarding new carriers is a hassle. Your old TMS is simply not keeping up with consumers’ changing expectations and the increasing demands of the modern supply chain. A modern, cloud-based TMS can help.

How Can I Improve My Transportation Operations with Technology?

Upgrading an older system is rarely an option. To compete in the modern supply chain where visibility and flexibility are key, you need to implement a cloud-based TMS. A cloud-based TMS offers faster start-up, lower usage costs, greater flexibility and rapid return-on-investment (ROI). Lower maintenance and support costs are a big plus, too. With a cloud-based TMS, any size business is given a fair chance at competing with larger companies because of low start-up costs and easier upkeep.

Modern transportation management systems can do a whole lot more than they used to.

Scalability is something that most legacy, on-premise TMS solutions do not offer because of their rigid infrastructure. With scalability available in newer TMSs, you are able to add new features and functionality to your system without starting from scratch. Your TMS should be flexible to grow as your business grows. Start with just rating, booking, scheduling and tracking, then add modular features like freight bill pay and audit, ERP integrations, order consolidation, route optimization, and collaboration portals as needed to help you customize the technology to best fit your needs.

Complete supply chain visibility is another feature which only new, cloud-based TMSs can offer. From the loading dock to the final mile, a TMS should track and trace orders down to the SKU level, giving visibility to what is on each truck, how many items there are and where the truck is. A TMS should help you answer questions like whether the truck is delayed and if there are items missing from the order.

Most legacy TMSs do not integrate well with other systems. Today’s cloud-based transportation management systems have the ability to easily connect and share with customers, suppliers and carriers, on any device, wherever the stakeholder is. New systems integrate purchase orders directly from any ERP system to facilitate the rapid creation of shipments, avoiding the need to re-enter the order, which can lead to errors and increased admin time. Retailers with their own e-commerce engine should be able to connect directly to the TMS by using open APIs, adding shipment tracking and the ability to rate, book and schedule deliveries.

Your TMS Should Connect You To a Vast Network

If your TMS is not cloud-based, will not integrate with other systems and cannot provide end-to-end visibility, along with flexibility and scalability to easily add additional features, then it is time for a change. Not only that, your modern TMS should be connecting you with a vast network of carriers, suppliers, freight marketplaces, brokers, and 3PLs to streamline your operations. Being able to manage all of your shipping functions within a single system is essential. With a cloud-based transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, all of this is possible.

Become a Kuebix Free Shipper to see how a modern TMS can improve your transportation operations today!

Kuebix Shipping Community

Shipper Adoption is the Key to a Successful Shipping Community [Infographic]

How Can Shipping Communities Gain Shipper Adoption?

For a shipping community to be successful it needs to be built upon a transportation management system (TMS). Shippers want to conduct all of their business through a single, connected platform. When they leverage a robust TMS to manage their logistics operations, they can rate, book, and track all of their shipments for every mode through a single window. When they are looking for additional capacity to supplement their negotiated rates, it makes sense that they’d want to use their main source of transportation management to find that capacity.

A TMS is the natural place to house a spot market where shippers can easily get spot quotes for their freight. That’s because users automatically form the basis of the shipping community that will use the spot market. When the shipper can’t get their freight covered as they need with a negotiated rate, they can seamlessly pivot to a built-in spot market where community members can collaborate to find efficiencies. Unlike a disconnected freight marketplace outside of their normal processes, their TMS joins disparate marketplaces, brokers, carriers, and fleets to make it easy for shippers to find additional capacity through the network.

 

Not Just Any TMS Will Do, Though.

Most transportation management systems aren’t designed to have a successful community built upon them. For a start, the TMS needs to be capable of handling its users’ every need. That means every mode needs to be covered by the platform and the TMS must integrate directly with any ERP system. Reporting and tracking functionality are also important along with many other features lower-level TMSs simply can’t provide. Simply put, the TMS must be built for small and enterprise sized customers and everyone in between. Features that can be modularly added as the company’s needs change also increase usership since shippers only pay for what they use. Users must to be able to complete all of their logistics operations inside the TMS to keep them engaged with the system and using it routinely.

On the other hand, the TMS needs to be accessible by the masses. Many small businesses can benefit from streamlining their operations with the help of technology. By offering both free and affordable subscription versions of the software, the TMS can rapidly gain more usership by tapping into a segment of shippers in the industry that would otherwise never be able to be connected to collaboration opportunities. When more users join the network, every other user benefits. This is known as the “Network Effect,” a phenomenon where each additional user of a tool increases the value of the tool for every other user.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix Community Load Match is the spot market built upon Kuebix TMS that any member of Kuebix’s shipping community can take advantage of and is just one of the benefits members receive by belonging to the network. This spot market connects shippers with available truckload capacity without making them leave the system. With Community Load Match, every shipper can discover additional savings on truckload freight by connecting with Kuebix’s vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers.

Currently, Kuebix has over 16,000 companies using the TMS. This group is made up of companies of all sizes, some using Kuebix Free Shipper, some Business Pro users and some Enterprise users with extensive logistics operations. No matter what type of account a user has, however, they are part of Kuebix’s shipping community and can leverage Community Load Match. This makes Kuebix an ideal partner for carriers, brokers, fleet owners, and other freight marketplaces to expose their capacity through.

As the community grows, more opportunities are created and even more shippers and companies with capacity join the network! This is why shipper adoption is the key to growing and maintaining a successful shipping community.

Amazon Prime 1 Day Shipping Kuebix

What Amazon’s One-Day Delivery Promise Means for Supply Chains

Amazon is once again raising the bar for speed of delivery with its announcement that the company’s new goal is to make 1-day delivery standard for Prime customers. Amazon’s 2-day free shipping guarantee has already had huge implications on supply chains, so much in fact that the term the “Amazon Effect” was coined just to describe it.

The Amazon Effect is a trend where customers expect incredibly fast delivery, full visibility to tracking information, and great customer service because of the experience they get with Amazon Prime deliveries regularly. Customer expectations have increased because Amazon has proven it’s possible to deliver products in just 2 days, and to do it for free.

How Does Amazon Plan to Make 1-Day Delivery a Reality?

Amazon has laid out an aggressive strategy to make their 1-day standard delivery promise a reality. The company has announced that they will be greatly expanding their Delivery Service Partner program by incentivizing current employees to open their own package delivery businesses. Current employees will be offered $10,000 and three month’s pay to open their own delivery business, greatly reducing the risk and difficulties associated with staring a new company.

By removing many of the barriers to entry, Amazon hopes to expand the number of available trucks to deliver final mile packages across the country. With more available capacity to hand, Amazon will be able to get products to end customers faster. According to Amazon, entrepreneurs who take advantage of this new incentive program will have access to logistics technology, insurance, and support to be successful. Delivery partners who expand their fleets to 40 vehicles can earn as much as $300,000 in annual profits.

As Amazon increasingly replaces human labor in their warehouses with technology, this is also a strategy to move employees into new, fruitful positions with upward mobility. Many employees who may find their jobs in jeopardy of being replaced by robots can make the switch now to being delivery partners. Amazon is not only encouraging current employees to begin final mile shipping operations; the company will also be reimbursing military veterans up to $10,000 to start their own programs.

What Does This Mean For Companies With Their Own Supply Chains?

Customer expectations are about to rise again. Companies with freight to ship will need to work even harder to deliver superior customer experiences without going into the red. Every business will need to emphasise fast shipping and complete shipping visibility in order to compete with the outstanding service Amazon provides its customers.

What Can Companies Do to Keep Up With Increasing Customer Expectations?

Companies need to leverage network-based technology like Kuebix TMS to optimize their supply chains and connect to the greatest number of opportunities to collaborate with other businesses.

It isn’t feasible for most companies to create their own extensive private fleets like Amazon is doing with its Delivery Service Partner program. Instead, businesses need to connect with capacity already available in the industry to find opportunities to cut back on costs and improve speed of delivery.

Programs like Kuebix Community Load Match help shippers quickly and easily connect to a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers. Through Community Load Match, shippers can receive spot quotes and book loads without needing to pick up the phone.

Amazon is expanding their network by incentivizing employees to create delivery services. Other shippers can expand their networks by leveraging Kuebix to access new, valuable sources of capacity alongside their negotiated carrier rates.

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019 - Kuebix TMS

Join Kuebix at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019

The team from Kuebix will be exhibiting and speaking this year at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019! This conference is the world’s most important gathering of supply chain leaders and promises to be a great event. The Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference takes place May 13 – 16 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.

Kuebix will be showcasing our transportation management system (TMS) and doing demos at our booth. Our technology is the industry’s fastest-growing TMS with over 16,000 companies within the Kuebix shipping community already. If you’re planning to attend the conference, we’d love to schedule a demonstration at our booth. Click here to request a meeting through this link.

Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President, will also be speaking at the conference. Dan’s session, Community Powered TMS: Driving Profits for Shippers and Carriers, will teach attendees how a cloud-based transportation management system can be the foundation of a vast shipping community where shippers and carriers realize new levels of efficiency and savings.

Dan’s speaking session will begin at 5:15 PM on Wednesday, May 15 and take place in the Grand Saguaro Foyer at the JW Marriot. We hope to see you there!

About the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2019 is the world’s most important gathering of supply chain leaders. Disruptions large and small confront today’s supply chains on a daily basis. At this year’s conference, chief supply chain officers and their leadership teams focus on how to recognize the impacts of disruptions and create transformational strategies that empower the organization to exceed performance expectations.

Strategic Partnerships Expand Opportunities in Cloud-Based Transportation Communities

Cloud-based transportation communities are digital networks where companies connect to find opportunities for efficiency and cost savings. These networks are comprised of shippers, carriers, suppliers, brokers, freight forwarders and every other type of company involved in the shipping of freight. On these digital networks, members connect to leverage efficiencies such as finding additional truckload capacity and filling empty fleet miles.

A new eBook, Putting Community in TMS: Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management by industry analyst and President of Adelante, SCM, Adrian Gonzalez breaks down how the network effect can be enabled in transportation management. He discusses how network-based transportation management systems (TMS) act as a conduit for shippers to maintain thousands of relationships without needing to manually forge relationships one-by-one with other companies.

“Instead of establishing and maintaining hundreds or even thousands of one-to-one connections, companies make a single connection to the network to communicate and collaborate with their existing trading partners.”

In order to attract the most users and keep them engaged on a routine basis, network-based transportation management systems serve as the operating system for these communities. Shippers are already accessing the TMS for their daily logistics needs and can therefore easily pivot to community-specific features like truckload spot markets and load matching services.

To make these community-specific services enticing and valuable for shippers leveraging the TMS, there need to be a multitude of opportunities flowing into the network-based TMS from the other end. That’s to say, there needs to be extensive available capacity exposed to the community of shippers for opportunities to be found. That’s where partnerships come in.

Kuebix, as the first and only network-based transportation management system, is pioneering this concept. By partnering with external communities and thousands of individual brokers and carriers, Kuebix is able to expose available capacity from all over the supply chain industry to its TMS users.

Partnering with Emerge Private Freight Marketplace

A new partnership with Emerge has enabled Kuebix to rapidly expand the number of opportunities available to its customers in Kuebix Community Load Match, a truckload spot marketplace. Through this partnership, members of the community can tap into Emerge’s Private Freight Marketplace and seamlessly book with thousands of verified carriers without needing to maintain individual relationships.

Partnerships like that with Emerge quickly grow the shipping community and provide users with more opportunities for collaboration. The key is to connect every transportation player through a single system where it is easy to find opportunities for collaboration while simultaneously keeping users engaged with the community, even when they aren’t actively looking for additional capacity.Kuebix and Emerge

 

Kuebix TMS and the Network Effect in Transportation Management

Kuebix TMS was built around the concept of the network effect and is proving the theory in conjunction with transportation management as described by Gonzalez in Putting Community in TMS. As more users join Kuebix’s logistics community by becoming users of the TMS, more carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and other supply chain players can be partnered with to expose available capacity. This creates a snowball effect where when more shippers join to leverage the new opportunities, new partnerships with carriers and brokers can be established to take advantage of more shippers seeking capacity. It’s a win-win for all supply chain players and grows the cloud-based community exponentially.

Currently, there are over 16,000 members of Kuebix’s shipping community and that number continues to grow. The new collaboration with Emerge and other strategic partnerships will continue to drive shippers to the technology, encouraging more partners with available capacity to expose their assets through the technology, and so on and so forth, creating the industry’s largest cloud-based shipping community.

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
  •      •     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. 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. 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
  2. Booking
  3. Tracking

This means that any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery. 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. Then they can quickly choose the rate with the best price and service level and book it directly through the system and track it through delivery.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Kuebix - Magic Quadrant for TMS

Kuebix Advances Position in 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems

It’s a known fact that technology is helping companies around the world speed up their supply chains. According to Gartner research*, “The challenges in transportation around scarce capacity, higher costs and more demanding customers are increasing the need for technology.”

Making the decision to implement any new piece of technology can be a large commitment though. That’s why it’s essential that companies thoroughly understand the different transportation management system (TMS) options before they commit to what could be a lengthy and expensive implementation process if they don’t choose wisely.

Luckily, Gartner, Inc. provides the unbiased insight into the TMS marketplace that business leaders need. Each year, Gartner releases the Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems*. This analysis covers all major players in the TMS marketplace and highlights their varying strengths and cautions. Some TMS’s positively advance their position and others descend.

Kuebix is proud to have advanced its position in this year’s Magic Quadrant for TMS and be recognized for its ability to execute.

“Over 16,000 companies have joined the Kuebix shipping community, recognizing that we are providing an easy to use, fast-to-implement, enterprise-class TMS that delivers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,” commented Dan Clark, Kuebix Founder and President. “We believe that Kuebix’s advancement in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems is due to our unprecedented market growth, product innovation, and commitment to the success of each and every one of our customers.”

Shippers in any industry with freight to ship can leverage Gartner’s research to help them determine which TMS will provide them the best tools and service to improve their supply chains. They can also view first-hand reviews by real customers on Gartner Peer Insights. Read reviews about Kuebix such as “Core product exceeded expectations as did integration team” and “Implementation was very collaborative and they presented real solutions.”

To learn more about today’s TMS marketplace, download a complimentary copy of the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems.

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, Bart De Muynck, Brock Johns, Oscar Sanchez Duran, 27 March 2019

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Kuebix Automotive Industry Trends

5 Ways Technology is Changing the Automotive Industry

Technology is changing the automotive industry faster than anyone could have predicted. The driver shortage, capacity crisis, price of fuel, and many other factors are putting pressure on companies to innovate and begin commercializing futuristic technologies. Some of these technological trends are already disrupting the automotive industry. Here are a five ways technology is already beginning to shape this industry.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The concept of the IoT has been around for several years now, and many of us have become accustomed to the idea. The IoT involves “everything being connected to everything.” Imagine your smartwatch knowing when you’ve risen from bed and immediately telling your coffee pot to start brewing. This concept is shaping our everyday lives. These are three uses of the IoT for the automotive industry:

•      Usage Based Insurance (UBI)

•      Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

•      In-Vehicle Health Monitoring

These three technologies involve connecting cars and trucks to the cloud to gather big data about their state-of-being and actions. Devices within vehicles can collect information on driving times, the health of the vehicle and safety of operations. Usage Based Insurance, also known as automotive telematics insurance, monitor vehicle use to more accurately assess risk. Factors that can be monitored include miles driven, driver behavior, and vehicle type.

Similarly, electronic logging devices are now in widespread use following the 2017 ELD Mandate enforcing the federal Hours-of-Service (HoS) regulation. With onboard computers, truckers’ time driven is monitored to ensure they are complying with the law.

Automotive biometric identification systems are being developed to help companies and individuals monitor the health of drivers. Expected to be commercialized by 2025, technologies to monitor heart rates, fatigue, and distracted driving are being developed. These technologies could go a long way to preventing accidents on the road, as well as improve insurance premiums.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X)

Technology to connect vehicles with each other, the cloud, and any other obstacle on the road is being developed. Connecting Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) is the passing of information back and forth between the vehicle and an entity on the road. This could be a traffic light, crosswalk, or detour sign. Other forms of this technology include connecting Vehicle-to-Cloud (V2C), Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle-to-Grid) among others. These technologies are expected to improve safety on the road as well as driving efficiency.

One branch of this technology that is expected to hit the road long before V2X is perfected is a technology called Driver Assisted Truck Platooning (DATP). This technology is designed to relieve the strain of the driver shortage by enabling one driver to “drive” several vehicles in parade formation at once. The driver would simply operate a single truck at the head of the “platoon” and one or more similar trucks would connect with the lead truck to follow along behind autonomously. This has the potential to reduce carbon emissions as well as save costs as driver wages continue to rise.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles, known colloquially as self-driving cars, are expected to be seen on the roads in 2020, with many of the largest names in the automotive industry competing to be the first to commercialize the technology. There’s no doubt that the autonomous vehicle revolution will transform our lives. The benefits seem endless, increased safety, lower fuel emissions and more productive time for people being transported on the vehicle.

Autonomous cars and trucks will be made possible by Artificial Intelligence (AI), an area of computer science working to create machines which can react and interact with humans and other unknown factors. Self-driving cars can’t only react to speed limits and pre-determined conditions on the road, they will need to account for things like pedestrians, fallen trees, and weather conditions. Right now, most tests of self-driving cars are being conducted in areas without harsh weather or pedestrians.

By 2040, it’s estimated that the autonomous vehicle industry will be a $3.6 trillion opportunity. Producers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of cars and trucks will face steep competition amongst themselves to carve out a place in the new industry. For those companies that succeed in getting a foothold in the autonomous vehicle market, this trend is likely to be a gold mine.

Electrification

Though it may come as a surprise, the first successful electric vehicle in the United States hit the road in 1890 in Des Moines, Iowa. Of course, the vehicle didn’t hold as much potential as fossil fuel vehicles and wasn’t widely adopted by the public. Not until the late 1990’s did electric vehicles make a come-back with the mass-production of the Toyota Prius.

Two decades later, electric vehicles are becoming more and more common. Some are hybrid models, capable of using traditional fuel sources and electricity while some are solely reliant on electricity. These plug-in electric vehicles reduce carbon emissions and can save the operator money. With an increasingly environmentally conscious customer base, electric cars are likely to continue to grow in popularity.

Wind and solar farms are making electric vehicles more sustainable, and once purchased, more economical. It will be up to manufacturers to make sure that their products’ initial cost doesn’t diminish expected ROI. Creating lasting vehicles that can deliver cost savings through reduced fuel consumption will make companies and individuals more likely to adopt the new technology.

Optimization

The final trend poised to revolutionize the automotive industry is Optimization. By leveraging big data collected from tracking devices and analyzed by intelligent software, companies are able to view and automatically consolidate their routes like never before. Optimizing routes and consolidating goods being transported will lead to reduced miles driven and more money saved. It will also have a direct impact on the capacity crisis as assets are more fully utilized.

Using technology, a taxi company with a fleet of passenger cars can plan the most direct routes between patrons and anticipate peak hours ahead of time. Fleet owners can combine shipments being delivered to the same location in order to remove an unnecessary truck from the road. And a shipper in Pennsylvania can find capacity on the best route up to Maine.

With the help of tracking devices and big data, companies will be able to analyze and make strategic changes to their vehicles in order to get the most out of their assets. This level of optimization will change the automotive industry as vehicles and shipments become “smarter” with the help of technology.

Learn more about Kuebix‘s Order and Route Optimizer here.

Customer Service Kuebix Transportation

Importance of Customer Service in Transportation Operations

Good customer service is a must in any business that wants to not only survive but thrive within its industry. Good customer service means customer satisfaction. Ever been to a restaurant and the server never came to bring you a menu? Or have you waited in line for a bank teller only to have them close their window when it was your turn? These experiences left a bad taste in my mouth and it was all because the business lacked good customer service. Business should make customer service a company priority.

By providing good customer service in the logistics operation, such as the ability to track shipments and alert customers if their orders will be delayed, you will increase customer satisfaction. Tracking deliveries in real-time and communicating any issues which arise, alerts customers to problems and gives them time to make adjustments, such as finding an alternative source. Superior customer satisfaction and service sets your business apart from the competition and ensures customer loyalty.

Good customer service equates to a greater customer experience while they do business with your company. Poor customer service will drive people away from your brand. If a customer uses social media to inform others of your poor customer service, it can damage your brand’s reputation, which is hard to recover. However, an apology goes a long way. If something goes wrong, such as an order arrives late or a product is broken, quickly acknowledging the error and replacing the defective merchandise along with sending a sincere apology will deter any complaints and shows that your company cares for their customers. Showing you care through good customer service will do your business and your brand a world of good.

Showing respect, sending apologies, acknowledging errors and quickly fixing problems is what makes for good customer service. Improving efficiencies, such as in return processes and inbound shipments, will speed operations and deliveries to help you satisfy time-sensitive customers. Focuses externally on customers, putting their relationship first, helps to ensure customers will feel valued and want to continue working with your company.

In logistics operations, shippers establish KPIs to measure the performance of their carriers, such as the percentage of missed and on-time deliveries, loading and unloading times, truck turnaround times, etc. Using the performance data and actionable reports from a TMS, you can collaborate with carriers to identify how to address any issues that have arisen, especially issues that affect customer service. Focusing on improving your operations using KPI measurements and reporting keeps transport costs down, while increasing efficiencies, leading to greater customer service.

Since consumers today have heightened expectations about customer service, wanting their orders the same day and to know exactly when the order will arrive, businesses have to step up their game when it comes to improving customer service. Technology that gives visibility up and down the supply chain is the answer.

Community Load Match Kuebix

Don’t Let Limited Truckload Capacity Threaten Growth

Truckload capacity is at an all-time premium. This means that companies are struggling to retain the current rates they have, let alone add capacity as their businesses grow in the strong economic environment. The “shoe is on the other foot,” as they say, and truck owners are now in control of setting prices and taking their business elsewhere as they see fit. This leaves shippers in a difficult situation, they must either slow their pace of growth or source additional truckload rates.

According to the WSJ “More companies are pointing to rising freight costs as a drag on earnings and growth, as trucking companies raise rates.” In order to continue growing, companies need to source additional truckload rates to ensure they have capacity and are getting the best prices. The solution is technology. With the help of technology like Kuebix Community Load Match, spot quotes for truckload shipments can be easily found and booked.

Community Load Match is making it easier than ever for shippers to access a vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers. Kuebix customers can now leverage a diverse community of brokers to supplement existing capacity with reliable alternatives. As capacity continues to shrink, it becomes more and more difficult to find and book spot rates for truckload shipments. The labor costs associated with calling brokers and carriers to book freight are high as well. Instead of calling and searching online for capacity, Kuebix is meeting the needs of its users by providing a single source to access a huge network of trucks that can provide attractive rates and a new, valuable source for truckload capacity. This saves time, reduces costs and gets freight shipped in an industry where truckload costs are rising, and assets are scarce.

The barrier to entry for Community Load Match is non-existent. The service is free to use for all Kuebix users, including Kuebix Free Shippers. Any user with truckload freight to ship simply enters the specifics of their shipment in Kuebix and posts it to Community Load Match. Within minutes, users begin receiving truckload rates and then can book and manage their shipments directly within the system. Shippers retain control of their operations by choosing the best provider for every truckload shipment. By increasing the available options, shippers are able to ensure all truckload moves are covered by the optimal carrier available.

Truckload capacity is growing more and more scarce, but finding the trucks which are available just got easier. Now, any size company with truckload freight to ship can find more capacity and get better pricing by posting their shipment to Kuebix Community Load Match.

Kuebix Freight Pay and Audit

Are You Still Manually Auditing Your Freight Bills?

Freight pay and audit can be a very tedious and expensive function. Money is wasted when companies pay outside firms by the invoice while the company may still be left dealing with difficult exceptions directly with the carrier. With the help of technology, the entire process can be streamlined and automated. This makes auditing invoices and handling exceptions highly efficient.

Automation means never accidentally overpaying for freight

Did you know that 15% of carrier invoices are incorrect and, more often than not, those erroneous bills are not in the shipper’s favor? Manually using carriers’ paper or email invoices to validate billed amounts can result in errors or even approvals without proper research. Overcharges can occur when all invoices are generically approved for remittance simply because the effort involved to research discrepancies is too time-consuming.

Automation makes auditing faster

By integrating carrier invoices directly with a TMS, carrier bills can be automatically audited against the approved rate quote for each shipment. If an invoice doesn’t match the agreed upon rate or falls outside an acceptable threshold, a rate exception claim can be created. Rate exception claims should include details of the actual discrepancy to make it easy to dispute. Then, the ERP system can be automatically updated with the new invoice information and payments can be made with confidence. When manual freight pay and audit functions are replaced with automatic ones, shippers only spend time looking at the invoices that are incorrect and always know where the discrepancies lay for easy disputing.

Automation helps to better manage cash flow

Paying invoices too early can reduce cash flow for the company. Kuebix keeps track of the payment terms with carriers and helps ERP systems pay carrier invoices on time, ensuring that invoices are not paid too early. The Kuebix platform automatically alerts the user which invoices to process for payment and on what date, ensuring cash-flow is managed correctly.

Automation provides more accurate financials

With technology, shippers have the ability to add important GL codes to the invoice so that their accounting teams can properly class the financial information for every line item on every shipment.  Enabling the smooth exchange of all associated financial data helps the company keep track of specific expenses by various product lines and business functions. By leveraging automation technology, opportunities to squeeze savings from shipping operations can be identified and implemented as well.

Kuebix TMS offers out-of-the box solutions to automate Freight Pay and Audit functions. This means that detailed rate exceptions can be viewed in one place instead of painstakingly researching discrepancies on each mis-matching invoice. By collaborating with Kuebix’s experienced team of implementation experts, a customized carrier invoice auditing integration can be created to fit any company’s specific needs.

Kuebix Consumer Packaged Goods

How One Consumer Packaged Goods Company Keeps Up with Its Speed of Growth

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies are growing as convenience, drug and discount retailers gain industry presence due to their improved customer experience when compared with traditional brick-and-mortar. Stocking these smaller format stores, combined with the general nature of the merchandise, means that CPG supply chains are both high velocity and prone to demand spikes. Growing CPG companies looking to expand their order volume and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction are turning to technology to gain a competitive advantage.

180 Innovations, a private-label manufacturer offering a full range of health and beauty products, implemented Kuebix TMS to stay ahead of their increased shipment volume while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

The company specializes in thermometry and produces oral, skin and hair care products. They supply retailers such as Marshalls, Rite-Aid, and CVS, and distribute across North America. Moving their freight management process from paper to one optimized for the digital age was an obvious choice for the manufacturer.

In 2016, the company began seeing a rapid period of growth, necessitating the move away from small parcel shipments via the postal service and toward LTL shipping. With these increased freight needs, 180 Innovations decided to optimize their processes rather than scaling an old system. To do this, the company adopted Kuebix TMS as their transportation management system.

Davor Vucic, an industry veteran with 20 years’ experience at 180 Innovations under his belt, manages the company’s shipping and receiving operations. Now, with Kuebix, he can rate, book and track shipments with ease as well as automatically create BOLs. In addition to the core functionality, Vucic has been able to leverage the power of the TMS to get ahead of his workload.

The ability to easily edit shipments has also been a benefit for 180 Innovations. If something needs to be added onto or removed from an already finished shipment, they can easily do so. Having the flexibility to modify shipments helps to keep product flowing and customers happy.

Kuebix TMS has made 180 Innovations’ transportation operations faster and more efficient. The manufacturer has been able to handle their increasing business without needing to scale their previously manual process. Davor Vucic reports that he is 5 times faster with Kuebix. Saying that “it’s the only way we are able to keep up with the speed of growth 180 Innovations is experiencing.”

To read more about this CPG company’s experience using Kuebix TMS, click here.

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