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Kuebix Young Truckers Shipping Ecommerce Transportation

Training the Next Generation of Truck Drivers to Combat Increasing Customer Demand

As e-commerce becomes more popular amongst the growing population, the trucking industry faces an increase in shipping demands. Matching the pace of online orders has proven to be easier said than done as the number of online orders begins to outweigh the number of trucks and drivers available to deliver. Drivers on the road are struggling to transport the ever-growing mountain of freight to satisfy consumers’demand for fast shipping. As a result, transportation costs have risen and many businesses have increased the prices of their products to compensate. New truck drivers are needed now more than ever to close this gap and regain control over truck and product pricing.

Why Is There a Need for More Truck Drivers?

Taking on the role of a truck driver is a serious commitment as it requires extended periods of time away from home and meals often consisting largely of fast food. Over-the-road drivers typically work four to six weeks straight, which is an incredible sacrifice for those looking to spend time with friends and family or simply relax. Truckers are often paid based on the miles they have driven instead of the hours they have actually worked. This leaves time spent sitting at various docks while freight is loaded and unloaded unrecognized and unpaid.

What Actions are Being Taken to Recruit New Truck Drivers?

Fleets and carriers are testing a few solutions to combat the issue of readying the next generation of truck drivers. Many companies are covering the cost to get licensed, offering a sign-on bonus to new drivers and some even providing an annual salary of about $73,000. Some carriers are also planning on decreasing the number of routes drivers can take to allow them more time at home, hoping this change will encourage more new drivers to the industry. However, this poses a problem for truck drivers who are paid based on miles driven rather than hours worked. Carrier companies are considering changing their payment methods to reflect hours worked rather than miles driven to lessen the impact of the change. Additionally, some trucking companies are using apprenticeships as their main method of recruitment since these programs give young drivers an opportunity for a more immersive training experience.

What Effect Is This Having on the Economy?

With shipment orders increasing in extraordinary fashion, and an inadequate number of drivers available to fulfill these new order streams, shipping costs are on the rise. In order to compensate for this, companies have resorted to raising their prices. In 2018, Amazon, General Mills, Tyson Foods and John Deere all announced they would be following this trend. Inflation has the potential to rise by 1% as both shippers and suppliers try to deal with the rapid increase of e-commerce ordering. 

Motivating the next generation to pursue careers within the trucking industry is extremely important to keep up with ever-growing e-commerce shipping demands. Beyond creating an incentive for young adults to pursue a career in trucking, these positive changes will also motivate those who are already hard at work to keep on driving.

Grocery Food Supply Chain Kuebix TMS

Rising Consumer Expectations are Prompting Change in Food Supply Chains

The food industry is no stranger to steadily rising consumer expectations and standards. It’s becoming increasingly normal for consumers to shop for food in a variety of ways. Whether they stop at the grocery store to grab a frozen pizza on their commute home, order delivery upon arrival, or subscribe to a delivery service, there’s no shortage of ways consumers are shopping for food. Customer loyalty also seems to be a thing of the past, with many shoppers jumping from brand to brand and flavor to flavor as the mood takes them. For food suppliers, this means getting their products into the hands of their customers whenever and wherever they want, making supply chain operations increasingly complex.

The “Food Anywhere” Trend

Supermarket prepared food departments have seen double-digit sales growth in recent years, and food delivery is expected to grow 12% every year for the next five years. This aligns with the food anywhere trend, which challenges traditional ideas about availability and requires suppliers to conform to consumers’ notion that food should be able to be enjoyed anywhere at their convenience. Now, consumers expect to be able to purchase some traditional groceries at their local pharmacy, have pre-portioned meal kits delivered to their doorways, or order online for pickup at the location of their choice. Regardless of location, consumers expect their food to maintain the same quality and taste. Achieving this standard while keeping products in stock can be quite challenging for many food manufacturers.

Transporting food to local vendors for distribution is just as complicated as keeping up with all the final mile options consumers have come to expect. Trucking companies with food-grade truck assets must conform to extensive rules and regulations that ensure food is transported safely from one point to another. Even the smallest misstep can lead to degradation in the quality of the food and render products unsellable. Potential roadblocks to take into consideration include the distance being traveled, the temperature within the truck itself and the risk of cross-contamination depending on what products are being transported together. Drivers need to be aware of FDA, USDA, and DOT regulations in order to ensure products arrive at their destinations in a sellable and safe condition.

Healthier Alternatives

Manufacturers of prepared foods are struggling to meet demands for fewer, healthier ingredients while maintaining the same taste and texture customers expect. This can cause issues in the longevity of prepared foods, leaving products with shorter shelf-lives all while consumers are requiring more variety.  

However, change does come with reward – 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for a “clean label” product. Some food manufacturers have turned to individual quick freezing technology (IQF) to help achieve this standard while still retaining longer shelf-lives. This is a process that is growing in popularity because it flash-freezes products and preserves their nutritional value. The ice crystals created from IQF are small enough that they don’t rupture the cell walls of the products, extending shelf life and reducing food waste because consumers can cook in portions and keep unused leftovers frozen. This may be a compromise for food manufacturers and consumers who demand options, accessibility and health from their food.

Meeting Consumer Expectations With Technology

Food manufacturers have complex supply chains with many unique characteristics: tight margins, fresh products that may spoil, expiration dates on products, complicated inbound requirements and more. Getting the right volume of products at the right time, and at the right location, is no easy task. Visibility into and control of supply chain processes will allow food suppliers to address these challenges while meeting business goals. 

The best way to handle the complexity of transporting such intricately manufactured products is by using technology that provides complete visibility and control of supply chain processes like Kuebix TMS.  Food and beverage companies can use Kuebix TMS to seamlessly rate, book and track their freight. Through the direct integration of purchase orders from ERP systems into the TMS, companies can save time and improve order accuracy, ensuring that their customers’ growing expectations are met.

Green Supply Chain Fuel Types Kuebix TMS

5 Alternative Fuels that Will Reenergize the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry relies heavily on diesel to help it successfully transport products from manufacturers to consumers via trucks worldwide. Technology has been instrumental in reducing the number of empty miles driven, and finding an alternative fuel source is the next step for eco-conscious companies.  As concerns about the longevity of fossil fuels grow, the search for a more sustainable fuel is intensifying.

There are more than 222 million licensed drivers in the U.S. today and the amount of fuel needed to power their vehicles is astronomical. The transportation of people and goods accounts for about 25% of all energy consumption worldwide. Gasoline is a byproduct of fossil fuels, of which the earth has a limited supply. The discovery of an alternative to gasoline is vital to preserving our modern way of life and avoid running out of fuel altogether.

Fortunately, scientists and engineers are already tackling this problem. The switch toward alternative forms of fuel is still in its infancy, but researchers are working tirelessly to create cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Below are just five potential forms of less harmful and more sustainable fuel that have the potential to replace gasoline and introduce a new wave of cleaner, more efficient vehicles:

Electric

There are currently three types of electric cars: battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). According to The Guardian, there are already over 3 million electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the road today. Electric cars are known to be environmentally and economically friendly as they drastically reduce harmful emissions and save users all of the money they would have spent on fuel.

However, electric vehicles are restricted to a specific number of miles they can drive before they need a recharge (the average is about 100 miles). Outside of major cities charging stations are difficult to come by, making electric vehicles less than ideal for lengthier trips. In order for electric trucks to become a viable option for the supply chain, a solution to the limited range needs to be found. Once electric vehicles are able to carry heavy loads for longer stretches of road, the logistics industry will have a new, viable option for shipping.

Ethanol

Ethanol fuel consists of the same alcohol that is in most cocktails. It originates from plant matter including algae, trees and corn. Ethanol fuel is renewable and much better for the environment than gasoline as it produces less carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions.

The production of ethanol can support farmers and create agricultural job opportunities. Ethanol production can also be domestic, which helps reduce dependence on foreign oil. Gasoline is often blended with a high percentage of ethanol to create a cleaner-burning fuel because of its higher octane levels.

A transition to fuel made only of ethanol would be simpler than other options because newer trucks are consistently manufactured with the ability to burn ethanol-mixed gas and wouldn’t have a problem burning pure ethanol. Since many gas stations are already selling a blend of gas with ethanol in it, potential infrastructure problems are not as likely if the industry ever makes the switch.

The point of concern with transitioning shipping entirely to ethanol fuel is the effect it would have on crop prices. Utilizing crops as fuel rather than as food would drastically increase the price of corn and other produce. In order to have ethanol completely replace gasoline, a significant amount of the world’s forests and free spaces would have to be dedicated to farmland.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats and can be used before cooking or recycled even after use in cooking. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and emits less harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Biodiesel can work in any diesel engine, making for an easy integration into the transportation industry.

Although there are many positives to biodiesel fuel, it still presents its fair share of challenges. For one, it is much less powerful than regular diesel and gasoline fuels. Biodiesel is reportedly 10% weaker than traditionally used fuel types. The storage of biodiesel fuel can also cause some major problems over time. When it’s stationary for an extended period of time, biodiesel tends to thicken which can clog filters and create corrosion.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a popular and highly innovative alternative to gasoline. Fuel cell vehicles are technically considered electric vehicles, but they rely on a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity rather than a traditional battery. These cars are similar to gasoline and diesel vehicles as they are refueled in the same conventional manner and share the same long-distance driving range, allowing them to drive further and faster than battery-powered electric vehicles.

A vehicle with a fuel cell and electric motor running on hydrogen can be two to three times more efficient than gasoline. These vehicles discharge zero harmful emissions, only water. Hydrogen fuel can be produced domestically from nuclear power, natural gas, biomass and renewable powers like wind and solar energy.

The biggest problem associated with hydrogen fuel is cost. The fuel cells required to power hydrogen-fueled cars are very expensive, and there are very few gas stations that currently offer hydrogen as fuel. Should the transportation industry ever decide to make the switch to hydrogen-powered trucks, the eventual ROI could make it worth it.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel mostly comprised of methane. This alternative to traditional fuels can be produced domestically and is less expensive than gasoline. Natural gas could cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by 10% as well.

The reason natural gas hasn’t supplanted gasoline as the preferred fuel type is because of the limited number of vehicles on the market with the capability to utilize it. Making trucks natural gas-friendly would be a very costly investment for the trucking industry. There are very few fueling stations that provide natural gas and it provides fewer miles-per-tank than vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.

92% of the U.S. transportation sector uses petroleum products such as gasoline or diesel for fuel. These resources won’t last forever and soon we will have to find a new way to fuel our cars, trucks, boats and airplanes. Our economies are powered by supply chains, and whatever fuel becomes the fuel of choice in the future will have to work for the supply chain industry, not only for personal drivers. While some alternative fuels are already being implemented, research is still being done to develop a fuel that is truly sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

hurricane supply chain kuebix

Preparing Your Supply Chains for Hurricane Season

If you live or work anywhere along the eastern seaboard of the United States, you know the panicked feeling when you hear on the news that a major hurricane is approaching. Even if you believe that the hurricane won’t hit your town, hurricanes are unpredictable by nature. Grocery stores run low on stock as people rush in to purchase as much water, food and emergency products to prepare for the damage as they can. So what happens to companies with freight to ship and customers to supply? Businesses in hurricane-prone areas and those that ship to those areas are at risk of lost revenue and major damage if they don’t take the proper precautions ahead of a storm.

How are Businesses Affected?

In the logistics industry, it is safe to say that every aspect of the business, especially transportation and shipping, is highly affected by a hurricane. Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are catastrophic and can wipe out houses, buildings, and infrastructure like highways and local roads which are needed for shipping. Ports are especially affected since they are right on the coast where the majority of a hurricane’s power will break. Major flooding, debris and downed wires make it next to impossible for businesses to be able to move shipments in and out of certain areas that were affected.

When Category 4 Hurricane Florence hit the east coast on September 18, 2018, many roads and rail connections were affected which remained shut down even after the impact. This eventually resulted in a halt of shipments and deliveries being made on time, or at all. Grocery store shelves remained unstocked, bottled water was hard to come by and other necessary emergency products were only slowly supplied to those most in need of them.

Businesses in areas that are at risk of hurricanes must prepare in advance for the possibility of a natural disaster. This is the best way to fully recover from the impact and supply their customers during and immediately following the storm.

What Can Businesses Do to Prepare Their Supply Chains for a Hurricane?

With any business in the path of a hurricane, preparedness is key. Companies in the past have lost market share due to their lack of preparation and failure to completely recover after a natural disaster. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 40% of companies are not able to return back to normal operations following the impact of a disaster.

However, there are a number of ways that businesses can prepare for impact. A few ideas to protect your supply chain include:

  • • Identifying if you are in an area at-risk of dangerous weather impacts. While this may seem easy and obvious, many businesses surprisingly fail to keep that in mind when deciding on the best location to operate their business. Simply knowing that your business can be in danger of hurricanes is an easy gateway to finding the right tools to prepare and recover.
  • • Gaining complete visibility to your supply chain operations. If you have total visibility over your supply chain operations, your company will be best-positioned to react to a hurricane or other natural disaster. Knowing where your shipments are, being able to quickly rate and book with the best carriers and being able to track orders in real-time will give you an edge when a wrong decision can result in them never arriving. Companies can gain this level of visibility by implementing transportation management technology ahead of time.
  • • Have an insurance plan. Not only can insurance provide protection against loss, it can save a lot of money that would have to be paid to restore damages. Flood insurance may be a great option, or even a requirement, for businesses located in high-risk areas.
  • • Have reliable back-up partners. Having back-up partners can be very helpful because companies are able to move product via drop trailer to locations that are outside of harm’s way when a hurricane is approaching. There is a possibility that availability can be limited, so it’s crucial to have these conversations with your partners far in advance. Truckload spot markets like Kuebix Community Load Match give shippers an easy path to find and book reliable spot volume quickly.
  • • Learning from the past can prevent problems in the future. Data and analytics can help businesses keep track of their supply chain operations (how well or poorly they performed) during a storm. Being able to see what shipped, when, how long it took and for what cost helps businesses strategically plan for the next time a hurricane hits.

 What Happens in the Aftermath of a Storm?

In the case of extreme devastation, helping families and people in need is a top priority. While supply chain managers need to make sure their employees are all safe and well, they also need to work for a speedy recovery of their business. According to the Olin Business School, redundancy and operational flexibility are important processes of dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Since these disasters are frequently unpredictable, it is better to be safe than sorry and have a back-up plan to conquer the difficulties that the disaster can cause. With hurricane season upon us, remember to stay informed of weather events, leverage technology to retain visibility to your supply chain and have back-up plans in place ahead of time. With these tools, your company will be able to weather the storm!

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 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.

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.

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