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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Clark Kuebix

Dan Clark Recognized as 2021 Supply Chain Pro to Know

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

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

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

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

How Plant-Based Protein is Shaking Up the Food Industry

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

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

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

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

What this Means for Supply Chains

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

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

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month in the Supply Chain

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

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

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

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

Women in the Transportation Industry

Spotlight on Female Truck Drivers

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

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

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

Ramona Hood Makes FedEx History

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

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

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

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

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

Melonee Wise Makes Waves with Fetch Robotics

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

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


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

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

The Logistics of Valentine’s Day at Home

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

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

Flower Purchases and Deliveries

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

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

Meal Kits

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

Boxes of Chocolate

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

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

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

What is Mass Personalization?

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

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

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

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

How Does Mass Personalization Impact Supply Chains?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future of Drones in the Supply Chain

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

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

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

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

How Drones Can Help Supply Chains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handling Supply Chain Disruptions with Warehowz & Kuebix TMS

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

Warehowz

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

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

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

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

Kuebix Transportation Management System (TMS)

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

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

Finding capacity in the right lane is especially difficult with so many fluctuations in demand and raw material shortages. Users can leverage Kuebix Community Load Match and become a part of the community made from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to meet all of their truckload needs on one platform. With Kuebix Community Load Match, shippers get a new source of truckload capacity and carriers can fill their empty trucks.

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

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

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The Supply Chain’s Critical Role in Successful Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

The creation of a Covid-19 vaccine has been on the top of everyone’s mind since the illness first began to spread. A November Gallup poll revealed that 58% of Americans would get a Covid-19 vaccine. Leading pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer have created vaccines with efficacy rates of more than 90% that will be ready for distribution by the end of the year. Now that trustworthy vaccines are in production, there’s one problem that remains – distribution. 

Transporting vaccines is more complicated than loading them into a truck and driving. Moderna’s vaccine requires a temperature of -20° for long-term freezing but can be stored for up to one month in a regular refrigerator. On the other hand, Pfizer’s vaccine needs a temperature of -70°C for long-term freezing and can last in a regular refrigerator for five days at most. Both variations must be sealed in sterile containers before leaving the production facility.

Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two shots given weeks apart to the person being vaccinated, making the logistics even more complicated. Hardware companies responsible for producing glass vials, syringes and needles started ramping up production over the summer to prepare for the inevitable creation of a vaccine. U.S. Government officials are working directly with McKesson, a medical supply company, to assemble vaccination kits and make distributing and administering the vaccine easier. 

The infographic below highlights some of the major challenges supply chains are facing on top of determining how to distribute the vaccine.

With people across the globe wanting a dose of either vaccine as soon as possible, the pressure is on for supply chains. Both Moderna and Pfizer need reliable temperature-controlled trucks to transport their vaccines. Even the smallest deviation from the required temperature can render an entire truckload of vaccine doses ineffective. Securing a large fleet of specialized trucks is a challenge in itself and transporting substantial quantities of either vaccine requires supply chains to move quickly.

It’s equally as important that those responsible for distributing the vaccine have access to tracking information. Distributors need to be sure the doses they’re administering stayed within temperature and time regulations before reaching their final destination. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities have already expressed concern that they don’t have enough ultracold storage capacity to act as a distribution center. Rushing any part of this fragile supply chain can compromise the quality of doses the entire world is depending on. 

In order to successfully transport and distribute doses of Covid-19 vaccines, stakeholders will need to  leverage the most advanced supply chain technologies on the market today. The latest applications of technology will improve collaboration and visibility within logistics operations to help both Moderna and Pfizer produce and distribute their vaccines.

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The Turkey Day Supply Chain in 2020

The holiday season during Covid-19 means smaller gatherings and changes to long-standing traditions for many families. Healthcare professionals are recommending everyone stays home and stays safe for Thanksgiving this year. Regardless of any changes in plans, there’s one thing that will be at the center of most families’ tables – turkey.

A grand total of 46 million turkeys are eaten for Thanksgiving every year. Research has shown that the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest it’s been since 2015. Turkey prices are 7% lower than they were last year at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird, equating to $1.21 per pound. A Thanksgiving meal for 10 people including classic dishes like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie costs about $46.90, which is 4% less than last year.

Lower prices can be attributed to the fact that a significant number of people are staying home and cooking their own meals because of the pandemic. More people buying ingredients involved in signature Thanksgiving dishes is good news for many companies, but those who handle turkeys are in a unique predicament.

The “ideal” Thanksgiving turkey typically weighs between 28 to 30 pounds. Distributors were used to operating under the assumption that the best turkeys were the biggest ones. For many families, this rang true. However, as this year’s gatherings downsize, so does the weight of the ideal turkey. The majority of Thanksgiving shoppers are in search of smaller turkeys, making them seemingly impossible to find. 

The entire supply chain is affected as consumers, butchers, meat suppliers, grocers and chefs are left scrambling to secure smaller birds. Some consumers don’t mind cooking a larger turkey because it means plenty of leftovers for sandwiches the next day. To accommodate smaller gatherings that aren’t interested in leftovers, butchers are breaking down large birds and selling parts individually or in smaller bundles. 

Households who don’t want to cook their own turkey regardless of its size are turning to restaurants. To capitalize on the change of pace for this year’s celebrations, restaurants are offering traditional meals that can be ordered in advance for individuals or small households. Those who either don’t want to cook or are unable to cook can still enjoy the classic Thanksgiving meal they know and love in the comfort of their own home.

The circumstances around this year’s Thanksgiving are unusual, but there are still plenty of options in terms of securing the perfect turkey. The key to making sure your table is filled with all the classics is planning ahead. Shop for popular ingredients early and don’t leave anything for the last minute! Place an order for a turkey as soon as you confirm how many people will be at your dinner table and remember it’s never a bad idea to have leftovers!

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

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

Veterans in the Transportation and Supply Chain Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Forward-Thinking Technology is Improving Safety on the Roads

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

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

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

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

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

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

What an Early Holiday Shopping Season Means for Supply Chains

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

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

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

Popular Holiday Purchases

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

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

Making the Most of the Early Holiday Season

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

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

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