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The Logistics of Valentine’s Day at Home

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

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

Flower Purchases and Deliveries

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

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

Meal Kits

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

Boxes of Chocolate

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

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

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

What is Mass Personalization?

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

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

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

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

How Does Mass Personalization Impact Supply Chains?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Kuebix Named a 2021 FreightTech 100 Winner

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

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

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


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

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

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Blog Post

What Supply Chains Should Expect from Amazon Prime Day this Fall

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

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

Popular Amazon Prime Day Deals 

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

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

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

What Amazon Prime Day Means for Supply Chains 

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

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

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

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

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

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Back to School Looks Different for Supply Chains This Year

Fall is approaching and with it comes back to school season. However, Covid-19 has left the 2020-2021 academic year looking different than previous ones. School districts throughout the U.S. are deciding between in-person, online or a mix of the two instruction styles for their students. Many of the country’s major K-12 schooling systems including Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago have chosen to move forward with a remote learning environment. With so many districts expected to follow their lead, companies manufacturing products considered essential for a successful online learning experience are scrambling to keep up with heightened demand. 

Preparing for the unpredictability of the school year has proven itself costly. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending will increase by 26% in comparison to last year. Families with children attending K-12 plan to spend an average $789.49 per family, while college students and their families expect to spend an average $1,09.20 per family. Additionally, 55% of families expressed that they’d be shopping online for back-to-school items rather than in person.

The most essential back-to-school item every student needs for online learning is a laptop. Three of the world’s biggest computer companies, Lenovo, HP, and Dell, have reported a shortage of nearly five million laptops. Schools purchasing electronics in bulk for students started to experience shipment delays in the spring. Setbacks worsened as the pandemic continued to spread. A combination of increased demand and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 have made it challenging for these companies to prepare themselves for back to school season.

Accessories like wireless headphones, microphones and monitors are also experiencing an increase in consumer demand. Many students have traded in their concerns about the first day of school outfits for ones about the proper desk setup and gadgets to have the best video call possible. 

Adjusting to New Shopping Patterns

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of electronics and other office products have their work cut out for them this fall. Products that may have previously been considered optional on back-to-school shopping lists are a necessity for those starting their school year at home. Clothing stores dependent on students shopping for their first day of school outfits are trying to stay on trend and produce more loungewear. 

A successful supply chain must be able to adapt to changes regardless of how unexpected they are. The best way to stay on top of things is to leverage technology like Kuebix TMS. With Kuebix TMS, users have visibility throughout their transportation supply chains and can adapt to last minute changes by leveraging the built-in truckload spot market, Kuebix Community Load Match

Being aware of details regarding shipment location and order information helps companies stay prepared. Users are able to automate manual processes and allocate the time saved to more sensitive areas of their supply chains and improve customer service. Detailed reports and analytics serve as feedback for companies by helping them identify potential opportunities for improvements and strengths. A transportation management system strengthens logistics operations as a whole, making it easier for companies to handle any fluctuations in demand the school year brings!

Trimble Visibility Blog Post 2

Complete Supply Chain Visibility with Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS

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

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

Overview: Trimble Visibility in Kuebix TMS 

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

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

Key Features

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

Key Benefits

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

How Does Trimble Visibility in Kuebix Work?

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

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

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

Mobile App for Carriers

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

Proactive Shipment Alerts and Status Updates

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

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

Location Settings and Polygonal Geofencing

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

Optional Branded Web Address (or URL)

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

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