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Collaboration Is Vital For a Successful 3PL Relationship

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Jul 9, 2020 9:53:33 AM

Much like personal relationships, the relationship between an organization and its third-party logistics provider requires effort from both parties to stay productive, healthy, and strong. A 3PL cannot expect to provide services without catering them specifically to their client’s needs, and an organization cannot expect to run their logistics operation hands-free. It takes communication and constant collaboration to run a smooth, successful supply chain and promote positive growth for the client’s business as a whole.  It will take a long-term commitment from both parties to create a successful partnership.

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Topics: Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Logistics Business, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Industry Trends, Big Data

Cargo Thieves Will Be Busy This Weekend

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Jul 2, 2020 8:38:58 AM

Supply chain professionals are looking forward to a much-deserved extended weekend during the Fourth of July holiday. However, CargoNet, an industry cargo security firm, reports that extended business closures can create an advantageous operating environment for cargo thieves. For the past five years, the firm has analyzed cargo theft data in the United States and Canada from July 1 to July 7and found 130 cargo theft events in 27 different states, with theft most common in Texas, California, and Florida.

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Topics: Third Party Logistics, Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Logistics Business, Maximizing Routing Efficiencies, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Big Data

Significant Changes to Supply Chain Protocols After Covid-19

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Jun 18, 2020 9:11:03 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit global trade and investment at an unprecedented speed and scale. Multinational companies faced an initial supply shock, then a demand shock as more and more countries ordered people to stay at home. Governments, businesses and individual consumers suddenly struggled to procure basic products and materials, and were forced to confront the fragility of the modern supply chain. The urgent need to design smarter, stronger and more diverse supply chains has been one of the main lessons of this crisis.

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Topics: Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Reducing Freight Rates, Logistics Business, Maximizing Routing Efficiencies, Freight Bill Audit, Shipping News, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Big Data

The Impact of 5G on the Logistics Industry

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Jun 11, 2020 8:19:09 AM

Limited 5G network deployments had begun in some markets in 2019, with widespread rollout expected to take place through the 2020s. The 5G wireless technology promises to accelerate data speeds, improve quality, and reduce latency in the world’s mobile networks all of which means higher performance than today’s broadband wired networks.  “5G will be a game changer because it’s 100 times faster and will support 100 times more devices than current 4G networks,” according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.  This week we take a look at the specific impact on the Logistics industry.

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Topics: Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Logistics Business, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Industry Trends, Big Data

We Could See the Re-emergence of the New Deal to Resurrect the Economy

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Jun 4, 2020 6:12:50 AM

Massive unemployment and a nearly desperate need to rebuild our infrastructure could entice the presidential administration to copy a plan designed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930’s.  The New Deal was a series of programs and projects instituted during the Great Depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that aimed to restore prosperity to Americans. When Roosevelt took office in 1933, he acted swiftly to stabilize the economy and provide jobs and relief to those who were suffering. Over the next eight years, the government instituted a series of experimental New Deal projects and programs, such as the CCC, the WPA, the TVA, the SEC and others. Roosevelt’s New Deal fundamentally and permanently changed the U.S. federal government by expanding its size and scope—especially its role in the economy.  Although it took our entry into World War II to lift the U.S. economy out of the depression, the New Deal provided many jobs to willing Americans in a time of great need.  While I don’t believe we’re in as bad a shape as the 1930’s we are faced with a jobs crisis.  To add to the issue, the recent civil unrest has compounded many small businesses problems in getting re-opened. 

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Topics: Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Logistics Business, Maximizing Routing Efficiencies, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Big Data

Logistics Trends to Watch in 2020

Posted by Land Link on May 28, 2020 7:42:41 AM

Let’s take a break from the Covid-9 effect on the Logistics industry.  Things are slowing opening back up.  Hopefully, the trend continues with no significant spikes in infection rates.  That being said let’s look at some industry trends we should all be aware of this year.

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Topics: Freight Bill Auditing, Intermodal Freight, Logistics Business, Freight Bill Audit, 3D Printing, Industry Trends, Big Data

Is Your Data Ready For AI and the Emerging Technologies?

Posted by Land Link on Apr 8, 2020 7:26:51 PM


Data is the new precious metal and it is becoming more essential than ever before. Technological leaps like blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning run on data. They’re already beginning to transform supply chain operations across many sectors.

Is your supply chain organization prepared to adopt these emerging technologies and generate the operational improvements to deliver the anticipated ROI? As we’re seeing, digital technology in the supply chain enables end-to-end decision-making, visibility into supply-demand information across the network and supports the operational level response in plants, DCs and retail stores.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to ask the obvious questions about processes that employees no longer question. Whether the questions have to do with routing guides, packaging practices or distribution center locations, it is often helpful to get an independent perspective. One of the main benefits of sharing data with a third party is an objective perspective that can cut through the culture and the “We’ve always done it that way” syndrome. A trusted Enterprise Logistics Provider with deep technology and operational experience can provide that objective view of the data and make recommendations without regard to internal influences.

Careful and Regular Data Collection is Critical

Data management is not a “set it and forget it” activity. A culture of continuous learning will be the key. Your enterprise must continually evaluate the integrity of your data collection and management programs not only against your internal requirements but also external developments. Are there gaps or inconsistencies in your data? Will it be available in the formats necessary to support adoption of relevant technology? For example, inventory optimization relies on a body of robust, accurate data. Without it, the results will be skewed and potentially damaging to your supply chain. Is your enterprise able to ensure your data is accurate and up to date? Garbage in will get you garbage out.

Look to Industry Professionals for Guidance

Rather than investing in technology tools directly, a trusted Enterprise Logistics Provider with deep technological expertise can support data management and analysis capabilities as a value-add in the partnership. As a solutions provider, the Enterprise Logistics Provider can stay up to date on the latest developments and evolution, reducing the need for ongoing investments in IT infrastructure.

Creating a comprehensive plan to clean and structure existing data and capture as much data as possible going forward will deliver benefits across the enterprise. As the digitization of the supply chain continues, those who aren’t able to ask the right questions could be left behind. For help determining if your data is ready to support the next level of technology, contact us today.

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Topics: Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology, Big Data

‍AI and IoT are Ready for Your Warehouse

Posted by Land Link on Feb 12, 2020 3:25:35 PM

Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are making their initial forays into a myriad of warehouse operations. The expected outcome; DCs able to respond dynamically to current supply chain conditions instead of pre-set rules. Look for newfound flexibility and an ability to respond to specific customer demands. The general programming protocol is to minimize human intervention in daily supply chain operations. This should not be news to anyone involved in complicated supply chain systems.

We are at the point where AI and IoT are viable IT applications for the warehouse. Both are powerful new tools that better enable warehouse and distribution center activities to keep pace with rapidly shifting supply chain dynamics. Artificial intelligence systems can learn, over time, the patterns and trends that are most important. It can identify when specific events occur which require human intervention. It can sense security breaches and stop them before they become crises. Simply put, for the IoT to grow to its full potential, it needs the processing power of artificial intelligence.

Integration Into the Supply Chain

AI promises a brave new world of computers that can plan, strategize, evaluate options, calculate probabilities, and make smart decisions. The inter-connectivity and dual reliance of both systems is evident in the automotive applications currently being tested. Repetitive daily environments are best suited for early stage AI learning and IoT experiences at this stage in the application. An example is a typical commercial bus route. The travel route is planned and timed out as are the stops. IoT applications including sensors, video cameras and time keeping technology all gather data throughout the daily route. This data is the basis upon which AI evaluates and electronically digests the information. It is through the digestion process that AI basically learns the particular details of the route like staying on time, the average number of passengers per stop, and, in fact, the unpredictable events like traffic and weather delays. It is through this repetitive experience that AI will eventually be able to maximize the efficiency of the route by anticipating daily events along the route based upon historical data.

The same inference can be applied to a route for a commercial delivery unit whether it be a truck, plane, train or any other conveyance unit. In this example the desired result is the same. To maximize efficiency by learning the route and experiencing every possible condition which may affect it so contingency plans can be implemented in real time to maintain the integrity of the delivery. The benefit of this technology application will become evident once driver less technology is fully implemented.

Early Areas of Implementation

AI can significantly improve business operations by leveraging the tremendous amount of data generated by sensors monitoring the production and movement of products using IoT. The result is referred to as AIIOT, which is the merging of AI and IoT to manage inventory, logistics, and suppliers with a higher level of awareness and precision. The supply chain is one area that can benefit the most from streamlining since it has a direct influence on profitability and customer satisfaction.

There are already several implementations of AI and machine learning where supply chain efficiency is improved:

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Topics: Transportation News, Shipping News, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology, Big Data

Technology Trends For 2020 And Beyond

Posted by Land Link on Jan 30, 2020 9:24:07 AM


There is little doubt that technology has transformed the Logistics business in the last several years. Will we ever get to fast enough or efficient enough? It's not likely. Under pressure exerted by demand for instant gratification, new tech-first logistics providers are beginning to pervade the fulfillment environment. Without the autonomous hardware that promises to supersede traditional road transportation, they are instead leveraging digital tools to improve the performance of manually executed deliveries and reduce lead times from days to hours, with 24 being today’s bargain-basement service level. These companies, through the use of customer-integrated business platforms, mobile technology, and crowd-sourcing, are finding ways to pick orders within minutes of receiving them, dispatch deliveries on-demand, and bring buyer’s purchases to them in time-frames of two hours or even less.  How are logistics professional going to keep this pace?  Here are some technology trends that may be worth a look as we enter 2020 and beyond.

Robotics

Given the energy and investment in robotics in our space, suggesting that there will be a robotics trend in 2020 is pretty obvious. After all the pilots and promises, what seems to be happening is that robot solution providers, and the end user community, are realizing that there is no one size fits all robotic applications. Quite the opposite is true. The customization is proving so complicated due to the advanced operations of the robots that the programming and engineering has become problematically complicated. Robotic applications are a very customized solution depending upon the product line, distribution protocols and warehouse volume parameters. The challenge, in addition to the design, will be the management system that can bring the components in synchronicity with the rest of the automation. The difficulty seems to be that there is no standardization among the robotic providers. Each have their own standards, communication protocols and capabilities. Someone will have to figure all of that out as robots proliferate. The next generation robots will not just be tasked with simply, repetitive and mundane projects as were the first generation. The robots of today will be much more complicated providing a wide range of services. As you increase the tasks you increase both the software and hardware configurations necessary to support the project. These ambitious goal will certainly be a challenge to the engineers and programmers.

Edge Computing is a distributed computing paradigm which brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth. In layma 's terms it puts the entire computer in your handheld or mobile device. Not all that long ago, we saw the wireless revolution in the warehouse as barcode scanners, mobile printers, voice headsets and the like were decoupled from the computers that controlled them. That enabled the mobile worker, who could take a device to the point at which the work was being done. But those tools were essentially dumb terminals, the computing power and analytics were back somewhere else. Edge computing changes that. It puts computing power and analytics down on the floor, enabling truly real-time decision making and real optimization of the associate pushing a cart or driving a lift truck. Edge computing simply provides serious computing power to handheld and mobile devices throughout the warehouse enabling the user to have much more computing power at the point of use.

Logistics Safety

Ever since the eCommerce boom, the race has been on to deliver products faster with the fewest errors possible. In 2019, we saw the race for faster delivery hit a few bottlenecks, both legal and physical. The ability of tools such as drones to fly freely ran up against privacy laws. Delivery technology appeared to have reached a limit short of asking drivers to speed and forgo sleep.

The way we know these bottlenecks became serious was seen through companies suddenly making logistics safety their priority. With greater connectivity and more robust data, concerns over logistics safety and cyber-security came to the forefront. Customer data faced new challenges, and enhanced data richness gave drivers and fulfillment professionals new corners to cut, posing a challenge to safety. Technology appears to be introducing logistics solutions at a greater rate than federal, state and local governments can digest them.

Looking Forward: Order Fulfillment Optimization Logistics Trends for 2020

In 2020, you can expect to see many of the above trends continue to develop since they are still massively useful.

As safety became an issue in 2019, companies have turned to delivery experience enhancement. These are Order Fulfillment optimization methods that help alleviate the customer’s “gotta-have-it-now” anxiety; a need that I struggle to understand even today. These methods of order experience enhancement are all about letting the customer in on the shipping process. One massively effective way we can enhance customer experience is simply by raising the transparency of the shipping process. When it comes to improving customer experience, this is done with customer-facing APIs. API stands for “Application Programming Interface.” APIs give individuals and companies the power to add functionality to a website, application, platform, or software without having to actually write the programming code.

This is accomplished by integrating the API code into a company's existing code. We encounter APIs all the time online. If you’ve ever bought something from an online retailer, for example, then you’ve almost certainly interacted with an API. Most online retailers process payments using APIs from Stripe or PayPal.

‍Other APIs you’ve likely run into include the Google Maps API on sites like Yelp, and the “Sign in with Facebook” API which allows you to log in to a website using your Facebook credentials. Be careful of that ease of login using social media or other websites. You're giving up some security.

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Topics: Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology, Big Data

Using Data to Establish Accurate Pricing and Operational Efficiencies

Posted by Land Link on Mar 13, 2019 10:48:55 AM

The right pricing strategy is a critical component that companies can’t afford to overlook and is one of the most important aspects of maintaining profitability. In the manufacturer-distributor-customer value chain, one of the manufacturers most pressing challenges is being able to mark up prices in a way that helps maintain profitability while not pricing that customer out of the market. This balance is getting harder to achieve in the current B2B business environment, where the next competitor, price comparison or huge online retailer is literally one mouse click or screen tap away. 

Focused on serving their customers while maintaining healthy profit margins, manufacturers have to effectively balance the cost of manufacturing with the company's profit goals.  Goals that are hard to attain if the company isn’t using solid pricing strategies.

Integrating Data Your Pricing Strategy

As data continues to proliferate right along with the number of technology tools to help harness that data, companies are learning how to leverage that information across multiple departments for maximum success. Accurate data can more precisely reflect the cost of manufacturing by considering critical issues such as seasonal raw materials fluctuations, capital equipment depreciation and labor concerns.  Manufacturers should be generating these cost equations on a monthly basis to forecast cost fluctuations and react in plenty of time to adjust pricing. 

Gain an Edge on the Competition

Even those manufacturers that think they have the pricing game under control will surely face a new competitor, get hit with a new market trend or face another economic challenge in the near future. Look what Uber did to the taxi business.  Manufacturers of the future will also understand that effectively engaging customers requires true innovation in executing the value chain. Traditional approaches to inventory, logistics, pricing and rebates will be reimagined through the application of advanced analytics and technology innovations.  Given the importance of data, analytics and technology to both engaging customers and executing the value chain manufacturers will also need to leverage IT to truly energize, not just enable, their business. 

Data management is central to keeping track of your costs throughout the manufacturing process. If data is properly recorded and accessible to every link in the chain, managers can touch base with their product at every stage, helping maximize efficiency, address problems quickly, and improve customer satisfaction.

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Topics: Supply Chain Management, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology, Big Data