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Big Data And Your Carrier Profile

Posted by Land Link on Jan 23, 2019 5:36:57 PM

Our industry is solidly in the realm of "Big Data". Big data is like any other data except there are massive amounts of it available from which your transportation providers estimate your overall value as a customer. Data analytics and predictive analysis have become the leading indicators of a company's future business levels. If your organization is not utilizing these tools to predict future needs you may be leaving leveraging power at the bargaining table.

Data Analytics And Predictive Analysis

Data Analytics is not overly complicated. It is the science of interpreting historical data to predict some future utilization. This can be applied to expected manufacturing level, raw materials needs, inventory, and shipping. The application of this data is known as predictive analysis. Predicting the future needs of a company based on historical data coupled with expected future analytics such as increased sales volume or raw materials expense. The critical components of this science are the accuracy of the initial data input and the accurate category of data. Garbage in will give you garbage out and unnecessary data will compromise the utility of your output. So if you want to predict future operating costs be sure to include only financially relevant data. If you want more of a
CRM analysis, be sure to input customer specific data. Be certain of what data you want at the end before you begin.

Maximizing Your Profile Data

Other people have your data as well and are utilizing it to their full advantage. Your vendors and suppliers all have your historical data. Be assured they are using data analytics and predictive analysis to maximize their position every year. Your organization needs to be armed with a similar ordinance to leverage your position. For our purposes, we'll concentrate on your carrier profile data. The volume of data available here can be daunting, especially if you imagine collecting it all in real time. That’s why your first step should be figuring out what question you want to answer. Do you want to understand how winter weather affected your holiday shipping last year? Do you think you can make transit more efficient? Further, big data draws links between all aspects of your supply chain from your supplier to your inventory on hand, to your warehouses to your customers. This information can remind you when it’s time to order more replacement inventory because your stock is running low. It can reveal not only which of your vendors missed shipments, but also which manufacturers’ products got the best customer reviews.

A data analyst looks at information with a totally different perspective than a supply chain manager. Reviewing numbers or other types of information if you’re working with big data, can reveal inefficiencies you’d never noticed. It can identify inefficiencies in routings and contractual agreements that may be renegotiated. The million dollar question is how are you going to get this done within your organization on a timely basis. Clearly, it would take years and the establishment of Data Analytic department to compile and manage this data in house. The rate at which our industry has adopted data analytics simply won't allow you that much time. Not initially anyway and it may be cost prohibitive in the long term. The obvious answer is to outsource your data analytics. As far as your carrier profile is concerned Land Link Traffic Systems has been utilizing data analytics for years. Long ago the founder of Land-Link Traffic Systems Inc. stressed the following. “What does not get measured, does not get fixed”. It would be difficult if not impossible for any rational person to repudiate this thought-provoking statement and important underlying principle of business. Yet, many companies to do just that. Most companies, in fact, do not have the proper measurements and KPIs in place necessary to drive intelligent business decisions and to serve as support to the policies that are relied upon to drive day to day business activities. Visit us today for specific information on our data analytics approach.

Author
Michael Gaughan
Technology Officer
Land Link Traffic Systems

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Topics: Big Data, Industry Trends

A Look At Some Logistics Trends For 2019

Posted by Land Link on Jan 9, 2019 12:38:47 PM

As the logistics industry, and the broader business world, looks to 2019, it’s time to explore what the next year will bring to logistics. After reviewing several industry sources most Logistics professionals are in agreement with all of these trends. We hope this information will help your organization prepare for what's ahead.

1. The Truck Driver Shortage Will Expand With No End In Sight.

The driver shortage has been an ongoing problem for many years. Among the biggest issue is that there is very little interest in trucking careers for young men and women from the 18 - 28-year-old generation. As of now, it appears unlikely that this truck driver shortage will end soon. World Bank data shows that U.S. import and export traffic nearly doubled between 2000 and 2016. During that time period, twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) traffic increased from 28.3 million TEUs in 2000 to over 50 million TEUs in 2016. Despite a huge rise in demand for truckers to transport these imports and exports, the number of qualified drivers is not growing. Young immigrant driver prospects and driver-less technology is simply not enough to fill the void of capable driver solutions.

Driverless trucks probably won’t be here for a few years, mostly due to legal concerns. The good news is once this transition happens, driverless trucks will reduce trucking costs and minimize demand-related trucking shortages.

2. Big Data And Blockchain Technology Will Revolutionize Logistics.

Demand for information technology (IT) services in the logistics industry appears to have increased in recent years as more companies begin to deploy IT resources in their logistics/supply chain operations. That trend will likely continue in 2019 as small and midsize importers and exporters even the playing field against larger counterparts by leveraging big data and blockchain technology.

The implementation of big data will lead to safer supply chains globally. Small to midsize importers and exporters stand to gain the most from new technology since they do not have the resources to create a safe supply chain but will be able to rely on freight companies that provide big data capabilities to customers. The supply chain will be safer, as importers and exporters will have the ability to communicate quickly with global suppliers and automate tasks to minimize human error and eliminate paper.

In 2019, many small to midsize importers and exporters that are working with freight companies will choose to use big data when shipping goods globally. With the touch of a button, they will approve shipment specifications, see their cargo be loaded/unloaded, view the condition of their cargo, read the temperature inside a container, and track important milestones like customs clearance, arrival dates, and delivery receipts. The mass adoption of big data will be a game-changer in logistics.

Blockchain technology will increase transparency for importers and exporters in 2019. It will replace needing extra time and personnel to record transactions within the supply chain. When shipping globally, there are many parties involved, so it will benefit shippers to minimize information disruption, reduce paperwork needed, and maintain access to original information without worrying about tampering during and after shipment.

3. Payments Will Be Safer, And Cross-Border Transactions Will Be Easier.

In 2019, new payment technology will reach the logistics industry on a widespread scale, leading to more secure transactions globally.

The global trend of the last decade toward widespread credit and debit card use, as well as the introduction of cryptocurrency as an alternative form of payment, will accelerate in logistics. In 2019, most shippers will choose to pay for the shipment of goods with major credit or debit cards, as freight companies and other intermediaries are pressured to offer this payment convenience.
This will help everyone, as small to midsize importers and exporters will have payment flexibility, while freight companies can get paid faster.

Globally, the introduction of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin will become widely accepted, leading to safer payments with an eye toward maintaining customer privacy. Whether a major financial institution introduces its own cryptocurrency remains to be seen, but logistics will be ready. For the logistics industry, cryptocurrency will make it easier for cross-border, international payments to be done safely and privately.

One downside of cryptocurrency is concern over countries being able to side-step economic sanctions by using cryptocurrency to pay for goods. Cryptocurrency pioneers and the banking industry are working on security protocols to address these concerns from international governments...mostly the United States.

4. The Logistics Industry Will Continue To Consolidate, Leaving Few Major Players.

Between 2016 and 2018, major developments in logistics led to the consolidation of major shipping companies. The result is fewer shipping carrier options for shippers.

In 2019, this consolidation will continue, with major players in the shipping industry already numbering less than 10. It has become difficult to survive as an independent shipper with a fleet of cargo ships. To compete, shipping companies have joined forces to form shipping alliances.

Today, the top three shipping alliances are 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance. Together, they are composed of 11 shipping lines, including most major shipping players. In 2019, more alliances may be formed, shipping lines may move to start new alliances or two alliances may merge. Similar trends are emerging in the domestic logistics environment as well.

By the end of 2019, further consolidation may mean higher rates due to less competition. However, through consolidation, shipping companies will offer top-tier customer service and increased capacity. In 2019, consolidation will continue to be a double-edged sword. For these reasons it is important to develop a relationship with a 3rd party Logistics provider to take advantage of established, volume rates and relationships in order to make your organization relevant at the bargaining table. Contact us at www.Land-Link.com today for a no-obligation consultation.

No matter what happens in 2019, it’s clear that change is coming to logistics. Importers and exporters, as well as domestics shippers, must be prepared for the future Logistics environment, or they will be caught off guard.

Author
Michael Gaughan
Technology Officer
Land Link Traffic Systems

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Topics: Industry Trends, Logistics News

Government Shutdown: What it Means for Logistics

Posted by Land Link on Jan 3, 2019 10:09:46 AM

The maturing Government shutdown may soon affect freight operations in the U.S. All positions vital to national security will remain staffed but many are as yet unpaid. Government shutdowns like the one we're experiencing have a significant effect on morale. Everyone involved in the impasse is getting paid, whether they need the money or not. Some resentment by rank and file is completely understandable. Some may express their dissatisfaction through their work performance. Here are some areas in which we will see the most immediate impact.

Truckload Border Crossings

Customs and Border Patrol will prioritize security of all kinds over speedy freight flows, so there is potential for long delays at truck crossings along the northern and southern border. The biggest concern is for ancillary agencies that need to sign off on clearances like USDA, Forest Service, etc. How those agencies prioritize staff is a big question. Being flexible and monitoring crossings will be crucial to gauge any impacts.

Air and Ocean Imports

Air and ocean imports will have the same types of potential delays as truckload crossings; however, the ancillary agencies often play a bigger role at ports and airports. Sequestration cuts in October also had an effect on staffing, which means we will see wait times rise even higher. Again, flexibility is essential here because consistency may be the biggest threat of both a shutdown and further sequestration.

U.S. Domestic Truckload and Intermodal Freight

Day-to-day operations will likely not be disrupted at all because FMCSA is funded as an agency outside of the funding that potentially would be shutting down as part of the continuing resolution being debated. There may be some delays and disruptions delivering to federal facilities that require appointments as facilities may not be staffed to load or unload. Examples include places like military bases, prisons, and federal construction projects. In addition, programs like the EPA SmartWay® program may be included in any furloughed operations.

We are now in day 10 of the partial government shutdown with no talks to reopen scheduled. More people blame President Trump than Democrats in Congress for the shutdown. Forty-seven percent of people held Trump responsible, compared with 33 percent who blamed Democrats, according to a poll by Reuters/Ipsos released on Thursday. Regardless of who is to blame, a prolonged shutdown is bad for everyone. The ripple effects of backlogs and bottlenecks at customs and border crossings could be felt for the coming months.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Logistics News

Connectivity Is Among The Keys To Logistics Of Tomorrow

Posted by Land Link on Dec 12, 2018 3:56:51 PM

Our economies and our lives depend on the efficient movement of goods; a movement that is underpinned by complex transport and logistics chains. But, while delivering goods from producer to end user, transport and logistics systems are under increasing pressure to deliver greater efficiency, more sustainability, and improved cost-effectiveness. Connectivity and IOT ( The Internet of Things ) will be the key components to a competitive edge in the Logistics of tomorrow. The IOT, as you may recall from previous blogs, represents basically any piece of machinery involved in a supply chain. Implementing IOT technology will allow 3pls the ability to communicate directly with the hardware involved in the production and retrieve the necessary data directly rather than deal with personnel.

With a connected network, this type of data can be seamlessly retrieved by 3pls and disseminated to suppliers and providers. It is worthy to note that the decimation will likely be protected by blockchain technology for enhanced privacy and protection. Transport and logistics are facing the same challenges as other sectors – the need to increase efficiency, improve sustainability and lower costs. For transport and logistics, however, this is further compounded by the need to offer a better customer service in the face of growing customer expectations, and to ensure compliance with ever more stringent regulations. The improved connectivity that the project will deliver will enable the scalable, trusted and secure exchange of information. This, in turn, will improve the overall competitiveness of goods transport in the supply chain and make it more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. Improved connectivity will also support cooperative ITS solutions, which will also improve logistics operations by generating real-time traffic information, allowing better tracking and tracing of goods. The ability to connect with machines globally and the IOT infrastructure in place to globally communicate pertinent logistics data to and from suppliers and providers, securely, will separate the players from the also-rans.

IoT, Smart Roads, And Predictive Analytics

Real-time monitoring of trucks, vehicles, and goods in transit via the IoT has been around, says Timothy Leonard, executive vice president of technology for TMW Systems, and is only getting more capable as the number and sophistication of sensors and IoT infrastructure improves.

According to Leonard, formerly a technology executive with General Motors, as sensors on trucks and trailers are becoming more numerous, they’re getting smarter and more capable of monitoring different conditions. Additionally, governments in places such as Ohio with its Smart Mobility Corridor program are embedding fiber optic cable and sensors right into roads to create “smart roads” that can help pinpoint congestion or weather trends. As a result, there will be a richer data stream to draw on for predictive analytics. The onus will be on vendors to develop predictive analytics solutions that are adept at helping with specific transportation decisions. “With the advent of smart road networks and infrastructure, and smarter sensors in trucks, the evolution of what we can do is just getting better and faster for us,” adds Leonard.

Mobile robotics change DCs

Digital supply chain management isn’t all about the IoT and visibility into goods in transit—it will also involve mobile robotics at the DC level to reduce labor requirements and help DCs keep pace with e-commerce growth, says Dwight Klappich, a research vice president with Gartner.

“I believe we are going to see very rapid evolution toward the use of what Gartner calls smart automated guided vehicles, that are also known as autonomous mobile robots, within DCs,” says Klappich. “They’re going to have a dramatic effect on how you can operate a warehouse, and how you design and build warehouses.”

Mobile robotics, contends Klappich, are more flexible than traditional automated materials handling systems that require extensive fixed infrastructure. Mobile robotics/smart AGVs that can carry or pull inventory to workstations—or function as smart, driverless lift trucks—would alleviate the labor needs at the DC level and allow for DC automation that’s quicker to install and reconfigure.

“There has always been this tradeoff with traditional automation in that while it can lower operating costs over the long term, it tends to be costly to acquire and involves a long time to install, implement or change,” says Klappich. “Where we are at now is that smart AGVs/robotics are beginning to break that traditional tradeoffs between efficiency and agility, and that situation is only going to get better as robotics improve and industry gains experience with them.”

Blockchain Technology In The Supply Chain

The blockchain is a distributed database that holds records of digital data or events in a way that makes them tamper-resistant. While many users may access, inspect, or add to the data, they can’t change or delete it. The original information stays put, leaving a permanent and public information trail, or chain, of transactions

If blockchain technology allows us to more securely and transparently track all types of transactions, imagine the possibilities it presents across the supply chain.

Every time a product changes hands, the transaction could be documented, creating a permanent history of a product, from manufacture to sale. This could dramatically reduce time delays, added costs, and human error that plague transactions today.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Logistics News

UPS Warns A Possible Strike As Teamsters Eye Coming Vote

Posted by Land Link on Nov 7, 2018 6:20:34 PM

The Teamsters union is threatening a strike over the terms of this years contract. As of October 25, the Teamsters National Freight Negotiating committee has received its last best offer from UPS freight. Voting on the contract will be happening throughout this week starting November 7. The previous contract was rejected on October 5th. There is a 30-day extension of the current contract which will expire on November 12th. The negotiating committee demanded:

1) tighter restrictions and limits on subcontracting and rail usage;
2) higher wage increases that are not split;
3) earning protection for city drivers when they perform dock work;
4) elimination of the new qualifiers for pension and vacation benefits; and
5) a week’s worth of vacation pay for all classifications based on 1/52 of the prior year’s earnings.

The negotiating committee has determined that the LBFO does not sufficiently address the issues raised by the members. Nevertheless, because of the company’s insistence that there is no more money to be had and in order to allow its members to make an informed decision on a question that will affect them and their family, the negotiating committee decided to submit the LBFO for acceptance or rejection. a strike has already been authorized. While a strike is a last resort, if the members reject this final offer from the company there will be no other options and there will be a strike at a time and location(s) determined by the negotiating committee.

The Repercussions of A UPS Strike

Two decades ago, 187,000 employees at UPS walked off the job for 16 days. As of Wednesday, the company’s union workers, now numbering 260,000, are threatening to do so again. The walkout on Aug. 4, 1997, led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for UPS. It was, at the time, one of the biggest nationwide strikes the country had ever seen. It was a different time, though. The strike impacted consumers differently than it would today since business owners saw the most direct effects, often unable to restock shelves. The consequences of a strike today may be much more severe than that of 20 years ago. The online community, from both a seller and purchaser viewpoint, will be dramatically affected. When we think online retailing we have to think about Amazon. They will be the barometer for the effects of a UPS strike on the economy and international commerce.

Amazon’s tight relationship with UPS is supplemented by one with the U.S. Postal Service. Should UPS be unable to deliver customer packages, it’s possible the retailer will lean heavier on the USPS. Trump, though, is no fan of that relationship, attacking Amazon in a series of tweets earlier this year, saying the company wasn’t paying enough to ship packages. Experts have disputed this position, saying Amazon and other online retailers have helped stanch the post office’s declining cash flow. Still, a weakened Amazon could bring another round of Trump attacks. Or, worse, inaction.

President Bill Clinton refused to stop the 1997 strike, even though he did have the legal power to do so under the Taft-Hartley Act. But Labor Secretary Alexis Herman strongly urged the two sides to stay at the negotiating table for 80 hours of talks in a five-day period. That pressure is credited as one of the reasons the strike didn’t last long. The LTL Strike of 1994 Crippled interstate commerce for weeks. I was a seasoned Transportation manager during the strike of 94. It involved the teamster drivers employed by some 20 plus common carries. LTL comprises the bulk of freight shipments domestically so the impact was huge. There was a mad scramble to consolidate shipments by carriers nationwide who were not experienced in consolidating small LTL shipments; typically 2-4 pallets. Equipment availability was severely impacted as was delivery schedules and rates. It was a bad time for shippers as they had to look toward truckload and expedited carriers to get their freight delivered. To make matters worse, the mid 90's began the JIT ( Just In Time )inventory system. Simply defined, It was a cost-saving measure to reduce inventory carrying costs started by the automotive industry. It was an effective business philosophy but relied heavily on tightly defined pickup and delivery windows. The significantly devastating downside of such a philosophy is definitely any type of work stoppage.

How Do Protect Your Business From A UPS Strike

It is not likely to happen but fortune smiles on those prepared. Asset availability is going to be the biggest issue. Given the timeframe of the potential threat, there is no time to go through the steps to get set up with additional providers. This is a time when an established 3PL can offer valuable alternatives quickly. In the event of a strike, contact Land Link Traffic Services to help your business get your product delivered. Visit us today www.Land-Link.com.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Technology, Shipping News

Washington May Be Easing Trucking Regulations

Posted by Land Link on Oct 31, 2018 3:22:38 PM

Most industry practitioners believe trucking is a totally deregulated industry. It’s true that, economically, it has been deregulated in interstate commerce since the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, but safety regulations have made it one of the most tightly regulated sectors in interstate commerce. Environmental pollution, driver standards, HOS and electronic logging rules instituted by the FMCSA have been a major cost of doing business in the trucking industry. Following the pro-regulation Obama White House, Trump may be the advocate the trucking industry has been pining for. There has been no significant easing of current regulations but the good news is there is like to be no more additional legislation affecting the industry for the remainder of Trump's term. In this issue, we'll take a look at a few of the major regulations and update you on what's going on.

ELD Update

The three most invasive regulatory hurdles currently facing trucking are the enforcement of electronic logging devices (ELDs), the further tweaking of driver hours of service (HOS), and the move to allow a pilot program of only 200 drivers under the age of 21 into interstate commerce; an age-group that has been locked out of driving the big rigs since the Motor Carrier Act of 1935.
So far this year, the biggest issue for shippers has been the lost productivity due to the full enforcement of the ELD rule. This rule is designed to eliminate cheating on driver HOS through the elimination of paper log books in favor of electronic devices that are difficult to evade. after several delays in implementation and enforcement regulatory enforcement personnel have begun issuing stiff penalties for noncompliance. Industry analysts predict this regulation alone has caused a 3% to 8% drop in carrier productivity. Longtime advocates of ELDs say that the devices ultimately make carriers and their drivers more efficient through better planning of routes to take cost out of the system. Carriers say LEDs can help nudge shippers to work more closely with their carriers on times and locations of pickups. Even little things as reducing congestion at the loading dock can pay big dividends for both shippers and carriers in eliminating inefficiencies. The efficiency gains and improvement in public safety not withstanding, these deficits must be accounted for in the form of rate increases.

Going forward shippers should try and emulate four best practices in order to mitigate the effect ELDs are having on their valuable capacity and rates:
Make sure your business is not overly complicated from a carrier’s perspective;
Eliminate unnecessary stops as well as freight that require multiple moves;
Reduce or eliminate detention times, which ultimately reduces driver pay;
and create favorable lanes and market niches to make your relationships mutually beneficial.

Ultimately, if these goals are realized, shippers can obtain all of the capacity that they need from a variety of carriers vying for their business. Otherwise, carriers say, their choices will lessen and rates increases will skyrocket.

HOS Rules

While compliance with the ELD rule has reached nearly 99% across the trucking industry, truckers continue to complain about HOS regulations, especially the impact they have on agriculture, seasonal deliveries, logging and other sectors of trucking.

Washington is considering revisions in four specific areas:
expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
extending the current 14-hour, on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving; and
reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment—the so-called “split sleeper” rule.

We'll keep you informed on what revisions, if any, are implemented.

Under-21 being considered

For years trucking companies have advocated under 21 truck drivers. Insurance companies made the idea nearly impossible to implement even if Washington lightened up on this restriction. But on July 3rd this year the DOT announced a pilot program to allow a test group of 18-year-old drivers to operate 80,000-pound rigs. Based upon statistics there really isn’t any question that younger drivers are more likely to crash and be involved in serious incidents. And considering a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 40 tons, carriers and safety advocates alike agree that this is no place for on-the-job training. Most carrier management and insurance companies are not proponents of the idea. These potential revisions alone will not solve the driver shortage however, carriers say it’s an example of Washington listening to the industry with an open mind, which itself is a change in the regulatory environment. To stay current on these and other industry topics subscribe to our blog www.Land-Link.com.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Supply Chain Management

Meeting Supply Chain Expectations

Posted by Land Link on Oct 25, 2018 2:52:50 PM

With the rise of Amazon, Uber, and home IoT products, consumer expectations for real-time visibility and connectivity have never been higher. These trends are morphing over from the consumer industry to the B2B sector. Consumers’ experiences are now driving their professional expectations, and this is driving modernization across every industry, perhaps none more so than supply chain. Today manufacturers are investing in digital supply chain technologies that enable total visibility, from end to end. With global IoT tracking and big data analytics, 3 PL's will become a valuable resource which can rise to the challenge of today’s heightened consumer expectations, delivering an experience on par with and even surpassing the consumer and B2B expectations.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Big Data, Logistics News

Truckers Considering Demand-Based Pricing

Posted by Land Link on Oct 18, 2018 11:16:47 AM

Truckers are considering adopting a demand-based pricing algorithm very much like the Uber system. Pricing for transportation services will fluctuate on any given day based upon shipper demand. One could only imagine what an end of the month, end of quarter scenario may look like for shippers. A departure from contract rates to be sure and, if implemented, the spot rate market may never be the same. Transportation prices have been rising every quarter for the last couple of years. Pricing forecasts for 2019 suggest some leveling out of prices. But the current pricing environment is here to stay. Rising interest rates and the ongoing driver shortage will ensure that. It's unclear if this aggressive pricing structure will fly with shippers who have come to enjoy bargain basement pricing for 20 years or more but there is little in the way of options. Rail was always a good option if price was a particular concern. But those rates are up as well and the less than favorable transit times are always an issue. Add to that the limited type of freight that can travel rail. It has to be a durable commodity. Also, the added cost of extra packaging makes rail less of an option.

Tips To Maximize Your Transportation Spend

Consolidation efforts may have never been more useful than they are in today's market. Uber has an interesting option in their offerings called Uber Pool. Riders simply purchase a seat in the car rather than the entire vehicle for roughly a 15% savings. The downside is if you're in a hurry don't opt for Uber Pool. You may be the first person to be picked up but the last to be dropped off. Freight transportation is not much different. In choosing to consolidate your shipment with another your maximizing cost efficiency at the expense of transit time. So, understand your customers delivery expectations clearly. I can think of dozens of examples when the transit time understandings of the shipper and consignee were vastly different.

Plan Ahead

A transportation planners life would be simplified greatly if only they had more lead time. The majority of the time this is easily accomplished. More lead time allows for more accurate availability predictions, more consolidation options, and what should translate to a more efficient transportation spend. Avoid shipping on Fridays. Fridays are busier, particular as we near the end of the month. Fridays also limit the consolidation efforts as trucks are anxious to get headed toward home. Another topic to pay attention to is packaging. Typically, if your using standard pallets, your classification and space requirements should be easily calculated. How you package your freight can have a drastic effect on your freight classification and resulting cost. If your pallets do not fit side by side or are not stackable, you’re paying for both the space next to you and the one above. Possible tripling your fright costs from a class 55 to 200 or higher.

Work At The Marriage

As a shipper, you should do everything you can to create harmony in the relationship. We've written repeatedly about becoming a "Preferred Shipper" in the minds of your carries. This harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship has a measurable effect on the performance of your carrier when it comes to effectively moving your freight. From simple things like a driver rest area to the packaging and speed of loading and unloading the freight. Drivers want to keep moving. Certainly near or at the top of the list is payment. Do everything possible to be in compliance with the terms of payment.
An experienced 3 PL can help your organization with all of these efforts to maximize your transportation efficiencies through what may be the most challenging holiday season in decades and in years to come. Contact us today www.Land-Link.com for guidance and planning options that you will certainly need in what is the "new normal" in transportation pricing trends.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Logistics News

How Technology is Affecting Retail

Posted by Land Link on Oct 11, 2018 9:30:55 AM

When it comes to technology in the retail consumer market Wal-Mart is among the lead dogs. When it comes to imaginative, if not bizarre ideas, they may be the lead dog. A Walmart patent application for a biometric feedback shopping cart handle was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, CBInsights reports. The cart handles could track the heart rates, body temperatures and stress levels of customers, possibly averting serious health issues in the stores.

Although I have no doubt Wal-Mart is sincere in safeguarding the general health of its shoppers you've got to ask yourself, what is the real motivation here. What data are they looking to farm? Will the cart sensors measure an interest level in a particular item?. Perhaps feedback on sales promotions. It has to be linked to business. Plain and simple. Why else do it? If so, it doesn't make them the bad guy. It does make sense to integrate customer purchasing habits to their general health. It's good practice to keep the golden geese healthy. Whatever the motivation for this creative approach to shopper habits it's going to have some effect on supply chain management. Logistics professionals are going to need to educate themselves on the new technologies and prepare their practices accordingly. After all, some of this stuff just may yield some unanticipated affects on supply and demand.

Whether the retailer ultimately implements such a costly system companywide is an open question. The patent application says the data would not be linked to specific shoppers. "It is noted that the biometric data and the cart movement data collected during the use of the shopping cart is not tied or otherwise linked to the identity of the individual customer," the company said in its patent application. But this does raise the question of whether this technology might prove too creepy or invasive for customers already concerned about privacy.

Robots In The Aisles

Lowes is testing robots to act as customer service liaisons to aid in customers' searches for whatever they may have visited the store for. I like the idea. I usually have problems finding an educated individual to help me. The upside is the robots will tell you exactly where to find what you're looking for. The downside is the robot lacks the extensive experience that a lot of the Lowes and Home Depot employees have. It's common for semi-retired contractors to work at the major home repair retail outlets and have extensive experience that they're more than willing to share with the novice plumber or whatever your project. The robot will, however, email or text a link to info from a Google search or a YouTube video to help with your project. "LoweBot", as the robot is called, will add a layer of support to amplify the trusted advice of Lowe’s employees as it helps customers with simple questions, enabling more time for employees to focus on delivering project expertise and personalized service. Having the ability to scan inventory and capture real-time data with LoweBot will also help detect patterns or gaps that will ultimately influence business decisions. From a supply chain perspective, robotic customer service applications may not affect the supply chain planning a great deal since the inventory data pretty much starts at the register it's still pretty cool. A much better use of retail technology than the universally despised "self-checkout" kiosk. Someone someday is gonna take one of those out with a large caliber armament. I'm sure of it.

High Supply Chain Efficiency

The present-day customer tends to have a ‘buy-now’ mindset and expects a faultless service through the entire life-cycle of the order. An annual study published in the Future of Retail 2016, shares that in recent times customers expect seamless and quick shipping, delivery, exchanges, and returns from e-commerce firms. Consequently, retailers need to focus on improving their customers’ shopping experience rather than merely increasing their customer base.
Retail technology is helping e-retailers improve their supply chain and logistics using the lean methodology to streamline these processes and eliminate inefficient operations.

A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers. Supply chain practices such as cross docking, direct delivery to stores, real-time delivery, third-party logistics, and cross-functional integration are playing a major role in making the business processes more efficient. Logistics and Omnichannel order orchestration offer retailers data on real-time orders, inventory visibility, order aggregation and fulfillment, and customer service, enabling them to optimize their supply chain systems.

Cross-Channel Purchases

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2016, 38% of all purchases are made through multiple channels. Technology and social media are central to Omnichannel shopping. Shoppers are conducting online product research using mobile applications and going through social media ratings, online customer reviews, brand promotion videos, and product photographs submitted by other users. Consequently, shoppers use multiple channels to make a decision, selecting the products and services with fluidity. In order to ensure consistent profits, e-commerce retailers must improve their digital presence across a variety of channels.

Retail technology is revolutionizing online shopping by enabling businesses to adopt innovative ways to engage their customers. Keeping up with this tech will separate the leaders from the laggards. Stay informed on these and many other technology applications that are right around the corner. To stay informed subscribe to our blog www.Land-Link.com. As always, if you have any questions on how today's technology will affect your supply chain please contact one of our Logistics professionals. 

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Topics: Big Data, Industry Trends

Blockchain and Smart Contracts are Redefining Commerce and the Supply Chain

Posted by Land Link on Oct 3, 2018 2:24:42 PM

At its core, blockchain is attractive for global trade professionals because it can be used to create a completely secure record of every step in a given business process. Whether one speaks of applications related to finance, operations or logistics, blockchain’s ability to execute encrypted actions that include identification of the parties, authentication of a transaction and the time-stamping of blocks in a chain has a truly universal appeal. In this weeks blog we're going to explore blockchain technology in the supply chain and how this technology has changed international commerce. Blockchains have their problems, but they are rated undeniably faster, cheaper, and more secure than traditional systems, which is why banks and governments are turning to them. Blockchain offers the greatest potential for international trade when three factors are present: a contractual agreement, clearly defined rules that govern the agreement and finally, a transaction that involves a monetary exchange. All of these are managed by smart contracts within the blockchain.

Smart Contracts

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Topics: Industry Trends, Supply Chain Management