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If you were to ask a group of transportation analysts where freight rates are heading, most would say higher. That’s not surprising, considering we’re riding one the “best global growth rates in seven years,” according to Logistics Management magazine. Many carriers, shippers and industry analysts associate increased costs with the driver shortage, ELD mandate and external factors that are out of one’s control. However, there are ways for shippers to control costs despite the dynamic market and rate volatility.  

Digitizing core logistics operations is one of the most effective methods for driving overall cost savings and efficiency. A recent JOC.com article discussed one component of the digital transformation in logistics noting the transition from paper to electronic BOLs has a, “far-reaching impact” on controlling LTL costs, yet the LTL industry still handles about, “75 percent of shipments using paper.”  

The key to digitizing core logistics operations, like adopting electronic BOLs, is effectively integrating your business systems with carriers and logistics service providers.  

4 Ways Integration Drives Cost Savings 

  1. Automate business processes – When you integrate your business systems with carrier and logistics service providers’ (LSP) systems, you create a powerful orchestra of real-time information exchange between carriers and your ERP, order management, WMS, back-office accounting, and more. This helps you reduce manual entry, improve accuracy and free your staff to focus more time on revenue-driving projects.  
  2. Increase visibility – When your systems are talking to carrier and LSP systems, businesses can see where shipments and capacity are in real-time. Tracking updates can be automated, giving end-customers full visibility into their orders and increasing customer experience levels.  
  3. Faster, better decisions – Integration enables businesses to access and aggregate big data from all your business systems. Apply analytics and business intelligence to data to cultivate pricing and revenue strategies that drive true competitive advantage. From a logistics standpoint, integration of information helps businesses make better carrier decisions, reduce unnecessary accessorial charges, forecast transportation spend and even help decide the best location for a distribution center.  
  4. Shipper of choice status – Integrating with carriers reduces the amount of paper processes on their end, as well as yours. When you help carriers become more efficient, you become a preferred partner. In capacity strained times, being a shipper that carriers want to work with helps you secure capacity, avoid the spot market and keep your rates stable.  

 Advanced Integration Without IT Resources 

When people hear “advanced integration,” many assume it also comes with high cost and extensive IT resources. Fortunately for shippers, TMS vendors, like GlobalTranz, are providing advanced integration and custom development resources so any size business, even without in-house IT resources, can integrate their systems and digitize their supply chain. And all at a price point that’s affordable for any company.  

 

Learn more about how you can integrate your entire supply chain without a budget or IT Team. Call 866-275-1407 or connect with an expert. 

 The logistics and supply chain industry is complex. GlobalTranz is committed to helping businesses and logistics professionals stay knowledgeable and up-to-date on the market and logistics best practices. Every month, we’re sharing trends and news impacting the logistics and supply chain industry. Here are some of the top headlines from September.

 Logistics Industry News

 

The 4PL Era Begins
Many companies are seeking logistics service providers that can handle everything in their evolving supply chains. More businesses are seeking 4PL services to manage all their supply chain operations,  break down silos and drive end-to-end visibility and transparency. Read More.

Shippers Overcoming Truck Capacity Challenges With Intermodal
It’s clear that pressure on shipping capacity and rates from the ELD mandate, ongoing driver shortage and a robust economy won’t be going away any time soon. To overcome those issues, some shippers are finding — or rediscovering — intermodal shipping service. Read More.

Transportation & Freight Markets

 

Going Up: What’s Driving Trucking Forward
At the recent FTR Transportation conference, economists shared their insights about the current economy, whether a recession is approaching, current freight markets, and what to expect in the coming months. Read More.

Capacity Increases, Spot Market Moderated For Now
We are experiencing one of the longest running economic expansions in the modern era, creating an incredibly dynamic freight environment. For months, capacity crunch and soaring rates have been unavoidable. Carriers have been investing in infrastructure and utilizing technology to increase capacity, as the bullish market has shown little sign of slowing. Read More.

Economy & Supply Chain

 

Tariffs Spurring Volatility in US Economic Forecast
Amid the tariff battle between the United States and China, net exports are expected to be a drag on third-quarter economic growth. Read More.

 U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps to 18-Year High
Consumer confidence unexpectedly jumped in September, reaching one of the best levels in a half-century of data. A strong job market and tax cuts keep Americans optimistic about the state of the economy and their finances, even amid an escalating trade war with China. Read More.

Technology & Innovation

 

3PLs Using New Tech to Build Dedicated Freight Lanes
As e-commerce delivery demands continue to increase and freight markets become more complex, logistics service providers are using technology to help businesses automate capacity sourcing and increase customers’ service levels. Read More. 

Rapid Tech ‘Transformation’ Tests Shippers, Carriers
As more companies recognize their supply chains as a source of opportunity for growth rather than a cost center, technology is becoming the perfect enabler. But businesses are finding that their legacy systems are preventing them from scaling operations and meeting their growing customer fulfillment expectations. Read More.

Regulation, Safety & Labor

 

NAFTA Replaced: Canada Agrees to Join U.S. and Mexico in New Trade Deal
On September 30th, The U.S., Canada and Mexico reached a new, modernized trade agreement, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA is said to give “workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region.” Read More.

Congress Takes Next Step Toward Drone Delivery
The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives released a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill for the use of drone-based delivery for everything from medical supplies to consumer goods. Read More.

 

Learn how to drive efficiencies and cost savings into your evolving supply chain.  Call 866-275-1407 or Contact Us.

 

The competition for freight brokers and independent freight agents is fierce. There is a constant pressure to add value for clients and show them consistent improvement of their freight operations and spend. At the same time, freight broker agents need to dedicate time to finding new clients and growing their business.

Technology is a perfect enabler to take a freight business to the next level. The right TMS platform will help a freight broker agent solve their clients’ logistics challenges, find new revenue sources, and increase their efficiency to free-up more time to grow their business.

Here’s a breakdown of a TMS’s top five benefits for independent freight agents and brokers: 

  1. Provides Big Data Analytics; Helps You Make Smarter Decisions and Grow Faster

TMS software can harness the power of big data, which helps you discover insights about your business. You can use this data to make faster and smarter decisions that solve complex logistics problems for your customers. These tools will help you win more business and grow faster. 

  1. Streamlines Operations & Increases Net Profits

From fees and tariffs to damage claims, freight agents must deal with scores of data points for each shipment. A TMS with advanced AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities will optimize carrier selection, rating, routing and help you choose the most efficient and cost-effective routes for your customers. You won’t waste time manually inputting data and updating shippers on shipment status as a TMS will automate manual processes. The result: you’ll reduce overhead and increase net profits. Additionally, by providing your customers a TMS like GlobalTranz’s GTZship™, you’ll empower them with full control and transparency into their shipments. 

  1. Improves Cash Flow Management

Some freight agents outsource the financial management functions of their business to a third party rather than risk mismanaging their financials. However, with the right TMS software, you can manage your own financial functions. The right software, such as GlobalTranz’s GTZcommand™, will help you invoice shippers, pay carriers and process insurance claims all yourself. You can accomplish it all through a single interface while producing informative, detailed reports to share with your customers.  

  1. Increases Customer Service & Retention

When you provide consistent, excellent service, customer retention improves sharply. Customer churn is expensive, and a robust TMS will help you drive efficiency into your customers’ supply chains and overall cost savings. GlobalTranz’s TMS, for instance, helps you surpass your customers’ expectations with total control tower visibility. Your customers get real-time carrier capacity, rate information and tracking which results in the right carriers being paired with your customers’ loads every time.  

  1. Drives Business Planning 

Author Alan Lakein famously said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And whether you’re a solo freight agent or run a business with other employees, you need to plan. The good news is a TMS can provide you with all the data you need to forecast, plan and grow your freight business. Harness the information that’s in the system to help you better manage your agency, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year. 

 

Learn how a TMS can help your freight business grow and attract new customers. Get a demo of our industry-leading GTZcommand™ TMS for freight agents, brokers and 3PLs.

Hurricane Florence Update – Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but remains incredibly dangerous.  Tropical-storm-force winds are hitting the NC/SC coastline right now and will increase to hurricane-force winds by tonight.  Landfall is expected to reach the US mainland late tonight or Friday morning.  Florence is expected to crawl along the coast of the Carolinas through Friday, producing catastrophic flooding and storm surge, before turning inland.

Our carrier partners and service providers continue their contingency preparations:

You should expect carrier operations to become increasingly challenged across the states of NC, SC, VA, and GA in the coming days.  New shipments may not be picked up for some time, and en route shipments may be significantly delayed.

If you need any specific carrier information such as which of their terminals may be closed and/or embargoed, please utilize the links below.  You can also reach out to LTLPricing@GlobalTranz.com for additional help.

August Industry Update

The logistics and supply chain industry is complex. GlobalTranz is committed to helping businesses and logistics professionals stay knowledgeable and up-to-date on the market and logistics best practices. Every month, we’re sharing trends and news impacting the logistics and supply chain industry. Here are some of the top headlines from August.

Logistics Industry News

 

More US Shippers ‘Shifting’ Truck Modes

As demand for faster fulfillment and replenishment cycles increases, LTL carriers are taking on more “middle mile” freight movements ending at customer facing distribution points once handled in truckloads. Read More

5 Ways to Mitigate High Freight Rates
Consistent economic growth in industries dependent on logistics has increased freight demand, creating more loads than available trucks. Spot market rates are up 25 to 35 percent over 2017, and analysts expect tight capacity and higher costs to continue into 2019. Read More

Transportation & Freight Markets

 

Early Trans-Pac Peak Could Impact US Spot Truck Rates
An accelerated peak shipping season at sea could translate into an earlier than usual surge in truck and intermodal shipments moving off coasts to distribution centers and end customers this fall. Read More.

5 Tips for Shippers in Tight Capacity Markets
It’s no secret that trucking capacity is strained. The U.S. economy is growing, creating very strong freight demand. At the same time, the ongoing driver shortage and decreased productivity from ELDs is resulting in more loads than available trucks. Here are 5 ways shippers can successfully navigate the capacity crunch during this historic time. Read More

Economy & Supply Chain

 

Why the Trucking Shortage Impacts Everyone

The shortage of truck drivers is at historic levels as a strong economy boosts freight demand. Bloomberg covers what caused the problem, why it has suddenly gotten worse and how the driver shortage impacts the economy. Read More

Retail Sales and Manufacturing Powering Solid Freight Demand

A surge in retail spending and manufacturing output in the second quarter signals some key indicators for freight demand to remain healthy and sustained through the third quarter as retail outlook remains positive. Read more

Technology & Innovation

 

Cutting Transportation Costs with Digital Bill of Ladings

Shippers across all industries and in all parts of the country are feeling the impact of increased transportation costs. The LTL industry still handles about 75% of shipments tendered using paper. Migrating the BOL from paper to digital format can greatly reduce the administrative costs of processing shipments and increase many operational efficiencies. Read More. 

Easing the Strain of the Truck Driver Shortage through Blockchain

The shipping industry has fewer drivers than it requires and that problem is on the rise, threatening slower shipment transit and higher prices for both consumers and operators. Blockchain technology has the potential to help compensate for the critical driver shortage and reward drivers for their hard work.  Read more

Regulation, Safety & Labor

 

ELD’s Open Up New Possibilities for Data-Driven Decision Making in Trucking

While the recently implemented federal ELD rule was aimed at improving compliance with driver hours-of-service limits, the resulting widespread rollout of these devices means that there is now an onboard technology platform in the cab of nearly every long-haul truck on the road,  opening up new possibilities for data-driven business decisions. Read more

Regulatory Relief Proposals Aimed to Help Shippers

While shippers don’t spend time familiarizing themselves with the complexities of regulations, the current proposed changes to hours-of-service regulations could provide relief to shippers by allowing more timely and safe delivery of their cargo. Read more

 

Learn how to drive efficiencies and cost savings into your supply chain during dynamic freight market conditions.  Call 866-275-1407 or Contact Us

July Industry Update

The logistics and supply chain industry is complex. GlobalTranz is committed to helping businesses and logistics professionals stay knowledgeable and up-to-date on the market and logistics best practices. Every month, we’re sharing trends and news impacting the logistics and supply chain industry. Here are some of the top headlines from July.

Logistics Industry News

 

Annual State of Logistics Report: It’s a Carrier’s Market

The confluence of a strong economy, surging demand, labor and capacity shortages are causing multiple pain points for logistics operations. The tightening logistics market requires “creative thinking and innovation” on the part of shippers. New technology, relationships with carriers and increasing knowledge base of best practices is the ultimate solution to helping logisticians ride out the challenges long term. Read More

Carriers and Shippers Need to Align in Tight Capacity Environment

Transportation industry experts say the tight capacity and rate challenges aren’t going away anytime soon. Carriers are realizing they allowed bad shipping practices during lean times, to ensure they had enough freight, but aren’t able to allow the same practices during this historic freight demand. “Delays at docks, dwell times with trailers, all need to go away.” Carriers and shippers need to find “strategic alignment.” Read More

Transportation & Freight Markets

 

Tonnage Up 8% in First Half of 2018

It’s been a very active summer for trucking. Truck tonnage continued its powerful run and is up nearly 8% through the first half of 2018, according to American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index. Read More

 US Truckload Carriers Warn Tighter Capacity Ahead

We’re experiencing the hottest freight market in years, and there is no indication that freight demand is slowing or capacity is loosening any time soon. With strong demand, carriers are able to pick and choose the most profitable freight, giving rise to the shipper of choice environment.  Read More

Economy & Supply Chain

 

US Announces Tariffs on $200B More Goods From China

In response to China’s retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods announced Friday, the U.S. has announced 10% tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports. The trade imbalance has prompted fears among global businesses as these measures could result in China attempting to disrupt operations of U.S. companies with a presence in China.  Read More

Driver Shortage is a Supply Chain Risk

The shortage of labor in the U.S. is hurting companies from coast to coast and the performance of corporate supply chains is at risk. Demand for labor exceeds supply, causing labor rates to creep up, resulting in higher prices of goods. The driver shortage and labor issues should be added to the corporate supply chain risk profile. Read More

Technology & Innovation

 

4 Technologies Essential to Mastering Logistics Operations

These days, you don’t need to have the logistics budget of a Fortune® 100 company to leverage leading-edge technologies that will improve the efficiency and performance of your company’s operations. Nearly every company – large and small – has access to and should be using these advanced enterprise technologies for effective logistics management. Read More

2018 Is the Tipping Point for Commercial Vehicle Electrification

The rise in freight is spurring demand for growth all class sizes of fleets. Major truck makers, including Volvo, Daimler, Navistar and Paccar have announced plans for future electric trucks while Tesla says production of its electric Class 8 truck will begin sometime next year. Read More

Regulation, Safety & Labor

 

NAFTA Talks Pick Up Again

NAFTA talks are resuming again, following two months of limited negotiations and President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum that took effect on June 1 for Canada and Mexico. Mexican Economy Minister alluded to the possibility of an August deal. Read More

ELD Mandate Perceptions, Trucking Present & Future Trends

Trucking industry leaders talked about ELD Mandate positives, HOS negatives and present and future industry trends at the Expedite Expo. Read More

 

Learn how to drive efficiencies and cost savings into your supply chain during dynamic freight market conditions.  Call 866-275-1407 or Contact Us

Companies are putting more emphasis on logistics due to the impact it has on customer loyalty and earnings. At the same time, logistics costs are increasing and transportation management is becoming more complex, digitized and fast-paced.

To combat these complexities, companies are looking for logistics service providers that do more than simply book shipments and take orders. 3PLs that are solution-focused and can solve logistics challenges are pivotal to adding value to a company’s supply chain.

What to Expect from a Solutions-Focused 3PL

Solutions-focused 3PLs move businesses beyond freight transactions, helping them evolve and think strategically about logistics and transportation management. The difference between a transactional and solutions-focused 3PL is like vacation planning. If you’re taking a week-long vacation to Disney World, do you show up at the entrance your first day to buy tickets and book a hotel room, or do you plan in advance to secure the best prices and terms?

The same goes for logistics and freight. If you buy at the last minute, you’re paying a premium on the spot market. Thinking long-term and holistically helps you predict demand so you can secure cost-effective contracts at competitive rates. Solutions-focused 3PLs help you plan, strategize and purchase your transportation in a consultative, collaborative and data-driven way.

A solutions-focused 3PL will provide the following value-added services:

We encourage you to look beyond your freight planning as a series of independent transactions to a well-thought strategy, which will help you become more efficient, improve performance and save money.

Learn how a solution-focused 3PL can drive overall cost savings and efficiency into your supply chain. Request a logistics and freight needs analysis: call 855-444-6608 or contact us.

Did you know that paperwork—bills of lading, certificates of origin, invoices and insurance policies—accompanying most large shipments of goods, accounts for one-fifth of the total transportation costs? Imagine if you could do away with paperwork by digitizing the information and “beaming” it into the cloud where all involved parties could access it any time.

That’s the promise of the blockchain, a technology we’re investing in at GlobalTranz. Wired magazine notes supply chain and logistics transaction documentation to be “one of the potentially most compelling use cases for blockchain technology.” A plethora of startups—as well as major companies like IBM and Walmart—are betting that the technology will change the way goods travel around the world.

A recent Wired magazine article follows the path of a container of avocados from India to the Netherlands that “involves dozens of people and businesses.” In this scenario, reports Wired, “Farmers need to drop off the avocados, boats need to pick them up, regulators need to sign off on the container’s contents, and someone needs to make sure that the fruits haven’t gone bad. Most of these handoffs and communications are still done via analog technology.”

Up to 30 different parties are involved in shipping this one container of avocados. Blockchain technology can digitize the stacks of paperwork that accompany supply chain transactions and push it all to the cloud, where key information is visible to stakeholders within the supply chain. Notes Wired, “That system might live inside a mobile app, and involve other tech, like QR codes, cameras, RFID chips, or internet-connected sensors.”

Smart Contracts and Proving Provenance

The blockchain is a distributed ledger that digitally records transaction history between parties. Information gets stored in blocks of data that are “chained” together. Each data block added to a chain is digitally unique and encrypted with a date/time stamp and key, which makes it unalterable. Information in a blockchain can’t be hacked or counterfeited and is immediately “trusted,” and therefore, accepted by anyone with access to the related blockchain.

This essential trust element is what makes blockchain technology ideal for executing what is known as “smart contracts.” For example, notes Wired, “When that shipment of avocados reaches the port in Amsterdam, it could automatically trigger a payment to the shipper back in India. Smart contracts could also be used to handle the required paperwork since they’re more secure than an emailed PDF and cannot be easily manipulated.” Smart contracts can be enormous time and money savers.

Blockchain tech can also detect fraud and help shippers guarantee the provenance, or authenticity of products. Provenance ensures that every shipped good includes a digital “passport” that proves its authenticity. These so-called passports include essential data such as where and when the product was manufactured and what steps it took throughout its journey.

Future Blockchain Standards Are Essential

Blockchain technology has the potential to drive efficiency, visibility and cost savings into supply chain and logistics management, but full-scale adoption is only possible if we have standards.

Today, BiTA (Blockchain in Transport Alliance) is the vanguard leading blockchain standards creation in the transportation and logistics industry. BiTA is actively working with its members (GlobalTranz is a founding member) investigating use cases and developing a common framework for which the logistics industry can build revolutionary blockchain applications.

Read the complete Wired article for more insights into how blockchain technology will help transform logistics.

Learn more about Blockchain in Logistics.

Deep learning, machine learning and AI

Technologies such as deep learning and artificial intelligence are quickly transforming entire industries, including logistics. Consulting firm McKinsey even says deep learning could one day become “the secret sauce in many different business processes.”

A recent article from the Financial Times shines a light on deep learning, a technology that offers tremendous potential for supply chains and manufacturing. The term itself “refers to the use of artificial neural networks to carry out a form of advanced pattern recognition. Algorithms are trained on large amounts of data, then applied to fresh data that is to be analyzed,” says Richard Waters, the article’s author.

Think of deep learning as a subset of machine learning—a technology GlobalTranz employs within its TMS and other supply chain systems. According to Forbes, “Machine learning takes some of the core ideas of artificial intelligence (AI) and focuses them on solving real-world problems with neural networks designed to mimic our decision-making. Deep Learning focuses even more narrowly on a subset of machine learning tools and techniques, and applies them to solving just about any problem which requires ‘thought’ – human or artificial.”

The Power of Deep Learning in Logistics

One of the most common applications of deep learning and machine learning is an area called predictive analytics. Within the GlobalTranz TMS, deep learning technology is used to help shippers make better decisions. For example, if you’re looking at lane planning, a traditional analytical model would look at a fixed set of assumptions. Analytics based on deep learning can consider dynamic attributes like weather or traffic and self-evolve over time to recognize patterns that humans would not see.

We also use deep learning to help companies track financial forecasts, pace and flow of production, and order processing. These data points, combined with insights into carrier capacity and performance, allow companies to answer questions like, “How many more orders can we service within budget for a given set of lanes? Or how much can we increase manufacturing without going over our freight budget?”

In other areas of the supply chain, experts see more uses of deep learning in: “predictive equipment maintenance, yield optimization, procurement analytics and inventory optimization,” says Mr. Walters, Wired Magazine author.

Companies that are quick to adopt deep learning technologies could also reap gains in value. McKinsey says, “Depending on the industry, the value a company could gain from applying this technology could range from one to nine percent of revenues.”

How Can You Get Involved Without Spending a Fortune?

The good news is for you to take advantage of these emerging, cutting-edge tools, you don’t have to buy the technology. Instead, partner with a 3PL that owns a robust TMS with integrated deep learning and machine learning capabilities. GlobalTranz’s TMS gives users the capabilities they need to employ this nascent technology and deliver more informed suggestions that help automate logistics decisions and drive supply chain efficiency.

 

Learn how you can start using machine learning and deep learning technology in your logistics operations, call 866-275-1407 or Request a TMS Demo.