An article in this week’s Transport Topics detailed the operational challenges facing intermodal shippers in the face of growing economic activity. The double whammy of increasing freight volume and an ongoing, acute driver shortage has driven a boom in the utilization of intermodal truck to train shipping. The article reports that intermodal carriers are having a great year in spite of “an array of operational, financial and technical issues” challenging their ability to handle the growth. The inadequacy/inflexibility of planning strategies and processes is frequently to blame for the inefficiencies identified by intermodal carriers in this article. Here’s some insight into how the struggle is effecting all shippers; but particularly those reliant on imports such as retailers. (more…)
Savvy shippers have been taking the long view in their efforts to overcome what promises to be an ongoing capacity crisis, by investing in private fleet resources. Yes, it is a front-loaded capital expense to purchase equipment and add costs associated with driver training, retention and compensation. However, several pieces of news this week seem to validate the long-term efficacy of this strategy. Follow past the jump for details on why now is a great time to be a private fleet operator.
Benjamin Disraeli said, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” There are some retailers – whose industry is characterized by high volume imports from China and elsewhere – who can vouch for the verity of this statement. They’d be the ones who were able to flex their supply chain and logistics plans to overcome some very challenging obstacles in the last 12 months. The ability of some retailers to modify their transportation programs on the fly, in response to serious external disruptions (i.e. West Coast Port closures) reflects their readiness to grasp a competitive opportunity when it presented itself this year. What are the contours of the opportunity and how were some retailers prepared to seize it while many others weren’t? (more…)
Plenty of food shippers already have some form of solution in place to automate their transportation planning and management processes. Whether they use a solution provided by a logistics IT provider, a basic tool provided by their 3PL or a homegrown system, it’s clear that manual processes are no longer up to the increasingly complicated task. If you’re a food or beverage shipper using any of the above defined solutions, now is a pivotal time to consider what you can do to improve your transportation management solutions. Here are three reasons why food shippers will rely more heavily than ever before on logistics IT and why it is imperative they don’t procrastinate.
Front page news from Transport Topics: “Carriers, Shippers Say Stronger Ties Are Forged by Working Together”. It seems carriers, shippers and the entire transportation industry are finally getting wise to something logistics IT providers have long known – cross-functional collaboration in supply chain logistics efforts is a win-win scenario for all players involved. Here are 3 secrets from contemporary, best-in-class logistics IT solution providers about how collaboration drives success.
Are you a logistics/transportation leader who believes that Software as a Service business process automation tools (like cloud TMS, YMS, WMS, ERP, AP/AR and others) have a higher rate of failed implementations than the on-premise alternatives? If so, your fears surrounding SaaS are not based in reality. Rather, they’re likely the product of a challenge common among companies embarking on automation initiatives. Read on to learn why it isn’t SaaS to blame, but more likely, its you (or your fly-by-night cloud TMS provider).
The domestic shipping industry sits at a crossroads. With economic growth increasing demand for trucking capacity and an aging population of drivers not being replaced by the younger generation disinterested in trucking as a career option, something is going to have to give. Transportation planners and managers have long suffered the pain of capacity crunch and recent government regulations have only exacerbated the challenges. UltraShipTMS was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article last week on this very subject and the interview with WSJ’s Loretta Chao got us thinking about ways shippers can gain and retain access to capacity. Here are three ways Ultra experts recommend. (more…)
The Wall Street Journal recently featured Ashley Furniture Industries and the role an 800 truck private fleet plays in the manufacturer/retailer’s success story. Ashley captures numerous benefits by maintaining their own fleet including exceptional customer relationships (driver/brand ambassadors delivering more efficiently than their outsourced counterparts), more predictable access to capacity and backhaul rates approaching an eye-popping 90%. We interviewed private fleet expert and Collaborator contributor, Ed Burns about the many benefits of maintaining a private fleet and when it makes sense to do so. (more…)
Guest Blogger, Rich Chrzanowski — Container volume at US ports hit an all-time high in 2014 and a DOT transportation study projects volume to more than triple in coming years. Compounding the problem is the emergence of megaships which are taxing the aging infrastructure of US ports leading to long back-ups for trucking. The cherry on this sundae of woe are the ongoing labor disputes at West coast ports. Shipping delays are expected to cost the retail industry $7 billion this year and as much as $37 billion by 2016. There are creative ways retailers can mitigate the awful impact of these conditions, but only if they are maximizing their utilization of cutting edge transportation management solutions. Here are three ways retailers can minimize the pain at the ports. (more…)
Is your company ready for accelerating growth or imminent slowdown in the summer of 2015? Do you even know which event to plan for? Would you be interested to learn about strategies for insulating your business from the effects of these capricious market conditions? Read on for some commentary on why the economic outlook is so unpredictable and what you can do to ensure profitable operations regardless of which way the economy inevitably swings. (more…)