Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Missing System – Part One



Take control of your supply chain with a Transportation Management System.


In today’s business world, “seat of your pants” is no way to fly. It’s also no way to ship. From overnight letters to ocean containers, or anything in between, your own Transportation Management System or TMS, can put you in control.


A wave of technological innovation is transforming logistics, making visibility and operational control never before possible available now at the click of a mouse. Forward-thinking companies use these tools to keep costs down, customers happy, and gain a significant competitive advantage.

In the past, the benefits of a proprietary TMS were reserved for billion-dollar multinationals. Now, cloud computing and disruptive innovation from TOTALogistix have brought the efficiencies and savings a TMS makes possible to small and midsize shippers.

A study by ARC Strategies found that companies that implemented a TMS were able to cut their freight spend significantly. Over 40 percent of firms, the largest cohort, reported cost savings between five and ten percent, and 23 percent of firms reported decreased costs of over 10 percent.

Beyond the dollars saved, companies utilizing TMS enjoyed better procurement negotiations and routing, lower cost mode selections, and more fully loaded equipment, along with increased usage of preferred carriers. “Virtually no other supply chain application,” said the ARC report, offers “so many different forms of optimization.” Additional benefits included warehouse efficiencies, inventory reduction, cash flow improvement, and a hard-to-quantify but major effect, increased customer satisfaction.

 Can we share the ARC Strategies white paper with you? See how a TMS can help you save six figures on your transportation spend, while gaining unprecedented control and visibility into your supply chain.



Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Storms and Semis

Hurricanes disrupt shipping patterns well beyond Texas and Florida

The two historic hurricanes that recently slammed into the southern United States impacted the economy and supply chains in a multitude of ways, beyond their tragic effect of killing dozens of people and disrupting the lives of tens of millions. 
One effect of Harvey and Irma has been that FEMA and other relief agencies have been soaking up much of the already tight capacity of semi-trailers, making it difficult to find equipment to haul loads for private companies, and driving up the prices shippers are paying. FEMA has been paying as much as nine dollars a mile, typically working with carriers with whom they have contingency agreements in place which kick in when storms strike. Systemic trends within the trucking sector currently combine with the always busy lead-in to the holiday season to put truckload and LTL (less than truckload) cargo space at a premium. 

Paying top dollar, with the force of the Federal government behind them, it is a given that FEMA will have first call on available equipment. This can cause serious headaches for private shippers with time-sensitive loads to move, and is a good reason for companies to have savvy, connected transportation industry veterans on their team. 

As an example, one of our clients, a commercial printer, had millions of time-sensitive fliers for a major retailer printed and ready to ship. They had to arrive on-time at the publications that would distribute them to consumers, or be worse than useless. The contracted carrier begged off moving the loads, pleading national security. Using our connections, we were able to obtain alternative carriers, and while the price we paid was a little higher, we absorbed the difference to help out a loyal client. 

A good 3PL (third party logistics provider) can save you money when things are going smoothly, and sometimes save your butt when they don’t.


Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Loads of Modes


Your supply chain is unique. Your TMS should be too.


As discussed in a recent "outside the box" message, the single most impactful step you can take to move your logistics operations from a liability to an asset is to implement a Transportation Management System, or TMS. With the savings, increased visibility and control of your shipments, you will wonder how you get by without it.

But finding the right TMS is critical to reap the promised rewards. Your supply chain is unique, and your TMS must be also. This is true nowhere more than with dealing with shipments across multiple modes of transportation. A typical "off-the-rack" TMS is adequate at handling goods making a single move. But with longer and more complex supply chains, more and more shipments require choices between multiple modes.

Built specifically to accommodate your company's needs, your TOTALogistix TMS evaluates and tracks your shipments across all available transportation modes, and will find the most efficient and economical path for each move. The system will automatically and instantaneously sift through constantly changing variables to find least cost routing, helping to choose, for instance, between LTL and UPS hundred-weight, "last mile" delivery options, or which DC is most economical to ship from. Your TMS allows you to set up a default shipping guide, yet still make case by case exceptions, and perform individualized services by division, location, product line, group, or user. Solutions we have implemented for our clients are saving millions of dollars for them every year.

The cloud-based TMS - and we were creating them before the term existed - gives each stakeholder, from the various carriers, to the consignee, to senior management, the ability to access the information they need from any web-enabled device anywhere. No more WISMO (where is my order?) calls!

At TOTALogistix, we don't install our TMS, but yours - just built by us

Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pancakes, Airfreight and Yodeling..


AirFreight.bid helps Vermont Syrup Company to deliver shipments


Al Wood, owner of Wood's Vermont Syrup Company, needed to move over 1,000 pounds of "Woods Vermont Maple Syrup" from Randolph, Vermont to Zurich, Switzerland for a customer. Al had used other airfreight companies before, but he wasn't thrilled with the service he received or the process.   He wondered if there was a better solution available.

Through a Google search, Al found AirFreight.bid, signed up for a free account.  Al was upgraded to 'Pro" status through a special 30-Day Free Trial.Within minutes, he was tendering his first airfreight shipment. Al received no fewer than five very competitive quotes, and chose the offer with the best transit time for his shipment, as it had to be in Zurich by Friday. Al is a master at everything involved in producing some of the world's best maple syrup, but he is not an airfreight expert, nor does he want to be. Yet in almost no time at all, this smart and capable business owner.

Al's shipment of syrup was picked up on Monday and landed in Zurich on Thursday, a day ahead of schedule. The entire process was initiated, tracked and paid through the AirFreight.bid platform.

AirFreight.bid is a proven airfreight management tool, platform, and marketplace. From a boutique farm-to-table, or should we say "tree-to-table" food company, to a large-scale enterprise shipping air freight, the AirFreight.bid platform can move your goods from point A to Point B with very little time or effort on your part, and offer competitive and often instant rates for airfreight. The AirFreight.bid platform can also provide a dashboard to show you all the important information about all of your shipping activity.

For more information about the sweet product line of Woods Vermont Syrup Company, visit www.maplestore.ch and if you are ever in Zurich and need some of the best gourmet foods around, including Woods Pure Maple Syrup, check out the Maple Store and ask for Philippe. Just like Al Wood, you too can be "yodeling from the Alps" at how simple, fast and easy airfreight can be.

AirFreight.bid is a revolution in airfreight, encouraging transparency, guaranteeing competitiveness and helping bring your supply chain into the 21st century. Work  with solid, established carriers while slashing your costs by double digits.

See how it works ...






Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Breaking Your Chains


Using the right TMS makes your supply chain work for you. 

There are many improvements you can make to help turn your supply chain from, well, a chain, holding you down, into an engine to streamline your business and impact your bottom line. At TOTALogistix, helping companies reap those rewards is how we earn our living. 


But there is a clear first step, one enhancement that will pull your supply chain into the 21st  century and make additional enhancements far easier. If you are not using a Transportation Management System, or TMS, you are missing out on perhaps the most impactful tool to harness the myriad complexities of today’s freight transportation and turn them into an asset. Right off the bat, instituting the right TMS can save you 15 percent or more across the board in your logistics operations, but that’s just the start. The information generated will give you visibility into your supply chain that was never before possible, enabling well-informed decision making and providing “answers at the speed of questions.” 

Your supply chain is unique, and your TMS should be too. Don’t settle for off-the-rack “one size fits all” so-called solutions. With our expertise in all transport modes, including the increasingly important “last mile” B2C operations, we can help ensure least-cost routing on every shipment, find innovative carrier options, squeeze out human error, integrate with your ERP and eliminate unnecessary paperwork.

Time and again, we see even progressive, tech-savvy corporations depending on legacy technology and outdated systems when it comes to moving their goods. Don’t be one of them. If you are not utilizing the latest digital technology for your shipping, be assured that your competition is. Let us show how you can be part of the logistics revolution, and unshackle your supply chain with a customized TMS from TOTALogistix.


Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rally in the Air:





Air cargo market taking off with strong performance in 2016 and first quarter.


The international air cargo market has seen a strong rally, that began in 2016 and has continued into the first quarter of this year. Overall global traffic was up 6.9 percent year-over-year in January, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA), after a 10 percent jump in December. Over the last five years, the annual growth rate has been closer to three percent.

The continuing momentum in the market was driven by a steady rise in new export orders, which in February reached their highest level since March 2011, coupled with an increase in shipments of silicon materials used in high-value consumer electronics, typically shipped by air. The early arrival of Chinese New Year in January may also have factored into the higher air freight demand, said the IATA.

North American carriers’ traffic expanded by 6.1 percent in January, while capacity was up just .1 percent, inviting the specter of rate increases as the carriers seek to increase operating margins. Asian-Pacific airlines saw demand grow six percent in January, while European carriers posted an 8.7 percent increase in cargo volume, African traffic soared 24 percent, and middle East airlines’ traffic grew 8.4 percent. Latin America was the only down region, with demand contracting by 4.1 percent.

To help take advantage of a volatile spot market for air freight quotes, TOTALogistix’s sister company, AirFreight.bid, offers an online airfreight management program. Using the AirFreight.bid dashboard, you can control your entire shipping process, from choosing which carriers to work with, awarding your business, and scheduling pickups and deliveries. The system manages your freight from the quote through the invoice process.


Just like passenger tickets, it is easy to pay vastly more for the same flight. AirFreight.bid helps you get your priority shipments delivered on time, using the carrier of your choice, at the best price in the air.



Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are You Old-Fashioned?




TOTALogistix helps food manufacturer cook up a winning supply chain recipe.

One of our good clients is a major New York-based manufacturer of food products. Established in the 1930s, the company prides itself on the old-fashioned taste and quality of its array of food products.

But old-fashioned wasn't cutting it when it came to their supply chain. Five years ago, senior management realized that with the increasing complexity of their business, they needed to update their systems, particularly in the areas of inventory, order processing and shipping. Working with their executive and financial teams, TOTALogistix developed an integrated accounts payable system for transparency in invoices.

"We helped them achieve their first goal to move their invoicing and shipping to an automated format," said TLX client development executive Tom McCracken.  "Now, they're paperless, and they would never go back."

TOTALogistix then implemented a TMS (transportation management system) and instituted TOTALQuote, allowing the firm to always find the least-cost carrier and tender shipments without ever touching any paperwork, or even picking up the phone.

"TOTALogistix not only continues to save us a significant amount of money in the shipping of our most important raw materials, but the program that they put together is a credit to their ability to think outside the box in order to come up with creative solutions for their clients," said the client's Vice President of Operations. With the success of the first few projects, they were anxious to engage TOTALogistix to help with inventory and warehouse management. More on that at a later date.

How do you pay your invoices, choose the best carrier, or track your shipments? If you aren't taking advantage of the competitive edge provided by a state of the art supply chain, rest assured that your competition is. 


Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103