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3 Approaches to Continuing Operations through COVID

covid

3 Approaches to Continuing Operations through COVID

COVID has impacted every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Businesses across different industries and verticals are adjusting their strategies and day to day processes in an attempt to make the best of this unprecedented moment. For this reason, different types of technology have become more prominent as they allow businesses and professionals to maintain the pace of business in light of how COVID has transformed the way we work.   

A recent survey from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that half of Americans are currently working from home. Along with these changes in work come new challenges regarding problem-solving, engagement in work tasks, and productivity. But as the trend of working remotely is here to stay – especially for Dev teams, for whom this was already somewhat the norm. In fact, in a recent IBM survey, 80% of respondents want to work remotely occasionally, and over 50% want to work from home primarily.

In particular, businesses within the logistics industry need to be able to address the logistical issues of keeping employees safe and aware of the risks, as well as maintaining internal operations so that business can continue. Here are three tips and suggestions for technology and process shifts that can help logistics businesses continue operations through COVID. 

Large Scale Consent with COVID Waivers

As employees at all levels of the supply chain continue to work, and as plans to reopen the office are being built out, there needs to be a way to keep everyone safe and healthy. This involves letting employees know about risks associated with COVID. Using liability waivers – legal agreements that must be signed before a particular activity is undertaken – can be a good solution for this. But rather than use pen and paper contracts (which require face to face contact) or traditional eSignature (that does not scale, especially when there is a high volume of signers), consider one-click contracts. They allow for rapid and seamless acceptance and still carry the same legal weight as a normal contract. They can also be accepted via text or email.

Use Clickwrap to Present Standard Agreements

Because of COVID, businesses are seeking ways to improve their current processes by cutting down on the time or money spent completing them. When it comes to contracts, many use pen and paper or eSignatures to send agreements and collect acceptances. However, these old processes have no place in this new world. One solution is to use clickwrap agreements to present your standard agreements, or market terms. A clickwrap agreement removes the necessity of signing and replaces it with a box or button that users can check or click to signify acceptance. That way, there is no need for face-to-face contact, and contracts can be executed remotely as necessary. 

Automate Everything 

With the changes in business priorities, logistics teams will no longer have the bandwidth for some repetitive tasks that previously received a lot of attention. Instead of hyper-focusing on them or ignoring them altogether, automate those processes so you have time to focus on others. Workflow and Content Automation (WCA) is a growing category of technology that businesses should leverage. After identifying the repetitive processes, WCA enables you to identify high volume, low-value transactions and automate the document workflow associated with them such as implementing clickwrap agreements. This includes standardized agreements like terms and conditions, privacy policies, and NDAs. 

As these constant changes require businesses to make changes to their current internal processes using technology that helps them adapt better to the ongoing circumstances. Using clickwrap agreements can help significantly reduce the amount of contact between transacting parties. It can also be a massive internal lift as it helps with workflow and content automation, thereby enabling you to reduce repetitive processes. Finally, using COVID liability waivers that scale with your business is a sophisticated way to ensure that your business minimizes physical contact and protects its best interests in this new world.

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Brian Powers is the founder and CEO of PactSafe and a licensed attorney. As the CEO, Brian leads the strategic vision of the company’s high-velocity contract acceptance platform.  Prior to founding PactSafe, Brian’s law practice focused primarily on representing the transactional needs of tech companies. Brian is a frequent speaker, instructor and author on topics ranging from clickthrough contract acceptance to privacy-related consent management.

Microsoft

Microsoft and C.H. Robinson Form Alliance for the Future of the Digital Supply Chain

As technology continues to adapt, so does the supply chain. These challenges require solutions rooted in innovative technology, further emphasizing the need for logistics and real-time data on a global scale. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, companies’ success will be driven by their ability to navigate the current volatile business environment, which means they must rely on an innovative and tech-driven supply chain. As we drive the future of technology in the industry, providing a continuous competitive advantage to our customers is vital.

That’s why we are excited about our alliance with Microsoft. To meet evolving supply chain demands, we are pioneering the supply chain of the future by joining forces with Microsoft – pairing the power of our industry-leading technologies C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere® and Microsoft Azure. This builds upon TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson’s successful implementation of Navisphere, its global multimodal transportation management system, across Microsoft’s global supply chain, giving Microsoft industry-leading reliability, efficiency, and real-time visibility to all inventory, at rest or in motion, anywhere in the world.

Partnering with other best-in-class companies and products brings value to our customers and carriers as we continuously look to enhance our technology built by and for supply chain experts. Through Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, we gain unlimited scalability, premier data security, and increased application speed, further demonstrating our commitment to technology-driven efficiencies and providing real results that impact the tech-forward supply chain for our customers and carriers.

Together, our technology helps address the changing demands of ever-evolving global supply chains. For example, as part of this collaboration, we are also integrating IoT device monitoring that measures temperature, shock, tilt, humidity, light, and pressure in shipments. This integration enables 100% real-time visibility to shipments as they move from the factory to distribution centers and ultimately to millions of customers.

We are always committed to creating efficiencies that provide unique solutions to the supply chain. Adapting in real-time to supply chain demands and providing our customers and carriers with innovative solutions, while harnessing the trajectory of technology, is key to staying ahead in the ever-evolving supply chain. Our alliance with Microsoft accomplishes exactly that.

As the pace of change in the industry remains at a pivotal moment, our unmatched commitment to tech-forward solutions and continued investment in technology to better serve customers remains a competitive advantage all of our customers can count on. Learn more and connect with an expert.

covid

Post-COVID Logistics: Retooling for the Future

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across global economies and businesses, but for the supply chain and logistics industry, challenges go beyond the present and threaten the future of operations and business continuity. These challenges redefine what prediction could look like for the logistics industry and what considerations should be taken to keep the supply chain moving.

Global Trade had the opportunity to speak with business owner and author of “The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work,” Jim Renacci on what changes the industry can anticipate as the current health crisis continues to change the pace for global business.

What planning measures will logistics players need to consider in a post-COVID environment?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way manufacturers/logistic players will need to review their supply chain management post-COVID-19 and access their supply chain vulnerabilities. The crisis has demonstrated that reliance on sourcing from two geographic areas could pose a risk.

During the crisis, while supplies became unavailable, many companies were forced to start looking for new supply chains as many of their overseas suppliers had to limit or reduce shipments significantly. Post-COVID planning will include asking current suppliers to take on more and different product lines. It is already happening with many current business relationships. Also, the reliability of the supply chain…. over cost…. will be more of a priority.

In what ways have supply chain players supported their customers and consumers during the crisis?

Manufacturers/supply chain players are supporting their customers by shifting and increasing supply chain needs where possible. In many instances, secondary suppliers have started adding product lines where possible. With any crisis, opportunities will be there for the business that can move quickly and adapt to change.

How will the manufacturing site selection process shift in a post-COVID world? 

Manufacturing site selection processes in a post-COVID world should include seeking locations within the US and other countries that have access to highly trained engineers, top tier R&D, access to advanced manufacturing technologies as well as private and public institutions and universities. Site selection should also include countries that offer a competitive investment package as more and more countries post-COVID will be looking to entice companies to locate or relocate inside their jurisdictions.

In what ways can logistics players use the disruption from COVID-19 to benefit their operations in the future?

Current disruption due to COVID-19 will allow companies to reassess their vulnerabilities but also their strengths. With these disruptions, companies can retool for the future. They can adjust for their weaknesses and benefit from their strengths.

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Jim Renacci is the author of The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work. He is also an experienced business owner who created more than 1,500 jobs and employed over 3,000 people across the Buckeye State before running for Congress in 2010. Jim represented Ohio’s 16th District in the House of Representatives for four terms. He is also the chairman of Ohio’s Future Foundation, a policy and action-oriented organization whose goal is to move the state forward.

uncertainty

Your Enemy is not Uncertainty, but Complexity

As a nation, we look to the economy to answer our basic questions about the future. What will fluctuations in global markets and supply chains bring? How will the dollar recover from the circumstance of a stalling consumer market? And what impacts, if any, will change the way we do business? As spring approaches, the anticipation around these questions builds. We watch for signs of our shuttered economy lurching back into motion.

Businesses, much like individuals, have coping mechanisms when faced with a crisis. There are ways to build a business contingency plan, even with unforeseen challenges. Some industries have not dusted off their plans since the financial crisis of 2008, and there is anxiety around what it means to enact it. But the truth is: business contingency plans are built precisely for moments like the spread of COVID-19. And while words like “unprecedented,” “alarm,” and “volatility” rule headlines, reactivity is not how businesses run. It is through preparedness and foresight. It is with a business contingency plan.

While no leader takes comfort from enacting their company’s plan, the ability to swiftly empower crucial business functions with ease is possible. Uncompromising company and financial data security and work-from-home procedures are not mutually exclusive. A bit of knowledge is required to migrate an office environment to the home without opening new vulnerabilities.

Divide and Conquer

Dividing and conquering is the oldest trick in the book for any opportunist looking to damage their business. Security hackers and other ill-intentioned opportunists look for times of organizational chaos to strike. They trust that business leaders have overly-divided their attention and that employees will not adhere to traditional protocols for data security or safe treatment of sensitive information.

There are also a substantial number of leaders who will focus on the uncertainties of the future, preventing them from seeing vulnerabilities that are right in front of them. This, of all things, means that many companies and their leaders must know the enemy is not the distractionary dips and dives of the economy, but the complexity of an organization that prevents it from responding elegantly to uncertainty. Military strategist Sun Tzu of The War of Art provides insight into how we should prepare for battles with the unknown:

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.”

Having a business contingency plan is only the beginning. Redraw your battle lines when uncertainty strikes, and you will unmask the hidden areas that need better solutions.

Strategies for reducing business complexity:

Strategy #1: Define ‘new normal’ from the top down, but bring insight from the bottom up

Your employees will not naturally intuit where the new boundary lines exist. Spell it out so that everyone is on the same page. Barring in-person meetings, you may need to host a company-wide Zoom call with a panel of C-Suite leadership to reassure, set new expectations, and answer questions.

Most importantly, leadership should use this as a chance to gather further information. Seek out the experiences of those who serve your customers directly to get their perspective. How are customers responding to the shift? What are their emerging needs, and is there a niche there that your industry can uniquely fill? Keep your company’s ears to the ground.

Strategy #2: Banish organizational drag through automation.

In environments of economic hardship, businesses with leaner operations and less organizational drag do better. Cutting out redundant manual processes is crucial to eliminating complexity. A business contingency plan will help enact the first line of defense for your business. However, this is not all you will need. The second wave of reinforcements is crucial to keep your business advancing through times of uncertainty.

Automation is your greatest ally in this fight. Now is the time to abandon stale processes. If they’re manual or paper-based, requiring cartons of messy file work or repetitive wet-ink signatures, its time to rethink. Lean heavily on electronic AP solutions, which can clear up the bottlenecks choking out crucial supply chain relationships.

Never in history has the value of a swift and reliable supply chain been more evident than now, as hospitals face shortages of both personal protective equipment and crucial medicines. Industries are re-learning a valuable lesson: that while necessity is the mother of invention, the cost of waiting to innovate can be incredibly painful.

Strategy #3: Reach for a sturdy bottom line more than blue-sky profits

This year is unlikely to offer many sunny prospects in the realm of profits. Yet cost-cutting initiatives will provide the kind of stability a company needs to make impressive cumulative gains in the coming years. What does this mean? Playing defense isn’t your only strategy. You can also cut costs to preserve the liquidity you do have.

With electronic tools already up and running for staff communication or remote meetings, it’s time to ask yourself how you might unburden other areas of the office from slow performance inefficiencies. What is sending through the mail that could be automated? How might making payments to suppliers electronically cut back on paper check costs? Explore every avenue for cost savings. There are many electronic solutions at the ready to lift manual-based work with minimal if not zero downtime for your business. Now is the time to employ these solutions and not hold back when better-designed options exist.

Strategy #4: Invest in secure solutions without needing to hire more IT

Everyone at this point could do with one more great IT hire, but the point of a business contingency plan is to be resourceful with what resources do exist. Making quantum leaps from the office to a remote setting is much easier for companies who have already made steps toward digital transformation.

Instead of losing more time to processes like answering phones, getting approvers to hand-sign checks, and sending paper mail to closed-up company headquarters, make them digital, with greater control and traceability. Fraudsters’ potential access to your systems diminishes when you have greater visibility and fewer cooks in the kitchen. Higher thresholds for security mean that problems or threats are identified in real-time and careless or lagging processes fall by the wayside.

Strategy #5: Innovate, innovate, innovate

It’s tempting to lose steam during a crisis and consider it the wrong time to try creative solutions, but the logic doesn’t stand. Now is absolutely the time to try new things.

Since volatility has introduced new stressors into the equation for your business, the target has shifted. A brand new segment of the market may have just locked into place in the form of potential customers. You have the potential to attract them by showing that you understand their needs quicker than anyone else in the space. This requires agility and a bit of risk, but it’s a risk worth taking, even under present circumstances. Innovation isn’t an optional advantage in times of plenty. Innovation is essential to the survival of every business.

In the words of Sun Tzu, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Do not take advantage of the chaos, but respond with resilience to its demands.

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Lauren Ruef is a research analyst for Nvoicepay, a FLEETCOR company, with years of experience conducting market research and crafting digital content for technology companies.  Nvoicepay optimizes each payment made, streamlines payment processes and generates new sources of revenue, enabling customers to pay 100 percent of their invoices electronically, while realizing the financial benefits of payment optimization.

costs

5 Ways to Reduce Transportation Costs Efficiently in 2020

The turbulent economy has lately made it difficult for field service and transportation businesses to thrive. The industry is morphing into an intricate space, meaning that it has become critical to gain an in-depth understanding of your transportation costs and how you can mitigate the rising expenses to improve your profit margin and keep your head above water.

There are many reasons why your transportation logistics costs are skyrocketing. For example, a lack of planning and transparency or bad decision making can lead to increased overall costs, failed delivery or appointment targets, unhappy customers, and ultimately a loss of business.

So, what should you do instead to reduce transportation costs? Well, here are five important things you should consider doing.

#1 Provide Your Drivers with Well-Optimized Routes

A bad route can make all your route planning efforts be in vain and your entire route could be a mess if you’re planning routes using a pen and paper. Poor routes also mean that your drivers will spend more time on the road being stuck in traffic and traveling longer distances which will skyrocket the fuel usage and expenses. When you add the overtime costs of your drivers spending more time than estimated on the road, the transportation costs look even worse.

So, instead, ensure you always provide 100% accurate and well-optimized routes to your drivers.

You can do this with an advanced technology solution, such as a route planner, which will automate the route planning process and make logistics management seamless. Such software will plan accurate routes while factoring in traffic, weather conditions, sunrise/sunset times, one-ways, avoidance zones, weight and load capacity, and more, within a minute. In this way, your vehicles will never run empty and your drivers will have balanced workloads and better routes. They’ll ultimately make more stops without you spending more on fuel.

#2 Monitor Your Drivers

Planning optimized routes may be the most important step, but it won’t have any impact on your costs if your field reps or drivers don’t follow it. They may make personal stops, idle vehicles for too long, brake frequently, or even accelerate harshly to make up for delayed deliveries or appointments. All such actions will inevitably lead to increased fuel expenses. Bad driving behavior can even lead to excessive fuel usage or cause road mishaps which means that the damage costs will also add up.

Therefore, you should track your drivers and vehicles and see what the drivers do on the road. To do this, you can use a GPS tracker to monitor your vehicles in real-time and set up speed alerts to get notified as soon as a driver speeds. A tracker can even help you protect your vehicles from theft.

Also, if you go for a route optimization software that comes with GPS tracking, you’ll get the best of both worlds: you’ll be able to plan routes and track the drivers’ progress.

#3 Educate and Reward Your Field Reps

Drivers and field reps are the most important stakeholders in transportation and you cannot reduce costs without their 100% involvement, even with the best process in place. So, let them know why it is important for the business to save on fuel costs as well as how they can contribute in keeping the expenses down. Then, reward them for fuel-efficient driving which will boost their morale and commitment to saving more.

route optimizer will go a long way in helping you with this. Its reporting and analytics feature will give you the data you need to identify every fuel expenditure which you can then use to provide feedback to your drivers about their performance.

#4 Ensure Regular Vehicle Maintenance

One vehicle breakdown can jeopardize your entire plan and the downtime costs can vary from $448 to $760 per vehicle per day. Can you afford that?

Therefore, you should have a preventive maintenance program in place because regular vehicle inspections and maintenance will prevent breakdowns and keep your vehicles in optimal shape to provide better mileage and save you money. Also, you must change air filters, replace spark plugs, and change the oil and oil filters in regular intervals. Here are six vehicle maintenance tips you should be following.

The reporting and analytics feature of a route planner we discussed above will also be useful here. It provides critical data, such as the total distance traveled, total stops, and the fuel used, which will help you identify when vehicles require maintenance. For example, if a vehicle needs maintenance every 2,000 miles, you can easily predict how soon it may need maintenance again.

#5 Focus on Reducing Failed Deliveries

Every failed delivery will put a dent in your profits. Your drivers may show up on time but it will still be for naught if the customer is unavailable. Such a missed customer will not only jeopardize your other deliveries or appointments but will also cost you more as your drivers need to go to that stop again.

One of the best ways to improve first-time delivery success is allowing your customers to choose their preferred delivery windows. This will ensure that someone will indeed be available at the location when the driver shows up.

You can also allow your customers to track their package delivery statuses or notify them when their packages are nearby. For example, Route4Me offers customer notifications and alerts feature that does just that. It also comes with a customer portal feature that helps customers monitor their own package delivery progress. You can even set access restrictions, depending on how much information you want to reveal regarding the visit, including custom fields, driver identities, and estimated arrival times.

So, what’s your strategy for reducing logistics costs? Do you have any other cost savings methods to add?

eaglerail

THE EAGLERAIL HAS LANDED: CEO MIKE WYCHOCKI PUSHES A “NO BRAINER” WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING SHIPPING CONTAINERS AT CONGESTED PORTS

It’s amazing where new logistics solutions come from. They are usually born by veteran shippers with visions on how to improve an existing operation. Or it can be a customer or customers seeking help in conquering a specific challenge that eventually resonates throughout the industry.

Then there is the inception of Chicago-based EagleRail Container Logistics’ signature solution. It can be traced to a pitch meeting for a new monorail in Brazil that was attended by a port authority official who was there more as a cheerleader than a participant.

Watching a Chicago marketing man’s PowerPoint presentation about his company’s passenger monorail system to local leaders in São Paulo eight years ago, the port representative, Jose Newton Gama, marveled at how the magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains holding people would be suspended under overhead tracks.

Then the Brazilian known by friends as Newton raised his hand.

“Excuse me?” he asked the Americano. “Could your system be adapted to hold shipping containers?”

That had never occurred to project designers, whose monorail cars for passengers are much lighter than would be required for cargo containers hauled by ships, trucks and freight trains. But the marketing man shared Gama’s question with his colleagues in the Windy City, and that planted the seed that eventually bore EagleRail Container Logistics.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Wychocki was an early investor who eventually bought out that marketing man, but the first EagleRail system is named “Newton” after the Brazilian who now sits on the company’s board of advisors. “He’s a great guy,” says Wychocki during a recent phone interview. “Newton is our biggest cheerleader.”

Wychocki’s no slouch with the pom-poms himself, having pitched EagleRail at 40 ports in 20 countries over the past five years. His company, which has offices around the world, is developing its first prototype in China, and studies are underway at six ports as EagleRail sets about raising $20 million in capital. (The window for small investments had just closed when Wychocki was interviewed. His company has since shifted its focus to large investors.)

The way ports have operated for decades left no need for a system like EagleRail’s. Big ships dock, cranes remove containers stacked on their decks and each box is then moved onto the back of a flatbed truck that either hauls it to a distribution center or an intermodal yard. Until recent years, no one really thought of disrupting the process because, as Wychocki puts it, “you could always find cheaper truck drivers.”

However, truck driver shortages, port-area air pollution and congestion caused by the time it takes to load and unload ever-larger ships have prompted serious soul searching when it comes to short hauls. Expanding the size of ports is often not an option due to the cities that have grown to surround them. This has led to the creation of large container parks for trucks and/or freight trains within a few miles of ports, but getting boxes to those remains problematic—at a time when megaships are only making matters more difficult.

“There is an old saying that ports are where old trucks go to die,” says Wychocki, who ticks off as problems associated with that mode of moving containers pollution, maintenance and fuel costs, as well as the issues of public safety because some drivers essentially live inside of their vehicles, which can attract prostitution and leave behind litter and human waste. Adding even more of these dirty trucks would necessitate more road building, which only adds to environmental concerns.

With ground space at ports a constantly shrinking commodity, tunneling underground may be viewed as an option. But Wychocki points out that many ports have emerged on unstable ground like backfill, and water, power and sewer lines are usually below what’s under the streets beyond port gates. The idea of a hyperloop has been bandied about, but it would require emptying shipping containers at the port, loading the contents into smaller boxes, sending those through to another yard, and then repacking the shipping containers on the other side. “That defeats the whole point” of relieving port congestion, the EagleRail CEO says.

Ah, but every port has unused air space, which is what Wychocki’s company seeks to exploit. “If an Amazon warehouse can lift and shuttle packages robotically,” he says, “why not do the same with a 60,000-pound package? Go to a warehouse. See how Amazon works with packages. They use overhead light rails. It’s an obvious idea, so obvious. It’s a no brainer when you think about it.”

Yes, Amazon also uses drones, but can you imagine the size it would have to be to carry a 60,000-pound shipping container? Wychocki sees a suspended container track as an extension of the cranes on every loading dock worldwide, which is why EagleRail systems are also all-electric and composed of the same crane hardware to avoid snags when it comes to replacing parts.

However, Wychocki is quick to note EagleRail is not a total solution when it comes to port congestion. He calculates that among the short-haul trucks leaving a port, 50 percent are going to 500 different locations, many of which are different states away, while the other half is bound for just a couple nearby destinations. EagleRail is geared toward the latter, and the problem with getting containers to them “is not technological; it’s who controls the five kilometers between the port and the intermodal facility,” he says.

Lifting equipment at ports “is exactly the same in all 200 countries,” he adds. “The part that is not the same is the back end. What is the port’s configuration? Where do the roads come in? What we do is form a consortium and build it with each local player, such as the port authority, the road authority, the national rail company, the power company. Getting everyone involved helps get procurement and environmental rights of way.”

He concedes that getting everyone on board “varies by location,” but when it comes to environmental concerns “everyone’s kind of wanting to do this because it means fewer trucks, and the power companies would prefer the use of electricity (over burning diesel). It sounds harder than it is to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”

Wychocki points to another bonus with EagleRail: It allows for total control of one’s intermodal yard because containers come and go on the same circular route—all day long. “We take this on as a disruptive business model,” he says, noting that short-haul trucks generally involve the use of data-chain-breaking clipboards and mobile phones. EagleRail systems track containers on them in real-time, rolling in all customs paperwork and billing invoices automatically.

“It’s amazing, I just came from the Port of Rotterdam, where I was a keynote,” Wychocki says. “Even the biggest ports in the world like Antwerp were saying, ‘This is great. Why isn’t anyone else doing it?’”

Actually, EagleRail accidentally created direct competition. Wychocki explains that during the initial design phase, his company worked with a foreign monorail concern whose cars used what were essentially aircraft tires rolling inside a closed channel. Concerns about maintaining a system that would invariably involve frequently changing tires—and thus slowing down operations—caused EagleRail to reject that design in favor of another third-party’s calling for steel-on-steel wheels. The designer with tires is pressing on with its own system and without EagleRail.

“I’m glad we didn’t go that route,” says Wychocki, who nonetheless expects more serious competition once EagleRail systems are up and running. Fortunately for the company, there are plenty of ports bursting at the seams that cannot wait that long. Wychocki says a question he invariably gets after pitching EagleRail is: “Where were you 10 years ago? Usually, there is an urgency.”

That’s why “our goal was to get out of the gate fast, build market share and our brand and create a quasi-franchise network,” says Wychocki, whose business model has EagleRail owning 25 percent of a system while the port and other local entities own the rest.

He estimates that within 10 years, 12 EagleRail systems will be operating. If that sounds like a pipe dream, consider that his company’s newsletter boasts 3,000 subscribers before a system is even up and running. Wychocki does not credit “brilliant marketing” for that keen interest. “It’s because every port’s problems are getting worse. Everyone is squealing about what to do with these giant ships that cannot be unloaded fast enough. They are desperate.”

nominations

Global Trade Magazine Accepting “Women in Logistics” Nominations

Global Trade Magazine officially opened nominations for its May/June cover story, “Women in Logistics” beginning this week through the end of March. This marks the publication’s second annual feature spotlighting leading female executives reshaping the way companies approach industry disruptions. The ideal candidate has a proven track record of creating long-term solutions impacting various sectors including transportation, warehousing, shipping, and supply chain management.

“As we continue to see a rise in female leaders within the logistics industry, I wanted to take recognition to the next level for female executives fostering positive company culture while displaying exemplary leadership all industry players can learn from,” said Eric Kleinsorge, Publisher and Chairman of Global Trade Magazine. “Last year’s cover story was a huge success. We received a lot of positive feedback from our readers and we’ve already received impressive nominations for this year’s feature.”

Among leading ladies featured in the 2019 issue included Joan Smemoe of RailInc., Jane Kennedy Greene of Kenco, Wendy Buxton of LynnCo Supply Chain Solutions, and Barbara Yeninas and Lisa Aurichio of BSYA. This year’s selected nominees will be selected based on factors including tenure, industry relevance, impact on the industry, the health of relationships with employees, with a high emphasis on their workplace culture approach. Nominations will be limited to one executive per submission and participants can enter their executive of choice until March 31st at 5 p.m.

“I encourage workers from around the globe to take a few minutes and submit female leaders that have changed the way they view leadership and have made a positive impact on their career and industry. It’s important to the evolving culture of global companies to recognize these women for their dedication to the industry and the workers that make success possible,” Kleinsorge concluded.

To submit a nomination, please click here or call (469) 778-2606 for more information. 

cement

Global Cement Market Reached $305B, With China Leading the Expansion

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Cement – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The global cement market revenue amounted to $305.4B in 2018, flattening at the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

Consumption By Country

China (2,363M tonnes) remains the largest cement consuming country worldwide, accounting for 58% of total volume. Moreover, cement consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, India (289M tonnes), eightfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by the U.S. (101M tonnes), with a 2.5% share. From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume in China totaled +5.2%.

Production 2007-2018

In 2018, the global cement production totaled 4,072M tonnes, growing by 1.8% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.6% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

In value terms, cement production amounted to $289.7B in 2018 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +2.6% from 2007 to 2018.

Production By Country

The country with the largest volume of cement production was China (2,370M tonnes), accounting for 58% of total volume. Moreover, cement production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, India (290M tonnes), eightfold. The U.S. (89M tonnes) ranked third in terms of total production with a 2.2% share.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of cement exported worldwide amounted to 113M tonnes, picking up by 12% against the previous year. In value terms, cement exports stood at $8.1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, cement exports, however, continue to indicate a slight decline.

Exports by Country

In 2018, China (7,314K tonnes), Germany (6,242K tonnes), Canada (6,241K tonnes), Viet Nam (6,196K tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (5,592K tonnes), Turkey (5,484K tonnes), Pakistan (4,190K tonnes), Greece (4,036K tonnes), Spain (3,657K tonnes), Japan (3,233K tonnes), Senegal (3,028K tonnes) and Slovakia (2,503K tonnes) were the main exporters of cement exported in the world, generating 51% of total export.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by the United Arab Emirates, while exports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The average cement export price stood at $72 per tonne in 2018, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. In general, the cement export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Germany ($83 per tonne), while Greece ($49 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of cement imported worldwide stood at 122M tonnes, going up by 11% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018. In value terms, cement imports stood at $8.9B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% from 2007 to 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, the U.S. (14M tonnes), followed by Sri Lanka (6,687K tonnes) represented the main importers of cement, together comprising 17% of total imports. China, Hong Kong SAR (5,399K tonnes), the Philippines (4,652K tonnes), Oman (4,509K tonnes), Singapore (4,382K tonnes), France (3,859K tonnes), the UK (3,430K tonnes), the Netherlands (3,320K tonnes), Palestine (2,706K tonnes), Cambodia (2,479K tonnes) and Mali (2,292K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

Imports into the U.S. increased at an average annual rate of +1.8% from 2007 to 2018. The Philippines (+3.8 p.p.), Sri Lanka (+3.8 p.p.), China, Hong Kong SAR (+3.4 p.p.), Oman (+3.4 p.p.), the U.S. (+2.1 p.p.) and Cambodia (+1.5 p.p.) significantly strengthened its position in terms of the global imports, while the shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average cement import price amounted to $73 per tonne, rising by 1.9% against the previous year. Overall, the cement import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was the Netherlands ($101 per tonne), while Singapore ($45 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Companies Mentioned

Lafarge Holcim , Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited , China National Building Materials (CNBM), China Resources Cement Holdings, HeidelbergCement AG, Cemex, S.A. de C.V., Saint-Gobain, Ambuja Cements, Italcementi, Votorantim Cimentos

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

turkey

Germany, Spain, and Poland Are the Largest Markets for Preserved Turkey Meat in the EU

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Prepared Or Preserved Meat Or Offal Of Turkeys – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the preserved turkey market in the European Union amounted to $2.3B in 2018, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Over the period under review, preserved turkey consumption, however, continues to indicate a mild drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2011 with an increase of 12% y-o-y. The level of preserved turkey consumption peaked at $2.7B in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, consumption failed to regain its momentum.

Consumption By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of preserved turkey consumption in 2018 were Germany (124K tonnes), Spain (88K tonnes) and Poland (57K tonnes), with a combined 54% share of total consumption. These countries were followed by France, the UK, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Bulgaria, which together accounted for a further 35%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Hungary, while preserved turkey consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Germany ($572M), Spain ($353M) and France ($287M) constituted the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2018, with a combined 54% share of the total market. These countries were followed by Poland, the UK, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Netherlands, which together accounted for a further 35%.

The countries with the highest levels of preserved turkey per capita consumption in 2018 were Greece (2,075 kg per 1000 persons), Spain (1,887 kg per 1000 persons) and Germany (1,512 kg per 1000 persons).

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Hungary, while preserved turkey per capita consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Market Forecast to 2030

Driven by increasing demand for preserved turkey in the European Union, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to accelerate, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.6% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 598K tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production in the EU

The preserved turkey production totaled 512K tonnes in 2018, dropping by -4.6% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed in certain years. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 with an increase of 8.1% year-to-year. In that year, preserved turkey production attained its peak volume of 537K tonnes, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, preserved turkey production amounted to $2.2B in 2018 estimated in export prices. Over the period under review, preserved turkey production, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2011 with an increase of 17% year-to-year. In that year, preserved turkey production attained its peak level of $2.6B. From 2012 to 2018, preserved turkey production growth remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of preserved turkey production in 2018 were Germany (129K tonnes), Spain (89K tonnes) and Poland (69K tonnes), with a combined 56% share of total production.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of preserved turkey production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Germany, while preserved turkey production for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the preserved turkey exports in the European Union totaled 122K tonnes, going up by 9.2% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.5% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 when exports increased by 19% y-o-y. Over the period under review, preserved turkey exports reached their maximum in 2018 and are likely to see steady growth in the near future.

In value terms, preserved turkey exports amounted to $474M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 with an increase of 32% y-o-y. The level of exports peaked in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Exports by Country

The Netherlands was the major exporter of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys exported in the European Union, with the volume of exports resulting at 41K tonnes, which was approx. 34% of total exports in 2018. Germany (21K tonnes) held the second position in the ranking, followed by Poland (13,041 tonnes), Belgium (8,602 tonnes), Italy (8,022 tonnes), France (6,983 tonnes), Hungary (6,934 tonnes) and Spain (6,045 tonnes). All these countries together held near 58% share of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by the Netherlands, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest preserved turkey supplying countries in the European Union were the Netherlands ($134M), Germany ($106M) and Belgium ($49M), with a combined 61% share of total exports.

In terms of the main exporting countries, the Netherlands recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to the value of exports, over the period under review, while exports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the preserved turkey export price in the European Union amounted to $3,900 per tonne, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. Overall, the preserved turkey export price, however, continues to indicate a slight reduction. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2011 an increase of 16% y-o-y. The level of export price peaked at $5,155 per tonne in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, export prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Belgium ($5,720 per tonne), while Poland ($2,839 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Spain, while the other leaders experienced a decline in the export price figures.

Imports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys imported in the European Union stood at 107K tonnes, rising by 13% against the previous year. In general, preserved turkey imports, however, continue to indicate a significant drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2018 with an increase of 13% y-o-y. The volume of imports peaked at 152K tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, preserved turkey imports amounted to $403M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. In general, preserved turkey imports, however, continue to indicate a perceptible shrinkage. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 when imports increased by 14% against the previous year. Over the period under review, preserved turkey imports reached their peak figure at $601M in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

Imports by Country

Germany (16,239 tonnes), France (11,509 tonnes), Hungary (7,889 tonnes), the UK (7,614 tonnes), Greece (7,423 tonnes), the Netherlands (6,661 tonnes), Italy (6,577 tonnes), Belgium (6,314 tonnes), Spain (5,158 tonnes), Austria (5,019 tonnes), Portugal (4,455 tonnes) and Ireland (4,418 tonnes) represented roughly 84% of total imports of prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys in 2018.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Hungary, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest preserved turkey importing markets in the European Union were Germany ($60M), France ($51M) and the Netherlands ($32M), together comprising 35% of total imports. The UK, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 47%.

Hungary experienced the highest growth rate of the value of imports, among the main importing countries over the period under review, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The preserved turkey import price in the European Union stood at $3,777 per tonne in 2018, standing approx. at the previous year. Over the period under review, the preserved turkey import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2008 when the import price increased by 22% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the import prices for prepared or preserved meat or offal of turkeys attained their peak figure at $4,847 per tonne in 2011; however, from 2012 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was the Netherlands ($4,854 per tonne), while Hungary ($1,577 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by the Netherlands, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

ecommerce business

How Coronavirus Impacts Ecommerce Business and Beyond

There is no vaccine to prevent the spreading Coronavirus, yet, and that holds lessons for ecommerce businesses and the people who work at them. Today, we’re facing a time to prepare and hopefully limit exposure and risks at work.

For businesses, preparation and the possibility of illness are going to reshape the day-to-day. After reviewing scenarios and government guidance (here’s your list of cleaners that can take out COVID-19), we’ve put together some thoughts on the most significant impacts we’ll see soon and how companies can respond to protect their people best.

Sending people home is best but expensive

Many ecommerce businesses are small shops, though we’ve been impressed to see some grow significantly in recent years. It’s always a fantastic thing to witness, but their scrappy nature usually means staff are perpetually busy and wearing multiple hats.

Unfortunately, that might mean the COVID-19 threat will hit you especially hard.

Your best bet to keep everyone at work safe is to let anyone go home when they feel even the slightest bit sick. If that happens, document the person arrived and left, plus who they came into contact with at work — employees and anyone who might’ve visited — and how they got to work. This can help medical professionals who are already going to be stretched thin.

The best practice here is going to cost you, but it could also save your team from significant harm, and that is to pay your team to stay home. Help people use their sick days and vacation time if they have it. If someone doesn’t, review your budget to see what you can offer.

If people can’t afford to stay home, they come into work even when sick. That’s a danger none of us can afford right now.

Wash your hands and everything else

There is a little bit of a silver lining in the ecommerce world: most of the products moving through your warehouse are going to be safe. You’re watching for people above all else.

This is because most coronaviruses, including COVID-19, struggle to live on surfaces. So far, we haven’t seen evidence of contaminated food products, which is generally where you’ll first see illnesses spread by products/goods.

For products, the risk is a “smear infection” where someone coughs or sneezes onto a product or package, and a new person touches that and then their face. The virus is believed to have a short lifespan in smear cases, so your team should be relatively safe. Maximize their safety by prioritizing handwashing. Have your team wear gloves at all times, but still make them wash up after unloading a truck.

What ecommerce and other businesses will want to be aware of is the route their goods are taking to get to warehouses. If something is passing through areas where there’s been an outbreak or if you learn that a delivery person for a specific company has fallen ill, pay extra close attention to cleaning these products and packages.

For goods that have been traveling to your company for days or weeks by ocean, there’s minimal product risk from that leg of the trip, but local infections may be possible. Air travel is fast enough that you could have higher smear risks.

So, wash hands, wear gloves, and clean everything as you go.

Alternatives may become scarce

Some impacts are already rippling through the global supply chain. One significant shift is that companies are scrambling to find alternative sources for products and raw materials. Not only are prices for some materials already rising, but there’s growing lane congestion.

This will be a double hit for businesses.

If you’re not manufacturing your own goods, then you need someone to do it for you. New partners can be expensive to source. At the same time, your competition will be turning to them as well. Also happening concurrently, manufacturers will be looking to secure new sources of raw materials. Shifts, such as nearshoring production and buying local, all come with increased costs and supply chain changes.

The other impact is that it could generate more congestion for local delivery and fulfillment options. Companies may face the cost of shipping their goods rise, as well as see delays in fulfillment times. Those delays are already happening in areas where there have been cases of the virus.

Your business will pay more, but you might not be able to pass on additional expenses to customers. Delays in fulfillment times will hit the ecommerce sector hard because customers already expect two-day shipping options. Now, you’ll have to tell them it could be longer and cost more, which may see them take their business elsewhere.

Outsourcing will increase

Expect companies to start diversifying the way they get goods to customers. One particular method is going to be outsourcing fulfillment to companies that have multiple warehouses. It’s a smart way to avoid supply chain bottlenecks because it minimizes the chances that a local outbreak will impact your entire fulfillment operations.

For some ecommerce companies, this outsourcing may come with a small benefit of reaching customers more quickly (once they get stock to third-party logistics providers), while also protecting some workers. If we see sustained infections and spreading of the virus, there’s a potential that many small ecommerce businesses will start outsourcing their entire fulfillment operations.

In the short-term, that could cause some issues with warehouse space and fulfillment staff. In the long run, it might cause cost reductions and lead to greater product availability.

Companies who can figure out how to avoid delivery slowdowns — such as large ones able to own and use their own delivery fleet — will dominate the market. The U.S. has faced a truck driver shortage for years, and growth in outsourcing may help curb some of that, but it would come with higher wages for those who have a greater potential risk of being exposed to the Coronavirus and other health concerns.

Our world will look different tomorrow

We’ve fully embraced the gig economy and home delivery, and there’s a potential it all comes crashing down. Whether these employees continue work amid growing exposure (and even after becoming sick) or if services start slowing down, it’ll impact the daily lives of many Americans.

Businesses will also face changes in the way we bring people to the office, help staff pay for healthcare, and what processes we no longer choose to do to protect ourselves. The global, interconnected supply chain is already changing, and nothing but time will tell us how profound and varied this impact is.

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Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.