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IoT and Data Improve Transportation in Smart Cities

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IoT and Data Improve Transportation in Smart Cities

Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.

Growing urbanization and rising levels of urban migration are causing a transportation crisis worldwide. Modern city management tools, like IoT and big data analytics for mass transit data, may help urban planners manage this problem.

These are the transportation challenges that cities face right now – and how smart city technology may help urban planners reinvent transit.

The Growing Need for Smart City Transportation

Traffic is an inevitable challenge for urban planners. Everyone needs to get to school or work at around the same time, meaning traffic and congestion will peak when transportation infrastructure can’t keep up with demand.

Some cities manage traffic better than others, however. In Greensboro, North Carolina, commuters spent just four hours a year in traffic on average in 2017. However, in Atlanta, they were stuck in traffic jams for 102 hours.

Urban migration is a global trend that experts predict will accelerate over the coming decades. Without intervention, traffic is likely to become an even more serious problem in most of the world.

At the same time, transportation reform may also present a major opportunity for reducing a city’s carbon footprint.

Expanding available public transit options and streamlining infrastructure to reduce traffic and time spent idling could significantly decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a city’s inhabitants will produce getting from place to place.

How Smart Cities Are Using IoT to Improve Transportation

New smart technology allows urban planners and transit designers to use Internet of Things (IoT) technology and mass transit data analysis to streamline city transportation. They try to do so with minimal changes to existing transportation infrastructure.

Smart transportation refers to various technologies that modern cities use to monitor and manage transit systems. This includes internet-connected or IoT monitoring tools and automation solutions that enable the automatic management of infrastructure. Monitoring tools can take many forms, including sensors embedded in signals and streetlights that continuously monitor traffic flow in an area.

These systems help make city transportation more efficient, safer and easier to manage – often through using IoT devices to gather traffic information and adjust the timing of networked signals. Transportation management systems also have a role to play in maintaining electric vehicle charging stations and managing battery levels in electric and autonomous buses.

Enough data enables cities to adjust traffic signal systems based on current flows, allowing managers to guarantee a smooth process or prioritize certain vehicles. 

IoT and Mass Transit Technology in the Real World

Montreal recently introduced a smart mobility system that uses an intelligent management platform to dynamically adjust the timing of traffic signals. The new system helps monitor and manage the flow of cars around the city. Managers can also use it to prioritize certain types of traffic, like the movement of emergency vehicles or public transit.

The system uses a combination of new and existing infrastructure and connects “more than 2,700 intersections and nearly 1,900 vehicles” to a software-based traffic management solution.

In Florida, the county of Miami Dade recently began to implement a similar system, the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS). It uses intelligent intersection technology to monitor and manage city traffic flows by optimizing signal timing.

The ATMS project in Miami Dade uses technology already leveraged in several other cities, including Seattle, London and Bogota, Colombia.

Over the next few years, more cities and municipalities worldwide will likely adopt similar smart transportation management systems.

The Future of Transportation in the Smart City

These early experiments with smart traffic data-collection and signal timing management systems show how smart transportation is being implemented right now. Future solutions could be even more ambitious. 

For example, as connected vehicles become more common, cities may be able to rely on information directly from cars to map and model the flow of traffic throughout the city.

Traffic monitors could be integrated with other systems, providing another valuable data source for smart city management.

Future smart transportation systems could also help extend the utility of green city management technology. With better data on traffic and public transit utilization, cities could more effectively target transportation reform to maximize offerings and minimize transportation emissions.

However, the benefits of smart city transportation systems come with some risks. Every extra sensor and networked system can serve as another vector of attack for cybercriminals. Big technology investments could make cities more vulnerable to attacks. 

Cities that adopt smart technology will need to also invest in cybersecurity. Otherwise, they may leave themselves open to ransomware, malware and similar attacks.

How Smart Transportation Systems Could Reshape Transit

A global traffic and transportation crisis is emerging. Smart technology – like intelligent monitors and signals – could help city planners significantly improve traffic management.

New automated systems use a combination of IoT and mass transit data collection plus smart traffic signals to more efficiently direct traffic flow in major cities like Miami and Montreal. 

More sophisticated versions of the systems could integrate with other smart technology in the future, helping provide city managers with even better data-collection and automated management systems.

transportation, handling and management of goods is the single greatest impact generator for many businesses. Kevin Sneader, global managing

Helping the World is Good for Business. Strategic Steps to Lower Operational CO2 Emissions – and Improve Both Performance and Profits

There aren’t many times in any industry when going the extra mile to do the right thing is actually really good for business too. But it does happen.

Skeptical? You’re not alone. After two years of juggling, pivoting, problem solving, reimagining and then doing it again – all of which have drained energies and operational budgets – any transportation logistics executive in charge of budgeting, could be forgiven for taking a hard line on non-essential expenditures.

Proactively protecting the environment? That’s a must-do for every industry, but it’s low on a priority list that has been exclusively focused on finding and retaining carrier capacity and keeping the flow of goods moving across the country and around the world.

As we all continually re-examine ways to cut costs and realize even greater operational efficiencies, improving environmental protocols – and reducing C02 emissions specifically –presents a rare win-win dynamic in which operations leaders can preemptively align around
incoming regulations, optimize network efficiencies and reduce C02, an increasingly problematic contributor to greenhouse gasses (GHG’s) and overall environmental impact. If all of that sounds a little like having your cake and eating it, you’re not wrong. Let’s dig in, get some broader perspective and take a closer look at the issues and strategic steps to lowering emissions and raising profits.

The Global Perspective: efforts to reduce emissions
Protecting the environment seemed more an extreme activist position a few decades ago but it’s rightly now a global perspective – and with good reason. The Paris Accord – an agreement by countries around the world to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – mandates a target of no more than a 1.5 degree Celsius change in global temperature beyond pre-industrial levels.

According to Stanford University, as of March 2021, 64 countries signed the agreement but the race is on. While pandemic lockdowns and other confinement measures cut global emissions by 2.6 billion tons of CO2, about seven percent below pre 2019 levels, experts say that level of control cannot be maintained and the world is on track to increase global temperature by 3-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century: a world-changing problem.

The good news is that change is being effected at the global, national, corporate and individual levels. Or at least initiatives are in place to fast track new behaviors. At the international level, 27 countries have implemented a carbon tax, imposing fees on industries for carbon emissions in an effort to incentivize a switch to improved practices and both green technologies and power sources.

Pro-tax countries include Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, the European Union (27 countries), Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Others considering joining include Brazil, Brunei, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. In addition, 64 carbon pricing initiatives are currently in force across the globe on various regional, national, and subnational levels, with three more scheduled for implementation, according to The World Bank. Together, these initiatives have been estimated to cover 21.5% of the global
greenhouse gas emissions in 2021.

A gradual shift to renewable energy worldwide is also underway with solar-generated power leading the way. While coal and gas still account for around 60% of the world’s energy, renewable forms of energy production are growing fast. According to Earth.org, worldwide solar power production has grown 25% year-on-year with overall renewable energy now accounting for 29% of the global power supply and the first countries, like Iceland, being close to 100% renewable-energy-powered. This pace of change will pick up, but it’s also going to require the major industries that generate large amounts of C02 – for example manufacturing and livestock-based meat production – as well as other private sector companies and every team within them – to affect change from the top down and bottom up. While the earth’s agriculture goliaths tackle damaging methane gas emissions (9.6% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions),
a society-wide movement is beginning, with the adoption of consumer and coming commercial electric vehicles, single use plastics, ride sharing and plant-based food production.

The C-Suite Perspective: targeting the supply chain and improving visibility

While all of that is tremendously encouraging and needed, corporate America and its global counterparts are being asked to do more. Forbes reports leaders now recognize the need for their companies and organizations to drive more proactive environmental change through C02- limiting practices across the organization but particularly in relation to the supply chain.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), company supply chains now account for a staggering 90% of an organization’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While changes to other emissions-reducing strategies, including business travel practices, electric vehicles and renewable energy use, all help corporations lower their carbon footprint, tackling supply chain emissions from manufacturing to the transportation, handling and management of goods is the single greatest impact generator for many businesses. Kevin Sneader, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company hits the nail squarely on the head about exactly what’s needed to affect this level of network-wide change: “While there wasn’t much debate about the science [of necessary reduction of C02 emissions], executives and investors were concerned about the lack of reliable data on the efforts companies and society are making, not to mention their impact. Greater clarity is required in order to speed development of new standards to help markets act more efficiently and reward progress.”

The answer lies, as with many operational efficiencies initiatives, in clear access to data across your supply chain operation. How much C02 is being emitted at any given time? What are the major causes, modes or geographies and other contributing variables? Only by tracking this data, by embedding an enterprise-wide approach to ongoing C02 monitoring, can we build effective strategies to manage and reduce emissions and realize greater efficiencies at the
same time. This is especially critical post global pandemic as many industries re-set and examine better practices to mitigate risk and manage challenges.

Creating Sustainability Practices in Transportation Logistics

When it comes to creating sustainable practices in logistics transportation, the great news is that the train has already left the station. Meaning shippers are already organically looking for better
ways to improve execution and lower costs. And typically those changes – optimizing network and mode, carrier/LSP selection via advanced routing as well as packaging strategies to reduce dimensional weight and trim cost – will all contribute to emissions reduction. The challenge, of course, comes in how to measure any impact from these actions as part of an overall carbon
reduction program.

How do we begin thinking about C02 monitoring and measurement? How do we acquire quantitative proof of progress or KPI’s that can demonstrate we’re delivering against our footprint- reduction goals? Measurement needs to include everything from the role warehouse
management, packaging, product sourcing all play in emissions as well as, of course, the movement of inbound materials or inventory delivery and outbound transportation of goods across mode, region and geography.

Tracking CO2: Supporting a Broader Sustainability Initiative
As we set about to review sustainable practices within an operation, it’s a good idea to adopt a broader view of sustainability. Yes, transportation will be a major driver of C02 emissions and require monitoring, but let’s review other contributing factors too. Do your carriers across your network practice emissions-reduction strategies? Things like load consolidation, which will typically lower cost per unit weight, reduce your number of shipments, reduce fuel needs and lead to an overall reduction of C02. If they’re not using basic emissions-reduction practices or considering doing so, it may be time to find new carriers.
Unfortunately, there is no global standard to measure CO2 in relation to transportation logistics which makes comparison across the industry extremely difficult at present. In the United States,
the EPA’s Smartway program is attempting to standardize CO2 coefficients but not all companies have adopted a single source of CO2, nor a common definition as it relates to transportation logistics. Until this happens, the best course of action is internal measurement: consistently monitoring and measuring across your operation and benchmarking emissions- reduction against your own goals and initiatives to affect them. Only by doing this and having
the data-driven proof points can we set new goals as well as broader sustainability targets that can all be reported to customers, partners, investors and other stakeholders.

All About Data: FAP’s Role in CO2 Measurement
Visibility is the key to delivering on your targets for sustainability and emission reduction, and that can only come from data collection, curation and analysis. Two fundamental components for measuring CO2 emissions in transportation logistics are weight and distance. How large and heavy are my goods? How far and by which means do they need to travel, what’s the fuel required and how efficient is consumption? A good quality Freight Audit and Payment (FAP)
system tracks weight and lane, which can help calculate distance, plus additional variables, making it a foundational step and required tool for any CO2 measurement and reduction effort. While there is no single source or method to deriving CO2 yet, distance, weight, and mode of transportation are all key fundamental elements that support the calculation of CO2 related to transportation logistics. The bottom line is that by combining these input values with CO2
coefficients, it’s possible to calculate the CO2 associated with any shipment, regardless of mode of transport and geographic region.
A natural place to begin is where carbon emissions reduction has a material impact (transportation logistics) and where transportation spend management data is available (historical record of shipping activity with specific distance, weight, mode of transport available).
Dashboards and trends along with KPIs for both cost to serve metrics (cost per unit, cost per shipment, cost per unit weight) and carbon emissions (CO2 by lane, by LSP) create awareness
and can be used to establish baselines and alignment for both carbon reduction and transportation spend optimization. This same dashboard can be used by logistics, procurement, operations management, and executives to align on, and report, progress at all levels of the organization at any given time.

Getting the Most from Your KPI’s
According to Forrester, 59% of all companies worldwide now follow data-driven strategies and
that number is growing as even small-to-medium sized organizations realize the benefits of data
analysis. As you build your sustainability protocols and measurement practices to get the most
from your KPI’s, two things are important.
1. Continuous Process Improvement
Set goals and use appropriate KPI’s and influencers (cost per unit of distance, CO2 per unit of distance) which will deliver ongoing process improvements: proper supplier and LSP management across your operation as well as more informed decision making for
everything from mode of transportation and packaging choice all the way to corporation level decisions around emissions control strategies.
2. Optimized Strategies
Build carbon emission reduction strategies into your overall optimization strategies. They’re one and the same. Putting in place operational changes to improve efficiencies will reduce emissions. Setting emissions reduction goals will necessitate changes that improve efficiency.
And consistent, standardized and high quality data is essential for both. Do both of these things: continually drive improvement across every process and embrace data- driven decision making to optimize strategies, and you’ll put in place the steps and tools to not just lower C02 emissions, but related operational costs too.

emissions

Reducing emissions requires efficient supply chain solutions

In November 2021, the United States Department of State and the United States Executive Office of the President released a new long-term strategy for reducing CO2 emissions. The report laid out the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050, which will require significant change, adaptation, and transformation across almost every sector, and in particular the manufacturing and transport industries.

These ambitious targets build on last year’s summit, where the US pledged to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% in 2030, in line with the European Council’s requirements. According to experts around the world, these new, increased goals are essential when it comes to meeting objectives set for the middle of the 21st century.


 

Around the world, the food and beverage sector is responsible for about one third of all greenhouse gas emissions, largely due to their complex supply chains. Without taking significant action to address supply chain emissions, meeting emissions targets will be a challenge. Mitigation efforts will require a significant shift in the way supply chain issues are considered within the sector, particularly when it comes to agriculture and land use.

The largest direct source of greenhouse gas emissions, is the US transportation sector, having overtaken the power sector back in 2015. It is responsible for 29% of all US greenhouse gas emissions, according to an EPA report released in 2021. As part of the drive towards Net Zero, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks in December 2021. This set a target of 50% of cars and light trucks to be zero-emissions by 2030 and directed NHTSA to finalize emissions targets for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by December 2022.

These strategies, targets, and directives are a clear indication that the US approach to CO2 emissions is hardening, and that decisions are being made that will have significant impacts on those responsible for supply chains.

However, reducing emissions is not solely linked to vehicles, and clean technologies and lower-emission cars and trucks cannot be the only solution, even in the transportation sector. A huge part of achieving these ambitious goals will come from significant improvement in efficiency throughout the entire logistics process, including, of course, the decisive areas of warehouse and transport management. Warehouse management solutions (WMS) and transport management solutions (TMS) have become key elements that not only improve general efficiency, but are also essential to creating a more effective and seamless supply chain process, optimizing transportation and, in turn, reducing emissions.

Warehouse management solutions

The warehouse is the heart of the entire logistics system, and its management has a direct impact on the rest of the links in the supply chain including, unsurprisingly, on transportation. An effective WMS not only guarantees more efficient use of physical warehouse space but also optimizes the movement of goods and materials inside the warehouse, ensuring cost savings and reduction of emissions right from the outset. But a WMS is not just about managing what goes on in the warehouse itself. It improves the organization of transportation and creates significant improvements in this area by synchronizing warehouse operations with arrivals and departures of carriers, transferring the newfound efficiency of the warehouse to transport, and onwards to the entire supply chain.

Transportation Management Solutions

Increased focus on emissions and environmental improvements reinforces the strategic value of TMS tools as well. According to analysis by Gartner and Supply Chain Digest, among others, TMS tools can offer immediate savings of anywhere between 15% (for the annual transport costs) and 30% (for personnel and management). Greater efficiency also undoubtedly has an effect on the reduction of emissions throughout the entire logistics chain. The two-pronged benefits of using technology to improve your supply chain operations is a decisive element for companies in the immediate future.

Transportation and Climate Initiative

Many leading companies looking to take proactive and practical steps towards decarbonization participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a scheme similar to the European Lean & Green platform. The TCI is a regional collaboration of 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

As with the Lean & Green initiative in Europe, many companies who operate under the jurisdiction of the TCI take advantage of Generix’s WMS and TMS solutions to achieve greater efficiencies in warehouse and transportation management; solutions without which it would be extremely difficult to reduce and ameliorate the energy costs of transport.

In short, logistics is in the process of a significant transformation to meet the demands of an increasingly demanding market, as well as to address environmental targets and requirements. There are a number of technological tools already standard in the world of logistics that have completely changed the productivity of the sector, and which will be essential to be able to take the next steps towards productivity, efficiency, and decarbonization.

For the manufacturing and transport industries, the path to Net Zero does not have to be a painful one. The tools and processes that are vital for reducing emissions also come with significant benefits and improvements for productivity and efficiency.

Supply chains are central to the fight against climate change. Decarbonization and emission reduction efforts also help improve sustainability, as well as making supply chains more resilient for the future.

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint through our solutions, contact us!

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

sygic logistics

Sygic Partners with Samsara to Enable GPS Navigation Solutions on the Connected Operations Cloud

Sygic, a global leader in navigation solutions, announced today an integration with Samsara, the pioneer of the Connected Operations Cloud, to optimize fleet operations and enhance the driver experience.

Samsara is uniquely positioned to transform the world of physical operations. Using the Connected Operations Cloud, tens of thousands of customers can visualize their physical operations in real-time on one integrated platform. The Samsara Driver App allows fleets to streamline the driver experience with features designed to maintain compliance, optimize dispatching, and boost productivity.

Customers can now launch Sygic Professional GPS Navigation routes directly from the Samsara Driver App with this integration. It provides a seamless user experience and ensures drivers make it safely and efficiently to their destinations with turn-by-turn navigation solely on routes compliant with the vehicle and its cargo.


 

Along with routing based on specifics, such as height, weight, the number of axles, and other vehicle parameters, the Sygic Professional GPS Navigation solution also respects emission zones and HAZMAT restrictions. Map data is stored locally on the device, so drivers can always depend on the navigation, even in areas with weak or no connection. Additional features, such as lane assistance, live traffic, disabled left turns, and more, help protect drivers and avoid risky situations on the road.

“We are thrilled to have our Sygic solution listed on the Samsara App Marketplace. This integration enables customers to launch Sygic routes with a single touch via the Samsara Driver App. This brings fleet dispatchers peace of mind and confidence when planning their transportation schedules – knowing they can rely on market-leading features already trusted by over 3,000 fleets and 3 million drivers,” said Miroslav Remecky, Chief Commercial Officer at Sygic.

“As digital workflows and mobile technologies become increasingly important for drivers on the road, it’s critical to ensure intuitive tools to do their work safely and efficiently,” explained Chris Mozzocchi, Senior Director of Product Management, Product, and Ecosystem Integrations at Samsara. “We’re excited to be partnering with Sygic to provide the best possible driver experience for our customers and enable them to make the most of their mobile applications.”

Sygic Professional GPS Navigation is available on the Samsara App Marketplace at: www.samsara.com/resources/marketplace/sygic/

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ABOUT SYGIC

Founded in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2004, Sygic is a Deloitte Fast 50 Company and, in 2012, was added to Deloitte’s Fast 500 EMEA listing. In 2009, Sygic produced the first-ever turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone. The company was the first offline navigation vendor supporting Apple CarPlay Connectivity and Google’s Android Auto. Sygic GPS Navigation as the most popular Sygic app has reached over 200 million downloads worldwide. The real-time Traffic Lights add-on for Sygic GPS Navigation has been awarded by the jury of leading technology experts as a top CES 2020 innovation.

The company is a member of the CharIN Association advocating for one universal charging standard – Combined Charging System (CCS) – and the leader in the electric mobility segment. Thanks to Electric Vehicle mode in Sygic GPS Navigation and other solutions, Sygic was honoured by a Global Champion Award 2021 for its contribution to a sustainable and innovation-driven emerging Europe.
Sygic’s solutions are navigating more than three million professional drivers and 2,000 fleets globally. The majority shareholder of Sygic is W. A. G. Payment solutions (known as Eurowag), which is one of the fastest-growing integrated payments and mobility platforms in Europe.

ABOUT SAMSARA

Samsara is the pioneer of the Connected Operations Cloud, which allows businesses that depend on physical operations to harness IoT (Internet of Things) data to develop actionable business insights and improve their operations. Samsara operates in North America and Europe and serves tens of thousands of customers across various industries, including transportation, wholesale and retail trade, construction, field services, logistics, utilities and energy, government, healthcare and education, manufacturing, and food and beverage. The company’s mission is to increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the operations that power the global economy.

trucking myth

Creating an Employee Care Package for Trucking Employees

Trucking professionals are indispensable global workforce members. Goods wouldn’t reach their destinations without them, leaving consumers everywhere seeing nothing but empty shelves at their favorite stores.

However, sometimes, these hard-working people who spend much of their time on the road can forget how much they’re needed and appreciated. That reality opens an excellent opportunity for their employers to make care packages for their team members. Here are some great gifts to consider for anyone in the trucking industry.

Seat Cushions

Being a professional truck driver means spending a lot of time seated. More specifically, federal trucking limits in the United States stipulate that a person can drive for a maximum of 14 consecutive hours before going into a mandated 10-hour off-duty period.

Being in the same position for so many hours at a time can cause a person to develop pressure points. However, specialized seat cushions can help drivers stay comfortable while they’re behind the wheel. Some seat cushions for truckers provide extra lumbar support. That makes them ideal for people who already deal with back discomfort or want to avoid developing it as a consequence of the job. However, others don’t have built-in backrests.

Many options also exist concerning what provides the necessary support to the user. Some are inflatable, but there are also memory foam and gel-filled possibilities. Choosing the outer material for the cushion is also important. Buyers should keep comfort and user-friendliness in mind by considering things like whether the fabric is extra soft, has moisture-wicking capabilities or a washable cover.

Anti-Sleep Alert Products

Even drivers who do everything they can to stay well-rested will inevitably have some instances where they start to feel sleepy. Unfortunately, if a person experiencing that doesn’t act in time, the sleepiness could result in disastrous consequences.

Data from the U.S.National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated there were 697 fatalities caused by crashes associated with drowsy driving in 2019. Avoiding such accidents starts with encouraging drivers to take rest breaks when they start to feel tired. However, people don’t always know how tired they are until they begin nodding off.

That’s why people should consider adding an anti-sleep alarm to a care package for trucking team members. These small and lightweight accessories attach to various parts of the body, including the hands, behind the ear and the neck. They detect signs that people are getting tired, then emit audible warnings.

After hearing them, drivers would realize it’s time to pull over and take steps that’ll help them become more alert. However, feeling permitted to stop when necessary has a lot to do with the company culture. If a driver feels they will receive negative repercussions for resting when they truly need a break, some may try to push themselves too far.

Branded Coffee Mugs

When truck drivers need perking up during a long shift, coffee is usually one of the most accessible ways to get it. That’s why a coffee mug is a thoughtful item for a trucking care package. Statistics show that 62% of adults in the United States drink coffee daily.

However, the people giving these products to team members should go beyond picking a standard type sold in many online and physical stores. It’s ideal if the mug’s design features the employer’s name, logo, contact details and other specifics. Having an accessory like that helps a person take pride in where they work while appreciating the practicality of the present.

A branded coffee mug could also be an excellent recruitment tool. Truck drivers typically make from $50,000-$100,000 annually depending on experience and the nature of their duties. Those that your team member encounters at truck stops, hotels or otherwise along a route may be interested in working for a new company for various reasons.

A branded coffee mug is a smart way to promote a trucking company to others. It could all happen naturally while the recipient drinks their cup of joe while on a break. It’s also a good gift for people who aren’t coffee drinkers. After all, a person could use it for tea or even water. Staying hydrated is an essential part of remaining healthy while on the road.

Organizational Gifts

A truck is the driver’s home while they’re on the road. A clean desk can help office workers stay productive, and the same is true for a person who spends their time behind the wheel for work. Many professional truckers get creative with their methods. For example, Velcro strips are handy for attaching hard products, like boxes, to flat surfaces. However, there are also plenty of purposeful gifts that can help a trucker achieve an organizational level that helps them feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Many of them help people make the most of available space, such as by featuring designs that let storage containers hang over the back of a seat. A hanging toiletry bag is also a useful gift to include in a trucking care package, especially since so many professionals spend days on the road at a time. People choosing these gifts should also think about whether the budget might allow for getting an organizer monogrammed or adding another type of personalization.

It’s not always easy to know which challenges people encounter most while trying to get their trucks organized. Similarly, it may not be feasible to buy different products for each care package recipient depending on their needs. An alternative is to take a survey and find out what kinds of products would help recipients best stay organized. Then, purchase the items of most benefit to the largest number of truckers at the company.

12-Volt Coolers

Trying to have fast-food for every meal as a trucker likely isn’t sustainable from a financial point of view, and it’s not an ideal option for long-term health. That’s why many truckers prepare meals before going out on the road. After that, they need somewhere to keep them until it’s time to eat.

That’s why a 12-volt cooler is another fantastic addition to a care package for trucking professionals. Then, people can keep food cold without ice by plugging these gadgets into the truck’s cigarette lighter.

Some coolers even have settings that allow people to keep food hot, too. Others have extra-long cords that give people more flexibility in where they place the cooler inside the truck.

As people browse for coolers to give truckers, they’ll get the best results by trying to envision themselves in the position of the recipients. Some of the administrative members at a trucking company may never spend the hours driving per day that the professional drivers do. However, imagining the features or design choices that users would find most valuable will increase the chances that recipients genuinely love their coolers and use them during all their trips.

Delight Trucking Professionals With These Ideas

The suggestions here will get people off to a good start as they shop for items to put into a trucking employee care package. When these professionals get reminders of how they’re valued members of the workforce, they’re more likely to have higher morale, which could cause associated benefits, such as better productivity and safer driving.

Chapman Freeborn appoints Hendrik Falk as Senior Vice President of Cargo Americas

Chapman Freeborn, the global air charter specialist and part of Avia Solutions Group, has appointed Hendrik Falk as Senior Vice President of Cargo for the Americas.

Born in Germany, Hendrik spent the majority of his youth in the United States of America. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in International Economics from UCLA, he began his 32 year career in the aviation industry at Lufthansa Cargo in Atlanta. Since then, he has held a number of senior positions at leading industry organizations around the globe, including Polar Air Cargo, World Airways, Air Bridge Cargo, and most recently Swiss International Airlines.


Hendrik Falk says:

I am thrilled to become part of the Chapman Freeborn team – the company’s broad portfolio of services, its quality focus and reputation for excellence as well as its ambitious aspirations are just a few of the drivers that have motivated me to join the organization at this dynamic time in the company’s development.”

Neil Dursley, Chapman Freeborn Chief Commercial Officer comments:

Hendrik Falk is a key new hire as part of our strategic five-year expansion plan for the Americas region. Hendrik will guide our team of experienced USA brokers to expand our service offering, grow our client base, and broaden presence throughout the region. I have every confidence that his wealth of industry experience and product knowledge will play a pivotal role in taking Chapman Freeborn America’s to the next level.

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About Chapman Freeborn:

The Chapman Freeborn group was established in the UK in 1973. The company has offices worldwide including North America, Europe, Africa, Russia, Asia, and Australia. In the cargo market, Chapman Freeborn Airchartering specialises in the charter and lease of aircraft for a wide-ranging customer base, including freight forwarders, multinational corporations, governments, humanitarian agencies, and a host of industries around the globe.

In addition to freight services, Chapman Freeborn offers specialist passenger services including private jet charters for executive travel and large aircraft for crew rotations and international group travel. As well as on-board courier services. Chapman Freeborn is a family member of Avia Solutions Group, a leading global aerospace services group with almost 100 offices and production stations providing aviation services and solutions worldwide.

Avia Solutions Group unites a team of more than 7,000 professionals, providing state-of-the-art solutions to the aviation industry and beyond.

For more information, please visit www.chapmanfreeborn.aero / www.aviasg.com

logistics

Buying a New Warehouse: Tactics for Logistics Companies

When launching a logistics company, the location of your warehouse is intrinsically linked to overall success. As well as the location, you need to decide whether to lease or buy a warehouse. Further, if you are looking to grow, you need to ensure that your location has the availability to do so. You will save a lot of time if you only have to run through these considerations once. Throughout this article, we will outline key considerations to make when buying a warehouse.

Workforce Availability

You will need a team to fulfill your work and having a qualified workforce will make your life easier. When you’re looking for a new warehouse, you will need to consider the demographic you’re moving into. For example, you won’t find success if you pick a warehouse in Silicon Valley because the demographic belongs to tech-savvy programmers. When you are hiring, you need to look out for areas with a large proportion of logistic businesses. You need to get a fine balance between availability and trade in the area. If you move into a business where demand for workers is high, you will find yourself competing against high salaries.


 

Rent Costs

The cost will be a critical factor in deciding where to buy a warehouse. After all, if you don’t have the available funds, you may be forced out of your desired location. In the US, warehouse rental costs are divided up per square foot (SF). The highest average prices at the moment are in San Francisco, CA, with $16.50 per SF. On the other end of the spectrum, Memphis, TN, comes in at only $2.56 per SF. Although the rental rates may be lower in some cities, you need to ensure you check state tax rates. You don’t want to be stung by hidden costs because you didn’t do your homework.

Insurance

Whether you rent or buy, you are putting valuable assets in the warehouse and you need insurance to protect them. Having insurance for your commercial property means that you are covered for unforeseen repairs, loss of income, damage, and operation expenses. Typically, you are looking at $17 to a month for the insurance. This may seem like a worthless investment in months where nothing happens, but as soon as it does, you will wish you had it.

Nearby Transportation Hubs

When choosing a location for your new warehouse, you need to make sure it’s close to transportation hubs. To do this, analyze your most significant point for receiving goods and align your site with this. For example, if your cargo typically arrives by air, you should position yourself closer to an airport. The closer you are to your nearest source of export, the higher demands you can come with and the easier it will be to manage drayage.

Traffic and Access

The main objective of logistics is being able to move cargo from A to B. If you don’t have the industry in the area, then your business will fail. You need to analyze all aspects of the local area including peak traffic times, average speed limits, typical traffic volume, road conditions, highway connectivity, and accessibility to highways. If these factors aren’t perfected in the area, you will end up paying more than you need to in fuel consumption.

Environmental Factors

As well as being close to significant export locations, you need to find a warehouse near to other suppliers. You will need to research the large local suppliers and take into account any supply chain partners.

As well as suppliers, you need to assess the environmental factors of the nearby areas. Is the area prone to natural disasters? Will you benefit from intense sunshine? Or are you in the middle of a flood zone? If you find any of these risks at your proposed site, you need to ensure that the building adheres to certain building requirements.

Starting up a logistics business takes a lot of time and patience. You need to decide what the most important location factors are and tick them off. There will always be criteria that you have to let slide. Make sure that you carry out your homework and consider all aspects of the location.

weather

Insufficient Weather Information Can be Costly

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in 2020 with 150 mph winds before moving up the East Coast to drop a record amount of rain on New York City. In its wake, the Category 4 storm caused severe flooding and destroyed just about everything in its path, with the cost to insurers estimated by leading risk management analytics firm RMS to be between $31 billion and $44 billion.

Hurricanes don’t just destroy properties though – they also destroy infrastructure and disrupt freight transport, especially by truck and rail. The damage from weather events is pervasive, but advanced weather data analytics that combine legacy and new datasets can improve the understanding of storm threats. With more data to inform analysis, those affected can better prepare to prevent losses and destruction that cause prices to rise, particularly those related to ground transport.

Immediately after Ida, digital brokerage platform Transfix reported that dry-van spot rates, or the cost of space in an enclosed trailer, rose 5 to 8 percent out of Memphis, about 5 percent out of Georgia, and up to 15 percent out of Louisiana and Mississippi. Freight rail operators suffered gridlock from the storm, as well as crews that had to wait for floodwater to recede before starting repairs. Freight cars were then rerouted or ran under limited service until the railroad network was fully operational.


 

Any slowdown in transport or increase in rates likely results in an increase in the prices consumers pay for those goods being transported. While some of these increases are inevitable, given enough information and forewarning, freight carriers can plan accordingly for these events, especially since few areas within the U.S. aren’t affected by Mother Nature.

Weather Events Disrupt Supply Chains

High winds and tornados disrupt trucking as they can push a high-profile vehicle out of its lane or in the worst case, flip it over. Flashfloods can wash away railroad tracks and potentially cause derailments. Rain and fog lead to decreased visibility for locomotive engineers and truck drivers, cutting speed by as much as 25 percent. Snow and ice can make roads impassable and tracks brittle. A wildfire destroys everything in its path, including roads and rails.

Infrastructure damage frequently causes disruption to, and in the worst-case halts, supply chains. While these slowdowns certainly can create compounding issues downstream in the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail sectors, transportation businesses are typically the first to suffer financial tolls ranging from penalties for missed deliveries to loss of equipment and freight damages.

The estimated annual cost of weather-related delays to trucking companies range from $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are about 700 railroads operating in the U.S., and North America’s largest freight rail operator, Union Pacific, suffered about $100 million in losses from wildfires and heavy rains that caused disruption over the company’s 32,000-mile network in 2021.

Extreme weather events are becoming more prevalent as weather patterns are changing, and they’re becoming more costly to all. Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced over 300 weather and climate disasters that have had overall damages exceeding $1 billion, for a total cost exceeding $2 trillion, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The numbers have trended upward over time, with an average of about 16 events each year from 2016 to 2020 and 18 events topping $1 billion occurring in 2021 just through October 8. This number doesn’t include the tornados that tore through Mississippi in December or the Colorado wildfires that closed out the year.

Developing advanced planning and forecasting tools to aid in deciding whether cargo should go or not requires data that’s more timely, frequent, and accurate than what’s readily available today. However, recent advances in satellite-based weather observation systems and big data processing enable substantial progress towards a better understanding of storms.

More Data Makes a Difference

While technology can’t change weather patterns, it can be used to create innovative solutions for determining where a storm is, how severe it is, and where it’s going. The current weather forecasting systems gather an insufficient amount of actionable data that can be analyzed in real time. If only a few datapoints are available, for example, forecasting models must interpolate data to fill in the gaps. Given more real-time observations, the forecast accuracy can be vastly improved.

Less densely populated geographic regions typically have the fewest weather data collections – yet these open spaces are where many of the country’s major highways and rail corridors run. Gathering data across these zones utilizing satellite-based observation platforms can augment limited ground-based radars. Data from multiple sources provides more accurate predictions of weather events before they transpire, as well as their severity and movement as they’re ongoing.

There are a variety of methods used to gather weather data, including ground-based radar, sensors, and instruments; weather balloons; and aircraft-mounted radar and sensing equipment. These technologies don’t provide the same insight as some satellite sensors and cameras, though. Clear Weather visual systems aboard satellites capture a view of the ground during clear skies, and the tops of clouds during storms. All Weather technologies, such as passive microwave sensing, are capable of penetrating through clouds to gather information inside the storms to collect critical data, such as water volume, temperature, and precipitation type.

Weather information from any source is useful when it comes to understanding weather fronts, but the right detail helps create a more complete picture. Microwave-sensing technologies give unique insight into weather patterns that provide clarity as to the severity of a weather event. Despite its value, there are only 11 operating microwave sensors in orbit today, making the ability to see and predict fast-moving storms very limited when the satellite is only able to provide data for a region in the U.S. every three to six hours.

Align and Analyze for Better Forecasts

Quickly putting all the pieces together to gain better understanding of what’s happening now and forecasting what will happen as conditions change is no simple process. This process requires a significant amount of computing power to align and combine disparate datasets for a multidimensional representation of weather at a specific location and time. With a high-definition cohesive picture of the weather, traditional forecasts can truly become nowcasts.

The broadest view of the weather with the most forward-looking data comes from satellites though, and until recently, the few in orbit were flown by governments with multi-billion-dollar price tags.

Now, commercial satellite providers are putting more sensing equipment into orbit, and each new satellite sensor in orbit collects data that adds to forecast certainty and enables preemptive actions to reduce losses and impacts.

Being able to move goods predictably and safely is a key component of supply chains. Transportation companies need to be able to properly assess how infrastructure is affected by weather and the resources needed to make repairs or delay transport. Accurately planning for these events can prevent losses. Just getting trucks off roads and planning rail network actions before a storm could save big dollars, and having the right weather data drives the right decisions.

freight brokers

Three ways freight brokers can seize the endless opportunities in today’s market

If you’re a freight broker or prospective freight broker, you should be seeing green right now, recognizing a deep well of market opportunity not only in 2022, but looking out over the next 5-10 years, too. The supply and demand imbalance is abundantly evident, and shippers increasingly are leveraging brokerages and 3PLs to manage their freight and shifting away from working directly with motor carriers.

That means billions — likely hundreds of billions, even — of dollars in transportation spending moving toward freight brokerages in the coming years.

To illustrate this point: Just over the past two years, the amount of truckload freight in North America moved through brokerages has jumped from about 10-12% on average annually to nearly 20% last year. That trend is here to stay, along with continually climbing freight demand, meaning the percentage equates to more and more loads.

In early February, the White House’s port envoy, John Porcari, said he sees the current freight volumes as a floor for the coming years — not a ceiling. If he’s right, the brokerage market likely will become one of the fastest growing sectors of the entire U.S. economy.

However, haste makes waste, and now’s the time for freight brokerages and 3PLs to be positioning themselves to take on new customers, build their carrier base, and figure out how to scale their operations to meet this demand and capitalize on the sea of opportunities they’re adrift in.

Without the right digital tools, particularly a robust TMS platform that can scale with your operation, integrate with your shippers’ tools, and seamlessly find capacity across freight modes, brokers will be leaving ripe profits on the table for their competitors to scoop up.

From finding customers and retaining staff in a highly competitive landscape, to offering new services, expanding modes, and maintaining a network of truckers — the modern freight broker simply can’t and won’t survive with just a rates sheet, some Excel files, and a well-worn iPhone.

Here’s why:

Meeting the demands of the modern marketplace.

In today’s brokerage market, no two days are alike, and customer needs change by the minute. Also, with the brokerage market bulging, logistics providers need the ability to add new customers efficiently and cost effectively. Technology has long been viewed as optional, not compulsory, on those fronts.

That’s no longer the case.

To acquire, support, and onboard new customers, manual procedures simply no longer work. Bringing on new customers manually can bog down operations, and it skips vital support in today’s market — properly integrating systems with shipper customers and other third-parties, like motor carriers.

Also, to adequately serve customers and compete in today’s brokerage market — but especially tomorrow’s market — the ability to scale quickly, to find capacity at a reasonable price with some level of automation, and to search across freight modes to keep shippers’ freight moving, brokers need the right tools. Those that have them will serve their shippers and attract new customers. Those that don’t will erode their own ability to compete.

Attracting and retaining the right employees.

Every business in every industry is trying to navigate the pressing issue of finding, hiring, and keeping the right people so their business can run effectively and continue to serve customers.

It’s increasingly difficult to retain employees if you’re not giving them the right tools and technology to do their jobs. For those trying to retain talent with a cumbersome, outdated, ineffective tech stack, you’re creating pressure for your employees to leave and find an organization that invests in those areas.

Also, people want to feel the rewards of the job they do, and part of that is supporting customers in a way they feel is effective and that they’re happy with. All stakeholders benefit from providing the best support and service, especially your employees.

Making scalable technology core to brokerage.

The technology access issue that’s plagued medium-sized and small brokerages has mostly vanished. As has the time it takes to set up new platforms and integrate them into your current operations.

What took months of painful and frustrating setup now takes weeks, if not days. Also, the upfront cost of platforms has become accessible to brokerages of all sizes, as has their ongoing total cost of ownership.

Adopting platforms like modern transportation management systems is no longer just about return on investment or streamlining processes. It’s not simply part of your business — it’s now core to your business.

The dollar cost is obviously an important part of this equation. But thinking of technology and digital solutions as integral, and core components of your business, you reframe the cost as a revenue opportunity. You realize what it means for your business, your personnel, and your customers to be flexible and to grow, to build new revenue opportunities, and to remain a viable competitor in this booming market.

Paul Brady is the CEO of 3Gtms.

cold chain logistics

4 Ways the IoT Helps Optimize Cold Chain Logistics

Industry 4.0 technology can help to make cold chain logistics much easier to manage. Internet of things (IoT) devices are already used in a wide range of industries to gather real-time information on business processes.

In the cold chain, IoT technology can help businesses track important data on shipments — potentially allowing them to prevent temperature excursions and provide better data to stakeholders.

Here’s how businesses are already using IoT to optimize their cold chain logistics.

1. Temperature Monitoring

A key feature of IoT devices is their ability to monitor the temperatures that cold chain shipments are exposed to.

By attaching an IoT temperature monitor to the outside of a package or pallet, sensors can be used in a variety of transportation modes — including trucks, rail freight or air cargo — to continuously track the temperature of food items, important pharmaceuticals and other items that need cold chain logistics.

These sensors will gather and report this data in real-time. Because IoT sensors can automatically store data on the cloud, all relevant stakeholders can have access to the temperature data that they collect.

In the event that an IoT sensor detects a temperature excursion, an alert system can automatically notify managers, drivers, administrative staff and other workers — allowing them to take action to prevent spoilage.

Stored data can also be used to improve processes, identify bottlenecks and determine fault in the event that an excursion causes spoilage. At any time after a sensor collects temperature data, stakeholders can review captured information and trends — or use analytics software to automatically extract valuable insights from historical temperature data.

IoT temperature tracking devices can also monitor other aspects of a shipment’s journey — for example, a combination vibration, light and temperature sensor can monitor for heat as well as exposure to light, shocks, vibrations and sudden stops.

Many cold chain products don’t just require low temperatures. Many vaccines that need cold chain logistics, for example, may spoil or lose potency if exposed to light. Sudden shocks can also risk damage to vaccine containers and packing materials.

IoT devices that monitor for temperature can also help to monitor for these potential threats.

2. GPS and RFID Shipment Tracking

IoT devices are also excellent at tracking the current location of a shipment or individual product. By using technology like GPS or RFID, it’s possible for an IoT device to gather information on a shipment’s movement.

With GPS, this information will be in real-time. With RFID, the system will depend on RFID readers installed at important locations that continuously scan for RFID tags. These systems will provide instant updates whenever an RFID tagged shipment arrives at a warehouse, fulfillment center, retail location or delivery destination.

These systems can automatically alert stakeholders when an item is on the move, allowing them to track the position of all their shipments, 24/7. The same IoT device can be used to monitor both temperature and location.

The same technology can also help businesses and logistics providers offer better delivery estimates to their clients. With real-time tracking, it’s much easier to accurately forecast when an item will arrive at a destination.

3. Automated Reporting and Cloud Data Storage

Because IoT devices are connected to the internet and can collect data continuously, they can also be used for automatic report-generation and cloud data backups.

For example, data from an IoT device can be automatically delivered to relevant stakeholders or stored for monthly documentation of important information.

In addition to delivering data to the cloud, an IoT device can send information to logistics management platforms, where the information can be analyzed by stakeholders with the help of dashboards and other data visualization tools.

The device can also stream information to AI-powered analytic tools, allowing businesses to use the IoT data to power delivery time or temperature excursion prediction algorithms.

These algorithms can help businesses see a crisis coming based on patterns in IoT data, potentially long before the issue would be obvious to a manager or analyst following the data on their own.

4. Equipment Health Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

In addition to monitoring shipments directly, IoT devices are also an excellent tool for tracking the performance and health of cold chain equipment — including delivery vehicles, warehouse machinery and even HVAC systems.

Existing IoT performance monitoring systems can track a wide variety of performance and environmental variables. Information from these systems can help businesses track machine performance and health.

For example, an IoT fleet may capture information on a machine’s timing, vibration, temperature and lubrication. If one of these variables leaves its safe operating range, the system can automatically notify site technicians.

IoT devices may also measure local temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, allowing managers of a warehouse or fulfillment center to know if local environmental conditions may be negatively impacting the performance of a site machine.

Equipment monitoring is already a popular application of IoT devices in many industries, meaning that cold chain logistics professionals wanting to adopt the technology have access to a large and growing market of IoT equipment monitoring solutions.

Experts predict that the market is on track to grow quickly over the next few years, meaning that logistics companies will have access to even more options in the near future.

With enough data, businesses can also use IoT devices to lay the foundation for a predictive maintenance system. These are systems that use AI and IoT machine performance data to predict a machine’s maintenance needs.

By analyzing information collected from IoT devices, it’s possible to predict when a machine will need maintenance or repairs.

These systems can also alert managers when they predict that machine failure is imminent — allowing for an emergency shutdown that can help to prevent significant damage to a machine that may result in more expensive repairs and greater downtime.

How IoT Devices May Help to Transform the Cold Chain

With new IoT devices, cold chain logistics providers may be able to streamline their operations. A fleet of IoT devices can provide crucial information on both shipments and the equipment used to move them.

Cold chain professionals are already using IoT devices to prevent spoilage and more effectively monitor shipments as they move from location to location.

IoT devices can also lay the foundation for predictive analytics algorithms that can accurately predict delivery times or machine maintenance needs

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Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry