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Tips for Securing Temperature-Sensitive Cargo

temperature-sensitive

Tips for Securing Temperature-Sensitive Cargo

When it comes to securing temperature-sensitive cargo, it is imperative to take the situation seriously. It may sound silly, but a few degrees up or down may ruin your precious belongings.

Running a temperature-controlled warehouse comes with a lot of difficulties, so it’s best to do thorough research. After all, customers are putting their trust in your hands. With that in mind, let’s see what you can do to make sure securing temperature-sensitive cargo goes without any issues.

Tips for securing temperature-sensitive cargo

Securing temperature-sensitive cargo is one of the common warehouse problems you might encounter. To solve this issue in the best possible way, you should always follow good tips and best practices. The three most important categories to cover are packaging, handling, and transportation.

Packaging process

The packaging process for temperature-sensitive cargo has a couple of steps. It might sound like a lot to do, but it’s best to cover everything and secure the cargo.

Test packaging and products

As a first step, it is important to figure out what packaging to use for what product. To determine this, a series of tests are required. You must know how packaging and the products react to different weather conditions, shock, impact, compression, etc. There are a couple of different protocols you can follow: American Society of Testing & Materials, International Safe Transit Association, etc.

The importance of documentation

As we already know, documentation is especially important for smart inventory and warehouse management. However, it also plays an important role when it comes to securing temperature-sensitive cargo. Every package that contains temperature-sensitive cargo should have proper specifications and labeling. The best is to perform an inspection prior to shipment. Furthermore, it is important to keep a copy of the report for at least 90 days.

Inspection

Furthermore, it is crucial to inspect the container for any defects. Inside should be clean, dry, and well shut. Any issue with the container may jeopardize the cargo. Before you load the container, make sure that the temperature matches what’s in the documentation. Refrigeration must work without any issues.

Handling

When it comes to handling, there are really just a few important things to take care of. First of all, you should provide all the necessary documentation to everyone who is involved in handling the cargo. Lack of information might result in improper handling and further may lead to damaging the cargo.

Also, everyone should have the proper equipment for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.

Transportation

Picking the transportation provider is one of the most important decisions to make. First of all, they must be punctual, and well equipped to transport temperature-sensitive cargo. Another great bonus is if they provide a claims-free loss service.

You should inform the driver of all the necessary information. He or she must have a copy of the documentation where the required temperature is stated. Furthermore, you should provide phone numbers to all the mechanical and refrigeration facilities in the case of an emergency.

Best practices for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo

Transportation providers should always follow best practices for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo.

For starters, they should provide quality trailers or containers, and have the monitoring equipment to track the slightest temperature changes during transport. Next, they should be familiarized with all the procedures of handling and storing temperature-sensitive cargo. Also, if there is a need for temporary storage, they should have all the conditions to perform this service.

Remember to ask for the transportation route to ensure that the cargo will be transported without delays and as quickly as possible. Finally, the transportation provider should also provide you with a 24/7 phone number for any support or questions, as well as the documented list of anyone that handled the cargo in the process. Whoever was included must have a certificate that he or she knows how to handle temperature-sensitive cargo.

Going the extra mile

The best way to go the extra mile for your customers is to offer more than they expect. By following all the procedures and requirements mentioned above, you are securing the cargo in the best possible way. Also, sometimes your clients may need additional services, like finding movers, storage units, etc. If you can go the extra mile and provide them with good contacts, like reliable companies, it will not go unnoticed.

Remember, it is crucial to get a positive review from your customers. Word of mouth is one of the strongest ways to advertise.

Tips for securing temperature-sensitive cargo – delivered.

Let me give a quick summary of all the procedures in order. First of all, both the cargo and the container should be properly inspected. Everything should be documented, and the documentation should be provided to everyone involved in packaging, handling, and transportation. The logistics provider should have all the necessary equipment to transport and store the cargo, and also to monitor any temperature changes.

By following these tips and best practices, securing temperature-sensitive cargo will not be difficult. Since different clients have different needs, it is important to be flexible, while making sure to follow all procedures and regulations.

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Mark Stephens is a blogger and a freelancer for preferred-movers.com. With the experience of over seven years working in the moving industry, he gladly shares his knowledge and expertise with his readers. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, and further researching new topic in the moving industry, so he can always stay up to date with the newest information.

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.”

transportation

Top 10 Transportation Trends to Watch for in 2020

A lot has been happening in the global transport sector over the last decade. In 2019 alone, we saw several cities in Europe ban diesel cars and adopt electric transit buses. Technology-enabled mobility grew tremendously well in the past year and the passenger transportation scene evolved in a big way. Transport experts, city planners, and technology futurists are all curious to see what happens in 2020 and beyond. That is why we have compiled a 10-point prediction of the trends that might define transportation in 2020.

1. Scooters will not be “cool” anymore

Scooters were the coolest kid in the transportation sector until last year when they were officially adopted into the mainstream. They are fast transitioning from the controversial transportation tool that used to turn heads and draw admiration and hate in equal measure, to a convenient transportation tool that anyone can ride. People will be riding them to work, tourists will be using them for sightseeing, and pedestrians will not be too concerned about the now uncontroversial vehicles.

2. Continued adoption of IoT

Web-enabled smart devices are taking over the world, and the transport sector won’t be spared. 2020 will be the year when data sensors, processors, and transmitters will join the mainstream. The Internet of Things (IoT) eco-system will necessitate that all cars and trucks be fitted with sensors and communication hardware that will enable them to communicate with each other in real-time. IoT will also make it easier for vehicles to identify pedestrians and cyclists, preventing potential accidents.

3. Growth of MaaS

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will grow exponentially in 2020 and beyond. This technology will make the most of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) in optimizing traffic management in cities.

4. The continued growth of autonomous driving

Autonomous cars are becoming a reality now after having been dismissed by many transport stakeholders as a pipe dream about a decade ago. In 2020, we can expect autonomous technology and self-driving cars to continue gaining ground in the transport industries. More car manufacturers and tech companies will keep manufacturing more functional, secure, and sophisticated autonomous cars. This technology will be claiming its place as the future of mobility within the next decade.

5. More adoption of battery-powered transportation

Battery-powered transportation is becoming a mainstream thing now. We are already seeing an upsurge in the adoption of the electric bike in the US and Europe. These bikes are making it effortless to bike and exercise, and that means they will continue finding favor in the eyes of many working citizens. City planners will also be trying to leverage these bikes because they can be a great alternative to cars. They will significantly reduce traffic congestion in our cities.

6. We could start seeing e-school buses

The “vehicle-to-grid” concept (V2G) will be integrated into school transportation in the form of e-school buses. School buses, in the literal sense, are used less than a third of the time regular public transport buses are used. Because of that significantly low mileage, it is easier to test mobile batteries on school buses before we can eventually have electric buses in the mainstream.

7. Use of AI in transportation

AI will be complementing IoT in making our roads safer and lesser congested. On top of increase passenger safety, this technology will help minimize carbon emission on our roads and at the same time make transportation affordable and profitable.

8. Mobility on Demand (MOD) will be “high in demand”

Mobility will be redefined in 2020 and beyond. Instead of having to endure the heavy burden of car ownership (maintenance costs, fuel cost fluctuations, and hefty insurance covers), people will be opting for MOD. This is where you order for a car through a mobile app whenever you need a ride as opposed to owning a car that you use less than a quarter of your day.

9. Shared mobility as well

Shared or smart mobility will also be high in demand. Cities will have to rethink their transportation preferences in this smart era. One prediction that is likely to pass in this regard is that cities will try to improve shared mobility by combining multiple modes of transport, say, bikes, PSVs, and private cars, in order to come up with a more integrated system.

10. Continued integration of clean transportation technology

Transportation companies will keep trying to cut down on emissions by reducing oil usage. That will be achieved through the adoption of transportation tools such as self-driving drones.

Conclusion

The global transportation sector is going through many changes in 2020 and the last decade, all with the aim of making passenger and cargo transportation cheaper, safer, and more efficient. The 10 trends predicted in this article will shape the transportation environment going forward. Of course, there will be many more potential changes, some of which are not yet predictable.

businesses

How Businesses can Weather COVID-19: Start with Empathy to Employees

Major U.S. businesses are adjusting operations, laying off employees or reducing hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s uncharted territory for the nation, and companies from large brands to small businesses, like everyone else, are operating without a playbook to deal with an unprecedented public health threat that will also have economic implications. How businesses adjust to the pandemic and respond to this “new normal” is critical to the future of their business.

“The most important part is showing empathy to employees – now more than ever in these uncertain times,” says Ed Mitzen (www.edmitzen.com), founder of a health and wellness marketing agency and ForbesBook author of More Than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance.

“While every company is dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to keep in mind that your employees are being affected in more ways than one. Added challenges to daily life now include your partner working next to you, your children being home from school, and having to keep an extra close eye on elderly relatives. In these unusual circumstances, people will notice which companies are treating their employees with empathy and compassion and which are not.”

A business leader’s response during a time like this defines who they are as a leader.

Mitzen thinks this challenging time could be used by business owners to assess their company culture and consider that how they treat employees is central to that culture and vital for business results. He explains how leaders can show empathy to employees, strengthen company culture and drive performance:

Lead with support, not force. “Culture starts at the top, and the best results come when leaders support their people and help them get the most out of life, rather than trying to squeeze them to work harder and harder,” Mitzen says. “People can sacrifice for the job for only so long before they burn out. It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes prioritizing life over work actually improves the work product. Once you hire good people, you don’t have to push them with crazy deadlines to squeeze productivity out of them.”

Build a team of caring people. “Business is a team sport,” Mitzen says. “To have an empathetic culture, you need people who care for each other and work well together. Build teams by looking for people who lead with empathy.  Don’t hire jerks. People who are super-talented but can’t get along with others tend to destroy the team dynamics, and the work product suffers.”

Define a positive culture – and the work. Showing empathy to employees can be an engine generating creativity and productivity. “The internal culture at a company defines the work the company produces,” Mitzen says. “Culture influences who chooses to work for you, how long they stay, and the quality of work they do. And the core of the culture is empathy, starting with employees and extending to customers and the communities that you live in. There’s a strong connection between a healthy work culture, which inspires people, and the work customers are receiving. That kind of company makes sure customers are treated the same way they are being treated.”

“Now more than ever, empathy, kindness and compassion are important values to keep at the forefront of your organization,” Mitzen says. “Business leaders can take the lead in doing the right thing, starting with their employees.”

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Ed Mitzen (www.edmitzen.com) is the ForbesBook author of More Than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance and the founder of Fingerpaint, an independent advertising agency grossing $60 million in revenue. A health and wellness marketing entrepreneur for 25 years, Mitzen also built successful firms CHS and Palio Communications. Fingerpaint has been included on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for seven straight years and garnered agency of the year nominations and wins from MM&M, Med Ad News, and PM360. Mitzen was named Industry Person of the Year by Med Ad News in 2016 and a top boss by Digiday in 2017. A graduate of Syracuse University with an MBA from the University of Rochester, Mitzen has written for Fortune, Forbes, HuffPost, and the Wall Street Journal.

global

Latest and Greatest Global Traders on the Move

Per our usual update, below is a list of the latest global trade movers and shakers impacting operations and creating higher standards in leadership. This is a comprehensive list for now, but we will continue to track ongoing recognitions for the next “Global Traders” spotlight. For now, let’s dive into major players across multiple sectors…

James I. Newsome III, the president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, is among five global shipping leaders to be inducted into the 2020 International Maritime Hall of Fame, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey announced.

Joining Newsome in being honored May 13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City are: Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises Inc., Miami, Florida; James R. Mara, president emeritus, Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors’ Association, Rutherford, New Jersey; Dr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, president and CEO, Tsakos Energy Navigation Corp., Athens, Greece; and Lois K. Zabrocky, president and CEO, International Seaways Inc., New York.

Sergio Sabatini was recently named president and Gord Anutooshkin was promoted to chief operating officer (COO) at Denver, Colorado-based OmniTRAX,  the fastest-growing railroad in North America. Sabatini reports to OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba. Anutooshkin, who had been senior vice president of Operations, reports to Sabatini, who had been COO.

Rob Russell, previously of Progressive Rail and Union Pacific Railroad, recently joined OmniTRAX as SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Nolan Transportation Group, one of the largest and fastest-growing non-asset truckload freight brokerages and 3PLs in North America, recently named Geoff Kelley as its president. Kelley had most recently served as chief operating officer at Coyote Logistics, a subsidiary of UPS.

Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM) promoted Michael Mitchell to senior vice president and chief operating officer. Mitchell, who has been with CCM since its 2005 launch, had been serving as interim COO. Speaking of CCM, a leading cooperative chassis pool manager in intermodal freight transport, its CEO Michael Wilson was recently elected to a three-year term on the Containerization & Intermodal Institute’s Board of Directors. So have Dr. Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director of Administration and Operations at the Port of Long Beach, and Gregory Tuthill, chief commercial officer at SeaCube Container Leasing.

Katherine Harper has been named chief financial officer (CFO) at BDP International. Harper comes to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based global logistics and transportation solutions company from AgroFresh, a produce freshness solutions company.

Jeffrey M. Barlow was appointed CFO at Paxxal Inc., shipping platforms provider based in Noblesville, Indiana.

Rich Kurtz is the new director of National Accounts for BOLT Systems. He comes to the Nashville, Tennessee-based fleet management and freight tracking software company from Trimble Transportation.

The Oxnard Harbor District Board of Commissioners, which oversees California’s Port of Hueneme, recently voted unanimously for Jess Ramirez to serve as its president. First elected to the board in 1992, Ramirez has served as president five times before, and he worked as a longshoreman at the port for 51 years, prior to retiring last year.

Meanwhile, Celina Zacarias has been appointed to the commission. The senior director of Community and Government Relations for the California State University, Channel Islands and chairwoman of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce was appointed to fill the vacancy that came with Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Dr. Manuel Lopez’s passing.

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. 

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.

4PL

ONE, TWO, 3PL … or 4PL? DETERMINING WHICH MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

The supply chain ecosystem is becoming more demanding as consumers are conditioned to expect nearly instantaneous free shipping and where order delays can inflict serious damage to brands. As a result, shippers must carefully select their supply chain partners, as their performance has a much greater potential impact on customer satisfaction and the bottom line than ever before.

However, shippers are often perplexed when faced with the choice of partnering with a 3PL or 4PL to tackle their logistics and transportation challenges.

“Every shipper is unique, but many face the same challenges and share the same goals: reducing costs, optimizing their network, consolidating shipments, changing behaviors, improving customer service, and improving visibility, to name a few,” says Ross Spanier, senior vice president of Sales and Solutions at GlobalTranz, a Phoenix, Arizona-based tech company that provides a cloud-based, multimodal transportation management system (TMS) to shippers, carriers and brokers.

“The common thread that links these challenges and goals is data,” Spanier continues, “and many companies lack the data they need to make truly informed business decisions.”

He should know. Spanier brings more than 17 years of experience—which includes stops at C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services—to the discussion of 3PL versus 4PL partnerships. Shippers, he maintains, should focus on the capabilities of the prospective partner and seek out partners that combine the technology, people, multimodal services and solutions they need to in gain a competitive advantage.

“Many shippers really cannot afford to staff and maintain an internal transportation and logistics team,” he notes. “Finding a partner that can act as an extension of their business is key. It’s also extremely important to make sure your partner can provide technology and experience in implementation, execution and integration. That can be a significant cost and a disruption for businesses that attempt to do that by themselves.”

Whether you’re a medium-sized business or listed on the Fortune 1000 annual list, deciding between a 3PL and a 4PL sets the stage for all moving parts.

“A common misunderstanding is that a 3PL is just a broker, when the reality is they can be much more than that,” Spanier says. “At GlobalTranz, our managed solutions are a great example of that. We can offer a more strategic and consultative approach for our customers including having ‘skin in the game’ on the broker side, where we’re taking on pricing commitments, service level commitments, managing the risks and owning the contracts.

“Many times, that is one of the common misunderstandings because a 3PL can act very strategically with customers and not necessarily need a fourth party. The 4PL typically offers strategic insights and management of a company’s entire supply chain, and often if one goes back to the question of ‘what is the difference between a 3PL and 4PL,’ 4PLs are the right fit for much more mature, large or complex organizations.”

GlobalTranz positions itself as a leader in customized solutions for a wide variety of shippers across many industry verticals. From LTL to truckload, final mile or white-glove service, intermodal, ocean, air, and cross-border Mexico transportation … are all part of the GlobalTranz offering. In addition, the company offers an award-winning TMS. The company takes pride in collaborative efforts between the people driving their technology as an integrated solution offered to their customer base.

“Whether a customer is best-suited for a 3PL or 4PL solution is typically not already known when we walk in the door, Spanier explains. “We like to show where a customer can gain the most value based on the solution and its capabilities. More times than not, it’s about voicing that to the customer and understanding where their constraints are and how we can put a solution together–a 3PL or a 4PL solution.”

GlobalTranz boasts a different approach when it comes to serving its customer base. Its robust managed solutions offerings serve a variety of needs that can be tailored upon identifying where the client’s business needs it the most. The experts at GlobalTranz take the process of solution identification one step further by evaluating the needs and configuring a solution from there. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, which is exactly how GlobalTranz separates itself from the rest as a leader in logistics solutions–whether that be a 3PL or 4PL solution.

“People, processes, and technology are important, and it’s crucial to establish relationships and communications that are aligned with company goals,” Spanier contends. “Without strong relationships in place, technology and process won’t deliver the needed support or what they’re looking to get out of a partner. When you have a customer looking at a 3PL solution, you want to make sure that a 3PL has the ability to bring in carriers no matter what markets they operate in. This is critical because they may be in one market today but with growth, both organic and through acquisitions, and the changing dynamics in customer demand and expectations, the footprint could expand and it’s important to have a partner that is quick to react and agile in respect to their carrier partners as well.”

So, when deciding on what makes the most sense for your business, consider partners that not only provide solutions but are agile and customizable based on specific business goals.

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As the GlobalTranz Senior Vice President of Sales and Solutions, Ross Spanier leads the enterprise sales organization as well as the design and delivery of innovative and customized supply chain solutions that drive efficiency, cost savings and competitive advantages for current and prospective customers. With more than 15 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics industry, Spanier has developed and grown sales and operations teams specializing in best-in-class service execution of LTL, TL, expedite, supply chain management, projects & heavy haul, white glove and managed transportation service lines. Prior to joining GlobalTranz in 2017, he held sales and operations leadership roles at both C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services (LPS).

congress

DRIVING CONGRESS TO ACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY TARIFFS

Volkswagen GTI is turbocharged with room for…tariffs?

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a perennial winner of Car and Driver’s 10Best award. The German-built sport hatchback combines “speed, handling, build quality, an attractive interior, and room for the family,” all for under $30,000. Car and Driver raves about the GTI’s turbocharged engine and notes it’s a formidable challenger to competing “hot hatches.”

Apparently, the U.S. Department of Commerce believes that the GTI poses another challenge — maybe a turbocharged threat to America’s national security.

In a still-confidential 2019 report, the Department reportedly found that imported autos like the GTI “threaten to impair the national security” and recommended that the president impose tariffs as high as 25 percent.

All revved up

The president would enact these tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. As TradeVistas’ Andrea Durkin has detailed, Section 232 is a little-used Cold War-era law under which Congress delegated broad authority to the president to restrict imports for national security reasons. The law is also the basis for current controversial duties on steel and aluminum.

The proposed tariffs have generated opposition from vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, economic analysts and members of Congress. The Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers notes that a 25 percent tariff on autos and parts would raise the price of an average imported car by an estimated $6,000 (and add $2,000 to a U.S.-built car) while potentially leading to the loss of over 600,000 American jobs. The Association of Global Automakers (now merged with the Auto Alliance to form the Alliance for Automotive Innovation) questions how passenger cars and light trucks are relevant to national security, suggesting that “America does not go to war in a Ford Fiesta.” Statements from Administration officials suggest that the “national security” justification for auto tariffs may be a pretext to gain negotiating leverage in other contexts.

Sourcing of US Light Vehicle Sales 2017

Congress may put the brakes on Presidential tariffs

With the possible exception of avid inventor Ben Franklin, America’s founders would be astounded by the GTI. They might be equally astonished, however, by the Trump Administration’s assertion of broad authority to impose tariffs. After fighting a revolution against “taxation without representation,” the founders believed it was vital to entrust the power to impose tariffs and other taxes to the people’s representatives. Specifically, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution vests Congress with the “power to lay and collect taxes [and] duties.”

Since 1934, after its disastrous experience with the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, Congress has increasingly delegated specific trade and tariff powers to the president, subject to a variety of limitations. Presidents have generally used these powers judiciously and to reduce tariffs to expand trade. For example, when President Kennedy signed the 1962 Trade Expansion Act (which enacted Section 232), he emphasized the importance of opening trade and reducing trade barriers and warned against “stagnating behind tariff walls.”

President Trump has taken a maximalist approach to his delegated powers to impose tariffs, particularly for “national security” reasons. In response, Congressional critics from both parties point out that under the Constitution, Congress should be the ultimate driver of tariffs, not the president.

Other concerns with the Administration’s application of national security tariffs include a lack of transparency in determining tariffs and administering tariff exclusions, its use of an overly broad definition of national security, and the cascading impacts on U.S. producers from higher metal prices. Legal experts are also concerned that the Administration did not follow the law when it imposed new tariffs on derivative steel products (including nails and bumpers) and when it extended its review of auto tariffs when time limits under Section 232 have likely expired.

Cost of Autos 232 Tariffs

Time for a trade law tune-up?

Congress could rein in presidential national security tariffs by simply repealing Section 232. However, even critics of current tariffs recognize that there are circumstances where the president might need authority to adjust trade in response to national security threats. Accordingly, Congress has focused instead on bipartisan proposals to place additional limits on the president’s ability to employ Section 232.

The Trade Security Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), would bifurcate the Section 232 process. The Department of Defense (DoD) would first investigate whether there is a national security basis for restricting imports of an article. If DoD finds that an article poses a security threat and the president decides to act, the Commerce Department would then recommend tariffs or other measures to address the threat. The Portman-Kind bill would also enable Congress to disapprove any Section 232 trade restriction imposed by the president through a resolution of disapproval that would itself be subject to a veto by the president. This legislation would not impact current Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019introduced by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) would also require DoD to take the lead in investigating whether an article poses a national security threat, while also adopting a tighter definition of national security. Notably, under this legislation, no proposed Section 232 action by the president could take effect unless Congress first passes a resolution of approval. The Toomey-Gallagher bill would also (i) repeal current steel and aluminum duties unless Congress passes an expedited resolution of approval, (ii) direct the independent U.S. International Trade Commission to report to Congress on the economic impacts of Section 232 actions, and (iii) require that the USITC administer the tariff exclusion process for future Section 232 actions.

Two bills in Congress to brake 232

Getting out of neutral

For the past year, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been attempting to meld the Portman and Toomey bills into a compromise measure that would attract veto-proof majorities in Congress. Despite considerable bipartisan support, Grassley notes that this effort has faced two challenges. First, there’s opposition from Republicans who see the legislation as a rebuke of President Trump. Second — as any student of U.S. trade history could have predicted —interests that benefit from new national security tariffs are now lobbying intensely to retain these tariffs. Despite this opposition, Grassley has vowed to continue efforts to enact Section 232 reform in 2020.

More potholes ahead?

Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s GTI and other imported autos will continue to face the threat of national security tariffs. And that threat won’t necessarily subside if a Democratic president takes office next year. Some Democrats have already proposed using the Trump Administration’s expansive reading of Section 232 to advance their own policy goals — particularly to address the climate crisis. Carbon-emitting autos like the GTI would be a prime target for new tariffs.

The GTI was designed for Germany’s smooth, high-speed autobahns. When it comes to U.S. national security tariffs, however, the GTI’s road ahead may continue to be full of potholes.

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Ed Gerwin

Ed Gerwin is a lawyer, trade consultant, and President of Trade Guru LLC.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

costs

10 Tips for Cutting Costs and Improve Customer Service in Supply Chain Logistics

As organizations continue to create and source raw materials from overseas, controlling expenses remains the number one priority for players involved in international trade.

One critical factor that executives should monitor closely is logistics management. This sector covers important activities relating to procurement, transport, and storage of goods. In most industries, supply chain logistics account for 5% to 50% of a product’s total cost.

Some of the issues that affect logistics costs include fuel prices, complex international trade laws, and security. High transportation fees are mainly caused by high fuel prices delays in ports. Complex international trade laws increase warehousing costs by lengthening delivery times.

As technology evaluation.com reports, air-freight shipment takes about eight to twelve days. During these days, the cargo is on ф route around 5% of the time. 95% of the time is spent lying in warehouses waiting for compliance checks and documents. So, how can you cut down costs and improve customer service in supply logistics? Keep reading!

1. Use your space efficiently

Using your space efficiently will save you a lot of money in the long run. As you already know, storing your supplies in a warehouse comes at a cost. Figure out whether you are making the most out of your space or not.

You might discover other ways of finding spaces that are best suited for your business. As we’ve seen, supplies, spend most of their time in warehouses waiting for compliance checks. The more efficient you are at warehousing; the more profits you’ll generate at the end of the day.

2.  Automate your processes

Organizations that use technology solutions to automate compliance processes have the power to speed up the process four times as much compared to organizations that rely on manual work. Automating tasks such as document preparation will eliminate expensive mistakes and errors.

Automating your processes also leads to fewer delays at crossing points thus resulting in timely deliveries, increased customer satisfaction and avoidance of expensive fines.

3. Inform decision-makers

According to dissertation service, providing decision-makers or your customers with the costs of freight associated with each service level, the reliability of every lane and the total cost of transporting inventory will make it easier for them to make informed decisions and work with you in the future. In most cases, your customers will select the cheapest option that complies with the laws to meet their needs.

4. Figure out the real costs of sourcing overseas

Before sourcing overseas, you need to calculate freight, brokerage, duty, and transportation costs to support these long supply chains. You should factor in other costs such as engineers flying overseas. Once you figure out the total landed cost and its impact on your business, you might discover that domestic buy is quite attractive. For instance, sourcing from Ohio to your plant in the US might be cheaper in the long run compared to sourcing from China.

5. JIT inventory management

There are many benefits to implementing Just-in-Time inventory management. With this system, you can order and receive inventory only when you need to. In the long run, this will reduce your inventory transportation costs, protect against write-downs attributed to dips and eliminate unnecessary overhead costs caused by excess inventory.

6. Sales and operations planning

For a supply chain to function at its highest efficiency, sales, and operations planning is required. Optimal performance greatly depends on creating proper plans. However, it can be complicated and expensive in the long run.

By working with a third-party logistics provider, your team will eliminate waste and redundancies thus enabling you to analyze data, forecast and enhance visibility so that everyone is involved. During the sales and operations planning process, you should address issues such as unrestrained stock-outs, obsolete inventory, inaccurate forecasts and adjusting demand and production schedules.

7. Package your products well

Packaging your products well will result in less or no damages during the shipping process. Ensuring that the people responsible for packaging your products do it properly will minimize quality costs and build your reputation. As the saying goes, it’s the smallest things that matter the most.

8. Assess your performance

You have to measure the performance of your strategies to forge the way forward. Doing business without assessing your performance regularly is a recipe for disaster. By not assessing your performance, you’ll have a hard time determining how much money you are spending and saving. Come up with your key performance indicators and gauge how well your business is doing.

9. Eliminate variability during transit times

The more variable the transit times, the higher the likelihood that the receiving party is using premium freight, ordering more quantity than is necessary to compensate for the uncertainty of creating buffers of inventory. When you understand these dynamics, you’ll realize that paying for higher freight costs will enhance variability and save your company loads of cash in the long run.

10. Choose your mode of transport.

Which mode of transport is the cheapest? Trains? Airplanes? Automobiles? In most cases, rail is cheaper when transporting bulky goods than air or trucking. Also, water is cheaper than air. Regardless of the delivery model, it’s important to get all the quotes from different modes of transport available.

Conclusion

Managing a supply chain logistics company is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You have to make the right move every time out to avoid expensive mistakes and losses. The ten tips discussed above will help you reduce your costs and grow your business. You owe it to yourself to assess your situation and determine what needs to be changed or implemented.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.