Tag Archives: Transportation

Are the Lowest Freight Rates the Best Ones?

Many industries and the global economy rely on freight shipping to handle business. With the evolvement of commerce, transportation becomes a more and more important branch for businesses. However, in the world of freight shipping, the demand for capacity is higher than capacity itself. This causes frequent fluctuations in shipping costs and directly affects carrier freight rates.

Today, companies are under the pressure of providing high-end customer service, fast and affordable shipping, and deliver excellent product quality. While trying to maintain all of these components, businesses also try to stay profitable. For this reason, enterprises constantly seek ways to reduce costs in any possible area. And one of those areas is their logistics and transportation.

Of course, there are numerous ways to reduce shipping costs. But we will touch on the initial one – getting low freight rates. Low transportation quotes are a target for many companies, however, this purpose can easily become a trap for a business. The truth is, the lowest freight rate is not always the best one. Although it is easy to be tempted by cheap shipping, in most cases you will end up paying much more than you expected. So, try not to rush into the first-best deal.

Why are lowest freight rates not the best ones?

To understand why cheap does not necessarily mean good, you have to understand how the freight rates are formed. Carriers include numerous factors when calculating your quote: fuel price, commodity type, route, shipment dimensions, weather conditions, and others. But carriers also do business, and everyone wants to be profitable. However, in attempts to stay in the competition, some carriers lower the rates to get customers which may result in some sacrifices.

What price you have to pay for cheap shipping?

Low service quality

Logistics experts agree that low freight rates could strongly correlate with a decrease in service quality. “Reducing operating costs through the optimization of capacity often, but not always, manifests itself in the form of a deterioration in the quality of service of our ocean and air providers,” Bolloré Logistics’ president Thierry Ehrenbogen told Lloyd’s Loading List. It is always a good idea to do your research and see which rates are actually the best before committing to a rate just because it is the lowest.

Low operational quality

Often, low quotes are the direct result of the reduction in driver’s or facility worker’s payment. You get less productivity, inaccurate handling, and lack of efficiency in freight management. Considering that it may lead to freight damage, the lowest possible rate is not always what you will benefit from.

Delays and long transits

Obviously, fast shipping costs more. However, nobody thinks that cheap shipping may be cheap exactly because of the extended transit time. Shippers often don’t know about the common pitfalls of low freight rates, like delays and poor shipment tracking.

Bottom line

Ultimately, if you want to benefit from your transportation strategy in the long run, try to avoid any suspicious “hot offers.” You still have lots of possibilities for negotiation and freight brokerage services to get the best possible rates.

Learn more about out freight brokerage services!

How Efficient Transportation Can Strengthen Your Supply Chain

Supply chain management (SCM) is the heart of a company’s operations. Therefore, the company strongly depends on how smooth your supply chain is. Maintaining a robust supply management strategy is complex since it involves numerous processes that require planning and constant control.

What is supply chain management?

SCM is a complex process involving the organization and execution of product flow from the supplier to final customer in the fastest and a most effective way. 

The role of logistics in supply chain management

Supply chain management is often confused with logistics management. However, logistics is just a part of the supply chain. Also, transportation is one of the key components in the entire product flow, and it is more of a glue that sticks every part of the operations together. Therefore, a robust logistics strategy can contribute to increased efficiency and ensure your supply chain survives a long run.

How effective logistics can benefit your supply chain

One of the main challenges in an efficient supply chain flow is risk management and sustainability. All the efforts are steered towards balancing the quality and the final price, so for many companies, it becomes a struggle of cutting costs while providing a good service at the same time.

transportation for supply chain

For an efficient supply chain, companies work on developing robust transportation solutions. A transportation network allows a company to reduce shipment costs and increase service levels with little disruption to any processes. A smooth transportation process mitigates delays, provides visibility into freight shipping and saves your company’s budget.

Working with a 3PL

Companies have to impress customers and innovate processes. 75% of 3PL users say 3PL’s provide new and innovative ways to improve logistics effectiveness. Regardless of mode or freight volume, 3PL’s can assess and tailor solutions to a company’s needs. Through a 3PL, companies can gather transportation and logistics information to forecast accurate needs, influence supply chain decisions and can ultimately grow the processes efficiency and customer service.

Your supply chain is just as good as your logistics is. Developing a beneficial transportation strategy is essential for smooth product flow. Partnering with a 3PL can take a hassle out of your company and is more cost-efficient than creating an in-house logistics department.

If you need help and expert consultancy with your supply chain management, contact us now with any questions you have.

10 Interesting Facts about Ocean Freight Shipping

Almost 90 percent of goods and food are shipped to us on overseas journeys. Transocean delivery lets manufacturers and suppliers move an enormous amount of freight to opposite parts of the world. To help people gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of ocean shipping, here are some interesting facts about ocean freight:

  • All of the goods on an ocean shipment are moved in containers that usually are 20 – 40 feet tall in size.
  • Sea shipping is not the fastest option but can be one of the cheapest options for transporting large amounts of goods. For example, you will pay almost the same cost for 200 kg shipment and 2000 kg one.
  • As truck shipment types differ, ocean delivery options also differ and provide shippers with options. There are two main kinds of container fulfillment: full container load (FCL), which means your freight takes all the container capacity, and less-than-container load (LCL), which suggests partial load and therefore partial payment.
  • The largest ship can transfer up to 18,000 containers, and to put that into perspective, it would equal 745 million bananas. The ship carrying that number of containers could give every single European a banana, and there would still be some leftover.
  • Ocean shipping is one of the most sustainable types of transportation. A vessel from China to France emits less gas than a truck going from Houston to Oklahoma City.
  • Pirates are a real danger. On average, there are two ships stolen by pirates every day. Somalian pirates’ attacks occur more often than violence in South Africa, making there an extremely high level of crime.
  • 98 percent of seafarers are male. One-third of them are Filipinos.
  • There are nearly 55,000 commercial ships covering the water surface.
  • The biggest fleet owners are Germany, Japan and Greece. The industry is rather private and keeps information on the inside of associations. The official association of ship owners in Greece, for instance, does not even disclose the number of members in the organization.
  • Surprisingly, almost 33 percent of freight ships have no means of communication with the outer world while in the ocean.

Ocean shipping is one of the oldest and most convenient methods to move goods across the world. Despite its low cost, there is a lot of work to do when arranging pick up from the port or to the port for delivery. This may be challenging and difficult, but PLS Logistics Services offer transportation management solutions for any of your shipping needs. Read more about our transportation solutions here.

Trending Transportation Updates: November 2018

There were many new and exciting developments throughout the transportation and shipping industry during this month. Check out some of the top stories that made headlines during November!

Largest Ocean Carriers Announced a Formation of Industry Association

The ocean shipping giants, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE), recently confirmed their plan to set a global association in their announcement. The organization will be a non-profit, and all of the ocean carriers will be invited to join when it is officially established. The main purpose of this decision is to smooth the shipping processes and create common standards inside the industry. According to the release, it will help the industry gain more transparency, and easily implement new technologies. To read more about new association, click here.

Walmart Will Open an AI Lab in One of its New York Stores

The retail giant announced its plan to create an Intelligence Retail Lab right in Levittown, New York. Walmart executives claim developing AI technologies and applications will help them proactively improve the customer’s experience and business performance by identifying which products are in low demand, and replace them effectively. To read more about the AI lab, click here.

Amazon is Building an Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville

In its latest press release, Amazon revealed that a new supply chain hub is about to open in Nashville, Tennessee. The facility will handle more than 5,000 employees and costs $230 million in investments. Apart from the Center of Excellence, the retailer will also open two new headquarters in New York City and Virginia. To read more about center in Nashville, click here.

California Fire Impacts Thousands, Including Logistics Workers and Truckers

Three wildfires caused an enormous amount of fatalities and property damage in Northern and Central California and have continued to impact supply chain performance in the affected areas. Smoke areas endanger truck drivers and workers because of hazards and bad road visibility. When the largest burning began, a huge Amazon warehouse with 2,000 employees in Sacramento, CA, was closed because of the health damage due to hazardous gas emissions. To read more about California’s fire impact, click here.

Trending Transportation Updates: October 2018

October was full of many significant events, bringing in new advanced developments to the industry. Here are some industry updates from last month!

Uber Announces “Powerloop” and Plans Drone Delivery by 2021

Uber has been extremely active with new projects recently, including the start of Uber Freight in August. The tech start-up has released the launch of “Powerloop,” a trailer rent program that will reduce delay time used on unloading the truck. While the unloading is going to proceed without driver presence, the pool-trailer system lets drivers focus on transporting freight. Along with the Powerloop project, WSJ recently published that Uber is working on a drone delivery program which is planned to be released in 2021. To read more about Uber’s Powerloop, click here.

Rolls Royce Collaborates with Intel for Self-Driven Vessels Project

Rolls Royce recently announced a partnership with tech giant, Intel, for constructing self-operated ships. The project is estimated to start in 2025. For the idea to become a reality, companies need powerful resources and a lot of work to be done. The sea environment is more variable and needs a broader, more flexible scalability of sensors that will be able to collect increased amounts of data from different characteristics. To read more about Rolls Royce and Intel project, please click here.

Walmart to Expand 2-day Shipping and Open the High-Tech Distribution Center

Walmart announced the plan to expand its 2-day shipping to a wide range of various items. Walmart will also be adding the new option of return delivery, which is when the customer will be able to return the purchased product to any brick-and-mortar store, and Walmart will deliver it to the primary seller. Another notable addition that’s about to start functioning soon is Walmart’s newest distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries. The facility will serve almost 200 stores and will be located in California. To read more about Walmart innovations, please click here.

Hurricane Michael Hits Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael swept through the Florida panhandle region in early October as a category 4 hurricane, which is one of the worst hurricanes since 1969. The areas that were affected by the storm experience substantial flooding and damages. At least 36 people died as a result of the hurricane, and many were left without homes or their belongings. To read more about the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, click here.

How TMS Technology Can Benefit a Supply Chain

While operating in a progressively complex logistics world, companies in this day and age need all the help they can get to help them work smarter, easier and more efficiently. Customers are becoming increasingly more demanding, and the need for more improved supply chain visibility continues to pose a challenge for companies. Technology like Transportation Management Systems (TMS) is now more important than ever. The TMS plays a crucial role in helping shippers overcome these challenges and thrive in the increasingly competitive logistics industry.

TMS for supply chain

Since more and more additions to TMS are continuously being tested for the future, it is important that your business isn’t left behind. Here are some reasons we believe investing in a TMS could be beneficial to your supply chain.

 What is TMS?

A transportation management system (TMS) is a subset of supply chain management (SCM) that deals with the planning, execution, and optimization of the physical movements of goods. In simpler terms, it’s a logistics platform that enables users to manage and optimize the daily operations of their transportation fleets.

The Value of TMS for Supply Chain Management

A TMS helps shippers move loads from point A to point B in the most cost-effective and rational ways possible. Hiccups – such as empty return trailers or half-loaded containers – can be avoided by using a TMS’ technology, which analyzes and identifies the best possible situations and sends that information to dispatchers automatically. Traditional tools such as phone calls, paper, and fax machines have become virtually obsolete.

Some additional advantages that a TMS provides include:

  • Improved supply chain analytics
  • Carrier selection based on transit times, shipping costs, etc.
  • Better warehouse efficiencies
  • Decreased data entry errors – less wasted time fixing mistakes
  • Combine it with a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to achieve more supply chain visibility
  • Reduced inventory and greater confidence with customer tracking
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration to minimize manual data input

Most users primarily rely on a TMS to lower their freight costs. However, there are many other benefits. For example, a TMS’ report and analytics program can identify if the lowest-cost carrier is really delivering on time – all the time. If not, the shipper could be wasting time, money and resources, which cancels out any chance of any savings on rates. So, less employee time spent on transportation management translates to more time spent on other issues.

A smart supply chain manager will do everything they can to make sure there are optimal visibility and communication among all pieces to this puzzle. A TMS allows you to increase margins while maintaining quality, providing a tool that coordinates and maximizes your chain output and efficiency.

 

Continue Reading the PLS

pls-logistics-services-freight

Benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Many companies could easily improve their supply chains by utilizing a transportation management system (TMS). Some companies chose not to use a TMS, and other companies may just not have a good understanding of what exactly a TMS is. It is important to know exactly what a TMS is and how it can help your company save money and time.

What is a TMS? benefits of tms

A TMS is a tool that can help companies and supply chain professionals manage their freight and carriers. The TMS helps the user find the best mode and rate for any type of shipment to make sure that they are getting the best deal possible. The main features of a TMS include features like rating, booking, and tracking. One of the benefits of TMS is that it allows its users to automate order entry, create shipments, optimize shipments and routes, manage carriers, schedule pickups, and deliveries, manage the yard and communicate effectively with all supply chain stakeholders.

What are the benefits of TMS?

Time Savings

Instead of doing manual work or sending disjointed emails, shippers can instantly access the information they need through a single digital platform. The TMS let shippers compare rates side by side and make strategic choices regarding their shipment.

Improved Customer Service

A TMS helps a supply chain run smoothly and make the tracking information as transparent as possible. Shippers can inform their customers of shipment changes (late or missed deliveries) through the TMS to keep a positive relationship between the shipper and the customer.

Business Growth

Companies that use a TMS have a competitive advantage against competition and see many opportunities to grow their business.

Using a TMS is a great resource to help manage your supply chain. PLS offers a TMS known as PLS Pro to help shippers effectively manage and monitor their shipments and supply chain. For more information about PLS Pro, please click here.

PLS will donate 100% of Profits from TX Moves to the American Red Cross the Week of September 4th

Cranberry Twp., PA, August 30, 2017 – PLS Logistics Services, a leading 3rd party logistics provider, has committed to donate 100% of profits from its Texas freight moves for the week of September 4th to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  

PLS is teaming up with the American Red Cross and GoFundMe to raise money for the affected communities. PLS will donate 100% of the profits from all Texas freight moves next week to the American Red Cross.

“PLS has a large number of employees, shippers and trucking partners in Texas and Houston and we want to do our part to assist in the recovery efforts of this catastrophic storm,” says President and CEO Greg Burns. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”

PLS employees and customers can donate to the American Red Cross through the company’s GoFundMe page titled “PLS Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund”.  Alternatively, any shipper using PLS trucking services the week of Sept. 4th for Texas related freight will have 100% of profits from those shipments donated to the American Red Cross. Shippers can contact their local PLS Account Executive or their local PLS office with any Texas freight needs. With over 500 employees, the company’s goal is to raise funds from its employees, customers, and vendors in addition to the Company’s donation.

While Hurricane Harvey has forced the closure of the PLS Houston office, all employees have been verified as safe. In the next several weeks, the PLS team will work tirelessly to help our customers maintain their delivery schedules, stay informed and assist them in any way possible.

To visit our GoFundMe page, follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/PLS-Harvey-Relief-Fund

About PLS Logistics Services

PLS Logistics Services is a leading provider of logistics management, brokerage, and technology services for shippers across all industries. PLS handles millions of loads annually across all major freight modes: flatbed, van, LTL, rail and barge, air and ocean. The PLS carrier network consists of over 40,000 pre-qualified trucking companies along with Class-1 railroads and major barge companies. PLS has been recognized as a top 25 freight brokerage firm. To learn more visit www.plslogistics.com.

Media Contact:

Kelsey Magilton, Marketing Manager

(724) 814–5074

publicrelations@plslogistics.com

Freight Inquiries:

Dallas Branch
John Berberick
(496)513-4841
jberberick@plslogistics.com
Houston Branch
Andrew Barricks
(713)518-1128
abarricks@plslogistics.com
National Accounts
Joe Bielawski
(724)814-5846
jbielawski@plslogistics.com

Best Practices: Transportation

Moving things from point A to point B is what we do. It’s how we do it that makes us successful. There are a variety of Transportation Best Practices that help us run our well-oiled machine. We’ve compiled 4 best practices to help you and your company operate your business.

Thinking Long-term

A strong partnership between shippers and suppliers is the key to a successful supply chain focused relationship. Long-term visions in transportation strategies are essential for sales growth and cash flows.  Value chain strategies are being used to understand scale advantages, market benefits of service, and product differentiation.

There are continuous changes in supply chains, therefore partnerships built on long-term strategies are vital. Strong partnerships start with face-to-face leadership meetings, formal establishment of relationships, transparent expectations, and combined defect elimination.

By establishing these relationships, there will be more value added for both you and your partner to seamlessly manage your transportation planning.

Becoming a Lean Machine

Utilizing Lean Methodologies start with the company culture. Successful companies attribute their Lean culture to their standardized work processes and daily management systems for increased reliability and visibility. Key performance indicators (KPIs) also able companies to better improve their accountability across the supply chain and improve the visibility issues.

As supply chain efficiency and velocity are required, the need for correct, first-time performances and stable systems increases. Lean cultures and methodologies are now considered a core competency in practically all successful companies.

Utilizing Intermodal CapabilitiesIntermodal Transportation

Businesses are leveraging intermodal services due to reduced costs, sustainability and driver retention benefits, and service & visibility. Partnerships between truck and rail companies are improving, resulting in better handoffs, capacity management, and visibility.

With intermodal, suppliers are seeing more dedicated drivers and trucks. There are more drayage (short distant) shipments which reduce driver retention challenges.

The growth of 3PL and 4Pls is resulting in small and mid-sized shippers moving into intermodal transportation. Intermodal is considered the ideal mode for long-haul customer shipments.

Customization is Key

Transportation suppliers are increasingly adding value-creation potential for shippers by offering full-service transportation management expertise and specialized services.

The ability to customize services for each customer/shipper will meet rising demands and allow you to better meet your customer’s needs. Expanding into a full-service transportation model also gives companies the opportunity for growth; everything from full-service equipment maintenance, consulting, 3PL services, to administrative services are now offered.

 

PLS Logistics Services is a leading 3PL company, striving to make the best deals for its customers and making the shipper and carrier relationship seamless. To learn more about logsitic’s best practices, click on the link below.

Download Now

Your Guide to Private and Dedicated Fleets

No matter the company, the ability to compete in a challenging economic climate is a necessity, and the amount of time, money, and energy spent on finding new ways to do this is exponential. Companies that don’t use the right type of fleet risk higher costs, inefficient service, low reliability, and wasted time. Re-evaluating the type of fleet your company uses can bring an invaluable advantage.

Private Fleets

A private fleet provides a company with guaranteed capacity, supply chain control, and visibility of the entire operation. In short, the company has complete control, along with the ability to brand trucks and add revenue by shipping goods for other companies when allowed.

But, private fleets can also generate additional unwanted costs, especially for companies that are hard to plan for. These costs include maintenance, substitute vehicles, regulatory compliance, fuel, licensing, and driver hiring, training, and management.

iStock-180838621.jpg

Supply volatility and fluctuations in customer requirements also prove to be challenging for private fleet owners. They may need to own more trucks than they regularly use in order to prepare for demand fluctuation. When this is the case, the idle vehicles can severely affect the company’s bottom line because fleet owners are planning their fleet based on a peak period, leaving their capital tied up in vehicles they don’t always use.

Dedicated Fleets

Through a dedicated fleet, companies have all of the benefits of owning a fleet, without the burden of having to manage it. This option lowers their transportation spend, guarantees capacity, and gives the company the visibility it needs and the opportunity to make extra revenue through backhauls. With a dedicated fleet, companies can also customize their trucks, and all of the risks fall on the provider.

Dedicated fleets provide drivers who are specially trained for their company. Maintenance and vehicle replacement are also covered.

Using this option guarantees a right-sized fleet, while also having the flexibility to add capacity during peak periods, maintenance and vehicle replacement covered.

So which type of fleet should you use? That decision depends on your budget and needs. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of each option, and choose the one that will best maximize your company’s investment and drive revenue.

Read more: The Types of 3PLs…Defined.

Contact a Truckload Specialist