Tag Archives: shipping

How to Optimize Your Oil and Gas Supply Chain

The oil and gas industry are an irreplaceable part of people’s lives: it warms houses and offices, fuels cars and other vehicles and makes the world go around. It is incredible how many processes depend on energy supplies. The logistics behind the oil and gas industry has many moving parts. Logistics providers help companies maintain the efficiency of their supply chains to help keep projects and shipments in order. Oil and gas industry can be complicated when it comes to logistics due to shipping items like bulky equipment, hazardous supplies, and strict delivery deadlines. Although it can be complicated, there are many ways to optimize an energy supply chain.

Due to constant changes in the transportation and logistics industry, it is even more important to be up-to-date with shifts and adjustments during energy services shipments. Here are some strategies that will help optimize your business:

Analyze

The first step of solving a problem is to define it. Run through all of your operations and use an expert help detect where you could possibly reduce costs, eliminate waste and increase productivity. Further investigation will give you a clear image of your company’s current situation, letting you make profitable decisions.

Use advanced technologies

Staying up to date with new technology innovations is essential for the progress of oil and gas logistics. Supply chain technology, such as transportation management systems (TMS) is an online system for companies to use for data storage and analysis. A TMS allows companies to save time, money and gain visibility into their supply chain processes. A robust TMS lets you see details and get insights about any part of the shipment. It is an excellent solution for oil and gas companies to use when managing their shipments and moving important loads from one location to the next.

Remain flexible

The energy services industry is a very fast-paced environment and experiences new shipment modifications all the time. Government regulations, including the import/export laws, drilling policies, and environmental regulations are vital things to track to renew offers for your customers and to function correctly.

Use effective communication

Getting feedback from your customers, suppliers and business partners will help you understand which parts of your operations are working well and which ones are going poorly. Be as transparent as possible on your shipments needs to ensure all involved parties understand goals clearly and work towards reaching them.

Working with experts and outsourcing energy logistics services is a smart decision for the companies who want to focus on their core goals and keep their supply chain running smoothly. We understand how critical time and precision is for oil and gas transportation, and offer customers various solutions for problems of any level of complexity.

How Does Technology Help Reduce LTL Costs?

Technology has made a huge impact in the shipping industry and can help companies reduce costs and save time when managing their supply chain. If you learn how technology can benefit your shipping needs, you can integrate and improve your shipping strategy.

LTL shipping is a great resource for smaller companies to use when they want to try and save money on both frequent and sporadic shipments. There are many ways to reduce LTL shipping costs, and technology seems to be the best solution for this purpose.

Among well-known innovations, transportation management systems (TMS) are vital for collecting data and proper decision-making. It allows you to gather and organize all the information about the shipping process, therefore allowing you to analyze and make the right conclusions about your companies shipping efforts. It might not seem evident, but proper forecasting and effective decisions can save shippers lots of money. A TMS is a universal, multi-functional tool that can upgrade the company’s performance to a higher level.

Outsourcing to a third-party logistics service can be very beneficial, as they offer helpful services and possess a wide range of automation tools. Many businesses don’t want to spend time and money maintaining their own transportation management, and instead choose to work with a 3PL provider that can help take the burden off of the company’s shoulders.

Another trend in LTL shipping is real-time visibility of shipments. Because of the excessive growth of e-commerce and its impact toward the logistics industry, the definition of excellent service is expanding. Shipment visibility keeps customers aware of the freight location and notifies them quickly about the circumstances that require immediate feedback.

As quality customer service depends on speed and quick feedback, the future of LTL shipping is heading towards automation. While GPS and hands-off devices are nothing new, the Internet of Things (IoT) still spreads confusion. IoT means connecting various items to digital devices that gather data, such as temperature, humidity, speed, and other characteristics. Such operations make the shipping process faster and easy to operate, so you can immediately react to updates on the shipment. Mobile apps simplify the transportation process for shippers and carriers as well.

Taking into account all the benefits business can get from utilizing new technologies, it is a must to stay updated on new industry trends. Applying some of the mentioned technologies can reduce costs and increase efficiency.

A Look into the 2018 Holiday Shipping Season

The holiday season remains one of the busiest times for retailers, and each year, the volume of shipments continues to grow. E-commerce continues to make advancements for supply chain needs and service requirements, making it harder to compete with big companies like Amazon. This year, e-commerce sales are estimated to obtain 52 percent of total orders made during the season.

Here are some key trends to look for this year during the holiday season:

Optimizing mobile applications

Almost all consumers have smart phones with access to mobile applications. It is essential to provide your customer with a convenient way to use your mobile application so that they can easily carry out their supply chain function or make purchases online. As more people are shopping on their mobile device, your mobile version should be as polished as the website. If customers can make purchases through your app, make sure that the checkout process runs smoothly and that the site will handle technical obstacles during the peak days of sellouts.

Offer free shipping

Many retailers are offering free shipping to customers during the holiday season to produce more sales and customer loyalty. When shopping for the holidays, many customers are more likely to shop at places that offer free shipping deals instead of companies that do not. The companies that are offering free shipping should prepare for the holiday season in advance and have all of their shipments in before the big shopping days arrive to ensure they have enough product for the volume of orders they will be receiving.

Focus on supply chain efficiency

Handling the stress of the holiday season can be challenging. Businesses need to control and monitoring their supply chain at every stage of operations to make sure all the processes run smoothly. Reviewing warehouses, reading over contracts with 3PL providers or fleet owners can help companies run a successful, organized supply chain during the busiest season.

Extensive sales period

Extending the sales period is a popular and efficient way to take the pressure off of the company and logistics providers, as the general volume of orders is pushed back and given more time. In addition, elongated selling time means more purchases. According to statistics and experts forecast, the period between Thanksgiving and the end of Cyber Monday week represents 37 percent of the total U.S. holiday retail sales.

Every year, the preparation process for the holiday shipping season becomes more complex. New technology and solutions are constantly being developed to help companies overcome the peak season. A proper analysis, research, and preparation in advance will do a lot in reaching aspired goals.

The Logistics Behind Black Friday

The holiday season is a tough time for retailers and the transportation industry, and the time between Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be the peak period of the rush. Large volumes of e-commerce purchases are putting more and more pressure on businesses and their logistics managers every year. Today we will look at how the crazy shopping day known as Black Friday came about to change the holiday shopping season forever.

What is the origin of Black Friday?

There are many stories about how Black Friday got its name, but the main story says the origin of the term “Black Friday” came from 1960’s retailers’ slang. After Thanksgiving, the stores went from being “in red,” which meant having no money, to being “in black,” which implied making a profit. Black Friday also stands for the extreme rush caused by the beginning of the shopping season.

Interesting facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Usually, buyers and retailers do not see the details of a company’s logistics and supply chain processes, but there is a huge engine running behind the scenes to keep companies organized and keep shipments coming in and out properly. The journey a package takes from a warehouse to your front door is far more complex than you may think. In honor of Black Friday later this week, here are some interesting facts and insights about the busiest shopping day of the year:

  • Almost 74 percent of Americans plan to spend big on Black Friday sales in 2018.
  • The average purchase amount is estimated to be $483, which equals $90.14 billion of total expenses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Surprisingly, men will spend twice as much as women, reaching an average $626.44 for men compared with $342.50 for women.
  • To handle the mass amount of shipments and demand, UPS and FedEx are hiring 95,000 and 50,000 people accordingly as additional workforce.
  • On average, 6 people deal with a package directly before it reaches its final destination.
  • Since 2006, 7 deaths and 98 injuries occurred during Black Friday shopping.
  • Most companies start holiday preparation in the summer or even earlier.
  • The most wanted objects for gifts or personal purchase are gift cards, clothes, electronics, and jewelry.
  • Almost 52 percent of Americans have said they regret their purchases during Black Friday, and nearly 30 percent end up returning items they bought.
  • In 2017, Amazon took 54.9 percent of all online transactions during Black Friday.
  • People shop online more than in stores during Black Friday.

As the competition among logistics companies and retailers becomes fiercer every year, it is important to analyze the data and watch the trends to stay relevant and competitive. If you are a large company that needs help with your Black Friday shipment preparation, reach out to a third party logistics provider like PLS today to let us move your loads for you!

How to Cut Costs on Last Mile Delivery

The last mile is a key part in a supply chain process, for both B2B and B2C businesses. It leaves the final impression about your company in the customer’s mind, so outlining the right last mile strategy is very important.

What is last mile delivery?

Last mile delivery involves transporting freight from a transportation hub to the customer’s home or company’s warehouse. It is considered the most expensive and inefficient component of shipping and may consume from 20 to 30 percent of general shipping costs. Regardless of your transportation management level, neglecting last mile delivery strategy can disrupt the shipment and lead to unforeseen expenses.

Optimizing last mile delivery can be complicated and difficult for both small and large businesses. This happens because of many circumstances that are very hard to manage, such as recipients that aren’t home/present, delays, and misuse of tracking technologies. There are certain applicable ways to improve the quality and speed of delivery as much as possible.

• Planning. Before seeking a solution, you have to determine the problem. Review your last mile tactics and define the weak spots. It may be an outdated tracking system, poor review of drivers and pickers, and other features that impact the shipping process. Create a plan of actions considering all the elements that require modifications.

• Proper management of human resources. Technology and innovation helps improve company’s performance a lot, but people still do the main job. Humans tend to make mistakes and fall under uncontrollable circumstances, so specific overview will let you define the drawbacks and fix them.

• Implementing real-time tracking and automation. The analysis of shipment transit helps to optimize routes as much as possible and decreases the occurrence of delays. It is also crucial to provide final recipients with access to shipment tracking, as it notifies them approximately when the freight is going to arrive at the destination.

• Seeking innovative solutions. The challenge of tackling last mile delivery has come into the spotlight in recent years. New companies, narrowly specialized in delivering solutions for the final link of shipping, offer different services and strategies that can help businesses optimize the last mile delivery process. Vehicle manufacturers also noticed the problem and focused on creating automated trucks specifically for the last mile delivery. For instance, Renault and Mercedes recently presented autonomous delivery vans, developed for the efficiency of end-to-end shipping.

It becomes more and more important to recognize the role of last mile delivery, so tackling the right strategy might be reasonable for your supply chain efficiency. There are plenty of possibilities to improve the performance and ship the way your customers want. Keep up with the trends and constantly apply new solutions to your businesses practices to help ensure a successful last mile delivery.

How to Navigate the Driver Shortage

Why is the drivers’ shortage happening?

According to the survey by American Trucking Association, the driver’s shortage could reach 175,000 drivers by 2024, which is almost five times more than 2014 rate. These forecasts can soon become a reality, as the average age of American truck driver is 55 years. It is easy to figure out that in a matter of 10-15 years, the old generation of truckers will retire, and carriers will have to deal with a disastrous situation, as recruiting young talents is a challenge.

How to deal with the problem?

There are two main challenges in truckers’ recruitment: to decrease leaving rates among truckers and to attract young ones. For the first category, the answer is simple: give the drivers what they want. Usually, they don’t want a lot: simple things like competitive salary, less stress, and comfortable working conditions. To conquer the new generation of drivers, companies have to change their recruiting strategy.

  • Decrease the hauls time. These are primary and evident things that everyone wants to receive for doing a hard job. But roots of the driver’s deficit problem lay deeper than the layer of monetary reward. Changes involve personal approach and attention to important life events, like birthdays and anniversaries. Mere modifications like giving truckers extra time at home will increase efficiency and loyalty to the employer.
  • Provide comfortable equipment. No one wants to drive an old, run-down truck that has lots of issues. If you want the driver to spend a long time on the road, make the route enjoyable. Modern, spare, clean restrooms and small kitchens are vital for staying sane while driving long distances. Sleep deprivation is among the most painful troubles in a trucker’s job. Nutrition matters as well. Short break time prompts drivers to eat junk food, high in fat and sugar. Matching this with an inactive lifestyle will result in a collection of serious health problems and possible weight gain. Investing in the health of truckers will lead to enduring partnerships and can reasonably diminish the shortage.
  • Eliminate side responsibilities. Turns out that drivers are often involved in the time-consuming processes that are not in their direct competence. Equipping the trucks with smart devices like GPS and hands-off control will not only save shippers and drivers from time-consuming processes, but will also increase the safety during the route, as the driver is not distracted and can focus on the trail. Automation of the freight tracking process will also be a major step towards route optimization. If the driver goes to Chicago, you can update him with load offers ahead of arriving, so he doesn’t have to run an empty truck to the start point to receive a new order.

At the end of the day, better results require major changes. An update of all of the strategies that involve truckers can be a useful solution for decreasing the shortage. Optimizing the system, reducing the haul time, raising the payment, providing new equipment, and changing the approach towards drivers’ off-work life altogether will create a principal difference in the current situation.