Tag Archives: supply chain

A Decade in Logistics: 3 Shifts That Impacted Logistics

The past decade felt like everything has sped up. The economy, technology, and development of many industries have experienced a substantial jump in growth. For logistics and transportation, it has been a decade of huge and really significant shifts. Mainly driven by the steady invasion of technology, the industry was reshaped in many ways, including safety regulations, operations, and other important transformations.

What were the most important shifts in logistics throughout the decade?

The changing face of the trucking industry

Technology changing the industry is quite obvious, but the ways in which these innovations have influenced logistics and transportation are not. 10 years ago, trucking had a very different face. A huge jump in trucker technology made drivers’ lives easier, reshaped safety regulations, improved tracking, and data storing. With electronic logging devices (ELDs), truckers can accurately record their working hours, send and receive updates, and share records on their duty status. These technologies had a huge impact on safety regulations, such as shifts in Hours of Service (HOS) rules and many other policies tailored towards increased drivers’ safety.

Technology impact

Apart from the trucking industry, supply chains have also experienced a huge upgrade thanks to digital innovations. The development of robust, more advanced transportation management systems and similar applications have redefined the way supply chains are working now. Increased visibility, connectivity, data storage, and safety all make it much more efficient.

Also, many other tech innovations like IoT, blockchain, robotic devices, and autonomous vehicles have all made a recent decade very significant for the logistics industry. From top-level customer service and same-day deliveries to automated warehouses and self-driven trucks, the past few years have shown that the progress in the industry is speeding up.

The growing demand for 3PLs and outsourcing

Another important thing that the past decade has taught us is that more and more shippers are turning to 3PL service rather than arranging an in-house logistics department. From 2010 to 2018, the gross revenue produced by the U.S. third party logistics providers has doubled, going from $127 billion to $213.5 billion. Generally, outsourcing has grown in recent years. From deploying specialized software to using various outsourced services, companies are becoming more flexible, integrated, and collaborative in terms of logistics and supply chain management. Considering the rising costs of in-house logistics services, rising trade tariffs, fuel prices, and capacity issues, it became much harder to navigate transportation even for large and mid-sized businesses. All these factors made 3PL’s the best solution for transportation and supply chain management.

PLS Logistics Announces Chief Operating Officer (COO)

CRANBERRY TWP., PA (May 22, 2019) — PLS Logistics Services, a leading provider of transportation management services and logistics technology, announced the promotion of Joe Bielawski as Chief Operating Officer.

In his new role, Bielawski will oversee daily service performance, operations and help drive long-term growth initiatives. Bielawski has experience across all major shipment modes with a variety of contractual clients and over 20 years of leadership experience.

“Joe’s leadership has been instrumental in driving outstanding service performance in our National Accounts and Enterprise Business units, and he has extensive experience in leading operations and supply chain management teams,” Greg Burns, CEO of PLS Logistics, said. “Joe has an outstanding track record of supporting company growth and creating innovative customer solutions. With PLS experiencing another year of record growth, the time is right to further strengthen our leadership team and I am confident that Joe will be able to bring his outstanding operational culture across our entire PLS enterprise.”

Bielawski started his career with PLS in 1997 as a Logistics Coordinator. Since then, he has worked his way up to Director and was named Vice President of Supply Chain in 2015. He recently held the title of Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and helped PLS’ Enterprise and National Account divisions achieve new records for growth and service level performance.

“It’s exciting to see where the company started with a single office and regional presence to a nationwide provider of leading technology enabled supply chain solutions,” Bielawski said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to drive best-in-class operational excellence across our various shipment and service modes, as we continue our industry leading growth.”

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 45,000 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

3 Reasons to Use a 3PL For Retail Supply Chain

With increasing competition in the retail market, it has become very challenging for retailers to efficiently manage their supply chains. Essentially, a smooth retail supply chain strategy is a fundamental part of a positive customer experience, and retail companies strive to reach the golden standard of order fulfillment and fast delivery.

The thing is, most of the retail companies are not experts at logistics and supply chain management, and they don’t have dedicated departments for this branch of business. So, to make their online and omnichannel strategy work, retailers turn to 3PL’s for help. According to Pinsent Masons study, 88% of retail companies that outsourced any type of operation to a 3PL were satisfied with the results.

When is the right time to use a 3PL for a retail supply chain?

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL is a great step that can take a lot of responsibility off of your plate and let you focus on the main business goals. Apart from time and money savings, third-party logistics providers can offer many substantial benefits to your retail business.


Many companies assume that outsourcing to a third party by default means spending more on service fees. However, all the efforts of a 3PL will eventually cost you less than an in-house supply chain management. Retail companies don’t have the negotiating power of a 3PL. Experienced providers work with thousands of carriers on special terms, and can offer you a much lower shipping price than the market average.

Additionally, a 3PL is a one-stop-shop for most of your supply chain needs. That means you don’t have to invest in warehousing, technology, and a logistics team. Ultimately, it’s cheaper to delegate logistics to the industry experts instead of learning every process from scratch and experiment on your own business.

Streamlined processes

Retailers have numerous distribution channels. Managing outbound shipments and consistently storing all of the data can be extremely challenging. 3PL’s take this burden away. Good logistics providers have special technology, like a transportation management system, where you can navigate any information on a certain shipment. In a dynamic world of retail, the ability to streamline transportation processes and track shipments is critical for a smooth business flow.


Another reason to outsource to a 3PL is their ability to adjust to your business needs. In most cases, 3PL’s provide an extremely wide span of services. You can outsource a single link, or an entire supply chain, and still be confident about the results. From transportation to inventory and returns management, you can always add up or take off operations from an outsourcing list.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, customer demands set the bar of performance level for retail companies. Those who strive to succeed in the competition constantly look for ways to improve their business flow and efficiency. Eventually, more and more retailers turn to 3PL’s to take care of their supply chains and get excellent results while focusing on their core competence.

PLS Solutions for Retail Logistics

PLS can become a reliable and dedicated logistics partner for your business. Learn more about our Retail Logistics Services!  

How Does Supply Chain Management Work?

Supply chain management is a set of activities that includes supply, production, and distribution of a company’s goods. This production cycle plays an enormous role in any business. Proper supply chain management can reduce transportation costs and enhance productivity, and in order to succeed, companies should learn how supply chain management works.

What processes does supply chain management include?

A supply chain process can be described as a simple example: imagine a cake. First, raw eggs are transported from the farm to the grocery retailer. Then, the eggs are bought by a bakery to bake a cake. The cake is then either set out in the bakery or delivered to a grocery store to be sold to the final customer. All of the processes that stand in-between the raw egg and shelve-ready cake are classified as a supply chain.

So, how does supply chain management work? As a first look, the process can seem very complicated. However, supply chain contain many important key components that make it work properly.

What are the core components of supply chain management?


Essentially, transportation is one of the main components that make the supply chain work. Transportation plays a crucial role in every step of product movement, allowing companies to focus on arranging well-organized, smooth logistics for their goods.

Communication and visibility

Supply chains are different in every industry. No matter if it’s a small local business or a large enterprise, supply chain management is a complex process. With so many links involved, it requires proper handling. Without efficient communication between manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, distributors, and retailers, supply chains would fall apart in no time. That’s why consistent communication between all parties is crucial for efficient supply chain management. Another essential part of a successful production cycle is visibility into the supply chain. That means you can easily access and analyze all the needed information to make strategic decisions.


A complex supply chain suggests high financial responsibility. Bills, invoices, and reports are key points you can’t run production without. Accounting plays a large role in supply chain management since all of the payments have to be documented and stored in a proper way.

Final thoughts

Of course, supply chain management involves numerous other activities and processes. However, the above listed are the primary parts of any supply chain. Today, companies constantly work to enhance their efficiency by applying various supply chain management practices and technologies. With more innovations and automation, it becomes easier to focus on the strategic part of the supply chain management than on its execution.

Learn more about our Supply Chain Management 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.

PLS Logistics Services Speaks to Temple Students About Supply Chain Industry

CRANBERRY TWP., PA (Mar. 7, 2019) — The CEO of PLS Logistics visited Temple University from February 28 to March 1 to speak to supply chain and business students about the supply chain and sales industry.

Greg Burns, the President, Chairman, and CEO of PLS Logistics spoke to Temple students last week during a supply chain class about the challenges and opportunities in the industrial transportation industry. Temple University students were able to interact with Burns and ask questions about both PLS and the logistics industry. The supply chain presentation was followed by a networking happy hour event that evening at the Draught Horse in north Philadelphia to give students a chance to interact with recruiters, top account executives at PLS and a CEO within the industry.

While on campus, Burns also met with Temple’s Professional Sales Organization (PSO) and spoke to business students about the best practices in a competitive sales environment. Burns spoke on his past experiences and gave tips on how someone in the sales industry today can be successful in a very competitive and flooded environment.

If you are interested in having Burns come visit campus, please contact Kelsey Magilton at kmagilton@plslogistics.com for more information.

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 45,000 pre-qualified trucking companies along with Class-1 railroads and major barge companies. To learn more visit www.plslogstics.com.

Media Contact

Kelsey Magilton, Marketing Manager



Supplying Love: Valentine’s Day Logistics

Valentine’s Day for most people means romantic dates with flowers, chocolates and meaningful cards. While the biggest problem on February 14 is pleasing your loved one, logistics managers and suppliers start stressing much earlier to provide you with all of the gift options you need.

Roses are not grown at your florist’s home garden and heart-shaped boxes don’t appear in the store by accident. Before Valentine’s Day, all of Valentine’s gifts travel a long and well-planned out journey thanks to logistics. 

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays in the logistics industry. Just in the U.S. alone, nearly 60% of the population celebrates it. Moreover, considering the emotional meaning of the holiday, failing to deliver gifts on-time is unacceptable. And that’s why logistics makes the show go on by supplying retailers and flower shops.

However, flowers are not the most popular surprise among Valentine’s present buyers. According to the National Retail Federation stats, the top gift option is candy (55%), followed by cards (45.9%) and flowers (35.6%).

Logistics is not just about importing goods from one country to another. After chocolates or flowers are imported, they are forwarded to the importer’s distribution center, where all the items are separated before departing to the retailer’s warehouse. At the retailer’s facility, hundreds of people unpack the boxes, label them, pack them again, and move them to stores. Finally, products are shelved and the gifts are ready for selling. Quite a long journey, right?

Moreover, chocolates and flowers are perishable and require special handling and freeze protection. Chocolate is especially temperature sensitive and can survive neither excess heat nor cold, otherwise, it will spoil and disappoint many people. Special conditions make Valentine’s Day even more complex, yet the delivery deadlines are still met thanks to the logistics and retail industry.

A Look into 2019 Logistics

A Look into 2019 Logistics

2018 has brought some major changes to the logistics industry. We can expect to see a continued focus on technology and innovations, which will bring the most significant changes in the upcoming year.

The Influence of Big Data Will Grow

Companies try to incorporate IT resources into their supply chain to increase productivity, efficiency, and safety, and this trend will continue to grow in 2019. Technology allows small and midsize businesses to compete with larger players and take their performance to the next level. Apart from blockchain, big data is estimated to play the most significant role in improving logistics and supply chain management. The deployment of big data and data-centered innovations like IoT has already gained significant popularity within the industry. Data analysis and proper interpretation enable logistics managers to figure out gaps in the supply chain and implement working strategies to boost the company’s performance. Big data deployment is a huge step towards reaching freight visibility and understanding how to eliminate waste from the supply chain. In combination with IoT, it allows companies to track and analyze freight conditions, truck characteristics and other important measures that impact transportation. The experts forecast almost a three times growth in connected devices usage from 2018 and estimate it to reach 75 billion. This means the Internet of Things and big data will become game changers in the logistics industry in 2019. Apart from big data and IoT, other technology like blockchain and AI will also invade the transportation industry.

The Driver Shortage and Capacity C May Become a Permanent Problem

In 2018, there has been a lot of talk about the capacity crunch and issue of the driver shortage. There’s no wonder that shortage problem is still in effect as the demand for drivers increases and the core of trucking workforce plans to retire in 10-15 years. According to the World Bank of Data, the United States’ import and export traffic almost doubled between the years 2000 and 2016, but the number of truck drivers didn’t. As the global economy is growing faster, the problem of the shortage will become permanent despite the fact that solutions are coming to help. Driverless trucks and new technology for route optimization will roll into 2019 to eliminate the pain from the capacity crunch and shortage.

Improved Payment Systems and Cybersecurity

In the new age of digitalization, logistics companies need to provide more flexibility and transparency into payment systems. Blockchain technology and the usage of cryptocurrency lets companies simplify the process of sending and receiving payments and provide protection for online transactions. Increased attention to cybersecurity is another predicted trend in the industry for 2019. As digitalization continues to affect various industries and businesses, it is especially important for logistics and transportation companies to steer towards increased safety of their databases and websites. The devastating ransomware in Maersk in 2017 has shown that even industry giants are in jeopardy of cyber attacks.

Consolidation Among Companies

Competition between companies becomes fiercer every year. In 2018, many shipping giants have joined forces and formed the alliances, and the rate of consolidation will be even higher in throughout 2019. The trend of consolidation is especially popular among ocean shipping companies. For instance, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE) recently confirmed their plan to set a global association. The main point of merging is to balance prices on the market and let smaller businesses operate.

To sum it up, 2019 will be a year full of technology and optimization. Improved supply chain and inventory management, data analysis, technology, better freight visibility and a focus on cybersecurity will be the main game changers in the logistics industry.

Looking Back: A Recap of Logistics in 2018

2018 is coming to the end, and we are taking the time to look back on the most relevant news and notable events that took place throughout the year. 2018 was a busy year and has shaped the logistics and supply chain industry in many ways.


This year has proved that AI, IoT, blockchain and digitalization will only keep expanding and changing the way logistics is done. One of the most interesting topics in supply chain management was the blockchain, causing numerous discussions on its impact on industry. In fact, since the big players have switched to blockchain-enabled supply chain management, it is safe to say blockchain will stay here for a long, long time. The primary consolidation of logistics companies that utilize the blockchain is centered in the Blockchain in Transport Alliance. The organization was started in August 2017 and quickly became the main conglomerate of progressive logistics and supply chain companies. Such industry giants like UPS, Penske, FedEx, Uber Freight and Evans are already the members of the tech community.

The same is going on with AI and the Internet of Things, and this means that technology is not the future – it is the present. Industry players like DHL actively develop and implement AI innovations into their company’s performance, from mobile apps to tracking technologies that collect and analyze data.

Ultimately, 2018 has proved that digitalization is not a replacement of humans by robots and technology, but rather a big step towards progress and increase of supply chain efficiency.

Driver Shortage and Capacity

The issues of the tight truck capacity and driver shortage have been on everyone’s mind for a long time. In 2018, economic growth and intense developments in the retail industry have put even more pressure on logistics managers. However, the dilemma is slowly unraveling itself. According to the data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross of domestic product rate increased by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018 and added in 4.2% in the second quarter. The high pressure and driver shortage caused carriers to revise drivers’ salary, and it resulted in remarkable growth. According to the American Trucking Association, the average salary for the truck driver has risen to $53,000, which is $7,000 (15%) more from the last survey in 2013. As for private fleet truckers, the pay rise reached 18%. In a nutshell, 2018 has shown that modern logistics solutions are able to deal with global problems in the industry.

ELD Mandate

In April, the grace period for carriers to switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs) has ended. As 2018 is coming to the end, we can finally make some conclusions about how the new rule influenced the trucking industry. The new technology definitely created more sustainability and visibility into data, but caused many problems among the trucking community. A survey by Cortex stated that 33% of carriers admitted difficulties with retaining drivers due to the strict hours of service policy. Nevertheless, experts believe the innovation is going to strengthen the usage of data and optimize the industry in general.



Autonomous vehicles

The talk of autonomous vehicles was very prominent in 2018. At the very start of 2018, the US Department of Transportation formed a policy to remove barriers of autonomous vehicles deployment. Now it’s safe to say one thing: autonomous vehicles will keep rolling into the industry, but they certainly won’t replace truck drivers. Self-driven trucks would rather be the start of the new age of logistics, and will organically fit and improve the existing trucking environment.

Important Events

2018 was full of many significant events. Let’s go back to our previous monthly report blogs and outtake the most important events from the logistics industry that occurred the latest year:

  • The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on key NAFTA issues including auto rules and access to the Mexican energy sector
  • Ocean shipping giants, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE), confirmed their plan to set a global association
  • Rolls Royce collaborated with Intel for a self-driven vessels project
  • Uber announced “Powerloop” and plans on drone delivery

To sum it up, 2018 was a big year for the logistics industry, holding victories, losses, and lots of transformation. Logistics and supply chain management will continue to develop throughout 2019 to change the industry.

ocean freight

10 Interesting Facts about Ocean Freight Shipping

Almost 90 percent of goods and food are shipped to us on overseas journeys. Ocean freight shipping lets manufacturers and suppliers move an enormous amount of freight to opposite parts of the world.

10 Interesting Facts about Ocean Freight Shipping

  • 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.

Learn more about ocean shipping in Ocean Shipping: Let’s Talk LCL