Browse Author

BlueGrace Logistics

Carrier Spotlight: UPS Capital Insurance Agency, Inc.

 

BlueGrace logistics is partnering with UPS Capital Insurance Agency, Inc. (UPSCIA) to provide quality protection for carrier’s goods in transit. Our specialized logistics knowledge, proven industry experience and enhanced supply chain visibility allows UPSCIA to offer insurance services you may not find with typical risk mitigation providers.

Why UPS Capital Insurance Agency, Inc.?

A lost, damaged or delayed delivery can result in revenue loss and a ruined reputation. That’s why UPSCIA offers a variety of options that deliver affordable cover­age to protect BlueGrace customers against loss or damage to freight shipments. This wide range of insurance products helps avoid delays and protects your bottom line in the unlikely event of a disruption.

Features of the protection program:

  • Covered losses are valued at replacement cost at destination, as determined if applicable by commercial invoice plus freight
  • Declare values easily through BlueShip®
  • Covers multi-carriers

Benefits of the protection program include:

  • Simple claims process delivers efficient resolution and settlement
  • Ease of use – insure freight shipments seamlessly through BlueShip
  • Coverage flexibility – coverage applies to any freight carrier you choose through BlueShip®
  • Fast claims resolution

 

Protecting your freight shipment:

Customers can select UPSCIA protection directly through BlueShip®. The freight management system will automatically calculate the total insurance charges for the transaction entered as determined by the commodity being shipped, mode of transportation and final destination.

Pricing:

UPSCIA protection is based on a commoditized pricing structure. The cost of protection will be calculated by the freight management system and presented for final review and acceptance before completing your transaction.

Limits of protection:

Customers can select coverage for goods up to $100,000 in value, per shipment. Shipments exceeding $100,000 will need to obtain additional approval from UPSCIA. (Maximum Insurable Value: $1,000,000 per shipment) 

Additional services offered by UPS Capital, a UPSCIA affiliate company

UPS Capital, an affiliate of UPSCIA, offers a wide range of products and services designed to meet all of your supply chain needs. Customers searching for additional supply chain solutions can visit our website at www.upscapital.com and discover a wide range of products and services designed to improve cash flow, reduce trade credit risk, and securely accept payments.

 

Reverse Logistics and Its Impact on Today’s Construction Industry

Your construction business succeeds or fails based on the constant delivery of your products. It doesn’t matter if your product is for building, demolition, concrete, heavy equipment, or such as tools, requires final delivery to retail. The timely and effective delivery of your freight, is a major priority for you and your end user. How do the logistics aspects of construction differ from other industries?

How do the logistics aspects of construction differ from other industries?

The truth is they don’t, with the exception of potentially expensive construction, specific project dates and deadlines that could be missed.

Reverse Logistics

Moving, hoisting, rigging, jacking, pulling, material handling, safety equipment, etc., to and from construction sites can become quite the headache if not done efficiently. This is where a third-party logistics (3PL) company, such as BlueGrace, would work along side the company and help deliver a more efficient logistics operation. Many types of construction freight requires a return trip back to the vendor which adds an additional layer of complication. This is called Reverse Logistics.

Many types of construction freight requires a return trip back to the vendor which adds an additional layer of complication. This is called Reverse Logistics.

In the case of this BlueGrace client, the single largest organization devoted exclusively to the provision of lifting and moving equipment for rent, there were problems that became increasingly apparent due to rapid growth. This company experienced increased inventory management costs and a negative impact on invoicing as a result of delays associated with rentals placed in ‘Off-Hire’ status, but not yet returned to their facility. BlueGrace was able to dig into the toolbox of logistics expertise and deliver an integrated, time and money saving solution for this construction rental company. We have written a case study based on this experience which can be downloaded below.

Does Your Company Ship Freight?

If so, this Case Study will reveal how BlueGrace is able to transform your current transportation program for maximum cost savings, even if your freight is as complicated as Reverse Logistics.

New BlueGrace Reverse Logistics In The Construction Industry Case Study

What About Other Construction Freight?

As a successful third-party logistics (3PL), BlueGrace handles the freight for all types of construction businesses. This freight can be heavy, oversized loads, such as cranes and dump trucks to replacement parts and pallets of construction materials. Our first step in any relationship is what sets us apart and brings the most value to your freight and logistics team. Your current freight data is analyzed and then processed with our proprietary engineering software.

Your current freight data is analyzed and then processed with our proprietary engineering software.

This process gives your logistics team a brand new overview of your freight. From there, your team has access to the entire BlueGrace toolbox of solutions, including ERP integrations to our flagship quoting and product, BlueShip. All of these tools come with a team of logistics experts at your disposal and a constant goal to make your freight program more successful.

Would you like to talk with BlueGrace today? Feel free to call our Enterprise Group at 800.MY.SHIPPING or come see us at the CONEXPO in Las Vegas March 7-11 Booth #B9500.

 

 

 

Stepping Up from 2016: Optimism for the New Year

 

With January already well under way, getting closer to inauguration day when President Trump takes his first official steps into office, it’s time to take a look at where the trucking industry has taken it’s own steps to start off the year. While there’s still a lot of ground to cover over the course of 2017, here’s what we know so far.

Driver Shortage is a Major Concern

One of the biggest problems of 2016 still remains among the top concerns going into 2017. With the median age of truck drivers approaching retirement age, many companies are struggling to find drivers to keep their fleets moving. Some trucking companies are upping the ante by increasing incentives, wages, and anything else they can use to entice drivers to take up the keys.

Some trucking companies are upping the ante by increasing incentives, wages, and anything else they can use to entice drivers to take up the keys.

According to a survey conducted by the Commercial Carrier Journal, driver availability is ranked as the top concern for nearly half, 44.8 of the respondents. The next highest concern is freight pricing, coming in at 32.9 percent.

Driver retention is a close second in terms of concern

While driver shortage wasn’t quite at the forefront of concern in 2016, according to the American Transportation Research Institutes top ten index, it did rank in at 16% of total industry concern, with a total index rating of 36.5. Driver retention is a close second in terms of concern, with an ATRI index rating of 30.5.  With less concern over other matters, the driver shortage is becoming a more prominent issue for the trucking industry.

Less Concern About Politics

While the election of Donald Trump to become the next President of the United States has caused quite a stir for most people (one way or another) there is considerably less concern when it comes to the trucking industry. Among the top concerns during 2016 was the enforcement of the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandates to more accurately track Hours of Service for drivers. Also thrown into the mix were a number of new regulations including the EPA phase two of greenhouse gas emissions. Now, however, the political climate has dropped to only 2.6 percent of the respondents on the CCJ survey. So what made the change?

Trump has announced that there will be a considerable overhauling of the country’s infrastructure

For starters, Trump has announced that there will be a considerable overhauling of the country’s infrastructure, making the roads more agreeable for trucks and drivers, which would ideally reduce the concerns for traffic, safety, and other snarls that occur within the transportation industry. However, as with anything else, these changes will come with a price. Trump isn’t willing to add to the deficit to pay for the road improvements. Instead, the trucking industry will have to foot the bill, likely in the form of tolls and higher fuel taxes.

The trucking industry will have to foot the bill, likely in the form of tolls and higher fuel taxes

In addition to the infrastructure overhaul, the trucking industry might see some of the Obama administration’s regulations reversed, giving the industry a little much needed breathing room.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

While it’s still a bit early to have any definitive proof, many in the trucking industry are feeling optimistic about 2017, with anything being a welcome change to the slog that was the previous year. As it stands, driver sentiment is slowly beginning to creep up according to the CCJ survey.

“The Carrier Sentiment Index for November was 5.71, a slight increase from the October survey (5.61). The index assesses the month on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the carrier’s worst month and 10 being the best. Responses from both groups were nearly identical: 5.70 for respondents from fleets with up to 100 power units compared to 5.72 for respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units.”

Combined with better roads and newer logistics tech hitting the commercial marketplace, the trucking industry could have a very promising year ahead of them. However, only time will tell at this point.

 

 

BlueGrace to Sponsor SMC3 Jump Start Conference | Jan. 23-25

BlueGrace Logistics is proud to be a Gold Sponsor for the 2017 Jump Start Conference.

Logistics and supply chain education take center stage each January at Jump Start, a three-day event that attracts a broad spectrum of middle-to-senior-level decision makers responsible for the seamless movement of domestic and foreign freight. One of transportation’s most anticipated educational and networking forums, Jump Start features targeted sessions, renowned thought leaders, substantive seminars and networking opportunities.

One of transportation’s most anticipated educational and networking forums | Jump Start

“Jump Start is a great time for us to connect and strengthen relationships with our carriers,” said Andrew Rivers,  Senior Manager, Carrier Relations at BlueGrace Logistics. 

Ignite Speed Meetings with BlueGrace Logistics

Ignite consists of a series of “speed meetings” between a conference attendee and the contribution organization of their choice. Meetings are 7 minutes long, with a 2 minute break between appointments.

Speed meeting requests are matched electronically and schedules will be generated based on preferences and availability

Meeting requests are matched electronically and schedules will be generated based on preferences and availability. Attendees will be asked to fill out a short registration form and select their top five to ten contributors… it’s that simple.

“Carriers and other attendees will need to schedule their ‘speed meeting’ ahead of time to meet with us and we really hope to fill up a nice schedule for this event,” said Rivers.

Jump Start 2017 will feature a wide array of speakers and presenters

Keynote Speaker | Dayton Moore Sr. VP, Operations & General Manager, Kansas City Royals

Dayton Moore has served as the general manager of the Kansas City Royals since 2006. In 2014, the Royals stormed to 89 victories and qualified for the postseason for the first time in 29 years. The team won its second World Series title in 2015. Moore received MLB Executive of the Year honors in 2015 and is in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.

See BlueGrace at Jump Start 2017

It is a great time to talk with BlueGrace and other leaders in the logistics and technology industry. For more information please visit the SMC3 website.

Omnichannel Shopping Gives Brick and Mortar Stores an Edge

Are we looking at the end of the tried and true brick and mortar style store? With online shopping growing at an exponential rate, this question has a lot of store owners feeling the heat from the growth of e-commerce.  Over the course of 2015, e-commerce sites saw an incredible growth rate of 23 percent. Of course, Amazon is the reigning champ when it comes to online sales, making up 26 percent of all online transactions.

E-commerce sites saw an incredible growth rate of 23 percent

While it might seem like a predictable future, it’s not a good bet to count out the traditional store front just yet. According to the Harvard Business Review, it might have something to do with Omnichannel marketing. A study conducted by HBR, found that only 7 percent of shoppers did business solely online. 20 percent only went to the actual store, which leaves the remaining 73 percent somewhere in between. These are the omnichannel shoppers.

The Store with More (Logistics)

Omnichannel shopping has been giving brick and mortar stores a considerable edge when it comes to their completely digital counterparts. So much so that even e-commerce giant Amazon, is in the process of building their own stores to provide their customers with a more comprehensive shopping solution. The idea behind it is simple. Offer more technologically based solutions to fit your customers needs, making it easier for them to shop, compare prices, and get what they need, when and how they need it.

E-commerce giant Amazon, is in the process of building their own stores

While providing the digital platforms for customers is fairly straightforward, building the logistical groundwork to support it might not be so easy. Fortunately, this also means a lot of opportunity for 3PLs and freight forwarders, so long as they know what they’re looking for. 

Last Mile Deliveries are Taking Off

Last mile deliveries have been a hot topic for quite some time, especially as Amazon continues to push the envelope with their near instantaneous, same-day deliveries. While that certainly sets the bar fairly high for companies who are looking to delve into the omnichannel marketplace, it does mean that there is a good deal of infrastructure in place to compensate.

Last mile deliveries have been a hot topic for quite some time

3PLs and a number of other forwarders, such as DHL, are looking into drone technology to expedite the last mile delivery process. There’s also the idea of tapping into already existing systems such as Uber for package deliveries that can help give potential omnichannel stores a leg up as they begin to build up their market.

Omnichannel stores will have a significant advantage over stores who don’t embrace the technology

All in all, omnichannel stores will have a significant advantage over stores who don’t embrace the technology, a must in this challenging market place that is currently undergoing its own renaissance period of growth. However, in order for these stores to be successful, they’ll have to get their logistics in check, or risk losing their client base.

BlueGrace Logistics Regional Office Awarded Best & Brightest

BG Boston Earns National & Greater Boston Area Award

A BlueGrace Logistics regional office, BlueGrace Boston, was recently awarded one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, both in the Greater Boston Area and in the nation.

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® is a program of the National Association for Business Resources (NABR) that provides the business community with the opportunity to showcase their best practices and demonstrate why they are an ideal employer and workplace. This national program celebrates those companies that are making better business, creating richer lives and building a stronger community as a whole.

This national program celebrates those companies that are making better business, creating richer lives and building a stronger community as a whole.

“While we want to be number one in the 3PL industry, we know that won’t happen without our people. We focus on hiring the right people and then continuing to support them by providing them with a culture they all can thrive in,” said Adam Blankenship, Executive Vice President of Operations at BlueGrace Logistics.

The Best & Brightest competition identifies and honors companies that deliver exceptional human resource practices and an impressive commitment to their employees.

“BlueGrace has strived to create a culture that is truly unlike any other company I have ever worked for. Our Free Beer Friday’s, Free Waffle Wednesday’s and Teammate of the Week programs have fostered a dynamic and social work environment that I am but ecstatic and proud to be a part of. I encourage any motivated and driven graduate to consider applying to BlueGrace and joining our growing Boston family,” said Gabrielle Moody, Recruiter at BlueGrace Boston. 

According to the Best & Brightest website, Organizations are assessed based on categories such as communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention and much more.

“We retain 84% of all new hires at BlueGrace Logistics and that is huge, considering the amount of growth we have experienced in just the last 18 months,” said Mercedes Essmann, Director of Corporate Recruiting at BlueGrace Logistics.

Over the past year and a half, BlueGrace has created nearly 300 new jobs, more than doubling their job creation goal announced in 2015. The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott recently announced that the company headquarters in Tampa Bay, will continue expanding, with plans to create 300 additional jobs over the next few years.

 “What makes me love working at BlueGrace Boston is that I wake up every morning knowing I am going to a place where I will laugh with me friends all day. The people, the competition, and the culture are what making Working at BlueGrace Boston fun… and the beer. Did I mention the beer?” said   Allison McCarthy, Account Executive at BlueGrace Boston. 

This is one of many awards that BlueGrace Logistics has had the honor of winning over the years.

See below for a list of past awards won by BlueGrace.

2016

  • Happiest Company Award, TINYpulse, 2016

2015

  • Best Places to Work, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2015, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2015
  • Top Minority-Owned Business, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2015
  • Happiest Company Award (Transportation and Logistics), TINYpulse, 2015
  • Employee Recognition Award (Transportation and Logistics), TINYpulse, 2015

2014

  • Entrepreneur of The Year – Florida, Ernst & Young (E&Y), 2014
  • Fast 50, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2014
  • USF FAST 56 Companies, University of South Florida, 2014
  • Top Minority-Owned Business, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2014
  • Best Places to Work, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2014

2013

  • Best Places to Work, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2013
  • 40 Under 40- Bobby Harris, President & CEO, Gulf Coast Business Review, 2013
  • USF FAST 56 Companies, University of South Florida, 2013

2012

  • Hire Power Award, Inc. Magazine, 2012
  • Best Places to Work, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2012
  • America’s 5000 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies, Inc. 5000, 2012
  • Fast 50, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2012
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (Emerging category), Ernst & Young, 2012
  • Sales & Marketing Executive of the Year- Eric Chambers, Transportation Marketing & Sales Association, 2012

2011

  • Best Places to Work Finalist (Bigger Category), Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2011

About BlueGrace Logistics:

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. As a full service third party logistics provider (3PL), BlueGrace helps businesses manage their less-than-truckload and truckload spend through industry leading technology, high level freight carrier relationships and superior insight of the complex $750 billion U.S. freight industry. BlueGrace is headquartered in Riverview, Florida with over 60 corporate and franchise locations across the U.S. For more information, visit www.mybluegrace.com.

# # #

 

Laying the First Bricks: Amazon is Getting Physical but Wal-Mart Fights Back

 

There aren’t a whole lot of companies that can match up to the innovative prowess of the e-Commerce giant, Amazon. It seems as though every couple of months we’re catching some snippet that Amazon is trying out a new trick for the convenience of its loyal customers and, true to it’s nature, Amazon is about to pull their next trick out of the bag. An actual grocery store.

Amazon Go

Unlike AmazonFresh, the online grocery shopping option that promises quick deliveries of produce and other perishables, Amazon Go will be an actual brick and mortar store, one of the few ventures Amazon hasn’t really gotten into yet. So why the sudden change? For starters, how about throwing the competition a curve ball?

Some of Amazon’s biggest competitors are Wal-Mart and Target, who focuses on a combined service of both groceries as well as higher ticket items such as apparel and home goods.

Some of Amazon’s biggest competitors are Wal-Mart and Target, who focus on a combined service of both groceries as well as higher ticket items such as apparel and home goods. While the groceries and produce account for a relatively small amount of the sales, it does bring in business which helps these chains hit their real goal of selling more expensive items.

Working out of a brick and mortar store will have its advantages.

Logistically speaking, trying to deliver produce and temperature sensitive goods in an appropriate time frame isn’t out of the scope of Amazon’s fairly comprehensive delivery machine, but it’s not necessarily practical either. This is why the grocery delivery service is only offered in select locations and still isn’t quite as popular as the tried and true alternative, as many customers still prefer to do their grocery shopping in stores, being able to touch, smell, and generally select their produce before purchase.

Many customers still prefer to do their grocery shopping in stores, being able to touch, smell, and generally select their produce before purchase.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is experimenting with a few different styles of store, a convenience style or quick pick up store, as well as a drive through style, which lets customers skip having to walk into the store to begin with. The key is this, if Amazon has a physical location to work out of, they can capture more of the grocery market shares. As it stands, online grocery shopping is only a small portion of the business, about one percent currently, but is expected to continue to grow.

Wal-Mart Fights Back

If Amazon is going physical then Wal-Mart is retorting with the digital, according to an article from The Motley Fool. Many of the Wal-Mart supercenters are getting a technological upgrade in the attempt to keep Amazon in check in two ways. First is the curbside order pickup. Rather than having to walk into the store, select your items, then wade your way through the checkout line, you can simply place your order online and have it brought out to the car, allowing customers to skip the check out.

Additionally is the Gas and Go Style of Shopping, Similar to a Convenience Store.

Additionally is the Gas and Go style of shopping. This involves a secondary shop, similar to a convenience store, that has some last minute grocery items, coffee, snacks, and other concessions, as well as being a full service Gas Station. The twist is that, customers can place an online order, which is fulfilled by a nearby Supercenter, and arrive at a set time to have their groceries delivered while they gas up their vehicle. This level of convenience, combined with the grocery infrastructure that Wal-Mart already has in place might be enough to keep Amazon Go at bay.

This level of convenience, combined with the grocery infrastructure that Wal-Mart already has in place might be enough to keep Amazon Go at bay.

The Master of Logistics

It’s fairly safe to say that this point that Amazon’s actions are rarely without some sort of ulterior motive. Think back to the Amazon cloud services, which was originally designed to be an in-house service and was then converted into a highly successful business model.

If Amazon can get down the necessary logistics infrastructure to handle groceries and perishable produce, who’s to say they can’t then turn that service towards their competitors?

If Amazon can get down the necessary logistics infrastructure to handle groceries and perishable produce, who’s to say they can’t then turn that service towards their competitors? While it’s unlikely that many grocery stores are eager to hand over any form of control over to Amazon, it might be something we hear about in the future, especially given how skilled Amazon is at offering a high caliber service at a lower rate than the competition. Again, this is a bit too far off to tell presently, but it will be something to keep an eye on, especially as Amazon Go stores start to open around the country.

 

 

2016 BlueGrace National Conference | Recap

BlueGrace Logistics recently hosted their 2016 National Conference right here in Tampa, Florida. This was the company’s 6th installment and biggest conference yet with action-packed keynote speakers like Cameron Herold, Bobby Harris, Afterburner, Inc, and Travis Mills. The location was a huge hit as well, as it was the first time the entire company came back to where it all began.

Welcome to Tampa | Meet & Greet Mixer

The 2016 National Conference kicked off with an opening reception Sunday night at the Tampa Marriott Waterside, where employees, franchisees, regional and branch offices could gather and meet new people and see old friends. For some it was their first time interacting in person, since many of the franchises and locations had been acquired in 2016. Putting faces to the names was the goal of this event and it would spark conversations that lasted the entire 3 days.

Putting faces to the names was the goal of this event and it would spark conversations that lasted the entire 3 days

“This was a great opportunity for our our offices out on the west coast and mid west to meet our employees from the east coast,” said Adam Blankenship, Executive Vice President of Operations at BlueGrace Logistics.

Monday Morning | Day 1

Monday morning started bright and early with an employee breakfast and an official kick-off message from BlueGrace Logistics CEO & President, Bobby Harris. His message touched on how BlueGrace performed in 2016 and what BlueGrace is projecting for 2017. He covered every single angle of the current status of the business and really brought his message home when he announced a huge rebranding for the company. The rebranding consists of a new logo, tagline, website redesign, and much more.

The rebranding consists of a new logo, tagline, website redesign, and much more.

“This branding revamp has been in the works for a while, but the whole concept came about in a very organic way. Because of the amount of effort put into the logo change, we weren’t even sure it would happen, but now we couldn’t be happier with the final results and feedback.” said Bobby Harris, CEO, Founder & President of BlueGrace Logistics.

The excitement started early with the BlueGrace rebranding announcement and would continue non-stop for the remainder of the conference. The schedule would include prominent speakers and breakout sessions to help bring the entire company together and land on the same page with the 2017 goals.

Keynote Speakers | Day 1

Cameron Herold

After Harris wrapped up his presentation and a quick break, Cameron Herold, the “COO Whisperer” addressed the company with a powerful message. He touted high level leadership development qualities and generated a buzz with “Building a World Class Company”. As an experienced speaker and author, Cameron has an uncanny ability to draw the audience in and leave them inspired to simplify their daily tasks and and keep the company goals in line with their own.

“Cameron really delivered a solid message and left all the fluff out. He kept it real and talked about how to build a company with the people you want on your team.” said Vanessa Castillo, Vice President of BG Freight.

Breakout Sessions | Day 1

The remainder of Day One consisted of two tracks and one roundup for different employee types; Sales and Leadership. The first track was an eye-opening sales training for the BlueGrace sales teams from around the country. The focus was to learn how to sell under different circumstances and to many types of shipping customers. The sales team learned that by taking more time to listen and really understand the logistics pain points for each potential customer, they could utilize the entire BlueGrace “toolbox” and help solve their specific issues.

There was also a new leadership development track with an in-depth overview of each BlueGrace department.

There was also a new leadership development track with an in-depth overview of each BlueGrace department. Leadership from every department prepared specific messages to engage and empower employees. There were detailed discussions on employee engagement and human resources, explaining how the hyper-growth at BlueGrace would be managed, so every employee would be happy and healthy.

BlueGrace sales associates recieved a one-on-one presentation from Roadrunner Freight’s Grant Crawford.

In addition to the Sales track, the BlueGrace sales associates recieved a one-on-one presentation from Roadrunner Freight’s Grant Crawford. He had the entire sales staff’s attention as he discussed the new branding, capabilities and dedication of Roadrunner as a trusted carrier for the logistics industry. With a detailed presentation on 2016 numbers and 2017 predictions, Grant demonstrated Roadrunners track record for effective freight management and how all of the sales staff could benefit by using them for their current customers.

The remaining option available to the Sales staff was a carrier roundup. In a structured table to table roundup, the BlueGrace sales staff had the time to move from carrier to carrier and learn more about their services and programs. BlueGrace invited carriers to not only attend the conference, but to sit and talk with the sales staff to answer questions and provide direct answers about how their services can help customers achieve their freight objectives. At its conclusion, the feedback on the carrier roundup was very positive with many opportunities shared and discussed.

Monday Night Festivities | Slapshots on Ice at Amalie Arena

Being the Preferred Shipping Partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team has its perks! The Tampa Marriott Waterside is directly across the street from the Amalie Arena, the home of the Lightning, so BlueGrace jumped at the opportunity for an on-ice experience. Vendors, carriers and employees were invited to the Amalie Arena for a VIP Tampa Bay Lighting event. Amalie Arena was open to just the BlueGrace conference attendees which gave everyone the opportunity to take a couple slapshots on the NHL team’s ice.

Being the Preferred Shipping Partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team has its perks!

“We wanted to give all of our BG family a unique opportunity to go down onto the ice of a top ranked NHL team and take a slap shot, and they all loved it,” said Harris.

After everyone took their shots on the ice, the night concluded with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and an additional carrier reception in the Chase Club, a premier sporting event entertainment area within Amalie Arena. The carrier discussions continued until the early evening as Day 1 came to a close.

Tuesday Morning | Day 2

Afterburner, Inc.

Tuesday kicked off with an exciting presentation from Afterburner, Inc. This group consists of retired military service members who served in leadership roles within elite units of the Armed Forces and consider themselves performance improvement experts. Their main focus was “Flawless Execution.” They fired up the crowd with examples of how they used a “debrief” to both prevent mistakes from happening and for learning from them after they do. The conference crowd left the room excited to utilize what they have learned to help all forms of business communication, from internal to customer interaction.

Day 2 presentations from BlueGrace management were a bit more in-depth. The IT department discussed many of the new tools being added to the BlueShip platform in 2017 that would enhance ease of use, increase the options for the customer and streamline the freight process even more. A round of applause came after IT committed to finishing development in 2017 for all new projects they discussed in their presentation. As the IT department tripled in size in 2016, the ability to add new options simplified billing to additional mode options has become a reality. BlueShip will continue to be on of the industries leading  TMS products in 2017 and beyond.

BlueShip will continue to be on of the industries leading  TMS products in 2017 and beyond.

Enterprise had the sales staff excited with their presentation on how BlueGrace engages with our larger customers. While discussing how to interact with types of customers by handing them off to the Enterprise team, they also discussed some of the reasons why BlueGrace is the best partner for these businesses. After receiving the current shipping data provided by a potential customer, Enterprise can run the numbers through our proprietary formulas and reporting systems to generate exciting and time/money saving opportunities.

Enterprise can run the numbers through our proprietary formulas and reporting systems to generate exciting and time/money saving opportunities.

From distribution models to preferred carriers and on-time delivery options, the Enterprise team at BlueGrace can move more product, more effectively for our customers. As the presentation explained, it does not end there. After the customer in engaged with BlueGrace the reporting and optimizing continues and the program will only get better through new time/money saving options being constantly updated and developed.

Tuesday Keynote Speakers | Day 2

Dave Ross

After the morning presentations, it was time for a keynote from Dave Ross, Managing Director of Global Transportation and Logistics at Stifel Nicolaus. As one of the top financial analysts in the logistics industry, David waspicked #1 by the Wall Street Journal’s Best on the Street Analysts Survey in the industrial transportation industry. His view of the logistics industry is deep and robust.

He was able to discuss with the BlueGrace team as well as the carriers, the impact of 2016 market situations and what the future holds for our industry.

He was able to discuss with the BlueGrace team as well as the carriers, the impact of 2016 market situations and what the future holds for our industry. The inner workings of the financial side of logistics was on full display as he presented what to expect in 2017 with a new president and coming industry regulations and changes.

Travis Mills > Never Give Up. Never Quit.

The final keynote speaker was recalibrated warrior and motivational speaker, Travis Mills. Despite losing portions of both arms and legs from an IED blast while on a deployment to Afghanistan, Travis continues to overcome life’s challenges, breaking physical barriers and defying odds.

Travis lives by his motto: “Never give up. Never quit.”  Travis infused his humor and military background to get the BlueGrace team thinking about what is really important in their lives. To focus on the things you can control and no matter where life takes you, stay on the good side, because if he can do it so can you. Travis stayed after for an hour signing his book and taking pictures with anyone who wanted one, he was a true inspiration the BlueGrace Logsitics team.

We can’t thank him enough for his service and sacrifice. Travis you are a true inspiration.

Tuesday Night Festivities | Gala Celebration at the Oxford Exchange

Originally built in 1891 as a stable for the Tampa Bay Hotel, 420 West Kennedy Boulevard has gone through several transformations in its long history. At this amazing Tampa location, BlueGrace put on an event that would not soon be forgotten. The entire location was rented out and and the fun loving conference attendees filed in.

The Oxford put on a great party with a cocktails, a sit down dinner with fine food and an great dance floor.

The Oxford put on a great party with a cocktails, a sit down dinner with fine food and a great dance floor. The live band came all the way from Jacksonville and played just the right music as the attendees danced the night away. It was an amazing end to the best BlueGrace National Conference yet. We would like to thank all of our attendees, employees, carriers and sponsors for making it an event to remember and look forward to an even better event in 2017!

We would like to thank all of our attendees, employees, carriers and sponsors for making it an event to remember and look forward to an even better event in 2017!

2016 BlueGrace Sales Conference Sponsors



BlueGrace Logistics Acquires Tampa Based Freight Broker

3PL Announces the Procurement of Continental Traffic Company

Riverview, FL, December 19, 2016 – BlueGrace Logistics has acquired long-time Tampa based logistics, consulting and auditing firm, Continental Traffic Company (CTC). Charlie Boesch, Owner and President of CTC, has been named Vice President of Enterprise Sales.

“I have known Charlie for years and he brings a vast amount of industry career experience in sales and marketing. He will be an excellent addition to our Enterprise Division and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Bobby Harris, President & CEO of BlueGrace Logistics.

Boesch purchased Continental Traffic Company in 1994 after working with Roadway Express for over 17 years.

“It is very important to me that all who learn of this great news, know my deep appreciation and thanks for each client, carrier, and individual who has helped me along the way. Business success becomes meaningful with personal success and I appreciate your kindness,” said Boesch.

The acquisition of CTC is a part of a long-term plan that stems from the recent $255 million private equity investment

The acquisition of CTC is a part of a long-term plan that stems from the recent $255 million private equity investment from Warburg-Pincus. This year, BlueGrace bought more than two dozen of its franchise locations across the country, and the Company is rapidly expanding in new markets, with employment rapidly rising in the Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, and Los Angeles areas.

About BlueGrace Logistics:

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. As a full service third party logistics provider (3PL), BlueGrace helps businesses manage their less-than-truckload and truckload spend through industry leading technology, high level freight carrier relationships and superior insight of the complex $750 billion U.S. freight industry. BlueGrace is headquartered in Riverview, Florida with over 60 corporate and franchise locations across the U.S. For more information, visit www.mybluegrace.com.

# # #

 

 

2017 Is The Year Of The 3PL. Will Your Freight Be On Board?

While the shipping industry is still suffering through a glut of overcapacity, things are finally starting to look up. The 3PL Value Creation Summit of 2016 yielded some pretty interesting results. Namely that the value added by 3PLs is only expected to keep going up through 2017 and beyond, a welcome boon for the weary shipper. This growth is expected to continue well through the following year and only continue beyond that.

“The global third party logistics (3PL) market is expected to be worth $925.31 billion by 2020 and will be partially driven by the outsourcing of secondary business activities,” according to a study released by Orbis.

A Combined Front of Transportation

While just about all modes of transportation are experiencing an issue, oceanic freight is dealing with a gross overcapacity and weak demand, truckers are faced with growing legislation and on the road concerns, to name a few issues, it will be the combined effort of all these various modes of transportation that will create the greatest value for shippers. A service, of course, that is rendered by eager 3PLs.

“Although carrier overcapacity on the still continues, Evan Armstrong, the president of Armstrong & Associates, predicts that integrated solutions such as air-ground, air-sea, and other combinations will create more value for shippers and increase 3PL margins,” said Patrick Burnson, executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review .

The big winner in the transportation race is going to be the domestic transportation sector

However, the big winner in the transportation race is going to be the domestic transportation sector, responsible for facilitating the last mile deliveries for the majority of eCommerce companies.

Calmer Waters for M&A to Mark Stability for the End of 2016

One of the most promising signs of 2016 is seeing the feeding frenzy of mergers and acquisitions finally dying down. Now that all of the smaller companies have either been absorbed or faded away, the transportation industry is able to turn its attention on the importance of building the right team, focusing on training and talent acquisition. This is important to note given the confusion and frustration of the M&A period that many companies have experienced caused by negative acquisition experiences and overpriced companies. With the dust finally settling, 3PLs and logistics companies can focus on adding value for their customers, which will come as no small undertaking.

With the dust finally settling, 3PLs and logistics companies can focus on adding value for their customers, which will come as no small undertaking.

The challenges of managing geographically dispersed supply chain operations as a result of increased globalization, has led to several companies to outsource their logistics function.

And difficulties with addressing logistical challenges has also led to increased outsourcing by wholesalers and retailers, thereby boosting the 3PL industry.

It found that emerging trends such as Big Data and availability of bespoke 3PL services are expected to drive the market over the forecast period,” says Andrew Allen, a CIPS contributor.

Improving Technology will Continue to Add Value

Another driving factor is the continuous improvement of technology which will only add value for all parties involved. Cloud based IT solutions help to control overhead costs while providing invaluable data in real time, which is necessary for the continued success of 3PLs and shippers alike.

All told, 2017 looks to be a more promising year for both Shippers and 3PL providers.

 

 

Is Your Freight Protected? Freeze Protection For Temperature Sensitive Shipments

As the holiday season approaches, there are a number of freight tips companies should take into account to ensure that their supply chain continues to function efficiently and cost effectively. Companies must also consider the challenges presented by winter weather that accompanies the holiday season.

Anticipating transportation delays and mapping suppliers that could be affected by big storms and freezing temperatures, are good first steps.

Winter Giving Transportation the Cold Shoulder

The 2015 – 2016 winter season was responsible for a record-breaking blizzard that brought freight transportation in mid-Atlantic states to a halt for a number of days as crews worked to clear the roads of upwards of 3 feet of snow in cities such as Richmond, Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia. Immobilizing snow also fell across areas in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Arkansas and thousands of freight cargo flights were grounded as major transportation hubs were closed.

Outside of unavoidable transit delays, companies also need to consider physically protecting their freight shipments from the harshness of winter.

Outside of unavoidable transit delays, companies also need to consider physically protecting their freight shipments from the harshness of winter. You should also consider working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider that is able to offer an all-inclusive coverage plan for freight shipments to alleviate the pains of not only damaged freight, but to protect temperature sensitive shipments as well.

Technology Gives Logistics Some Valuable Insight

Weather forecasts are all well and good, but even preparing for delays due to the weather will only go so far. What about when the unexpected should occur. A truck carrying temperature sensitive materials breaks down and will miss its scheduled drop off. Will it be caught in time to make other arrangements? This creates a rather dangerous guessing game when it comes to sensitive freight. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a valuable web of information that users can access, in real time…

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a valuable web of information that users can access, in real time, to check the location and the status of their freight. That sort of information can make the difference between arranging a truck transfer to get cargo to its destination on time and watching, in horror, as millions of dollars of product simply goes to waste because of a mechanical error, as was nearly the case for Biogen, whose truck carrying temperature sensitive pharmaceutical components was nearly lost when a truck broke down.

Not only does this information greatly help with making logistics decisions, especially when it comes to rerouting a truck due to weather concerns, but it can also help to control shipping costs and strengthen the working relationship of a shipper and a 3PL service provider. That alone can be reason enough, especially when it comes to dealing with the rather unpredictable Winter weather.

Find a 3PL Who can Handle the Cold

It’s important to understand that ‘Acts of God,’ such as extreme winter weather, are not covered when it comes to guaranteed or expedited freight. Being prepared in advance and moving shipments earlier than routinely expected when weather is expected, is something a transportation partner would help with.

A prepared 3PL will understand that every company has its own specific needs in relation to freight transportation and in the winter months

A prepared 3PL will understand that every company has its own specific needs in relation to freight transportation and in the winter months that can mean that some shipments need to maintain an above freezing temperature in order to maintain their quality and value. As many items such as perishable foods, chemicals & electronics are ruined and become useless if they reach a temperature below freezing, it’s important to be ahead of the coming cold.

There are several different means of protection available for shipments such as these and a reputable 3PL will work with specific carriers to make sure that your freight is taken care of properly. From heated or insulated trailers and temperature sensitive load planning and routing technology, to on-site snow removal and cargo quilt thermal blanket protection, your shipment will be protected.

Finding a 3PL that has a large network of LTL and truckload providers that offer freeze protection services to ensure that your shipments arrive safely, and on time, is key to your supply chain’s success this winter.

The challenges of winter are nothing new but preparation in advance is key. Are you prepared?

 

BlueGrace Logistics Launches New Branding & Logo Concept

 

Riverview, FL, December 12, 2016 – BlueGrace Logistics, a third-party-logistics (3PL) provider, successfully unveiled their new corporate messaging and logo design in front of over 300 employees, franchisees, vendors and partners at their 6th Annual National Conference in Tampa, Florida.

“This branding revamp has been in the works for a while…”

“This branding revamp has been in the works for a while, but the whole concept came about in a very organic way. Because of the amount of effort put into the logo change, we weren’t even sure it would happen, but now we couldn’t be happier with the final results and feedback.” said Bobby Harris, CEO, Founder & President of BlueGrace Logistics.

While the technology based 3PL stayed true to their original blue palette, the font and icon graphics have been updated…

While the technology based 3PL stayed true to their original blue palette, the font and icon graphics have been updated to give the overall feel of advancement and movement. The ellipse that was once in the center, has evolved to a two-color object at the end of ‘BlueGrace’ and suggests both the upward trajectory and depth of the current company.

BlueGrace also announced a new tagline.

Alongside the new logo announcement, BlueGrace Logistics also announced a new tagline; Passion for Logistics. The new tagline and logo are just the beginning of a full rebranding campaign for the rapidly growing 3PL.

 

About BlueGrace Logistics:

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. As a full service third party logistics provider (3PL), BlueGrace helps businesses manage their freight spend through industry leading technology, high level freight carrier relationships and overall understanding of the complex $750 Billion U.S. freight industry. BlueGrace is headquartered in Riverview, Florida with over 60 corporate and franchise locations across the U.S. For more information, visit www.mybluegrace.com.

# # #

Coming Up – BlueGrace Logistics 2016 National Conference

Gold_Template

 

BlueGrace Logistics will be hosting the 2016 National Conference in Tampa, Florida, December 4-6. This will be the 6th installment of the highly anticipated sales training event, but the first time that it will be brought back to the area of where it all started; Tampa Bay.

BlueGrace Logistics was founded by CEO & President, Bobby Harris in 2009.

Since their inception in early 2009, BlueGrace Logistics has grown from a small 2,000 square foot office in Apollo Beach, FL with 15 employees to a 55,000 square foot office building in Riverview, Florida. They currently have 20+ regional and branch offices and over 460 employees nationwide that is growing daily.

The 2016 National Conference is themed and created around BlueGrace’s system-wide growth objectives.

Over the course of the two days, the team at BlueGrace Logistics will be conducting sales training and informing both sales and leadership staff on the state of the industry through interactive events and keynote speakers. A large number of carriers will be on-site to meet with BlueGrace staff, discuss their strengths and show how they can help their customers.

The conference is geared toward enriching the businesses of the BlueGrace the newly expanded 15+ corporate locations,franchise network, and meeting and working on industry related items with our carrier partners.

We have an incredible line-up of keynote speakers.

cameron-high-rez

Cameron Herold – World Renowned Business Coach and Speaker

ross-official-pic-stifel-2014

Dave Ross – Managing Director, Global Transportation & Logistics for Stifel Nicolaus

travis-mills-uniform-380x380

Travis Mills – Multiple-Amputee and US Military and War Hero

autozone-266-small

Afterburner Inc. – Accelerated Performance Special Operators

Bobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics
Bobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics

 

Why A Drop in Productivity Might Actually be a Good Thing

bluegracelogistics-productivity

While it might seem counterintuitive, the trucking industry is staring down the barrel of a productivity drop that might actually be just the breath of fresh air the industry needs. After slogging through a slump in demand, the aging of the workforce and the lack of recruits to fill in the gaps, as well as the lack of much needed change to fuel surcharge rates, the industry has been flagging.

EPA regulations force trucking industry to figure out how to get spot rates back up

Of course, that’s not the only grim tidings that are on the horizon for trucking companies. With the EPA’s new phase 2 – greenhouse gas emissions regulations, the industry is left trying to figure out how to get spot rates back into levels of growth and profitability. Surprisingly enough, it’s the new Electronic Logging Devices which, to this point have been the source of much grumbling, that could actually change the shipping environment.

Trump is Sticking with the ELD Mandates

While Republicans tend to prefer avoiding government interference in private businesses, President-Elect Trump has so far stayed the course as far as the Implementation of ELD systems for truckers, making the switch from the standard paper logging over to an electronic means. This means that drivers will have little choice but to report their hours using the new system which keeps them honest and off the roads when it’s required.

What about training the drivers on how to use the electronic logging devices?

For many trucking companies, the fear is that complying with the new ELD regulations are going to cause an efficiency as drivers will need to be trained on the use of the devices, while other drivers will be forced to take their mandatory down time everyday. All told, this sounds like a bad thing, but here’s the kicker, the industry is getting closer to crunch time.

The Capacity Crunch

Having a “crunch” in capacity typically sounds like something the industry would want to avoid, but in this case it’s not. A crunch means a 100% capacity utilization rate which would give the industry something it hasn’t had in years, control over their rates.

“It won’t take much of a shift in capacity to change pricing dynamics, speakers here said. ‘A 1 or 2 percent shift in capacity could be an earthquake,’ said Brian Fielkow, president of carrier Jetco Delivery, said. ‘That shift and a little spark in demand will give you that ‘2014 feel,’ said an article from the JOC.

A small shift can be a capacity earthquake.

“Truck capacity tightened significantly in 2014 as freight demand shot up, spurred by sequential growth in US gross domestic product that exceeded 5 percent in the third quarter. After three quarters of growth below 2 percent, GDP climbed 2.9 percent in the 2016 third quarter,” according to JOC’s senior editor, William B. Cassidy.

While crunch time has been delayed, expected to happen sometime in the middle of next year, it does hinge on a few very important variables. “One is that the economy doesn’t slow down, and other is no delay in the ELD mandate” by the incoming Trump administration. “Our belief is there is not going to be any rollback of the ELD mandate, but what’s at it issue is the timing,” said Larry Gross, a senior consultant at FTR.

A Game of Wait and See

Currently, things are still up in the air as the dust from the Presidential race is beginning to settle. As Donald Trump begin to step into his role as the President of the United States, the trucking industry can only wait and see as to what the outcome will be.

How will Trump’s presidency affect the federal regulations that have been in place for 4 years?

However, it’s very unlikely that there will be any changes to the Federal Regulations that have already been put into place back in 2012. However, there is a slight possibility that Congress could decide to push the mandate back, so it’s simply a matter of seeing how everything will play out.

 

 

The Shrinking Fleet: Why the Trucking Industry is Scaling Down

shrinking-fleet-11-9-16

It’s no secret that the trucking industry has been experiencing some difficulty over the past few years. With new environmental regulations being passed, necessitating the need for newer, more expensive equipment as well as an aging workforce and one of the worst turnover rates of any industry, most trucking companies have already had to knuckle down to keep rolling. To add insult to injury, amidst the myriad of other problems already plaguing the industry, a drop in demand and a soft economy is forcing a lot of trucking companies to start making cuts to their fleet.

A drop in demand and a soft economy is forcing a lot of trucking companies to start making cuts to their fleet.

“Big trucking companies have spent the second half of the year shrinking their fleets in hopes of changing an imbalance between the supply of rigs on the road and tepid shipping demand that has flattened industry earnings,” say Erica E. Phillips and Paul Page of the Wall Street Journal in an article they recently posted about the subject.

So just how bad is it going to be for the industry going forward?

Data is Still Being Compiled

As the Holiday’s are just around the corner, typically one of the strongest seasons for the trucking industry as consumers begin their shopping frenzy, we’ll get to see just how much of an effect paring down the fleets have had on trucking rates.

“They will learn in the coming weeks, as retailers stock up at stores and distribution centers for the holidays, whether efforts to slim down capacity have produced the rate increases that trucking companies say they need to increase profitability and to expand fleets next year.

Trucking-industry reports in the coming week will take the pulse of a market at a critical point in the fourth quarter, when companies look to build off momentum in the consumer and manufacturing arenas to set business plans for 2017,” the WSJ article reads. “Industry data groups ACT Research and FTR are due to report this week on new heavy-duty truck orders for companies in October, a critical month for setting fleet plans for the coming year after several months in which orders have plummeted to historically low levels,” they added.

Not a New but a Growing Concern

The current state of the economy is something that is always on the mind of the trucking industry. After all, if people aren’t shopping, there isn’t much of a need for trucks. Still, while this isn’t a new concern it’s slowly been creeping up the list. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) annual index of industry concerns, the Economy has climbed from the 9th position (2014) to the 5th, hitting an index rating of 39.9. Since the economy had a strong post-recession period it warranted less concern.

The Economy has climbed from the 9th position (2014) to the 5th, hitting an index rating of 39.9

However, as the economy starts to weaken, the over capacity in the trucking industry is driving rates down, forcing the industry to suffer the blow to their profitability, hence the need to scale back the fleet.

“DAT Solutions LLC, which measures freight rates in the industrial-trucking market, will report the next week on whether carrier efforts to rein in capacity amid tepid demand are pushing up prices as hoped. DAT says prices for spot-market freight hauls and shipments moving under long-term contracts have been slipping for most of the year, and that rates in September were down 6.4% from the same month a year earlier,” say Phillips and Page.

Looking for Solutions

While the numbers aren’t in just yet for how bad the industries situation is, there are a few possible solutions suggested by company heads polled by the ATRI’s survey. Aside from cutting down on fleet size as an attempt to recoup some of the loses, another proposed solution is to support policies that will stimulate the economy. Over 14% of the respondents would like to see more such policies go into place. Conversely, nearly a third of the respondents (32.2%) would like to see reform in the regulations that target the trucking industry, specifically a removal of the ineffective policies that do little else but drive up operations expenses.

How To Break Into The Booming Logistics Industry, Now!

bluegrace_logistics_workharddreambig

Are you competitive, hard working, passionate about excellence and caring of others? Are you looking for a new career?

Third Party Logistics (3PL) Market size to reach $1,029.47 Billion by 2022 and you could be part of it.

BlueGrace Logistics will be hiring 20+ new sales associates for our transportation department over the next few months and we need someone just like you.

With a competitive salary plus commission after 90 days, the Transportation Sales Associates are primarily responsible for generating qualified prospects to lead-pass and calling carriers to find capacity.

Are you competitive, hard-working, passionate about excellence and caring of others?

The Transportation Sales Associate will be trained on effective prospecting, identifying prospects and converting opportunities. So if you find that the shipping and freight industry is foreign to you, fear not because you will learn from some of the best in the industry.

Upon completion of the first 90 days, trainees can graduate into an Account Executive role and earn a $1000 bonus & start earning commission

This is an entry level position with immediate career path opportunities upon successful completion of the 13-week introductory period. Read more about this position and apply —> HERE.

Why BlueGrace Logistics?

BlueGrace Logistics is a unique place to work. If you have ever worked in a boring, stiff, corporate setting, know that BlueGrace is none of those. In fact, BlueGrace is quite the opposite.

The culture here is something that most other employers can’t duplicate. Our employees have fun, work hard, and are ultimately good people, because that is who we focus on hiring.

“Our hiring process if very culture driven. We hire the people not the resume,” said Bobby Harris, BlueGrace President and CEO.

In the beginning of 2016 BlueGrace employed 170 people and as of November we have grown that number to 457. Along with a huge amount of growth internally, BlueGrace will also continue to expand  nationally with our recent $255 million private equity infusion from Warburg Pincus. 

“Our commitment to the Florida Governor was surpassed as we have doubled our hiring numbers in the Tampa office alone, in the last year,” said Mercedes Essmann, Director of Recruiting at BlueGrace Logistics.

Our Capital Investment Will Fuel Growth, Hiring, and Large National Expansion

Along with an increase in hiring over the last year, we have also received a private equity investment through Warburg Pincus that will set us on the path for more jobs, acquisitions and continuing with a national expansion.

BlueGrace intends to use the funding to fuel the rapid growth of the business, including hiring 500-700 new employees, accelerating its national expansion plans and pursuing strategic acquisitions.

This investment will give a major shot of adrenalin to our already fast-growing operations

“This investment will give a major shot of adrenalin to our already fast-growing operations,” said Harris. “We’re helping customers transform their shipping across the country. And for me, it’s especially gratifying to see more and more employees come into the Company and find a great career.”

If you think the shoe fits – Wear It

Training for Transportation Sales Associates begins January 9th, so if you feel you fit our core values  and are ready for an exciting career in logistics,  apply online TODAY.

To see all of the BlueGrace Logistics Job Opportunities, click HERE.

We encourage the use of social media, and it shows!

Scroll through our current twitter feeds to see what is happening at BlueGrace today!

 

Fuel Efficiency: A Slow Move for the Trucking Industry

fuel-efficiency11-09-16

Trucking Industry Feels Pressure from the EPA

With mounting pressure from the EPA for the trucking industry to make a change to their carbon dioxide emissions, one would think that they would be ready to make the shift away from fossil fuels, specifically diesel. Fossil fuels are not only notoriously expensive but also produce a horrendous amount of carbon dioxide which in turn gets released into the atmosphere. However, even with the mandates on the horizon, many asset-based trucking companies are hesitant to replace an entire fleet. Doing so, could be enough to nearly bankrupt smaller carriers or at least cause a substantial financial hit.

Fossil fuels are not only notoriously expensive but also produce a horrendous amount of carbon dioxide which in turn gets released into the atmosphere.

In a study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute and the University of Michigan, over 100 fleet managers that responded to the survey said they’ll look for better efficiency in driving and training before they would consider turning to fossil fuels. The question is, if truckers are unwilling to switch to alternative fuels then what can be done to improve fuel economy while cutting back on carbon emissions. The answer? Quite a lot actually.

Improving Fuel Efficiency over Fuel Type

There’s no getting around the fact that trucks are necessary as they carry upwards of 70% of all goods across our country. With that said, fuel is perhaps one of the biggest costs for the transportation industry, and in many cases takes up approximately 24% of the operating expenses with the average mile per gallon a mere 6.5. So if these companies aren’t willing to move over to alternative fuels, then improving fuel economy will have to be the solution. Here are just a few of the solutions that have been found to increase fuel efficiency.

Fuel is perhaps one of the biggest costs for the transportation industry, and in many cases takes up approximately 24% of the operating expenses.

Aluminum Frames- This covers everything from wheels to truck frames themselves, but when you cut down on the weight, the truck itself will inevitably use less fuel. While the frames have been made out of aluminum for some decades now, some trucking companies, about 9 in 10, are also shifting over to aluminum wheel which also helps to cut down on the weight without sacrificing too much of the necessary tensile strength.

Automatic Monitoring- With the new found power of computer processing, truckers are getting a good bit of a technological overhaul. This runs the gamut of speed limiters which cut down on excessive fuel consumption to automatic tire pressure monitoring and inflation. Under inflated tires cut down on fuel efficiency, so having a system that automatically inflates the tires when they get too low on pressure can be a quick and rather uninvasive means of improving efficiency. As it stands, approximately 82% of trucking companies use speed limiters, 60% use tire pressure monitors, and 50% use automatic inflation systems.

As it stands, approximately 82% of trucking companies use speed limiters, 60% use tire pressure monitors, and 50% use automatic inflation systems.

Eco-Driving Training- Another method of fuel economy that is being employed is to train driver’s in Eco-Driving. Eco-driving is a school of thought that employs a variety of driving techniques such as gradual acceleration and braking as well as the optimal time to shift gears. Not only does this cut down on some of the wear and tear that occurs from everyday use but also serves to boost fuel efficiency. Eco-drive training is one of the slower systems to grow, with only about 50% utilization, but it also has one of the biggest potentials for growth. About 25% of trucking companies interviewed are considering implementing training within the next one to two years.

Eco-drive training is one of the slower systems to grow, with only about 50% utilization

These are only some of the methods that can be employed without the need to completely overhaul a fleet. There are still more options which help to cut down on wind resistance and allow the truck to move smoothly without so much need for acceleration.

Size Matters

Ultimately one of the biggest hang ups for fuel efficiency, comes down to the size of the company. Larger fleets will have an easier time phasing out older trucks and bringing in new trucks with hybrid or electric systems. However, the majority of the trucking industry is made up of small to mid-size companies, where such replacements aren’t always viable.

Larger fleets will have an easier time phasing out older trucks and bringing in new trucks with hybrid or electric systems.

Using alternative methods to boost fuel economy is essential to success. Not only with the EPA’s phase two fuel efficiency and emission stands that went into effect in August, but with the cost of fuel beginning to creep up again, truckers will have little other option in the future other than to striving towards improvement.

As it stands, the most effective means of boosting fuel efficiency, at least in the terms of a return on investment (as reported by companies surveyed) are, Aerodynamic treatments, such as skirts and wheel covers; Idle reduction Technology (IRT); and Automatic Transmissions all coming in at the top three. However, every improvement made will add to efficiency and cost reduction in the long haul.

Carrier Spotlight: Kuehne & Nagel

SONY DSC

 

BlueGrace Logistics is excited to add a new international provider to our carrier network. Kuehne and Nagel, one of the top freight forwarders in the world, will be providing us with an additional international option going forward.

Kuehne and Nagel have office locations all over the world as well as warehouses in the U.S. for imports and exports, giving us more control over the inland.

This carrier allows us the flexibility to use our own domestic LTL rates coupled with their international rates, which will in return, provide our customers with the lowest possible cost options. We are pleased to be working with such a reputable, industry leading company, with the infrastructure to support any international shipments that BlueGrace will produce in the future.

About Kuehne and Nagel

Kuehne + Nagel is financially strong, stable and independent. Our global logistics network, cutting-edge IT systems, in-house expertise and excellent customer service is proof of our dedication to be the market leader. These attributes have placed us at the forefront of our industry, and positioned us to continue increasing the scope of our customer solutions and services.

Since 1890, when the business was founded in Bremen, Germany, by August Kuehne and Friedrich Nagel, Kuehne + Nagel has grown into one of the world’s leading logistics providers.

Today, the Kuehne + Nagel Group has more than 1,200 offices in over 100 countries, with approximately 68,000 employees.

Our key business activities and market position are built on the company’s truly world class capabilities:

Seafreight:

  • Number 1 global seafreight forwarder
  • Sustained year-on-year double digit growth in managed freight
  • Solid partnerships with an extensive range of preferred ocean carriers

Airfreight:

  • Number 2 global air cargo forwarder
  • Leader in innovative cargo management concepts
  • Global Cargo iQ Phase 2 certification

Contract Logistics & Integrated Logistics:

  • Number 2 global contract logistics provider
  • Worldwide network of warehouse and distribution facilities
  • Number 1 global lead logistics provider

Overland:

  • European Top 3 provider
  • Pan-European overland transportation capabilities, including dedicated and individual delivery services
  • Close partnerships with best-in-class carriers

 

BlueGrace Transforms into BOOGrace 2016

boograce16_tampa_group_logo

The costumes are creative.

Halloween at BlueGrace Logistics has always been one of the most anticipated culture events, and this year was no exception. Our employees were beyond creative with their costumes this year. From Beer-Fit Barbie and Ryan Lochte to the cast of Scooby Doo and Mr. Robot, BlueGracers went all out.

The decorations are spooky.

The BOOGrace transformation begins the first week of October with a few spider webs and gradually grows into something that mirrors a haunted house. In previous years, BOOGrace has been decked out with fake bodies, graves, flying ghosts and asylyms throughout. This year we opened it up to kids and families and decided on a “scary movie” theme that allowed for all ages of trick-or-treaters. Certain departments were designated as ‘Kid Friendly’ with Wizard of Oz and the Nightmare Before Christmas decor and others were not so kid friendly with evil clowns and deadly sharks.

BlueGrace Transforms Into BOOGrace16

 

 

Culture is something we have written about before. This is a part of the company we spend a lot of time and resources on and keeping our employees happy is part of our appeal.

“BOOGrace is basically one big, employee appreciation day,” said Courtney Smith, Culture and Engagement Manager of BlueGrace Logistics.

It’s easy to see why BlueGrace is so successful. The employees love what they do because they work in a place they love. They work hard because they’re allowed to enjoy being at work, making every day simply unpredictable! BOOGrace 2016 was a huge success, as it has been in previous years and we are already looking forward to BOOGrace 2017.

“This year was crazy, simply because of the amount of new hires we have. Half of our Tampa office hasn’t ever participated in a “Corporate Halloween” quite like BOOGrace before,” said Whitney McKay, Marketing & Brand Manager of BlueGrace Logistics.

BOOGrace16 Video Contest

New for 2016, Culture decided to host a video contest to be judged based on creativity. The winner hasn’t been determined yet, but to see more images and video from the BlueGrace employees themselves, check out #BooGraceVideo on Twitter.

 

BOOGrace16 Costume Winners

 

costume-winners

 

Individual Costume Winners:

1st place: Reese Weathers

2nd place: Andrew Rivers

3rd place: Tiffany Earwood

Wildcard Costume Winners:

1st place: Gail Rizzo

2nd place: TIE: Sarah Sweeney & Whitney McKay

Executive:

Bobby Harris-Ryan Locte

BG Psycho Winner:

David Daniels

Group Costume:

Scooby Doo

scooby-doo-crew

 

Debate This: Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Systems

bluegrace_autonomous_driving

We saw the success of the automated fleet as it made its debut journey through Eastern Europe. The idea that something the size of a tractor trailer can link up and draft off another tractor trailer in near perfect unison seems like something out of science fiction. However, the technology is not only here, but is undergoing approval for use in not only the logistics sector, but also for non-commercial use as well. The V2V or vehicle to vehicle communications systems is currently being debated on with a final decision to be issued from the White House this coming January.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) submitted a draft proposal to require V2V technology in all cars and light trucks to the White House at the beginning of this year,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who is optimistic that the rule would be released before the next administration takes over in January.

A Frequency Issue

One of the biggest opponents for the V2V systems is the band spectrum which the system will be using according to a recent article from Bloomberg. There is a growing concern as telecommunication companies are attempting to skirt around the Department of Transportation’s issuance of the V2V rule which would allow automotive manufacturers to start making plans to use the spectrum.

The DOT and the Federal Communications Commission are working together to test spectrum-sharing tools. However, the 5.9 gigahertz spectrum band at the center of the industry fight should remain dedicated for use by connected cars until there is a proven and safe method of sharing it,” Foxx said.

About More than Just Communication

While the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system is all well and good, there’s a bigger prize at the end of the line, the driverless car. This has some pretty big implications not just for the consumer sector, but would prove to be a massive boon for the logistics industry as a whole. Imagine if the roads were free of traffic jams and snarls caused by inattentive or unskilled drivers. Not only would this cut down on the amount of accidents, but also traffic flow as a whole would be greatly improved. This improvement would come as an increase in fuel efficiency and productivity overall for trucks on the road, allowing for better forecasting and productivity for logistics decisions makers.

That is, of course, if the NHTSA, the DoT, and the White House can all come to a consensus this Janurary.