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How To Start a Transportation Business

How To Start a Transportation Industry

Starting any business involves a lot of time, money, and planning…

The first stages of starting a company should be comprised of research and planning.

Once the details are in order, the second stage is primarily about money. The start-up capital of a business particular to transportation can run at approximately $300,000.  Got a large trust fund? Most of us don’t and it’s up to the bank in determining the credit line. If you don’t want to go into a business alone, then the possibility of investors or partners are also an option.

The third stage, assuming the company made it past stage two, is operations. Having the necessary office supplies and software are essential in operating smoothly, so set yourself up for success!

Now that the company is officially ready, the most important stage of all is stage four, CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS! If there are no clients there is no business… period! Treat the relationships already obtained with care, and constantly build new clients. It’s in stage four that most companies fail. Business owners will break their backs to get off the ground and assume the clients will come, or think they have done enough in stages 1-3. Stage four is never achieved, it has to be constant and that’s why hiring a marketing professional is essential.

Interested in the transportation business but don’t have all the time to research or think you can’t afford it? Consider starting a BlueGrace Logistics Franchise. It costs a fraction of the average transportation business, offers brand recognition to new clients and the opportunity to enhance your relationship with existing ones. With BlueGrace franchise, most of the hard work is already done and as the owner you simply need to focus on stage four and build on your client relationships!

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Rate Reductions Coincide with Fuel Price Decreases

Gas Prices

Gas prices are now reaching under 3 dollars for the first time since 2010! It seems like a miracle driving around seeing signs in the 2’s, but it IS a reality. Obviously the lowering of the price of gas is due to a drop on the price of oil, but do you know why? Researchers say there are various reasons, such as drilling in Iraq and Libya, or because Americans have reduced fuel usage in the past few years by driving more efficient cars and/or carpooling in order to save money, while in turn creating an overstock of fuel. The low gas prices are predicted to last through the holidays, however, it is likely they will rise above 3 dollars by spring or summer.

Do these new gas prices lower shipping rates? It is a little early to say but it is likely to happen, as carriers will have extra money for gas. Transportation such as bus and airfares have not yet lowered and may not, since the holidays are still the most expensive time to travel, and the demand during the season does not subside.

Make sure to check back for more updates on reduced rates!

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Meet BlueGrace South Carolina

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BlueGrace South Carolina’s main focus is Customer Service.  I’ve learned the term “Customer Service” is frequently stated in the Freight Industry but rarely implemented.  After receiving a Ceramic Engineering degree from Clemson University, I ventured in the Chemical Industry focusing on Sales and Sales Management.  After spending several years with DuPont, Saint-Gobain and General Electric, I learned the true meaning of Customer Service.  These companies stressed that retention of customers is based on your ability to provide invaluable assistance, knowledge and time catered to their needs.

While working as Sales Manager for General Electric, It was my responsibility to ensure our product was delivered in a timely manner, regardless of last minute changes from the customer or production.  I learned much about the freight industry and how to make it better.  I decided customers wanted a Transportation company to make their shipments a priority.  Weather they are shipping one box or ten tankers.

BlueGrace South Carolina is not only a liaison between the customer and freight carrier, but a Champion for our customer’s freight.  We consider every customer’s shipment a priority.  We have brought Customer Service back to the Freight Industry.

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10,000 Meanings For Logistics

 

BlueGrace Logistics…sounds professional right? What does logistics actually mean? And how does it apply to what we do here at BlueGrace? Let’s break it down…

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History

When learning any concept it is essential to understand how it came to be. The word logistics comes from the Greek word, logistiki that pertains to accounting and financial organization. Logistikas were military officers of ancient Roman and Greek empires that dealt with financial and supply distribution. The term surfaced during WWI by the U.S military as logistics. It was used for similar reasons but also the transportation of military materials, facilities, and personnel. The term logistics spread to other nations by WWII, and was soon after adopted by the business world for parallel definitions.


There are many definitions of the word logistics but there is a common theme through the different meanings, plan and organize. Logistics is the mortar in a brick wall. Without logistics corporations would be chaotic and unsuccessful.

In reference to transportation, BlueGrace is the connection between one business’s needs and another.


Logistics: (business definition) Logistics is defined as a business-planning framework for management of material, service, information, and capital flows. It includes increasingly complex information, communication, and control systems in today’s business environment. (http://www.logisticsworld.com/logistics.htm)

 

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The Meaning of Inbound Vendor Compliance

Did you know that BlueGrace has an inbound vendor compliance program?

Inbound Vendor Compliance

 

Many times when calling on new business we hear the term “vendor routed.” Many businesses think that they are not paying the freight when indeed they are. If there is a line item on your purchase order that says “Freight” with a cost, then guess what? That is the freight cost. We have come across many customers that have no visibility over those costs, and in lots of cases the manufacturers are uplifting that freight cost for added profits. At BlueGrace we analyze those inbound freight costs and set a price to make sure they come in lower than the manufacturers’ preferred carrier. We then draft a letter to be signed by your vendor, making them responsible for calling BlueGrace so that we can book a shipment with a least cost carrier.

Please call us at 800-MY-SHIPPING if you have any questions or would like to know more shipping with us!

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Guaranteed vs Expedited Shipping

Every day shipments are booked for pickup with LTL carriers, and on occasion those carriers get overloaded and miss the pickup. A serious problem arises when that freight was time critical, such as a manufacturer waiting on freight from their vendors to finish a product. In cases like this, we have seen plants shut down until the freight arrives.

One way to help prevent this situation from occurring is a guaranteed shipment. By placing a day guaranteed on your shipment, the LTL carrier will be responsible if the freight misses that guarantee. They are much more inclined to pick up freight with guarantees attached to avoid paying the freight charges.

In case a carrier does miss the pickup on a time sensitive shipment, an expedited shipment may be required.  A dedicated carrier is called in to move the freight. This carrier picks up the freight and drives straight through until it arrives at the specified delivery location. Shipping costs for Expedited Freight can become expensive, as you are paying for a dedicated truck. However, when you compare the costs of expedited shipping versus the cost of shutting down the manufacturing plant, it may be a bargain.

Freight traveling cross country may require an air rate. When the freight is sitting in Laredo, TX and needs to be in Boston, MA by 10 AM the next day, the freight must be sent by air. This can be very expensive as airline space is very limited.

BlueGrace Logistics are the experts in expedited situations and the phrase our LTL representatives typically hear is “you just saved my job!” The worst feeling in the world as a customer is knowing that your job may be on line if the freight does not arrive. When you have a hotel opening in New York on Saturday and the drapes are still in Alabama on Thursday morning, that sinking feeling in your stomach will not go away until the freight arrives. On Friday morning when the customer calls to say “Thank you! You saved my job!” there is a feeling of significant relief for them – which is the best feeling for our company.

Avoid the stress and don’t play with chance, setup your next time sensitive shipment with BlueGrace Guaranteed services.  In the event you need expedited help, BlueGrace can help you there too.

 

BlueGrace Logistics

Got Freight? Get a Quick and Easy Freight Quote
1-800-MY-SHIPPING

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BlueGrace Logistics will be closed for Labor Day on Monday 9/2

LABOR DAY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE – 2013

BlueGrace Logistics and all Carrier Partners WILL BE CLOSED ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2013.  We will resume business the following day on Tuesday, September 3rd. We’d like to wish you all a great, relaxing Labor Day Weekend.

Need help before the holiday rush? Call your dedicated rep or reach one of our logistics experts at 800.MY.SHIPPING or get an Quick & Easy Freight Quote Online.

Thank You,

BlueGrace Logistics

Need a Freight Quote?  Get one Quick & Easy Here
800.MY.SHIPPING

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Fitting the Bill – The Benefits of Intermodal Shipping

With Trucking providing competitive rates and shipments more manageable than ever, why would anyone look to an option with limitations such as intermodal shipping? Naturally one would think there is a more efficient option nowadays than using the old Transcontinental Railroad for transporting goods.

The answer may surprise you. Intermodal shipping has actually been on the rise and offers a unique set of benefits that can actually suit some shipments better than the most popular option of trucking.


Pros of Intermodal

  • Typically cheaper than over the road full truck loads
  • Great for long distance Shipments – Coast to Coast or Over 800 miles
  • Multiple rail providers have increased availability and competitive pricing
  • Not estimated rates – Pricing is locked in

With the pros, come the cons of Intermodal

  • Freight cannot be time sensitive
  • Only full loads- cannot move “LTL” – moves as a 53 ft container
  • Must book with 24 hours’ notice
  • MAX weight – 43,500 lbs

How about an example of how Intermodal is great for long distance project moves?

BlueGrace Intermodal freight

A customer of ours was in the midst of plans to relocate their warehouse from Chicago, Illinois to Houston, Texas and needed to ship over 40 full load shipments to their new location.

Seems easy enough, right? For a truckload representative, they think they just got the sale of month! Unfortunately for them, Intermodal priced each load $300 cheaper for than over the road. Instantly, shipping by rail presented a $12,000 difference in savings over the freight spend for 40 full truckloads. If pricing alone wasn’t enough, there were additional benefits that ended up making Intermodal the crucial choice.

During the move they loaded 3 containers per night, staggered the deliveries to by letting them go to the rail yard and sit when needed (rail yards give 1-2 days of free time, in comparison having to pay a driver to sit overnight or get detention on a delivery). In addition, one carrier was scheduling all the appointments which eliminated the confusion with multiple truckload drivers

For this customer, shipping Intermodal made the whole difference. Rail provided them with the flexibility to manage a successful move by saving over $10,000 in freight costs alone, by allowing them the capability to stage the delivery as needed so that the receiving warehouse would not be overloaded, and avoided a potential logistics nightmare with 40 different trucks from different carriers.

Next time you are looking to make a sizable, long distance shipment, make sure to check out any intermodal shipping options.   Contact a rail shipping representative today. You can also request a rail freight shipping quote to see cost savings.

 

BlueGrace Logistics

Got Freight? Get a Quick and Easy Freight Quote
1-800-MY-SHIPPING

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An LTL Insurance Disaster: Don’t Let It Happen To YOU

Every day thousands of shipments are processed by Less than Truckload(LTL) carriers. Many national carriers are trusted by US businesses to ensure that their freight makes it to the final destination safely and in one piece. However, an issue that stands out with many customers is that they do not really understand that when one of their shipments is damaged, just how much the carrier is liable for.

A Logistics Nightmare

Our customer booked an ocean shipment from New Jersey to Hawaii. Any shipments that go to Hawaii are transported by an LTL carrier from the pick-up location to the port in Los Angeles where they are prepared for the steamship.

Initial thoughts were that no one in their right mind would ship $52k worth of material in a cardboard box, across the country.

Freight was booked through the freight forwarder, an inland carrier was selected, and no cargo insurance was applied. The customer “packaged” the freight in a cardboard box on an undersized pallet. By the time the freight arrived to the port in Los Angeles,  the customer’s worst nightmare began – The cardboard box was ripped to shreds and the freight was damaged.

The paperwork process began with the LTL carrier first asking, “what is the value of the freight that has been damaged?” Answer was $52,319.00. Initial thoughts were that no one in their right mind would ship $52 K worth of material in a cardboard box, across the country. Let alone, be put on a vessel and rocked on a boat for a week. But our customer insisted the value was correct, so we began what we knew would be a long claim process.

 

The Importance of Packaging 

Based on the LTL carrier’s rules for the class and limit per pound, the payout from the inland carrier was $1,123.00 and that is only if they agree they are at fault. After a three-month process, including an inspection of the freight, it was determined the freight was not packaged properly. However, the carrier did agree to pay a portion equal to a third of the required amount. Essentially the customer would get $374.33 for a $52,319.00 piece of equipment (a loss of $51,944.67 for the equipment alone). The $374.33 didn’t even cover the freight cost.

This was not a satisfactory solution for the customer. The forwarder was then held accountable for the freight, but again under the limits of liability is only required to pay $1,123.00. After 11 months of negotiations going back and forth, the customer finally received the payout for the damaged freight in the amount of $1,123.00.

This meant that once again, their freight was improperly packaged and would be susceptible to damage yet again.

Several weeks after the first shipment was damaged, the company asked for a rate to ship the same product over. Since the freight was damaged and never made it, they now had to ship the replacement. After being asked if they have had the replacement shipment professionally crated, they replied with “What do you mean – we bought a pallet and shrink wrapped it down, is this not sufficient?” This meant that once again, their freight was improperly packaged and would be susceptible to damage yet again.

Moral of the Story – Carriers know that damages will occur and have built that cost into the shipment ahead of time. The carrier’s liability has been predetermined to cover the bare minimum of what damages have been projected to incur. In addition, customers themselves can put their own shipments at risk with no fault of the carriers by simply not having their shipments packaged properly.

The BlueGrace Difference: No Hassle Insurance

Insuring your products at a minimal cost to you, give you peace of mind that if the worst occurs, you are fully protected.

BlueGrace Logistics can provide full coverage cargo insurance on every shipment regardless of how high the value is. Insuring your products at a minimal cost to you, give you peace of mind that if the worst occurs, you are fully protected. Keep it simple, values are based on purchase order or invoice amount of your product and not some complex or confusing rate table.  Please reach out to your BlueGrace Sales Representative or call customer service today at 1-800-MY-SHIPPING for more information!

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Port of Possibilites: The Expansion of the Port of Tampa

The expansion of a port city can have a strong effect on the host city and its economy. Expansion on the shipping industry in a particular region drives everything from employment to home prices. On September 3, 2007 , the Panama Canal began expansion with a scheduled completion in late 2014. The expansion of the port will allow for larger cargo ships to pass through the canal; which will make shipping out of Asia into the Eastern United States much more cost effective. In order to align with the projected growth in the shipping industry as a result of this expansion, The Port of Tampa has launched an aggressive Port Expansion project as well.

The current global shipping situation mandates that large sea carriers from Asia  must navigate around  South America in order to access the eastern United States, and vice versa. The expansion of the Panama Canal will allow for large sea carriers to pass through, and hence permit a more economical way to ship from Asia to the Midwest and Eastern United States. On July 26, 2012 the Port of Tampa purchased 110 acres from South Bay Corp and Industrial park to facilitate the expansion of the port facility near Gibsonton, FL. This land purchase is setting stage for the Port of Tampa to expand and gain a slice of the anticipated growth in the freight shipping industry as a result of the expansion of the Port of Panama.  The expansion of the Port of Tampa will directly affect our local economy through the addition of jobs and driving local industries.

Blue Grace Logistics has made a reputation for being a progressive freight transportation company focused on providing the very best in cost effective and time efficient services to their customers. The expansion of the Port of Tampa, more specifically the terminal in Gibsonton will put Blue Grace in an even better position to possibly add value to the local economy. Inc. 500 recently recognized Blue Grace Logistics with a Hire Power 2012 award for being a hero in Job Creation. The expansion of the Port of Tampa further positions Blue Grace to possibly offer employment opportunities resulting from increased freight traffic, a few years the changes take place.  We may have the opportunity to help our customers capitalize on more cost effective shipping, which will assist them in growing a more successful business.

Responsibility to the community in which you operate is crucial to business success. Blue Grace Logistics has continually contributed to the success of our local economy. As the expansion of the Port of Panama concludes in 2014, and US ports begin to see increased traffic; the City of Tampa will experience exponential growth. As a national leader in the Logistics and Transportation Industry, Blue Grace Logistics is poised to improve on the services offered to our current and prospective customers. The expansion of the Port of Tampa is an exciting and encouraging sign that our city is and will continue to thrive and be a shining beacon in our nation’s economy.

What impacts do you think this Port Expansion will have on our local economy? Nationally?

Currently, BlueGrace offers a variety of international shipping services, domestic freight forwarding services, LTL, TL and more. Check out our services and technology for more information on our company and if you have any questions on how we can help you. You can also call us at 1.800.MY.SHIPPING for more information.

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A Guaranteed Shipping Story by: Michael Sannuto

WHY! OH! YOU! YOU! YOU!

Companies ship with us because they believe or have some type of faith in the person who contacted them from BG to get their business. Case in point:

I just set up a new shipper yesterday that had very high anxiety about shipping because his products are shipped in very time sensitive situations and he has been burned before. His freight was lost, still had to pay and was not compensated in anyway.  He hammered me with questions about what BG does if we book a shipment with “Guaranteed” delivery and it does not arrive on time.  He wasn’t totally happy with my answer as I explained we will “fight” for him, but he ended up shipping with me anyway.  I gave my word that I would keep a close eye on his shipment and “babysit” it for him.  I meant what I said and delivered on my promise for his guaranteed shipping needs. I have been keeping him in the loop with email status updates over the last 2 days, kept in touch with the carrier and made sure the delivery was a smooth process.  He continually responds with “You are great”, “Thank you for taking care of this for  me”, “I really appreciate your help”, “You’re doing a great job”. Helping people keeps me going at BlueGrace and we do it for people every day.

We’re happy to say that his shipment is on track for pick up today. I sent him an update to let him know and he is very happy someone actually cares.
This is how we roll. We care, we go beyond expectations, we are BlueGrace.  It’s all about YOU!

My Shared Experience by: Michael Sannuto, National Sales Representative

Let BlueGrace fight the complex battles of shipping for you. We know the meaning of Exceptional Logistics.

Our Guaranteed Shipping services come with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee. Click here to learn more about BlueGrace Logistics’ Guaranteed & Expedited Services. To book a shipment, please call 800.697.4477– you can even ask for Michael Sannuto himself!

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The Silver-Lining of Superstorm Sandy

With initial estimates of economic losses due to Sandy reaching into the $30-$50 billion range, it’s strange to think that there could actually be a silver-lining to such a detrimental cloud. And in fact, the trucking industry alone suffered around a whopping $140 million per day loss. This number is based on 20% of the industry not moving freight because of Sandy’s aftermath. However, with these dismal numbers at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it’s wise to note that some trucking companies do actually benefit from natural disasters.

The clean-up and rebuilding phase following the super storm is what gives the transportation industry its light at the end of the tunnel. Fleets are expected to see an increase in activity in the coming months with demand on the rise. Construction companies and the flatbed carriers that haul their materials will experience quite the surge.

Flatbed carriers aren’t the only ones to have a boost in freight, however. Dry van carriers will also see a boom in business with retailers needing to replenish depleted goods on store shelves. Though many will experience a loss initially, the storm’s resulting damage will create new demand later. The immediate need for restocking, for example, is one that only the time-sensitive characteristic of trucking can provide. Not only is it excess work because everything is rushed, it’s also out of normal route, and people are willing to pay more. All of this in turn, leads to a faster recovery for the industry. FTR (Freight Transportation Research Association) Senior Consultant Noel Perry predicts that the losses caused by the storm, will ultimately be recovered due to resupply and rebuilding truck freight needs. Perry predicts the storm will generate $15 billion in additional revenue for trucking over the next three or four quarters.

Sandy’s disruption to replenishing food, gas and other goods serves as a glaring reminder that freight transportation is the backbone that supports our everyday life.  Whether a storm for you causes a loss or a sudden boom in business, you still need to have a plan for whatever comes next. Though you cannot predict, you can prepare. Check out the checklist we developed to help prepare your supply chain for natural disasters!

Have your own tips or precautions that you take in preparation for the unpredictable? Fill us in here so we can all benefit!

For more information on BlueGrace Logistics visit www.mybluegrace.com, or to request a quote, fill out the form below.

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Educating the World on Logistics with SVP Sales, Eric Chambers

It’s funny, when I was looking for my first job no one who I interviewed with knew what the term “Logistics” meant. Now, it is almost a common term given the help of the likes of UPS and FedEx.
Given the global economy and the constant pressure on businesses to be more efficient for competitive reasons, “Logistics” is now a major part of most corporate strategies. Coupled with this focus is the need for individuals well versed in this discipline. Years ago transportation was a 2nd thought and normally managed by the same person who loaded the truck. Now it’s managed by Sr. Management at most organizations or in proprietorships, the owner themselves. BlueGrace Logistics… is focused on the logistics (or overall management and implementation of transportation processes).
The world in a sense has known about logistics for ages. Armies who had supplies won the wars and new settlements staked their very lives on supplies arriving on time hoping to carry enough inventories to support them until the next delivery. Even today, relief organizations rely heavily on transportation to get food and medicine to those in need. Therefore, the education of logistics has been happening for some time, it just hasn’t been very formal. Diplomas in “Business Logistics” were rare 30 years ago; now, they are common with many universities offering degrees in it.
Multi-National Corporations are using skilled employees throughout the world to secure a competitive edge through the use of Supply Chain Management. If you look at our Enterprise Solutions, you’ll see how BlueGrace provides complete solutions as they are used in the transportation industry today. Because logistics is an ongoing process, it is time consuming and numerous studies have been done showing that up to 35% of an organizations cost is in Inventory Carrying Cost. Keeping inventories low by better planning, forecasting, and replenishment practices is a major focus for businesses to succeed.
In summary, with economic globalization there really is not a country or society not involved in Logistics. Multi-National Corporations are reaching into very remote regions for raw materials while emerging societies are providing goods and services to the more established countries of the world. Logistics is the key to making all the connections of our global society.

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Why does it cost so much to ship my freight? A Word with BlueGrace’s SVP, Adam Blankenship.

If you have ever shipped anything, you probably have considered the question of “how do they come up with these prices”. Whether you are at the post office shipping a box full of presents to the grandkids at the holidays or on the shipping dock of your company watching a tractor trailer truck drive away with your freight, the shipping process is both confusing and complicated. Adding to the problem is the rising cost of shipping. While estimates vary, transportation costs as a percentage of sales range from as 5% – 15% depending on the industry and as much as 30 – 50% of the overall cost of the goods. With numbers like these, it clearly becomes important to make sense of the complexity and put a strategy in place to maximize the value you get for your transportation dollars.

Industry experience and shipping expertise are vital in managing costs across the many variables that drive transportation and supply chain costs. Shipping costs and prices are driven by factors such as raising cost of labor, insurance, facilities upkeep, volatile fuel markets, regional geographic differences, customer size, competitor rates, availability of multiple transport modes, freight breakability, time of the day, seasonality, sense of urgency and perceptions of customer’s willingness to pay or need. With so many cost and pricing factors, it is no wonder people get confused. Fortunately, businesses are not alone in their quest to make sense of the shipping process. Today, numerous third party logistics providers (3PLs like BlueGrace Logistics) exist to help companies and in some cases individuals simplify the shipping experience, save money and improve the performance of their supply chain or transportation and shipping functions.

3PLs have established themselves as market leaders in transportation and logistics. Both small businesses with only a few shipments per month and major corporations benefit from working with companies like BlueGrace. Experience in the transportation industry along with access to carrier partnerships and best in class technology provides a tremendous advantage to shippers. Senior Vice-President at BlueGrace, Adam Blankenship, recently was quoted saying, “with transportation costs accounting for such as large percentage of the overall cost of the goods, companies must effectively manage their supply chains. Failure to do so will put them at a significant competitive disadvantage in their markets.” Blankenship went on to say that “at BlueGrace, we understand what drives cost to carriers and we help our customers with optimizing their shipping patterns, freight shipping configurations, and carrier selections.”

Shipping prices are in large part impacted by two major areas. First are the direct costs that transportation companies experience when handling freight. The costs of labor, insurance, vehicle maintenance are largely costs that shippers have little direct control over. Wild swings in fuel prices and soaring insurance costs have drastically impacted the cost of shipping in recent years. However, costs related to freight theft, damage, and cube utilization do offer areas where smart shippers can save money. For example, packaging high value freight in very plain boxes which do not draw attention to the contents inside does have an impact on freight theft. Shipping freight on well packaged skids that allow transportation companies to fully utilize the cube of their trucks will make a company’s freight less costly and more desirable. Good 3pls like BlueGrace can help educate shippers on how to make their freight as desirable (least costly to handle) as possible to carriers and thereby secure the best possible pricing.

The other area impacting shipping cost has little to do with cost and more to do with a company’s willingness or need to pay. In many cases, transportation companies set rates based on seasonality, the amount of freight moving in a given lane, how soon the customer needs the freight, what the competition is doing and in many cases simply how much they believe they can charge. This is where the value of a top-notch 3pl really shows up. Companies such as, BlueGrace Logistics, have solid, long-term relationships with virtually all major transportation companies in the United States. Further they have the technology to analyze a company’s shipping data and build an optimal plan for shipping using a variety of carriers across numerous markets. In some cases, this may even mean utilizing more than a single mode of transportation (i.e. LTL, TL, Rail, Ocean, etc). Not to mention that the increased leverage and buying power of experienced 3pls helps customers to control shipping costs over time.
Blankenship states that “the true value of BlueGrace or any great 3pl is not only to save you money, but to also save you time and improve the performance of your supply chain in the process.”

Many of the costs that drive transportation and shipping costs ever higher will likely be present for the foreseeable future. That coupled with the old industry adage of “if you bought it, a truck brought it” means that this topic will be on the minds of shippers for a long time. So while you probably cannot avoid shipping costs, there are many good 3pls out there including BlueGrace Logistics to help you take the complexity of those shipping costs and save you money in the process.

Give BlueGrace a call at 800.MY.SHIPPING or send an email to contactus@mybluegrace.com to speak with one of our logistics experts today!

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Manufacturing: Coming Back to America

One of the best trends I have seen in the U.S. logistics industry is the bounce back of U.S. manufacturing, albeit slow recovery. During the economic recession, the U.S. relied on outsourcing jobs and manufacturing to countries such as China and India. Although doing this helps U.S. businesses reduce their bottom line costs in the short term, does it actually hurt our country?

Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. on the rise.
Small and large businesses are beginning to bring jobs and manufacturing back home to the U.S. http://bit.ly/KQohUJ

Today, small and large businesses are slowly beginning to bring these jobs back home. U.S. manufacturers are taking it upon themselves to include that all important “Made in the U.S.A.” stamp back on their goods, but there have been questions posed about their supply chain. These companies bring in large loads of raw materials and then break them down into smaller quantities. Large loads are brought in via rail or full truckload and then when produced into smaller quantities they are shipped via less than truckload (LTL). As you can imagine, transportation spend is a large part of a manufacturer’s budget… and that’s why 3PLs are here to help! A reliable 3PL allows manufacturers to leverage their freight shipping and reduce their overall spend on transportation. Companies, such as BlueGrace® Logistics, also make sure they are shipping under their correct freight class to avoid possibilities of re-class and unexpected charges.

As for me, I hope to see and ship a lot of new products in the 4th quarter for the holidays… and it means more when they are “Made in the U.S.A” What are your thoughts on the direction of goods manufactured in the US? Are you also in the transportation industry and can offer your insight on this topic? Leave a comment below!

If you are interested in learning more about how BlueGrace Logistics can help your business leverage its freight shipping, contact an expert on our team today!

Dustin Snipes, Senior National Sales Manager – Inbound
Twitter: @dsnipesnole_bg

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Common Concerns and Simple Solutions of U.S. Manufacturers

How does logistics differ among manufacturers across the globe? Do the logistics needs of a particular steel manufacturer differ from that of a food and beverage supplier versus or a chemical manufacturer? In some instances, absolutely – But, according to a recent Logistics Management article that discusses the results of the “Business Strategy: 2012 Supply Chain Survey – Manufacturing Priorities and New Technology Adoption,” most all manufacturing companies share a common concern – reducing supply chain costs by implementing simple solutions through the use of technology.

There is no doubt that the global economy is impacting all manufacturers and retailers. Consumers demand faster production, higher quality materials, and lower prices. Transportation logistics typically accounts for 30% of the cost of any good. Here are some ways you can stay competitive in your marketplace, while increasing your bottom line:

  • PLAN AHEAD: Begin planning for the increase in demand for the holiday season this year. Retailers have prepared their forecasts and are analyzing consumer purchasing trends. Perhaps your item is going to be on the “hottest-selling” list this year. Are you ready? Back-to-school season is fast approaching and the ports have been planning for a virtuous year for retailers.   As we all know, no matter how well you plan – stuff happens! You must be flexible, react and make changes when necessary.
  • Lean strategies and operations: Whether it’s wasted materials or labor hours, a business must adopt lean thinking and processes to remain competitive and profitable in a global market. Eliminate waste in your production: hours, materials, etc.
  • Transportation efficiency: That’s where we come in, and there’s that word efficiency again! Trucking companies, ports, and 3PLs (like BlueGrace Logistics) are continuously searching for ways to move goods across the globe seamlessly. Technology plays a critical role in efficiency and a transportation management system (TMS) could be just the perfect solution for your business’ logistics needs. With a TMS, you are able to quote freight shipments, book the carrier of your choice, and track 24-7.  BlueShip® offers customization and can be integrated to your businesses information system. Controlling transportation costs is led by route optimization, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced idle time.

Take a look at the findings of the Business Strategy: 2012 Supply Chain Survey – How does your company’s concerns differ or mirror those of over 350 U.S. manufacturers surveyed? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Contact one of our transportation experts today to book a shipment! Shoot us an e-mail or give us a call at 800.MY.SHIPPING

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Lesson for Heavy Weight Shippers

Overloaded Dry Van
This is a caution to heavy weight shippers! You cannot overload a trailer in the middle of the van.

Now this is something you don’t expect to see on your way home from work…

One of our team members captured this scene of a dry van that caved in, and as you can imagine – causing major delays during 5 o’clock rush hour on northbound I-75.

This is a caution to heavy weight shippers! You cannot overload a trailer in the middle of the van. Instead, the weight (under 45,000 lbs) must be evenly distributed throughout the trailer. Perhaps this shipment was best fit for a flatbed. Flatbeds have reinforced steel beams underneath that are designed to support heavy loads compared to a dry van.

For more information on flatbed versus dry van shipping or to book an LTL or truckload shipment with a top rated carrier contact us today.

Our team of logistics experts is happy to assist you – and fellow commuters will thank you!

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Logistics in the U.S. – Facts at a Glance

Logistics in the U.S. - Facts at a Glance Every facet of American life is touched by transportation. With freight being the economic staple that it is, every haul is a piece of a complex logistical puzzle that powers our nation. We’ve dug up some interesting factoids to help shed some light on just how large of a role transportation plays!

  • The US is comprised of 566 railroads (138,623 railroad miles).
  • Total 2011 U.S. logistics spend was estimated at $1.28 trillion up 6.6% over 2010.
  • According to the 2012 3PL Study, shippers who partner with third-party logistics providers report an average cost reduction of 13% and nearly two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents reported an increase in their use of outsourced logistics services.
  • 3.5 Million: The approximate number of truck drivers moving America’s freight. To put this in perspective, 1 in every 15 people working in the U.S. is employed in the trucking industry.
  • The transportation and warehousing sector totaled 4.292 million people in 2011. You can be an addition to this number, check out a career with BlueGrace Logistics!
  • Fact: Trucking is the dominate mode of transportation for our nation’s freight movement by approximately 71%.
  • 1.2 Million: The number of trucking companies operating in the U.S.
  • The highest-valued imported products in the U.S. include: agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys).
  • There are 149 ports located in the U.S.  South Louisiana, Houston, New York/New Jersey, and Long Beach often hitting the top of the list when ranked by tonnage or TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).
  • American businesses transported over 19 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods in 2002, valued at $13 trillion (including domestic commodity movements and domestic transportation of exports and imports).
  • More than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is related to transportation activity.

After exposing your brain to all of this info, the importance of transportation should be crystal clear. You can see how each load is merely a link to an ever-globalizing supply chain. There’s never been a better time to get involved in this industry!

Any of these numbers surprise you? Share your logistics facts and figures with us!

Let us know what you think!

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Are You Prepared if a Natural Disaster Disrupts Your Supply Chain?

Although the Weather Channel forecasts a below-average hurricane season in 2012 – there is still uncertainty and history says you can never be too prepared. As Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro instructs,

“people in hurricane-prone areas should be equally prepared every year regardless of seasonal outlooks.”

So what can your business do to prepare this hurricane season? Our team has outlined a few simple procedures to integrate throughout your entire supply chain to help you be proactive and prevent potential loss.

Flooded city hurricane aftermath
Flooded street in the Soho area of Manhattan from last year’s Hurricane Irene. Source: http://bit.ly/LhejIK
  1. Team: Are you prepared if your team is short-handed? Remember that cell phones, email, land lines, etc may become unavailable, which can cause great confusion. To avoid this stress, be sure to have multiple channels to communicate important messages and announcements to your staff. Satellite telephone systems offer a reliable form of communication for your immediate staff members.
  2. Customers: If/when your business is notified of a potential storm, let your customers know immediately so that they can plan ahead and adjust their inventories. Are there any products or materials that will be high in demand before or in the aftermath? The key is to remain flexible.
  3. Supply Chain: Daily operations and supply chain processes can be complicated very easily in the presence of severe weather. An easy way to prepare is to run through best and worst case scenarios with your team so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and how to respond quickly and effectively.
  4. Suppliers: Do you work directly with a single supplier? Is the business located in a hurricane prone area? If so, plan ahead with the supplier and ask how they have prepared to provide services or products in times of disaster. It’s also a good idea to maintain good relationships with multiple suppliers especially if you find yourself in a pinch.
  5. Freight: Be prepared to make special arrangements for your shipments. If the roads are dangerous, truck drivers will be pulled off for safety. An easy proactive measure is to schedule your freight shipments earlier or work with a logistics provider to see if there are any alternative routes. Keep in mind port availability. In the case of heavy rain and flooding, your freight may not be able to move. Consider all modes of transportation.
  6. Insurance Provider: Be sure to have a copy of your policy and get any questions answered from your provider so you’re not left wondering.
  7. Data: Backing up your data is critical. In today’s global economy, businesses function on computer systems and databases. Be sure that your business documents, records, etc are stored at an off-site location.
  8. Community: Once your business has a backup plan, reach out to others in your community and share your tips and advice on how you prepared your business for a natural disaster. Hint: You can start by sharing this information!

No matter how many hurricanes, tropical storms, or natural disasters occur – it only takes one to impact our communities and cause major disruption. Get a plan started today and re-evaluate periodically, especially if severe weather is on the way.

We hope that these hurricane preparedness tips and reminders are helpful to your business. Of course, it is our hope that you will never have to put your plan into action. If you would like more information on how to formulate your own plan, build a kit and get involved, check out this natural disaster preparedness resource from FEMA.

 

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