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Tampa Manufacturing and Logistics – A Perfect Marriage.

blog-Tampa Manufacturing

Manufacturing in Florida, is the backbone of the state’s economy.

Florida has nearly 18,000 manufacturers in all types of industries ranging from traditional such as plastics and printing to breakthrough technologies like aerospace and medical devices.

Tampa Bay knows a thing or two about manufacturing and economic development, as it is home to 19 corporate headquarters with over $1 billion in annual revenue, eight of which are Fortune 1000 companies.

The depth and diversity the city provides for its economy makes for the perfect marriage of logistics and businesses, especially manufacturers.

Manufacturing Growth Perfect for 3PLs

While the manufacturing businesses in the region are continuing to see a huge amount of growth, the infrastructure that Tampa Bay provides, is allowing modern logistics and Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers to grow and adapt alongside the companies they ship for.

Florida is second in the nation for transportation infrastructure with our ports, airports, rail and roadways.

Logistics and 3PLs providers are always looking for ways to improve these modes to help businesses move raw materials, components and finished products. With these options, logistics and 3PL providers have the ability to provide customized transportation programs that help grow local manufacturing.

E-Commerce Puts Pressure on Logistics

Both regionally and nationally based manufacturers are seeing a demand to keep up with e-commerce giants like Amazon, which means that their logistics provider needs to stay one step ahead to provide efficient and cost effective transportation management. Much like consumers, big box retailers and mom and pop shops now demand the product to be on their shelves at a quicker pace. This “just-in-time” mentality is what puts a strain on manufacturers who rely on an in-house transportation department. Business intelligence and carrier advocacy are critical to these companies in order to keep up with the changing market.

The Value of Business Intelligence

Of all the resources that a logistics or 3PL providers delivers to its customers, the most underrated yet most valuable is business intelligence. A 3PL has the ability to take a company’s current freight data and see where opportunities are being missed, find ways to shave costs and offer an efficient transportation program that ultimately mirrors their business model and will push for more growth.

This valuable data, when run through the right engineering platforms, can help decide the best modes, which carriers to use and even help pinpoint where the best location for a new distribution center would be, based solely on past data and performance.

By partnering with logistics or 3PL providers that have access to multiple modes of transportation, large carrier networks and the ability to review current freight data, solutions can be provided that better fit the company’s business model. Manufacturers can adjust rapidly to the increased supply chain demands, without expensive increases to the head count of their transportation department.

Job Opportunities for the Future Generations

While the logistics and 3PL providers continue the push to deliver customized and adaptable transportation programs for manufacturers, the state of Florida is also striving to increase job opportunities to fulfill logistics and distribution demands. Currently the logistics and transportation industry employs more than half a million Floridians. 85,500 of these employees are working at companies that specifically provide logistics and distribution services. The future is also bright as Florida has ten public high school career academies offering training in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Technology.

Optimization and Forward Thinking Manufacturers

Today’s technology and service that a logistics or 3PL providers utilizes, paired with a forward thinking manufacturer looking to optimize their supply chain, will prove to be a successful marriage for growth. This growth is what will help bring even more success and jobs to Florida for both the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

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Out with the Old: Changes to the Bill of Lading

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Last week saw a change to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) bill of lading, as a supplement was released by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) which changes the terms and conditions of the Uniform Straight Bill of Lading.  According to a missive released by the Airforwarders Association, there are some rather substantial changes to the long standing and widely used bill. Two trade organizations that represent shippers in such matters, the Transportation Logistics Council (TLC) and the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) filed a petition for Suspension and investigation of the new changes; They were ultimately shot down by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

What Does this Mean for You?

The Uniform Straight Bill of Lading is something of a staple when it comes to land based shipping. If you are handling truck shipments, here are some of the more important changes that you need to know.

  • The Motor carrier responsible for cargo loss or damage is the one listed on the bill of of lading, rather than the one currently in possession of the bill during the time of loss.
  • According to the new terms and conditions, Carriers will no longer be responsible for loss, damage, or delays caused by Riots, Strikes, and any causes related to the five common exceptions. The burden of proof will now fall from the carrier to the shipper in these matters.
  • Prior to the changes, all claims were to be filed within nine months after delivery of the cargo, or in the event of failure to deliver, a reasonable amount of time after the delivery was supposed to have taken place. Under the new conditions, claims will have to be filed with nine months from the date of the bill of lading.
  • Previously, the limitation of liability could be applied if the cargo value was established by the shipper or was agreed upon, in writing, as the released value. Under the new language, a carrier can limit liability simply by publishing the limitation in its tariff.

It’s important to note, however, that these are only some of the changes being effected by the NMFTA’s new supplement. With the new bill of lading already in effect, make sure you understand the changes entirely to avoid possible future complications.

 

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The Logistics of Natural or Manmade Disasters

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Transporting freight to areas affected by natural or manmade disasters is one of the toughest challenges in logistics. The recent floods in Louisiana are an example of the difficulties involved. Two interstates were closed causing 55,000 daily motorists, including truckers, to use Interstate 20.

This added over 200 miles to some of the trips.

There were trucks being dispatched with relief supplies and there were trucks passing through the affected regions with loads destined for Houston and San Antonio, TX. The detours and interstate delays caused many loads to miss their service deadlines.

Disaster Recovery Procedures Established

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the devastating flooding of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, much improvement has been made in the area of disaster recovery logistics.

We now have established frameworks are in place to handle almost any situation.

However, due to the nature of disasters and catastrophes, logistics experts must be adaptive. An example of the Strict Utilization of Established Frameworks is brought to mind with the story of a few “Good Samaritan” truck drivers who wanted to support the Hurricane Floyd relief effort. They arrived at inland shipping locations, volunteering to move the loads of supplies at no cost. After much confusion and hours of waiting, they were turned away as the contracted carriers transported the loads.

Some companies like Anheuser-Busch, take this opportunity for charity as well. They recently sent over 250,000 cans of water to the Louisiana flood victims.

FEMA Diverts Carrier Assets

During times of disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with contracted carriers to transport basic needs items like water, food and temporary shelter.

When the event happens, carriers supply resources to FEMA immediately because the response has to be swift in order to be effective. These FEMA contracts are very lucrative and assets must be provided as requested per the demanding federal contracts. Shippers could be left out in the cold when carrier assets are diverted to such an operation.

Specialized 3PLs Dedicated to Recovery

Major segments of the economy have standing agreements with 3PLs that specialize in business continuity and disaster recovery operations. When disaster hits, there is no time to build relationships and negotiate responsibilities. It has to be pre-planned and recorded in a binding contract or a memorandum of understanding.

When asked about his responsibilities, this small fleet owner who contracts with a specialized disaster relief 3PL said –

“I subcontract with a logistics provider who contracts directly with AT&T. The communication sector is vital to our national economy and national security, so when there is a disruption, we are called to transport fuel, generators, sanitation equipment, temporary shelters, food and anything else you can think of that is needed in a disaster response.”

In conclusion, logistics providers must have established procedures in place, prior to a disastrous event. Attempts to circumvent established procedures will not work in times of crisis.

Customer needs must be clearly defined.

Customer needs must be clearly defined for these situations and a framework of service providers identified. When such an event happens, the long hours of planning will pay off and result in the service being provided.

 

 

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Backpacks of Hope – A Drive for Student Success

2016 Backpacks of Hope

Back To School = $$$

As every parent with a school-age child in their home knows, the phrase “Back to School” means one thing; school supply shopping. While this can be a fun, bonding experience with your child, it can also be a stressful one. The average spend on school supplies exceeds $600 and this expenditure can be a huge struggle for many families, BlueGrace Logistics wanted to help.

BlueGrace Expansion Leads to More Charity

Every year, BlueGrace partners with local charitable organizations to collect school supplies in a drive called “Backpacks of Hope.” With the expansion of the company into multiple locations around the country, including Chicago, Boston, and New Jersey, the drive was able to help many more children than in the past.

“We collected over 1500 items on a typical school supply list, including backpacks, notebooks, paper, folder, crayons, binders and much more,” said Courtney Smith, Manager of Culture & Engagement at BlueGrace Logistics.

School supplies were collected throughout the months of July and August. The drive culminated with a “Back to School” themed event on August 12th where employees were encouraged to dress in their best back-to-school clothes with all decades and trends welcomed and encouraged.

Metropolitan Ministries | Mother’s Of Hope | Perry Hall Elementary

BlueGrace’s corporate office, located in Tampa, FL, partnered with Metropolitan Ministries as they have in years past. While some offices, such as the location in South Jersey, graciously donated to the cause in Tampa, other offices in Chicago, Baltimore and Tallahassee partnered with local organizations in order to support their local schools.

Everything Collected

Collectively, BlueGrace as a company collected almost 150 backpacks, as well as hundreds of notebooks, folders, boxes of crayons, pencils and other needed supplies. The Chicago office was also able to collect just shy of $1,400 to assist families with additional needs, and the Tampa office was able to supply 5 students with school uniforms for the entire school year.

BlueGrace Logistics operates by 8 core values, the second being “Be Caring of Others.” Events such as these is BlueGrace’s way of caring for their communities, and they are excited to be able to make a larger impact across the country through the growth of all offices.

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Must Arrive By Date (MABD) Compliance and How it Affects YOU

MABD Blog

We’ve talked about it before | Walmart Compliance Regulations

Suppliers are under tighter compliance regulations to get the right products to the right stores or distribution centers by a certain time or they pay a fee. Walmart suppliers now face paying a fee of 3% of the cost of goods of all non-compliant deliveries.

These regulations for Walmart were implemented back in January of this year, but other retailers such as Target and Home Depot have been charging these fees for some time.

Manufacturers and suppliers that work with large retailers like Walmart, Target and Home Depot are more successful in getting their merchandise on the shelves with the proper lead time due to partnering with a third party logistics provider (3PL).

A third party logistics provider, or a 3PL, is an expert in transportation management and supply chain optimization and has the ability to help estimate from start to finish where the MABD will impact the suppliers products.

The MABD Window

The MABD Window includes the day the merchandise is due to the distribution center or other facility, plus the three previous days. It’s not just the arrival date that counts, it is also the contents and the number of items. If less than 90 percent of merchandise cases are received within the MABD delivery window, the supplier must pay 3% of the cost of goods.

Basically, retailers like Walmart and Target are no longer acting as warehouses, with too much inventory in back stock rooms or in trailers behind stores.

With these regulations, you can see that a smaller manufacturer might have an issue in managing the stresses of logistics. If the supplier is currently using the “cheapest” route to get products from point A to point B, their goods may be affected and the transportation model may need to change to not conflict with the MABD.

This is where a 3PL with a proven track record would come in and provide a customized transportation plan.

Ship Truckload or Less-Than-Truckload?

Manufacturers and Suppliers who ship Full Truckload have a much easier time complying with the rules because their trucks deliver to one destination. Unlike Less-Than-Truckload (LTL), which has their freight combined on a truck with several customers and several deliveries and has more opportunities for delays; especially if the goods are being delivered by a cheaper mode like rail.

A third party logistics provider could assist in an LTL shipper’s evaluation of their supply chain.

The entire supply chain would be evaluated. A 3PL could help the supplier consider using a more efficient carrier or find ways of improving the proper lead times and shipping the full order.

A Way to Avoid Fees

If at least 90 percent of the merchandise complies with the MABD window in a month, then the supplier is not subject to fees. That means one order in a month might arrive late or only contain 85 percent of the ordered merchandise for that purchase order. However, if that is the only out of compliance purchase order, then the supplier likely has a 90 percent or better compliance average for the entire month.

Resolving Issues

The hardest thing is to resolve issues. It’s better to stay ahead of the game and track compliance and with Walmart’s “Retail Link.” 3PLs and suppliers will need to keep focused eyes on the MABD compliance reports.

 

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The Uncertain Road to Autonomous Trucks

Autonomous Trucks

If you spend any time reading technology related content, you’d think that we’re ready to see flying cars in a few months.  The talk of autonomous vehicles dominates the automotive sector and most recently the trucking industry.  Trucking companies have been wanting this technology for years, but didn’t know it.  They’ve complained about rising labor costs, driver shortages and excess regulations. The autonomous vehicle engineers have nearly solved these problems.

Should the Freight Industry Adopt the Idea of Autonomous Trucks in the Future – Here are some of the benefits:

  • Trucks can run 24 hours a day – no hours of service regulations
  • Half of the trucks will be removed from roads as they can now operate 24/7
  • Maximum fuel economy – no stopping for sleep or food
  • Longer transit times will be cut in half
  • No labor costs for driving the truck – this will offset the higher prices of the vehicles

Will Autonomous Vehicles Become a Reality Sooner than Later?

The topic of autonomous vehicles has only been mainstream recently, however the ongoing work has been quietly advancing for quite a few years.  It’s been, and will continue to be an incremental process to full autonomy.  This incremental process has been happening before our eyes and we didn’t even know it.  Below are some of those incremental steps toward full autonomy.

  • Predictive cruise control
  • Collision prevention assist
  • Active blind spot assist
  • Active parking assist
  • Lane departure assist
  • Pedestrian recognition systems
  • Cross-Wind and roll-over stabilization

There is enough data available now for a vehicle to drive itself

 

Standard cruise control has been around for years, but the safety assist systems are comparatively new and are only found in late model vehicles.  There’s enough data available now for a vehicle to drive itself.  Cameras and radar are present so everything relevant to the safe operation can be picked up by the sensors.  Then, an advanced computing system calculates and initiates corrective actions.  These corrective actions are performed much faster than a human can react.  The final piece is to remove the driver and connect these systems to the steering mechanism and fully into the driveline.

So When Could This Actually Happen?

It’s hard to say because the general public will take a lot of convincing before they will accept and trust this technology.  The transition will be extremely challenging as it should be – there are many unanswered questions in regards to the programming.  Philosophers have been tapped to determine what the most ethical decision would be when the vehicle has to react to a situation where there aren’t any good choices.

Here are some thoughts on how autonomous trucks may be implemented:

  • Fully autonomous trucks will most likely operate on “smart highways.”
  • They will be upgraded interstates
  • They will incorporate sensors that communicate with the trucks
  • The U.S. government will have to invest heavily into our infrastructure to make this work.
  • With $19 trillion in debt, it’s doubtful they can do this.
  • Lag in government spending will slow the implementation.
  • Privately funded smart highways will be approved and built.

The implementation of autonomous trucks seems very likely despite the remaining obstacles.

The projected increase in efficiency will demand that this massive effort succeed.  The increased efficiency will lead to a myriad of positive results to include a reduction of trucks – therefore a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gases.

 

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BlueGrace Provides Logistics for Minnesota Tourism Campaign

 

Minnesota Tourism Thinking “inside” the Box

BlueGrace Logistics has been trusted to provide freight and logistics services for cultural and arts exhibits many times before and the recent campaign of “Minnesota in a Box”; an initiative set up through the state’s tourism department, was probably the most exciting for the truckload division at BlueGrace.

All 50 states have a tourism department that creates marketing and advertising campaigns to showcase their popular cities and landmarks. The state of Florida has beautiful beaches, the Space Coast, Miami and Disney World. Colorado has the Rocky Mountains, hiking, white water rafting and much more. If you watch any television, there is no doubt you have seen an advertisement to visit either one of these states; Minnesota just took it one step further.

Minnesota brought to YOU

Minnesota Tourism decided it would be best to capture two scenes that make Minnesota unique and create a tangible setting where people could interact and share images and video via their social media. These scenes were housed in 8x8x8 steel shipping containers. 

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Tourism In a Box

The shipping containers were exhibited in Kansas City, Denver and Chicago. They visited various street fests, MLB baseball games, RibFest in Chicago and a final Stint on the Navy Pier in Chicago before returning home.

We had weekend pickups and drop offs. We had late night trips to the office to arrange storage and middle of the night pick and runs as we navigated between events. – Brian Blalock, Sales Coach at BlueGrace Logistics.

 


Minnesota in a Box: To Get You to Visit, the State Will Now Visit You First

See Colle+McVoy’s MNstagram booths

Take a vacation to Minnesota? Nah, it’s too cold and dreary with all that snow and dreary-ness. Brrr…

To combat this common misperception, Explore Minnesota Tourism tricked out a pair of steel shipping containers for an immersive campaign that invites prospective visitors to “sample” a pair of the state’s diverse attractions and share their experiences via social media.

One of the 8-by-8-by-8-foot containers—they’re dubbed MNstagram booths—sports a wilderness motif that evokes the state’s Boundary Waters region, complete with wispy cattails, a morning mist generator, lilting loon calls on the soundtrack, and best of all, a wooden canoe for faux-paddling.

The other container simulates Minneapolis’ iconic First Avenue music club, complete with a fog machine, “bouncer,” purple stage lighting (a tribute to Prince, who featured the venue in Purple Rain), and best of all, a full drum kit, allowing folks to jam along with tunes playing over the sound system.

So, what prompted this inside-the-box approach? “Committing sight unseen to a Minnesota vacation can be a tall order,” says John Neerland, group creative director at Colle+McVoy, the agency behind the effort.

Hey, maybe that’s because they’ve all read about how it snows there in July! Oh wait, that was just an ad campaign. Never mind.

Plus, “running TV is often cost-prohibitive for a state tourism agency with a finite budget,” Neerland says. “We wanted to supplement our other efforts with a more hands-on, interactive, sharable and press-worthy experience.”

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Carrier Spotlight | Estes

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With “On-Time, As Promised” delivery and over 85 years of regional experience, it is a no surprise that Estes is one of the core carriers that BlueGrace Logistics works with.

Combined with strategically placed terminals and a national network, Estes provides its shippers with extensive coverage, a modern and well-maintained fleet, cutting-edge technology, an extremely low claims ratio and an industry-wide reputation for excellence.

Their Guaranteed Service can be booked directly in BlueShip. Just look for the “Guaranteed Standard Service” option next to lanes serviced by Estes.

Estes BlueShip

 

 Estes Regional Services Feature:

  1. In-depth coverage with nearly 750 million one and two day points
  2. Six strategic service regions in the U.S. with thousands of knowledgeable employees at each hub
  3. Multiple Estes terminals in each region to efficiently support heavy shipment volumes
  4. Technologically advanced loading and delivery systems
  5. Superior transit times
  6. A comprehensive, direct service territory including Alaska and Hawaii
  7. Over 99% claims free

Need to Expedite Your Freight after it’s shipped? Estes offers an In-Transit Upgrade.

Freight Moves Fast.

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Time Critical  When it comes to providing time-critical services, Estes has one of the highest success rates for on-time, as-promised delivery.

Expedited – Given their comprehensive network, some shipments other carriers consider expedited are standard, next-day deliveries for Estes.

Time/Date Definite – If you have freight that must be delivered on a specific date and/or within a short time frame, Estes has a solution. They can travel around the world on the next flight out or across the country using their asset-based ground services. You tell them the time, and they’ll get the job done.

 

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Why Auto Industry Growth Increases Logistics Technology Requirements

BlueGrace_AutoParts-

In 2015 the US automotive industry witnessed a record 5.7% increase in sales over 2014 to 17,402,659 light-vehicles according to the Automotive News Data Center. The good news continued with Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s annual industry outlook, in which it expects annual sales to top 20 million vehicles by 2018.

According to Merrill Lynch, the continued growth is attributed to solid consumer confidence, a steady job growth since the 2008 recession and an increase in total miles driven by Americans. 2016 started off well for the industry, however May-June “month-to-month” comparison dipped slightly. In the month of June, cars and truck sales were good for Ford which reported a 6.4% increase in sales, Fiat Chrysler was up 7%, Honda was up 3.2% and Nissan reported its best June ever, by being up 13.1%.

Strong Demand For Cars And Light Trucks

The continued strong demand for cars and light trucks in the US is particularly helping the growth in cross-border trade between Canada and Mexico. In fact, so much so, it’s common for trucks to sit and wait for long hours to enter the US and vice versa. Congestion is a problem in which the three governments as well as transportation carriers, are working towards solving.  Meanwhile, the tracking of finished vehicles and parts needed for assembly plants, has to be monitored at all times to keep the industry rolling.

This ‘just-in-time’ business model that many automotive manufacturers ascribe to, begs the need for complete transparency within supply chains.

This ‘just-in-time’ business model that many automotive manufacturers ascribe to, begs the need for complete transparency within supply chains. Whether its congestion on the border, a work stoppage at an assembly plant or a natural event, such as a snowstorm, disrupting a particular location, automotive manufacturers need to respond asap and adjust inventory as needed to keep all assembly plants humming.

Logistics Technology Is Playing A Larger Role

As a result, technology is playing a larger role and is turning the industry upside down with innovations like on demand 3D-printing of parts, and the tracking of shipped parts from manufacturing directly to the assembly floor. Many automotive manufacturers are already utilizing 3D-printing technology for specific components and even more are tracking their part deliveries with amazing accuracy that leads to additional productivity and profits.

Parts manufacturers need to better track and maintain their supply chain to keep up with the new demands placed on them by the automotive manufacturers

Auto parts logistics is shifting, bringing parts closer to the manufacturer. This is creating an impact on transportation demands, not to mention potential change in warehousing locations and inventory management. The parts manufacturers need to better track and maintain their supply chain to keep up with the new demands placed on them by the automotive manufacturers, and may need to utilize a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider, to keep up with these demands. A 3PL can take current and past shipping data and determine the most effective methods for a parts manufacturer to work with the new freight window scheduling of the the automotive manufacturer while maintaining and even increasing cost savings.

Automotive Manufacturers Team Up With Technology

As the automotive manufacturers increase the technology used to produce their vehicles, the current parts manufacturers’ supply chain can become out dated very quickly. These logistics changes have resulted in redefining the automotive industry into a technologically advanced supply chain monster. The automotive industry continues to reinvent itself and its supply chain will likely change as well. Auto parts manufacturers will need to be more collaborative with its partners, such as a 3PL, to transform each of the major supply chain components including sourcing, manufacturing locations, warehousing as well as transportation.

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Wants YOU

BGBLOCKPARTY1

We Bleed Blue

BlueGrace Logistics is on pace to massively exceed its earlier goal of hiring 100 new employees at our corporate office in 2016 and we are making huge strides toward the top of the 3PL industry. Our Core Values are a huge part of the hiring process and we strive to find individuals who fit that model.

BG Core Values

  1. Be Passionate about Excellence
  2. Be Caring of Others
  3. Pursue Outrageous Goals
  4. Simplify the Complex
  5. Embrace Chaos
  6. Perform with Agility, Speed & Precision
  7. Own Your Results, Be Humble
  8. Be Happy, Have Fun

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

At BlueGrace, we strive for innovation and excel by collaborating as a TEAM. Candidates call it fun, positive and refreshing; we call it the BlueGrace Experience. Our open floor plan, live Twitter feed, buzzing employee stations, and the occasional gong ring create a motivating and engaging atmosphere. At BlueGrace, we pride ourselves in providing our employees with opportunities for growth and success. If you Work Hard and Pursue Outrageous Goals – apply at BlueGrace Logistics TODAY!

Want to Join our Team?

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Our talent is scouted by a team of experienced recruiters seeking motivated individuals who want to grow with the nation’s fastest growing logistics service providers. From sales, accounting, technology, business, marketing and everything in between, we recruit talent from all walks of life. Every career move is considered a risk, but at BlueGrace it’s an opportunity. Join the BlueGrace team and be challenged, be creative and reveal your true potential!

 

Break Free From Your Job, START A CAREER WITH BLUEGRACE TODAY!

For more information on what it is like to work at BlueGrace, check out our profile on Glassdoor.com.

What It Is Like To Work At BlueGrace? See More –#BGHires On Twitter

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Carrier Spotlight | YRC Freight

YRC BLOG

Carrier Spotlight – YRC Freight

When a small business partners with BlueGrace Logistics, they automatically have access to BlueShip, one of the industry’s premier transportation management systems (TMS). BlueShip allows customers to quote a shipment, print Bill of Ladings (BOL), price out different carriers and much more. Among the list of carriers that BlueGrace works with is, YRC Freight.

BlueGrace Logistics has worked with YRC Freight since 2009 and is a national carrier that offers a unique set of services to accommodate their shippers always evolving needs.

YRC Freight LTL Services

  1. The LTL OriginalStandard Service allows for freight to be shipped safely and securely throughout their 250-plus terminal network. This service is great for shipments that have a larger window for delivery time.
  2. Faster StandardAccelerated Service is a faster and cost-competitive service that allows shipments to travel through their faster network and include their weekend advantage.
  3. Any Need. Any Speed. Guaranteed.Time Critical Service is their expedited service with customer-defined delivery dates and times. Shipments move through their fastest network and are handled by a dedicated team from start to finish.
  4. Over and AboveLogistics Solutions Service is their customized services for your most complex shipping needs. Their logistics experts tailor specific solutions for your needs, regardless of how complex or regular your shipment is.

Note to BlueShip users:

When quoting and booking through BlueShip, please note that the YRC Accelerated Service holds dynamic transit days based on pickup date. This service travels through YRC’s “Weekend Advantage” network, so if your shipment travels through the weekend, include the weekend as 1 of the transit days.

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Carrier Spotlight | Southeastern Freight Lines

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Trust Your Freight with Southeastern Freight Lines

BlueGrace Logistics works with a long list of carriers to help businesses move their freight across the country, so in a series of blog posts we want to shed light on a few of our core carriers and explain the benefits that our shippers receive when they do business with us.

Southeastern Freight Lines has worked with BlueGrace Logistics since 2009 and is the largest regional carrier on the list. SEFL made their first delivery over 60 years ago and they are a quality carrier for regional LTL shipping needs.

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Highest Rated Regional Carrier.

In a recent internal Carrier-Rating Survey, Southeastern Freight Lines was voted as the Highest Rated Regional Carrier for the ‘ease of doing business.’ 

BlueGrace Logistics is in the business of helping other businesses grow and what better way to do that then to ensure the carriers they work with, carry the same message of building a professional team with a serving attitude and a passion for excellence. In fact, BlueGrace’s Core Value #1 is: Be Passionate About Excellence.

Guaranteed Services Available Through BlueGrace.

Southeastern Freight Lines is a privately-owned regional less-than-truckload transportation services provider that specializes in next-day service in the Southeast and Southwest United States. Founded in 1950, Southeastern operates service centers in 13 states and Puerto Rico and also has a network of service partners to ensure transportation services in the remaining 37 states, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico.

 

SEFL 2

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What are some rules of thumb when shipping LTL freight?

LTL 6.8.16

 

Regarding the media, it’s hard to tell exactly where the world stands on a position. There are always two or more sides to the story, and it seems the freight industry isn’t any different. Transportation execs tout words like “recession” owing to dismal growth and plummeting freight volumes while millions of dollars are being poured into technology driven logistics startups. Even traditional logistics functions such as Less Than Truckload (LTL) are experiencing new levels of growth by building new terminals, expanding territory, and growing their customer base.

In fact, the rise of eCommerce lowered the entry costs for shippers and trading companies coming into the market place, while LTL carriers are quickly shaping up to be in a favorable position when it comes to freight.

While there are no rules other than regulation that could be carved in stone, we collected some advice and other helpful tidbits for shippers considering shipping LTL, based on a good old rule of thumbs to consider:

Common Issues with LTL

One of the most common issues is that LTL shipments are wrongly classified which, for shippers, can double the amount of originally quoted freight rates.

To reduce re-class fees, shippers should always carefully enter the product description, weight, dimensions, class and proper NMFCs (National Motor Freight Classification).

Avoid Disappointments

To avoid disappointments, it’s good to know that an LTL carrier’s transit times doesn’t count the day of pick-up, holidays, or weekends. For example, if a shipment is picked up on Friday, and the transit time is two days, then the shipment will be delivered on Tuesday.

Just as airplanes won’t wait if the passenger is late, the driver can’t wait if a shipment is not ready at time of pick up. Typically in these events, shipment must be rescheduled for the following day. While scheduling, also keep in mind that carriers require a two-hour window to schedule a pick up. Additionally, to ensure that the freight meets the on-time delivery standard to the customer, it must be shipped before 5:00 PM.

Be Aware of Any Accessorials

An LTL shipment can be anything from a household item to larger industrial equipment. If a lift-gate, a pallet-jack or other equipment is required, the customer must specify that in the special instructions and remember that special delivery can add a couple of days to the delivery date.

Last but not the least!

Drivers, fortunately with very few exceptions, will make every attempt to protect the customers items. However, accidents do happen. Although carriers have their own insurance against losses, shippers should acquire extra insurance to limit liability. The limits of liability vary carrier to carrier and more so, when FAK (Freight all Kinds) rates are applied. Other insurance options include purchasing your own coverage from companies like UPS.

Utilize these simple rules of thumb every time you ship freight, and minimize your surprises when it comes time to billing.

 

 

 

 

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Be Passionate About Excellence

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Core Values.

The core values of an organization are the values we hold, which form the foundation on which we perform, work and conduct ourselves.

In an “always changing” kind of world, the core values at BlueGrace Logistics remain the same. They clarify who we are as an organization and the kind of people we want to join us as we continue to experience “hyper-growth”.

Be Passionate About Excellence is our number one core value because the people we employ and surround ourselves with need to strive for greatness. Everyday we are given a chance to succeed at something; whether it be at work or in general and if we aren’t passionate about the day to day activities then the long-term goals will never be reached.

Being passionate about excellence doesn’t end with our employees; it extends to our partners. 

BlueGrace has been in business now for over 7 years and the growth has happened for many reasons, including developing extremely successful partnerships.

If we partnered with carriers that didn’t want to pursue excellence for their business, what does that say about their growth potential? Having passion and drive is what makes someone successful. Not luck. There are going to be ebbs and flows in business and if we partner with an organization that has a similar business model and is willing to go the distance, then the growth potential for us both is unlimited.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.

We have always prided ourselves on the ‘culture’ that we provide and encourage here at BlueGrace. It is very evident through our social media, Glassdoor and other platforms, that our employees genuinely enjoy what they do at work and who they are working with.

When you spend more time at work throughout the week than you do at your home with family or friends, you better choose a career and an employer that you enjoy.

The demand for talented employees in the logistics and freight industry has never been higher. BlueGrace Logistics is showing continued growth in all areas. Available positions at BlueGrace range from software developer and sales to public relations and corporate recruiter. If you are a hard worker that is passionate about excellence and are looking for a fun, fast-paced career in the logistics industry, apply for a job at BlueGrace today! 

 

 

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Do You Have Access To Your Supply Chain Data In SAP?

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Are CIO’s, CFO’s and executive suite getting the supply chain business intelligence and data they need? If not there is a way to get that much needed data and even cut costs in the process with a 3PL (Third Party Logistics) integration with SAP.

BlueGrace Logistics recently visited SAP Sapphire 2016 and spoke with many executives from businesses across the world. What we found is that it is either very difficult or incredibly time consuming to get the vital data they need from the supply chain and transportation departments within their organizations. We also found that when competing 3PL’s have integrated with their ERP system such as SAP, the integration was either clunky or just did not deliver the benefits. As a 3PL, it is our responsibility to arm the executive suite with the data and business intelligence they need to make better business decisions regarding supply chain and freight.

 

Here is how BlueGrace approaches a 3PL ERP integration:

Discovery Call

We begin with a call to find out about your current state of your transportation management and providers. During the call the search begins to find inefficiencies and ask your team about user facing functions in the ERP, WMS, and TMS.

Questions are asked about your order placement process from the order initiation to final delivery, how costs are calculated and what the current transportation procurement methodology is and finally a review your current transportation KPI’s.

Overview Presentation

BlueGrace will perform our overview on site so we can sit down with key stake holders and share findings about what solutions we can provide. While onsite, we will also meet with the heads of key departments to learn more about your business processes. At this point the customer will present BlueGrace with a full transportation data set which we use to provide our in-depth transportation management analysis. This engineering analysis of your data is the most powerful tool we provide our customers. With these results we will help determine cost savings and consolidation opportunities.

Integration

BlueGrace will look to integrate with the current ERP system and will begin to develop the business intelligence reports and dashboards for executive leadership. At this time BlueGrace will also be developing the standard operation procedure for the day to day performance and operations of the account. Our implementation team will begin their setup and transportation procurement activities at this time.

KPIs & Ongoing Program Management

After the customer begins shipping with BlueGrace, we will have executive business intelligence KPI dashboards set up. As your new logistics partner, BlueGrace will always be searching for ways to improve your transportation management and these will be seen through your selected KPIs. The more data we process, the better we will be able to find additional cost savings and opportunities during the life of the program.

Success Through ERP and 3PL Integration

The CIO, CFO, and executive suite are now being provided the information, data, and business intelligence reports they need to make their business more profitable. Key business decisions involving your supply chain can be made for the future with confidence. If you would like to learn more about this process in further detail, please reach out today and speak with BlueGrace at 844.360.2926.

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

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics is On Top Again

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TBBJ – Lists BlueGrace as the Top Minority-Owned Business for 2nd year in a row.

BlueGrace Logistics has retained its top spot on the List of Tampa Bay area minority-owned businesses. The company reported a 2015 revenue of $168.2 million, which represents an increase of more than 14% over 2014. Having been founded in 2009, BlueGrace was also the youngest company on the List.

BlueGrace Logistics, headquartered in Hillsborough County with offices nationwide, is a leading national provider of complete transportation management solutions.

With growth, comes employment opportunities.

The demand for talented employees in the logistics and freight industry has never been higher. BlueGrace has invested significantly in their recruiting staff in order to handle the large amount of new applicants. With so many potential new employees, BlueGrace has also bolstered its training and development.

These new jobs will include a variety of functions in the organization such as sales, customer service, technology, accounting, legal and professional services. With the massive growth at BlueGrace and in the logistics industry as a whole over the last 12 months, job seekers should take notice.

Check out our available postitions online. 

 

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Converting Logistics Complaints Into A Positive Review At BlueGrace

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What are the common objections to using a 3PL?

  • We will lose control of our carriers
  • Why pay a middle man when we can do it ourselves?
  • Our transportation manager will no longer be needed
  • We have been burned in the past

Objections can be viewed as complaints by both the customer and the 3PL. Let’s review a few real answers to these common objections.

We will lose control of our carriers.

When working with a true 3PL Partner a business would not actually lose control of the carriers, they would actually gain more control. Better reporting can provide clear and on-time percentage metrics, claims ratios, and general rate increase mitigation. Businesses try to do some of this reporting on their own but typically run into roadblocks. Why? Because businesses are experts in their selected fields and transportation is not usually one of them.

Why pay a middle man when we can do it ourselves?

A middle man can do a better job performing many business tasks, such as logistics. People use middle men every day, sometimes without even knowing it, because the middle man has more resources. We don’t go to Kraft to get our cheese, Dove to get our soap, or Coca-Cola to get our soda. Time is money, and less time spent on less profitable tasks only adds to your bottom line.

Our transportation manager will no longer be needed.

In actuality, the job description is the only part of your transportation manager’s position that changes. Some of our largest clients work with their transportation managers on a strategic level, not the day to day booking and tracking of shipments. Transportation managers need to be held to KPI’s like freight cost as a % of sell cost. They can better explain to upper management this information with the help of a 3PL partner. For example, some products were not profitable to ship and more liable to damage. The common role of a transportation manager is negotiating pricing with limited leverage and relationship, booking shipments, tracking them, filing claims, etc. A 3PL partner can help take over this time-consuming role.

We have been burned in the past.

This is very possible. Have you ever been to McDonald’s and were served cold fries? Or to Pizza Hut and got a cheese pizza when it was supposed to be pepperoni? I bet you went back to both of those places! It’s the job of businesses to fully vet their partners. BlueGrace is a privately owned, debt free 3PL. We are not small but we are incredibly agile. It’s always important to leverage companies like Cortera or Dun and Bradstreet to review the credit standing of new partners so you do not get burned. We work tirelessly to provide the highest level of service. It’s very possible to make the change and start using a new 3PL Partner with confidence!

Let’s leave the complaints in 2015 and give a 3PL partners like BlueGrace a shot in 2016!

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At BlueGrace, We Review Customer Complaints So We Can Build Relationships

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Customer Support Definition:

Range of services provided to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product. It includes assistance in planning, installation, training, troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrading of the product. – From BusinessDictionary.com

Customer support needs to be at the forefront of all businesses. BlueGrace Logistics uses an integrated approach to make sure that customer support is the core of our business and produces positive reviews that satisfy both our customer and our support team.

Logistics and freight is a complex product with many moving parts for both the customer and the 3PL provider. Like the definition above states, our customer service goal is to to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product. When done correctly it leads to excellent reviews and happy customers. When there are service issues it can lead to a compliant or a bad review that we work with the customer to remedy as quickly as possible.

We spend time reviewing all customer complaints, so we can build customer relationships.

Our customer support team meets daily to review these issues and determine the best way to remedy them quickly. We pick up the phone and talk with the customer, the carrier and even our own IT Department, if that is the case, to determine the best route to resolve the issue. Our integrated trouble ticket system is setup with strict time limits for customer support to reach out and solve the issue. From online chat and email to toll-free support, our team is ready to assist.

When customers work with BlueGrace they expect the best in customer support and we feel strongly we can live up to their expectations. This relationship can help simplify the complexity of freight and create a win-win for both of us. Let BlueGrace help your transportation department succeed with our available tools, support and expertise.

Call 800.MY. SHIPPING to talk to a BlueGrace representative today. We look forward to working together.

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Is Looming Dimensional Freight Pricing as scary as it seems?

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Is Looming Dimensional Pricing as scary as it seems?

 

The simple answer is no, it’s not. More and more carriers are moving away from NMFC codes and the NMFTA classing system all together. It started with Central Transport and has now moved to carriers like Shift Freight, UPS, Fedex, and YRC. These carriers have also invested in equipment to help determine the total density. The equipment is called a dimensioner and Shift Freight uses the Freightsnap model. I once heard a customer say in dealing with a re-class issue “The dims don’t lie.” Meaning if you run the true dimensions and weight of the shipment in a density calculator 99 times out of a 100 that class will be fine with the carrier. You can obtain BlueGrace’s proprietary density calculator found here. Re-classification is the number 1 issue when it comes to either secondary or increased carrier charges that differ from the original quote. Dimensional Pricing will force shippers to reduce waste in packaging and space. It will also help carriers to better utilize the space in their equipment as well as better planning in daily pickup / delivery manifests. If you are starting to see more secondary charges please read our blog about our audit process or request an account with BlueGrace today!

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