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Do You Have The Right Technology To Dissect Big Data?

 

For what was once a stagnant industry for best practices, the freight industry is now being bombarded with new disruptive technology on a near constant basis. Dealing with one issue means that another takes its place. Begin to understand and utilize new technology, and it becomes quickly outmoded, or there’s another system to learn. Even the roster of companies is constantly changing, old players, leaving and new ones rushing in to fill the void.

Dealing with one issue means that another takes its place.

With such a constant back and forth, it would be all too easy to simply stick to what you know and call it a day, especially from a technological perspective. However, those old ways, comfortable though they may be, are a road to ruin. Companies who embrace innovation and new technology will part ways with companies that rely on “traditional” methods.

Additionally, these “pioneering spirits” for the industry are providing new options for customers that simply can’t be matched by the old school. The industry is evolving, which means shippers and carriers need to be on board or be left behind.

The Keys to the Data Stream

Big data is a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially now with the changes in industry technology. Now more than ever, the supply chain can provide more data and insight into the process than ever before. More ways of tracking data can show where weak points are within the supply chain. Whether it be driver, loading or unloading, traffic issues, road conditions or damaged shipments, everything is being monitored for efficiency. Whenever a change in address comes in from head office, it can be pushed to the driver or captain in real-time. The system automatically calculates and optimizes the ideal and cheapest new routing to the new destination.

More ways of tracking data can show where weak points are within the process

Part of adapting to the changes that are happening within the transportation industry is to know which data is useful and which data isn’t. While collecting data is all well and good, there is such a thing as too much data (TMD), which can be overwhelming when trying to decipher it all.

Which data is useful and which data isn’t.

“Collecting too much data is a problem, because it forces a company to spend valuable resources gathering and understanding data, much of which is likely to not be impactful from a bottom line or service level perspective. It also creates a secondary problem that’s just as harmful—the valuable data can be lost in the avalanche of meaningless information,” according to American Shipper.

Having the Right System in Place

So what can you do to protect yourself from data overload? Well, it’s all about having the right system in place to make sure you’re collecting only the data that you’ll need and weeding out all the rest. Having access to the right data at the right time can prevent problems before they start and, more often than not, many of the issues for transportation come from poor planning.

It’s all about having the right system in place

One of the most instrumental uses for new technology is a transportation management system (TMS) which can give companies an edge when planning their logistics. Not only does this allow for a better insight into customer experiences and needs, but it also provides the necessary information to correct an issue before it becomes a more serious problem. Additionally, a good TMS can also help bridge the gap between shippers and carriers, saving both time and money when it comes to transportation.

American Shipper recently released a report about combating the volatility of transportation and part of their suggestion is the use of TMS.

“Shippers are realizing daily that transportation management systems (TMSs) are both more necessary and more affordable than ever before. Even the simplest of transportation networks could benefit from optimization and automation of data entry functions. But these TMSs are also becoming more hyper-reliant on outside sources of data to reach their peak usefulness. So a shipper can’t just simply plug a TMS in and let the magic happen. It has to actively feed that TMS with useful, forward-looking, and reliable data.”

All of this to say that armed with the right data and a strong TMS, a shipper can take their business much further.

BlueGrace Proprietary TMS – BlueShip®

The easiest way to get started utilizing your valuable shipping data is with a full featured TMS, such as BlueShip. BlueGrace’s proprietary technology is designed to put the power of easy supply chain management and optimization back in your hands. BlueShip® offers cutting-edge tools for strong reliability and quick performance. Our customers are especially impressed with the user experience, which is completely customizable and has real-time updates, giving them a single source tool for tracking, addressing, and product listing.

BlueShip Is Free For All BlueGrace Customers

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Announces the Relocation and Promotion of Long Time Employee

Magnus Edling Named VP to Newly Expanded Freight Sales Division

Magnus Edling, recently promoted to Vice President, Freight Sales Division at BlueGrace Logistics has been with the company since inception, but hasn’t planted his roots in Tampa until now.

Edling, a native of Utah, got his start in the logistics industry with DHL as an outside sales representative. He then moved into franchise development role with a regional logistics company. This is where he met Bobby Harris in his earlier days of freight and logistics.

Magnus Edling, VP Freight Sales Division

“It was an easy decision to ask Magnus to join me at BlueGrace. He has a killer instinct and work ethic and knows the ins and outs of developing business.” Said Harris, President & CEO, BlueGrace Logistics.

Edling joined BlueGrace in December 2008 and has held several leadership titles over the years.

Edling joined BlueGrace in December 2008 and has held several leadership titles over the years, especially within the franchise and partnership side of the business. He has been involved in partner development, franchise performance and most recently branch sales and operations performance.

“Magnus has been instrumental in helping our BlueGrace Branches and Franchises achieve great results over the years.” Said Adam Blankenship, CCO & EVP, BlueGrace Logistics.

Edling will help BlueGrace grow the team here in Tampa and serve as a springboard for future growth

As the new Vice President of Freight Sales Division, Edling will help BlueGrace grow the team here in Tampa and serve as a springboard for future growth both in Tampa and the other branch locations.

“This is an exciting time for me and my family. There was no way I would turn down the opportunity to move to Tampa. We are thrilled to relocate to the area and plant our roots where it all began with BlueGrace.” Said Edling.

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

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“Hours Of Service” Ruling Gets Hosed by Results

 

Safety groups are not happy, as the long awaited results have finally come in for the former Obama Administration’s proposed “Hours of Service” rule. The “Hours of Service” rule would forbid truckers from driving during the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m for two nights during the mandatory restart period and reduce the flexibility in which the driver can use their restart period. As such, the new regulation would have limited truck driver’s to a maximum of 70 hours of driving per week.

The new regulation would have limited truck driver’s to a maximum of 70 hours of driving per week.

Safety groups have touted this ruling as a means of combating driver fatigue since it’s inception back in 2013; the American Trucking Association (ATA) has been rallying against this rule stating that it would have no beneficial effects in combating health, fatigue, or driver operation problems and merely create a delay for the industry as a whole.

A means of combating driver fatigue

Good News for the ATA

Overall, the ATA was happy with the DOT’s findings.  “The release of this report closes what has been a long, and unnecessary chapter in our industry’s drive to improve highway safety,” said Chris Spear, ATA’s president and CEO. “We knew from the beginning that these Obama administration restrictions provided no benefit to safety, and in light of the DOT’s findings — corroborated by the DOT Inspector General — it is good for our industry and for the motoring public that they will be done away with permanently as specified by language ATA led the charge on, including in the most recently passed continuing resolution,” according a recent article from The Hill.

A Step Towards Sensible Law Making

By and large, one of the biggest issues with this ruling was the language that was used to write it. “Lawmakers mistakenly left out essential language in an omnibus spending bill clarifying what would happen if the DOT fails to prove that the update is beneficial to drivers. Such an omission would have forced the agency to revert to old rules put in place more than a decade ago if the DOT couldn’t make its case,” said The Hill.

The biggest issues with this ruling was the language that was used to write it.

In essence, if the ATA and the DOT couldn’t find the results to prove that the new regulations weren’t viable, the trucking industry would have suffered a rather significant step backward from progress.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation

While this was undoubtedly a victory for the ATA, Spear is hopeful that this is only the beginning. “Congress repeatedly told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that rules of this nature must show a benefit to safety and this report clearly shows there was no benefit,” Spear said. “This marks the end of a long struggle, but hopefully the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation,” he remarked in a release from the ATA. 

An outsider attempting to propose new regulations without the necessary data to back it up, is naive at best.

We’ve often considered whether or not the government should have such a considerable reach when it comes to proposing new laws. While safety should be at the forefront of the trucking industry, an outsider attempting to propose new regulations without the necessary data to back it up, is naive at best. We can only hope that Spear’s optimism holds true and that future regulations are made using hard data rather than speculation.

 

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The War Wages On for the Self Driving Truck

If you would have asked about the possibility of a self driving car 20 years ago, chances are good that you would have been laughed at. If you asked the same question ten years ago, there might not have been quite as much laughing. If you asked that question now, however, you’d realize that the possibility is closer than you think.

Anheuser Busch and Uber have the first commercial delivery to be made without the use of a truck driver

Last October, Anheuser Busch teamed up with Uber’s recently acquired Otto to make its first autonomous delivery of beer in Colorado, marking the first commercial delivery to be made without the use of a truck driver. While the experiment was halted after its first run, we have to begin to consider the implications of what this means.

The Future is Closer than You Think

There’s an argument brewing between the trucking industry and Silicon valley as to how soon we can expect driverless trucks to start rolling down the freeway on a regular basis. The truckers believe that the conversion won’t be happening any time soon, at least not in the next 40 years. Software developers and tech experts have a different vision of the future however. They expect that most of the major “obstacles” are simply a few speed bumps along the way and that driverless technology will be hitting the roads in as little as three years.

Software developers and tech experts have a different vision of the future however

So just what are these obstacles or speed bumps? Mostly it’s regulation at this point. The technology is practically here to support driverless trucks. With a infrastructure changes, mostly the addition of an extra slow lane to allow regular traffic to navigate around the lumbering pace of the automated vehicle, as well as on and off ramps for the drivers to initiate the auto driving mode, regulations are currently the biggest hurdle to clear. As with any new technology, there isn’t much of a precedent to work with, which means regulations will take longer to establish, place, and modify.

The technology is practically here to support driverless trucks.

“The death of a driver using Tesla Motors Inc.’s autopilot system in May has focused political attention on self-driving vehicles and hastened calls for regulations to keep pace with the technological advances. The U.S. Transportation Department released policy guidelines for autonomous driving, which acknowledged the technology’s life-saving potential while warning of a world of “human guinea pigs” according to an article from Bloomberg Technology.

Understanding the Implications

Make no mistake, the impact of driverless technology is huge. On one hand, truck driving makes up roughly 1% of all employment in the United States, which is a pretty sizeable amount when you consider the amount of paying jobs out there. If drivers are replaced by automation, that’s a pretty substantial amount of people out of work.

Truck driving makes up roughly 1% of all employment in the United States

However, on the other hand, you have to consider the fact that the price of goods is largely determined by transportation costs. The higher the cost, the more expensive the product. Given just how much automated driving can cut from the cost of transportation, the price of consumer goods would drop considerably, thereby raising the quality of life for everyone.

Automated driving can cut from the cost of transportation.

This is the part of the argument that doesn’t have a clear and concise victor. While raising the quality of life is important and necessary, the unemployment spike caused by driver’s being replaced, will have a serious impact on the health of the economy.

“While the efficiency gains are real — too real to pass up — the technology will have tremendous adverse effects as well. There are currently more than 1.6 million Americans working as truck drivers, making it the most common job in 29 states. The loss of jobs representing 1 percent of the U.S. workforce will be a devastating blow to the economy. And the adverse consequences won’t end there. Gas stations, highway diners, rest stops, motels and other businesses catering to drivers will struggle to survive without them,” according to a post from Techcrunch.

This technology is just on the horizon and will be here in years, not decades.

While the regulatory guidelines are still being sorted, there is no mistaking the fact that this technology is just on the horizon and will be here in years, not decades. The trucking industry is going to be facing a radical shift in the immediate future. Whether or not they are prepared is another matter entirely.

 

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