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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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Automated Trucking is Poised to Play Huge Roll in Transportation Industry

Navigating the Transition to Driverless Trucking

Automated trucking is poised to play a huge roll in the transportation industry. Overall, the implications of driverless trucks have near limitless potential. Without the margin of human error, autonomous trucks are safer and more efficient. Working in tandem for one another, driverless trucks can capitalize on fuel efficiency while working around the clock bringing in more deliveries at a fraction of the labor cost.

Driverless trucks can capitalize on fuel efficiency while working around the clock

However, while the end goal of automated trucking in the freight industry has some incredible possibilities, it’s the transition to this point that has more than a few people worried. Given that driverless vehicles is something of a precedent, there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome before the idea becomes a reality.

The Un(der)employed 

Job loss is a very large possibility with automated trucking. As truck drivers make up 1% of the total U.S. labor force, the volume of displaced workers will be severe. Mitigating the job loss and the potential impact of unemployment rates will be a key element to the transition to automated trucking.

Truck drivers make up 1% of the total U.S. labor force

More often than not, whenever there is a potential for massive job displacement, the words to follow are “There are other jobs to be had.”  While this is true for some industries, it might not necessarily hold true for truck drivers. These, according to the International Transportation Forum’s report on the matter, are the possible obstacles to this “conventional wisdom.”

“The conventional argument is that displaced workers in any given industry will find alternative employment through the expansion of activity in new and existing industries. However, there are several reasons described below as to why this argument may not provide comfort for truck drivers and others in the high-automation scenarios.” 

  • The high costs associated with losing a job
  • The risk that this time is different, i.e. that a low employment future is possible, at least temporarily, because automation may occur in many sectors of the economy
  • The emerging economic context means that job losses may result in higher social costs than previously.

The cost of losing a job alone represents one of the biggest issues, both on a financial and physical scale. Displaced workers, on average, take a 20% drop in annual wages. Additionally, being displaced from a job is often a trigger for both anxiety and depression according to the ITF report.

The cost of losing a job alone represents one of the biggest issues

“The mental and physical impacts of job loss are estimated to have a greater combined impact on well-being than the financial costs from lost income. Helliwell and Huang (2014) estimate that such non-financial factors decrease the average person’s well-being two to seven times more than the does their lost income from losing their job.”

Infrastructure Challenges

In addition to the unemployment costs of automated trucking, there is some considerable concern about the infrastructure that will be required to support automated freight transportation.

“The infrastructure requirements for full automation of driving functions are not yet clear-cut (section “Towards driverless road freight”). The need for 5G mobile internet connectivity between vehicles along the full corridor is not yet certain. Further, specific applications such as platooning and remote control centre operations are also likely to have additional infrastructure requirements. For instance, platooning may require longer motorway entry and exit ramps than are currently in place (Janssen et al., 2015).”

A possible solution to this obstacle would be to roll out test corridors to slowly integrate autonomous trucks, which would significantly lower the upfront costs. However, as the technology grows in both sophistication and popularity, the overall costs will be both substantial and unmitigatable.

The Foreseeable Future

As it stands, the technology, policies, and regulations are not in place to fully support automated freight hauling. However, in the not-so-distant future, these questions and obstacles will need to be addressed in order for these driverless trucks to take the road. As with most disruptive technologies, it will be the transitional period that will be the hardest to accommodate.

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Adapting to the Growing Requirements of a Fast-Paced Supply Chain

 

With the constant fluctuations in the global market, the freight industry is changing. With new technology, shipping demands, and changes in global policies, freight forwarders will also have to change to keep the pace. Logistics Trends and Insights has released their 2017 survey on the Evolution of the Freight Forwarder, which asked respondents how the freight forwarder is changing.

With the constant fluctuations in the global market, the freight industry is changing

“Indeed, the market is not only undergoing a redefinition, but it also has literally been caught in the middle of global, political and economic changes. Shifts in political thought favoring protectionism or populism, along with continued concerns within the ocean and air freight markets, have led many forwarders to seek acquisitions, new services, and new geographies in order to stay afloat. While gross revenues and volumes for many forwarders grew in the past year or so, they came at a price with lower profits and in some cases, a financial loss,” the report says.

What obstacles will forwarders have to overcome?

As the market continues to shift, what obstacles will forwarders have to overcome to keep pace with the changes within the freight industry?

Critical Pain Points for Forwarders

The major obstacles for forwarders according to the respondents, can be broken down into four categories. Tight margins make up the bulk of forwarders woes with 42 percent marking that as their primary concern. Rates and uncertain global environment are almost tied at 23 and 22 percent respectively. The remaining 13 percent lists capacity as their top concern, something which has been troubling the industry as a whole over the past few years.

Changing Customer Expectations

Of course, it isn’t just the market that is changing, but also the expectations of customers. The average consumer wants their products sooner and at a lower cost. To adapt, shippers need to push their supply chain in a new direction which means that forwarders have to be able to respond in kind. So what are customer expectations for a freight forwarder?

Shippers need to push their supply chain in a new direction

“Forwarders are indeed facing many challenges, but we must not forget the value they bring to the table. A new question for this year, we asked, “What do customers value most from a forwarder?” The majority of respondents, 33.7%, indicated trade expertise.

Visibility of cargo movements and ease and timeliness in booking freight

We found this interesting as it seems to play into the evolving definition of a forwarder as a facilitator, value-adder and a consultant. However, 45% of the responses were split among low rates, visibility of cargo movements and ease and timeliness in booking freight while 21.3% indicated additional thoughts including all of these choices, credibility, communication, and control, analysis, development of supply chain solutions.”

Changing Transportation

Another aspect of changing expectations from customers is that they want more ways to move their freight. As such, forwarders have to be able to provide multiple modes of transportation that best suit the customer’s needs. As a result, forwarders are seeing some changes in revenues based on modes of transportation.

Forwarders are seeing some changes in revenues based on modes of transportation.

Air transport is one of the biggest growing sectors of market gain shares for forwarders at 42.3 percent of the responses. Given the uncertainty of ocean shipping, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that ocean freight has been on the decline for forwarders. Rail and trucking haven’t changed all that much. However, there has been a slight increase in rail use with 33 percent of responses indicating growth while only 14 percent have marked down that it was in decline.

Opportunities For Growth

Of course, the object of any successful business is to differentiate themselves from the competition. Niche markets are one strategy that some forwarders are going with, catering to specific needs of their customers, other forwarders might not be able to offer. However, 44.3 percent of the respondents said that their differentiation strategy would be to invest in new technology.

The object of any successful business is to differentiate themselves from the competition

“Indeed, technology is playing a major role in forwarders’ evolution. DB Schenker’s investment in UShip, DHL’s launch of its online freight marketplace CILLOX and even FedEx’s introduction of FedEx Fulfillment are all redefining the way items are fulfilled, booked and shipped.”

There is also the growing need for e-commerce fulfillment which will provide many opportunities for forwarders to attain desired growth in both fulfillment as well as cross-border services.

Overall, the need for freight forwarders will only continue to grow

Overall, the need for freight forwarders will only continue to grow, especially if they can continue to adapt to the growing requirements of a faster-paced supply chain as well as providing the necessary flexibility required for e-commerce fulfillment.

To request your copy of the white-paper, click here.

 

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The Real Threat for the Trucking Industry has Nothing to do with the ELD

 

 

The electronic logging mandate (ELD) has been something of a sore subject for the trucking industry as many companies worry about it cutting into their efficiency and, subsequently, profit margins. However, the real threat for the trucking industry has nothing to do with the ELD, but rather the growth of e-commerce.

Changing the Game: Amazon

Amazon has a gift when it comes for shaking up expectations. Same day delivery or even one to two hour deliveries for groceries in select cities is giving trucking companies a run for their money, quite literally in some cases. As the expectations for consumers shift towards instant delivery and omni channel shopping, trucking companies that lose sight of what’s really going on are risking being knocked out the game by e-commerce companies.

Last year alone, e-commerce sales reached $394.9 billion, a 15% growth from 2015.

Last year alone, e-commerce sales reached $394.9 billion, a 15% growth from 2015. The 2016 e-commerce sales volume accounted for 8.1% of all U.S. retail sales and is continuing to grow. As for Amazon, the e-commerce giant underwent a huge growth spurt, up to 27% in sales volume, netting a cool $2.4 billion in profit, well above the 2015 figure of $594 million.

Amazon is outpacing most trucking companies and completely reshaping the market landscape in their image.

This is, in part, due to the fact that Amazon carries just about any product a consumer could ever want, which makes for convenient one stop shopping. With their growing logistics and delivery capabilities, Amazon is outpacing most trucking companies and completely reshaping the market landscape in their image.

Hot on the Heels

Amazon and Wal-Mart are usually the frontline runners when it comes to e-commerce sales and headlines, but they aren’t the only ones in the game. Many brick and mortar stores are starting to tap into the potential of e-commerce and omni-channel sales in order to stay viable. Best Buy, for example, made some considerable investments to their online sales, increased their e-commerce volume by 17.5% which then boosted their online sales by 21% according to the Motley Fool.  Other companies such as Macy’s and Home Depot are also starting to boost their e-commerce capabilities, offering their customers new ways to shop and more convenient ways to pick up their goods.

Many brick and mortar stores are starting to tap into the potential of e-commerce and omni-channel sales.

Trucking in Trouble

If a disruptive change is a good thing for an industry, e-commerce is presenting a destructive change for the trucking industry. Consider Amazon’s unparalleled purchasing power, while the increase in e-commerce sales might seem like a good thing for the trucking, Amazon is able to pursue a low-cost model for trucking.

E-commerce is presenting a destructive change for the trucking industry

“First, core carriers and dedicated carriers appear to be used by Amazon only in cases where brokers cannot find cheaper capacity in the open market,” said John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets. “This is a new, less attractive version of what core carriers and dedicated fleets traditionally represented [and] we have heard that several carriers have backed away from this customer for this reason.”

“[The truckload market] is still tough; excess capacity continues to exist, prolonging a very competitive pricing environment,” Larkin adds. “Trucking companies are still having trouble finding drivers and, to boot, poor weather is troubling the first quarter,” according to a recent post from FleetOwner.

The logistics industry as a whole is undergoing a considerable culture shock.

With the rapid growth and development of e-commerce sales, the logistics industry as a whole is undergoing a considerable culture shock. The tried and true method is rapidly vanishing as consumers demand faster deliveries from more locations. Distribution and warehousing centers are being to slow down and many are closing their doors for good. Unless the trucking industry is able to find a way to cope with these new changes, in addition to the hurdles they already have to clear, there could be a cataclysmic upheaval in the way we look at logistics.

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Hosts Open House Event

Photo Cred: Dosia White Photography

Since it’s inception in January of 2009, BlueGrace has provided transportation management services for companies that ship. From one-time-shippers to multi-million dollar accounts, BlueGrace works to make each customer’s business, better. Over the last 8 years, BlueGrace has opened its doors to vendors and customers alike, but never in this capacity.

Over the last 8 years, BlueGrace has opened its doors to vendors and customers alike, but never in this capacity.

On Friday, June 2, BlueGrace Logistics hosted an Open House and invited local vendors, partners, customers and potential customers to see both the recent building expansion and the rebranding efforts.

While BlueGrace is no stranger to a good time, this event proved to be one for the record books.

Nearly 350 people, including BlueGrace employees, enjoyed food provided by a Tampa favorite — Datz, uniquely crafted coffee by the Coffee Divas, music by Wild Out Entertainment, Tampa Bay Lightning alumni Bryan Bradley, Thunderbug and the Lightning Girls.

Being the preferred shipper of the Tampa Bay Lightning has its perks.

“Our partnership with the Lightning has provided us with some incredible opportunities for our employees, customers and vendors, and having Tampa Bay hockey legend Bryan Bradley draw up a hockey play on our white board, was probably one of the coolest things about the Open House,” said Adam White, Director of Marketing at BlueGrace Logistics.

Welcome to BlueGrace Logistics

Guests were welcomed into the new, state-of-the-art reception lobby that tripled in size since the buildout.

Photo Cred: Dosia White Photography & BlueGrace Employees Social Media Posts

“We didn’t just usher our guests to the party, we wanted to show them our growth with an exclusive tour of the newly expanded, 55,000 sq ft building,” said Whitney McKay, Marketing and Brand Manager at BlueGrace Logistics. “Our conference rooms, collaborative spaces, and breakrooms have unique names and we wanted to explain to our guests, what these rooms meant to us and our culture.” McKay, continued.

The tour started in the “OG” breakroom appropriately named “Comfortably Numb” where guests were offered to partake in a BlueGrace culture staple “Free Beer Friday”.

“Our leadership allows us to endulge after a long, hard week at work. Every Friday at 3 o’clock, our employees participate in ‘Free Beer Friday’ and are allowed to drink some beer at their desk to close out their work week,” said Beth Clark, Content Manager at BlueGrace Logistics. “This culture is something we needed to share with our guests to understand the machine that is BlueGrace.”

Humane Society of Tampa Bay Adoptables

Photo Cred: Dosia White Photography & BlueGrace Employees Social Media Posts

Groups of 10-15 guests were taken through the brief, yet extremely successful history of BlueGrace as they walked through the expansive office space. Halfway down the nearly eighth-of-a-mile long office building, they were greeted by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and their adoptable animals.

BlueGrace Logistics Loves Animals and the Partnership with HSTB is always top-of-mind so they were a perfect addition to the Open House event.

Our Culture is Unmatched

Collaborative spaces, state-of-the-art training and conference rooms, and free beer isn’t all we offer our employees. The final stop on the tour for our guests — Paradise City.

The final stop on the tour for our guests — Paradise City.

“This breakroom is a space for our employees to take a break during the work day and either relax in an oversized bean bag, play a game of ping-pong or to shoot some corn-hole.” said McKay.

Photo Cred: Dosia White Photography & BlueGrace Employees Social Media Posts

When walking into the breakroom, Paradise City, guests were cheerfully greeted by some of the Tampa Bay Lightning Girls, TB Alumni Bryan Bradley, and their famed mascot, Thunderbug.

“You could feel the energy. The event was supposed to show our guests what it’s like to work at BlueGrace and to Celebrate our Growth; I feel like we nailed it.” said White.

Food, Fun and Entertainment

When planning an event, there are boxes that need to be checked, and food comes to the top of that list. Datz, a Tampa Bay staple, was the perfect business to partner with for this exclusive Open House event.

“If you haven’t eaten at Datz and you live in the Tampa Bay area, you are missing out.” said Clark.

The menu was filled with some of their best dishes, including their famous Mac N Cheese bun burgers. BlueGrace and Datz also worked together to create a signature drink for special guests, the Blueberry Mule.

“The Blueberry Mule was such a hit with everyone. They were so refreshing and the perfect addition to the event menu.” said Tracy Guida, Catering Manager at Datz Tampa.

The other amazing food and beverage vendors included the Coffee Divas Mobile Catering and one of BlueGrace’s very own Sarah Sweeney, Supervisor of Credit & Billing.

“Before BlueGrace, I was a pastry chef at Jackson’s and other local bakeries.” continued Sweeney. “I have sort of become the in-house baker and I love every second of it.”

While the food and drinks were definitely a hit, we can’t forget the musical tracks that kept the party going.

Photo Cred: Dosia White Photography

DJ Papi of Wild Out Entertainment came to us as a recommendation and he did not disappoint. Our playlist in the office on a normal day, was brought to life and he did a fabulous job.” said Clark.

A Huge Thank You to Our Guests

While we certainly love throwing a party, we couldn’t do any of this without you. BlueGrace Logistics believes that we can make any business better and by providing a unique and fun space for our employees and a culture that encourages them to provide unmatched service, we can do just that.

Thank you to everyone who made it out to our headquarters office in Riverview, Florida. To our vendors, customers, employees, and partners — Thank you for all that you do!

Want to Work at BlueGrace Logistics?

Our shipments aren’t the only things going places! BlueGrace employees strive to excel at every opportunity. So we surround them with the kind of fun, positive, and creatively stimulating experiences that’ll further ignite their ambitions. If you Pursue Outrageous Goals and are Caring of All Others, apply for a career at BlueGrace Logistics.

APPLY HERE  – Today!

Open House Event Photos >> Courtesy of Dosia White Photography. 

 

 

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Last Mile Becoming the Front Line for Logistics

The growing strength of e-commerce has been putting a serious pressure on the transportation industry. As customer expectations are rapidly shifting towards the instant gratification of same day delivery, long haul trucking is shrinking by comparison. While some trucking companies are struggling to keep the pace with the changing market, others are shifting gears and switching their tactics. The game is changing for carriers and forwarders. It’s no longer about the journey but instead it’s all about the final mile.

It’s no longer about the journey but instead it’s all about the final mile.

So what exactly is the “last mile?” It’s pretty much just what it sounds like. Last mile deliveries are when the package makes the final leg of its journey straight to the customer’s preferred location. The caveat is that customer’s preferred location and item of choice are changing constantly. One day a customer might have a new keyboard delivered to their office, while the next day they might have some new workout equipment delivered to their home. In either instance, logistics providers, carriers, and freight forwarders need to find ways to get the package where it needs to go in the shortest amount of time possible.

Logistics providers, carriers, and freight forwarders need to find ways to get the package where it needs to go in the shortest amount of time possible.

The Short Stop Over the Long Haul

As the demands of e-commerce and last mile deliveries continue to grow, the trucking industry is at the precipice of change. The old way of distributing goods across the country by smaller fleets is fading.  Instead of simply bringing goods to a DC or warehouse, trucking companies are starting to favor the short haul, multi-stop nature of last mile deliveries in response to the growing need of e-commerce companies. The industry is growing rapidly. According to the Census Bureau  US E-Commerce Sales as Percent of Retail Sales is at a current level of 8.50%, up from 8.20% last quarter.

Instead of simply bringing goods to a DC or warehouse, trucking companies are starting to favor the short haul, multi-stop nature of last mile

Amazon alone is shaping up to control over 50% of the e-commerce market by 2021, with cause the demand for last mile deliveries to continue to grow exponentially. By switching modes of deliveries traditional long-haul companies are able to capture more of the e-commerce market share and for those that are perfecting their system, it’s making an incredible difference.

An Imperfect System

While last mile deliveries are certainly in vogue, they still leave something to be desired in terms of efficiency. For starters, the last mile isn’t something that has a set route or pattern. Instead, it’s constantly shifting and changing. While a package might be going to the same place, it could be coming from a different location, which can drastically alter the delivery time. Additionally, because the last mile of delivery is constantly changing, that also means that rates can vary rather drastically. This can create some difficulties when it comes to negotiations between both shippers and carriers alike.

Because the last mile of delivery is constantly changing, that also means that rates can vary rather drastically.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are other challenges that surround last mile deliveries. If a customer isn’t available at home to sign for a package, it could add to a backlog of deliveries. Package theft can increase shrink for shippers while lowering reliability ratings of carriers. Urban congestion and traffic can also cause some serious delays, making it that much harder to meet customer and consumer expectations alike. 

Alternative Methods of Delivery

While there are still some issues to work out, many delivery companies are working on finding alternative methods for completing the last mile. Drones have been in the headlines for quite some time as a viable means of delivering packages and Amazon has been getting closer to their goal of a drone delivery fleet.  Interestingly enough, the e-commerce giant has been taking a keen interest to geese of late. To better calibrate their drone systems to avoid collisions and other incidents, Amazon has been studying geese as a “non collaborative” control object or, simply put, something else to train their drones to avoid.

Amazon has been studying geese as a “non collaborative” control object or, simply put, something else to train their drones to avoid.

Aside from the drones, ground based delivery bots are also in the works, allowing deliveries to be made directly to a customer’s home via an autonomous system. These delivery bots are capable of navigating through residential areas via crosswalks and sidewalks. With deliveries made directly to a customer’s door step, it can expedite the last mile delivery process without necessarily cranking up the labor time.

However, there are other means of making the last mile that don’t rely on expensive assets like drones or delivery bots. Crowdsourcing apps are giving people looking to make a little extra money the chance to moonlight as a package handler.

“In 2015, venture capital investments in supply chain and logistics start-ups was more than four times higher than in 2014 ($1.2 billion versus $388 million),” said Andre Pharand, Andre Pharand, Accenture’s global management consulting lead for the postal and parcel industry. “Venture capital dollars invested in the same space in the first quarter of 2016 alone was $1.75 billion.Companies like UberRUSH for parcels, Postmates, Deliv and even Amazon Flex provide spot-market deliveries by independent drivers. The companies post delivery jobs on their apps to alert drivers to available gigs,” according to Supply Chain Dive.

Legacy Trucking Companies Beware

Legacy trucking companies who still think that e-commerce isn’t something to be concerned about are going to be in for a rude awakening. E-commerce is only continuing to grow and many brick and mortar are looking into omni-channel options in order to stay viable. Failing to adapt to this considerable disruption of the logistics industry will lead to considerable hardships in the future. Last mile deliveries are becoming the frontrunner for logistics focus as e-commerce continues to grow.

E-commerce is only continuing to grow and many brick and mortar are looking into omni-channel options

 

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What Can We Expect for the IoT for 2017 and Beyond?

The IoT of 2017

The Internet of Things, an interconnected program that is supposed to provide unparalleled data for shippers and carriers, has certainly been a hot topic for the logistics industry. With 2016 well and truly in the past, it’s time to start looking forward to what 2017 will hold for this burgeoning system. What new changes can we expect? How do these expectations compare to what we thought the system could do for us in the past? With a new partnership between Intel’s logistics platform and Honeywell’s hardware and cloud services, the IoT is beginning to really take shape.

What new changes can we expect?

The Partnership

The newly formed partnership, announced last Thursday, will marry Intel’s connected Logistics platform to Honeywell’s Connected Freight Solution. Data gathered by this new system will allow shippers to track products from start to finish. However, this system ranges far beyond the simple tracking capabilities of a truck or pallet. Users will be able to track a number of different variables including: temperature, shock, vibration, tilt, humidity, pressure, and exposure to light. If freight gets damaged during transit, a shipper will be able to know when, where, and how it happened. That alone can prove invaluable when it comes to preparing damage audits and projecting yearly PNLs.

Data gathered by this new system will allow shippers to track products from start to finish.

With data being tracked by a number of low cost sensors, part of the Intel/Honeywell package, users will have access not only to data on demand, but data that is pre-drilled down to useful data points that a company can act on.

Past Predictions for the IoT

While there have always been high hopes for the IoT, the expectations for it’s potential have changed throughout the past few years.

“Several years ago the market for connected products and services was promising eye popping growth numbers of up to 100 billion units. Today, a majority of forecasts show a more tampered 20 billion or 30 billion units (while a few others say we are saying we are still severely underestimating size of impact),” according to an article from Postscapes regarding IoT market forecasts.

Cyber security is also expected to become a boom market

What’s interesting to note from this article is that while the IoT is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, it’s not a standalone technology. Included in these forecasts is also expectations for sensor technology, cloud computing, and cellular capabilities will also continue to grow and expand. Cyber security is also expected to become a boom market as the sensitivity of data continues to rise.

On the Rise for 2017

So what can we expect for the IoT for 2017 and points beyond? Forbes has quite a few predictions that are worth considering. For starters, this year is going to see a lot of shake ups as new companies trying to get in on the game either make the cut, or get swallowed up by larger, more stable companies. As the IoT is now past proof-of-concept, there will soon be regulations and standardization to contend with as well. These regulations won’t be static either, as the technology continues to grow and evolve so will the standards being applied to them. As the IoT continues to grow and take shape, companies will need to embrace the new technology swiftly or fall behind the competition as supply chains and logistics fully enter into the digital realm.

Companies will need to embrace the new technology swiftly or fall behind the competition

 

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Tampa Manufacturing and Logistics – A Perfect Marriage.

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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BlueGrace Logistics Employees Raise Over $11,000 for Moffitt Cancer Center

Cancer SUCKS

Cancer is a nasty word and yet you hear it or see it every day. Your friends, family and acquaintances have all been affected by this word in some way, shape, or form. In 2017, almost 1.7 million new cases of cancer are projected. We need to find a cure for this awful disease and this is why organizations like Moffitt Cancer Center exist.

Their mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer! 

The Moffitt Cancer Center provides Tampa with opportunities to fundraise for cancer research and BlueGrace Logistics is no stranger to fundraising and charitable events. Especially if there is a race involved.

“It’s a huge part of who we are as an organization. Fundraising and participating in events like these, are engrained in our company culture,” said Courtney Smith, Manager of Culture and Engagement at BlueGrace Logistics.

This is the 3rd year BlueGrace has participated in M4M.

Since 2006, the annual Miles for Moffitt event has been a great way for the Tampa community, and friends from all over the country, to come together for fun, fitness, and to support lifesaving cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“Every dollar ever raised through registration fees and donations — more than $3.2 million so far! — has gone directly to empower our scientists and researchers to do the work that is uncovering cancer’s secrets, developing new and more effective treatments, and bringing closer the day when cancer is no longer a diagnosis to be feared.” said a Moffitt Cancer Center Rep.

So How did BlueGrace Raise the Money?

Now, BlueGrace isn’t your typical company so we don’t do your “typical fundraising”. Our fundraising efforts don’t begin and end with a bake sale.

Our fundraising efforts don’t begin and end with a bake sale.

“We do this thing called the Executive Drag Contest, where money is donated to 6 executives and the top 3 with the most money raised, dress up in drag the day before the race.” said Smith. “It’s really a sight to see and everyone gets into it.”

Along with drag contests and bake sales the company participated in Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor, multiple raffles throughout the office, a rap battle contest in our customer support division, and corn hole tournaments in the company break room.

“We even raffled off an Office Space Printer Beatdown, where the winner could literally take the printer outside and beat it with a bat!” said Smith. “We really love to make it fun.”

The employees came through in a big way and smashed that goal with a total amount of $11,087 raised.

BlueGrace Logistics came in as a $10,000 sponsor for the 2017 Miles for Moffitt race and employees were challenged to match that donation. The employees came through in a big way and smashed that goal with a total amount of $11,087 raised.

If you want to volunteer or donate to Moffitt Cancer Center, there are plenty of local opportunities. Let’s help them see their vision through by transforming cancer care through service, science and partnership. 

 

 

 

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How Can Expedited Shipping Be A Game Changer For Your Business?

 

Quick, Fast and In a Hurry

You can bet that manufacturers pay close attention to the Must Arrive By Date (MABD), set by big box retailers like WalMart and Target. While big box retailers mandate Must Arrive By Dates to ensure their shelves are always stocked with products consumers want, many companies who sell products directly are often are losing potential customers and revenue by not offering expedited shipping options to customers who have their own Must Arrive By Dates in mind for freight sized purchases.

What Is Expedited Freight?

For smaller parcel sized items, a business will often utilize the overnight or next day air options available from USPS, FedEx or UPS. But for larger sized items requiring freight shipping, many businesses and consumers aren’t aware that expedited shipping options are available, or find that they aren’t able to receive reliable or economical shipping rates from their current transportation partners.

Let’s explain more about how Expedited Freight works in comparison to standard LTL Options.

The transit of a standard LTL shipment is typically estimated as the shipment being picked up from the shipper that has to be taken to a terminal where it will be cross-docked. During this process the shipment will be loaded and unloaded from freight trucks multiple times, depending on the distance, before it arrives at the final destination. While many LTL carriers offer guaranteed shipping services, some shipments need to arrive sooner than LTL shipping can provide.

New Expedited Options For Your Business

Depending on the size of a shipment there are multiple expedited shipping options available for freight sized orders. By cutting out the cross-docking necessary in LTL shipments, expedited services are able to cover quite a bit more ground, or air, in a much shorter time than a standard LTL carrier could.

Cargo vans, straight trucks with lift gates, and air freight can be utilized for shipments that would ordinarily take up a few pallet spaces on a LTL truck. For orders that require a full truckload, a team of drivers can be booked so that your freight can theoretically move non-stop without breaking regulations imposed by the United States Department of Transportation. 

Expedited Freight = Time Sensitive Freight

It doesn’t matter if it’s June or if its a few weeks before Black Friday, as a shipper, you have the ability to expedite your freight. Whether you need to get your pallet of a custom equipment repair parts to the factory that is currently down or you need to get your trade show displays to a convention center by Friday, expedited shipping may be the best route for you. Some of our current customers are from industries like: Auto Parts, Promotional Displays, Industrial EquipmentTrade Show Management,  Airplane Parts, Computer Servers & Equipment, Maintenance Repair, AV Equipment, Restaurant Equipment and Medical Suppliers.

What Qualifies for Expedited Shipping

  1. Shipments that need to be picked up after 5 p.m. and delivered before 8 a.m.
  2. Shipments that need to move 1000 miles in 24 hours.
  3. Shipments that are loose and fragile, can’t be cross-docked with LTL carriers.
  4. Shipments that require faster transit than what LTL can offer. (Express LTL is one step away from Expedited)

How Does BlueGrace Put Expedited Shipping to Work for YOU?

BlueGrace can easily handle any expedited freight shipment request. We offer 30-minute quotes on price and capacity directly, from over 300 pre-screened, local expedite carriers nationwide. With over 10,000 pieces of equipment from Sprinter vans and semis, to domestic air, we can handle any type of freight. Each shipment it tracked by Macropoint, so you always know where your freight is located.

Expedited Freight Only Works With An Expedited Quote

BlueGrace is also one of the few providers that is able to offer guaranteed pricing and availability within 30 minutes of your request.

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For any questions, please contact your BlueGrace Logistics Rep today! If you call after 5PM EST or weekends, please email expedite@mybluegrace.com or you can download our Expedited PDF by Clicking Here.

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The Next Generation Supply Chain

 

The demands of today’s marketplace are shifting, growing, and evolving more rapidly than ever. Shippers have increasing expectations of carriers and their supply chain as a whole, requiring not only increased efficiency, but also flexibility and adaptability to respond to the events and obstacles that regularly occur in the ever shifting marketplace.

Shippers have increasing expectations of carriers and their supply chain as a whole

The next generation model of the supply chain is the combination of adopting automation and infusing it with digital technology for enhanced performance. While these new technologies are creating flourishes in innovation and creating opportunities to cut costs along the supply chain, it is also driving the rate of change, creating both disruption and pressure to remain competitive.

These new technologies are creating flourishes in innovation and creating opportunities

MHI has just released it’s 2017 Annual Industry Report which had 1,100 respondents from both supply chain leaders and manufacturers alike.  The focus of this report is to identify which technologies will have the most transformative potential on the future of the supply chain.

The Top Nine Technologies according to the MHI report are:

  • Cloud Computing and Storage
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Sensors and Automatic Identification
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Wearable and Mobile Technology
  • 3D Printing
  • Driverless Vehicles and Drones
  • Inventory and Network Optimization Tools
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

The Role of Big Data

Without a doubt, one of the largest focal points of new technology is data, whether it be the ability to access large amounts of data or to pinpoint certain factors that can affect the supply chain. The Internet of Things (IoT) was among the top five of the nine transformative technologies. While a number various technologies are essential to the collection and utilization of this data, the overall culmination from the IoT is becoming the lynchpin in technology growth. While 24% of the respondents currently use the IoT, 55% have plans to adopt it in the near future and within the next two years growing to 92% by 2023.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was among the top five of the nine transformative technologies

“On Demand” and “Always On” Supply Chain Models

In addition to the emergence of new technology, the industry is also looking at a different way of perceiving the supply chain. Service on demand, for example, is reflective of customers being more comfortable with technology and online transactions. Additionally, this spurs the increasing demands that customers are placing on businesses in terms of shorter service cycles, lower costs, increased transparency, as well as corporate responsibility. Even logistical feats such as next day delivery are losing their lustre as customers are now looking for an even shorter turnaround time. The only way to maintain such fluidity and flexibility in the supply chain will be by embracing new technology.

The only way to maintain such fluidity and flexibility in the supply chain will be by embracing new technology.

If the on-demand supply chain model wasn’t enough, those same growing expectations for customer service and quick turnaround are establishing the need for a supply chain to be “always on.” Order confirmations, updates, tracking information, order fulfillment, and proof of delivery are just a few of the expectations that are now being placed on shippers and carriers alike. In order to meet these requirements the supply chain must be efficient, transparent and, for lack of a better word, flawless. To that end, the concept of the ‘always-on’ supply chain can run around the clock in order to keep ahead of the daily challenges that face any supply network.

Robotics to Lead the Charge 

While data and information are important to predictive and reactive supply chain models alike, robotics will be setting the pace for the rest of the industry according to the report. The industry is currently looking at a 37% adoption rate for automation and robotics. However, that figure is expected to grow to 54% over the next two years, up to 71% within the next five years. Given that the cost of robotics is dropping while the implementation is getting easier, the rise in industry adoption rates is understandable. As menial and repetitive tasks are being doled out to the robotic workforce, human employees are given the flexibility to implement operational changes that allow a business to become more efficient while simultaneously cutting down costs on redundant labor.

The industry is currently looking at a 37% adoption rate for automation and robotics

As the technology continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace it will be up to logistics decision makers to keep ahead of the curve and stay competitive. While different manufacturers, shippers, and carriers each have an opinion as to which of the emerging technologies will be the most vital, it will undoubtedly be a combination of all of them that will provide the key to success.

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The Growing Need for Visibility

 

Visibility Isn’t Just a Nicety

Visibility isn’t just a nicety, as far as shippers are concerned, it’s an expectation. As part of a growing demand for efficiency and customer service, shippers want to know where their cargo is and be able to track and follow it as they please. However, visibility goes above and beyond the peace of mind for shippers, when carried out through the length of the supply chain, visibility offers a great deal of other benefits for shippers and carriers alike.

Shippers want to know where their cargo is and be able to track and follow it as they please

“In an electronic poll, three quarters of the transport and logistics executives at the 2017 Transportation Intermediaries Association Conference said, US shippers already have required they provide real-time visibility as a prerequisite to doing business,” according to an article from the JOC. 

So just how much data does a shipper need in order to be satisfied?

So just how much data does a shipper need in order to be satisfied? Is it enough to know the general location of freight, or does a shipper need to know the precise location of each and every pallet during transit? Having both an answer and a solution to either question is what sets carriers and 3PLs apart from the competition, making it a viable means of growing the business while meeting the increasing needs of customer service. Increasing access to data combined with predictive models of inventory management creates a highly efficient system for manufacturers of every industry.

Is it enough to know the general location of freight?

Big data has more potential than just tracking, it can also help to prevent and reduce bottlenecks. When a truck breaks down, it creates delays and causes a ripple through the supply chain. Knowing that there’s an issue as it happens, allows shippers to make arrangements to avoid any serious kinks in the delivery schedule. In turn, this allows the manufacturer and the carrier to avoid unnecessary complications and costs in the day to day operation.

Visibility as a Differentiator

Visibility is also playing a bigger role not just for shippers expectations, but as a key to winning business for both carriers and 3PLs. Shippers aren’t just concerned with where their goods are anymore. They need a system in place that will show disruptions before they happen. They need a streamlined and seamless means of getting access to the information they want without getting bogged down in unnecessary back and forth via email. Providing this level of technology is becoming the leveraging point for winning business, now more than ever.

They need a system in place that will show disruptions before they happen.

“We’re better armed going into negotiations than we’ve ever been,” Brian Morgan, Senior Director of Logistics and Process Excellence at Leviton Manufacturing, said at the NASSTRAC Shippers Conference. “Look at the technology being introduced that allows shippers to have an eye into the brokerage world and see what capacity is in certain regions at certain times,” said Morgan. “That’s a paradigm shift from a shipper standpoint.” The ability to mine data “makes you a more powerful negotiator when you’re sitting down with your carriers, because you have all the information they do,” Morgan added.

The ability to mine data makes you a more powerful negotiator

This data provides more than just a value service from carrier to shipper, it also allows a carrier to make more informed decisions when it comes to picking shipping lanes and what cargo to haul and what to pass on. It also means that shippers are able to negotiate better rates with carriers. Allocating more traffic to specific lanes to help carriers cut down on operating costs, creating a mutually beneficial partnership between the two.

Bridging the Gap

From start to finish, the Supply Chain is the lifeline of any business. Like all things, however, it requires a delicate touch as there is a need for both access to right technology as well as a need for the right data to be delivered at the right time. As both shippers and carriers are moving into a more technologically based realm, having the right technology in place is quickly becoming the driving force for success.

From start to finish, the Supply Chain is the lifeline of any business.

The real question is, do you take a chance on picking one data platform over another and hoping it works? You could, but why take the risk? Why not work with an intermediary that can provide the necessary data and the tools to deliver it when you need it most? 3PLs are upping the ante with just that, providing the data and tech to bridge the gap between shippers and carriers and allowing both to leverage their business more efficiently.

 

 

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Drones – Why You Want Them In Your Supply Chain.

 

Drones are all over the media these days. Civilian drones have taken selfies to a whole new height, while Amazon has been working to get their drone delivery service off the ground. However, many companies are looking at the other ideas of using drones, especially when it comes to mapping out your supply chain.

An article recently released on Forbes website is showing the advancements being made to drone technology and why they could become an invaluable resource moving forward.

New Technology Makes Drones more Effective

One of the most pressing concerns about drone use is the limited range of operation. Even with the new battery technology, a drone typically has a flight time of about 25 minutes.

While this is great for taking a few aerial shots at a picnic, it’s not too helpful when it comes to large scale operations like mapping a supply chain.

Matternet, a company that specializes in drone logistics systems, partnered with Mercedes-Benz to co-develop a docking system that would allow a drone to take off from and reconnect to the roof of a vehicle. This would not only solve the matter of charging, it would also accommodate for packing and delivery all while increasing the range and payload utilization in the field.

This alone already ramps up the possibility for drone usage for last mile deliveries and improved logistics.

What Drones Could Mean for Your Supply Chain

First and foremost, drones are incredibly flexible as far as their uses go, even if you’re not looking to make quick deliveries.

“It’s increasingly clear that drones deserve consideration as part of your digital roadmap. Plus, ground and even ocean-going drones are developing fast, with problem-solving applications such as driver hour limitations, inaccessible or hazardous locations and massive materials handling chores, similar to what BASF is doing with autonomous vehicles in its mega-plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany,” says Forbes writer, Kevin O’Marah.

Companies Look into Fielding Drones

More and more companies are looking into fielding drones, and nearly a third of all supply chain professionals have said that drones have become very important to their supply chain roadmapping and strategy.

This is almost triple what the response was only two years ago, back in 2014.

More businesses are seeing the tremendous benefit and are lobbying to get regulatory approval for wider use. This is something which the FAA has been slow to agree to at first, but is starting to become more receptive to the idea as time goes on.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Much like the new digital platforms that are allowing businesses to be proactive about their supply chain issues, rather than merely reactive, it would be a mistake to ignore the benefits of drones and the advantages they can bring to your supply chain.

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Takes 3rd Overall at 2017 SportsFest

It is no secret that the team at BlueGrace loves to compete. From sales contests to obstacle course races, the employees at BlueGrace always put in the extra effort for a good cause or even just for fun. In the case of Sportsfest 2017, BlueGrace came away with a 3rd place victory overall. Events included, volleyball, corn-hole, surf ‘n turf, dodgeball and tug o’ war. The competition at Sportsfest is always tough and BlueGrace Logistics loves showing what we’re made of.

3rd Place Overall for 2017!

Congratulations to all BlueGrace Employees who attended and competed in SportsFest 2017. With 192 Tampa Bay companies participating, it was a great event full of team building, friendly competition and just plain fun. See you all on the beach in 2018!

Checkout our team video!

Do you want to join our team?

BlueGrace Logistics is hiring and we want you to join our team! From Sales and IT to Finance and Customer Support, we have a position for you. Visit http://mybluegrace.com/careers for more information what is it like to work at one of Tampa Bay’s Top Workplaces!

 

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SAP & Transportation Integration in Consumer Electronics

SAP provides unprecedented scalability as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for any business. SAP means quick access to all important components of your business with the data to back it up. Many businesses tend to miss out on valuable data for what can be a major component in their transportation and logistics programs.

We have already done the hard part.

Integration is Seamless

Integrating all your shipping and freight into SAP may seem complex and time consuming but when you partner with ERP-IS and BlueGrace Logistics, you will find the transition is absolute. We have already done the hard part.

It makes for an almost “Plug-n-Play” integration

The fact that ERP-IS and BlueGrace have already spent the time and money to seamlessly integrate our systems, it makes for an almost “Plug-n-Play” integration into a customer’s SAP environment. The partnership gives the CIO, CFO, and the executive suite, the information, data, and business intelligence reports they need to make their business more profitable.

Customization for Every Partner

Every SAP customer has their own level of customization, but it is nothing that our dedicated BlueGrace Engineers haven’t seen before.  Integration within a customer’s SAP environment requires only a bit of cooperation from their IT and Transportation personnel.

Every SAP customer has their own level of customization

SAP & Transportation Integration in Consumer Electronics

In the case of a world-wide consumer electronics manufacturer that was already lined up with a shipping platform through an SAP partner, BlueGrace provided a more cost effective and efficient approach to their supply chain.

We immediately identified carrier routing opportunities

While this manufacturer was already integrated with the SAP partner, their shipping process was a bit antiquated. Our transition and onboarding process with them provided a modernized solution to preparing data and exposing inefficiencies within their supply chain. We immediately identified carrier routing opportunities that would have gone unnoticed and this ultimately resulted in a signifcant cost savings and reduction in transit time.

This ultimately resulted in a signifcant cost savings and reduction in transit time.

READ MORE about our partnership with this Consumer Electronics Manufacturer in the case study below.

SAP & Transportation Integration In The Consumer Electronics Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank You For Another Exciting Lightning Season!

As the Preferred Shipping Partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, BlueGrace takes hockey pretty seriously and the 2016-2017 season was no different. Although we didn’t make the playoffs this year, the Lightning kept us on the edge of our collective seats all the way until the end of the season, with a potential Wild Card berth. We want to thank the Lightning Organization As the Preferred Shipping Partner, we want to thank the Lightning Organization for welcoming our employees, vendors and customers all year to the games and for hosting several events for us. We look forward to the draft and new signings, to build our team for the 2017-2018 season. GO BOLTS!

We Partner With Winners

The Lightning only partners with winners and so should you. Are you looking for a transportation partner who understands the needs of your freight and has the experience and tools to help your company succeed? BlueGrace believes we can make any business better. Call a BlueGrace representative before your next freight shipment and experience the difference in cost, customer support and #3PLTLC today. Call 800.MY.SHIPPING or request your quote online.

BlueGrace Careers

Do you love hockey?  Maybe it’s time to work for a company who loves hockey as much as you do. BlueGrace is hiring in almost all of its locations across the country, so all NHL fans can apply! Visit our Careers Page to learn more about BlueGrace Logistics and to see what it is like to work for our fast growing organization.

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BlueGrace Logistics Named Top Workplace in Tampa Bay Again

 

BlueGrace Logistics is on Top Again!

BlueGrace is named a Top Workplace in Tampa Bay again and we are EXCITED! In the last 18 months, BlueGrace Logistics has grown from 180 employees to more than 500 employees nationwide. One might wonder, “how do you manage everyone’s happiness when you experience ‘hyper-growth?” Well, it all starts at the beginning of the hiring process.

BlueGrace has always focused on hiring the person and not the resume.

When you focus on the people you are hiring and not just a piece of paper, you get to know their qualities. BlueGrace’s most valued trait in every employee is empathy.

“We want to make sure we have caring, happy people who come to work every day,” said Bobby Harris, President and CEO, in a recent interview with Tampa Bay Times, adding: “We don’t care how much you know until we know how much you care.

We strongly believe that the empathy trait carries into everything a company needs to be successful.

“Somebody is relying on us in a critical way to make their lives easier or avoid disaster,” Bobby said. “We’re hiring people who we know care, who will stay late to make sure they’re serving their clients.”

Caring for Others | It’s What We Do

Core Value number 1 at BlueGrace is Be Caring of All Others. We believe our people make the difference and we strive to create an environment where our employees truly feel like family.

“We understand that when you’re excited about the company you work for and feel like you’re part of a purpose, you’ll inevitably be more fun to work with, loyal and highly effective in your role,” says Whitney McKay, Marketing & Brand Manager at BlueGrace. “Since day one of my six years at BlueGrace there’s been something organic and genuine about our culture. It doesn’t matter how much we grow, you just can’t get the same experience anywhere else.”

We strive to create an environment where our employees truly feel like family

“Giving back to the community gives us a purpose, it’s a huge part of who we are as an organization. Being caring is engrained in our company culture,” said Courtney Smith, Culture & Engagement Manager at BlueGrace Logistics. “Transitioning into my current role has been seamlessly successful; it’s easy to keep the culture alive when you have a core foundation like Bobby has created.” 

Fundraising and participating in the community, are engrained in our company culture

Every year, BlueGrace employees participate in a contest (namely “Cats vs. Dogs”) raising pet food and supplies for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and other no-kill shelters in BlueGrace communities throughout the U.S. This event has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds of food over the last 6 years.

Our employees also fundraise and run for cancer research in the ‘Miles for Moffitt’ event every May for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and donate food, toys & schools supplies to Metropolitan Ministries, a local community non-profit.

The Results for Top Workplaces

How does a company get selected as a Top Workplace in the Tampa Bay area? To pick the Top Workplaces, WorkplaceDynamics went straight to the experts – the employees.

“In total, we invited 680 companies to participate, and we surveyed 175 of them.” said a rep from WorkplaceDynamics.

How does a company get selected as a Top Workplace in the Tampa Bay area?

They surveyed firms that employ 89,324 people in the Tampa Bay area. Of those employees surveyed, 37,058 responded either on paper or online.

When the employees of BlueGrace were asked about their work place, their responses concluded that they “felt well informed about the current state and direction for the future of BlueGrace.”

Transparency is Key

“Transparency is Key,” said Harris, and added “People will pay you back tenfold if you’re going to show them where the company is going.”

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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A Definitive Guide to Improving Logistics

Given the changes that the logistics and transportation industry are currently undergoing, efficiency and quality of service are becoming increasingly vital for companies that want to stay viable. While this includes utilizing new technology and data as it becomes accessible, there’s more to these improvements than simply downloading the latest software.

The question that many logistics decisions makers have to answer is simple. “Where do we begin?”

While it’s true that companies have to make a number of the decisions, they aren’t the only ones responsible for creating a working system. In fact, the government also plays a big role when it comes to facilitating transportation. A new guide, which has been created by The World Bank and the International Road and Transportation Union, for government and policy makers alike, has listed some definitive steps to not only boost efficiency but also make freight transportation more viable as a whole.

Definitive steps to not only boost efficiency but also make freight transportation more viable as a whole

The Positive Effects of Deregulation

Regulation for the freight industry is important, at least to a certain extent. Environmental and Safety regulations are not only good for the industry but also keep the world and the people around it safe. However, ‘over regulation’ can have some serious consequences if the government overextends its reach.

According to a 1988 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study, the restrictive regulation of trucking drove prices up and encouraged inefficient practices. Trucking regulation increased freight rates by one-third to one-half and increased the freight bill to U.S. industries by $5.5 to $7.3 billion per year,” the World Bank study says.

Spiking prices this way not only means a higher cost of good for the consumer but also a higher operation cost for manufacturers, shippers, and carriers alike. By reducing these regulations there is a general cost reduction across the board, starting with the creation and eventual sale of  goods from manufacturer to end consumer respectively.

Safety Regulations, Electronic Logging Devices, Hours of Service, Etc…

The government certainly has their hands deep in the transportation industry pockets. With rules and regulations changing so frequently, companies that ship need to be aware, or their freight costs may skyrocket.

Electronic Logging Devices or ELD laws will be implemented later in 2017 and with the Hours of Service ruling not completely out of the picture, shippers will surely feel the the effects. Working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider can alleviate some of these safety regulation bumps in your supply chain.

A 3PL works for you and makes your business better.

When you partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, you don’t have to worry about staying on top of new rules and regulations. Your 3PL does that for you. The role of a 3PL is to make your business better.

 

 

 

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Cats and Dogs Benefit from BlueGrace Food Drive

Each year, BlueGrace Logistics female (cats) and male (dogs) employees compete against one another to see who can collect the most pet food in pounds. Throughout the years, BlueGrace has collected tens of thousands of lbs. of food to feed the animals of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, one of our partner charities, through this drive. With the amount of growth that BlueGrace has experienced over the last 18 months, this contest was extended to all BlueGrace offices and as a result, will benefit several more animal shelters.

The drive divides the men and women in the office and allows them to compete as two teams to collect as much pet food as possible.

The drive divides the men and women in the office and allows them to compete as two teams to collect as much pet food as possible. While the winning team receives bragging rights for the next year, the real winners are the animals in the shelters who so desperately need the donations. The drive culminates with an adoption event in the office in Tampa, where 8-10 adoptable dogs and cats are brought in by the HSTB and employees and their families have an opportunity to take a new family member home.

The drive culminates with an adoption event in the office in Tampa.

“While the competition aspect of the drive is fun for our employees, what’s important is providing as much food for the animals as we can to these organizations,” explains Courtney Smith, Manager of Culture & Engagement for BlueGrace. “With the growth and expansion we have seen in our company over the last fifteen months, it was incredible to see the reach and impact across the country.”

The Dogs Claim First Victory in 4 Years

The competition has been a tight race every year, but the DOGS of BlueGrace came out ahead with just under 13,000 lbs in food for the Tampa office!

“It was ruff, but we finally beat the cats!” said Steve Wolfe, Certified Partner Development Manager at BlueGrace Logistics and Cats vs Dogs Team Captain.

Company’s Core Values Mean Something

BlueGrace Logistics has 5 core values proudly displayed throughout the offices all around the country. The first core value is “Be Caring of All Others,” which is exhibited not only within the office walls, but in the local communities as well.

BlueGrace Core Values

This is probably our most called upon core value. At BlueGrace Logistics, it is essential in our hiring process that we find empathy in our candidates. Whether an employee is working in sales or customer support, it is imperative to a business’ success that the people answering the phones and talking with prospects and customers, have some sort of empathetic trait.

Our team not only cares about each other and the community, we care for our carriers, vendors, clients and partners. We work best with those who have compassion for others and truly show it.

 

Caring for Others and Caring for the Animals

This year was another successful drive, with BlueGrace collecting over 27,500 lbs of pet food as an organization. BlueGrace headquarters donated 22,674 lbs to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. BlueGrace Chicago donated 3,475 lbs of pet food to the Animal Rescue Foundation of Illinois. BG Baltimore donated 500 lbs to the Humane Society of Harford County in Fallston, MD. BG Richmond donated 200 lbs to the Richmond SPCA. BG Boston raised a total of $732 and was able to purchase pet supplies from the MSPCA-Angell Wish List.

“A philanthropic spirit is a vital component of any BlueGrace employee, and drives such as these provide our employees with the opportunity to help our communities in a fun and impactful way,” Mercedes Essmann, Director of Recruiting at BlueGrace mentions. “Seeing the adoptables go home to loving families at the end just adds a whole other level of pride and satisfaction to the event.”

 

 

 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics – Why We are Attending SAPPHIRENOW 2017

 

Why BlueGrace Logistics is Attending SAPPHIRE NOW

At BlueGrace we have a firm belief that we can make EVERY business better and have proven this again and again by providing transportation management services for companies in all types of industries.

A single provider for your freight that is more of a partner than a vendor.

No matter what the industry, we look to become your outsourced transportation department. A single provider for your freight that is more of a partner than a vendor.

What Services Do We Provide

A few of the services we provide are:

  • Specialized reporting, business intelligence, customer engineering, and analytics
  • Dedicated operations, project management, and customer service support
  • SAP/ERP integration
  • TMS solutions
  • Freight Bill Pay and Audit
  • Claims Management
  • Freight Cost Allocation, GL-Coding, and Customized Invoicing
  • Indirect Cost Avoidance Measures

Let’s Talk More At The Show

We look forward to discussing your freight needs while at SAP. If you stop by our booth (#1053) or we stop by yours, here are a few things we would like to discuss:

  • Why did you decide to visit SAP – SAPPHIRE NOW & ASUG Conference?
  • Based on your business model, would any BlueGrace customers benefit from your services?
  • Can you or your vendors benefit from any of our services?
  • What all do you have planned for the conference and what do you want to take away from the show?

BlueGrace Logistics is excited to be a part of this massive show! Please add us to your agenda while you’re here and we look forward to this year’s show!

Free Case Study

SAP & Transportation Integration in Consumer Electronics

In the case of a world-wide consumer electronics manufacturer that was already lined up with a shipping platform through an SAP partner, BlueGrace provided a more cost effective and efficient approach to their supply chain.

We immediately identified carrier routing opportunities

While this manufacturer was already integrated with the SAP partner, their shipping process was a bit antiquated. Our transition and on-boarding process with them provided a modernized solution to preparing data and exposing inefficiencies within their supply chain. We immediately identified carrier routing opportunities that would have gone unnoticed and this ultimately resulted in a significant cost savings and reduction in transit time.

This ultimately resulted in a significant cost savings and reduction in transit time.

READ MORE about our partnership with this Consumer Electronics Manufacturer in the case study below.

SAP & Transportation Integration In The Consumer Electronics Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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