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BlueGrace Logistics Acquires Tampa Based Freight Broker

3PL Announces the Procurement of Continental Traffic Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

About BlueGrace Logistics:

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

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

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

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

A Combined Front of Transportation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improving Technology will Continue to Add Value

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

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

 

 

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Is Your Freight Protected? Freeze Protection For Temperature Sensitive Shipments

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

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

Winter Giving Transportation the Cold Shoulder

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

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

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

Technology Gives Logistics Some Valuable Insight

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

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

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

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

Find a 3PL Who can Handle the Cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Launches New Branding & Logo Concept

 

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

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

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

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

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

BlueGrace also announced a new tagline.

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

 

About BlueGrace Logistics:

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

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Coming Up – BlueGrace Logistics 2016 National Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have an incredible line-up of keynote speakers.

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Cameron Herold – World Renowned Business Coach and Speaker

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

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

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Afterburner Inc. – Accelerated Performance Special Operators

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

 

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Why A Drop in Productivity Might Actually be a Good Thing

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

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

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

Trump is Sticking with the ELD Mandates

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

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

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

The Capacity Crunch

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

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

A small shift can be a capacity earthquake.

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

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

A Game of Wait and See

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

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

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

 

 

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The Shrinking Fleet: Why the Trucking Industry is Scaling Down

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

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

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

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

Data is Still Being Compiled

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

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

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

Not a New but a Growing Concern

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

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

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

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

Looking for Solutions

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

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How To Break Into The Booming Logistics Industry, Now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why BlueGrace Logistics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you think the shoe fits – Wear It

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

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

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

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

 

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Fuel Efficiency: A Slow Move for the Trucking Industry

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Trucking Industry Feels Pressure from the EPA

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

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

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

Improving Fuel Efficiency over Fuel Type

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Size Matters

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

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

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

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

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Carrier Spotlight: Kuehne & Nagel

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

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

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

About Kuehne and Nagel

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

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

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

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

Seafreight:

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

Airfreight:

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

Contract Logistics & Integrated Logistics:

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

Overland:

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

 

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BlueGrace Transforms into BOOGrace 2016

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The costumes are creative.

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

The decorations are spooky.

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

BlueGrace Transforms Into BOOGrace16

 

 

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

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

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

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

BOOGrace16 Video Contest

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

 

BOOGrace16 Costume Winners

 

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Individual Costume Winners:

1st place: Reese Weathers

2nd place: Andrew Rivers

3rd place: Tiffany Earwood

Wildcard Costume Winners:

1st place: Gail Rizzo

2nd place: TIE: Sarah Sweeney & Whitney McKay

Executive:

Bobby Harris-Ryan Locte

BG Psycho Winner:

David Daniels

Group Costume:

Scooby Doo

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Debate This: Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Systems

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

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

A Frequency Issue

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

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

About More than Just Communication

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

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

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A Change of Plans: Reevaluating A Company Supply Chain

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Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP)

Both are critical to running a successful business, however trying to favor one over the other can prove to be disastrous. More often than not, companies are losing out on considerable profits, or paying out tremendous expenses such as last minute shipping charges due to a lack of cohesion between sales and operations planning.

A number of manufacturing companies are operating off a general set of rules for supply and demand, leaving both sales and production teams frustrated when they aren’t reaching their target goals.

While these generalizations might have cut it in the past, companies are going to have to change their operations if they want to succeed and thrive in the future.

The Creation of Internal Conflict

Supply Chain Management Review, an online industry news source recently reviewed this issue as it’s occurring in a number of companies, not only manufacturing, but service firms as well. With decision makers from both sides of the companies calling shots without conferring with the other side, there are a number of mistakes being made.

“A different type of demand–supply mismatch plagued a computer hardware maker. It relied on ocean shipping for units made in China because that was $15–$20 per unit cheaper than air freight. But while the units sailed across the ocean, the commercial team frequently changed their forecast for the mix of units that would sell over the next few weeks. The company routinely had to scramble at the last minute to ship via air (at great expense) in order to match the right supply to changes in demand forecasts.”

The article goes on to list a number of different causes for these problems, the core of which, comes down to poor information. Often times different cells within the operation are operating with different sets of data, both of which are skewed, leading to complications down the line.

Learning the Best Practice

Perhaps the biggest facilitator for change is the growing expectations from clients. With higher demand for more products with shorter delivery times, manufacturers will need to get their act together. Failure to do so could mean losing out on profits or even losing clients altogether.

“Running merely good S&OP may no longer be acceptable, because customers have higher expectations for product availability and fast delivery. The spread of new digital channels, on top of existing physical channels, has made it more complicated to know where inventory sits and what it will cost to deliver to customers. Also, the supply chain has grown more complex as suppliers operate a more far-flung network of suppliers, third-party logistics providers and inventory partners. Coordinating all that activity can be a stiff challenge.”

Changing the Game

In addition to finding better ways to communicate within the business, other business are branching out in different ways and are successful in doing so.

Apple is a perfect example of this. Originally, all Apple products were made and manufactured in the U.S. which was all well and good when they started. However, it didn’t take long for Apple to realize that manufacturing could be done cheaper out of house.

Not only could parts be procured at a lower cost but everything from assembling to warehousing could be done at a better rate. Some would simply cite lower labor costs as the main reasoning for this strategy, and to that end, gives Apple some flak for not bringing jobs back stateside. However, there’s more than one side to that issue.

“It’s also about, you don’t have as many mid-level manufacturing engineers available in the U.S. anymore, just because as an economy we don’t have as many of those types of jobs. That’s not the type of education that we focus on anymore, and there’s a ton of that over there,” said Evan Niu in an interview with the Motley Fool.

“Including the lower-cost labor, they have more people that are within the specific skill sets that they need to ramp up the manufacturing. I think a long time ago they said you could fit every single manufacturing engineer within, they would need a baseball stadium; in the country, that’s just how many there are now. Over in China, Foxconn can get hundreds of thousands of engineers within a couple hours if they need them to make some change, or tweak some processor. There’s a lot of sides to the story why they do it like that,” he added.

The manufacturing industry is accelerating and evolving rapidly, creating a challenge as businesses will need to be able to adapt and overcome, altering their business structure to meet the ever changing demand. — The real question is, will companies be able to adapt to quickly enough to meet these new expectations?

 

 

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Mosaic VP Joins Leadership Team at BlueGrace

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Sean Butler Announced as New Chief Human Resource Officer

BlueGrace Logistics announced today that Sean Butler, former Vice President of Human Resources at Mosaic, has joined the company.

Butler was named the new Chief Human Resource Officer just last week and will be leading the human resource strategy and talent acquisition efforts as BlueGrace embarks on the hiring for several hundred more positions over the next few months.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to start a new adventure with a unique organization like BlueGrace. The pace at which this company is expanding its footprint is incredible, and I am glad to be joining the team during this exciting period of growth,” said Sean Butler, Chief Human Resource Officer at BlueGrace Logistics.

Sean Butler comes to BlueGrace Logistics from Mosaic, where he served as the VP of Human Resources for over 18 years. While at Mosaic and Cargill, he managed HR for the worldwide operations for approximately 4200 employees.

“Sean is a perfect fit for BlueGrace, both culturally and professionally. His extensive background in HR will be instrumental in our employment development over the next phase of growth,” said Bobby Harris, CEO & President of BlueGrace Logistics. “We did a national search and were extremely excited to find the best person was here in Tampa,” continued Harris.

BlueGrace is projected to hire another 500 – 700 new employees in Tampa over the next couple of years, accelerating its national expansion plans and pursuing strategic acquisitions from the recent $255 million private equity investment.

While Butler has a vast amount of experience in human resources with major corporations like Mosaic and Cargill Fertilizer, Inc., he also enjoys serving on several boards throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Notably he serves as the Committee Chair of Compensation Committee for the Lowry Park Zoo and as the Workforce Solutions Committee Chair for Career Source Tampa Bay.

“I really enjoy being involved and supporting the community in which my family and I live,” said Butler.

 About BlueGrace Logistics:

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

 

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Empathy in the Workplace – Why BlueGrace is Successful!

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Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Take a moment and think back to some of the jobs you’ve held in your life.

If you identify as a millennial, you’ve probably held several jobs since college. You maybe reach a point where you hit a ceiling, or you don’t enjoy the culture, disagree with management, etc. You may have worked for a company that doesn’t empathize with it’s people.

Typically the older generations have more tenure at companies and see long-term growth within. They ignore the issues with management or the mundane work culture, and “put in their time”.

So who is right and wrong in this scenario? Are the millennials wrong for wanting to be happy and pursue something different? Are the Gen X and older right for “embracing the suck”?

The feeling of being unimportant and undervalued is actually more common than you might think.

The End of an Era

The days of ‘hiring the resume’ are soon coming to an end. Highly successful start-ups are focusing on the person and not necessarily the resume, in the recruiting process.

A large issue is that companies are placing too much value on “hard skills” or the abilities of prospective employees that directly complement the nature of the position.

On paper, that sounds like what a company should do right?

There is no arguing that hard skills are important, as the company does depend on employees with strong knowledge that allows the organization to run smoothly. Putting a strong emphasis on the process has allowed companies to evolve and develop to the point they have today.

When Process Comes Before People

However, when process comes before people, when empathy and the true valuing of employees comes after the bottom line, it creates a large problem for retention.

No one wants to work a job where they don’t feel appreciated.

Prospective employees don’t want to sign up with a company where all their coworkers seem unhappy. It creates stagnation and lack of innovation, which can be the death of a business, or at least have a crushing effect on morale and productivity.

Building a Team

Much the same with playing sports, your team is only as good as your weakest player. Here’s where ideas like empathy and inclusion come into play.

Your smartest and most tenured manager may be loaded with hard skills but lack in the subtleties necessary to be an effective team player. This person could be ruthless when it comes to efficiency, which may lead to a singular mode of thinking, “My Way or the Highway” scenario.

While you might get a good jump in numbers for a time, that sort of thinking can be fragile, as it’s too rigid.

The logistics industry is constantly changing, and because of this, a good manager needs to be able to adapt and change tactics as necessary. They need the help of the team in order to stay ahead of the changes and make the process work consistently.

This is why empathy is so very important.

BlueGrace Logistics and Empathy

We’ve mentioned our Core Values before and we have highlighted our second as ‘Be Caring of Others’. This is probably one of the characteristics we focus on the most during the recruiting process.

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

The takeaway from this is simple. If you want a better business, you have to put your people first. Give them an environment where they cannot just survive, but thrive, and you’ll find your company will also reap the benefits.

To see all available positions at BlueGrace Logistics locations all over the US, visit careers.mybluegrace.com today.

 

 

 

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Fast Facts & Predictions About ELDs – Infographic

Countdown to the ELD Mandate

The time to plan for the ELD Mandate is now!

With the new ELD compliance creeping up on the trucking and logistics industry, we thought it would be beneficial to show some fast facts and predictions about ELDs. What do you think about the new requirements?

Click the image below for a larger version or download the PDF version here and feel free to share.

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How does Freight and Transportation Fit into your Budget?

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The 2017 budget season is heating up!

We all know how it goes. The heads of each department work on their annual budgets and turn them in to finance. Finance then returns with remarks like “the budget is too high, make it leaner.” How do you go about “trimming the fat” off of the transportation budget? Transportation is typically a 10-12% cost band on the general ledger for most manufacturers and distributors and once the 2017 budget is locked in, it doesn’t change.

MABD Affecting 2017

There will be challenges rolling into 2017 with freight carriers and big box retailers making their Must Arrive by Date programs or MABD rules more strict.

Huge retailers have very strict rules when it comes to receiving products by a certain date to restock their shelves. If a manufacturer or distributor is not getting their product to the retailer by the (MABD) or Must Arrive By Date, the retailer can hit the business with a ‘charge-back’ for a certain percentage of the invoice value. Not only will the business have to pay a fee, but it will reflect poorly on their business scorecard as well.

General Rate Increase with Less-Than-Truckload

At the beginning of every year the LTL carriers will begin to roll out general rate increases also known as GRIs.

Something to remember about LTL carrier GRI’s, is that the announced GRI isn’t necessarily indicative of the true impact to a shipper’s bottom line freight cost because the GRI is not a flat percentage rate increase across the board.

It is merely an aggregate combined average percentage increase across all lanes serviced by a carrier. Rates in some lanes may remain unchanged but some may increase by more than 4.9%.

A shipper could be seriously impacted by a general rate increase much higher than what’s announced by the carrier, so it’s imperative for shippers to check each lane for actual impact on costs.

Has your transportation and supply chain departments brought these items into consideration when rolling out transportation budgets?

Freight Cost Allocation

There is also the issue of past freight cost allocation. True freight cost allocation should show your most profitable ship to locations, customers, and products. Were you able to deploy sales people, advertising, and marketing budgets to the correct locations? Were customers, and product lines also accurate in relation to your budgeting for 2017 as well?

Transportation cost is much more than beating up LTL Carriers on price, sending out an annual RFP and picking carriers based on cost alone.

Don’t just remove a carrier and bring in a new one if you have a spat with the driver or if a shipment gets damaged. Make the decision based on the total of the carriers activity.

Consider a 3PL When Budgeting

Transportation costs affect all aspects of your organization and should be taken very seriously. When working on the 2017 budget, consider working with a third party logistics provider (3PL), as they will take the time to learn your business and see how these costs can affect everyone in your organization.

 

 

 

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The Logistics of Natural or Manmade Disasters

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

This added over 200 miles to some of the trips.

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

Now Hurricane Matthew has it’s eye on the southeastern corridor. 

Hurricane Matthew will hammer parts of eastern Florida starting Thursday, and then spread up the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas Friday into the weekend. This will inevitably affect deliveries and pick ups, as terminals will possibly be closed due to mandatory evacuations throughout the coastline.

Disaster Recovery Procedures Established

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

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

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

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

FEMA Diverts Carrier Assets

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

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

Specialized 3PLs Dedicated to Recovery

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

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

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

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

Customer needs must be clearly defined.

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

 

 

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Annual Freight Bid – You’re Doing it Wrong.

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Contributing Editor: Dustin Snipes – Enterprise Sourcing Manager

The annual freight bid goes out every year like clockwork.

The transportation manager for a business that ships, will usually send out a massive blast to third party logistics (3PL) providers and carriers. These providers are often given a spreadsheet that lists last years shipping lanes without the cost of the freight, cost of the order, or even the information on who provided the transportation. Essentially, they are receiving a blank spreadsheet.

The business was not built on a blank spreadsheet and neither should your transportation procurement method.

The best possible way to assess a transportation provider, is to meet face-to-face. The provider needs to see the operation and the current state of the program. The uniqueness of a business’ process and product cannot be captured in a column or row.

To better serve a shipper, the right questions need to be asked.

There are many questions that a provider should be asking a shipper? Let’s break them down into sections.

Provider Capability

  1. What ERP are you running? Is it integrated with your TMS?
  2. What is your current providers support structure for your account?
  3. What indirect cost avoidance measures did your current provider propose to you before onboarding your account? Did the cost avoidance measures happen?

Budget and Finance

  1. How are you allocating your freight costs today?
  2. What is your current provider’s fee structure?
  3. How much did you spend on chargebacks from Wal-Mart or other ‘Big Box Retailers’ last quarter?

Operations

  1. Are there any carriers you do not work with? Why?
  2. What is your current OTP%?
  3. What is your current claims % and who is handling the filing of these claims?

Evaluating a partner in a mutually beneficial business relationship

Do not prep the potential provider to ask you these types of questions. See if they come in only speaking about cost.

The always popular “We will save you 10% on your rates” is something that uneducated sellers like to tell uneducated buyers.

A well-managed transportation provider should truly help you optimize your supply chain and be an outsourced extension of your business. They should not only report on your issues, but alert you when an issue arises, and offer you solutions to fix it then, and moving forward.

 

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Carrier Spotlight | Old Dominion Freight Lines

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OD Freight Line fits many of our Core Values. Their ability to Pursue Outrageous Goals for over 82 years, is a huge reason why we continue to work closely with them to provide our customers with complete shipping needs.

One of BlueGrace Logistics Core carriers, Old Dominion Freight line, has 226 shipping service centers, 32 transfer points, and more than 18,000 employees. OD Freight Line provides service to six major geographical regions and thousands of direct shipping points in the lower 48 States.

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OD’s single-source operation helps you manage your domestic freight shipping needs with confidence and provides complete nationwide coverage across all regions of the United States.

Their Super Regional Service allows businesses to ship both inter and intra-regionally with the most competitive transit times and pricing available.

In 1934, Earl and Lillian Congdon founded Old Dominion Freight Line in Richmond, Virginia, with one truck and a commitment to keep their promises to customers. Since then, OD has turned into a global transportation leader. Today, Earl Jr. and his son, David Congdon, carry on the family tradition of doing whatever it takes to help the world keep promises.

Recently, Old Dominion was recognized with the following acknowledgements for company leadership in the industry:

  • Inbound Logistics magazine recognized Old Dominion as a 2016 Top 100 Trucker and named the company to its 75 Green Supply Chain Partners (G75) list for the sixth consecutive year.
  • For the seventh consecutive year, Logistics Management honored OD with its Quest for Quality Award.
  • SupplyChainBrain named ODFL in its 2016 “100 Great Supply Chain Partners” listing.
  • NASSTRAC honored the company as 2016 Multi-Regional LTL Carrier of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Forbes Magazine named Old Dominion one of America’s Best Employers in 2015
  • Fortune named CEO David Congdon to its 2015 Businessperson of the Year list.
  • The ATA Transportation Security Council awarded OD with its 2015 Excellence in Claims and Loss Prevention Award for the third consecutive year.
  • Mastio & Company ranked Old Dominion as No. 1 National LTL carrier for the sixth consecutive year.
  • 2015 SmartWay Excellence Award winner.
  • Commercial Carrier Journal ranked OD No. 10 on the 2015 Top 250 Carriers list.
  • Forbes Magazine named Old Dominion as one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies for three consecutive years.

Carrier Relationships

BlueGrace Logistics is always focusing on how to make each shipment, with each carrier, cost efficient. Working with carriers like Old Dominion Freight Lines is one of the many reasons we are successful in providing cost efficient and custom transportation plans for our shippers!

 

 

 

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