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Transportation Management Systems on the Rise

Whether you’re shipping domestically or internationally, keeping everything running smoothly can be a big job to say the least. It requires a careful orchestration of a potentially vast number of moving parts. The smoother these parts operate in conjunction with one another, the better your operation will be. For that reason, transportation management is essential for domestic and global shippers.

Transportation management is essential for domestic and global shippers.

If we consider the way things have been done in the past in comparison to the new technological advancements that are being developed at an ever-increasing pace, the old school, manual system just isn’t going to cut it any more. Phone calls, faxes, emails, and spreadsheets might have been enough to keep a trucking company running a few decades ago, but now companies who can’t keep pace with the time and technology, will run the risk of being outmoded and left behind.

Companies who can’t keep pace with the time and technology, will run the risk of being outmoded and left behind.

Advancements in Technology

Transportation management technology has come quite some way from what it once was. The myriad of options available for both shippers and 3PLs to choose from for planning and executing systems is massive compared to that of the past. Not only are there more options to choose from, but the speed, cost, and modes that these management systems can be obtained, implemented, and used have also improved.

American Shipper TMS Benchmark

Transportation management systems (TMS) will vary from company to company, depending on what the shippers needs are. A recent benchmark report from American shipper highlights some of the key developments in TMS, including how shippers see the market, the technology they currently use, how they connect with other carriers, and how new transportation technology interacts with the inventory variance created by omnichannel marketing. In short, the nature of shipping and transportation is changing, and shippers will need a different approach to adapt to this market evolution.

When you consider that omnichannel retailing is on the rise, this will make things more difficult for trucking companies as it will require increased flexibility in their supply chain. In fact, only 20 percent of shippers and 30 percent of 3PLs feel that their TMS system can support an omnichannel strategy.

Only 20 percent of shippers and 30 percent of 3PLs feel that their TMS system can support an omnichannel strategy.

The report also highlighted some of the challenges involved with TMS. One of the biggest challenges, according to the respondents revolves around connectivity to outside partners and compatibility with other systems. While having a good TMS is useful, it doesn’t make too much of a difference if it’s only capable of working “in house.”

A Growing Need for TMS

Another startling discovery made by the report is that 40 percent of the respondents aren’t using a TMS or a 3PL to manage their logistics. However, given the coming shift in the market, there is a considerable uptick, 55 percent, in the amount of trucking companies who are beginning to utilize management systems when compared to last year. This is becoming increasingly important as trucking companies begin to shift gears for omnichannel demands which require higher data volumes and increased workload for transportation departments.

40 percent of the study’s respondents, aren’t using a TMS or a 3PL to manage their logistics.

An Industry Leading TMS Is Available For Free

While it’s encouraging to see that the number of companies who are open to using a TMS is on the rise, it’s still worrisome that there are many who don’t. TMS systems are not only improving in ease and speed of implementation, but the cost is also dropping. In fact, there’s even a free transportation management system that’s available to shippers. That’s right, free.

Whether you’re a one-time shipper or ship 7-days a week, the cost is zero to you!

Our proprietary transportation management system, BlueShip, is free! Whether you’re a one-time shipper or ship 7-days a week, the cost is zero to you! Whereas other 3PLs charge anywhere from $3-10K for the use of their TMS. Our system is cloud based, which offers ease of implementation and utilization from system to system and partner to partner. We’re always fine-tuning our system to offer you the best in both reporting and live tracking.

BlueShip Is Free For All BlueGrace Customers

 

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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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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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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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BlueGrace Logistics Announces $255 Million Investment from Warburg Pincus

BlueGrace Logistics Announces $255 Million Investment from Warburg Pincus

Riverview, FL – August 9, 2016 – BlueGrace Logistics (“BlueGrace” or “the Company”), a private third-party logistics (3PL) provider based in Tampa, Florida, announced today that funds affiliated with Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, have agreed to make a minority investment of growth capital and additional funds available for strategic acquisitions. The total commitment by Warburg Pincus is $255 million.

Capital Will Fuel Growth, Hiring, and Large 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.

BlueGrace is presently building out the remainder of its 55,000 square feet of headquarters space in Riverview, Fl., and is scouting for more space across Tampa Bay. BlueGrace expects to significantly increase employment in Tampa, Chicago, Boston and other markets.

“This investment will give a major shot of adrenalin to our already fast-growing operations,” said BlueGrace President and Chief Executive Officer Bobby 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.”

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace has developed a proprietary software platform that provides customers who need to ship goods with multiple offers from trucking companies.  BlueGrace tracks the shipments, costs, routes and timing, and then provides customers with detailed data about where they can save money. BlueGrace can often save millions of dollars for a client, while providing unprecedented transparency into what’s often a major expense for a company – freight.

BlueGrace works with more than 10,000 companies nationwide that make everything from auto parts and beauty products to pharmaceuticals and sporting goods. Many of the most popular products on shelves at major retailers made their way there through BlueGrace.

“Warburg Pincus has been a long-term investor in the technology-enabled logistics market and BlueGrace is a rapidly growing innovator in that industry,” commented Alex Berzofsky, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus. “We see meaningful opportunities for continued growth for the Company and we look forward to supporting the BlueGrace team.”

Through Warburg Pincus, BlueGrace received a combination of committed capital and direct investments of $255 million. Hyde Park Capital acted as advisor to BlueGrace in the transaction.

Harris founded BlueGrace in January 2009 and the company has grown rapidly ever since.

Last summer, BlueGrace employed about 170 people and announced plans to add 100 new employees, but has already “significantly exceeded that,” Harris said. BlueGrace now employs more than 370 nationally and the Company will likely employ more than 1,000 people in the next several years through a combination of organic expansion and acquisitions.

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 in the Chicago and Boston and Los Angeles.

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.

About Warburg Pincus

Warburg Pincus LLC is a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The firm has more than $40 billion in private equity assets under management. The firm’s active portfolio of more than 120 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector and geography. Warburg Pincus is an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 15 private equity funds, which have invested more than $55 billion in over 750 companies in more than 40 countries. Within technology-enabled logistics, selected current and former Warburg Pincus investments include Coyote Logistics, MercuryGate, NewBreed Logistics and GTNexus in the U.S. and ZTO Express, ANE Logistics, Sequoia Logistica and Yunniao, among others internationally. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Mauritius, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Singapore. For more information please visitwww.warburgpincus.com.

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BlueGrace Provides Logistics for Minnesota Tourism Campaign

 

Minnesota Tourism Thinking “inside” the Box

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

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

Minnesota brought to YOU

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

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Tourism In a Box

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

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

 


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

See Colle+McVoy’s MNstagram booths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The High Tech and Electronics Supply Chain – Maturing and Innovating

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What is the product lifecycle of high tech products and electronics? The lifecycle can be debated based on the type of electronic product, but overall the lifecycle is becoming increasingly shorter and that’s one of the unique supply chain concerns that high tech and electronics companies face. Did you know that for many electronic devices, an estimated 50% of the profit comes in the first six months of their lifecycle? As a result, high tech supply chains need to be flexible and data visibility is a must.

How much they are spending in logistics is key to staying on top in this highly competitive industry

High tech companies such as Apple and HP need to know how to keep their products moving quickly and if necessary, to change them quickly. In addition, they also need to know where their resources are coming from and how much they are spending in logistics. How much they are spending in logistics is key to staying on top in this highly competitive industry. Not only does one need to have visibility across its entire supply chain, it also needs to manage logistics data and costs, all the way down to the modes of transportation to use.

Traditionally, product launches utilize air freight because of the speed it offers. In fact, we can thank Apple’s Steve Jobs for the air freight trend. In the late 1990s, most computer manufacturers transported products by sea, a far cheaper option than air freight. To ensure that the company’s iMacs would be available at Christmas the following year, Jobs paid $50 million to buy up all the available holiday air freight space. As a result, that historic move handicapped rivals such as Compaq that later wanted to book air transport.

High Tech Companies Utilizing Other Modes Such As Rail Freight

More and more high tech companies are utilizing other modes such as rail freight. HP was one of the first businesses to take advantage of the rail network connecting China to Europe. As of 2014, half of its laptops are produced in Chongqing, China and located 2,000 miles inland. Because it has become cheaper to produce and sell its laptops, HP no longer requires air transport and instead will stack up to 50 containers on a train destined for the German city Duisburg.

Compliance Regulation and e-waste

Modes of transportation are certainly important; however technology companies are also facing compliance regulations as countries around the world grapple with how to control the growing problem of e-waste. For many such firms the responsibility for what happens to their products at end of life will rest with them and as such, they must observe regulations regarding material collection, recovery, recycling and destruction/disposal. Many Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers assist companies with these requirements, utilizing their large carrier networks to ship and track the e-waste while the manufacturers can focus on getting new products out into the consumers hands.

Risk Management Processes

Lastly, risk management processes are vital for technology companies. Many of these companies have manufacturing facilities in emerging countries where political risks are high as well as in other countries in which natural disasters are prevalent. The 2011 floods in Thailand severely impacted the global supply of hard disks and resulted in inventory shortages for PC manufacturers.

No two supply chains are the same however, for the high tech and electronics supply chain the need for flexibility is vital for it to continue to provide innovative products quickly and in the most cost effective way. The manufacturers need to also adhere to a growing number of compliance regulations and monitor for any potential risks that may impact its supply chain anywhere in the world. The supply chain and freight data collected by the high tech products and electronics manufacturers will be the deciding piece of the puzzle to help keep them profitable.

 

 

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BlueGrace National Footprint Expands to Boston with Purchase of G-Force Shipping

Boston Acquistion

Tampa 3PL Continues Momentum with Job Creation and Acquisitions

Large acquisitions are dominating the 3PL industry and BlueGrace Logistics is no stranger to progress. Over the last year, BlueGrace Logistics, a privately owned, non-asset based third party logistics provider (3PL), has gained momentum with franchise acquisitions, job creation and most recently purchasing, G-Force Shipping out of Boston, Massachusetts.

“The timing of this acquisition couldn’t be better as we both are experiencing a huge amount of success. The potential for job creation within both of our communities is on point with our current mission and commitment to growth.” Said Bobby Harris, CEO/Founder of BlueGrace Logistics.

Once a franchise of BlueGrace Logistics, Boston-based G-Force Shipping was founded in 2009 and currently employs 16 people, with over 91 partner carriers. G-Force Shipping has been unwavering in the 3PL industry and is widely recognized in the SMB market, especially in the Boston area.

“Moving our book of business over to BlueGrace Logistics will not only increase our resources, but will ultimately benefit our shippers,” Said Scott Guilbeaut, CEO of G-Force Shipping. “This transition will be an exciting one for both G-Force and BlueGrace as we increase our foothold in the freight and shipping industry.”

Job Creation and Company Culture to Continue

Not only does this acquisition bring new jobs and revenue, G-Force Shipping is a perfect fit for the BlueGrace model of a charitable and pacesetting company culture.

“G-Force brings value to our current ‘company culture’ as they have been voted as a Best Place to Work in Boston, by the Boston Business Journal.” Said Mercedes Essmann, Director of Recruiting for BlueGrace. “Their office will be an extension of our corporate location and we will continue to strive for hiring the people and not the resume.”

The acquisition of G-Force Shipping is one of many, as BlueGrace continues to become a stalwart in the logistics industry. The growth capabilities within the logistics, freight and shipping market is unprecedented and BlueGrace Logistics will continue to acquire more companies that fit their capacity for growth in the 3PL space. Visit careers.mybluegrace.com for current job opportunities.

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.

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BlueGrace Logistics is On Top Again

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

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

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

With growth, comes employment opportunities.

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

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

Check out our available postitions online. 

 

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BlueGrace Logistics Participates and Sponsors Miles for Moffitt – Run to Beat Cancer 2016

POST -Miles for Moffitt Blog

Cancer sucks. There is no other way to put it. According to an article from cancer.gov, in 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease. The statistics about this disease are staggering, but it’s events like ‘Miles for Moffitt’ that will contribute to prevention, treatment and the cure of cancer through fundraising.

This is the 2nd year that BlueGrace Logistics participated in and sponsored the Miles for Moffitt – Run to Beat Cancer.

“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, BlueGrace Franchise Support Manager and Culture Club member.

BlueGrace Logistics Corporate may have sponsored the event, but what the employees did on their own was substantial and nothing short of amazing. Through small fundraising events in the office and making pledges through the Miles For Moffitt website, the company as a whole raised a total of $19,159.

“We had great participation with a bake sale and a “Pie in the Face” fundraiser, but we were able to generate the most money through the website pledges!” said Mercedes Essmann, Director of Corporate Recruiting at BlueGrace Logistics.

BlueGrace Logistics is proud to be able to give back to the community, whether it be through local projectscharity events or our annual Cats Vs. Dog pet food drive.

At BlueGrace Logistics one of our core beliefs is our people make the difference. As such, we strive to create an environment where our employees truly feel like family. We believe that people who are happy and excited about the company they work for are more fun to work with, loyal and are ultimately more effective in their roles. We fully encourage all employees to give back to their community in some sort of way.

 

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A Promise Of Growth Was Made, And BlueGrace Is Delivering On That Promise!

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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BlueGrace Logistics Announces Goal to Add 200 Employees This Year

Riverview, FL, April 25, 2016 – Last year BlueGrace Logistics received a special visit from Florida Governor Rick Scott on July 8th, 2015.  During this visit, we announced our pledge to add 100 jobs in the Hillsborough County/Tampa area. Since the governor’s visit, BlueGrace has added over 50 jobs so far in 2015-2016 and has been focused on moving towards an additional 200 new employees for 2016 alone. Explosive growth numbers like these will help BlueGrace support Governor Scott’s Enterprise Florida initiative to create more jobs in 2016 than any other state in America.

“The logistics and transportation industry is growing at an impressive rate, especially in the Tampa market.” said Bobby Harris, CEO of BlueGrace Logistics. “Because of this growth, the initial pledge numbers we made to Governor Scott have been increased and we are excited to be adding even more jobs in the state of Florida for 2016.”

BlueGrace Logistics, headquartered in Hillsborough County with offices nationwide, is a leading national provider of complete transportation management solutions. These new jobs will include a variety of functions in the organization such as sales, customer service, technology, accounting, legal and professional services. With the massive growth at BlueGrace and in the logistics industry as a whole over the last 12 months, job seekers should take notice.

The demand for talented employees in the logistics and freight industry has never been higher.

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

“It is one thing to hire a lot of people, it is something entirely different to bring in a bunch of talented people, invest heavily into them and ensure they begin successful long-term careers with BlueGrace” says Executive Vice-President, Adam Blankenship.  “The team at BlueGrace has also developed a culture and work environment that welcomes new employees and encourages them to interact with their new co-workers in fun and competitive ways.”  Blankenship went on to say, “with our company growth, our commitment to people and culture we truly are helping people build careers in logistics here at BlueGrace. “

On March 25th, 2016, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida achieved its lowest unemployment rate in eight years at 4.9%. The new job openings at BlueGrace will not only help keep that number low, but will also offer opportunities to the most recent college graduates in 2016. BlueGrace has many open positions and training opportunities, which may be a great option for many graduates looking for their first job out of college. For more information on open positions at all BlueGrace locations, please visit http://mybluegrace.com/careers

About BlueGrace Logistics:

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

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BlueGrace Logistics Named A Top Workplace in Tampa Bay

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BlueGrace Logistics Named one of Top Workplaces in Tampa Bay

BlueGrace Logistics was recently named one of Tampa Bay’s Top Workplaces 2016 by the Tampa Bay Times. BlueGrace’s employees nominated us and were surveyed about several topics including work environment, practices, and policies that make our company a top place to work. This is the second time that BlueGrace has won the coveted employee award and we look forward to many more!

In the Tampa Bay region, nearly 180 leading employers were nominated by their employees. To be considered for participation, companies or government entities had to employ at least 50 workers in Florida and be at least one year old.

The Top Workplaces 2016 in Tampa Bay program was created by the Tampa Bay Times and WorkplaceDynamics. The program continues to be a good barometer of Tampa Bay companies and helps promote those companies to both potential employees and to the community. The companies were ranked based on leadership, compensation and training, workplace flexibility, and diversity. The rankings were published on TampaBay.com, in the April 10, 2016 edition of the Tampa Bay Times and on April 11, 2016 in tbt*.

Voted For By Employees

“The reports are so enriching because the stories come directly from the employees, which gives the readers a pure behind-the-scenes look into these companies,” said Chris Tisch, Times business editor. “Tampa Bay companies are truly interested in creating productive work environments and engaging employees.”

For a complete list of the 2016 Top Workplaces in Tampa Bay, go to www.tampabay.com/topworkplaces2016.

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“Having a great culture addresses so many of the core things you need to succeed at running a hyper-growth company… when we put our employees first and they in turn take care of the customers, it always works.” 

Bobby Harris, President & CEO of BlueGrace Logistics.

At BlueGrace, we strive for innovation and excel by collaborating as a TEAM. Candidates call it fun, positive and refreshing; we call it the BlueGrace Experience. Our open floor plan, live Twitter feed, buzzing employee stations, and the occasional gong ring create a motivating and engaging atmosphere. At BlueGrace, we pride ourselves in providing our employees with opportunities for growth and success.

About the Tampa Bay Times 

The Tampa Bay Times is widely considered one of the Top Ten newspapers in America and has won 10 Pulitzer Prizes. It is Florida’s largest newspaper, with an average circulation of 367,936 Sunday and 297,626 daily (AAM Annual Audit 2014). The Times is produced by the Times Publishing Company, which also publishes TampaBay.com – Tampa Bay’s largest local news Web site with about 2.7 million unique visitors each month (comScore six-month average for 7/15-9/15). Additionally, the company publishes the free daily tbt*, an edition of the Tampa Bay Times, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, PolitiFact.com; and produces special events, specialty publications, and targeted advertising programs.

About WorkplaceDynamics

WorkplaceDynamics is one of the largest workplace survey providers in the United States. Each year it surveys thousands of companies and partners with leading media organizations to produce definitive Top Workplaces lists. Using proprietary, cutting-edge online applications, WorkplaceDynamics is bringing employee engagement to the web.

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A Snow Machine Inside the Building? BlueGrace Recognized as World’s Coolest Offices by Inc.

‘Tis the season to be… outrageous.

Inc. Features BlueGrace Logistics on their ‘World’s Coolest Offices: Holiday Spirit’ List.

Amongst companies like DropBox & Jet, three-time Inc. 5000 honoree BlueGrace Logistics makes Inc.’s World’s Coolest Offices blog for the best Holiday Spirit

How These 9 Hot Startups Are Getting in the Holiday Spirit | By Zoe Henry | Reporter, Inc.

About BlueGrace & the “BG Festivus” 2015 Event:

At BlueGrace nothing is off the table when it comes to providing the best employee experience, even a snow machine…inside. Yep, we did that.

Mastering the art of ‘Corporate Culture’ has been a slight obsession of ours since inception. It’s part of our company strategy, hiring practices, training, and even leadership initiatives. We know the secret to success in any company is not really a secret at all: the happier the team the more successful the business. We also believe that part of being successful is giving back and being part of something bigger than ourselves, which is why we incorporate an annual food & toy drive into our event for our local community charity of choice, Metropolitan Ministries.

The holidays are a favorite time of the year at BlueGrace Logistics, and we’ve been known to go full-blown Clark Griswold in the outrageous department. Our traditions tend to be unique and tailored to our family-like environment that we’ve created. This year our “BG Festivus” event had a “Christmas Morning Pajamas” and “Ugly Sweater” theme, a “Dirty Santa” gift exchange, a cookie bake-off & catered lunch for our employees. But we didn’t stop there, because that would be boring and we don’t do boring. “BG Festivus” came equipped with SIX Christmas Trees filled with toys for Metropolitan Ministries, spiked eggnog & holiday cider at 3:00 to ensure we made Santa’s Naughty List. We even had our very own Grinch to stir up some chaos, and of course an indoor snow machine. To capture this ridiculousness, we hired a photographer to take candids and department pictures in the snow. Did we mention that we’re hiring?

Find out more about our people, our culture & our transportation and freight services by visiting www.mybluegrace.com!

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DIY Network’s Salvage Dawgs Selects BlueGrace To Handle Their Freight Growth

Reprinted from Furniture Today | Written by Clint Engel – December 8, 2015

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ROANOKE, Va. — The owners of Black Dog Salvage and stars of DIY Network’s “Salvage Dawgs,” have developed a furniture line tied to their architectural salvage business.

If all goes well, owners Mike Whiteside and Robert Kulp plan to use their newfound celebrity to build a following for the product at their own retail stores, online and eventually at other furniture stores in the country.

The initial “Salvage Inspired-By” line includes about 100 SKUs of moderately priced furniture and accessories, produced overseas from primarily salvaged materials.

More on that to follow, but first a little background: Whiteside and Kulp started Roanoke, Va.- based Black Dog Salvage about 16 years ago. It’s an architectural salvage business that sells salvaged materials saved from old and historic properties, as well as upcycled new furniture and accent items made from that salvage.

As Kulp told Furniture/Today, Whiteside is the creative force behind Black Dog, with “a great eye for furniture, a great design eye.”

“We’ve been able to give new life to these architectural objects by turning them into furniture,” he said.

Tables made from the salvaged materials typically run between $2,000 and $4,000, coffee tables in the neighborhood of $800 to $2,000. But the price tags can go much higher, Whiteside said, noting that the company just sold a bar for a hotel for nearly $70,000.

A few years ago, a friend in the television production business approached Whiteside about doing a reality show based on the business. The idea was not just a show featuring men salvaging with heavy machinery, but one that told the whole story — from the history of the properties to the salvage operation to the workshop and “final reveal” showing how the materials were reused to create something new.

“We’re putting the ‘real’ back in reality TV,” Whiteside said, adding that there’s no real acting involved. The personalities viewers see on-screen are the same in person at the store or workshop. With that mission, “Salvage Dawgs” was born on Scripps Network’s DIY channel three years ago. It’s now in its sixth season. (Two seasons of episodes filmed each year.)

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Black Dog Salvage’s main store in Roanoke, Va., includes about 30,000 square feet of indoor selling space and is being remodeled to better display the new imported line.

“It’s not a guy show,” Kulp said. “It’s a family … everybody show, a furniture show, an architectural salvage show.” And it has led to an “avalanche of people” visiting the main Black Dog Salvage retail store in Roanoke — about 30,000 square feet of interior selling space plus two acres outside for display.

On a typical Saturday, the store sees anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 visitors, Whiteside said.

The company also opened a satellite store earlier this year in Sulphur Springs, W.Va., and has a warehouse in Roanoke where it initially stores and records all the materials it’s bringing in.

“Salvage Dawgs” airs on other Scripps networks, too, including Great American Country, HGTV and the Travel Channel. Whiteside and Kulp now have fans as far away as Great Britain and New Zealand.

Kulp said he doesn’t watch much television or keep track of the when the show comes on, but he can tell just by the spikes in online sales.

The show hit its largest audience to date July 14 with 1.2 million viewers.

Now, with this new exposure but limited in-house workshop capacity, Black Dog has developed a line of what it calls “Salvaged Inspired-By” items based on items built on the show that it’s having produced overseas — currently in India.

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Robert Kulp, left, and Mike Whiteside, stars of DIY’s “Salvage Dawgs,” and owners of Black Dog Salvage, Roanoke, Va.

Among the popular salvage inspired items is a record album cover table made of wood, iron and glass that comes straight out of one of the shows — in this case a design created by Whiteside’s son. The original pieces sold for $475 and the salvage-inspired version is retailing for $375, Beane said.To do this, Whiteside and Kulp connected with new minority equity partners Brian Beane and Fred Schubert, partners in Widget Design and Sourcing, the exclusive vendor for all the imported product Black Dog Salvage will sell in its stores, online and to “potential retailers/etailers as we build the brand,” Beane said.

Widget Design, he said, is working closely with Black Dog to mirror the original “concept of taking salvaged materials and making them into saleable furniture. The items include small case goods, accessories and occasional furniture.”

One of the more expensive products in the new line is an entertainment étagère originally designed from a salvaged five-panel door. The complete media wall with two ends and a center unit that can hold a 70-inch television retails as a package for $2,799 (with the ends each priced at $799).

“We’re making 10 of these at a time, even if it’s overseas,” said Widget Design’s Fred Schubert of the inspired line. “It’s still handmade furniture — mostly reclaimed. It’s not production.”

Whiteside emphasized that the company’s mission is not changing with the new line. “We are a salvage company,” he said. “There’s no reason why we can’t source salvage worldwide.”

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An album cover table in wood, metal and glass, based on a design by Mike Whiteside’s son in one of the “Salvage Dawgs” episodes, is reproduced in the new line.

Black Dog Salvage will continue using its own shop, and local vendors to produce furniture that retails on the floor too, including bench-made “custom-build” requests the company receives. Widget is working to secure additional domestic sourcing for custom-built work and also is looking at export opportunities for the product as well, given the show’s international following.

It’s also revamping its main showroom for an updated look to showcase the new line and the company’s other products.

Beane noted that the items chosen for the overseas line all are inspired by designs featured on “Salvage Dawgs” and carry the Black Dog Salvage label, typically branded into the item. They are engineered to be shipped more cost effectively than many of the larger items Black Dog sells. The company has contracted with BlueGrace Logistics to handle deliveries.

He characterized the new line as “authentic products produced by authentic people.” And it’s this whole aura of authenticity surrounding Whiteside, Kulp, Black Dog and the show that makes Beane and Schubert certain they have a hit on their hands.

“Because the show is a family show, and they have a special vibe, this branding can go a long way, more than any other kind of branding we’ve ever worked with,” Schubert said.

The owners said they would be happy to see the new line lead to $5 million to $10 million in additional sales in the first year.

Kulp said Black Dog Salvage will do about $3 million in sales this year — a large increase from where it was before the television show aired. The owners said they would be happy to see the new line lead to $5 million to $10 million in additional sales in the first year. Beane added that he’s also shooting for 35% of that to come from online sales.

Eventually the company expects to open up the Black Dog Salvage brand to other retailers. It’s aiming to exhibit during a High Point Market some time in 2017.

 

To find out more about BlueGrace Logistics and our Freight Services, contact 800.MY.SHIPPING today!

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