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BlueGrace Logistics

A Bright Future for Intelligent Logistics

The transportation and logistics industries are perhaps one of the most vital industries in the United States, if not the entire world. On average, trucks haul approximately 70 percent of all consumer goods across the country, and that number is only expected to grow as the global economy continues to grow and change. However, while it is the most vital of all industries, it has also remained the most stagnant, with very little about the industry changing over the past several decades.

The potential for these digital changes is immense, allowing companies to work smarter by lowering operation costs while boosting efficiency.

Yet, we’re beginning to see what can be described as an age of enlightenment for the transportation industry, a digital renaissance. Something in which logistics planners and trucking fleet owners alike are beginning to dive into. These changes are covering everything from ridesharing, “smart” logistics, and even automated vehicles. The potential for these digital changes is immense, allowing companies to work smarter by lowering operation costs while boosting efficiency. Even going so far as increase environmental sustainability as truckers, planners, and shippers all learn to connect on a broader level.

The Growing Web of Interconnection 

In short, the digital age is built on the concept that just about anything is possible, including a sort of omniscience that is vital to running a highly efficient supply chain.  

One of the biggest advantages of this digital age is how interconnected everything is. The Internet of Things (IoT) is providing more data and more accessibility to that data than ever before. New software systems are able to track where freight is during every stage of its transportation and the condition of it during its trip. 3PLs and other intermediaries are developing digital platforms that can connect a shipper to a carrier with a few clicks, rather than an exhaustive list of phone calls, emails, and faxes. Customs documents can be uploaded and transmitted to mobile devices,  less demurrage and detention fees when a paper document gets lost in translation. In short, the digital age is built on the concept that just about anything is possible, including a sort of omniscience that is vital to running a highly efficient supply chain.  

Building On the Infrastructure 

Digitization within the transportation industry also has another, less obvious benefit. It gives developing countries easier access to the global market. As these countries haven’t built up their logistics capabilities to that of the U.S. or the E.U. attempting to break ground on this front is often both cost and time prohibitive. Having access to a digital platform allows them to “leapfrog” directly into digital and mobile solutions for logistics.  

“According to the All India Motor Transport Congress, there are close to 12 million trucks in India. The road freight volume in India is forecast to be 2,211.24 billion freight tonne-kilometer, growing at 4.7 percent,” according to a recent article from YourStory.com 

Market research from Novonous, ‘Logistics Market in India 2015-2020’ shows that India is a prime example of a country that can benefit from new, digitized logistics platforms. The report shows that the logistics sector for India approximately $300 billion, and expected to grow by 12.17 percent by 2020. Factor in that 90 percent of trucks in India are operated by single truck owners, and you can see the potential for connectivity and digital platforms.  

The Growth of E-commerce and Digitization 

E-commerce, of course, is at the heart of much of this digital growth as many consumers begin to veer towards a digital shopping cart, rather than brick and mortar stores. As E-commerce companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Flipkart begin to grow and attract more customers, the potential for higher logistics costs also increase. As it stands, India spends about 13 percent of its total GDP on logistics, versus China at 18 percent and the U.S at 8.5 percent. Even a drop of 4 percent in logistics spending could save India upwards of $50 billion.   

The visibility and scalability of a digital network will undoubtedly be vital for the growth of the global economy.

The visibility and scalability of a digital network will undoubtedly be vital for the growth of the global economy. Not only does it help to level the playing field for new players making the market more accessible, but it also helps veterans and legacy companies to operate more efficiently.  

Real-time visibility solutions can help tackle delays, productivity issues, accidents, diversion, theft, and damage.

“Mobile operators are uniquely poised to offer regional and global connectivity solutions for the logistics sector. These real-time visibility solutions can help tackle delays, productivity issues, accidents, diversion, theft, and damage,” says the Yourstory Team.   

“Governments can also improve the quality of logistics via measures like budgetary outlays, foreign direct investment regulations, clarity in classification of logistics players, tax structures, and requirements for open data sharing. This covers truck fleets and the warehousing sector,” they added.  

The logistics sector is heading towards a new digital era, that much is certain. Tech startups, along with forward-thinking incumbents, are bringing innovations and insights into the field and is shaking up the old ways of doing things. As this new era grows in years, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing the logistics and transportation industry in a wholly different light.  

Offering Intelligent Logistics To All Customers 

BlueGrace Logistics offers complete, customized transportation management solutions that provide clients with the bandwidth to create transparency, operate efficiently, and drive direct cost reductions. For more information on how we can help take your hard to understand and complicated data and turn it into easy to read and well calculated decisions data, feel free to contact us using the form below:

Change Is Coming For The Trucking Industry

Disruptive technologies will often alter the form and function of an industry, at least to some degree. The changes brought about by these new disruptions are subtle, making the sector more efficient (production is a good example of this) but change little else. The transportation industry, however, is standing at the precipice of total revolution. These new, disruptive advancements won’t affect it in small ways, but rather change it altogether, making the industry something completely different from what we’ve seen over the past several decades.   

There are some big questions to answer when contemplating how these new developments will alter and impact the industry.

There are some big questions to answer when contemplating how these new developments will alter and impact the industry. IHS Markit’s latest study “Reinventing the Truck” is taking a closer look at how new power-train and autonomous trucking will affect logistics, trucking, and the energy industry.  

New Changes for the Trucking Industry  

Of these new changes, the first one to consider is that we’re beginning to see new patterns of both distribution and consumption across consumer markets. Typically speaking, a growth in trade reflects economic activity, but that relationship might change due to changes in manufacturing and distribution practices. 3D printing, for example, means that certain consumer goods could be manufactured on site, rather than being transported from a manufacturing facility and then being hauled to a DC before reaching its final destination. Local production of consumer goods could reduce supply chains and lower demand for freight carriers, negating shipping costs entirely in some instances.  

New Technology in the Industry 

Technology will also be a driving factor. According to Markit’s study, there are three key areas in the industry that will be impacted. The first of these is through increased data access. As the IoT and expanded sensor banks allow logistics companies to gain access to more data throughout the supply chain, networks and best practices will see optimization and increased efficiency.   

Electric vehicles are becoming more sophisticated and developing a longer delivery range, making them ideal for urban settings.

Other advancements to be aware of will change fuel consumption patterns throughout the industry. Electric vehicles are becoming more sophisticated and developing a longer delivery range, making them ideal for urban settings. As electric drive trains are quieter, hours of operation can be extended, allowing carriers to operate throughout the night when traffic is reduced, which will change deployment patterns as well as fuel consumption.  

The Role of Automation 

Increased levels of automation within the industry itself will also play a large role in the transformation of the transportation industry. Warehouses are employing more robots for picking and packing of orders. Automated loading and unloading systems can reduce truck detention times, allowing a driver to get back on the road quicker.

Automation will greatly reduce costs by increasing efficiency which will be enhanced as connectivity and communication levels increase.  

Self-driving vehicles are also on the horizon which will allow for a greater traveling distance and might be enticing for new, younger drivers, as a reason to get behind the wheel. Automation will greatly reduce costs by increasing efficiency which will be enhanced as connectivity and communication levels increase.  

New Regulations will Change the Supply Chain 

Lastly, there is the change in trucking regulation to consider, which will have the most immediate impact on the industry. These new regulations are taking place on a local, state, and national level. These policies have a wide range of goals, anywhere from reducing CO2 emissions and improving (reducing) fuel consumption, to addressing longstanding labor issues. Regardless of their intention, these new regulations all share one factor in common, the will to alter the established patterns and practices of the trucking industry. Germany, for example, has allowed individual cities to ban diesel trucks. That alone will significantly change the transportation industry, bringing a new level of complexity for fleet operators that work in and around urban areas as it can vary from city to city.  

Change to Affect More than Just Transportation 

Considering that these changes have a far-reaching impact, not just on the transportation industry, the Markit study also looked at how other industries will be affected. With supply chains being shortened or even negated in some instances as well as new regulations and standards being put into effect, oil refineries and the petrochemical industry will begin to see a diminished demand from their biggest customer. 

Given that the transportation industry plays a considerable role in the global economy, many industries will be affected and will undergo their own set of changes in order to keep pace.  

In short, these new changes will push our understanding of disruptive technologies to a new level as the transportation industry will begin to undergo a metamorphosis. Given that the transportation industry plays a considerable role in the global economy, many industries will be affected and will undergo their own set of changes in order to keep pace.  

Ready for the Change? 

At BlueGrace, we work with you every step of the way. We’re here to help you understand your current freight issues and make sure your supply chain is ready for any changes in the industry without ever missing a beat. For more information on how we can help you simplify your supply chain and achieve your goals without labor or technology investments, contact us today using the form below: 

The Long Bumpy Road to Blockchain in Trucking

With rapid advancements in interconnectivity, such as the Internet of Things and the added advantage of instant data streaming, the freight industry has been devouring data technology as a whole and is getting a much-needed overhaul. Yet, the picture is incomplete. There are still some serious gaps, tracking being a great example of this. While shippers may have a general idea of where the freight is during its transit, often it is difficult or impossible to pinpoint the exact location and the estimated time of delivery.

Let’s face it, trucking is the life force of this country.

Communication within the industry also leaves a lot to be desired. Throughout the industry, many companies are using different systems for recording freight which allows some data to be lost in translation. That might be the reason why there is some considerable hype being built around blockchain technology. In fact, this hype is gaining some serious momentum when you consider there is a new faction, the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA) that is working to find blockchain solutions for some of the most common trucking problems. Let’s face it, trucking is the life force of this country. Trucks are moving approximately 70 percent of the nation’s freight. As a whole, it represents over 80 percent of the nation’s freight bill. That being said, they could use all the help they can get to make the process more efficient.

Privatized Blockchain for the Industry

There is a considerable amount of potential within blockchain technology. As a data service, it can track and categorize every transaction through a products life-cycle.

For a logistics decision maker, the ability to pinpoint the location of various assets, both tangible and intangible, is invaluable.

For a logistics decision maker, the ability to pinpoint the location of various assets, both tangible and intangible, is invaluable. Within every step of the shipping process, blockchain can track the data and provide analyzable and actionable information which allows for more accurate and efficient decision making. As it’s a shared platform, the necessity for a privatized blockchain for the U.S. becomes apparent. Of course, that privatization isn’t necessarily exclusive, but rather separate from other blockchains used just for the industry. This would give shippers, carriers, freight brokers, 3PLs and anyone else in the BiTA consortium who needs to be in the know, access to a transaction ledger. BiTA’s goal, as a standards organization, is to develop a common framework to encourage the development of blockchain applications for asset tracking, transaction process and overall logistics management. All of which is geared at turning the trucking industry into something more intelligent and efficient.

…and The Seemingly Never-Ending Capacity Issue

Think about some of the most common issues within the industry. Manufacturers and shippers have a hard time finding available capacity. Putting aside the driver shortage for a moment, it makes no sense that it’s so difficult to find capacity when there’s an average of 29 billion empty or partially loaded miles per year. It also helps to understand that the trucking industry itself is incredibly fragmented in the United States. There are over 1.5 million trucking companies fielding close to 3.5 million drivers. While that might seem like a lot, 90 percent of those companies have access to six trucks or less. That makes it even more difficult for shippers to match up with carriers, both of whom need each other.

Matching a shipper’s demand to a carrier’s supply is just one of the many ailments within the industry that can be alleviated by blockchain technology.

Matching a shipper’s demand to a carrier’s supply is just one of the many ailments within the industry that can be alleviated by blockchain technology. There are many in the industry, both startups and legacy companies alike that believe that blockchain technology can make routing more efficient, cutting down on fuel costs and increasing productivity.

 

Source: Next Autonomous

In reality, blockchain has a near limitless amount of potential, if it can get off the ground that is.

Considering how varied the industry is with so many different players in the game, it can help to unify the trucking industry to help it become more efficient as a whole. Logistics planners can see the “whole picture” rather than just pieces of it at a time. With real-time data, they can make better decisions to make the industry leaner and smoother overall. In reality, blockchain has a near limitless amount of potential, if it can get off the ground that is.

The Blockchain Obstacles  

As with any new technology, there will be some hurdles and obstacles that need to be cleared in order for it to become successful. The first issue is that everyone needs to trust in the technology and believe it to be the sole source of truth for the industry. While most people will believe in the system they are working with, it’s a little more complicated with blockchain. As a crypto-technology, it is incredibly secure and the data is locked. That being said, nothing can be changed, altered, or corrupted. It becomes carved in a digital stone, for lack of a better term. Because the technology is distributed, there isn’t a sole governing authority for the data either. In short, it’s a double-edged sword. Data can’t be lost or tampered with, but it also can’t be altered. This means that there needs to be absolute faith that the data within is a genuine accounting of transactions.

If there is any hope of uniting the industry and reducing the inefficiencies of fragmentation, everyone will have to play the game.

Secondly, blockchain will need total participation from smaller companies, both shippers and carriers. If there is any hope of uniting the industry and reducing the inefficiencies of fragmentation, everyone will have to play the game. Much the same as trust. The problem here is that smaller companies often have a hard time drumming up the necessary capital to invest in new technology. The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is a perfect example of this. Larger companies had no problem, and many were prepared well before the deadline. Smaller companies, on the other hand, watched the deadline come and go with only 37 percent of 1,600 fleets in compliance with the ruling prior to the deadline. Trying to get that many smaller companies on board with the same, or at least compatible software will definitely be an uphill battle. However, once that’s done, you’ll have an entire industry, shippers, carriers and brokers alike completely connected and collaborating on a frictionless network.

Simply put, there is some tremendous potential for blockchain and it could very well revolutionize the industry.

Lastly, the industry as a whole needs to accept data standardization. Everyone does things a little differently, which might work in the fragmented mess that it is now, but in order for blockchain to not become a convoluted jungle of indecipherable data strings, it all needs to be standardized. This is something that BiTA is trying to spearhead by working on standardization from the outset. If the history of the trucking industry has taught us anything, it’s that incorporating blockchain technology universally across the sector is another obstacle that won’t be so easy to get around. A difference in programs could mean a time-intensive process for integration to simply make the program work with the blockchain, nevermind the data entry in itself. Simply put, there is some tremendous potential for blockchain and it could very well revolutionize the industry. However, it’s going to be a long and bumpy road before we get to the smooth workings and benefit from what blockchain could provide.

Working With a 3PL Like BlueGrace

BlueGrace makes it easier than ever to reduce the amount of physical paperwork with our FREE proprietary software, BlueShip®. BlueShip is user-friendly, completely customizable and has real-time updates, giving you a single source tool for tracking, addressing, and product listing. Fill out the form below to request a free demo today:

The Digital Pathway to the Logistics Industry’s Future 

Make no mistake, digitalization is merely the pathway to the future of the industry. For an industry so vital to the entire world, the freight industry has been rather stubborn to change its ways. Sticking by the tried and true, fax machines whir and phones ring off the hook as shippers try to connect to carriers, book freight and make sure their goods get from A to B in good condition. For the last several decades, that has been the industry standard, until recently that is.  

We are witnessing a technological revolution as the freight industry finally moves to the present age. Digital services are changing the game, increasing mobility, visibility and information alike. While this change might be coming in with fits and starts, make no mistake, it is coming, and the world is changing as a result.  

Digitalization is Reshaping the Industry 

We are already beginning to see the emergence of highly automated vehicles in many applications, paving the way for those that will be fully autonomous. Warehouses are beginning to incorporate robotics and automation, reinforcing the efforts of human labor and expediting what is typically the most time-consuming process of the freight industry. Blockchain is producing some prodigious effects in terms of information technology and logistics planning. Even e-Commerce is an industry that is picking up speed and outmoding the standbys of brick and mortar stores.  

All of these changes, advancements, and innovations are being brought about by digitalization. 

It’s the capacity of both the storage and the ability to share data that will be the driving force behind the revolution of the transportation industry. That capacity will mean that there is never an empty or impartial load; the most optimal route will always be chosen, and a number of other variables will be predetermined before the order is even sent.  

Digitalization will be what drives innovations in a number of integral supply chain functions while adding new ones such as platooning, load matching and eco-driving. All of these innovations will focus on increasing efficiency without the need to reduce capacity. This means that even as demand rises, the supply chain will be ready to carry the load.   

The Effects of Digitalization on Legislation 

Of course, digitalization can do more than simply make the supply chain more efficient. There is also an enhanced regulatory effect that can be gained from it. While regulations are typically viewed with a negative connotation, such as the Electronic Logging Device mandate, there are some upsides to it as well.  

Digital documentation can help streamline the process in a number of different areas. Compliance with federal regulations like the Hours of Service ruling can be easily done through the ELD. As the mandate was originally designed to make roads safer by removing fatigued drivers, an ELD can be a quick and easy way to show compliance while providing other useful information to both the carrier and the shipper.  

Reduction of physical paperwork can also expedite customs processes, which are notoriously tedious and can drastically slow down the transportation process. With less back and forth on the phone and easy access via a digital platform, the necessary information can be shared quickly and easily, reducing the time and potentially costly penalties for non-compliance. This is just one of the many potential applications for digitalization of the industry.  

A Digital Infrastructure for an Automated Future 

When considering the potential scope of digitalization in the freight industry, it is necessary to understand that it’s not just a handful of companies or even countries that are participating in the technological revolution. It is the industry, as a whole, worldwide. While these little nuances and conveniences might seem novel now, they will inevitably become the industry standard in the near future.  

Digitalization, however, is only the beginning. It is establishing the framework and infrastructure for which all other innovations are being built on. For any of this to work and succeed, it is going to be a continued collaborative effort as an industry to both embrace and adapt to the new way of doing things. — Digitalization is merely the pathway to the future of the industry.  

Working With a 3PL Like BlueGrace

As the digital infrastructure continues to optimize freight, BlueGrace has been at the forefront, simplifying our customers businesses. BlueGrace makes it easier than ever to reduce the amount of physical paperwork with our FREE proprietary software, BlueShip®. BlueShip is user-friendly,  completely customizable and has real-time updates, giving you a single source tool for tracking, addressing, and product listing. Fill out the form below to request a free demo today:

BlueGrace Employee is Pedaling for a Cure

Pedaling for a Cure

On October 28, 2017, our own Gary Brodsky, better known as “Kickstand”, was honored by the Chairman/Owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft. Gary has been at the helm of the Patriots Platelet Pedalers for 10 years now. The PPP, as they are known, raise critical dollars for research each year by cycling in the Pan Mass challenge.  The Pan Massachusetts Challenge is a weekend long charity bicycle ride to benefit Dana-Farber through the Jimmy Fund. Started in 1980, the Pan Mass Challenge is the largest charity bicycling event in the country, raising over $500 million for cancer research and treatment. Gary was honored for his OUTSTANDING fundraising efforts, raising over 1 million dollars for the Pan Mass Challenge this year.

The History behind the Pedalers

Patriots Platelet Pedalers Logo on the big screen at Gillette.

Ronald E. Burton was an American football player for the Boston Patriots.  He was a consensus All-American running back at Northwestern University, and is a member of the Northwestern Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame. Burton was the Boston Patriots’ first-ever American Football League draft choice in 1960. He was the first Patriot to rush for over 100 yards, along with many other firsts. Burton also still holds a Patriot record for his 91-yard touchdown return on a missed field goal in 1962.

In 1999 at 64 years of age, Ron was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone cancer) and given one to three years to live.

Ron Burton was treated at DFCI and became great friends with Dr. Ken Anderson. Dr. Anderson is one of the world leading researchers on multiple myeloma. 100% of the funds the Patriots Platelet Pedalers raise through the PMC are earmarked for Dr. Anderson’s continued efforts.

“We ride because we can. We ride for those who can not. We ride because the training rides and the 192 miles on the two days of the Pan Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) are nothing compared to living with or dying from cancer.”

One Team, One Mission

Robert and Josh Kraft address the over 200 guests who attended this year’s check presentation and rider appreciation party at Gillette Stadium on 10/28. 

Check for dollars raised in 2017 by 168 riders on Gary’s team for cancer research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Our Core Value #1 Be Caring Of All Others

BlueGrace is grateful to have such outstanding employees like Gary, who are striving to make a difference in our world and future. At BlueGrace we take as many opportunities as we can to help our communities, both people and animals when they need us most. Thank you Gary for leading the way!

Urban Density, Changes in Technology and Last Mile Delivery: What Can Cities Do?

 

With the rise of e-commerce and technological improvements in transportation, like autonomous vehicles and increasing urban density, we are witnessing a historic transformation in our cities. Future trends in freight movement is a “hot topic” in policy and supply chain circles.

With so many changes ahead,  a key question emerges: Can cities cope?

Daimler recently made headlines with the launch of its “all-electric Fuso ecanter truck” in New York City. The vehicle will be rolled out in other US, European and Japanese cities in the next two years, with UPS as the first commercial partner with the truck. Toyota released a hydrogen-fuelled semi-trailer that currently hauls cargo between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach without producing tailpipe emissions. This pilot is part of a longer-range plan by the Port of LA to reduce emissions. Urban planners in Dallas are examining the possibilities for the “hyperloop” in their city, “a futuristic mode of travel that would use levitating pods to shuttle people and goods across hundreds of miles in minutes.” With so many changes ahead,  a key question emerges: Can cities cope? What can cities do to stay on top of change?

Here are five “takeaways” on the topic.

1.   Understanding the Nature of Change is Key

Many predict that the U.S. economy will double in size over the next 30 years. The nation’s population is expected to rise from 326 million in 2017 to 390 million in 2045. More and more, Americans will live in congested urban or suburban sprawls called “megaregions.” Less than 10% of the country’s population will live in rural areas by 2040. This is a stark contrast to the 16% of Americans who lived in the countryside in 2010 and 23% in 1980.

This trend means more “everything”.

The surge in population and economic growth brings with it escalating freight activity. Freight movement across all modes are projected to grow by approximately 42 percent by 2040.This trend means more “everything”. More pressure on roads and transit lines by commuters, more parcels delivered, particularly with the meteoric rise of e-commerce.

One special concern is “the last mile.” The last mile is the final step in the delivery process. The last leg of the delivery process is when an item (or person) moves from distribution facility (or transit point) to end user (home). The length of the distance can vary from a couple of city blocks to 100 miles. This video from the Ryerson City Building Institute clearly shows the effects of the “last mile” on commuters – in this case, in the Greater Toronto Area.

Some of the challenges involved with the last mile are:

  • increased traffic congestion and traffic accidents
  • Noise, intrusion, the loss of open spaces to transport infrastructure projects
  • Environmental and social (public health) impact from local pollutant emissions
  • Illegal parking and resting, idling vehicles
  • Problems experienced by vehicle operators when operating in urban areas
  • Parking and loading/unloading problems including finding road space for unloading; fines, and handling
  • Parcel Theft

2. Cities Must Take Notice

Cities have long been concerned with capacity thresholds for commuting and predicting traffic flow. The new topic of “last mile” in the supply chain must now receive greater notice. We are moving away from discussion on “smart commuting” alone. While still important, traditional topics like carpooling and promoting public transit are giving way to issues such as digitalization and automation (think ride-hailing and autonomous shuttles).

3. Business Concerns Must Factor Into Urban Logistics (alongside Sustainability and Livability Goals)

Furthermore, it must be recognized that economic activity in urban areas depends on the movement and delivery of goods through freight carriers. City and traffic planners must be made aware that urban settings can be inhospitable places for freight deliverers. There must be more public and private sector coordination in freight planning. “Cities can shape markets to focus private sector attention and invest on the needs of cities and the people who live in them by mobilizing infrastructure, talent, and other assets to support the right kinds of AV-based solutions,” was one of the conclusions in “Taming the Autonomous Vehicle: A Primer for Cities (Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute) .

Business goals must be incorporated into the dialogue alongside the goals of community sustainability and livability

How freight distribution processes can be integrated into metropolitan transport, land use, and infrastructure planning is a balancing act.  Business goals must be incorporated into the dialogue alongside the goals of community sustainability and livability. An efficient and future-forward freight system will support and attract new industry for the respective area.

4. A Variety of Solutions Will Likely Be the Answer

Some of the most popular solutions include advances in technology. Transportation technology growth is very exciting, much of it spurred by seeking solutions to urban density, commuting and freight patterns.  Other solutions are more “old-fashioned” or even a return to basics. Mixing traditional and emerging technologies is the way ahead:

  • Use of electric vehicles (EV) –“sustainable mobility”
  • Autonomous vehicles and drones
  • Human-powered delivery vehicles – Cargo-bikes, pedal trucks, and pushcarts
  • Amazon lockers in commercial venues (drop-off points)
  • Vehicle access restrictions based on time and/or size/weight /emission factor/fuel type of vehicle and bus lanes
  • Curbside pickups
  • Load consolidation or co-loading
  • Truck platooning
  • Night-time deliveries, relying on “quiet equipment” and driver training
  • “On-Road Integrated Optimisation and Navigation,” or route optimization, such as introduced by UPS as a big data solution to analyze parcel operators’ daily multi-stops
  • Innovative 3PL solutions like BlueGrace’s proprietary technology, “designed to put the power of easy supply chain management and optimization back in your hands”.

A BlueGrace Case Study In Action

Recently, an e-commerce furniture business in Portland, Oregon found it had outgrown its 3PL’s manual logistic capacity, due to heavy e-commerce volumes. When this company looked to BlueGrace for ways to improve its supply chain, it was discovered that they would benefit from opening another warehouse in the Northeastern area of the US. An alternative distribution solution lowered freight costs and decreased transit days.

For the last mile to be facilitated, there must be easier access to customers and shorter distance between the hub and home.

The idea of re-examining distribution is part of a larger process of change. For instance Amazon, FedEx and UPS are creating/investing in nationwide networks of distribution and fulfillment centers. “Warehouses like these are becoming a way of life for many urbanites,” reports the Wall Street Journal. This trend is already bringing new life to formerly “sleepy towns” like Tracy, California and Kenosha, Wisconsin. For the last mile to be facilitated, there must be easier access to customers and shorter distance between the hub and home.

Make your Last Mile work. Talk with a BlueGrace Logistics expert today!

Tampa Bay Lightning Announce Partnership with BlueGrace Logistics

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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RIVERVIEW, FL – November 30, 2015 – The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced a new partnership with BlueGrace Logistics, a national freight shipping company based in Tampa. The three-year agreement names BlueGrace as “The Preferred Shipping Partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning”.
 
“Since Jeff Vinik purchased the franchise in 2010, we have looked to align ourselves with world-class brands that share our vision and values on and off the ice, and BlueGrace fully embodies that,” said Lightning CEO Steve Griggs. “BlueGrace’s community involvement and commitment to Tampa Bay is aligned with our mission and we look forward to our partnership with them.”
 
The Lightning will team up with BlueGrace for one community outreach event per year over at least the next three seasons. BlueGrace will also be one of the Lightning’s sponsors for their annual Bolt Run. The partnership also includes arena-wide signage and in-game features at Lightning home games.
 
“It’s a natural fit for us to partner with a world-class organization like the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Bobby Harris, CEO and founder of BlueGrace Logistics. “This partnership enables us to team up with the Lightning on charitable initiatives, increase our local visibility and expand our national brand. We look forward to a long-term relationship and years of success with the Tampa Bay Lightning.”

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About BlueGrace Logistics:
 
Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is the fastest growing leader 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.
 
About Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC:
 
Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC is an entity controlled by Jeff Vinik and its holdings include the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm and the leasehold rights to the newly named Amalie Arena, the 19,092-seat downtown Tampa home in which the teams play their games. Vinik purchased the Lightning and the leasehold rights to the arena in March 2010 and has since led a complete brand and business transformation, establishing the company as one of the leading sports and entertainment entities in the United States.

5th Annual Cats vs. Dogs Contest

BlueGrace Logistics holds Fifth Annual Cats vs. Dogs Pet Food Drive Benefiting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay


2015_COMMUNITY_CATSVSDOGS 2RIVERVIEW, Fla. – September 10, 2015: Each year BlueGrace holds their official “Cats vs. Dogs” contest amongst its employees. The contest is a pet food drive in which the women compete against the men to collect the most pet food in pounds. The food is then donated to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay to care for the animals in the no-kill shelter.

In 2014, BlueGrace donated more than 44,000 pounds of pet food which was enough to feed the animals for almost an entire year. Since the contest’s inception in 2010, BlueGrace has donated over 80,000 pounds of pet food to Humane Society Tampa Bay. Each year, BlueGrace plans to surpass last year’s amount. Employees come together to donate pet food, as well as leverage contacts to purchase large amounts of food. The contest will run through the middle of October.

BlueGrace Logistics takes pride in giving back to the community through our “Giving Grace” Program created by our President and CEO, Bobby Harris. Our Giving Grace charity of choice is the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and we support the organization in many ways throughout the year. Most recently, BlueGrace employees volunteered for Humane Society Tampa Bay during Creative Loafing’s BeerFest event at MOSI. A percentage of the event’s proceeds went to support the animal shelter.

Want to contribute to the 2015 Cats vs. Dogs Competition and Pet Food Drive? 

The public is invited to participate in the Cats vs. Dogs contest. For information or to donate large amounts (such as a pallet of pet food) contact BlueGrace Logistics at community@mybluegrace.comPlease be sure to specify if you’d like to contribute to the “TeamCats” (girls) or “TeamDogs,” (guys) if applicable. 

Introducing MatrixIQ in BlueShip

MatrixIQLogo

BlueGrace Logistics has announced the launch of MatrixIQ and SkyView, proprietary features within BlueGrace’s BlueShip software. MatrixIQ is game changing software that enables automated pricing strategy logic that dynamically adjusts pricing triggers in reaction to customer tendencies. The end result creates optimum pricing options. “The agility of the software combined with systemized logic is what we’re most excited about,” said BlueGrace CEO, Bobby Harris.

 

The additional release, SkyView, is the new business intelligence within BlueShip that provides customers access to quick, informative data to run their business. “SkyView is capable of creating powerful reports in a few easy steps at a fraction of the time needed previously. Customers of all sizes are going to love this feature,” said Justin Belcher, CIO of BlueGrace

BlueShip’s new rate screen is the industry’s most progressive feature, using systemized logic to create a simplified carrier selection process. The rate screen uses systemized logic powered by Matrix IQ to give BlueGrace customers a robust platform of information needed to compare carrier price, delivery and service options. Other features include our 5 Star Carrier Rating System, carrier service grouping & consolidation, & new tool tips with optional hidden visibility!

MatrixIQ_RateScreen

You can get a demonstration of BlueShip via YouTube here.

 

You can also request a BlueShip Account here.

Must Arrive By Delivery Date Dilemma: A BG Case Study

SCENARIO:

Tremendous growth leads to challenges related to the distribution of this rapidly expanding health and beauty products distributor. With much of their business moving toward “big box” retailers, the need for carrier management would be required to fulfill the commitments made to their clients. The true cost of doing business seemed more complex than fulfilling orders.

 

MUST ARRIVE BY DILEMMA (MABD):

With vendor scorecards dwindling, and charge backs against purchase orders mounting, the need for a better solution was apparent. From numerous carrier meetings, to drive on time compliance, to costly upgrades in service levels, the trend continued to show little improvement. Lead times were not an issue, and inventory levels were manageable, yet carriers could not seem to comply with the Must Arrive By Date (MABD) displayed on the BOL. Purchase orders were being shipped with ample lead time and in most cases, early with guaranteed service at a premium. Even with upgraded service, the carriers would refuse to refund the charges since they were delivered “on time”, per the standard transit. BlueGrace began by analyzing the data and scorecards to determine root cause of the issue, and set a baseline for current state performance. Next, an assessment of ERP integration capabilities was performed. Through minor customization, the potential for real-time connectivity to BlueShip TMS was an opportunity. This connection would allow BlueGrace to receive incoming orders from specific clients and apply custom business rules to achieve the Overall goal. No matter when the order was received, BlueShip would effectively route the “Best Value Carrier” AND provide the most optimal ship date. This meant that each order, once approved within the ERP, would be rated and routed; with a Wal-Mart approved carrier, at the lowest cost, with standard service and shipped on the day that would best fit that carrier’s network to allow for a delivery within the specified MABD window. Our client showed a 90% reduction in charge backs within the first 60 days of implementing this program. Combined with the dedicated support at BlueGrace proactively tracking each flagged order, the company received the best scorecard performance in recent history.

 

FREIGHT COST ALLOCATION:

The next phase consisted of reviewing what the true cost of each order was when freight cost was allocated. BlueGrace analyzed the average freight cost as a percentage of sale. This percentage was incorporated into the product cost to determine pricing to the end customer. BlueGrace knew there was opportunity to drill down and allocate a freight cost not only at the customer level, but the customer location, customer location type (Direct to Store or Distribution Center) all the way down to the SKU level. Since freight cost was not passed to the client, this would either show a net margin loss or show opportunities to reduce the freight cost allocation to become more competitive. The result highlighted regions that were more costly to ship to, products that did not have enough margin potential to validate shipping cost and insight into regions of the country that would benefit from an additional warehouse location.

Continued Growth:

BlueGrace provides scalability for growing companies to achieve their goals without labor or technology investments. Our expertise and processes provide our clients with the bandwidth to operate efficiently and drive direct cost eduction through our procurement and dedicated management.

10,000 Meanings For Logistics

 

BlueGrace Logistics…sounds professional right? What does logistics actually mean? And how does it apply to what we do here at BlueGrace? Let’s break it down…

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History

When learning any concept it is essential to understand how it came to be. The word logistics comes from the Greek word, logistiki that pertains to accounting and financial organization. Logistikas were military officers of ancient Roman and Greek empires that dealt with financial and supply distribution. The term surfaced during WWI by the U.S military as logistics. It was used for similar reasons but also the transportation of military materials, facilities, and personnel. The term logistics spread to other nations by WWII, and was soon after adopted by the business world for parallel definitions.


There are many definitions of the word logistics but there is a common theme through the different meanings, plan and organize. Logistics is the mortar in a brick wall. Without logistics corporations would be chaotic and unsuccessful.

In reference to transportation, BlueGrace is the connection between one business’s needs and another.


Logistics: (business definition) Logistics is defined as a business-planning framework for management of material, service, information, and capital flows. It includes increasingly complex information, communication, and control systems in today’s business environment. (http://www.logisticsworld.com/logistics.htm)

 

The #BGExFEARience – Halloween at BlueGrace Logistics

In the corporate world, I have worked through many Halloween festivities:

Plastic pumpkins and spider webs on top of desks;

“No lights! It’s a fire hazard.”

“Nothing hanging above the cubicles! It’s a major distraction.”

A ‘Beware’ sign or two on the hallway along with celebratory cake covered with bright orange frosting and a handful of people who were brave enough to dress up in costume; it was predictable.

And then I started working at BlueGrace.

Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise!
Halloween Decorations at BlueGrace Logistics consists of life size skeletons and monsters

The idea of “Halloween at work” has now completely changed and transformed into a monster, and I mean that in an almost literal way (there’s a dead body inside of a coffin staring at me as I write this.)

“Where else can you make a grown man scream like a baby girl other than BlueGrace?” says BlueGrace Scare Master and Partner Invoicing Team Lead, Keith Gineo.

What was once predictable is now completely new and exciting!

Cubicles are decorated with spider webs from floor to ceiling, body parts hanging throughout the office, blood splattered in the break room…and best of all? Halloween is still 2 weeks away! Every day I arrive at work to a new surprise and everyone is thrilled about our biggest “employee appreciation day” of the year!

“I’m looking forward to the unexpected.  I’ve heard a lot of hype about BooGrace and how crazy it is, but I don’t know exactly what that means.  I’m pretty sure the costumes and decorations won’t disappoint, and I’m confident the accounting team will complete the 3-peat after winning the best decorated department again!!!” says Partner Invoicing Specialist, David Daniels.

By the 31st we will have a haunted house in the middle of the office, and dressing up in costumes is not just advised, but mandatory. Cake? Well, I’m not sure if there will be cake, but Happy Hour starts at 3PM and to me that’s completely out of my “Halloween at work” expectation.

“Everyone always has an awesome participation and the BG experience that we all share is amazing. We have many interesting events such as Spook Your Space, Trick Out Your Treats, Pick Your Poison, and Pimp Your Pumpkin, which the pumpkins are provided by the Human Society of Tampa Bay. This year will especially be memorable because I will be able to bring my daughter to work for trick-or-treating. A festivity myself, my co-workers and now my daughter wait for every year,” says Partner Invoicing Specialist, Dom Cipriani.

Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise!
BlueGrace is often listed as one of the best places to work!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
Blue Grace has one of the most profitable franchise systems. The franchisees are encouraged to participate and replicate the headquarter’s festivities!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
Welcome to BlueGrace!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
The Halloween spirit at BlueGrace is infectious!

 

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!

Thanks to BlueGrace Logistics’ Partner Invoicing Team for sharing their #BGExFEARience:

BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
Keith Gineo, in full Halloween mode!
Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
David Daniels
BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
Dom Cipriani

“HASH”it OUT

Get in to the conversation with BlueGrace’s newest topics!
Check out the latest hashtags that will be featured throughout the month of October. We’ll be looking for our newest PowerTweeters this way too!

 

PowerTweeter Hashtag

 

Top 3 Halloween Traditions

BlueGrace Franchisee’s Favorite Halloween Traditions.
We reached out to our franchise owners this year to find out what their favorite Halloween traditions were. Here are the TOP 3!

 

#1 BlueGrace Jax

BlueGrace Jacksonville

“Our favorite Halloween traditions is to dress up, and donate candy to Clara White Mission Families to help uplift their spirits.” Jeff Lavallee, BlueGrace JAX Franchise Owner

 

#2 BlueGrace ORD 

BlueGrace ORD

“Halloween party with friends, costumes, and a photo booth with green screen. I (Randy) actually started a photo booth company a few years back. I closed the business since but we still use the booth.” Randy Vlasic, BlueGrace ORD Franchise Owner

#3 BlueGrace Long Island 

BlueGrace Long Island

“Attending a Halloween Party is what I typically do. I really don’t have any other tradition. Just going out and having a good time with friends.” Joe Parinello, Vice President BlueGrace Long Island

BlueGrace Logistics Launches TOP Program (True Ownership Plan), Provides Exclusive Incentives For Entering the Award-Winning Freight Franchise System

BlueGrace Logistics (www.mybluegrace.com) is now offering up to $250,000 in signing bonuses for the industry’s elite of logistics freight agents. BlueGrace recently announced the launch of the TOP Program (True Ownership Plan Program), providing exclusive incentives and benefits to join BlueGrace’s award-winning franchise network.

In 2014, BlueGrace was recognized by several media for the growth and expansion of their franchise opportunity. Since franchising in 2011, the system has added over 50 franchises across the United States and seen over 60% growth year over year. BlueGrace will use TOP to promote true business ownership; giving converted agents customized initial and ongoing training, operational support from the corporate office and more.

“We created this program to encourage industry entrepreneurs to own their own businesses. Their experience and passion for the trade will add tremendous value to our franchise network while providing them with the true support they’re unable to receive elsewhere,” says Bobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics.

Logistics agent programs became popular during the financial of the 2000’s, when the job market was weak and businesses needed to lower operating expenses. At the time, the logistics agent model provided a mutually beneficial relationship for the both the agent and company. However, as the economy began to recover and agents began to book more business the fine print on agent contracts looked a little bigger. As many were looking for support, training, control of their book of business and breaks on commission splits; expectations were not met. BlueGrace created TOP to address this situation, helping agents become true business owners.

Carrier Direct (logistics consultancy) wrote the white paper “The Impending Death of the Logistics Agent Model”, clearly the demise of agent programs. Click here to read. 

TOP by BlueGrace is now open to all logistics freight agents, seeking true business ownership. The dedicated TOP Program team is currently accepting inquiries. You may contact the TOP team directly at top@mybluegrace.com, by calling 888.752.0441 or simply fill out the form below.

“Backpacks of Hope” 2014 With BlueGrace A Success!

BlueGrace is extremely proud that the 2014 “Backpacks of Hope” drive was once again a true success! Through the month of July, we collected over 550 school supplies and backpacks which were donated to the Metropolitan Ministries. The annual drive provides kids with all new school supplies just in time for them to go back to school! On the last day of the drive, BlueGrace employees were encouraged to break out their nerd gear to celebrate the final day of the charitable drive! “Backpacks of Hope” is one of three annual drives hosted by BlueGrace. Our employees have a strong sense of pride for the company and are always looking for ways to give back to the community via the Giving Grace Program, implemented by President and CEO, Bobby Harris.

One surprise that greatly contributed to this year’s drive was the donation of 17 completely filled backpacks to BlueGrace by Images Hair Salon (www.imageshairsalon.net, located at 3967 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, FL 33629). The effort was led by Jamie Goldfarb, Images Hair Salon Stylist.

BlueGrace is looking forward to the 2015 “Backpacks of Hope” drive, and hopes to surpass the number of items collected and to continue to bring joy to the lives of many more kids!

Tampa Ranks as Third-best U.S. City to Find a Job

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A recent article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times shared a report from Wallet Hub that ranks Tampa as the third-best city in the country to find a job in 2014.  This is great news as Tampa is coming out of the recession that hit the area so hard.

Headquartered in Riverview, right outside Tampa, BlueGrace calls Tampa Bay our home. Our local economy is bouncing back and we’ve been seeing signs of this throughout our business. In the last year, BlueGrace has continued to grow and with that growth has come new positions to be filled. We’ve started out the year strong with welcoming 35 new hires to the BlueGrace team here in Tampa. This growth will continue in an upward trend as the year progresses.

We currently have openings for Systems Engineer, Carrier Invoicing, Account Receivable, Customer Loyalty Representative, Corporate Paralegal, National Sales Representative, Enterprise Development Manager and Enterprise Development Representative. If you’re interested in any of these positions, you can email your resume to careers@mybluegrace.com or visit the Careers section of our website.

BlueGrace Logistics Donates 44 Thousand Pounds of Pet Food to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay

Final group picOur annual “Cats vs. Dogs” Competition Pet Food Drive came to a close on Friday, February 28. This year, BlueGrace raised 44 thousand pounds of pet food – more than twice the amount we collected in 2013! This was undoubtedly one of the largest pet food drives in the country!

The donated pet food will not only go to feed the animals that call the Humane Society of Tampa Bay home, but will also go toward their food assistance programs “Casper’s Cupboard” and “Animeals.”

A number of businesses and organizations donated necessary resources such as pet food, money, transportation services and much more to make this incredible donation possible. We’d like to thank AAA Cooper, FedEx Freight, Rodney Naughton and Joe Peckham of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies, Plant City Fla., Family Feed, Plant City Fla., Kay Brown of Hi-Tek Rations Inc, Dublin, Ga., Feeding America Tampa Bay, Taiga, Riverview, Fla., Reed TMS Logistics, Del Monte, Health Mut, Tamlin Homes, BluePearl Veterinary Partners and Knights Station Feed Depot.

We’re already strategizing how we are going to beat this record next year!

 

BlueGrace Logistics Set to Collect 35,000 Pounds of Pet Food to be Donated to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay

BlueGrace Logistics will hold its 4th Annual Cats vs. Dogs Competition on Friday, February 28th. The Cat’s (Ladies) and Dog’s (Men) employees of BlueGrace, will compete against each other to see who can donate the most food to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay by Friday at 12pm. The efforts of BlueGrace Logistics are expected to raise approximately 35,000 pounds of pet food; surpassing the 20-thousand pounds raised in 2013 which cared for their animals for nearly 6 months. The Cats vs. Dogs competition is said to be one of the largest pet food drives in the United States.

Through this pet food drive, BlueGrace will literally be saving pets from going to shelters or starving because their owners can’t afford to feed them. The pet food donated will not only go to feed the animals that call the Humane Society of Tampa Bay home, but will also go toward their food assistance programs Casper’s Cupboard and Animeals.

Casper’s Cupboard help hundreds of families keep their pets when they’re going through financial hardship by allowing citizens to come to the shelter Tuesday-Sunday to pick up pet food for their animals at no cost.

The Animeals program partners with Meals on Wheels of Tampa to deliver free pet food once a month to homebound and elderly residents on a fixed income in Hillsborough County. In 2013, 310,530 pounds of free pet food were delivered to homebound residents to help feed their pets and allow them to keep their furry friends.

This video gives a glimpse into the Animeals program.

FOX 13 News

With your help, BlueGrace could reach or even exceed our goals to help feed the animals of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Donations toward the competition will be accepted until 9 a.m. on Friday the 28th! For more information call 800.MY.SHIPPING.

Media is invited to cover the donation at 2846 S. Falkenburg Rd., Riverview, FL 33578 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Representatives from BlueGrace Logistics and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay will be available for interviews.

BlueGrace Scheduled to Host Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago, February 24-25

BlueGrace Logistics, one of the fastest-growing logistics services firms in the country, is enhancing our presence in the Chicago area.

To support our hyper-growth, we are opening an office in Oak Brook, IL, a suburb of Chicago. The BlueGrace Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago will take place February 24-25, in an effort to scout new recruits to join our team.

BlueGrace President and CEO, Bobby Harris, is expected to be in attendance to meet with prospects and hand select the top candidates to help grow the Chicago office. TAB will be held at our Chicago headquarters: 700 Commerce Drive in Oak Brook.

We will be looking to fill 20 positions, including sales, truckload operations, customer service and management positions. All new hires to join our Chicago team will receive a $1,000 signing bonus!

Candidates can submit their resume via email to careers@mybluegrace.com, as well as request information about the company by visiting www.mybluegrace.com/bluegrace_careers.