Browse Author

BlueGrace Logistics

BlueGrace Logistics Joins U.S. EPA Smartway® Transport Partnership

BlueGrace Logistics today announced that it joined the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry that provides a framework to assess the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement supply chains.

BlueGrace Logistics will contribute to the Partnership’s ongoing savings of 279.7 million barrels of oil, $37.5 billion in fuel costs and 134 million tons of air pollutants.  This is equivalent to eliminating annual energy use in over 18.2 million homes. By joining SmartWay Transport Partnership, BlueGrace Logistics demonstrates its strong environmental leadership and corporate responsibility.

“Our customers rely on BlueGrace to provide reliable, cost-effective logistics solutions, and our carrier network seeks BlueGrace to develop business opportunities that meet their needs.”

Bobby Harris, Founder and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, commented on this achievement by adding, “Today’s freight shipping clients are increasingly demanding accountability and transparency from the companies in their supply chain, including their transportation partners.  As one of the most progressive third-party logistics (3PL) companies in the United States, BlueGrace play a central role in the national supply chain. Our customers rely on BlueGrace to provide reliable, cost-effective logistics solutions, and our carrier network seeks BlueGrace to develop business opportunities that meet their needs. Our clients want us to help address growing demands to improve environmental performance and address environmental risk throughout their supply chain.  This SmartWay Transport Partnership with the EPA brings BlueGrace closer to reaching all of these goals.”

Developed jointly in early 2003 by EPA and Charter Partners represented by industry stakeholders, environmental groups, American Trucking Associations, and Business for Social Responsibility, this innovative program was launched in 2004. Partners rely upon SmartWay tools and approaches to track and reduce emissions and fuel use from goods movement. The Partnership currently has over 3,000 Partners including shipper, logistics companies, truck, rail, barge, and multimodal carriers.

About BlueGrace Logistics
Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the largest third-party logistics (3PL) providers in the United States.  With over 600 employees and working with over 10,000 customers to provide successful shipping solutions, the company has achieved explosive growth in its 10-year operating history.  Backed by a $255 million investment by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, the company operates 12 locations nationwide, and its headquarters are in the sunny Tampa Bay area of Florida.

For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit

Adam Blankenship, BlueGrace CCO, Talks Logistics With WFLA 970

On January 10, 2019 Adam Blankenship, the Chief Commercial Officer for BlueGrace Logistics was invited to share his thoughts on logistics, leadership and what make our industry tick with host Ryan Gorman at WFLA 970 in Tampa, Florida. Adam was able to give an overview of what BlueGrace does for our customers everyday and how a 3PL helps shippers decrease their freight costs and streamline their supply chain.

Listen to the podcast below to find out more about BlueGrace, what we do, what we believe in and how we are hiring in 2019.

Listen to “CEO Spotlight – Blue Grace Logistics” on Spreaker.

BlueGrace Logistics At SAPPHIRENOW 2018

As a leader in your company, are you getting the supply chain business intelligence and data you need? If not there is a way to get that much needed data and even cut costs in the process with a 3PL (Third Party Logistics) integration with SAP.

BlueGrace Logistics has exhibited at SAP SAPPHIRE for the last 3 years and spoken with executives from all types of industries. Many of the people told us it was either very difficult or incredibly time consuming to get the vital data they need from the supply chain and transportation departments within their organizations. As a 3PL, it is our responsibility to arm the executive suite with the data and business intelligence needed to make better business decisions regarding supply chain and freight.

With our proprietary freight data analysis, we set ourselves apart from other transportation management providers. Our systems take your current freight data and enable our team to get an inside look at what your team may be missing. Opportunities to simplify and save are not hidden anymore.

What Types Of Services Does BlueGrace Offer?

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

Let’s Talk More At Booth #927

BlueGrace Logistics will be joining other leading technology providers in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center June 5-7 for the SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 trade show. At this show, BlueGrace will be discussing how we integrate your freight with SAP to simplify your businesses transportation systems.


Not only can we integrate your freight into SAP, we can use that data to optimize your entire supply chain. The first 25 registered attendees to Booth #927 are eligible for a Free Supply Chain Analysis and Optimization Study, using your current data. We will be able to review our results at the show with you and your team.


  • Daily/Weekly Consolidation Report
  • Cost per: lb/mile/
  • Cost per SKU, PO
  • Freight cost as a percentage of goods
  • Center of Gravity study
  • Carrier spend breakdown
  • Mode Spend Breakdown
  • Cross Distribution Analysis

Fill Out The Form Below To Let Us Know You Will Be Attending and Receive Your FREE Supply Chain Analysis and Optimization Study At The Show!

How To Determine LTL Freight Classes & Avoid Reclass Fees

Want A Free Supply Chain Analysis?

One of the most common complaints our LTL Account Executives hear is that our competitors repeatedly send them invoices for shipments that are double the amount of their original LTL freight quotes. When we start doing deeper research into their invoices through our free cost analysis we often find that our competitors are using the old bait and switch to get them to accept a LTL rate that is unbelievably low, only to come back after the shipment has been delivered and add on reclass fees to the final invoice.

It’s unfortunately one of the many shady tactics other logistics companies will use to gain your company’s business. BlueGrace has a zero tolerance for this practice, and we’ve developed technology and tools to help you prevent these unexpected fees. Our experts have put together a brief lesson below on the freight class system used by most LTL carriers and how using this system will help you avoid reclass fees when quoting and booking LTL freight shipments.

The Freight Class System

Almost all LTL freight carriers use the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system to design their pricing structures for transporting LTL freight shipments. There are a total of 18 NMFC freight classes ranging from class 50, up to class 500. Shipments classed at class 50 would be the least expensive to ship, while shipments at class 500 would be the most expensive. This is where other logistics companies will try and take advantage of you. They’ll often give you a rate for a shipment at a lower freight class than the actual class of your shipment to give you the impression they’ve giving you a good rate, but once your shipment is in transit and gets inspected by a carrier you’ll receive an invoice after delivery with additional fees resulting from the reclass and inspection of your shipment.

Reclass fees can have a huge impact on your company’s profitability.

Does your company charge your customers for shipping based off your LTL quotes? Imagine that you’ve broken even on shipping a product to a customer, on the sale of the item you’re making $50, but you’ve just received a freight invoice that is $100 over the original LTL freight quote you were provided by your logistics company. You can’t go back to your customer and ruin that relationship so you have to absorb the cost of that reclass fee, now instead of making $50, you’ve lost $50.

To avoid this we recommend determining the freight class of your shipments yourself and utilizing our BlueGrace Freight Class Density Calculator to make the job easier. While some items such as automobile engines and flooring might have standard freight classes that don’t change, there’s thousands of other commodities that have their freight classes determined by the density of the shipment.

BlueGrace Freight Class Density Calculator

In the below screenshot you can see for yourself how simple using this system is to obtain your own freight classes! Using our Freight Class Density Calculator you would simply type in the dimensions of the pallet (length x width x height) and input the total weight to have our system provide you with an accurate freight class.

You would then take this freight class and input this into our Blueship system to obtain quotes, book your shipment and retrieve your BOL all on your own and within just a few minutes without having to put your faith and company’s profitability in the hands of another logistics’s company Account Executive. Not only will this save you time on quoting and booking shipments, but it’ll give you extra peace of mind knowing that you aren’t being taken advantage of.

If you’re ever in doubt about the correct freight class for a shipment don’t hesitate to reach out to our BlueGrace Team directly at 800.MY.SHIPPING or fill out the form below. 

BlueGrace Takes 1st Overall At 2018 SportsFest

At BlueGrace, Core Value #3 is “Pursue Outrageous Goals.” Working as a TEAM to pursue these goals is one of the most important dynamics of our company culture; from the way we come together to ensure our customers always have an excellent experience to way we band together to hold one of the largest pet food drives in the country to benefit our furry friends at Humane Society of Tampa Bay, our teamwork is evident. BlueGrace has been bringing our game faces to St. Pete Beach to compete at Corporate SportsFest for the past 8 years in a row, and the goal was always the same – to be #1 out of 200 companies. Core Value #3: Pursue Outrageous Goals.

SporstFest competitive events include volleyball, corn-hole, a surf ‘n turf relay race, dodgeball and tug of war. What may seem like a day of fun in the sun quickly proves to be a challenge reserved for the competitive heart – with the heat, sand and continuous rounds to compete in, there’s definitely no time for sun bathing! As always, our employees had one thing in mind: getting that #1 spot and showing everyone else what we’re made of. We put on our BlueGrace Gear, repped our #LetsDoThisSHIP hashtag, and brought our a-game to the beach!

1st Place Overall for 2018!

WE. DID. IT. Our outrageous employees beat 200 other companies and 4,000 other people at SportsFest 2018 and earned the #1 Company title at Corporate SportsFest this year! Can we get a WOOOO!? Congratulations to all BlueGrace employees who attended and competed in SportsFest 2018. With 200 Tampa Bay companies participating and over 4,000 competitors, SportsFest is always a wildly successful event that embodies team building, solid competition and fun. Exhausted, but ecstatic, our team returned home victorious and more engaged with both coworkers and customers. We’re extremely proud of our team and their drive to succeed! Congratulations to all of the other finalists that competed this year, and kudos to all that participated in Corporate SportsFest 2018!

Checkout our 2018 team video!

Want to join our team?

BlueGrace Logistics is hiring and we want you to join our team! From Sales and I.T. to Finance and Customer Support, we have a position for everyone! Visit for more information

The Top 7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Freight

Want A Free Supply Chain Analysis?

Businesses that utilize freight are often making tactical, short term, economical decisions in their transportation department. Making short term decisions can be good temporarily but may be detrimental to the department they are supposed to serve. True growth can only be achieved by making strategic, long term decisions with good business partners. All good decisions start with great questions. Your 3PL partners should be asking you the right questions about your transportation goals and needs from the very beginning of the relationship.

The Top 7 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Freight:

  • What is your main KPI (Key Performance Indicator) when it comes to transporting your goods?
  • What is your damage % and how is it currently handled ?
  • What is your general rate-increase mitigation strategy?
  • How has the deduction in fuel cost affected your spend year over year?
  • Have you considered integrating your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system into a TMS (Transportation Management System)?
  • What is your freight cost as a % of sales normally?
  • What have your latest consolidation opportunities looked like as far as mode optimization?

Lets’ take a look at each question and why it should be important for your business transportation department:

1. What is your main KPI (Key Performance Indicator) when it comes to transporting your goods?

KPI’s help all sides of your transportation program. Deciding which indicators are most important for your particular type of freight puts your team and your 3PL on the same page so there is no questioning of the program’s success. From delivery times to damage %, KPI’s will produce real numbers that need to be met. BlueGrace is dedicated to meeting all agreed upon KPI’s.

2. What is your damage % and how is it currently handled ?

Because we track damage % as a KPI, we are up to date on what that number is at all times. How the damage is handled is another issue. BlueGrace is able to handle those claims and report on them as well, so it’s important ti ensure that is happening for your team.

3. What is your general rate-increase mitigation strategy?

Rates fluctuate and move from carrier to carrier. Staying on top of the increases can make or break the the costs of your transportation department. BlueGrace is known to have one of the best pricing teams in the logistics industry, so we are always looking for these types of increases. Our customers are notified as quickly as they are able to forecast and prepare for pricing changes.

4. How has the deduction in fuel costs affected your spend year over year?

Fuel costs can dramatically effect your transportation costs. You should be able to see variances year over year and changes in your overall costs. BlueGrace monitors fuel costs and provides reporting on any effects to your program.

5. Have you considered integrating your ERP system into a TMS (Transportation Management System)?

How many steps does your transportation department currently take to quote and schedule your shipments? If it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to manage the day to day in your transportation department, in might be time to integrate your systems. At BlueGrace we specialize in the integration of ERP systems through our BlueShip 3.0 TMS. By streamlining these manual processes, time is saved and visibility is greatly increased.

6. What is your freight cost as a % of sales normally?

This percentage should be determined and maintained through your partnership with your 3PL and fluctuations in % need to be monitored. At BlueGrace, we work with you to decrease the % of freight costs with automation, our carrier relationships, and enhanced support.

7. What do your consolidation opportunities look like as far as mode optimization?

Consolidation opportunities are everywhere if you have the data to determine them. The most commonly overlooked consolidation opportunity is intermodal. Rail has become an increasingly attractive mode to full truckload shippers with the only difference being longer transit times to the shipper and consignee. Do you have volume shipments with an LTL carrier that could be shipped partial truckload? BlueGrace has experience in data analysis and we can help when it is time to optimize.

These 7 questions are the first big step to optimizing your transportation department. If you need help with your current freight, or are not seeing the results from your current 3PL, feel free to contact us at 800.MY.SHIPPING and we will be glad to discuss all 7 questions and help you succeed!

BlueGrace Logistics Chief Strategy Officer Retiring

Riverview, FL – March 28th, 2018 / BlueGrace Logistics announced today that Randy Collack, Chief Strategy Officer, has informed the company that he intends to retire this year. A definitive date has not been established, but the process of filling that position with an industry proven COO will begin immediately. BlueGrace has initiated a nationwide search of external candidates who have significant experience holding senior-level executive positions running large-scale sales teams in the transportation and/or third-party logistics industries. We expect to fill this position in the second quarter of 2018.

Mr. Collack has been with BlueGrace since its inception in 2009. He currently oversees several departments as the Chief Strategy Officer, including all Freight brokerage in the Tampa headquarters. Throughout his tenure with the company, Randy has been responsible for the growth of the sales and operations departments, and he has been a critical component of the success BlueGrace Logistics has achieved to date.

Bobby Harris, CEO of BlueGrace, commented: “I would like to express my sincere appreciation for Randy’s achievements as Chief Strategy Officer at BlueGrace, and with every other position that he commanded during his time with us. During Randy’s tenure, BlueGrace witnessed growth at an unprecedented level for the 3PL industry. Randy will be dearly missed, and we hope he remains a long-time friend and advisor.”

Randy Collack said, “I am sincerely grateful to Bobby Harris and the excellent team at BlueGrace Logistics for the opportunity to lead their sales organization. When I joined the company in its infancy, I was one of the few individuals with significant industry expertise. Now there are hundreds of new faces in the Freight Division with hundreds more expected. As the time nears for me to retire, the company is well positioned to continue its success, having filled many senior level executive positions with high-performing individuals from the logistics industry. I wish my successor in this position, and the company in general, all the best in the future.”

Mr. Collack brought vast industry experience to BlueGrace Logistics when he joined the company, which began as a 9-person, start-up company in 2009. He was the former President of PDT Trucking and held senior positions with Express One and Preferred Shipping. Mr. Collack is also an avid poker player, competing in tournaments across the US.

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the largest third-party logistics providers in the United States. With over 500 employees and working with over 10,000 customers to provide successful shipping solutions, the company has achieved explosive growth in its nearly 10-year operating history. Backed by a $255 million investment by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, the company operates 11 locations nationwide, and its headquarters are in the sunny Tampa Bay area of Florida.
For further information, please contact Sean Butler, Chief Human Resources Officer.

For further information, please contact Sean Butler, Chief Human Resources Officer at [email protected]

BlueGrace Logistics Awards 2017 Innovator of the Year to project44

BlueGrace Logistics annual award goes to the company they recognize as having the greatest impact on their business and industry via new innovation. They selected project44 from a group of hundreds of service providers that offer products, services, or programs. BlueGrace relies on its partners to provide best in class service while creating new and energizing offerings to the market. Bobby Harris, CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, stated “project44 went far beyond expectations for BlueGrace in 2017 and continues to rapidly expand their relationship with us by offering unique services. We couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

project44’s technology is integrated with their BlueShip TMS, creating new speed and visibility for customers not found in other 3PL TMS (Transportation Management System) solutions. Currently BlueGrace is utilizing the LTL, VLTL and TLV products available from project44.

“BlueGrace leads the industry by investing in innovative technology to deliver seamless services that meet their customers’ evolving transportation needs,” said Jett McCandless, CEO and Founder of project44. “They recognized very early on the value of automating manual processes and replacing outdated EDI connections. We’re proud to work with such a fast-growing and technology-focused logistics provider and to receive this award from them.”

Congratulations to project44 for their 2017 Innovator of the Year Award.


About project44

project44 enables you to deliver stronger value to your customers, through the power of information. By digitizing the entire shipment lifecycle, we ensure access to the right information, at the right time—creating a smarter end-to-end shipping experience. With project44, automate the full shipment lifecycle from quote-to-invoice to see real-time, end-to-end information symmetry. Our multimodal, one-to-many model gets you connected to the largest network of capacity providers in the most streamlined way, empowering you to immediately support new automations and carriers without spending IT resources or wasting time on complex integrations, improving the productivity and efficiency of your entire business.

Learn more:


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 12 corporate locations across the U.S. For more information, visit


Big Data and Business Intelligence: What You Need to Know

‘Big Data’ has become one of the biggest buzzwords lately. Everyone is talking about it and everyone wants it. The problem is, while most companies know that they need it, they don’t really know what it is or what to do with it once they have it. While having access to “big data” is all well and good and easy enough if you’re willing to pay for it, turning it into something usable is a different matter altogether. This is especially true when you’re trying to figure out what you need to run your supply chain more efficiently.

So what is “big data” and how can it be used?

A Little Bit of Big Data

Big data, as the name implies, is just what you’d think it is. A seemingly incomprehensible amount of information, collected from a multitude of different sources, that can all come streaming in faster than most people can comprehend. That creates the biggest issue with big data, the sense of “analysis paralysis” as most companies end up with more information than they know what to do with.

A seemingly incomprehensible amount of information, collected from a multitude of different sources

According to the Harvard Business Review, the key take away from using big data isn’t about having access to all the data available, it’s about knowing what to do with it and accessing the key pieces of data you need to meet your goals.

Boiling it All Down

The first step is to establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Fine tuning the KPIs makes it easier to drill down to the necessary details while bypassing all the superfluous information that could be flooding your systems.

These are a few questions you should be asking when trying to analyze your company’s processes. 

What tools do you utilize to capture your data? When those tools capture the data, what happens with it?

Is Big Data a Good Choice for Every Company?

Absolutely! Having the right systems in place can help your company target weak points and waste and turn the losses to profits. Mostly it’s about having the right data, at the right time, in the right hands. In the case of the manufacturer, big data has helped reduce waste and variability in their production processes and and has dramatically improved product quality. Capitalizing on this data is key for future success.

There are many critical steps to be taken to successfully utilize big data.

A manufacturing company will have to invest many resources into each facet of the business to truly develop efficient processes, manage the supply chain risk and ensure better quality assurance. Big data can distinguish analytics such as “who is likely to buy more product in the United States” instead of asking “who is likely to buy more product in the United States.”

Data Alone is Nothing > Business Intelligence and the 3PL

Data Alone is Nothing, Decisions Driven by Data is Everything!

In order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace the use of big data converted into business intelligence is becoming more of a necessity.

BlueGrace uses the information as a foundation for productive discussions with supply chain partners. Basically, BlueGrace takes the complicated data and makes it easy to read so users can make well calculated decisions data.

Without business intelligence, you waste time, money and opportunity. Make sure you find a partner that is as invested in your business as much as you are.

“The reality is that our relentless focus on the importance of big data is often misleading. Yes, in some situations, deriving value from data requires having an immense amount of that data. But the key for innovators across industries is that the size of the data isn’t the most critical factor — having the right data is.” -Harvard Business Review

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:

You Will Need Expedited Freight After The ELD Mandate Begins

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is going to put a serious squeeze on many supply chains, and possibly have a major effect on your business as soon as December 2017. With the devices in place, stricter hours of service regulations will be going into effect. While these are meant to increase the safety and wellbeing of the driver, many are concerned about the interruptions this mandate will cause to scheduled delivery times.

Some Exemptions are Available

While an acclimation period is to be expected, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is making some exemptions to the ELD ruling in a few cases, the most important being:

Sprinter vans up to 24ft and straight trucks with a gross weight under 10,000 lbs WILL NOT HAVE the ELD regulations and will be able to meet time sensitive deadlines. Why is this exemption important for your freight? We will discuss more below.

So while the FMCSA is insistent on the implementation of the devices across the industry, they’re leaving a smaller, cross section of the trucking industry untouched. This comes with a slight sigh of relief as the rest of the industry continues to resist against the ruling. With the deadline for ELDs drawing closer and companies trying, and failing to repeal the mandate, other avenues for fast and timely deliveries need to be considered.

This is Where Expedited Shipments Can Help

Whatever the reason, a shipper needs to get their goods moved, and they need to get them moved in a hurry.

Unlike most other freight that moves with routine regularity, expedited freight has a nature of its own. Consider the timing aspect of it. The whole idea behind expedited freight is that it should be picked up and moved off quickly. A solution for anything from a shortage of parts to a peak season order. Whatever the reason, a shipper needs to get their goods moved, and they need to get them moved in a hurry.

In addition to the change in time and pace, there’s also the consideration that expedited freight might have some irregularities that aren’t found in normal day to day hauling. For example, the product that needs to be delivered might be going to an urban area. This usually means that ramps and docks aren’t an option, so the driver needs to have access to the right equipment to get the freight loaded or unloaded. There’s also a variance of cargo from one delivery to the next.

the nature of expedited freight is considerably different from standard freight.

In short, the nature of expedited freight is considerably different from standard freight. It needs to be quick, versatile and most importantly, available.

The BlueGrace Expedited Solution

So what do you do when you’re faced with less available hours and capacity? You turn to an expedited freight expert. The days of overpromising and overdriving trucking companies are quickly coming to an end. Instead, working with a broker who has the resources to expedite shipping will be the answer. BlueGrace not only understands the importance of getting your product from A to B quickly, but they also understand that the new regulations are very quickly going to start cramping up the rest of the industry.

BlueGrace is ready to serve customers with our national fleet of non-dock high sprinter van, small/ large straight trucks with liftgates and pallet jacks for inside pick-ups and deliveries. As we mentioned, sprinter vans up to 24ft and straight trucks with a gross weight under 10,000 lbs will not have the ELD regulations and will be able to meet time sensitive deadlines. We will also be able to provide true teams services for sprinter vans and up to 26ft straight trucks. Another added benefit to the hands on approach for expedited is that all shipments are tracked with updates every 2-4 hours depending on day points.

BlueGrace Logistics strives to streamline the expedited process for you.

BlueGrace Logistics strives to streamline the expedited process for you. BlueGrace provides you with a pool of 300+ pre-screened carriers that specialize in expedited shipments and can provide you with a quote in as little as 30 minutes. How’s that for fast?

In an uncertain time, BlueGrace takes the stress out of your freight by giving you the information and technology you need to get the job done. Click here to download our Expedited PDF with more details.

Need An Expedited Quote?

Fill out the form below for your FREE 30 Minute Expedited Quote, or call TOLL-FREE 877.630.7446 to be connected with our Expedited Freight Team immediately.

ELDs Are Coming Fast! Some Facts & Predictions – Infographic

Countdown to the ELD Mandate – December 16th 2017

It is time to plan for the ELD Mandate as a freight shipper, if you haven’t already. When the electronic logging device mandate takes place, many shippers will be caught off guard with shipments taking longer than expected due to the restrictions put in place on drivers.

We thought it would be beneficial to show some fast facts and predictions about ELDs that we originally published in 2016. What do you think about the new requirements? Are you ready? If you have any questions feel free to contact your BlueGrace Representative today.

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

Identity Theft is On the Rise, and Cargo Theft Might Not Be Far Behind

Identity theft is among the most insidious forms of crime. Not only can it mean a person loses their livelihood, but for an enterprising criminal it could just be a stepping stone for an even bigger target. What sort of targets would criminals be aiming for after stealing an identity? How about truckloads of cargo.

When you consider the amount of information people post digitally, there is a lot of sensitive data out there, just waiting to be taken. This is especially true when you consider the number of cyber attacks that have happened this year alone. The Equifax leak, for example, can be ruinous when you consider what can be done with a little credit information.  In fact, no one really knows just how extensive the security leak really is nor will we know just how many people have been affected by it. However, for freight companies, any form of identity theft could be catastrophic.

Identity theft is on the rise and cargo theft could see a drastic increase as well.

How Identity Theft Could Mean Cargo Theft

When someone takes control of your identity, they can wreak all sorts of havoc.

It seems like a bit of a leap to go from identity theft to cargo theft. After all, when someone steals your identity, that just means they tap your bank accounts and maybe open a credit line, right? Not exactly. When someone takes control of your identity, they can wreak all sorts of havoc. In terms of cargo theft, the scheme, as laid out by The Associated Press,  goes like this:

Thieves assume the identity of a trucking company, often by reactivating a dormant Department of Transportation carrier number from a government website for as little as $300. That lets them pretend to be a long-established firm with a seemingly good safety record. The fraud often includes paperwork such as insurance policies, fake driver’s licenses, and other documents.

Then the con artists offer low bids to freight brokers who handle shipping for numerous companies. When the truckers show up at a company, everything seems legitimate. But once driven away, the goods are never seen again.

And just like that, cargo is picked up and gone for good.

And just like that, cargo is picked up and gone for good. Here are some other interesting facts pointed out by Adrian Gonzales of Talking Logistics.

  • The average value of cargos stolen by fictitious pickup was $203,744 vs. $174,380 per incident for cargo thefts overall during the study period, a 17 percent differential.
  • The commodities most frequently targeted for fictitious pick-ups are foods and beverages, electronics products and metals.
  • Over half of fictitious pickups occur at the end of a week, on Thursdays and Fridays when the main concern of shippers and brokers is in meeting a delivery date and satisfying the customer.
  • Fifty-five percent of all reported fictitious pick-ups from 2011 through 2013 occurred in California. Significant fictitious pick-up activity has also been reported in Florida, Texas and New Jersey.

Cargo Theft Rates are Falling, but the Cost is Rising

While cargo theft rates have been falling from 2016 to 2017, the value of goods being stolen has been steadily increasing.  Cargo thefts fell for the third consecutive year in terms of reported incidents, but the value of the stolen goods rose 13.3% to $114 million, according to 2016 data from CargoNet.

“There were 1,614 incidents in the United States, including cargo theft, heavy commercial vehicle theft, and supply chain fraud. Thieves stole cargo in 836 cases with an average value of the contents at about $207,000, based on the 554 thefts with an assigned value. It represented a 7.7% decline in cases year-over-year and a 10% drop since 2014. The other 282 cases didn’t include a value for the cargo,” says an article from Transport Topics.

“However, the total value of the stolen cargo, $114 million, is greater than the $100.5 million in 2015 and $94 million in 2014,” they added.

What Happens to Cargo Theft Rates when Identity Theft Rises?

For freight companies, this means there’s going to be a need for even more vigilance than before.

As it stands, we’re still unsure as to how extensive the fallout from the increasing rates of identity theft will be. While cargo thefts have been in decline over the past few years, we might see a rise thanks to the number of vulnerable identities. For freight companies, this means there’s going to be a need for even more vigilance than before.

“Law enforcement has done an outstanding job responding to strategic cargo theft. But it’s like playing whack-a-mole. Not only will the groups pop up in different areas, but cargo thieves will bob and weave away from where the attention is from the police and private industry,” said Scott Cornell, second vice president and crime and theft specialist for Travelers’ Transportation business.

there’s no such thing as being “too careful”.

With the wave of cyber attacks, and now the rise of identity theft, there’s no such thing as being “too careful”. Know who you’re working with, and use a reputable broker to make sure your freight makes it to it’s intended destination.



How Shippers Should Already Be Prepared For The Holiday Season

Do you smell the pumpkin spice in the air? If you close your eyes, do you hear the faint jingling of bells in the distance to be? That’s because the holiday season is approaching. And, it’s approaching fast.  The busiest time for all, logistics companies, retail stores as well as shippers.

This is the season that can make or break shippers.

This is the season that can make or break shippers. If they are properly prepared, they can take advantage of having their items on the shelves faster for consumers to buy and reap the financial benefits. However, if they aren’t prepared, they could find themselves in a world of stress trying to find carriers to move their freight. – So, what can shippers do to prepare?

Plan For Unexpected Events

Remember while planning for the holiday season that it’s an incredibly busy time filled with unforeseen events. More people will be on the roads to visit their friends and family, and with more people on the road, more wrecks occur. More wrecks, more traffic jams, may cause your freight to be delayed.

Also, the holiday season usually packs a cold punch with winter storms creating dangerous conditions for drivers that could even keep them off the road for a few days. Be sure to track the weather before scheduling shipments around winter storms.

Things get hectic around the holiday season, making it more necessary to keep your documents accurate.

Things get hectic around the holiday season, making it more necessary to keep your documents accurate. One common mistake we experience time over time is the misclassification of freight. Minimize these errors by using a density calculator.

Compete With Larger Shippers

WalMart and Amazon are two of the biggest powerhouses in the world during the holiday season and can make it difficult for smaller shippers to offer competitive rates. Often times carriers can be lured away to make deliveries for these larger shippers on a seasonal basis.

We’ve seen this way too often. To be able to compete with larger shippers and keep their products moving, small and medium-size companies will have to offer and pay higher rates for carriers. If this story rings a bell, consider partnering with a 3PL. More often than not, 3PLs can provide better service and competitive rates.

Carriers enjoy working with 3PLs because they consistently engage with them by offering year-round agreements to keep their trucks rolling.

They can do so as they have an extensive network of carriers. Carriers enjoy working with them because 3PLs consistently engage with them by offering year-round agreements to keep their trucks rolling. Plus, the fact that they move such a high volume of freight that gives them a stronger buying power, which results in highly competitive freight rates.

Reflect On The Past

Think back to last year. Did your entire operation run smoothly with only a few minor hiccups or were you pulling your hair out? Make changes to improve your business from the inside out by locating the problems and finding solutions for them.

Did you have enough manpower to handle packaging and loading extra freight? You may need to implement an all hands on deck policy for the holiday months or hire a few seasonal employees. The key here is to hire good employees to keep your operations running smoothly. Also, consider a preseason training program for new and veteran employees to boost efficiency and minimize mistakes.

Did you have enough office staff to handle all of your paperwork in a timely manner? If not, consider getting a few extra secretaries or finding a way to automate processing all of this information digitally to cut costs and save time. Programs like Quickbooks could really help you transform your office.

Also, check out our latest technologies to see how to improve tracking, addressing, and product listing. By automating your services to become more efficient, you will be able to cut down on document processing time, costly accounting mistakes, and build more productive relationships with carriers.

Are You Ready? The Holidays Are Coming

Prepare your business now for the holiday madness!



Is WalMart’s OTIF Initiative Placing Impossible Pressure On Carriers?

Carriers already face many challenges in the transportation industry. It includes a multitude of rules and regulations that they must follow or else they could be fined. Or, even worse, drivers could lose their CDLs.

Now on top of all of their rules and regulations, WalMart is making it even tougher for carriers by imposing their OTIF program on them. Carriers can expect, heavy financial penalties for making late deliveries, for having missing freight, and for even delivering freight early.

OTIF – On Time In Full

WalMart is known for trying to squeeze profits in every area they can, even when it comes to receiving freight and their ‘OTIF’ or On Time In Full program is their way to crack down on carriers to become more efficient at delivering loads and properly packaged freight on time. This initiative should provide WalMart with an extra $1 billion in revenue by simply getting items to the shelves faster.

WalMart has already warned retailers that disputes will not be tolerated.

WalMart’s logistic center that includes over 150 distribution centers will greatly be impacted by their aggressive program that not only fines drivers for being late, but for being early and improperly packaged as well. If the carriers want to dispute a fine, that won’t work. WalMart has already warned retailers that disputes will not be tolerated. This unforgiving campaign already began in August with a previous goal with a 4-day delivery window and hitting OTIF regulations 90 percent of the time. Now by February  Wal-Mart wants to see deliveries on time and in full 95% of the time or carriers can face the penalties.

Since this program began in August, some carriers have already been invoiced for penalties. For example, if items arrived late or missing carriers receive a fine of 3% of their value. Items that arrive early are fined because they create overstocks. WalMart expects this initiative help them compete with major retailers like Amazon because let’s be honest, people are happier with stocked shelves and when people are happier, they spend more. With more revenue flowing WalMart will continue to squeeze and pinch pennies in the freight industry regardless of the unfair pressure that it puts on them.

Let’s Talk More About the Unfair Pressure Placed By OTIF

OTIF will be expensive for carriers not only because of the fines, but to implement. Bigger carriers can add new factory processes to help with the packing and loading of freight, but smaller carriers may not be able to handle those costs. Plus, smaller carriers, who are just emerging into the market sometimes start off by trying to simply break even on deliveries until they can build a good reputation for themselves. If they incur the cost of fines they might go under.

This program will force carriers to become responsible for making deliveries on time even when they face factors that they can’t control.

What happens if a carrier realizes they will make the delivery a day early? Do they face the costs of the early delivery fee or do they face the costs of having to find somewhere to park overnight and to pay for meals not to mention the hours being out of business? Also, an extra day on the road away from families can put a lot of demoralizing stress on truckers. This program will force carriers to become responsible for making deliveries on time even when they face factors that they can’t control. For example, inclement weather could force drivers off the road, or they could get stuck in major traffic jams.

In order to make deliveries on time, some carriers may feel pressured to drive past the daily limit of 11 hours, which is extremely dangerous and illegal. Driving is exhausting and driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk. Paper logs can easily be forged for now, but in December once the ELD mandate goes into effect records will be harder to forge, so drivers won’t even have the option to push themselves to make a delivery in time.

At the end of the day, WalMart will do whatever they can to improve their bottom line, even if it imposes impossible stress, extra operational costs and fines on carriers, who will have to completely rethink their operations in order to make deliveries on time, in full.

Do You Need Help With OTIF Issues?

A 3PL, such as BlueGrace, can help your business overcome the challenges of OTIF and other supply chain issues. If you have questions about OTIF or just how to simplify your current transportation program, feel free to contact us via phone at 800.MY.SHIPPING or using the form below and we will be happy to assist.



What Is The Current Status Of Trucking Capacity?

A sudden increase in freight demand throughout the United States might put shippers in a difficult position for capacity and price later this autumn.

According to the American Trucking Association’s’ (ATA’s) Truck volume leaped 7.1 percent in August from July, and 8.2 percent year over year, the ATA said Tuesday. ATA revised July’s tonnage index, increasing it from 0.1 to 0.5 percent.

Tonnage Gets An Added Boost

“Tonnage was stronger than most other economic indicators in August and more than I would have expected,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “However, prep work for the hurricanes and better port volumes likely gave tonnage an added boost during the month.

“I suspect that short-term service disruptions from when the storms made landfall, as well as the normal ebb and flow of freight, could make September weaker and tonnage will smooth out to more moderate gains, on average,” he said.

Some of that 7.1 percent surge, however, may just be a seasonal adjustment.

Some of that 7.1 percent surge, however, may just be a seasonal adjustment. August is often a light month for tonnage as freight demand typically doesn’t start picking up till the fall. With such an increase taking place in August, ahead of schedule, that will push the seasonally adjusted index higher for the month. With the huge 10.5 percent uptick from July to August for unadjusted tonnage, that means that more, heavier freight was being shipped across the U.S. during August.

While this is good news for carrier, it could mean a rough season ahead for shippers. This increase in tonnage will likely mean tightened capacity for the fall. Additionally, shippers could be facing the biggest rate increase since 2014. 3PLs have been noting for months that capacity has been tightening as the economy improved.

The Effect of Disasters on Trucking

The devastation left in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma is also having a significant impact on the trucking industry. Combined, the hurricanes have done almost $300 billion in damage, which has lowered U.S. economic growth by 0.8 percent in the third quarter.

Considering the damage alone, it’s no surprise that reconstruction demand will be taking the lion’s share of the trucking capacity that would normally be used to serve more general needs.

“Hurricane Harvey will ‘strongly affect’ over 7% of U.S. trucking during the next two weeks, with some portion of that fraction out of operation entirely, according to an analysis by freight research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence,” says Fleet Owner.

While the disruption was more or less contained around the epicenter of the damage, there is an effect that is going to be felt across the country.

“Due to the already tight nature of the truck environment, that means that loads could be left on the docks, according to Noël Perry, one of FTR’s partners. And though the largest ripple effects of Hurricane Harvey will be “regionalized” where freight shipments are concerned, transportation managers across the entire U.S. “will be scrambling,” he added.”

“Look for spot prices to jump over the next several weeks with very strong effects in Texas and the South Central region,” Perry said in a statement. “Spot pricing was already up strong, in double-digit territory. Market participants could easily add five percentage points to those numbers.”

The State of Capacity

As far as the current state of trucking capacity goes, shippers will have to deal with a considerable constriction as the industry contends with the natural disasters and the reconstruction effort. With a considerable jump in demand from July to August and the “peak” season starting early, shippers will also have to contend with the largest rate jump in years in addition to the tight capacity. Simply put, shippers will have to make smart moves if they want to stay ahead of the competition.



NHL Hockey And BlueGrace, It’s That Time Of Year

Every new hockey season is a chance for fans to rejoice. A chance to once again hear the acoustical beauty of a slap shot, the ballet that is a gloves off fight and the trumpet of the goal horn. Hockey is a sport that engages the audience with an amazing atmosphere and unbelievably talented teams who somehow do it all on skates. At BlueGrace, we love hockey. Tickets for each Tampa Bay Lightning game are always in high demand, making them a top employee incentive!

The Preferred Shipping Partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning

The day after a clutch win or a tough loss, the emotions are still high at the office with plenty of couch coaching at the water cooler. Teamwork means everything in both business and in sports, and that mentality holds true to the way we operate at BlueGrace.

“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.”

Widely-known for our unique culture, BlueGrace offers a dynamic work environment and lives by a set of 5 Core Values. The NHL as a sport, along with many of its teams, have the same set of values and commitment that we do – making the partnership a natural fit for both sides.

“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.”

Bringing Core Values To Life, With Hockey

BlueGrace Core Values can be easily applied to the game of hockey, but particularly fall in line with the level of commitment & community-involvement of the Tampa Bay Lightning:

  1. Be Caring Of All Others – Help a teammate better his game, always think about your team first. Help local communities using your position as a star player to maximize charitable efforts.
  2. Simplify – Not all complicated plays end up with a blowing goal horn! Sometimes a simple play leads to more effective passes and faster scoring.
  3. Pursue Outrageous Goals – What is the most outrageous goal in hockey? Bringing home the Stanley Cup! When the season starts, everyone has a chance for the Cup, so reach for the seemingly impossible.
  4. Embrace Chaos – When the game gets tough, the tough play harder. Tired from 3 full periods of hockey? The game is tied – rest, quickly recharge, and get ready for the 3 on 3 overtime! That’s where champions are made.
  5. Be Happy, Humble & Have Fun – Sure you shot the winning goal, but without the assist and stunning performance by your defense, that shot would have never happened! Be humble, sit down, and celebrate with your teammates!

The Tampa Bay Lightning & BlueGrace: We All Bleed Blue

BlueGrace headquarters are in Tampa, Florida so we’re slightly (ok, VERY) biased towards our hometown Tampa Bay Lightning team. They’re an essential part of the small amount of fall/winter we have here in Tampa, home of some of the biggest sports fans. With regional offices in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, BlueGrace actually has quite a few Champion teams to cheer for (did someone say Blackhawks?). Regardless of which NHL team you cheer for, there will never be any shortage of fans who will be cheering hard. If business and sports have ANYTHING in common, it’s the team-first mentality that sets the successful apart from the rest. Perhaps the most important part of a team is the sense of brotherhood – letting your teammates know you have their back and you’re ready to flick an assist their way (play goal horn below!). Go Bolts!

Play The Tampa Bay Goal Horn Below!



How a 3PL Can Benefit Your Business During Disastrous Times

Running your Supply Chain can be stressful, especially in times where unforeseen circumstances arise. When working with a 3PL such as BlueGrace during a logistics service disaster, we are able to offer solutions that many businesses don’t have access to. During an emergency, having a 3PL who you trust, with the full tool set of carriers, technology, people and solutions is crucial. This special set of tools became very useful for one of our accounts during Hurricane Irma.

Preparing for an impact

The packaging solution company had no time frame of how long they could be down

On September 8th , just two days before Hurricane Irma was forecasted to come right through the Tampa Bay Area, our customer requested a seemingly near impossible move. The packaging solution company had no time frame of how long they could be down, since the impact from the storm lie ahead. Because of this, they needed 50 Less Than Truckload (LTL) pallets moved from their location to a safer location until the storm passed. This was a normal LTL request to move from Tampa to Atlanta, but with Irma bearing down and freight embargoes already begun, the capacity was very low in or out of the state of Florida.

Embracing Chaos

With all LTL carriers shut down in preparation for the storm, it was now up to BlueGrace to find a solution to get the pallets out of their warehouse. Our Customer Support and Transportation team worked closely together with the customer to come up with a plan to move the pallets to an out of state warehouse to ensure they would not be damaged during the storm. From there, BlueGrace would be able to get them all sent out to their final destinations.

With two trucks booked, and all pallets set to move, yet another “Embrace Chaos” moment happened.

With two trucks booked and all pallets set to move, yet another “Embrace Chaos” moment happened. The customer’s pallet count went up, adding another 20 pallets and requiring BlueGrace to find yet another truck in a time where capacity was limited. Together our team had to now exhibit all of BlueGrace’s core values to make this happen and be sure this move was a huge success. Within a short time-frame, we were able to find an additional truck and ensure all were successfully loaded and on their way out of state, putting our customer at ease.

What makes BlueGrace different?

We understand that not every customer has the same needs

With our extensive carrier network, technology and dedicated teams, we were able to provide a solution for our customer when they needed it most. We understand that not every customer has the same needs. We also understand that those needs may change over time and with the growth of your company. We are prepared to offer customized services and provide on-demand solutions for your business. BlueGrace is dedicated to being the shipping partner that truly gives your business the 3PLTLC it deserves, from daily shipments to the most difficult situations.

Contact Us For More Information


All Talk or a Reality – Trump’s Crumbling Plans for Infrastructure

While President Donald J. Trump is still expressing confidence in his infrastructure funding plan, gaining bipartisan support during the political climate that is tumultuous can be difficult. However, we’ve seen just how well the presidential confidence has carried other projects such as overhauling health care, changing immigration laws and tax reforms for the middle class. Despite his outward projections and confidence, the cracks in his plan are beginning to show, and we’re left wondering if anything regarding U.S. infrastructure will actually be done this year.

“Trump has scrapped plans for an infrastructure advisory council after two similar panels were disbanded amid backlash to Trump from corporate America,” says John Schulz of Logistics Management. “The President’s Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was to have advised Trump on the what, when and how of how to improve this nation’s roads and bridges, has been scrapped,” he added.

there is no denying that the need for a robust infrastructure policy is there

While any action has yet to be taken by the government, there is no denying that the need for a robust infrastructure policy is there, and growing. According to a recent Census Bureau report, government spending on public works is at an all time low, about 1.4 percent of the U.S. GDP for the second quarter.

“Ken Simonson, former chief economist for the American Trucking Associations and now with a similar post at Associated General Contractors of America, recently told the New York Times that many states were overwhelmed by past-due infrastructure needs. For example, Illinois recently suspended work on 900 projects because of monetary restraints,” Schulz added.

Unfortunately, despite how desperately U.S. infrastructure needs attention, Administration officials have said the infrastructure plans will be pushed back to the end of the year.

If we’re lucky…

Trump’s Proposed Plan for Infrastructure

So what exactly would this plan entail, were it to come to fruition? Well, the proposal seems rather promising, if it weren’t rather lacking in details or substance. Here’s how Trump decided to start Infrastructure Week this year.

“To kick off the festivities, the president on Monday pushed his plan to privatize air-traffic control. And on Wednesday, he touted his broader infrastructure spending plan. The basic idea of this plan is that the government will spend $200 billion, using tax breaks to incentivize private business to, in turn, spend more money on infrastructure projects. Altogether, with state and local contributions as well, spending would total $1 trillion. The administration also said that it would cut regulations to help the government “get out of the way” of building projects,” according to NPR.

This wouldn’t have been such a problem if there was anything more to it than this, but the White House and the president haven’t exactly been forthcoming with anything more substantial.

Inherent Implementation Issues

The lack of details notwithstanding, there’s also some issues with the plan that can’t simply be fixed by throwing money at it. As Mike Rowe, a guru for all things blue collar, points out, the U.S. doesn’t exactly have a willing and able labor force on standby to handle the work, even if it has the funding.

“There’s a tendency to talk about job creation as if there’s a giant trained workforce standing by, waiting to fill jobs that get created,” Rowe said in an interview with Chuck Todd of Meet the Press.

our country does have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with regard to the shovel.

“I wrote to the last president modestly, right after his inauguration,” he said, “not long after my foundation started just to say, ‘look the idea that 3 million shovel ready jobs are going to be created sounds great, but from what I’ve seen our country does have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with regard to the shovel.”

“So before we say poof, here are the jobs,” he added, “we need to talk about the aspirational element and the practical reality of whether anybody is standing by to do the work.”

“Today I’m still saying the same thing,” Rowe explained, “you know if you’re gonna throw a trillion dollars into infrastructure, it kinda presupposes the idea that you’ve got a trained workforce standing by to do those jobs.”

“We don’t,” he concluded.

“And that to me,” he added, “is the most interesting disconnect in the whole dialogue.”

What does this mean for Logistics?

In terms of physical logistics, Trump’s plan comes as a bit of a mixed bag. While we’re still waiting to hear what they actually have in mind for the new policy, what the Trump administration did offer us was a fast tracking process for infrastructure projects.

“On 15 August, President Trump signed an executive order aiming to curtail the time it takes to get an infrastructure project approved and delivered,” says The Loadstar.

“The Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects order allows an administration to develop a scorecard that tracks progress on a quarterly basis. Projects that miss key milestones will automatically spark senior agency officials’ attention,” LoadStar added.

we might see more projects getting jammed up due to the very thing it’s trying to fix.

So on one hand, much of the bureaucracy and red tape gets cut which means projects can get the green light much faster. On the other hand, we might see more projects getting jammed up due to the very thing it’s trying to fix.

“While this is good for jump-starting shelved infrastructure projects around the country, it will likely lead to a nightmare of logistics planning,” warned Colin D’Abreo, CEO of forwarder KOG Transport.

“Many projects, such as strengthening/replacing entire, or parts of, bridges, for example, require large components. This will lead to bottlenecks in the inland transport permitting sectors, leading to delays in the projects,” he added.

In addition to the potential bottleneck for major construction projects, this new policy would only affect infrastructure projects that occur on federally managed roadways. If a project would have to utilize city or state roads, it’s still subject to permits by respective authorities.

So will we see anything substantive from the Trump Administration regarding the  infrastructure support our country needs? As it stands, only time will tell.

It’s Yappy Hour, Not Happy Hour! BlueGrace Helps Homeless Animals Of Tampa Bay.

Each Friday afternoon, bars and restaurants across the nation receive an influx of patrons ready for drink specials and relaxation after a long workweek. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay decided to put their own spin on this time-honored tradition and begin hosting “Yappy Hours” to raise money for their shelter in various locations around Tampa. “Yappy Hours” have become a popular event for young professionals and a great fundraising opportunity for HSTB. As a longtime partner of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, BlueGrace decided to host its very own Yappy Hour at a local employee favorite, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Puppies, Drinks and Tacos!

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Brandon, FL provided indoor and outdoor space so attendees could bring their own dogs, and Humane Society of Tampa Bay brought adoptable dogs in an effort to find their forever homes. “As a proud owner of three rescues of my own, we were excited to participate in such a great cause” said Ian Lieberman, co-owner of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

BlueGrace worked with Fuzzy’s to gather raffle prizes that would generate as much buzz and excitement as possible. Luckily, many members of the Tampa Bay community were more than thrilled to donate prizes to the cause. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Rays and Bucs happily donated memorabilia and tickets for the raffle, while local attractions such as Lowry Park Zoo, MOSI, Busch Gardens, Big City Events and the Florida Aquarium donated tickets for admission. If sports or theme parks weren’t enough of an attraction, pet lovers had the opportunity to win a custom pet quilt and footprint keepsake from The Pet Loss Center. Local restaurants Brocato’s, WOB, The Columbia and Fuzzy’s themselves donated hundreds of dollars in gift cards. For our fitness-minded attendees there were health supplements donated by Southern Muscle, a one-month program package from Camp Gladiator, a five-class package from Orange Theory Fitness in Brandon, and one free month membership at Crossfit BNI. In total, over $5,500 in prizes were donated and raffled off.

A total of $1,013 was raised for Humane Society Tampa Bay

“As an organization we’ve hosted an annual food drive competition we call ‘Cats vs Dogs’ for HSTB for six years now” said Courtney Smith, Manager of Culture and Engagement.“We were excited to extend this effort out to our community and had a really great turnout!” In addition to the raffle, Fuzzy’s offered homemade dog treats and brownie sundaes with 100% of the proceeds going to HSTB. They also donated $1 from each frozen drink sold that night. Overall, the community response was tremendous. With over 200 in attendance,  a total of $1,013 was raised for Humane Society Tampa Bay to support their continuous efforts towards the homeless pet population in Tampa Bay. “Humane Society of Tampa Bay is such a phenomenal organization that does so much to help the homeless animals in our community” Smith continued. “Partnering with them for this event was truly a labor of love, we can’t wait to start planning the next one!”

The Truth About Supply Chain Visibility

While just about anyone will be more than happy to tell you that visibility is important for your supply chain, few can explain, let alone demonstrate, the exact reason as to why. It’s true that there are many benefits to be gained from increased visibility. However, there are also a considerable number of myths surrounding it.

“These myths distract us from the real issues and solutions surrounding supply chain visibility, causing us to make decisions based on assumptions that are wrong, expensive or even dangerous,” said Christian Titze, a research director at Gartner. “In doing so, they stifle innovation and slow progress toward real goals, accomplishments, and outcomes. By separating the truth from fiction, supply chain leaders can make more informed decisions about their visibility and multi-enterprise initiatives and investments.”

While some of these myths are just simple untruths, there are a number of them that can be harmful to any business that buys into them. Here are a few points about supply chain visibility that you need to be aware of.

Supply Chain Visibility is a Must

There really is no way around this. All organizations should be striving for increased visibility across their supply chain. Visibility sets the stage for forming and executing plans, events, and gathering data which can both generate value for the company as well as help to reduce potential risks.

Visibility isn’t just a company central focus, either. In order to be successful, visibility needs to extend to partner networks and systems.

Visibility isn’t just a company central focus, either. In order to be successful, visibility needs to extend to partner networks and systems. That doesn’t mean, however, that cooperation with partners is the same as visibility. Both companies need to make efforts to improve visibility in their own right while making sure that their efforts can coincide with one another. Failure to do so creates more roadblocks and obstacles in both the partnership as well as in the supply chain.

Visibility is not a “One Stop Shop”

Some companies believe that they can have all the visibility they need by using one platform or vendor. This is just not true. As it stands, no single vendor offers software that can meet the end-to-end visibility needs of a successful supply chain. In fact, most companies will likely need multiple software packages to achieve true end-to-end visibility.

With that being said, it’s important to understand that not all vendor offerings are the same, nor can they be compared so easily. Every potential application and approach is different and can vary widely based on the needs of your company. In short, to find the right fit, it’s going to take more than some quick browsing.

Finding the Right Partner

It’s not always an easy thing to find blind spots in your supply chain. Otherwise, they wouldn’t create such a pervasive issue. Instead, sometimes it takes the help of another party to see where you’re lacking. Such was the case with a U.S. based agricultural chemical manufacturing company.

“A massive agriculture chemicals manufacturer (hazardous materials) in the United States was with another large 3PL (third-party logistics provider) when an opportunity came across for BlueGrace to do a consultative review. Upon conducting the review and data engineering screening, this company felt that BlueGrace offered greater transparency and pricing structure than their current provider and ultimately made the switch.”

Of course there’s more to the story than simply offering a better deal. What this company needed most was better visibility and a way to share information easily, which would make their operation run more efficiently. While we’ve mentioned some things that aren’t true about supply chain visibility, here are a few (very real) benefits from having better visibility.

  • A better pricing structure was created using data gathered from the company. The new pricing structure yielded a 14 percent savings year-over-year.
  • Better transparency offered new opportunities. Making the switch to intermodal transportation allowed the company to save an additional 20 percent.
  • Developed new market strategies based on supply chain data. By implementing more warehouses across the country, the company could more accurately forecast sales and accommodate the demand for transportation.

These are the genuine and measurable benefits of visibility in the supply chain. It’s the ability to see opportunities as well as weak points and capitalize or improve them, respectively. As the supply chain serves as the backbone of any company, it’s visibility that gives it motion. It’s what allows the necessary foresight to allow for sound decision making and is vital to any company looking to be successful in today’s market.

See How We Saved This Company 14 Percent Year-Over-Year