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BlueGrace Logistics

Does social media marketing and visibility have real impact? If so, BlueGrace Logistics is ahead of the curve.

The use of social media in the business world has plenty of skeptics based on the ROI (or lack thereof) associated with the time and resources put into this medium.  Historically it has been extremely hard to pinpoint exactly what lasting effect social media has on customers, partners, clients, ect.  An article released by Fast Company in August has boldly put a number on this mythical social media ROI: $1.3 Trillion.

How can you make sure you and your company are getting a piece of this enormous potential pie? Take these 3 ideas from BlueGrace Logistics to jumpstart your social media:

1.       Infuse Social Media with your Company Culture

BlueGrace Logistics doesn’t just have a Twitter account, Facebook, and LinkedIn page, they actually USE THEM! And so do their employees. BlueGrace’s open social media policy has turned Twitter into a companywide communication tool. Important news and events, success stories, helpful articles, and some really fun engagement can be found being shared daily between BlueGrace’s employees.

2.       Does social media direction come from the top?

BlueGrace Logistics’ most senior leaders are all truly bought in to the lasting effect social media can have in the business world. Founder and CEO Bobby Harris, has held “Twitter Boot Camps” for new employees introducing them to the do’s and don’ts of social media. He is a huge supporter of BlueGrace’s open social media policy and often ends announcements or emails by saying “Remember to Tweet!”  Also, BlueGrace’s COO Randy Collack is an avid Twitter user and BlueGrace employees love his occasional Twitter music trivia contests he sends out!

When your company’s most respected leaders are utilizing social media the right way, it fuels the fire that is needed for a company to have great social media visibility.

3.       Be Content Aware. Yes, even employees.

It goes without saying that your company could have a plan for the type of information you will be sharing, what message you are trying to deliver, and what goals you have for your social media marketing. But these principals should apply to employees social media accounts as well. Each individual should consider themselves as their own brand underneath your parent company. With that in mind, be careful what you share! Is this information relevant to your overall message? Does its content align with your company’s values? It is important for customers and partners to see that your company is not run by robots but instead real people with thoughts and emotions. But also be careful not to involve yourself too heavily in religious, political, and other sensitive topic debates.  Adding social media training for new hires, like BlueGrace Logistics, is a good way to set expectations for all employees.

Take our advice and GET SOCIAL! Some of that $1.3 Trillion could be yours.

It’s not about franchising…It’s about finding the RIGHT franchise.

As most of you now know, BlueGrace Franchise is on the rise! We are consistently adding new locations on the map and the excitement level is high, but it’s not easy and understandably so. Deciding to open a franchise is not a straightforward decision. Here are some tips to follow when considering opening a franchise:

1. Research the industry you are planning on investing in.

This is one of the most critical steps in the decision making process. It’s not easy to just say “I know… I’ll open a McDonalds or Starbucks today…”, because you might find that it just wouldn’t work for you or your personality type. There are thousands of opportunities out there and it’s important to be open to the limitless opportunities.

2. Cost.

Most franchises require a start-up fee, some working capital, etc. For example, BlueGrace Franchise has a $47,500 start up fee which is on the low end compared to most franchise opportunities. But in addition, there needs to be working capital to make sure you can operate and be successful. Take some time to evaluate your personal finances before consulting with a franchise opportunity you are interested in.

3. Evaluate your priorities.

Make sure you’re ready for this!  A decision may require you to consult with a family member, business partner or close friend. It’s important to understand that in order to enjoy the freedoms of a business owner, you need to start somewhere. When you first get started, you’ll need to dedicate time to get things rolling, but the work will pay off.

4. Assess your resources.

Most people don’t need to completely start from scratch. You may have talent, contacts, resources and equipment ready for you to use. You know how they say “hiring from within is less expensive than getting someone new”, well that’s true in more ways than one. Use your resources to help you get started!

5. Make sure the franchise of your choice is reputable and has a team that is there to support you.

Just because a company has a disclosure document (or FDD), doesn’t mean they’re reputable. Again, BlueGrace Franchise as the example here,  has in-house counsel (click to meet Robert Beckmann) with franchise development and support teams to answer any and all of your questions. Make sure you visit the corporate location/office, meet and develop relationships with the people involved with handling your investment.

Hope you found these tips helpful. In lieu of finding a new investment opportunity, you should consider BlueGrace Logistics. They’ll bring you down for Discovery Day and introduce you to the team so you can learn more about the company.

For more information on BlueGrace Franchise, email to our franchise development team or call 800.MY.SHIPPING and ask for the Franchise Development Team!

Preparing For A Championship? A Connection Between Football and Logistics!

Take a deep breath everyone, football season is almost here! As you read this article, teams all over the country at the professional and college level are preparing for their upcoming seasons.  Your favorite teams are doing everything they can to fine tune their roster, perfect game plans, and train hard to set themselves apart from their competition. This intense preparation and rigid self analysis can teach us a lesson in business as well. In extremely competitive environments, how does one company stack up to another? What sets you and your business apart? What can you do to become a champion in your industry?

First, you must know your own company’s strengths. What is it that you can do that no one else can or can do better than anyone else? What does your brand look like and how well do you serve your customer base? Lean against these tough questions when facing tough competition, and be honest to yourself. Next, you need to be doing industry research to know your competition and keep up with critical trends like communicating with customers via social media (Check us out on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn). On the field, or during a sale, knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses could make all the difference. For example, BlueGrace takes another sport that we love (MMA) and uses that to reach our customers on another level (i.e. Carlos Condit, UFC Interim Champ truckload campaign “The Champ Has Your Truckloads Covered“).

Regarding your customers, are you meeting or exceeding their expectations? Customers that are just having their needs met, might seem fine, but at the same time might be looking for something more. And believe me when I say there are plenty of companies out there looking to give them more- regardless of the industry you’re in and what you do. So ask yourself, what are you doing to exceed customer expectations on a daily basis? How do you make their jobs/lives easier? Thinking about this concept might help give you the edge in keeping and capturing new business. At BlueGrace, our customers and their needs are always the top priority of every decision we make from marketing, to sales, customer loyalty and even behind the scenes we ask “How are we making a difference today?” .

Lastly, how efficient are the operations within your organization? Are you streamlining as much as you possibly can to keep costs down? Are you using technology to the best of your ability to maximize spending and reduce overall costs to get the most out of your supply chain? A combination of all the above are critical to success and BlueGrace can help (at least with your supply chain). We know the do’s and don’ts in transportation and can effectively manage these processes for you. In 99.99% of all cases, being a champion means working as a team with a trusted group of individuals who all benefit from one another to make progress. In football, the last team standing is usually a well rounded group that’s truly understands the concept of being a team.  Take some time to think about tasks that would benefit partnering with a third party vendor who will take the time to learn your business.

Overall, the incorporation of sports into your company culture is a great way to connect and engage your employees. Happy employees are more productive and, in result, your organization can strengthen and grow. At BlueGrace Logistics, we promote healthy active lifestyles and spark some friendly office competition!  Always remember, company culture matters!

Whether on the field or in the business world how do you set yourself apart? Check out BlueGrace Logistics and see how we set ourselves apart from others in the transportation logistics industry!

BlueGrace Logistics & Metropolitan Ministries gear up for back-to-school season through Backpacks of Hope!

Can you hear those school bells ringing? As BlueGrace employees begin to prepare their own children for back-to-school, we’re also thinking about all the children in the Tampa Bay community and the folks at Metropolitan Ministries. Metropolitan Ministries is partnering with local school districts and organizations, including YMCA of Brandon to gather and distribute important school supplies to less fortunate children throughout Hillsborough County. Each year, Backpacks of Hope makes a difference in the lives of those in the Tampa Bay community, getting children excited about the new school year and into the learning spirit!

BlueGrace Logistic & Metropolitan Ministries gears up for back-to-school season through Backpacks of Hope!
Employees at BlueGrace Logistics pitch in to support Metropolitan Ministries and Backpacks of Hope for children this Back-to-School season.

Content to Collect:

  • New Backpack (teens and children)
  • 3 Ring Binder (1-1.5”)
  • Copy Paper
  • Thumb Drive
  • Calculator
  • College Rule Paper
  • Eraser (block)
  • 12” Ruler
  • Composition Notebook
  • 10 Pack of Pencils
  • Highlighter
  • Pencil Case
  • Colored Pencils
  • 3 Subject Spiral Notebook
  • Children’s Scissors

We’ve got a fun bunch here at BlueGrace Logistics, so we’re taking it a step further and on Friday, Aug. 3 The team is dressing up as nerds (Look out for pictures on the BlueGrace Facebook Page!) That’s right, get out the suspenders, plastic frame glasses with tape, and rolled up pants – BlueGrace Logistics is going to back-to-school in style!

It’s always important to have team building events to get departments mingling and add something new to your day-to-day business operations. Is your company helping out a local charity this back-to-school season? Share your story with us here, on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you are! BlueGrace Logistics strongly believes community involvement benefits our employees and overall morale, check out this article to see what we mean.

If you’d like to contribute or learn more about Metropolitan Ministries, please visit their website at: http://www.metromin.org/. To learn more about BlueGrace Logistics, visit www.mybluegrace.com, email us, or call 800.MY.SHIPPING. We’d love to hear from YOU!

BlueGrace has your Truckloads covered like a Champ

BlueGrace has your Truckloads covered like a Champ
Now is the perfect time to ship full truckloads with BlueGrace® Logistics. As of July 18th, receive a $10 gift card to Fighterwarehouse for ANY shipment!

As we’re all aware, the ebb and flow of capacity, fluctuating demand and speed-to-market often poses unique challenges to shippers. A powerful way to combat this is by shipping full truckloads (TL).

Building complete loads not only promotes efficiency but supports our economy whether it’s thriving or tumultuous. By consolidating freight, you help cut your own cost because TL utilization is improved and you convert less-than-truckload shipments into less-expensive full truckloads. Why have two trucks half-full when you can have one carry the entire load?

Why ship full truckloads?

1. Faster transit times because there are no terminal stops along the route. Consolidation into full truckloads allows for direct delivery to the customer.
2. Lower costs because the price per pound drops significantly. Some companies have reduced their freight transportation costs by up to 35%!
3. Less propensity for damage claims due to decreased handling of your freight.
4. Increase and dedicated capacity for you within your core carrier bases. Choose from a shared carrier network that fits your distinct transportation needs.
5. Increased visibility into forecasting demand helps you plan ahead for more efficiently matched supply and demand.

Why use a 3PL to ship your TL?

Because full truckload shipping is generally more intricate, a 3PL’s involvement smooths out your supply chain management by considering the details of your shipment so you don’t have to. We relieve you from headaches caused by grappling over questions like:
-What is the size and shape of my freight? How will the packaging of this impact my shipping?
-What are the routes looking like where it’s being transported? Is there construction?
-How will the time of year affect my transportation? How do I plan around holidays?

Truckload logistics management is a very detailed process and utilizing powerhouses like BlueGrace® Logistics can help prepare you to make the optimal decision for your transportation needs. What this all translates into is greater volume in the system. The more volume, the better the opportunities to build full truckloads and deliver shipments more frequently.

You know the mighty punch that consolidation packs and what a 3PL can bring into the arena. Now that you know, the question becomes: why haven’t you started yet?

Now is the perfect time to ship full truckloads with BlueGrace® Logistics. As of July 18th, receive a $10 gift card to Fighterwarehouse for ANY shipment! Contact one our reliable freight experts to receive a free quote or start booking today!

BlueGrace® Logistics is a proud sponsor of Carlos Condit and many other MMA fighters.

Low-Cost Franchises Rise in Popularity – Discover BlueGrace Logistics Franchising

What could fitness businesses, mosquito control and third party logistics companies all have in common? The opportunity to be your own boss with no tricky investments! A recent CNBC article on franchise opportunities discusses the rise in popularity of low-cost franchises in the US. BlueGrace® Logistics Franchise is proof that popular and low-cost franchise opportunities do exist. A BlueGrace franchise is a service-type business growing in a $600 billion dollar shipping industry that does not require a large office space, staff, or industry experience.

Think you can’t afford to go into business for yourself?
Think again.

Financial independence is well within reach thanks to the prevalence of these inexpensive franchising opportunities. It’s simply a question of which one best fits you! There are outstanding low-cost franchise options available for entrepreneurs and experienced business owners alike. You can change your life through business ownership or diversify your business and lower your risk with proven business models like BlueGrace Logistics Franchise. The initial investment and startup costs are minimal and no previous industry or business ownership experience is necessary.

Though the investment may be smaller, you should still place thorough research at the top of your to-do list before jumping on-board the franchisee train. Below are some tips to help you succeed before and after signing on the dotted line.

  1. Understand the marketplace. You don’t need to be a subject matter expert. In fact, many franchisors prefer their owners to house their talent in sales and marketing to drive the business.
  2. Pay attention to consumer trends. Keeping a watchful eye on emerging industries and the fluctuating economy can help you stay on-top of what will be the most profitable for your business.
  3. Choose a franchisor that offers ongoing support for your team. Do they provide in-depth training to get you started out on the right foot? Do they offer advertising and marketing support?

You can see by the growing popularity and affordability that benefits to owning your own business are clear. So the question now becomes, “How can I afford not to?” 

Are you attending the International Franchise Expo (IFE) in NYC this week? We’d love to meet you – Stop by Booth #364 to meet our team and discover if a BlueGrace Franchise is right for you!

VOTE BlueGrace Logistics as your Top 3PL

Vote BlueGrace Logistics as your Top 3PL ProviderEach year Inbound Logistics releases a Readers’ Choice Top 10 3PL Excellence survey for shippers and businesses to express their appreciation for their best third party logistics provider. It is our mission to serve you with world class technology and outstanding customer service daily while offering simplicity and reduced freight costs.

Here are Top 3 Reasons to Vote BlueGrace as Top 3PL:

  1. OMG Service: Our team of dedicated logistics support experts is always eager to assist throughout the shipping process. Contact them via email, chat directly from our website, phone 1-800-MY-SHIPPING, or social networks! To see what customers are saying about shipping with BlueGrace, read Customer Reviews on Facebook.
  2. Simplicity with Technology: BlueGrace Logistics offer advanced logistics technology and shipping tools to simplify your freight shipping. This allows you to focus on your core competencies and leave the shipping to us!
  3. Logistics Champs: We’re proud sponsors of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters – it’s just one way we build relationships between our employees, customers, and logistics partners by participating in this common sports interest. Inc Magazine interviewed BlueGrace Logistics President and CEO, Bobby Harris, in their June edition to get the scoop on the MMA involvement.

Please take a moment to cast your vote for BlueGrace Logistics as your Top 3PL. Thanks in advance for your support!

If you are interested in learning more about the “BGExperience,” contact our friendly team today to get truckin’ on the road to streamlined shipping with BlueGrace Logistics!

– Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Follow: @SamHill_BG

#BGInvestigates: How Regulations Affect the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry is no exception when it comes to government regulations. In the coming year, many regulations will be enforcing drastic changes in the transportation industry. These changes will impact the bottom line of truck drivers, carriers, shippers, consignees and even consumers. As regulations increase, trucking companies are forced to increase shipping costs, in turn, driving the cost of products in the market to rise. BG Investigates points out why it’s important to be aware of new industry laws and regulations.

Many transportation regulations are highly controversial in regard to their costs and effectiveness. Specifically, the CSA 2010 law was passed in December of 2010 and remains a top concern. According to the FMCSA, a part of the US Department of Transportation, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative is a regulation that is working to further reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. The trucking industry (including common carriers) feel the impact of this regulation as drivers are taken off the road due to safety concerns. Although this helps to increase safety, the loss of truck drivers due to CSA regulations has caused driver and capacity shortages.

“We are really starting to see the impact (of CSA 2010) in the industry right now. Every day we are seeing carriers that are being rated down to conditional and last week we saw five carriers shut down by the DOT for unsafe ratings. Obviously that increases the capacity constraints we have in the market by reducing the amount of drivers on the road and causes an increase in rates,” says Chris Reeves, Director of Specialized Services.

The debate continues on many other government policies. The Hours of Service regulations published in December 2011 were enforced to control the amount of hours a driver can be in operation. The HOS rules cause changes in the current transit times for shipments, as drivers are not able to travel as long. There are severe penalties for both the driver and carrier for violations. Industry groups argue that these regulations should change before they officially go into effect July 1, 2013.

BG Investigates uncovered the following transportation industry regulations that all readers should be aware of for 2012 and beyond:

  • Stability Control Standards – Technology mandate controlling stability on heavy-duty tractors to preventing rollovers of trucks and trailers.
  • Mandatory Speed Limiters – Controlling the speed of trucks to prevent accidents.
  • Crashworthiness Standards – Standards, similar to automobiles, that help protect truck drivers involved in accidents
  • EOBR RegulationsElectronic on-board recorders tracking the time truck drivers are on the road.

The laws and regulations of the transportation industry are constantly changing. Whether you are a truck driver, carrier, shipper, consignee or consumer, you should consistently be informed to be compliant and understand the effects it may have on your business model.  BG Investigates will continue looking and reporting the status of new transportation laws and regulations that affect you, so keep an eye out for future articles. Contact one of our knowledgeable representatives at BlueGrace Logistics with any questions about industry regulations or call 800.MYSHIPPING.

– Ben Dundas, Sr. Marketing Analyst

BlueGrace Logistics CEO, Bobby Harris is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 finalist in Florida

Check out our latest press release recognizing our CEO, Bobby Harris as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year!

BlueGrace Logistics is proud to announce that CEO Bobby Harris has been named a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Florida program. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Bobby was selected from nearly one hundred nominations by a panel of independent judges. Awards will be presented at a special gala on June 14 at the Hilton Orlando.

Now in its 26th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Regional award recipients are eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Program. Award recipients in several national categories, as well as the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award recipient, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 17, 2012. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

 

Sponsors
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Florida platinum sponsors include Carlton Fields, Fifth Third Bank, Tribridge and Vaco; silver sponsors RFB Communications Group and Scherzer International and media sponsor Smart Business Network.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

For more information on BlueGrace Logistics, please visit www.mybluegrace.com or call 1.800. MY. SHIPPING
Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bluegracelogistics
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mybluegrace

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SportsFest Teaches Lessons in Teamwork

Where’s one place you can catch employees and executives battling side-by-side in the sandy trenches of a beautiful Florida beach? Why America II Corporate SportsFest of course!

Once a year 150+ companies from across Tampa Bay compete for the esteemed title of SportsFest Champions… a position that we at BlueGrace® Logistics do not take lightly. This year brought our 3rd go-round at the event and our team of 41 players was pumped full of excitement and eager to compete! Never before have you seen such camaraderie covered in tanning oil; just bring your team spirit and game-face… no athletic skills necessary!

With five events to participate in, co-workers certainly get a chance to bond. Considering our staff has nearly doubled in size since last year’s fest, it was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the new faces. Heather Anderson, our Culture Coordinator and Team Captain raves how beneficial the games are for team building,

A lot of our employees are die hard competitors, so it’s nice to have to depend on each other to beat the other teams.

Mudwars 2011 St. Petersburg, FL
BlueGrace team demonstrates what they're made of at Mudwars 2011.

Though BlueGrace employees make it look easy to function as team in the workplace, it does not happen automatically. Ideas for team building activities come from all employees and are supported by the leadership staff. BlueGrace schedules group activities including company softball and bowling league, Mudwars, and monthly themed office days such as barbeques, potlucks, corn hole tournaments, and #FreeBeerFriday (after 4pm). Each event allows employees to engage with one another to build stronger relationships and contribute more effectively in a team environment. In 2011 and 2012, BlueGrace Logistics was honored to be recognized as a Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work finalist.

Effective teamwork can yield incredible results, in the sand or the workplace. Listed below are just some reasons to participate in team-building activities within your company:

  • Creates unity where everyone is focused on a common goal
  • Encourages employees take ownership in the company’s success
  • Keeps everyone on a level playing field promoting a leaner business model
  • Increases the ability to adapt by fostering flexibility
  • Boosts morale by encouraging achievement

Though we didn’t come home with a win from SportsFest, we consistently win at providing the best service to our customers thanks to our stellar employees and impeccable teamwork. Babe Ruth said it best,

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

To join our team of MVPs, contact our recruiting team via email or follow them on Twitter @BGCareers to learn more about career opportunities. Did you participate in SportsFest this year? Does your company conduct regular team building activities? Tell us about it!

 

-Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Twitter: @BG_JennyD 

Logistics: What is it? BlueGrace Offers the Whole Package

What is logistics?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the industry. Add “third party” to “logistics” and you may as well be wearing a sign that says “barrage me with questions, please!” Confusion may be created because the meaning is so broadly applicable across a diverse range of trades. The scope of “logistics” could describe the operations of a thriving corporate enterprise or the play-by-play of a day in the life of a soccer mom. While both accurately depict the word, those are not exactly the everyday logistics we manage at BlueGrace® Logistics.

To say we handle the details of transporting your goods from Point A to Point B would not do justice to what truly goes on behind the scenes of your freight’s journey. The factors below offer a glimpse into what you experience by partnering with BlueGrace for your logistics.

  • Optimization. One way BlueGrace creates value is by helping customers optimize existing transportation and logistics functions. We take a deep dive into the inner-workings of your transportation management to identify inefficiencies. With these discoveries we engineer solutions for specific processes in your supply chain and aid in execution across all departments. We strive to create new opportunities which ultimately increase efficiency and your bottom line.
  • Preservation. With so much change and variability in the supply chain, optimization is a recurring process. We don’t abandon you once changes are in place, it is our job to take that extra step and ensure those improvements are maintained and your success continuous.
  • Reporting. When you work with a logistics provider, we know that the ultimate goal is to take care of your shipments from start to finish without having to chase anyone for updates along the way. This is why we provide complete visibility through BlueShip™, our transportation management system. Using information like real-time tracking, we allow you the freedom to dictate what, when, and how you view your shipments and reports. Our customized reports take the guessing out of your supply chain.
  • Understanding. This part of our “logistics” is one that we hold in the highest regard. BlueGrace is comprised of over 150 years of experience in logistics, freight and transportation management. Our expertise helps you make the best decisions for your company. We strive to gain a healthy understanding of your business goals and how you wish to attain them.

Logistics means different things to different people. All of the factors above encompass what it really means to BlueGrace. Logistics goes well beyond just shipping… it reaches into the heart of your business. If you would like to request a free freight quote or an audit on your logistics processes, contact our team today!

What does logistics mean to you? What are the most important factors in determining who handles your freight? We’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to join our team of professionals, contact BlueGrace Careers or visit our Careers page for more information about a career in logistics.

 

-Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Twitter: BG_JennyD

Logistics, MMA and the Power of 140 Characters

If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA), you may have seen the BlueGrace® Logistics logo slapped on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC®) fighters’ shorts. You might ask yourself, “Why is a logistics service provider sponsoring this sport?

Carlos Condit (left) kicks Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 143. Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting
BlueGrace Logistics sponsors Carlos Condit in Interim Welterweight Championship UFC 143. Source: http://sbn.to/AD4W26

MMA is one of the fastest growing sports today and the fighters demonstrate admirable character and values (not often seen in other sports). Not to mention, the UFC has made a huge impression on the sports industry as whole through its social media madness! Although professional MMA fighting is banned in certain states, that hasn’t stopped the UFC from growing its devoted fan base. In fact, the President, Dana White, embraced the power of Twitter for branding and fan engagement. He invested in a media agency to teach the fighters how to use the social platform and instructed them by saying, “I want you to Twitter your *** off!”

Like Dana, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, Bobby Harris, is an enthusiastic advocate of Twitter. Last year, Bobby championed an open social media policy for all BlueGrace employees; instilling trust to represent the brand, all BlueGrace employees complete a Twitter boot camp and social media training in their first week of employment. They’re educated on the power of social media, how to engage and build relationships, and why it is part of the #BGExperience. BlueGrace employees (fighters) interact with customers (fans), partners, and their fellow peers via Twitter.

BlueGrace Logistics Open Social Media Policy
BlueGrace President and CEO, Bobby Harris, teaches Twitter 101 to employees.

It is our mission to provide businesses with the tools and technology required to power their logistics operations in a seamless and efficient manner. We believe that social media provides a forum for open discussion with employees, customers, and partners; where industry experts can ask questions, find answers, and build meaningful relationships.  Social media is the future of supply chain management and logistics – its real-time information sharing capabilities are critical. As the UFC Social Media Manager says, “You can reach anyone, anywhere in the world.”

Watch how we’ve even incorporated mixed martial arts into our corporate training program. Are you or someone you know looking for a career? Get to know BlueGrace and join our team of logistics professionals!

Dana White and the UFC are to be commended on their commitment to social media and for demonstrating what #GreatnessIs … just ask their millions of die-hard fans! The UFC and BlueGrace Logistics made the critical move and experience the power of social media and business everyday – has your business?

Share your social biz story with us! Have you started? Are you way ahead of the game? Do you believe in the power of 140 characters? We want to know!

-Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Twitter: @SamHill_BG

Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Transportation: Earth Day 2012

To commemorate Earth Day 2012, we believe a proper “shout out” to Mother Nature is in order. People say the driving force behind the nation’s economy is the trucking industry. That’s a logical rationale considering nine million people help transport eleven billion tons of freight annually. In regard to these figures, BlueGrace® Logistics asks not only what the freight and shipping industry can do for you, but what can transportation do for the planet?

Sustainability efforts do not come in a one-size-fits-all box, here are methods to shrink your carbon footprint and reduce waste on either end of the supply chain!

Shippers/Warehousing:

      • Motion sensors:Only illuminate
        Shipping Pallet Garden Wows Visitors at the Canada Blooms Garden Festival
        Shipping Pallet Garden
        areas when a truck or other vehicle is actually present at the pickup point.
      • Solar panels: Utilize natural energy and light from the sun, thus reducing energy consumption, or… add a skylight!
      • Packaging materials: Biodegradable packing peanuts made from renewable resources are a great aid in the quest for sustainability. Companies such as StarchTech, produce packaging alternatives that dissolve in water after use.
      • Pallet-sharing programs: Thousands of pallet recyclers buy/sell pallets to create a comprehensive retrieval network. If a pallet cannot be reused for shipments, grind it down to reuse as mulch, animal bedding, or create a pallet garden!

Drivers:

      • Speed Reduction: The easiest (and safest!) step to take. Reducing your speed from 75 to 65 saves up to 27% of fuel and reduces carbon emissions by approximately 31.5 million tons!
      • Idling time: If you’re on a long haul that requires overnight rest, take advantage of truck auxiliary units or truck stop electrification systems to heat or cool your truck instead of wasting diesel while in idle.
      • Accessories and Equipment: Low viscosity lubricants can be used to reduce friction. Monitoring tire pressure regularly is also an efficient step towards fuel-economy.

Carriers:

      • Aerodynamic/engine modifications: Install aerodynamic panels on trailers and replace older engines with new, environmentally friendly engines.
      • Alternative fuel: Biomethane gas emits 50% less carbon than current diesel standard and is derived from organic matter in landfill sites. Coca-Cola Enterprises was the 1st in the logistics sector to invest in biomethane trucks.
      • Collaborative distribution: Merge different loads destined for the same end point to maximize trucking efficiency.

It’s easy to take a pro-active hold on the planet’s future. If you or your company is “Going green” we’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell us about the steps you’re taking to make a difference!

BlueGrace takes pride in its involvement with the community and sustainability efforts. Several carriers in our network are SmartWay Certified. Naturally, a 3PL is a green solution to manage your logistics needs as BlueGrace operates from web-based systems or cloud computing thus reducing paper waste, consolidates your freight bills into a single invoice, and allows you to select the best carrier to move your goods – saving you green!

Let’s reduce the carbon footprint in your supply chain together! To learn more about how BlueGrace can help increase efficiencies in your logistics processes, shoot us an email or call 800.MY.SHIPPING today!

– Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Follow @BG_JennyD on Twitter

It’s a Man’s World

Its a Mans World | Women in Trucking Industry and MMA | BlueGrace MMA Sponsor Felice Herrig“You see, man made the cars to take us over the road. Man made the trains to carry heavy loads.”

Ah, James Brown…how the times are a changing. Man may have made those things, but guess who’s transporting these days? That’s right,women.

Now more than ever, women are entering into arenas that were once thought to be ruled by men. Places such as the octagon of a fighting ring and behind the wheel of a big rig – both are familiar to BlueGrace® Logistics. As most of you know, we are proud sponsors of MMA and recently teamed up with our first female XFC® fighterFelice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig. The qualities that Felice and women of MMA embody are the same that ladies in the logistics industry possess in order to succeed.

“Integrity, determination, dependability, and a healthy respect for competition, that is what these UFC® fighters represent to BlueGrace,”says BlueGrace President/CEO, Bobby Harris.

Relevant to our industry, Desiree is a well known female truck driver recognized for her viewpoints and expertise. Desiree provides trucking news and shares her story as a  female trucker. She believes that women are an underappreciated resource—yet exemplify the critical skills that are needed to perform the job. To stay up to date on the latest news, read The Trucker Desiree Daily!

Working as a female in a predominantly male industry presents additional unique challenges and circumstances. Therefore, whatever obstacles men may face driving a truck or knocking out an opponent, women must overcome another set associated with the gender stereotype. Though the percentage of females employed in the “transportation and material moving occupations” is approximately15 percent, it’s worth reporting that this movement is trending in an upward and positive direction. Women should be acknowledged as “forces to be reckoned with” despite the barriers they face.

Some may argue that the road and the ring are no place for females, we beg to differ. We must recall the most important line of Mr. Brown’s song, “It wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl”.

Be sure to check out our exclusive video of Felice on the BlueGrace Facebook page.

BlueGrace is thrilled to be involved in supporting the women of the MMA industry; and appreciates the hard work and dedication of women in transportation.

If you are a woman in the transportation or sports industries, we want to hear from you! Do you have an example of an obstacle that you have had to overcome? Perhaps you can offer helpful tips on how to succeed in a male dominated industry.

Contact our Community Manager with any questions about our MMA sponsorships or logistics services today!

– Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Follow @BG_JennyD on Twitter

#BGInvestigates: Why not use a 3PL?!

No acronym boils the blood of a BlueGrace® Logistics employee more than “3PL”. In our experience, this acronym conveys an adopted meaning that doesn’t give justice to the value added service BlueGrace delivers. We believe 3PL providers should be an extension of your business, not an outsourced process. So instead of a “3PL”, we consider ourselves a Logistics Service Provider.

Phrasing is not the reason that decision makers stray from 3PLs. To further understand the issue, BlueGrace investigated internally. Here are the most common concerns:

 “I’ve been burned by other 3PL’s, so now I steer clear…”

This could be the most common objection to any business considering a new 3PL. To those questioning the use of 3PL’s, we say, “Well you haven’t experienced BlueGrace.” Completely nixing all 3PLs from your life is the wrong move. We have learned the most common reason for failed 3PL partnerships is billing resolutions. At BlueGrace, we take certain precautions to safeguard against mistakes. We know that re-classes and re-weighs are the heartache of any shipper’s existence. Our new and enhanced BlueShip Transportation Management System allows users to enter weight and dimensions into their customized portal; alerting the shipper to contact their rep if the shipment requires special attention (pricing, class, etc.).

Another concern is the lack of education from the provider to the customer. This results in miscommunication and animosity, which potentially leads to a short-lived business relationship. It’s vital for you, the shipper, to understand what we provide. A good Logistics Service Provider (or 3PL) will help their customer understand resources like NMFC codes, cubic capacity and linear feet guidelines.

“If we can be of help, we will. If not, we tell you. We want to create mutually beneficial relationships and properly educate our customers,” says Eric Chambers, Sr VP of Sales.

“You don’t own your own trucks, so why should I trust you with my freight?”

That’s a good question. BlueGrace Logistics has a strong network of top rated carriers to handle our customer’s goods. We use a scorecard with each carrier to monitor overall performance such as damages in transit and punctuality. Our carrier partnerships allow us to negotiate competitive rates on your behalf. Take advantage of the lower costs that the buying power of the right 3PL can get you.

BlueGrace Logistics provides free quotes and internal audits of your current logistics processes. For any questions in regard to your shipping needs call 1.800.MY.SHIPPING

So, we hope this topic was helpful in identifying your concerns in determining whether or not working with a 3PL is right for you. Give us a call, send an email, or follow us on Twitter (@mybluegrace) for more on these important subjects as #BGInvestigates.

Visit us online at www.mybluegrace.com

– Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Follow @BG_JennyD on Twitter!

Paper, Plastic, Aluminum and Cardboard Only Please!

BlueGrace Logistics corporate recycling programThat’s right, BlueGrace is thrilled to finally adopt a recycling program at the corporate office in Riverview, FL. Although much of our time is spent on computers and phones booking shipments and assisting customers and partners, we noticed just how much waste was filling up in our trashcan! It was time to make a change and do the right thing.

Getting everyone on board is always a challenge. But we’re doing our best to make this a fun and educational experience for our team.

  1. Mark the spot: Huge 95 gallon bins from our friends at Conex Recycling and a dumpster for cardboard from US GreenFiber are outdoors. Multiple smaller trash cans are located throughout the office with the classic round recycling arrow in bright green that reads “Paper Only!” The break room has a special can for all of our plastic wastes and aluminum energy drink cans! We also have a dumpster
  2. Office TVs display interesting facts that explain why caring for the environment is our duty and shocking statistics such as, “The average American uses 7 trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!” YIKES!!!
  3. We love Twitter! It’s only natural to use it to implement our recycling program too. Join us by taking part in #wastelesswed tweets on Wednesdays to connect with communities that also #reduce #reuse and #recycle!
  4. Uh-oh: If the recycle police catch employees dumping recyclable waste in the trash can, they might just get handed a citation! Don’t let these flashing lights catch you!

Needless to say, BlueGrace Logistics has gone green and we’re proud of our progress. Has your company implemented a recycling program? Are you researching how to get started? Perhaps you’re thinking outside the box and doing even more to decrease your carbon footprint as a business. Share your “Going Green” story with us!

Wicked Awesomeness

As the book is about to close on 2011, I took a few minutes to reflect on the events of the past year. Facts and figures are fine, but to truly capture the sentiment of the time, I thought it best to read my own words as the year progressed. I began the year returning from Vegas with the Executive Team at BlueGrace Logistics after having just toured the Zappos.com corporate offices. The epiphany I felt at that moment on the plane was unimaginable. I was inspired. I quickly wrote out a BLOG called “Awesomeness,” detailing the many reasons why, both personal and professional, I was proud to be part of the greatest company on the planet. Our goal at BlueGrace is global domination. Thought some people more mature than I might deem that a silly goal, I know that we’re just getting warmed up!

Now, as I reflect on achieving “awesomeness,” I realize that for 2012 we must set the even bar higher – “Wicked Awesomeness.” Let’s let the other guys compete for 2nd place while we continue to lap them in innovation, progressive leadership, and wicked awesome customer loyalty. The fact is that BlueGrace Logistics is the best thing to happen to transportation since the wheel! We are the game changer because we are literally putting the sport into transportation logistics. Excuses are for other people. Losing is for other people. The sentiments of August, 2010 (You play to win the game) haven’t changed. In fact, we’re just better at it. Because if you’re not playing to win, you might as well just give it to a kid who will use it.

So what makes us wicked awesome?

  • Our innovation is one step ahead of the evolving needs of our customers. We adapt to the changes in the industry but don’t abandon the principles that got us here (Not to mention any names, Gitomer). “Top 10.5 Reasons why Jeffrey Gitomer is a Sales Sellout
  • We understand that our clients single greatest need is to focus on their core competencies. We provide value and solutions to their business needs, allowing them to spend their “15 minutes” the way they most effective for them.
  • We believe in hiring “People, not resumes.” The future of our company lies in the potential of our single greatest asset, our employees. Each person comprises the very foundation of our organization.
  • We understand that customer loyalty is based on how well you serve your customers, and that the customer experience happens long before the first time the phone rings. We want to provide OMG service on every call and will never “Adding insult to injury.”
  • We strive to be the best partner in the business, and provide as much value for our carrier partners as we do our customer. See my “Response to a fool” who feels logistics is still about selling the cheapest price.

The fact is we are the best at everything we do because we say we are. If we didn’t believe we were going to be the best, then we should be in a different business. We aren’t worried about competition because our sole purpose is finding better ways to serve our customers, employees and partners. With that end in mind, we feel that we have been, are now, and always will continue to be the epitome of #wickedawesomeness.

So is there a purpose to my self-aggrandizing, sophomoric rant? Of course there is. I am proud of the accomplishments of my peers this past year. I am more so excited about what we will accomplish this coming year. I never agreed that BLOGS shouldn’t be self-promoting. Our successes will never make the news so I find comfort in the ability to brag about the successes of the hard work of so many. So while you’re trying to balance awesomeness without offending anyone – we’ve moved onto wicked awesomeness! If you aren’t blogging about your awesomeness, maybe your title should be “happy with just good enough.”

-Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
Twitter: TheBGexperience

BlueGrace Logistics Receives FMSDC Certification

BlueGrace Logistics receives FMSDC certification from CNFMSDCBlueGrace Logistics is proud to announce its certification by the Central & North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council (CNFMSDC). As a minority business enterprise (MBE), BlueGrace serves small and large businesses throughout the U.S. by offering best-in-class technology and logistics services such as less than truckload, truckload, air and ocean freight, and other modes of transportation.  The team is excited to receive this membership and looks forward to building relationships through this opportunity.

The CNFMSDC is a corporate member organization, and our primary objective is to help corporations with their supplier diversity efforts. The mission of the CNFMSDC is to provide a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned business enterprises.

To learn more about the CNFMSDC visit their website here.