Browse Tag

transportation industry

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

Partnership Reduces Costs and Transit Time… Creating Benefits for All

This is a fantastic read and I wanted to share it with you! Logistics Management reports how a closeout retailer, Tuesday Morning, partnered with a leading transportation provider, Averitt Express, and increased their bottom line.  Headquartered in Houston, TX, the retailer strived to find a solution to transport its “obnoxious freight” and keep inventory moving. The experts at Averitt Express, one of our valued partners, provided a distribution center (DC) bypass solution, eliminating significant transportation costs and shipment days for Tuesday Morning.

Kudos to the transportation professionals at Averitt and congrats to the team at Tuesday Morning! It’s evident you are a dynamic match!

At BlueGrace® Logistics, our team of experts can evaluate your supply chain to identify inefficiencies and propose solutions to eliminate time and enhance your bottom line. Contact us today for a free audit and to discuss collaborative distribution.

Read the Logistics Management article  “Tuesday Morning’s DC bypass cuts two weeks, 19 percent cost out of supply chain.”

 

– Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Follow @SamHill_BG 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!

Rising Price of Oil: Effects on Daily Purchases and Transportation

Oil prices are going up in 2012! If you are in the trucking industry or just a consumer, when oil prices go up … YOU are affected. Oil prices not only effect the price of gasoline that we put in our car every day or diesel in a truck (which is more expensive) but also the cost of our food, packaging of products and many other items that we use daily. Remember, the cost of a barrel of crude oil is based on what speculators think will happen to the production and delivery of the barrels of oil around the world. Recently Iran made a statement that they will close the Strait of Hormuz, which is a major waterway for theStrait of Hormuz, Iran transportation of oil from the Middle East. The reason for the statement is not important pertaining to this blog, but the impact to the price of oil would be huge. The NY Times reported that if the Strait of Hormuz was closed, the price of oil could rise as much as 50% or more within days (which we are already beginning to experience).

Today the average cost per gallon of gas is $3.30 and for diesel is $3.78 (eia). Just sit back and imagine if the cost of these two items doubled within 2 days. Let’s do some quick math, to personally fill my car the cost would go from $60 to $118. To fill a truck that can carry 400 gallons of diesel would go from $1,512 to $3,024. For shippers, the fuel cost that you would pay for a shipment from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA would go from an estimated $1,581 to $3,849 just for the cost of fuel. That does not count the line haul cost. If the cost of transportation for our products goes up, so do the costs at stores where we buy our goods. Food, paper towels, diapers, apparel, paper for the copier, etc… will go up.

So, if you ever wonder why oil prices are such a big issue in this country or why the USA spends so much time in the Middle East, just look at the impact it has on your personal budget and transportation services. Look at the impact on one of your shipments if oil prices should double.

-Chris Reeves, Director of Specialized Services
Twitter: @BGTruckload

News: Share your Concerns!

As of 2:04 PM, the White House reported that President Obama has signed the debt ceiling bill into law. This is great news and will hopefully help to create bipartisan cooperation on the next few important steps towards rebuilding our budget of revenues and expenses. Even with this great step, many of us in the industry are still concerned with future legislation that has a large impact on the industry.

The American Transportation Research Institute is calling all industry stakeholders to complete a survey on your top concerns this year. With their call I will emphasize mine. It is important for all those with a stake in our industry to express our concerns with our colleagues, our industry leaders and our leaders in Washington. We need to be vocal as an industry to ensure that the US continues to invest in our infrastructure and our industry.

I hope that you can share my concern with the upcoming bill to help reinvest in the transportation infrastructure of the US. With a continued focus on repair and development, we can ensure that the roads are safe for truck drivers, car drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and even pedestrians. Restrictions are continuing to get tougher on drivers and more expensive on trucking companies. The lives saved from simple road repair or widening would be a great contributor towards lessening deaths on the roads and highways.

If you have any stake in the industry, complete the survey at www.atri-online.org. Be heard!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Top Transportation News:
Debt Ceiling Deal Reached To Avert Default (LATEST UPDATES)
What does the debt ceiling deal mean for transportation?
US Steel Imports Fell in June
Diesel Prices Fall First Time in Four Weeks
NAFTA Surface Trade Rises 15.7 Percent

Truck vs. Rail, Betting Against Warren…Buffett

warren buffet | rail shipping | truck shippingI put the last name Buffett out there, detached from the remainder of the title for good reason; it’s a very special last name.  Buffett is arguably the greatest investor the world has ever seen. I’m not the guy who’d like to bet the future of rail isn’t brighter than trucking in the first place but I must admit, I’m among the masses that would have a really tough time trying to take an opposite stance against Buffett’s gamble. With the sustained and unprecedented success of Berkshire Hathaway, one may even want to reconsider calling any decision he makes a “gamble”. As a note of interest, $1 invested in Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 is now worth $400,863, the S&P a mere $6,840. 

When Warren Buffett bought out BNSF at a premium, he sent the world a very strong message, one of conviction.  It is considered his biggest investment ever. He told the world he’s bullish on the growth of rail, not just due to an economic recovery, but also as a means of replacing some of tonnage that now moves on trucks. He’s a believer that freight will be moving from the highway to the railway. Some of his reasoning:

  • Fuel prices continue to soar and the volatility is expected infinitely
  • Rail moves a ton of cargo 500 miles on 1 gallon of diesel; a truck is well over 3 times that and climbing.
  • 1 railcar can hold 100 tons, it takes 5 trucks/trailers to move the same
  • Rail is already built out completely, no more tracks are being added while highways are crumbling and need constant improvements.
  • With the fuel savings one must note the “green effect”. The carbon emissions that are being eliminated make the rails extremely attractive.

There’s a myriad of other reasons BNSF was purchased for a total of $44 billion, but what the purchase said is that transportation may be undergoing radical changes. The part of rail that has made it less than attractive for logisticians is the lack of traceability and flexibility. It has always been supported by inferior technology and has been less easy to deal with considering the equipment needed to handle railcars. The advantages that are now benefiting rail over truck are undoubtedly going to make investments in rail resources a sure thing. These are investments that will push rail into new areas such as LTL (less-than-truckload) and new commodities that weren’t as prevalent in the past. Technology will be pacing this expected surge of growth in rail. 

The ATA believes truck and rail is only competitive in about 8% of tonnage, maybe so, but not stating the future expectancies is one that I feel shows a tremendous opportunity to provide a valuable forecast. Virtually every economist and analyst will agree that rail will grow quicker than truck over the next few years, recovery or not. In my opinion, I simply cannot see why the buzz isn’t greater, added resources for rail are a sure thing and there’s little doubt in my mind that they will take freight off the highway when the resources are developed, refined and put in place. My bet is that Warren Buffett didn’t make the biggest investment of his life for a mediocre return, I’m betting strongly that he’s right on track! 

Bobby Harris, President and CEO

Holidays Impact on Transportation

transportationEver heard of the “Holiday Rush”?  Sure you have but have you ever considered the impact it has on transportation providers?  Ever asked why you shop on cyber Monday and get free shipping but if you wait a week, you will have to pay for a premium shipping service to make delivery by Christmas?

Frustrating as it is for us, it is even more challenging for the companies hired to transport those goods.  They have to increase their work force three fold, find ways to dedicate more trucks to the same routes, and manage a flow of inquiries which quadruples through this short period of time.  Then, after the holidays are over, those same shipping companies must cut back on the resources as quickly as they brought them on to remain profitable.  

Now look at the company you own or work for, could you manage such an expansion and contraction in a thirty day period?  Yeah, most likely none of us could manage this type of activity.  What those transportation companies perform every year at this time is truly amazing.  So the next time you procrastinate and have to select an “Expedited” service to get that special someone their gift delivered by Christmas, remember even though it cost more, it is well worth it!  

Eric Chambers, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Follow me @ebluegrace

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