How Important is Accuracy on the BOL?

Posted by PLS Logistics August 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

A bill of lading (BOL) acts as evidence: a receipt and a document of freight services. It’s proof of a contract between a carrier and shipper. It’s a legally binding document, containing relevant information about the shipment. A BOL includes pickup and delivery addresses, a place to note any freight damage, shipping/purchase order numbers, special shipping instructions and other details so the freight is delivered and invoiced properly.

2 Most Common BOLs

  • Straight: Non-negotiable. Where goods have been paid for and the shipment will be delivered to a consignee upon confirmation of ID.
  • Order: Where the goods and BOL can be transferred by endorsement to third parties.
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5 Tips for Small Businesses to Ship On-Time, Every-Time

Posted by PLS Logistics August 24, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Delivering products on-time is crucial in any industry. With businesses and consumers alike, this final touchpoint in the supply chain represents your ability to fulfill their needs competently. It is especially important for small businesses to deliver products on-time, as a poor reputation can be detrimental to the bottom-line.

Whether you are shipping to consumers or businesses, delayed shipments should be taken seriously. Late deliveries slow down the entire supply chain and hurt customer relationships, which can have serious consequences for your bottom line: 70% of consumers may not shop with a retailer again after receiving a late shipment, and 86% of consumers say their expectation for on-time delivery increases in peak seasons like the holiday shopping season.

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Supply Chain Automation: The Only Answer to E-Commerce Challenges

Posted by PLS Logistics August 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM

The number of online shoppers is estimated to reach 270 million by 2020. In 2015, online sales totaled $335 billion, and a recent report from Forrester predicts that online sales will grow by an average annual rate of 9.32% over the next 5 years.

Demanding e-commerce shoppers are challenging the way businesses approach fulfillment. Among many different solutions employed across a number of industries, automation in the supply chain has been the most successful.

Automation in the Warehouse

Automation in the supply chain helps increase speed, accuracy and productivity. Today’s warehouses are no exception - they are hi-tech and extremely efficient, using automation to rapidly fulfill orders.

“To be great in e-commerce, you need to be sophisticated inside the warehouse,” said Karl Siebrecht of Flexe. Robotic installations in the US were up 11% in 2014 over the previous year.

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Market Update: 9 Factors Determining the Rise in Transportation Rates

Posted by PLS Logistics August 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Freight shippers are enjoying a buyer’s market at the moment. There’s widespread overcapacity in the trucking industry, forcing carriers to lower prices in an attempt to keep their trucks full. For now, shippers can find low transportation rates relatively easily.

As with any cyclical industry, this will all change. Soon, carriers will be dictating rates and shippers will be competing for trailer space, paying much more for transportation than they are right now.

Why is this happening? And when can shippers expect to pay higher rates?

There are 9 major factors that will determine the severity and timing of the rate hikes.

Operating Costs

  1. When energy prices rebound, it will increase operating costs for trucking companies. In response, they will have to increase fuel surcharges to cover their expenses. Carriers make more profit from fuel surcharges when fuel costs are high, so the surcharge increase won’t be proportional.

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Declining Inventories: Are Shippers Improving E-Commerce Fulfillment?

Posted by PLS Logistics August 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The 27th Annual State of Logistics Report shows that inventory levels are down and logistics costs are rising.

Given the extreme demands of the hundreds of millions of online consumers who expect free shipping and fast delivery, e-commerce interrupts transportation budgets and regular shipping strategies. In 2015, transportation costs rose 1.3% year-over-year.

Now, shippers are adding DCs, improving warehouse technology and rethinking traditional inventories in order to meet demand while containing costs.

Retailers, manufacturers and suppliers hold inventory to reduce costs and/or to improve customer service. Having too much inventory can cause excess merchandise to be wasted, and not having enough inventory can leave customers without the products they ordered.

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3 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get Better Transportation Rates

Posted by PLS Logistics August 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Getting low rates for transportation services is challenging. The problem is that most people don’t have time to learn the complexities of the transportation industry. And, most people don’t understand the pricing leverage they already have.

For shippers of any size, there are three easy ways to get the lowest contract rates.

  1.  Get to it. Right Now. You’re Almost Too Late.

You need to start looking for a transportation partner right away. Freight rates are

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Logistics and Transportation Outlook: More Challenges Ahead

Posted by PLS Logistics August 4, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Last month, CSCMP and consulting firm A.T. Kearney released the highly anticipated 27th Annual State of Logistics Report. The report reveals a strong shippers’ market in 2016, a slow rise in transportation rates in 2017, and vaguely states there will be large obstacles to productivity in the future.

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Manufacturing Productivity Generates Focus on Transportation

Posted by PLS Logistics August 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) displays the influence manufacturing has on economies in terms of infrastructure initiatives, technological developments, employment rates, and contribution to the GDP.

US manufacturers have contributed $2.17 trillion to the economy. The manufacturing sector continues to grow and is directly linked to the growth of our country’s economy and non-manufacturing industries.

There are over 12 million manufacturing workers in the US; about 9% of the workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute, each manufacturing job supports nearly 3 additional employment opportunities in the economy.

Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the US economy. According to the GMCI, the US continues to improve its global ranking and is projected to move from its current ranking at second into the number 1 position as the most competitive manufacturing nation by the end of the decade. Now, China is the most competitive manufacturing nation, and Germany is rated third.

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Trending Transportation News: July 2016

Posted by PLS Logistics July 28, 2016 at 12:30 PM

  • FedEx Delivers to Cuba. FedEx became the first American freight carrier with rights to deliver freight to Cuba. FedEx says they will begin service on January 15, 2017. Their rights extend to July 15, 2018.
  • Amazon Tests Drone Delivery in U.K. Amazon has partnered with the British government to test drone parcel delivery technology. The tests, supervised by the Civil Aviation Authority, will test the drone’s ability to maneuver with multiple other drones in the air and out of sight of operators.
  • Speed Limiter Proposal Expected Before Fall. After over a decade of pursuing a heavy-truck speed limiter rule, the FMCSA and NHTSA say that the proposal will be completed this year. Some industry insiders disagree, and a frustrated Congress may put a deadline on the proposal.
  • Best Practices Program Introduced. A newly formed APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CTLD) credential program aims to set the global standard for best practices. Logistics has one of the fastest growing job creation rates, making the program a necessity.
  • CSA Scores on the Horizon. The temporarily suspended CSA scores, currently under review by the FMCSA, have shown signs of an early comeback. There are many obstacles for the highly controversial scores to return to public view, but many believe it will happen sooner rather than later.


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More Connected Devices Creating Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Posted by PLS Logistics July 27, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Cyber-attacks are an increasing threat in the transportation and logistics industry. Transportation and logistics are integral to the world’s economy, and therefore, a valued target for hackers.

According to the US Department of Home Security, the threat of cyber-attacks is very real. Companies who manufacture, transport and facilitate goods have been using connected devices in order to collect data for IoT initiatives, but unbeknownst to them, this technology is giving hackers easy access to company systems and information.

Collecting and analyzing big data has become an important supply chain strategy. Now, it’s also increasingly important to protect the systems generating sensitive information.

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