Effects of the Driver Shortage

Posted by PLS Logistics April 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM


The truckload driver shortage is becoming a serious financial concern for shippers. To attract new drivers, many carriers are improving training, retention and compensation packages. However, they continue to struggle to find the number of drivers necessary to keep up with demand. The driver shortage has a significant impact on the tight over the road capacity that is causing issues for shippers who now have to pay a higher rate to move their freight.

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Reverse Logistics: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by PLS Logistics April 22, 2015 at 8:00 AM

What is the meaning and value of reverse logistics within the supply chain? Many people think of reverse logistics as handling customer returns and defective goods; that it is limited to customer service and recycling. However, only 25% of all goods in reverse logistics consist of defective items. It includes managing recalled products, overstocks, fixtures, recyclables, capital assets, end-of-life goods, and assets to be disposed.

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Should Fuel Surcharges Cost Me This Much? Infographic

Posted by PLS Logistics April 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM


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Top 4 Consumer Shipping Expectations

Posted by PLS Logistics April 17, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Consumers have access to more information than ever before, and with various options for online ordering, paying and shipping, customer loyalty is low. Today’s omni-channel era means retailers and shippers must pay close attention to customers’ high expectations. A customer’s experience with a company is greatly impacted by shipping options. Consumers are known to revisit an e-commerce site if the supplier offers low prices, free shipping and/or fast shipping. Today, 86% of buyers will pay more for better customer service, according to a CEI Survey, but only 1% think retailers meet their expectations. So, what are these customer expectations?

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6 Effects 3D Printing has on Supply Chains

Posted by PLS Logistics April 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM

You’ve heard about the fascinating achievements in 3D printing. Printers can now create customized apparel, personalized make-up and can even be used in medicine. As 3D printing becomes more integrated in manufacturing, it is easy to conclude that logistics should be influenced as well. Has the adjustment process already started?

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7 Steps to Reduce Freight Costs

Posted by PLS Logistics April 14, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Freight rates and carrier discounts are not the only factors that shape freight costs – there are more components shippers should consider. Reducing freight costs starts with understanding how cargo is moved through a particular supply chain. By getting all parts working efficiently, shippers can mitigate and manage costs.

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Fun Facts about Logistics and Transportation Infographic

Posted by PLS Logistics April 10, 2015 at 11:42 AM


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3PL Technology Helps Enhance Customer Experiences

Posted by PLS Logistics April 9, 2015 at 9:30 AM

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Cross-Docking: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by PLS Logistics April 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Cross-docking is a logistics strategy that keeps supply chains moving in a productive, effective manner. In this practice, cargo is immediately unloaded from an incoming container and then loaded directly to an outbound carrier.

Instead of a standard distribution center (DC), cross-docking facilities are more of a “sorting center”; a place where goods quickly pass through. Cross-docking facilities require far less storage space than a DC. The docking terminal consists of inbound and outbound lanes. Inbound shipments are assigned to a receiving dock and then the products are either moved directly to outbound destinations on forklifts or conveyor belts, or sorted and consolidated before making their way to outbound shipping. The goods usually spend less than 24 hours within a dock terminal.

Cross-docking seems to be a universal upgrade for the supply chain. However, there are some industries that especially benefit from this method, they include:

-Perishable goods, foods and beverages
-Inbound supplier components and raw materials
-Already packed and sorted products, parcels

Cross-docking is cost-effective for a company with high-volume shipments and substantial transportation needs – otherwise, shipping won’t be smooth or fast. Cross-docking requires a heavy investment in automation, visibility, outbound and inbound logistics.

The 3 types of cross-docking are:

1. Continuous Cross-Docking
The simplest and fastest cross-docking process. It provides a central site for products, so they are immediately transferred from an inbound truck to an outbound truck. If trucks arrive to the terminal at different times, they will incur a waiting time.

2. Consolidation Arrangements
The process of merging several smaller product loads into one truck or one big load in the dock facility. This way, incoming freight is combined with goods stored at the terminal to form full truckload shipments.

3. Deconsolidation Arrangements
This process is the opposite of consolidation arrangements. Large product loads are broken into smaller loads for easy transportation. Usually, these small loads are shipped directly to a customer.

Moving from traditional DCs to cross-docking facilities would enable a company to increase inventory turns and reduce material handling and distribution costs. Effective cross-docking leads a business to cost savings by eliminating the need for warehouse space and labor costs (less packaging and storing).

Trucking companies love cross-docking because trucks have fuller loads and exact destinations for each shipment which saves transportation costs. With cross-docking, a shipper can adapt quickly to new selling channels and market conditions; this shipping method reduces overall time to reach each customer.

Although cross-docking delivers significant financial and operational advantages, to achieve effective performance, companies must implement proper tracking, auditability and compliance. Just like other data-driven supply chain practices, cross-docking requires control and visibility of shipment from supplier to end customer. For more information about how PLS can help your company with customized logistics solutions and supply chain design, click here.


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Lower Transportation Spend with Big Data

Posted by PLS Logistics April 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Big data is the practice of collecting electronic information from various sources and applying analytics to identify patterns, trends and intelligence. Leveraging big data can be extremely valuable in transportation and logistics planning. Many shippers become overwhelmed by big data and demand for solutions that simplify the process of utilizing data to make supply chain decisions is increasing. When leveraged and managed properly, big data can be used to make smarter transportation decisions and optimize supply chains.  

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