Driving The Supply Chain


Increase In Employment In The Trucking Industry

Jul 16, 2014 3:15:00 PM

Jobs are coming back to the trucking industry—and the demand for drivers is high. According to the Labor Department’s June 4th report, for-hire trucking added 1,500 new jobs in May.

In total, there are 1.4 million workers now employed in the trucking sector, which is up 1.6% (22,400 jobs) from last year. From 2010, the post-recession low, employment is up 13.6% (175,900). 

However, more drivers are desperately needed. Across the country, there is a demand for more than 30,000 drivers.

One of the driving forces behind this boom is energy production, one of the fastest growing sectors for the trucking industry. 

"As the industry starts to haul more because demand goes up, we'll need to add more drivers, nearly 100,000 annually over the next decade, in order to keep pace," said Bob Costello, chief economist and vice president of the American Trucking Association.

As a result of this labor shortage, pay is likely to increase for drivers. In 2013, the national average annual salary for truck drivers was $49,540, according to the ATA.

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Cargo Thefts Decrease While Average Loss Value Increases and What You Can Do About It

Jul 8, 2014 2:58:00 PM


When it comes to truck cargo thefts for this rolling quarter, there’s good news—and then there’s bad news.

According to FreightWatch, 178 thefts took place between February and April, a 25% decrease from the previous rolling quarter (this is excellent news). However, each theft averaged a loss value per incident of $245,101—a 98% increase from the previous quarter (this is not such great news).

Let’s look at the most commonly stolen products during this period. FreightWatch’s report indicates the following breakdown for the types of products stolen:

  • Food/Drinks accounted for 17% of all truck cargo thefts for this period i.e. the majority of thefts.
  • After Food/Drinks, Electronics and Home/Garden Products each accounted for 15% of total cargo thefts. In terms of specific electronic goods stolen, the majority of products included televisions, computers and computer accessories.
  • Finally, for this rolling period, Metal accounted for 10.8% of all cargo thefts.

Now let’s talk about where these thefts are taking place. Geographically, the report indicates that 76% of cargo thefts occurred in only 4 states: Florida (38 thefts), California (36 thefts), Texas (26 thefts) and Georgia (21 thefts). But there’s a silver lining to this news too: the number of thefts in Florida and California actually decreased from the previous quarter.

In terms of value, Pharmaceuticals were hit the hardest: for this quarter alone, they suffered an average loss value of $5.6 million. Coming in at a distant second, Clothing/Shoes lost an average of $859,499 per incident, and Electronics lost an average of $420,585 per theft.

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Great Apps for Supply Chain Managers

Jul 2, 2014 2:27:59 PM

app-for-that-dupreIt’s no secret that we live in a world ruled by technology, and the supply chain industry is no exception. Technology has become a crutch in our everyday lives; we rely on it for an abundance of reasons ranging from communication to productivity. While society utilizes mobile applications to assist in everyday activities, businesses are also incorporating mobile applications to improve daily efficiency.

Supply chain managers are incorporating applications into daily routines with the increasing options in smartphones and tablets; supply chain managers are able to work remotely. Mobile apps allow managers to oversee all operations from end-to-end in an easier and successful manner.

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FMCSA Coercion Rule

Jun 25, 2014 12:01:41 PM

dupre_coercion_rule_image_It’s no secret that the logistics industry runs tight schedules. Ninety percent of shipping companies operate with six or fewer trucks, placing incredible strain on resources. And the larger truck companies are certainly not exempt from the stress, often aiming to cover even more ground under intense scrutiny.

It is this scrutiny that has, for too long, motivated companies to ignore the Hours of Service rules, justifying unhealthy working hours for drivers and detention times.

But a new rule proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aims to put a stop to these unfair and unrealistic pressures, and officials are hoping it drives trucking companies to rethink their processes. 

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Your Drivers Need to Sleep

Jun 18, 2014 12:14:00 PM

Despite mounting evidence indicating the risks, the notion of getting adequate sleep continues to be waved off. 

It’s similar to what we see with driving and texting, and guilty parties all say the same thing: “I’m fine; I got it,” blithely assuming he or she is above the proven science. Truck drivers frequently drive through breaks, add a few more hours or ignore the Hours of Service law altogether -- and their respective employers allow it. Heck, in some cases they encourage it!

But here’s why that’s a terrible idea, both financially and ethically.

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Best Practice for Reducing Warehouse Inventories

Jun 11, 2014 4:53:25 PM

Your warehouse inventory is a considerable and visible asset for your company, and it’s possibly also the most valuable item on your balance sheet. There is often pressure on supply chain managers to shrink excessive levels, resulting in reductions that aren’t carefully evaluated in advance. Diminished inventory can have a significant impact on your entire supply chain, which is why such a serious decision shouldn’t be undertaken arbitrarily.

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Is Logistics Outsourcing Right for You?

Jun 3, 2014 2:46:31 PM

Increasingly intense competition throughout the globe has resulted in more retail and manufacturing companies considering outsourcing their logistics operations instead of the keeping them in-house. Logistics outsourcing through a third-party logistics provider (3PL) is an effective business strategy that enables an enterprise to hand over non-essential functions to a third party, enabling them to focus more on business goals and leverage internal resources. This business model can also help increase efficiencies in a company’s distribution networks and gain an advantage over competitors.

However, turning to an external source to handle a key component of the supply chain is not always the best answer for every enterprise. There are several pros and cons you should weigh before making such a major decision to outsource your logistics.

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Common Carrier Errors and How They Can Be Avoided

May 29, 2014 12:15:21 PM

When you’re in charge of arranging trucking services to move cargo for your company, it’s crucial that you find the most cost-effective and efficient ways to get the job done. It’s wise to carefully collaborate with all segments of the supply chain in order to increase productivity and keep expenses low. Your carriers have a special place in the conversation, as cost escalations due to fuel pricing, surcharges, capacity and other issues affect your bottom line.

One of the biggest obstacles in the supply chain, carrier error, is a major threat to a smoothly functioning system. It’s one of the major causes of the hidden costs that creep up and hit your budget hard. However, once you’re familiar with the common carrier problems and can identify mistakes, you’re in a better position to prevent them and eliminate hidden costs. Here are some of the more frequent errors reported by logistics managers.

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Demand Planning

May 14, 2014 2:30:00 PM

When it comes to supply chain logistics, you rely on your team at every phase of your operations. It’s essential that you work through the hiring process meticulously, and that you continue employee development through training and support. Whether you’re in retail, distribution or manufacturing, proper demand planning is critical to the smooth functioning of your organization. Therefore, you can face significant challenges when you need to hire a proficient and qualified demand planner to oversee your supply chain. You should prioritize certain factors in order to focus on competent potential candidates during the interview process.

Make sure they can crunch the numbers

Probably the easiest factor to vet is to ensure that your demand planners know how to analyze the important financials, so education and experience in applied economics or other mathematics field is necessary. A successful candidate will have a strong math and statistical background, especially with projects that entail complex analysis and financial forecasting.

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Training Logistics Leaders

May 7, 2014 2:30:00 PM

The need to train leaders who can effectively use a full array of management tools is not unique to supply chain logistics departments at companies dealing in manufacturing, retail or distribution. However, certain characteristics about these businesses make training logistics leaders more of a challenge as compared to other industries. As a business owner or manager, you need to coach them, provide appropriate mentoring support and motivate them to exceed your expectations.

At the same time, it’s necessary to give them the freedom to make independent decisions, which may involve making mistakes. After all, it’s only through trial and error that your logistics leaders can become invaluable assets for your company. The point is not to take a carte blanche approach to learning through blunders,

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