Trapping for Fame and Fortune

Trapping for Fame and Fortune

Recent studies within our TMS have revealed carriers trapping freight to combine deliveries. Let me explain. The carriers know what freight is in their system. If they see a single shipment for a given delivery stop and yet there is another shipment on its way for the next day, often times they’ll trap the first shipment to deliver with the shipment on its way. In this way, they save the labor cost of a delivery.

Guaranteed Delivery?

The only way to avoid this practice is to book a guaranteed delivery or by working with or changing your motor carrier. This is especially troublesome in the retail sector where on-time-in-full is the order of the day. If you have a TMS that is updating hourly, you can see the status “Arrived at Terminal” but not “Out for Delivery” logging the date and time of these two events can help you pinpoint service failures. ShippersEdge TMS can be set to notify you if a shipment is being trapped at the destination terminal.

Given the penalties for late delivery by some retailers, making sure your shipment is not being trapped is just part of the job of an Enterprise TMS.

 

 

Personal Conveyance Status whether the truck is loaded or not

Courtesy of CCJ Digital

Effective immediately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will allow drivers to enter into personal conveyance status, whether the truck is loaded or not, to find the nearest safe parking or rest location after their hours of service are exhausted by a shipper/receiver or off-duty periods are interrupted by law enforcement.

“The movement from a shipper or receiver to the nearest safe resting area may be identified as personal conveyance,” according to a notice from FMCSA, “regardless of whether the driver exhausted his or her hours of service, as long as the CMV is being moved solely to enable the driver to obtain the required rest at a safe location.”

The change was prompted by more rigid hours of service compliance brought on by the agency’s electronic logging device mandate.

In a media call Thursday, FMCSA Enforcement and Compliance Director Joe DeLorenzo emphasized a key point that might apply more broadly to other scenarios where personal conveyance for the purpose of getting “to your safe place to rest. It’s all about why you’re making that particular movement,” in the end.

Generally, personal conveyance use has not been allowed for any move intended to further the direction of the current or next dispatch and is intended as truly personal use of the truck, outside the stream of commerce. Further clarifying the change in personal conveyance interpretation, the agency noted it recognized that “the driver may not be aware of the direction of the next dispatch and that in some instances the nearest safe resting location may be in the direction of that dispatch. If the driver proceeds to the nearest reasonable and safe location and takes the required rest, this would qualify as personal conveyance.”

Any driver using personal conveyance this way is advised to “annotate on the log if he/she cannot park at the nearest location and must proceed to another location.”

Personal conveyance is also newly specifically allowed in other similar circumstances, the agency noted — when a safety official (such as a law enforcement officer) requires a driver to move during an off-duty period. Such a use should be “no farther than the nearest reasonable and safe area to complete the rest period,” according the Federal Register publication.

Travel to home after working “offsite,” as long as the driver’s home is not in the direction of the current or next dispatch, is also explicitly allowed as personal conveyance by the new guidance.

Guidance changes will be published in the Federal Register probably “early next week,” DeLorenzo said, but he added that the agency had already rolled them out to law enforcement.

Ag hours-exemption guidance changes
FMCSA also announced Thursday changes to guidance around the 150-air-mile-radius ag hours of service exemption include clarifying the definition of the radius as extending from the commodity’s source — and the definition of source, which would include locations like silos and sale barns where the commodity is put on the vehicle. The guidance defines source in part to include not just a farm or ranch but also “any intermediate storage or handling location away from the original source at the farm or field, provided the commodity retains its original form and is not significantly changed by any processing or packing.”

Likewise, the agency said, haulers utilizing the exemption but who extend beyond the radius would not need to start hours recording until they reached the edge of the radius.

“The hours accumulated within the 150-mile radius are not counted toward the driver’s hours of service,” FMCSA says. “Returning empty, the driver would be subject to the HOS rules until returning within the 150 air-mile radius in which the trip began.”

Such drivers returning empty to the source, thus, would be able to stop hours recording upon re-entering the radius. DeLorenzo also clarified that for multiple-stop loads within the radius, point A of pickup would be the source from which the 150-air-mile (about 176 road miles) radius should be calculated.

2018 Top 100 Logistics IT Provider

ShippersEdge Named a 2018 Top 100 Logistics IT Provider

For the fifth year in a row ShippersEdge was named a top 100 Logistics IT Provider by Industry Leading Magazine Inbound Logistics.

Dear Mr. Taylor, 
Congratulations again on your selection as a 2018 Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Provider. It’s time for you to celebrate and share this achievement by ordering an official awards plaque from Inbound Logistics!

Displaying a plaque in your reception area, CEO’s office, and/or shared work space tells your prospects, customers, team members and stakeholders that you have been recognized for excellence by the leading logistics magazine in the United States. Leverage the Inbound Logistics brand to celebrate and share your achievement.The 11” x 14” wood plaque highlights your company name. The centerpiece of the plaque is a customized redesign of the April 2018 cover produced by Inbound Logistics’ in-house creative team (the attached PDF order form displays a sample).

While you may be contacted by other plaque companies that have no affiliation with Inbound Logistics, be assured that this is the only official Top 100 Logistics IT Provider plaque available.

The plaques will only be available for a limited time. The attached PDF contains all the details, and is a fillable order form. If you have any questions or trouble using the order form, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

​Sincerely,​

— 

Nicole Mangray

National Sales Associate | Inbound Logistics

Shippers use technology to mitigate chargebacks

Jeff Bezos doesn’t need more money

A whole host of big box retailers, from Walmart to Walgreens, CVS to Amazon are assessing penalties for late deliveries. It sounds to me like Jeff Bezos doesn’t need more money so let’s help him out. Shippers need to use technology to mitigate these chargebacks. Since MAP 21, coercing drivers even through threats to withhold future business is not an answer at all. The ELD capacity tightening is only making things worse. There are a lot of whys in that but let’s start with an answer first.

Plan your shipping

Plan your shipping around expected transit times. We’ll go into this further but LTL carriers publish transit times and technology can help you monitor the accuracies of those times. Truckload transit times have to be geared toward driver hours, weather and congestion. There are now inexpensive ways to track truckload transit and do historical analysis in specific lanes.

This is all presuming you can schedule production to a ship date generated by technology. Let’s say we have an LTL shipment, where stated transit time is 4 days (business days) and data shows 85% on time deliveries. The rate is $560.00. The best on time percentage is 98% but the rate is $20.00 more. Amazon charges 3% of the cost of goods (invoice value). On a $8,000 order saving $20.00 could cost you $240.00.

The math

Assuming you ship monthly to all 122 Amazon Fulfillment centers in the US:
 

Total Shipments

15% Late Order Value 3% Chargeback Total of all charge backs
1464 220 $18,000  $540.00  $118,584.00
Total Shipments 2% Late Order Value 3% Chargeback Total of all charge backs
1464 29 $18,000  $540.00  $15,811.20
Total Shipments Additional Freight Charges @ $20.00 each Savings with on time carrier
1464  $29,280.00  $73,492.80
However, Amazon only assesses the outside delivery window charge if your trailing four week average is below 90% so in effect you could save the entire $118,584.00 by using a more reliable carrier.

 

So how do you get reliability percentages easily

So how do you get reliability percentages easily and automatically? ShippersEdge TMS will give them to you and they can be viewed manually or incorporated into business rules f and used with automated tendering.

All the major retailing chains have added late delivery chargebacks to their arsenal. Just having an easy way to create delivery reports that show the delivery date vs. the delivery window requested can aid in dispute resolution. Getting carrier information into your ASNs is another thing a TMS can assist you with. By knowing transit times and reliability metrics, a TMS can tell you when to ship, with whom to ship and give you the data to make informed objective decisions.

A TMS can also record weather related delays, track full truckloads and create alerts for situations where an appointment can’t be met. Some missed appointment charges can run $350.00. Integrating with cell phone tracking is made for a TMS to point out problems before they become bottom line events.

Contact ShippersEdge at 952-777-4421 or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

 

 

 

Intermodal not Answering the Call

As our national capacity crunch deepens with the ripening of a growing season in the south many people thought that intermodal capacity would be the answer to a capacity shortage. The real answer is not what people were expecting at all. The ELD mandate has struck intermodal in regards to drayage both for international container shipping and domestic traffic.

On the international side, long dwell times at ports and highly congested urban freeways abuses drivers and lax enforcement of hours of service before ELDs masked a problem that is now exposed. With the Panama Canal’s lack of immediate success, it may be possible that the intermodal drayage capacity crunch finally makes less congested ports a viable option.

What is happening on both the domestic and international side is that the consumption of driver hours is pushing what was theoretically a one day round trip on drayage in the 200-250-mile range into two day trips given the max duty time of 14 hours. This consumes equipment if not just the driver’s wages. You have to think about the fact that intermodal equipment is more finite and any consumption in terms of trailer days will affect the entire intermodal eco chain.

There are no easy quick fixes

Presuming the amount of intermodal conveyances, be it container or trailer can be increased, you still have to increase the number of seated tractors. There are no easy quick fixes.

Strangely enough, embargoing shipments with long drayage miles may actually help save intermodal. That will probably be done by strategic pricing, at least in domestic truckload side. The intermodal companies could effectively embargo certain points through pricing for being too far from an intermodal facility to be able to be serviced within a driver’s effective and now monitored duty cycle.

Adding intermodal capacity is an expensive proposition

The intermodal trailers also need intermodal rail cars and locomotives. These are large capital expenditures just waiting for the next recession. At some point, you also need to enlarge and enhance ramp facilities. Frankly, getting drivers should be the easy part simply because the drivers are typically home each night.

America is greening from the bottom up right now and expect things to get much worse when it comes to pricing and capacity before it gets better. The growing season always makes things tight in the seasonal states but doubtful you’ve seen anything like the crunch that’s lurking. Unfortunately, intermodal is not a near term answer.

ShippersEdge TMS can help manage all types of capacity www.shippersedgetms.com or call 952-777-4421

Moving Logistics In-House

What to expect when moving logistics in-house

Ten years ago, it was worth it to use a 3PL to manage your logistics management mainly because of the high cost of acquiring and maintaining the technology. Now more and more shippers are moving logistics in-house. Rating, managing and procuring freight transportation resources is time consuming and best if aided by technology. Today the technology resources are infinitely more refined and affordable than just a few years ago.

The biggest growth in transportation management software has been in the small to mid-sized business arena. Companies at or near even one million in transportation spend are able to take advantage of simple cloud based TMS applications. Companies who are at a larger spends who are not taking advantage of logistics management software are simply wasting resources and straight out transportation spend.

Acquisition costs of TMS applications rage from mere hundreds to low five figures in setup costs and monthly expenditures in the hundreds to low four figures are reported by most firms. The number of modifications from base functionality often affecting the costs of setup and configuration. The pricing of a TMS is not as important as what you can get out of it. ROIs can be achieved sometimes inside of a month.

With a TMS what you’re looking for is a leap from time wasting semi or completely manual methods of management such as spreadsheets and sticky notes. The quantitative leap to up-to-date technology is revealing in not only the speed and efficiency but the ability to provide analytics to make your decision making easier and more productive. You cannot manage what you can’t see.

A TMS can see or provide visibility into alternative scenarios for cost improvement and service improvement creating a more satisfying customer experience as well as a bottom line value. We now see the customer’s wanted in-house date and can compare to expect transit times. High address book functionality is often overlooked as a way of improving your customer’s service and satisfaction.

Freight audit and payment, an often-outsourced routine can be effectively managed in-house and seamlessly integrated with your payables. Often times the cost savings of being able to insource freight audit and payment can in and of itself, pay for a TMS.

Good reporting capabilities can also track the number of variances and rating errors by carrier providing KPIs for you to manage by. What good is great discount if every shipment exceeds estimated costs due to carriers trying to increase their yield by reweighing and dimensioning every shipment you give them. Certain carriers and even specific terminals within a carrier can be overly aggressive when it comes to weighing and inspection. What happens on a density classification when they add 200lbs to your shipment? Do they now classify it at a higher density? The answer is usually no.

Another key problem for transportation consumers today is available capacity and its incumbent effect on transportation rates. In some cases, especially with refrigerated and platform (flatbed) equipment. These areas are dominated by owner operators who finally see some sense of relief after suffering through eight years of recession and an historic anemic recovery. The demand for their services and frankly all commercial drivers will only intensify. Sourcing capacity can be difficult but with advanced technology the job can be made simpler.

What about shippers entering the spot market themselves? The fastest growing segment of the market for load boards is shippers self-managing their spot sourcing and trying to save the broker markup. You really should not even attempt to enter the spot market without good technology backing you up and frankly hiring personnel experienced in spot market vetting of truckers. Read my blog article on cargo security as only one pothole in a long road of ignominy in spot market dealings. https://www.shippersedgetms.com/blog/cargo-security

In summation, you’d be foolish not to explore insourcing your transportation and logistics management. If you’re already self-managing your logistics, technology can make your experience better and leaner while increasing your available information for improved decision making.

ShippersEdge TMS is a high value, modestly priced SaaS transportation management system. We can be reached at 952-777-4421 timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

Cargo Security

Theft by Misrepresentation of Identity

Here’s a scenario. Friday afternoon, an unsuspecting broker gets a call on a load of grapes from California to Toronto from a trucker based in Iowa. This trucker has one truck and says he can do the load. He also has a Gmail address using the name of the trucker. Broker makes the deal, sends the contract, service confirmation and his packet. Carrier executes the contract and service confirmation and sends back his carrier packet. Deal done, broker knocks off for the day.

Later he gets an email letting him know the load has been picked up, ETA in Toronto Tuesday morning and the appointment is made. Tuesday morning comes and the load has failed to arrive. What happened. He calls the carrier and gets an answering machine. He writes to the Gmail address, no response. Eventually a claim arrives for the missing load of grapes to the tune of $60,000. What happened?

In reviewing the claim, he notes that the only ID provided is the license plate on the trailer, nothing on the driver or the plate on the tractor. That license plate checked out to a junked trailer in a salvage yard. Driver’s signature is difficult to make out. A claim is presented to the trucker at his address in Iowa. Trucker denies any knowledge of the load, says that is not his signature and his logs show he was not in California.

This trucker’s office is not attended regularly. He uses an answering machine and while he had gotten messages about this load, he knew he hadn’t hauled the load and reckoned it was a mistake. Thieves look for one truck operations and check the presence or rather non-presence of personnel attending the phone.

The answer in this theft is phone number spoofing. The thieves, probably in cahoots with the shipping location, spoofed the solo operator’s phone number and created a Gmail account to send and receive documents. To the unsuspecting broker, he never called back the carrier to confirm the ID. Always call back a new carrier on the number provided in the Safer system or in FMCSA records. Check inspections, no inspections, noload. Also, if a driver on the road calls, verify he is who he says he is. Run his license plate, it will find inspection records.

Most cargo thefts originate on Thursdays and Fridays and especially on log weekend. This gives the thieves plenty of time to fence the stolen goods. Commodities without serial numbers are especially vulnerable. Most cargo theft involves an insider with enough knowledge of the load. Give your shippers the license plate number for the tractor and have them photo copy the driver’s license.

Shippers, it is a best practice to tighten your security including photo ID and license plate numbers. Require your brokers to provide this information to you prior to loading.

Tim Taylor

 

 

Why your ERP’s TMS is not Always the Best Choice

Why your ERP’s TMS is not Always the Best Choice

Many of the large ERP platforms have a TMS module available for install. There are many reasons to consider using the ERP module of your TMS and also there are reasons to choose a different TMS.

Two Distinct Advantages

There are two distinct advantages of using an independent TMS. The first is time, speed and ease of deployment. Delays and hiccups in ERP deployment are legendary. So bad are some implementations that they’ve cratered earning and market value, sometimes for years after the implementation. An independent TMS is used to interacting with many different ERPs, knows the pitfalls and idiosyncrasies of different ERP platforms and is adept at overcoming their shortfalls.

The second distinct advantage of an independent TMS over an ERP’s TMS module is the ease of use and ease of customization. Typically, large ERP platforms have acquired TMS modules and bolted them onto the platform. This is fine but many of those TMS programs were written for mega companies many years ago. The operation of those TMS programs is generally extreme overkill for mid-sized companies and consequently the operation is often complex and cumbersome.

Some other advantages of using an independent TMS include:

Speed of deployment, ERPs can take years to deploy successfully in some cases. The TMS module is usually one of the last things to be deployed.

Price can be a factor. Independent TMS platforms are built with small to midsized companies in mind and are priced accordingly. The ERP TMS modules by comparison were built for very large enterprises.

Customization is usually faster, better and less expensive. The mega TMS modules in large ERP platforms were written when man-years of programming were the norm. Unwinding that programming to create any custom application is often very time consuming.

Cloud deployment is not always available with your ERP’s TMS module, therefore upgrades and scalable deployment may tax your IT departments schedule and be delayed or deferred.

ShippersEdge is a tier II SaaS deployed TMS specially tailored to the SMB market. We interface seamlessly with any ERP and offer an easy to learn, easy to use user interface. ShippersEdge is affordable logistics software.

For more information, timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

A surefire way to get more owner operator trucks

A surefire way to get more owner operator trucks

It’s about Fuel Surcharge

To get more owner operators interested in your loads, increase the fuel surcharge portion of truck pay. Owner operators typically get 100% of fuel surcharge revenue. Make your load more attractive to them by setting your fuel surcharge above market. If you’re using a flat pay per load, separate out fuel surcharge and let the drivers know.

Owner Operators are Especially prevalent in Platform Equipment

While owner operators are in all facets of trucking, they’re especially prevalent in platform equipment, such as flatbeds, step decks and other specialty equipment and refrigerated hauling. Drivers can accept or decline loads under their independent operators contract with their carrier. Differentiate yourself by slightly decreasing the base truck pay and increasing the fuel surcharge component of the load. Your owner operators will appreciate it.

Owner Operators Bore the Brunt of the ELD Mandate

If you stop and think through the ELD mandate, owner operators bore the brunt of the productivity decrease. Sure, the carriers themselves saw decreases in mile per truck, they more than made up for it with increased spot market rates. Drivers in congested areas of the country, especially so, whereas drivers in the wide-open west did not see as much of a reduction in miles per week.

Be kind to your owner operators, in most cases, they ultimately decide which loads they take and which ones they don’t.

ShippersEdge can be configured to automatically enhance fuel surcharge by slightly reducing base pay. Ask us about this. timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

 

13 Things Shippers Need to Know if They’re Going to Play in the Spot Market Without a Broker

Things Shippers Need to Know if They’re Going to Play in the Spot Market

 

  1. It’s the wild, wild west in the spot market. Be prepared to sift through the chaff to find your gems. There are a lot of scam artists in the spot market. Be very wary of 1 truck operations.
  2. Inspections matter one. If you’re seeing a trucker take a number of your loads check their inspections and make sure their being inspected. A low number of inspections per vehicle can indicate that trucker is double brokering your loads.
  3. Inspections matter two. You do need to look at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and dive into inspections. Why? Because excessive equipment problems are a sign of financial instability. You can fix driver HOS violations but only money can fix equipment problems.
  4. Once you’ve entered the market your rates will fall. You should expect 15-20% reductions. A look at the largest publicly held freight broker’s publicly filed financial statements will validate this fact.
  5. You should hire an experienced freight broker to run your program and they don’t come cheap. Good brokers make high five figures and many reach into six figures. You will get what you pay for.
  6. When you’re talking to a dispatcher of a trucker, ask the question, are you unloaded now? Where are you? Where are your hours at? Listen very carefully to the answers. If there’s uncertainty in their voice, hang up.
  7. Get the license plate number of the truck, Google that plate number. By Googling the plate, the inspections for that truck should show up. No inspections, don’t load them Send the plate number to your loading dock for validation upon arrival.
  8. Take a photo copy of the driver’s ID. Walk around the truck. Make sure plate number matches. It is a good idea to take a picture of the placard on the side of the door and send it to the file. Get the drivers cell phone number.
  9. Be prepared for factors to call you validating the load and the amount. Better yet set up your own quick pay and advancing for further discounted freight charges. Factors charge 2-7% it’s well worth while to save this money yourself and knock out factors.
  10. You’ll need software to manage your spot market activities. Software that automatically does the inspection searching. Software that produces a trip contract. Software that assists in onboarding by checking insurance. shippersedgetms.com
  11. You need to keep track of lane histories. Truckers typically run the same lanes over and over. If you can book a reliable trucker while he’s still headed into your town, you are time and money ahead of the competition.
  12. Fuel surcharge goes to the owner operators be generous with your fuel surcharge. Drivers have a say in who and what they load. Giving the drivers a larger share of the load pay will make you a preferred shipper in the eyes of the driver.
  13. Watch out for crooks. The trucking world like any industry has their share of them and one crook can ruin your day pretty quickly. Double brokering, load theft are just two of the numerous problems facing the industry.

About the author. Tim Taylor is a recovering freight broker now marketing transportation management software for ShippersEdgeTMS.com he can be reached at timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or by phone at 952-777-4421