Managing Your Transportation Options
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Trish Monroe – Senior Optimization & Implementation Consultant

Recent trends have shown that the 3PL world has steadily been on the upswing for the last 20 years. Why are shippers moving from insourcing transportation and acquiring assets to an outsource model with 3PL companies?

Studies have shown that over the last 2 decades 3PL providers have been able to not only take the burden off of shippers, but to also find cost saving initiatives for their clients. There are both benefits and disadvantages to a complete outsource that I will explain in this article.

But first, what is a full outsource and how can it benefit your company? Outsource, by definition, is contracting work out to another company. In the logistic industry, a full outsource would entail sending all orders through a 3pl provider to manage and consolidate freight. Today, you see many emerging manufacturing and distribution companies outsourcing their logistics responsibilities to 3PL companies. These 3PL’s are then in charge of receiving the customers’ orders, optimizing routes, gathering the carriers, equipment, and people, ensuring that product gets to the end receiver, and most importantly handling all the data associated with the transportation.

You can see the benefits of outsourcing transportation just by listing through the steps a shipper no longer has to take to stay in control. Clients that are in hopes to find a dependable full outsource solution should ask: What is their company culture? Does their services offer what I need? Are they capable of scaling up to maintain service levels as our company grows? Blue Ribbon Transport (BRT) is a 3PL that drives to stay ahead of the competition. We believe that service levels are paramount to the continued success of any outsource program. BRT has worked hand in hand with our clients to ensure a smooth and successful transition with full transparency and communication. To go into more depth, studies have shown the following benefits have come from a full logistic outsource:

  • Costs– 3PL’s have carrier relationships and access to superior and low price providers.
  • Adjustment and Flexibility– 3PL’s have the ability to flex when the market shifts. Shippers no longer have to buy assets and when business gets slow there is no need to sit on underutilized equipment.
  • Lower Headcount– With 3PL’s handling majority of logistic duties, shippers no longer need to employ personnel to oversee day to day activities.
  • Focus on Essential Concerns– Shippers no longer have to split time between departmental focus. This allows businesses to concentrate on production/manufacturing etc.
  • Technology- Majority of 3PL providers now offer TMS access and data warehousing giving the client real time updates and information.
  • Access to Networks- Larger 3PL providers have access to warehouses and storage facilities across the country. Emerging clients can take advantage of National Distribution Networks for LTL shipments and cutting costs significantly.
  • Consolidation-Third Parties have a large customer base that cross consolidation can occur. This is particularly favorable for shippers if they are sending out LTL shipments that they are currently paying FTL rates for.
  • Service- Service is what 3PL’s strive for as a value adding service to a shipper/customer.
  • FSMA Compliance- With new and ever changing FDA regulations, 3PL’s have the ability to adapt to regulations.
  • Shared Risk- By utilizing a 3PL customers can mitigate risks by having a third layer added.
  • Knowledge – 3PL’s are experts in the logistics and transportation industry. Utilizing the correct 3PL can give customer the advantages of expert knowledge.

On the other hand, Insourcing can be beneficial for companies. By definition, insourcing is the decision to maintain control. In the logistics industry, when a company chooses to insource transportation they are choosing to hire a subject matter expert, or a consultant to design and control a transportation department. This leads to benefits such as the following:

  • Control-Shippers still have complete control over all decisions and outcomes.
  • Self-Sufficient- Easier transition from one shipping model to another happens when there is not another party involved.
  • Confidentiality – By keeping all data in house, Shippers are able to know exactly who can access information
  • Layers- There is not a 3rd layer of business in the communication flow making it easier to gather information
  • Costs- Shippers will know exact cost of transportation without having additional expenses.
  • Equipment- Having equipment at client’s disposal to move product when needed.

There may not be a right or wrong decision, but knowing what your company needs to thrive and achieve continued success is the first step to selecting your direction. There will always be resources available to help along the way, whether that’s employing a subject matter expert, contracting a consulting firm, or a full outsourcing to a 3PL provider. If you’re just getting started and need a helping hand, BRT has the resources to help you hit the ground running.

Trish Monroe – Senior Optimization and Implementation Consultant



My Summer at Blue Ribbon Transport

During the summer of 2016 we had an amazing group of interns from Ball State, IUPUI, Purdue and IU Kelley School of Business.  They were such an asset and we enjoyed having them here and they had a great experience.

But don’t take our word for it, we’ll let a couple of them tell you about it:

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Matt Stowe – IUPUI majoring in Accounting and Supply Chain Management

 

Over the summer I was able to work with Lisa and the HSL team to manage the Caito account. Everyone welcome us and treated us great. This included the training, which was exactly what the new full-time hires received. I was even given the opportunity to train a new full-time hire towards the end of the internship. Throughout the internship I learned a tremendous amount about the logistics industry. I worked with many different companies and hundreds of different loads. I never knew so much went into getting fruit to the local grocery store. Everything I learned during this internship will help me in the future, regardless of which direction I go. Thank you to everyone at BRT for making it such a great experience.

Sincerely, Matt Stowe

 

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Grant Gill – Ball State University majoring in Business Administration

This past summer I had the fortune to intern for Blue Ribbon Transport. I was greeted with a warm welcome on day one. I was treated and viewed as a full time employee which made me feel like a part of the team. I received a great amount of training and insight during my time with BRT that has already proved to be beneficial in advancing my professional career. I never felt undervalued simply because I was an intern. I loved my time with BRT, and it was a BADASS experience!



How BRT uses Real Time Technology to Optimize Frequent, Smart Delivery

 

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“Blue Ribbon Transport (BRT) offers Optimization Solutions utilizing the power of MercuryGate’s Mojo Optimizer. Combine this software with BRTs FSMA compliant network, and customers can now benefit from our combined Optimization Tools and High Service Perishable Commodity mindset”.
-Trish Monroe, Senior Assessment & Implementation Consultant

While networking within the logistics industry, I consistently hear buzz words like “LTL shipments”, “optimization”, “competitive line haul rates”, and, the one that blows my mind, “more frequent deliveries to end customers”.

Why the need for these “buzz words”?  Are we not satisfied with how transportation works today?

Over the last decade, vendors and customers have worked tirelessly to reduce transportation cost by minimizing the frequency of deliveries to end destinations. So why are we going backward? The answer is: We aren’t!

By increasing deliveries you are giving your end customers the ability to order more frequently in reduced quantities. This reduces their storage expenses and allows them to operate on a leaner level.  On the other hand, this may be advantageous for ‘Smart’ vendors as well.  If consolidation can be had of smaller shipments a vendor can utilize a multi-stop truckload solution, or potentially dedicated routes. With this evolution of optimization within the industry, 3PLs as well as shippers are now able to meet your needs while also keeping costs down. This is done by consolidation, what if scenarios, as well as network overlapping. Manual paper and pen approach is the way of the past.

I’d like to reference a White Paper, MercuryGate and Mojo.  In this paper you will read of all the positive ways that Mojo can help change a shipper, 3PL, and even a consultant’s role. Touching every part of a supply chain from Shipper to 3PL to end customer.

“Optimization can be deployed in a wide range of scenarios. It can be used during the procurement process to make sourcing decisions, during the actual planning process when you’re identifying capacity requirements, and during the execution process when you’re building actual loads. Last but not least, it can also be used in strategic network design when making decisions like adding pool points to reduce network cost.”

Blue Ribbon Transport (BRT) offers Optimization Solutions utilizing the power of MercuryGate’s Mojo Optimizer. Combine this software with BRTs FSMA compliant network, and customers can now benefit from our combined Optimization Tools and High Service Perishable Commodity mindset.

Why is beneficial? When looking for a 3PL or an outsource solution it is imperative to know the product and have solutions. BRT works with everything from dry product to produce and even ice cream. With a nationwide network of head hauls and back hauls as well as consolidation warehouses, we are focused to run the best solutions for our clients.

Utilizing Mojo for consolidation and pooling points BRT can take your 2 pallet deliveries 4 times a week and consolidate routes to ensure you’re getting the best “bang for your buck”.   Erich Hofmann, Senior Supply Chain Analyst (BRT), states “If you can think it, you can try it with this software.  Sometimes you look like a Genius and sometimes a Dud but you can always find the answer to that ‘what if’ question.”

Cross customer consolidation, network overlying, backhaul programs, and even procuring partnerships are all the way of the future. Utilizing tools to continually improve service and networks is BRT’s expertise. Here at Blue Ribbon, we strive to partner with our clients not just a transportation provider but to be a supply chain partner.  If you need more information on the direction the industry is going or what BRT has to offer please contact me or my team of Supply Chain Advantage Specialists!



In Sales, You have to ASK for the Business

You can be great at presenting information to a prospect, and building a relationship, however, if you cannot effectively ask for the business, you will never win.
John Carlson – Manager of Business Development

As a sales person, you must always be ready to ask for the close. This starts even as you are interviewing for a new sales job. I have done a lot of interviewing in my career, and the best sales people ask for the close during the interview process.

There is never a wrong or right time to ask for the close, but it is uncovering the correct way to go about it. I love when I conclude an interview, and the candidate closes me on why I should hire them for the position. This to me, shows that they truly want the position and to join our team. The best way I have seen this done is when a candidate asks, “Are there any reasons you would not hire me for this position”. Then, they go on to sell me as to what the resolution would be to my concerns = true selling.

NeedsEverything we do in life is sales, and you have to be ready to ask for the business, to get it. I do not care what you are selling, the sales cycle is the same. Opening, Needs assessment, solution development, then asking for the close once you have presented the solution. It is hard for someone to say no, when you have already delivered all the answers to their questions and problems.

In logistics you have to ask for the close in many ways. You have to ask for a chance to speak to the decision maker. You have to ask for the chance to quote shipments. You have to ask for the chance to do your first load together. You have to ask to get the credit application back. If you are uncomfortable with having these types of discussions, sales is probably not for you.

You can be great at presenting information to a prospect, and building a relationship, however, if you cannot effectively ask for the business, you will never win. Your opportunity may present itself early in the sell, or it may not happen until the very end. Always be on the lookout for the chance to ask for the business.

When do you find it most effective to ask for the close?

John Carlson LinkedIN



Nick Phillips, AVP of Operations, Discusses Outsourcing Transportation & The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Outsourcing transportation ahead of FSMA

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FSMA puts an emphasis on proactively preventing contamination of foods from farm to table.

There are several key points for shippers and transportation companies to start thinking about in order to get ahead of the curve…

  • The shipper will be required to specify, in writing, its sanitary requirements to the carrier; such as required temperature.
  • Shipper must inspect the trailer for cleanliness, confirm sanitation, and confirm temperatures.
  • Carrier must show shipper that it has maintained appropriate temperature control during transport for food subject to temperature control requirements.
  • Carriers will also have to provide shippers information about three previous loads hauled and the intervening cleaning of those vehicles.
  • Must have competent supervisory personnel ensuring compliance and must have training with documentation.

More than ever, it will be important for shippers to align themselves with experts in the food and beverage industry to ensure compliance and to ensure they have control over their supply chain.  There are several advantages to outsourcing your transportation to a Food and Beverage focused 3PL.

  • Carrier Networks – 3PL’s leverage industry relationships with the correct carrier base. They have a stringent on-boarding protocol to ensure the correct equipment and service levels are being met.  After identifying the correct carrier base, 3PL’s are able to leverage their vast networks to help lower cost by having carriers bid on freight and commit capacity to the business.
  • Technology – A 3PL with a focus on technology will be a step ahead of the game. There are several temperature monitoring services, location monitoring services, etc. that a good 3PL focused on the Food and Beverage industry will leverage to ensure compliance to the FSMA.  3PL’s with a strong TMS are also able to leverage backhauls, increased consolidation and optimized routing which offers more control of the equipment and less opportunity for the wrong product mix to be loaded onto a trailer.
  • Risk Mitigation – Outsourcing transfers the risk of transportation to the logistics provider. It allows shippers to focus on their core business.

There are many advantages to outsourcing your transportation needs.  It will be important to start the process early to leverage the expertise and technology of your chosen provider.  The more a company can prepare now, the less issues and disruptions to your business FSMA will present.

Nick Phillips, AVP of Operations and Accoun Manangement



Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Allows BRT to offer 24/7 Service Anywhere & Anytime

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“VDI allows us to meet customer expectations anywhere/anytime”.
Carey Weddle, Director of Finance & Administration

 

I joined BRT in 2012, new to the world of Food and Beverage Transportation.  I quickly learned that moving perishable goods is not like moving transmissions.  Our CEO, David Frizzell, made that idea clear to me with his favorite saying, “the product we move is dying the second it comes off the vine”.  Because BRT grew from the produce distribution environment our High Service Logistics Teams were built on 24/7 service.  Access to our TMS and supply chain resources anytime/anywhere were a necessity.

BRT moved to a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in 2014.  Prior to the change BRT had experienced regular system downtime.  I was tasked with finding a new solution to stabilize our work environment.  Coming from traditional server environments at prior stops in my career, I had concerns with a new solution, but the opportunity to work anywhere in any environment fit our business needs perfectly.  Teaming up with AdarIT to access our systems via VMWare has changed the way we do business.  I now have the same access to my desktop, no matter where works calls, via my laptop, tablet or smart phone.  Sometimes I seamlessly bounce back in forth between all three throughout the day.  With our VDI environment I can start a project at my desktop, run into a meeting with my IPad, and my desktop travels with me.  The same session is available via my IPhone over lunch and other than working off a smaller monitor I have the same access and functionality as I do in my office.

In addition to an improved user experience, VDI through AdarIT has allowed us to scale our IT resources as the business grows.  Our head count has grown 25% since moving to the cloud.  The growth has been seamless without any new IT resources.  The Wyse terminals used to connect to our cloud desktops require no maintenance, have a longer life and cost half as much as providing each user local desktops.  The move to VDI has allowed us to focus on our core business of High Service Logistics.

For our customers, BRT serves as a single point of access to hundreds of carriers and flexible transportation capacity.  We have developed industry leading technology and the BRT Proven Process to standardize the high service our customers expect.  VDI allows our logistics managers to have access to our network of lane data and backhaul opportunities anywhere/anytime so we can meet customer expectations.



What is a company’s responsibility when it comes to work life balance?

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I have spent many years in recruiting and I have often been questioned about Blue Ribbon Transport’s commitment to work life balance (in one form or another) from applicants in the interview process.  It is an important question as both candidates as well as the company are searching for a good match when it comes to hiring.

I’d like to share my opinion on this topic and how I truly view work life balance.

It is my belief that it is impossible for a company to regulate an employee’s work life balance due to our technology and the access it provides for employees to work 24/7/365.  Unfortunately, technology doesn’t allow us to “shut off” an employee so he/she can recharge and focus on the “life balance” part.

When candidates ask me about BRT’s committment to our employee’s work live balance, I simply answer with, “At Blue Ribbon Transport, it is critical that we support all employees with work life balance.  What your balance is today, may not be the same balance you need tomorrow.  We support you with where you are at in your life cycle whether that be single, married, with children, without, going into retirement, etc.”

I explain that it is our employees that will need to decided what that looks like for them and it is BRT’s responsibility to support that balance as much as business can allow without jeopardizing company objectives and success.

In my role as “recruiter”, I elaborate and share with candidates all the fun BRT in office events we hold during business hours (like these) to show our appreciation for our employees, incorporate balance in the workplace and demonstrate that BRT is the BEST place to work!

How much responsibility do you think a company has to ensure work life balance for it’s employees?

DSC_0041Jamie Meyer, Director of Human Resources

Jamie’s LinkedIN Page