Category Archives: Blog

Report: Emerging Technology Lowers Transportation Costs, Raises Margins

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Carriers that employ increasingly powerful transportation management technologies are lowering their transportation costs and increasing their margins, according to a report on truckinginfo.com:

“Some view technology as a way to increase profits while others see it as a way to lower operating costs. Whatever the motivation, there’s an undeniable, gradual shift in the attitudes towards it.”

The truckinginfo.com report continues:

“Let’s take the example of route analysis and optimization as a beneficial technology currently available to trucking fleets. Today’s robust modeling technology that is integral to the process can simulate fleet activities and identify opportunities for savings. The technology can be a game-changer for fleets and deliver any number of services.”

FULL STORY


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Trucking Trends: Demand, Growth, Rates and More

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Keeping up means keeping ahead. Here’s a look at what’s happening and some revealing questions about what might happen next.

2014 saw gains in freight capacity demand, stretching operations and drivers thin. Many sources anticipate more growth in 2015. Can you streamline your operation to meet demand? Can you find drivers to move your equipment? What solutions could help?

A seasonal surge in freight tonnage in the final months brought better rates and margins. Are higher rates sustainable?

Fuel price relief has eased margin pressure. Will it last?


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one-way trailers

Report: Shrinking Margins Drive Transportation Cost Cuts

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Trucking companies have been reducing transportation costs with a variety of tactics ranging from employing increasingly effective transportation management systems like Nationwide’s TruckTrack™ to managing their own inbound freight, according to a Supply Chain Digest report (linked below).

Transportation Management Is Key

The report describes the trucking industry as slow to implement “robust transportation management tools” and calls employing a system like TruckTrack™ a cost reduction opportunity. The SCD report continues, “Despite widespread deployments of ‘tier 1’ Transportation Management Systems, research from leading analysts companies continues to show less than 50 percent of midsized and even large companies use current, robust TMS tools. The ROI for TMS investment is generally strong …”

Other Opportunities to Cut Costs

In addition to implementing updated transportation management systems, many trucking companies can reduce costs by looking at how they handle incoming freight, enforcing compliance with their established processes and guidelines and managing their trailers more efficiently, SCD says.

One company reported cost savings from “increasing use of backhauls [one-way trailers] from supplier,” stating that this practice “generated meaningful savings … representing one of the most directly controllable supply chain cost buckets the retailer had to work with.”

Get Lean and Cut Costs Fast With Nationwide

A key takeaway of the SCD report is that many companies are overlooking significant cost reduction opportunities, particularly in how they manage transportation. Antiquated, slow, inaccurate and inefficient transportation is costing you time, customers and money. But implementing a whole new system is also costly and time-consuming. One viable solution is to add Nationwide Equipment Control to your transportation management strategy.

With powerful tools like our TruckTrack™ equipment management system and one-way trailers, we can help you start to cut costs right away, while you consider how you will update your transportation management system. And We believe there’s a good chance your new system will still include Nationwide.  Contact Nationwide Equipment Control today.

READ THE SCD REPORT

 


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one-way trailers

Make One-Way Trailers Part of Your Equipment Strategy

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Steadily increasing freight capacity demand has stretched many operations thin. The solution for many shops is to manage their equipment needs with Nationwide one-way trailers.

In many cases, it’s least stressful and most profitable to use one-way trailers in your equipment management strategy.

Cut Costs. Increase Value

You can minimize or avoid some costs altogether, such as equipment maintenance, storage, insurance, financing and other fleet-related costs. And Nationwide can get the equipment you need where you need it fast.

That means you can make your operation leaner without sacrificing value, resulting in happy customers.

Powerful Equipment Management Resources

Access to Nationwide’s state-of-the-art database for tracking equipment, TruckTrack™ is like having a huge pool of equipment moving resources sorted and stacked up for your use. The end result of using this tool is that your equipment needs are virtually advertised, and you’re connected with the equipment management resources you need, when you need them.

Meet Demand, Increase Margin With One-Way Trailers

Meet increasing demand on-time and on-budget with high-value service, reduced costs and fewer headaches. Work smarter, not harder, and make more money. It just makes sense to employ this powerful equipment management tool in today’s freight marketplace.

Make one-way trailers a part of your lean, mean shop. Meet twice the demand with half the headaches while thrilling your customers and fattening your margin. Contact Nationwide Equipment Control today.


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communication

REAL Business 101: Communication Key in Freight Industry, All Business

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It seems like we’re communicating more than ever. Email, text, messaging apps, social media; technology seems to connect us like never before. But technology only provides a means to communicate. It doesn’t guarantee good communication. That’s up to the users. Up to us.

Put another way, technology can make it easier to communicate, but it can’t communicate for us. How we use the technology determines how well or poorly we communicate. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help you harness technology and communicate effectively, whether you’re a shipping dispatcher or a CEO.

Take Time to Think

Fuzzy thinking leads to fuzzy communication. Before you communicate, take a moment to consider not what you want to say, but what you want to happen. Doing this before you call, email, text or even leave a Post-it note will help ensure that you say what needs to be said to the person or people who need to hear it when they need to hear it, via the best channel.

Do you need an associate to help you respond to a sensitive matter? Then a phone call may be the best way to communicate. Want to build support for an initiative? Then an email blast or social media may be the way to go. The time you take to consider the outcome you hope to achieve with your communication will help you ensure that it’s effective.

Keep it Simple

People are flooded with messages nowadays, with media, email, text and other communications. A study in 2010 found that, after meeting all other obligations, the average adult has only 12 minutes of discretionary time to read each day. Sure, your communication may fall into the “all other obligations” category. But you will do your associates and yourself a great service if you ensure that you only communicate when necessary and do so in a concise manner.

A good guideline is to restrict yourself to no more than two or three items in an one communication. If you’re composing an email, and get to more than three paragraphs, read over it and make sure you’re sticking to the key subject. People will thank you for it, and you will be more successful in getting the point across … and achieving your desired outcome.

Consider Low-Tech Options

In the spirit of keeping it simple, here’s the point of this guideline: Pick up the phone and call. People tend to use email to insulate themselves from obligation or put off having to make decisions or act. A quick call says, “Let’s get this done, now.” It also says, “You and our business are important and call for real-time communication.

On the other end of the spectrum, remember that a handwritten, personal note makes a big impression in this age of widespread electronic communication.

Beware of Emotion

Remember that words are like bullets; once you let them go, you can’t call them back. While it may make you feel better to “put them into place” with righteous indignation, fiery words can damage relationships and, thus, your business.

If you start composing an email in the heat of the moment and find yourself using all capitals, punctuating multiple sentences with exclamation marks, underlining and bolding words, and filling up page after page with your diatribe, stop. Copy it into a word document, close it, and come back later to finish it. You will almost certainly tone it down when you have time to cool off, possibly avoiding costly ill will.

Follow these basic guidelines to communicate clearly and skillfully in your business dealings, and you’ll find it easier to achieve your disired business outcomes.

Transportation Trends & News Roundup: Freight Rate to Continue Rising, Prevent Cargo Theft, Free Industry Webinar and More

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Freight Rates Projected to Rise Steadily Through 2015

The level by which the Cass Linehaul Freight Index – which measures per mile truckload rates in the US – rose in November versus 2013, as the strong rate hikes continue on, Supply Chain Digest reported. Starting in March, the year over year increases have been 6%, 5.7%, 5.8%, 5.2%, 7.2%, 7%, 6.7%, and 7.3% through October, respectively, before the similarly high increase last month. Analysts project freight rates to continue solid growth well into 2015. FULL STORY

Cargo Theft on the Rise This Holiday Season

Cargo thieves are beginning to more frequently target freight during the holidays as increased volumes combined with more demanding delivery times and tight capacity often results in a “relaxation” of theft prevention protocols, FleetOwner.com reported. Higher volume related to holiday demand leads to fewer security checks, leaving cargo vulnerable. Following security procedures is the key to combating theft. FULL STORY

NTEA to Offer Free Shipping Industry Webinar Jan. 6

The NTEA is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, from 11:15 a.m. to noon EST to provide insights into issues that may impact companies in 2015 and beyond. Steve Latin-Kasper, director of market data & research for NTEA, will be the expert speaking. He will share revised year-end industry and economic data that will assist in adjusting business plans and strategies entering the new year. FULL STORY


Shipping Snapshots

Tonnage Rises 3.5%

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped 3.5% in November.

Volume Increasing While Driver Shortage Looms

American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello told the annual ATA Management Conference & Exhibition that freight volumes in the trucking industry continue to grow, but the looming driver shortage could hold back industry growth.

 

business courtesies

REAL Business 101: the In’s and Out’s of Business Courtesies

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There are two ways to obtain knowledge: study and experience. Both are valuable, but when it comes to business, there’s a lot that you can’t learn from a book or in a classroom.

We’re not knocking school. We just want to help folks in the real business world. So we’ll be posting articles with a healthy dose of plain-spoken, real world insights and tips. We hope they help.

Business Courtesies: Not Just for “Good Ol’ Boys” Anymore

The debut of our real business series is a frank discussion of business courtesies, which range from things like gift baskets and business meals to golf outings, sporting events, fishing charters and more.

Mention business courtesies to 10 people and, like as not, nine of them will wink and nod knowingly, implying that they’re just an excuse for “good ol’ boys” to play golf on company time. With a few unfortunate and distasteful exceptions, this is a cliche’d misconception.

“Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.”

Strong Relationships, Strong Business, Satisfied Customers

Business courtesies, properly employed, provide opportunities to build business relationships based on shared values and objectives. They enable business associates to amass goodwill and build trust, both of which are priceless in today’s competitive business world.

When you build strong business relationships based on shared values, trust and goodwill, your business and that of your associates grow stronger. In turn, this enables you to deliver increasing value to your customers. Truly, everybody wins.

business outing, business courtesies

Business courtesies are like golf: Have fun and play fair.

Fun Is Not Wrong

Also, your business is a big chunk of your life. How dismal would it be if business was always separate from pleasure? So, finally, we submit that it’s ok for business to be a pleasure. Just make sure you follow the rules.

The Rules of the Road

Your company and the companies you do business with almost certainly have rules or guidelines for giving and accepting business courtesies. They’re in place to protect the company from legal risk from conflicts of interest, market manipulation and other dishonest practices by employees. Most companies clearly define business courtesies, when it’s ok or not ok to give or accept them, how much value is ok to give or receive and other details.

The Spirit of the Rules

But if you understand the spirit of rules regarding business courtesies, you’ll have no problem staying out of trouble. Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.

Keep that in mind, make sure you know your company’s limits, and have fun. Trust us, it’ll be good for everyone involved, including your customers.

trucking news, freight news, shipping news

Transportation Trends & News Roundup: Tight Capacity Creates Opportunities, Holiday Shipping Outlook, Fuel Price Trends and More

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Tight Capacity Creates Favorable Pricing, Growth Opportunities for Efficient Trucking Operations

Tight capacity has created a favorable pricing environment for freight brokers and truckers, Supply Chain Digest reports. Those who can leverage technology and operational efficiency to increase capacity are well positioned to gain a strategic advantage moving forward. As the capacity shortage continues to challenge supply chains, players who are in a position to help shippers and receivers are better positioned than ever to add incremental value. FULL STORY

Holiday Shipping Deals May Force Retailers to Lock in Freight Capacity

Offering free shipping to sweeten online holiday deals and spur sales may force retailers to order shipping capacity now so they can meet demand, Fleetowner.com reports. FULL STORY

Internet Controlled Engines the Future of Trucking?

Daimler Trucks North America, or DTNA, is using the Internet to take some of the maintenance and service uncertainty out of trucking, the Harvard Business Review reports. The largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, DTNA released a service called Virtual Technician to help existing drivers while also enabling new business models and revenue streams. According to CIO Dieter Haban, whose team identified the idea and led product development, “the innovation combines telematics, mobility, central mission control, big data analytics, and a seamless process from the truck to the driver, fleet manager, and ultimately to an authorized service outlet.” FULL STORY


Shipping Snapshots

Tonnage Index Rises 4.5%

Truck tonnage rose 4.5% in October from a year ago and reached the second-highest level on record, American Trucking Associations reported.

2014 Truck Sales Continue to Climb

This year’s surge in Class 8 sales continued in October as they jumped 22.5% from a year earlier to 22,032 units, the highest monthly total in almost eight years, WardsAuto.com reported.

Diesel Drops 3.3¢ to $3.628; Gas Plunges 7.3¢ to Four-Year Low

Diesel fell 3.3 cents to $3.628 a gallon, a half-cent above the 3½ year low level of three weeks ago, the Department of Energy reported Nov. 24.