A Hurricane’s Impact on the Transportation and Logistics Industry

A hurricane’s devastating impact leaves a mark on multiple industries and communities. Hurricanes can cause extreme turmoil and can leave people in dire situations. At Werner Logistics, one of our third-party carriers was deeply affected by Hurricane Michael. Our carrier resides in North Carolina, and had to leave his home and take his family and move to a shelter for a little over a week. When he returned to his home, he had to throw away damaged items and pay to replace them. During this time, he had to stay off the road and couldn’t get back out there for a few weeks.

To help those in need, businesses must prepare for emergency shipments and how to get them from one location to another, with the hazardous road conditions creating a major setback. Let’s take a look at the challenges that retailers and carriers face during hurricane season.  

Impacts on Retailers

Retailers want to respond quickly to help their customers and the community during a time of disaster. Businesses are extremely focused on getting their product delivered to communities in hurricane-impacted locations in a timely manner. They need capacity to get their product delivered in a particular area on demand, yet they must remain flexible on service points on where a carrier can pick-up and deliver.

Many big box retailers depend on transportation providers to move emergency loads of relief items, such as bottled water, generators, fans, cleaning supplies, trash bags and other various supplies into stores that desperately need them. While they typically know the vendors, the destination remains fluid. The supplies will be directed to the area that is most in need or may be redirected due to inability to reach a store location.

With Hurricane Florence, the flooding and road closures cut certain North Carolina stores off for days, causing many carriers to shut down and delaying the delivery into that area. Hurricane Michael impacted stores in Northwest Florida, causing some to nearly be under water. Therefore, supplies had to be redirected to stores in different locations in surrounding vicinities.

Hurricane activity can also have an impact on distribution centers. With Hurricane Harvey, flooding stopped all traffic entering some distribution centers in Houston and surrounding areas. This created a backlog for loads of all manner delivering into and shipping outbound at these distribution centers.

Impacts on Carriers

Ultimately, a carrier’s priority is to help service the needs of the customer. Retailers rely on carriers in assisting with emergency relief efforts. In a situation where a hurricane hits, they are presented obstacles, yet their goal is to safely deliver goods to the customer. 

Carriers start to plan for the hurricane before the storm even hits. Multiple contingency plans need to be explored when the magnitude of destruction and the exact location of need is unknown. When the storm is about to hit, carriers need to make the difficult decision of delivering freight to these areas or to avoid them. The drivers that sign up for these high-stake jobs make huge sacrifices and are relied upon to make critical decisions.

Damage to road and infrastructure heavily impact routes. Some drivers end up being stuck with a load for days, waiting for roads to open or for the weather to subside, so then they can get into disaster effected areas to bring relief supplies.

How 3PLs Can Help

Third party logistics providers (3PLs) can help defuse the situation. Prepare your supply chain by utilizing a provider that has a team dedicated to assisting with natural disaster projects. Werner’s Emergency Surge Event Management team (E.A.S.E.) is a project management solution for customers focused on immediate response. E.A.S.E. is a group of experts that provide multiple capacity solutions that is available to meet your needs with 24/7 coverage. With the help from our transportation management system (TMS), we are able to give our customers on demand reporting, shipment visibility, mode optimization and project costing.

 

For more information, contact us at WernerLogistics.com.

A Day in the Life of a Logistics Sales Representative

A career in the transportation and logistics industry is fast-paced, yet full of opportunities. A Forbes article states that the logistics sector is thriving and it is becoming an area of interest for new college graduates.

Whether you’re looking for a new career challenge or investigating opportunities at a college career fair, consider a career in logistics. Let’s take a deeper look into the day in the life of a logistics sales representative to understand what it really means to be an associate in the transportation industry.

Get to Know Blake

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Blake is a driven, goal-oriented sales representative in our Jacksonville, Florida office. His transportation career began as a truck driver for the U.S Army before transitioning to a transportation coordinator. After gaining some experience and pursuing a business degree from Florida State College in Jacksonville, he joined Werner Logistics in February of 2018.

To be a customer sales representative, one must be a problem-solver, have strong communication skills and the ability to multitask. The position is all about building new and developing existing customer relationships and identifying potential business opportunities. This individual must be able to evaluate the customer’s needs and find the right logistics solution for them.

A Typical Day for Blake

Blake brings eagerness and enthusiasm to the office. Each morning, he comes in ready to take on whatever challenge or prospect the day may bring. He starts his day off by responding to emails, voicemails and text messages that came from customers overnight. The transportation and logistics industry never stops, and Blake always puts the customer first.

He then reaches out to his customers directly between 8-11 a.m. These conversations are typically to build rapport and to have an ongoing conversation about their daily freight needs. He spends the remainder of the morning working on specific projects that customers have given him to price or optimize. He then logs these into a customer relationship management software (CRM).

His afternoons consist of building tours, scheduling pickup and deliveries, prospecting for new business and getting his checklist ready for the next day.

“At Werner Logistics we have a service of labor between carrier sales representatives and shipper sales representatives. I am thankful for that because it allows me to focus solely on my customer’s needs.”

Reflection

Over the past several months, Blake reflects upon how he has been given the tools needed to succeed in his career. This past year, Blake was able to build his book of business and reached many sales milestones. Since he started, Blake has been able to cross-train on all modes of transportation. He spends his days engaging with customers of various sizes to forecast their truckload, LTL, Intermodal and power only needs. He says one of the most challenging, yet rewarding aspects of working in logistics is being able to analyze a customer’s transportation pipeline to help optimize their truckload freight network.

“Overall, my days are very fulfilling and there is no shortage of excitement in logistics. Every day presents a new challenge, which is what has kept me driven in my career.”

 

If you want to learn more about what a career in Logistics could entail, please visit WernerLogistics.com.

The Power Only Partnership

In an everchanging freight market, logistics companies are looking for creative ways to expand their capacity and to provide comprehensive service to their customers. The national driver shortage and electronic logging device (ELD) mandate present obstacles for carriers looking to reduce wait times and to increase their drivers’ productivity. Therefore, leading logistics companies are partnering with their carriers to develop drop and hook freight networks.

The power only concept is simple, a small to mid-sized carrier can bring their tractor and the logistics company supplies a third-party trailer pool to offer a drop freight network. This can be a successful partnership by allowing the carrier to focus on the daily service, and the logistics provider to focus on building network density. Together, they bring scalable value to the customers.

Cost

The power only solution presents cost savings in a variety of areas. Leasing or purchasing a trailer can be expensive and can convey its own additonal costs, such as extra insurance, taxes and maintenance. Without access to a fleet of trailers, your business is missing out on the opportunities of productive drop and hook freight that keep your drivers moving and making money. After all, productivity puts money in the drivers pocket, so carriers can retain them.

Easy to Use

By partnering with a driver-focused company that you trust, it’s much easier to grow your earnings and business. Searching for freight can cause you to lose valuable time. Power only simplifies the process by offering no touch, driver-friendly freight. Opportunities can consist of regional, cross border, project-based and 48-state coverage.

Also, carriers don’t have to waste time working with multiple logistics companies to build their weekly truck plan. The power only solution can include predictable routes, a single point of contact and 24-hour service. Then, carriers have one more advocate to help build their business.

Consistency

The goal in every business is to eliminate waste. Werner Logistics’ Power Only eliminates waste by paying all deadhead miles. While deadhead is technically not eliminated, it’s paid to the carriers at the same rate as loaded miles, creating a consistent revenue stream for the carrier and driver. A company like Werner Logistics can do this because of the extensive freight network they’ve built over more than 60 years.

In addition, expert load planners will find you constant freight from their customer-base. You’re able to get consistent volume with year-round freight and preference of lane.

The power only solution is also beneficial to the driver by giving them more home time. A Transport Topics article references Bob Costello stating that compensation and the quality of life are part of attracting drivers. This is what is aimed for in power only, but to provide productive miles where drivers get paid and can be home on a more consistent basis through more freight options.

Overall, power only lowers the cost, it is easy to use and offers consistent freight. These benefits have the ability to increase driver retention. The American Trucking Association reported on June 7 that the turnover rate dropped to 73 percent with smaller truckload carriers, but was still seven points higher than a year ago.

Werner’s Solution

Whether you’re a customer looking for creative solutions or a carrier looking to drive revenue into your business, power only can diversify your freight execution strategy. At Werner Enterprises, perks are offered for carriers such as a truck leasing opportunity and allowing for the utilization of our 24,000 network of trailers, that are the latest model with driver-friendly freight.

For more information, contact Werner’s Power Only Department at 800.848.5218 or email Power@werner.com.

Technology Trends to Watch For

Technology trends are constantly changing and crucial for any industry. These recent trends to watch for primarily focus on data and improving the customer experience. Learn how these top trends can positively impact the transportation and logistics industry.

Machine Learning

Recent advances in computational power have made processing of large sets of data simple. The field of machine learning has taken a strong hold of every industry, including transportation and logistics. While machine learning often is considered a “buzz word,” its benefits are tremendous. Through complex mathematical and statistical models, transportation and logistics industry players can get a better understanding of their customer and carrier base. We are now able to increase both productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction through the recognition of patterns and our ability to predict future actions based on history.  

In our business we often see the match of the right carriers with the right shippers as a great example of predictive analytics. Other significant impacts include our ability to help drivers navigate through bad weather and road conditions, reduce wait times at pick-up/drop-off locations and increase the prevention of potential collisions.

Cloud

Increased usage of machine learning has really pushed transportation and logistics companies to recognize the value of data. Data is critical and we rely on it heavily, without even realizing it.

Cloud processing power is cheap and readily available, thus reducing the time to market and our ability to produce new services for our customers in a timely manner. Cloud environments have also enabled transportation and logistics companies of all sizes to exploit the benefits of high-end computing. In an industry where strong technology is a basic need, small transportation companies can establish similar services and products as their large counterparts, shifting the competition back to providing quality service and a positive customer experience.

UX Design

A positive customer experience is essential, as we notice a strong focus on designing applications that keep the user and their needs as a focal point. There used to be time when software was designed for pure functional needs, but it was difficult to use. Luckily, this trend is shifting. Technology companies have pushed the limits of making products and services extremely easy and pleasant to use. This trend has flowed into the design processes of supply chain and logistics companies as well. User experience design has become an integral part of how products and services are programmed and released to the market.

Blockchain

Regardless of the industry, we know that there is an enormous amount of potential in the power of blockchain. Blockchain will likely open the doors for services today that seem futuristic, whether it’s increased security, contract management or improved transaction processing.

One may wonder why we haven’t already seen large implementations of this technology. The primary reason is that it’s not quite ready for prime-time yet. Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs) help us understand the security, the speed and the availability of the applications we design. Blockchain’s NFRs, however, do not quite lend themselves to mass implementation as it cannot handle the processing of large volumes of transactions in rapid times. Companies and universities continue to experiment with this functionality and when ready, the technology’s implementations will be widespread.  

Information Exchange (API – Application Program Interface)

Real-time information is considered an expectation, not a perk and we often take for granted how this type of information exchange happens. For example, a shipper seamlessly reaches into the transportation management system of their preferred carrier and gets real-time information about the location of their freight. A warehouse staff has real time information about the number of shipments that will be arriving in a given day, even though their transportation provider can be a completely different company. Logistics carriers have real-time information of their financial processing and outstanding balances. In these examples data flows quickly and securely from the systems of one company to the next from the availability of APIs. Since the spread of APIs has become so wide, the openness and availability of information has significantly increased. This helps supply chain companies with making better informed and timely decision-making, improved planning, increased efficiencies and delivering a great customer experience.

Terminology aside, consider the difference between supply chain companies today in comparison to those of 10 years ago. We are better, faster, more secure and provide an unprecedented customer experience. The improved quality and growth in our industry can be credited to the enhances in technology and its integration in the complete workflow of what we do. The saying that every company is a technology company continues to hold true, regardless of the industry or the size. It is important to recognize and embrace the upcoming technology trends to benefit the customer’s experience.

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The Benefits of Cross-Border Shipping

With solid carrier relationships, premier facilities and multi-modal solutions, Werner continues to offer the best-in-class cross-border services. We are known as one of the largest transportation services to and from Mexico and as the premiere long-haul carrier to and from Canada and throughout North America. Whether it’s our asset base or through our network of alliance carriers, we can manage your entire supply chain within Canada and Mexico regardless of your equipment needs.

We offer capacity in the international market.

With the continued growth in exports from Mexico and the driver shortage in the United States, the industry continues to face capacity constraints on the United States and Mexico border. Werner has solutions to mitigate the capacity issues such as diversifying modes of transportation, providing transload services and working closely with many of our 18,000 qualified alliance carriers.

We simplify the process.

Moving freight across the border doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Our logistics experts and their knowledge of the US/Mexico border operations ensure your cargo moves seamlessly. We work closely with shippers, consignees, US freight forwarding agents and customs brokers to facilitate all shipment border-crossing processes and any problem resolution.

We give our customers the confidence that their products are safe and secure.

Our facilities are C-TPAT certified and offer the highest level of security. Fences surround the perimeter with security guards posted at all points of ingress and egress. There are CCTV cameras strategically staged around the area. The facilities allow for mandatory inbound and outbound inspections and equipment maintenance to take place at one location

We offer continuous improvements.

In addition to our state of the art facilities in Laredo, Texas, we are expanding our cross-docking operation with a new unit that will have both dry and refrigerated capabilities, with yard space for over 1,200 trailers.

How to Be a Shipper of Choice

The term “shipper of choice” has resurfaced as the transportation market has tightened up. The first step to understand what it takes to be a shipper of choice is to understand what it means. The driver shortage is real and tight capacity will be impacting the market for the next few years. Shippers who want to get the best capacity need to establish a long-term solution to make their freight more marketable. Having the “shipper of choice” mentality will result in developing partnerships with valued carriers. Therefore, this approach is beneficial for the entire supply chain.

Be Easy to Work With

First, it is essential to hire the best talent that will prioritize building relationships with carriers and professional drivers. It is crucial to treat drivers like a customer. Associates must deliver exceptional customer service, give drivers the respect they deserve and build relationships by finding ways to better service the carrier and driver. Word gets around fast, whether it’s a truck stop conversation or a post on social media, reputations can easily be built.

Make a professional driver’s job easier by offering amenities such as public restrooms, break areas and parking. Since spots fill up fast, a concise parking solution needs to be communicated before arrival. There are mobile applications created that allow for the driver to reserve spots online.

Make Safety a Priority

Checking in and out of a facility is a common issue among many shippers. Clear signage and a process for drivers to adhere to needs to be established. Often, a driver is visiting a location for the first time, so guidance and hospitality is necessary. Having clear and concise directions for a driver upon arrival to a facility will improve the entire loading and unloading process, while maintaining a safe and direct environment. Implementing safe traffic patterns will also help the flow of equipment for a facility.

If a driver dislikes going to a location because of tough navigation or unsafe conditions, they may choose to take on different freight. To avoid this, shipping locations need to appear on a GPS, roads need to be well-paved and easy to access. Be sure to notify drivers if a yard has certain requirements or potential hazards.

Every Hour Matters

Shippers must provide visibility by communicating efficiently to carriers. They need to offer extended loading times and provide clear pick up information to prevent delays. In order to increase productivity, shippers should do everything they can to avoid last minute cancellations and wait times. Offering drop and hook options can prevent appointment cancellations as well as costly detention charges.

5 Reasons to Outsource to a 3PL

A third-party logistics provider (3PL) is a single-source solution to simplify your supply chain. Rather than addressing industry problems on your own, a 3PL is there to provide the right tools and resources to solve them. At Werner Logistics, our team of professionals build necessary relationships to guarantee your needs will be met.

We are industry experts.

Focus on your business goals and let a 3PL handle the rest. At Werner we are an asset-based, driver-focused company with more than 60 years of industry experience. We stay current with the latest trends, costs and technology. Let us use our knowledge to drive cost savings through supply chain efficiencies.

It is essential to partner with a 3PL that you can count on. Our team of experts will come up with the most efficient solution to fit your needs. We ensure that your internal and external customers receive the most up to date, concise communication through a predetermined method and frequency on your most critical shipments, for your highest priority customers, vendors and buyers.

We have a vast network of carriers.

3PL’s can leverage relationships with a network of carriers to provide buying power and better service. We also use our relationships with carriers to smooth out the fluctuations in capacity that everyone in the industry faces.

Due to dynamic trends in a capacity-driven market, your current carrier network may not be enough to support your logistics needs. At Werner Logistics, we manage over 18,000 alliance carriers qualified to haul freight, ensuring capacity expectations are met.

We save you money.

Our in-house logistics strategy brings together technology, professional and experienced staffing and our extensive platform of alliance providers to optimally plan and execute your supply chain. Do what you do best, and we’ll handle the transportation portion. As experts in the industry, our goal is to control and minimize transportation costs for your business, while standardizing and automating processes to increase productivity.

We utilize industry leading technology.

Having the right technology can help with network design, load optimization, mode and carrier selection; however, technology is constantly changing and can get expensive. A 3PL provider has access to the most advanced technology and software, so your business does not need to worry about keeping up with the latest updates. By utilizing a 3PL, you can take advantage of our technology to better serve your business. Our TMS application provides electronic load tracking and tendering, EDI billing capabilities, forecasting and more.

We reduce the risks.

As a shipper selecting carriers, you must go through the hassle to evaluate their operating authority, insurance information and safety ratings. Our approved contract carriers are held to the highest standards and are routinely evaluated for compliance.

Also, by utilizing our vast dedicated-based assets, we will manage billing, payroll, insurance coverage, equipment and liability risks associated with a company-employed driver base.

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