This Week in Logistics News (February 1-5, 2016)

The phone rang this morning at 6:00 am. School is closed today due to the snowstorm heading our way. So, the kids are still sleeping and I’m getting a head start on writing today’s post before I bundle up and venture outside to shovel later.

Lots of supply chain and logistics news this week, so let’s get started…

Transplace announced this week that it has developed a Preferred Shipper Checklist to help companies better understand the best practices for becoming a shipper of choice for their carrier partners. According to the press release:

The industry initiative, in collaboration with Transplace’s customer advisory board and more than 25 carrier partners, identified key factors in how carriers evaluate shippers and translated this insight into an actionable scorecard to help shipper organizations achieve “preferred shipper” status with carriers.

The initiative was built upon Transplace’s 2014 Preferred Shipper Survey, which was the focus of a July 2014 Talking Logistics conversation I had with Ben Cubitt, senior vice president, engineering & strategic carrier management for Transplace. In a followup post, What Carriers Look For in Shippers, I highlighted some of my key takeaways from our conversation, including the four important attributes that carriers look for in shippers: overall rating, driver productivity (which is affected by dwell time), driver-friendly facilities, and relationship.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if market conditions favor shippers or carriers (the pendulum is always swinging back and forth, as the news linked above about declining truck orders and increased driver turnover shows); the best strategy is a consistent one: developing shipper-carrier relationships built on trust, clear and honest communication, and alignment of networks and goals.

Moving on to technology news, JDA software announced expansion of its mobility strategy with a new JDA Certified Mobile Alliance Program and two new mobile applications, JDA InStock and JDA Buyer, “that expand upon JDA’s existing mobile solutions for the worker on the go.” Here are some details from the press release:

JDA Buyer – for JDA Assortment users – enables buyers to capture product images online or offline and quickly take notes, create placeholders at the style or style color level, and sync all data back to the assortment planning process, all from their iOS phone or tablet.

JDA InStock – for JDA Demand & Fulfillment and JDA Flowcasting users – brings data visibility to replenishment planners, managers and directors, preventing costly out-of-stocks by identifying out-of-stock issues early enough to take action and prevent them.

Although the move toward mobile solutions has been happening for several years, I’m definitely seeing an uptick in the development of new supply chain mobile applications, especially for warehouse management and retail store operations. The rise of tablets and the emergence of larger phones are certainly driving greater interest and use of mobile solutions.

In the Supply Chain Operating Network realm, E2open announced new capabilities this week, including:

  • Enhanced connectivity with external partners and internal systems such as SAP
  • New product to support shipment serialization, track and trace
  • Improved workflows to enable collaborative New Product & Technology Introduction and automated manufacturing instructions to outsourced manufacturing operations
  • Improved scalability of scenario planning capabilities
  • Continued investments in end-to-end security

I met with the E2open team recently, and although the company has been relatively quiet since it was brought private last year, the company remains committed to enhancing the scope and capabilities of its Supply Chain Operating Network, which based on several case studies the team shared with me, is enabling some very sophisticated, complex, and “mission critical” processes for clients. I walked away from meeting even more convinced that the next wave of supply chain innovation resides at the intersection of software, B2B connectivity, and social networking (for related commentary, see Here Comes the Chief Network Effects Officer).

Finally, there were several news items related to transportation management systems (TMS) this week. Here are some excerpts from the press releases:

INTTRA expands its partnership with Kewill: Users of the Kewill MOVE® platform will gain access to INTTRA Ocean Schedules (OS), which includes 12 million voyages offered by more than 50 of the world’s largest ocean carriers and NVOCCs. This latest solution from INTTRA’s core marketplace complements Kewill’s transportation management platform, whose users have been benefiting from INTTRA Bookings, Shipping Instructions, and Track & Trace technology since 2008. Kewill users will now have access to an end-to-end ocean shipping solution beginning with scheduling the voyage.

Kuebix announced its name change from CarrierStore to Kuebix and announced Kuebix TMS, a SaaS transportation management system (TMS): Kuebix TMS enables companies to manage all of their LTL, TL and parcel shipments with their direct carrier rates from a single mobile platform. A complete transportation solution, Kuebix TMS streamlines every aspect of the logistics process from shipment booking to freight audit and carrier pay. Built on the platform (from, Kuebix TMS offers the world’s best customer relationship management system (CRM) and limitless dashboards, reports and analytics.

Omnitracs, LLC announced the launch of Omnitracs Sylectus Truckload TMS: [It is] a highly flexible, fully capable TMS solution tailored to the truckload industry that is accessible from anywhere. Truckload TMS provides a streamlined means of modifying resources on a dispatched load and a calendar-based approach to load planning that allows carriers to simplify fleet asset management…With features such as non-billable stops (NBS) and an enhanced load planning screen, dispatchers can customize routing on a load-by-load basis and easily switch drivers, trailers and power units on dispatched loads. With the ability to hook and track trailers on brokered loads, back office staff can easily modify resources associated with a dispatched load.

The innovation never stops in TMS!

And with that, it’s time to put on my snow pants and boots and start shoveling the white stuff from my driveway and sidewalk. Have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “South” by Hippo Campus

Note: JDA Software, Kewill, and Transplace are Talking Logistics sponsors.