GPS

3PLBest PracticesCarrier ManagerCustomer ServiceGPSintermodalThird-Party LogisticsTransportationTruckingUncategorized

  Shippers continue to experience the “spot market blues.” According to DAT Solutions, the average spot rate for trucking was 2.15 per mile at the end of March. The natural disasters occurring in the last half of 2017 merged with the ELD Mandate and the continuing driver shortage to send spot markets through the roof. You see, capacity isn’t coming back any time soon. Here at AM Transport, customers are top priority; that’s why we believe in cultivating great logistics partnerships! How can partnering with a 3PL help shippers navigate a volatile freight market? Let’s take a look. Right now, drivers are frustrated by the ELD Mandate because by eliminating paper logs, it forces compliance with HOS rules. We believe that the April 1 hard enforcement of the mandate is going to force shippers to change they way they do business.  Transport Topics’ Eric Miller reports that at a recent MATS (Mid-America Trucking Show) in Louisville, KY, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief, Ray Martinez told drivers frustrated with the mandate that when they wait at loading docks inefficiency is created in the economy. That inefficiency is bound to drive freight rates up. Both Martinez and drivers agreed that while HOS rules affect drivers, there’s no equivalent mandate forcing shippers to conform to strict time windows.   Furthermore, the driver shortage will continue squeezing capacity until the industry finds ways to mitigate the negative aspects of the driving life--lack of exercise, healthy food options, disrupted sleep cycles. In the same issue of Transport Topics, Miller reports that truck drivers, as a group, have a “50% higher rate of Type 2 Diabetes than the national average.” There’s a lot of work to be done before we begin to see an ease in the driver shortage. However, with many good people researching and working on this problem, we fully expect innovative solutions—check out ATRI’s (American Transportation Research Institute) Young Driver Assessment Tool for an example of industry innovation. How can good partnerships with 3PLs mitigate these problems? Did you know that most small carriers still receive their freight from direct interaction with shippers instead of load boards and brokerages? That’s what a recent survey developed by CarrierLists and Freightwaves indicates. Here’s what we know--good brokers have relationships not only with shippers but with carriers. Shippers looking for solutions could benefit from these relationships. And what about contract rates? We understand a shipper’s reticence to lock in contract rates; after all, according to our friends at Freightwaves, those rates have increased up to 10%. However, brokers with their wide variety of carrier relationships, can often lock in affordable contract rates that even out a shipper’s freight spend. In the coming months, savvy shippers will shift their strategy from last-minute bids to long-term solutions. And the best way to do this is to cultivate relationships with freight partners you can trust. At AM Transport, we have 30 years of experience partnering with shippers and carriers. With over 10,000 approved carriers, we are positioned to find the best solution for your freight. We understand the worry skyrocketing rates cause, not to mention, the impact they have on your bottom line. When you work with us, we get to know you and your business. We ask questions, analyze your supply chain, and create solutions. We know logistics and we want to take the worry out of transportation so you can get back to doing what you do best.    ...
3PLGPSShippersTechnology

By Erik Jensen, CTB Each year a few new buzz words or phrases hit the transportation industry. These words and phrases typically embody an event, such as the mandatory implementation of electronic logging devices, or a service you offer, like “available capacity.” VISIBILITY is the keyword sticking with me for the past couple of years. Shippers not only expect to know what’s going on with their freight but want to see it in real time. If you’re not actively providing visibility and not constantly in pursuit of options to provide shippers with a better experience, it’s likely your customers are looking for a new partner. And they should be! But how can you do this? It might sound like hard work, but there are some available solutions we provide our customers every day. From our experience, the best solution is when your core carriers allow you access to their GPS Tracking systems. Obviously, this requires strong relationships with carriers but is an invaluable resource. This allows you to have complete visibility on your shipments and the ability to track them 24/7. If carriers do not allow access to their GPS Tracking systems, there are some options we use to ensure shipments are tracked and monitored 24/7. One of our go-to tracking providers is MacroPoint. MacroPoint allows us to obtain real-time visibility on our shipments and eases our concerns when managing them. Repeatedly calling a carrier with the question, “Where is your truck?” is no fun and a ridiculous waste of resources. Let’s face it; it’s a bad look when your customer asks for an ETA, and you can’t provide an accurate time because you can’t reach your carrier. With MacroPoint, we’re able to avoid that hassle and update our customers with accurate location updates and ETAs. Trucker Tools is another tracking provider we use to stay on top of shipments. What I like about Trucker Tools is that it pings the driver’s cell phone every 5-20 minutes with location updates. This eases any concerns we might have through transit, and if we see something alarming, it affords us the opportunity to respond quickly and create solutions to potential problems. At A.M. Transport, visibility is a must. We strive to provide our customers with the best service out there and are always looking for new ways to improve. Tracking is one of the key services we provide, but there are many others as well. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us. We would love to help....
Best PracticesCommunityCustomer ServiceGPS

Michael McKinney, CTB Who do you blame when the new stackable washer/dryer you ordered doesn’t show up? It was shipped--these days you can track almost any order--but it’s now a week or two late, and you’re tired of lugging your family’s clothes to the neighborhood laundromat. Are you on the phone with a carrier? Probably not. More than likely, you’re wrangling with the company you ordered from. After all, you paid for the merchandise, and you were promised a delivery date that has come and gone. Will you order from this company again? *** Recently, my wife and I moved into a new old house with our three daughters. We ordered a cool loft-bed for our youngest from Pottery Barn Kids, a high-end home furnishings retailer who promises to deliver right to the door, and in certain cases (with loft-beds for instance) assemble the furniture for you. Sounds like a pretty good deal, huh! Not so much. Here’s what happened--the loft bed was shipped in a timely fashion, and then we waited. And while we waited, our youngest, a fourth grader, slept on a mattress on the floor. At first, it was kind of fun. She’s an easy kid with a big imagination who didn’t mind the “camping” aspect of the floor-sleeping adventure, so no, it wasn’t the end of the world. But here’s the deal--I’ve been working as a logistics provider for 23 years, and it started to get on my nerves. This isn’t how we do business at AM Transport Services. You see, I could track the beds to St. Louis where they sat for a week and a half. Sure, I understood that my daughter’s new loft bed was likely sitting with a last-mile delivery service who didn’t want to make the trip to rural Illinois until they had a little more freight to bring. I wasn’t so much aggravated with the carrier as I was with Pottery Barn who wasn’t keeping their delivery promise. I work with customers all the time, and I have a pretty good idea of what it means to keep your promise. My wife called Pottery Barn Kids. And then she called some more, and finally the loft-bed was on its way. It showed up, two weeks late, was assembled, and my daughter ended the in-house camping adventure she had tired of. Like I said, a slow-to-arrive loft bed isn’t a catastrophe, but it did get me thinking about how important a logistics provider is to a company’s reputation. *** At AM Transport, I have the good fortune to work with a group of logistics experts who care about your freight. We know that your reputation doesn’t depend only on your excellent product but with your ability to deliver that product efficiently and on-time with no hiccups on the way. You see, at AM Transport we treat your freight like our own. That means we track it from pick-up to delivery, using a high touch model to make sure we touch it at every point on the supply chain. Our people are available 24/7 by phone or email. If your freight runs into trouble, we step in with proven solutions. Let’s take a look at what happens when you select a provider who doesn’t take the time to ask the right questions, who doesn’t research the delivery, whose staff is inexperienced and undertrained. Let’s say you manufacture industrial equipment. Your shipments are crated and skidded--not tricky freight from a loading and unloading standpoint, but it takes care. You tender a couple of truckloads to a consignee in Chicago in the middle of upgrading their facilities. The tender lists the equipment, ship date, weight, consignee, delivery date--all pertinent information needed for transit. A provider can send a truck in to pick up freight as scheduled. The truck heads out with plenty of time to make the delivery. But there’s a problem. You see the loading docks at the delivery address can’t handle anything longer than 26’. This downtown location was built before 53’ vans existed. It’s a bad deal. The crew is ready to unload the truck and another crew is ready to install the new equipment that can’t be unloaded. Your customer--the folks in the middle of the upgrade--are very unhappy to say the least. Charges are mounting and delivery isn’t going to happen. The consignee has a big mess and guess who they’re blaming? You got it! They’re blaming you! Here’s what really happened because our customer used AM Transport Services! We receive the tender with the Chicago address. Our antenna goes up; after all, we know what city deliveries are like, so we ask more questions than usual. We call the consignee, because we ALWAYS call the consignee, to confirm the shipments. The consignee confirms and explains that they’ll have a line shut down while they swap the equipment coming in. We inquire a little further because we don’t like surprises and learn that they are in an old building that can only accommodate trailers up to 26’ in length. We spring into action. We contact a warehousing company we know in the Chicago area and arrange for the equipment to be unloaded off the two 53’ trailers we arranged and reloaded onto 26’ straight trucks. We reach out to the customer, explain the needed change and the solution. We contact the consignee again to explain the shipment will now be arriving on four instead of two trucks and coordinate the times. We follow through from pickup to delivery and everyone is happy! You see, we’ve been in the logistics business for 30 years, so we know what to do, and with over 10,000 approved carriers, we don’t just match your freight to the best carrier, we make sure it gets to where it’s going efficiently and on-time! Your reputation matters, and slow, inefficient, and late delivery of your product is the quickest way to erode the high esteem you’ve earned. Don’t throw away your good name by entrusting your freight to logistics partners who don’t care.  ...
3PLBest PracticesCustomer ServiceGPSInnovationProductivityTechnologyUncategorized

Say Hello to the Future! How well do you know your broker? Is their website transparent and interactive? Can you pull it up on your mobile phone? What kind of Transportation Management System (TMS) do they use? They do have a TMS, right? Do they utilize a portal where you can access tracking, payments, experts, information? There’s no such thing as too much information. Your broker should be your one-stop shop for everything freight-related. If not, then you aren’t getting your money’s worth. In January, the folks over at FreightWaves deemed 2018 as “the beginning of the end for the voice broker”--claiming “Voice brokers are a dime a dozen, and their days are numbered. Over the next year, companies that lack technology are doomed.” When we say voice broker, we are referring to the traditional old-time freight-broker, the guy or gal who books loads from a spare room in their three-bedroom ranch, using the bare minimum--a phone, a load board, email, and a personal relationship with carriers and shippers. Here at AM Transport, we know those personal relationships are important. But we saw the writing on the wall a long time ago. That’s why we complemented our exceptional customer service with a heavy investment in the newest technologies. We’ve worked hard to integrate the best efficiency-boosting technologies in order to streamline and optimize our client’s experience. How do we do that? Cloud Technology We can find and facilitate capacity easier because we leverage cloud technology and consider our Carrier sales as important as our Customer sales. Price Discovery We utilize multiple sources of industry rate benchmarking data as well as our own data to predict the current market rate of a shipment. This allows us to offer competitive rates to both shippers and carriers. Payment Settlement We offer innovative solutions that enable carriers to submit their shipment paperwork quicker and easier to us in order to get paid faster. Online Portal We offer a robust online portal that allows a customer visibility into their supply chain including dashboard views, KPIs, and custom reporting. People Of course, no great company works without people. Here at AM Transport, we’re special because we just flat-out have the best people. Men and women who are empowered every single day to make ethical decisions. Folks who leave work in the evening as energized as when they arrived in the morning because they love their jobs. Our people gives us and you an unparalleled benefit! Take a minute and ask yourself--Is my logistics provider a voice broker? If the answer is yes, give us a call! The truth is whether you are a carrier or a shipper, times are changing, and here at AM Transport we believe change is a great catalyst. We know that the best relationships are built on excellent customer service rooted in a passion to implement new and exciting technologies that keep our customers competitive. Remember, you deserve more than a voice on a phone!...
3PLBest PracticesGPS

By Jesse Baker, CTB With Technology rapidly advancing in the Transportation industry, it is important to understand some of the foundations for what is starting to become common place.  Today, we will focus on GPS.  Everybody has heard the term, but let’s dive in to exactly what it is and how it works. GPS, short for Global Positioning System, uses three parts to help either ourselves or others locate where we are.  So what are these parts and how do they work?  Let’s check it out! Satellites – Satellites, which orbit our earth, are in set positions.  Thus we can rely on them to give accurate feedback for location.  There are thousands of satellites available to be used by receivers.  This is where you have probably heard “triangulate their location” as 3 (or more!) satellites are being used to bring to a point the location of the receiver. Receiver – The receiver is the device that sends out the signal to the satellite.  This is very commonly your phone, but can also be that new ELD or several other devices.  Once the receiver sends a signal to several satellites, it will calculate its distance from them and be able to diagnose an extremely accurate location! Ground Station – The ground stations are the regulators for the satellites.  They make sure they have not drifted off course, and if they have, they adjust for the movement of the satellite so that the receiver’s calculations for location can stay accurate. The great thing about GPS is how quickly it all works!  These waves move at unbelievable speeds, allowing accurate updates to be obtained as quickly as snapping a finger.  So if you are in the business of wanting to be accurate and quick in your updates to customers and wanting to keep them happy, then start utilizing the readily available GPS and improve your business as quickly as you are located!...