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Courier-Messenger Inc is a local company, based in the Valencia Industrial Center, providing transportation of time sensitive shipments of all sizes from envelopes to full truckloads.

CMI provides same day, Overnight and Time definite Ltl point to point deliveries, through out the USA. Same day truck service is determined by availability at time of call.

CMI provides our customers with internet tracking, and proof of deliveries at time of completion via email.

CMI provides 24/7 Dispatch

CMI Service Map for California

C.M.I. DELIVERS TIME CRITICAL SHIPMENTS DOOR-TO-DOOR INTERSTATE OR INTRASTATE ANYWHERE IN THE USA

3PL (third-party logistics)

A 3PL (third-party logistics) is a provider of outsourced logistics services. Logistic services encompass anything that involves management of the way resources are moved to the areas where they are required. The term comes from the military.

In business, 3PL has a broad meaning that can be applied to any service contract that involves storing or shipping things. A 3PL service may be a single service such as transportation or warehouse storage or it can be a system-wide bundle of services capable of managing the entire supply chain.

The term 3PL was originally coined to differentiate logistic providers who used the Internet to enhance their services from those that did not.

 

COURIER-MESSENGER, INC. – BIG OR SMALL WE SHIP IT ALL
  • CMI is  based in the Valencia Industrial Center, Santa Clarita, providing transportation of time sensitive shipments of all sizes from envelopes to full truckloads.
  • CMI provides same day, Overnight and Time definite Ltl point to point deliveries, through out the USA. Same day truck service is determined by availability at time of call.
  • CMI provides our customers with internet tracking, and proof of deliveries at time of completion in real time.

Phone: (661) 257-8689 – Fax: (661) 257-1895
Email: Sales@Courier-MessengerInc.com – Website: ShipCMI.com

The World’s Greatest Drives

Looking for a road trip that will leave you breathless? We picked some of the world’s greatest roads some of them are downright scary, some feature amazing scenery and some of the routes are so remote that you might be the only traveler. We also considered roads that were unique for their construction such as the Atlantic Road in Norway.
The Atlantic Road at 5 miles in length but isn’t the longest but its remarkable enough to be the 9th largest tourist draw in Norway. The route won the title “Norwegian Construction of the Century”, in 2005 and was named by The Guardian (a British newspaper) as one of the world’s best road trips. The route traverses the low islands between Molde and Kristiansund. The Storseisundet Bridge is the tallest and highlights the artistic building techniques of the highway. Some visitors come to the road in the fall to witness the dramatic storms that pound the region.Winding road in Atlas Mountains

The Dades Valley Road is a stunning drive through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. As if the desert landscapes and steep cliffs were not enough to occupy the senses the highway passes hundreds of ancient Kasbahs. These ancient fortified dwellings served as places where local leaders could retreat in times of attack from roving bands and foreign invaders. The length of the road through the spectacular canyon is 35kms (22-mile).

Highway 12

Highway 12 stretches approximately 65 miles from Torrey to Escalante in Utah. The road reaches over 3000m as it climbs to the summit of Boulder Mountain where visitors can see the expanse of the desert beyond and the entirety of Capital Reef National Park. The real highlight of the road is between Boulder and Escalante where the road traverses the slick rock and barren exposures of Navajo Sandstone before descending to the Escalante River.

Pan-americana near Nazca

The Pan-American Highway from Lime to the border at Tacna traverses some of the driest desert in the world. The only villages are seen along the rivers that reach the coastal regions after leaving the Andes. The miles of empty and desolate coastline between Nazca and Camana encourage the traveler onward. The road is not without its mysterious attractions whether it the lines at Nazca or the ruins of Tambo Colorado.

Mount Fitz Roy at sunrise

The impressive Mount Fitzroy lies a short distance off Route 40 at the small town of El Chalten. The highway is the longest in Argentina and one of the longest continuous highways in the world. The southern part of the route is a largely unpaved road that travels parallel the eastern slope of the Andes. The distance, remoteness and unequaled scenery of the highway is a draw to adventurers from around the world.

Trollstigen pass

Trollstigen pass with a steep incline of up to 9% and eleven hairpin turns has become a popular tourist attraction in Norway. The pass only reaches an elevation of 850 metres (2,790 ft) but the route up is impressive. At 700 meters drivers can park and use the viewing platforms to catch a glimpse of Stigfossen falls. The road is open from May to October before it is closed for the winter.

Yungas Road

The Yungas road which is better known as the Death Road is a 61km (38mi) route connecting La Paz (Boliva) to Coroico. It first climbs and reaches a high point at La CumbrePass (4,650m) before descending 1,200m to the town of Corocio. It’s a largely a single lane road with no guard rails and sheer cliffs off the side of up to 600m. In the rainy season visibility can be poor in the fog and the road can be muddy and littered with rockfalls. Maybe we should have left this one off the list.

COURIER-MESSENGER, INC. – BIG OR SMALL WE SHIP IT ALL
  • CMI is  based in the Valencia Industrial Center, Santa Clarita, providing transportation of time sensitive shipments of all sizes from envelopes to full truckloads.
  • CMI provides same day, Overnight and Time definite Ltl point to point deliveries, through out the USA. Same day truck service is determined by availability at time of call.
  • CMI provides our customers with internet tracking, and proof of deliveries at time of completion in real time.

Phone: (661) 257-8689 – Fax: (661) 257-1895
Email: Sales@Courier-MessengerInc.com – Website: ShipCMI.com

10 tips for reducing supply chain logistics costs

10 tips for reducing supply chain logistics costs

As companies continue to manufacture and source materials from overseas, controlling costs remains a top priority for those involved in international trade. One key factor that should be monitored more closely is logistics management, which covers all activities relating to the procurement, transport, transshipment and storage of goods. Depending on the industry sector, supply chain logistics costs account from 5% to 50% of a product’s total landed cost.

Some issues effecting logistics costs: Fuel prices remain high and ports continue to experience delays, resulting in higher transportation fees. Increasingly complex international trade laws and security measurements threaten to lengthen delivery times and increase warehousing costs. According to a recent report by TechnologyEvaluation.com, a typical air-freight shipment takes eight to twelve days. Of this, the cargo is en route only 5% of the time. The rest is spent sitting in warehouses waiting for the required documents and compliance checks.

Following are 10 Tips on Reducing Supply Chain Logistics Costs:

1. Understand the true costs of sourcing overseas. Calculate freight, duty, brokerage, and inventory carrying costs to support these lengthened supply chains. Also factor in such items as the costs of engineers flying overseas. Once you understand the true total landed cost and total impact to the business, that domestic buy may look a lot better. Sourcing from Ohio to your U.S. plant, distribution center or customer may, in the long run, be more cost effective than sourcing from China.

2. Focus on eliminating the variability out of transit times. The more variable the transit times are, the more likely it is that the receiving party is using more premium freight, building buffers of inventory, or ordering more often and more quantity than necessary to compensate for the uncertainty. Understanding these dynamics can lead to the conclusion that paying higher freight costs to insure higher variability actually saves your company in total costs.

3. Tariff engineering. Strategically source and manufacture products to take advantage of classification duty rates and eligibility for special trade programs such as NAFTA.

4. Consolidate. If you have multiple suppliers in one country, consolidate their goods into one shipment. In addition, if you always have LCL (less than container load) shipments out of one country, try to find another LCL importer of goods from that country. You may be able to partner and consolidate to a more cost-effective FCL (full container load) shipment.

5. Informed decision-making. Provide to the decision-makers/customers of your logistics network the cost of freight for each service level, the reliability of each lane for each service level, and the true cost of carrying inventory so they can make informed decisions. People generally want to be good corporate citizens and will select the less expensive option that still meets their needs.

6. Sometimes insurance doesn’t pay. Often when a company has a shipment of premium goods they tend to use the Carrier’s Insurance. Carriers Insurance is very expensive. If the company is self insured, which most companies are, they should check their insurance policy to see if it covers shipment of goods. If it does, then they do not need to add the extra cost of Carrier’s Insurance.

7. Automate compliance processes. Companies that implement software solutions to automate trade compliance are able to speed the cycle times associated with tasks being performed manually, such as document preparation, and eliminate the associated errors. Automated compliance procedures also bring fewer delays at border crossings, resulting in on-time delivery, adequate inventory levels, increased customer satisfaction, and the avoidance of fines.

8. Control your express shipping costs. Typically when a company runs into a supply chain issue, it will have an entire shipment sent on an express/expedited (highest cost) service level basis. Panicking often results in higher costs. If the company would just do a little bit of calculating it can determine the amount of goods that are needed immediately and have that amount sent using express/expedited service level, while the balance of the shipment can be sent using a standard (lower cost) service level.

9. Planes, trains and automobiles. Which is cheapest? In general, rail is more cost-effective than trucking or air. Water is cheaper than air shipment. No matter the mode of delivery, always try to get three quotes for movements.

10. Be aware of non-tariff trade barriers. Companies need to be more aware of the increasing level of non-tariff trade barriers that are in force to reduce sweat shop labor and support human rights and animal welfare issues. These restrictions can bring importers increased liability and compliance costs.

 

COURIER-MESSENGER INC. – (661) 257-8689 – BIG OR SMALL, WE SHIP IT ALL!

Are Truckers About to Get Rich?

As problems go, the U.S. trucking industry is facing a good one. Thanks to a gushing oil industry and a homebuilding renaissance, everyone needs trucks. The industry, however, is running short on supply—specifically drivers.

Trucking outfits are bristling under new federal rules that drastically constrain how long drivers can stay on the road. Since July 1, truckers have been limited to about 70 hours of driving per week, down from 82 hours. And new rest requirements limit how much they can drive in the small hours of the morning, when roads are relatively empty.

Even before the new rules took hold, capacity was tight. At the height of the Great Recession, truck fleets at transportation giants FedEx (FDX), UPS (UPS), and Swift Transportation (SWFT) had 85,000 more drivers than they needed; today these companies are about 211,000 bodies short, according to estimates by FTR Associates, a freight logistics firm in Indiana.

STORY: Trucking Recruiters Shift Into High Gear

To make matters worse, crumbling U.S. infrastructure is forcing truckers onto expensive detours. One in nine U.S. bridges is structurally deficient and 42 percent of the country’s major urban highways are congested, according to an analysis in the Wall Street Journal.

Those kinds of problems are hard to picture in virtually any other sector. Imagine a Wal-Mart (WMT) without enough parking, a Google (GOOG) data center too small to speed through a glut of searches, or JPMorgan (JPM) turning customers away because its safes were full.

Bloomberg Industries analyst Lee Klaskow says trucking outfits may need to fork out more money to attract and retain drivers. “If you really want to find people to fill the seat, you’ve got to make the industry much more attractive to the 21-year-old who doesn’t know what he wants to do with this life,” Klaskow says. “Rates now—$45,000 to $55,000 a year.

 

COURIER-MESSENGER, INC. – BIG OR SMALL WE SHIP IT ALL
  • CMI is  based in the Valencia Industrial Center, Santa Clarita, providing transportation of time sensitive shipments of all sizes from envelopes to full truckloads.
  • CMI provides same day, Overnight and Time definite Ltl point to point deliveries, through out the USA. Same day truck service is determined by availability at time of call.
  • CMI provides our customers with internet tracking, and proof of deliveries at time of completion in real time.

Phone: (661) 257-8689 – Fax: (661) 257-1895
Email: Sales@Courier-MessengerInc.com – Website: ShipCMI.com

Keeping Logistics Costs in Check

To combat the rising costs of logistics, companies should reassess each aspect of their transportation and logistics strategy. Here are six factors to consider.

Logistics costs have skyrocketed over the last few years as fuel prices increased and the United States economy spiraled downward. A study by the Council of Supply Chain Professionals (CSCMP) found that logistics costs in the U.S. alone rose by $91 billion in 2007, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year. According to the CSCMP’s 19th annual State of Logistics Report, logistics costs accounted for more than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Higher interest rates, the deflating dollar and increased customs and warehousing costs in addition to fuel prices have contributed to the high costs of logistics. In 2007, U.S. businesses spent more than $1.4 trillion on transportation, storage and distribution of goods, according to CSCMP estimates.

“Clearly, there is a cause for concern,” says a new white paper from LTL trucking company Purolator USA, Inc. “[B]usinesses cannot exist without logistics, but at the current rate, businesses can’t really afford to exist with them either.”

To assist companies in finding ways to control the amount of money being spent on the purchase, transport, storage and distribution of goods — especially for products crossing borders — the paper provides tips on getting around logistics costs. Some considerations include the following.

Consolidate packages. Combine shipments that are traveling in the same direction, as “costs will be lower for freight traveling on a truck that is at near-to-full capacity than a less-than-full truck.” If the freight is crossing borders, consolidate it with additional shipments at the border and use one set of customs documents. Once the shipment clears the border, the packages can be broken down into individual orders at a processing facility.

Rethink shipping classifications. “Businesses that ship goods at a higher level of service than is necessary are increasing their overhead without even realizing the adverse effect to profitability,” the Purolator paper claims. Why ship “next day overnight,” which costs significantly more, if you don’t have to? A logistics provider can make recommendations about a business’ delivery options that are commensurate with its needs.

Understand the hidden costs of imports. Whilst it may be smart to look beyond U.S. borders for components, businesses need to be wary about other costs that go into importing parts, such as transportation costs, taxes, processing fees and security fees. Review these factors and tack their costs onto the import’s price.

Take advantage of trade incentives. There are several government programs that encourage cross-border trade, especially with Canada. Beyond the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there’s also Canada’s Non-Resident Importer (NRI) program that allows U.S. companies to prepay all taxes, duties and fees on goods entering Canada before they arrive at the border. “This means that a U.S. company can pass along all fees to consumers up front,” the Purolator paper explains. “Canadian consumers will be aware of the fees at the time of purchase, and be able to pay them at that time. No more surprises.”

Another incentive scheme is the U.S. Duty Drawback program that prevents businesses from being over-taxed by giving “special consideration to businesses that pay duties on goods imported into the U.S., that are then used in the manufacture of products that are then subsequently exported.”

Avoid supply chain disruptions. Ninety-nine percent of companies surveyed by Aberdeen Group had supply chain disruptions in 2008, with 58 percent suffering financial losses as a result, Modern Materials Handling reports. “Distribution center stopovers waste precious time and money” and many companies “do not have the luxury of ‘padded schedules’ built into their distribution networks to absorb disruptions,” Purolator explains. Bypassing distribution centers by having direct-to-store delivery can save a manufacturer seven to 14 days by shipping directly to end-users.

Manage returns. Returns are a $100 billion business, according to the white paper, and as much as 7 percent of a business’ gross sales can be eaten up by return costs. One strategy for saving money while properly handling a customer’s dissatisfaction is outsourcing the returns processes. Logistics providers can offer a returns management solution that can arrange for the pickup, transportation and replacement or issuance of credit on a return.

With logistics costs having risen by nearly $100 billion in 2007 and no signs of the upward trend stopping, businesses must figure out a way to move their products as efficiently and economically as possible. Logistics costs are unavoidable, so companies must understand their overall businesses needs and address them within the context of the current economic environment.

Reference: click here.

COURIER-MESSENGER INC. – (661) 257-8689 – BIG OR SMALL, WE SHIP IT ALL!

The Most Common Lies Dispatchers Tell Truckers


It seems that dispatchers NEVER seem to run out of lies to tell truckers, in order to get them to do things they don’t want to do…. or better yet, things THEY WON’T GET PAID FOR. Dave goes through some of the most common lies which trucking dispatchers tell truckers! Keep an eye on your dispatcher… keep him/her honest. Don’t tolerate a lousy dispatcher, as they can seriously affect your pay and your contentment with your driving job.

COURIER-MESSENGER INC. – (661) 257-8689 – BIG OR SMALL, WE SHIP IT ALL!

Freight Shipments Rose 0.4% in August from July – Looking Back

Freight Shipments Rose 0.4% in August from July

Press Release Number:
NA
Date:
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Media Contact:
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Five Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, August 2008- August 2013

Source for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.4 percent in August from July, rising for the second consecutive month to reach the second highest level in the history of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI). The August 2013 index level (114.8) was 21.0 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession (Tables 1, 2, and 2A).

The level of freight shipments in August measured by the Freight TSI (114.8) was 0.3 percent below the all-time high level of 115.2 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical TSI data.

The July (114.3) and June (114.0) index were revised but remain unchanged from the previous release.

Beginning with the April release, BTS improved procedures and refined the TSI methodology. As a result there have been minor changes in monthly numbers released previously. Documentation will be made available in the near future.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

Analysis: The Freight TSI has increased in eight out of the last 10 months, growing from 108.4 to 114.8, an increase of 5.9 percent since October 2012.  Most of the increase was in trucking and rail intermodal.

The 10-month growth is consistent with steady growth in Gross Domestic Product, industrial production and employment over the same time period.  The growth in the economy has come particularly from housing, autos and energy, sectors that generate relatively large amounts of freight tonnage.

Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the eighth month in a row.  Beginning with January, every month in 2013 has exceeded the high point of 2012, 112.3 reached in December. The August 2013 level is the highest TSI freight has been in 2013, and is the second highest all-time level exceeded only by December 2011. After dipping to 94.9 in April 2009, the index rose 21 percent in the succeeding 52 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in August 2013 (114.8) were 21.0 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The August 2013 level is down 0.3 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (115.2).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.2 percent in August compared to the end of 2012 (Table 3).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 5.2 percent in the five years from the recession level of August 2008 and are up 10.5 percent in the 10 years from August 2003 (Table 5).

Same month of previous year: August 2013 freight shipments were up 3.4 percent from August 2012 (Tables 4, 5).

The TSI has three seasonally adjusted indexes that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. The three indexes are freight shipments, passenger travel and a combined measure that merges the freight and passenger indexes. TSI includes data from 2000 to the present. Release of the September 2013 index is scheduled for Nov. 14.

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers rose 0.1 percent in August from its July level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI August 2013 level of 117.6 was 0.8 percent above the August 2012 level (Table 7). The index is up 1.3 percent in five years and up 20.8 percent in 10 years (Table 5).  The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of the for-hire passenger transportation sector. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Combined Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI rose 0.3 percent in August from its July level (Table 8). The combined TSI August 2013 level of 115.6 was 2.7 percent above the August 2012 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 4.0 percent in five years and up 13.1 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: Monthly data has changed from previous releases due to the use of concurrent seasonal analysis, which results in seasonal analysis factors changing as each months data are added.

For a webinar on the TSI, see Past Webinars.  For a video explanation of the TSI, see Overview of the Transportation Services Index.  A BTS report explaining the TSI, Transportation Services Index and the Economy, is available for download.

 

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since February 2013

Percent Change from Previous Month

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
February 113.2 0.7 116.4 -0.2 114.1 0.4
March 113.9 0.7 116.2 -0.2 114.6 0.4
April 112.9 -0.9 117.6 1.2 114.2 -0.3
May 114.1 1.1 117.7 0.0 115.1 0.8
June 114.0 -0.1 117.8 0.1 115.1 -0.1
July 114.3 0.3 117.4 -0.3 115.2 0.1
August 114.8 0.4 117.6 0.1 115.6 0.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.5 1.0 -3.6 0.1
February 1.6 -1.7 0.1 0.7
March 0.0 1.5 -0.5 0.7
April 0.7 -0.4 0.6 -0.9
May 0.6 -2.2 0.1 1.1
June -0.3 2.1 0.4 -0.1
July 0.6 0.2 -0.2 0.3
August -0.3 0.7 -0.5 0.4
September 0.9 0.7 0.2
October 0.5 0.0 -2.5
November -0.4 0.2 2.2
December 1.9 4.0 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 2A: Freight Transportation Services Index by Month, 2010-2013

2010 2011 2012 2013
January 102.3 109.6 111.1 112.4
February 104.0 107.7 111.2 113.2
March 104.0 109.3 110.6 113.9
April 104.7 108.8 111.2 112.9
May 105.4 106.5 111.4 114.1
June 105.1 108.7 111.8 114.0
July 105.7 108.9 111.6 114.3
August 105.4 109.7 111.0 114.8
September 106.3 110.5 111.2
October 106.8 110.5 108.4
November 106.4 110.8 110.8
December 108.5 115.2 112.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2004-2013

Percent change to August from December of the previous year

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2004 2.1 3.9 2.6
2005 1.3 1.1 1.2
2006 -2.5 0.3 -1.8
2007 -1.1 3.4 0.1
2008 -1.6 -0.4 -1.3
2009 -0.9 -0.4 -0.8
2010 3.5 1.7 3.0
2011 1.2 0.1 0.9
2012 -3.6 0.3 -2.5
2013 2.2 1.3 2.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 4: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the August Freight TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

August Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 110.3 6.1
2005 112.4 2.0
2006 109.3 -2.8
2007 109.2 -0.1
2008 109.1 -0.2
2009 99.6 -8.7
2010 105.4 5.8
2011 109.7 4.1
2012 111.0 1.1
2013 114.8 3.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years

Percent Change to 2013 (August to August)

Since August . . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to August 2013 Passenger TSI Percent change to August 2013 Combined TSI Percent change to August 2013
2012 1 3.4 0.8 2.7
2011 2 4.6 3.7 4.4
2010 3 8.9 4.4 7.6
2009 4 15.3 6.8 12.7
2008 5 5.2 1.3 4.0
2007 6 5.1 -0.2 3.5
2006 7 5.0 7.4 5.5
2005 8 2.1 8.9 3.8
2004 9 4.1 12.6 6.3
2003 10 10.5 20.8 13.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.3 0.4 -1.1 0.5
February -2.5 -1.4 1.5 -0.2
March 2.9 1.8 -0.1 -0.2
April -0.5 0.0 -0.4 1.2
May 0.5 1.1 -0.4 0.0
June 0.9 -0.6 0.0 0.1
July 0.1 0.9 -0.6 -0.3
August 0.0 -2.0 1.5 0.1
September 1.3 2.2 -0.5
October 1.5 -0.1 -1.6
November -1.1 0.0 0.6
December -1.1 0.5 1.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 7: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the August Passenger TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

August Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 104.4 7.3
2005 108.0 3.5
2006 109.5 1.4
2007 117.8 7.6
2008 116.1 -1.5
2009 110.1 -5.1
2010 112.6 2.3
2011 113.3 0.7
2012 116.7 3.0
2013 117.6 0.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.5 0.8 -2.9 0.2
February 0.4 -1.6 0.5 0.4
March 0.9 1.6 -0.4 0.4
April 0.4 -0.3 0.3 -0.3
May 0.6 -1.2 0.0 0.8
June 0.1 1.3 0.3 -0.1
July 0.4 0.4 -0.3 0.1
August -0.2 -0.1 0.0 0.3
September 1.0 1.2 0.0
October 0.8 0.0 -2.2
November -0.6 0.1 1.7
December 1.0 3.0 1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 9: Combined Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the August Combined TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

August Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 108.8 6.5
2005 111.4 2.4
2006 109.5 -1.7
2007 111.7 2.0
2008 111.1 -0.5
2009 102.5 -7.7
2010 107.4 4.8
2011 110.8 3.1
2012 112.6 1.7
2013 115.6 2.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

COURIER-MESSENGER INC. – (661) 257-8689 – BIG OR SMALL, WE SHIP IT ALL!

Route Planning Software: Mapping a Path to Savings

Paragon Software Systems’ route planning tool provides dispatchers at George’s Inc. more shipment control and better visibility.

Poultry supplier George’s scheduling solution delivers meaty efficiency gains.

George’s Inc. is a classic American success story. The company started as a general store in tiny Brush Creek, Ark., west of Springdale. In the 1920s, founder C.L. George began hauling live poultry to customers in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago, laying the foundation for what would become one of the country’s leading poultry producers.

Nearly one century later, the fourth generation of the George family still leads the privately held company. The thriving operation spans multiple states, and employs more than 4,700 workers. George’s processes more than five million chickens weekly, and is a major supplier to restaurant chains such as KFC and Popeye’s.

The company primarily supplies foodservice, retail, and national companies, and operates processing plants in Springdale, Ark.; Cassville, Mo.; and Edinburgh and Harrisonburg, Va. The Virginia-based business—which mainly serves direct-to-store-door (DSD) customers—created the challenge George’s eventually met by integrating route planning software into its enterprise business system.

Simplifying Complexity

George’s DSD accounts presented a logistics challenge, sometimes demanding up to 35 stops for a single truck.

“We entered the DSD orders into our business system, but then had to manually create routes,” says Jeff Overstreet, director of transportation for George’s. “Because this was a complex, labor-intensive, and time-consuming activity, I began to search for a software solution that would assign orders to the best possible routes based on destination, driver hours of service, and other factors.”

After intensive research and evaluation, Overstreet chose a route planning solution by Frisco, Texas-based Paragon Software Systems. “The selection came down to four or five competitors, but the determining factor was Paragon’s ability to integrate with our existing enterprise system,” notes Overstreet. “The software is not an off-the-shelf commercial solution, but one of our own design.”

George’s dispatchers use Paragon’s daily route management software (RMS) to download order details from the enterprise system. The RMS slots each order into its correct position in the fixed routes, then recalculates route timing, truck utilization, mileage, driver service time, and costs.

It also updates daily key performance indicators such as average cost per delivery; highlights any under-utilized routes that need to be improved; and provides warnings for any overloaded vehicles, over-worked drivers, or late customer deliveries.

The Integrated Advantage

Before George’s implemented the system, sales and transportation were not integrated. The sales office and dispatch function were in separate locations, so every order placed was printed in the dispatch office.

“For example, the dispatcher picked up the printed orders, saw two deliveries for New Hampshire and one for Connecticut, then assigned those to a route together in the enterprise system,” says Overstreet.

The system allows George’s to quickly develop routes, eliminate manual planning and scheduling, and ensure that mileage does not spiral out of control as workload increases. In fact, George’s has been able to add more deliveries without adding more miles.

“Prior to implementing the Paragon system, we didn’t have a way to integrate our transportation function into our operating system,” notes Overstreet. “We’ve been able to automate transportation to our advantage.”

Paragon’s software manages details such as customer addresses, delivery quantities, time windows, vehicle sizes, and driver shifts. Running an algorithm designed specifically for optimizing road-based transportation operations, the software uses digital mapping to calculate the most effective delivery and collection sequences with accurate transit times, allocating loads to the appropriate vehicles and drivers.

Integrated fleet management generates route plans with efficient backloads—increasing asset utilization, improving productivity, and reducing empty mileage.

The solution ensures schedules are geographically feasible to meet promised arrival time windows. It also improves fleet utilization and productivity by making routes more efficient, minimizing total mileage, and reducing empty miles.

When George’s first applied the software solution to its DSD business, the company operated 11 routes from the Virginia facility. After running orders through the Paragon solution, the number dropped to nine. “That represents significant savings in capital equipment and labor costs,” says Overstreet.

The company gained further efficiencies. First, since implementing Paragon’s RMS, George’s has cut its fuel bill for DSD operations by more than $30,000 annually. The savings result from a five-percent reduction in road miles, made possible by using Paragon’s map-based transportation optimization capabilities.

Second, George’s was able to reduce its fleet size by 10 percent, while still maintaining high service levels.

Saving dispatchers six hours per week was a third benefit. They now spend this time investigating backhaul and other business opportunities, instead of performing data entry and dispatch administration tasks.

More Satisfied Customers

For a George’s customer who is down to four cases of chicken and requires more to serve its lunch patrons, the need to know immediately when the product will arrive is paramount. As any retail operation can attest, calling the driver doesn’t always yield accurate information. George’s found a solution in Paragon’s Fleet Controller.

Fleet Controller provides the link between real-time truck tracking and Paragon’s RMS. It enables George’s to:

  • Verify in real time that delivery schedules are on plan.
  • Receive alerts of any late-running issues or route deviations.
  • Identify recurring inefficiencies.
  • Provide customers updated arrival time alerts.

Fleet Controller includes standard interfaces to many leading truck tracking systems. Real-time tracking data—including GPS locations and ignition settings—links to the system, which uses advanced matching logic to continually assess each truck’s location in relation to the planned schedule, and update the timing for the remainder of its route.

Fleet Controller plays a key role in supporting customer satisfaction in our DSD operations,” says Overstreet. “It is integrated with our onboard communications systems to provide real-time shipment visibility. We and our customers know where a truck is at any given time.”

The software also provides a range of fleet management reports, and plan-versus-actual summaries. George’s can discover which routes incurred the highest excess mileage or driver hours, and immediately debrief the driver. It also has visibility into which customer sites regularly keep drivers waiting, resulting in added costs and late deliveries for other customers.

For George’s, an important part of the Paragon solution is its flexibility. If the company wants to deviate from the standard package, Paragon can easily adapt the software and implement the desired functions.

“Paragon’s programming group has been a huge factor in the solution’s success over time,” says Overstreet. “We perform functions other poultry suppliers don’t, such as filling small orders, but this makes our overall process variable. We needed a tool that can organize the logistics pieces.”

For example, because the company sells fresh poultry products, every day has to be a “sell out.” George’s DSD operation doesn’t have the luxury of keeping inventory on hand, or selling product several weeks out and storing it. Product has to move.

“We were having an issue with spot sales on loads—product that had to move that day,” says Overstreet. “Now, our sales force can go into Paragon, draw a 50- or 100-mile radius around a truck that is half full, then identify buyers within the route who can purchase product that needs to be sold. We’re not only optimizing transportation with this system, but also maximizing product movement.”

New mapping enhancements in the latest version of the software provide a user interface that automatically displays information on a map for fast, accurate, and familiar visual references for drivers and dispatchers.

George’s success with Paragon for its DSD business in its eastern U.S. operations motivated the company to expand its usage to operations in the western region, with a slightly different approach. The company uses fixed routing in the East, where it owns the fleet and employs drivers. In the West, however, it uses dynamic routing, because outside carriers transport 95 percent of its shipments in that region.

Paragon’s Integrated Fleets software adds another level of sophistication to George’s multi-site transport and logistics optimization capabilities. The tool enables managers to treat vehicles and drivers at multiple sites as a single integrated transportation resource, so movements from different depots can be combined into efficient routes that reduce overall empty running.

The tool generates route plans with efficient backloads, which increases asset utilization, improves productivity, and reduces empty mileage. Integrated fleet transportation planning helps:

  • Optimize all vehicles as a single resource, regardless of location.
  • Decrease empty running and increase loaded miles per vehicle.
  • Ensure quick and efficient automatic routing for operations involving combined fleets based at different locations.
  • Optimize complex logistics operations such as those involving warehouses or production sites with different products serving the same customer base, or combined primary and secondary distribution operations.

The Integrated Fleets software is suitable for more complex transportation operations, such as those involving multiple DCs with different product ranges, or where a company wants to combine pickups and deliveries on the same truck routes.

For example, dispatchers can schedule a truck from one DC to make some customer deliveries, then pick up its next load from another warehouse or DC for delivery on the way back to its base. This creates route schedules with efficient backhauls that reduce empty mileage, improve productivity, and lower total transportation costs.

“Eliminating miles and adding payload delivers a huge benefit,” says Overstreet. As a result, costs drop in every shipping category, which leads to financial and service-level gains.

As George’s looks to further expand its use of transportation optimization software, its immediate goals are developing new customized reports and setting up its database to better analyze rates and carrier performance.

“It’s important to know your business requirements,” Overstreet concludes. “Then ensure that technology is tailored to your operations, and helps you continue to improve your business and methods.”

 

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© 2017 Courier-Messenger, Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Web Design by Bright Mind Media