Carrier Logistics Inc. Newsletter

Trucking with CLI

March 2015

In This Issue

Optimizing Routes

5 Benefits of Mobile POD

New Briefs

Help Desk Tip

 

 

 

Quick Links

Progress Software

MPX

 

 

Featured Staffer:

Ahmad Tabanjeh

Ahmad Tabanjeh recently joined CLI as a member of the MIS Support Team.  Ahmad's responsibilities include assisting CLI clients and supporting them in their use of the FACTS software system.  He works closely with David Russell, assisting with upgrades, monitoring and troubleshooting clients' databases, and providing critical support.

 

Originally from Jordan, Ahmad worked for Jordan Telecom /Jordan (now called "Orange" and owned by France Telecom) from 1992 to 2007.  He held several positions, including telecom technician, system administrator, and system analyst.  He immigrated to the United States in 2007.  In the US he worked for Hudson Valley Hospital as a help desk support technician.

 

Ahmad received his Master's degree in Information Technology from The City College of New York in 2014.

 

In 2012, he became a US citizen.  He lives in Yorktown Heights, NY with his wife, two sons and a daughter.  In his free time, Ahmad enjoys watching NBA games with his family.

 

 

 

New Client Spotlight:

Davis Cartage

 

After a thorough search, Davis Cartage chose CLI's FACTS transportation management software to help the company to continue to grow.  Using the system since October 2014, Davis has already reaped the benefits of increased productivity and greater efficiency. 

 

Davis Cartage is the second largest private business employer in the City of Corunna, MI. The company relies heavily on the talents, knowledge, and contributions of its employees. Individuals on the "Davis Team" play a vital role in helping to keep Davis a leader in the industry.

 

Davis offers both warehousing and transportation services.  Its warehouse division operates six facilities in Mid-Michigan and Southwest Michigan.   From just-in-time automotive support programs to assisting the region's agricultural industry, Davis' seasoned team members work with many of Michigan's diverse manufacturers and distributors. 

 

Offering both LTL and TL services, Davis' transportation division offers same-day and next-day delivery within Michigan and the Great Lakes region, including Canada. Davis is fully licensed and certified for cross-border shipments and can assist in getting shipments to and from Canada.

 

Please welcome Davis Cartage.

 

To learn more about 

Davis Cartage, click here.

 

 

 

Today's Smile

Used with permission. 

All rights reserved. 

Welcome to the March issue of Trucking with CLI.  This edition features an article I penned for Transport Topics on optimizing routes.  It received good feedback and I am interested to hear what you think.

 

This edition also features a great resource from CLI partner MPX on outsourcing your printing and invoicing services, which I know you will find informative.  In addition, we are pleased to introduce a new feature called News Briefs, that will keep you up-to-date on goings-on around CLI.

 

Finally, we have our staff spotlight, an article on new client Davis Cartage and a practical help desk tip.  

 

We hope you enjoy the newsletter.  As always, we welcome your feedback and input.

 

 

From Transport Topics:  

What to Consider When Optimizing Routes

by Ken Weinberg

 

Smart transportation companies, especially multistop carriers KEN, are paying close attention to routing. They feel the improved productivity and efficiency with less backtracking that routing brings, as well as the more effective use of drivers - important in a time of driver shortages and stricter hours-of-service regulations - are crucial in today's environment.

 

There was a time when freight carriers would have called in a phalanx of industrial engineers to help improve routing. The industrial engineers would have studied all the variables - driver shifts, traffic patterns, existing routes, frequency of pickups and deliveries at regular locations, etc. - and come up with an "optimum" plan for routing trucks throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month.

 

In the regulated environment that existed through the 1970s, carriers focused on efficiency and productivity because they could not compete on price and were restricted to where they could go. However, when the 1980s arrived and deregulation kicked in, truckers turned to price and expansion into new lanes as primary competitive tactics to win business, with many shifting their focus away from efficiency and productivity.

 

Carriers learned how to compete in a deregulated world, and many began again to look beyond rates and expansion. Then, a burst of new technological developments and a reduction in technology's cost provided new options.

 

Many carriers invested in technology to streamline or "optimize" operations - routing, for example. Trucking companies today are making big optimization efforts in search of such benefits as lower costs, fuel savings, improved loading efficiency, more stops per day, and pickup and delivery of more bills of lading.

 

There is a danger to this. Trucking companies have discovered that optimization is more than just pushing a button on a computer. Achieving it can be more difficult and expensive than expected because of driver shifts, traffic jams, accidents and optimization expenses, leaving those handling computer programming frustrated. The variables may be too great in a multistop environment to achieve the level of optimization being sought.

 

Carriers trying to optimize routing can get blocked and not see a way to continue. They end up doing nothing and thus fail to achieve routing goals. While optimization - the industry calls it "dynamic" optimization because it takes place over time - should always be the goal, it can prove difficult to achieve.

 

There is a way around possible failure to optimize - by using "empirical optimization." If you consider dynamic optimization as near perfection, empirical optimization will take you to somewhere near it, but not quite get you there.

 

Technically speaking, "empirical optimization" consists of making a system as fully perfect, functional or effective as possible based on observations and evidence accumulated over time: in other words, step-by-step improvements. It takes you to the place the industrial engineers would take you - when dynamic optimization is too difficult or too expensive to achieve, empirical optimization can be the way to get the best and highest routing results.

 

Some trucking companies have spent big bucks on systems to optimize their routing. These are good systems, but a great many of the companies that invest in them fail to realize one thing: It still takes work to optimize.

Moreover, even if you are tremendously diligent and do all the hard work, optimization still can be less than perfect if you factor in the human variable.

 

Let's say you have a driver who has been making regular stops at XYZ Distribution Center. He has a good relationship with everybody at the location. They know him, and he knows his way around their facility, knows the shipping manager, knows everyone, knows what time to show up. But dynamic optimization may dictate that a different driver should make this stop.

 

With today's heightened security concerns, sending different drivers to a single location on various days may be counterproductive. Furthermore, personal elements and relationships can be lost in an optimization process that cares more about numbers than people.

 

To those who try to get routing on track, here is what I suggest: Jump right in with both feet and try to optimize routing. But if you cannot achieve dynamic optimization immediately, go one step lower on your target and try for "empirical optimization." This way, the stall is not permanent.

 

After you have achieved empirical optimization, take another look. At this point, it is up to you. Is your routing now achieving what you want to accomplish? If so, perhaps you should stick with empirical optimization and avoid the expense and hard work to achieve dynamic optimization. It may be best for you to work on achieving other goals for your organization rather than trying to get from empirical optimization to dynamic optimization of routing.

 

However, if you have the desire and resources to continue to enhance the process, then by all means, set your sights on the dynamic optimization of your routing. This will take time and work, but an increase in efficiency is always an improvement.

 

The bottom line is this: Never give in to the temptation to do nothing. You can do something, even if it is one or a few small steps, to improve routing. Small steps can have big effects. And using what you have learned about optimization, you can go on to other functions of your business and improve them, as well.

 

This article originally appeared in the February 2, 2015 edition of Transport Topics.  Please click here for the original version.

 

 

Key Things to Consider When Outsourcing Your Statement and Bill Print Services

 

By Thomas J Donhauser, Vice President of Business Development, MPX

 

Companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs or simply improve their operational processes.  Outsourcing for statement processing first became popular with large financial institutions in the early '90s.  Today, many operational activities that companies do not view as a part of their "Core Competency" are often outsourced.  What may have started in the Financial Services sector is now true for Utilities, Hospitals, Telecom and virtually any other type of company that is involved in the processing of critical variable print communications to their customers.

 

This article is not meant as an all-inclusive list, but rather as a high level overview of the key things that you and your company should consider when looking to outsource this type of service. 

 

1.The Current Process

If you currently process your bills and statements internally, it is important that you have a clear understanding of your current process and all of the components and costs associated with this process.  If this work is already outsourced, then you should have a good handle on this information already.

 

One of the first things to make sure that you have is an accurate understanding of your daily/weekly/monthly volume for all of your statements, bills, notices or other communications that will be processed. Consider whether the volume may grow or decrease due to changes in the marketplace, growth or expansion, etc. Next review how and when you process files that will be passed on to print.  Are files processed daily/weekly, etc. and how long before they can be forwarded?  It is important to identify the various files, how many documents each file represents and when these files would be ready, since they may process at different times.

 

Another piece of information to investigate is the style, color, size, preprinted or perforations.  This same information should be gathered on your envelopes.  Having this information will help you put together an RFP or assist in evaluating vendors and their services for this work.

 

A key thing to keep in mind is that you should look for a vendor to help you with ideas on how they can help you lower your costs or improve your operation performance or both.

 

2. Vendor Evaluation

Whether you decide to conduct a formal bid process or simply interview potential partners for your statement and billing services, it is important to make sure that you have a clear understanding of how the vendor works.  What is the decision criteria for this project?  You should identify all of the relevant components and provide some form of weighted value to each.   This in turn will dictate the questions you ask.   For example, you might use the following criteria for evaluating a vendor by rating them on a scale of 1 through 10.

  • Experience in our industry -- 10%
  • Electronic Statement/Billing Capability  -- 15%
  • Service Level Performance -- 15%
  • Redesign Capability -- 15%
  • Innovative/Consultative -- 20%
  • Company/Financial Stability -- 15%
  • Pricing/Costs -- 10%

 

3. Process/Requirements and Pricing

Below are some key issues/questions to help you get relevant information to assist you in making an informed decision.

  • Describe the workflow and provide a typical timeline from the time statements are rendered until the mailing process is completed.
  • What type of reporting is available?
  • Describe how statements that require manual processing are handled.
  • How does your company support paperless adoption?
  • How do you manage accounts that may require specialized handling?
  • Are any separate systems needed to be installed onsite?  And if so, who has responsibility for managing, maintaining, troubleshooting and support?
  • Provide a timeline for implementation of services.
  • Describe your testing process and validation.
  • Explain your company's security policy as it relates to customer data.
  • Review the following:
    • Price per piece or package (Color vs B/W)
    • File processing fees
    • Implementation fees
    • Monthly minimum fees
    • Postage rate/discount
    • Storage/warehousing fees

In the final analysis, you need to be confident that the company you choose is capable of getting the job done efficiently and effectively for you, be certain there is a cultural fit and make sure they they will help you to achieve the goals that you have set. 

 

To learn more about Outsourcing, call Tom today at (207) 619-6994  or email him directly at  tdonhauser@mpxonline.com. Visit MPX online at www.mpxonline.com.

 

 

New Briefs

Updates from Around CLI

  • Winner Winner Chicken Dinner 
    Congratulations to Gord Finlayson, owner, GRF Residential Solutions and former director of Information Systems at Sameday Right-O-Way. Gord completed the latest CLI survey and won a random drawing for a $100 Amazon Gift Card.  While the prize give-away is over, if you have 2 minutes you can still take the survey on the attributes you most want in a TMS system.  

    Click here to take the survey. Congrats Gord!
     
  • Promotions Department
    Congratulations are also in order to Hermabh Tripathi, who has been working with CLI for over 9 years. Hermabh has been promoted to the role of Software Development Manager.  Congrats Herambh!
     
  • User Group Update
    The CLI User Group will next be held in April 2016. While there is no doubt that this is a valuable program for both CLI and our clients, the feedback that we have received is that participants would prefer that this be a biennial event.  Look for more details in the fall on next year's program.
     
  • Get Ready for Your Close Up 
     
    CLI is exploring video conferencing options as an additional tool for use in training.  Would your organization be interested in the prospect of using video conferencing to communicate with CLI?  What, if any, capabilities does your company currently have for video conferencing?  To give us feedback on this topic, please click here.

 

 



Help Desk Tip:  

Forgot Your Password?  We Can Help

 

Here's one more reason, if you haven't already, to upgrade to FACTS Version 11: It includes a nifty feature that allows you to reset your password in case you forget it.

 

All you need to do is click the Forgot Password button at the FACTS login:


 


 You'll receive this message: 

Simply click Yes, and the reset password will be emailed to the address associated with your user profile.

 

When you log in, you'll be prompted to create a new personal password. 


 

Questions?  Please contact CLI's Help Desk at helpdesk@carrierlogistics.com

 

 

Thank you for sharing some time with us. As always we would appreciate your feedback and content ideas so that we can tailor the newsletter to better meet your needs and interests.  Click to send us your FEEDBACK.

 

Regards,

 


Ken Weinberg
Carrier Logistics Inc.

About Us: Carrier Logistics Inc. (CLI) is the leading provider of integrated freight management software solutions that help supply-chain companies manage change and improve their profitability. For 40 years, CLI's comprehensive freight management solutions have driven every key element in trucking companies from dispatching to freight bill entry to mobile data communications. From call logging to General Ledger to EDI transactions and Internet track and trace, CLI's systems encompass every aspect of a trucking company's needs.