They say it takes 10,000 hours practice to achieve mastery of a skill or field. But practicing good logistics is less about the amount of time spent, and more about ensuring best practices. Here are seven easy to remember logistics best practices: Evaluate market and internal data Determine whether in-house or outsourced logistics management is a better fit Make a plan Establish relationships with logistics service providers (LSPs), suppliers and carriers Purchase and correctly implement a TMS Optimize routes, transportation modes and capacity usage Ensure visibility into all operations, shipments, etc. Why did we choose the number seven? Because there's a certain mantra known as the 7 Rs of Logistics that dovetails nicely with the idea of practicing good logistics (though it's really just one R repeated seven times). The Rs are encompassed in the idea of getting the right product, in the right quantity, in the right condition, at the right place, at the right time, to the right customer, at the right price. And there are plenty more "rights" to add if one wanted to extrapolate it further - like working with the right partners, establishing the right relationships, using the right mode, etc.
Those involved in the freight shipping and logistics process have a need for speed - not just any speed, but efficient speed as fuel usage comes under stricter scrutiny. One way carriers are working to achieve this is to emphasize aerodynamics advances in their freight shipping modes. While it may seem as if semi trucks and railroad cars haven't changed much in their design over the years, that's not entirely true. But most of those fancy, futuristic-looking concepts have yet to reach the road. Still, with fuel accounting for the second largest cost center for trucking companies, and a significant one for railroads as well, maximizing fuel efficiency through aerodynamics is a growing area of focus in freight shipping. And often, the best way to get there is by making incremental tweaks to vehicles and containers already in operation.
Everything you need to know about domestic intermodal and how to be successful implementing it into your logistics strategy. Gives tips, tricks and insights on intermodal and what to watch out for when converting from truckload to intermodal.
As graduation season hits its peak, high school and college seniors are thinking about their future line of work. And one path worthy of heavy consideration is a career in logistics. U.S. News and World Report has logistician as number eight on its list of Best Business Jobs. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 30% growth through 2030. If a soon-to-be graduate - or current pro in another field - wants to move in the logistics direction, then - just like a race car entering the Indy 500 - qualifying for a logistics career is the next step. Having the right qualifications - just as in any other field - leads to the best, most lucrative long-term logistics job prospects.
Transportation has many facets, whether it's a bicycle heading down a trail, a truck making a delivery to complete a supply chain or a souped up race car whizzing around a track - all involve transportation. Since Indianapolis knows a thing or two about races, and InTek Freight & Logistics knows a thing or two about supply chains, how about a closer look at the comparison between a race and a supply chain. Beyond the transportation parallel, here are five ways a supply chain is like a race, with a bonus number six if you make it to the end...
The status of major ports and the supply chain situation has evolved a bit since the last check-in published here. And while some of those changes can be counted as improvements - with more capacity generally available and better rates for shippers - there are plenty of issues pointing the opposite direction as well. You've probably heard most of the examples of negative pressures, but in case you haven't - a potential California port strike, Covid-19 lockdowns in China, gas/oil prices and Russia's invasion of Ukraine count as a few of the major ones. For the latest on the good news/bad news combination of leveling off to lower spot rates and considerably higher diesel prices, check out our Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis updated every week. Let's go into more depth on some of the other supply chain and port status updates of the day.
Each major freight and logistics transportation mode requires fuel to ship goods, whether by air, by sea, by rail or over the road. While gas prices and oil markets certainly impact everyday drivers, the cost of fuel also has a big impact on freight and logistics budgets. Fluctuating fuel costs can both directly and indirectly affect freight rates (and add fuel surcharges), which in turn affect prices for shippers to move goods and eventually, product prices for the end consumer. Getting back to fuel types, diesel predominates on land, with freight trains used for intermodal transport and semi-trucks both using the same type. Ocean freighters use the less refined marine fuel known as bunker fuel - either high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) for ships with exhaust gas scrubbers or very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) for those without. And finally, jet fuel is generally kerosene. These fuel types all differ from the unleaded gasoline used in most passenger vehicles.
Just as with any major sporting event, there are plenty of logistics involved in the Indy 500 to make the big race happen on Memorial Day weekend. Organizers and participants have countless logistical factors to consider, including Getting cars and equipment to the Brickyard, on time and ready Getting drivers and teams to Indianapolis Getting food, drinks and merchandise to the track Getting fans to the grandstand, Snake Pit, and wherever they're watching the race Those are sort of macro factors that involve logistics at the Indy 500, with plenty of minutiae to go into each. But when you're organizing and planning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing - and welcoming a full complement of fans and surrounding events throughout the Month of May for the first time in a couple of years - no detail is too small. Just how many people are we talking? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of staff working the event from a variety of angles - including the teams themselves, Indy Car employees, track personnel, vendors and security among others, plus the biggest number, up to 300,000 (or maybe even more) fans. So planners must ensure adequate parking, security, crowd control, ticket takers, working restrooms and anything else that comes with a big crowd. They must also ensure the vendors have enough food, beverages (adult and non-alcoholic), ice to keep things cool and memorabilia. But what about those cars?
Supply chain issues have affected just about every corner of the world lately, causing product shortages, manufacturing problems and oftentimes higher prices. And cars have been no exception. But what does seem a bit exceptional is that even the Indy 500's Indy Car series is dealing with supply chain effects - with hybrid engines originally slated to debut next year pushed back to 2024, and for this May at the Brickyard, a lack of excess teams causing a change in qualifying procedures. Let's take a look at both issues which seem at the very least supply chain adjacent, starting with this year's big race on Memorial Day weekend.
Here in Indianapolis, the Month of May is capitalized, as it brings with it a little auto race called the Indy 500 and many related festivities. One of those festivities is the Indy Mini Marathon - which InTek Freight & Logistics staff will be a part of coincidentally enough - and it brings to mind comparisons to the industry in which we work. When addressing the freight and logistics component of a business, it's tempting to jump right in, look for the lowest spot rate and sprint each shipment to the finish line. However, an approach suitable for a marathon (or a mini marathon in Indy's case) is the smarter bet, as a well-functioning shipping operation requires a steady, measured process and the right preparation. Exploding out of the starting gates at top speed may work for a shipment or two, but that strategy will burn a freight and logistics budget and bandwidth, as moving every load as if it's a fire drill is unsustainable. And you may get a nasty case of shin splints, too.
Freight shipping can be as fast as it needs to be, or can take lengthy amounts of time depending on the mode of transportation, the distance it's traveling, the price paid by the shipper and other factors. If product is needed tomorrow, there are freight modes that can accommodate such a need. If a shipment is working on a looser timeline, a month or more is not unusual for international freight. The fastest freight mode in a vacuum is air freight, while the slowest is ocean freight (not counting some type of horse-drawn, non-powered method). Staying on the ground, truckload is faster than intermodal, though not as drastically as some may think. Delays can of course happen to any type of freight, whether they be weather-related, due to congestion at ports or terminals, because of staffing issues, tied to failed equipment or related in some way - commonly these days - to Covid-19. So, long story short, freight shipping can be fast, or it can be less fast. Let's get to some more precise numbers.