CAI Transportation Blog

18 Dec, 2017

ELD Noncompliance: What's really at stake?


In December 2015, the FMCSA formally introduced their mandate that commercial vehicles be outfitted with electronic logging devices (ELDs), which track several important data points, including drivers’ hours of service. The mandate provided an additional two years from the announcement for fleets to prepare, setting the official implementation date for December 18, 2017.

Supporters believe the rule will increase safety in the industry by helping reduce the number of fatigued truck drivers on the road. They also believe that the uniform use of ELDs should give fleet owners the ability to see real-time data, reduce inefficiencies, and increase profits.

But to detractors, it represents a potential hit to productivity. In addition to the cost of the devices (anywhere from $200 to $800 per unit), there’s the cost of installation, maintenance, and ongoing access to the data. Also, most experienced drivers are accustomed to using paper logbooks. The time and effort involved in training them to use a new system— and ensuring they continue to use it— is not insignificant.  

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07 Dec, 2017

Preparing for the ELD mandate: How to reduce cost and increase efficiency


On December 18, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will officially roll out the ELD mandate for trucks in America. To promote safety on the road, this mandate will require certain carriers and drivers to use electronic logging devices (ELD) in their vehicles. As the date draws near, we expect to see rates rise and capacity tighten. If you’re a carrier or driver required to track Hours of Service (HOS) and maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS), you know the time to act is now—but implementing these changes can be expensive.

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29 Nov, 2017

How to boost productivity and predictability in a fast-paced industry


“No two days are the same.”

This is something we hear often from our logistics customers—it’s what makes their jobs difficult, but it’s also what they love about their jobs. Ask anyone who manages a fleet, a distribution center, or a supply chain, and they’ll agree that this industry is fast-paced. You need to have the right products in the right place at the right time (for the right price).

When managing logistics operations, there are many variables at play. Sometimes things don’t go as planned: trucks break down, drivers show up with the wrong equipment, construction clogs roads, and natural disasters can affect capacity. Then there’s vendors and your own staff to manage.

When even one of these variables occurs, you may find yourself racing to put out fires, spending your entire day on an issue you hadn’t planned. When so much is beyond your control, how do you keep productivity up and inefficiencies down?

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15 Nov, 2017

What is reverse logistics?

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When we talk about the traditional flow of logistics, we imagine the movement of raw materials to one or several manufacturers. Then, we picture those completed goods moved to distributors or final consumers, or some similar combination. Whatever parties are involved,  the focus involves moving products forward from source to final destination.

But what about when an item needs to move backward, from a consumer back to the store, or from the store back to the manufacturer? These instances are examples of a process called reverse logistics.

Reverse logistics involves the movement of items back at least one step through the supply chain. Sometimes this is for merchandise being returned due to personal preference or due to product recalls. Sometimes it’s for the repair or refurbishment of a used item to recapture some value. Other times, it’s for the responsible recycling of materials. Whatever the reasons for backward movement, it’s an important consideration for supply chain managers across many industries.

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01 Nov, 2017

How to create an RFP that attracts the best logistics partner for your business


In many articles, we’ve discussed the importance of working with a third-party logistics partner: the expertise, reliability, and convenience they offer can make a significant impact in your supply chain management efforts and outcomes. We’ve also stressed the importance of having a good working relationship with your 3PL so you can call upon them whenever a need arises. But if you don’t already have an established relationship with a 3PL, how do you get one?

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13 Oct, 2017

Natural disasters and the spot bid market: how to avoid paying too much

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When it comes to ensuring adequate capacity for their goods, supply chain managers have various tools at their disposal. If they’ve planned ahead and know exactly what needs to go where (and by when), contracting with carriers in advance is often the best way to ensure peace of mind and a seamless experience.

However, the shipping process doesn’t always fit neatly into a plan. Suppliers can miss deadlines, throwing the whole process off by several days. Infrastructure problems can cause trucks to need to change their routes, altering the timeline. Orders may be increased, which means supply chain managers need to find more capacity on short notice. In these cases, existing transportation contracts may not account for the full scope of supply chain needs, and it may be time to turn to the spot bid market to fill in gaps.

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27 Sep, 2017

ELD mandate: answers to your frequently asked questions

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By the end of the year, big changes will roll out for shippers and fleets in America. Beginning December 18 2017, certain carriers and drivers must use an electronic logging device (ELD) under the ELD mandate. This rule applies to any carriers and drivers required to track Hours of Service (HOS) and maintain records of duty status (RODS).

With any government regulation comes questions and concern. What’s changing, why, who does it affect? These are some of the many questions supply chain and fleet managers are asking as December creeps closer on the calendar.

To help clear up the confusion, let’s examine the ELD mandate and answer some common questions surrounding the rule and its implementation.

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13 Sep, 2017

How to secure capacity for the holiday season

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With school back in session and Labor Day officially behind us, it’s time to shift our thinking from the dog days of summer to the holiday season ahead. Companies have already begun ramping up production and inventory for the upcoming season starting as early as July. As the clock is ticking, it’s probably time for your company to follow suit as you don’t want your goods to get left behind.

We’ve offered some great insights on planning ahead for holiday season shipping, but now is the time to get to work. It’s not enough to have a production and inventory plan if you haven’t secured capacity to ship that inventory where it needs to go in time for the holidays.

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29 Aug, 2017

How to choose a new shipping carrier


When you’re evaluating new shipping carriers to work with, the stakes are pretty high. These are people you’ll potentially entrust with your valuable goods. Their efficiency and care can mean the difference between increased profitability and significant loss for your company.

In addition to the financial implications, your company’s reputation should also be a key consideration. No matter how well you handle your own internal processes, if products don’t arrive on time and in good condition, it reflects poorly on your company. Crucial business relationships can be damaged by careless freight carriers.

Clearly, this is not a decision you should take lightly.

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02 Aug, 2017

How a good 3PL can improve your reputation


Finding a third-party logistics company to work closely with should be a high priority for any business that relies on transporting goods. Even when managing a relatively uncomplicated supply chain, the details can quickly become overwhelming. For larger companies with more goods on the move, the sheer scale of work involved in ensuring that cargo is in the right place at the right time necessitates help from experts in the transportation industry.

Visibility, cost savings, and efficiency are some of the reasons why partnering with a reliable 3PL is crucial to creating a smooth supply chain. But of the many factors to consider when deciding whether it’s time to start working with an expert third-party logistics company, one of the most important is the resulting benefit to your reputation as a company.

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