by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Road Congestion?s Costly Impact On the Logistics Industry

Road Congestion?s Costly Impact On the Logistics Industry

While traffic is a large cause of frustration and a time waster for many drivers, road congestion is especially detrimental to truck drivers. In a recent report by the Department of Transportation?s National Freight Strategic Plan, the DOT announced that road traffic congestion costs the trucking industry nearly $27 billion annually due to lost time and excess fuel consumption. Congested roads cause shipping delays, which, in turn, raise product prices.

The plan calls for exploring other, more efficient transit?more efficient transit options, as well as encourages the use of existing resources (such as improving and modernizing intermodal and rail facilities) to help the highway systems move easier, as 13,500 miles of the current system are consistently slowed down below posted speed limits.

Recognizing that freight projects can be costly, U.S. DOT hopes to better invest in the freight system, including the investment in education, recruitment and training of the freight workforce. DOT will continue to develop newer freight data resources?in addition to the current data achieved through advanced GPS-based truck location information?to help make more informed decisions that could affect the freight system.

One city that exemplifies the growing highway congestion is Chicago. Five of the 20 most congested stretches of road in the United States are in the Chicago area. In 2014, drivers endured an average of 61 extra hours on the road due to delays caused by gridlock, construction and collisions. The cost of truck congestion in Chicago last year reached $1.5 billion, accounting for five percent of the national cost.

Shippers may have a difficult time avoiding Chicago and other metropolitan road congestion altogether, but Hanson Logistics has an innovative solution. By locating the Hanson Logistics Chicago Consolidation Center east of Chicago in Hobart, Indiana, truck drivers are not restricted by the city?s congestion that can increase travel time, sometimes by 60 percent. This creates more reliable and efficient routes and more rate certainty, resulting in significant long-term savings. Though the crippling congestion issue may not disappear overnight, Hanson Logistics? best-in-class distribution program is prepared to step up to the challenge.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

What Can a 3PL Do for You?

Since the term ? and the market ? originated in the ?70s, 3PLs providers have evolved to offer a variety of niche and broad-based supply chain services. Today, with the need for sophisticated technology, access to capacity and increasing compliance issues, even those companies that may have been hesitant to outsource logistics to a third party are acknowledging the growing value.

A 3PL offers many benefits, some of which include:

  • Opportunity Cost ? Outsourcing allows you channel your resources to your core competency; you invest in yourself. A 3PL eliminates the need for capital expenditures in all of the separate elements of the logistics process (warehouse space, technology, staff, transportation, etc.). And no more diversions spent on rectifying a costly mistake. All of these factors directly impact your company?s rate of growth.
  • Leverage Expertise?3PLs are experts in the supply chain industry and know what solution is best for each customer. 3PLs have (or should have) the technology that gives you visibility into inventory, tracking, and delivery, plus automation that eliminates repetitive tasks. Technology is required to serve larger retailers and other lean supply chain customers. And if you?re in the food business, technology is a must for traceability. ?With this best-in-class expertise at your fingertips, logistics becomes an asset, not a liability.
  • Scalability? Responding to seasonal demands, changing marketplaces and rapid company growing places a huge burden on internal resources. 3PLs are structured to manage any and all transitions or changes in the supply chain. The combination of warehousing network, truck fleet, and assets from supply chain partners gives 3PLs scalability to meet supply chain demand peaks. . . and valleys.
  • Continuous Improvement?3PLs constantly look for ways to improve the logistics process. These providers know how to deploy resources that ensure the job will get done in the most efficient way, providing security and comfort for your company. Whether it?s the latest advancements in technology or continuous optimization of the supply chain process, a 3PL has your best interest in mind.

And if you?re searching for a 3PL provider with a 60-year track record in all of the above, give Hanson Logistics a call. Outsourcing your needs to Hanson allows you to leverage best-in-class logistics as a competitive advantage.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Can You Lower Your Cost to Serve?

Can You Lower Your Cost to Serve?

Every manufacturer likes to see a truckload of product leaving the dock, destined for the retail shelf. They probably look the other way, however, when it?s a hotshot load of a few pallets. In today?s market, vendors face the challenge of meeting the on-demand replenish requirements of large regional and national retail customers. Order frequency is higher; order size is smaller. The question becomes, how much does that level of service actually cost?

It?s a tough question, and you?ll likely get two different answers from sales and from finance. You may very well be servicing an unprofitable customer if your week is filled with last minute outbound LTL to many points.

True cost to serve requires analysis of supply chain activities and costs incurred to meet customer?s product demand. This is a disciplined, data-based modeling of your network, and not many manufacturers conduct these studies.

So, short of modeling, what can you do to help ensure you are taking the steps to lower your costs to serve?

    • Stage forward inventory in a distribution location strategic to your customer base. This is a quasi form of postponement; placing stock required for the final order closer to the point of purchase. Ideally, you can move your finished goods via truckload to this distribution point. This is critical for mid-tier processors or those with complex SKU product lines.
    • Use technology to drive efficiencies in ordering; accuracy in picking, and supply chain transparency.
    • Collaborate with like vendors in your supply to eliminate waste and reduce costs. In our industry, it?s called order consolidation resulting in multi-vendor load building.
    • Strive for scheduled delivery. Work with your customer to determine the optimal frequency for delivery; handle the exceptions as required. It?s not perfect, but it is a best practice.

In full disclosure, these steps describe the Hanson Logistics Velocities MVC program, domiciled in our strategic Hobart, Indiana facilities, now in it?s fourth expansion. That aside, lowering or stabilizing your cost to serve is a worthy effort regardless of your product, channel or location.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Cold Storage Expansion: Off the Drawing Board and Into the Ground

Cold Storage Expansion: Off the Drawing Board and Into the Ground

By the time you read this, the concrete has likely been poured in the Phase 4 expansion to our cold storage Chicago Consolidation Center. There will be more concrete and steel in the months ahead as we build out our plan, more safety and mechanical systems, racks and doors and in the spring of 2015, more very cold air. This is all to improve our services to customers and businesses alike.

That?s all good and exciting. Yet it was the actions of people that paved the way for this noticeable addition to our service offering. The continual ?Yes We Can? attitude of Hanson associates, the vote of confidence from our Board of Directors, the optimism of our management team, and the patronage of our customers. . . these are the things of success. So thank you to all involved in this process and monumental building – it’s been a long time coming and we could not have possibly done it alone.

We hold no franchise on cold storage or refrigerated transportation. Members of the Hanson team earn the right to grow in the marketplace every day. Through courteous service, making the best decision, getting things done. That?s what gets it off the drawing board and into the ground.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Refrigerated Fleet: We Played Ourselves into This Tournament

Refrigerated Fleet: We Played Ourselves into This Tournament

It?s been said by some of the best tennis and golf players coming up into a major. ?I?ve played myself into this tournament.? The context of the phrase is normally in response to a newscaster?s question regarding the player?s confidence ? or lack thereof ? of having made it into the spotlight. But as simple as it sounds, winners win. That’s why with our refrigerated fleet, we would like to think we’re winning.

Keep that in mind. Hardly a day goes by where we don’t face the challenge of tight capacity in the transportation market. The trucking industry is some 30,000 jobs short of what?s needed, with freight tonnage projected to rise 25% over the next 10 years. The average age of drivers is now 46, ten years older than a decade ago, reflecting the lack of younger drivers entering the workforce.

The Hanson Logistics refrigerated fleet, which provides a safety net for our customers, has grown from a single unit to nine, with more in our future. We?re hiring, and our commitment to attracting other top tier carriers remains a priority. After all, we played ourselves into this tournament.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Shipper of Choice and the Golden Rule in Transportation

Shipper of Choice and the Golden Rule in Transportation

A few months ago, we wrote on the importance of becoming Shipper of Choice, especially in the face of tightening capacity. The context of Shipper of Choice centers on attracting and maintaining good, qualified carriers; an ongoing way of working for Hanson Logistics.

Now, shippers are seeing more and more capacity migrate to the spot market. Many carriers are talking more with brokers than in the past; capacity in some lanes is difficult to come by, and costly in the spot market.

As the shipper for a steadily increasing volume of frozen loads, Hanson Logistics is known for consistent, albeit seasonal truckload or near truckload shipments that help keep carriers running with better ratios through a fluctuating economy. Yes, we contract for and purchase capacity at the most attractive rates for our clients. We also manage a significant volume of freight for customers who hold their own contracts. But we don’t unfairly play one carrier against another or stretch out payment in attempts to play a spread at the expense of carriers.

Temperature-controlled transportation is a tier above in terms of visibility and accountability. Help your carriers reduce if not eliminate dwell time, loading quickly and helping them with return trips if possible. In the end, the Golden Rule will help you over the long run.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Traceability from Farm to Multinational Fork

Traceability from Farm to Multinational Fork

Transparency throughout the global food chain means building trusting relationships with traceability with every touch point in the supply chain. Now more than ever, consumers want assurance they are purchasing products from reputable sources. Products must be accurately and quickly traced, especially in light of recent recalls and international incidents of suppliers taking advantage of lax food safety regulations.

America?s leadership position in food safety is a global standard, placing a burden on US multinational brands to teach parts of the world what food safety is all about. Shipping out product does not equate to shipping out responsibility.

From farmers, truckers, distributors and everyone in between, our first order of business at Hanson Logistics is the security of the product we handle. We are committed to GFSI protocols, ASI excellence and GFM practices in handling, storing and delivering food products; we make sure to stay ahead of the curve, proactively making continuous improvements, even before they are required. Because it?s not just about complying with government regulation, it?s about a vision dedicated to food quality and safety.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

What Can Outsourcing Do For You?

What Can Outsourcing Do For You?

In-sourcing distribution is a challenge. Between warehouses, equipment, technology and staffing, companies must focus on (or worry about) a multitude of non-core functions. Not to mention it?s expensive, time-consuming, and just plain overwhelming for companies who don?t have the necessary resources or market-leading skills to make distribution a source of value.

A well-balanced 3PL, on the other hand, does have market-leading skills in distribution. Supply chain providers are able to reduce warehousing, coordinate more optimized transportation moves and provide visibility to numerous clients. According to a 2013 Third-Party Logistics Study, those who outsourced to a third party average 15% savings from logistic cost reductions and 26% from fixed asset reductions.

With access to state-of-the-art technology and first-class talent, 3PL?s also improve customer service and magnify scalability. This complete coverage of the entire distribution process provides customer management teams more time to focus on other important business matters, making distribution an even more value-added asset. In short, outsourcing to a 3PL takes away the hassles of distribution while giving your bottom line a boost.

However, since distribution so greatly impacts customer service and other company functions, it?s important to choose the right 3PL for the job. ?If you?re in need of temperature-controlled distribution, we know of some experts… Contact Hanson Logistics today.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Michigan Fruit Guesstimate is Optimistic After Brutal Winter

Michigan Fruit Guesstimate is Optimistic After Brutal Winter

Every year Michigan fruit growers and processors gather to forecast the yield they expect for the coming season. After a long and harsh winter, there was more than enough reason for concern coming into the 59th Annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate. However, Michigan farmers are cautiously optimistic for this year?s specialty crops.

Andrew Janson, president of the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association, said most in the industry expect overall yields to be slightly below average.? ?But considering the harsh winter weather we came out of, I think most of them are pleased,? Janson said. Blueberry and apple growers both anticipate yields to be close to last year?s harvest.

Invited to speak at the event was keynote speaker Lowell Randel, Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA). Prior to joining GCCA, Lowell served at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations. His expertise in agriculture and frozen food logistics provided great insight for the many fruit growers and processors in attendance.

As a cold chain logistics provider that partners with many central US growers, Hanson is committed to tailoring their services to meet the needs of Michigan fruit producers. We are honored to partner with them and support the industry with our refrigerated warehousing and transportation services.

Source:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/06/michigan_fruit_growers_guessti.html

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Mitigating Recession-Altered Transportation Costs

Over the last five years, many temperature-controlled transportation companies have seen an increase in average load weight as well as a decreased number of loads shipped. This has impacted smaller carriers who struggle to survive. Rising transportation costs have increased the quantity of SKUs shipped per load well, in efforts to mitigate costs.? However, for the mid-tier food supplier this is not always a feasible option. They may feel forced to ship in smaller lots (LTL), which creates a higher cost per pallet. In order to?give the economic advantage back to the smaller refrigerated shipper, Hanson Logistics has created Velocities TM Multi-Vendor Consolidation (MVC) program. This allows many smaller companies to take advantage of the full truckload price by combining product lots with the same temperature requirements from multiple vendors who have all sold product to a single or low number of receivers.

As the country progresses through recovery and financial ability improves, the affordability of LTL shipping may come back into range for the mid-tier shipper. But the loss of many temperature-controlled carriers currently leaves the country with a combined capacity for the major carriers of approximately 10,500 tractors and 15,000 trailers at 3500 cubic feet of available space per 53 ft. trailer for national coverage. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) currently limits drivers to 11 hours of driving daily up to a maximum of 70 hours per week. Within each day?s driving, a 30-minute rest break and a 10-hour sleep period are required. Most major transporters limit the maximum speed of their trucks to 62 or 65 mph for fuel economy, allowing drivers to cover 500 to 550 miles per driving period. All this results in a shortage of capacity as the demand becomes greater. Hanson Transportation Management Service works hard to meet the needs of the mid-tier processor by offering consolidation plus national, regional and local distribution.