Have you ever wondered how your grocery store stays stocked in perishable and frozen foods year-round? It wouldn’t be possible without refrigerated trucking. Beyond food and grocery manufacturers, a surprisingly wide variety of industries, from plant nurseries to pharmaceutical companies, now rely on refrigerated trucks and cold-chain logistics.
While refrigerated shipping is a necessity for many types of manufacturers, the logistics behind temperature-controlled shipping can be complex, and for businesses that depend upon their reliability, the stakes can be high.
There are two basic types of refrigerated shipping: refrigerated trucks, also called “reefers,” and refrigerated boxes.
Reefers are high-tech, semi-trailers that are built equipped with temperature control technology, allowing their entire interior to be set at specific, refrigerated temperatures. A typical reefer truck can be kept at a set temperature ranging from 50 degrees to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, equipping it to safely transport a wide range of temperature-sensitive goods in large quantities.
Refrigerated boxes, (fridge boxes,) are individually refrigerated containers, generally holding up to two pallets worth of commodities. These can be shipped on trailers that are not temperature controlled, which can serve as an alternative shipping option for manufacturers with smaller shipments.
Beyond needing goods to stay at a precise temperature during shipment, manufacturers of perishable goods often have limited time windows for delivery. Tight scheduling is one of many factors that make refrigerated trucking logistics complex.
Also known as “cool chain logistics” or “chill chain logistics,” cold chain logistics is the name of the system of steps in a temperature-controlled supply chain. From the time refrigerated goods leave the production site, to when they arrive at their final destination, it’s critical that logistics are in place to make sure those goods stay at a precise temperature every step of the way and are delivered within their appropriate time frame.
What does a typical cold supply chain look like? Beginning with a refrigerated production area, goods are usually stored in refrigerated warehouses, transported with temperature-controlled vehicles or in refrigerated containers, and received into refrigerated storage upon arrival at their final destination. If a manufacturer is shipping a large quantity of perishable items to multiple locations, a stop at a depot might be necessary before the goods are re-routed on separate vehicles to their final destinations. Special steps could be needed to ensure temperature control is maintained in the transfer of goods from truck to truck. Every single step of the process is a “link” in the cold chain and needs to be planned carefully in order for temperature-sensitive goods to maintain their integrity upon arrival at their destination.
The more “links” there are in an item’s cold chain, the higher the stakes are for the manufacturer. If any one “link” fails in the cold supply chain process, the entire shipment of goods could be ruined and manufacturers could find themselves facing substantial losses. This is why it’s critical to choose a trusted, highly-rated logistical company to coordinate refrigerated shipping.
With so many complexities to consider, it’s critical that manufacturers choose a trustworthy, highly-rated logistics partner with a deep understanding of the complexities involved in cold chain logistics.
Our drivers are always fully bonded and insured for the transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. We take every precaution to ensure our refrigerated trucks and vans provide the exact temperature control and conditions needed to meet our customers’ specific expectations.
We know time is of critical importance when shipping refrigerated goods, so we carefully coordinate and track shipments to ensure deliveries are on time.
If you are looking for a dependable, trustworthy logistics partner with years of experience, or are interested in learning more about refrigerated trucking, we’d love to connect with you!
The supply-chain process can easily become complicated and expensive, often causing waste in inventory as well as hefty storage and delivery costs. The idea behind Just in Time logistics (JIT,) an inventory management system developed in Japan in the 1970s, is to make sure a product arrives at the warehouse immediately before the manufacturer can ship it to the customer. The number-one goal of this system is to minimize wasted time. JIT logistics accomplishes this by minimizing inventory and warehouse storage costs, which ultimately reduces delivery times and waste.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of JIT logistics, and explore who could benefit most from implementing this inventory management system.
One of the top advantages of implementing JIT is dramatically reducing inventory. If JIT is working effectively and the product arrives at the warehouse immediately before being shipped to the customer, then a manufacturer’s inventory requirements can be reduced by a very large margin.
Less inventory means less warehouse space is required. This can be a huge benefit for manufacturing companies, because inventory storage and warehouse management is costly, especially when inventory ends up sitting for long periods of time in a warehouse.
Another problem that arises when inventory sits in storage for too long is that the rapid evolution of trends can make certain products obsolete in relatively short spans of time. When this happens, large quantities of inventory can be wasted.
While it’s clear that JIT logistics offers major benefits to manufacturers, there can certainly be disadvantages to it as well.
In order for JIT to work most effectively, all the moving pieces of the supply chain have to also be working effectively. One supplier catastrophe can shut down a whole production line. A clear example of this is the recent disruptions in the auto industry, due to the supply shortage of computer chips.
Another disadvantage of JIT is that it can be completely disrupted by shipping issues. A recent example of this in the news was when the container ship, the Ever Given, got stuck and blocked the Suez Canal for six days, completely disrupting the global supply chain.
A supplier catastrophe or a supply chain disruption can add up to unexpected costs for manufacturers. Another hidden cost of JIT that’s worth mentioning is the initial investment that goes into getting the system working. The construction of necessary infrastructure and the special training needed to start using JIT all come with a price tag. These are things worth keeping in mind when deciding whether or not JIT logistics will work for you.
As you can see, JIT logistics have the potential to make valuable improvements for manufacturing companies, but it’s also true that JIT can turn into a nightmare for distributors when unexpected disruptions wreak havoc on the supply chain.
That’s why it’s important that an organization is fully prepared before implementing JIT. Some helpful questions to ask are: “will JIT result in significant savings for our company?” “Is our team able to handle significant new changes within our work process?” If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then JIT could very well be worth implementing.
JIT logistics is amazing at making companies efficient, but it involves a level of complexity that demands a competent logistical partner.
At Surus, we specialize in providing customized, cost-cutting transportation solutions to manufacturers and distributors across North America. We understand how important reliable transportation is to a company’s profits and how it affects their customer service and business’ overall success.
We have first-hand knowledge of the hurdles within the manufacturing industry, and that includes understanding the advantages and disadvantages of JIT logistics. If you are looking for an experienced, logistical partner, or are interested in learning more about how JIT logistics can work for you, we’d love to chat.
No matter where you are today, you must have already noticed the painful increase in everyday prices. Whether it's food, gas, or that flagship phone you wanted to buy last Christmas, prices are soaring non-stop. That is inflation. Unfortunately, this current inflation period is higher than usual and is hurting the economy.
In this article, let's explore and understand the current inflation period we are all facing and find ways to negate its effect, particularly in the shipping and logistics industry.
Before focusing on how inflation affects shipping costs, let's first examine the role of inflation in general.
Inflation, as established above, is the increase in prices. You can also think of it as decreasing one's purchasing power. This phenomenon is normal, and a small amount of it is actually healthy for the economy. In fact, the Federal Reserve recommends and targets a 2% inflation rate.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, we are facing an 8-10% inflation rate worldwide. Gas prices soared from $1.93 per gallon in April 2020 to $5.03 in June 2022. Consequently, groceries and utilities have increased as well.
Now, although inflation affects everything, it's not the same for every industry. Some may be more affected than others; in this case, the shipping, logistics, and transportation industries are punished severely. Here's why:
As stated, gas prices soared from just $2 per gallon in 2020 to $5 this year. That $3 increase is already painful for the everyday car owner; imagine how excruciating that might be for fuel-hungry engines. A container ship alone consumes over 60,000 gallons a day! This is not to mention trucks and airplanes, which logistics companies also heavily depend on.
Gas isn't the only factor driving the price increase in logistics services. The workforce is another severe issue. When you hear there's a shortage of truck drivers, there's not. The truth is, being a truck driver is just not a job that anyone would like to have. Period.
According to Steve Viscelli, University of Pennsylvania labor expert, "There is no shortage of truck drivers. These are just really bad jobs." The fact that you have to drive for at least 11 hours each day to get 10 hours of rest in a cramped compartment while continually fearing theft as you park your truck in isolated areas is reason enough to dishearten applicants.
Many factors caused the inflation period we all face today. Besides the war in Ukraine affecting fuel prices, there's also a shipping container shortage, pushing container prices to skyrocket from $1,800 in 2020 to $3,500 for a new one today.
Well, we can thank the pandemic for that and the Suez Canal (disrupting $58.2 billion in global trade). To top it all off, one of the biggest reasons for the high inflation in the logistics industry is the simple fact that there's just more demand than ever. The pandemic was the core catalyst for people to opt for eCommerce.
For clarity, we're going to give our two cents to businesses, not consumers. For Surus, the most practical way to fight the cost of inflation is to focus on efficiency and operations improvement. Increasing product or service prices should never be the first option.
Now is the perfect time to reevaluate your current processes and approach to dealing with your customers. For manufacturers, reassessing supplier options and undertaking equipment upgrades may be your most viable option. For retailers, only taking on quickly sellable items may be an immediate fix, while personalization, assortment, and putting more effort into digital marketing may be critical to long-term sustainability.
We strongly advise business owners to embrace AI, technology, and digitalization as a core part of their business. AI can help you with better forecasting and automates product personalization, dramatically increasing the chance of sales.
Some technologies help your business identify new opportunities to market your products and services, while others are focused on giving accurate pricing recommendations based on your customers' behavior (demand for products).
Last but not least, going digital allows you to improve your brand awareness, gain feedback from your customers in real-time, and increase profit by becoming less dependent on brick-and-mortar stores.
Thanks to e-commerce, business owners can now effectively expand their market coverage. However, with the rapid growth of e-commerce businesses, the demand for transportation services has also increased.
While large corporations have their own logistics department that manages the transport of their goods, most SMEs rely on third-party transportation service providers to deliver their products to customers.
This article will explain the importance of a transportation service company for your business. Moreover, it elaborates on how transportation companies can help you save time and money on freight transport.
Logistics companies provide logistics services to suppliers and consumers. These services include the procurement, storage, transport, and distribution of goods from one location to another. Logistics operations involve both inbound and outbound logistics. Inbound logistics is the acquisition of products from suppliers. In comparison, outbound logistics refers to the delivery of these products to the end-user.
Typically, logistics companies manage all supply chain operations, including freight forwarding, warehousing, and transportation. However, a logistic company can also outsource third-party providers, such as warehousing or transportation companies, to handle specific logistics operations.
Transportation service companies are mainly involved in the trucking and shipping of goods and materials. The shipping methods provided by a transportation company may include truck, rail, ocean, or air transport.
Transportation plays a vital role in every logistics operation. Freight transport must be reliable, efficient, and cost-effective to satisfy supply chain partners. Transportation service providers, such as Surus, usually offer various freight transport options that match your transport needs.
For example, you can opt for a Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) service for transporting a small number of goods to cut shipping costs. Alternatively, you can choose Full-Truckload (FTL) or Partial Truckload (PTL) transport for large and heavy loads.
Any business that requires freight transportation can benefit from the services of a transportation service provider. For instance, a manufacturing company that needs to move a substantial number of products to their customers can use a freight company's FTL or PTL service.
Some businesses can save money on transportation by using intermodal shipping to move large items with a flexible delivery schedule. Companies can utilize an LTL transport service for modest amounts of product delivery, allowing them to pay only for a portion of a truck rather than the entire truck during freight transport.
Transportation service companies utilize transportation management solutions that allow business owners to save time and money on freight transport. A transportation management software (TMS) system has capabilities that help you cut transportation expenses and increase freight transport efficiency.
Most TMS provided by a transportation company has a real-time tracking capability that allows you to monitor and track your delivery from the start until completion. Other TMS offers a freight matching feature that will enable you to locate regional carriers quickly, compare delivery prices, and select the truck carrier that best fits your transportation requirements, saving you money on unnecessary freight costs.
As a business owner who relies on transportation service companies to move products, you must be aware of the various shipping choices available to you to cut costs on transportation. While FTL transport may be cost-effective for large shipments, it can be costly for regular small package deliveries.
For one-time shipping projects, such as bulk orders or large product shipments, utilizing an entire truck for freight transport or opting for intermodal shipping can help you save transportation costs. However, these delivery methods can be unnecessarily costly for regular ongoing logistical projects with small orders. Freight consolidation is one approach to reduce extra freight costs on modest and regular shipments. Freight consolidation combines small freights from different shippers to a single truck using an LTL transport service. This way, shippers can avoid paying for the entire truck and leaving empty truck spaces to move small shipments to a customer.
Customer satisfaction is essential in every business transaction. Delays or issues during product delivery can be frustrating, and they can lead to losing customers, resulting in a significant loss of revenue. Hence, having a trustworthy and reliable transportation service company ensures that your product is securely transported, increasing client satisfaction.
To avoid significant revenue losses on product shipments, a transportation service provider must be efficient and cost-effective. Make sure you hire a transportation service provider that can deliver your products to your customers without any problems.
Surus is a transport service company that can provide fast, safe, and reliable logistics transportation services. We provide various freight transport carrier solutions to meet your company's product transportation requirements. With our TMS, we can also provide you with real-time tracking and detailed monitoring of your freight transport.
Be our partner today! Contact us here.
There are a variety of ways to utilize freight transportation. You can use an enclosed trailer if your goods need to be covered up, a temperature-controlled trailer for perishables, or even an open flatbed trailer. An open flatbed trailer allows for the transportation of a wider array of goods and equipment as opposed to the other options mentioned earlier.
Flatbed trucks are excellent for hauling large cargo or equipment, but there’s much more to them than carrying bulk loads. If you are not familiar with open flatbed shipping, this article will cover the basics for you. Let’s jump right in.
Flatbed trucks or trailers are the perfect choice when you are working with wide loads, bulk cargo, or oversized equipment. The open nature of flatbed trailers allows them to be loaded from any angle, which is perfect for situations where you need to load cargo with a crane. This also makes them a good choice for hauling cargo from shipping terminals. You can use a flatbed to transport just about anything, provided it doesn’t need to be temperature controlled. You should use a flatbed when the cargo you want to haul won’t fit in a traditional dry van trailer.
The main benefit of flatbed trailers is that they don’t have the same space limits that come with dry vans or refrigerated shipping. This makes them an excellent option for oversized shipments, like heavy machinery. Here are some common examples of products and equipment that are normally shipped on flatbeds:
One caveat with flatbed trailers is that the cargo will be exposed to the elements. Depending on what you are hauling and its size, you could cover your goods with a tarp, but that might not always be an option.
Driving with a flatbed isn’t quite the same as driving other types of trailers or trucks due to the way a flatbed’s axles are distributed and the type of cargo they haul. backing up with a flatbed trailer is far more complex than backing up while operating other vehicles. Driving with a flatbed is also somewhat more dangerous, but only when cargo isn’t secured properly. Thus, this is a job that requires patience and meticulous care.
When it comes to loading goods onto a flatbed, there are many complexities such as understanding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), as well as considering where on the bed you are loading the most weight. Different areas of flatbeds have different ratings. In general, you want the center of gravity to be as low as possible. That means heavier items are placed near the rear of the bed and above the axles.
Since flatbeds are open, they can be loaded from any angle. Usually, cranes or forklifts are used to load cargo on top of the trailer.
There’s another option to consider when it comes to cargo hauling, which is using a train. Trains are more fuel-efficient and can carry significantly more weight. However, they aren’t a great option if you are pressed for time, and they can be too expensive for short trips.
On the other hand, flatbed trucks have more predictable freight transit times and are significantly cheaper for shorter trips.
A third option is using a Trailer on Flatcar, also called piggybacking. This is where you load a trailer onto a train car and then use a truck to take it to its final destination, which offers the best of both worlds.
Flatbed trailer hauling isn’t for the inexperienced. You’ll want to work with professionals to ensure the integrity of the cargo, and to find the best route, whether trains should be involved, and prices available. Working with a logistics company allows your cargo hauling to be more efficient, which can lead to lower costs on your end and increased customer satisfaction.
If you are looking for a logistics company in Michigan that performs flatbed shipping, then Surus is what you need. When you work with Surus, you’ll get expert consulting and solutions for your distribution needs. Contact us today.
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In the logistics and freight transportation industry, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to how exactly you'll get your cargo where it needs to be. You can go with temperature-controlled trailers, open-air flatbed trucks, or dry van trucks.
Choosing between one or the other can be difficult if you don't know what differentiates them or their pros and cons. We believe an informed individual makes the best decisions, so we'll share all you need to know about Dry Van Trucks in this guide.
A dry van truck or trailer is a closed box trailer attached to a semi-truck. They are the most common and popular shipping method you see because of how they keep the goods "dry" and protected from external elements like the sun, rain, or snow. In many ways, it's like a giant closed box on wheels.
Dry van trucks are not temperature-controlled and are best for hauling dry cargo, like household goods and non-perishables. They are also excellent for eCommerce shipping due to their cost-effectiveness and plentiful space.
Dry Van trailers can be used for both full truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments, and they can haul up to 45,000 lbs. Some common types of freight for dry van trucks are:
Dry Van has always been a popular shipping option, as it offers many advantages. But it doesn't come without its own set of disadvantages. If you are considering going with dry van freight transportation, you should consider the following pros and cons:
If you have a small or medium-sized business, LTL shipments can do wonders for you. Foremost, this dry van truck shipping option allows you to save more money by delivering your goods in bulk sets (pallets) to strategic locations (distribution sites).
This approach allows you to save a significant amount of money compared to parcel delivery or shipping your items directly from your establishment to your customer. LTL shipment also allows you to stream your goods continuously, allowing a steady supply in your distribution outlets.
Although FTL saves you the most money, not every business is prepared to charter an entire truck. Small businesses forcing themselves to opt for FTL to save money may create supply shortages, making it an impractical approach.
One of the best things about dry van truck shipment is the consistent and fair pricing. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association publishes standard freight class codes and updates every three or four months.
The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) codes help everyone in the logistics industry identify and quote shipments correctly. It also gives you an accurate estimate of how much you're going to spend. See the table below (the higher the class number, the higher the cost):
|Class||Commodity Example||Weight Range per Cubic Foot|
|50||Clean freight (bulk ingredients)||50+ lbs.|
|60||Car accessories & car parts||30-35 lbs.|
|70||Automobile engines||15-22.5 lbs.|
|85||Crated machinery||12-13.5 lbs.|
|100||Boat covers||9-10.5 lbs.|
|125||Small household appliances||7-8 lbs.|
|150||Auto sheet metal parts||6-7 lbs.|
|200||Aircraft parts||4-5 lbs.|
|250||Bamboo furniture||3-4 lbs.|
|300||Wooden cabinets||2-3 lbs.|
|400||Deer antlers||1-2 lbs.|
|500||Bags of gold dust||Less than 1 lbs.|
Dry van trucks are perfect for all sorts of cargo. That's why most established companies have their own logistics department with fleets of dry van trucks – they're flexible, reliable, and incredibly cost-efficient.
If you're a small or medium-sized business, however, there's no need to worry. You don't have to spend millions on owning a fleet. You can have your cargo delivered to wherever you need anywhere in the US through Michigan's top logistics company, Surus.
We offer competitive rates, a streamlined process, and experienced personnel. Contact us today.
Starting with the basics, intermodal shipping is simply using two or more modes of transportation. Utilizing intermodal containers, shipments are able to be moved seamlessly between cargo ships, trucks or trains. The advantages are plentiful, though it might be difficult to know how it tangibly affects the bottom line.
So, what are the business benefits of intermodal shipping?
Intermodal is a cost-effective, fuel-efficient, sustainable option when compared to long-haul trucking. Intermodal transportation has the available capacity needed by some and the consistent, reliable service expected by all.
While shipping by rail may sound old-fashioned, railcars hold significantly more load and offer more competitive pricing per mile than its counterparts. The cost is competitive, however, when freight needs to be moved long distances, rail can save businesses roughly .75–1 cent per ton-mile.
Many companies also consider their carbon footprint when choosing between freight shipping options. A standard truck can carry 80,000 pounds at a time and only gets around 7 miles/gallon, while rail can transport one ton of freight up to 500 miles on just a single gallon of gas. Having the option to move inventory in a way that is more sustainable, and only utilizing trucking in the last steps of delivery, make intermodal a choice many are making.
While local and regional shipping options are sufficient for some, intermodal transportation solves many capacity issues that companies may have. The consistency in service is not to be overlooked. Many drivers work on set schedules more closely aligned to office hours, having the option to ship via train means taking advantage of fully staffed loading docks that are equipped specifically for the incoming freight.
And intermodal shipping has come a long way with the adoption of 21st century technology. Rail has adopted automation technology that allows real-time tracking for every entity involved. This ensures the right people are where they need to be at the right time and on-time shipping and savings is passed on to the customer.
While businesses like Amazon and WalMart have perfected the free 2-day shipping option, many shipments cannot work on that model. Intermodal lead times can fluctuate due to many factors, so it is especially beneficial for shipments that have flexible timelines. Additionally, high volume and large capacity shipments have requirements that cannot be met with 2-day shipping style models. And while traditional trucking is not an option for every shipper, intermodal is.
For businesses looking for a cost-effective, sustainable shipping option, intermodal transportation offers benefits and rates that can’t be beat.
Around the world, the transportation and logistics industry is experiencing unprecedented disruptions and recent challenges have further stressed the supply chain. Consumer demand remains high – with no signs of let up – but the typical flow of goods is continuing to be delayed due to rapid swings in the labor market and restrictions placed on industries.
Transportation costs have increased dramatically for many reasons and those price increases are passed onto companies shipping their goods and consumers looking to make purchases. Workforce demands, driver shortages, regulations, and potential new emissions legislation that could mandate commercial vehicles in Canada and the United States toward battery-electric or zero-emissions are just a few examples of how these costs could be affected.
As organizations try to figure out how to work around the supply chain issues, there’s also the need to determine how to manage the transportation and logistics that go along with it – and ensuring the cost of it all works in favor of every party involved.
How can companies in need of transportation mitigate some of the costs associated with these lingering issues? And how can the transportation and logistics industry help pass savings along to organizations and consumers without sacrificing safety or service?
5 Strategies to Reduce Logistics and Shipping Costs
Be agile in how you’re willing to transport goods.
The mindset of, “this is how we’ve always done it,” has been confronted with so much change in the last couple of years. Prepaid, online, or upfront payments might only seem like minimal cost savings, but those savings can add up.
Consider packaging changes and be willing to adjust quickly.
Something as simple as packaging goods differently can allow for stacking, Tetris-like packing, and utilizing vertical space in a seemingly horizontal industry.
Remain open to load consolidation.
Cut shipping costs on less than truckload freight with a third party that does the work to secure the most competitive rates, streamline shipment coordination, pick-ups, and deliveries.
Be willing to spend more to save more.
It might seem counterintuitive, but with current labor shortages, it’s important to weigh the cost of hiring additional help at potentially increased rates in order to fulfill demand. The benefits of being seen as a reliable delivery service can ensure continued business.
Find a transportation and logistics provider.
No two supply chains are the same and companies in need of transportation services can benefit from the relationships that are built by third-party logistics coordinators. Multiple pick-ups and drop-offs, expedited shipments, and just-in-time delivery service can help cut costs to companies used to handling shipments one at a time.