Archive for the ‘Dispatch’ Category

Carrier bankruptcy and visibility—if you have one, you need the other

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

South Korea-based Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago, which has caused a well-publicized upheaval in shipping. Financial issues at the world’s 7th-largest container shipping line have caught the world’s attention—proving yet again how little the general population appreciates containerization and its impact of daily life. Immediate fallout has been disruption of supply chains by the simple fact that two thirds of Hanjin’s 98 vessels have been refused entry at ports worldwide, many others arrested by creditors, and dozens more are slow-steaming or even drifting on the high seas until it is “safe” to berth. This has put 540,000+ TEUs worth of cargo, valued at $14B, in limbo. The rosiest estimates for the delivery of this cago indicate it will be another 2-3 months before order is restored—essentially too late for the important holiday season. The cost to cargo owners may exceed the value of the cargo itself. Many thousands of shippers—retailers and manufacturers–are in the lurch. Retailers may have inventory deficits for their holiday season (meaning part-time seasonal job cuts as well); manufacturers may face crippling production line stoppages. Both may require JIT (and very expensive) airfreight for the most critical cargoes.

But some good news appeared over the weekend as Hanjin’s parent, Korean Air Lines, pledged support of $54M to help pay for port handling charges, so some ships can now unload. But progress will be slow and there is still much confusion as to what is going on. The ripple effects are many: marine terminal congestion as block-stowed Hanjin loads need to be brought into the stream, the lack of returned empties (especially the chassis under them) affecting equipment pools and truckers’ trips, and other friction in an already fragile land-side process.

Importers whose loads have somehow made it into the domestic supply chain are breathing easier, but exporters still face “logistical nightmares” as they try to rebook outbound shipments on other lines (most of whom have raised their rates). Inland distribution centers and rail ramps remained weighed down by stacks of empty Hanjin boxes that no one wants to handle.

This episode has reinforced the need and criticality of first- and last-mile supply chain visibility. If your container is on a ship, you likely know it is there, and that vessel is bristling with GPS sensors and data, albeit nothing actionable per se from a shipper or consignee perspective. However, for owners and managers of cargoes en-route to the port or from the port to the ultimate destination can benefit from visibility and the tools to manage these moves in times of crisis, be it financial or otherwise. REZ-1 offers several solutions that help, among them Dispatch Manager to control land-side transportation and its providers; and Domestic Reload to help turn “stranded empties” into back-haul revenue opportunities.

You have to know where your boxes are, and have the tools to do something with them, to mitigate the operational risks of container transportation.

By Blair Peterson

See you at IANA Intermodal EXPO 2016!

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

We’re looking forward to seeing you at IANA Intermodal EXPO 2016!

As you may know, IAS was acquired by REZ-1 earlier this year. The services, processes and support you have come to expect remain the same; however, we are adopting the REZ-1 name going forward.

REZ-1 delivers powerful solutions that enable our customers to maximize the efficiency of their intermodal operations, while streamlining business processes. Our suite of integrated, web and mobile applications allows our community of intermodal logistics trading partners to interact on a neutral platform, in an efficient and standardized manner.

Asset Management – Gain full visibility to your assets based on locations, status, condition and customer. Our asset management platform ensures you know where your assets are and where your business stands.

Dispatch Manager – Bring transport buyers together with their providers on a neutral platform to efficiently manage order tendering, appointments, amendments, rates, event capture and visibility, optimization, and business intelligence—by web, integration or mobile app.

Domestic Reload – Efficiently market your containers to the intermodal community– avoid repositioning costs while turning empties into revenue opportunities.

Equipment Repair – Connect your M&R facilities and vendors on a global platform, resulting in reduced costs and increased visibility and efficiency of the M&R process.

Visit us and our parent, leading chassis lessor DCLI, at booth 411 to learn more about our expanded offerings, and how our solutions can help to maximize the productivity of your organization.

Can Ports Keep Up with the Changing Needs of Container Lines?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

Many changes are taking place with containerships and the ocean carrier industry these days. Let’s discuss what is going on in this industry:

  • Mergers & Acquisitions – Many of the world’s largest carriers are forming alliances to grow their trade volume. Previously a port terminal was assigned to one carrier. That is no longer the case. The latest merger combines two Chinese carriers, China Ocean Shipping Co. (Cosco) and China Shipping Group Co. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.; Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line); Hanjin Shipping Co.; Hapag-Lloyd AG and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. have disclosed plans to form a new space-sharing partnership known as THE Alliance, operating in all east-west trade lanes.
  • New gigantic containerships up to 18,000 TEUs require ports to revamp by dredging channels, lengthening berths, adding cranes and expanding yard space.
  • The bigger the ship, the longer the turnaround time to load and unload ships. Making appointments at the dock is a good way to speed this activity by ensuring the right amount of workers are available and there is an opening at the berth. Faster turnaround times save costs.
  • New regulation to weigh each loaded container and certify its verified gross mass (VGM) prior to loading on ship is confusing. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires shippers to accurately declare the full weight of a container – both its contents and the equipment itself before it’s loaded aboard ship. The confusion comes with how and when to weigh the box and its contents, as many countries and organizations interpret the ruling differently.

Automating and optimizing operations is one way to address these issues by improving the flow of information. When a ship arrives in port, it triggers a large amount of information. Sharing this information with all trading partners means businesses can make more informed decisions that lead to bottom line success.

Reducing empty miles through street turns can enable motor carriers and ocean carriers to better utilize assets. IAS’ ChassisManager efficiently manages the financial and liability aspects of this activity. By eliminating these impediments to optimization, IAS makes it easier for intermodal participants to reduce empty mileage, cut fuel costs and emissions, decrease congestion, and eliminate cumbersome administration.

Using chassis management and transportation automation solutions from IAS ensure accurate invoicing and faster collection of detention and demurrage charges. IAS DispatchTariff module gives full visibility and control of all your drayage rates. Instantly create, view, update, or delete rates with easy-to-use fields.

Keeping up to date with the shifting patterns of the industry helps shippers and ports to stay ahead of the competition and improve bottom line results.

By Blair Peterson

Freight Regulation Update 2016 – Rules Under Review

Posted on: February 29th, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

The transportation industry will see a record number, close to 22, new regulations between 2017 and 2019. These regulations include everything from e-logging mandates to limiting driver hours to keeping trucks below 68 MPH. Trucking companies need to be ready for these regulations, which have the potential to worsen the capacity crisis, increase transportation rates and lower carrier productivity.

Three of the latest regulations imposed on the trucking industry are quite restrictive, including the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, and the hours of service (HOS) regulation.

The CSA initiative was designed to ensure carrier compliance with all regulations by providing a safety performance score for carriers so that shippers could see which carriers are more reliable. However, under a five-year highway bill unveiled Dec. 1, federal trucking regulators would be required to remove certain safety performance scores for motor carriers from public view until the scoring program is reformed. The reform came about because many of the previous performance scores were not accurate. Trucking companies need to keep accurate records of their performance because the initiative could be reinstated, or at least some version of it.

The ELD mandate, which was passed in December 2015 and will become effective in December 2017, has met some resistance. Many large carriers already use ELDs to cut down on administrative time and costs, but small and medium sized carriers believe the regulation will cost them 5 to 8 percent in lost productivity and revenues. The ELD rule was initiated so that the hours of service were logged correctly. Implementing ELDs not only involves purchasing the equipment but also creating internal processes to manage information. This can lead to decreased efficiencies and higher shipping costs.

The HOS regulation has seen many changes since it was first enacted. The new 34-hour restart has created controversy. While it was initially instituted because of driver fatigue and fatality rates, it hinders driver productivity and pay. Safety advocates say it is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough. Truck drivers say it is an over reaction and keeps them away from home longer than necessary. It is important to keep truckers moving, while improving pay, so that new drivers will enter the market, hopefully lessening the truck driver shortage.

Finally, in July of this year, a new international rule will come into effect that states that shipping lines must receive verified weights for loaded cargo containers before those containers can be placed on ships.  Full-container and less-than-container shipping weights will need to be verified, not estimated, and provided to the shipping line so that the container weights can be factored into the vessel load plans. 

Motor carriers need to keep up with these ever-changing rules and regulations. To keep more efficient, lower operating costs and improve productivity, trucking companies and shippers can turn to International Assets Systems (IAS) to help speed and improve their dispatch processes. IAS provides greater visibility throughout your supply chain, increases booking fulfillment and reduces equipment, transportation and operational costs.

Mobile shipment event capture: blind spot panacea? It all depends on integration.

Posted on: January 15th, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

Buyers and arrangers of goods transport (i.e. shippers and 3PLs/forwarders) are moving towards real-time capture of the shipment milestones that are most important to them—sometimes a time-critical pick-up, but usually a final Proof of Delivery. Who can blame them? Their customers are no-doubt demanding it because all of us (as consumers) are demanding it. We consumers have been spoiled by the likes of UPS and FedEx who operate closed networks with full control of their modes and nodes.

In the industrial or B2B shipping world, that level of end-to-end, highly granular tracking can be challenging to achieve. Of course the “line haul” portion of a move is usually well covered—the ship, the plane and the train are equipped with the devices or are on a schedule that enable precise tracking and ETAs. But the first- and last-miles of the move are often blind spots for 3PLs or forwarders who rely on third parties to execute these legs– third parties that are not wearing brown uniforms driving brown trucks.

So getting back to mobile event capture, where does it fit in? Why is it important? Shipment event capture using mobile devices enables those third parties to operate, in effect, a virtual closed network, as if their drivers were all wearing brown uniforms driving, brown brown trucks. First- and last-mile shipment data closes information gaps; capturing it with mobile device technology gets it closer to real time, but only if integrated.

Smart phones (and the apps on them) are ubiquitous and powerful. Many transportation management systems (TMS) have mobile components—true native applications or perhaps web applications that work on (if not optimized for) smartphones. There many are standalone pick-up and delivery mobile apps too. But if not integrated to the right source and destination of the goods transportation information flow, the critical shipment event data remains in silos, necessitating a break in the workflow to obtain value from it.

The 3PL or forwarder likely has an in-house system that originates the transport order. The third party service provider (motor carrier) likely has a transportation management system, with or without a mobile interface for its drivers, and may use a web portal to report events. Add drivers with powerful apps on smartphones and there is potential… for good or bad. What steers the scenario into positive territory? Integration. No one wants to go “somewhere else” to obtain the information they need.

To derive the visibility and timeliness benefits of mobile event capture, the data must be integrated efficiently to the parties that need it: the motor carrier’s TMS, the 3PL/forwarder’s system and, ultimately, the shipper or receiver—they’re the ones trying to satisfy we consumers’ demands of “I need it now!” The driver’s delivery click, geo-fence breach or sign-on-glass POD must flow seamlessly and instantaneously from the time and place of capture to the screen of the person expecting it.

By Blair Peterson

Meeting Green Goals With First & Last-Mile Efficiencies

Posted on: November 16th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

The ability to manage first and last-mile of the supply chain more efficiently could wind up being the difference between profit and loss. It can also lessen the environmental impact of goods transport, helping companies meet green initiatives of reduced fuel usage and lowered carbon emissions.

First and last-mile shipments can be fraught with logistical hazards and errors. Deliveries can be missed requiring a second attempt. Trucks can be driving empty after a delivery, which wastes fuel and driver time. Optimization improves the performance of transportation operations and lowers the environmental impact of shipping.

For example within intermodal operations, optimization removes the transportation inefficiencies where motor carriers leave a port with full containers bound for an importers’ facility, then make a trip back to return the empty containers– a truck travels two ways, once laden and once empty, plus the truck spends time idling at the gate. To eliminate these empty container trips, IAS facilitates street-turn opportunities where two moves are paired up to form one triangular trip.

In an optimized move, the motor carrier picks up a full import container at the port for delivery to the door destination; the cargo is unloaded and the empty container is transported directly to the export shipper; the container is filled with nearby export cargo; and the motor carrier returns the laden container to the port. One entire empty leg is removed, along with two empty gate moves at the port.

Depending on the distance between the import and export location, empty miles can be dramatically reduced. This equates to reduced emissions, fuel usage, and congestion. The principle applies to other first- and last-mile modes as well, such as the local pick-up and delivery of airfreight and less-than-truckload moves.

IAS DispatchManager and DispatchOptimizer help users reduce empty mileage and connect laden legs, shrinking fuel bills, boosting asset utilization and lessening environmental impact of landside goods transport.

The Value of a Connected Community

Posted on: July 7th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

Community is a big word. It represents an affinity in any number of dimensions– neighbors, friends, locations, capabilities and other measures of connection. That affinity through connection is almost always positive. And so it is in the business context too.

Companies in the logistics industry rely on other companies to achieve their business objectives. They can be called vendors, trading partners, service providers and maybe even frenemies if they are in coopetition– that grey area between cooperation and competition common in the “small world” of logistics.

No matter what they’re called, interaction between parties is easier if they’re already “connected.” In logistics and international goods transportation, this connection is most useful if it means integrated by data, standard technology or common process shared by several stakeholders, say serving common customers. The connection can be leveraged to serve existing customers more efficiently; or to acquire new customers more quickly. The mirror image works too: being connected makes it easier for your vendors to work with you, or, on-boarding new vendors is made more efficient if they’re already connected in the community on behalf of someone else. Nowhere is this truer than when considering a community of connected motor carriers. In different markets or at different times, one side may have more “leverage” than the other. But being connected through common process, by data integration or over a shared portal ensures benefits of collaboration are delivered beneficially to all.

IAS has connected a community of over 3000 service providers and motor carriers in over 46 countries. They interact on behalf of our mutual customers via the IAS Dispatch suite, according to their capabilities– by web application or data integration or both (as is quite often the case if they find the IAS Dispatch capability in a particular function is better than their own). The underlying business processes are standardized, and the customer’s needs are understood, transparent, and efficiently met. All by virtue of a connected community.

IAS Dispatch – Many Modes – One Global Solution

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

IAS provides a high-service, secure, and scalable technology platform connecting a global network of customers and trading partners. IAS’ cloud-based applications foster collaboration within that connected community and bring visibility to actionable information for both asset and transportation management.

Critical criteria for effective transportation management systems, according to logistics industry analyst group Gartner, are breadth and depth of the systems involved, meaning natively supporting multiple modes, including international transportation capability.

Although IAS has its roots in ocean/intermodal and has long been connecting customers and trading partners in literally dozens of countries worldwide (88, by latest count); through continued product development IAS Dispatch now supports “any load in any mode” to support its growing 3PL user-base. In fact, a significant portion of work order volume is comprised of LTL, local pick-up and delivery, airfreight trucking and domestic line haul in over 30 countries alone. This enables “one version of the truth,” a unified process, improved compliance with customer needs and sustained achievement of management objectives for both buyers and providers of international gods transportation.

IAS Dispatch is a cloud-based suite of modules that bring together order assignment, delivery scheduling, amendment management, invoicing, visibility, tendering, optimization, and business intelligence – all within a single, easy-to-use workflow “pre-connected” to thousands of carriers worldwide.

By Blair Peterson

Maximizing International Goods Transportation Efficiency

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

Expanding into other countries can be a good way to grow a company. International expansion requires a robust supply chain and best practices that strive to be responsive to customer demands. Managing international transportation is a complex process complicated by long distances, multi-modal legs, customs paperwork and more. Just to deliver the right goods to the right place at the right time in a good condition can be a nightmare.

IAS addresses these challenges with the IAS Dispatch suite that supports ocean, air, LCL/LTL, international and domestic moves. It brings together drayage assignment, appointment times, amendment management, invoicing, visibility, rates, optimization, and business intelligence.

The interoperability of assets, such as containers, chassis, railcars, and the vehicles that move shipments over the first- and last-mile of international transportation is a key requirement for improving efficiency. To drive efficiencies within the international supply chain, stakeholders need to make sure their processes fit together.

We share 5 tips for driving efficiency for goods international transportation below:

    • Align your transportation objectives with your corporate goals.
    • Choose your transportation providers carefully. Make sure they can meet your needs by reviewing performance reports and checking references.
    • It is not always about the cheapest rate – Reliability by schedule adherence (railroads) or punctuality (motor carriers) or timeliness (shipment data) is critical.
    • Collect data across the end-to-end supply chain to drive optimization. Diving deep into the data to uncover trends and gain insights for faster decision-making can cut costs while improving operational efficiencies.
    • Leverage your investment in technology to standardize transportation processes based on best practices. Make sure your dispatch team works wisely and consistently follows set practices.

Next post we will share more best practices for maximizing international goods transportation efficiency.

By Blair Peterson

Globalization, Internationalization and IAS

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

IAS has released a new version of our DispatchManager application (called DM 2.6 if you track such things!). In addition to some mundane behind-the-scenes improvements, we have upgraded our reporting functionality. But the exciting bit is that we will also now support multiple languages! With this release we add Spanish and Simplified Chinese to English as options for users to select after they log in.

What’s the big deal? Well, IAS DispatchManager began as a North America-centric transportation work order processing and transport vendor management platform. However, over the last couple years our customer base has grown to include several global 3PLs. These companies saw the benefit of connecting their entire networks of motor carriers on one platform, through a single “data feed,” to comply with a standard set of processes and business requirements. What started with 3 countries in North America quickly expanded to more than 25 countries around the globe. English is generally the lingua franca for supply chain and goods transport worldwide, but with a growing concentration of activity in countries speaking Spanish and Simplified Chinese, the time was right to expand our capabilities. With the help of our translation partner Sajan, we will be adding additional languages to IAS DispatchManager in the future.

Our EquipmentRepair application has been live in almost 90 countries for many, many years. But I suspect the nature of goods transportation operations–and the people doing it–is different than that of depots, terminals, repairs and assets. For one thing, dispatchers and drivers involved in local pick-up and delivery, airfreight trucking and drayage are often with smaller, local enterprises. Another is that a high percentage of our DispatchManager users are actually logging onto the IAS portal to transact business, as opposed to remaining within in-house systems to which IAS integrates– the latter scenario is more common in the IAS EquipmentRepair world.

At any rate, we at IAS are excited to offer new language support in DispatchManager, dovetailing with the capabilities of our Client Services teams in Chicago and Hong Kong.