GTS Blog

How to Find Value in Strategic Sourcing

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 6:05:29 PM

Supply chain optimization is all about analyzing each part of the chain, and finding solutions that enable each part to do its job faster and more economically. So what is strategic sourcing?

“Strategic sourcing is an approach to supply chain management that formalizes the way information is gathered and used so that an organization can leverage its consolidated purchasing power to find the best possible values in the marketplace.”

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Topics: Supply Chain

Why Low Oil Prices Don’t Mean Cheaper Shipping Costs

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 6:01:26 PM

If your company sends or receives freight, you may be wondering when shipping costs are going to drop. Well, it’s most likely that you won’t see a significant change, because regular gasoline and diesel fuel have different factors that lower costs.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics

Defining Reshoring & Nearshoring In the Supply Chain

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 4:59:29 PM

What are reshoring and nearshoring?

Reshoring is “the practice of bringing outsourced personnel and services back to the location from which they were originally offshored.”

Nearshoring is “the transfer of business or IT processes to companies in a nearby country, often sharing a border with your own country.”

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Topics: Supply Chain, Manufacturing

3PLs Maximize Customer Driven Supply Chains

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 4:46:13 PM

In a technology driven world, consumer expectations have dramatically shifted. Gone are the days where consumers simply walk into your store to learn about your services or products nor come to you to find a solution to their problem. Instead, potential buyers preform extensive research through their tablets, phones and computers, arriving armed with knowledge of your products, services, value and pricing.  As a result, there is pressure for organizations to create a truly seamless approach to their consumer experience through their entire buying journey.

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Topics: Supply Chain

Growing Pains: How to Prevent Outgrowing your Supply Chain

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 2:19:33 PM

One trend we frequently see as companies grow in reach and size is the need to adapt change within the organization and apply it to their supply chains. As more businesses expand their services nationally and especially internationally, it’s crucial to take another look at your inbound and outbound shipments to ensure you are cutting costs and time, while saving resources.

Easier said than done. Although your organization quickly outgrew your current supply chain, it can take three times as long to update it so it now aligns with your current business process and goals.  By the time changes are implemented, your business could have grown significantly again! However, creating a partnership with a 3PL can greatly benefit your organization as it continues to grow. Below are 3 ways your business can benefit from leveraging a 3PL relationship.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Business Growth

Transportation Evaluation: Where to Start?

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 29, 2017 1:23:57 PM

As your business grows and becomes more dynamic, so does your supply chain. While your strengths lie in earning new business, marketing, and/or operations, it is difficult to dedicate the proper time to your supply chain. Growth is a time to reevaluate your current logistics process and find opportunities to streamline and save. But where do you begin this process? What type of evaluation is required to determine what the best fitting solution for your needs?

Before you begin talking to vendors or implementing changes, it’s important to gain full visibility of how your supply chain operates today and determine costs involved, both hard and soft. Below are 3 steps to take to determine the current state of your supply chain.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics, Business Growth, Cut Costs, Logistics Bid Process

Transportation Evaluation: When to Revisit your Freight Rates

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 28, 2017 6:26:16 PM

General Rate Increase or GRI, is the average amount by which a tariff rate increases, which is applied to your company’s base freight rate. GRIs can occur multiple times throughout the year and it likely you have already experienced rate increases. Although each GRI may have a small impact on your overall logistics costs, over time they can quickly add up. As a result, GTS recommends revisiting your freight rates periodically throughout the year to ensure you are receiving the value you expect from your vendors. Below are 3 tips to keep in mind while reviewing your current contracts:

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Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics, Business Growth, Cut Costs, Logistics Bid Process

How Data Visualization Can Improve the Supply Chain

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 28, 2017 6:23:56 PM

 The ability to effectively manage your supply chain has a direct impact on the organization’s bottom line and market share. With new customer demands and advances in technology, businesses must have visibility into their processes to ensure products are being delivered and meeting customer’s expectations, all while reducing costs. Likewise, the increasing complexity of today’s supply chains has made it more difficult to monitor and control related tools, activities, and procedures. By achieving visibility, managers can more effectively identify and manage risks in the supply chain and respond to customer demands and other complexities in real time. However, this is easier said than done.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics, Business Growth, Cut Costs, Big Data

The American Railway- Innovating for the Future

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 28, 2017 6:13:11 PM

The Transcontinental Railroad opened in May 1869 and forever changed the landscape of America. Travel from coast to coast went from a six month journey to a mere one week trip.  The railroad system provided the best method to transports raw material, finished products, livestock, produce, as well as people.  And once again, we are finding that in specific areas, the U.S. railroad system is stepping up to impact the movement of freight again.

In Kentucky, the R.J. Corman Railroad Group is making a huge logistical impact.  In addition to being perfectly located for quick distribution to a large portion of the US population, they also have more than 60 locations in 24 states.  Rail service is only one facet of the intermodal infrastructure in Kentucky, however it has increased jobs, provided a lifeline for farmers, and is an economic boom for the state.

Traffic congestion and clogged port entry is becoming a thing of the past in southern Florida due to the Florida East Coast Railway.  With increased train frequency, a new tunnel into the Port of Miami, and the ability to convert over-the-road truck service to intermodal, rail service is an excellent choice to decrease fuel costs, control transit times, and eliminate backhauls.

On the west coast, the volume of freight that moves through the ports of Los Angeles create opportunities for intermodal improvement.  The Watson Land Company is leading the way by developing the land close to the port to provide a location for companies to process shipping container into smaller shipments and have easy access to rail service and highways.  This has provided more efficient distribution, as well as, time and cost savings.

Another exciting innovation that may soon start popping up in the heartland are rail-to-truck hubs to provide easy transfer of freight between the Kansas City Southern Railway and major US interstate highways.  It is ideas like these and many others that will keep the American railway system chugging into the future.  It is time to get onboard.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics, Technology, Intermodal

5 Facts You Didn't Know About Rail

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 28, 2017 5:50:38 PM

Did you know that America has the largest rail network in the world, with twice as much track as China? And while rail isn’t the primary mode of transport for consumers, it has once again started to aid logistics infrastructure.

In our previous post about the American Railway, we highlighted the fact that the U.S. rail system is once again, as in times past, stepping up to help our domestic supply chain. Increased jobs, farming support and better infrastructure are just a few of the benefits of adding rail back into America’s transport system.

This post will cover five facts that you probably didn’t know about the American rail system and its aid to the shipment of domestic goods. 

  1.     U.S. freight rail is a $60 billion dollar industry with 140,000 rail miles operated by seven main railroads, each bringing in a revenue of at least $433 million dollars. This breaks down to 21 regional railroads and 510 local railroads.
  2.     The American rail system moves more freight than any other rail system worldwide. It also provides 221,000 jobs nationally and allows for several community benefits: reduction in road congestion and highway fatalities, lowering of fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and lessening of overall logistics costs and public infrastructure maintenance costs.
  3.     U.S. freight railroads are private organizations -- they are responsible for their own maintenance and do not rely on government financial support. They invest a very large amount of money into their own system to maintain and add capacity.
  4.     About 40% of U.S. freight is moved by “ton-miles” -- the length freight travels. Rail is a huge benefit for bulk shipping of common goods, such as grain and coal, and a wide variety of consumer goods.
  5.     Each person in the U.S. requires 40 tons of freight moved every year! Many of the goods that Americans use every day are wholly shipped or contain portions of material that have been shipped by rail. 

It’s clear that rail is an integral part of America’s logistics network, especially for heavy freight that needs to travel long distances. And while trucks are excellent for shipping time-sensitive, high-value commodities, rail is the key to transporting raw materials across the country.

What does the future look like for rail? Well, America is becoming increasingly urbanized, turning to larger areas of metropolitan regions, called “megaregions.” This results in more freight and passenger traffic, congestion and lessening of productivity. Rail can be utilized here through public-private partnerships that continue to fund and support innovative rail transport. Rail modal will become more competitive as intermodal transport brings efficiencies and greater quality of life by minimizing traffic congestion and pollution.

Visit the GTS blog to learn more about logistics and freight management.

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Topics: Supply Chain, Freight, Logistics