Welcome – Jerry Craig

OptiVia – Logistics Analyst

Please join us in welcoming Jerry Craig to OptiVia Logistics as a full time Logistics Analyst. Jerry will be working with the OptiVia team in this newly added role and comes from a background with a wide range of experience in Operations, Project Management, Analysis and Transportation Logistics.

Jerry served a variety of role at his last position. He started out as the Special Project Manager and Business Analyst. After several years of interfacing, designing transportation applications and managing support staff for special projects, Jerry was promoted. He took on a role as LTL Operations Manager, where he furthered his experience with logistics negotiations, sales management and overseeing the shipping and data processes.

Jerry’s experience and expertise will help OptiVia continue to grow during this exciting time in our company’s history.

Cost vs. Quality – You Get What You Pay For in Supply Chain Management

Shipping Agreement

throwing_money_awayHave you ever been a member of a really great gym? Well I was a member of one for over eight years, until I was unable to resist that New Year special from cheaper gym. It didn’t last, though.  My cheaper option came with dirty equipment, broken treadmills, and horrible hours.  I quickly forfeited my deposit and returned to my old gym, and I realized that clean towels and reliable equipment was a luxury I couldn’t live without.  It was an expensive mistake – I thought I would save some money and ended up throwing it away.

My wasted money and frustration reminded me of an important lesson we all learned a long time ago:  You get what you pay for.

The same is true for your third-party logistics partner.  You may save a few bucks at first by going with the cheapest, lowest-frills option.  And it may seem like a good idea at the time.  After all, you operate on a tight budget.  But you may be taking risks of poor quality or shortcuts that could lead to expensive problems down the road.  As you’re making the decision on a carrier that will impact your entire business, be sure to ask these important questions:

  • Will my freight arrive on time? Time is money.  Your widgets need to arrive when and where you promised.  You can’t afford to risk late fees or lost shelf time for your freight.
  • Are you there when I need you? When I call, are you available, or do I get put through a menu of too many choices only to get disconnected and frustrated?  Can you answer my questions the first time I ask, or do you tell me you’ll call me back and then forget?  Let’s be honest, no one has time to be given the runaround.
  • Do you provide me with data I can use to proactively manage my logistics? You need the right data available to you in a way that you can digest and use to make decisions.  It has to be accurate, current, and convenient.
  • Is there an up-charge for everything? Make sure your logistics partner is not like a budget airline – charging for choosing a seat or printing a boarding pass.  Good quality should be all-inclusive.  You shouldn’t have to pay for reporting, auditing, or customer service.
  • Is my freight safe? Either on the road or in the warehouse, your freight is no good if it’s broken or damaged.  Make sure your carrier isn’t taking shortcuts that may compromise the quality of your product.  You should feel assured your products are safe.

Take the time to fully examine a third-party logistics provider before making a costly mistake, and make sure you fully evaluate the details of any offer.  You need to feel confident your freight and warehousing needs are managed with excellence so you don’t end up with a costly surprise.

What’s the Difference Between Asset-Based Logistics and Non-Asset Based Logistics?

Difference Blog Image

Difference Blog Image

OptiVia.  What’s in a name?  In our case, it’s about Optimizing logistics Via transportation & warehousing, or helping you achieve optimal logistics solutions via our services.  The best solution for you can come from an asset based logistics partner or a non-asset based partner, but what is the difference between the two?  Let’s start by exploring the definitions of each, and we will discuss advantages and disadvantages in an upcoming post.

Asset Based Logistics

Simply put, asset based suppliers own the assets used throughout the shipping process, from trucks to warehouses, and from pallets to distribution centers.  This means that you will be working directly with the company responsible from getting your goods from point A to point B and utilizing their owned assets to fulfill your requirements.  This type of solution – working directly with the carrier – may provide you with quick and seamless communication when you want an update on where your freight is at any given time.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the carrier remains constrained by their assets available to them at any given time.  Be sure to ask the appropriate questions that are important to your needs – regarding availability, regional/national presence, filing a freight claim, or more.

Non-Asset Based Logistics

A non-asset based logistics partner does not own the actual assets used to transport or warehouse freight, but works to broker these services on your behalf.  They leverage relationships with a variety of carriers, warehouses and distribution/fulfillment centers to negotiate the best solutions for your needs.  This gives non-asset based logistics service providers the opportunity to meet a variety of needs and offer custom solutions for each client.  They are not constrained by a certain number of trucks or routes, and they can hold their suppliers accountable for delivering on time and within budget.

Asset Based Logistics Provider Non-Asset Based Logistics Provider
   Owns their own equipment    Does not own equipment
   Works directly with customers     Negotiates between asset-based carriers & customers

How to choose?

When considering which type of partner is right for you, it’s important to keep in mind your need for flexibility and level of involvement you wish to invest in the day-to-day operations of logistics.  Choose a partner you can trust; one that allows you to focus on what you do best – running your business.

Expect the Unexpected: How to Prepare for Unanticipated Delays

icy-conditions-1-1358994 (2)

Snow in July?  Really?  About this time last year, Boston started accumulating what would become over 64 inches of snow, and the last of it was around until July.

What exactly is a monsoon?  Ask the folks of Phoenix, Arizona, who recently saw 2 to 3 inches of rain per hour, causing downed trees, flash floods, and power outages.

Unfortunately, major weather-related events or natural disasters can happen anywhere at any time – in your neighborhood or across the country.  And if you’re shipping freight from Charlotte to Albuquerque, an unexpected ice storm in Texas may wreak havoc on your timeline for deliverables.

Whether you’re shipping small orders locally, or large orders nationally or globally, it’s important to choose a logistics partner who will keep you in-the-know of any possible weather or other unforeseen service interruptions.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to be prepared and armed with valuable information.

  • Expect communication from your logistics partner. You should receive a phone call, email, or text notifying you of the potential of delay or change of route due to an uncontrollable circumstance.  Likely, updates will also be posted on your carrier’s website. This information should include, if available, expected length of delay and what actions are being taken to continue with transit as quickly and safely as possible.  If you would like to receive these alerts and other important updates from OptiVia, click here to provide your email address.
  • Consider adding a buffer or date range to your quoted shipping time, especially during the winter months. Perhaps you’re shipping products to a retailer for distribution, or pallets of laptops to a college campus.  If your receiver is flexible, they may be willing to accept a delivery window of 48-hours, for example, which may be a best practice if there is potential for inclement weather.
  • Plan around high-travel dates, such as holidays or weekends. You may be surprised to know that, according to USA Today, some Fridays during the summer are the most high-traffic days on the road. Throw in a hurricane and that could equal some serious traffic delays.  Consider the possible length of your freight journey, and try to avoid it being en route during the day everyone is headed home for that Thanksgiving turkey at mom and dad’s.
  • Have a backup plan. Perhaps your usual go-to partner has a fleet of trucks stuck in a regional blizzard, or a major highway is shut down due to wildfires.  It’s important to have a handful of trusted carriers that you can rely on with short notice, and that can offer you the reliability and flexibility you may need at the last minute.  Don’t leave yourself without options.

Our goal remains to serve our clients with excellence while maintaining high safety and quality standards – to make sure your fright gets where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, in the same condition that it was in when it left the warehouse.  And you should be in-the-know when there are unanticipated delays.  This is what you should expect from your logistics partner.

5 Benefits of Using a TMS Software Solution

Optivia Logistics Top 5 TMS Benefits

There are never-ending challenges managing logistics in today’s competitive business environment.  On a daily basis, you’re looking for the best way to get your product from Point A to Point B, while making sure to maintain quality and control costs.  It’s tough to develop a logistics strategy that meets all your needs, and it’s a constant battle to manage all the day-to-day details that come with supply chain management.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to quickly tackle these challenges with the right tools. Let’s take a look at 5 benefits of using a TMS solution.

1. Digest your Data

It seems like a no-brainer – looking at reports to get a sense of your logistics performance.  But this critical analysis can be overlooked when daily tasks and problems take more and more time resolve and meaningful, accurate reporting is difficult to create. Reporting and information management solutions make it easy for you to view and digest your customized metrics, allowing you to make quick decisions to improve efficiencies.

Transportation Management Systems(TMS) provides tools and reporting to help you actively manage inbound and outbound freight.   A web-based system allows you to compare rates, create shipping schedules, and monitor shipping activity from almost anywhere.  Having all of this information at your fingertips in an easy-to-digest format means you can make immediate changes to enhance your company’s performance right within the TMS.

2. Centralize your Logistics Operations

You may be in a position requiring you to monitor shipping among multiple destinations or between locations, making it difficult to track where your shipments are at any given time. Using a TMS, you can centralize all your logistics functions and solutions.  Via easy-to-access online tools, you can view and manage activity from multiple locations on a single screen, while still providing autonomy and security for each location.  Site-level, product-line and other reports allow you to make on-the-spot changes; such as combining shipping or checking alternate carrier options, which provides efficiencies and reduce costs.

3. Utilize the Right Mode and the Right Carrier

As a logistics professional, you should always be asking yourself the right questions:  How many shipments will we be handling this year?  Will I have truckload or less-than-truckload shipments?  How far will my shipments need to travel, and how long will it take for them to arrive? While the answers to these questions may seem obvious at first, you may gain critical efficiencies by partnering with a professional logistics consultant.

Leveraging the tools that a TMS provides, a shipping manager can choose the right mode and the right carrier for every shipment.  Because your needs may vary from day-to-day, you need an easy to use transportation management system that allows you to digest information quickly, and act upon it with confidence.

Customized reports within a TMS system should give you the holistic view you need to make decisions in real time.  Because these reports are tailored to your specific business needs and are available 24/7, you can view critical information anytime to easily compare costs, carriers and manage freight.

4. Freight Invoice Auditing

Surprise costs and fees are not welcome.  You need to know what to expect. That’s why you need a payment process that ensures you only pay for what you have already agreed upon, allowing you to clearly manage your monthly finances.

Manually auditing your freight bills is a time consuming process. A TMS system can allow you to receive freight invoices from the carrier electronically and compare the invoice rate with the contract rate. If the invoice rate and the contract rate match, the invoice can be sent to accounting and be paid. Any discrepancy between the invoice rate and the contract rate can be easily identified and set aside for additional research.

5. Improve Customer Service

Information is power. A TMS system allows you the ability to quickly quote freight costs to your customer or help track a shipment, without the need to put your customer on hold or call them back. In addition to saving you the headache of dealing with multiple calls, you can provide customers with time saving techniques. Logistics should not be a painful process, and it doesn’t have to be.


 

Working with a partner in transportation optimization should be anything but a hassle. You need to know that your third party provider of supply chain solutions has your back and is looking out for your best interest – while also negotiating on your behalf, with state-of-the-art reporting and analytic tools. Work with a provider of custom logistics solutions who takes a consultative approach –  fully understanding your business and your goals to tailor solutions that fit your needs. This will give you the competitive advantage you need to focus on running your business with confidence.

If you are interested in learning about OptiVia’s TMS Software, click the button below or contact Marty Grogan

Lou Kovacs | Director of Sales & Marketing
OptiVia | 3574 East Kemper Rd | Cincinnati, OH 45241
P: (513) 554 8899 | F: (866) 616 671
C: (513) 869 8545
E:lkovacs@optivialogistics.com

OptiVia’s LTL Freight Rates Software Optimizes Logistics for EMS Equipment OEM

The Situation:
OptiVia Logistics’ third party logistics expertise was put to the test by a manufacturer/distributor of professional emergency, mortuary, and healthcare products.  OptiVia’s team was brought in by the OEM to address several needs that were identified pertaining to LTL freight:

  • Improve shipment execution and control
  • Desired better information on shipping activity, costs
  • Improved management tools
  • Augment existing staff with additional logistics expertise

The Solution:
OptiVia deployed its internet-based Transportation Management Services (TMS) for use in Customer Service and Shipping for better shipment control and execution.  A new LTL carrier lineup and rate structure was prepared, executed and implemented for better service and lower cost.  New KPI’s were developed to monitor cost and service objectives and a carrier scorecard was implemented in conjunction with client to objectively evaluate carrier performance.

The Results:
Within the first year of implementing OptiVia’s online transportation software solution, the OEM was consistently achieving substantial improvements in LTL performance including:

  • Reduced average cost per pound
  • Increased average weight per LTL shipment
  • Reduction in LTL miles per shipment
  • Improvement in carrier LTL on-time performance

Find out more about optimizing LTL freight logistics by contacting us at (513) 554-8828 or setting up a demo of our free transportation software.

 

OptiVia Logistics Launches New Website at OptiViaLogistics.com

OptiVia Logistics, a third party provider of supply chain solutions, recently launched OptiViaLogistics.com, giving website users access to free transportation management software and information about the freight brokerage, warehousing, and logistics services offered by OptiVia.

The free software provided at OptiViaLogistics.com allows users to compare and select various methods, routes and prices for delivering product from point A to point B. OptiViaLogistics.com also makes it easy for website users to contact the company for quotes and information about the supply chain solutions OptiVia provides.

“OptiViaLogistics.com will give up-to-date information about how we can help companies with their transportation and warehousing needs,” said Director of Sales, Marty Grogan. “And our clients can regularly access the site to find what’s new with OptiVia and what’s new in the industry we serve.”