March 17, 2015
As we’ve discussed in previous episodes, Oil and Gas companies are focusing more than ever before on improving their supply and logistics operations. The path to improvement requires increased collaboration and optimization, but what do those buzzwords mean for companies in the Oil and Gas industry? Who are the key stakeholders and how can they work more effectively together? Where should companies focus their optimization efforts? What skills and capabilities are required? How can third-party logistics providers and other partners help?

Keith Richard, VP of Operations at Transplace, discusses those questions and more in this timely and important episode. After watching, post a question or comment for Keith and keep the conversation going!

March 4, 2015
Non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services and logistics technology services provider Transplace said today that Brooks Bentz has joined the company in a newly-created role as president of Transplace Consulting in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new North American consulting services practice. In his role, Bentz will report to Transplace CEO Tom Sanderson.

Bentz is far from a stranger to the transportation and logistics sectors, with more than four decades worth of experience, including: 21 years with Andersen Consulting/Accenture, where he was a managing director in supply chain management, responsible for supply chain transportation; vice president of intermodal for Burlington Northern Railroad, where he developed BN America, the company’s domestic container operation; president and CEO of Ameritrans Corporation, the 3PL subsidiary of IU International; CEO of Trans-Star Trucking, a regional LTL/TL motor carrier; and general manager, intermodal, for Boston & Maine Railroad, and founder; COO of BMX, B&M’s motor carrier subsidiary. Bentz also serves as an adjunct professor of supply chain in the graduate transportation program at the University of Denver and a member of the board of directors.

February 24, 2015
Now more so than ever, corporations understand the tremendous impact logistics and transportation can have on their overall business performance and are taking meaningful strides to optimize their supply chain operations. While some organizations have the human capital, industry depth and expertise, and IT infrastructure to manage their transportation on an insourced basis, a majority do not. It’s simply not viewed as core competency or they lack the significant technical infrastructure to do so effectively or efficiently. It’s for this reason they outsource this business function to a third party that specializes in this area.

Third party logistics (3PL) and outsourcing of nearly every conceivable logistics function is a known, proven, and highly mature strategy that delivers near immediate financial and operational performance efficiencies that assist companies to reduce costs and improve supply chain performance. It’s for this reason an estimated 80% of Fortune 500 companies and 96 Fortune 100 companies use 3PL services in some form or fashion¹. But it’s not just limited to large corporations. Global 3PL revenues grew to $676.9 billion (U.S. dollars) in 2012 – a 9.9% increase over 2011, according to Capgemini’s 2014 18th Annual Third Party Logistics Study. In the United States alone, 3PL gross revenue increased 3.2% (a rate greater than our GDP) from 2012 to 2013 to $146.4 billion, according to a recent research report from industry watchers Armstrong & Associates.

February 19, 2015

Huhtamaki is a maker of packaging goods used in the food service and retail industries. You might know it as Chinet, the brand of premium disposable tableware, but the company makes a full range of food-service and consumer-goods packaging. Here’s how increasing intermodal became a key component to its transportation strategy.

Global Trade: When did Huhtamaki begin to rely more heavily on intermodal as part of its transportation program?

Scott Stuckenschneider: We have shipped via intermodal for many years, but we did so primarily in terms of replenishment. When we hit the tightening [trucking] capacity, we began to investigate how we can take that beyond just a replenishment of our distribution points, directly to our customer. Late 2013 is when we made the decision that we were going to begin shipping via intermodal to our customers.

February 16, 2015
Last year’s peak season in Mexico brought about the worst capacity shortage we’ve experienced in a decade. The imbalance in trade between the U.S. and Mexico left shippers scrambling to find truck and rail capacity as carriers were forced to reposition empty equipment in order to meet the demand.

While shippers were hoping for relief during the offseason, that was not the case. Already in 2015, the normal pools for equipment that accrue in Mexico during the off season have yet to appear, so capacity remains tight. This has not only made for a challenging off season, but is also an indicator of things to come.