How Technology is Changing Supply Chain Management

New technology has the potential to change and improve almost every facet of our lives and supply chain management is no different. In this article, we will examine five ways in which tech is transforming supply chain management. 

1. Improved transparency

Consumers today are more socially and environmentally aware than ever. They want to know that each component of their order is ethically sourced. In industries like pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage, items must be tracked every step of the way – not just when they reach the next distribution centre. 

The use of RFID tags along with geospatial data can help to ensure that goods are tracked from the source to the end-user. Additionally, sensors that measure everything from temperature to vibration can be used to monitor how goods are being handled. 

2. Highly efficient automation

While automation is nothing new in supply chain management, it continues to advance at a rapid pace. Amazon, for example, uses quick and extremely agile robots that pick up entire racks of goods and bring them to human pickers to help fulfill orders. 

Deliveries by drone and autonomous vehicles are already a reality and someday soon, they may even be commonplace. 

3. Better use of big data

In the logistics and supply chain industry, there are seemingly countless variables to consider from warehouse conditions to weather, traffic, cargo weight, customer behaviour and more. Being able to compile and use this data is the best way to estimate delivery times, make decisions about inventory and packaging, and provide the best possible customer experience. 

According to a study by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, 93 percent of shippers and 98 percent of third-party logistics firms believe that efficient use of big data and technology-driven decision making is vital to the industry. 

4. Wearables

More companies these days are providing wearables to their workers to assist in various tasks. Amazon, for example, provides their warehouse workers with electronic bracelets, which they can use to track items and update customer orders. 

Another example of wearable technology for warehouse workers are augmented reality devices such as Google Glasses. These can be programmed for example to instantly count the number of boxes in view of the worker to make keeping track of inventory much simpler. 

Another use of wearables is for commercial drivers. Wearable devices can be used to track the quality and quantity of their sleep, to ensure that they are alert enough to drive. Since an accident on the road can be extremely costly to a company both in terms of lost inventory as well as potential legal ramifications, investing in wearables for drivers can be a smart idea. 

5. 3D Printing

3D printing has had a huge impact on the supply chain allowing business to be both the manufacturer and the retailer.  With 3D printing, consumers can even customize smaller items. Items can be printed and shipped at the time of ordering, eliminating the need to store large inventories.

At Royal Supply Chain, we are always staying informed about the latest technology in supply chain management and adopting the technology we feel will most benefit our clients. For more information, contact us today. 

The Importance of Packaging in Logistics

Logistics and transport packaging is something that most people don’t give a lot of thought to. After all, it’s the product that’s important right? Well, the product is indeed important but the packaging is also important because it serves the product. 

Here are a few reasons why packaging is so important in logistics:

1. Avoid Delays Due to Non-Compliance

Depending on what you are shipping and where you are shipping it to, there may well be regulatory issues you will need to consider with your logistics packaging. For example, if you are shipping to the EU, there are some very strict guidelines when it comes to transporting palletized items and if you do not meet their standards, your shipment will most likely get held up at customs. It may even get rejected at the point of entry.

Especially if you are shipping internationally, you need to be aware of packaging compliance issues. 

2. Makes Transportation Easier

There are many items that would be very difficult to transport without the right packaging. Think of something as common as construction screws. Could you imagine trying to transport these without first putting them in some kind of box or container? 

The right packaging allows you to transport your goods most conveniently.  

3. Protects Your Goods

Products that become damaged or marked during transport are expensive. Not only do you lose the cost of the item itself and the money you paid to transport it, but you may also have to send a replacement. Even worse, if this happens too frequently it could cost you customers or damage your professional reputation. 

Logistics packaging helps to ensure that your items arrive undamaged at their end location, saving you time and money. 

4. Provides Important Information

Logistics packaging also provides important information to those transporting your items as well as to the end customer. Some of the information may be as simple as “fragile” or “this side up” but other information can be more detailed such as instructions to store the item at the certain temperature or detailed handling instructions. 

5. Makes Storage More Convenient 

Will your items be spending some time in a warehouse or storage facility at some point between their initial shipping and their end customer? If so, having the right packaging helps to make storage much easier. 

No matter the shape of your product, the right packaging can make it easy to store the product on shelving or pallets. 

6. Helps Sell Your Products

Did you know that your packaging can be a sales tool? By selecting retail-ready packaging, it means that your products arrive at the retailer ready to be displayed on store shelves. Packaging that is designed with your colours, graphics, and brand help to attract customers’ attention and may result in increased sales for you. 

Having the right logistics packaging can be a huge benefit to your company. If you have questions or would like help in selecting the right packaging for your products, contact us today. 

Top Tips for Overnight Delivery

If you work in an industry where goods need to be shipped at the last minute and arrive at the right destination the very next morning then you likely understand how stressful it can be to find a reliable overnight shipping company. There is always the fear that if you choose overnight shipping it won’t actually arrive the next day, and then your customer is disappointed that you haven’t met the expected delivery. Unfortunately, once you drop your package off with a courier you are sometimes running on their schedule, so here’s what you need to know about overnight shipping to give you some peace of mind. 

Standard Options

If you are shipping a package within the province you live in, then typically overnight/next day delivery is standard with major courier companies. For this service, there may be cut off times to ensure the delivery gets on the right truck on time but generally speaking, ground service for next day delivery can be expected. When speaking with your preferred carrier, you’ll want to double check exactly what their shipping policies are and ask what kind of guarantees they make. 

Check the Fees

Some shipping companies offer their best prices to those who ship a large volume of parcels consistently, but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay the highest price if you don’t ship parcels all the time. Before you select your courier, there isn’t any harm in shopping around to find the best guaranty for you. 

Ground vs. Express Delivery 

If the parcel you are sending needs to go to a different province or country, then you’ll likely have to select what is known as Express Shipping. When it comes to express shipments, the parcels are placed on planes instead of trucks to make sure they get to their destination on time. There will probably be cut off times – like ground shipments – to make sure the packages get on the plane on time. Couriers that operate planes to transport shipments will probably charge more because it costs more to send a parcel on a plane than a truck, but there aren’t any other feasible options for out of province or out of country overnight shipping. When it comes to overnight shipping out of province, be prepared to pay more no matter which courier you choose. 

Guaranteed Service

This service is offered by a majority of large courier companies, and it promises delivery of your parcel by a specified time or they will refund your money. When dealing with your customers, if their shipment is truly time sensitive this might be a valid option to select and may be worth the additional charge. If the delivery is not time sensitive, the extra charge might not make sense, and ground or express delivery might be sufficient. 

When it comes to shipping packages and parcels to your customers, it’s very important to weigh the priority of the package. Sometimes paying that little extra so your customer gets their order sooner is worth it to make them happy, and make sure they continue working with you. Overall, weigh your options and make sure you’re choosing a courier service that meets your needs and you’re comfortable with their guarantees. 

If you are looking for a reliable delivery service to provide your company with overnight delivery, we would love to hear from you. Contact us today. 

Our Top Five Tips for Shipping Heavy Haul

In the freight industry, a heavy haul refers to a shipment that is carrying a larger or heavier load than usual. Oftentimes, special equipment may be necessary to make transport possible and special permits are required. 

Because heavy hauls are logistically more complicated than other types of shipments, it pays off to do a little preparation in advance. The following are our top five tips for shipping heavy hauls: 

1. Find the right freight company.

Transporting heavy hauls is a specialized task, so one of the first things you should do is make sure that you are working with a reputable freight company that has experience in this area. Spend some time researching the company to make sure it has the proper insurance and that there are no claims against them. You can also check out their reviews online to see how satisfied their previous customers have been. 

2. Give yourself time.

The more notice that you are able to provide your freight company of a heavy haul, the better. Sometimes the special equipment that is necessary for shipping these loads is in limited supply so by notifying your shipping company early, you can help ensure that the equipment will be available when it is needed.

3. Provide accurate information.

To get the necessary permits, your shipping company is going to need a lot of information about the shipment. You should know the exact dimensions of your shipment including height, width and length. You should also know the weight. Additionally, you should know the make and model of the item and if possible, the serial number. By providing detailed and accurate information, it will help the permitting process to go more smoothly.

4. Understand jurisdictional differences.

If your shipment is being transported across state or provincial lines, understand that permits must be issued in each of those jurisdictions. Some states even have differences between counties! Usually, the larger your shipment is, the more time it will take to acquire these permits. Also, each jurisdiction will have its travel restrictions such as which routes can be taken and hours that travel is permitted. It is common, for example, for heavy haul travel to be restricted on nights and weekends. 

5. Expect the unexpected.

Even with the most diligent of planning, there may be unexpected delays and costs when transporting a heavy haul. Possible hurdles may include:

  • Additional support vehicles required – some shipments will require additional vehicles such as pilot and/or chase cars or bucket trucks (these are vehicles that move overhead wires out of the way).
  • Construction zones – these may necessitate the planning of alternative routes, resulting in delays.
  • Weather – inclement weather is another factor that could delay shipment.
  • Train tracks and bridges – in some cases, alterations to road surfaces may be necessary when there is no alternative route.

Being aware of the challenges that accompany heavy hauls can help you prepare for them and ensure that your freight gets where it needs to be on time. 

At Royal Canadian Supply Chain, we are experienced with many different shipping scenarios including heavy haul and we would be happy to assist you. Call us today for more information. 

Royal Supply Chain Expands Into US Market Opening New Office in Des Moines IA

Royal Supply Chain (RSC) is excited to announce that we are taking the next step in expanding our operations. RSC is opening its first office in the United States. 

“The vision has always been to eventually open an office in the US,” says RSC President, Jonathan Cohen. “The United States offers our customers a larger market and allows us the opportunity to provide those customers with even more service offerings. Expanding into the US seemed like the next logical step for our company. Not only will we be better suited to serve our US Clients, but since the US is the first market that most Canadian businesses enter when they expand internationally, we will be better able to serve those clients as well.”

The US office, located in Des Moines, IA will be operated by Senior VP of Business Development – Dennis Kadic, Senior VP of Operations – Brandon Bradley, and Director of Carrier Relations – Jake Guenther. 

Kadic brings with him 15 years of sales experience dealing with national accounts on all different platforms; Bradley is a ten year veteran in managing operations along with the carrier and customer development; while Guenther has been in the industry for six years managing carrier relationships.

“Iowa is a strategic Midwest location,” says Jonathan Cohen, “we have assembled a great team of experienced people and we are looking forward to what the future holds for RSC.”

The Iowa office is the first step in a larger plan to set up more locations throughout the States. RSC has a full team that is devoted strictly to serving US based businesses, and this expansion allows us greater opportunity to serve our customers who ship to and from the US. 

“It is our intention to offer the same high level of service throughout the US office that we do through our Canadian office,” says Richard Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of RSC. 

The Canadian office continues to grow, relying heavily on moving perishable and other refrigeration required commodities.

“We have added additional employees in accounting, sales and dispatch to ensure we continue to provide the service our customers are used to as we expand,” says Jonathan Cohen.

RSC has added a new financial partner that comes with over 40 years of financing, scaling and operating companies all across the world.

About Royal Supply Chain

Royal Supply Chain (RSC) is a third-party logistics firm that specializes in supply chain management solutions. Services that we offer include over the road (LTL & FTL), expedited air shipments, warehousing and distribution. 

RSC is a 24/7 operation dedicated to ensuring the safe and timely transport of goods for our customers. Our dispatch team and carriers adhere to the highest industry standards.

Five Major Benefits of Expedited Freight Shipping

According to Statista, the number of online buyers worldwide is expected to reach 2.14 billion by 2021. And with consumers now being able to purchase practically anything from anywhere at any time, they do not want to have long wait periods between ordering an item and receiving it. To satisfy consumers’ increasing need for instant gratification, more and more businesses that have traditionally had their own fleets are now turning to freight companies that can offer expedited shipping. 

….And for good reason.

There are many benefits to using expedited freight shipping.

1. More time to focus on core competencies. 

We get it. Shipping goods to your clients is an essential part of your business, but the time that you spend focusing on shipping is time that you don’t spend focusing on innovation, marketing, and all the other activities that help differentiate you from your competition. If you are spending too much time and resources on shipping, it is time to consider partnering with a freight company that can help shoulder that part of your business – while you focus on the core competencies that will help your company grow and become more profitable. 

2. Lower your costs.

Not all businesses need full-time delivery drivers. Depending on your company, you could actually end up saving quite a bit of money by outsourcing your shipping. Outsourcing your shipping can also improve the scalability of your business and save you logistical hassles that can happen around peak times such as holidays.

3. Faster delivery times.

As mentioned earlier, today’s customers don’t want to have to wait very long to receive their orders. And some items may be time sensitive. Because freight companies are experts in logistics, they can determine the most efficient way to get deliveries to your customers. 

4. Scale your business more quickly.

If you are looking to increase your sales (and really, what business isn’t?), working with a freight company that offers expedited shipping can help you do that. As your business grows, there will be no need to ask yourself whether you can afford to increase your fleet size or hire more drivers since all of that will be outsourced. 

Furthermore, if you wish to scale internationally, working with a reputable freight company gives you the added advantage of already having an international network in place – not to mention the experts who can help you navigate the various logistical and regulatory issues surrounding import and export. 

5. Provide a better customer experience. 

Perhaps the most important benefit of expedited freight shipping is that it will allow you to provide a better experience to their customers. Not only will they receive their deliveries more quickly, but since you are able to save on costs you may be able to pass some of that cost saving on to your customers. Additionally, the time and resources that you save may allow you to improve your products or offer new innovative ones. All of these factors combine and result in more satisfied customers. 

Expedited freight shipping can provide tremendous benefits to any business that ships items to their customers, but to take full advantage of these benefits, it is important to partner with the right freight company. For more information on how Royal Canadian Supply Chain can help your company, call us today. 

Our Top 5 Best Practices for Shipping Refrigerated Inventory

Shipping refrigerated or temperature sensitive inventory comes with its own set of unique challenges. Whether you are shipping produce, pharmaceuticals, or fresh flowers, keeping your shipment at just the right temperature is critical to ensuring goods arrive at their destination undamaged. 

To help ensure your refrigerated inventory makes it safely and securely to its destination, we have compiled our top five best practices for shipping these types of items.

1. Work with a carrier that understands the type of inventory that you’re shipping.

One of the most important things you can do is to choose a carrier that has experience transporting refrigerated items. If you are shipping nationally or internationally, you need to ensure that the carrier you choose not only has access to temperature regulated facilities here at home, but globally as well. 

Particularly if you are shipping medical items, it is important to work with a carrier that has healthcare experience and who can navigate through complex regulations, packaging requirements and monitoring of temperature throughout transit. 

2. Learn and adhere to relevant regulations.

Refrigerated inventory may be subject to a wide range of provincial, federal and international regulations and restrictions. This is especially true of pharmaceuticals but there will also be rules concerning food and other items. 

If you are using dry ice to keep items cool, you will also need to keep in mind that this is considered a hazardous material and there are regulations (such as those of the International Air Transportation Association) that must be adhered to. 

3. The right packaging.

The right packaging will go a long way toward keeping your inventory at the appropriate temperature. Foam insulated containers that are at least 1.5 inches are a good choice for many items that need to be kept cool. These can be used in combination with a coolant. 

When less cooling is needed, thermal bubble wrap or foam planks may provide enough insulation to do the trick. 

For some items such as healthcare supplies, a very specific temperature range is needed. In these cases choose pre-qualified temperature controlled packaging. 

4. The right coolant.

In most cases, you will want to choose either dry ice or gel packs rather than regular ice which will begin melting almost immediately. If using dry ice, keep in mind that packaging must allow gas emitted from the dry ice to escape and that dry ice should never be allowed to come into direct contact with food items. 

For items that you wish to keep frozen, dry ice is generally the best choice. For items that you wish to keep cool but not frozen, we normally choose gel packs. Remember that dry ice should never be used for shipping flowers or live seafood. 

5. Monitor refrigerated inventory in transit.

To ensure that goods stay within their temperature range during transit and in any temporary storage locations, be sure to place a temperature monitoring device with those goods. A logistics provider will then be able to monitor the temperature of the inventory and provide assistance and intervention if necessary. 

By keeping these five best practices in mind, you can be confident in knowing that your refrigerated inventory is being properly shipped and that it will be kept at the appropriate temperature until it reaches its destination.