Blog Archives - Synchrogistics

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Refrigerated Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping is a specialized transportation service to maintain specific temperature conditions for perishable goods. Unlike traditional LTL shipping, refrigerated LTL utilizes temperature-controlled trailers with refrigeration units. These units ensure that products such as food, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural goods remain at the optimal temperature range from pickup to delivery, preserving their quality, safety, and integrity. In this blog, we’ll explain what refrigerated LTL is and the major industries driving demand.

Refrigerated LTL vs. Dry Van LTL

While both Refrigerated LTL and Dry Van LTL share the purpose of transporting goods from one location to another, they differ significantly in their capabilities and applications.

  • Temperature Control: The primary distinction lies in their ability to regulate temperature. Refrigerated LTL maintains specific temperature ranges, typically between -20°F to 70°F (-29°C to 21°C), ensuring the preservation of perishable items. Dry Van LTL provides no temperature control, making it suitable for non-perishable goods that do not require specific climate conditions.
  • Product Suitability: Refrigerated LTL is ideal for transporting perishable items such as fresh produce, dairy products, meat, seafood, pharmaceuticals, and other temperature-sensitive goods. Dry Van LTL is more suited to items that can withstand ambient temperatures, including packaged goods, electronics, furniture, and clothing.
  • Cost: Refrigerated LTL typically commands higher shipping costs due to the specialized equipment and technology involved. However, the added expense is justified by the ability to preserve the quality and safety of perishable goods, reducing the risk of spoilage or damage.
  • Market Demand: The growing demand for perishable foods, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products has fueled the expansion of the refrigerated LTL market. As industries seek reliable temperature-controlled transportation solutions, the demand for refrigerated LTL continues to rise. In contrast, dry van LTL remains a staple for general freight transportation, catering to many industries and product types.

The Food & Beverage Industry

Refrigerated LTL finds its stronghold in the food and beverage sector, dominating the reefer truck market. In an industry where logistics costs account for 7-10% of the total product cost, efficient and reliable temperature-controlled transportation is non-negotiable. With the rising demand for chilled and frozen foods due to the proliferation of quick-service restaurants and retail locations, the need for robust refrigerated logistics solutions has never been greater.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

Beyond just food, the pharmaceutical industry is another major benefactor of refrigerated LTL services. The United States leads the charge in drug development, with about 95% of new drugs entering the market originating from its laboratories. This reliance on pharmaceutical innovation necessitates stringent temperature-controlled logistics for medications and chemicals. Moreover, the recent global health crisis has amplified this need, with pharmaceutical companies increasingly relying on refrigerated shipping options to preserve and transport potential treatments for viral infections like COVID-19.

The Agricultural Industry

The agricultural sector forms yet another cornerstone of the refrigerated trucking industry. With the growth in agricultural products and increasing trade, there’s been a surge in reliance on refrigerated transportation. From fresh produce to dairy products, maintaining optimal temperatures during transit is essential to preserving the quality and safety of these perishable goods.

Refrigerated LTL Logistics | Synchrogistics  

Are you looking to streamline your refrigerated LTL logistics with a trusted partner? Synchrogistics offers tailored temperature-controlled solutions to ensure the integrity of your perishable goods. One of our services is LTL consolidations, where we efficiently combine multiple less-than-truckload shipments from different customers into one truckload. LTL consolidation not only maximizes the use of space but also reduces costs for all parties involved. By leveraging our expertise in LTL consolidations, we help you streamline your logistics operations, minimize transit times, and ultimately enhance the overall efficiency of your supply chain. Contact us today to learn more about how Synchrogistics can synchronize your logistics for success.

 


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Have you ever received a package and wished it came with a bit more care and attention? Maybe you’ve had delicate items mishandled or valuable goods left at your doorstep without any additional assistance. If so, you’re not alone. However, what if there was a delivery service that treated your items with the utmost professionalism, from pickup to set-up, ensuring they arrived in pristine condition every time? This is a real service called White Glove Delivery. At Synchrogistics, our logistics firm, offers white glove consulting and delivery services, for businesses that require careful handling and shipment of their products. In this blog, we are explaining what White Glove Delivery means and why it’s valuable in logistics.  

What is White Glove Delivery? 

White Glove Delivery Service offers a specialized and high-level shipping and delivery option tailored for businesses and individual consumers seeking premium care and attention for their shipments. White Glove Delivery ensures items are handled with utmost professionalism throughout the entire process, making it ideal for delicate, valuable, or specialized products. Services usually include careful cargo handling, thorough inspections, secure transportation with specialized equipment, and delivery to a specific room and floor. Additional services, like setup and installation, packaging removal, and optional extras such as wall mounting or recurring deliveries, can also be requested.  

Why Is It Called White Glove Service? 

The term “white glove service” originates from an era of luxury, where wearing white gloves was synonymous with sophistication and refinement. In hospitality and service industries, such as fine dining and luxury hotels, staff wearing white gloves symbolizes the utmost attention to detail and impeccable service. Similarly, in logistics, White Glove Service represents these same principles of excellence and attention to detail. The term “white glove” evokes images of pristine cleanliness and meticulous care. It signifies a commitment to handling shipments with the same care and precision as handling delicate and valuable items with gloved hands. 

Is White Glove Delivery Worth It? 

White Glove Delivery is a specialized and high-level shipping and delivery option created for those who require an elevated level of care, attention, and service for their shipments. It represents a premium option ensuring items of significance are handled with the utmost care and professionalism. In industries like healthcare, construction, and art galleries, White Glove Delivery ensures the safe and secure transportation of sensitive and high-value items. Unlike standard delivery methods, which may leave packages at the doorstep, White Glove Delivery provides detailed processing, secure transportation, and meticulous setup. Though it may be costly, this service is worth the investment for businesses and individuals seeking excellence in handling valuable shipments. 

White Glove Service VS Delivery 

It’s important to distinguish between White Glove Service and traditional delivery methods to understand their separate roles and benefits. While both aim to transport goods from point A to point B, the similarities end there. White Glove Service represents the peak of service excellence, offering a complete suite of solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of each shipment. Traditional delivery methods, however, focus mainly on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They typically involve dropping off packages at the designated location without additional services. While appropriate for many standard shipments, traditional delivery methods may fall short when handling delicate, valuable, or oversized items that require special care and attention. 

White Glove Consulting and Delivery Services | Synchrogistics LLC 

While many logistics companies provide standard shipping and delivery options, White Glove Delivery requires specialized expertise, resources, and training to handle delicate, valuable, or oversized items with the utmost care and attention. That’s why Synchrogistics offers white glove consulting services, and white glove freight services to ensure our clients can rely on us for their most delicate and high-value shipments. Contact us today to learn more about how our white glove services in Raleigh, NC, can elevate your logistics experience and give you ease knowing your shipments are in capable hands. 


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Have you ever wondered how companies can accurately predict future trends before they happen? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! This is a technique that many industry leaders in freight use to stay ahead of the competition called forecasting. In this blog, we’re going to dive into logistics forecasting. As the best logistics firm in Raleigh NC, Synchrogistics is here to guide you through the ins and outs of staying ahead of industry trends. Our certified freight logistics company uses forecasting to analyze market trends and improve our supply chain. This allows us to proactively adjust our strategies, optimize our operations, and ultimately provide better service to our clients. So, the next time you’re wondering how companies seem to always be one step ahead, remember that it’s all about forecasting!

What Is Logistics Forecasting?

Logistics forecasting predicts future demand for goods and services in supply chain management. By analyzing market trends, consumer preferences, and economic factors, companies can make informed decisions about production levels, transportation routes, and inventory levels. This process often involves using advanced tools such as time-series analysis and machine learning algorithms to predict demand patterns accurately. Effective logistics forecasting can lead to cost savings, improved customer service, and better overall supply chain performance. 

Types of Forecasting:

1.Time-Series Forecasting: Analyzes historical data to predict future demand patterns using moving averages and ARIMA models.

2. Causal (Explanatory) Forecasting: Identifies underlying factors driving demand, such as economic indicators and marketing campaigns, through regression analysis and econometric modeling.

3. Qualitative Forecasting: Relies on expert judgment and market research when historical data is limited, using techniques like the Delphi method and scenario analysis.

4. Machine Learning Forecasting: Utilizes advanced algorithms like neural networks and random forests to uncover complex patterns in big data for more accurate forecasts.

5. Ensemble Forecasting: Combines predictions from multiple models to generate a consensus forecast, enhancing reliability and mitigating biases.

Why Is Logistics Demand Forecasting Important?

Logistics demand forecasting is crucial for anticipating market trends and consumer preferences, optimizing inventory levels, and enhancing customer satisfaction. By utilizing historical data and advanced analytics, organizations can proactively align production, warehousing, and distribution processes with anticipated demand to reduce costs and improve order fulfillment rates.
McKinsey reports that autonomous supply chain planning can lead to a 4% increase in revenue, a 20% reduction in inventory, and a 10% decrease in supply chain costs for major CPG companies. This emphasizes its importance in driving operational excellence and competitive advantage.

What Is the Difference Between Logistics Forecasting and Supply Chain Forecasting?

Logistics and supply chain forecasting are distinct realms within demand planning and management. Logistics forecasting focuses on the movement and storage of goods, including transportation, warehousing, and inventory management. Supply chain forecasting encompasses the entire supply chain, from procurement to distribution. While logistics forecasting optimizes operational processes for timely delivery and resource utilization, supply chain forecasting integrates upstream and downstream activities, stakeholders, and geographical boundaries. Both disciplines aim to synchronize demand with supply for efficiency, resilience, and marketplace responsiveness.

Synchrogistics | The Best Logistics Firm in Raleigh NC

At Synchrogistics, we leverage the latest forecasting trends in logistics and supply chain management to accurately predict demand, optimize inventory levels, and improve overall operational efficiency. Our proactive approach allows us to minimize risks, reduce lead times, and enhance customer satisfaction. Our team is committed to staying ahead of the curve and continuously improving our forecasting models to deliver the best possible outcomes for your business. By partnering with a certified freight logistics company like Synchrogistics, you can trust that your supply chain is in good hands. Contact us today to see how we can help you stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Discover why we are known as the best logistics firm in Raleigh, NC!

 

Photo credit: FTR | Transportation Intelligence


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Odds of a US recession are now at 96% as the economy transitions to slower growth and grapples with inflation (over 8%) and rate hikes (Fed rates at ~4.71%). Even if we avoid an economy-wide recession, we believe that a freight recession (meaning negative trucking shipment volumes for two or more consecutive quarters) is highly likely. If a freight recession is coming, it will be due to the following reasons:

1) 3Q22 Shipment volume still shows growth over 2021, but the rate of growth is falling quickly
  • Spot market rates are falling by double digits, with contract rates expected to follow suit in 4Q22 and 1Q23 bidding negotiations. In our previous posting we showed that overall truck miles are up, so how can total miles be up 5% but rates drop like a stone? Supply. The belief is that companies ramped up supply chain capacity over last two years and only now are disruptions (generally) settling down. Load to truck ratios have plummeted. For example, rates were dropping before Hurricane Ian. For a couple weeks, rates jumped due to the disruption. Normally, rate elevation would have lingered; however, rates were back on a downward trajectory within a couple weeks.
2) Two negative GDP quarters in a row (up until 3Q22!)
  • With GDP being negative for two quarters (Q1 and Q2 2022), this activity means that overall economic activity in the US decreased YoY. In addition, the goods component (i.e., things that move on a truck) has shown less strength than the overall economy generally since Q3 2021. While you may take solace in the fact that the economy showed a 2.6% increase in 3Q22, the reasons for the increase are not unambiguously good. First, government spending boosted GDP. We all know that the government is borrowing heavily to support spending, and that borrowing ultimately leads to inflation and higher interest rates. However, the biggest boost to GDP came from a smaller trade deficit – meaning that the US imported fewer goods and exported more. The strong dollar (caused in part by the Fed’s increase in interest rates) will serve as a brake on exports in the future as US goods and services (priced in strong dollars) cost relatively more than competing goods and services.
3) Many economists are calling for a recession starting in 4Q22 (despite 3Q22 earnings looking robust)
  • The Conference Board predicts a 96% likelihood of a recession in the next 12 months, caused by the Fed’s interest hikes in response to excess liquidity in the US economy. S&P Global Market Intelligence calls for a mild recession beginning 4Q22 and ending 2Q or 3Q23 with a contraction of ~1% expected.
4) Record inventory levels – $732 billion as of July 2022
  • Because of expected peak retail season, inventories are high and were still growing as of 3Q22. When inventories are high, businesses order fewer products, meaning less freight moves by truck. Inventories grew in August 2022, but the rate of growth (which is seasonally adjusted) is below historic trends (2.9% vs 3.4%). If demand dries up (i.e., rate hikes causing higher debt service for consumers), significant inventory needs to be worked down to get back to the mean.
5) Dow Jones Transportation Index down more than S&P 500 or DJIA
  • The DJ Transportation Index is down 9.6% YTD versus 7.7% for the S&P 500 and 0.2% for the Dow Jones. The market anticipates that the rate “rot” that’s happening in the spot market will spill over to the contract rate market for truckload carriers. At the same time, LTL stocks are providing support as the market is not yet calling for LTL stocks to suffer the same pain as the Truckload sector.
6) Fed rate tightening continues to raise costs in economy, reducing overall demand, and taking money out of consumption while applying it to interest expense
  • After keeping Fed Funds rate near 0% during the pandemic, the Feds have increased rates 6 times beginning in March 2022. Fed Funds rate is now between 4.50 – 4.75% vs 0.08% last year. The long-term average rate has been 4.60%. The highest rate ever was 22.36% in 1981. The impact of monetary policy tends to act with a 9 – 12 month lag, meaning the impact of recent rate increases will not be fully felt until 2023.
7) Housing market cooling down
  • With the housing market softening, a negative impact has been felt across many industries. Real estate accounts for 17% of US GDP, and the National Association of Realtors estimates that each home sale at the median price generated $113,000 of economic impact in 2021. Mortgage rates are hovering around 7% with new single-family home sales dropping by nearly 11% from the prior month of September and prices reporting the 2nd straight month of decline. New single-family homes sold reached its lowest level in July since March of 2016. This decrease will impact everything from lumber and concrete to furniture and appliances.
8) Consumer spending cooling down
  • Consumer spending drives 70% of US GDP. Inflation is built into consumer spending – consumers are getting less for each dollar of spending due to inflation. Even though consumer spending has remained strong, the goods received for every dollar are falling. As consumer spending / the goods purchased decrease, businesses ramp down production and hiring, leading to further reductions in consumer spending and, ultimately, less need for trucking.
9) Class 8 truck orders hit historic highs
  • Fleets are adding new capacity and upgrading what they have. In 2021, chip shortages led to depressed truck deliveries. Manufacturers are making up for lost time regarding filling out their order pipelines. The majority of the time that a fleet takes a new truck, it sells the replaced truck on the secondary market. Secondary market buyers are small fleets and owner operators, who have much higher spot market exposure. This new capacity hitting the spot market while demand is moderating means oversupply of truck capacity, which has led to spot market rate declines.

While we are navigating uncertain economic times, our full-service managed transportation clients are benefiting from recent declining spot market pricing through our transparent model. Please contact customerservice@synchrogistics.com today to learn about a managed transportation partnership, the Synchro Way.


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We’ve heard from people that the trucking industry is currently in a freight recession or even that one began earlier this year. A freight recession typically combines falling shipment volumes with flat to negative pricing trends. What some industry participants (particularly brokers) are likely feeling right now is the pain from a collapse in spot market pricing as a greater supply of trucks chases a more slowly growing shipment market. While the US economy is in transition to a lower growth rate, we wouldn’t use the term “freight recession” yet for the following reasons:

1) Shipment Volume ⇑ September 2022 vs 2021
  • The Cass Freight Index reports September 2022 shipments 4.8% above the same time in 2021: Cass Transportation Index Report.
  • At the same time, the Federal Reserve industrial production index shows that manufactured goods are still expanding… for now.
  • If we weren’t in a freight recession a year ago, it seems unlikely that we are be in one now with higher freight volumes and expanding manufacturing.
2) ATA Truck Tonnage Index ⇑ Highest Level Since 2019
  • The American Trucking Association reports September 2022 for-hire truck tonnage at 5.5% above the same time in 2021. ATA September Report
  • The fact that two independent measurements of truck tonnage (ATA and Cass) show expansion during 3Q22 gives us confidence that the overall number of shipments moved during 3Q22 was indeed higher than a year ago. That’s evidence that the market was still expanding in 3Q22, not contracting.
3) 3Q22 Asset Carrier Earnings Releases ⇑
  • From JB Hunt (intermodal) to Knight Swift (TL) to Old Dominion (LTL), 3Q22 earnings releases from the largest asset carriers had EPS within or above guidance with companies reporting overall volume and price growth in 3Q22.
  • Old Dominion did show negative volumes of 2.6% vs last year, but Old Dominion has a strong focus on yield (i.e., higher prices) with a 17.4% increase in revenue per hundredweight YoY.
  • The BLS Producer Price Index for general freight trucking, long distance was also up 22% in 3Q22. Traditionally large asset carriers have more contracted lanes, and those lanes don’t usually reset until 4Q of a year.
  • Publicly traded companies may be seeing slowing volume growth, but their combined volumes are still above where they were last year. Pricing (especially contract pricing) continues to show strength, both anecdotally (in Old Dominion’s yield growth) and on a macro level (BLS PPI for trucking).
4) High Inventory Levels Saw Growth in 3Q22
  • Across the US economy, inventory levels are at historic highs. Even given that, net business inventories grew during 3Q22 albeit at a slower pace than earlier in the year. Manufacturing inventories levelled off in 3Q22, but retail inventories continued to grow.
  • Trucks are needed to move inventory, so growing inventories across the country means trucks were moving in 3Q22 to supply the goods. While the growth is slowing, the inventory portion of the freight market continued to grow in 3Q22.
5) Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Survey Still Reading Growth
  • ISM in August reported 52.8 followed by September’s reading of 50.9. While the survey still showed expansion, this is the lowest figure in over 28 months.
  • And look at that downward trend…more on that in our next post.
6) While spot market rates have submarined, contract rates continue to show year over year growth…
  • As we mentioned at the top, people may mistake the drop in spot market rates for a freight recession. The below table from DAT (dat.com) certainly makes a convincing case that truckload dry van linehaul spot market rates are falling fast.
  • However, based on carrier earnings reports, contract rates in 3Q22 stayed stable and even increased in some cases.
  • This divergence cannot be sustained for long – spot market rates have their own economic gravity, and contract rates are bound to reflect the drop.

Nobody is arguing that we were in a freight recession in September 2021, so if the things that drive the trucking sector – shipments, inventory levels and manufacturing – are above the same period in 2021 then you’d have to argue that we weren’t in a freight recession as of September 30, 2022. That’s not to say that we don’t have pain and dislocation in certain sectors, just that it hasn’t coalesced into a full-blown hurricane of bad news just yet. However….


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Freight managed services and web-based tendering platforms are different things. While there is a place for both, a mismatch between client expectations and capabilities can lead to great frustration.

Managed transportation services is an outside team led by a dedicated account manager. The team invests time and expertise into customizing a solution to your needs. They have access to multi-disciplinary teams such as truckload, LTL, small parcel, ocean, warehousing and optimization, etc. Their compensation is tied to your organization achieving its goals. Often they will identify issues with processes that are not purely logistics – for example, Synchro has assisted clients in reducing inventory carrying costs.

A web-platform offers a low cost way to take advantage of infrastructure you may have already set up. The more customization a client needs, the less profitable that client is. The best web-platform customers have a stable carrier base and a logistics team that feels that they have already solved all major logistics issues for the company. In other words, specialized help is not needed.

Both business models coexist in the market and have their areas of greatest value. Contact Synchro today to learn more about our offering and whether it fits your needs.

Read more about Synchro’s Managed Transportation Services here: Your Synchro Solution


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Here’s a skimpy idea – skimpflation means that you pay the same price for something but get less of it.

Think of hotels charging the same room rate but closing the breakfast buffet, or cereal companies charging the same price per box but reducing the size of the box.

Skimpflation is rampant in freight. Companies charge 50% – 100% more than a year ago yet won’t give you an update on your freight’s ETA.

Synchro is fighting skimpflation – we have increased our staff so that we can answer customer calls any time day or night. Contact our team today for a free rate analysis!

Read more here: Skimpflation: Planet Money : NPR

 


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Everyone has had this experience – you buy something, think you got just what you wanted and it’s a great deal! Then you find out that there are fees and unexpected / undisclosed costs you didn’t count on. Improperly used, broker-supplied Less than Truckload (LTL) blanket rates can be exactly that.  Small and middle market manufacturing and distribution companies often fall victim to poorly understood transportation products that end up costing them significantly more than the right product. 

How can you avoid falling for this? What is really happening here?

It’s likely a day doesn’t go by that your shipping team isn’t called by sales reps from brokerage firms telling you that they have the best LTL blanket rates. The broker has “consolidated millions in freight spend to bring YOU great rates!” They offer the best service, amazing technology and a big company name. Even better, when you give them shipments to compare their rates to yours, their rates look better than what you’re currently paying

Amazing! Simply by answering your phone, you have found a magic solution that lets you skip all that blocking and tackling that industry pros recommend you do to build a stable, low-cost and high-quality LTL freight purchasing program. 

Sounds great doesn’t it? Too good to be true? It probably is. Soon after biting on those low blanket rates, the invoice comes in and you see the real cost of moving that shipment. Unanticipated assessorial charges, reclassification or other fees eat into that great “introductory offer.” What’s worse, if you don’t have a system for auditing the invoice against that initial blanket rate quote, you may not even realize the pricing you are being asked to pay is different from what you were initially quoted

Read our white paper if your company has LTL shipments and you’re interested in seeing if you are one of the lucky few for whom broker-provided blanket rates are the right solution

What you will learn:

  • If you have LTL freight spend of $100k or more and are using blanket rates, you are likely paying too much for too little value.
  • Negotiating LTL pricing requires heavy analytical support and experience, and most of the time can be paid for out of the savings generated by switching from blanket rates to customer specific pricing