3 Tips for Successful Chemical Logistics Budgeting in 2023

After nearly three years of a global pandemic, supply chain interruptions, labor shortages, and lingering economic uncertainty—manufacturers, shippers, and logistics providers are approaching 2023 with calculated caution. As global costs rise, supply is increasing across most industries due to a drop in demand. As many individuals and companies prepare for a potential recession, they’re determined to minimize losses by preemptively cutting costs.

Preliminary estimates show a drop in sales for 2023 and a potential 5-10% slowdown in business, so many companies are searching for cost-saving avenues aside from or in addition to their usual practices—and looking for alternative options and improvements for shipping and logistics is a prime road to travel down first.

While short-term solutions may dampen the effects of a recession or economic downturn, implementing lasting procedures that strengthen your supply chain, logistics, and entire operations will help weather the potential storms of 2023 and reinforce resiliency for any future economic hiccups.

Here are our expert tips for strengthening your operations in preparation for a potential recession through more intelligent budgeting and reevaluated data-driven operation improvements.

Tip 1: Save with Benchmarking

Freight rates are declining, especially dry van shipping, and clients want to ensure they’re paying cost-competitive rates. Therefore, shippers must actively pursue the most affordable and efficient modes of transportation. Benchmarking is a critical tool that all logistics professionals should leverage annually, if not every quarter, to achieve this goal.

Benchmarking from CLX Logistics helped a client with 19 million in freight spend save over 18% of costs after the cost-saving potential of a mode switch was revealed through benchmarking data analysis.

Benchmarking compares your current shipment rates against market averages, rates paid by peers in your vertical, and against other modes of transportation, i.e., air versus rail or truckload. This

data helps determine the most cost-efficient mode and can help identify other areas of opportunity, such as locally sourcing materials instead of relying on distant or international procurement.

Market volatility determines how long freight rates remain valid and are typically updated yearly. We recommend quarterly benchmarking for 2023 and updating your modes of transport if necessary due to the predicted economic uncertainty.

CLX Logistics’ procurement team will find the most efficient custom-fit solution for your freight. Contact us for a benchmark today to get started.

Tip 2: Make Flexible Shipping a Premium Service

In the chemical vertical, most companies are driven by meeting and exceeding client demands, and fast shipping is a demand worth paying a premium for. This expectation is why flexible shipping options should be available at a higher cost to ensure you meet margins. Your clients expect expedited shipping options, especially in a recession when minor hiccups can have major consequences. Structure your service offerings to charge for faster shipping so that this expedited offering doesn’t impact your bottom line. This price recovery creates more flexibility in your budget should any economic hiccups interrupt your operations.

Setting rates is complex, as every company’s needs are unique. Talk to our team to determine what shipping charges are best for your logistical needs, capacity, and capability.

Tip 3: Regiment Shipping Lead Time

While easier said than done, providing longer lead times in times of uncertainty is crucial to avoid mistakes and ensure proper procurement, brokerage, and on-time shipping. Faster and enhanced communication between shippers and their logistics provider once an order is placed will lead to better pricing and expedited delivery. You’ll also build better relationships with your clients when communication is enhanced and you’re seen as a trusted and reliable partner.

CLX Logistics helps clients establish a proper lead time cadence that is custom fit to match their needs and capabilities. Get to know CLX Logistics and see what we can do for you.

A Best Practice Approach

To properly budget for 2023 while incorporating our three tips for success, we recommend a tactical approach that begins with leveraging CLX LaneLogix™ for benchmarking your current freight rates and processes and utilizing the gathered data to adjust modes, shipping prices, lead times, and any other necessary adjustments. Our experts will help you create a resilient operation and budget for the economic uncertainty of the upcoming year.

Our supply chain procurement process, extensive rate database, and automated RFQ tool benchmark current rates against best-in-class shippers before placing online carrier bids. Following the auction process, we use CLX LaneLogix data to determine the best carrier mix and savings based on service levels, capacity commitments, and rates.

Our industry-leading technology and expert logistics professionals will simplify your procurement processes, reduce operational costs, and create significant savings across all global modes of transportation. We recommend quarterly benchmarking to ensure you’re continuously operating with the best rates as the market ebbs and flows.

Data-driven adjustments using CLX LaneLogic and CLX Gravity, our analytics platform for improving transportation, will ensure that your operations remain steadfast and your budget is protected.

CLX Gravity improves analytics through comprehensive data integration capabilities that combine internal and external sources. The intelligent curation, organization, and analysis of key data points provide data-driven insights to build and sustain a recession-proof supply chain.

Learn more about CLX Gravity through our resource:
Are You In Control of Your Logistics Spend?

With these powerful tools at your disposal and our expert assistance, CLX Logistics will help your unique company develop a best practice, data-driven approach for properly leveraging benchmarking data to make flexible shipping a premium service and better regiment lead times. We’ll ensure your 2023 budget is prepared to keep your logistics and shipping operations uninterrupted.

Let’s Get Started

While economic uncertainty and a potential recession are never easy to navigate, the experts at CLX Logistics have the tools, knowledge, and dedication to ensure our assistance will strengthen your 2023 budget through data-driven preparation.

Ready to begin budgeting for 2023 with CLX Logistics? Contact a managed transportation expert today.

Dos and Don’ts of Transportation Management

Would you trust a mechanic that didn’t know how to change a tire? Probably not, which is why standards and best practices are established to show a basic level of competence that can be expected from every service or product provider. Every business needs to understand standards and best practices regardless of the industry. When it comes to logistics, this understanding and implementation can mean the difference between success and failure. Logistics can be complicated, and there’s always the potential for unforeseen problems in your supply chain.

Proper transportation management can help you mitigate risk, better control shipping speed, increase efficiency and adaptability, and lower costs. Follow these industry dos and don’ts to take full advantage of these benefits and avoid issues on the road, in the sea, or the air.

Do: Use a Good Transportation Management System

One of the best things you can do to increase your shipping capabilities and streamline operations is to install a solid transportation management system (TMS). A TMS combines valuable technology that helps you plan, execute, and optimize incoming and outgoing shipments while ensuring all deliveries are properly documented and compliant with industry standards and regulations. Transportation management systems have quickly become a necessity in the logistics industry, but not all TMS products are the same. Be sure your TMS is capable of the following:

  • Increasing transportation visibility across your global supply chain
  • Creating and tracking shipments, generating reports, and confirming deliveries
  • Addressing capacity management issues for all freight flows
  • Storing information in a centralized and easy-to-access platform

These are the essential elements of an effective TMS and a necessity for improving your logistics workflows.

Don’t: Forget About Chemical Freight Brokerage

When it comes to chemical shipping, freight brokerage can be incredibly complicated. You have to meet specific regulatory requirements and effectively manage safety and security concerns regarding hazardous materials while minimizing costs. Finding the right logistics partner and tools to help simplify the brokerage process is essential to success in chemical logistics, so be sure that chemical freight brokerage is a priority when establishing your transportation management operations.

Do: Take Advantage of Flexibility and Supply Chain Visibility

It can be hard to handle problems quickly and efficiently when you don’t have real-time transportation visibility over your shipments. Advanced telemetric tools allow you to keep a close eye on all shipments while they’re in transit, better managing customer satisfaction and keeping ahead of issues as they arise, granting you more control and flexibility with your shipments.

Do: Focus on Data

Data is essential when optimizing logistics capabilities and a vital part of any transportation management effort. How can you know what needs to improve without utilizing real-world data? Integrating data collection and analysis into your transportation management will provide valuable insight into your operations, exposing gaps and indicating where you’re currently succeeding, allowing you to improve wherever necessary.

Don’t: Use Outdated Technology

It may seem more straightforward to utilize the technology you’re familiar with regarding transportation management but using outdated tools can create problems and bog down operations. The technology you use in your logistics management should be capable of processing hefty amounts of data, analyzing that data, and utilizing any insights to improve operations and management. Older methods cannot deliver all this as efficiently as newer technology, and you don’t need to invest massive amounts into new tools as was the previous norm. Most transportation management systems from full-service managed logistics providers like CLX Logistics can give you access to the advanced tools you need without breaking the bank. TMS adoption can increase your return on investment over time so much that it covers and returns the initial implementation costs.

Do: Establish a Trusted Carrier Network 

The need for suppliers and carriers is growing each day, making it challenging to find available carriers you can trust. Establishing a network of trustworthy carriers you’ve worked with before ensures you have options. Qualified transportation management partners and 3PLs can provide this connection for clients, leveraging their freight brokerage relationships with high-quality carriers to expand your capacity without sacrificing peace of mind.

Do: Look into Transportation Management with CLX

Organizing the mentioned dos and don’ts into a streamlined and effective transportation management program can be difficult for chemical shipping professionals. But some partners like CLX Logistics can make it easier. CLX offers a full-service transportation management system that simplifies and optimizes your logistics with specific solutions to help you take control of your operations. Our unique platform gives you the advanced tools required to stick to these dos and don’ts with planning, freight procurement, tracking, and more.

All this and more is possible with CLX TMS, from enhanced supply chain visibility to better data collection to securing trustworthy freight partners.

The demands of the modern world require advanced solutions, and to ensure your logistics operations are well-managed and prepared for all future possibilities, contact CLX.

Your Complete Guide to Bulk Liquid Shipping

Bulk transportation can be a significant challenge for many manufacturers, especially regarding liquid freight. Successful bulk liquid shipping relies on proper processes and tools, making choosing a suitable freight carrier nerve-racking. But with a firm understanding of what bulk shipping is, the methods and rules involved, and the best ways to manage your logistics, you can rest assured that your bulk liquid transportation obstacles can be eliminated.

That’s why we’ve broken down everything you need to know about bulk liquid transportation. From what it is, how it’s done, and how chemical shippers can choose the right logistics solutions.

Explore the ins and outs of bulk liquid shipping below, and reach out to us to see how we can improve your chemical logistics.

What is Bulk Shipping?

Before discussing best practices, let’s describe what bulk shipping entails. Bulk shipping describes transporting loose goods in large quantities. There are two types of bulk products: liquid and dry, and shippers use large vessels like tanks and shipping containers for bulk product transport. If you break products into smaller containers, like a barrel, the shipment is considered “break bulk” rather than bulk. With ocean cargo, break bulk can refer to products too large to fit in standard shipping containers. Understanding these differences can ensure you choose suitable shipping partners and services, saving time and money.

What About Bulk Liquids?

Bulk liquids are any liquid shipped in large volume tanks via truck, plane, or ship. The most common container for this type of shipping is the liquid bulk tanker, a large cylindrical metal tank attached to a truck. Many industries utilize bulk liquid shipping, and shipments can include:

  • Vegetable Oils
  • Alcohol
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Syrup
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Mineral Oils
  • Chemical products

Because of their uses and potential volatility, carriers must safely handle loading, transporting, unloading, and storing these products without contaminating the product or environment. Proper care is essential to the shipping process. Choosing freight providers with the right tools who utilize appropriate methods and approaches in their operations is necessary to ship bulk liquids successfully.

Bulk Liquid Shipping Method

Proper handling is essential to ensure the product’s purity and safety with bulk liquid transportation. Especially for chemical shippers, contamination and the danger of leaks can mean more than just monetary losses. Mishandling chemical bulk liquids can put lives on the line and destroy environments.

There are three main steps in safe bulk liquid shipping:  

Loading

The first step in properly loading a bulk liquid shipment is to thoroughly inspect the container to ensure it’s clean and sound. The carrier should check the container for holes and dents before loading and ensure there is no remaining smell or residue from previous loads. Usually, shippers use compressors or pumps to load the containers. Once loaded, every valve, dome, and opening needs to be closed to prevent spills. Only well-trained professionals should handle loading bulk liquids, and preventing leaks is a major priority.

Unloading

Unloading should also only include trained professionals throughout the entire process. A pump or compressor removes the product from the tank when unloading. With a pump, the crew must ensure that the container dome is open to ensure the pump’s pressure doesn’t damage the container’s walls. If using a compressor, the dome should remain closed for the same reason. Preventing leaks remains a top priority.

Cleaning

Safety and purity are essential with bulk liquid shipping, so thoroughly cleaning a container is a must before a new product can be loaded to ship. Washing prevents the buildup of materials and residue left over after a shipment, known as heel. Heel can form hard-to-remove plaques, compromise the container’s integrity, and can make a potential reaction from another type of chemical a significant risk.

Other Considerations with Bulk Liquid Transport

Aside from proper handling, these are other items you need to account for when shipping bulk liquids:

Volume

Providing an accurate volume will help shippers determine the size and quantity of containers and how many transports are necessary.

Temperature Requirements

Some shipments may require the product to remain at a specific temperature which requires special equipment you’ll need to ensure your carrier can provide.

The Liquid Being Shipped

By correctly identifying and understanding the liquids being shipped, you can ensure that you and your carrier take all proper precautions, follow regulations, and provide appropriate equipment for loading and unloading.

International Shipping Limits

International bulk liquid shipping is possible, but there may be limits and regulations on certain liquids. Prohibited liquids will vary depending on the destination, so pay attention to international rules.

Bulk Liquid Transportation Regulations

Numerous regulations govern bulk liquid transportation, including an 80,000-pound weight limit for vehicles on the road. Understanding these regulations is a necessity for shippers.

Liquid Bulk Tanker Volume Limits

Not all liquid tankers are the same, but the average tanker holds between 6,000 and 7,000 gallons which can affect the number of shipments needed to move all your product successfully.

Choosing the Right Bulk Liquid Logistics Partner

Chemical logistics can already be complex but is further complicated when you add the regulations, specifications, and dangers of bulk liquid transport. Choosing the right logistics provider can help eliminate frustration and confusion and protect your product wherever it is in the supply chain.

You need a logistics partner that provides accurate benchmarking, cost-effective and reliable international solutions, and global visibility to keep your products safely on the move during bulk liquid shipping. CLX Logistics can provide all of this and more.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with bulk liquid shipping, contact our team to discuss your unique needs and find your tailored solution today.

Avoid Supply Chain Disruption with Global Real-Time Transportation Visibility

If we learned one lesson over nearly three years of unprecedented industry interruptions since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s that supply chain stability is never entirely predictable. The wisest of shipping and logistics professionals will always remain agile and prepared for the worst-case scenario—even when supply chain conditions are ideal. Proper preparedness and visibility into a company’s global supply chain can create buoyancy when waters get rough.

For instance, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve witnessed supply chain disruptions from staffing shortages, cyber-attacks, material shortages, a carrier ship stuck in a critical worldwide port, and countless other snags that have slowed or impacted the stability of the global supply chain.

While no one solution can account for or prevent these disruptions, ensuring that you have complete, real-time transportation visibility for your shipments can vastly improve your shipping stability, speeds, procurement, and brokerage abilities. But perhaps most importantly—your ability to give accurate time and expense forecasts to your clients and stakeholders to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

In the modern era of shipping, however, we’re lucky to have technological tools like an intelligent Transportation Management System (TMS) to provide global and real-time transportation visibility so that logistics professionals always know where their shipments are at any time. This visibility access expedites shipping and saves companies time, money, labor, and headaches.

What is Transportation Visibility?

When discussing transportation visibility concerning shipping and logistics, we’re referring to the exchange of information between individuals and technological platforms regarding the current, projected, and past locations of freight from origination to delivery. Modern, real-time transportation visibility platforms provide updates on the condition and quantities of cargo and offer route optimization and analytical insights into better procurement and brokerage practices.

Modern TMS tools eliminate antiquated and less efficient pen-and-paper methods of freight tracking, which don’t allow for real-time transportation visibility, especially on the global intermodal scale required by many chemical logistics operations. Accurate freight pinpointing is a modern amenity that consumers expect in almost every industry, and billion-dollar chemical companies are no exception.

How do Transportation Visibility Platforms Improve Supply Chains?

According to IBM Insights with Watson, less than 10% of supply chain data is ever used, and 87% of surveyed Chief Supply Chain Officers said it’s difficult to predict and proactively manage disruptions. Implementing a TMS with real-time transportation visibility will alleviate potential supply chain interruptions by granting more significant control over your chemical shipments by accurately locating your freight at any time and place. When shipping volatile, radioactive, or biohazardous chemical materials, many are climate controlled and must be delivered within a particular window. With accurate freight transportation visibility, shippers can prepare for and minimize supply chain strains as they arise.

For example, suppose a shipment falls outside the allotted timeframe to safely deliver a usable chemical product due to improper temperature control, natural disasters, physical damage, misplaced containers, or any other disruption that would fail to deliver a product as expected by customers. In this case, supply chain managers or freight forwarders can cancel, re-route, reorder, and act quickly to recoup any losses from the failed shipment while keeping their clients informed of the situation in real time.

Real-World Transportation Visibility Effectiveness

Perhaps the most recent high-profile case where supply chain strains needed to be overcome globally was with the initial shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA vaccines must be kept at subzero temperatures to ensure safe and usable delivery to health systems and their patients. Real-time transportation visibility helped track and monitor the vaccine vials and the temperature of their containment systems. This crucial capability helped expedite and ensure the safe and efficient distribution of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine worldwide when labor shortages and disruptions of almost every kind disrupted the global supply chain.

Choose an Industry-leading Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform

With real-time transportation visibility, supply chain interruptions are more effectively overcome through enhanced tracking, data collection, and cost and route-optimizing abilities. Industry-leading intelligent technology, like CLX TMS, provides visibility into all modes of transportation, including truckload, rail, maritime, and air. With greater visibility, your supply chain becomes resilient, secure, and flexible, leading to saved costs, increased ROI, capacity, and higher customer satisfaction rates—all of which make supply chain interruptions irrelevant for a properly prepared logistics program.

Learn more about Clx Logistics’ ability to illuminate your supply chain and allow for proper preparation against supply chain disruptions in our free eBook, Optimizing Chemical Industry Supply Chains with Advanced Transportation Visibility.

If you’re ready to begin optimizing your supply chain with enhanced real-time visibility into your entire supply chain, contact us today to partner with CLX Logistics.

Sources

The Role of Real-time Transportation Visibility to Build Supply Chain Agility & Resilience

IBM Supply Chain Insights with Watson

What Are International Logistics Services?

There’s never been a time when companies have done as much international business as they do today, especially considering global operations were once exclusive to big corporations. Now, even small businesses can effectively expand their global reach and services with the right tools and logistics partners. Along with growing international opportunities, the processes companies use to achieve global growth are also increasing and expanding.

International logistics services are modern methods to take a business from a local fixture to global success. These services focus on the international supply chain and are integral to a company that wants to take its product global. Explore precisely what international logistics services are and their benefits below.

What is International Logistics?

Before breaking down the intricacies of international logistics services, it’s good to understand more about the operations these tools enable. International logistics sounds complicated, but when broken down into its base elements, international logistics is producing and managing products or processing orders and shipping outside the country where you create your product. When a company has a global customer base with headquarters in a single country or carries out some supply chain phases in multiple countries, this can be considered international logistics.

The Benefits of International Logistics Services

International logistics services are the platforms and tools shippers use to maintain global operations with the goal of shipping cargo between countries using various transportation methods without affecting the shipment moving between transports. The best international logistics partners have built strong global relationships with trusted freight providers to offer safety, speed, and dependability with their international logistics services.

There are numerous benefits to using these services. The most obvious is that you can effectively expand your local and international market opportunities. Shifting certain operations in the supply chain to another country can also offer lower costs, freeing up resources to focus on integral and impactful parts of your business. The proper international logistics solutions will also ensure your global effort doesn’t put your product integrity at risk, allowing you to expand your worldwide reputation and provide a more expansive product line to a broader customer base.

Examples of International Logistics Services

International logistics solutions provide different benefits and can help you meet certain customer expectations. Understanding these options and choosing the one best suited to your needs is vital to international success and the safe delivery of your products.

The following are various services commonly offered for international shipping:

Full Container Load

When you have many products to ship, they may take up all the space in a shipping container, known as a full container load (FCL). An FCL shipment can be a valuable service, providing convenience and better pricing when importing or exporting, regardless of whether shipments move from door to door or port to port.

Less than Container Load

When a product doesn’t require the entire shipping container space, it’s considered a less than container load (LCL). LCL shipping services allow cost-sharing with other manufacturers and businesses to use the remaining container space for international shipments. This sustainable compartmentalization saves money, time, and resources for all involved parties.

Bulk/Parcel Tanker

Bulk/Parcel Tanker services allow you to ship large and cumbersome products that would otherwise be difficult to transport, helping to choose the best mode of transportation and carrier. Ocean carriers, for example, can handle heavy weights and large objects efficiently while protecting freight from the elements during transport. Choosing the proper method of transportation for the size and demands of the product being shipped is vital.

Airfreight

When speed is vital to successful shipment or a top priority for a customer, air freight is the ideal international logistics service, utilizing cargo aircraft or even passenger planes. Specialized cargo handling, like temperature control, is also a viable option with this kind of shipment. While not every load is suitable for this mode of transportation, it’s typically the fastest shipping method when permissible.

Choosing an International Logistics Partner

When choosing international logistics services for your chemical shipping, the tools and provider you select must meet your global shipping needs. The best partner can provide versatile possibilities while maintaining solid and reliable relationships with global transportation services.

CLX Logistics utilizes our worldwide fluency and international connections to ensure chemical shipments of any shape or size find a suitable carrier from our transportation partners without sacrificing sound shipping, cost efficiency, or timely delivery.

If you’d like to learn more about our international logistics services, check out our complete offerings on our website.

And feel free to contact our team to discuss your unique international chemical freight needs and specialized projects.

Three Key Elements of a Successful Managed Logistics Program

Managed transportation providers offer comprehensive logistics and supply chain expertise to all types of industries. Managed logistics solutions support businesses with a range of transportation solutions spanning shipping data analytics, tactics, planning, mode optimization, vendor consolidation, and more. These efforts ultimately focus on driving new efficiencies that reduce costs, improve delivery times, and enhance visibility over the entirety of a transportation network.

Depending on the needs of any given industry, there will be various nuances, exceptions, and challenges to contend with. Still, there are several components of every managed transportation program that must be considered in order to achieve your goals.

Let’s look at three key elements of a successful managed logistics program.

  1. Choosing the Right Supply Chain Services

The managed logistics providers with the most robust levels of flexibility often find the most success. That high level of flexibility comes from advanced knowledge and expertise in a wide range of supply chain solutions, including:

  • Mode management
  • Logistics technology
  • Capacity management
  • Digital freight brokerage
  • Project logistics
  • Visibility
  • Analytics and optimization
  • Continuous improvement programs
  • Industry specialization

Different managed logistics services are applicable at different stages of any managed transportation operation. Whether you’re considering a fully integrated solution covering a wide range of services like data collection, strategic development, procurement, TMS technology, and operational reviews, or only a single service, you should be confident your managed logistics partner has the experience and resources to help keep you and your customers happy.

  1. Implementing the Right Technology

Technology innovations continuously make waves across industries, and managed logistics is no different. With hefty data processing, storage, and analytics demands, managed logistics is at the forefront of some of the most advanced technologies, including AI, machine learning, and automation. As these capabilities become more accessible, their intelligent application helps shippers get ahead and maintain an edge, even in the most competitive industries and tightest timelines, with:

  • Improved forecasting of orders, inventories, workforces, warehousing, and partner activities
  • Improved real-time network visibility, with greater accuracy and feedback
  • Improved agility to make on-the-fly supply chain adjustments
  • Improved collaboration between individuals, departments, and partners

Full-service managed logistics providers bring a full range of technology solutions to the table, including Transportation Management Systems like CLX TMS that help you achieve these goals without making huge investments into hardware and software solutions.

  1. Determining Your Transportation Efficiency Goals

Do you need an immediate quick fix, or are you more interested in long-term improvements and operational efficiencies? Managed logistics programs can help with both, but the most significant value always comes from ongoing, long-term efforts. Many shippers seek managed logistics solutions to handle:

  • Purchasing and maintaining equipment
  • Hiring additional employees
  • Hardware, software, and technology infrastructure upgrades

These services enable organizations to keep costs down and scale as needed without worrying about overinvesting in additional labor, equipment, or technologies. Efficient supply chains have balanced expenses and limited time constraints to ensure safe, on-time deliveries and optimal customer experiences. Managed logistics providers can examine your supply chain from beginning to end to uncover opportunities and help strengthen those key areas. Any chance to improve can significantly impact costs and customer service, whether that means a complete supply chain redesign to overhaul outdated existing operations or minor adjustments like setting up a new warehouse location.

Getting Started with Bespoke Managed Logistics Solutions

First and foremost, an experienced managed logistics provider needs to have operations in place to help you with each of the three elements above. But there are other factors to consider, like their experience in your specific industry, their reputation with other vendors, and how they treat their customers.

No matter the logistics challenges you face, CLX Logistics can help. CLX Managed Transportation is a robust suite of a la carte managed logistics solutions that chemical shippers rely on every day for everything from on-demand adjustments to long-term operational efficiencies. With a comprehensive selection of freight management solutions, CLX Managed Transportation helps offers chemical manufacturers the logistics solutions they need to lower costs, improve service, and fill gaps in expertise with a proven team of chemical transportation specialists. Contact us today to discuss your managed logistics and chemical supply chain needs.

Four Essential Supply Chain Management Tools

Every day, global supply chains increase in size and complexity as customer demands endlessly rise. To meet these demands, shippers need the right supply chain management tools with the flexibility to grow and scale as needed. The right supply chain management tools help not only to enable shippers to provide better customer service and on-time deliveries but also to remain competitive with everyone else in the market.

From generating the initial quote to delivering the products to the customer, intelligent supply chain management tools enable organizations of all types to streamline and automate various functions. With setup, guidance, and support from supply chain management experts, these tools can help improve processes, reduce costs, and save time. As supply chain complexity grows, supply chain managers need to leverage the various tools at hand.

Here’s our list of the four essential supply chain management tools you need to provide the best service at the best price.

Shipping Management

One of the most challenging elements of supply chain management is keeping track of every order. As large supply chains increase in complexity, particularly for those on a global scale, the difficulty of tracking shipments and updating customers on the status of their orders at any time also increases. The elements of a comprehensive shipping management platform are varied, ranging from RFID inventory management tools to minimize errors in documentation to shipping status tools that provide delivery updates to scheduling and planning tools for streamlining operations and improving customer service.

Every business is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all shipping management platform that everyone can rely on to suit their needs. The most effective shipping management solutions usually call for a bespoke solution customized to the precise shipping needs of any given organization. This concept is even more apparent in specialized industries, such as the chemical sector. Solutions like CLX Managed Transportation solve these challenges through a robust suite of a la carte services chemical shippers can customize and adjust on demand, according to their requirements. No matter which services a chemical shipper needs the most, the overall intent of custom shipping management tools remains the same: lower costs, improve service, and fill gaps in expertise.

Telematics-Based Tracking

Telematics technology, assisted by innovations in IoT and AI, dramatically increases the quantity of data logistics companies have access to. A business can plug directly into their fleet vehicles, allowing them access to truck health, GPS information, freight temperature sensors, and more details related to the location of a shipment or the environmental conditions it may be in. This information allows businesses to monitor and manage their supply chain in real time, uncover valuable insights, and develop new algorithms to help optimize route planning and fleet management.

Tools in this category include CLX TMS powered by e2open, which brings plug-and-play speed, efficiency, and supply chain visibility to chemical shippers worldwide through a cohesive transportation ecosystem. Using CLX TMS, chemical shippers get a state-of-the-art telematics-based tracking solution along with improved capabilities for automation, planning, execution, invoicing, cost and service-level optimizations, visibility, metrics, and analytics, all in one.

Procurement, Benchmarking, and Bidding

The proper procurement, benchmarking, and bidding tools are critical to minimizing spending and increasing margins across a global supply chain. Procurement tools enable businesses to manage and automate purchase orders from suppliers and quickly settle accounts. Freight benchmarking is vital to understanding rate competitiveness and evaluating carriers, and bidding tools help shippers conduct bids quickly and efficiently, with confidence that they’ve made the best choices possible in the moment.

Some platforms are even specialized by industry, such as CLX LaneLogix, a global supply chain management tool for procurement, benchmarking, and bids, specifically for the chemical sector. CLX LaneLogix includes interactive rate benchmarking, service-level benchmarking, procurement event strategy capabilities, negotiation tools, and e-bidding.

Demand Forecasting Tools

The order process requires shippers to keep track of multiple functions simultaneously. Many supply chain management software products offer order processing tools engineered to keep track of all your operations on a unified dashboard. Some can even integrate with sales channels to help businesses monitor and manage their inventory and orders all in one place. There are various supply chain management tools on the market to help businesses monitor demand and forecast orders and inventory, but few of them are unique to a specific industry, which can cause problems with HAZMAT freight, chemicals, and other sensitive products.

In these cases, specialized platforms such as CLX Gravity are usually preferred, enabling chemical manufacturers to incorporate custom data sources that draw from benchmarking and freight payment sources, e2open, and other external systems. By combining all of these inputs in the right ways, it becomes faster and easier for chemical shippers to build more accurate transportation models, develop better forecasts, and prepare for any challenge.

Start Building a Next-Level Supply Chain

It might be tempting to simply start searching online for each of these tools, find the lowest-priced options, and try them out – but without the right strategy, planning, implementation, execution, and ongoing optimization, the path to a return on your investment, let alone significant revenue increases, will be daunting, to say the least.

Work with an experienced transportation and supply chain management partner like CLX Logistics to ensure you’re getting the best products for your situation and that they’re set up to deliver the benefits and improvements you expect. Contact us today and let our experts guide you towards the right supply chain management tools for your business.

Optimize Shipping with a Transportation Management System

Since 2020, you’ve likely been bombarded with the news and effects of supply chain slowdowns throughout most every industry. Whether from labor or product shortages, clogged ports, or geopolitical interference—shipping interruptions are a problem. However, while the state of shipping and logistics may be complicated, supply chain shortages and interruptions are nothing new to logistics professionals. While easier said than done, most would agree that the key to avoiding shipping interruptions is to take preventative action before your services are affected by external forces out of your control.

One of the most effective methods of preventative, proactive planning for minimal shipping and supply chain interruptions is to implement a Transportation Management System (TMS). Implementing a TMS increases visibility across your entire supply chain, creating opportunities for next-level control of shipping speed, efficiency, cost, and adaptability.

Defining a Transportation Management System

A transportation management system is a logistics technology platform that helps manufacturers, distributors, 3PLs, and any participant in the supply chain system plan, execute, and optimize the transportation of incoming and outgoing goods and ensure shipments are compliant and properly documented. A TMS provides visibility into shippers’ transportation operations, trade compliance information, and documentation and ensures the timely and most efficient delivery of freight and goods. This technology is essential in modern logistics to help streamline shipping processes and facilitate better management of transportation operations, no matter the modes used.

A transportation management system such as CLX TMS is a platform that logistics professionals leverage to plan, execute, and optimize transportation operations and ensure delivery performance, maximum efficiency, and compliance to partners and customers anywhere in the world. The platform provides advanced visibility and control over your chemical logistics operations with interactive dashboards and real-time metrics that allow shippers to remain on time and budget. Using CLX TMS, shippers can compartmentalize shipments as efficiently as possible and catch problems if and when they occur.

Requirements and Features of a Transport Management System

As with most tools and software, the quality of transportation management systems can vary from provider to provider, and some are better suited for different applications than others. Regardless, specific requirements should be a part of every TMS to ensure you’re implementing a quality system for managing your vital logistics.

When implementing a transport management system to manage your chemical logistics, make sure the system you choose includes:

  • Complete visibility across all modes of transportation from procurement to delivery, including order management and warehouse management.
  • Compliance capabilities to ensure you adhere to all regulatory practices across all locations and shipping practices.
  • Rating abilities to help select the correct shipping method and carrier.
  • Automatic booking and tendering to select the most affordable and efficient shipping method and carrier.
  • Load planning to pack shipments more effectively, maximize load sizes, and optimize route planning.

A transport management system simplifies and optimizes domestic and international logistics for shippers, freight forwarders, carriers, and 3PLs by improving visibility and control over the entire shipping process.

CLX Transportation Management System Features

When it comes to a transportation management system for chemical shipping, there is no comparison to the features and global reach of CLX TMS powered by e2open. Our offering simplifies and optimizes domestic and international logistics for chemical shippers, freight forwarders, carriers, and logistics service providers by providing capabilities based on your specific needs to serve your customers better. CLX TMS provides a single application purpose-built for your business’s unique volumes and workflows, covering all modes and regions, domestically or internationally, with full functionality for planning, carrier procurement, execution, tracking, and settlement. 

CLX TMS grants access to the broadest global chemical carrier network.

CLX TMS increases profitability for all parties, connects global trade, channel, and supply chain ecosystems, increases visibility, allows shipments to be pinpointed globally, and above all, enables shippers to provide the highest level of service to customers and partners.

The core offering of CLX TMS for all businesses includes: 

  • Carrier coverage across all modes and regions for domestic and international shipments
  • Optimization tools to reduce costs and meet delivery targets
  • Direct connections to trade compliance, order management, and warehouse management systems
  • Specialized capabilities such as fleet management, last-mile delivery, rail tendering, and global parcel shipping

Critical Benefits of CLX Transportation Management Systems

CLX TMS powered by e2open helps chemical shippers to achieve best-in-class operations in every aspect of their transportation network to deliver significant and rapid ROI with benefits such as:

  • Consolidating freight from less-than-truckload to truckload, or for outbound or inbound moves from a distribution center
  • Management of the entire logistics operation from front to back, handling multiple languages, currencies, and time zones 
  • Automated carrier invoice matching and reconciliation of billing errors before payment authorization 
  • Enterprise-class, multi-carrier parcel shipping system that supports complex, high-volume, multi-location, domestic, and international chemical shipping 
  • An easy-to-use interface that accelerates startup time with “near-zero” training

Key Features of CLX Transportation Management System

  • Carrier Management: Plan and execute carrier management strategies with powerful contract management tools and dynamic routing-guide capabilities. 
  • SaaS Solution: Improve speed-to-value through faster updates without upgrade costs. 
  • Seamless Integration: Integrate CLX TMS into one or multiple existing ERP environments. 
  • Global Carrier Network: Plug into an easily accessible global carrier and freight forwarder network. 
  • Network Visibility: Track and control freight via the web and real-time visibility with leading tracking services. 
  • Reporting & Analytics: Develop data-driven strategies to hit KPIs using interactive dashboards.

For a more detailed analysis of CLX TMS powered by e2open’s ability to transform and optimize your global and domestic chemical shipping capabilities, check out our transportation management system data sheet:

[A Global TMS for Effective Supply Chain Management]

A TMS to Meet Your Needs

To overcome modern problems, you must meet these demands with modern solutions. That’s what a TMS does—it brings shipping into the future by increasing visibility, control, and optimization of your entire global supply chain.

Are you ready to implement a leading global TMS to meet your chemical supply chain needs? Contact us today to get started.

Resources

1 https://www.selecthub.com/transportation-and-logistics-management/tms-system-requirements/ 

2 https://www.altexsoft.com/blog/transportation-management-system/ 

3 https://www.oracle.com/scm/logistics/transportation-management/what-is-transportation-management-system/ 

Introducing Rocket the Turtle

Hailing from Cedar Lake, Chicago, Rocket J. Turtleson began his leadership journey growing up among his 1,000 siblings. Someone had to be in charge and organize the many moving parts of such a big family, so that’s how he spent his childhood. Once a bit older, Rocket traveled to Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas—a city he loved and vowed to return to one day.

After three years in Houston, Rocket decided to enroll in school and start a career. Heading to a different part of the country this time, Rocket enrolled in the SMEAL College MBA program at Penn State University with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. While there, he was also a member of the ROTCN program, leading him to join the Navy after graduation. This adventure found him stationed in Hawaii aboard the USS Chicago (officially—the rest is classified information). This massive submarine is where Rocket was introduced to tanks being utilized for fuel logistics, which he oversaw.

Ultimately, this interest in fuel logistics led him to pursue a career transporting freight worldwide.

Rocket felt CLX Logistics had just the tools he needed to be a world-class leader in chemical logistics. He found himself inspired by offerings like:

Managed Transportation Services

Someone working behind the scenes 24/7 to help lower costs and improve service, with a fully customizable menu of transportation services tailored to chemical shipping, would be an immense value to him.

CLX TMS

Rocket could leverage a world-class, plug-and-play transportation management system to increase visibility over an entire supply chain dramatically.

Bulk Intermodal Service

Bulk intermodal would be especially beneficial for multi-modal capabilities, making the most of each method to help reduce emissions, simplify management, and lower costs.

CLX LaneLogix

Partnering with other in-network shippers helps ensure freight arrives on time, so something like CLX LangeLogix that helps streamline and optimize Rocket’s benchmarking, bidding, and procurement processes is a great addition.

CLX Freight Brokerage

CLX’s long-term carrier relationships ensure that when transportation is needed immediately but Rocket is not personally available, he can rest assured his clients are taken care of by another outstanding provider.

CLX Gravity

This modern solution to transportation managed analytics is ideal for exactly the types of global supply chains Rocket deals with daily.

International Services

Rocket would make excellent use of CLX’s international services as he directs freight all around the world, helping to ensure speed, safety, and dependability while keeping costs as low as possible.

Supply Chain Consulting

Rocket knows there’s always room for improvement. That’s where CLX comes in. CLX’s experts provide strategic design, tactical optimizations, and operational support that helps optimize routes to save significant time and money.

Rocket joined the CLX family in 2013 as our VP of Logistics Efficiency and has been a pillar in our organization, helping provide the best transportation service to clients worldwide. He currently resides in Perkiomen Creek, PA, with his wife and a growing family of 215 children. Rocket fishes on the Chesapeake Bay during his free time and fits in a healthy CrossFit schedule to keep his shell strong.

Leading the Next Generation of Supply Chain Excellence

In February, The Penn State University Smeal College of Business Center for Supply Chain Research® (CSCR) named CLX President and CEO David Vieira among the newest members of the 2022-2023 Advisory Board.

Penn State’s CSCR is a dedicated leader in supply chain management research and education. Over the years, the CSCR has partnered with several industry-leading businesses and corporate partners whose commitments have led to milestone years of service and support. In a recently published list recognizing many of their longest partnerships, and gave thanks for the dedication, thought leadership, and insights they’ve shared to help maintain CSCR as a leader in supply chain research, education, and talent development.

This year’s CSCR milestone partnership anniversaries have been formally recognized at the Spring 2022 Corporate Sponsor Meeting for the following companies:

  • 30 Years – CLX Logistics
  • 25 Years – Johnson & Johnson
  • 20 Years – Boeing
  • 15 Years – Verizon
  • 5 Years – Volvo, Air Products, Merck, ALDI, Church & Dwight

CLX Logistics is honored to collaborate with CSCR for 30 years and appreciate the incredible work the CSCR has done for the industry in preparing the future supply chain leaders, developing executive education, and providing faculty with the resources to produce cutting-edge research.

The CSCR Advisory Board enables the Center to remain at the forefront of the supply chain discipline by aligning research, programs, and offerings with current and future industry challenges and trends. Board members commit to a two-year appointment in a brand and sponsor development role for the University, Smeal College of Business, and CSCR, while remaining active in Center-sponsored programs and events. They provide input and guidance for the CSCR strategic plan and forward-thinking initiatives and approve our faculty research affiliates and fellowships.

Since 1953, the Penn State Smeal College of Business has steadily advanced through the growth of its undergraduate and graduate programs, executive education, and major research centers. In 1990 Frank P. Smeal ’42 and his wife, Mary Jean, provided a generous gift to form The Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business. The Smeals’ gift to the college was the largest individual donation in the University’s history at the time, creating five endowed chairs and a separate endowment for program excellence.

Thank you to Penn State University and the Smeal College of Business CSCR program for your long-term dedication to improving the industry from the ground up. We look forward to many more years of close collaboration, education, and forward-thinking insights as we work to pave the way for the next generation of supply chain experts.

To learn more about the Penn State Smeal College of Business CSCR program, visit https://www.smeal.psu.edu/cscr.

Click here to explore CLX Logistics’ comprehensive supply chain services and capabilities.