As you know, logistics and transportation comprise one of the nation’s largest and most competitive industries. The demand for these services is growing significantly, due to economic expansion, e-commerce growth, global shifts in manufacturing and supply chain, infrastructure changes, and US legislation changes.
With recent advances in technology such as drones and automation, customer expectations are becoming increasingly more demanding. Logistics and transportation companies need to continuously innovate their processes and search for ways to be more efficient in the upcoming years.
This is where BigRentz comes in. With only one phone call, you can source all your equipment rentals anywhere in the country. Then we’ll handle the contact with the suppliers and coordinate delivery and pickup. You don’t have to do anything else!
Whether your company deals with the logistics of delivering goods from suppliers to customers or the transportation of the goods or both, BigRentz can provide the equipment you need for all your projects.
If you need help loading and unloading materials for your next project, you can rent a pallet jack or walkie stacker. To reach spots when loading or unloading from indoor storage to outdoor lifts, warehouse forklifts are available. If materials need to be transferred across the ground before being loaded, rough terrain forklifts are available. There are multiple types available for rent. Use the 25,000-lb. industrial forklift to load and unload crated material. Or if you need a smaller one, you can rent the 5,000-lb. warehouse forklift.
Telehandlers are a great option if you need to add attachments for moving items. Telehandlers with fork attachments can move cargo, just like a forklift would and can reach higher areas than forklifts. If your next project involves air freight, you can rent a storage container. If your next project involves some waste removal in the process, dump trucks are available for rent.
Technological advancements are changing customer expectations. Several years ago, customers thought fast shipping took two days. Now they want their goods right now. With e-commerce on the rise, many customers expect next-day delivery on their items and some even refuse to pay extra for this service. Many retailers and businesses are even enforcing “must arrive by” delivery requirements. This trend in consumer demands will likely cause an increase in drones usage to get the products there on time. Automation can help warehouses get products out in record time. Companies may also search for qualified carriers to help them get their products to customers. Amazon is especially affecting the industry. The company has built its own logistics and transportation network. As a result, other companies are beginning to think nontraditionally.
In addition to delivery, cutting-edge technology can also help keep track of products. Customers want to make sure their freight is safe in transit. Geo-fencing lets them do that. It uses a tracking system to create a virtual boundary. It makes sure the truck stays on its pre-determined course. Companies monitor the truck’s route until it arrives at the customer.
From an internal perspective, logistics and transportation companies can use technology to automate tasks and mine data for actionable insights. Artificial intelligence, tons of data, computing power, and cloud capabilities can all help identify areas of improvement for operational efficiency, cost optimization, and risk management. Systems that integrate to provide holistic internal solutions at every part of the supply-chain management are going to be a necessity as time goes on.
Freight transportation is continuing to grow due to economic activity and population expansion. Rail covers 140,000 miles and delivers an average of five million tons of good each day. Trucking had revenues of $676.2 billion in 2016, moved 10.4 billion tons of freight, and contributed more than $150 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP). Maritime moves most of the U.S. international merchandise trade. This includes 76% of U.S. exports.
The international freight industry is also experiencing changes, especially in regard to next-day delivery demands. Increasing expectations for faster delivery is driving a shift from ocean to air. Meanwhile, ocean carriers are building larger ships, which could lower transportation costs. They are also forming alliances to better handle fluctuations in supply and demand.
The Electronic Log Devices (ELDs) mandate will also affect the industry in 2018. All transportation companies that haul loads by trucks must have ELDs by April 2018. These devices make sure drivers only have 50 hours of service each week. They then must take two days off. The ELD mandate was passed to encourage drivers to rest. This could affect the time it takes for products to arrive. If production decreases, as a result, pressure will be passed to capacity to make up the difference.
Trade relations can affect this industry in the future. Regional growth in China, India, and Mexico can drive a need for logistics operations in those countries. Tightening regulations in China can create shifts in supply chain and manufacturing. This might cause companies to find inventory closer to customers.
The logistics industry also faces other challenges. Increased traffic, rising labor costs, and unpredictable fuel costs can add to the overall price. Recently, crude oil prices have dipped, which reduces overall costs. But these prices vary, so an increase in price could be passed along to customers. Driver wages and benefits also play a factor and account for a larger part of costs.
Logistics needs several aspects to transport products. These include order fulfillment, warehousing, inventory management, and fleet management services. Each transportation division has its own needs. Air and express delivery systems (EDS) deal with time-critical freight. It sends out high-value items, documents, and small parcels. Rail covers high volumes of heavy cargo over long distances.
When shipping your products, you can choose a manual or automatic process. Manual work means employees do all the work by hand. This is a cost-effective option. But it does take a long time and isn’t common. Workers walk around the load and unroll, apply, and wrap the film around the products. From there, workers use a handheld device to cut and strap the load.
Those who ship more than 15 loads each day should use automatic equipment. You can use semi- or fully-automated machines. This process saves on labor and material costs. It also helps workers avoid back strain. Semi-automatic equipment needs workers to help. One example includes workers using a forklift to deliver a pallet load. They could also detach binding material.
For fully-automated machines, products are delivered via a conveyor. There are four types of conveyors. They include roller, belt, chain, and walking beam. Roller and belts work best when there are no pallets involved. Chains work well with pallets. Use walking beams for moving heavy-duty, durable products.
After the conveyor, the products go to the stretch wrapping machine. It is also called the stretch hooding machine. This is a common way to contain the load. This machine also has semi- and fully-automatic models. Semi-automatic ones have turntables. An operator needs to tie the film before wrapping. They also must cut the film after wrapping ends. Fully-automatic ones attach and cut the film without any help.
Stretch hooding is similar to stretch wrapping. Stretch hooding uses a hood or bag over the load. After placed, the hood or bag contracts back to its original size. Both choices need heat to shrink the plastic. Workers can apply heat directly with heat guns. They can also move the load by conveyor through a heat tunnel. Either way, the wrap gives the load protection from all sides. This is key if you plan to store it outside.
Strapping is another choice. Use this option if you don’t care too much about protecting the products’ surface. It doesn’t involve wrapping the load. You can use manual or pneumatic tools to attach the straps. The material is made of either steel or plastic. Plastic absorbs without breaking and is safer to handle. It also reduces indents formed on products.
If you use strapping, consider using a cornerboard. This product protects the corners of your load. It also supports the load. You can size the cornerboard depending on the size of your load. You can also use this product if you have layers of small boxes. Most often you apply cornerboards manually.
After you wrap the load, figure out your routes. Route planning is beneficial because it’s cost-effective. Planning a route saves on fuel and time. You can choose between short- and long-haul ones. Short-haul involves trucks or rail. Long-haul involves ocean or air. You need to take into account getting the products to either mode of transportation.
The transportation and logistics services industry is constantly evolving. BigRentz customer service experts are certified in heavy equipment and familiar with a variety of equipment. We can help you figure out what type of equipment works best for your logistics and transportation needs. With more than 8,500 nationwide locations, BigRentz is an ideal company to rent from. To learn more about logistics and transportation services, call (888) 325-5172.