1-Bridge gives back by sponsoring student in Africa - #onegirlcan

1-Bridge Logistics works hard for our customers and dedicated Fleet. The team also takes pride in being able to give back and One Girl Can was an excellent vehicle to do so.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives we may forget how fortunate we are. The team received a letter from Angeline who we are currently sponsoring through University in Africa. It really put things into perspective and added even more motivation upon receiving a hand written letter from her.

Understanding the insurmountable obstacles Angeline is facing helps keep the 1-Bridge team focused and motivated. Part of the 1-Bridge team holding our sign that says, "We know that you will do it Angeline!!!

 Proud to see the progress of Angeline. 

Proud to see the progress of Angeline. 

How to disrupt logistics one customer at a time

It’s the height of summer and wine nuts are flocking to the Golden Mile, a particularly warm stretch of the Okanagan Valley where sagebrush gives way to rolling vineyards.

 

The industry is booming. From tasting rooms to your local BC Liquor Store, wine aficionados are feeding a $2.8 billion industry that employs nearly 12,000 people. But with over 340 wineries scattered across the province, effectively supplying growers with what they need to get their wine to market has become a massive logistical undertaking.

“Where the wineries are in the Interior, it can be pretty tricky,” said Rory Smith, founder and sales manager at 1-Bridge Logistics. “You need experienced drivers who know how to get the job done, especially in the winter.”

After over a decade working with massive international logistics outfits across Europe and North America, Smith has made it his business to push back against the status quo. That means rethinking the way a logistics company communicates with both its customers and drivers.

An old industry on ice

Twice a year – at harvest time and in early spring – truckloads of empty bottles come rolling down mountain highways ready to feed the mobile bottlers that buzz from winery to winery. Most of the bottles come from manufacturers in the U.S. or China, and are brought in and sold to wineries by packaging and bottling experts like TricorBraun. With all of the wineries vying for mobile bottlers at once, receiving shipments on time is critical – and something not always easy to come by.

As a business management director for TricorBraun, Heidi Cook remembers how logistics used to work. She manages warehouses in Burnaby and Summerland but often brings in bottles from Seattle. That’s where a truckload of bottles bound for the Golden Mile was coming from when a driver contracted through TricorBraun’s old logistics company took a wrong turn.

“He decided to take a back road around Oliver. But as the road narrowed he got stuck in a snowbank,” said Cook.

When the truck didn’t show up for its scheduled delivery, TricorBraun was forced to dispatch another trailer of bottles, so the winery wouldn’t miss its appointment with the mobile bottler.

“The driver abandoned his vehicle,” said Cook. “His own company didn’t even know he was MIA until the winery called us.”

Building a network of reliable carriers

Since TricorBraun started working with 1-Bridge Logistics, Cook said, her team has been able to refocus their efforts on their core business model.

“I don’t know how they do it, but they’ve got some magic that you just can’t find in other companies,” she said.

Part of 1-Bridge’s model relies on combining a dedicated fleet of trailers with a network of vetted shipping companies to build a reliable and robust team of carriers. To avoid unreliable carriers and their drivers, the logistics company runs new carriers through a 10-load trial before they can qualify.

“You have all this fancy technology and apps and all of these things that people are creating, but at the end of the day you got a driver and a truck,” said Smith.

This people-first approach drives Smith to seek out creative drivers – ones who can take the lead, fix repairs and understand why it’s important to communicate problems immediately.

“Other guys will try for six hours to fix it and then be tired and give up,” said Smith. “Then they’ll call you in the morning and say, ‘Uh, I was stuck last night. I didn’t think there was anything you could do about it.’”

Many of these drivers come from small carriers without a sales team, technology or the ability to co-ordinate complicated pick-ups and drop-offs. But by combining the resources of several small carriers, 1-Bridge Logistics has built a tightly knit network of carriers stretching from Alberta, through B.C. and down the I-5 corridor to California.

“We don’t say to a customer, ‘Yeah, we do everything.’ We say, ‘Here’s what we do; here’s how we work; does that fit with your business?’” said Smith.

The ‘personal touch’

By combining a redefined freight brokerage model with the mindset of a consultancy firm, 1-Bridge Logistics has found a niche that leverages reliable shipping companies with a culture of communication to keep end customers happy.

Like most logistics companies, 1-Bridge uses technology to update TricorBraun with total monthly loads, shipping details and any problems along the way. But the biggest thing that sets the logistics company apart is its willingness to work directly with wineries – or any end customers. That way, if something does go wrong, the team puts extra pressure on itself to immediately communicate contingency plans and the time it will take to solve the problem.

“TricorBraun’s expectations for us are that we service the living daylights out of their end customer,” said Smith. “At the end of the day, our goal is keeping the wineries happy.”

Better supply chains lead to growth and stability

Studies show that optimizing supply chains can lead to increased revenues and better branding

It’s a sunny morning in southern California, and a large truck is being loaded with hundreds of cases of alcoholic beverages.

The cases are heading to a liquor store in Vancouver, but before their journey starts, Rory Smith makes a quick call.

“Our truck is about to leave,” he tells one of his regular clients in California. “Do you need anything moved to BC?”

“Yes,” says the voice on the other side of the receiver, and in minutes the truck is on its way to a second pick up.

As the truck makes its way north, Smith’s customers will receive daily notifications on its whereabouts, and three days later, when it unloads its cargo in Vancouver, they will receive a detailed report of the trip.

The unloaded truck is then ready to head back south—except Smith has arranged for it to pick up a large shipment of rebar from a factory in Richmond, which needs to be at a construction site in California in three days.

By consolidating the freight and increasing efficiency in this way, Smith can move his client’s products across the border at a lower cost.

“The marketplace has become truly global,” says Smith, who is the co-founder and head of sales at 1-Bridge Logistics, a Vancouver-based company dedicated to optimizing supply chains. “Everyone from a manager at a large construction site to a mom and pop operation in Richmond is stocking things from the United States or Asia or Europe or South America, and needs those products to be transported efficiently in order to be competitive.”

Which is where Smith and his team of supply chain specialists come in. “Our job is to ensure that that happens,” he says.

The importance of optimizing supply chains

Transporting product from one place to another in a cost-efficient and timely manner is extremely important for most businesses to succeed.

“If you don't have a reliable supply chain partner and your product doesn’t arrive to its destination on time, you’re going to lose a lot of money on sales and credibility,” Smith says. “That’s why transportation is critical to beat your competitor, land new business, and generate growth for your own organization.”

According to a study published by the Van Horne Institute – a trade policy think tank based in Calgary – optimizing supply chains "increases revenue, extends asset life, protects brand and reputation, increases productivity, reduces costs, and manages risks".

This is pushing companies to place more and more value in making their supply chains more efficient by making transportation an integral part of their strategic plan:

“There's more emphasis now on streamlining how you're purchasing your products, how you’re getting materials into manufacturing, and how you’re getting your products out,” Smith says. “This has pushed us to figure out new ways to optimize our clients’ supply chains.”

A supply chain revolution

Because everything from pricing to brand image depends on smart logistics, the team at 1-Bridge Logistics has decided to revolutionize long-held industry standards by incorporating new tracking and notification technologies and using an innovative model – the dedicated fleet model – to move things around North America.

This model relies on the use of set, high-volume transportation routes to maximize the use of every single truck, allowing 1-Bridge Logistics to keep costs down for their clients.

In addition to this, 1-Bridge Logistics has partnered with a network of reliable freight operators, giving the company the flexibility to address surges in the marketplace.

 “That means that we aren’t limited to a certain capacity: if we wanted to add a couple of carriers to a certain lane, we're able to do that.”

This flexibility is especially important in the construction sector, a surge–based industry that can be affected by anything from weather to currency rates.

“Today, materials come to a site from around the world, and in the construction industry there are many variables that can affect how materials or equipment get transported,” Smith says. “Our model gives us the flexibility and capacity to help these companies adapt to any surges or dips in the market.”

This allows 1-Bridge Logistics to fulfill the promises they make to all of their clients:

“The key outcomes we have for their business is to save them time, save them money, and to mitigate risk,” says Smith.

Is technology really going to be the big game changer it is made out to be?

Imagine it was the year 2000 and we are having a conversation about technology. Let’s say I told you that in 15 years’ time you would have a device that fits in your pocket, can tell you where the nearest restaurant is to your location and how good the food tastes and that you would have more computing power than your current desktop computer. You might possibly think I was nuts or just nod politely and then go about your day as usual.

Technology is changing the way we interact with one another and how we do business. Visibility and information is at your fingertips 24 hours a day. Now when it comes to the freight industry it isn’t exactly an early adopter and it would be fair to say…..a laggard. Automation has replaced jobs in warehouses and created other jobs to manage the technology. What you see is general labour jobs atrophying and being replaced by machines and robots. These types of jobs are not coming back, despite what some may want you to believe.

Technology will continue to impact the freight industry similar to how mobile phones changed the way we interact with one another and how quickly information can be obtained. There were early adopters and then those who waited until they knew the technology was proven and jumped right in.

The biggest challenge in the freight industry is how fragmented the market is and how many different platforms and technologies are out their claiming they are going to revolutionize the industry. Trucking companies that have 20 or less trucks make up approximately 95% of the 1.5 million trucking companies in the US and Canada. I am not saying that technology is not going to impact the industry. I just don’t see a massive change like the adoption of mobile phones unless 1.4 million companies all agree to adopt the same platform with a more or less even playing field.

Technology has provided transparency to rates, transit times and better decision making through business intelligence, but this is not automation with driverless trucks replacing 3.75 million truck drivers in North America anytime soon. The biggest roadblock is trucking companies agreeing on how the future will look and what technology to adopt if there is going to be a revolution. Our outlook is brokers, trucking companies, SAAS providers, 3PL’s and 4PL’s will continue to bring value to the organizations they serve due to the verticals and areas they align and bring value to.

Currently the industry can’t figure out how ELD’s (Electronic logging devices) that will become a requirement by December 2017 are going to impact freight rates. It depends on many other economic factors and legislation combined with the ELD mandate. To be sure, the freight industry as whole will change, to what extent really depends on how the players choose to move forward. If the fragmentation and disorganization of the industry persist; then it remains to be seen how a massive sweeping change will suddenly revolutionize the way freight is moved. 

Operating your business and Supply Chain in an Ambiguous Global Economy

1-Bridge Logistics recently attended an interactive conference hosted by HSBC. The content featured panel discussions with speakers from Canadian companies who have found international success. With trade barriers like the TPP and CETA coming down around the world, Canadian businesses need to take advantage of them or they will get left behind. If you operate your business the same way in 5 years as you do today, you may find yourself far behind your competition.

David Watt - The Canadian Chief Economist for HSBC anticipates oil prices to stay lower for longer. He talked about how the Canadian dollar is linked to the price of oil which results in a negative impact as imports cost more leaving less money for services and real estate. Consumer debt and house prices have driven growth in the economy for the last 15 years and this simply cannot continue. The result is that companies are remaining cautious as they overcome the structural headwinds compounded by global investment that is not currently rebounding.

The fact is we need to work in these conditions. The silver lining is that as trade barriers come down, Canadian companies have an opportunity to explore international markets. Companies need to foster a culture of innovation and strive to find better ways of operating their business at home and abroad. Send your best people abroad to set up your business and hire locally to ensure the culture and values of your organization are shared while balancing local laws, regulations and processes in your new markets.

Regardless of an organizations size, business scope or markets they operate in, there are some basic needs that must be met from a supply chain perspective. Moving products from point A to point B as cost effectively and efficiently as possible without damage are the basics. To remain competitive and understand how your supply chain impacts the strategic direction of your business more is needed.

In order to remain competitive in a globally driven economy it is paramount that a business is able to understand what is critical for their supply chain (needs) and what they believe would help it run at an optimum level (wants). Canadian companies will need to ensure they are partnered with a transportation provider that can facilitate growth in their current and potential new markets. Local or regional knowledge is invaluable to remain competitive and grow.

You will need to consider how your logistics provider can help position your business to excel. What processes and technology do they have in place? Is it scalable? Do they have broad market knowledge or is it niche specific? A strong transportation provider can play a major role in the growth of your company.   Consider Target Canada, which struggled to understand local markets and preferences. Canadians enjoyed the options and savings experienced in US Target locations. When they visited Target locations in Canada and experienced empty shelves and higher prices it resulted in Target Canada closing its doors.

Stay tuned to your customers’ needs and create a culture of innovation in your business. Be prepared to adapt to a global economy and partner with the right logistics provider to get your products to market as cost effectively and efficiently as possible.

For more information visit www.onebridgelogistics.com

Redefining the Traditional Transportation Model

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At 1-Bridge Logistics we are redefining the traditional freight brokerage model by contracting carriers on lanes and then providing this capacity to our customers. This ensures a consistent carrier base that does not need to constantly learn the business and makes for a more efficient supply chain. It is similar to an asset based model with the flexibility to manage surges or spikes in volume.

Similar to anything that you expect growth from' there are a number of options to consider. Unfortunately one size does not fit all when it comes to your supply chain. What is the right model to ensure you have sustainability for your business? Is it 100% asset based, 4PL, 3PL a combination of asset based, broker and/or SAAS?

As technology and consumer buying habits drive businesses to adapt, supply chains need to accommodate these changes. For many customers they may not realize their 100% asset based model is actually being brokered out or contracted to carriers that may be posing a huge potential risk to their business. 

What is the best model? This ultimately depends on your business growth and balancing both short and long term objectives. Something to consider is the cultural fit between your business and your supply chain provider. Aligning your business model and cultural fit with your supply chain provider helps overcome many of the obstacles such as communication, visibility and urgency.

Partnering with the correct supply chain provider could be the difference between having your business survive or taking it to levels you never thought were possible. The supply chain has taken a much more prominent role in the strategic and competitive decisions that businesses must make to survive and excel. If you are asking yourself whether or not you have the best solution in place, that might be an indication it is time to review your existing provider or providers.