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Sunday, April 11, 2021

3PL Explained: What Is It, Benefits and How to Choose

Photo: Kevin Bidwell

The following is a guest post written by Lassee Petersen at https://www.mactrans.ca/ 

3PL, or third-party logistics, is an order fulfillment strategy. To best understand what 3PL is, it helps
to talk about 1PL and 2PL.

Imagine a maple syrup farm that has to transport its produce to market. The owner decides that the
most convenient way to do this is to buy a truck and do the transportation himself. That is a first-party logistics strategy or 1PL.

As the farm grows it might start producing so much maple syrup that it doesn’t make financial sense to invest in more trucks. It hires another company to take care of transportation. The company that they hire is second-party logistics or 2PL.

Now imagine that the operation grows so big that the 2PL company can’t handle logistics and
transportation efficiently. The farm owner hires a subcontractor or logistics management company, which subcontracts some (or all) of the transportation logistics. The subcontractor is a 3PL.

A 3PL supply chain model comprises three components: the business (manufacturer/producer), the logistics provider who takes care of warehouse management, packaging and other services, and the carrier who is in charge of making sure that goods get to their intended destination in time.

Benefits of 3PL Providers

Why do so many businesses opt to involve 3PL companies for transportation services? There are several reasons, and they have to do with efficiency and cost-cutting:

  •  Cost Savings
Companies are able to negotiate lower transport costs based on frequency and volume of deliveries.
The other option would be to hire individual drivers to move goods, and the downside to this is that
it leaves packaging and warehouse management unattended. The cost will quickly rise and efficiency
will likely drop.

  • Wider Networks
3PLs come with networks already in place which allows businesses to deliver goods over vast areas.
The business owner doesn’t need to worry about whether goods will get to faraway locations; that
headache falls to the 3PL. The best ensure that they have networks that go far and wide.

  • You can scale
A good 3PL allows you to adjust depending on demand without hurting your business. During peak
season they can help you handle the growth without eating into your profits or your time. If it
shrinks, you only need to let the 3PL that you have fewer logistical needs.

  • Stellar service
One of the primary functions of a 3PL is to ensure that all deliveries are made on time. You can
avoid retail vendor chargebacks that occur as a result of logistical delays. Your customers will come
to trust your brand, which, in turn, helps grow your business.

  • Access to the latest technology
Your customers expect you to use the latest technology to provide timely deliveries, and this falls
squarely on the 3PL you choose. It is up to them to invest in equipment and software that facilitates
transportation, driver and inventory management.

  • You can focus on your core competencies
You’re not in the business of providing transportation. A 3PL company takes this function out of
your hands so that you can focus on what you’re good at.

  • Driver management

Managing drivers happens to be one of the most complex tasks in the logistics chain. When you hire
a 3PL company it’s taken out of your hands. The subcontractor you hire vets drivers and makes sure
they meet their goals as mandated.

How to Choose a 3PL

What is the best third-party logistics provider? Many companies provide these services, and their
offerings differ. Before you hire, look at the following:

  • How long has the company been in business? Ideally, the longer the better. They should be able to provide testimonials from their long-term clients.
  • Capability – this includes things like kitting and equipment, multi-channel logistics, software and systems. The company you choose should be able to handle your company’s evolving needs.
  • Safety and security – hire a company that complies with safety regulations and has a good track record for personnel and assets safety.
  • Good customer service – this is one of the essential features of a good 3PL.
  • Customization and scalability – can the company you have in mind handle your business’s unique needs and can they scale as you grow?
A good 3PL company can help you simultaneously streamline logistics and grow your business.

Look for a provider that is transparent about its processes and that doesn’t charge hidden fees.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Mantua, Utah Speed Trap (Updated 3/2021)

Tickets funding this small town's revenue

(Original post from 2015:) Our drivers have to pass through here on a daily basis. Using speed traps for the primary purpose of revenue generation is just wrong! He's basically writing tickets to pay his salary. All the local and regional people are well aware of this situation, so all the town cop does is trap motorists who are not familiar with the area. The southbound side of the highway is a down slope and a driver unfamiliar with the area can easily be unaware that his car/truck is speeding up if not watching the speedometer. Help support the fight for motorist's rights by joining The National Motorists Association. You can join for free at this Link.

Article and video thanks to KUTV.com and Chris Jones. Links provided:

April 28, 2015  (KUTV) If you’ve ever driven Sardine Canyon, between Brigham City and Logan, you might be familiar with the little town of Mantua.

But, with a population of 741, the town is less known for its hospitality than its vast ticket writing. 

“The cop down there is like a sniper,” said Sheri Leishman, whose husband has been ticketed multiple times on the stretch of road. “Everyone knows he comes right out of nowhere and slides right in.”  

In Mantua, police wrote 2,185 tickets in fiscal year 2014. That helped the town bring in more than $221,000 in speeding fines, which makes up more than a third of the town’s $649,000 revenue.  

So how does this compare to other similarly situated Utah towns?  

Take neighboring Williard, also in Box Elder County. Its population is three times that of Mantua — with three times the number of highway to patrol. But in fiscal year 2014, Willard wrote only 706 tickets. 

“The main thing with speed is the excessiveness on it,” says Mantua Police Chief Mike Johnson, who is also the town’s mayor. (He is paid $42,000 a year to be chief, but is unpaid as mayor.)  

In 2012, the Utah Department of Transportation had to write a strongly worded letter to the town warning them that the location where they camp out was being torn up by the town’s patrol cars.  UDOT told the city their actions were “creating an immediate safety issue,” and the town did eventually fix the problem.

Johnson says their speed enforcement is critical. Not only does it reduce speeds on the highway, it helps support a police department that is a constant presence in the small town, he said.  

But, in 2014, the town’s police made only a few dozen arrests unrelated to speeding. Among the most recent citations: fishing without a license.

With the meager crime rate it begs the question:  Does the town of Mantua have an addiction to speed?  

The fees collected by the town help support Mantua’s two part-time officers, the full-time chief, a court judge and a court clerk. The highway, and the tickets that come from it, stand as a major revenue source funding a large chunk of the town government. 

“We could [still] have both of those,” Johnson said, “but it would just be a lot more limited. There is no doubt that we benefit somewhat by the highway.”

The chief is quick to point out if you are not impressed with the work he and his two part-time officers do in the town, then look at dangerous Sardine Canyon, where speed is a killer. 

“Everything we do basically comes back to safety of motoring public,” he said, noting UDOT began making an effort to make Sardine  Canyon more safe about 15 years ago by reducing speed limits, adding rumble strips and barriers.  

Fatalities have been reduced by 93 percent since the improvements to the roads have been made, according to UDOT statistics.

Update: 3/30/2021

by KSL.com

MANTUA, Box Elder County — The police chief of the small northern Utah town of Mantua has been let go after eight months on the job and other officers there resigned on Monday.

Box Elder County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dale Ward confirmed the dismissal of Chief Michael F. Castro, who became the city's police chief in July, according to a Facebook post.

City officials have not said why Castro was dismissed.

Ward wasn't sure if all the officers had resigned Monday, but did say that the Box Elder Sheriff's Office will be helping out in Mantua in their absence.

The small city has had several police chiefs in recent years, including current Mayor Michael Johnson and more recently, Shane Jacob Zilles, who was arrested and subsequently fired for impaired driving in February 2019.

Zilles, who was pulled by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper for driving in the highway median, was later charged with five counts of falsifying, altering or forging prescription drugs, a class A misdemeanor.

Castro made headlines in December after rescuing an ice fisherman who had fallen through the ice in Mantua Resevoir, telling the Deseret News: "It just wasn't an option to see him drown right in front of us."


http://www.kutv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/The-Mantua-speed-trap-tickets-funding-this-small-town-39-s-revenue-123998.shtml#.VUab2vlVikp




Thursday, February 11, 2021

Witnessing the famous 1990 Tower Drive bridge crash

The terrible news today about three major traffic catastrophes in this country due to bad weather got me thinking about the day I was witness to a catastrophic accident in Green Bay, Wisconsin on the Leo Frigo bridge in March of 1990. It was called the Tower Drive bridge before they renamed it later. The changed namesake was actually a cofounder of the Frigo Cheese Company, the company I worked for in Lena.

We made regular deliveries of cheese to Northland Cold Storage, a facility that was located just off I-43 near the Atkinson Drive exit before crossing the Leo Frigo bridge. We generally arrived there around 7am to off load on a FCFS basis and I had planned my trip to get there about that time. It was only about 30 miles south of Lena and I noticed the fog really getting thick as I got within a couple miles of the exit I needed to take. The exit is immediately before the rise up onto the 1.5 mile long bridge over the Fox river which flows into the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.


The closer I got to the exit, the worse the visibility and I slowed down with traffic coming up and passing although I had seen much worse. I remember being relieved to be able to exit the freeway at Atkinson Dr. After getting off the interstate, I had to turn north and go under the bridge and then east and south to the warehouse.

Hours later after the fog cleared
Hours after the fog cleared

After my final turn and approaching the warehouse, I started hearing drivers yelling on the CB radio that there were cars crashing on the bridge. I pulled up to the staging area, got out of the truck and could hear vehicles crashing as I was standing there. Of course I could see nothing because of the limited visibility.


The bridge being about 2,000 feet north and overhead, the dense fog must have the perfect conditions to carry sound and it was horrifically loud to me, almost like I was in some kind of terrible dream. It actually went on for 4 or 5 minutes listening to crash after crash feeling helpless trying to think of anything I could do. I could actually hear people screaming and hollering up there! There was an explosion and I just remember this helpless feeling and deep sorrow. Hearing sirens in the background, I knew rescue was on the way, but I’ll never forget that feeling. The sound of those vehicles crashing while I stood there effected me for quite a while.


What happened was that there was a perfect accumulation of factory smoke combined with fog and wind direction that made a blinding wall of zero visibility across the interstate and three people died that morning along with thirty injured. 52 vehicles were involved.


In my 37 years of professional driving I've seen and experienced a lot, but that was one the worst. Among one of the days that I will never forget. Please drive careful out there. Link to my book below, published in 2020:




Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Heater Box for Your Truck – 5 Reasons Why Stainless Steel is the Best Choice

The following guest post is written by Jon Lewis at Shoreline Manufacturing. Check out their excellent product line at the links provided:

If you find yourself driving your rig in areas of the country where there are brutal winters, you may have had to replace your truck’s heater box more than once. This is due to the fact that most if not all OEM heater boxes are made of steel. Many states that receive significant snowfall heavily salt their roads. Steel, salt, and water are a bad mix. This combo will cause your heater box to corrode quickly, eventually rendering it useless.

Drivers that find themselves in more warmer climates don’t necessarily escape the wrath of aggressive heater box rust. Condensation is the rust causing agent that typically rusts out the bottom of the heater box.

Having said that, you might already know that replacement heater boxes come in a variety of types when it comes to their construction material. You can find them in steel, aluminum, and stainless steel variations. We have already established that replacing your heater box with a steel box, may not be the greatest idea. This then leaves you with two choices, stainless or aluminum. Which material is better in terms of durability, performance, and value? Let’s find out.

Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum Heater Box

Stainless steel and aluminum can look similar but are quite different. Let’s compare the key aspects of each metal.

Strength

The prime factor that contributes to the durability of any heater box is the construction material's strength. That's quite obvious. And while aluminum has a better strength to weight ratio, stainless steel delivers more raw strength. Yes, it is substantially heavier as compared to a standard aluminum box but it is also considerably stronger. It means that a stainless steel heater box has an enhanced capacity to withstand rough weather, especially chilly winters. Aluminum features a tensile strength of 276 MPa while stainless steel strength measures at 505 MPa.

Cold temperatures have a negative effect on materials as it forces metals and alloys to contract which ultimately affects the structural integrity of the box. Stainless steel heater boxes make for a better choice for truckers who find themselves traveling through particularly cold regions.


Corrosion Resistance

Another key factor that determines the long-term durability of a metal is its corrosion resistance. Rusting is a natural oxidization process that leads to deterioration in quality which you can witness in the form of holes. If you are a trucker who has been using aluminum heater boxes for a while, you must have seen those dreaded holes. Needless to say, such severe damage means you either have to pay a high maintenance cost or completely replace the heater box which is once again a big investment on your part.

This is where the stainless steel heater box can prove to be a better alternative as it is highly corrosion-resistant. Although aluminum also resists corrosion it is still susceptible to oxidization and rusting. Stainless steel has enhanced corrosion resistance because of two reasons:

The stainless steel alloy includes chromium which forms an invisible corrosion resistant film around the steel.

Stainless steel is also non-porous which means it is difficult for moisture to settle in and start the oxidization process that leads to rust formation.

Many truckers have to drive on salted roads during winters which further contributes towards pacing up the oxidization process that you want to avoid. Stainless steel heater box gives you a much higher resistance.


Thermal Conductivity

Being a poor thermal conductor makes stainless steel a better choice. During summer, aluminum heat conductor will continue to leak heat making your cabin hotter than it should be. On the other hand, a stainless steel heater box retains the heat well and does not let it leak into your truck's cabin so you can stay cool. Moreover, stainless steel can tolerate temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit while aluminum will start softening up around the 400 degrees Fahrenheit mark.


Alloy Workability

Stainless steel is a hard material whereas aluminum is comparatively soft. And while it does make it easier for metalworkers to mold aluminum, it also means that aluminum isn't as resistant to abrasion and wear. In comparison, stainless steel's hardened nature allows it to be substantially more wear-and-tear resistant increasing its long-term durability. It means that truckers who invest in a stainless steel heater box can use it for years without having to worry about corrosion or rust.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that being a softer alloy, aluminum also cannot tolerate high temperatures and will start to soften up which can result in potential damage to the structure of the heater box. Stainless steel, being a harder material, can handle high temperatures while maintaining its structural integrity. Drivers and truckers who also have to work during summers won't need to be concerned about their heater boxes taking damage due to elevated temperatures.

Easier to Maintain

As discussed above, stainless steel is comparatively a harder material than aluminum. This malleability makes it difficult to carry out repairs since softer alloys take more power and skill to weld. And while aluminum can be easily bent, stretched, and manipulated, it will not be as friendly when it comes to welding. On the other hand, stainless steel's hardness makes it a better choice for maintenance since you can do the repair work with more ease and convenience.

Another factor that contributes to aluminum being a challenging material to weld is its thermal conductivity. It easily loses heat which makes it a poor contender for welding. In comparison, stainless steel's poor thermal conductivity means it can retain heat for longer periods while maintaining its hardness making it easier to weld. So, even if your stainless steel heater box gets damaged, it will be cheaper and easier to get the repairs done. That might not be a possibility with an aluminum variant.


Can I Get Premium Quality Stainless Steel Heater Boxes?

If you are needing to replace a rusted out heater box, there are a few companies that fabricate a modified stainless steel variant of the OEM product that are compatible with the OEM heater box. For instance, you can buy a stainless steel Kenworth heater box here that will be much more corrosion and rust-resistant as compared to the original steel version.

When you want your heater box to go thousands of miles, even tens of thousands of miles, without getting damaged due to corrosion or rust, stainless steel is a much better alternative.


Final Word

Due to increased competition and skyrocketing expenses, truckers are looking to find ways to cut down their overhead and costs as much as possible. And when they end up replacing their heater boxes about every three years, it is not only a frustrating experience but does not make business sense. Such unnecessary expenses rack up pretty quickly and eat into their profit margin. That's why many truckers are now moving to stainless steel heater boxes.

They may cost a bit more upfront but they repay your investment with interest by not requiring multiple repairs and heavy maintenance. What's even better is that they continue to go on for miles and miles, year after year without taking any damage caused by rust or corrosion.


Another Reason to dump DirecTV for Dish Network

A couple months ago I wrote about our decision upon moving to get rid of DirecTV and go with Dish. We are just about to start our third month with Dish and were happy with their service.


Our three month free premium channel add-on was about to expire and we called to cancel before they started charging extra for that package. The call was short, no extended wait and no hard sell to keep it. Two issues have come up in the past week, both have which have really convinced us we made the right decision.


Since AT&T bought DirecTV, as I stated in a previous post, their product offering and service have taken a nosedive. After abandoning the recreational vehicle market, the only current choice for mobile television RVers have is Dish. I also found out by chance this week that for the past two years Dish has been unable to offer HBO to their subscribers. The reason? AT&T also owns HBO and tried to price gouge Dish network. That doesn’t sit well with me and there is a workaround if you have Dish, you can stream HBO Max for $14.99 per month if you really have to have it.

What follows however is the best reason yet to switch, a couple weeks ago Dish had to drop CBS network from it’s lineup over an ongoing pricing dispute in contract negotiations. It’s been happening more and more as networks try to increase their fees to subscription satellite TV providers for local channels. These same channels are free over the air to the general public. Both Dish and DirecTV have to fight them or increase customer's subscriber rates continually.


Last week there was a Packer game on CBS that I couldn’t get through the Wally receiver because of the ongoing dispute with Dish Network. So I went downstairs and ran cable from my rooftop OTA(over the air) antenna bypassing the Wally receiver so we could watch the game. Just by chance this past week, looking for some kind of transfer switch on Amazon to buy in order to more easily accomplish this task I discovered they make a dual tuner to hook your OTA antenna into which then plugs in a USB port in back of the Dish receiver. You can then scan ALL your local channels through Dish Wally (or Joey). The channels will appear in your on-screen TV guide and you can record those channels as well! The local OTA channels are bolded yellow and will appear next to the satellite local channels in the guide. No need to switch cables or inputs to get OTA, who could ask for more? Channels will appear in the Wally as well as all the connected Joeys.

 


No more worries about the feuds over local channels and the cost? $60 to $70 on eBay or Amazon for the tuner. I paid $63 for mine. And there are no fees from Dish. As far as I can tell, DirecTV offers nothing like this. Why put up with inferior service and products from DirecTV? This post is entirely my personal opinion and I have received no compensation for it.