As fuel prices continue to increase, businesses that deliver products and services to homes and offices must figure out ways to reduce their transportation costs, or risk declining profits. Many companies are deploying new technologies that allow them to compare alternative routing and scenarios, achieve scheduling precision in times of congestion and balance customer goals with costs. But to get the most out of any of these fuel-reducing solutions, companies must first understand how their fleet is operating and then identify areas that need improvement.

Today, transportation and logistics companies are prone to a variety of security risks and challenges as they work to make business operations streamlined and integrated in this increasingly connected world. These challenges can range from managing fuel costs and their drivers – including the speed at which these drivers travel – to complying with regulatory standards. However, one of the greatest challenges in the field that companies face is combating cargo theft. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the costliest.

Normally, airline contact centers have focused on operational excellence or improvement areas which affect the efficiency of operations – focusing on metrics such as improving utilization, reducing AHT (without compromising CSAT), reducing ASA, hold times, etc. But with newer tools available in the marketplace, airline contact centers can now use sophisticated technology that helps in improving effectiveness – providing a single, unified view of the customer across multiple channels, leveraging speech and text analytics and integrating multiple channels of communication for the customer care agent.

If there is anything in the trucking industry that has only become more valuable with time, it’s qualified drivers. Industry leaders re-affirmed the need for experienced drivers at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. In anticipation of a new rule on entry-level driver training standards mandated by the highway bill MAP-21, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration held a public listening session during which some of the industry’s most experienced professionals shared their opinions about the form the new rule should take. Although ideas on the new rule varied, there was one area in which nearly all agreed – a strong focus on training is going to be a key to survival for any company in the trucking industry.

Today’s increasingly global business landscape has resulted in a marketplace where suppliers, manufacturers and customers often are located in completely different countries and even on different continents. The pressure on companies to adapt and excel in this new environment is constant. In a recent survey conducted by Aberdeen Group, respondents cited the rising complexity and globalization of operations as their top business pressure, followed by the need to improve supply chain operational speed and accuracy.

It’s easy for transportation companies to focus on the same prominent initiatives when looking for ways to innovate and preserve resources – rising fuel prices, increased globalization, pressures to differentiate from the competition.

However, another potential menace to your efficiency and budget may be lurking within the heart of your operations: a less-than-optimal electronic data interchange (EDI) system that is hindering your transportation management system’s (TMS) ability to successfully integrate and operate as you grow.

Although they still are uncommon enough to rate a mention in the media whenever they are introduced, alternative-fuel fleets are more than just a PR stunt these days. Whereas manufacturers and carriers used to proudly unveil alternative-fuel vehicles as “a glimpse of the future” and then go right back to concentrating on fossil fuels, today’s alternative-fuel fleets increasingly are taking their spot on the road right alongside their predecessors. As the transportation industry continues to make the transition away from fossil fuels and toward lower-emission alternatives, the question becomes less “Will the industry embrace alternative fuels?” and more “What path will it take to get there?”

The current state of our transportation infrastructure is bleak. Of America’s 605,000 bridges, 24 percent are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While this may sound scary, the truth is that a structurally deficient bridge will eventually close or restrict traffic due to limited structural capacity, but the bridge is not in immediate danger. A functionally obsolete bridge is typically older and no longer able to support current traffic volumes, or isn’t wide enough to support vehicle sizes and weights. While the impacts of these deficiencies aren’t immediate, they contribute to traffic congestion and delays, negatively impacting our nation’s ability to move goods and services effectively and compete globally.

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