The Link | Your Link to Supply Chain Community

CTSI-Global: A+ member of the Better Business Bureau

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
22. October 2014 12:30

CTSI-Global is an A+ member of the Better Business Bureau and has been a member since 1981. We're proud to be members of an organization that recognizes excellence and trustworthiness, standouts across many industries.

Visit our Better Business Bureau profile.

Case Study: Connecting A Family Of Brands

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
16. September 2014 09:30

case study

Connecting A Family Of Brands

Challenge: Client had multiple divisions/business units that operated independently with their own set of carrier rates, payment processes, shipping systems and no visibility of their freight practices/ spend across all locations.

The solution? Read the results on Supply Chain Brain >>

Case Study: Providing High-Tech Transportation Management Solution To High-Tech Company

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
9. September 2014 08:15

case study

Providing High-Tech Transportation Management Solution To High-Tech Company

Challenge: Client needed to track shipment costs for moves initiated/ linked with another contracts/work order system and to request freight rates for various activities from contracted carriers, obtain quotes and select appropriate carrier, track shipment, obtain final carrier invoice for each move, capture contract/ work number. The only way to track shipment costs were to capture system project numbers on freight invoices, but the data wasn’t always available. The process was manual; carrier selected by hand and dispatched via telephone/ email. Costs couldn't be tracked if system project number wasn’t provided by the carrier.

The solution? Read the results on Supply Chain Brain >>

To Toll or Not to Toll

by Cliff Lynch
24. March 2014 12:51

As October 1 approaches, all supply chain eyes will be turned toward Washington to see what Congress does about the transportation funding bill scheduled to expire on that date. Most are aware of our deteriorating infrastructure and the billions of dollars it would take to bring highways and bridges up to acceptable standards. But no one seems to have the foggiest notion about where the necessary funds will come from. The Highway Trust Fund is expected to be depleted by August.

A number of industry experts feel that the federal gas tax of $.184 per gallon should be increased. This has not been done since 1993, primarily due to the fact that whenever it was considered, it fueled a political firestorm.

President Obama has spoken several times lately of "public - private" partnerships which can be translated into "tolling our interstates". Congress banned tolls on all interstates when the 46,000 mile system was created in 1956, although they have made some exceptions in the past several years. Generally speaking however, only those highways that had tolls at the time could keep them.

Many influential firms and organizations, such as the memberbership of the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates that includes FedEx, ATA, UPS, and McDonald's, are opposed to tolling and this is surely to generate a contentious debate within Congressional walls when it comes up for consideration.

One of the most logical objections is that toll roads will result in "double taxation" as we would pay federal and state gasoline taxes, as well as tolls. Another argument is that tolling will simply create another major bureaucracy that must be financed. The Illinois Tollway Commission, for example, operates 286 miles of toll roads in 12 northern Illinois counties. Their annual operating budget is slightly over $583 million, and they have 1700 employees. In fairness, a major part of this goes toward maintaining the highways, but a whopping $93.6 million is spent on toll services. The system has 473 toll collectors.

Many industry watchers, including this writer, believe some reasonable increase in the fuel tax woule be a much more fair and equitable solution. Certainly, the resulting revenue would not be enough to completely solve the problem, but it would be a good start.

Are They Back?

by Cliff Lynch
10. March 2014 10:20

Many of us recall the Keystone Kops, the fictional, incompetent policemen who were featured in many silent films of the early 1900s. I am beginning to believe they may be back and involved in the aptly named Keystone XL oil pipeline project. This pipeline, proposed two years ago, would move Bakken crude oil from the upper U.S. and Canada to the Gulf Coast. Since it was suggested, it has been a political minefield; but last week, President Obama told the nation's governors in a meeting at the White House that he expects to make a decision in the "next couple of months". This prompted an outburst by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, saying that if Obama were really serious about improving the economy, he would approve the project.

Predictably, the project is trapped between Democrats, Republicans, environmentalists, and others who have strong feelings about digging a trench across the country. In the meantime, the oil is moving by rail at the rate of thousands of barrels a day and has been a tremendous shot in the arm for railroads, tank car manufacturers, and other related industries. The significant downside is that there have been some very serious accidents involving the oil trains. Train shipments of oil are expected to reach 2 million barrels a day this year. While the pipeline would not eliminate the need for rail transport, it would certainly help. A recent State Department environmental report overcame one hurdle when it indicated that the backers of the pipeline are right – it will not have a significant impact on carbon emissions.

Environmentalists are crying "foul", saying the report was a sham, and the proponents point to the project's $3.4 billion in increased economic activity suggested by the report. While the arguments are sure to continue, with the U.S. on a trajectory to be the world's largest oil producer by 2015, a decision is critical. Realistically speaking, the politics and polarized opinions surrounding the project could tie it up for years; but if we ever want to get out from under the oil hammer the Mideast continues to hang over our heads, something must be done – and soon.