2019 Year in Review

Hello and Happy New Year from all of us at ASL Forwarding!

It’s hard to believe that another year is done, but here we are almost halfway through January, and the transportation and logistics industry is as busy as ever. We hope 2019 was the best year yet for your business, and here’s to even greater success in 2020!

2019: A Year in Review

For our first newsletter of the new year, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane by reviewing everything that transpired here on the blog in 2019.

July through September: Oversize Loads

After a bit of a hiatus from blogging, we picked up in July with a post about oversize loads. If you ever need to move oversize loads on US highways or interstates, there are plenty of regulations to remember. Check out the vital information you need to know.

We continued on with that theme in September with an informative post, Safely Loading Heavy and Oversize Equipment for Transport. This information is especially important if you work with heavy/oversize equipment only rarely.

October: Courier Awareness Month

In October we turned our blog focus to the courier side of our business with two informative reads: one was A Beginner’s Guide to Courier Service and the other explained the advantages of choosing a local courier over national carriers.

We also exhibited at FITCE in October and met some of you for the first time!

November and December

Things really heated up for us in November and December, and we have the blog posts to prove it! We showed our readers how to use LTL and truckload transport to solve customer experience problems. We showed you two ways courier service can simplify your life, too.

Then we devoted two posts to helping business leaders like you solve management puzzles, like understanding millennials and dealing with anxious employees.

Lastly, we rounded out the year with an in-depth piece on how newly required electronic logging devices (ELDs) are changing the industry.

What a Year!

Phew, what a year it’s been! As you gear up for 2020, we want to help you with your courier and logistics needs. Contact us today to learn how we can improve your business and your life.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Is Now Required: Expected Impact on the Industry

If you’re a driver, you’ve undoubtedly been aware of this pending development for some time now. Others in the transportation and logistics industries may not have felt the need to know the details when the ELD was just future or theoretical. But now it’s here.

What Are Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)?

For those unfamiliar with the term, ELDs are small digital data-recording devices that plug into trucks and travel with them down the road. They record an impressive amount of data, data that will power a whole new world of visualization and logistics problem solving for companies. These devices also monitor driving and resting times with the goal of keeping drivers well-rested and roads safer.

Implementation Is Starting Now

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance reports that beginning December 17, 2019, the FMCSA’s final ruling goes into effect, and all motor carriers must begin using an ELD. Before this date, some drivers were allowed to continue using automatic onboard recording devices in place of the newer ELD technology. But now every driver must begin using an ELD.

And it’s important to understand that everyone means everyone. No extensions, no “soft enforcement.” If you or one of your drivers gets caught without an ELD, the driver will be declared out of service for 10 hours.

A Mixed Reception

Because the electronic logging device rollout has been staggered, we already have some understanding of how the new tech and regulations are being received. The responses are mixed. On the one hand, many safety groups laud the change as much-needed reform in an industry that could undoubtedly be considered high-risk. Indeed, when accidents happen involving trucks, the potential for damage (and property loss) is high.

On the other, drivers are frustrated by the limitations of the new tech, and some are reporting reduced income opportunities.

Expected Industry Impacts

With such differing opinions, it can be hard for businesses to determine the real impact of ELDs. Allow us to help you cut through the noise and see what’s coming.

Improved Efficiency Through Data

With the universal implementation of ELDs, there is a great promise in the data and analytics space. We don’t need to tell you that there are plenty of inefficiencies in the transportation industry. You see it regularly yourself when a driver arrives with a load but without any more legal hours of service.

All that waiting around isn’t good for you, and it’s not ideal for drivers either. The data captured by ELDs can help to solve these sorts of inefficiencies. We are poised for a future where distribution centers and other freight receivers can know a driver’s remaining legal hours of service in real-time before the driver arrives.

New Ways of Analyzing Data

ELDs generate a staggering amount of data. The potential that logistics companies have to learn from this data is significant, but so is the possibility of drowning in the data. If you’re analyzing what data you’re getting now with a manual process, you’ll need a new way to analyze data. You may even need to partner with an analytics firm to build a mechanism for processing and understanding this data.

Driver Frustrations

But on the other hand, most drivers don’t like the restrictiveness of the new tech, and some report that their earnings potential is reduced because of it. With paper logbooks, there were certain ways to fudge the data and get more drivable hours out of a day. But drivers can’t cheat their ELDs. When they reach the end of their hours of service, they have to stop, end of the story. So drivers are complaining about lower earnings potential. Of course, much of that lost potential was accomplished by skirting the rules—but not all of it.

Some drivers have complained that this new inflexibility pushes more drivers to stop at the same time, filling up parking areas beyond capacity. If you’re out of hours, but there’s nowhere to stop safely, what’s a driver to do?

Counterintuitive Questions of Safety

There’s also an anecdotal concern being raised about safety. This is counterintuitive, as the whole point of ELDs was to increase driver alertness (and thus safety). But because drivers are paid by the mile and now feel more time constraints, some of them are driving faster to make up for the “lost time.” This increased speed can put drivers and others at risk.

Conclusion

Though there are understandable concerns and frustrations from drivers and others, ELDs are likely here to stay. The data and insights that logistics companies can gather from ELDs hold great promise, as well. Inefficiencies throughout the logistics chain will be solved over time thanks to this new source of data.his is counterintuitive, as the whole point of ELDs was to increase driver alertness (and thus safety). But because drivers are paid by the mile and now feel more time constraints, some of them are driving faster to make up for the “lost time.” This increased speed can put drivers and others at risk.

Anxious Employees? Check Your Change Management Strategies

Do your employees seem anxious or jumpy whenever something changes? Perhaps you recently changed policy or implemented some new software, and some on your team reacted negatively. They appeared upset or even disgruntled.

Change Happens, but Unmanaged Change Creates Anxiety

So what’s going on here? Why are people getting anxious and unhappy whenever management rolls out a change? Well, most of it is natural. Change happens, and people don’t tend to like change. We can’t avoid change: companies that want to survive have to change, sometimes frequently or drastically.

Even though resistance to change is natural, you can still help your staff through the change by managing it effectively. This is called change management, and when done well, it can make a huge difference not just in your employees’ quality of work-life but also in how much your organization benefits from the change.

Change Management: A Definition

Change management at its core is simply good, clear, and organized communication before, during, and after any change. This might sound fairly obvious to you: of course, you want to tell your team about a change. But you might be surprised just how often communication about change is incomplete.

Does your change management strategy need some shoring up? Here are a few pitfalls to avoid.

1) Inform All Affected Parties

As you consider a change in your business (say, implementing a new piece of software), be sure to inform all affected parties. One common pitfall is to fail to consider who all will be affected by a change.

You may have consulted with your accounting team about a new accounting software package, but is that truly the only department affected? How will that software affect your sales force? Does IT have any added burden in supporting it?

You’ll never know if you don’t ask. And the success of the will be at risk, too.

2) Explain the Rewards of Implementing (and Consequences If You Don’t)

As we said above, people don’t like change. If they don’t understand why the change is necessary, they are likely to fight it. Effective change management includes a clear explanation of the reasons this change is needed. Explain how the change will improve people’s lives. Don’t assume they will figure this out intuitively. Say it clearly, and maybe even repeat it a few times as the rollout nears.

Of course, some changes don’t make life better for everyone, but they’re still necessary. In that case, you need to explain the consequences of not implementing the change. Is this something you must do to keep up with competitors or to meet customer demand? Then not implementing could very well cost you your business and put your employees out of work.

It’s amazing what a little perspective will do for change acceptance, especially related to job security.

3) Show How and When the Change Will Occur

Another common pitfall is announcing a change but failing to include the necessary details. Don’t hope that your employees will “just figure it out.” Take the time to show exactly how the change will occur. What steps are necessary? What actions will individual employees need to take? Will there be a planned outage or stoppage? And most importantly, when exactly will this change take place.

Change management doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by informing all parties, explaining the rewards and consequences, and answering the questions in the paragraph above. You’ll be well on your way to happier, less anxious employees.

About the Author

ASL Forwarding is a trusted courier service and freight brokerage serving the state of Florida with a focus on the South Florida area. If you’re looking to add courier service to your business or are looking to make a change from your existing courier or freight broker partner, contact us today.

Millennials in the Workplace: Motivating Millennials

In recent years, the question of how to work with millennials in the workplace has become an increasing dilemma for many employers. This unique type of employee can seem disconnected, flighty and high maintenance. At the same time, many bring a level of creativity and tech-savvy to the workplace that’s sorely needed.

How can you as an employer effectively utilize this younger sector of the workforce? It starts with understanding who they are and what motivates them.

Who are Millennials?

Statistically, a millennial is classified as anyone born between the years of 1981 and 1996. This generation is described by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, as “most likely the most-studied generation in history.”
There are over 80 million millennials in the U.S., and it is estimated that within the next couple of years, millennials will make up over 50% of the country’s workforce. With numbers like that, it’s essential for today’s business leaders to learn how to motivate this key demographic, one that’s often accused of being distracted or lacking motivation.

Motivating Millennials

Let’s look at some suggestions to help you effectively motivate the millennials in your workplace.

Incorporate Technology

One of the biggest distinguishers of the millennial generation is their relationship with technology. It’s a blessing and a curse: seen negatively, it’s dependence or addiction. Seen positively, it’s an innate understanding that you can use.

The more tech resources you can furnish your millennial team members, the more they will thrive. Millennials value the ability to work whenever they want, wherever they want. Facilitate that flexibility where you can through work from home or similar arrangements.

Millennials also understand how to utilize technology as an extension of themselves. They’re likely to chafe under a traditional view that all work happens on the work laptop. In this world of Apple Watches and smartphones, millennials want to use a variety of devices to get the job done.

With high-volume technology use comes the tendency for millennials to be frustrated with conventional workplace limitations. Millennials have little patience for red tape and are always looking for a technological shortcut to get to their goal faster.

If you can view this as a feature, not a bug, you will be cultivating a more productive and happier workforce—and you’ll get some innovative solutions from your younger workforce.

Make It Personal

While it is true that millennials thrive on technological tools, they also thrive on certain types of personal interaction. Many of the millennial generation feel trapped in their jobs and view themselves as only a tiny component within a large, faceless machine. They believe that their employer cares about nothing but the bottom line.

The way to combat those feelings of insignificance is to demonstrate an interest in your individual millennial employees. It’s true that they are looking for this more than the generations before them. Show them their value by investing personally in their growth. Make the workplace as fun as possible and give them opportunities to create and excel.

Encourage a Long-Term Future

Because millennials desire to excel, lack of progress is a key contributor to their generation’s high employment turnover. Last year, 21% of millennials changed jobs and a much higher percentage suggested they’d be open to an employment change, according to one industry survey.

Millennials want to experience a sense of accomplishment and see measurable progress in their careers. Feeling dead-ended is a killer to their job longevity.

How then can you encourage your millennial employees to pursue a more long-term career?

One option: institute smaller steppingstones between promotions – title changes, upgraded responsibilities, etc. Even these small checkpoints can increase your millennial employees’ sense of company loyalty.

Investing in education and professional development is another way to combat millennial turnover. Show your best employees that you’re invested in them, and watch them return the favor.

ASL Forwarding: Your Shipping and Courier Partner

As a Florida-based LTL and truckload shipping and courier company, ASL Forwarding is well-positioned to meet your transportation needs. We see value in seeking to understand what makes each of our generations of employees unique as well as helping them to reach their individual career goals.

FL Courier Service Makes Life Easier: 2 Ways We Help Your Business

If you’re on the fence about whether courier service is right for your business, we want to help you with your decision. There are countless business headaches that courier service can solve. Are you facing one? Here are two ways FL courier services can make life easier for your business.

Reliable Same-Day, Door-to-Door Service

When you choose a local courier, you’re getting reliable same-day service, from your door to the recipient. This likely isn’t a big deal if you’re running a bookstore, but there are countless scenarios where business need this kind of speed and service. In law, for example, documents often need to be hand-delivered, not emailed.

Many other industries may have the occasional need to do the same with a document or to hand-deliver a package or item. Yes, you could always send one of your employees, but avoid that distraction and the risk by hiring a local courier to handle your occasional transportation needs.

When Security and Chain of Custody Are Critical

Courier service includes the ability to track your package and to require a signature at delivery. These features are available through national firms like UPS, too. What the big firms can’t do is show you the chain of custody.

Local couriers are far less operationally complicated, which simplifies the chain of custody for your essential items. Often the same courier that picks up your article is the one who delivers it to the destination.

ASL Forwarding: Your Reliable Local Courier

If you need courier service throughout south Florida, ASL Forwarding is here to serve you. We operate all through south Florida, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, and surrounding areas.
Want to learn more? Contact us today to see how ASL Forwarding can meet your local courier needs.

Shipping Delays Harming Customer Experience? Solve Them With LTL And Truckload Transport.

No matter what industry you’re in, customer experience is key to long-term success. One of the greatest threats to the customer experience is with shipping delays. For better or worse, we live in the age of Amazon, which leads customers to expect near-instant delivery of just about anything.

Of course, those of us in the transportation and logistics industry understand that the full supply chain is far more complicated than free two-day shipping leads customers to believe. In the real world of logistics and supply chains, shipping delays are a significant problem. And if you’re not careful, your logistics woes can start to harm your business’s customer experience.

At ASL Forwarding we understand the importance of the customer experience. We help our clients solve their shipping woes through a variety of means.

In today’s blog post we’ll look at how LTL and truckload transportation can help to alleviate logistics frustrations.

Issues Plague Containerized Cargo Transport

Industry insiders know the issues facing containerized cargo transport well, but in case you aren’t dealing with this stuff daily, here’s an overview.

The containerized cargo model (where shipping containers travel by sea, then are unloaded onto trains or onto chassis hauled by semi-trucks) is usually effective and inexpensive. One thing it’s not? Fast. Cargo ship transport is efficient, but it’s slow.

Once containers are offloaded at the port, there are more potential headaches. The industry has undergone a shift in how chassis are delivered, and there are big issues here. Containers (and drivers) often wait in major backlogs for chassis, keeping goods from reaching their destination in a timely fashion.

If you’re interested to learn more about the problems with chassis availability, here’s a good explainer.

The chassis issue has gotten so severe that some owner-operators avoid container work, and some inland intermodal facilities face months-long delays.

LTL and Truckload Transportation Avoid Classic Containerization Issues

LTL and truckload transportation can’t solve the speed of sea freight, but they certainly can solve the other issues we mentioned.

In some situations, you may consider transferring your imported cargo to a trans-load or cross-dock facility near the port of arrival so that you can transfer containerized cargo to traditional shipping via tractor-trailer. This doesn’t avoid all the headaches of chassis backup, but in some cases, it can minimize them.

The biggest gain is for businesses that export overseas, especially inland businesses. By shipping your goods by truck to the coastal port, you can save significant time over containerized shipping via rail or intermodal. Containerizing your goods may cost less, but in trying to get your goods to the seaport by rail, you may get ensnared in the mess of chassis availability.

LTL and Truckload Transportation Save Time (and Even Money)

We’ve already covered how LTL and truckload transportation can avoid some of the headaches associated with container-based intermodal shipping. Now let’s focus on the bottom line.

There are many situations where choosing LTL and truckload transportation in place of containerized shipping saves time. Over-the-road trucking offers faster transit time than rail or ocean, so wherever it’s feasible, it serves as a method of expediting the shipping process.

Not only that, choosing truckload or LTL can save money, too. Here’s one example: we regularly ship truckloads from Canada to Miami for export to Central America and the Caribbean. By choosing truckload shipping for most of the journey, we save customers money and shave three to five days off transit time required for sea transport from Canada to the Caribbean.

ASL Forwarding Is Your LTL and Truckload Transportation Solution

ASL Forwarding has been solving customer experience issues through LTL and truckload transportation for years. If you’d like to learn more about how we can improve your logistics, contact us today.

Dependable Local Delivery Provides a Better Experience than National Carriers

For October, we’ll be focusing on customer experience here on the blog. As business leaders and managers, you know that customer experience is vital. Everyone is looking for cost-effective ways to improve the customer experience. One way many businesses can do this is by utilizing courier services for local deliveries. Here are a few ways that courier services can improve the customer experience.

The first and most obvious way that local courier services can improve your customer experience is by improving the overall experience of delivering and receiving items.

To put it bluntly, dependable local couriers provide a better experience than national carriers can. We’ve all seen the horror stories online. Maybe you’ve experienced some yourself. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • A national carrier reports that a package is out for delivery, only for it to reroute to some warehouse two states away and show up a week late.
  • A package is marked as “delivered on time,” but it’s nowhere to be found, taking weeks to resolve.
  • A package is delivered, but it’s tossed into the bushes, dropped, or bent and shoved into a mail slot.
  • A carrier reports that the driver attempted delivery, but your security cameras show that no driver ever came by.

It’s not that national carriers aren’t trying to provide good service. It’s just that this is a complicated business to scale nationally without reducing quality. A national firm can’t afford to be as selective when hiring drivers as a smaller local or regional company can.

We’ve said that the local courier service is better. Now let’s drill down into specific ways that this is the case.

Courier Services Provide Timely, Same-Day Local Deliveries

Courier services can provide timely, same-day deliveries to local markets in a way that national carriers can’t match. That’s because a courier will pick up an item from you directly and deliver it to the recipient straight away. Typically there aren’t any delays for warehousing or hub-and-spoke style operations.

Sure, you may pay a bit more for this kind of customized service, but in some businesses, it’s more than worth it.

Courier Services Are Accurate

When you choose a local Florida courier service, you’re getting a highly accurate delivery service. Often, couriers can even deliver documents by hand inside an office building, if needed.

Courier Services Are Careful

Amazon has been in and out of the news lately. As it transitioned from using national carriers to deliver its packages to contracting their own fleet of delivery contractors, there have been some real hiccups. New, unproven delivery contractors were caught tossing boxes over gates and fences. Drivers were caught on video, making no real attempt to deliver a package, then marking it “undeliverable” and moving on. And who of us hasn’t at least once received something we ordered online in damaged condition?

Local courier services are careful in their delivery methods, ensuring none of these kinds of troubles take place.

Courier Services Offer Enhanced Security

Lastly, courier services offer enhanced security that other delivery options can’t match. We offer package tracking and sign for the delivery, but the security goes deeper than this. There is also a more transparent chain of custody since we don’t rely on central warehouses, where items pass between multiple people and vehicles. In most cases, the courier who picks up your article is the same one who delivers it to the recipient.

ASL Forwarding Is Your Florida Courier Services Solution

Could you see your business benefiting from any of the customer experience enhancements listed above? If so, it’s time to give local courier services another look. Contact ASL Forwarding today at 305.615.1577 or send us an email for more information. We’re proud to serve the state of Florida.

When You Need Same Day Service, Think Courier Service : A Beginner’s Guide

Same Day Delivery – www.aslforwarding.com

At ASL Forwarding, courier service is a large part of our business. It’s a familiar term, but many people aren’t clear on what a courier service is or its best use. That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to courier service. Read on to learn what courier service is and what makes it the right choice for many businesses.

Courier Service: The Basics

In short, courier service is a specialized shipping service that offers services not available by standard postal shipping. National companies like UPS and FedEx are couriers. They ship packages independently of the postal service and offer some shipping services that the USPS doesn’t provide.
But most people aren’t thinking of big, national companies when they talk about courier services. They’re thinking of smaller, regional firms like us that specialize in secure, door-to-door delivery of documents and packages. In a local courier model, typically one person (the courier) picks up and drops off the delivery. There’s no long, extensive chain of custody that could allow for parcels to be lost.

Who Uses Local Courier Service?

All sorts of people use a local courier service. It’s popular with attorneys, who need sensitive documents delivered quickly by hand. Others in related industries like exporters and customs brokers have the same needs.
But it doesn’t stop with those industries. If your business needs documents or packages delivered locally or even nationally with same day service, then courier service is an excellent choice for you.

ASL Forwarding: Your Local Courier


ASL Forwarding is your local courier throughout south Florida. Our courier service operates in Miami, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Ft. Lauderdale, Hialeah, Doral, and Hollywood FL. We cover Davie, Plantation, Dania, Opa-Locka, Miami Lakes and Aventura as well.
Are you looking for local courier service in South Florida? Contact us today to get started.

11 Breathtaking Places to Visit for Fall Foliage

The rich orange, yellow, and red colors are one of the most memorable parts of the autumn season. Fortunately, fall foliage is present in nearly every part of the globe. No matter which country you visit, there is a high chance you will be able to find breathtaking views during the autumn months. I’ve selected 11 of my favorite, most breathtaking places to visit around the world to see scenic fall foliage

Brilliant fall colors of Central Park foliage in the late afternoon. Aerial view toward Central Park West. Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City

Once you see these places, you are going to want to grab your passports, mark your calendar, and start saving for your next fall vacation!

1. Daigoji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

2. Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary

4. Green Mountain Highway (Route 100), Vermont, USA

5. Jiuzhai Valley National Park, China

6. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA

7. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia, USA

8. Central Park, New York, New York, USA

9. Niagra Falls, New York, USA

10. Highlands, Scotland

11. Quebec, Canada

Safely Loading Heavy and Oversize Equipment for Transport

Safely Loading Heavy and Oversize Equipment for Transport

Transporting heavy and oversize equipment calls for extra care and safety precautions at all stages. Here are general guidelines for safely loading heavy and oversize equipment for transport:

Risk Assessment

Before the job begins, a risk assessment must be performed. The risk assessment looks at the particular task and the conditions and possible hazards that exist in the area. It determines what equipment and procedures are necessary to do the job safely and correctly. For transport, this would mean assessing the risks of the particular equipment being carried, and the loading area ground conditions. The vehicle must be the correct capacity for the job and in excellent functioning condition. The load must be within allowed vehicle weight, both in total and per the vehicle axle-load distribution. The best method and material to secure the oversize load must be determined. All proper equipment and safety gear such as flags and oversize load banner must be utilized.

Assembling a Competent Team

A competent team must be assembled to do the job. This includes a qualified driver, spotter, and any other necessary personnel. Everyone on the crew must be wearing the necessary safety gear. This means proper clothing, gloves, hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, and steel-toed boots if required. The risk assessment should be shared with all team members so everyone knows their role in the job.

Loading

The loading itself must be done safely, utilizing a spotter to direct the driver. The equipment operator/driver and spotter undertaking this job must be properly trained and/or certified and any equipment utilized should be in excellent working condition and clean. The loading area itself should be isolated from other areas so that no outside traffic interferes. The equipment should be optimally arranged for safe and secured with proper restraining devices so that it cannot shift during transit. The securing method should be checked to make sure quality and strength are sufficient, and that forces are distributed as evenly as possible. Safety is always the highest priority.

ASL Forwarding Oversize Load Hauling Services.

It’s very important to know and follow all the requirements when moving an oversized load on US Highways or Interstates. This is a complex, hazardous undertaking, best suited for professionals. For dependable oversize load hauling services, outsource your project to ASL Forwarding. For more information call us at 305.615.1577 or 954.380.1125 or visit us at www.aslforwarding.com