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West Coast and California Logistics Blog

Bob Lilja


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Considering On-Demand Capabilities in the Private Fleet vs Dedicated Transportation Debate

Aug 22, 2019 / by Bob Lilja posted in West Coast Distribution, Logistics Management, Third Party Logistics, Transportation Strategies, Labor issues

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For companies of a certain size, there’s an age-old debate over how to best handle transportation services.  Is it best to go-it-alone and handle your own transportation through a private fleet?  Or, it is better to partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider that offers dedicated transportation services?  We’ll take a fresh look at these two options in this article while adding a new wrinkle: the option of partnering with dedicated providers that can also offer on-demand transportation.

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Update on the Southern California Logistics Services Market

Jun 27, 2019 / by Bob Lilja posted in Southern California Ports, West Coast Distribution, Port Logistics, Third Party Logistics, Warehouse operations, eCommerce Fulfillment, Inland Empire Warehouse, Labor issues, Drayage, rail transportation, Peak Season Shipping, Distribution, logistics in California

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When it comes to Southern California logistics, there’s never a dull moment.  The region is home to the busiest ports in the country, while the state continues to dramatically alter the way logistics gets done through an array of unique regulations.  In this article, we’ll get you up to speed on some of the recent SoCal supply chain developments during the first half of 2019.

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Warehouse Labor Management Considerations During a Strong Economy

Feb 14, 2019 / by Bob Lilja posted in Logistics Management, Public Warehousing, Third Party Logistics, west coast warehouses, Warehouse operations, Onboarding, Management, Warehouse, Labor-Productivity

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A strong economy means good times for business, right?  Generally speaking, the answer is yes, but there are some nasty side effects of economic strength.  In the logistics industry, one of these side effects is the difficulty in attracting and retaining talent in a high-employment market.

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Advantages of the Port of Oakland for Import Freight

May 24, 2018 / by Bob Lilja posted in Port Logistics, Northern California 3PL

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Just as Hollywood blockbuster films get more notoriety than independent films, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach tend to get all the attention when it comes to the movement of inbound container freight to the West Coast.  After all, these ports are the busiest in the U.S. and have set new volume records yet again in 2017.

As with a well-crafted indie film, however, the Port of Oakland should not be overlooked.  It set records of its own in 2017, is increasingly relied upon as a port of entry for U.S. importers, and is a cornerstone of logistics in California.

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C-TPAT Certification: Is it right for you?

Mar 29, 2018 / by Bob Lilja posted in Port Logistics, C-TPAT

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Created in the aftermath of 9/11, the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) was formed to strengthen and protect foreign trade and U.S. border security.  It is a private-public partnership between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and companies such as importers, exporters and many other supply chain professionals.  By pursuing C-TPAT certification, member companies can enjoy a variety of supply chain benefits that can boost operational safety and efficiency.  For some companies, however, these benefits may not outweigh the effort needed to meet requirements. 

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Food Distribution Logistics: Finding a 3PL Who Has What It Takes

Mar 15, 2018 / by Bob Lilja posted in Food Supply Chain, 3PL Outsourcing, Food Logistics

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Handing all or part of your food distribution operation over to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider may seem like a leap of faith.  After all, you’re relying on the 3PL’s ability to maintain food quality throughout the distribution cycle and to keep your company compliant with FDA and other requirements.  But with the proper due diligence, you can be confident in a provider’s ability to drive superior performance in all areas, from compliance and safety to operational execution and cost control. 

Here are a few key questions you should ask as part of your qualification process for food distribution partners. 

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Hazardous Material Storage: Frequently Asked Questions

Nov 30, 2017 / by Bob Lilja posted in Chemical Logistics, Chemical Storage

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If performed incorrectly, hazardous material storage can be an extremely dangerous undertaking.  A single slip up or oversight doesn’t just impact line items on a balance sheet, it puts lives at risk.  With the right provider, however, hazmat storage can be just as safe as the storage of any non-hazmat item. 

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Optimizing Long-Haul, Temperature-Controlled LTL Shipments

Nov 16, 2017 / by Bob Lilja

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There is currently no solid national solution for long-haul, temperature-controlled LTL shipments between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Consequently, candy manufacturers and other shippers with this temperature requirement use a multi-stop truckload solution to move goods to retailers in different regions. This strategy poses increasing problems as TL capacity tightens and as retailers levy tougher penalties for shipments that don’t hit requested arrival dates (RADs). For shippers feeling this pinch, a pool distribution strategy may be a lower-risk, lower-cost alternative.

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Where Should I Locate My SoCal Warehouse?

Oct 5, 2017 / by Bob Lilja posted in west coast warehouses

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The logistics question of where to locate your company’s distribution centers and how many you should have is pretty complex. Some consultants charge tens of thousands of dollars to gather the details and develop a software-aided recommendation.

But if you import goods via the Port of LA or Long Beach and you’ve made the choice to distribute from Southern California, analyzing the best SoCal warehouse location is a bit easier to do.

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Understanding Warehouse Insurance and Liability

Nov 18, 2016 / by Bob Lilja posted in Logistics Management, Insurance, Liability, Warehouse

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Your products are the life blood of your business. Their secure movement through the supply chain, from manufacturing point to final delivery to your customer, is critical to your success.

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