COVID-19 hit the U.S. at full force in March of 2020. Small businesses were among the hardest hit. Many were forced to close their doors permanently. As a company with decades of experience and stability, BYX was able to weather the storm. Sadly, the full ramifications of the pandemic are still unfolding. Even now, we’re struggling to find qualified, reliable workers, and we’re not the only ones. Businesses around the country are facing a frustrating labor shortage, and there appears to be no end in sight. What gives? Read more
Gas prices fluctuate by the day. This is nothing new, but the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused an exceptionally painful spike. The current average price per gallon in Los Angeles County is currently $5.52, with diesel averaging $5.85, but some stations are charging over $6 per gallon. Trucking companies feel the sting of elevated fuel prices more acutely than most. To fill up a 100-gallon diesel tank costs about $585. If you’re thinking “ouch,” so are we.
Gas prices look very different than they did in recent months. The average prices are up by 57 cents/gallon from just last month. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, gas only cost $3.73 a gallon. Inflation is hardly a new dilemma, but now its effects are more pronounced than they have been in decades.
Shipping companies use something called “fuel surcharge.” A fuel surcharge is a flat rate that allows the cost of fuel to be incorporated into shipping rates in a fair manner and allows shippers to have a fixed fuel cost they can count. Fuel surcharge is an important part of us continuing to operate our business and is set by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and updated weekly.
Rising Gas Prices May Lead to Rate Hikes Down the Line
Before you panic, BYX just updated our rates at the start of 2022, and we hope to keep them stable for some time. Still, we prefer to be transparent with our customers so they understand why price increases have to happen. It goes without saying that elevated gas prices make transporting goods more costly. The farther the pickup, the more the additional fuel expenses are felt.
The hike isn’t just felt by trucking companies. Every rung of the transportation ladder is effected, including cargo vessels and moving freight by air. Coupled with the existing supply chain crisis and materials shortage, the cost of everything is likely to increase, not just gas prices. Maintaining our fleet, from replacing tires to changing the oil, is more expensive than it was a year ago. Read more
Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.
The basics of Amazon shipping
There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available.
There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill.
From a shipping standpoint, Amazon locations are even worse.
From the outside, Amazon’s system appears flawless. While it saves customers time, it costs the drivers who service Amazon locations. At the majority of Amazon locations, wait times are killer. Of our dispatches who have serviced Amazon locations in the past, particularly one of the largest warehouses in Moreno Valley, the wait times were crushing. Drivers waiting to drop off a few pallets expected to wait for two, four, even five hours for a single load.
One hour of wait time is typically offered free. Longer wait times are typically charged at $50 per hour to the shipper. Few payors are willing to pay those detention fees without a fight, however. The shipping companies delivering to Amazon locations then have to rope in other departments to settle the charges. In the end, it renders the shipment a waste of time– particularly when drivers are already on overtime.
To break it down, a driver’s clock in time doesn’t start until they hit the dock. If they arrive for a 12 pm appointment but aren’t serviced until 2 pm, they can’t charge detention for the time they spend waiting in line. Essentially, it ends up costing carriers to service Amazon facilities due to the lengthy wait times and price gouging. When issues arise, as they almost always do, there’s no one to reach out to for help. At the locations themselves, there’s no one around to ensure drivers are serviced in a timely manner. And if there are billing issues? Don’t even bother calling the accounting department. No one will answer. Amazon is simply such a powerhouse that they can make their own rules. Either play their game or don’t play at all. We’ve chosen the latter, for more reasons than one.
Even those of us who avoid working with Amazon aren’t immune to its influence. Virtually instant Prime deliveries make it increasingly difficult for smaller carriers to compete with the digital freight brokerage Amazon quietly launched in 2019. A brokerage which, we might add, consistently undercuts market prices, making matters even more difficult for the rest of us.
The problem with Amazon locations isn’t close to being solved.
With an ultra-complex shipping system like Amazon’s, problem-solving is equally complex. There’s never a respite from new orders, so Amazon never has a chance to fix the structural problems that are keeping their warehouses in a state of delay and disarray. In fact, the problem is only getting worse. The more Amazon grows, the bigger their problems, and the longer the wait times. This is true now more than ever when we’re still facing an unprecedented supply chain crisis.
For this very reason, we avoid servicing their locations. While it’s tough to imagine swearing off Amazon Prime altogether, we encourage fellow consumers to give their business to small, family businesses as much as possible. At the end of the day, your neighborhood shop is probably more sustainable than Amazon’s convoluted system.
Time Magazine published an article in late 2021 claiming that the truck driver shortage is a fallacy. As a decades-old trucking company, we beg to differ. While their statistics are on point, Time lacks perspective. To clear things up, here’s an insider view on one of the biggest issues plaguing America’s supply chain issues today.
The claim: The driver shortage doesn’t exist.
To start, TIME’s infamous article covered some indisputable basics: America’s supply chain is struggling, leading to frustrating delays over the holidays and ongoing product shortages. The crisis began months ago, and yet our favorite muffin at Starbucks and the new smartphone we saved up for remains stubbornly unavailable.
Many experts have cited a truck driver shortage– the largest we’ve seen in decades, as a strong contributing factor to the recurrent delays, but TIME says it doesn’t exist. To be specific, their article stated that:
If our headline seems melodramatic, that’s only because the news hasn’t covered this nearly enough. Central Freight Lines, also known as CFL, was founded in Waco, Texas in 1925. Nearly a century later in 2020, it won the title of Carrier of the Year from GlobalTranz. Yet, despite 96 years of excellence and expertise, just announced that they’re ceasing operation.
The logistics giant stopped picking up freight on December 13, and aimed to make all remaining deliveries by the 20th. While BYX is alive and well, the downfall of CFL is proof that no LTL carrier is immune to the effects of driver shortages and rapidly rising expenses.
Where did CFL go wrong?
Truth be told, it didn’t. The climate for logistics companies has turned increasingly volatile. The company’s announcement may come as a shock, but in reality, it came after years of struggling to remain profitable. Jerry Moyes, CFL’s owner, took up the reigns as CFL’s interim president and CEO in July, 2021 in an attempt to reduce expenses, pouring as much money into it as he could, but it simply wasn’t enough. Read more
Yes, and we’ll tell you exactly how. For many, the severity of the global supply chain crisis is somewhat of a revelation; it’s only sinking in now because of out-of-stock products at our favorite retail giants, like Amazon, Target, and even Starbucks. Anyone working in the logistics industry, however, isn’t shocked in the slightest. The pandemic acted as the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the global supply chain wasn’t working efficiently to begin with.
In the past year, companies of all shapes and sizes have been hit hard by uncertainty, shutdowns and unpredictable demand shortages. Now, we’re also facing a prolonged supply chain crisis. It’s been a long time coming, but the COVID-19 pandemic made matters substantially worse.
With the supply chain issues forecasted to continue well into 2022, what’s a business owner to do? While completely safeguarding your business from complications is impossible, these eight steps will help you get through today’s crisis and prepare for future disruptions. Read more
Go to a department store and try to buy a dress for a wedding. Can’t find one? It’s not just you. The shelves have been picked clean of countless different products, from clothing to certain food items and takeout boxes. The items that we used to take for granted seem to be in short supply. Prices won’t quit climbing. But why? Our global supply chain wasn’t built for e-commerce in the first place.
To Start, the System Was Already Struggling
When a customer placed an order 20 years ago, they expected to receive their package in a couple of weeks. Now, we get antsy if it’s been a couple of days. The global supply chain, however, has struggled to meet the demand for more and more products to be delivered faster than ever.
While ordering a product online might seem like the easy option, there’s more to it behind the scenes. The process to actually manufacturer a product, sell it, and deliver it to your doorstep is complex. First, the supplies to produce the product need to be shipped to the manufacturer. Then, the products have to make their way through a complicated import and export system to make it to U.S. retailers. Then, products are shipped, often being passed through many hands before they make it to your door. Read more
For decades, pallets were commonplace and inexpensive. They were so easy to come by that people even made tutorials on how to repurpose them, making them into DIY furniture. Unfortunately, the days of turning old pallets into bookshelves and garden art are on pause. Earlier in 2021, the prices of lumber soared, and the prices of every single wooden pallet rose along with them. But why?
Like countless other problems, the lumber shortage began with COVID
To start, the lockdown in early 2020 had all of us stuck at home. While some of us spontaneously learned to bake bread, thousands of others decided it would be the perfect time to start that DIY home improvement project they’d been putting off. The demand for lumber increased, but there was a problem: The sawmills weren’t even open. Read more
Spring has sprung, flowers are growing and so are we!
When BYX was founded in 1978, the company was run out of the back of a single pickup truck. By the time we took on Hewlett Packard as a client in the 80s, we had outgrown pickups and added tractors and bobtails to our fleet. Each decade of business welcomed new trucks, new technology and new clients.
After 43 years of business, we’re thrilled to announce that our company is growing even more. This summer, BYX is expanding into a new class-A building to help us serve even more amazing business owners throughout Southern California. Read more
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