As summer approaches, the price of fuel continues to soar, coming close to the records set last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I've already noticed prices rising at the supermarket—and it's not even Labor Day yet. These fuel hikes, coupled with driver and capacity shortages and Hours of Service constraints, will continue to drive up transportation spending.
While there's no light at the end of the tunnel, there are new solutions that can help companies reduce costs. In this month's cover story, "Running On Empty" [page 27], we look at how three food companies were able to save some money by reducing idle time, eliminating oil changes and thermal wrapping engines. The last one sounds strange—and it looks even stranger—but one refrigerated LTL carrier says it has saved more than $3,500 in fuel costs per truck for every 10,000 miles driven since it insulated its engines.
Fuel costs are also a huge concern for PRWs, which are improving their facilities to avoid having to pass these additional costs on to their customers. In our PRW roundtable, "A Flurry of Activity" [page 22], five top PRW executives talk about the challenges they face and how they're meeting their customers' growing demands. They also discuss safety programs that they're putting in place to keep their facilities and products secure—just in time to help small- to mid-sized manufacturers comply with the next round of bioterrorism regulations that go into effect later this year.
In this issue, we also report on the growing number of food retailers that are synching their data. Many are working with their suppliers to synchronize data over the Global Data Synchronization Network and are saving millions of dollars in the process. "Getting In Synch" [page 16] highlights the benefits of synching up—especially for smaller, independent retailers that compete against the industry's giants in terms of access to data.
So, while you might not be able to do anything about the cost of fuel, you can save money elsewhere in your operations.
Check out our on-line version of Food Logistics. Food Logistics is now available as an e-book, which can be viewed on our Web site, www.foodlogistics.com. Each issue will be posted as soon as we go to press, so you don't have to wait for the print version to arrive in the mail. And if you prefer, you can switch your print subscription over to an e-book subscription and have it e-mailed directly to your in-box.
The Food Logistics e-book has the same content as the print version, but it also links to exclusive on-line editorial content as well as to advertiser Web sites. So additional information is just a click away.
If you would like to subscribe to the e-book, please go to our Web site and fill out the subscription form. And let us know what you think about it.