Whether partnering with trucking companies, engineering mobile glass carrier platforms or designing software to streamline logistics, companies are adapting creatively to changing tides.
Whether partnering with trucking companies, engineering mobile glass carrier platforms or designing software to streamline logistics, companies are adapting creatively to changing tides.

Much like other industries, glass companies face challenges related to rising transportation costs and outdated logistical processes. Overcoming these obstacles requires a combination of strategic planning, operational efficiency and adaptation to the changing landscape of the transportation industry.

Whether partnering with trucking companies, engineering mobile glass carrier platforms or designing software to streamline logistics, companies are adapting creatively to changing tides. For instance, Crystal Window & Door Systems has partnered with J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. to manage costs and improve logistics. The partnership provides Flushing, N.Y.-based Crystal with six drivers and 12 trucks. Officials say this will better allow transporting work-in-progress materials between factories and deliveries to customers and jobsites.

Crystal also maintains a fleet of box trucks and tractor-trailers that service regional and local trucking needs around the New York metro area, northeastern Pennsylvania, the Chicago metro area and southern California regions.

Companies are also dipping into the digital realm to overcome transportation challenges.

According to an annual report from global consulting firm Kearney, Crystal’s turn to outside help is a common theme. A key finding in Kearney’s “2023 Annual State of Logistics Report” is that companies have shifted from dedicated fleets to address capacity challenges during the peak months of the pandemic. Instead, they seek a new balance among dedicated, private and one-way services.

Forel’s international business development manager, Joe Hague, says the Italy-based company uses third-party shipping services. Forel produces processing machines for the flat glass and insulating glass industries. The company ships its machines worldwide via ground transportation, air and sea.

Hague says the reliability of the transport service is important to ensure products arrive on time.

“The wider your logistic network is, the more exposure you have to availability, but this must be carefully managed based on the service, accuracy and support from the given hauler,” he says.

Hague says Forel’s rule of thumb is to use logistic firms with a size of operation that can cope with demand and delays. He says the knock-on effect of any delay in transport can be realized quickly if the courier has few options for reducing delays.

Hague adds that if a business has some level of repeatability, frequency and volume for transport, the decision to own vehicles becomes more compelling. However, it doesn’t make sense when they have none of the above and move machinery to the four corners of the world.

Hopping on the Tech Bus

Companies are also dipping into the digital realm to overcome transportation challenges. The Smart Delivery mobile app from Rosemont, Ill.-based A+W Software, for example, reduces the time drivers need to be on the road by streamlining processes.

A+W sales and marketing manager Josh Rudd says the recently released program allows drivers to use an app to scan a completed rack or individual lite and sends delivery notes via phone that runs iOS or Android. Drivers also get their route list electronically…

Click here to read the full article in the January 2024 issue of USGlass magazine.

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