Choosing the Right Degree Doesn’t Have to Be Labor-Intensive

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the first Monday in September is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This holiday recognizes the contributions our nation’s workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the U.S.

As Labor Day approaches, we reflect on what it means to work in logistics and put together a fun infographic highlighting reasons why supply chain management isn’t just a job – it’s an exciting and important career that many are choosing to pursue.

Wondering how you can benefit from a career in supply chain management? See our holiday-inspired infographic to find out more!

Read a recent graduate’s point-of-view on the PDP program here or watch our Shipper Symposium breakout session video on “Fueling Talent Into Supply Chain and Logistics”

Why did you pursue a career in supply chain and logistics?

Real Talk: The Impact of the Mexico Energy Ruling

Last week, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed new laws that opened Mexico’s closed energy sector to private firms.  Having been closed since 1938, these rulings will have important short- and long-term effects on the energy industry as well as a significant impact on transportation and logistics. Troy Ryley, Managing Director, Mexico at Transplace, and Alaster Love, Vice President of Oil and Gas for Transplace, sat down with us recently to discuss just what exactly the impact of this ruling will have.


Q: What does this ruling mean to Mexico? What about globally?

Alaster: It’s an extremely emotional thing for the country – about 50% of their GDP is based on oil and the sale of oil-based products. However, their largest oil fields are shrinking in capacity, and they’re producing up to a third less than levels in previous years. Production of oil is what drives Mexico, and it’s a huge deal for them. This is a big change.

What the Mexican oil and gas industry hasn’t yet done is build a network of national-based providers.  Almost all of the drilling activity in the last 70 years has been done by European or US providers at day rates.  This change comes as offshore drilling is being opened up to joint ventures, and the Mexican people feel like foreigners are coming to take their resources again.

Troy: Mexico has always had a great deal of pride in its oil industry – this ruling is a big deal for the country. It has taken a lot of political agility to get this through their congress and convince the populous that it is good for their country. There are a lot of political ties between the oil and gas industry and Mexico.  My expectation is that Mexico, the ruling party, will be a beneficiary of this changed dynamic and there will be more money coming into the country. 

Q: Are there other benefits that will be a ripple effect for Mexico and North America?

Alaster: Inclusive of Mexico and increased offshore and onshore production, the region stands to be the biggest producer in the world.  There are some tangible benefits, especially in northern Mexico where they pay exorbitant energy costs  - for example, Monterrey - as this might decrease energy expenses for manufacturers. This rolls over to the border as well – if there’s more manufacturing in Mexico, there’s more business at the border.

Troy:  This ruling absolutely brings more opportunity for cross-border trade. The amount of dollars available to the logistics community will increase, which will in turn create new opportunities. It’s definitely a hot topic that we’re helping educate our customers, prospects and partners on.

Q: What are you telling customers about this ruling?

Alaster: The biggest operators in this industry have long held representative offices in Mexico in anticipation of this ruling – and these companies will need to partner with a global company  for a door-to-door solution. An element of transparency is an important commodity and we’re here to help with that.

Troy: It’s an important “good neighbor” move that’s going to help us all. A strong Mexico is good for the U.S. This ruling may also add a greater sense of stability to Mexico that they haven’t had in recent years – it might turn out to be an excellent reason for both sides to work together and for the Mexican government to take additional helpful steps forward in the right direction.

Q: Finally, what does this ruling mean to Transplace? 

Alaster: It fits our model well as we have the necessary experience and background as much of the outcomes of the ruling will involve land transportation. We also have a very strong Mexico footprint  and are very well-positioned as a company to do dynamic things in this new vertical.

Because of the size of what will happen and the amount of materials required, the outcomes of this ruling play well with our biggest strengths – TMS and optimization. The onshore oil and gas activity requires an enormous amount of materials (e.g. sand and water) and when the operations get to that size they really need to look for efficiencies and optimization. Transplace is at the forefront of the industry and we have a tailor-made product for the oil and gas industry.

To learn how companies are taking advantage of opportunities in Mexico, check out our recent blog series on “Innovative Solutions for the Mexican Market” here and here, or visit

What do you think of this new Mexico energy ruling? What do you think will be some of the short-term as well as long-term effects?

Innovative Solutions for the Mexican Market: It’s Full Steam Ahead for Union Pacific South of the Border

There are a number of current issues impacting truckload transportation between the U.S. and Mexico, including driver shortages, long wait times and tightened capacity. In order to continue to make rail and intermodal a viable – and economical – option for cross-border transportation, Union Pacific Railroad is focusing on enhancing the safety, velocity and reliability of its rail systems.

Union Pacific has been investing significantly to support north/southbound volume and gateway access in Mexico. Much of this spending goes toward maintenance and capacity, and the company has also decided to continue investing in double tracking for many of its corridors to add freight capacity – the necessity of which points to strong growth of the Mexican-U.S. gateway. 

But what exactly is driving this progress in Mexico? A number of factors are helping to make doing business south of the border cost-effective, including:

  • Proximity to the U.S.
  • Large consumer market
  • Cost-competitive production costs
  • Lower transportation costs
  • A large skilled labor pool

In addition, there are many advantages to shipping by rail:

  • Railroads ship about 40% of total freight but only contribute 2% of greenhouse gas emissions. If another 10% of over-the-road (OTR) traffic were to be shipped by rail, it would equal approximately 1 Billion gallons of fuel savings.
  • Taxpayers subsidize about $2 Billion yearly to fix the damages to road infrastructure caused by large trucks, which moving freight by rail helps to alleviate.
  • Shipping by rail is safer than doing so by most other types of transportation – railroads have a higher safety record and lower rate of injury than other options.

Check out the video below to hear Bernardo Ayala, Vice President - Mexico Markets, Union Pacific Railroad share his perspective on cross-border rail transportation.

To view the slides from this Shipper Symposium breakout session, click here. And if you missed our first post on Innovative Solutions for the Mexican Market, you can find it here.

What factors are important to you to consider when shipping cross-border? 

4 Key Areas of Focus For Attaining Preferred Shipper Status

We recently conducted a Preferred Shipper Program Survey to uncover best practices for becoming a shipper of choice for carriers. According to Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President, Consulting & Engineering for Transplace, “Carriers want shippers to be partners at every level and work together to boost productivity and efficiency.”

What can you do to achieve “preferred shipper” status? Check out our latest infographic to find out!

Read more about our survey results in this press release, click here.

Are we missing anything? What are your best practices to become a “preferred shipper”?

Supply Chain Talent Takes Off

By Blake Whicker, Operations Manager, Transplace

I recently graduated from Transplace's Professional Development Program (PDP), a 2 to 3 year rotational program that allows participants to take on various transportation and operational roles. Created in 2012, the PDP serves 2 primary objectives:

1. To attract and hire new grads who will grow into leadership roles during the next 3-5 years and beyond, and

2. To build relationships with key schools in order to tap the top minds in logistics, transportation and supply chain education, including:

  • University of Arkansas
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Tennessee
  • Penn State University
  • Colorado State University

During rotations, PDP employees also participate in cross-functional special projects, working with different groups within the company and developing direct relationships with the executive team. At the end, participants receive an industry certification recognizing completion of the program.

I enjoyed the various rotations to different departments; it helped me learn immensely about many different aspects of the business first-hand. The well-rounded experience I gained is invaluable. But alternately, you also find out very quickly just how much you don’t know about the industry! This was very humbling, yet helped me build greater respect for others and develop and hone skills necessary for my career growth.

Not only did I learn from logistics experts, I also developed a much greater appreciation for the individuals at Transplace who have spent the past 10, 20 or 30 years devoted to this important industry. Today’s world requires companies to be dynamic, so it’s critical to employ a wide variety of people whose skill sets are varied and are dynamic themselves. Gaining first-hand exposure and experience to learn an unfamiliar skill or build a skill set enabled me to better understand the roles of others.

At the same time, the program provided an honest barometer for my knowledge on the industry, which was eye-opening! For me (and other participants) it can be a motivating challenge. The PDP encourages participants to do everything they can to learn more about the field, consume the knowledge that’s available to them and find more opportunities for growth. I knew my future self would be thankful for maximizing the opportunities the PDP offered. Transplace’s PDP opens doors, but it’s up to the individual candidates to commit to continuing forward through them to learn, grow and excel in this industry. I’m very glad I did.

How does your organization focus on growing talent?

Read more about how Transplace is paying more attention to young supply chain talent here or watch our Shipper Symposium breakout session video on “Fueling Talent Into Supply Chain and Logistics”.