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Small Business Trucking Game-Changing Apps

August 18th, 2016

When it comes to shipment management for small business trucking, a smartphone is a business owner’s best friend. In addition to providing a means of relaxation and entertainment (Candy Crush, anyone?) smartphone apps are helping small companies change the game and improve efficiency.

From savvy startups to big-name tech giants, companies are looking to reinvent the way small business trucking operates.

Convoy is a start-up from SeatAugust 18th Blog Imagetle that aims to create an on-demand shipment management service for truckers.  Local truckers will be given a smartphone app in which they can see and accept shipments that can be delivered in one day. This benefits the trucker by allowing for more deliveries per day and immediately connects the drivers with clients who need goods shipped. The smartphone app will have a added security feature in the interface which allows the clients to follow its product in transit, right on the map.

Blackberry, the one-time leader in the smartphone game, has just launched a new product aimed at helping trucking companies track goods in transit. Blackberry Radar is a product for trucking companies that provides tracking and logistic support. This tracking support has many benefits including reducing cost of operations, improving on-time delivery, and preventing theft. The way the tracking software works is that you install a tracking device on the trailer door of your truck, then the radar sends real-time alerts when the vehicle has driven through a defined area. The radar can also send information on the humidity and temperature levels. It also helps the warehouse workers be aware of when a shipment is going to arrive.

Whenever you travel, CLC lodging is here for all your workforce accommodation needs. Find out how you can save an average of 20-40% on advertised costs with your CheckINN card.

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Intuition vs. Data – Which to Trust More?

August 3rd, 2016

Retail company professionals know that handling workforce lodging requires knowing the ins and outs of the industry. Staying up to date on technological innovations, consumer trends, and government regulations is a critical measure to good decision August 3rd Blog Imagemaking. Thanks to big data, the information required to make yourself an effective retail industry expert is more accessible than ever. Tough decisions become far less daunting when you have statistics available to inform them. With so much data at your fingertips, how do you know when to rely on your intuition and ignore the metrics? Or, should you ever go with a hunch over the results from data analysis?

Fast Company suggests that the answer lies in finding a balance. An article commenting on the future of work lays out the pros and cons of relying solely on big data to inform business decisions. In some cases, the article points out, companies can be too eager to jump on results from data collection and end up rocking the boat. The retailer Target made headlines when it predicted a shopper’s pregnancy through analyzing her purchases over time and used that data to send tailored ads to her house. The problem? The shopper was living with her parents, and her father was not pleased when his daughter received promotions for baby-related goods. It’s safe to say he would have rather heard the news from his daughter, not Target’s marketing department.

The key takeaway from the Fast Company article is that while metrics are sure to keep improving, a good CEO or manager will still need his or her judgment to make the right decisions. Big data is only as effective as the person who uses it, and sometimes, that means going with your gut.

Like you, CLC knows that retail travel requires retail knowledge. Our on-staff industry experts can tailor your lodging solution to fit the needs of your fleet. Learn more about all of your options by getting in touch with CLC today.

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Summer Business Travel

July 8th, 2016

Business travelers looking for custom workforce lodging solutions have more to contend with than just finding the right room at the right price. School’s out, which means families all over North America are hitting the highway in search of a summer getaway. It’s easy for leisure seekers to forget that the roads and hotels serve another purpose: letting you run your business everyday.

According to American Express, 8 in 10 Americans are planning vacations this summer. That means 80% of Americans, or 195.9 million people, are going to be competing with your employees for hotel and road space. Your fleet may run like a well-oiled machine, but even your most seasoned travelers and drivers might be thrown for a loop during this busy season. One reason that business travelers endure more headaches in summer, explains the Chicago Tribune, is the dichotomy of experienced versus inexperienced travelers on the road. You’re rushing to a meeting while the Johnson family is swerving in their minivan, trying to keep the kids from fighting the backseat. And don’t forget fighting for space at the hotel buffet!July 8, 2016 Blog Picture

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to make summer a more pleasant time for business travelers. Consider dates: the Chicago Tribune suggests that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a safer bet for avoiding the amateur traveler and his family. If the hotel has a pool, ask for a room far away from it, that way you’ll be guarded from children’s screams and shouts as you prep for that big meeting.

Another great way to avoid travel headaches is by working with workforce lodging specialists. CLC can help you make sure you’re getting the right room at the right hotel. We’ll cut costs and cut the time you spend on workforce lodging solutions. Talk to our expert customer service team to find the right plan for your company. Customizable to location, hotel type, and more. Get in touch with CLC and find out what we can do for you.

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Smarter & Safer Journeys for a Better Bottom Line

April 29th, 2016

Any smart fleet manager knows that people are a company’s most valuable asset, yet few take time to invest in them. How can you go beyond meeting OSHA-mandated regulations to truly protect your people? Showing your people that you’re invested not only promotes efficiency, but it also encourages staff retention, and best of all, positively impacts your bottom line. Below, we’ll highlight a few guidelines for going above and beyond duty of care.

As the ambassadors of your brand, your drivers are the the first line of defense that your company has to protect its image. Fleet Safety Forum recommends a three-pronged approach to keeping your team in peak form. Before your begin, let your company know you’re engaging complete risk assessment. This lets your employees know you take their safety seriously. A fleet-wide initiative also increases the awareness that employee health is a priority for your company.

The first area to tackle is education. Driver training is the best way to save money and avoid accidents. The cost to educate your drivers is significantly lower than paying higher insurance premiums due to accidents. You’ll also save time that could be lost to employees recovering from road injuries. Next, assess the safety of your fleet vehicles themselves. Taking the time to inspect vans and trucks to be sure that they meet or exceedApril 29, 2016 Blog Picture regulations is key to preventing problems and ensuring successful, profitable journeys.

Finally, take a good look at the routes your employees are driving. Is sensible shift scheduling the rule or the exception among your fleet? Fleet Safety discourages journeys between 2am and 6pm, when driver fatigue is at its peak. Make sure your employees know that they must stop to rest even when they are rushing to meet a deadline. The route itself may be contributing to fatigue if the driver must take congested routes. Weather conditions are also often overlooked, and can put drivers in danger.

Some companies have implemented safe driver competitions, in which employees are rewarded for healthier habits, like losing weight, quitting smoking, and keeping up with routine checkups. One of the best solutions for keeping your drivers healthy is a good night’s sleep. CLC Lodging can save you 20-40% on advertised rates, making it even easier to give your people the rest they need to get the job done right.

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Making Cost-Saving Changes Quick and Painless

April 7th, 2016

Every industry expert has a different solution for cutting costs. Some say the latest software is sure to bring your numbers up next quarter; others tout the benefits of continuing education. While each alternative has its merits, one element of cost cutting is true for virtually anything you implement: change is inevitable, and painful for some.

April 7, 2016 Blog PictureNo matter how much money you invest in fancy technology and innovative initiatives, the old adage holds true: You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. So how do you get your employees and every stakeholder in your company in-between to get on board with new cost-saving measures? The secret may lie in how you manage change.

Change management expert Kurt Lewin lays out the basic framework of managing change in three steps: Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze. During the unfreeze phase, it’s your job to educate your employees on why change is necessary. Managers and employees may be resistant at first. Managers will have to move away from comfort zones, and employees may resent the implication that they need to learn something new to continue doing their job. The next step, change, is the most difficult, as this is when team members will learn new skills, develop new values and attitudes, all while being unsure of the path ahead. The pay off happens in the third “refreeze” stage, where new behaviors become permanent.

During each phase of change, you can support the transition through communication and education. If you’re implementing a new reporting technology, make sure your employees know this is going to make their lives easier, rather than letting them feel like they’re being watched. Let your people know you’re investing in them, and you’ll see positive results.

CLC Lodging is here to help you manage reporting and make life easier for your employees.
With customizable reports and detailed billing, managing costs for better change management is simple.

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The Future of the Railroad is…in the Sky?

March 16th, 2016

FAA Helps the Industry Improve witMarch 16, 2016 Blog Pictureh Drones

North America’s railroads are the result of incredible human effort and innovation. Crisscrossing our great plains and mountain ranges, freight trains move an estimated $433.2 million or more across 140,000 rail miles in the U.S. alone, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).  It’s no small wonder that the industry has been humming along impressively for centuries. With such historied roots, the railroad lives in the minds of many laymen as an artifact. They see trains as the innovation of the industrial revolution, having nothing in common with today’s top technology, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones.

Given the facts about these two technologies, it’s easy to argue that they don’t have much in common. Freight trains move at a speed of 22.5 miles per hour, while the ScanEagle UAS moves closer to 92 mph, or 80 knots. The first freight train steamed across the tracks in 1827, while commercial drones took their first approved flight less than 2 years ago, in 2014.

Last year, the FAA entered into a partnership with industry leaders to begin using drones to monitor and assess railways, according to Insitu, a company specializing in drone operations. From bridges to tunnels, potential for infrastructure and safety improvements are sky high thanks to the relationship between these old and new technologies. This will allow for a whole new level of quality assurance and, ultimately, better control over daily operations.

While the CheckINN Card doesn’t cover drones at the moment, CLC Lodging can offer better control over your workforce travel spending. With custom reporting and single-check payment, we’re here to take care of your crew while you take care of business. Learn more today.

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Idling Trucks Cost Big Bucks

March 2nd, 2016

Myths and Facts

How can you cut costs for your fleet without sacrificing quality?  This conundrum has long plagued fleet owners and C-level freight company managers. Despite best intentions, cost-cutting measures are often unwittingly undermined by vehicle operators. Fleets leak billions thanks to a handful of long-standing myths and mistakes about idling trucks. We first wrote about the high cost of idling trucks in 2012, and the myths persist today.

For years, conventional wisdom held that starting and stopping a diesel engine caused more wear and tear than letting the truck idle. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), idling wears down internal parts twice as fast as driving at regular highway speeds.March 2, 2016 Blog Picture

The myth of the mandatory engine warm-up is equally pervasive. The long-held belief that a diesel engine needs to “warm up” before it can be driven can be blamed on older fuel formulas that used to gel in cold weather. In fact, most engine manufacturers state that idling a truck for more than 3 minutes does more harm than good. Diesel fuels on today’s market are better formulated to withstand cold weather, so gelling is no longer a legitimate concern.

Beyond engine maintenance costs, the IDEM estimates that the trucking industry lost a whopping $3 billion in fuel costs thanks to idling trucks. Equally disturbing are the health and environmental impacts, as diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen linked to varying chronic illnesses.

Idling trucks cost more than they save. That’s why your best bet is to book with CLC Lodging. Our custom solutions specialists will negotiate the best rate for you within our wide hotel network across the U.S. and Canada. Find out how you can protect your fleet and save 20-40% on advertised costs with a quick quote today.

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Finding a new loyalty in frequent traveler programs

February 3rd, 2016

February 3, 2016 Blog PictureYou may have heard that airlines have been “adjusting” their loyalty programs for the past few years. In fact, in an interview with the Business Journals, Delta’s chief revenue officer said that his company was determined to increase the number of first-class seats sold pre-flight. What that means for everyone is fewer free upgrades, which used to be a silver lining for stressed-out frequent flyers.

Although miles can be treated as cash because they can be turned into airplane trips, magazine subscriptions, and more, they have limitations. Most importantly, airline miles expire. Fortune’s travel blog reported that United Airlines expects 25% of the miles they sell will never be redeemed at all.

Programs from hotels aren’t what they used to be either. Now weary travelers can buy extra loyalty points when booking a room, making it possible to effectively earn rewards by simply giving the hotel brand additional money. It doesn’t seem so bad when you’re at your computer, debating the $10 upcharge to your $180 room, but think of like this: Would you pay more just to get an extra punch on your favorite coffee shop’s loyalty card? Somehow, it doesn’t quite add up.

What does add up is booking with CLC Lodging. Our membership account provides you access to participating hotels at discount rates, all easily accessible from an online account. Learn more at CLCLodging.com.

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Oil & Gas: Tech Booms During The Bust

January 21st, 2016

Travel is an essential component of a day in the life of an oil and gas worker, from roughnecks to welders to risk management specialists. Not only do workers travel far and wide to complete a job, but the industry itself has made an impressive contribution to technology at large.

January 2016 Blog Picture 2Oil and gas workers have a reputation for being independent, self-starters with a knack for problem solving, It’s no surprise that the industry has long been a beacon of innovation. In a recent article from Forbes, Bill Tucker cites the specific technology from GroundMetrics, a company that helps companies pinpoint drilling locations. Technology makes the job simpler and it allows decision makers to be better informed about whether or not to drill at all. Better decisions help companies save money by reducing pre-well costs. For example, PBS reported that Southwestern Energy reduced number of days needed to drill a well from 17 to seven thanks to increased accuracy through software.

Travel may be the sector of the oil & gas industry that has seen the most innovation. From the plains of Kansas to the coast of Alaska, reliable technology is crucial for overcoming the difficulties of management at a distance. Even medical assistance has forged light years ahead thanks to companies like NuPhysica. The telemedicine company uses high-tech video calls to diagnose injured employees and offer treatment solutions. Venturebeat says that NuPhysica saved an oil company $30,000 in emergency transport by diagnosing an offshore rig worker remotely.

CLC can save you money and keep you ahead of the game. Partner with us for custom lodging solutions and first-class customer service.

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Technology to the rescue in construction hiring deficit

January 6th, 2016

In the UK, BIM technology is an industry standard. January 2016 Blog PictureWhile the US has yet to make it mandatory, a new study suggests that the technology could solve more than one problem. The construction industry’s hiring deficit and resulting labor shortage has been a hot topic for the past several years. The root of the problem has been linked to various factors, including an immigrant downturn and lack of training courses. The National Association of Home Builders’ CEO Jerry Howard called it an epidemic, citing that workers who left the industry after the housing bust still haven’t returned, even those who took on positions in the now-lagging oil business.

According to the chief economist of Associated General Contractors, commercial builders are using technology to bridge the gap and boost efficiency. Construction Dive magazine says that Building Information Modeling offers more than just reduced efficiencies; it’s also enticing to younger workers. BIM incorporates gaming technology which gives a new generation a shot at the satisfaction of “real world” building. Plus, these workers are less hesitant to dive into new software, increasing the likelihood of BIM’s permanent application, and finally contributing to the builder’s overall efficiency.

Partnering with CLC lodging’s logistics specialists is another tech-savvy move that can make your next project more efficient. We offer rooms for your team at rates 20-40% lower than advertised. Find out more at clclodging.com

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