Solar Eclipse and the Supply Chain

By now, you all know about the Solar Eclipse and we’re sure you’re just as excited to witness the celestial movement as we are. It seems that social media, local governments, and many businesses have talked about nothing else for the past month. Indeed, it will be a sight to behold. But, did you know that this event means more than just eclipse glasses and darkness at lunchtime?

 

Solar Eclipse

In fact, the solar eclipse has meant big money for local businesses, corporate markets, and start-up entrepreneurs alike. Towns along the “path of totality”, areas where a total solar eclipse will be visible for a mere 2 minutes, have already projected huge impacts on their local economy on August 21st. The town of Columbia, SC are expecting an overwhelming $50 million in revenue from activities related to the eclipse. The small town of Salem, Oregon, which has never  been seen as a tourist trap, is now expected to earn $1 million the night of the eclipse. This eclipse is the first since 1918 to span the entirety of the United States, so it’s easy to imagine the financial impact that this event will induce after just looking at two cities along its path.

And let’s not forget about those eclipse glasses that we have seen countless ads for. Admittedly, in hopes of turning the eclipse into a fun company event, I even tried to buy a pack of the solar glasses early last week… I searched online vendors in hopes that I was not too late to find that specialized cardboard and plastic apparel. To my dismay, it seemed that all of the vendors indicated that they had sold out, and a few vendors from overseas stated that they would not be able to ship solar glasses to the United States in time for the Eclipse. Unfortunately, no one at Easley will be able to stare into the sun on August 21st. However, this got me thinking about the impact the event has on the supply chain.

supply chain

The supply chain is aptly named because if one link is not connected properly or if one link malfunctions, the chain no longer holds. The supply chain is connected as follows: Raw materials supplier –> Manufacturers –> Distributors –>  Retailers –> Customer. In the example of eclipse glasses, the cardboard and plastic is sent to the people who make the glasses. Then, the glasses get sent out on trains, planes, boats, and trucks to the businesses that sell these glasses, like Walmart, Kroger, Lowes, and Amazon. Finally, (if you didn’t procrastinate like me) you buy the glasses from your retailer of choice and prepare for the eclipse. The fact that this event is going to have such a huge impact on local economies is a huge testament to the work put in by the supply chain. With little more than a few months notice it would seem, the supply chain successfully equipped millions of Americans with an item that

The fact that this event is going to have such a huge impact on local economies is a huge testament to the work put in by the supply chain. With little more than a few months notice it would seem, the supply chain successfully equipped millions of Americans with an item that was produced for a one-time event (in which that item loses its purpose after the event). This is an incredible feat that would not be possible without the network of companies that helped make this happen.

So, as you are preparing to witness one of the most noteworthy natural events since 1918, think about the great effort that went into getting those wacky looking glasses to you. As the moon shows up and shows out on Monday, from its normal location in the background, think about how the supply chain showed up and showed out for you this month.

 

How it Works: Pencils

It’s that time of year again. Back to Walmart for those school supplies for the kiddos. Load up your cart with binders, notebooks and lots of pencils. We use pencils every day, but where do these things even come from? Pencils are just one other tool that we encounter almost on a daily basis, whether you are a student, a teacher, a business person, a draftsman, an artist, etc. However, we rarely give a second thought to these wooden sticks.

Pencil bundle

When you take a step back and look at what it takes to make a pencil, distribute those pencils, and get them in your child’s backpack, it might blow your mind. It might even make you laugh when you realize that the parts that make up these wooden sticks have probably traveled more than you have! So where did they come from?

First, we have to think about what makes a pencil…

Graphite

Graphite Pencil

Graphite is a crystalline carbon that actually shares many of the chemical characteristics of diamonds… who knew you were writing with the cousin of a diamond? Graphite has to be mined from deposits that are deep within the earth and only found in specific locations. Because of this flaky, greasy substance being so geo-specific, most of the graphite we use in pencils comes from mines in China. Pencil manufacturers in the United States import this raw material from China using mostly ocean freight transportation. These little flakes literally travel the world so that your child can learn their multiplication tables.

Cedar

lumber for pencils

Not all wood is created equal. Wood that is able to be used in pencils is very unique. It has to be hard enough to stand the pressure of writing, soft enough to be able to sharpen, and strong enough to endure long trips that fluctuate in temperature. Cedar wood from California is the best wood for pencil-making. This wood will travel in huge flatbeds across the country to be shaped into many different wooden objects. After selecting only the best wood for our beloved writing utensils, the cedar boards are shipped to the pencil manufacturing facility over long distances, by long-haul or OTR truckers.

Rubber

Eraser

This ingredient is what makes up the eraser at the top of our little wooden utensils and predominately comes from Malaysia. Becuase of this, shipments of rubber must travel over sea, land and sometimes air just to get to the end of that little wooden stick.

All of these products are mixed together in the magical process of manufacturing, and walla: The pencil has been born! But now we must get those pencils to the final customer. Hundreds of thousands of pencils are then packed up into crates in the backs of trailers to be shipped to all of the major distributors of school supplies. The ingredients were hand picked for quality, strength, and endurance so that they could make this arduous journey to Walmarts across the country.

Now you know that the pack of pencils you are holding in your hand is much more than you thought it was. Now you know how it works.

 

 

 

 

Alpaca That For You

Alpaca v llama

Alpacas, Llamas, and Trucks

By: Kevin Wilkins, CEO

Alpacas look a lot like their close cousin, the llama, but in reality alpacas and llamas are very different animals. Easley Transportation might look like a trucking company with a warehouse, but just like the alpaca, we are a very different transportation company compared to most of our competitors. Let me take the next few minutes and help you understand what makes alpacas so special and Easley so unique, too.

Alpacas are generally about half the size of llamas, and Easley is definitely not the largest transportation company in Memphis. But, who says bigger is always better? There are always those people who will try to convince you that size is most important, but being a shorter man who loves to play sports, I have always thought that my size has given me an advantage against my competition. Easley might not be the largest player in town, but we have a unique ability to out-perform some of the larger players.

Alpacas have a very different disposition than llamas. Llamas are independent and can be a bit abrasive, but alpacas are more of a herd animal that works better with others and in a group. Easley is customer-focused and solution-oriented. Collaboration with our customers is key for us. It’s the way we can offer highly customized transportation solutions. In our industry, this is not the norm. Many companies, especially the larger companies, are very rigid and make their customers follow their rules. That’s “llama-ish,” and that’s not us.

Alpacas and llamas appear to have a similar coat of fleece, but actually, alpacas produce more fleece in much greater variety than llamas. Easley may look like any other trucking company, but we offer a much greater variety of services. For instance, we offer heavy cross-dock, refrigerated storage and transportation, dedicated drivers/equipment, linehauls to/from Atlanta and Chicago, etc. Click here for a complete list of services.

Some customers and shippers need just an LTL or FTL carrier, and we understand that. Having said that, if you have complexity in your supply chain and want real answers from an asset-based solutions provider, please give us a call today. #alpacathatforyou

Reflecting on “The Why”

 

 

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LET US BE MORE

It’s an inevitable question that we all ponder.  That is, “Why do we really do what we do (as a company)?” There are many good answers to this, no doubt.  Making money is certainly at the top of the list.  Is that really why we run a transportation company?  Not entirely…


This past month we heard the story of one of our very own.  Her name is Lindsay, and she is a wife, mother, and a committed team member.  Her lovely daughter, Anna, was recently diagnosed with a terrible illness called Scleroderma.  No person, much less a child, should have to endure such a disease.  In fact, please learn more here.  It takes a very strong mother, like Lindsay, to fight along with her daughter.  It’s both compelling and heartbreaking at the same time.

While our goal is to grow an excellent transportation company, Lindsay’s story puts things into perspective for us.  It’s a stark reminder that business is secondary to other things that matter much, much more.  That doesn’t make our business irrelevant, but it convinces us that our business can be a tool to promote things that matter more, such as family, faith, community, etc. Unfortunately, we can’t heal Anna, but we can celebrate Lindsay, Anna, and their family.  We can raise awareness for Scleroderma, and we can join the fight with them.  Isn’t that why we really do what we do?  

 

Thigh-Day Fridays

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Everyone, say hello to one of our employees, Lindsay!

She is an Easley mother who we deeply value for her work, but even more so for providing so well for her family. Lindsay is a wonderful mother to her eleven year old daughter, Anna.


Anna was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Scleroderma. It is a tough disease that currently has no known cause or cure. However, there are treatments available. At Easley, we believe it is essential to find the right people for the job. Lindsay’s great work as a mother providing for her family, even in the midst of hard circumstances, lets us know that Lindsay is indeed the right person.

Because we value Lindsay and deeply empathize with her family’s situation, we at Easley are devoting the month of July to fund raise for the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Anyone who lives in the south during the summer months knows how hot it can get. We have decided that for the months of July and August we are going to have a company wide fundraiser called Thigh-Day Fridays! Any employees who wish to wear shorts on Fridays now can as long as they donate to the Scleroderma Research Foundation linked above. Once the collections for the two months have been completely taken, Easley Transportation is going to match every cent that was given!

You can keep track of our progress by keeping up with this blog as we will update on the fundraiser.

Easley: Delivering Hope

Easley Transportation likes to be a fun-loving and creative environment that provides an exciting place of work for our employees. Every year around the first week of May, we hold a company-wide Spirit Week! This year, one of our themes was to dress up as your favorite charity.

Easley Delivering Hope

When we asked our employees why they chose to represent certain charities during our Spirit Week, here’s what they said:

  • Hope International: “I support Hope International because I’m drawn to their mission, which is focused on helping the poor around the world through biblical-based training, savings services, and loans that restore dignity and break the cycle of poverty.” – Kevin Wilkins
  • NICS – Network of International Christian Schools: “I support NICS because I love the organization’s impact on future global leaders via international education. I graduated from a NICS School, so I’ve personally witnessed the organization’s profound impact on students from around the world.” – Blake Weaver
  • Silver Silhouettes: “My daughter is on the Silver Silhouettes dance team. I love seeing her excel, and I admire the way this team has helped her develop not only as a dancer, but also as a person and teammate. Her involvement with Silver Silhouettes has helped teach her discipline. They are Regional Champions in Memphis, and they’re headed to the World Championship NexStar Competition in New York City! I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished.” – Jamika Grant
  • Susan G Koman, Breast Cancer Awareness: As a personal statement to back my reasons for my charity: #CancerSucks! I support several cancer researches and I chose today to represent Susan G Koman, Breast Cancer Awareness.” Dana has very personal connections to this cause. “My aunt is currently in remission with breast cancer. My long-time family friend gave birth to her baby girl and was told one of the hardest things a mother can hear. She couldn’t breast feed her baby girl because the doctors discovered she had breast cancer. She had to start treatment immediately. I support finding a cure and fighting to make sure everyone has a fighting chance.” – Dana Eddy
  • Enhancing Our Youth Our Future: “This is a community basketball team that allows kids from all over to show and learn their new talents and bring each of them together. This outlet also taught them the power of teamwork. Coach Robert Scales has transformed many of the kids lives, while teaching them the true value of life.” – Brandie Saulsberry

 

We are extremely proud of our team for caring about the development and well-being of others. At Easley, we strive to impact the world in a positive way, in everything that we do. In fact, one of our mottoes around the office is that “Easley Delivers Hope”. If you would like to learn more about these charities, click on the names provided at the beginning of each account. You can help us deliver hope too!

Memphis Crossdocking, Haircuts, and Cancer Donations

Last week we ran an internal sales contest. The idea was to generate more sales leads for services like Memphis crossdocking, national hotshots, cold chain solutions, etc. We wanted to come up with a fun way to build momentum around this challenge. One of our customer service/sales reps, Caleb, stepped-up in a big way. He agreed to shave his head if we collectively reached our weekly goal. The before and after pictures below tell the rest of the story!

There was another (and more important) reason why Caleb offered to shave his head. He had been growing his hair over the past year so that he could donate it to cancer patients. Caleb has been personally impacted by cancer, for his mother is in the midst of a cancer battle. This inspired Caleb to help. He stated, “There’s not much you can do for someone going through cancer. So, I figured that I could serve others this way.”

Reflecting on last week and Caleb’s actions helps put things in perspective. We are passionate about growing Easley. We love serving customers, and we hope to increase the amount of customers we serve. As important as that is to us, our people matter most. It’s why our mission statement starts by, “Easley Transportation creates transportation solutions by having the right people…”. It’s safe to say that we have the right people who truly want to serve others.

Here’s to you and your new haircut, Caleb!

If you would like a quote for Memphis crossdocking, national hotshots, cold chain solutions, etc., please contact us at 901-362-5152 or via e-mail at sales@easleytrans.com