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Following the release of the 2018 Top 100 Private Carrier rankings, Transport Topics hosted a LiveOnWeb discussion led by Senior Features Writer Daniel Bearth and Associate News Editor Dan Ronan. Sponsored by Verizon Connect, the candid conversation focused on how top private shippers are tackling capacity, service and control in the transportation industry.
Bearth and Ronan were joined in studio by Jason Foshaug, president and CEO at VelocityRater, as well as Ron Drogan, president of Red Classic Transportation Services. Take a look at a few of the key takeaways for operators and business owners trying to make next year’s list:
The time to diversify your operation is now
Continuing growth in average fleet size and the number of annual large acquisitions across the industry is not a surprising trend. The strength of the current economy is leading more and more private fleets to branch out beyond their historic niche disciplines and diversify their business strategies to expand into new markets. By leveraging their core areas of expertise and tapping into useful equipment in such a tight capacity market, successful companies are enhancing their profits by identifying voids and filling gaps in the off hours of business.
Safety will always be priority #1
For business whose employees spend significant time on the road, half a second may mean the difference between a near miss and a tragic accident. “Safety is value for us,” says Drogan, summing up the most important measure for success for any business owner interested in success in the transportation industry. When it comes to technology taking the burden off operators, the greatest safety feature of every truck is its driver. When it comes to safety, you should take it personally. The return is invaluable when helping each driver to minimize fatigue and optimize comfort.
Strive to become a “shipper of choice”
Many owners want to know how they can make their businesses more attractive to potential customers. Due to the decreased capacity of the tight market, private companies are becoming more focused on increasing their position as a “shipper of choice” by increasing efficiency through overarching visibility. Consumer expectations have never been higher, and on-demand delivery is driving every owner to over-communicate in order to instill constant confidence in their service.
Thought it may seem obvious, it’s important to make the best use of drivers’ time, avoiding anything that might make their job more difficult or time-consuming. Additionally, with the rate of truckers retiring outpacing that of new truckers entering the workforce, it’s imperative to highlight a positive work-life balance to protect each carrier’s quality of life.
For additional insights from the conversation, including clips from interviews with Brad Jenkins, vice president of supply and distribution for Pilot Flying J and Pilot Thomas Logistics, and Chris Sultemeiera, former executive vice president of logistics for Walmart Inc., check out the on-demand recording.