Our transportation manager will no longer be needed
We have been burned in the past
Objections can be viewed as complaints by both the customer and the 3PL. Let’s review a few real answers to these common objections.
We will lose control of our carriers.
When working with a true 3PL Partner a business would not actually lose control of the carriers, they would actually gain more control. Better reporting can provide clear and on-time percentage metrics, claims ratios, and general rate increase mitigation. Businesses try to do some of this reporting on their own but typically run into roadblocks. Why? Because businesses are experts in their selected fields and transportation is not usually one of them.
Why pay a middle man when we can do it ourselves?
A middle man can do a better job performing many business tasks, such as logistics. People use middle men every day, sometimes without even knowing it, because the middle man has more resources. We don’t go to Kraft to get our cheese, Dove to get our soap, or Coca-Cola to get our soda. Time is money, and less time spent on less profitable tasks only adds to your bottom line.
Our transportation manager will no longer be needed.
In actuality, the job description is the only part of your transportation manager’s position that changes. Some of our largest clients work with their transportation managers on a strategic level, not the day to day booking and tracking of shipments. Transportation managers need to be held to KPI’s like freight cost as a % of sell cost. They can better explain to upper management this information with the help of a 3PL partner. For example, some products were not profitable to ship and more liable to damage. The common role of a transportation manager is negotiating pricing with limited leverage and relationship, booking shipments, tracking them, filing claims, etc. A 3PL partner can help take over this time-consuming role.
We have been burned in the past.
This is very possible. Have you ever been to McDonald’s and were served cold fries? Or to Pizza Hut and got a cheese pizza when it was supposed to be pepperoni? I bet you went back to both of those places! It’s the job of businesses to fully vet their partners. BlueGrace is a privately owned, debt free 3PL. We are not small but we are incredibly agile. It’s always important to leverage companies like Cortera or Dun and Bradstreet to review the credit standing of new partners so you do not get burned. We work tirelessly to provide the highest level of service. It’s very possible to make the change and start using a new 3PL Partner with confidence!
Let’s leave the complaints in 2015 and give a 3PL partners like BlueGrace a shot in 2016!
Range of services provided to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product. It includes assistance in planning, installation, training, troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrading of the product. – From BusinessDictionary.com
Customer support needs to be at the forefront of all businesses. BlueGrace Logistics uses an integrated approach to make sure that customer support is the core of our business and produces positive reviews that satisfy both our customer and our support team.
Logistics and freight is a complex product with many moving parts for both the customer and the 3PL provider. Like the definition above states, our customer service goal is to to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product. When done correctly it leads to excellent reviews and happy customers. When there are service issues it can lead to a compliant or a bad review that we work with the customer to remedy as quickly as possible.
We spend time reviewing all customer complaints, so we can build customer relationships.
Our customer support team meets daily to review these issues and determine the best way to remedy them quickly. We pick up the phone and talk with the customer, the carrier and even our own IT Department, if that is the case, to determine the best route to resolve the issue. Our integrated trouble ticket system is setup with strict time limits for customer support to reach out and solve the issue. From online chat and email to toll-free support, our team is ready to assist.
When customers work with BlueGrace they expect the best in customer support and we feel strongly we can live up to their expectations. This relationship can help simplify the complexity of freight and create a win-win for both of us. Let BlueGrace help your transportation department succeed with our available tools, support and expertise.
Call 800.MY. SHIPPING to talk to a BlueGrace representative today. We look forward to working together.
Is Looming Dimensional Pricing as scary as it seems?
The simple answer is no, it’s not. More and more carriers are moving away from NMFC codes and the NMFTA classing system all together. It started with Central Transport and has now moved to carriers like Shift Freight, UPS, Fedex, and YRC. These carriers have also invested in equipment to help determine the total density. The equipment is called a dimensioner and Shift Freight uses the Freightsnap model. I once heard a customer say in dealing with a re-class issue “The dims don’t lie.” Meaning if you run the true dimensions and weight of the shipment in a density calculator 99 times out of a 100 that class will be fine with the carrier. You can obtain BlueGrace’s proprietary density calculator found here. Re-classification is the number 1 issue when it comes to either secondary or increased carrier charges that differ from the original quote. Dimensional Pricing will force shippers to reduce waste in packaging and space. It will also help carriers to better utilize the space in their equipment as well as better planning in daily pickup / delivery manifests. If you are starting to see more secondary charges please read our blog about our audit process or request an account with BlueGrace today!
Every year BlueGrace Logistics holds a Cats. vs. Dogs pet food donation rally. It is girls vs. guys and all in good fun. The real winners at the end is the animals. Last year as a company we donated over 44k pounds of pet food to the humane society of Tampa Bay. You can read about it here:
On July 30, a day before the Highway Trust Fund was set to expire, Congress passed a three month extension of funding for highway programs and a six year highway policy for trucking regulation reformation.
“This multi-year, bi-partisan legislation will give states and local governments the ability to plan for and construct critical infrastructure projects,” said Sen. John Thune, chairman of the committee that oversees trucking policy.
“We all share the same goal of completing a long term bill as soon as possible, and ensuring that critical programs do not shut down before we achieve that goal is the right thing to do,” added Rep. Bill Schuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The legislation implements Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reform, applying to several programs. The Compliance, Safety and Accountability program public safety scores will be removed until further review. The bill paves the way for those between 18 and 21 to be commercial interstate drivers and also establishes a national freight program, boosting highway, public transportation, and passenger rail programs.
“Passage of a long-term bill is well overdue, and it is past time for Congress to provide states with the certainty they need to address the enormous backlog in critical highway and bridge improvements, “ said Bill Graves, president of American Trucking Associations.
Here at BlueGrace we are asking our franchisees and direct employees to start thinking about their 2016 goals. This is our take on what S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
S= Shared. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your goals. You need support and accountability.
M= Measured. Measured these can be measured somehow. Typically by $, #, and %.
A= Attainable. These goals have to be within reach and reason. You can not make hitting the lotto a goal!
R= Relevant. Make these smart goals relevant to something you are trying to accomplish in your life. These can be work related, exercise and diet, or something you want to do that you haven’t done yet.
T= Time. There has to be an end date to see if you accomplished your goal. You typically do not want to set smart goals further than a year out.
Please let us know on social media what your smart goals are today!
On Twitter: @mybluegrace
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bluegracelogistics
It’s true, over the next few years you will start to see a major increase in domestic shipping, especially via truckload. Walmart, a huge contributor to the transportation market, has recently released a statement saying that they will be increasing their spend on domestic products to $250 billion over the next few years.
Early demand could result in some market constriction but will start to loosen up as more carriers move to enter the market and eat up the influx of demand. Walmart estimates that over 1 million new jobs will be created to handle this increase in production and experts believe that many US-based retailers will follow Walmart’s example in an effort to match their commitment and move more manufacturing back to the US. If other major US retailers follow suit, as many anticipate they will, we could have a major push on demand starting as early as Q4 of 2015 and could see major increases in tonnage starting in 2016.
Keep an eye out for retailers’ supply chains reaching out to 3PLs to handle this newfound demand. Many logistics companies, like BlueGrace Truckload, have taken a bullish stance on the ever-changing truckload market; these companies are eager for the chance to manage capacity constriction in the wake of a major surge in the, $350 billion, US truckload market.
LM Group News Editor Jeff Berman recently conducted a wide-ranging interview with Bobby Harris, President and CEO of non asset-based 3PL BlueGrace Logistics about various aspects of the freight transportation market. A transcript of the conversation is below.
Logistics Management (LM): The driver shortage continues to be a big story. Many industry stakeholders have stated this is the worst it has been in years, or, perhaps, ever. How bad do you think it is? Bobby Harris: Even though there have been driver shortages in the past, there have been ebbs and flows. But the problem with this one is that we have not seen a solution or a remedy or something that will work itself out in the short term. We believe that there is going to have to be something significant that takes place to address that issue; otherwise, it is going to get progressively worse. It is not just a little problem. It is a big problem, and it cannot be overemphasized at this point, as it is extremely viable to supply chains.
LM: What are some possible options or solutions to improve the situation? Many carriers are taking steps to increase driver pay in a big way, especially on the truckload side. Is that alone enough to fill seats? Harris: While it is nice to see increased driver pay and incentive-based initiatives, the problem is those things take drivers from other companies and they move from one carrier to another. That does not increase the driver pool. If you walk into a high school today and ask the senior class is anyone wants to drive a truck after graduation, you likely will not find one hand raised. With an average age of 56, the driver pool is decreasing, and there are telltale signs that with the younger generation entering the workforce, there is no, or limited, interest in a blue-collar job, much less driving. At that point, we turn to the prospect of immigration, which is very hotly contested politically, but….that is going to have to be a really big part of immigration reform, wherever it is going, that needs to be considered, because without that aspect I don’t know where [carriers] are going to get drivers.
LM: What about other possible solutions? Harris: Technology will help to increase efficiency by necessity and will result in less waste. And there has to be a big market correction in driver wages. Getting drivers to come in is one thing, but it has to be something very seismic for people to say “now I may do that. I am going to quit my other blue collar job and get a CDL.” Then you could then see kids coming out of high school in a couple of years making good money driving and that could influence younger people looking for a job. Something needs to be done to make the profession more attractive or “glamorous” because it is a huge problem right now.
LM: Have you ever seen the driver shortage situation as bad as it currently is at the moment? Harris: Yes, this is definitely the worst I have seen. I started my career as a dockworker when I was 18 and can remember that if you had a CDL and wanted a job with a good carrier, you had to know somebody. If you got an interview, you were excited, as getting that job was a big deal. And when you got that job, it came with a lot of conditions like no facial hair, wearing a uniform, and now the standards have been considerably lowered to let people in.
In January I will have been with BG for 3 years. So far it has been an awesome and crazy ride. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of such an amazing group of people all contributing to the rapid growth, innovative changes, and incredible culture.
I was fresh out of college and new to Florida in 2012, and couldn’t have been more fortunate and lucky to get a chance with BlueGrace. After a few months as a NSR a new role was developed. My-self and Christin Pylant were the guinea pigs the “Recovery/Retention for Team.” There was a lot of unknown going into this new position, but even in 2012 one thing remained the same “Trust the Process.” Although it was a little different to be working directly with previously unhappy customers it proved to be successful. This was truly embracing chaos as we were contacting customers who had pretty messy situations which lead them to stop working with BlueGrace. That type of experience was invaluable. Having success in that position opened the door for me to be a part of the first, and newly created POD/Team 360 Blue. Being lucky enough to be a part of this has been critical to my growth here. We are an ever changing department and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for us. In the midst of all the change and hyper growth the one thing that has made it so easy to wake up every morning and be excited is the culture. The people here define the culture and without the group that we have it wouldn’t be possible. From Boo Grace, dunk tanks, cats vs dogs (which lead me to now own a little Cami), FSU celebration days, and all the other themes it has been incredibly fun to be a part of. The culture doesn’t just stop within the office. In July I was able to attend The Double Up Franchise Confer-ence in Las Vegas. I don’t think other companies don’t offer trips to Vegas. The knowledge, info, and tools for success I learned there will surely help me grow and sharpen my skills at BlueGrace. The people I had a chance to meet were even bet-ter. From everyone in the office in Tampa to all the franchise own-ers BlueGrace only deals with great people. All that being said I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I was given about 3 years ago. I moved to Florida knowing no one, and now I have a 175+ person Florida family. It has been a hell of a ride, and I can’t wait to embrace the future chaos!
Get to know your BG Family. Want to submit your #BGexperience? Send it with a high resolution picture to marketing@mybluegrace. com; Subject Line: My #BGExperience
Check out what employees have to say about BlueGrace’s biggest contest of the year!
TIM LARA // ENTERPRISE TRUCKLOAD COORDINATOR
“At first it’s about the money, you see that $1000 and start thinking of the ways you could spend it. Once crunch time hits it starts becoming more and more about everyone else, more and more about the company and how you want to do every-thing you can to see Bobby come out and hit that gong!” – Tim Lara
TAMMY VALENZUELA // SENIOR MANAGER, NATIONAL SALES
Don’t forget your value adds! Let our customers know that we don’t just want their shipment, we want their business. It’s easy to secure a shipment with promoting the lowest cost carrier, but we have so much more to offer. Secure long term business relationships with your customers by educating them on BG’s value adds. From BlueShip to live tracking, to 3rd party insurance and much more you’ll secure more business and get us closer to the $7.7 goal!
RYAN MCGUINNESS // FRANCHISE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Last year’s 7.5 contest was, without question, one of my favorite memories here at BlueGrace. It was a special time seeing so many people and departments come together for a common goal. There was a buzz and feel in the office that was unmatched. As you all may know, we are behind in this year’s goal of 7.7. At this point not only are we behind, but does anyone even care? Let’s change that!
Here at some tips to try to replicate or BEAT what we accomplished last year:
Get social! Talk about the contest on Twitter and Facebook. Engage and challenge your teammates and other departments. Talking about the contest helps create that buzz.
Do you know what it takes? Do you know the numbers we need to hit? Print them out and display them on your desk, by your monitor, or wherever you will see it multiple times per day. Just don’t use tape (you’re welcome Mike).
Do one just more thing than usual. Ask for that extra shipment, ask to help out, ask for an upcharge, and just ask! Doing just one more thing per customer interaction or around the office goes a long way and the right people notice. Last year’s 7.5 contest paved the way for so many people that you now see as leaders at BlueGrace. That could be you.
Since last year our office has grown so much and so has the level of talent I see every day. BlueGrace has a history of laughing in the face of ridiculous goals and just getting things done. Embrace the chaos, pur-sue this outrageous goal, be passionate, and most importantly be happy and have fun along the way!
KARI BOLLIN //TL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
I think it is important to reach company goals because it shows that we are all in this together. We all may have dif-ferent roles and responsibilities but in the end we all are here or should be here to be successful and want to be part of something bigger than what we can accomplish by ourselves. Reaching this company goal will embrace all 8 of our Core Values and I am excited to see how everyone shines!
DAVE INZERILLO // DIRECTOR ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
A good way to make sure we all hit our overall goal is to make sure you set small goals along the way that are in line with the overall goal. Know what you have to do daily and be able to make adjustments to those goals as things can change. Make sure you utilize all the resources you have including your colleges. We can achieve more when we work together, and most of all, Work hard. Don’t leave anything on the table.
RAGAN GREEN // CARRIER & ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS COORDINATOR
What motivates me is positive collaborative effort: unique skill sets communicat-ing and pushing in the same direction- such as our 7.7 goal. The Monday morning meetings are such a great way to set intention and bring focus. It may be aRagan Green // Carrier & Enterprise Solutions Coordinator
good idea to have teams briefly meet half way thru the week to bring attention back to the goal by “shouting out” any steps made towards it. Listening to each other’s input and positive collaboration is where it’s at.
STACEY ROSE // ENTERPRISE ARCHITECT
When I was asked to share my thoughts for a 7.7 column, I was given several topics to choose from including the importance of goals, motivating others, and the excitement surrounding the contest itself. As I thought about each topic and what I wanted to write about, I realized every topic was related to the next and my mind kept going back to our eight Core Values. It’s all right there. Ok, Stacy, what the hell do the Core Values have to do with Lao-Tzu’s quote about leadership and the 7.7 contest you ask? To me, our eight Core Values can be simplified into one statement: “Be a Leader”. One does not have to be given a “leadership” title to be a leader, nor does one have to explicitly be given the responsibility of leading others to be a leader. We all can be a leader in many aspects of our lives inside and outside of the company walls if we approach it with the right tools and more importantly the right attitude. If we all embrace the empowerment we have been allowed to be leaders in our daily work lives, we can-not help but be successful. We’ve already proven it. The Core Values are the tools — the “how”. Striving for goals, motivating yourself and others, contest excitement, positivity — they all tie back to the Core Values. It’s all right there.
JOE CUBERO // NATIONAL SALES MANAGER
It is VERY important to me to reach 7.7 simply being that I am competitive by na-ture and I love a challenge. This is a pretty lofty goal that has been set, but that’s what BlueGrace is all about. Whenever a goal of this magnitude is set it makes everyone in the company to take everything to the next level. Being that Culture is huge part of BG, there is a vibe in the air to WANT to succeed. 50% of hitting this goal is Attitude. Once we believe as a company we can achieve it, all that’s left to do is go and make it happen.
MELISSA BAUKNIGHT // CORPORATE RECRUITER
I started at BlueGrace 2 weeks before we reached 7.5 last year. Though I knew nothing about the contest, I knew about to experience something groundbreaking. You could feel the excitement all over the floor in EVERY department. It was an aggressive goal last year and it’s an aggressive goal this year. Only now, we have more employees to help us get there. Focus and dedication is the key. Let’s keep the momentum and hype up. #SevenPointSeven!
This month our featured franchise Q&A is with Becky Puterbaugh, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Williamsburg.
Q: How you have helped other women? We are an equal opportunity employer with 50% of our team members being women. We rec-ognize the value and special skills strong women bring to our fran-chise. Work-Life balance is a key pillar to the culture of our fran-chise. Since several of our team members are single mothers flex time has been a valued benefit. This allows them to take care of their families when needed and keeps them focused on our clients and tasks when in the office.
Q: What are some challenges you have faced as a business owner? The biggest challenge has been implementing companywide systems and processes and build-ing a winning culture. Since the Double Up conference we have amerced ourselves in the Daly principles by developing key people for key spots and holding them accountable through indi-vidual goals. Another challenge has been managing our growth. Since the beginning, we have reinvested our time and finance back into the company. This re-invest has attributed to the suc-cess of our franchise.
Q: What do you do to keep yourself motivated at the office? Running a business is very stress-ful and overwhelming. Fortunate-ly, I am able to retreat to my farm and recharge my batteries. There is just something about feeding a baby calf his bottle or watching a flock of turkeys grazing in the field that gives me peace. If I am stressed then I know my employ-ees can be stressed as well. In an effort to relieve stress and build a family atmosphere we plan events that allows us to unwind together. This year we scheduled company outings at a local baseball and amusement parks.
Q: What you like best about owning your business? The best thing about owning my own business is the flexibility in time. As most business owners will say, they work 24/7 and that is true… we are always on the clock! Fortunately my husband and I share in many of the respon-sibilities and can give each other the time that is required outside of the business. With two teenagers at home and a farm to run, it is essential to spread out our time.
Q: How you have been successful this far and your goal for your second franchise location? Success has come with persistence, encouragement and playing an active role in the business. Both Tim and I work directly with our employees, not separated by walls or a door. We re-invest into the company and realize our greatest commodity is our people. Having a second franchise location will open more doors for opportunity and new customers to serve. Our goal is to double our revenue and staff.
Q: Do you encourage more women to become business owners? As a business owner myself, I encourage any woman who is thinking about becoming a business owner. If she has the passion and resources, it can be very fulfilling and empowering.
Becky Puterbaugh Salavejus is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in Richmond, Virginia. This year, she was listed as an Altria Rising Star Finalist.
Starting January 1st, 2015 the low-sulfur surcharge on containerized cargo from Asia to the U.S. will increase by more than 3 times the current amount. According to the TSA, shippers can expect low-sulfur surcharges of $67 for cargo moving from Asia to the East Coast of the U.S. and $53 to the West Coast, the current charge is $17 and $16 respectively. The lines were facing an increase of around $365 per ton of fuel so the new surcharge is expected to help even out the cost.
By now, you probably already know that BlueShip 3.0 is the most advanced Transportation Management System to date. With features like rating, routing and tracking of shipments, it’s easy to see why Inbound Logistics added BlueShip 3.0 to their TMS Buyer’s Guide! Click here to check out the full Inbound Logistics’ TMS Buyer’s Guide 2014!
Starting any business involves a lot of time, money, and planning…
The first stages of starting a company should be comprised of research and planning.
Once the details are in order, the second stage is primarily about money. The start-up capital of a business particular to transportation can run at approximately $300,000. Got a large trust fund? Most of us don’t and it’s up to the bank in determining the credit line. If you don’t want to go into a business alone, then the possibility of investors or partners are also an option.
The third stage, assuming the company made it past stage two, is operations. Having the necessary office supplies and software are essential in operating smoothly, so set yourself up for success!
Now that the company is officially ready, the most important stage of all is stage four, CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS! If there are no clients there is no business… period! Treat the relationships already obtained with care, and constantly build new clients. It’s in stage four that most companies fail. Business owners will break their backs to get off the ground and assume the clients will come, or think they have done enough in stages 1-3. Stage four is never achieved, it has to be constant and that’s why hiring a marketing professional is essential.
Interested in the transportation business but don’t have all the time to research or think you can’t afford it? Consider starting a BlueGrace Logistics Franchise. It costs a fraction of the average transportation business, offers brand recognition to new clients and the opportunity to enhance your relationship with existing ones. With BlueGrace franchise, most of the hard work is already done and as the owner you simply need to focus on stage four and build on your client relationships!
Want to know what everyone is talking about? Here are some terms in the freight business to get you up to speed:
Agent – Someone who conducts business for another person and/or company with some or all decision-making authority.
Axle Load – The weight limit allowed for each axle over the nation’s highways.
Bill of Lading (BOL) – The contract between the shipper and the carrier, broker or agent that binds the parties together. It also includes all arrangements pertaining to cargo, recipients, and more.
Bulk Freight – Commodity cargo that is transported unpackaged in large quantities. It refers to material in either liquid or granular, particulate form, as a mass of relatively small solids, such as petroleum, grain, coal, or gravel.
Carrier – A person or company who transports freight for a fee.
Concealed Loss – When the recipient of a package is not able to see damage to the item(s) until the package is opened. The damage was not visible at the time of delivery.
Embargo – Any event that prevents the freight from being accepted or handled. This includes natural disasters and traffic obstacles.
Exceptions – Any conflict noted on the delivery sheet before it is signed to indicate there was an issue with the shipment.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) – The total weight of the transport and its cargo.
Tariff – Institutes the cost and contract of freight shipment for the shipper and carrier.
Time-Definite – Guarantee the delivery will occur on a specific day and/or time.
The answer is YES. Most states will be voting on different propositions that deal with transportation and traffic. In Florida alone, three different counties will vote on these issues: Polk, Alachua and Pinellas.
In Polk County, voters will head to the polls to decide whether their sales tax should increase by a penny. The increase will equate to approximately 64 million dollars per year and will be divided evenly for road improvements and transit.
In Alachua County, a similar one cent referendum is proposed, but for a contracted period of eight years. Only a portion of the money would be spent on roads and transit, with the remaining funds spent on pedestrian projects.
In Pinellas County, voters will decide on a one cent sales tax increase that will be spent on bus expansion and a rail system that will link Saint Petersburg and Clearwater.
Many other states are voting on similar propositions like Austin, Texas. Austin is among the heaviest traffic congested cities in America. There is a state proposition for highway and transit improvements, and also a city proposition for a new rail system with nearly a one billion dollar price tag.
This election has the ability to improve our highways and relieve the roads of their congestion leaving less opportunity for embargo. The relationships between the shipper and carrier is what we here at BlueGrace manage, therefore these propositions can help our business while helping other businesses in the same.