Top Places to Work

Consumer Brands Spearheads Contactless Delivery Task Force

www.ttnews.com, Connor Wolf, July 9, 2020, 2:30 PM

A task force was launched that brings together manufacturers, supply chain partners and retailers to develop standards for reducing human contact when moving freight from Class 8 vehicles to last-mile drop-offs.

The Consumer Brands Association on June 29 launched the Contactless Delivery Task Force to create protocols to ensure delivery processes are safer and more efficient.

“Everyone is very concerned about how do we keep our employees safe, how do we keep things moving efficiently in a high demand environment,” Tom Madrecki, vice president of supply chains at the Consumer Brands Association, told Transport Topics on July 7. “But that issue of safety continues to percolate and continues to be very relevant.”

The task force will specifically study and create contactless pickup and delivery protocols with the aim of being more efficient and reducing employee risk. It has been growing since its launch and now includes 25 consumer packaged goods companies and retailers.

“We’re really looking at how do we reduce human interaction so that we can continue to facilitate the movement of goods and services,” Madrecki said. “A lot of companies raised the need for contactless deliveries mechanisms or tools.”

The task force was born from the impact and lessons of the coronavirus. The ongoing pandemic challenged consumer packaged goods companies to keep their supply chains moving efficiently while reducing contact to ensure employee safety.

Land O’Lakes is one such company and is now a partner on the task force.

“While a major disruptor, COVID-19 now gives us the opportunity to partner across our industry and develop the processes and procedures that will define the consumer packaged goods space for years to come,” Yone Dewberry, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer at Land O’Lakes, said in a statement. “Health, safety and efficiency have always been our priorities, but now we’re forced to look for new and innovative ways of incorporating technology even further.”

The coronavirus has been driving the need to limit in-person interactions beyond the task force. DHL Express, for instance, has been working to balance social distancing and meeting the needs of customers.

“Technology has played a key role in maintaining our business and implementing processes that allow for social distancing and minimize person-to-person contact,” Pamela Duque, communications manager at DHL, told TT. “We’re also holding virtual meetings and webinars with our customers and employees, and have implemented remote payment via our On Demand Delivery platform, through which customers can also choose their delivery options. Until further notice, we have waived the requirement for a recipient signature when delivering parcels.”

DHL Supply Chain ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.

The task force has looked at digitization as a path forward. Partner companies found electronic delivery verification was a natural solution to keeping their supply chains moving efficiently. The task force is first looking at electronic bills of lading (eBOL) processes but plans to branch out.

“We specifically looked at that as the first bite of the apple when it comes to contactless deliveries and how do we remove paperwork and the physical process from deliveries,” Madrecki said. “But there are clearly other applications.”

Madrecki noted the standards the task force is looking at involve the physical side of the delivery process as well as the more technical side such as information and data sharing. To that end, the task force also includes technology companies such as Accenture, Coyote Logistics and Vector.

“As shippers continue to build more efficient and resilient supply chains, the eBOL fills in a gap that many clients have been asking for,” Henry Blum, senior manager at Accenture, said in a statement. “The touchless BOL will result in entry error reduction, increased visibility to OS&Ds, drive lower transportation costs and benefit their green footprint.”

Madrecki noted the underlining mechanisms that would enable a company to have an eBOL solution are very similar to the mechanisms that would allow them to have other solutions in different types of environments. It’s all an electronic transfer of information.

“If we can work in a concerted way to provide a workable standard for that, then there are clearly other applications to other parts of the delivery ecosystem,” Madrecki said. “It can definitely open up into a lot of different directions.”

Brokers: How to have better relationships with truck drivers and owner-operators

Truckstop.com (www.truckstop.com), October 16, 2018

It’s no secret that the relationships between brokers and carriers can be strained. It can be easy to focus more on shipper relationships since that’s where the money comes from. At the same time, you have a job that needs to be done, and that job can only be done by a truck driver.

So, how can you build a better relationship with owner-operators and truck drivers that will help your business?

Build trust.

People gravitate to brands and companies they trust. Relationships are no different, so build a reputation as a broker that carriers can trust. There are a lot of carriers out there who view brokers negatively and think they’re all out to pull a fast one. You can start to prove them wrong with a few easy steps:

  • Pass along shipper and receiver details before they have to ask.
  • Share weather and road closure information if it impacts the lane they’re traveling.
  • Thank them.
  • If they do a good job, call them the next time you have a similar load or lane.

Remember: Your success is dependent on their success, so do whatever you can so you both look good. Developing loyal relationships will save you money. So while it’s tempting to always go with a cheaper rate, you may be losing a carrier with great customer service – that means less business in the future.

Stand out.

If you’re providing excellent customer service not just to your shippers but to your carriers, you’ll stand out from the rest of the broker pack. How can you do that?

  • Understand who you’re talking to and take an interest in them. This doesn’t have to be personal, you can ask about their trucking business, the lanes they like to run, etc. However, if you know they’re trying to get home for their son’s basketball game, try to help them do that. If you know their significant other’s name, ask how they are.
  • Ask if there’s anything you can do to help them get the job done, and do it if you can.
  • Help them find a return load to get out of their delivery location.
  • Again, tell them thank you, or send a text saying you appreciate their hard work.

Carriers will see the value in having a good broker relationship if they know you see the value in them. After all, you need them to complete a job you’re getting paid for.

Be respectful.

You’re all working with deadlines, and a carrier’s time is just as precious as yours. Be courteous, treat drivers like the professionals they are, acknowledge their time constraints, and do what you can to help them while they’re driving your load to its destination. Answer calls and respond to their emails as soon as possible. This will go a long way in bridging the trust gap.

Honor commitments and be transparent.

You don’t like being given the runaround by a carrier, so extend them the same courtesy. Specifically:

  • Be clear about the load, the lane, and any shipping or receiving expectations so there’s no surprises.
  • Tell them if you go with another carrier because of a lower rate. They may decide to match that rate.
  • Don’t cancel shipments. If it can’t be avoided, tell them immediately, and try to find them another load so they’re not left out in the cold.
  • Tell them about any rate changes. That means location, fuel cost, etc. Those things aren’t personal and help explain last minute changes.
  • Return phone calls as quickly as possible.
  • When necessary, make changes at delivery locations ahead of time to make everyone’s life easier.

Full transparency will help develop lasting working relationships with people and businesses that could help you in the future. Keep your promises; good carriers are going to keep theirs, and you’ll know to work with them in the future.

Be aware of future business opportunities.

If you learned about the carrier and know specifics about their truck’s capabilities, reach out to them when you have a load that matches their preferred lanes and abilities. It might help to keep a notecard or spreadsheet with specific carrier information that you can refer to as needed. This can be particularly helpful when you’ve got special needs like hazmat certificates, less-than-full loads, or an unpopular location due to deadheading.

Know your shippers and receivers. 

If you know the shipping and receiving people you’re working with, it will be a lot easier to smooth out the wrinkles that occur when you’ve got freight being moved. Say you need a receiver to open early. If you know the people you’re asking to go out of their way, it will increase the likelihood your freight is delivered on time. It also makes it easier for the carrier to get reloaded and back out on the road.

Communicate.

Always tell a carrier anything and everything you know about a load. This goes well beyond date and time. Tell them what they’ll be hauling and if the shipper has specific requirements like tarps, straps, or hazmat certificates.

Listen.

When working with a carrier for the first time, ask them about their truck’s capabilities and which lanes they prefer to run, then listen to their answer. It means an easy contact in the future when you have a load close to home or in their preferred area. After your load is delivered, ask how it went. Address any problems and note them for future deliveries to that receiver.

Don’t forget to say thanks.

Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to make a big difference. A quick text of thanks after a delivery will let them know you acknowledge and appreciate the effort. For exceptional service and a truck driver who really went the extra mile, send a gift card via email for a cup of coffee or a dozen donuts. Don’t take it for granted that they drove over-night in hazardous conditions to get a load delivered on time.

Pay quickly. 

In this age of electronic funds transfer, there’s no reason not to be taking advantage of quick pay options like LoadPay. Plus, they can simplify your payment processes and save you money. And anytime a carrier has the option to get paid quicker and easier they’re going to be interested.

The best brokers focus on building relationships with people. Get to know your carriers, and it’ll benefit you both.

Integrity Named to the Tampa Bay Journal 2018 Best Places To Work List

Tampa Bay Business Journal names Integrity Express Logistics as 2018’s BEST PLACE TO WORK – LARGE CATEGORY!  Integrity Express Logistics first opened its’ doors in 2007 with three employees and an aspiration to do logistics a bit differently – placing a strong emphasis on what has become their core values: High Performance, Team Effectiveness, Passion for Excellence, Sharing Ideas and, you guessed it, Integrity!  Over the past 11 years, IEL’s growth has flourished to include 300 employees across five different locations including home office located in Blue Ash of Cincinnati, Ohio .  The largest satellite office, located in Tampa, Florida, opened in 2014 and in just four years has earned the number one spot in Tampa’s Best Place to Work – Large Category (between 50-99 employees) according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal!  The Tampa office, led by Sales Manager Kevin McCaig, is comprised of about 70 employees and earned a Quantum Score of 96.4334 according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.  IEL has also previously been recognized as Cincinnati’s Fastest Growing Company, one of the Best Places to Work in Greater Cincinnati, and one of the Top Work Places in Greater Cincinnati.  All IEL locations live and breathe the company motto “WORK HARD, PLAY HARD” and honor each individual employee’s contribution to the overall success of the team.  We congratulate our Tampa office on their continued success and thank the Tampa Bay Business Journal for this incredible recognition!