Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Select a Freight Broker

Hallelujah, you just landed a big client that will double your manufacturing output. But your current freight provider can’t handle the extra loads. What do you do? Several freight brokers have called you in the past but you don’t know anything about them or how they operate.

Why consider a freight broker in the first place? They don’t own their own trucks so what are the benefits?

Because covering loads for their clients and managing shipments from pick-up to delivery are a freight brokers’ number one full time job. That’s all they do. So they are experts: experts on routing, experts on lane rates, experts on areas and regions of the country, experts on the intricacies of shipping different types of commodities and on different types of equipment. Unlike an actual trucking company who only has access to their own trucks, freight brokers have access to thousands of carriers and trucks. It is a freight broker’s job to know where there are available trucks. This is extremely helpful in getting short notice spot freight picked up on time. Freight brokerages typically carry additional cargo insurance that will help protect your loads should there be a claim.

Now, how to do you select the right one that fits your business?

Conduct the same type of due diligence you would with any other vendor. No matter how great a sales job you did, if you don’t deliver the product you have an unhappy customer. You can’t trust the load with just anybody. Unfortunately there are some unsavory and unethical freight brokers out there, and even worse…there are scam artists that will take your load, send you a bill, find a truck and run off with the money never paying the hardworking driver that delivered the freight. Your left holding the bag.

Here’s how to conduct that due diligence to ensure you select the best freight broker.

1. Check any freight broker’s authority documents and bond and make sure that the names and address on all documents match. If they don’t match it may be a scam.

2. Ask them about, and check their experience and reputation. How long have they been in business? Are they truly that expert you need or are they new to the game? Do they have any specializations? Are they members of industry associations, or have they won any awards for service?

3. Ask them about their size, as it does make a difference. The bigger they are the more they’ve already proven themselves to be trustworthy AND they have access to many more available trucks.

4. Ask them about their financial stability. Ask them what their credit worthiness ratings are and make sure to ask them how they pay the carriers they work with. Do they pay carriers fast or do they wait for you to pay your bill first? If they aren’t paying the trucks fast it’s a red flag.

5. Ask and investigate their attitude towards ethics and integrity. Will they always do the right thing? How do they treat the hard working drivers?

6. Ask them about their operations. Do they offer a single point of contact or are you left with dealing with “whoever” answers the phone? Do they have operations open 24 hours a day including weekends and holidays? Lastly do they have robust technology to aid in the tracking and managing of the freight as it’s on the road?

7. Most importantly ask your freight broker how they communicate. Are you left wondering what’s going on with your freight or are they keeping you updated every step of the way? Lack of communication and information indicates a freight broker really isn’t managing your shipment.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Age is Old?

This story was sent to me by a former student of Brooke Training who has become a great friend as well. My desire is to not only teach the skills needed to succeed in the transportation industry but also inspire others to live everyday as a gift, just like Rose:

My Name is Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being .

She said, 'Hi handsome My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze.

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age..

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor..
Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose..'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Moving forward,
Jeff Roach