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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Commodity or Transportation Partner?

Many of our clients are contractors for the USPS. Most of our clients are in the truckload or LTL business, and even our private fleet clients haul for hire on backhauls. When you backhaul off load boards, for brokers, etc., you are a commodity. To the shipper, you are a 53 foot trailer. However, this is not the way your primary customers should view you.

Do your primary shippers view you as a commodity or a partner? If you are a commodity - you'll get bumped for someone cheaper. And, simply being good is not good enough. Even with our USPS contractors who fall under the GPS mandate - the USPS many times does not really know how good you are. They're getting your LoadTrek-generated arrival information - but they may not be "getting it".

I have found that one approach is to ask the right questions of your shippers. Deep, thought-provoking questions. What are their biggest challenges with their customers regarding the supply chain? What trends do they see affecting their supply chain in the coming year? Questions that show you know their business, you know your business, and that their success is your success. Questions that reveal problems you can help them with.

If you are met with a blank stare - you're dealing with a person who sees you and your company as a collection of trailers that somehow magically move around. You are a commodity. If you get back answers that are meaningful, you have found your internal champion.

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