During the Carrier Council in July of 2007, we conducted various roundtable discussions regarding areas for mutual opportunity that were not necessarily being pursued in our day-to-day conversations between Tucker and our carriers. Some of those topics included the following.
· Expedited Service – we discussed the real potential for giving our incumbent carriers the right of first refusal when it comes to expedited shipments. The reality is that we are often paying expeditors, when many of our carriers may have the capacity to haul the freight and could enjoy the additional line haul and deadhead compensation often associated with time sensitive freight.
· Backhaul – another discussion had to do with accepting inbound loads that we identify as West to East. Often the answer is that “we have too many trucks on the East coast and can’t take any more inbounds”. We agreed that the carrier should and would be offered a complimenting return load (backhaul) to offset the chronic imbalance. We also suggested that often times, we could offer two backhauls for the acceptance of one inbound.
· It was almost unanimous that any 24/7 drop and hook opportunities be presented and explored. This was true for both van and flatbed carrier participants. We are compiling areas where those opportunities exist and will advise.
· We solicited suggestions on how Tucker Company can help to improve driver recruitment efforts by our carriers. We agreed that we would forward any driver inquiries we receive to our Council members.
· Trusted Carrier status was discussed and explained. Trusted Carriers obtain the ability to log into our website and see all of the loads in our database that are pending have the opportunity to accept them 24/7. There was interest in that opportunity and passwords and logins were assigned to some of the Council members.
· The rising cost of fuel was a concern for everyone and the projected $4.00 per gallon by 4th Quarter spurred conversation about carriers’ regional initiatives. Opportunities exist in the short haul market especially in the Northeast corridor. Greater rate per mile and less fuel usage are certainly good incentives to pursue this further.
· We agreed that improvements in EDI, web, or other electronic communication between Tucker and our carriers can make result in major productivity gains. Those mentioned that could be replaced by electronic interface are: faxed load tenders, freight payments by EFT, tracing information, Tucker’s visibility into carriers’ equipment availability, carriers’ visibility into Tucker’s shipment availability, and acceptance of Tucker shipments via “trusted carrier,” and electronic delivery of scanned PODs,
· We discussed performance metrics that could help Tucker and Tucker’s carriers “keep score” on each other with an eye toward improvement and generation of new ideas. We discovered that this is a service that our carriers are currently enjoying from other 3PLs but not (yet) Tucker.
· We discussed the future of the Carrier Council. It was agreed the Council was a successful and valuable endeavor to continue and improve. Tucker has since decided to hold the 2008 Carrier Council the day before our Carrier Golf Outing to help reduce travel costs by combining the occurrence of the two events.
· We agreed to make ourselves available to each other in between Council meetings to bounce ideas off each other and tap into each other’s expertise as important industry and legal events unfold. In just the last few months since the Council meeting, we have already begun to collaborate in this way in a productive manner.