have reluctance to deal with non-asset-based brokers.” He says
that’s based on the well-founded belief that some brokers are
small-time and fly-by-night.
He feels a program to reward carriers that perform to expectations—and conversely, penalize those who underperform—is
necessary. Sunteck has such a program, but it takes more than
that to differentiate yourself in this industry, says Williams. “The
concept of performance excellence requires discipline to execute
and deliver value-added services and systems to your customers.
You need to have the ability to attract and retain the highest quality asset providers, whether they are carriers or warehouse operators, and have strategic relationships with them in place.”
Preparing for the Impending
The truck driver shortages of 1983 and 2004 could be
dwarfed by what’s coming by 2012, in the view of Tom
Nightingale, chief marketing officer at Con-way. New hours-of-service rules and CSA 2010 are doing nothing to help that
situation. Still, there are ways to prepare for the crunch.
If in fact the economy is coming back, it will soak up the extra
capacity that the industry had during the recession. That’s a good
problem, Nightingale says, but there are consequences to having
Solutions for Mobile
SCM & Logistics
What better way to get greater productivity from
your mobile workforce than by equipping it with the
proper technology, Steve Tremitiere, vice president of
sales at Airclic, asks. And the comparatively low cost
is a key advantage of such solutions.
Most companies want to solve a specific supply chain
problem, like manual tracking that cries out to be automated. Or they’re looking for the competitive advantage
that higher productivity from their field force can give
them. Or they may need better visibility. In Tremitiere’s
opinion, they can get better performance management
out of their supply chain, their assets and their employees with the proper mobile-technology investment.
Such solutions can be relatively cheap to get up and
running, and less costly to maintain. From a speed perspective, they can be operative fairly quickly, usually a
month or less.
Usability is key to this type of initiative. “You need to get
the user involved in the process, early and often,” he says.
“You train them early and continue to train them as the solu-
tion evolves. Then you will have a successful solution. If
people who have to use it every day like it, it will work. If
they don’t, they will ensure that it fails.”
With proper implementation, Tremitiere says, you can
see ROI in under six months.
He says he’s seeing adoption of this technology across a
wide range of industries, not least of which are logistics service
providers. “They have been at the forefront.” And, of course, major
users are those companies who rely on 3PLs.
Tremitiere warns that not all mobile-solutions providers are
alike. “Do they have solution-delivery experience? Have they
deployed the type of solution I’m looking for before? And refer-
ences are key.”
It’s also important for the user to be agnostic in terms of
device and carrier. “If you’re locked into a particular device
or carrier, that’s an issue. Future-proofing is important. You
need a partner than is flexible and can grow as your business
“There are 142,000 fewer drivers now than in 2007,” he says.
“Take that and layer on top certain government regulations, and
there will be a dampening effect on capacity. One [regulation] is the
hours-of-service requirement. Its effect is a bit nebulous, but it will
shrink down capacity again by limiting the hours drivers can work.
Two is much more certain. CSA 2010 can take as much as 5 percent
of truckload capacity out of the marketplace.”
Couple all of this with banks being stingier with financing and
the net is: “We could see a loss of of 400,000 drivers by 2012. We
were only at 130,00 in the crisis of 2004. And we saw that freight
was abandoned on docks then. This is a problem that’s looming
and of far greater magnitude than that one was.”