Advocating, Learning, and Networking
Mid-October, I attended the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) Policy Forum in Washington DC. Overall, 111 TIA members traveled to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of the industry. Working in “State Delegations” we met with over 200 Members of Congress to educate these lawmakers on our industry and some of the challenges we face today.
The feedback was very positive as we hit on things like cracking down on unlawful brokerage activities, supply-chain functionality and sustainability, and the PRO Act.
Several Members of Congress committed to sending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) a letter and/or a congressional hearing request regarding unlawful brokerage activities. Their support in holding FMCSA accountable will hopefully result in more enforcement of stopping these illegal practices.
Charles Miller of Evans Transportation and I were the TIA members from Wisconsin. Together we held met with and discussed issues of interest to our clients with these elected officials from Wisconsin:
- Senator Ron Johnson
- Senator Tammy Baldwin
- Representative Scott Fitzgerald
- Representative Tom Tiffany
- Representative Mike Gallagher
Kicking off October, I also attended TFWW’s annual Agent Meeting. Each year TFWW invites all agency owners to corporate headquarters in Bolingbrook IL for company training, industry education, networking and meetings with senior representatives from core LTL carriers.
This year, Customodal as an agency was again recognized as a TOP 25 STATION (#23) as measured by size AND as a TOP 10 STATION (#7) for Operational Excellence. More importantly we were one of ONLY THREE stations achieving BOTH recognitions. Detroit MI and Fort Lauderdale FL were the other two double-recognized stations.
During the three-day event, I met with Dayton Freight, Yellow, Estes, FedEx, TForce Freight (formerly UPS Freight), XPO Logistics, and Roadrunner Transportation.
With each carrier I discussed issues specific to Customodal’s clients including client-specific pricing, capacity forecasts, network improvements/acquisitions, equipment investment, driver recruiting/training, and other issues to better help advise, direct, steer, and manage our clients (ie YOUR) freight moves over the next 12-18 months.
Industry and company-specific topics included:
- What our corporate parent TFI International has in the pipeline (Key Takeaway…more acquisitions)
- Cybersecurity – Recent high profile attacks on FedEx and Maersk make this a priority for TFWW and I am impressed by their commitment & investment.
- Connect TMS development and improvement. Customodal is one of 4 stations currently selected as a Beta station for roll-outs and enhancements meaning our clients see new features sooner and their early feedback is used to further improve the system. We expect to see a number of new features added to Connect in the next 2 years.
- Domestic Freight Forwarding (Air-Next Flight Out, Same Day, 2 Day, 3 Day, Economy, dedicated air charter) (Ground expedite, White Glove, Special Projects) [Customodal is one of only 6 stations in the TFWW network certified to handle AIR shipments at the station level]
- International Freight Forwarding (DHL parcel, Air freight, LCL/FCL Ocean) (Import or Export)
- Back-office process best practices for carrier invoice audit & disputes
- Claims and All-Risk Protection (Key Takeaway: All-Risk will continue to become the norm instead of the exception)
- Credit, collections and finance best practices
- Truckload spot markets and contract pricing environments, impacts of unlawful re-brokering by carriers in the full truckload markets
- Intermodal market status and additions to our partner carriers to improve capacity
All-in-all it was an exhausting, non-stop three days that will pay dividends for Customodal and our clients as we work to stay ahead of the competition.