Better Together: Carrier Symposium 2018
Last week, we held our annual Carrier Symposium in Northwest Arkansas – and it was an action-packed day full of education, recognition, networking and appreciation for those carriers that provide capacity in support of our shipper customers. This year, the event hosted 225 total attendees from Transplace’s core carrier partners, with 150 carriers from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. represented.
It was also held at a very appropriate time of the year – during Truck Driver Appreciation Week – and we were able to recognize some of the great men and women in the trucking industry for their hard work and dedication. We hope that you took the time to thank a trucker last week!
Transplace State of the Business and Industry Updates
To kick off the day, Transplace SVP Ben Cubitt shared insight into our current business strategy and provided an update on market conditions. Ben noted, “Working with you [our carrier partners], we’re able to provide capacity solutions and visibility in a very tough market,” and that at Transplace, “we have a better understanding of the market than we’ve ever had before.”
We then held a panel to discuss current trends in the supply chain and take a look at what carriers are seeing in the industry – including how we can all be “better together.” Mark McEntire, SVP of operations at Transplace, framed up the conversation by asking: “Are we challenging each other? Are we continuously, consciously choosing a better way to work together?”
We also took a closer look at some of the ways that our carriers find value, including:
- Access to capacity and solution development
- Utilization (actual driver time used vs. potential driver time)
- Ease of use: good processes and communication
- Improved shipment visibility
- Getting paid on time with “first hit” accuracy
A Closer Look at the Economy
Mervin Jebaraj, professor at the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, provided an economic update to attendees, sharing a number of key trends for carriers to know. While the economy is strong at the moment, it’s important to look ahead and plan for the future. Currently, consumers are driving the economy – they are spending more money, and the overall economy continues to trend upward. Whether or not consumers can sustain this growth, however, is still to be determined, and that will certainly affect the transportation industry in the long term.
Breakout Session Learnings Throughout the Day
Multiple breakout sessions were also part of the afternoon program, giving attendees the chance to learn about and give input on a number of topics of interest. For example, in the session “Freight Network Technology,” attendees heard about a number of supply chain efficiency initiatives, including SmartWay certification, and why efficiency is so necessary in today’s industry. With production costs declining, the supply chain is becoming a larger percentage of overall product costs; and there’s more concern for a number of environmental issues, making corporate responsibility more important than ever.
Attendees also heard about what’s coming down the supply chain pipeline, from the newest technology to trends in consumer expectations, including:
- Near real time updates on status
- Proactive notifications
- Pick-up and delivery confirmations
- Full transparency
- All modes, every shipment, 24/7!
Today, we have the data we need to keep ahead of these growing demands, but it’s important that we continue to make that data actionable and improve our overall supply chain efficiency.
Moving Forward with Great Partnerships
We concluded the day with our Carrier of the Year Awards – a chance to honor the best of the best within our carrier base. This year, we recognized 24 transportation service providers in the categories of truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL), flatbed, private fleet, dedicated, refrigerated, specialty, expedite and cross-border, Mexico and Canada. Congratulations to all of the winners!
A critical part of all good business relationships is sharing best practices, discussing feedback and keeping an open dialogue going. We truly value the conversations we had with our carriers last week, and we’re looking forward to continuing these important partnerships well into future. Thank you to all who attended our Carrier Symposium this year, and we’ll see you in 2019!
How did you show your appreciation to carriers and truck drivers last week?