Finding the Ideal Facility – Part 1 – Picking the Location

When trying to create the perfect facility there are many different things to consider – site location, site layout, building layout, lighting, security, etc.  There also is no such thing as a “universally perfect” facility.  Each company will have a slightly different priority list and even within the same company you will find differences at each different location.  As an example, a facility in Miami will have different priorities compared to one in Minneapolis.  The Miami location will need to worry about hurricane proofing while Minneapolis must worry about things like snow load.

In general, we have several common items that need to be considered:

  • Site location and size
  • Building construction type and layout
  • Required infrastructure
  • Parking for employee vehicles, tractors and trailers
  • Environmental considerations
  • Political/social considerations

This week we will focus on the site location and size.

When considering the ideal site, the following should come into your planning process:

  • Size of the lot.
  • Shape of the lot
  • Proximity to an Interstate
  • Proximity to your customer base
  • Commuting distance for your employees

Regarding size, you will need to calculate how much space that the fleet to be domiciled at that location requires, including space to maneuver vehicles without causing any damages.  Assume 80 feet for a tractor trailer combination.  That means you need a minimum of 133 feet (80 feet + 53 feet), and more likely 150 feet between rows of trailers to allow for enough space to pull trailers in and out of the rows.  Additionally, you will need about 10 feet in width for every trailer. As an example, if you have 90 trailers and the lot is 350 feet wide, you will need to have enough room for 3 rows of 30 trailers (allowing enough space for a laneway at both ends).  You will then need approximately 450 feet in length to fit the 90 trailers.  This is before we find space to park the tractors, put up the building, etc.

Tractor parking is a little more of an art as highway tractors can be anywhere from 20 to 29 feet long depending on the wheelbase.  Day cabs will run about 5-6 feet shorter.  For tractor parking in a tight yard, consider using angle parking as it will shorten the width needed compared to straight on.

There are a few other major considerations with a site:

 

  • Being close to your customers as well as an Interstate (or other major highway) means that you will be minimizing unpaid miles – this is a cost that needs to be considered when choosing a site as it is effectively a fixed overhead charge that will eat into your profit on almost every trip.
  • The physical shape and landscape of the property. Ideally the lot will be either square or rectangular.  This will reduce the amount of wasted space that reduces parking capacity.
  • What is the natural drainage of the lot? Will it need significant ground preparation and a catch basin system?
  • Are there any waterways or aquifers in the area? Those could result in restrictions put on your ability to refuel in the yard as well as the storage of items like used oil or anti freeze.  You may need to construct a berm for any spill containment.
  • Zoning – ideally any site you select will already have the proper zoning from the municipality. Having to apply for a variance or zoning change will result in additional time and expenses as well as injecting some uncertainty into the project.   The municipality may reject your application, especially if it is a jurisdiction that has already shown hostility to our industry with things like parking restrictions or traffic bylaws that require trucks to reroute.
  • What is the planned use for surrounding properties? Will those uses have a potential impact on your planned operation?
  • If you think that you may need to expand in the future, gain an option on an adjacent lot. Otherwise you could find yourself land locked in the future.
  • What is the tax structure in that municipality? Pay attention not only to the rate but how the value will be calculated.  It is not uncommon for nearby jurisdictions to have vastly different property taxes on similar sized and priced lots.
  • What services are currently available for the property and what will be the buyer’s responsibility to provision? Pay attention to things like natural gas and fibre optic availability as the cost to have these brought to your property can be high.  Without some form of reliable high-speed internet, you could find your staff unable to work effectively. What sort of electrical service can you get, and will it be enough to power your planned operations?
  • Were there any previous uses that may require environmental remediation? Remediation can be very costly. Take this into account if buying a property that has already been used as a terminal.
  • What sort of soil does the lot have? The soil composition may impact the footings required for your desired building.  How stable it is may impact the amount of earthworks are needed before you can use the property.  The soil can also impact any environmental concerns (example – a fuel tank leak in sandy soil may go down several feet until it hits bedrock or clay.  It may then run for hundreds of feet underground.  If you need to do a remediation this could easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars).
  • Surrounding neighbours – will your drivers be coming and going at all hours or will they mostly be operating during daytime hours?
    • What sort of surface the yard has have an impact here. If you have a dirt or gravel parking area you may run into a dust issue, resulting in the need for periodic applications of some sort of dust abatement product.
  • There needs to be adequate parking for both your staff and any visitors.
  • The building that houses the terminal should have enough room for future expansion without causing onsite traffic flow problems.
  • Are there any location specific needs, such as where to pile snow in northern states? If you have a facility in places like Buffalo you will either need to leave aside space to pile snow, have some sort of melting system or have someone in place to truck it away.
  • In northern states, there may be a need for plugs to operate block heaters in the winter months.

This list in not exhaustive and may differ depending on the location you are searching in.  The take away is you need to do your homework before you start looking.  Spend the time up front to know what you are realistically looking for will allow you to have a list that you can use to compare different options against each other. If you are not sure of what you need, enlist the help of an expert.  Many commercial real estate brokers will have people on staff that can give you the necessary guidance.

A final point – not all real estate brokers are equal.  Don’t just go with the person who helped you buy or sell your house.  A residential specialist is unlikely to have the skill sets or supporting services to help you through the maze of regulations that you will face in the commercial/industrial marketplace.  Go with a commercial real estate agent from the start as they will be knowledgeable about things like zoning or acceptable uses as well as knowing the questions to ask and have the resources to let you get things right the first time.

Next week we will look at how to design your ideal terminal building.

Retention Action Plan – Stage 2 – Laying the Ground Work

SOPs for 2018 and Beyond – Start Improving Now!

Many of us have a procedures manual that sits on a desk somewhere, collecting dust and probably only used when a new employee comes on board.  At a previous company we had one that was called Big Red.  It was in a 3-inch red binder (hence the name) and it was so detailed that it included specific screens, keystrokes and entry fields for many processes.  It should have been a great resource, especially for new hires, people covering for vacations or for those processes that only happened a couple of times a year (such as inventory counts or year end processes). The problem was that it was a static document and a lot of the time it showed how a process “should” be done, not how it was done.  Missing would be things like customer-specific items (such as company A requires a consolidated invoice).  They can also be lagging people finding a better way to do something, making some pages out of date as soon as they are published and distributed.

The reality is that unless you are ISO certified it is unlikely that you are doing many reviews or audits of your SOPs.  It can easily happen – most of us run lean staffing levels, there is always something customer-related that is “top priority” and various other reasons that cause us to push a review off.    However, if you are trying to maintain a culture of continuous improvement failing to update your SOPs is a lost opportunity.

Think of the changes that could happen in a year.  Upgrades to any of your ERP, Accounting, HR, Payroll or Shop systems.  New regulations that may require different record keeping. New customer requirements that have been implemented across the board.  New training that has shown employees a better way to do something.  These are just a few examples, we can all think of many more.  Now think of how many are documented.  How many of those are handled by only a single person? Now what happens if that person leaves the organization?  So why is the SOP review considered to be something that can be put off yet again?

So how do we make sure that our SOP documents are effect and up to date?  Consider having them on an intranet site that is only accessible to your employees.  This will help make it more easily accessible, which should result in it being accessed more often.  Being more visible should result in discrepancies being identified more often and more quickly.

When writing your SOP, make it as detailed as possible.  An SOP should be something that you can give to almost anyone within your organization so that they could take over the process and complete it.  One of the best ways is to have a few different views of the process with each one getting progressively more detailed.

Step One – Flowcharting

Show the process as part of a flowchart.  Allow the audience to see how that one process fits into the larger organization.  Many processes may seem trivial or “just busywork” to the person doing the tasks.  By displaying how that process fits into the larger picture, you can increase employee satisfaction by showing them that a group of tasks helps to contribute to customer satisfaction and the company’s success.  Alternatively, the diagram may bring to attention processes and tasks that do not contribute value and are candidates for either re-engineering or elimination.  If the process is to satisfy the requirements of a small number of customers, now would be the time to have your account managers approach those customers to ensure that the process is still being used or perhaps needs modification.  There is no use trying to optimize a process only to find out that the audience for it has changed their requirements.

Being as detailed as possible will assist in doing an optimization for two reasons – one, it allows an auditor to identify unnecessary tasks; and two, it forces you to check if those are still the required steps.  As an example, an accounting process may call for 8 tasks to occur in a specific sequence.  However, your accounting software has been recently updated and three of those tasks are no longer needed because they can now happen as part of a single command instead of running them individually.  The new SOP should reflect the reduced number of steps.

Step 2 – Checklists

The next step is to create a checklist that provides more detail than the flowchart.  This should have enough detail that an experienced operator will understand what steps are required, but not quite enough that a new employee would be able to do the process without additional information.  For example, a very simple invoicing process may look like this:

  • Ensure that all load documents and data for the billing period have been entered
  • Ensure that all proof of deliveries have been scanned into the system
  • Perform the invoice run
  • Determine how the customer wants their invoices and either e-mail them or print and mail them

At this point assume that the process will be performed by a competent employee and this document is just to assist them in assuring that all parts of the process are carried out.  If they have not already been involved, make sure that all the relevant stakeholders are onboard with the process as it is currently documented.  This allows them to buy into the process and identify and redundancies or improvements.  Identify pain points within the process.  Know where things currently break down and determine with the stakeholders how to correct them.

Step 3 – A Detailed SOP

The last step is put together a detailed document that spells out all the tasks and sub-tasks that go into that process.  This is where you document specific screens, fields to be entered, etc. This document provides enough detail that a new employee could use it to complete either a process or some of the tasks that make up that process.  An example of a task from above could look like this:

  • Log into Dispatch system
  • Go to Invoicing module
  • Run XYZ report to identify any probills missing information
  • If no missing information, go to 6.1.11 performing a billing run
  • If there is any missing information go to probill screen, etc.

Getting into this level of detail will further allow the identification of changed or redundant steps.  It also provides a high degree of risk management because the knowledge of how to run a process is fully documented.  This means that if an employee has an accident and is on short or long-term disability, or just goes on vacation, how they performed their job is not just stored in their head.  Another employee will be able to step in and backfill for them.  It also allows for easier transitions when an employee is transferred or promoted.  Having a detailed document means that the new person does not need to take notes (because they can easily access the document) and can focus on learning the task instead of writing things down.

A few final tips:

  • Use simple and easy to understand language in all steps.
  • If jargon or specialized terms must be used, provide a definition for the reader.
  • Keep sentences short or use point form, especially in the most detailed document.
  • Use the active voice. Utilize terms like “identify”, “direct”, “evaluate” or “review” to get the point across without requiring interpretation
  • Avoid ambiguity, such as using terms like “periodic”, “typical” or “should” as they do not give any consistent direction or execution
  • Be careful around important terms. Remember that “may” allows the user to decide. “Must” is always mandatory and “should” is always conditional. Make certain to use the proper term!
  • Use bulleted items or lists to focus attention and slow the reader’s pace. Long dense paragraphs are more likely to be either ignored or only skimmed over. Make it so that people can scan the document to quickly find the information that they need.
  • Use revision numbers and archive previous versions. This ensures that should you ever have to go back to (or defend) a previous process you have the necessary documentation.
  • At the same time, ensure that employees only have access to the most current documentation. You don’t want to make changes to a process only to find out later that an employee was using an out of date document.
  • Use a consistent format for all processes. Having your operations team use one format and accounting using another will just lead to confusion and time will be wasted by having to figure out how the other team formatted things.

The final thing is must be a living document that someone is the process owner and then updates it whenever situations change (such as software updates, regulatory changes, etc.).  Concurrently the process owner should be looking for redundancies and efficiencies every time the document is reviewed.  In the end you should get more done with less wasted effort, resulting in not only an improved bottom line but also in more satisfied employees who know that they are contributing value.

Retention Action Plan – Introduction

The Top 5 Leadership Absolute “Don’t Do’s” When You’re Focusing on Reducing Driver Turnover!

  1. Here is a harsh reality: you simply stating that the company is going to take on and beat driver turnover will at best be received with reluctant hesitation and/or apathy. This should not come as a shock but if you are approaching 100% turnover (or higher), it is not likely that your people believe too much of what your management team is saying. So why not look for (or create) a bell weather moment? Winston Churchill was credited with saying “never waste a good crisis”. You should pick when to reveal your company’s new driver retention initiative wisely. If you can tie it to a critical event, good or bad, then you need to determine out how to do that. In my past we decided to train all the “inside the walls” employees on customer service. When people start to realize how their actions affect those around them they start to quickly get the picture. When we finished the training, driver retention was a natural extension and the transition was easy.

 

  1. Do not take the issue of your company’s high turnover on as a challenge until you can wrap your head around the fact that you did everything necessary to cause the turnover you have now. The point here is that if you don’t take ownership of the issues neither will your people. Excuses for turnover are far too common and easy to come by in trucking. We have all heard them repeatedly over the years. Remember that the blame game does not solve anything. The only way to get off to a good start is to state that you’re determined to turn the corner on your company’s turnover and that from now on the responsibility for every driver that leaves or is fired from your company is on you and your people. There is an opportunity learn from every single failure. Take that failure personally. No one goes to work in the morning with the intention of failing. These are people’s families that we are messing with.

 

  1. Don’t keep your people in the dark about what you’re doing. Use every channel possible to let them know what is going on in your business. For your company to turn the corner on driver turnover you will need the assistance of everyone in the business. What is discussed must be the priority. Think about this: I give you information because I trust you, I value your input and I need your help. I don’t share information because I don’t particularly care about your opinion and I don’t think your input will bring value to this initiative. Want your people to be more engaged when they come to work? Let them become part of the solution, share as much information with them as possible and then ask them for their help.

 

  1. Do not try and impose your own personal values on people. If you or your senior managers developed a value statement and then took it to your people and expected them to respond positively to that statement, then you are in trouble – it just won’t work. A strong values statement can be the cornerstone of your retention objectives but only if it reflects your collective values and that you plan on following through with it. Here is the question to pose to your people – what would your perfect company look like? One paragraph from each person is all that is needed. Do it as a team that is working towards a common purpose.

 

  1. Do not get impatient. This is change and change will scare people. However, being patient does not mean turning a blind eye to behaviour that is counter to the company’s goals. Being patient means coaching and talking the talk. If that individual who refuses to change crosses the line again and again you will have to take the steps necessary to get the right people in those roles. These are tough decisions, but they are entirely necessary for you to succeed. Stay determined!

 

Safe Trucking.

RJH

TCA Retention Coach

Turbocharge Your Recruiting Efforts

Having reviewed the recruiting practices of hundreds of carriers, the majority leave me completely underwhelmed. Almost everywhere I go, the model is essentially the same – cast a wide net, and hope you catch a couple. No successful entrepreneur would ever recommend a business strategy were you simply copy the same model, strategy and tactics of almost ALL of your competitors. Although most of the fine people I get to work with have good and honorable intentions, many fall far short of being as effective as they could (and should be). Within the carrier I ran, 50% of all our new hires were sourced through on-road recruiters – your fine and hard-working drivers. This is likely similar to the results from the carriers reading this post, however more and more are coming via social media channels and initiatives (which is an extremely big part of your recruiting and communications strategy – something we will talk about in depth in future posts).

Today, let’s focus on arming your on-road recruiting warriors with the tools they need to succeed. First you need to figure out a proper training program for the interested participants. That training will likely include elements such as a conversational sales course. You don’t need to develop that training program in-house, in fact it would be fool-hardy to do so. We are big fans of online training. For sales training, there are hundreds of courses available on Udemy for peanuts. Find your favorite, make it the standard. Combine this external training with a tip sheet which will include all the items you would want a prospective driver to be aware of, which could potentially work at your business. These items could include the lanes you work, company’s values statement, its social support, its pay structure, equipment (type, average age, replacement schedule etc), history, and most importantly a personalized un-scripted message about why your on-road warriors continue to work for your company despite thousands of competing offers.

In our business, we also had decals made for the side of their trucks calling attention to the fact that the driver of the vehicle was an on-road recruiter for us. We had business cards stating the same, and they had our value statement printed on the back. They had the recruiters name on them and a direct line to our recruiting department.

Further, there were two other key elements to the program, first our philosophy was that when an on-road recruiter brought a prospective new driver to our company we would go through the same criteria for pre-employment, as we would any other driver coming to our business – no exceptions. If we decided that the driver was a good fit for us we paid the recruiting fee to the on road recruiter immediately, mile one. If that new hire quit or was fired shortly after – that was on us, not the on-road recruiter!

The second element was recognition, when an on-road recruiter brought a new hire in the doors, we celebrated in our newsletter on social media, and at company events. Everyone likes a pat on the back when they succeed, and we did it loudly We had special plaques made for the best recruiters, we had one gal who was an O/O at our company, bring in six new drivers one year. They made an additional twelve thousand dollars through this program. I know some TPP members who have drivers making $30,000 to $50,000 per year in referral fees alone – wow!

Need some help turbocharging your retention efforts, take this free survey today – www.tcaingauge.com/retentionscore.

Don’t Fall Asleep at the Wheel – Keeping Your Business Plan Up to Date

We all create annual business plans, and then attempt to get our proforma budgets in line.  But how many of us revisit those plans on a regular basis?  Are we monitoring the environment for changes that could impact us – a change in minimum wage, a new entrant into the marketplace, or a disruptive technology that catches us napping. Not planning for developments from competitors or governments can put your plan, or possibly even your business, at risk.

Reality check – there just isn’t enough time in the day to monitor every environmental risk that could impact us.  That’s why we belong to industry associations, subscribe to newsletters, and follow blogs.  These act as our early warning systems for new things coming on the horizon.  There is no way that any of us can keep up with all the changing regulations that the various levels of government impose on us.  Some are in response to emergency situations and get pushed on us with little notice.  Others (such as the ELD mandate) are publicized years in advance, and have lengthy implementation periods before enforcement begins.

So, lets look at some things that we can control ourselves.  Let’s start with your target market – have you really spelled out what it is?  What is your preferred network? Your hot lanes? How will these affect your retention efforts? Have you spent enough time doing your research so that you know what your customers really want and value?  And even if you did that once, have you revisited those assumptions to make sure that they are still valid?  If you have the target market right, have you crafted your marketing and sales efforts to appeal to the needs of your current and potential customers. With 10-25% unseated percentages, and 250% over-capacity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that the economic tables will eventually turn, and you’d be wise to heed one of Warren Buffett’s famous warnings – ‘only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked’. Now is the time to make those technological investments, get lean, build that competitive advantage.

Next, what sort of branding have you done?  Have you positioned yourself as a premium provider, or are you competing purely on price, effectively telling the market that you are a commodity?  Playing the low-price game will eventually put you out of business.  Similarly, have you focused on a market niche or are you trying to be everything for everyone?   If you want to be a premium player, then you need to focus on parts of the market where you provide real value and can command a higher price.  Think of the mistake that Cadillac made in the early 1980’s with the Cimarron.  At that time Cadillac was known for large luxury vehicles like the Fleetwood Brougham or the Eldorado.  The Cimarron was essentially a rebadged Chevrolet Cavalier with leather seats and a Cadillac logo on it, poor performance and a significantly more expensive price tag than its sister vehicles.  By trying to compete against some of the smaller luxury import models Cadillac rushed the Cimarron to market with a vehicle that didn’t meet the needs of those buyers.  They misread both the threat and what buyers wanted – they even had a four speed as the base transmission, not exactly something that your average Cadillac buyer wanted at that time.

A more recent example was Build-A-Bear’s “pay your age” fiasco.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Build-A-Bear, they take buying a stuffed animal to a higher level.  The child gets to pick out what one they want, gets to custom fill it and then picks from hundreds of outfits and accessories to customize their new friend.  And guess what, they were able to charge a premium because of the customer experience.  Pay your age has probably put that premium image at risk.  Why? Partially because they failed (massively) to deliver – by 11AM most malls had forced the stores to shut down because of the large lineups.  But also, because now they have put the thought into the minds of parents and grandparents that $1 to $10 is all that they really should cost!    In one poorly thought out and even more poorly executed swoop some major damage was done to their brand image.

Your reputation is something that could take a hit, especially with social media sites where some people have no concerns about sharing negative opinions.  Unfortunately, you really must wow someone to get them to put up something positive about your business, but all it takes is one little slip up (and it probably seemed like something insignificant to your employee) to have someone start a rant against your company.  We all need to be monitoring social media constantly and be prepared to give some honest and real answers when someone posts criticism or something that is plain old nasty.  It’s going to hurt but if you respond in a thoughtful and respectful way you will be on track towards regaining people’s trust.

The last risk we will look at is having too much of your sales tied up in one place – whether it is one customer or with one salesperson.  Too much concentration, regardless if it is internal or external, is not good.  Relying too much on one customer puts you at too much risk of something like a management or ownership change causing a serious reduction in your volumes.  Even worse is if they go into bankruptcy leaving you not only with lower volume but also with the potential of your receivables from them only being worth pennies on the dollar.  A similar risk occurs if you rely too heavily on one salesperson.  She manages your top five accounts and is very hands-on with them.  Now what if she moves to one of your competitors?  If she has such a great relationship with those customers, will you be able to overcome that to keep them?  Depending on your state, courts may be reluctant to enforce non-compete clauses for much more than 6-12 months (if at all).  You had better have a backup plan for either of these scenarios.

These examples only scratch the surface of the risks that your company could face and that you really should have a plan “B” for.  Depending on your local market, there may be others that are more important, but these will give you a start.  Don’t try to cover off every possible risk – the idea is not to make this the full-time job for a team.  Devise realistic probabilities of any of these risks happening and what the potential cost would be.  Determine what a realistic number of threats that you should (or can) mitigate against and start from there.  However, ensure that these probabilities are reviewed on a regular basis so that new threats are being considered and any old ones reviewed to see if they are still relevant.  It’s sort of like insurance, you hope you never need it, but you will feel significantly better if you already have a plan should any of those threats become real.

Why They Are Leaving You (or Soon Will)

Trucking executives have been contemplating this statement since the first wheels turned in this industry. In the days of regulation, the opportunity cost of any empty seat could be calculated with certainty (it hurt, but you could at least make fairly realistic budgets and purchasing decisions). These days, that same empty seat could result in lost profits double or triple what they were last year at the same time. The anxiety of what’s being left on the table is palpable when I speak to trucking entrepreneurs and executives. During previous ‘hot markets’, I was one of these executives, and it wasn’t until we decided as owners that we were going to meet the challenge of high driver turnover ‘head on’ that we began to get a handle on it and eventually drive our triple digit turnover down to below 20%.

So why do they leave? It’s a complex question, but from a 50,000-foot view, it is really as simple as stating that people stay in situations they like, and they leave the ones they don’t. By parallel we all do it, we live where we live because it is a comfortable neighborhood, we are in the relationships were in because we see eye to eye with that person, they’ve got our back and we have theirs. We work at our jobs because they challenge us, we’re appreciated, and we enjoy the challenges and opportunities the workplace offers. People stay because they have purpose and are part of a team (a tribe if you will) that has the exact same purpose.

To put it all in context, your drivers leave (or will leave) because they have no attachment to your company. You have not created the compelling reason for them to stay. It’s hard these days for a driver not to feel like a small part of a bigger transaction, with an ever-decreasing connection to their tribe (in work and life). These forces make it easy for them to decide when another job, or bag of money gets their attention. You treat them like a transaction – don’t be surprised if they turn the tables.

The good news is that change is possible. Have been there, have done that. It’s tough. You may need to invest time and money. You may need to terminate people. You will be uncomfortable. It may get messy. TCA has created the framework to guide carrier members to low turnover numbers, it’s called the Retention Action Plan. This plan is the center piece of my role as the newly-minted Retention Coach, a service offering from the TCA Profitability Program. We believe that excessively high turnover is an unnecessary evil in our industry, and that with the right effort, and the right plan it can be reversed. If you’re interested in starting this journey, click here for a gut check.

Wow! Let’s keep it going!

TPP Summer Update

As the number of TCA Profitability Program (TPP) participants continues to grow (both online and Best Practice Group members), we are continually refining what it means to be a part of TPP. To stay relevant, we must provide services and content that will demonstrate a real ROI to participants and their businesses. Part of this is adding new functions and datasets to the inGauge platform, to provide more value and expand the possible number of users within each company. Our development queue for inGauge extends well into 2019. Here is a small set of the features and tools we are working on:

  • The inGauge Data Translation Layer – this cloud-based tool will enable users to rapidly ‘map’ their unique Financial and Operational data to the standardized data templates, based on the user’s unique attributes. Further, this tool will allow direct connection to the raw data that drives inGauge.
  • 90 Day Lag on Data – In the Fall, we will be rolling out a new feature on inGauge, which will allow users to view population results for 17 KPIs without the 90 Day Lag. The results will only be available (in this format) on the anonymous sections of the inGauge platform (Gauges and Line Graphs) and will also tell the user how many companies are included in the peer group (20 will be required in order to display the results). These KPIs are considered more ‘macro’ in nature, and thus, are not (in combination with anonymity) as much of an Antitrust concern. More and more companies are starting to report their data in a more rapid fashion after month end. This new feature will give users a more timely look at market direction. Will share more details closer to launch.
  • Quarterly View for BPG and MCD Composite – this view will be another interactive view for these popular dashboards. Further, this view will enable us to integrate the Public Company results directly into these dashboards (instead of the separate Public Co dashboard).
  • GL Builder – This free tool will be available free of charge to any industry participant. Building on the success of the TPP Chart of Accounts (271 downloads as of today), this interactive tool will allow the user to choose: 1) Activity Groups (CF/OO/LP/Brokerage/Dedicated), 2) Operating Mode (Reefer, Dry, Flat, Specialized, Tanker, Intermodal), 3) Custom Cost Centers. After choosing the desired attributes, and adding in the numbering pattern for cost centers, the GL builder will provide a clean General Ledger for companies to implement. Thanks to all those who participate on our monthly TPP Data Standards call for your assistance in this!
  • Integrations with TMS and Accounting Software – Tell your TMS provider you want API integration with inGauge. Very few companies are utilizing our API to streamline the reporting process. Our goal is integration with all major TMS providers by Q1 2019. Further, for those using API enabled accounting software (Great Plains Cloud, Quickbooks Online, Sage50 etc), our API documentation will allow you activate a connection yourself.

TPP Quarterly Report

Jack Porter (TPP Managing Director) and I have created a template for an ongoing TPP Quarterly Report, which we plan to distribute to group members. The first edition was distributed on August 1st to all TPP members. Since the initial distribution we’ve received great feedback from members on additional datasets you would like us to add and analyze.

Brokerage Best Practice Groups

As many of you are aware, we are in the final stages of creating two new Brokerage focused/specific Best Practice Groups. Although we are still working through some of the final details, the two groups will be based on Annualized Revenue (< 50 Million, and > 50 Million). Further, the meeting format will be limited to one meeting per year, and four quarterly ‘virtual’ meetings. The data collected will be a new template Jack Porter created and is ready to go within the new mapping tool and inGauge (you can start reporting now if you would like). Further, this data will be ‘anonymized’ within inGauge (but in same format as your used to) to address some antitrust concerns which could arise with this new type of group. Currently 17 existing members have expressed interest in joining these groups, and our target is to have twenty members in each group. There will be a free trial for existing members, and the ongoing cost of participating in these groups will be significantly less for existing group members. We hope to have the details out to all of you for consideration in a couple weeks.

Retention Coach Services

Although a formal announcement will be made in the coming weeks, we are please to let the cat out of the bag on an important new service under the TPP umbrella. Former TCA Chairman Ray Haight will be leading TCA’s efforts on addressing the ever-important issue of Retention with TCA and TPP member companies. As TPP’s Retention Coach, Mr. Haight will work with companies that want to change, and implement a framework and road map to improve retention (in all roles and functions), while also reinforcing the importance of culture to the long-term success of any business.

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and getting in some much-needed downtime before September!