There are many ways for a carrier to create value for their customers. Some are the basic expected services which include: Professionalism, safety, on time and damage free delivery. However, there are additional ways to create added value so that your customer thinks of you “first” when shipping needs arise.
Today, many companies compete on “price” alone. A good example goes back to the early 1900’s when Henry Ford built the model T. Each year he found ways to make his car cost less money. This resulted in the model T becoming one of the most produced vehicles of all time. The same method of price cutting is also used by carriers to lure shippers into using their
services.
Many carriers and brokers entice their customers by being their “one phone call solution.” These carriers/brokers are large enough in size to handle an enormous volume of freight from just one phone call from the shipper/customer. Many shippers prefer this as it allows staff reduction in their shipping department and can be viewed as an added convenience.
Value can be added for the shipper by being able to transport more freight per load than your competitor. This can be accomplished for high-cube shipments by having a step deck, double drop, and van or flatbed trailer. However, you can limit your service abilities as this type of freight is low in volume. Also, this type of equipment generally has a higher tare weight which in some situations can limit the amount you can haul. This leads me to my next subject in regards to increased cargo capacity. For example: if your main customer ships canned goods and this is your specialty, a 45ft. 96 wide trailer would be able to haul more of this product than a 53ft. 102 wide trailer. The same can be said for a flatbed operation if your specialty is transporting steel coils. In which case a 42 or 45ft all aluminum flatbed would have the highest cargo weight capacity. This is an area in which to be careful as specialty service can be limited in freight volume and opportunities.
The following subjects on this page cover the areas which I’ve personally exploited in my own business over the years. I needed to find ways to enhance my service in order to make sure that Albert Transport, Inc. was always at the top of the consideration list when it was time to deliver a shipment. A main route for me was delivering to the northeast. Many drivers don’t want to transport in that area. Therefore, I was always chosen when those shipments became available. I made sure my customers knew that going to the northeast was my specialty. This gave me an instant edge over my competition. Also, due to the fact that most of my peers would turn down those shipments, I was able to obtain high rates going to an area that wasn’t popular for carriers to service.
While making my deliveries, I’ve tried to pay attention to the consignee’s product in regards to purchasing and selling quantities. I kept my ears open for information which could benefit my customer. Example: on more than one occasion, the personnel unloading my truck informed me “they would be seeing me less often because the material will be coming from another vendor in the future.” I would ask for more details to find out why they weren’t happy with the current product. I would then take that information back to my customer so that they would have the opportunity to correct and take the necessary action in order to keep their customer’s business. On one occasion, I found out from a consignee that there was a major advantage to them using my customer’s product. When I gave my customer the information, they were not aware of this advantage. They thanked me for sharing the information which gave them the tools to increase their sales even further. This experience gave me more business as the freight needs increased.
Each time I make a delivery to the consignee, I’m aware that I represent my customer at all times. It’s important to act, speak, and dress professionally. Remember: Never speak negatively about the shipper to the consignee. You just may convince them not to do business with your customer. Where does that leave you?
Finally, find ways to be a problem solver. Identify needs for improvement and/or services offered.

 

Comments (3)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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The small smart operator can see things from a different point of view than a large carrier.

July 11, 2014 5:17:49 AM

Well said not enough attention to detail!! Service will always be the one's who provide it well.

July 10, 2014 17:15:13 PM

Henry great article. I think many people forget the importance of great service at all levels. I have been known to help tow truck drivers lugging equipment when they have been getting ready to tow me. In one instance it resulted in a SIGNIFICANT discount, and some major compliments to my company on behalf from the tow company. A little courtesy and helpfulness can go a long ways in increasing your value to your customer and employer. Sometimes when you provide a courtesy to those providing you a service it can work out to your advantage as well.

July 10, 2014 9:40:00 AM