Resting on your Laurels - In Ancient Greece, victories athletes were presented with laurel wreaths to wear. They were, and still are signs of great accomplishment, unless you start resting on them.
If you don’t keep competing or striving to do better your business will not remain relevant in the market place. It would be nice if every time we figure more, faster, quicker, and better that there would be a direct correlation to making a profit. Increased revenue is not always the outcome, sometimes it is just keeping that customer as part of your portfolio. The forces of supply and demand always keeps profitability in check.
Our customers, the shippers are always looking for value added services, at the same time they are not usually looking for higher freight rates. There is however value added services which can be incorporated into your business model with little or no cost. A simple example of this is a professional appearing uniform, we have to wear clothes so why not put together apparel which not only represents our company but our customers as we deliver their product. After all we are in essence presenting the shippers product to their customers. Something a professional presentation could make the difference of whether you secure the shipment when all other factors where equal with your competition.
At one time air ride suspension had the ability to give you an edge over the competition with certain commodities. Air ride tractors used to carry a premium when ordering and now air ride is standard. That also led to services requiring an air ride tractor and trailer, at one time this would mean higher profitability, this slowly evaporated when air ride equipment became more prevalent. This changed to a degree as air ride suspended trucks and trailers became more normalized. Trailers that are longer, lighter, higher payload capability with increased cargo capacity all could translate to a higher rate of compensation till they become the excepted standard. As any premium option becomes standard it tends to erode its previous advantages in the market place.
Part of finding an advantage in our business can be unseen to the customer, these include items such as fuel efficiency, operation costs, increased tire life, as well as decreased office and administration costs. Advantages can include better load trip planning and less dead head. Each day we need to work to streamline our businesses to increase profits and lower costs. If we stay in a rut without constantly learning about new products and ways to keep our business afloat we will be resting on our laurels and our competition will pass us.
This is a business where it easy to replicate our services in most cases, same truck, same trailer, same routes traveled. It is up to each business to be able to succeed and flourish, the key here is the competition waits for no one. If you continue to run business as usual for an extended period, your rivals
will be in a position to overtake your businesses competitive advantages or if on the other end of the spectrum to never catch the competition. You are only as good as you were yesterday. You don’t want to be put in a position where the customer says “They were great at one time”.
Resting on your laurels can bring the largest or the smallest of businesses to their financial knees.