Keep your eyes on the horizon

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During my years in this industry, I have been very fortunate to meet many great folks, from the carrier management side one of the most interesting and engaging people whose message I paid particular attention to was Mr. Dan Baker. Dan is Baptist Minister from Bulverde Texas whose father was a trucker and he has a deep knowledge and conviction for this industry. During Dan’s teachings he entertains and informs but his bottom line message for trucking executives on the subject of drivers or Owner Operators is get um rolling get um paid and get um home. It is a simple theme that is backed up with a myriad of other valuable messages strewn through his presentation, including mutual respect, taking responsibility and building a corporate culture that centers on a sense of community etc. I like the simplicity of Dan’s message and his comical presentation makes the message very easy and digestible for the audience. Dan’s web site is if you’re interested in learning more about Dan and his message.
Looking at the message from the other side of the desk or behind the wheel as it were, is it that simple for you get loaded, get home get paid, don’t you wish it was that easy. Unfortunately, some drivers and Owner operators live by this credo and it is not this simple. One of the problems I encounter with both trucking companies and Owner Operator drivers is what I call loyalty to the past. In a nutshell, it amounts to doing things the way we have always done because it is within our comfort zone and why rock the boat.
It is a well-documented researched fact that successful companies and individuals adjust to market realities and customer demands. These folks continually have their eyes on the horizon for better ways to operate their businesses, ways to trim expense and increase revenue is the root path to success for every business in existence today. The people who believe and follow this method of running their business are usually the leaders in this industry and most others.
When I try and narrow the individuals, whom I was most impressed with and whose advice I would take if I were an Owner Operator in today’s market, only one name stands out. A couple years back I attended one of Mr. Kevin Rutherford’s Certified Master Contractor success seminars and was blown away by the wealth of information and refreshing way it was presented. The course outline was presented over two 11-hour days and was broken down into four different categories including operations, record keeping and taxes, cost per mile and financial planning. I bet many of you wouldn’t believe that 40 Owner Operators could sit still for this amount of time on any topic let along the ones I just listed, you would be wrong. The detail and method of presentation was engaging and informative to the point that all eyes were glued to Kevin and the value of the information was such that the only reason the 11 hour days didn’t go for 15 hours was Kevin insisting they should stick to the schedule that was developed. For more information on Kevin and his CMC Seminars go to an updated list of upcoming seminars is usually listed, I would highly recommend attending one of them in the near future to any Owner Operator. Speaking of innovation, there were a handful of Owner Operators whose enrollment and attendance at the course was a prerequisite for being hired on by the company they wanted to contract to.
So what kind of business person are you, are you running your business today the same way you were when capacity was greater and fuels was cheaper a few years ago? If you are you should be realistic as to the results you are getting. Complaining that things are not what they used to be is a ridiculous statement to make and it drives me nuts when I hear this. Things are not what they used to be and never will be again good or bad. Time marches on and as a businessperson your current and future financial results depend on your finding new ways to run leaner and at the same time generate any additional revenue available.
Some questions come to mind that might help some of you get started, such as. With the drive train configuration you have in the truck you have, what is the maximum fuel mileage that can be obtained and are you near or at it, if not why not? What is your cost of maintenance on a per mile basis and is it in line with or better than industry average for your vintage make and model truck? Have you investigated any of the fuel saving aftermarket products that are available, you can ask for references from the seller to assist in your decision, what is the ROI on the investment? Oil bi-pass filtration systems, Centramatic wheel balancers the list goes on and on, and I am not endorsing any of these items other than to say you should be investigating them to see if they might help reduce your operating cost. Are you tracking and measuring your cost and revenue against a sold budget?
Success in any business does not come easy but is much easier for those who choose to keep their eyes on the horizon for new knowledge and products to assist in their performance. Keep learning and growing as a business person and you will have the edge on success.
Safe and Profitable Trucking!

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Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

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