RAY’s Rules Continued April 2010
Some of you may recall that in the February entry to this blog I wrote a piece I called Ray’s rules which was a satirical oversight of some of the issues facing the industry and was meant to insight your comments and feedback. Well I am comfortable in saying that I managed to accomplish what I set out to do. Some of you asked if I would run for Prime Minister of Canada which is too funny and thanks but no thanks, while others suggested I was a hypocritical closed minded backward thinker. The later came primarily from the load broker community, with Mr. Robert Voltman of the Transportation Intermediaries Association having written the most detailed regale on my comments. Before I get into some of the letters I received, as promised I am going to pass on some unedited, additional rules I received from you folks, my comments are in brackets. I think they are worth considering being added to Ray’s rules but it’s your call so let me know.
Rule 11. Any diver who does not shower on a daily basis should be led out of the building to his/her truck & have….! (I had to edit the rest of this because it entails having bodily fluids pored over people’s heads. Subtle as a rock I know but effective. Please driver, clean it up if you’re a “stinky” as no one needs to be subject to poor hygiene at anytime.)
Rules 12. Thou shall not use the CB radio for your own personnel display of racism. The 2 way has a history as a warning device and a platform to develop comradeship. I often hear “professional” drivers nowadays say they don’t turn it on any more because they can’t stand the garbage language and mal-contents. (This one hits home for me as the last two years that I drove, I only turned the CB on to get information I needed. I was completely sick of the complaining, whining and cow tears that never seemed to end). There have always been the loud mouth schnooks who display their poor upbringings over the air waves but what you hear now has gotten out of hand. Sub section to rule 12; each driver shall say one positive thing on the air waves each day. This could be good for you and it may remove the grimace from your face for a minute. It could also be contagious; it could even start to restore the positive use of the CB. (The other way to break this bad habit is to pretend that your kids or mother are listening and to assume that respect is deserved by others until they prove they are not worthy of it.)
Rule #13. I carried an AZ license for over 33 years and it’s always been courteous to flick your lights after you have been passed to let the passing commercial vehicle know that it was clear to pull back in. I am only a four wheeler now but habits are hard to break. I still do the light flicking thing but notice that hardly anybody says thanks anymore. (If you think about it, it is kind of sad that this needs to be a rule but I guess that is where we’re at today).
And now for my letter writing buddies……the Load Brokers!
Rule #14. (A Ray’s Rule proposed by ME!). Every shipper releasing freight from their dock must write the cheque for the freight to the trucker who physically pulls the load, if they don’t they must then disclose on the front of the BOL the full freight rate with currency and calculation used to determine the rate; by the pound, linear foot or mile. They also must disclose all demurrage charges, including fuel surcharges and waiting times along with their payment terms on a clean bill of ladings etc. Any shipper not complying and found guilty will pay a 10K fine per shipment to the widows of our fallen soldiers or to the families of drivers who have lost their lives while trucking?
There, how do you like me now load brokers?
I saved lots of space for you guys as I am not sure you got the intention of the original article. It was a satirical look at the industry and what I would do if I had carte blanc to change what I wanted with the simple writing of a rule.
Here’s the simple truth folks. In my past I have owned and or operated trucking companies that sold freight. Never did I say I didn’t but to be clear I have never been a pure load broker. That being cleared up I happen to believe that we would all be better off if there were no such thing as a pure load broker. Let me explain why. There is simply no room for three to dance with today’s freight rates and for the trucker to make money. What you have with a pure load broker is a system of redundancies in the transaction between the load broker and a trucking company. Both have collections departments collecting on the same load, both have billing departments billing the same load, both have dispatchers dispatching the same load, both have payroll taxes, rent, hydro, heat etc. There is no way that you can do all these jobs twice along with every other necessary item needed to operate a business and for both to make money on the same load, especially in a down market with predatory rates. It cannot be done! A trucking company that sells freight already has these infrastructures built into their trucking operation as normal course of business, the cost of operation for them on a sold load is less!
Here are some more hard truths. For the vast majority of trucking companies, the pecking order of preference for where they get their freight from goes as follows:
1. Direct customer solicited by the trucking company.
2. Trucking companies who broker freight.
3. Pure load brokers
This is also the order of best receivables to worst, pure load brokers are always the slowest paying (remember they have to collect the money then turn around and pay the guy who did the work and they do not have regular trucking income coming through the door). This is also the order of least service failures to most as again there is one too many hands in the pot as all instructions are given to the load broker and then once again given to trucking company and finally to the driver.
On a final note, we as an industry would have a very difficult time surviving without the brokering of freight. My primary area of trucking throughout my career has been North America and all points between SW Ontario. No trucking company could possibly have sales representatives everywhere. So we rely on buying loads occasionally. Simply stated I would prefer to buy the freight I need from a trucking company that has a brokerage division servicing the area I need a load. Period! Its dollars and sense!
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. All posts by Ray Haight