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Jumping back to the Surface Transportation Summit, once again this year, a topic of much interest was freight tenders. You may recall at last year’s Summit, Challenger’s Dan Einwechter dubbed RPFs “Really Friggin’ Pathetic,” and that sentiment is clearly still shared by many motor carrier executives. But what makes our Summit unique is that it brings together both shippers and carriers under one roof, so it takes some courage to stand up and criticize the technique by which many shippers choose to allocate their freight. Dan wasn’t there this year, but picking up the torch was Jacquie Meyers, CEO of Meyers Transportation. It’s the first time I’ve seen Jacquie speak, and I was as surprised as anyone when she incorporated the term “shit tsunami” into her opening remarks (a term she attributed to Al Boughton). But in all seriousness, I’ve gotta say, Jacquie knocked it out of the park and had everyone discussing her passionate plea for greater collaboration between shippers and carriers long after the event.

I won’t repeat everything she said here, but you can read about Jacquie’s presentation here in what quickly became one of our most well read articles in recent months. Jacquie’s premise was that often, when you ‘win’ a freight bid, you’re not really winning at all. In many cases, tendered freight is being given to the lowest bidder, and if that’s you, well, you’re taking shortcuts somewhere and will be loser long-term.

But while it’s easy to complain, it’s more difficult to come up with possible solutions or to find reasons to be optimistic. In the second part of her presentation, Jacquie expressed that there is more collaboration (what she dubbed a “misused” and “overused” term as it relates to shipper-carrier relations) of late between both parties. Jacquie said more shippers are inviting their top carriers to be proactive players in the tendering process, to sit at the table and discuss ways to drive out inefficiencies. This is great to hear, and I think everyone would agree, is necessary if a more efficient supply chain is to be achieved. Want some more reading material on this subject? This article summarizes Jacquie’s comments on collaboration and this blog by Dan Goodwill provides a fresh take on the issue.

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