If you deal with freight brokers in any capacity, I’d like to bring your attention to a three-part series I wrote recently about the future of freight brokering in Canada. But first, I want to thank Mike McCarron for allowing me to sit in...
If you deal with freight brokers in any capacity, I’d like to bring your attention to a three-part series I wrote recently about the future of freight brokering in Canada. But first, I want to thank Mike McCarron for allowing me to sit in on the discussion and cover it without restrictions. Mike was a founding partner of MSM Transportation, a firm he sold last year to Wheels Group, where he now works in mergers and acquisitions with an eye to consolidate the 3PL space. To get a stronger grasp on where the industry is headed, he called together six leading brokers for a far-reaching roundtable discussion. Included were: Manny Speranza, FBI-Freight; John Tittel, Hot Freight International; John Flaherty, HTS Freight Logistics; Ian MacDonald, ShipNorthAmerica Transportation; Larry Cox, Polaris Transport Group; and Eric Carusi, Transpro Freight Systems.
What followed was a solid two hours of discussion and debate, that in the end, came around to the conclusion that as much as things have changed for freight brokers, the future remains very similar to the past, in that relationships will continue to be the foundation on which a successful freight brokerage is built. And that means relationships with carriers too – not just the providers of the freight. There were too many good comments to include in Hooked Up, so I’ll link to all three parts here and include a roundup of my favourite quotes from the session below. Mike will be compiling a white paper on the subject based on the discussion. I’ll let you know when and how you can get your hands on it as soon as I find out myself.
Highlights from The Future of Freight Brokering in Canada:
Manny Speranza: “Our business is transitioning to A-list customers looking for more of a boutique 3PL sell. Selling freight on the phone every day and bidding on skids is not going to last here. It’s not going to work. Yes, there’s a market for that, but if you’re not growing, you’re falling behind…There’s a lot of business out there, but brokerages need to look at the value they’re actually providing to the client. It needs to be more than ‘I can move those skids, here’s my price’.”
John Flaherty: “Technology is a tool. It’s an excellent tool that helps build relationships. We still need to talk with our customers and talk with our carriers.”
Speranza: “It’s very difficult to door-knock like we did 25 years ago. We tried hiring some people on salary and it didn’t work out. Today, the guy who controls that freight may be in Los Angeles. I see companies investing less in outside sales. It’s too costly to make a sales call. You still have to have that relationship, but it may be at a different level.”
John Tittel: “Any carrier can get their hands on good software that can notify customers of shipment statuses. That’s a big development. In years gone by, you had to create your own software or buy expensive software. Now a carrier with five to 10 trucks can get a dispatch system right off the Internet.”
Larry Cox: “The number one question in this industry is ‘Where’s my freight’?”
Flaherty: “If there is a reduction in the number of carriers, that could be construed as good or bad, but the most important thing for our industry is we need good, quality carriers; without that, we’re out of business.”
Flaherty: “It concerns me, the threat of small and medium-sized companies disappearing. I don’t want my only choice of carriers to be the TransForces and Contrans’. As a broker, I need to be able to draw on lots of different choices for my customers. Sometimes my choice is the large carrier and a lot of times it’s not. It’s easier to build good relationships with small to medium-sized carriers.”
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