The Business Of Independent Service Provider Contracting

The Dark Side Of Increased Density

Posted by Jeff Walczak on Aug 8, 2021 1:16:08 PM

In this uncertain time, it seems like there was one thing that was certain.

It appeared that stops and volume were marching forward, with no regard for the turbulence and difficulty that we were told surrounds us. 

In a roughly 2+ year environment of growth, the rising revenue tide hid many tree stumps, and kept the good ship Contracted Service Provider sailing happily into the sunset.

All was well.

Until it wasn’t.

Recently, the volume has leveled off and in many cases, retreated.

This dip is not too much different from a “normal” summer, but this time, it hurts...bad. 

Let’s look at why.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Management, Business, Investment, contractor, Profit, Money, less, settlement, Cash flow

2021 Insights for Business Owners

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 3, 2021 1:43:13 PM

We recently caught up with two guys heavily involved with building successful transportation companies to ask for their insights into 2021.

The first expert is a long-time CSP from the Midwest, Tracy Taylor. The second is the founder and CEO of eTruckBiz, Jeff Walczak. Both have spent the better part of their careers in the FedEx Ground arena. We engaged in a fast-paced conversation to produce our most recent Truck Talk podcast episode.

Some of the insights may surprise you.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Training, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Negotiation, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching, Scheduling

The Most Important Goals for Your Transportation Company

Posted by Bob Tiell on Dec 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

This week’s blog is the first in a two-part series of posts by Bob Tiell, an eTruckBiz Coach, who resides in Lexington, KY. His experience includes years of operational management at FedEx Ground.

Goal Setting - Business Plans and Safety

Even though we're in the middle of peak, it's time to start planning our next twelve months. If planned well with the right goals set at the beginning of the year, we can make peak 2021easier and more efficient for everyone involved. If you haven't already started thinking about your 2021 goals, perhaps you'll find some helpful direction and starting points in this brief blog post.

Let's start with the likelihood that your company has grown throughout the years, and you’ve probably added supplemental routes. They then became full routes (after FedEx Ground approval).

Plus, you've probably added more drivers and a BC, or two, over the years. What's next?

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching

eTruckBiz Just Got Better - Unveiling The New Platform

Posted by Jeff Walczak on Nov 15, 2020 1:22:11 PM

For more than 8 years, we’ve been building products & services to help CSP’s transform the way they approach running their businesses.

Recently, the FXG model itself has been transforming in unprecedented ways. For most CSP’s , the days of being a “hands-on” operator are gone, and the need to provide leadership & management through systems, processes and people are quickly being implemented. The days where you or your BC’s could “jump in a truck” to fix things are gone.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Timekeeping, Bookeeping, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Negotiation, model, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching, Scheduling, Dynamic Route Optimization

Time Traps: Action & Assessment Phases

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 18, 2020 9:45:00 PM

As we’re approaching peak this year, conversations with FedEx Ground Contractors reflect a sense of urgency caused by the expected increase in package volume. From California to the east coast, everyone is feeling the pressure. Rental trucks have long been reserved by others, new trucks are scarce, the competition for finding and hiring temporary drivers is tough, and the new pre-load technology is time consuming at best.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

An Organization Time Trap

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 4, 2020 7:33:46 PM

A common thread amongst FedEx Ground Contractors is the amount of time and effort required to handle everything that’s expected to stay compliant, safe and profitable. If you’ve been tracking our blog posts about time and task management, this is the third in a series.

First, we suggested tracking where your time is spent. From there, we looked at the likelihood that working seven-days a week has resulted in losing your identity. You’re known by your job.

Now, let’s examine how to improve your working situation.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

Tracking Financial Results Like FDX

Posted by Ben Weil on Sep 20, 2020 10:02:07 AM

Did you read FedEx’ Quarterly Results issued last week? The financial news outlets wrote absolutely glowing reviews.

Yahoo! Finance headline declared, “FedEx Corp. Reports Strong First Quarter Results” while Barron’s headline gushed, “FedEx Destroys Earnings Estimates. Things Are Getting Really Good.”

Reading further down the page you’ll find, “Operating results increased due to volume growth in...U.S. domestic residential package services, yield improvement at FedEx Ground..., and one additional operating weekday.”

Could Yahoo! Finance and Barron’s write the same headlines about your last three months? You don’t issue forecasts, but if you did - would you be blowing it out of the water, too? If not, why not?

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Bookeeping, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

Have You Trapped Yourself?

Posted by Ben Weil on Aug 23, 2020 9:30:43 AM

In the last blog post about time management, I recommended tracking your tasks. Did you? If you really want to fix an issue, you follow a process.

So, if you want to improve at managing your time and tasks, you gotta start with accurate facts. It’s the first step to discovering time to do things you'd rather be doing.

Now, it’s time for the next step.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Results, Timekeeping, Management, FedEx Ground, Metrics, leadership

Time Management Is A Lie

Posted by Ben Weil on Aug 9, 2020 2:14:56 PM

Ever wished you could stop time? How about rewind time? Yep, you’ve had those thoughts. Your secret is safe with me.

The truth is our world spins around the sun in a cycle of light and dark we call days and nights. It's way beyond our control. Above our pay-grade as the saying goes. So, why do we think we can manage time?

A co-worker recommended a book written by Todd Duncan called Time Traps. Let me preface something right now, I haven’t read the whole book. I’ve skimmed the first few chapters. Gimme a small break, okay.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Results, Timekeeping, Management, FedEx Ground, Metrics, leadership

DROwning in a Tsunami of Changes

Posted by Ben Weil on Jul 26, 2020 11:57:25 AM

We recently hosted a webinar that obviously struck a chord with many Contract Service Providers (CSP’s). Attendance for the webinar was sizable. The topic was Dynamic Route Optimization, more well known by its acronym, DRO, which has understandably created a generous amount of frustration.

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Topics: Business Tools, FedEx, Training, FedEx Ground, Investment, Dynamic Route Optimization, DRO

What to Look For in a VEDR Safety Solution

Posted by Lauren Halbrich with Lytx on Jul 19, 2020 8:45:00 AM

Today's blog post is brought to you by our friends at Lytx.

Implementing new processes can be challenging. And when it comes to implementing a new process for your business, time is money.

FedEx Ground now is requiring Contractors to outfit their vehicles with dual-facing Video Event Data Recorders (VEDRs), to implement a driver safety program to meet industry standards, contractual obligations and to meet three out of four Key Indicators (KIs).

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Topics: Business Tools, Compliance, FedEx, FedEx Ground, safety

5 Reasons To Engineer Your Operation While Embracing DRO

Posted by Jeff Walczak on May 17, 2020 1:14:41 PM

Okay, we know what many folks are going to say. The DRO is troublesome and may not work.

While it is true that learning to use it effectively is difficult, it actually works fine. It’s the theory and engineering principals behind it that are difficult to maneuver and grasp.

The move from static route creation and management to that of a very dynamic (always changing) way of route management is now at hand. Thanks to the virus, the premature push to unprecedented levels of eCommerce, and the need for 7 day service, all are being forced to transform quicker than originally planned.

The time to embrace Dynamic Route Optimization is at hand. The fundamental culture change to Dynamic vs. Static planning is now underway.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Results, Management, Training, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Business, contractor

How To Crush Your Routing Goals

Posted by Ben Weil on May 5, 2020 1:58:27 PM

Ground CSP's, generally, possess exceptional area knowledge for the areas they service. They can utilize this knowledge to plan routes and take into account all the intricacies of a particular area.

Now, however, CSP's are starting to see that the old process of developing static routes to cover a particular service area is going the way of the horse and buggy.

Routes now need to be planned dynamically. This means that with the transformation of stop characteristics (residential) along with an evolving FXG business model (heavy focus on eCommerce), route planning needs to change constantly.

In order to remain successful, today's CSP must adapt to this new demand as the business continues to change. The number of routes and the actual route "boarders" need to be engineered in such a way to be flexible based on work load characteristics. 

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, FedEx, Ground, FedEx Ground, vendor

Lessons Learned & Adapting For The Future

Posted by Ben Weil on Apr 13, 2020 9:45:00 PM

The panic associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has forced you into ADAPTING how your business is run.

Only weeks ago, it was unthinkable that both our United States healthcare system and our economy would be under this kind of assault.

The good news is that this bizzare event has uncovered some things that will be useful to incorporate into your business strategies going forward.

Here are some tips & suggestions as you look ahead:

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Topics: Business Tools, Payroll, Business, Profit

Profitability Profile - Preston Wengert

Posted by Ben Weil on Feb 3, 2020 4:36:12 PM

HOW A COMMUNITY COLLEGE DROPOUT FOUND ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS

You think your market conditions are tough, what about Colorado? According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the Denver area's average weekly wages are $1,242. Think it's easy to find drivers? The BLS also lists the area unemployment rate at 2.4%. Way lower than the U.S. average.

What made a young guy from out of town who knew nothing about the logistics industry think that he could buy a Ground business to support his growing family? Sure he's smart, but he's so young.

"There's no selling, no advertising, no collecting money from past due accounts. I'm not saying it's easy, but it beats a lot of other options out there," Preston Wengert says.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Results, Management, ISP, FedEx Ground, contractor, Profit

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