The Business of Independent Service Provider Contracting

Being Proactive - CSP Best Practices Series

Posted by Ben Weil on 8/27/21 1:15 PM


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Have you read Stephen Covey’s book titled 7 Habits of Highly Successful People? If so, have you thought about applying it to being a Contract Service Provider (CSP)?

We’re adapting the most relevant of his seven habits into best practices of highly successful CSP’s.

Covey’s first habit is Be ProactiveⓇ Focus and act on what you can control and influence, instead of what you can’t. This habit is especially important and a great starting point.

Being Proactive is Key

Be ProactiveⓇ is about taking responsibility for your own business. You can’t control FedEx Ground. You can only control your own business. Proactive business owners recognize that their responses to changes that come from Pittsburgh are more important than the actual changes.

And don’t blame terminal management. Don’t blame a lack of information. Don’t blame drivers or their lack of training. Successful CSP’s choose their reactions to problems. Reactive CSP’s, on the other hand, often blame DRO, Peak, or difficulty in recruiting drivers. They find external sources to blame for their lack of success. If all the packages were delivered that day, they’ve had a successful day. If there were too many exceptions, it was a bad day. It’s not that simple though.

Proactive Language

Obviously, external forces affect everyone, but our responses are our greatest powers –  we choose how to respond to problems. And one of your most important choices is how you talk to your drivers. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself as a leader.

A proactive leader uses proactive language – we can, we will, we choose, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language – we can’t, we have to, if only we could, etc. You control how you make a difference in your drivers’ worlds and your BC’s worlds, too.Man talking with alphabet letters coming out of his mouth. Communication, information, intelligence concept

Reactive leaders do not take responsibility for what they say and do – it’s as if they have no choice. If a driver is involved in an accident, do you already know if they’ve completed their safety lessons in order to qualify for the lower indemnity amount? Waiting until a driver has an accident is reactive. Tracking driver safety lessons through systems and procedures is proactive.

Tracking and Trending Results

Magnifing glass and documents with analytics data lying on table

Another area of proactivity is tracking and trending operating results. If you’re relying on DRO to produce an accurate daily package count, you’re being reactive. If you track historical trends in your operations regardless of DRO forecasting, then you’re planning proactively.

What about maintenance of your vehicles? Do you proactively ensure that your drivers perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections? Reactive CSP’s don’t and are then caught by surprise when vehicles need repairs done because the routine maintenance was skipped.

And speaking of vehicles, do you have a plan for capital expenditures? Trucks, especially those that run rural routes, won’t last forever. They take a beating and have shorter life spans than most vehicles. Just because a truck is paid off doesn’t mean that it’s not costing you money.

A proactive approach to your fleet is investing, or at least saving, the amount of money you would have spent on truck payments. Don’t wait for a truck to die before making a plan to replace it. If a truck is paid off, save that money to buy a new one down the road.

So, be proactive in running your business. Understand how your language and actions affect your drivers. Don’t rely on DRO to accurately forecast your routes. Track your historical trends. Hold your drivers accountable for performing pre and post trip inspections. Don’t spend the money you’d be paying on making truck payments. Focus on what you can influence and control and don’t focus on what you can’t control.

These are just some ways to Be ProactiveⓇ in order to be a successful CSP. If you're looking at setting a productive workplace culture, our business coaches can help you get started.

What are some other ways to be proactive?


Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership, consulting

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