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  • Beating the Capacity Crunch with Reverse Logistics

    by User Not Found | Aug 05, 2015

    In case you haven’t heard, there’s a current and expanding capacity crunch in trucking. Centerline not only hears about capacity issues, but feels the challenge of recruiting and placing the shrinking pool of DOT qualified drivers each day. According to the ATA the trucking industry is short 25,000 professional drivers and the number is expected to escalate to 330,000 by 2020. The capacity crunch has become an ever present issue when determining how the nations trucking networks get their goods delivered. It’s not just the driver shortage that has to be considered things like weather, port shutdowns and the new economy of e-commerce with its rapid return policies fueling its unprecedented growth, requires a strategic application of reverse logistics and forward thinking using a collaborative approach to span the capacity gap.

    Reverse logistics has always played a role in industries where overstocks and products requiring refurbishment for resales would occur, however the emerging heavy hitter of e-commerce has changed the landscape. E-commerce consumers that shop on sites such as Amazon, Crate and Barrel expect return policies that cater to easy returns via mail. These return deliveries increase the ever present pressure on an already taxed supply of trucking resources.

    Our history in the transportation industry for the past 35 years has seen its share of trends. The most recent trend to navigate through these challenges includes getting collaborative on reverse logistics to ensure that each truckload and driver is fully optimized. Customers work to create round trips out of one-way hauls and combine freight to create continuous move truckloads, reducing costs and making the highest use of driver availability.

    Our account managers at Centerline get involved in discussions regarding reverse logistics or reduction of overall shipping costs. We provide our expertise in reverse logistics/transportation staffing to customers that are looking for creative solutions for their freight movement challenges and to meet the needs of their customers. Some of the areas that we focus on include:

    • Domicile drivers near equipment
    • Dedicated Drivers for remote locations
    • Drivers available for travel
    • Less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload qualified drivers
    • P/T and Weekend drivers to increase tractor/equipment utilization
    • Using the reversal of the supply chain or placement of equipment to be closer to where drivers are found

    One recent scenario that our national account sales director shared with the team of how these solutions work in the time sensitive, real world.

      A request came in from a customer who can’t find equipment in his location (Stockton, CA), but there is equipment in Los Angeles. So the Centerline team gets to work on a solution: it starts with the customer leasing the truck in Los Angeles, Centerline provides the driver who picks up the empty trailer and then our customer provides the back haul for pick up. Ultimately, we get the truck and driver to Stockton to be productive on behalf on the customer and then we move the original haul requested in Stockton. End result – everyone is happy.

    For our team at Centerline, it is all about finding ways in a tight driver market to be creative and serve our customers. To request a distribution functionality assessment – think about connecting with our experts today.

  • Raising Wages and Treating Drivers with Respect

    by User Not Found | Jul 14, 2015

    Finding drivers is only ½ the battle. Retaining them is vital to the success of our customer’s ability to meet their customer’s expectations. We approach driver retention with as much focus as we do our sales strategy to extend our reach and ability to respond to our customers. How do we retain drivers? We’re focused on two aspects: treating our drivers with respect and working closely with our customers to raise wages nationwide.

    Treating our drivers with respect is essential to how Centerline operates. Our drivers are not “just a number” but an important, vital part to our company and are treated as such. We love highlighting our drivers achievements and encourage word of mouth referrals because who better to recommend new drivers than an already trusted employee?

    In addition to raising wages, to show our appreciation for our drivers we offer other financial incentives. An innovative approach, we recently started using is an approach that gives weekly income guarantees for retention. At our customer’s discretion, they  may choose to lock a driver in for a month or more, by negotiating a weekly minimum for the driver. With these financial incentives, we are able to reach the shrinking pool of available drivers and provide stability for our customers when they need assurance that a driver will be available for them.

    We are focused on providing our drivers and customers the stability they deserve. Companies all throughout the trucking industry are testing new ways to raise driver compensation to increase retention and reliability. To achieve this goal, the industry is showing several incentive programs being developed, such as, hourly pay, benchmarking benefits, retention bonuses and more.

    We take pride in caring for our drivers’ needs and wants while finding a job that is mutually beneficial to our customer and our driver. 

  • Drivers the face of your brand?

    by User Not Found | Jun 04, 2015

    TBP-0618-WebI ask my team leaders, "What do our customer's want?" Drivers they say! Of course they want qualified, safe, compliant drivers, but more than that, they want to transport goods to benefit their customers.

    At Centerline we support a service industry. All our drivers fit the safety bill, but we go beyond that. All delivery drivers are the face of your company; in most cases they have more of a relationship with your customer than your sales and customer service staff.

    When I read articles regarding driver's impact on branding, I emphasize to our drivers that they are the face of the accounts they drive for – think it’s not important? Think again.

    It’s simple math. Think about how many minutes your driver meets face-to-face with your customer and think about the same of your sales staff. You will realize your driver is the face of your brand. Because of this, all drivers (including leased drivers) need to be trained by you regarding your brand promise, who you are and what demonstrates your service model.

    To support this education, Centerline reiterates how important a role a driver plays in representing their customers’ brand during our recruiting, on-boarding and welcome calls. Our expectation is that they maintain the high level of professionalism you expect from your employed drivers.

    In most cases, time is of the essence and the role of facilitating the movement of goods in a highly regulatory environment is challenging at best. To get it right, you have be highly specialized and have a dedicated team that can recruit and coach drivers to not only deliver goods, but to be the face of the customer they are delivering for. Centerline does exactly that and more.

  • A Mother’s Day Tribute to Women Trailblazers

    by User Not Found | May 06, 2015

    With mother’s day approaching, it’s a great time to reflect on the amazing women in our lives who have mentored and helped shape us. Moms often sacrifice their own goals and ambitions to ensure that we can achieve ours. They told us truths that only mothers can know and challenged us to grow further, to dream bigger and be the best that we can be. That’s not to say that growing up is easy – sometimes these challenges and truths are hard.

    As a female leader in a largely male dominated industry, I can’t help but reflect on the women who have challenged the norm. I think about the daring women who paved the way for women to enter fields predominantly viewed as “male only” professions, like truck driving.

    One such trail blazer was Lillie McGee Drennan. Lillie was the first female truck driver to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in 1929. This one woman broke down barriers for all the future CDL women drivers who came after her. Our Centerline team has several amazing truck drivers that are also moms. Read the story of Charlotte Janis.

    As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, remember all the women before us and how their ambitions opened doors for change. Challenge yourself to push the norm and continue to shoot for the stars and excel. We do this every day at Centerline as we work to provide professional drivers you can count on.

  • Creating a Culture of Driver Retention

    by User Not Found | Apr 29, 2015

    This week I attended the Annual NPTC convention in Cincinnati, OH. Every year, I look forward with anticipation to reconnect with our customers, learn something new that will help me enable my customers to improve their fleet operations by providing a stable, experienced workforce. One of the challenges that we learned about was creating an environment where drivers are not only valued, but given the tools and resources to stay engaged.

    How does Centerline do this for our drivers? We make our culture people-centered. Our Service Center engages daily 24/7 with our very talented and qualified drivers from all over North America. We work with them to trouble shoot any issues, create the opportunities for training and advanced learning they are seeking and encourage them to voice their opinions and concerns.  We actively seek out the best, pay them well and let them know through our actions how they are the heart-beat of our organization and the many top transportation companies throughout North America that we serve.

    Can we do more? Yes, of course, we can broaden our outreach to those interested in becoming drivers. We act as a career coach and offer real opportunities for these drivers to support their families. Watch the video below to learn more about how we engage with our drivers.

  • Distracted Driving

    by User Not Found | Apr 07, 2015

    Capture
    April is distracted driving awareness month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is warning those that text and drive that if you do it, you’ll pay.

    This is more than a catchy slogan supported by a $5 million advertising campaign (running April 6-15) but will be enforced through laws and ordinances targeting distracted driving, backed with penalties and fines.

    Centerline’s drivers are aware that our policy is no cell phone use while driving. Period. Our driver’s safety and the safety of the traveling public is our number one priority when putting our customer’s trucks on the road.

    Our drivers are instructed to turn off cell phones while operating our customer’s vehicles and store them for use while on breaks or after their routes are complete and they turn in their commercial vehicles. There is no excuse for distracted driving.

    Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages. Additionally, 14 states and territories prohibit drivers of all ages from using handheld cell phones while driving. A total of 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, ban cell phone use by novice drivers. Two states, Oklahoma and Texas, restrict school bus drivers from texting.

    SAFETY SAVES LIVES, LEARN MORE:

    FOUR TIPS ON DISTRACTED DRIVING FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Puppies, Sporting Events and Being Humble

    by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2015

    We had the pleasure to interview Jill Quinn, President of Centerline and learn a little more about her background and what makes her tick.Jill Quinn

    What is your favorite part about working with Centerline?

    Connecting people and work. 

    How long have you been with Centerline?

    19 years (obviously started in my teens)

    How did you get to your current position?

    Our company was acquired by TrueBlue in 2008, I was very fortunate to be selected to lead the Centerline division.

    What do you see as the biggest trend impacting the trucking industry?

    No surprise here...Truck driver shortage

    How do you define success?

    Showing up...doing the best we can with what we have.

    Puppies or kittens?

    Puppies

    What was the last book you’ve read/or books you might recommend?

    My ‘go-to’ is Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I've just starting reading Jack Welch, Winning.

    What was your first job?

    Courtesy Clerk at Safeway 

    What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? 
    • Be humble...It's not about you, it's about them.
    • Model the way
    • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
    • And, of course, surround yourself with exceptional talent
    What do you like to do for fun?

    Love, actually obsessed with, watching my kid's sporting events! 

  • The Generation Gap

    by User Not Found | Mar 03, 2015

    Fewer young people going into trucking compounds national driver shortage

    One of the biggest concerns we hear from our customers is lack of qualified drivers. Our recruiters focus exclusively on finding drivers on a daily basis and it has been getting more challenging. According to estimates by The American Trucking Associations (ATA) the U.S. is short upwards of 30,000 truck drivers. What’s driving the shortfall? Factors include regulations, relatively low pay, and lack of interest from young people to join the profession.

    As Business Insider reported, ninety percent of transportation companies couldn't find enough qualified drivers to fill demand.

    With a turn-over rate of 92 percent, fresh blood is vital to the industry running smoothly. As the graph below shows, the average truck driver is 45-54, making the bulk of the industry dependent on a worker base nearing retirement in the next 15-20 years. 

    Source: American Trucking Association (ATA)
    Average age of truck driver in 2013: 45-54 years

    Some of the important factors that have cumulated in this problem:

    1. Competitors
    2. Demographics
    3. Recent changes in DOT regulations
    4. Pay scale
    5. Employee Engagement

    As the driver shortage intensifies, Centerline is a resource that can help. We are actively reaching out to new demographics to fill our driver pool with qualified candidates and using technology to aid in the recruitment and retainment process. We also spend the time to form partnerships with others in the industry who can assist in finding and training the right candidates for roles as the drivers of the future. In addition to the driver shortage, experts are predicting that as the economy continues to improve there will be a need to move more freight efficiently. 

     

  • When Trucks Stop, America Will Stop

    by User Not Found | Sep 29, 2014

    Do you know the amount of impact it would have on your business if trucks stopped rolling across the country?

    The effects of a transportation shutdown for any reason would be immediate (in some cases, within hours) and absolutely catastrophic. When the Trucks Stop, America Will Stop!

    It’s easy to forget how much we depend on truck drivers for almost every aspect of our lives. The effects of a world without cargo transportation would be far reaching and disastrous, touching everything from our food distribution to our finances.

    Here’s a terrifying look at a world without the great men and women who keep our lives running smoothly.

    Check out this cool interactive infographic

    Some of the highlights, excerpted from the American Trucking Associations Report

    The Food Industry

    • Severe shortages within 72 hours, especially of perishable items.
    • Panic will make shortages worse.
    • Clean drinking water will run dry (every 7 to 14 days all water treatment plants receive chemicals by truck to make drinking water safe).

    Healthcare

    • Many hospitals operate on a “just in time” delivery for medications and supplies.
    • Hospital and nursing home food will run out in 24 hours.

    Transportation

    • Gas station fuel will run out within 24 to 48 hours. An average gas station requires deliveries every 2.4 days.
    • The subsequent fuel shortage will ripple to all automobiles and vehicles which will no longer be able to transport people to work, police, fire, rescue, mail-package delivery, garbage pickup, public transit.
    • Airlines and air-cargo will be grounded due to lack of supplies.
    • Rail lines will halt due to non-delivery of the first and last mile (trucks)

    Waste Removal

    • Within days, America will be buried in garbage, presenting an enormous health hazard.

    The Retail Sector

    • Most retailers rely on “just in time” delivery of their products to keep inventories low.
    • Consumer behavior during emergencies triple the inventory turnover – speeding up the already ‘bad’ situation.

    Manufacturing

    • Nearly 100% of manufacturing companies have switched over to “just in time” processes in order to optimize efficiency and profits. Manufacturing will shut down within hours.

    Banking and Finance

    • ATM’s and bank cash will run dry very quickly.
    • Businesses will lose access to cash.
    • Bank branches will shut down.

     

    At Centerline, we understand the value of our truckers and the dependable drivers we provide for your business. We have been in commercial transportation for more than three decades. Our specialty is helping our clients manage the risk that comes with employing drivers by taking on the burdens of recruiting, hiring and employing drivers and maintaining their driver files with exacting precision. Every Centerline driver has completed a comprehensive review process to make sure they are qualified, safe and committed to excellence. All Centerline drivers exceed DOT regulatory requirements. At Centerline, people are our priority. We aren’t a trucking company. We’re a people company that excels at providing the most qualified and dependable drivers in the transportation industry.

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