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  • Limiting Distracted Driving at 3 Levels

    by Charlotte Freed | Apr 19, 2019

    Distracted DrivingDistractions are everywhere. Whether adjusting the radio or sending a text, taking one’s eyes off the road for a just a few seconds can have disastrous consequences. Distracted driving accounts for 10% of all driving fatalities, and while conversations are often centered on how drivers can limit distractions, it is important to remember safety is a company wide effort. 

    Companies can make an impact on distracted driving at various levels by teaching and empowering drivers to make better decisions along their routes.

    Level 1: The Individual

    Drivers need to have self-discipline when it comes to limiting distractions. Self-discipline is not created overnight, but can become a habit with the help of fleet managers and supervisors. Encourage drivers to map out their routes. Knowing when and where to stop for food or for mandated rests will help drivers resist the urge to use electronic devices to find stops along their routes.

    Level 2: The Organization

    Self-discipline and habits can take a long time to develop. To make changes quickly, organizations can implement rules and policies that, when broken, result in consequences for engaging in distracting behavior. Easy to implement rules include, keeping cell phones out of the cab.

    Level 3: Peers

    Once rules and policies are in place, organizations can foster a peer-to-peer police mentality. Organizations should encourage drivers to talk to their team members if they are breaking with company policy. One driver engaging in distracted driving puts every driver at risk.

    By teaching drivers the dangers of distracted driving, and putting policies in place to prevent distracted driving, fleets can help make an impact on one of the industry’s biggest concerns.

  • How to Reduce Driver Turnover without Increasing Pay

    by Charlotte Freed | Apr 12, 2019

    employee turnover graphicIn the last year, driver wages have risen 11 percent compared to just 1 percent in many other industries. Even with increased pay, some fleets are battling turnover rates as high as 94 percent. Soon, fleets will not be the only ones feeling the effect of sitting trucks. As spot freight booms, the everyday consumer will continue to be impacted by idle trucks, and businesses will feel and see this impact in customer satisfaction ratings. This makes solving the driver shortage and driver turnover issue even more pressing.

    But why isn’t raising wages solving the problem? The answer is simple – every fleet is doing it. This eliminates opportunities for fleets to differentiate themselves amongst their competition. Instead of focusing on wages, fleets should focus on pay, loyalty, and technology.

    Pay

    Pay refers to receiving an actual pay check – and for drivers, receiving a pay check does not happen fast enough. Many shippers or carriers often cut physical checks, dragging out the payroll process. To ensure drivers are getting paid quickly, fleets need to modernize their payment systems to allow drivers to have immediate access to funds.

    If updating your current payment system is not an option, consider partnering with a driver staffing team that offers direct deposit or can take over payroll for your dedicated team members.

    Loyalty

    Loyalty cannot be bought with increased wages. Instead, increased wages encourage drivers to leave full-time work for the next higher paying job. To build loyalty, fleets must build trust by focusing on drivers’ work-life balance. While shipping demands are at an all-time high, and it may be easy to turn a profit by picking up additional loads, it is important to create set schedules and honor time off.

    If additional loads are a must, consider using temporary drivers to assist with the additional work.

    Technology

    Technology is becoming increasingly more present in the transportation industry. While some forms of technology are necessary, other forms are considered a “nice to have.” When implementing technology, consider how it will impact drivers. Make sure that the impact is explained to the drivers prior to implementation, and have a well thought out implementation strategy that includes driver training.

    Wages are not the only way to retain drivers. Instead, fleets need to focus on relationships – being up front with drivers and making sure their basic needs are met. This in turn will reduce driver turnover, giving fleets a distinct competitive advantage.
  • Yes, there is a Driver Shortage

    by Charlotte Freed | Apr 05, 2019

    Empty loading dockA 16-page research paper published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is drumming up controversy in the transportation industry. The paper analyzes truck driving like most blue-collar jobs, and American Transportation Association (ATA) Chief Economist Bob Costello believes this is a critical mistake.

    Kristen Monaco, an associate commissioner for the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions at the BLS with over 20 years of industry experience, and co-author of the report, found that the trucking labor market – like any other blue-collar market – responds to increasing labor demand over time. In other words, while trucking has experienced high and persistent turnover rates, there is no evidence of a secular shortage.

    Costello disagrees with the paper’s findings, explaining how the ATA consistently finds evidence of the shortage. Using demographic data of drivers provided by the Census Bureau, the ATA creates a “supply” trend forecast. This forecast is then compared to how much freight and how many trucks are needed to move that freight. Costello and the ATA’s claims are backed by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which claims the driver shortage has remained an issue for year.

    The key take away from the BLS report is that while the driver shortage may not be a secular problem, it is a concern for fleets today. Whether recruiting younger drivers, or implementing practices to limit driver turnover, fleets need to take action against the shortage.


  • The Leading Ladies of Centerline's Service Center

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 29, 2019
    Jeanine Suarez and Regina Frank

    While leaders come in different shapes and size, all have one thing in common: they can rally their troops to achieve the unthinkable. To do this, leaders must be committed and hardworking, enabling them to earn the trust and respect of their teammates. At Centerline, Service Manager Jeanie Suarez and Regional Service Manager Regina Frank are two leaders who are inspiring women to lead in the transportation industry.

    Both Suarez and Frank entered transportation knowing that the industry was heavily dominated by men. However, it never mattered to either of them. Both Suarez and Frank believe that in transportation, as long as you’re able to do the job and rise above the challenges, you will succeed. Suarez further explains, “I believe everyone has something to prove in any career.”

    With over thirty years of combined experience in transportation, both women are happy to see women starting careers in the industry. Frank notes that women have made great strides in transportation, with more women drivers, terminal managers, and upper level managers. As leaders, both were willing to offer advice to those just starting their careers: don’t be intimidated, speak confidently and stay true to yourself. Frank further explained that she wishes more women would take up the challenge of working in the industry, as it’s “a challenging, fun and exciting world.” 

    Centerline is lucky to have a team full of talented individuals – individuals who are willing to go above and beyond for their customers and drivers. Regina and Jeanine are two of these individuals, and we’re lucky that they are inspiring the next generation of women transportation leaders at Centerline.

  • Creating a Family-First Environment to Retain Drivers

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 22, 2019

    Daughter happy to see tucker fatherThe issue of work-life balance continues to be the center of attention as more millennials enter the workforce. The transportation industry is no exception. Fleets are reporting that increasing home time is eliminating a main source of dissatisfaction among drivers.

    For fleets that specialize in over-the-road operations, increasing home time means increasing the number of night’s drivers are home. For fleets focusing in LTL and last-mile delivery, with less overnight routes, it is important to focus on other ways to build a family-first environment that will attract and retain quality drivers.

    Flexibility within Policies and Procedures

    Policies and procedures are what define a company’s culture. In a family-friendly workplace, policies and procedures need to be flexible and accommodating, allowing employees to take care of their families if an issue should arise.

    Do you have maternity or paternity benefits that go beyond what the law requires? Do you offer daycare arrangements? How about sick days or days off? Working with a recruitment partner like Centerline can help you ensure your operations are covered when full-time employees take advantage of these benefits.

    Benefits for Everyone

    Family issues, such as illness or even education, can cause stress for your employees. Consider providing access to family counseling or creating programs that support and promote education through scholarships or tuition assistance.

    Programs that help the entire family will help employees feel as though their job is a family affair. If your company already offers these programs, make sure your drivers are fully aware of their benefits – consider listing them in your job descriptions to help increase the number of qualified drivers applying to your open positions.

    Celebrate Families

    Does your company celebrate Driver Appreciation Week in September? Do you throw an annual holiday party or have a summer barbeque? Consider making these events family friendly. This will increase the number of employees who attend the event, as they won’t feel pressured to choose work over family.

    Creating a family friendly workplace demonstrates a sense of caring to employees. While increased home time is important, driving does not always allow it. Changes to policies and procedures can send the same message, and can help attract and retain highly qualified drivers.

  • Don’t Compromise Qualifications for Drivers

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 15, 2019

    Benefits for driversWith freight booming and drivers becoming harder to find, many companies are willing to hire anyone with a CDL to fill open positions. This strategy may put people in the driver’s seat, but may also be generating high turnover which effects your operation and bottom line.

    While it may be difficult to consider waiting to hire the right driver, hiring strategically can help you find a driver who is not only qualified to do the job, but fits into your company’s culture. A driver who is the right fit based on your company’s culture and values will be less willing to quit when they learn of a better sign-on bonus later that month.

    To help attract and hire the right driver, be specific in your job requirements. Note any endorsements a driver may need and have those conversations up front with the driver after an application is submitted. After a driver is hired, it’s important to make sure they are the right fit for your company. This is hard to determine during the recruitment process. Instead, think long and hard about your onboarding process. Is it just a day? Or is it a week on the road with a veteran driver? A longer onboarding process may take longer to get a new hire operational, but may help you and the driver determine if the job is truly a good fit.

    Making these changes can take time. One solution is to use a recruiting partner like Centerline. A recruiting partner has the resources and technology to find qualified drivers faster. When working with a recruiting partner, or with a fleet management provider, provide the following information to help find the most qualified drivers:

    • An overview of your company’s values
    • A detailed job description, including any endorsements a driver may need
    • An explanation of what the onboarding process looks like
    • A description of who your ideal driver is, including prior experience

    Taking a more strategic approach to hiring drivers may take longer, but finding qualified drivers based on your company’s specific needs will help reduce turnover rates, resulting in more efficient operations.

  • ETAs and Driver Expectations

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 08, 2019

    on-time deliveriesIn trucking, customer service is often measured by on-time and late deliveries. In fact, 42% of private fleets use delivery accuracy as their main metric. As on-time deliveries become more and more important, drivers are feeling pressured to complete their routes with as little disruption as possible. This pressure can cause turnover within a fleet.

    Below we’ve outlined tips to help alleviate pressure and help prevent driver turnover.

    Guaranteed Windows

    Today, customers not only expect a delivery date, but a delivery time as well. Providing a guaranteed delivery window meets the request of the customer while providing leeway for the driver. This window should help account for delays at previous stops, putting less stress on the driver.

    Load Size

    E-commerce and same-day deliveries are on the rise, and carriers are feeling the pressure to fill trailers to the brim. Use data on traffic and route information, such as day of the week and time. This information will help you determine if a driver can make 50 deliveries or 10 deliveries on a route. Drivers will appreciate a reasonable load.

    Technology

    Today, technology allows dispatchers and drivers to work together to optimize routes. Dispatchers can watch maps alerting drivers of delays ahead, and drivers can report back in with real time information. Investing in this technology not only helps fleets plan routes, but makes drivers feel empowered.

    A fleet plays an important part in determining the customer service of a company. Drivers are the face of fleet. By keeping drivers needs in mind, fleets can reduce driver turnover and minimize disruptions to their operations.

  • Staff Shoutout: Success in the “Show Me State”

    by Charlotte Freed | Mar 01, 2019

    Centerline St. LouisWelcome to the “Show Me State,” home to one of Centerline’s newest locations. In St. Louis, Recruiting Manager Breanna Metzger and Account Manager Laura Nienhaus are making a name for themselves, taking Centerline from underdog to superstars.

    Breanna and Laura have been battling their lack of reputation since day 1 – they are the unknown. They both agree that their lack of reputation has been the most challenging part of their business. Whether it’s getting an opportunity to present Centerline’s offerings to a new company or recruit top talent, they’re battling established competitors, having to build exceptional relationships based on trust from the ground up.

    While being the underdog has been challenging, the team agrees it has also been the most rewarding part of working for Centerline. The team truly believes in the Centerline values, and have appreciated building their brand. And they’re building this brand together. “We include each other in every part of our process. We feel the client and drivers know they have our full commitment,” explains Laura. To build strong partnerships, the team focuses on actions, not just words. Open communication and a hands on approach have helped build trust. This trust has built and will continue to build success.

    When companies in the area ask our St. Louis team to show them why Centerline is the best in the business, we’re proud to have Breanna and Laura on our team. 

  • Two Ways ELD Data Can Improve Efficiency

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 25, 2019

    Trucks driving down highwayFor the past year, article after article has featured the infamous ELDs and their impacts. Few articles have explained how ELD data can help fleets make operational changes to improve efficiency. ELDs provide important information, ranging from potential HOS violations to route problems. Here are two ways your fleet can use ELD data to improve your operations.

    Pinpoint Route Problems

    Inefficient routes can cause delays, resulting in late deliveries and poor customer service. ELDs offer GPS tracking, giving carriers better insight on where drivers are located, and why that location is effecting their shipments. By instructing drivers to annotate their routes on their ELDs, managers can learn which routes have more traffic than others, or which routes are being impacted by weather, road closures and construction. Having this insight can help with route planning, allowing carriers to improve their route efficiency and ensure timely deliveries.

    Staff Drivers Appropriately

    One of the main benefits of ELDs is their ability to collect HOS information. This helps fleet managers ensure drivers aren’t driving more, or less, than they should be. To help increase productivity and profitability, fleets can keep trucks moving by rotating through drivers who are other being underutilized. Fleets can also learn when and where they may need more drivers. By sharing this information with a driving staffing partner, fleets can improve their recruiting processes.

    ELDs are here to stay, and as fleets and drivers begin to embrace them, the benefits will become more apparent. For help implementing and navigating ELD information, rely on industry partners like Centerline. Sharing information is the best way to create a customized staffing plan for your fleet.

  • How is E-Commerce Impacting the Driver Shortage?

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 15, 2019

    e-commerce impacting driver shortageSince its inception, e-commerce has impacted trucking. E-commerce has caused businesses to adjust operations to cater to the demand of faster deliveries and shorter hauls, and now, studies are showing that it’s impacting the driver shortage as well. The question truckload carriers should be asking is: Is this the impact the industry needs?

    The Immediate Impact

    One of the challenges the trucking industry faces is quality of life for drivers. The truckload sector features an average haul of 500 miles a trip, and while this number has fallen substantially since 2000, it still does not compare to the shorter hauls a delivery driver makes on a day-to-day basis. A major concern is that this benefit could lure drivers away from truckload carriers, further exacerbating turnover rates.

    Long Term Benefits

    Is this a training opportunity? Laws prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from participating in interstate operations, meaning truckload positions aren’t an option. Young truckers could use local hauls from e-commerce as training opportunities, allowing them to gain the necessary driving experience needed for longer hauls in the truckload sector. Companies that remain flexible and add services for the final mile can benefit from developing a home-grown population of younger drivers.

    As the last mile segment of the industry continues to grow, companies will need to keep an eye on how it effects the growing driver shortage – for better or worse. 

  • 2 Ways Your Company Make a Positive Impact on the Driver Shortage

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 08, 2019

    Truck driver with hands on the wheelTwo conversations that are always top of mind in the transportation industry are the driver shortage and the perception of the driving profession. It’s not surprising that these two issues go hand in hand. For years, driving has been a thankless profession, and now companies are feeling the impact as they struggle to find drivers to move their products.

    Businesses can help improve the perception of the industry, and attract more qualified individuals to the driving profession in two ways:

    Follow the Rules

    Organizations like the FMCSA have created regulations such as HOS Rules and the ELD Mandate. While these regulations are controversial, they were created to help improve the safety of the nation’s highways. While on-time deliveries are an important measure of customer service, they should not trump the safety of drivers. Businesses should never encourage their drivers to break HOS rules, and should instead make safety the priority to help create an image of safe and responsible drivers.

    Respect your Drivers

    The economy is booming and e-commerce is on the rise. As demand continues to rise, so will contracted and spot shipping rates. While extra profit is a benefit most shippers can enjoy, it is important not to forget the drivers. Consider raising driver wages, creating new incentives or improving equipment to show drivers they are appreciated.

    As a career coach for drivers, Centerline is committed to partnering with companies that advocate and improve the image of America’s professional drivers.

  • Centerline welcomes new Safety Operations Manager

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 01, 2019

    Jim LedbetterEarlier this month, Centerline welcomed Jim Ledbetter to the team. As Centerline’s Safety Operations Manager, Jim will be responsible for establishing a “safety first” mentality. To establish this culture, Jim intends to be a very vocal quarterback.

    With over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, Jim understands that safety is the key to success. According to Jim, running a safe operation not only eliminates risk, but “allows customer service and operational costs to be successful as well.” To create a safety first mentality, safety has to be a face to face interaction starting from the very beginning of the recruitment process. One of Jim’s goals at Centerline is to help streamline safety processes, and help the Centerline team recruit, identify and retain the safest drivers.

    As the driving pool continues to shrink, it becomes increasingly important to minimize the turnover of safe drivers. That is why Jim stresses the importance of taking safety seriously: “Don’t be an ‘armchair quarterback.’ Get up, walk the yard, do a ride along. Understand the struggles your drivers are going through on a daily basis.” Understanding safety is the key to communicating with drivers. If you can talk it and live it, you’ll have the ear of the driver. Establishing a safe culture is more than sending an email or posting a bulletin. Jim explains, “Drivers don’t have time to read bulletins – you need to be available and reiterate the message of safety over and over and over again.”

    The safety of the driving public is a reasonability Centerline takes very seriously. We ensure that all drivers are properly qualified under DOT regulations and meet our stringent eligibility requirements. Our drivers undergo continuous driver training, evaluation and mentoring.

  • Collaboration: Solving the Final-Mile Delivery Dilemma

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 25, 2019

    Last-Mile DeliveryEveryday new technology is being created to disrupt and replace tired practices and processes. The transportation and freight industry is no exception. There is one key difference between this industry and others: government. Local routes, especially urban deliveries, are heavily impacted by road restrictions, speed limits and parking restrictions.

    Final-mile delivery continues to grow with the rise of e-commerce, but without collaboration from the public sector, existing delivery processes will be hard to challenge. Transport Topics identified a number of inefficiencies that will need to be addressed by local governments to help streamline processes:

    1. Urban Kiosks: Fixtures like Amazon lockers are already becoming the norm in some cities, providing a central delivery location for e-commerce orders. To help minimize traffic disruption, local planners will need to determine the best location for these hubs.
    2. Urban Warehouses: Companies are already competing for warehouses closer to urban centers to help ensure faster deliveries. Local governments will be critical partners in helping regulate the location of these warehouses, ensuring the transfer of goods to last-mile vehicles is as smooth as possible.

    Technology is continually being developed to help disrupt and replace old, frustrating processes; however, equally as frustrating is having government hold up changes behind closed doors or in years of study groups. Technology is fast, yet government often ties the hand of industry disruptors. Moving forward, final-mile delivery is likely to see drones, self-driving trucks and more. Working with local governments to create rules or establish infrastructure will be critical in allowing new delivery models to flourish.

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Last-Mile Delivery

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 18, 2019

    last-mile deliveryTime-sensitive delivery options are changing consumer expectations. Today, the demand for free or 1-day shipping is the expectation and the norm. E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart have discovered that speed is one of the keys to consumer satisfaction – but cities and logistics are now struggling with how to keep up with demand.

    The demand for last-mile delivery is causing changes in the freight world in the best and worst of ways.  

    The Good

    With more and more consumers choosing to shop online, the demand for 2-day or same-day delivery has increased. In November, Cyber Monday sales eclipsed $7 billion – a 20 percent increase from 2017. This number screams consumer confidence, and has opened the door for smaller fleets to participate in the delivery boom as household names like FedEx and UPS struggle to keep up with demand. As consumers continue to turn to online shopping for their everyday needs, the opportunity for fleets will continue to increase.

    The Bad

    As opportunity increases, companies are entering a heated battle for strategically located warehouses. Reports indicated that for every $1 billion in e-commerce sales, a company will need about 1.25 million square feet for warehousing. This has caused companies to increasingly turn to “urban warehouses” or “micro fulfillment centers” often located in the heart of congested urban areas. To complete deliveries, companies are often turning to smaller vehicles like vans, even bicycles at times. With more traffic on the road, urban planners are feeling the pressure to alleviate congestion.

    The Ugly

    Congestion not only frustrates truck drivers, but it costs trucking companies. In recent years, congestion costs in urban areas have skyrocketed, with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Freight and Intermodal Trade Section reporting a $5 billion increase in just three years. This increase is heavily correlated to the increase in residential deliveries. All across the country cities are unveiling strategic freight plans that address issues such as delivery hours and parking. Until these problems are solved, costs are expected to rise.

    To combat major issues associated with the explosion of last-mile delivery, companies are turning to driver management services and recruiting services, like Centerline Drivers, to help manage seasonal highs and lows, unexpected turnover and more, ensuring delivery services go uninterrupted.

  • Infrastructure and Trade, 2019’s Big Ticket Topics

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 11, 2019

    Infrastructure and Trade in 2019Economic growth is slowing, but by no means lagging. Industry experts anticipate infrastructure to be a priority for Congress and President Donald Trump. Also tied to the administration rests the status of global trade, weighing on trade deals between the United States, Canada, and Mexico and with China and the European Union.

    American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist, Bob Costello, says “we have hit the peak in the current freight cycle, the economy is still growing”- albeit at a slower pace than the previous year. Costello projects a 2.5 percent increase in U.S. domestic product for the coming year, but expects freight activity in the first quarter to waver due to shipping patterns shifting due to threats of tariffs on Chinese goods. While Trump and Chinese President Xi JinPing came to an agreement at the G-20 summit to halt additional tariffs for 90 days, imports had already begun to course in while exports shrank, launching the U.S. trade deficit to a record $43.1 billion.

    The Associated General Contractors of America in Washington Chief Economist, Ken Simonson, anticipates another year of growth for construction due to the increase of personal income and low levels of unemployment. However, those same low levels of unemployment could strain construction projects lacking labor force. Trade policy instability also effect construction, with businesses dependent on import and export materials feeling the inflation.

    While a number of economists are optimistic of manufacturing due to the current strength of consumer confidence, others are wary of the economic expansion - some even nodding to the next recession. Technology joins manufacturing in its growth and impact, with new options boosting productivity and pushing efficiency. With the rise of connected and driverless cars, hydrogen-fueled trucks, and a hike in Class 8 trucks, truck equipment investment is slated to grow for the next four quarters.

    All of that in mind, the lack of drivers only becomes more apparent. Rising prices caused by longer cargo waiting times may prompt emergency intermodal fees or stop door delivery, in addition to higher cost to the end consumer. Technology may help alleviate the shortage, but many carriers are turning to trusted temporary driver staffing services, such as Centerline Drivers, for their truck driver hiring needs. Without additional recruiting expertise to help bolster waning fleets, business owners are feeling the squeeze as drivers continue to retire, without a new generation to fill their seats.
  • Why is Consumer Confidence Plummeting?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 04, 2019

    Customer Confidence in 2019
    Labor market expectations declined to unprecedented lows for the first time in 41 years, causing U.S. consumer confidence to sharply deflate. With the stock market fluctuating, expansion moderating, and global economics worsening – America’s consumers are showing signs of losing optimism, as the confidence index decreased eight points to a reading of 128.1 points. Consumer expectations also fell to 16.6 percent, the most notable drop since 1977.

    Whether because of uncertainty around the ongoing trade wars or because of President Donald Trump continued attacks on the Federal Reserve, these numbers show a notable effect on the country’s stance on the economy. Additionally, interest rates continue to increase, the financial uptick from year-old tax cuts continue to decrease, and the housing market and manufacturing sector are cooling, prompting further unrest. Financial experts recommend paying close attention to consumer attitudes over the coming months to gauge how stock prices affect their standpoints and behaviors.

    Still, while economic expectations fell, The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index shows that the weekly comfort measure recovered slightly from a three-month low.  Consumer perceptions of the job market continue on a positive track, lending a positive side to the newest reports.

  • Staff Shoutout: Claudia Golden

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 28, 2018
    Centerline's Claudia Golden

    Sometimes you just know what you’re good at…and your career matches up ideally with these skills. This is the case for Claudia Golden, who is on the Sales team for Driver Management Services for National Accounts. Claudia went from her first job selling cheeseburgers and fries at Wendy’s to retail clothing and then spent over a decade in cellular sales. From there, Claudia decided the staffing industry called to her and took her sales acumen into a new realm. After several years in the construction staffing world, Claudia found Centerline and hasn’t looked back.

    Claudia knows she’s good at sales – and she has the years under her belt to prove it. Contributing to Claudia’s success is her keen understanding of a customer’s viewpoint. She says how important it is to be “up front” and “completely honest” and that it’s important to remind them that we are dealing and working with people. Claudia says “there are always going to be bumps in the road, but I will always call back and we’ll try to figure it out” adding that she doesn’t play games or serve “B.S.” Claudia also knows how important it is getting to know each one of her customers. While they may have preferences on drivers, she knows the best drivers available for each business based on personalities and needs – likening matching a customer to a driver to puzzle pieces fitting together well.

    An exercise that has proven to be critical in successful sales for Claudia is role playing. She notes that the practice sets her up with the knowledge and information she would need for any circumstance or question. Being able to address an issue or approach a situation confidently is important to Claudia and ensuring she delivers the best service possible while maintaining Centerline’s integrity.

    What Claudia doesn’t mention in our conversation is how her personality and attitude is such a factor as to why customers lean in to her sales strategies. Claudia is genuinely interested in creating partnerships and it’s easy to sense she’s passionate about connecting great drivers with great companies. Centerline is grateful to work alongside Claudia and know that she’s a piece of the company puzzle that makes the whole picture come together.

  • Roundup of Trucking Trends for 2019

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 21, 2018

    Moving into 2019As the end of the year nears, the buzz around trends for 2019 only gets louder – and the trucking industry is no exception. In fact, with the flood of e-commerce, historically low unemployment, and new rules and regulations at every turn – trucking finds itself at the center of most change. What are some trends the experts are narrowing in on?

    Capacity Crunch

    What’s causing the low supply of trucks when the demand is so high? That would be the driver shortage. As more and more seasoned truckers retire and fewer new drivers join the ranks, the driver shortage only gets worse. Whether because of the nature of the job, pay rates, worsening traffic due to poor infrastructure, or regulations impacting the job – there are clearly factors keeping potential drivers away from careers in trucking that not only need to be addressed, but solved.

    Climbing Rates

    Thanks to the capacity crunch, rates are expected to increase…by a lot. Spot market and contract rates are predicted to rise due to the lack of trucks and robust tonnage growth…which ultimately effects other industries from manufacturing to logistics to retail. On top of that, interest rates may be influenced by an increase in national debt and trade difficulties with China.

    Tech Movement

    If 2018 was a big year for tech in trucking, 2019 may be even bigger. While the ELD mandate continues to divide opinions, additional freight apps are continually developed to benefit fleets and drivers alike. Mobile apps connecting truck drivers to jobs or allowing carriers to receive faster payment are only a few of the offerings that join rank in the interest of autonomous vehicles and electric-powered trucks

    Smaller Fleets

    Market data shows that out of hundreds of thousands of driver jobs created in the past half-decade, “more than a two to one ratio, drivers are entering one-to-100 truck fleets,” with the majority of those starting or joining fleets of one to six trucks. The capabilities that smaller fleets and drivers can access through tech are strengthening the ability to work independently, a trend seen among a host of industries.

    Blockchain

    The focus on data has only shed more light onto the benefits of blockchain for transportation. Using software that increases transparency through a distributed ledger with concrete data shared across multiple parties. However, widespread adoption will likely take time as it will be difficult to standardize software for trucking companies utilizing a wide variety of platforms.

    Deep Data

    Analyzing and adding actionable items around data will save companies money by preventing critical incidents or operations-halting occurrences, and help increase profits by creating channels for proactive moves toward running a smooth operation and satisfying customer demands.

    Centerline continually reports on trends throughout the year with direct insights into the industry and drivers while staying up-to-date on all trucking news. 
  • What You Need for a Successful ELD Integration

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 17, 2018

    Successfully integrating ELDSIt has been a monumental year for ELDs. Compliance has been a challenge and continues to be for many fleets, even nearly a year after the rule went into effect. Still, there are many companies who have found ELDs to be a success for their businesses.

    What are the common threads we note about the companies reaping benefits from ELDs outside of compliance?

    Stakeholder Support

    When implementing ELDs, make sure the messaging is clear as to why you’re making the shift. Aside from regulation, companies shared the purpose of safer drivers, better informed management and decision makers, and operational efficiency. When all stakeholders of various areas of your business understand the importance relating to them, they may find ways to integrate ELDs into their realm of work too, finding ways for everyone to get involved with implementation.

    Tech Compatibility

    Look at your operation’s specific needs – they’re likely different from another fleet’s, and the ELD you choose should reflect that. Determine what features and factors are most important for you and compare them to the federal requirements, different ELD capabilities, and availability. You may or may not need satellite connectivity, high ping frequency (which tracks and collects trip data), or custom APIs – but it’s important to visit what may be important in different scenarios.

    User Friendly

    Like any other piece of technology, it’s much more likely to be embraced if it’s intuitive and relatively easy to use – for managers, admins, drivers, and everyone in between. Focus on a seamless experience, whether from the seat of a vehicle, behind a desk online, or in front of a driver kiosk. Ideally, let your team test a system before full implementation – and listen to their valuable feedback. As they are the ones utilizing the system day-to-day, it’s vital they can use and support the implementation.

    In-person Training

    While webinars, conference calls, and handbooks all have their place, face-to-face training is far more impactful for drivers and in many cases, as follow-up for admin and management.

  • U.S. and China hit PAUSE on Tariffs

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 07, 2018

    China and US trade warFor now, the trade war between President Trump and Chinese President Xi has quietened. A meeting on Dec. 1 resulted in the two sides agreeing to sojourn new tariffs for 90 days, allowing the countries to spend time coming to a long-term agreement.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters shortly after the meeting that “Both sides believe that the principles agreement reached between the two presidents has effectively prevented the further expansion of economic frictions between the two countries.” The White House pronounced the meeting as “highly successful” and that the U.S. will leave existing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods at 10 percent, rather than increasing to 25 percent starting in the New Year. In exchange, the two powerhouse economies will address Chinese trade practices that Trump has voiced frustration over: intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and non-tariff barriers.

    If there is no agreement by the end of 90 days, tariffs will increase to the aforementioned 25 percent says White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. However, Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow is optimistic, saying the meeting went “very well.” While neither side walked away with their maximum demands met, both economies benefit from the pause on tariffs – but there are still many discussions to come, which will ultimately determine the end-scenario.

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