DOT Audit of Cargo Delays Underway

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Loading/Unloading Delays to Be Examinedwatch

On June 15, 2016, The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) Issued a Memorandum to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announcing that it would be taking a closer look at delays in loading and unloading on commercial carriers. According to the OIG, the objectives of the audit are to “(1) assess available data on motor carrier loading and unloading delays and (2) provide information on measuring the potential effects of loading and unloading delays” including travel delays, lost wages, improper logging, and increased safety risks.

Delays resulting in driver detention cost the trucking industry upwards of $4 billion per year in lost productivity.[1] Further, the OIG expressed concern that these delays might encourage drivers to “drive faster to make deliveries within hours-of-service limits or operate beyond these limits and improperly log their driving time, thus increasing the risk of crashes and fatalities.”

A 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office identified a number of factors that contributed to increased detention time, including lack of sufficient loading/unloading equipment, staff shortage, unprepared shipments, poor service, and inefficient facility scheduling practices.[2]

The data collection effort is now underway and the results of the audit could hold a number of implications, such as hours of service adjustments or changes in detention pay policies.

[1] Motor Carrier Efficiency Study Phase I, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Washington D.C., February 2009.

[2] Commercial Motor Carriers, More Could Be Done to Determine Impact of Excessive Loading and Unloading Wait Times on Hours of Service Violations, Washington D.C., January 2011.

Read the DOT Announcement here.

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Stand Up for Yourself

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Are Standing Desks Beneficial to Your Health?

It seems that the jury is still out on this one.

Preliminary research suggested that the use of standing desks reduced the risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and lowered long-term mortality risk. Experts recommended alternating between standing and sitting, citing that standing for long periods of time can lead to back, knee or foot problems.

Suddenly, “sitting was the new smoking” and many companies began the transition from traditional desks to standing desks or sit-stand desks.

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A recent meta-analysis* of the 20 best-designed studies showed that there was little evidence to support the claims that standing desks have the health benefits cited by earlier studies; however, if you currently use a standing/sit-stand desk, fear not, as you might still be reaping benefits including increased cognitive performance and higher productivity levels – up to 45% higher in some cases. (Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, 2016).

And then there is this…We’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Link to the Productivity Study: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/km4nB428SqEGEqw7Bwjz/full

*NPR.org

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Bottling Beer and Building Relationships: An Interview with the Founder of MobileCraft

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After spending a number of years in corporate America, Jeremy Williams found himself at a crossroads. Selling surgical equipment left him feeling unfulfilled and “stuck in a rut”. He began to take inventory of what was motivating and meaningful to him. He found his answer at the bottom of a bottle: A beer bottle to be exact.

MobileCraft, LLC , based in Indianapolis, was founded in 2015 after 2 years of industry research and planning. A long-time fan of craft beer, Jeremy learned that a number of small breweries had the desire to bottle their product, but due to budget limitations, building and operating a bottling facility was not feasible. He saw a need and jumped at the opportunity to help bridge that gap by offering mobile bottling services to local craft breweries. You can read more about the business here.

After investing in the equipment, the most costly being the portable 6-headed filler (pictured below), he was faced with the task of finding customers. This meant reaching out in an attempt to explain the process while selling customers on how this would benefit their business.

 

 

According to Charles Green of Trusted Advisor Associates, “Most sales models are inherently transactional. But if you start thinking about your customers in terms of relationships rather than transactions, where it’s never about one deal, you’ll build relationships.” MobileCraft  began taking this approach as they found themselves moving from email exchanges and phone calls to in-person meetings. According to Jeremy, he used these interactions to “hook” the customer while also building the foundation for a relationship. “I was always able to find common ground, whether it was the fact that many brewery owners had also left corporate America or that we both enjoyed good beer.”

Once you have made that initial connection, how do you build trust with your customers?

I go to every job site and work alongside the brewery employees during the bottling process. Although my employees are capable of training and assisting them, it’s the perfect time to get to know each other. Everyone’s guard is down whenever you are actually doing an activity. Plus, they see that I am truly invested in making sure they get the best service.

Once you have established customer relationships, how do you maintain them?

I reach out to them after a bottling-job, often through text messages. In this industry, most of them seem to be more responsive to texts, so that’s what I go with. I’d say I touch base every other week or so for customers who we bottle for monthly.

What about social media?

Yes, I also use social media to stay connected with them. If you look at our Twitter page, you will see that we promote our customers’ products nearly every time we are at a site and also in between, especially if they have an event or something coming up. It goes both ways, they in turn, will retweet us and then of course that gives us more exposure.

Here at A.M. Transport, we use “swag” that we provide to customers to thank them for their business or just let them know we appreciate them. I see from your Twitter that you use “tchotchkes”. Is there a major difference and how do you use them?

Ha! We only have one “tchotchke” which is a branded bottle opener and typically I leave those during my initial meeting with a customer. Maybe I should consider getting some “swag”

What book would you recommend that pertains to customer relationships?

Instead of a book, I would actually recommend authors: Chip and Dan Heath. They have some great books and I believe a blog as well.

So, we have our own craft beer line at A.M Transport. Any chance that you would drive down here and bottle it for us?

Well, our minimum production is 2300 -12 ounce bottles per hour.

Not a problem. We also appreciate good beer, so line ’em up- CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

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To Learn more about MobileCraft, LLC, visit their website: www.gomobilecraft.com

Jeremy earned his MBA in entrepreneurship from Ball State University and worked in medical sales and business consulting before finding his “passion project”. 

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Where the Rubber Meets the Roadcheck

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CVSA’s Roadcheck Enforcement Campaign 2016

This year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual truck safety inspection will take place June 7-9, 2016. During this period, certified inspectors will conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeting motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety, the most common and most stringent being the North American Standard Level I Inspection. It is a 37-step process and requires examination of both driver and vehicle.

The emphasis for this year’s campaign is Tire Safety. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for a tire inspection:

AM Transport

Infographic created by AM Transport’s Amanda Williams

To learn more about roadcheck procedures or to find tire safety educational materials, visit CVSA’s website.

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I’d rather be fishing…

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National Fishing and Boating Week 2016

June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week, sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. Throughout the month, many states offer “free fishing days” when anyone is allowed to fish on public bodies of water without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamps, or inland trout stamps  (6/17/16-6/20/16 for Illinois). Find free fishing days in other states here: Free Fishing Days 2016.

Recreational fishing presents a chance to escape from the daily grind and spend time with family or friends on or near the water. It also provides an opportunity to bond with children while helping them develop an appreciation for waterways and wildlife. Fishing offers a number of health benefits as well (infographic courtesy of Bass Pro Shops)

health benefits of fishing

So get out there and take advantage of some of the beautiful waterways near you. Not sure where to go? The Recreational Fishing & Boating Foundation offers a way for to you find great spots and can be even be narrowed down by species of fish: www.takemefishing.org/where-to-fish-and-boat

Learn anything you’ve ever wanted to know about fishing:  www.takemefishing.org

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