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Check Call: It’s a jungle out here

Employee satisfaction is in the forefront | Year of the Tiger

Check Call the Show. News and Analysis for 3PLs and Freight Brokers.

Hot Take

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If the housing market has taught us anything in the last year, it’s that it’s a seller’s market, and that holds true with the job market. We’ve talked about the Great Resignation before and it’s likely we see a big shift in January’s employment figures. 

Talented workers have the upper hand here. It’s truly their market, which is forcing employers to think about what additional things they can offer employees outside of a giant pile of money. Those that adapt will thrive with a successful employee base and those that don’t … well, won’t. 

There is always a fair amount of people leaving their current places of employment in January as new budgets are in effect and companies start hiring for the positions they posted at the end of the year. The number of people who left their jobs hasn’t been released for January yet, but if we go off the last few months, 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November alone. That leaves some employers wondering what people really want. 

There is a large push for flexible working schedules. The last almost two years has given people a lot of perspective on what they miss out on by commuting on average 35-40 minutes one way and working a full eight-hour day. The definition of what it means to be “at work” has fundamentally changed. It’s not always 9 to 5 five days a week in the office anymore. 

We have been reminded that work is part of our lives, not our reason to exist. At some point in time over the last two years, many of us have faced burnout, leaving employers wondering what they can do to help combat that and retain their employees. 

Forbes did some heavy lifting that found what some companies did that actually helped retain talent and increase revenue growth from working parents. The secret sauce turns out not to be so secret: 


  • Deliver benefits that are unique to parents. 
  • Create cultures where it’s OK to be a parent and understand that life happens.
  • Show empathy from executives.
  • Make everyone in the organization feel like a full contributor to company success.

As someone who isn’t a parent, I wouldn’t be too mad about anything mentioned. 

In talking with people from all different backgrounds from food service to hospitality to the one and only logistics, some of the “we can’t give you more money but we can do something else” has led to some pretty creative solutions. 

For example, a new small business owner didn’t have the money to increase her top worker’s wage. She instead offered to pay one of her bills, so now she covers the employee’s cellphone bill as a perk. 

It’s time to look at some surveys of what people want and see if you can get a quick win in. Is the office really into fitness? Build a gym or cover a gym membership up to $50. Not workout hounds? No problem, add something to the medical plan like fertility treatments. Everyone hates student loans, and adding some form of reimbursement to an employee benefits package goes a long way. The options are endless, but it’s more than just a beer fridge and a ping-pong table now.   

It’s the little “I’m listening to you and your needs and this is how we can fix it” that is proving to be the key ingredient in recruiting and retaining top talent. Those who adapt will thrive and it’s not too late for those who haven’t.

Quick Hits

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Welcome to the Year of the Tiger. Monday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Traditionally Lunar New Year has been a time for ports to take a break, get caught up — the slow season, if you will. However, this year — just like last year — it seems that we won’t be seeing such a slowdown. The demand in shippers continuing to order goods from overseas at a desperate pace, plus the West Coast port congestion, means that the typical break we see might not happen. 

The zero-tolerance COVID rules in China have hindered the amount of travel and vacation time more people would take this time of the year, meaning there isn’t a stop in production that has happened in the past. That being said, if you’re working with a shipper that is doing a lot of importing, continue to maintain the same expectations as you’ve established the past few months. It will take time to receive goods on the West Coast and it is worth it to explore another port for entry. 

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Is that another rare unicorn? Yes, yes it is. In just over three months we’ve seen two companies, Flock Freight in October 2020 and now Loadsmart, hit the oh-so-elusive status of a privately held startup valued over $1 billion. The chances of a startup hitting unicorn status is literally a 0.00006% chance and takes an average of seven years. 

Loadsmart is an on-demand freight marketplace that offers digital services to customers across the supply chain. Most recently it partnered with The Home Depot, one of its investors, to help leverage its flatbed capacity. Loadsmart has focused on shipper-centric tools and has worked to create a more sustainable supply chain both economically and environmentally. 

This is something that I think we will start to see more and more as we move into 2022 — the focus on sustainable and environmentally aware supply chains. It’s important to start thinking about what you can offer your customers to achieve their long-term goals and have some of those sustainability conversations now to be prepared for the future. 

Market Check

SONAR Ticker: OTRI.IND

If you have some loads crossing through the Midwest this week, you might wanna double check with that shipper to see if it can be rolled into next week. There is a massive winter storm coming through the country stretching from Texas to Vermont. The snow will be the highest through Missouri to southern Michigan. As a result, rejection rates in the affected areas have moved a little higher as carriers aren’t keen to send drivers into the unknown factors of the winter storm. 

As a St. Louis resident, I can confidently say that no one knows exactly what will happen. It is expected to precipitate but is unknown how much snow versus ice will drop on the area until it happens. If the local meteorologists are saying, “Let’s wait and see what happens,” that’s not particularly the environment you want to send a driver into and risk him or her getting stuck. The Midwest doesn’t handle snow like the Northeast; we freak out over 3 inches and panic buy all the bread, milk and eggs you need for two weeks.  

How’d the lemonade stand do?

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In a surprise to almost no one, J.B. Hunt acquired furniture hauler Zenith Freight Lines for $87 million. The addition of Zenith to J.B. Hunt’s network is expected to bump up its final-mile and furniture delivery network. Bassett Furniture is still expected to utilize Zenith as its primary furniture delivery company, it will just be under the J.B. Hunt umbrellas. 

ArcBest came through with big results for Q4 of 2021. Its adjusted earnings per share were $2.79, and revenue came in at $684 million. No doubt the acquisition of MoLo Solutions has had a significant impact on its 23.3% year-over-year revenue growth. The LTL division increased double digits at 17.3% year-over-year revenue growth. 

The more you know

Mary O'Connell

Former pricing analyst, supply chain planner, and broker/dispatcher turned creator of the newsletter and podcast Check Call. Which gives insights into the world around 3PLs and Freight brokers. She will talk your ear off about anything and everything if you let her. Expertise in operations, LTL pricing and procurement, flatbed operations, dry van, tracking and tracing, reality tv shows and how to turn a stranger into your new best friend.