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Check Call: Rethinking the cost of new hires

South of the border | Happy Hanukkah

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

Hot Take


The great resignation has affected all of us by now. Over the past year we’ve seen people quit jobs at a staggeringly higher rate than ever before, whether due to working conditions, wage inequality, a lack of freedom or something else. Most companies are now trying to make sure the employees they have retained thus far aren’t planning on jumping ship. 

Hiring new employees is one of the largest business expenses for major brokers. Volumes for brokerages this year have also hit a new high. Meaning you need more people to help out and rescue others who are drowning in work — but at what cost?

Good employees don’t grow on trees. While you can interview and hope for the best, you really don’t know if new hires are cut out for a brokerage until they get “thrown to the wolves.”

There is the HR cost that comes with posting jobs, recruiting, interviewing, writing up offers and completing onboarding paperwork. But assuming a hire makes it to the first day and is not snatched up by another lucrative offer is just the beginning. Then there is the training time, plus other facets of the onboarding process. It’s a colossal investment of time and money, and the high turnover that can follow despite all that effort may make filling the position feel like a bit of a money pit. 

Brokering isn’t right for everyone, but there should be stronger training tools and resources to help out new brokers in a large office. They shouldn’t be worried about taking lunch and getting loads stolen, or taking some time off and fretting that they aren’t hitting their numbers. 

Sometimes throwing bodies at the problem isn’t the answer. If you hire a group of 10 and expect only four to six to stay, then maybe just work on a higher-caliber four to six and leave the others for someone else. With the limited resources available, now more than ever is the time to work smarter, not harder. 

Quick Hit

image; Jim Allen\FreightWaves

Come south of the border with me — New customs requirements for Mexico begin Wednesday on a trial enforcement basis, with full enforcement coming Jan. 1. These requirements are ones we have talked about before. The new waybill regulations (Carta Porte Supplement) are being enacted to help reduce cardo theft and the movement of contraband throughout the country. 

These new regulations require goods moved throughout Mexico to have the following documentation provided in advance: shipper/receiver information, their locations, how the goods are being transported, as well as information about the driver for van moves. Shippers, carriers and other parties that fail to provide this information could be fined up to $4,500. All parties have to come together to make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly. This trial month is anticipated to iron out some of the kinks before the strong enforcement starts at the beginning of the new year. 

Market Check


In a surprise to almost no one, volumes are down and rejection rates are up. We’re revisiting our favorite, Port of Savannah, which is still using the airport as a surplus container holding facility. But some of that might be getting cleared up in the near future. With the Thanksgiving holiday wrapping up, volumes are slow to pick back up. Drivers went home at the end of last week; shippers were doing only what they needed to get through the holiday. 

I’d imagine we’ll see a sharp turnaround as we go through this week. The volume at the port will still be there. Hopefully the small backlog can be worked through and we’ll be back to our peak season madness before too long. From the looks of it today, the Hostess City of the South doesn’t have a lot to host.

Holiday History


Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah started on the early side this year on Sunday and ends next Monday. The Jewish holiday originated in 160 B.C. when the Maccabees rose up and pushed out King Antiochus IV, who was trying to abolish Judaism. After their success, they thought there was only enough oil to light the temple lamp for a day but it lasted eight days, hence the eight days of Hanukkah.

The 1950s brought in a new era of Hanukkah merchandise. Retailers were eager to bring in a new market for products, regardless of how many times they missed the mark. Regardless of the dreidel-covered swag, the poorly named “Challah at ya girl” sweaters and other ideas quickly pulled from the shelves for not being the most accurate, Hanukkah is a time for people to get together, light the menorah, eat, exchange presents and take some time to connect to their inner light.

Everyone has heard of Christmas being canceled because the ports can’t get unloaded, but Hanaukkah faced a very serious chance of having the holiday disrupted by supply chains. Orders for menorahs placed back in April started out promising. Chinese factories were well ahead of schedule. But when they shut down because of COVID outbreaks and lockdowns, that once early and on-time shipment started to look a little less reliable. 

A ship holding 700,000 menorahs finally arrived at port Nov. 19 and on Nov. 24 menorahs were being ushered across the country to be packaged and distributed in under four days. Typically Hanukkah kits containing menorahs and candles are given out to the homebound, college students, tourists, hospital patients and anyone in need, free of charge. While rabbis across the country and the world moved mountains to get people what they needed for the holiday, it goes to show that through some creative resources, you can keep the spirit of Hanukkah alive.

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.