When Chris Henry conceived the idea of benchmarking financial and operational data for trucking companies in North America, he faced resistance.
“Those first 90 days were full of rejections, specifically focused on ‘It will be impossible to get truckers to agree to submit their confidential data for any type of benchmarking purpose,’ with some choice swear words thrown in for good measure,” Henry said.
But he persisted, and with the help of a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association formed in 2015, his vision that began as Best Practice Groups back in 2002 was rebranded as the TCA Profitability Program (TPP) and took off. It now comprises over 200 trucking companies and is the largest member-driven benchmarking program in trucking, Henry said.
Henry, who has served as vice president of carrier profitability for FreightWaves since the data and media business acquired his company StakUp in June 2019, is stepping away from both FreightWaves and his role as program manager for TPP.
Henry, who lives in Canada, is joining a Canadian company within the transportation industry. The announcement was made Monday morning by TCA President John Lyboldt, TPP Managing Director Jack Porter and by FreightWaves.
In a letter sent to TPP members Monday morning, Lyboldt said he and Porter remain dedicated to growing the benchmarking Best Practice Group program. Lyboldt said Henry will remain involved to ensure a smooth leadership transition and announced that Shepard Dunn will take on a larger role within TPP.
“Shepard Dunn, an industry veteran and past TCA Chairman, is also the current moderator for a number of best practice groups,” Lyboldt said. “Shepard will be assuming the duties and responsibilities for those Best Practice Groups previously handled by Chris, as well as being a liaison with FreightWaves along with Jack. We are thankful to have such a great facilitator and moderator like Shepard to support this transition and to help manage the growth of TPP Best Practice Group program.”
On the FreightWaves side, Henry will be succeeded by Todd Davis, who will lead benchmarking efforts.
“Todd Davis has deep carrier experience,” Henry said. “In his career, he has led a pricing team for one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, and also led their internal benchmarking activities. He will be uncovering new ways for carriers and brokerages to extract value out of benchmarking data, more specifically use of data to drive execution.”
At its core, TPP is about benchmarking, and it utilizes the inGauge benchmarking program acquired by FreightWaves in the StakUp acquisition to do that. inGauge collects over 500 key operational and financial performance indicators submitted by members. Participants can choose to utilize “data only” benchmark services or join a Best Practice Group. By joining a Best Practices Group, participants can connect with peers to share knowledge and best practices, to improve profitability, employee engagement and retention, and lower their collective risk profiles. Currently, there are 12 Best Practice Groups within the refrigerated, van, tanker/bulk and brokerage modes.
Davis said he is excited to continue growing what Henry has built.
“Firstly, I would like to thank Chris Henry for the amazing job that he has done with the program and for the support he has shown me,” Davis said. “It is an honor to be asked to assume his role, as he leaves big shoes to fill. Chris, [FreightWaves Data Integration Manager] Will Hopping and the team have done an outstanding job, and I am excited to be joining the team and helping move it forward.”
Prior to joining FreightWaves, Davis spent a little over 22 years at U.S. Xpress (NYSE: USX) in several roles, including senior director of sales and marketing, and as director of pricing and marketing services. He has extensive experience in benchmarking on the carrier side and believes strongly in the mission of the TPP program.
“I believe my background on the asset carrier side, the benchmarking I did in my prior carrier role, and my interactions with industry advocacy organizations allows me to understand and relate to the challenges that the TPP group is keenly interested in,” he said. “I want to listen to what the groups’ needs are and deliver data, insight and solutions geared toward helping resolve these needs.”
Henry said that leaving generates some mixed feelings, but the relationships he has built, and the knowledge he has gained, are invaluable.
“I will miss the relationships,” he said. “Benchmarking is all about trust at its core, and the top-performing trucking companies on the planet have entrusted me with their data, and as a result, I’ve built strong relationships with the people and companies. Although those relationships will continue, it will be different. I am extremely appreciative of the apprenticeship this collection of leaders has provided me.”
Lyboldt said that the TPP program will continue to evolve.
“With change comes an opportunity to look at the past, embrace the current program, and shape the future of it,” he said. “That is exactly what we have been doing and this approach will not change. We are looking at what is working well, were we can improve, by working closely with the membership to get their input to help shape our continued success. TPP’s growth will be dictated by each member’s productivity and profitability, and their constant improvement operationally. This where the rubber meets the road.”
Any carrier interested in participating in the TCA Profitability Program can sign up at the group’s website: tcaingauge.com.