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Common traits of the best-performing fleets – Taking the Hire Road

Highly profitable trucking companies share host of similarities

On this week’s episode of Taking the Hire Road, host Jeremy Reymer was joined by KSM Transport Advisors Chief Operating Officer Chris Henry. The pair discussed how companies can best navigate turbulent times based on KSMTA’s “12 Traits of Highly Profitable Trucking Companies” series.

Henry is no stranger to figuring out what makes a trucking company successful. He has spent 25 years in the transportation industry, with much of that time spent focusing on operational and profitability benchmarking.

Before joining KSM, Henry created the carrier benchmarking service StakUp. During his time with StakUp, he often referred clients to KSM to look deeper into any opportunities for improvement uncovered during the benchmarking process.

“When I was doing benchmarking, we were able to go a mile wide and an inch deep. There were a number of different statistics, but they only went so far down,” Henry said. “KSM helped them go a mile deep.”

The information carriers gleaned from the combined efforts of StakUp and KSM — in addition to the willingness to make changes — was often enough to help them become some of the most successful and profitable companies in the industry.

StakUp was purchased by FreightWaves in 2019.

Even the most successful carriers have struggled during the ongoing freight recession, however.

“We have some very smart operators within our client base that have been around for decades, and a number of them have said this is worse than the Great Recession because of the lack of clarity and how quickly things swung from awesome to terrible,” Henry said.

The current freight environment is not conducive to easy success, making it more important than ever for dedicated carriers to embrace the characteristics and best practices proven to increase profitability.

KSMTA laid out 12 of the most important traits of highly profitable trucking companies in a series of recent blog posts. Of those 12 traits, Henry pinpointed two as being the most important: transparency and humble leadership.

When trucking companies commit to having transparent and open conversations with their drivers and their peers, it creates an atmosphere of openness and collaboration. That atmosphere must then be nurtured by a team of humble and approachable leaders.

Carriers can read about all 12 traits on the KSMTA blog today. The organization will publish a new series of posts aimed at helping trucking companies embrace each of those traits themselves throughout 2024.

Other highlights from this episode of Taking the Hire Road


Book recommendation: Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger by Peter Kaufman

Sponsors: Career Now Brands, The National Transportation Institute, Asurint, Transportation Marketing Group, Driver iQ, Seiza, DriverReach

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Ashley Coker Prince

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She works with clients to develop sponsored content that tells a story. She worked as reporter and editor at FreightWaves before taking on her current role as Senior Content Marketing Writer. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.