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Maverick nailing down data points for “shipper of choice”

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Following our recent story on Top 5 ways to be a “shipper of choice,” Maverick Transportation reached out to FreightWaves to tell us about a program they’re working on to better identify good shippers.

Maverick has become an industry leader over the past 40 years, building a reputation on safety, technology, innovation, and a progressive approach. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, they operate approximately 1,700 units coast-to-coast, from Canada to Mexico providing customized logistics solutions to some of the nation’s highest-level corporations.

FreightWaves spoke with Shelby Padgett, operations analytics manager at Maverick Transportation, by phone.

“We have recently nailed down our KPI’s and put weights on them based on how important each category is. Knowing whether they’re a ‘shipper of choice’ is something our customers have been asking for. With the current driver shortage, it’s also something that the sales team will be able to use as leverage with customers that aren’t exactly scoring well. We’re hoping it can push for better rates or even improvements to their policies and/or facilities,” says Padgett.

“Everyone’s interested in who is a shipper of choice, and if they’re not they want to know how they can become one. The first thing I did was to send out a survey to our drivers and asked them what’s most important to them. They gave me in and out time, overnight parking, are they flexible with appointment times, do they have amenities, and do they have pleasant personnel. Those were the top five.”

From the other side they looked at the sales side. They asked whether the rates are good, how well they work as partners (are they open to developing a long term relationship), loading times, consistency (are they always changing their mind), and how safety conscious are they. In other words, is their equipment their safe?

“We haven’t started pushing this out yet,” says Padgett. “So far, it’s taking about 4-5 months to develop these KPIs so we could develop the scorecard. Hopefully, this will be on deck to try out in the next couple of months. We have a tier of how many surveys we give our drivers—we don’t want to badger our drivers with too many surveys.”

Padgett is obviously passionate about numbers and analysis, and for good reason. “Our drivers have been asking for stuff like this for a long time, but usually that has to do when a driver has an isolated incident.”

Padgett says the sales team also ranks their own KPIs on a scale of 1-5. At the end of the month, they’ll weight the scores and this will actually help them negotiate.

“It’s a driver’s market, it’s time for us to be able to be picky,” she says. “We’re surveying the largest places first. If our drivers are being treated negatively, or if their prices aren’t great, or if our drivers aren’t treated with respect. We want to know,” she says.

“Some of our drivers already use Dock 411, and we spoke with them yesterday as a matter of fact. That’s actually another tool that we tell our drivers. We encourage our drivers to keep reporting on it, and making it an even better tool,” says Padgett. “I haven’t seen anything else quite like it. It also helps with safety hazards, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the feature.”

Another thing Maverick does is to poll through their Ask Ken and John Facebook page. “We do live sessions and announce it in advance. And if we can’t answer a question then and there we follow up with afterwards.”

Right now it’s time for customers to step it up. Who really is our shipper of choice? It might be optimistic to think there won’t be a pendulum swing favoring shippers when capacity loosens, Padgett says, “but it would behoove them to make the changes permanently.”

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.