Transplace’s 2019 Carrier Symposium in Dallas discussed the latest topics impacting the carrier industry, including both capacity excesses and shortages, ELDs, regulatory changes, and driver issues.
Frank McGuigan, chief executive of Transplace, kicked off the symposium with a “State of the Business” address, saying supply chains are more complex than ever and expanding; and that technology is transforming the freight industry.
“You need to future-proof your supply chain through technology,” McGuigan said. “It’s not just about execution. It’s not just about grades. It’s about really understanding what’s going on in the carrier’s network, really driving transparency in their network.”
McGuigan also said that Transplace is spending 50% more this year on technology to stay competitive in the marketplace.
“If you don’t have the resources to invest in technology – you will fall behind and you will not be able to deliver the shipping experience that’s required through this kind of volatility,” McGuigan said.
Transplace’s 2019 Carrier Symposium was held at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Dallas/Allen. The Sept. 11-12 event was attended by more than 100 carriers, brokers and transportation professionals from around the country.
Attendees heard insights and solutions for navigating today’s freight market, including ways to improve shipper-carrier relationships through “preferred shipper” and “preferred carrier” initiatives, and how to leverage technology to improve efficiency and real-time freight visibility.
Topics discussed by attendees during the two-day event were driver recruitment/retention and driver pay.
Chad Cotton, the director of dedicated business development for Transport America, said his company regularly holds driver orientation events in Indiana, Minnesota and Alabama.
Alabama-based Transport America also has programs such as Tuition for Trucking, a paid sponsorship program designed to bring in new drivers and pay for their CDL schooling in exchange for a nine-month employment contract. The company also offers experienced drivers an opportunity for a paid refresher course in exchange for a six-month employment contract.
Rickey French, vice-president and chief executive officer of Tennessee-based French Trucking Inc. & WHSE, said he enjoyed being at the symposium and talking to other carriers and transportation professionals.
French said one of the topics a lot of people were interested in was the increasing number of trucking companies declaring bankruptcy in 2019.
However, McGuigan believes the outlook for the transportation industry and for Transplace remains strong in the near future.
“From our standpoint, we are having a good year,” McGuigan said. “We are a diversified business – at our core we have our technology and platform and services business, beyond this, we have a capacity services business, which includes being a top-five intermodal company and we are top-10 for over-the-road brokerage, that represents about 30% of our business. Because of our core business – platform and services business, we will have another record sales year this year.”
Transplace was founded in 2000, and has become one of the largest U.S. providers of third-party logistics services.
The Frisco, Texas-based company’s core business is transportation management software and services for shippers to use in their supply chains. In the consumer packaged-goods domain, this includes Amazon, Walmart, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Campbell’s, Hasbro, Deere and Company, and Coca-Cola.
Transplace also operates a truck brokerage business and intermodal business, where its employees manage rail shipments and provide trucking capacity to shippers, McGuigan said.
The company had revenues in excess of $3 billion last year and manages more than $9 billion of freight in North America.
McGuigan also said that 10% of Transplace’s business is cross-border trade with Mexico.
“We had a terrific acquisition of a company called [Laser Customs Brokerage] in 2016, and we continue to build off that platform,” McGuigan said.
Laser has customs brokerage and trade compliance experience and access to all U.S. and Mexico ports of entry.
“Border trade is not down, it continues to increase no matter what kind of uncertainty there is in the marketplace,” McGuigan said. “We find the resilience of trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada to be terrific. And so all of that movement, all those flows represent opportunities for good logistics companies.”