Fighting the Truck Driver Shortage

This is not a new conversation, but it is a relevant one.  The freight industry still does not have enough truck drivers.

It began in 2008 with the number of truck drivers rapidly tumbling until finally bottoming out in 2010. There has been growth each year since, but we are still 6.4% below 2007 totals. (Source) With the recovering economy and truck tonnage at record highs, there is significant concern and much discussion around how and when the number of truck drivers on the road will return to demand appropriate levels.

Let’s talk through some of the factors contributing to the shortage which include driver age, pay, the recruiting funnel, and work- life balance.  Former truck driver, Grant Bunton, spoke of driving over the road and the want of more home time, “It’s a very difficult lifestyle. It’s a blast, but it’s difficult.  You do get to see lots of places but rarely do you have time to actually stop and take in the scenery. After about three years of driving, I met my lovely wife one weekend when I was home. At that point I knew that I would want to spend more than 36 hours per week at home.”  Work- life balance has been growing in priority in the US for quite some time and it seems truck drivers have taken notice.  We’ll get you home more often is an anthem sung by many trucking companies in their driver recruiting efforts.  While pay is a major factor, time in your own bed seems to be just as important. Schneider National is, along with many other carriers,  addressing the money issue by raising driver pay, but they are also putting emphasis on getting their drivers home more often in an effort to improve the balance between work and home. (Source)

A problem that can’t be combatted with pay raises or more home time is age. It is one of the first things to mind when looking at truck driver shortage. Not only is recruiting and retaining drivers a challenge, but there is a large number nearing retirement age.  Truckers News found more than one in three drivers are older than 55 with a whopping 6% under the age of 35.  So, it sounds like it’s time to start some heavy recruiting, right?

The industry has upped recruiting efforts in order to fill the gap. Those efforts include targeting women and transitioning military veterans along with traditional methods like recruiting from driving schools and attracting drivers already on the road. Appealing to the younger audience is still a challenge. They prefer industries like technology or health care to life on the open road. (Source) So, how are we going to find the additional 90,000 + drivers that the ATA Benchmarking Guide for Driver Recruitment and Retention says are needed each year over the next decade? One theory, talk about it and share within social networks. Are people outside of the freight industry aware of this need?

While the shortage of carriers is quite painful for the companies that need to move their goods, the carrier side of the freight industry has seen a lift in pricing as demand has grown. The shortage of over the road drivers has had a positive impact on LTL and intermodal freight as well.  LTL carriers are picking up freight they may not have if not for the capacity shortage from lack of long haul drivers, giving them greater control of pricing. The same can be said of intermodal. This finds many shippers turning to third party providers for help with controlling cost and locating trucks. Freightquote founder, Tim Barton, in a recent interview with the Kansas City Business Journal said, “…if you increase demand, and you artificially suppress supply…then in a very fragmented market like freight, the best thing to do then is go to third parties like us.” (Source)

Freightquote employees give back

Kansas City Kansas Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (KCK RBI) is raising funds for a stadium renovation. This program and its goals have found their way into Freightquote’s heart and our employees showed just how much by raising nearly $20,000 in one week.

The funds were raised by raffle ticket sales and a silent auction featuring items such as Royals playoff tickets and coveted parking spots at our Kansas City headquarters. Freightquote matched the amount raised by its employees for a total contribution of nearly $40,000 to KCK RBI’s field renovation efforts.

KCK RBI is a program that is aimed at improving the lives of Kansas City, KS youth through baseball and softball. The program includes more than 900 children who learn physical fitness, teamwork, leadership, and life skills for on and off the field, with the greatest emphasis on education.  Founded in 2010, KCK RBI has built an amazing program, and Freightquote employees want to help them build a great stadium where kids can play 8 out of 12 months of the year. The facility will also include study halls and equipment to aid the children’s education that can be used all year round.

Part of Freightquote’s mission is community involvement. We’re proud to support organizations like KCK RBI. If you’re interested in contributing to this great program, visit http://www.pastimepie.com.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2014

To the drivers of America:

In observance of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you that keeps the wheels turning.

We were fortunate enough to thank a few drivers from our carrier network in person this morning, but want to make sure our gratitude is expressed to every hard working truck driver.

Every day, you are moving the goods and supplies each of us rely on in our business and personal lives. You’ve seen the country and experience the challenges and rewards of a unique career. We truly appreciate the job you do and the time you spend doing it.

Sincerely,

The Freightquote Team

Freightquote Attends Niagara Bottling’s Carrier Partner Conference

Early this year, Freightquote struck a partnership with Niagara Bottling, LLC. So, when we received an invitation to Newport Coast, CA for their 2nd Annual Carrier Partner Conference at the end of August, we were thrilled to accept and spend a little quality time with our customer while enjoying a bit of that beautiful California coast.

At this event Niagara reviewed topics key to their business, including their future outlook and operational updates. Justin Simien, Premier Client Manager, stated, “The event really highlighted Niagara’s priorities and initiatives. This insight and knowledge is critical to the partnership and management of their freight.” In addition, the information learned and shared while at the conference prepares both Freightquote and Niagara for the 2015 RFP process.

Also in attendance, learning, networking and enjoying the ocean view, were Tom Krenning, VP of Truckload Operations and Jason Beer, VP of Enterprise Solutions.

Tim Barton named Regional Entrepreneur of the Year

Freightquote founder and executive chairman, Tim Barton, has been named Regional Entrepreneur of the Year by the Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management.

The Regional Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented each year to a distinguished entrepreneur or innovator of a Kansas City area organization. In 1998, Barton founded Freightquote, leveraging technology to connect freight shippers with carriers. Over the past 16 years, Freightquote has grown to over 1,000 employees moving over 1 million shipments each year with annual revenues exceeding $600 million.

Barton will be honored at the 29th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards dinner and ceremony on Oct 14, 2014 at the Kansas City Convention Center. All proceeds of the event benefit the Regnier Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School of Management.

The award presentation wraps Henry Bloch Entrepreneurship Week. Barton will be featured during a “Second Wednesdays” presentation on Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014, as part of the series of events.

For more information on the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Entrepreneurship Week and the honorary dinner, visit the UMKC Bloch School of Management website

Freightquote takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Challenge accepted! Fellow Kansas City based company Perceptive Software challenged Freightquote to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last week. Our first-place Corporate Challenge team stepped up and accepted. Along with the ice-cold bath, a donation was made to ALS from Freightquote. We challenged Burns & McDonnell, AMC Theatres and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City to take the challenge as well. Check out the video below!

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media fundraising campaign where participants are challenged to record themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their head and post it to social media and make a donation to ALS research. At Freightquote, we believe that Community Matters and are active in supporting various charities and giving back in the Kansas City area.

Freightquote Promotes Long-time associate to Culture and Community Relations Manager

Freightquote has promoted Cle Ross to culture and community relations manager. Ross, who has been with the company for 10 years, is very active in the community and leads organizations including Kansas City Kansas Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (KCK RBI), whose opening day is May 16 and is sponsored by Freightquote.

The creation of this position is part of Freightquote’s new strategic vision for the company. One of its strategic pillars, “People Matter,” focuses on encouraging company and civic involvement among associates as well as increasing engagement in the community.

“Our goal is to be the best employer in Kansas City. Part of that obligation is to impact our community in positive ways,” said Tyler Ellison, Freightquote chief executive officer. “Cle has been a model for what we continually aspire to be as a corporate citizen and this appointment will accelerate our commitment to our community.”

In his new role, Ross will ensure Freightquote associates not only have a plethora of internal activities to participate in, but also can easily give back to the multitude of charitable organizations around Kansas City.

Besides the new title, Ross is the first recipient and namesake on Freightquote’s inaugural Cle Ross Community Impact Award. The annual award, which will be given out at the President’s Club meeting in March, honors a Freightquote associate who lives and promotes Freightquote’s “People Matter” mindset.

“It’s hard not to be inspired by Cle’s story and his ambition to make our community better,” said Julie Schaller, Freightquote’s vice president of human resources. “We are proud to have him on our team and know he will turn Freightquote into one of the best places to work in Kansas City with the activities he initiates here and in the community.”

Since 2007, Ross has founded Success Achieved in Future Environments (S.A.F.E.) a nonprofit organization that offers programs which include S.T.I.C.K.S. (Support Towards Inner City Kids Sports), KCK RBI and Dirt Dandies Elite Showcase, all aimed at improving the lives of area youth.

Freightquote has been a long-time supporter of Ross’ work with KCK RBI, which uses baseball as a vehicle to teach Kansas City youth about the importance of education. Under Ross’ leadership, the program has swelled to nearly 1,000 kids. This organization is a natural fit for Freightquote, which regularly sponsors and contributes to organizations focused on education and improving the lives of children.