Fast-growth companies should depend on much more than luck.  In this tight-capacity market, brokerages are under simultaneous pressure to grow their business and manage existing business more efficiently. 

Rather than leaving growth up to chance, companies must develop a solid strategic plan, get buy-in from employees, utilize technology and seek accountability. But the first and often hardest part of growth is honestly evaluating your company’s current state ⁠— analyzing your customers, your services, your prices, your profit, your costs. 

“Most companies never take the time to assess themselves from a marketplace standpoint. Often, it’s much easier to do that by utilizing a third party who can come in and work with those customers on your behalf,” said Joel McGinley, managing director at Hubtek, during a recent FreightWaves webinar titled Explosive Growth Through 4 Key Strategies.  

What are your customers saying about you? Why do they buy from you when they have a choice? Is the pricing on your product or service competitive or not? It can be easier for your customer to answer these questions plainly and honestly when a third party is involved, instead of telling you directly.  

Without clarifying objectives, a company cannot, with confidence or a unified vision, understand where it’s going.  Hubtek, a leading logistics industry solutions provider, has coached over 300 companies through the strategic planning process⁠—a process that, without guidance, 95% of companies often speed through. Hubtek helps companies study how they fit into the marketplace, as well as their financial plan, talent pool and culture.  

“You want to take a very honest, hard look at your current state in each of those areas before you decide what’s missing, and the collection of what’s missing makes up your desired state: how many customers do we need? How many daily deals do we need to be doing? What kind of a team do we really want? What sort of technology do we want to power our organization?” said McGinley.

Louisville, Kentucky-based One Source Logistics partnered with Hubtek a few years ago to establish a growth plan, which led to productive shifts in management structure, culture, technology adoption and their hiring process. Rosalynn Nugent, manager of truckload operations at One Source, said that the internal operational shifts resulting from this partnership were incredibly smooth. 

Hubtek helped One Source outline tangible employee expectations and daily tasks that could lead to an increase in sales, like specifying the number of daily phone calls and qualified shipper leads. One Source utilized Hubtek’s New Hire Assessment, which Nugent said has helped her accurately assess employee strengths and weaknesses.  “Redefining our current roles and setting clear expectations really helps with accountability,” said Nugent. “A lot of times we focus on employee weaknesses instead of their strengths. By redefining the roles, it really helped to highlight their strengths and place them in a position to be the most successful. It helped us know what skills were needed for the new hires.”

The majority of the webinar’s participants said that the most difficult aspect of employee management was improperly managing expectations, which McGinley said caused 68% of performance problems in the workplace. But inadequate training can be closely tied to the industry’s labor shortage and high turnover rates. 

“You’ve got about 19,000 active freight brokers right now, and when you look at the rate of projected growth for the next three or four years, that’s a minimum 6% year-over year growth rate,” said McGinley. “That’s about 26,000 jobs that will be created. Can you imagine being responsible to try to go out and find 26,000 workers for your business? The turnover rate is putting another about 50,000 jobs up for availability every year. So you’ve got about 76,000 jobs when you’re out there in the workspace, competing for those workers.”

In addition to taking advantage of Hubtek’s Colombia-based nearshore staffing solution, One Source is also applying more technology to increase the current workforce’s productivity.  Brokerages are inundated with labor-intensive manual processes, which are ripe for automation.  

“We’re still relying on three to four emails back and forth to set up a load or using a calculator and a couple different rate engines to come up with rates, which might mean mistyping of numbers,” said Dan Hellmann, chief sales officer at Hubtek. “The brokerages that are rapidly growing are able to automate those, so they’re able to focus on those revenue-generating tasks and not data entry.  Not all of us have those really deep pockets like some of the larger companies out there that developed their own technology, but that’s where Hubtek comes out with TABi Connect.” 

TABi is a virtual assistant that automates three processes: rate quoting, order entry and carrier source assistant. Not only will the automation of these tasks save costs, it will free up salespeople to acquire more business and build relationships, as well as eliminate human error and mistakes that come from emotion.

While One Source initially partnered with Hubtek for hiring and recruitment coaching, it will also go live with TABi in a few months to streamline the rate-quoting process. 

“With the hiring of exceptional Talent, we’ve increased our shipment count, our levels of customer service, faster response times, and in working with Hubtek’s coaching, the development of our leaders,” said Nugent.

Click here to watch the webinar on-demand:

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