Why 2021 Is Not The Year To Put Off Your Christmas Shopping

Let’s talk about why this is NOT the year to procrastinate your Christmas shopping, besides not wanting to fight over toys with parents on Christmas Eve, it goes a little further than that.

Let’s talk about the earth-shattering import volumes we’ve been experiencing for over a year now. To help explain those volumes we can look at the Inbound Ocean TEU Index for the US (IOTI).

IOTI is a good forecasting tool, it allows us to see how much demand is expected to reach a given US port 30+ days in advance. This is even more relevant when discussing seasonal goods as continuous above-average import volumes, as we’ve seen over the past year, have led to increased anchorages and above-average dwell times. So much so that many ports are starting to look more like parking lots instead of somewhere to load and unload cargo.

For example, the ever-popular picture of San Pedro Bay, which holds vessels looking to dock at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, currently has 70+ ships anchored waiting to get unloaded. According to The port of LA’s SIGNAL data, the average anchorage time is up to 8.7 days. The port of Long Beach has also been experiencing explosive volumes, shattering monthly cargo records 13 of the last 14 months.

Combined, these ports make up 35% of the domestic import volumes into the US.

This historic volume surge has importers looking for ways to diversify their network and with the Panama Spread or the container rate difference from China to the North American West Coast minus China to the North American East Coast only about $1700 currently. For many importers it makes sense to explore East coast import options and one of those popular alternative solutions for several importers has become The Port of Savannah.

According to the Georgia Ports Authority, Savannah moved a record-breaking 450k containers in July–That’s a 25% increase from last year.

While the numbers for August have yet to be reported, with over 25 ships currently at anchor and future bookings strong, volumes do not seem to be subsiding anytime soon.

Other east coast ports experiencing explosive Year Over Year bookings currently are New York and New Jersey with 173% growth, Baltimore at 76%, Norfolk at 134%, Newark at 257%, and Jacksonville at 420% growth YoY.

The persistent amount of elevated import volumes for over a year now and bookings yet to arrive have and will continue to put pressure on an already maxed out domestic transportation environment. This requires an abundance of capacity operating efficiently to fill store shelves and fulfillment centers in time for Christmas.

When talking about the overall health of the domestic transportation environment SONARs OTRI paints a pretty good picture of the state of the overall TL market. The higher rejections rise the more it signals that supply and demand are out of whack. With rejections remaining above 20% since July of last year, it’s safe to say that demand has been overwhelming supply or capacity for some time now.

Now in “ordinary” market conditions rail would serve as a relief valve however, the pandemic has catapulted e-commerce demand years into the future and has proven to have some stickiness around the Amazon effect or the expectation of getting goods delivered much faster than ever before. Utilizing TL over rail however has proven to be beneficial for many retailers right now, whose biggest fear is not getting enough product on the shelves in time for the approaching holiday season.

We can see why many retailers share this fear as the most recent downstream average for transportation capacity within the Logistics Manager’s Index came in at a very compressed 28.8%.

For those who are not familiar with the, it is a change index not a measure of absolute growth with anything over 50% representing expansion and below 50% representing contraction.

According to the August release published on Sept 7th

“The Transportation Capacity Index remains historically low, indicating continued downward pressure on transportation capacity. Further, our data indicates that the downward pressure on transportation capacity remains extremely strong for downstream firms in supply chain, indicating that companies are facing significant challenges in ramping up shipments for the approaching holiday season.”

All this to say importers are experiencing an extreme amount of bottlenecking across all modes of transportation which directly impacts the speed at which goods are and will continue to be available to consumers.

So, if you want to avoid this…

Don’t wait until the last minute this holiday season or little Jamie may not get his long-awaited Turbo Man after all.

Celebrating America’s Unsung Hero’s

We often don’t think about how our milk got on the shelves or how the computer you ordered got to your doorstep. Some of the unsung heroes in our nation are the truck drivers that deliver and pick up our goods—they are how supply and demand stays alive. Join Bridge Logistics in celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week September 12-18.

2020 was one of the toughest times for truckers across the nation. When the whole world shut down, truck drivers were deemed essential workers causing a greater need for as many drivers as ever. Remember when toilet paper started to disappear? You can thank overtime truck drivers for refilling those shelves quicker than ever. Director of Sales, Chris Seeds, says, “At the end of the day almost everything we consume, purchase, or use reaches its destination via truck. It’s easy to take for granted what hardships take place behind getting something from point A to point B. Truck drivers keep what we rely and count on every day available and accessible. Thank you for keeping our supply chain moving.”

As the country tries to rebound from a disastrous year, truck drivers have stayed consistent in delivering goods. These men and women hardly ever get the recognition they deserve, even on the front lines. Jim Campbell and Paul Lanham, the President’s of Bridge Logistics, say, “We owe a high level of respect and gratitude to America’s truck drivers. They keep our economy moving, food on our table, and clothes on our backs. They ARE the Backbone of America. Thank you to all drivers for their dedication, commitment, & service.”

This week is a way to show appreciation to those who keep America running. Join Bridge Logistics in #ThankATrucker and show gratitude to a trucker this week!

 

National truck driver appreciation

 

 

Building Trust with Your Broker – withSONAR

Building trust with your broker — withSONAR (with video)

Chris Seeds joins withSONAR to talk data-driven broker and customer trust 

Fresh off an appearance on WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Chris Seeds of Bridge Logistics joined Luke Falasca and Kyle Taylor to talk all about the benefits of SONAR technology.

One word came up over and over again: trust.

As sales manager at Bridge Logistics, Seeds says trust is at the core of what makes his business successful and data is the ultimate key to truthful sales deals.

Using the FreightWaves SONAR platform, Seeds has created his own series, What Not to Miss with Chris, aimed at explaining the data metrics supplied by SONAR technology.

His main goal is the “why behind the what” of logistics brokering.

Seeds believes his clients are so thirsty for information that he goes deeper than just what is happening with the freight markets.

He says that the customer needs to be crystal clear on what the seller is saying and vice versa. Companies should “have that childlike curiosity to ask those hard-hitting questions,” and brokers should “make sure that you’re listening instead of reacting,” said Seeds.

Using SONAR data has allowed Bridge to connect with customers on a deeper level, but it also lends some credibility when things go wrong.

Seeds says that dropping the ball as a broker can completely break the trust between a 3PL and a shipper, but using data can back up what happened so “when things go wrong, you have something to validate” it.

Bottom line: You can’t control everything in the freight market, but you can control the data you’re using to explain your decision-making process.

You can find more withSONAR recaps and recaps for all our shows here.

Building trust with your broker — withSONAR (with video)

 

 

Why LinkedIn is your Best Resume

By Kejal Shah, Talent Acquisition Manager

I want to start this conversation by noting 94% of recruiters out there use LinkedIn as their main vetting platform. I must also admit that I fall into that category. Clearly, no bias here..

For the past several years I have seen many candidates reach out to me with copies of their resumes, letters of recommendation, and endless formal references but none of them effectively show all facets of a personal value proposition and what skills they could actually bring to the table through the interviewing process. Now, I will say, having a great resume is important but is not the end-all-means to being hired into a company. Especially with COVID-19 running rampant throughout our workplaces and communities many companies have scaled back their onboarding and maybe don’t look at resumes as much at this time.

If you wish to find a new opportunity that best matches your skills to a company that will appreciate your tremendous value during a time of uncertainty and strong career options; I would suggest considering the research I have done for both career seekers and talent managers across all markets regarding effective usage of LinkedIn…

If we look at the market overall, Kinsta.com quotes a couple of interesting statistics:

  • “[…] A study found that 122 Million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 Million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site.”
  • “One good LinkedIn stat for recruiters is that employees sourced through the site are 40% less likely to leave the company within the first 6 months.”

Let’s check out another great resource called expandeddramblings.com:

  • 20,000 US companies use LinkedIn to recruit
  • Keeping your positions up-to-date in your LinkedIn profile makes you 18 times more likely to be found in searches by members and recruiters
  • 100 Million average number of job applications submitted on LinkedIn monthly.”

LinkedIn also does effectively communicate why they are the best means to find a new career on their network platform:

  • “70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching, and the remaining 30% are active job seekers.
  • 87% of active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities.”

While spending time social networking or submitting your resumes through a standard application process might help; LinkedIn truly is the largest reaching market for connection top-talent to fresh, dynamic opportunity and fellow professionals. For my talent managers and recruiters out there; I would submit to you that each industry is different and may require that your resume is the forefront of your hiring process. I would urge to think about how times have changed. The way people connect with our talent management and executive team is entirely different than even just five years ago. Candidates want to reach out through LinkedIn and have a real conversation with leadership teams and if we become too formal and restrictive in our approach, we might miss out on some great people. Do not allow this to happen.. losing great candidates will stunt your corporate growth potential. People wish to know what the culture is like not even just through the recruiters but also the management team training and developing new talent. Also, career opportunities for candidates (before and soon after COVID-19 has passed) will continually become more available in new spaces in the workplace. Candidates will return to the workplaces and we will need to understand their personality on all platforms and not just on paper.

Ultimately that single piece of paper with experience does not carry the same weight it once did. I think we all would agree with this. Not to say, that it isn’t important but that a resume is only a small step of the interviewing process. I have found through personal and professional experience that owning your personal brand on LinkedIn and through the content that we create can make a tremendous impact on the perception people see in us within the LinkedIn and social networking community. Usually, I would submit to you that perception is reality. But this does not mean that every hire from LinkedIn will be a perfect fit or that we should stop using paper resumes all together. I predict within the next 5-8 years paper resumes will, in fact, disappear or moved to fully customizable downloads off LinkedIn. A “One-Stop-Shop”, per say, for employers to hire even more efficiently during and after uncertain times.

So, to all my talent managers and recruiters out there, I invite you to be ready for this shift and start preparing to connect candidates on a much larger scale. As a talent manager, I am a gatekeeper. I hold the key to unlock the future success of the company.

References:

https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/
https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/linkedin-job-statistics/
https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/talent-solutions/global/en_us/c/pdfs/Ultimate-List-of-Hiring-Stats-v02.04.pdf


 

Why Commission?

What’s something you’ve always dreamed of owning? Maybe something you’ve never even voiced out loud to anyone else because it’s so far out of your current reach? It could be owning an ocean-front house on the beaches of Barbados or parking a Lamborghini in your garage. It might be throwing a Louis Vuitton bag over your shoulder or having a passport full of stamps from countries all over the world.

Whatever it is that you’ve dreamed of buying that’s a little (or maybe even a lot) outside of your current budget, have you ever thought about how you could actually achieve that goal? Or is it just a far-off dream that you think in the back of your mind will never actually come to reality?

The first step in achieving a far-out goal is to start thinking of it as though it HAS happened. Instead of “I want to own a beach-front property,” think to yourself “I own a beach-front property.” And then start figuring out how to actually achieve that goal. How much money would it cost you to purchase that? How much would you have to set aside from each paycheck, and how long would it take you to have enough saved up? Is it realistic to achieve that goal at your current income level?

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If you’re working a typical salary job, that might mean you need to ask for a raise at your next annual review to get you a little closer to your goal, go for a promotion, or apply to a completely different job if the financial growth opportunities are not currently available where you are.

What if you’re working in a commission-based role though?

We hear a lot of concerns from candidates when we start talking about the eventual transition to commission that our sales reps go through. People are concerned about not having a steady income or losing a customer down the line and seeing a significant drop in their paycheck at the end of the week. And yeah, we aren’t going to lie – those situations are possibilities. But why focus on the worst case scenario instead of the best case scenario?

One of the best things about working a commission-based role is that you don’t have to rely on anyone else to give you a raise. You want to take home some additional money at the end of the week? Put in the extra work, and you can immediately see the reward for that financially.

So back to our example of making that far-off dream a reality….it’s honestly a lot easier to break down exactly how much additional work you need to put in to achieve that goal when you’re working on commission. In our world, we can break it down to how many additional customer shipments you need to haul, and suddenly it makes that far-off dream a much more achievable goal.

You want that $200,000 Lamborghini in 5 years? Well when we break that down, it means moving 10 more shipments every week for the next 5 years, and you’ll have the money for that car. Is that going to take a lot of work? Absolutely. But having a clear understanding of what you need to do to meet a financial goal is one of the biggest perks of working on straight commission.

The future is entirely in your hands, and you have yourself to be proud of or disappointed with for meeting or not meeting your goals.

So yes, commission could be a scary thing if you just focus on everything that could go wrong. But why not look at everything that could go right and the endless opportunities you have to increase your income? There aren’t very many roles that give you the opportunity to achieve your far-out financial goals quite like a commission-based sales role does.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

What is YOUR Passion?

What are you passionate about? What’s something that you absolutely love to do? Why do you love that?

These are questions that we ask every person who comes in for a face-to-face interview with us. Very rarely do we get an answer that’s job-related. And you know what, that’s perfectly okay.

People are passionate about family, community involvement, caring for rescue dogs, or coaching sports teams. Hardly anyone, or maybe even no one, will say that logistics is their main passion. That doesn’t mean that people don’t enjoy working in logistics, but people aren’t usually passionate about coordinating trucks to move 40,000 pounds of egg cartons around the US.

Your job itself doesn’t have to be your main passion. But you do need a job that fuels into your passion and allows you to pursue what you love to do, even if that’s outside of work.

What’s the point of spending all of your time at a job that isn’t your main passion if you then don’t have time to do what you love when you leave the office?

Don’t be afraid to ask in an interview what the company does to fuel into their employees’ passions. If they are taken off-guard by that question, then that should be a red flag to you that they don’t place an emphasis on getting to know their employees on a personal level. Can they tell you what their team members are passionate about and what fuels them?

Personally, I love that I work in an environment at Bridge where my coworkers know what I’m passionate about and that I’m encouraged to pursue that. I love traveling. Getting out of town and exploring new places is my favorite. I’m given flexibility to take half days occasionally for a weekend getaway. Taking PTO time is encouraged, which allows me to go on trips farther away, exploring new states and countries.

But I also really appreciate that my job gives me the opportunity to go out of town and explore other places that I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see. While visiting college campuses in Ohio and Kentucky isn’t exactly the same as hopping a flight to Paris for a week, it still fuels into what I’m really passionate about, which is getting to see and experience a new place while meeting new people.

Figure out what fuels you and how your job can help build into that. Your daily job responsibilities may not be constantly fueling that passion, but you should be in a position that allows you to pursue it more often than not. If your job leaves you with no time to do what you love, then it’s probably not the right one for you.

Everyone’s passions are different, but make sure at the end of the day, you’re working at a company that is going to support whatever it is you love to do. There are companies out there that care about you as an individual, and you deserve to work for one.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Overcoming Objections & Rejections

You interview for your dream job, only to hear back that the company has decided to go in a different direction. You find an ideal prospect, only to come in above their budget and lose the sale. You go on a great date, only to have your follow up texts go unanswered. You put in a bid on a house, only to have a counter-offer come back too high.

Objections and rejections are a part of life. We all experience them – in both our personal and professional lives – so why do we try and hide them? Why do we not want anyone else to hear our stories of being rejected? And how do we overcome that rejection, take it in stride, and stay motivated to keep working towards our goal?

Obviously, no one likes failing, and rejection feels an awful lot like failure. Failure is really a part of success. You can learn from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future. But while this is all true, cliche statements about how failure can open new and better doors are probably not really going to help pull you out of a slump when you’ve been cold calling all day and have yet another prospect hang up on you.

So how can you stay motivated to apply for another job, contact another prospect, go on yet another date, or walk through one more house?

The key is knowing what motivates you. Your motivation to achieve that end goal has to be stronger than your fear of being rejected, or else you’re never going to try again. If you don’t really care about that end goal, then going through any setback or disappointment – no matter how small – is going to end with you handing in the towel.

If a setback doesn’t motivate you to try even harder next time, then you really need to take a step back and reflect on your motivation. Really think about why you aren’t motivated to keep going. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. Wanting to abandon a goal because it seems “too hard” isn’t the real root of your problem. There’s a deeper reason why you aren’t willing to put in the work. Because if you really cared about something, you’d be willing to put in whatever you had to do to make it happen.

You may need to force yourself to think not about the possible consequences of trying and failing, but instead the possible consequences of never even trying in the first place. What could happen if you never made the leap to try again? Well, you might be stuck in the same dead end job the rest of your life. You might never make another sale or go on another date. You’ll stay living in the same too-small house. Sure, you could avoid all possibility of rejection by never stepping out of your comfort zone, but doing that also avoids all possibility of success. And are you really willing to throw success away just because there’s a chance you’ll face an objection along the way?

So the next time you reach a point where you’re not sure you have it in you to try even one more time, think instead about what motivates you and what might your life look like a year down the road if you didn’t try at all. Are you okay with being in the same spot you are today in another 365 days? Or should you face that objection again because of the possibility of achieving something better?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Why Use a Broker?

Just about every product made these days is at some point being transported on a truck. But shippers and manufacturers have a lot of options when it comes to determining who is going to be responsible for moving all that stuff around.

They can choose to do all transportation themselves – purchasing trucks, hiring drivers, and managing logistics internally.

They can choose to contract out to an asset-based company – a separate company that owns their own trucks to handle the logistics externally.

Or they can choose to contract out to a third-party logistics company, or broker – someone who doesn’t own any of their own equipment but will take on the responsibility of moving the product by contracting with trucking companies.

What’s the benefit of using the last option? Hiring a middleman to coordinate shipments could get complicated with them not having direct control over the trucks, right?

The third-party logistics industry is actually a $185.7 billion industry that is continuing to grow. As a 3PL ourselves, we actually have a lot more flexibility when it comes to handling logistics externally for shippers and manufacturers. We aren’t limited to a certain number of trucks – we can contract loads out to any available carrier that fits our criteria. We ultimately have complete control over which companies we choose to do business with, and we won’t work with carriers who have a history of being unsafe.

Not only are we not limited to a certain number of trucks, we’re also not limited to a certain mode of transportation. Sometimes it might be more efficient to transport product by multiple modes of transportation, and we have the ability to form relationships with many types of transportation companies.

If a customer needs one shipment expedited, a different one shipped via normal truckload, and yet another one shipped less-than-truckload, that’s not a problem because we can contract each of those loads out to different carriers.

Having access to so many different transportation options also allows 3PLs to become experts in figuring out which transportation solution is going to be the best for that particular shipment based on transit times, shipment size, location, and budget.

You hear about middlemen being cut out in certain industries, but 3PLs are such a big part of the industry that they are here to stay. Just like you could theoretically choose to buy a house without a real estate agent, a shipper could arrange their transportation by themselves. But brokers in any industry add value by having in-depth knowledge – saving you the time from figuring it all out yourself.

As a broker, we love operating within such a large and dynamic industry. Logistics is fast-paced, and we pride ourselves on keeping up on the latest trends to provide our customers with solutions tailored specifically to their freight.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Is Networking Overrated?

Networking is a huge buzzword in business. According to Merriam-Webster, networking is “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”.

When you think of a networking event, what do you think of? You’re probably walking into a room in a killer suit, and even though you don’t know anyone, you’ll have a deep conversation with someone that is going to change how you view business forever. You’ll exchange business cards, add each other on LinkedIn, and stay in touch for years to come. You’ll sip coffee and discuss ROIs and KPIs and SOPs.

Just kidding.

If you’re really going to a stereotypical networking event where you don’t know anyone, none of those things are probably going to happen. Well, most likely you’ll walk away with a few new LinkedIn connections, but a year down the road you’ll probably forget where you met them to be completely honest.

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It’s no wonder that networking can carry such negative connotations with it. Going into a room of people who you’re supposed to talk to can be downright intimidating. And like any time you meet someone new, a lot of the conversation is probably going to be surface-level small talk since you typically don’t jump into deep conversations with someone who was a complete stranger 5 minutes ago.

So is networking overrated?

Networking, as in standing around a room with people you don’t know attempting to just make connections, might be a little overrated, but networking as a whole definitely is not.

One thing that people don’t always talk about is the importance of networking within your company though. Building relationships with influential people in your office is a way better use of your time than trying to make a bunch of surface-level connections with strangers.

The people in your company are the ones who are going to make decisions about who gets promoted, who gets flexible work hours, who has to be let go during layoffs, etc. If you impress the right people, it can mean a lot more open doors for you down the line.

Networking is really all about building relationships, which is vital in business, so of course networking is important and not overrated. Just think about how you’re approaching networking and if you’re investing your time in valuable networking opportunities or not.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Professional Ghosting

Ghosting is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. But what started off as a way to turn down a date in the hopes they “got the hint” that you were no longer interested has since transferred to the professional world as well.

Right now, it’s a candidate’s market – there are more jobs out there than there are unemployed individuals, so simple supply and demand tells us that a candidate has quite a few job options to choose from. But what do they do with all the other offers that they ultimately decide are not for them? Some candidates will cease all communication with the other companies, never to return the recruiters emails or phone calls.

It’s not just candidates though who do this – it’s companies too. It happens on both sides. What do companies do with the candidates they take through their interview process but don’t end up hiring? Some of them will also cease all communication, never telling the candidate that they decided to go in a different direction.

But professional ghosting is also still not specific to the recruiting and hiring process. Prospects will ghost you. Sales representatives will sound interested in your business only to never follow back up.

At the end of the day, professional ghosting is a problem across the board in the business world, pointing to a deeper problem that is at the root of all this ghosting.

We don’t want to put ourselves in an awkward situation of turning someone down. People will say that ghosting happens because you don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, but is that really true? It’s more that we don’t like the feeling we have while we’re turning someone down rather than being sensitive to someone else’s feelings. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Is telling someone you’re no longer interested the best conversation you’re going to have that day? Absolutely not. In fact, it’s straight up awkward and uncomfortable. But isn’t it better to give clarity that you’re not moving forward than to leave the other person wondering for awhile until they realize they’ve just been ghosted? We want people to be honest with us, and receiving a no can actually be a good thing. You know that door is closed and you don’t have to put any more valuable time and energy into it. You can focus your attention on what is going to propel you forward.

So the next time you’re not interested in something or someone – whether it’s in your professional or personal life – instead of just ignoring it and waiting for it to go away, ask yourself if that’s the most mature way to handle the situation. Instead face the slightly uncomfortable moment, politely decline, and move on.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding