Jim Graham is a director of corporate sales for Capitol Express Enterprises Inc., a Cincinnati trucking operator. Graham has a degree in transportation management and has been working with Capitol Express for the past six years. He is responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with customers, negotiating terms of agreements with customers and gathering market information.
Q. When selecting a company to handle the transportation of goods, what qualities should businesses look for?
You want to make sure the crew that will be transporting the products are experienced. Their capabilities can make or break your reputation. Drivers can make mistakes, miss deadlines and do a number of things to throw a wrench in the process. The other thing is, in the down economy, many businesses want to renegotiate contracts. Transportation firms will agree to this if they are a good partner so you can both stay afloat.
Q. What can a company eliminate or add to its transportation logistics strategy to save money?
Night shipments and rush deliveries cost the most. If you can extend deadlines that are currently promising same-day delivery to even next-day or two-day delivery, you will save a lot. This is an area we specialize in and people are reducing these transportation methods because our business load is down 30 to 40 percent from this time last year.
Q. What advice can you provide to other companies looking to reassess their in-house shipping process?
Even if you have a contract, you can try to renegotiate the terms of your agreement with any business partner. One way to think positively is to consider that you will be finding companies that you can rely on during hard times. Larger firms may be less likely to agree to lowering costs, but because demand is so much lower than in the recent past, even the big guys are feeling it. We get the overflow from UPS and FedEx and lately those jobs are almost nonexistent they’re handling everything themselves. There has been a domino effect with the economy, and everyone is touched by it. Make sure you aren’t holding onto business assets that your new, smaller network could function without. Operate as lean as possible and recoup when the demand picks up again.