Written by Robert S.
Organizational Development Specialist
Keep on the Sunny Side is a popular American song originally written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn and popularized in a 1928 recording by the Carter Family. It was recorded again in 1964 by the Carter Family with special guest vocalist Johnny Cash. Then, in 1974, Mr. Cash recorded a version for his own album. Finally, in 2003 it was recorded again on June Carter Cash’s album. This song has been around for a very long time, well over a century, and yet its message is timeless. The first verse and following chorus go like this…
There's a dark and a troubled side of life;
There's a bright and a sunny side, too;
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.
Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life;
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life.
What we learn from these simple, yet profound lyrics, is that there will always be hardship and pain in life just as there will always be joy and comfort. The wisdom of this song also teaches us that whether we are experiencing hardship or joy, it is always within our power to have a positive attitude.
So, why does having a positive mindset help? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic you’ll experience the following benefits…
• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of distress
• Greater resistance to the common cold
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Furthermore, according to Suzanne Glover, a specialist the field of personal development, your positive thinking will help you to achieve these benefits…
There are endless benefits to being positive and from the above, it could easily be agreed upon that if more of us had a “sunny side of life” viewpoint, our world would be a much better place. I for one believe it’s possible to adopt positivity and am willing to bet that if we all follow these five simple steps, together we can become the change we want to see in ourselves, our work, our family and the world.
When you recognize the effects your positive mindset is having your BELIEF in positive thinking will increase and you’ll begin to REMIND yourself even more to be positive and before you know it you’ll be PRACTICING your new “sunny side of life” mindset all the time, just like Ada Blenkhorn’s nephew. You see, Ada’s nephew was the original inspiration for the song, Keep on the Sunny Side. As the story goes Blenkhorn's nephew was disabled and always wanted his wheelchair pushed down "the sunny side" of the street. And now you know the rest of the story.
Today, May 16 2019, is Becker Logistics 22nd anniversary. Over the past 22 years Becker Logistics has gone through a lot of transformations and we have seen a lot. More importantly, we have learned a lot. When we look to the future, we are very optimistic. What started as a one man operation is now a multinational company with 9 offices and over 130 employees. In fact, we have recently brought on 17 summer interns; Becker Logistics did not even have 17 total employees until 2013. The future of Becker Logistics is bright and we have a lot of projects in development that we are looking forward to announcing.
The fourth and most recent office that Becker Logistics has opened is our Toronto, ON branch. The greater Toronto area is the highest populated area in Canada with some of the world’s most extensive shipping facilities which is what made it stand out as a potential location. We are extremely pleased that everything worked out in setting up this locations and we are looking forward to seeing what the office is able to accomplish and we are excited as a company for what this branch represents, our move into the international stage.
The management team of Becker Logistics recently took the new summer 2019 interns out to Top Golf for a night so everyone had a chance to mingle and get to know each other. Check out the photo album below, click on the photos to enlarge.
Since the start of this year Becker Logistics has opened 4 new locations and this has come with plenty of challenges along the way. We’ve had to change office locations, frantically search for more people, and decide on different regions altogether. These struggles all had different levels of impact and required in some cases entire teams to solve. However, in the end, through these challenges we have been able to find success. We did hit the goal that we set out for late last year and it has brought our teams together and has even made a couple of new teams.
All of this work has been to make sure that the growth and future of Becker Logistics stays on track while maintaining the company vision. The third office that was opened this year was our Brookfield, WI office. This location was chosen because of the amount of talent in the area and our ties to the area. The office recently opened in April and we already have some great people staffing the office. We believe that with the people we have and the potential hires we are looking at that the Brookfield Wisconsin office will be a huge success.
Previously we shared (in this blog post here) that Becker Logistics set out to open four new offices in 2019. On March 4, we opened our second new office in 2019 located in St. Louis, MO. This office is being run by Dominic Marchesi, who has a plethora of Logistics experience managing a team as well as servicing customers and carriers. Dominic first heard about Becker Logistics while attending a conference that Becker Logistics CEO and founder Jim Becker was speaking at. After the conference Jim and Dominic met and talked about their visions and drives and something clicked. After some initial back and forth on the office location, we settled in St. Louis as we believe this will allow us to secure some great talent as this location continues to grow and expand. Dominic is excited and equipped to open and run this office.
This office was our 7th Becker location. The rapid expansion is only possible due to our recent growth and expansion, in the last year we've had a 133% growth in revenue. Additionally, we hired 88 employees in 2018; a 50% increase year over year. As we continue to grow and expand, clinging to our core values as a company is critical. It is especially critical as we plan for our future.
Late last year we ran several ads stating that Becker Logistics is growing and that we were looking to bring on new people to work at Becker Logistics. You can view the first of these ads by clicking here, which was in Transport Topics on October 22, 2018. In these ads, we also said that we were planning on opening four new offices in 2019, which was quite a substantial goal considering that at the time we only had five offices. Well, we are happy to say that we have reached the goal that we set forward of opening 4 new offices this year, which brings us to a total of 9 offices.
The first office that we opened this year was the Irving, Texas office. Irving is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, it is a booming town full of culture and, more importantly, is the 2nd largest logistics hub in the nation, which is why we chose it as the location of our 6th office. Our Irving office is managed by Lance Roberts who has many years of experience in the logistics industry and was a perfect fit to run this branch. The branch officially opened on January 1st, 2019 in a temporary office space until it was moved to a permeant location on April 1st, 2019. The office has been running great and is exceeding the expectations that were put in place for it. They have hit important KPIs and branch manager Lance Roberts has since been nominated to chair the TIA Food Safety Advisory Committee. We look forward to seeing where the team is able to bring the branch; we think it will be somewhere great.
Written by Lance R
Dallas Branch Manager
Are you familiar with all the acronyms in the food safety world like: FSMA, STHAF, FMCSA, DOT HOS, ELD?
Do any of these make you feel good about your business or do they raise concerns? Do any of these acronyms create a concern for your business operations and your ability to control costs, supply chain levels, etc.?
In fact, most food businesses we work with on a daily basis seem to become more frustrated with some or all of these topics because everyone interprets them differently. These acronyms all lead down the same road of ensuring the safety of the food supply, from farm to fork. These items all have the same goal in mind, safety. Every one of them seem to become more difficult when implemented in the daily activities of business operations, yet, it is our obligation as business leaders to navigate these struggles and find the best alternative solution for each specific business.
Before we continue on this topic, the common acronyms should be explained.
FSMA – Food Safety Modernization Act; an exceptional change when it comes to the safety of the food supply and it has constrained or opened areas for interpretation. In principle the FMSA is a starting point, it was created to ensure the chain of custody for the food supply, and is responsible in holding every party accountable for understanding the proper process and creating standards for safe food handling. This act further guides the process in which carriers, brokers, shippers and receivers must manage food supply throughout the supply chain.
STHAF – Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food; another step in ensuring farm to table food safety while in transit for over the road or rail within the United States.
FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted several recent regulations constraining the hours of operations for truck drivers, it has implemented electronic logging devices within each vehicle and allows officers and regulators to view drivers time behind the wheel in real time. These constraints reduced the number of hours that drivers were behind the wheel vs what some drivers stated they were behind the wheel. Impacting the supply chain, these items compressed the further concerns of driver shortages within the trucking industry. Driver’s times have affected how long drivers can sit at any given location or to begin to charge accessorial fees for detention and layovers. These costly accessorial charges have been passed around from carriers, to brokers to shippers and back to the buyer of the goods.
DOT – Department of Transportation; this is the department that has direct oversight of the FMCSA. DOT officers, state troopers, and highway patrol officers are those who inspect the drivers, their log books/ELD logs, review drivers’ scales ensuring drivers are not carrying too much product for roads and bridges as well as reporting and inspecting vehicles for safety throughout the US.
HOS – Hours of Service; this is the rules by which carriers and drivers must operate by. The HOS dictates when drivers may drive, when they must be on break (after 6 hours of consecutive on duty states but not longer than 8 hours), when drivers must shut down and reset their clock by resting a minimum of 10 hours per shift, and upon completing 70 hours drivers must reset for 34 hours consecutive or they are in violation. This has been tweaked over time but has been used and is not new. These rules are meant to keep the driver from being forced into driving tired or pushing themselves too far and causing serious accidents. The ability for drivers to be properly rested and not forced or stressed to be somewhere without proper rest is the focus of HOS rules. What is new is the electronic logs that are in real time. This has been the game changer for drivers and some smaller carriers.
ELD – Electronic Logging Device; the device installed in the truck and collects actual data from truck cab that enables drivers and carriers to view their hours of operation in real time. This has limited drivers from running multiple log books and cheating the system. Some or most of drivers/owner operators of smaller carriers usually had their own interpretation and was different from company to company along with drivers who really didn’t use log books.
So how do all these acronyms play a part in the supply chain and how does this effect the safety of transportation? Recently, while getting back into the industry, as I was a consultant for trucking companies over the past 3 to 4 years, I have found all these seem to roll out within a few years of each other and are high priorities by each governing body. Food safety has been at the forefront of the transportation industry for several years to ensure there are no contamination or potentials for tampering with the food supply while food is in transit. Again, all these different regulations are meant to make safety the priority regardless of area of focus; SAFETY is key in all areas. What are food shippers being impacted by today if every measure is to ensure that each segment of the industry is safer? Simple, it is the time and pressure! Why pressure? The pressure is being implemented on all parties. When the driver shortage began carriers refused to stay at any place for long durations when there is an average of 10 loads per truck in any given market. So, carriers not being loaded or unloaded within regular 2 hour time limit began to strain the market place by raising detention charges/ layover charges so high that shippers pressured warehouses to improve processes. This pressure also goes the other way, when trucks are running behind because of loading delays, weather, etc. then shippers and receivers are less accommodating to the drivers because they can’t get off tract with the carriers/drivers who are on time. This process further compounds with food safety when you have the perfect storm of food commodities which have loading concerns; trailers not properly cleaned, not properly sanitized, trailers with odors, etc. An example of the perfect storm is a driver that hauls a load of fresh meat, they must clean and sanitize their trailer before being loaded with another food product to protect from cross contamination or some sort of loading prohibition. Shippers who receive a driver and trailer that does not meet their specifications will reject the trailer and send the driver to the wash to attempt to clean the trailer or sanitize the trailer again. We have seen trailers sanitized 3 to 4 times before meeting some shippers requirements due to odors or some other issue. There is nothing wrong with doing the right things right, but due to the pressure of the companies trying to stay in compliance it is easier to reject the trailer. This also compounds because drivers are so tight on time from one load to another that trailer cleanings have become less likely as shippers times and deadheads have played significant roles in the process. When time is everything and timing is becoming more costly it is critical that communications also improve.
So, what is the answer? It seems that these regulations are all in place to make things safer, yet they are more costly to our bottom line and are increasing our accessorial charges and pass through costs. The answer to me is the ability for companies to effectively communicate and work together. Food Shippers of America is continually using their association to promote Shippers of Choice. What is that you might ask – That is any shipper who is using these data metrics and implementing processes and procedures to work with real time information and make adjustments to ensure that we are continually changing and adapting to things in real time. At Becker Logistics our CEO Jim Becker has a saying, “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.” This is true with all regulations, we have to adapt together and work together, not draw lines in the sand and continually penalize each other, but work together to ensure that safety (one of our core values) is met and achieved by all parties. Using data allows shippers to see a truck is running late, and instead of refusing to load them they move a truck into their slot who might be earlier and continue to do so till that carrier arrives. Some of our customers are beginning to use similar processes but not all understand the importance of working together. We still see companies drawing lines in the sand and stressing drivers and carriers on time because they feel they are wronged by the driver or carrier. In today’s industry, with the increase of regulations and safety at the forefront, we must all begin to step back and ask how can we work together and not point fingers or assign fault. We are in logistics and it is our ability to adapt and overcome because if “Nothing changes Nothing changes.”
Written by Michael W
As demand for third party logistics companies (3PLs) grows, supply chain and logistic professionals will face greater pressure to improve shipper-3PL relationships. Shippers are now taking a closer look at top logistics trends and are viewing their logistics providers as a strategic partner. However, a strong relationship is not everything, a 3PL must be making competitive offerings. To differentiate themselves, 3PLs must stand out amongst their competitors and not just in the pricing game. Here are a few ways in which 3PLs can make a difference in the eyes of a customer.
- Build a better relationship - Building strong relationships is imperative; it builds trust and open communication between the shipping company and the 3PL. Better communication ensures a better experience for everyone involved.
- Define expectations - This will ensure that that 3PL can adhere to customer expectations and can deliver on such expectations. It can be difficult to meet these standards. 3PLs must continue to look inward and ensure that they are operating with integrity and treating their customers like partners.
- Establish a strategic partnership – Provide sustained value, innovative solutions and information to facilitate data-driven decisions.
- Make a competitive offering - Stay competitive. Logistics companies will begin offering more unique services, such as invoice auditing, automated freight classification, better rates on dimensional pricing, and a host of last-mile services. Amazon has already taken great strides in with the creation of Amazon Key, which allows for Amazon to place packages into their customer’s garages directly. It is innovations like the ones listed above that allow 3PLs to continue to offer exception services that are sought out by shippers.