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Old 01-13-2015, 02:41 PM   #76
BoredSocial
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by jimbobwe00 View Post
Hey man. I am in college now, and I want this ^ too. I am a dual major in Economics & Supply Chain and I definitely like my SC degree more. I think the type of work is good for my skill set (problem-solving, logical analysis, risk management, avoiding crises, handling crises) though these things tend to lend themselves to a 9-5, pre-set salary job. I worked in Logistics Finance for a large foods distributor for a 6-month coop and while I did really well in my position I found the lifestyle (same hours, same paycheck, many relatively similar/repetitive analyses) kind of boring. How were you able to find something that rewards you for hard/good work and has some variability/unpredictability in pay?
First off I think you should PM me so that I can put you in contact with our recruiters.

To answer your question I came at this from the sales side of things. I was looking for a sales job with a heavy operational flavor not an operational job with some volatility. In sales the volatility is a given.

All kidding aside though... For the career you're going to school for there's basically no better entry level position than being a freight broker.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:41 PM   #77
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Thanks for doing this thread.

1) Where did you go to college?

2) How did you find your employer or did they find you?

2) Have you trained anyone? Yes or no, either way, what would be the 3 most important tips you would give someone new to this field or sales in general?

3) You mentioned cold calling a few times throughout the thread - is it always over the phone? Has it led to face to face meetings? If it has please share those experiences.
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Old 01-14-2015, 04:38 AM   #78
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

I work in software development but some combination of finance/economics/supply chain management/logistics has always been my passion. Is there a good way to learn more about this industry without just quitting and getting an entry level position a try? Are weekend and/or evening only jobs available? Are there software programs that you think suck and should be done better but your business is forced to use? Do you think a new shipping company could be profitable if they did things right (such as focused on service and not doing scumbag things, or is it cheaper to just write off the losses when they occur)?

Last edited by Shoe; 01-14-2015 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:47 AM   #79
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by Garden State View Post
Thanks for doing this thread.

1) Where did you go to college?

I went to the University of Louisville. I majored in Economics and had a 3.5+ GPA.

2) How did you find your employer or did they find you?

I found my employer. I was deliberately targeting freight brokerages.

2) Have you trained anyone? Yes or no, either way, what would be the 3 most important tips you would give someone new to this field or sales in general?

Not yet. The way this industry works you spend the first two months on the job as someones assistant. This allows you to learn by doing with real customers and carriers.

3) You mentioned cold calling a few times throughout the thread - is it always over the phone? Has it led to face to face meetings? If it has please share those experiences.

In this business yes. That being said three of my fellow brokers are out this week because they're in NC visiting customers. (very large customers that we want more from)
Hope that answers your questions
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:50 AM   #80
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
I work in software development but some combination of finance/economics/supply chain management/logistics has always been my passion. Is there a good way to learn more about this industry without just quitting and getting an entry level position a try? Are weekend and/or evening only jobs available? Are there software programs that you think suck and should be done better but your business is forced to use? Do you think a new shipping company could be profitable if they did things right (such as focused on service and not doing scumbag things, or is it cheaper to just write off the losses when they occur)?
My company hated the price points and capabilities of our Transportation Management System software so much that we're building out own.

There is a massive amount of room for new players in this industry. The barriers to entry are quite low compared to other similar businesses. The biggest obstacle is definitely expertise.

There are IT/software dev jobs in the industry for sure. My company has a full time developer on staff.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:47 PM   #81
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

What do you make of the West Coast port strike? How do you think it will affect your business?
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:21 AM   #82
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Bored, great thread. I spent twenty years in the transportation business (on the carrier side, but I did some air freight forwarding so there you act as a de facto broker). Left to buy a restaurant. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2015, 10:57 AM   #83
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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What do you make of the West Coast port strike? How do you think it will affect your business?
It's been ugly. The market price of trucks is down nationwide across all equipment types, which doesn't particularly affect me... But one of my larger customers (in terms of available freight in normal times) is a customs broker that moves 90%+ of their freight through long beach. Needless to say they have been doing way less than normal. In fact between them being shut down, and the Chinese refusing US poultry my December and January were incredibly bad...

That being said when the port finally does open up some importers will be desperate to get their freight, and won't be willing to wait on a train to bring it to them in 1-3 weeks. A much higher % than usual of containers pulled through the port will be getting transloaded and trucked to their final destination... So the price of trucks will be going up, and I will be trying to service a simply hilarious amount of freight. I'd be very surprised if it makes me whole from December and January... but I will claw a good bit of it back.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:45 AM   #84
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Bored, great thread. I spent twenty years in the transportation business (on the carrier side, but I did some air freight forwarding so there you act as a de facto broker). Left to buy a restaurant. Good luck.
Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire :/. I hope the restaurant business is treating you well.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:42 PM   #85
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Shipping 75kg from Ottawa to Hawaii: Best done through FedEx or freight?
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:03 PM   #86
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Shipping 75kg from Ottawa to Hawaii: Best done through FedEx or freight?
Anything under a pallet is best shipped through Fedex/DHL/UPS. Which one is best is totally dependent on what you're shipping and to where.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:42 PM   #87
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Anything under a pallet is best shipped through Fedex/DHL/UPS. Which one is best is totally dependent on what you're shipping and to where.
Off topic, but you missed an opportunity to maximize your homophones in the second sentence.

Witch, won, your, too, wear...
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:04 PM   #88
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Any advice for vetting freight forwarders and finding the best company to go with? What type of questions should I be asking different freight forwarder companies to chose the right one to work with?
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:59 PM   #89
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Any advice for vetting freight forwarders and finding the best company to go with? What type of questions should I be asking different freight forwarder companies to chose the right one to work with?
I don't really deal with the business side of their operations... But I'll take a crack at this.

1) They should have good credit. This might not be super important to you paying them for services rendered, but in my experience well run businesses tend to have good credit and vice versa.

2) If someone is offering to do the work for 10%+ lower than the rest of the field and isn't absolutely massive avoid them like they have bubonic plague. I know this seems counter intuitive, but if they're selling way below the average market price I guarantee you there's a reason. If what you're shipping is cheap and there is a lot of it I'd consider trying out budget options, but if it's in any way important I'd just go with somebody good.

3) In this field large is the safe way to go. This goes for freight brokerages and trucking companies as well. Getting quotes from all the big players is a pretty strong choice.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:42 PM   #90
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

I'm new to booking trade shows at work. We have been using one "trade show shipper" for a long time and was curious if this is overpriced. It's East coast to West coast average 200 lbs in 2 crates. What is the benefits of using one of these companies over regular shipping services?
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:57 AM   #91
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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I'm new to booking trade shows at work. We have been using one "trade show shipper" for a long time and was curious if this is overpriced. It's East coast to West coast average 200 lbs in 2 crates. What is the benefits of using one of these companies over regular shipping services?
How are they shipping it? Are they just sending it LTL (I doubt it) or are they using some sort of courier service?

The only way to know if your existing transportation company is overpriced is to bid the work out to other carriers and see what they come up with. If it's within 25% you're probably not getting ripped off too hard.

Be very careful about people offering you different modes of transportation than you're currently using. I can probably move your shipment for significantly <500 dollars LTL... But LTL sucks really hard. Your shipment could easily be late or damaged going that route.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:59 AM   #92
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Also thanks for demonstrating why all of my co workers are terrified of new people at their customers handling freight.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:07 PM   #93
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Hey, thanks for making this thread, I hope you still answer questions.

I was wondering how different players approach pricing their services. It seems that the service is highly configurable and terms (and thus prices) can get stretched quite a lot.
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:49 PM   #94
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Hey, thanks for making this thread, I hope you still answer questions.

I was wondering how different players approach pricing their services. It seems that the service is highly configurable and terms (and thus prices) can get stretched quite a lot.
You're certainly right about the rates varying widely for a wide range of reasons. Freight brokerages generally are happy to take any freight that they can book at an acceptable profit. The actual carriers are generally concerned about opportunity cost (could I get a load that paid better or went to a better market?), actual cost (how much does it cost to pay my driver, buy gas, and own the truck?), and when the driver needs to be home by.

Obviously the above factors can lead to WILDLY different rates. The main thing that impacts pricing from a customer viewpoint is supply and demand. Cities supply empty trucks (loads that go into the city to delivery goods to different receivers are empty after delivery) and smaller towns with industry/agriculture tend to supply freight. Most of you have never heard of Vincennes, IN but I assure you that anyone who runs a trucking company pulling reefers or vans in the midwest knows exactly where it is. Anywhere that has produce being harvested is going to see a significant spike in truck rates for the duration of the season.

The only two major cities that actually supply more freight than empty trucks are LA (because of the port and the fact that it's a major west coast distribution hub) and Chicago (because it's the main distribution for the eastern half of the country).
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:58 AM   #95
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Thanks for the reply. I guess I should have provided more details about what I'm asking.

I work in marketing research and one of the more popular projects in this field is called conjoint choice modeling. It is best explained through a basic example; Let's say we want to understand how consumers value different laptops. A laptop can be broken down to it's attributes - screen size (13, 15, 17 inches), HDD size (256, 512, 1024 GBs), RAM(4, 8, 12, 16 GBs), dedicated GPU (has or doesn't), chassis (plastic, aluminum) battery life (6, 8, 10 hours) and price. This amounts to 444 different scenarios, making it impossible to present to consumers all the different options. However using statistical modeling we can design a survey where a consumer is presented 2 options and he selects which one he would rather buy, iterating this step a few times. Presenting the options is not done at random, but according to a specific design meant to uncover what value the consumer puts on different attributes and their level individually, as well as in combination.

Another name for those models is "part worth". After we have the data, we can model it (usually with a logistic regression) and estimate what each attribute is worth to the customer in monetary value, which translates to demand for the attribute. Having this data, you can combine it with demographic (or in a b2b scenario - firmographic) data and discover segments and the different levels of demand for attributes.

In most textbooks the transportation industry is mentioned to use these models extensively and that makes total sense for me, since providers are looking, as you said, to capture the demand, while not leaving money on the table. Another reason it is a great fit is that to my understanding this industry is very reliant on frequent quotes, which can be used instead of surveys.

The reason I posted was to ask you whether you've heard about this. Whether it is as prevalent as I thought. How firms usually do it - do they hire an agency or do it inhouse, if inhouse - do they have specific people dedicated to it. If you haven't heard about this - would such a proposition intrigue you (not trying to sell you)? Would you hire a freelancer to do it if he approached you with a cold call or is this matter too sensitive to hand off to a stranger and any other objections you could think of? It is my understanding that the freight ecosystem is very heterogenic, what type of firms would be most interested in such a service?

edit: I realized I've asked a ton of questions... sorry about that. I wouldn't hold it against you if you didn't answer all of them.
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:30 AM   #96
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

The kinds of models you're talking about are only used by the larger players. In a space as fragmented as truckload transportation very few of the players have the kind of resources needed to use these kinds of models at scale.

I'm 100% certain that stuff like this is heavily at play in LTL and parcel delivery both of which require large organizations to be competitive. I've never seen anything like this at a freight brokerage though.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:38 PM   #97
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

I might of missed it, but did you mention if you deal with 40' HC full containers, or just the LTL stuff?
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:45 PM   #98
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

I'm bored and it's a slow week... Does anyone have any questions or problems they need solved?
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:37 PM   #99
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

How is the state of the trucking industry today, and how do you think it will be affected by the new environmental regulations in 2017? Seems like there is a a strange combination of both a shortage of truckers, but yet absolute fear from the industry for purchasing additional trucks due to the consumer spending reports being bad.

Will trucks be shifting to aluminum wheels or more lightweight wheels to reduce weight in view of the new regs?
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:21 PM   #100
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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How is the state of the trucking industry today, and how do you think it will be affected by the new environmental regulations in 2017? Seems like there is a a strange combination of both a shortage of truckers, but yet absolute fear from the industry for purchasing additional trucks due to the consumer spending reports being bad.

Will trucks be shifting to aluminum wheels or more lightweight wheels to reduce weight in view of the new regs?
Rates have fallen somewhat. Not just because of falling fuel prices but also from a line haul perspective. I'm reasonably sure this is because of increased competition for FAK from intermodal lines.

The environmental regulations won't make much of a difference I don't think. People don't want to purchase more trucks because they got burned on the last big buying spree at the end of 2014. That buying spree+ additional competition from rail have combined to push spot market rates down 30% and contract rates by ~5%. A lot of customers are also transitioning away from the spot market and towards contracts so that they can lock these rates in for longer.

We won't really know what's going to happen to the trucking market in 2016 until the middle of the second quarter simply because we don't know what produce season is going to be like yet. Last year the produce season was a dumpster fire and that dragged the spot market down dramatically (produce is a tiny portion of the contract freight market... but it's a huge % of the spot market).
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