On Doing Business with Priority1

In their book, The Go Giver, Bob Burg and John David Mann tell the story of Joe, who is seeking the key to success in sales. He is a real go-getter but seems to be getting further away from his goals the harder he works. He seeks out advice from a legendary consultant named Pindar, who takes Joe on a journey that will introduce him to other “Go-Givers” that will show him the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.  The first stop on the journey is for Joe to meet a real estate giant, Ernesto.

Ernesto started out with a small hot dog stand that he turned into several fine restaurants and a large amount of real estate investments. He did this by taking a mindset of not just having a great product but making sure that his customers had a great experience as well. His success came from giving a value that was much greater than the payment he received. As Ernesto is telling Joe about his story, he reveals the first of the five laws:

The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

Now as you are reading this you may think to yourself, “What does a hot dog stand and real estate have to do with doing  LTL and Truckload business with Priority1?” It’s simple. We strive to provide a transportation service that is more valuable than any payment we receive. While the bottom line is important to every business owner, we want our true worth to be determined more on what we give to you than what you give to us.

So why do your LTL and Truckload business with us?

It comes down to this: You are not just another number in our system or another dot on our map. Our company culture has remained the same throughout our 20 years of doing business:  Make the people you deal with on a daily basis feel like they are the only one you are doing business with.  We want to offer you a transportation service that you don’t want to go anywhere else to find. At Priority1, we strive to make sure that we give you every opportunity to grow your business so that you can be successful. In order to do that, we have to focus on your needs and tailor our LTL and Truckload services to those needs. We want to know your business and how it functions so that we can provide you with the value that you need to be as successful as you can dream! By doing that, we are able to grow and be successful together.

With that being said, if you are already doing LTL and Transportation business with Priority1, thank you! We appreciate you and your business. If you are not doing your LTL and Truckload business with Priority1, what are you waiting for? I guarantee you that partnering with our company will be the most valuable decision you have ever made!

Jon Atchison, Manager of Agent Developemnt


The Importance of Shipping Documents

Cops”, a popular reality/documentary television show that aired for roughly 23 years, making it one of the longest running TV shows in the US.  The show was intriguing, at times quite humorous, and gave an insight into parts of society where few of us have experienced.  Many times, the events would reach a point that required backup support, not only for reinforcement to resolve the issue, but for witness and to account for the actions that lead up to the arrests if ever questioned in the future.

You are probably thinking to yourself,  how does this relate to freight?  Often times we place heightened faith and value into our own product knowledge, industry experience, and/or our customer’s knowledge and experiences.  Not to say those things aren’t needed or great assets, but to ensure the customer and carriers are clued in from a cost perspective on all aspects of each shipment handled via Priority1, it is essential that documentation is filled out correctly from the beginning and at delivery, as well as having proper backup readily available from the customer to dispute charges that are incorrectly assessed when the shipment has been completed.

The BOL is a legally binding document providing the driver and the carrier all the details needed to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly.  If any information is excluded or incorrect on that document, there might be a challenge of proof once it becomes time for invoicing where there is a discrepancy.

The Delivery Receipt provides important information as to what actually occurred once the consignee received the freight from the carrier.  If the shipper and/or consignee are not properly educated on what to look for upon delivery, there might be complications due to items that the driver marks on the document or what the consignee failed to address on the document that could pose challenges once invoiced by the carrier as well.  It is the customer’s responsibility to audit the DR as closely as possible for infractions, as well as to inspect every shipment received.

Valid backup documentation is key to presenting “proof” in instances where the carrier is billing based on what a weight and inspection may have possibly revealed, a system error, etc.  Manufacturer spec sheets, pictures of the freight before and after, and packing lists are good examples of back up documents.  Unfortunately the times of presenting an argument without evidence have faded, with documented facts and paperwork being standardized across the board.

Documentation, audit, and presentation of correct data from the beginning does not eliminate the possibilities of encountering issues during or after the shipment, but they are crucial to limiting those issues and correcting issues where we have valid backup to prove our case.

John Redam, Vendor Relations Manager



Truckload Trends

In my time with Priority1 I have seen numerous changes in what is happening within the full truckload market. In the late 2000’s with the hope of coming out of a recession we did not see an uptick in truckload shippers but remained steady while everyone waited to see what was going to happen. So far in the 2010’s it has been a mix of increased shipments, rising fuel prices and capacity shortages due to a lack of drivers.

We are continuing to see some capacity issues but fuel has backed down from its peak. As the “baby boomer” generation is approaching retirement age, it has been a struggle in the transportation industry to replace the aging driver workforce. Truckload demand remains consistent, but the driver supply is weak.  As a result, rates per mile have remained consistent with reduced fuel prices.

As the industry works through the challenges of driver shortages there is a silver lining: In the past few months we have seen overall transportation capacity loosen up and rates dip slightly. In April 2015 we saw the national average of loads-to-truck ratio fall from 3.5 to 2.6 according to DAT 360.

As the truckload market stabilizes in 2015, one of the things that I have noticed is shippers are now more than ever open to shipping their full truckload shipments on rail; especially on long hauls. Rail continues to grow and is benefiting from the driver shortages as it offers an economical alternative to traditional over the road shipments. It is expected to continue to see a rise in rail shipments throughout the year and as we move into the near future.

The transportation industry continues to move through the changing economy and labor shortages within the industry. Today, it is as important as ever to be able to adapt to the rapid transportation changes. With 20 years in the industry, Priority1 has proven that it has the ability to see the transportation challenges coming and then adapt and meet all of our customer’s needs.

Jason Sheffler, Director of Truckload Operations


Great Business = Great Staff

When Priority1 redesigned the company website and updated our logo, we wanted to make sure we had a way to reach our customers and the industry. One way in which we decided we could do that was through a company blog. The intent was that we could take different business leaders at Priority1, give them a topic, and have them provide some industry insight that may be helpful to a customer, vendor, or anyone out there looking for information on the topic. As we worked on defining the topics, we decided that we would dedicate this week’s post to our staff as well as provide some insight as to how Priority1 operates from a cultural perspective.

Priority1 has undergone major transitions over the past 6 years. Our staff has quadrupled, our facilities are under constant change and expansion, and our team continues to step up to every big challenge thrown their way. Our focus on winning and hitting our targets does not compromise our ethical approach to business. That said, while Priority1 has put a lot of work in to our long term goals, we have enjoyed a month of some very public acknowledgement regarding some of the things that the team has been working on for years.

In April, Priority1 was awarded the Better Business Bureau Torch Award. The Torch Award was designed to recognize businesses that go out of their way to promote ethical business practices with customers, vendors, and employees. Priorty1 was chosen because of our commitment to winning the right way. The evaluation process included a look at our vendor relationships, customer relationships, financial processes, HR processes, benefit packages, and a tough look at our core leadership values. After all was said and done, Priorty1 excelled in these categories and was awarded the BBB Torch Award for 2015 at the Governor’s Mansion.

Priority1 has had a tremendous amount of success over the past few years. A large part of that success comes from having an outstanding staff, but also from promoting a competitive and fun environment. We couldn’t have grown 600% in 5 years without an incredible team and fostering an environment for the team’s success. I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished as a team and I am even more excited to see how the next 10 years plays out.

Dan Berardi, General Manager and COO

LTL Fuel Surcharge: Past, Present and Future

In the early 1970s the US Department of Energy began to calculate the national average of diesel and track its fluctuation. This rate was set and updated on a weekly basis and was the beginning of the fuel surcharge.

So what is a fuel surcharge?

A fuel surcharge is a calculated rate for fuel based on the USDOE national average price for diesel in conjunction with a carrier’s fuel surcharge table. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the fuel surcharge became a feature in a carrier’s rules tariffs to provide a baseline to charge customers.

With the recent drop in fuel, many carriers have made the decision to update their fuel schedule to accommodate the current lower cost. This change was due to the base rates not factoring the fuel dropping to the record lows. (Logistic rates are currently calculated by a variation of rate bases which are based on a fuel level that was set years ago).

Carriers are virtually left with two options to overcome this:

One is updating their fuel schedule. This adjusts cost on a shipment-by-shipment basis.

The other option is to update the rate base, which has an effect on pricing as a whole instead of a shipment-by-shipment basis.

This raises the point; will current fuel levels ever be calculated in the base rate of our pricing instead of as a surcharge?

Good question.

I believe that may very well be a possibility with the advancement in technology and talk of dimensional pricing. Only time will tell.

Patrick Hart, Manager of Strategic Pricing