Carrier Compliance, Carrier Relations, and Carrier Development
When COVID-19 began, it was carriers, independent owner-operators, and small and large fleets that kept the nation’s food supply on track. The country rallied like never before thanking truckers for their dedication and service.
For freight brokers, the essential role that carriers play in the supply chain is well-recognized. For Choptank Transport, focusing on carrier relations means establishing better connections with carriers to provide better service to customers.
“Finding reliable, top-of-the-line drivers and equipment, then treating them fairly and with respect, are among the main ingredients for a healthy supply chain,” said Kristin McClanathan, Choptank’s carrier compliance manager at Choptank.
At Choptank, the Carrier Compliance department verifies each onboarding carrier meets all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) regulations, as well as Choptank’s standards for approval. The carrier must have the appropriate coverages concerning the types of loads they will be hauling for Choptank. It is the first stage of communication between carrier and broker, and a critical part of a trusting relationship.
The Carrier Relations team is a distinctly separate entity at Choptank, and focuses on building a stronger bond between carrier and broker. This team makes sure carriers have access to certain features such as the company’s exclusive load board and daily emails featuring available loads. The relations team also works with other departments, such as accounting and logistics, to unbiasedly investigate carrier issues.
“The carriers we use are crucial to our business’s success and our customers' success,” said McClanathan. “We are working on giving the carriers a voice by making sure all their issues are addressed, and by building that vital relationship together so that success is realized by all parties involved.”
The Carrier Development team is yet another group of solution providers at Choptank. Their duties overlap some of the carrier relations functions, but with an added focus on retention, new technology, and building an A-list of carriers. To do this, the development team identifies ways to improve carrier processes, measure reliability, and assess other metrics that distinguish outstanding carriers.
“I talk to our carriers all day, every day,” said McClanathan. “They call in for many different reasons. Some are just trying to get set up in our system, to look for a load, and to get access to some of our exclusive features. Sometimes the carrier has already spoken with our operations or accounting teams and is still in need of a resolution. We take the time to dig even deeper and investigate the problem.”
Choptank’s commitment to its carriers is evident in other ways as well. The 3PL recently joined a pilot program with DAT to bring on board its Book it Now feature, an automated load-tendering option that eliminates many of the cumbersome tasks carriers have to go through to book a load. The faster and easier it is for a carrier to get on a load, the more attractive the broker will be for those searching for available freight.
Choptank acknowledges its high-performing carriers with Carrier-of-the-Week and Carrier-of-the-Month awards to say thank you for their hard work and dedication. One of the most recent recipients was F2F Transport, nominated for keeping its trucks parked in front of a shipper ready to receive last-minute loads during a customer’s order surges during the pandemic.
“Carrier compliance, relations, and development are all working together with carriers to achieve common goals," said McClanathan. “These goals are to ultimately develop a relationship in which both parties are happy and successful, and trust that their business, big or small, is in good hands. It is a winning formula.”