10 Steps to Profit from Process Improvement

10 Steps to Profit from Process Improvement

Anyone interested in growth? Having your employee’s feel important and involved in decision making for minimal expense and maximum value?

Make the investment in a process improvement team and see how well this will work for you.
A process improvement team (PIT) is a group of workers who get together on a regular basis to discuss how to make your business processes better.

The concept is that they take on one process at a time and come up with a way to make that process incrementally better than it currently is. They do this again and again, getting each process a little better each time.

This process improvement works for small transportation companies of two or three people as well as for large fortune 500 type organizations.

These 10 steps will lead to effective PIT meetings, with positive results:

1.Keep the meetings to no more than three employees and another management leader (total of five including you) and limit the meeting to one hour or less.

2.Include your entire group. Leave no one out of the process discussions.

3.With five employees per meeting, topics are discussed in six consecutive meetings. Don’t change topics mid stream. Stay focused.

4.Hold these meetings every two weeks, perhaps over a lunch period. You’ll have six meetings per quarter.

5.Solicit ideas from your entire staff before the beginning of each quarter as to what topics/process may need review.

6.Prior to your first meeting, you as the leader, choose three to four topics for the discussion period, rating each topic in order of importance. Leave the remaining topics for the next group. Do not forget anyone’s topic submitted or you will lose participation. If a certain topic doesn’t require review by the team, advise the employee who submitted the idea and share the reasons why review isn’t necessary.

7.Once you have your core topics, they are discussed in each meeting so all employees have input to include suggestions for fine tuning processes, if any is required.

8.Review the final outcome and group decisions of your meetings content.

9.Make necessary revisions or changes to procedures, functions or systems, notifying your employees as soon as the revisions are complete.

10.Supply your entire group with the necessary feedback from each meeting. Send them an e-mail with the meeting minutes. Praise those who develop a “fix” for you. Keep your staff informed.

By putting aside an hour every two weeks, PIT meetings can be exceptionally beneficial to managers and to your business.

If you are already using a process improvement method, we’d love to hear about it. Give me a call and tell me how you do it. Need some help with process improvement? Give me a call at 888-625-1139 and tell me your needs.

Differentiate Your Business from Its Competitors

Differentiate Your Business from Its Competitors

There are three basic ways to position or differentiate your business from its competitors:

1. Be a market leader. Choose a particular market and focus on being the leader in that market.
2. Be unique. Offer something no one else or just a few shippers do.
3. Be a price leader. Focus on providing low cost services. Wal-Mart is a good example of a successful business built on this strategy.

Warning: Trying to be all things to all people will inhibit your growth. Instead, be the very best at something. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes what he calls the hedgehog concept. A hedgehog is an animal that protects itself by rolling into a ball that cannot be penetrated. Your marketing strategy should protect your business in exactly the same way.

Whatever direction you choose, commit to it and do everything you can to be the very best at what you do.

Next identify your company’s unique selling proposition. What makes your company different? Is it the way you communicate with your customers, your unique transportation services, the technology you use, or something else? Figure out what makes you “the purple cow” that stands out from everyone else. Even if your uniqueness is not 100% unique, treat it like it is. Make it work to your advantage.

Tip: Your unique selling point should be about more than your equipment or what you haul.

Once you are clear on what your unique selling proposition is, design everything about your business around it, and make sure that your employees fully understand it and know what they need must do to underscore it and deliver on it. Then, go after customers that are seeking that uniqueness, making sure that you clearly convey to them what distinguishes your business from the competition.

Tip: When you offer something unique, you can usually charge a bit more than firms that don’t offer what you do and/or you will be able to minimize your price competition.

Women In Trucking and TranStrategy Partners Announce New Training Program

In a world of uncertainty and divisiveness, building a solid professional foundation becomes more important than ever.

RIDGEFIELD, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TranStrategy Partners, Inc. (TSP), in partnership with Women In Trucking Association (WIT), announces the launch of the Professional Development Certification (PDC) program. The PDC has been developed over the last year as a tool to advance the development of WIT association members. Thirty courses following Industry Knowledge, Leadership, and Career Development tracks, provide foundational learning, best practices and useful strategies to help members navigate their career pathways and strengthen their personal brand.

“A certification program is not only a way for members to gain knowledge about diversity issues in the trucking industry, it is also a way for them to help their company attract and retain more women in all roles,” said Ellen Voie, President and CEO, WIT.

Wade Witherspoon, Director of Education at TSP and chief architect of the certification program expressed his excitement about the launch, “With integral input from Ellen Voie, WIT Board members and from the entire WIT association membership, we have built a powerful tool to strengthen the development of members and to help elevate their opportunities in the future.” The program is designed to deliver both industry specific education as well as personal and professional development, which falls directly in line with the foundational values of WIT.

“The new WIT Professional Development Certification was created to help our members cultivate both their personal and professional skills. I know this program will be extremely beneficial to those who take advantage of it,” said Mary Aufdemberg, director, used truck acquisitions and operations, Daimler Trucks North America, and Chairwoman of WIT.

TSP and WIT will launch the new Professional Development Certification at the Accelerate! Conference & Expo next week – November 6-8 at the Sheraton Crowne Center in Kansas City.

TranStrategy Partners, Inc. coaches entrepreneurs to transform their organization into a vigorous and more valuable business. Our expert consultants collaborate and guide you and your organization through a holistic coaching approach that delivers accelerated growth, higher profits and re-energized staff. Guaranteed! Visit www.GoTranStrategy.com to learn more.

Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Daimler Trucks North America, BMO Transportation Finance, Great Dane, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ryder System, Inc., U.S. Xpress, and Walmart. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit http://www.womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

Contacts:

TranStrategy Partners
Andrew Gulovsen, 618-302-7790
andrew@transtrategypartners.com

Three Elements in Relationship Selling

Three Elements in Relationship Selling

Relationship selling is all about establishing long-term connections with your customers in order to generate repeat business for your company. It also minimizes the need to constantly market your services to potential new customers.

Three basic elements are essential to building and maintaining relationships with your customers: intimacy, passion and commitment. If your business is going to succeed, these elements need to be integral parts of your business culture.

Intimacy in business? You are probably wondering, “What does that mean?” In your personal life, intimacy is all about getting to know someone at a deeper than usual level. It’s the same in business. Building intimacy involves getting to know all about a potential customer — its goals, who the business serves, the conditions within which it operates, and so on. It also involves developing a deep understanding of the needs of the shipper.

Building intimacy is not a passive process; it doesn’t just happen. That’s because most businesses are not going to call you up to say, “I want to tell you all about me and my needs.” Instead, you’ll have to ask lots of questions to find this out. When you do, you will not only get the information you need to determine if your business can help satisfy a shipper’s needs, but you’ll also demonstrate that you care about the shipper. In turn, this will make it more likely it will want to listen to what you say and that you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from your competitors in its eyes. So don’t be shy about asking shippers lots of questions when you are going after their business, and remember that you can ask the questions in a light-hearted way. In fact, if you are super serious, you may scare the shipper off.

Tip: Although building intimacy is something your salespeople should be doing, it’s also something that everyone in your company should do. They need to stay attuned to the needs of your customers and by doing whatever they can to meet those needs.

Your passion or enthusiasm will help demonstrate to your existing customers that you want to keep their business and to potential customers that you really want their business. It can make the difference between cementing your relationship with a customer and losing it to a competitor and between getting and not getting a new customer.

Commitment demonstrates that you will do what it takes to meet a customer’s needs and that you will do what you promise. For example, if you tell a customer that you will provide a quote in 5 minutes or that you will deliver a load within a day, you do. Your commitment to a customer will demonstrate that you are sincere and can be trusted – two qualities that will make your relationship with one another last.

Your Marketing Strategy Sucks (or How I stopped Fearing and Learned to Love my Brand)

Your Marketing Strategy Sucks (or How I stopped Fearing and Learned to Love my Brand)

Within the transportation industry, there are few folks who are defined as Marketers. If they do exist, the marketing program is often tucked into a much larger Sales department and exists to write copy or create shiny collateral for the team. However, as new technology, platforms and channels finally reach the transportation industry, the need for marketers and strategic marketing looms large. The communication of your unique position and selling proposition in such a crowded landscape can no longer be accomplished by the sales force alone. The depth and breadth of the market is too great to be reached through a static website or loadboard advertisement. The principles of marketing, as message driver and sales partner, must be deployed to maintain your company as a competitive force in the intermediary marketplace.

Your brand is not simply your logo, your mission statement and your color scheme, it is the expression of who you are and your service: to your customers, to your carriers, to your employees and to the community where you exist. Your brand is an aggregation of your past successes (and failures) in communication, operation, administration and organization. Your brand is the promise of solution driven service, relationship development, timely payables and competitive compensation.

Creating the brand is a process built on the truths and integrity that exist within your company. It is borne from the very essence of your mission, your vision and the leadership that you provide to your company. Your position in the marketplace (whether as price leader, as unique, differentiated service provider, or as a market-centric trusted advisor) plays a key role in your ability to compete. Properly communicating this value to your target customers is essential so they can see you and believe that you are a viable option to help them succeed.

As the profiles of shipper decision makers continue to change and morph, their needs and sensibilities change as well. The buying experience continues to shift to a more digital and social one. You must be able to communicate on these new platforms with valuable content and targeted messaging. You must be able to lead the buyers along the path so that your relationship/solution selling salesforce can take the baton and convert the prospects into customers, who are then amazed by the end to end service provided by your operations staff.

As you build your strategy for 2018, operations and sales are always a priority, but do not forget to focus resources on your brand, your message, and the communication methodologies designed to best serve your customers and your own organization.

Join us on October 26th for the BrokerXcel round table focus on Marketing Strategy. We will be addressing frameworks, best practices and tactics to improve your marketing program. Click here for the event specifics or contact TranStrategy Partners for more information.