E-Communicator Article

The Chairman's Corner

By John Lance
July 2017

Well, here it is: June 23 and we are in full swing of our peak season. This is the time of year that you're pulling your hair out trying to figure out how you're going to keep up with all the business coming in. This is a beautiful problem to have, so sit back, put your hard hat on and make it happen. It is amazing to me the business that is turned down this time of year because we think we do not have the resources to do it. I will tell you it is easier to just say you are booked solid than to put your thinking cap on and get creative. As you are working through your daily dispatch, you see that you have a job that is scheduled for two or maybe three days and another job that finished earlier than you expected. You should take advantage of that and get ahead of the game the next day. Now, you might have the resources to put additional manpower on another job to get it done sooner the next day. It is called staying ahead of the game. I know we feel like were about to get run over at times, but it always seems to work out as long as you stay on it and get creative.

Alternative transportation is a huge part in how all the van lines are moving shipments now. More and more shipments are being containerized and shipped via freight trucks. We have spot trailer programs as well that absorb some of the traffic. The number of shipments that are moved in this manner continues to grow year after year. We used to only crate small shipments. Now, we are crating large shipmments as well. The professional van operators are shrinking year after year. Their average age is roughly 55 years old. I speak to a lot of them and I get the same response from all: It's getting tougher and tougher to operate with all the regulations they are faced with and more coming all the time. Electronic logging devices will be mandatory soon and will have a great impact on how we operate moving forward. I have to tell you that as tough as it seems out there, it is completely different from what van operators went through years ago. There were no cellphones, computers or iPads. I used to call home once a week and that was usually from the dirty phone at the truck stop table I was eating at. I remember when pagers came out. I thought I was big time! They didn't last very long before cellphones were introduced. So, even though the regulations have gotten tougher, the equipment we have available to us to do our jobs have gotten a lot better. A van operator's truck is basically a rolling office now with the same equipment we have in our offices. Mailing your paperwork in is becoming a thing of the past with many as everything is scanned right from their truck.

We just got through a heat spell. I am in Ventura County and if it rises to 85 degrees, that is considered hot and people are complaining. Well, I have to tell you I spoke with former CMSA Chairman PJ Welch with Cardinal Van & Storage Co. and he messaged me a picture of the thermometer in his warehouse in beautiful Twentynine Palms: 128 degrees! Are you kidding me? He let me know that when he gets in his car in the morning, it's around 112. All I could think of was how are he and his crews handling this? He also shared with me that he has been loading spot trailers (which we all know usually only has one door in the rear of the trailer) and they could not get a temperature reading in the trailer because it is so hot it shuts phones off. This is what I would call stupid hot! I am sure he keeps a close eye on all his crews in weather like that as it is easy to become overheated and end up with heat stroke. So, I started thinking what I would do if we had weather like this in Ventura County. I know I would figure out a way to deal with it, but I have to believe my crews would be less productive working under those conditions.

We are living in a time right now that is different than any of us have ever seen before. The attacks that we read about and see on the news every day are hard for me to comprehend. We have people setting off bombs, shooting our law enforcement officers, driving vehicles into crowds and just senseless everyday stabbings and killings. What has happened to people's minds to bring them to this point? It is almost at a point that people are concerned about going to places with big crowds. They are changing the way they live because they are in fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is a different time and is a change from how we are used to living. I will not let these acts dictate where I go or what I will do. What we can do is pay attention to our surroundings at all times. Report suspicious activity. If you're in a crowded area, take a minute and come up with an exit plan in case you need to get out in a hurry. Don't let these acts of violence control your life and what you do. As our current president of the United States Donald Trump has said, "Together, we can make America great again!"

The problem with beauty is that it's like being born rich and getting poorer. Now go take on the day and I will see you next month.

July 2017 - CMSA Communicator

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