Chris Jolly has been around trucking his whole life. His father was a trucker for 35 years and after finishing high school, Chris moved away from his hometown and worked at a warehouse for several years. Eventually, Chris went to college and afterward, got into freight brokerage. For the last 10 years, Chris has held a variety of roles in the logistics industry. He started out working for a small broker in Reno as a dedicated carrier sales rep and shortly thereafter was promoted to sales and operations manager. Chris went on to become a sales manager for another logistics company, where he worked for several years. 

In March of 2020, Chris founded his own sales and operations training company, C. Jolly Freight Consulting, which specializes in sales operation and training within transportation. Chris draws on his experience to guide logistics companies, tech companies, brokers and asset-based trucking companies in their sales and operations. His goal is to provide real honesty about the industry, including what to do and not do. Trucker Tools recently had the chance to chat with Chris about the current state of the industry and where he thinks freight brokerage is headed next. 

It’s All About Capacity

“Right now, everyone in logistics is talking about capacity,” Chris said. “There’s a massive capacity crunch going on. Rates and capacity are the two things that matter the most: do you have capacity to move your customers’ freight and is it at a rate they can work with? There’s nothing complex about that.”

“Right now, everyone in logistics is talking about capacity,” Chris said. “There’s a massive capacity crunch going on. Rates and capacity are the two things that matter the most: do you have capacity to move your customers’ freight and is it at a rate they can work with? There’s nothing complex about that.”

Chris says that capacity is something that truckers and carriers are concerned about, too. The lack of available trailers has made it difficult for smaller trucking companies, in particular, to up their volume over the holidays.

“I speak with drivers all the time and for them, the issue is that there are no trailers to be bought right now. They can’t even rent trailers right now and that’s what a lot of them usually do during the holiday peak season. They rent a couple of dry vans and run for some of the larger retailers out there who are doing their holiday push. That’s a big topic of conversation right now.”

2020 Takeaways for Freight Brokers

“If this year doesn’t teach you to establish relationships with drivers and try something different, there’s no hope for you, in my opinion,” Chris stated. “This is one of the few opportunities that you have to prove yourself, to prove to your customers why you deserve the right to their freight every day. I would love to see freight brokers have that mindset shift. Just because a shipper gives you access to one of their loads, it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to everything and that all of a sudden you’re God’s gift to them. You’ve got to earn their freight every single day.”

“This is one of the few opportunities that you have to prove yourself, to prove to your customers why you deserve the right to their freight every day. I would love to see freight brokers have that mindset shift. Just because a shipper gives you access to one of their loads, it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to everything and that all of a sudden you’re God’s gift to them. You’ve got to earn their freight every single day.”

Chris also said that one of the biggest complaints he hears from shippers is that when things goes wrong, freight brokers don’t answer their phones. Chris said that it’s a level playing field right now because capacity is at an all-time low. If you’re a broker, especially a smaller broker, Chris says this year is an opportunity for you to go up against larger brokers and prove to shippers that you can deliver.

The Value of Technology

Chris is all-in on technology. He said that technology is a must-have if you want to stay competitive as a freight broker.

“Brokers need to look at what technological capabilities they can use to improve their business,” noted Chris. “All brokers are going to need some tech capabilities in the next 24 months or less, or you’re going to start seeing a lot of lost opportunities.I’m a huge proponent of technology.” 

According to Chris, the technology that you use in your operations doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, either, to give you that edge.

It’s not as expensive as you think to have a load tracking or a POD retrieval system or something like that to improve your processes from a paper standpoint or a track and trace visibility standpoint. You need to start implementing something along those lines to improve your operations because being on time is the expectation — it’s not a selling point.”

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