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The Jukebox Never Lies, or if you are under fifty, Spotify gets a Supply Chain Playlist Vol 9

By Whit Welch

I love music. I can’t sing or dance, or even clap in time. The ability to make music is well beyond me. But I love it none the less.  I decided to build a playlist of music that in some way was reflective of the industry that I also love. Now I have spent the last twenty plus years moving freight across this country and when I tell you there are similarities between a song and the supply chain, you can believe it. I want to share this list with you, one hit at a time.

Spirits in the Material World

The Police

Volume #9 of this somewhat under appreciated series is an offering from The Police. Released in 1982 off the album Ghost in the Machine, this synth-rock, ska blend is the first song and as close as we get to a title track. Sting, who wrote and sang this hit, said he created this song on a handheld Casio keyboard while riding in a truck. The Police were at the height of their power here, and this album is packed with great songs. Is this the best Police album? I would say yes.

In the material world of transportation, spirits have become a hot topic. Recently the issue of ghosting has become more prominent. Ghosting is the practice of engaging on a professional level in some manner, and then disappearing. Depending on who you ask, this behavior has become more prevalent, especially among job candidates. A tight labor market is blamed for people saying one thing and then doing something else, while not saying anything else. To me, the reason this conduct is more in focus is because it has a cool new name. I have been in this business for a while and ghosting is not new. Formerly, those who choose to quit responding were not known as “ghosts”, they were known as “jerks’, “flakes”, or, in extreme circumstances, “unprofessional pricks”. I still prefer these titles, but I am old school. Response time is the number one indicator as to what sort of partner a person is going to be. If communication is the key, and it is, remember that you must communicate. If you cannot manage phone calls and emails, you can’t manage business.

Share Your Truth to Help Others

By Jamin Alvidrez

Recently I watched an episode of David Letterman’s Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” His guest was Jay Z. I would recommend you check it out.

I was inspired listening to Jay Z and Letterman talk about putting themselves “out there” and creating. Jay said some words that show the importance and unselfish nature of creating and sharing-paraphrased:

“…you have an obligation to share your experiences and your truth in case it can help someone else…”

This is so true. Everyone has valuable things to share with others. Especially professionally. All too often though something gets in the way of participating or sharing.

As I watched I applied this in my mind to participating on LinkedIn, Twitter or other social platforms. From a practical work related standpoint sharing positive truths and viewpoints, or experience are a great place to share and give back to “your followers.”

If the focus is solely on yourself it becomes too easy to pick apart anything you do and just not share. Yet, if you can focus on others and grasp that your specific story, truth, life experience can help you will find you become more bold. The more you participate and share you will become stronger and fulfilled.

Whether you share big personal truths or simple work related experiences and tips you have “something” that no one else has and others can benefit from: YOUR truths. YOUR experience. YOUR perspective. YOUR story.

Please, be vulnerable and trust that others will benefit from your gift of sharing. I know I can benefit from anything you can share. Professionally speaking you will get back tenfold what you “share.”

The Jukebox Never Lies, or if you are under fifty, Spotify gets a Supply Chain Playlist Vol 8

By Whit Welch

I love music. I can’t sing or dance, or even clap in time. The ability to make music is well beyond me. But I love it none the less.  I decided to build a playlist of music that in some way was reflective of the industry that I also love. Now I have spent the last twenty plus years moving freight across this country and when I tell you there are similarities between a song and the supply chain, you can believe it. I want to share this list with you, one hit at a time.

Stuck in the Middle With You

By Stealers Wheel

This week’s entry is from 1972, a folksy, soft rock classic by Stealers Wheel. The band was formed in Scotland and had an incredibly brief and stormy run as a pop music entity. This song was the title track of the bands first album. By the time this single hit the charts, the most famous member of the band, Gerry Rafferty, had already split. Stealers Wheel would stagger on for three years and release two more albums but would never find real success again. Stuck in the Middle With You continues to enjoy air time on Oldies and 70’s themed stations. It is a great reminder of what was so great about pop music in this era.

I read an article this week identifying some “incredible facts” regarding the transportation industry. The one that I found most interesting, although not surprising, was that the four administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had ZERO experience working in the trucking industry. That means that the crack team of professionals that are managing the laws and regulations that control trucking in America know almost nothing, in a practical sense, about trucking. Huh. Who thought that was a sound idea? Our government, that’s who. We also have to deal with our legislators setting and resetting hours of service, weight restrictions, and infrastructure shortcomings. When you consider all the challenges that transportation faces, amateurs setting the rules for trucking seems ridiculous. This situation reminded me of this week’s tune, and the frustrations we face in transportation. As the song says, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

The Jukebox Never Lies, or if you are under fifty, Spotify gets a Supply Chain Playlist Vol 7

By Whit Welch

I love music. I can’t sing or dance, or even clap in time. The ability to make music is well beyond me. But I love it none the less.  I decided to build a playlist of music that in some way was reflective of the industry that I also love. Now I have spent the last twenty plus years moving freight across this country and when I tell you there are similarities between a song and the supply chain, you can believe it. I want to share this list with you, one hit at a time.

The Underdog

By Spoon

Spoon is an indie/alternative act out of Austin, TX. They have had a long, successful career as being almost, super popular. They are a band that is interesting, talented, and creative. At one point, when people used to have to pay for music, I would describe Spoon as a band that you could trust with your dollar. Their work was worth what you paid. This song may be their most commercially successful. I love the mix of percussion, horns, and acoustic guitars. The video is also fun.

The lyrics of this tune are so applicable to transportation. It issues a stark warning of the dangers of under estimating your situation and your competition, Complacency kills. Ignoring things you don’t understand and failing to learn from the people and the challenges around you are also fatal. Evolve as an individual and as a company and help others do the same.

Transportation and logistics love the underdog. Because our industry faces so many challenges and so much change on a regular basis, things like hustle, innovation, and communication matter. Those traits do not require large infrastructure, excess staffing, or even cutting-edge technology. A small group of people that care for their customers and themselves can still flourish. Underdogs are generally quiet, modest and blessed with helpful, positive attitude. Let’s all try and be more like that.

The Jukebox Never Lies, or if you are under fifty, Spotify gets a Supply Chain Playlist Vol 6

I love music. I can’t sing or dance, or even clap in time. The ability to make music is well beyond me. But I love it none the less.  I decided to build a playlist of music that in some way was reflective of the industry that I also love. Now I have spent the last twenty plus years moving freight across this country and when I tell you there are similarities between a song and the supply chain, you can believe it. I want to share this list with you, one hit at a time.

Another Tricky Day

By the Who

Happy Memorial Day to all. This week’s entry is a Who classic. “Another Tricky Day” was released in 1981 on the iconic Face Dances album. This was the last track on the offering and is one of my favorite songs by the band. Written by Pete Townsend, his guitar drives this tune, but it’s the lyrics and the way Roger Daltrey sings them that makes this such a fantastic jam. I always felt that this song was so applicable to everyone. It is another tricky day, and you will get through. Pragmatic, optimistic, and easy to understand. What else do you want from a song?

I chose this song on this day because this holiday in particular can be so very tricky for the transportation industry. Memorial Day is the first of the big three long holiday weekends for the summer. It always seems to sneak up on us. It falls at the end of the month and it is the unofficial start to the summer. We see a spike in volume every year, especially in food and beverage shipping. Cookouts galore mean folks need their beer and hot dogs. Like everything else, trucks bring what people need. Additionally, a whole bunch of us get out and travel. More shipping, more people on the road, more problems. When you factor in that most businesses are closed on Monday, you end up with an annual logistical nightmare. And yet we get through it every year. By the time September and Labor Day get here, we are masters at handling the summer holiday rush.

Enjoy the weekend, be safe, and remember those we honor on Memorial Day.

Invitation to Participate: “Come on in, the water’s fine!”

By Jamin Alvidrez

I am not the keeper of business related social media platforms. You do not need my permission. However, I do want to extend a personal invitation to YOU to participate.

What do I mean?

Go beyond just pressing “like”, on LinkedIn posts. Go beyond only re-sharing corporate type articles from your company. Go beyond lurking on LinkedIn to judge or see what your old coworkers are “up to.” Go beyond only consuming.

PARTICIPATE. I want to get to know YOU and I am confident that I am not the only one.

From a business standpoint LinkedIn/YouTube/Twitter etc. is all a better place when YOU are participating and sharing YOUR thoughts.

Sure it is a little scary to step out from behind the keyboard and actually share YOUR opinion, YOUR thoughts and YOUR goals. But, I promise you it is worth it.

Participate in a way that is authentic to you. Here are few quick ideas based on your comfort level:

  • Write an article on LinkedIn about your approach to your job.
  • Post a video on YouTube and share in on LinkedIn/Twitter about a positive thing that happened to you at work this week.
  • Share a photo and post it to Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn showing your work space.
  • Write a brief post on LinkedIn or tweet on Twitter saying “thank you” to someone you work with.

No matter what you feel like sharing I just invite you to do it. Try it for a month. Participate and do it consistently and I am confident you will find the value. It takes a long time to find business ROI, but the personal ROI-growth is immediate.

In the words of Delmar from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”:

“Come on in-the water’s fine!”

Worst Pick Up Line in Logistics/3PL Sales Calls…

By Jamin Alvidrez

You hate to hear it. Yet, walk around the floor of most 3PL/Logistics Sales Floor and you will inevitably always hear “it.”

“SO, TELL ME WHAT EXACTLY YOU DO THERE?”

Yes, the worst pick up line in a sales call.

What does it even mean? What gives a person the right to ask that on an initial call? What does it accomplish? How does that do anything to assist the person you are speaking with? Who speaks that way in real life? All questions that race through my head when I hear it..

Unfortunately, this question is often taught as a great opening line in an initial conversation. Sad. But, sales training in the Logistics Industry is a whole different conversation we will save for another day.

What should a person ask or discuss on an initial call?

No matter what services your company provides, this principle holds true: Make the call about you giving them something. Bringing the prospect value.

When in real life do we meet someone and immediately ask a favor of them? Almost never. Yet, here we are just meeting someone and asking them to give us information as intimate as explaining details of their job with no clear benefit to them. Absurd.  

Rather, why not focus on providing and giving something of value to benefit them. Organically you will come to understand what “they do there” and how they do it and where you could fit in.

Lay the foundation for a relationship and trust along with the information you need to have a shot at the business will follow.