Thinking Outside of the Box


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Presented by Mike Brown, Ab Transport

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  • Point out Iowa customers
  • I have worked in the transportation industry for over 20 years. It is a highly competitive industry for several reasons. With all the enhancements in technology and social media connecting with our customers is easier --for everyone. Social media is very powerful—it can work for you or against you. Let’s face it, everything around us is changing and it’s happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Fuel prices continue to climb, the weather is becoming more unpredictable (80 in March – who would have thought?!), the economic conditions are still not stable and permits and regulations are constantly changing. These are just a few reasons why we constantly have to think outside of the box to remain competitive.
  • What are we doing to embrace the change? Today we spend a lot of time networking – in our community, at conferences across the US and through social media. We embrace the “free” tools given to us and have made a lot of great connections. Through networking we have been able to establish some great partnerships – one being military which I will discuss at the end of this session. Certifications: by becoming a nationally certified minority business enterprise through the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council we have been directly introduced to business executives in the Midwest that would have taken us years to get in front of. Technology: I have looked at many programs to meet our needs but haven’t found any. Today, it is easy to find the talent to build a customized program so that is what we have done. Lastly, we are part of a special alliance that gives us full access to a “Virtual Fleet” – this is as “green” as trucking gets. We can see where our fleet is 24 hours a day all year round due to the GPS tracking on all the equipment.
  • Next I will take you through an example of a project completed about two months ago.
  • When transporting something this large and valuable we look at all options. We started by looking at train. Train: We first found there was not a rail spur into the facility therefore we still would have had to truck it to the nearest loading point. Then we found the height was slightly too tall – had it been a bit shorter we would have cut the cost by 25-30%. Also, the move time was potentially going to take 3-4 weeks. Next we looked at barge. We could have come out of the port of Long Beach to Houston but would have had to put it onto a truck (via crane) at the manufacture to make it to the port. The more times you touch something the more risk for damage. The time to move via barge was coming out at 10 days. The most expensive but less risky option was truck due to the need for permits, escorts, site surveys, utility and bucket trucks, etc. Being nearly 14 feet in height it was too tall to go under some electrical wires. It did provide the most flexibility in timing and eliminated the need for multiple instances of loading and off-loading. The time to move was coming in at less than a week. After discussing the options with our customer they choose to move via truck.
  • Many steps are taken to secure the product. Here you will see the driver securing lift lugs and connecting the slings to prepare for lifting.
  • Cold box being lifted onto trailer
  • More pictures of moving onto the trailer. This picture shows the sight from the plate-form trailer at the back.
  • Loading the first of the front on the Cold Box. It’s very important that everything is precise—the second picture shows how the wedge that was designed by the trucker fits perfectly inside. On the left you will see the precise fit of the wedge on the rear plate form trailer. The final step was the weld the trailers wedge to the Cold Box to ensure the box wouldn’t shift during transport.
  • The Cold box is stowed and secured with chains and traversal bars and additional bolts of the lifting lugs are placed in the goose neck of the trailer to be used and put back to the original place on the Cold Box when arriving at the Houston Port for handling operations.
  • The Cold Box is ready to be moved! On the left is a picture of it leaving the factory.
  • The next few pictures are showing the Cold Box in transit
  • The next few pictures are showing the Cold Box in transit
  • The next few pictures are showing the Cold Box in transit
  • In summary, a project like this takes a lot of planning and experience. The customer has options but it all depends on their flexibility with time, money and risk. Many times our customers know what they want ahead of time and have a general feel for the cost. As technology evolves finding the proper equipment is easier and having the ability to track shipments in real-time provides peace of mind. We are always challenged to think outside of the box – especially when things don’t go as planned. In this case we were able to deliver the equipment in 5 business days.
  • As I just mentioned technology has helped us when we are looking the proper equipment but we have another challenge that technology can’t solve. Currently there is a shortage of over 300,000 trucker drivers in the United States. Why? Because most insurance policies (specifically, the affordable ones for small businesses) require 2 years of driving experience. What has this forced these companies to do? It has forced them to go over seas to find talent!
  • Read screen and then go into who can help us fill the 300,000 driver gap – our returning troops and veterans!
  • Reaching out to our networks – we are reaching out to people we know and asking them to reach out to their networks. We are attending tradeshows and events that get us in front of people that can make a difference. When we are networking we are uncovering problems and thanks to our large network we have been able to get in front of the right people to solve problems. For example, with our shortage of truck drivers – we are working with some of the top executives in the insurance industry to hopefully alter the current requirements and with our local colleges to come up with programs for our military. Going back to uncovering problems – let’s focus on the National Guard (next slide)..
  • While we were out raising awareness of our program, we were informed of a very big problem that is affecting our local National Guard.
  • What are we doing: First and foremost we are spreading the word – talking to people we know – asking them to be ambassadors. Reaching out to people we don’t know --educating our veterans and residents, business owners and people who can and will step up to make a difference. Thanks to this program, we have become better listeners. We are challenging ourselves to think outside of the box on a daily basis by actively listening and coming up with solutions for problems that are affecting the transportation and logistics industries. Please come speak with me after this session or email me – I would love for you to join me.
  • In conclusion - about 15 minutes ago we talked about the challenges of the industry and changes that have occurred over the past 10 years. Technology, social medial and the current economic conditions are among the few things that have changed drastically. So, how does Iowa continue to move forward? How are we going to stay in front of our competition? It’s simple but not easily done. We need to know more about our competition than they know about us. We need to join forces – make it a goal to do more business with Iowa businesses. We need to communicate with each other – if our Iowa business can benefit from something we uncovered why not share your findings with them? If you have an issue, connect with your Iowa connections first – wouldn’t you ask your neighbor for help before calling someone from across the country? Think outside the box. Welcome creativity in your workplace. You can’t grow your business by doing everything the same year to year. Thank you for your time today. I’d like to open this session up for questions.
  • Thinking Outside of the Box

    1. 1. Moving Iowa Forward Conference April 24, 2012Thinking Outside of the Box 1
    2. 2. About AB Transport, Inc.• Privately-held logistics management company (3PL)• Founded in 2003 AB Transport• Headquarters – Cedar Rapids, IA• Branch office – Jacksonville, FL• Nationally certified Minority Business Enterprise and Iowa Targeted Small Business• Specialties: Heavy Haul, Oversized and Over dimensional and Expedited• 365/24 Dispatch 2
    3. 3. Key Customers 3
    4. 4. Transportation IndustryChanges in Industry—Today vs. 10 years ago• Enhanced technology – better tools• Better communication• Social Media• Fuel prices• Weather• Economic Conditions• Permits / Regulations 4
    5. 5. Transportation Industry – Embracing Change What are we doing differently? • More Networking • Embracing Social Media • More partnerships • Certifications • Technology – customizing programs to what we need • Virtual Fleet 5
    6. 6. ProjectsWhen shipping oversized and over dimensional objects there are many factors that comeinto play.•What modes of transportation are available?•How will the product get to its destination in the most cost-effective way?•How much time do I have for transit? Are there any big events, weather warnings, orconstruction projects that may affect the transit route?•What is the safest way to get the product to its final destination? 6
    7. 7. Project – Cold Box88’ length x 8’wide by 13.66’ height and 156,000 pounds Estimated value: $2.5M Origination: CA Destination: TX 7
    8. 8. Project – Cold Box Transport OptionsA: Train B: Barge C: Truck 8
    9. 9. Project – Cold Box cont. 9
    10. 10. Project – Cold Box cont. 10
    11. 11. Project – Cold Box cont. 11
    12. 12. Project – Cold Box cont. 12
    13. 13. Project – Cold Box cont. 13
    14. 14. Project – Cold Box cont. 14
    15. 15. Project – Cold Box cont. 15
    16. 16. Project – Cold Box cont. 16
    17. 17. Project – Cold Box cont. 17
    18. 18. Project – Cold Box SummaryDays in transit: 5 business daysRequirements: permits, escorts, site surveys, utility and buckettrucksOptional: Electronic Tracking Software 18
    19. 19. Challenges in the Industry • Shortage of equipment • Shortage of drivers +300,000 • Insurance Restrictions What can we do? 19
    20. 20. Challenges in the Industry - SolutionIn January, 2012 AB Transport, Inc. became a strategicpartner with Corporate America Supports You and MilitarySpouse Corporate Career Network (CASY-MSCCN) and leadsthe Troops to Transportation and Logistics Program™. 20
    21. 21. Challenges in the Industry – Solution (cont.) Our mission is to leverage industry experience to identify, target and create immediate training and career opportunities for our military, veterans and their spouses/caregivers on a local, national and global level. How are we doing this? •Reaching out to our networks •Uncovering problems and joining forces to fix them Powered by Advising Company 21
    22. 22. Challenges in the Industry – Solution (cont.)Did you know?•The Iowa National Guard has been the most used in the past 10+ years•Over 3,000 Guards men and women returned this past Summer•Only branch of the military that is not federally-owned when they return home•No transitional program What are we doing? Powered by Advising Company 22
    23. 23. Challenges in the Industry – Solution (cont.) What are we doing? • Learning more about each other – our family, friends, customers, vendors and their networks • Ambassadors • Reaching out to new people • Thinking outside of the box Advising Company Powered by 23
    24. 24. Moving Iowa Forward• Staying in front of our competition• Joining forces• Communication• Thinking outside of the box 24