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Fluctuating supply and demand leaves capacity trends unpredictable

Trying to Predict Holiday Sales? Gauging Capacity Trends Is Even Tougher

All business owners are familiar with the rules of supply and demand. Few, however, realize how heavily trucking companies depend on supply and demand to function. We don’t blame them, either. With free two-day delivery becoming the norm, it feels like shipping just happens automatically. Most of us know that it’s more complicated than that, but just how much more complicated might surprise you. Predicting capacity trends is extremely challenging, and that’s particularly true in 2022. 

Freight Transportation Always Has Four Seasons

Market conditions have always influenced the trucking industry, from capacity to rates. Still, there’s usually some level of predictability. There are four seasons in the logistics work. You have:

  1. The Quiet Season (January – March)
  2. The Produce Shipping Season (Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
  3. The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
  4. The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)

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Trucking at BYX

What It’s Really Like Working at BYX

As you probably already know, Best Yet Express has been family owned and operated since day one. We’ve grown a lot since the company was founded in 1978, but our values are just as important to us today as they were over 40 years ago. We firmly believe that the best way of serving our customers is by building real relationships with them– And we wouldn’t be able to do that without building strong relationships within our own team.

Some of our employees have been around for over a decade.

We owe our success, in part, to them. We spoke with one of our oldest employees to share an inside look into the company culture of BYX. Roger Huckstep came into the logistics industry almost by chance. He had been driving a water delivery truck when he heard about a more serious trucking job at BYX, and something clicked. He already knew the owner and decided to go out on a limb and ask for a job. The rest is history. Huckstep’s been with us for 15 years, and he’s not planning on leaving anytime soon. 

On his first day, he committed to being the best employee he could be. He’s done that and more. His commitment to BYX has helped us weather a tumultuous industry and come out on top. Our core team stuck with us throughout the 2020 pandemic and the driver shortage that followed, and we wouldn’t be able to continue caring for our customers without them. 

Our best advice for fellow business owners? Take care of your people.

Hiring a Local Trucking Company is About More Than Price

Keeping up with the latest tech developments isn’t cheap. When it makes it easier for your team to be efficient and safe, however, it’s worth it. According to Huckstep, the evolution of transportation technology “has made it easier to assist drivers and (improved) the flow of our processes and operations.” 

In addition to evolving technology, the culture of a company should evolve over time as well. We chatted with Huckstep about that as well and were happy to hear that he had nothing but positive things to say about how the culture of BYX has shifted. “It has gotten better throughout time. I have known the family for a very long time and I like the family environment. Means a lot to me!” 

It means a lot to us, too. Just take it from Lara Newjahr, Chief Operating Officer at Best Yet Express, Inc. We are a family business and have worked to maintain that “family feeling” while transitioning in many ways. While no longer directly managing most of the staff, Jay and I are at work daily and interacting with everyone on the floor. We have developed a division of labor and delineation of departments, but we maintain an open door policy. We emphasize traits that we find important like hard work and determination to succeed but leave it to the staff to support and encourage each other directly. I think that growing family businesses are unique in that they create a vastly different culture than one found in a large corporation. However, an essential part of growth is not depending on the family to do all the tasks that were once necessary to get the business where it is today.”

Family values are at the heart of everything we do, and we strive to offer all our employees family-friendly schedules, great benefits, and competitive pay. If you’re considering getting into the trucking business or know someone who is, give us a call! We have several job openings available, and becoming a driver comes with some fun perks. After over 15 years in the business, Huckstep still believes truck driving is a promising career choice for anyone who enjoys driving. After all, you get to see new sights every day. Beats sitting in an office, right? 

For more information, check out current openings here, or contact us for more information.

 

Rising gas prices visual

How Gas Prices Affect BYX and Our Customers

Gas prices fluctuate by the day. This is nothing new, but the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused an exceptionally painful spike. The current average price per gallon in Los Angeles County is currently $5.52, with diesel averaging $5.85, but some stations are charging over $6 per gallon. Trucking companies feel the sting of elevated fuel prices more acutely than most. To fill up a 100-gallon diesel tank costs about $585. If you’re thinking “ouch,” so are we. 

Gas prices look very different than they did in recent months. The average prices are up by 57 cents/gallon from just last month. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, gas only cost $3.73 a gallon. Inflation is hardly a new dilemma, but now its effects are more pronounced than they have been in decades. 

Shipping companies use something called “fuel surcharge.” A fuel surcharge is a flat rate that allows the cost of fuel to be incorporated into shipping rates in a fair manner and allows shippers to have a fixed fuel cost they can count. Fuel surcharge is an important part of us continuing to operate our business and is set by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and updated weekly. 

Rising Gas Prices May Lead to Rate Hikes Down the Line

Before you panic, BYX just updated our rates at the start of 2022, and we hope to keep them stable for some time. Still, we prefer to be transparent with our customers so they understand why price increases have to happen. It goes without saying that elevated gas prices make transporting goods more costly. The farther the pickup, the more the additional fuel expenses are felt. 

The hike isn’t just felt by trucking companies. Every rung of the transportation ladder is effected, including cargo vessels and moving freight by air. Coupled with the existing supply chain crisis and materials shortage, the cost of everything is likely to increase, not just gas prices. Maintaining our fleet, from replacing tires to changing the oil, is more expensive than it was a year ago. Read more

Shipping appointment

Fed Up With Rising Prices? Shipping Appointments Are Partly to Blame

Every business owner knows customer care is the name of the game. Unfortunately, offering the best customer care possible sometimes comes at a cost. While making shipping appointments seems simple at first glance, the logistics behind arranging a simple pickup or delivery is more complex than it appears. 

The hidden cost of appointments

Every industry has annoying, unavoidable inefficiencies. The ones shipping companies like BYX deal with, however, didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Originally, it worked something like this: Delivery companies would make their deliveries in the morning, and spend the afternoon making pickups. The only communication required was a quick phone call to let the customer know approximately when to expect the driver.

Today, expectations are very different. The workflow of a shipping appointment clerk looks something like this:

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Amazon location

Love Prime? Here’s Why Amazon Locations Are Actually a Nightmare

Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.

The basics of Amazon shipping

There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available. 

There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill.  Read more

Yelp review

Are Yelp Reviews Important? Here’s What Every Business Owner Should Know

If you’ve gone to a new restaurant, picked a hotel, or hired a plumber lately, the odds are good you stopped by Yelp before making a final decision. Yelp reviews give buyers a sense of security and can help businesses get their name out there, but reviews aren’t foolproof. Anyone can leave a Yelp review, and one disgruntled customer in a bad mood can ruin a business’s reputation. So is it still worth it to list your business on Yelp?

The stats behind Yelp reviews are telling.

While concerns about unfair reviews are understandable, avoiding Yelp entirely is tough. 91% of people read reviews before choosing where to take their business. Yelp also has over 178 million visitors on a monthly basis. If you’re not on Yelp in 2022, you’re practically invisible to the majority of your potential clients or customers. 

Visibility, however, isn’t the only factor that matters. Stars matter, too. The vast majority of consumers, 82% to be exact, avoid visiting businesses with an average rating of less than 4-stars. If you only have a handful of reviews, just one bad review can bring down your rating. Even if your average rating is high enough, customers expect written reviews to be mostly positive. 

In essence, being on Yelp is practically mandatory in this day and age, but it doesn’t come without risk. Read more

Driver shortage

TIME Claims There’s No Truck Driver Shortage. Here’s Where They’re Wrong

Time Magazine published an article in late 2021 claiming that the truck driver shortage is a fallacy. As a decades-old trucking company, we beg to differ. While their statistics are on point, Time lacks perspective. To clear things up, here’s an insider view on one of the biggest issues plaguing America’s supply chain issues today. 

The claim: The driver shortage doesn’t exist.

To start, TIME’s infamous article covered some indisputable basics: America’s supply chain is struggling, leading to frustrating delays over the holidays and ongoing product shortages. The crisis began months ago, and yet our favorite muffin at Starbucks and the new smartphone we saved up for remains stubbornly unavailable. 

Many experts have cited a truck driver shortage– the largest we’ve seen in decades, as a strong contributing factor to the recurrent delays, but TIME says it doesn’t exist. To be specific, their article stated that:

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CFL

CFL, A 96-Year-Old Freight Company, Just Went Under. The Scary Truth About the Future for Carriers.

If our headline seems melodramatic, that’s only because the news hasn’t covered this nearly enough. Central Freight Lines, also known as CFL, was founded in Waco, Texas in 1925. Nearly a century later in 2020, it won the title of Carrier of the Year from GlobalTranz. Yet, despite 96 years of excellence and expertise, just announced that they’re ceasing operation. 

CFL announcement

CFL’s announcement on their company’s homepage.

The logistics giant stopped picking up freight on December 13, and aimed to make all remaining deliveries by the 20th. While BYX is alive and well, the downfall of CFL is proof that no LTL carrier is immune to the effects of driver shortages and rapidly rising expenses. 

Where did CFL go wrong? 

Truth be told, it didn’t. The climate for logistics companies has turned increasingly volatile. The company’s announcement may come as a shock, but in reality, it came after years of struggling to remain profitable. Jerry Moyes, CFL’s owner, took up the reigns as CFL’s interim president and CEO in July, 2021 in an attempt to reduce expenses, pouring as much money into it as he could, but it simply wasn’t enough.  Read more

Supply chain crisis double exposure

8 Tips For Dealing With the Supply Chain Crisis

In the past year, companies of all shapes and sizes have been hit hard by uncertainty, shutdowns and unpredictable demand shortages. Now, we’re also facing a prolonged supply chain crisis. It’s been a long time coming, but the COVID-19 pandemic made matters substantially worse.

With the supply chain issues forecasted to continue well into 2022, what’s a business owner to do? While completely safeguarding your business from complications is impossible, these eight steps will help you get through today’s crisis and prepare for future disruptions.  Read more

pallet shipping

Pallet Prices Remain Sky High. Here’s What It Means For You

For decades, pallets were commonplace and inexpensive. They were so easy to come by that people even made tutorials on how to repurpose them, making them into DIY furniture. Unfortunately, the days of turning old pallets into bookshelves and garden art are on pause. Earlier in 2021, the prices of lumber soared, and the prices of every single wooden pallet rose along with them. But why? 

Like countless other problems, the lumber shortage began with COVID

To start, the lockdown in early 2020 had all of us stuck at home. While some of us spontaneously learned to bake bread, thousands of others decided it would be the perfect time to start that DIY home improvement project they’d been putting off. The demand for lumber increased, but there was a problem: The sawmills weren’t even open.  Read more