Transportation Director Q&A: Success Starts with Relationships

By Jan McCormick, Jr., Director, Marketing & Communications

You’ve probably heard by now that we’ve hired Sean Ryan, a transportation industry veteran, to lead our brokerage division.  Sean’s been tasked with turning what most considered a value-added service into a brand all on its own, and he’s definitely got the experience to make it happen.  This Q&A dives into his new role and plans for the division, gets his take on the industry and digital brokers, and details how he sees relationships as what will lead Bonded Transportation to success.    

What drew you to this position?

The entrepreneurial aspect was what really interested me in the position, along with the tremendous growth aspect of the business.  From a company perspective, Bonded as a whole was very intriguing to me. I like the family-owned background.  It’s not a big conglomerate with private-equity involved, which is something I wanted to stay away from.  The position fit my background, which is pretty much all over brokerage. I’ve done everything from accounting to dispatch to sales to operations.  And I still really enjoy all of that stuff on a daily basis.  I told both Scott (Carr, President) and Dave (Jesse, COO) that I don’t want to get into a position where I’m not involved in a lot of those aspects. I still like to talk to a driver on the phone, but I also want to be able to talk to someone in the c-suite about our services, what resources we offer, and how we can help.

What are some of your key resources?

It all starts with our people, because that’s the best resource we’ve got.  I’ve inherited a great team of industry veterans, and my job is to mold them into outstanding service providers for our clients by focusing on relationships.  From a technology standpoint, 3Gtms is great transportation software that has a ton of capabilities.  We are growing into it, and I see a lot of opportunity as we continue to build it out. We are also looking to tie it in with our warehouse management system, which will really help our current clients.  We are building a solid carrier network working with companies like EPES, and my job will be to double or triple that and create more value.  Brokerage is really about being able to reach out to the capacity of the market, so the more carrier relationships we can build the better. 

Anything specific you are focused on offering?

Our focus right now, and where we have the most success, is truckload, LTL, and expedited.  But I see a lot of opportunity in drayage.  I would love to be able to grow our container business.  We get a lot of containers that come into our facilities that I would like to see us assist with, and we’ve got the relationships to do just that from a carrier perspective.

How would you envision the division’s growth?

We have to continue to create value for our current customers, that will automatically help expand current operations. I would like to be able to integrate the current technology, and really make sure we are providing quality customer service and that personal touch.  Being able to further develop the relationships we already have with clients bringing freight in and out of our facilities.  We already have some that are using us for assistance, but I’d like to see that really take off. 

Externally, we’ve set our sights on the small to medium size companies where they don’t have the capacity to handle their freight.  We’d like to take that burden away and grow it into a partnership. Companies with somewhere under $5 million transportation spend is where we are looking.

Where do you see the transportation industry headed?

Our industry as a whole is deep into digital.  Everything is based off of new technology.  Gone are the days of the fax machine, scanning, things like that. Even the phones are going by the wayside to some extent. Carriers can log-in and grab loads. We don’t necessarily do that yet, but it’s feasible once we get our volumes up. The way market has shifted and economy has changed, that’s led to the industry changing as a whole. The way it’s evolved over the past 10-12 years, especially with the rise of digital brokers, has really made a dramatic shift in the way we do business and daily operations.

What’s your take on digital brokerages?

They have their place, but I come from the old school customer service aspect of things when it comes to brokerage. It’s the human interaction, the relationships, and that’s where I get concerned about them.  Unless we are in a perfect world, and that’s hard with the business we are in, things are going to go wrong or need to be tweaked.  This business is one of those things where the human interaction will never go away, so relationships are essential to be successful.  In my past jobs, we worked with the same carriers and clients for 10-15 years because we were committed to that human interaction.  I’d like to be able to do the same thing here at Bonded. 

What do you say to businesses out there who are looking for help moving freight?

Although I’d like to say, ‘Give us all your freight!’, it’s hard to get a lot of companies in the mindset to give us everything and say have at it. Customers now are so intelligent because of the data that they have at their disposal.  It’s going to come down to quality service and relationships that will set us apart from the other brokerages.  We’d like to be able to build a relationship with a lane or two, show them we can get the work done, and grow it from there.

Interested in learning more about how Bonded Transportation plans to set itself apart from the competition? Contact us today!