Helping Our Neighbors

If you think of the transportation industry as a community, then Matchmaker Logistics in an active member of its neighborhood watch program. We maintain paid subscriptions to several “watch dog” services, including one invitation-only program, that shares information about carriers across the country.

When brokers experience a serious problem with a carrier (loads double-brokered, loads held hostage, service failures, etc.), they post this information as a friendly, cautionary alert to other brokers in the industry.

At Matchmaker, we take our watch dog efforts seriously. We have systems in place to add all problem carriers to our database with a NO LOAD status, effectively blocking anyone in our company from ever inadvertently booking a load with an industry offender. We also have a stringent vetting process for new carriers and carriers we haven’t worked with in a while. One of those steps is cross-checking their company across the various watch dog services we use. Likewise, we update the status of our regular carriers on a quarterly basis, checking for any complaints or reports from other brokers and investigating anything we might discover.

The success of these watch dog programs depends heavily on the neighborliness of all transportation brokers. This week, Mary learned that one of our competitors had been ‘burned’ by a carrier who held a load hostage. I was proud to learn that as she updated our internal systems and posted to the other watch dog forums, she noticed that the bad carrier had multiple complaints across a number of the sites. Rather than just shake her head, Mary reached out to our competition with an email that included links to those sites and a friendly offer to teach him how to navigate the sites that could have alerted him not to use the carrier in question.

As the ancient scholar Horace once said: “Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor’s wall is ablaze.” We couldn’t agree more. That said, we also subscribe to the wisdom of American humorist Arthur Baer: “A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it!”

If shippers have a negative perception of transportation brokers, I believe it is largely due to an unwillingness among brokers to cooperate with each other. In the words of Richard Whately, “A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” Sharing information about carriers helps everyone: it sends more work to the many great, upstanding carriers in our field; it protects our shippers from costly problems and headaches; and it legitimizes us brokers.

Keeping valuable information to ourselves and letting others “figure it out” themselves, reminds me of these misguided neighbors:

Paddy and his missus are lying in bed listening to the next door neighbor’s dog barking. It had been barking for hours and hours. Suddenly, Paddy jumps out of bed and says, “I’ve had enough of this,” and goes downstairs.

Paddy finally comes back up to bed and his wife says, “The dog is still barking. What have you been doing?” Paddy says, “I’ve put their dog in our yard – now we’ll see how THEY like it!”

This weekend, be kind to your neighbor,