Small fleet roundtable: Benefits of 'co-opetition' code, balancing personal/business pursuits, tech challenges, more

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Updated Apr 29, 2022

nastc logoThe National Association of Small Trucking Companies sponsored this year's Small Fleet Championship program. Finalists received a year's worth of membership in the association, with access to a myriad of benefits from NASTC's well-known fuel program to drug and alcohol testing services and more. Find more about the association via this link.Small Fleet Champ Silver Creek Transportation’s leader Jason Cowan speaks in this edition of Overdrive Radio to what he sees as an essential challenge in the highly competitive trucking industry: How can small fleet owners looking to lead by example balance competition with a rising-tide-floats-all-boats kind of mentality?

Trucking companies can do more, he said, to embrace cooperation amongst their kind, where it makes sense, to get the job done without hampering future opportunities for all around trucking.

In a nutshell, it's something of a "code" that most certainly includes this nugget: "I'd rather have your friendship than have your freight," Cowan said, though such a spirit of "co-opetition" is more complicated than just that. Cowan and his wife and business partner, Penny, were joined for this roundtable discussion around owner-op and small fleet issues by fellow Small Fleet Champ finalists Robert and Karen Hallahan of Hallahan Transport and Nick Hewitt of Professional Transportation Services, Inc.

Overdrive small fleet champ 2021 logoAccess profiles of these and seven other Small Fleet Champ semi-finalists, among other associated coverage, via this link.All spelled out examples -- resistance to rate undercutting, courtesy referrals to carriers better equipped to haul certain products than you are -- that can pay off long-term when it comes to customer management and growing the business.

The roundtable discussion took place earlier in November at the annual meeting of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies in Nashville, Tennessee. The talk touched on a variety of trucking business best practices and challenges -- from the rise technological complication with ELDs, cameras and associated data, to changes in the brokerage world all three of these finalists have grappled with over the last decade and more.

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As noted, direct customer relations is a substantial part of it -- among the biggest areas of education any one-truck owner-op is likely to benefit from before jumping into the carrier game with a second truck.

Key to long-term benefits is avoiding self-inflicted wounds, something all panelists identified specifically, too.

Hear much more in today's podcast. Take a listen: 

In case you missed it a few weeks back, you can sit in on the finale program for this year's Small Fleet Championship at the NASTC event via this podcast from earlier in November 2021.

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