Logistics Meets Love at CLDA’s Final Mile Forum
Episode Transcript
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Location : Las Vegas, Nevada
Event Type : In-Person
Date : Feb 14, 2024 - Feb 16, 2024

This episode explores the insights and expertise of Jason Burns, an industry expert and president of the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association (CLDA ). Learn about the final mile logistics industry, the CLDA, their upcoming conference, and how the last mile keeps the wheels of commerce moving. The discussion provides valuable details about the CLDA’s Final Mile Forum event happening in February 2024.


Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I am your host, Blythe Brumleve, and we are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and in today's show we got a great guest for you all. Today is Jason Burns. He is the president of the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association. We are going to be talking all about the last mile and their upcoming conference in the middle of February, which actually starts on Valentine's Day. So if you're looking for more ways to integrate freight into your life, that is a perfect way to do it by visiting Sin City. Oh, I love that. Okay, that's. I'm going to write that down really quick, as like the episode title for this episode. So perfect, I wrote that name down. So, jason, welcome into the show. Can you give us a sense of your career backstory and how you got into logistics to begin with?

Jason Burns: 1:02

Yeah, blight, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be all with you today and for coming out in the conference. So, jason Burns, you know, proud to be the kind of president of the CLDA. My background, let's see man. So I was kind of born into the final mile. One of the I guess few kind of guys was really was born literally out of my mother's womb into a Ford Ranger pickup truck that my dad was driving with a stick here. I can remember being in there as a kid going to make deliveries with them driving around the world, and from the woods, and which way. So that was really kind of my entry point into what we now call the final mile. We call it Courier Businesses back then. So I got involved in the company as a young kid, hanging around with mom and dad. My dad's a former banker and left the bank to start a payroll company which evolved into a delivery company because he realized he was terrible at doing payroll accurately but could make a delivery on time. So I ended up starting a company called Quick Courier Services and so I kind of grew up in that business watching my parents both be entrepreneurs struggle to make ends meet. I struggled to find traction in the space and have some success and then after undergrad and I worked for a couple years on the East Coast they actually come back home again involved in the business, and so I worked my way up from being a driver to working at this batch, to customer service and ultimately became the president of that company. We rebranded to QCS logistics. We diversified into different verticals, expanded our geography and then ultimately, over product of 12, 13 year period and I was involved at that point we ended up selling the business in late 2020 to a larger company, a natural company based in Austin, texas, and so after the acquisition, I joined the acquiring company and was the director of corporate development for a couple years, so doing folks in the M&A and some business that worked with them, and then left that company at the beginning of 23 and didn't really know where I was going to end up at. It was kind of the first time being a free agent in my career and very fortunate to have some opportunities to look into and decide to get into the commercial insurance sector, but they focused on finding them out, so now I have learned a whole lot of stuff that I wish. I would have known when I own my own business and really helped to educate other owners about really risk management and what they should be looking at and looking at insurance as a kind of last line of defense versus first line. It just brings some new options and opportunities to help owners better manage their business, save money and protect themselves from assets.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:52

So I imagine that business is booming right now. For you, then, it is.

Jason Burns: 3:57

You know it's it's it's a top one to been in about nine months now. So yeah, I'm familiar with it from being on the ownership side. It's booming, but but it's not something that I'm happy to see. I still identify as an owner and so you know I see premiums going up. It hurts me actually. I haven't got accustomed to, you know, get high commissions on premiums going up, so it's not really. My motivations really is to find new solutions for owners. I'm concerned about the sustainability of our sector as we see continuous, you know, rising costs, whether it be insurance, labor, other areas of the business, and so my goal is really to bring some alternative solutions to help offset those costs to owners so that we can continue to capitalize on the growth opportunities that are before us.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:44

Yeah, I would imagine it's such a challenging thing to navigate through, not just from an insurance perspective, but from the fraud perspective. I think you had just mentioned a great line that you should be thinking of insurance as the last line of defense and not the first line of defense. Can you kind of break that down for us?

Jason Burns: 5:00

Yes, I can. So you know, when I owned my business, my mother was involved. She was really kind of over our administration so she really kind of managed the risk management side of it. But my approach to it was really let's fill out an application, let's tell them what we need, let's hope our premiums are stable or maybe go up, you know, maybe less than double digit increase. Never really thought about what's behind the scenes there. You know what's behind the curtain and what are the carries and underwrites looking for to give us a competitive advantage when we're going into the marketplace. So anything from technology you can use to bring more visibility into your own release of fleets, into drug performance, into how you hire, training, developing proper SOPs, you know, consistently doing audits, certifications on those trainings, leveraging technology, people, systems to really position yourself as a company that is looking at ways to mitigate risk prior to something happening and then, god forbid, something does happen. That's where your insurance comes in. So it's really it's a shift of the psychology of it and I think there's some really good opportunities in Final Mile, which has one area where I think as a sector we can improve upon and we've seen some of the success of that in trucking, at least in terms of them adopting technology and bringing more visibility, and that's something that we're looking to hopefully do and achieve and help owners realize the benefits of that within the Final Mile space, which is obviously one of the toughest markets to write in, and it's a lot of risk, a lot of exposure there.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:37

And so I imagine all of this experience is not just you know family history, but also from the perspective of what your role is now is incredibly valuable with your role as president of the CLDA. How did you first get involved with the CLDA?

Jason Burns: 6:54

Yeah. So I, as I said, I kind of grew up hearing about it. My father was a former board member. He's also very proud. He's been inducted into the CLD Hall of Fame a few years back. Oh cool, you know aware of it. Just growing up and I think in my first and second year in the industry formerly in the industry one of the past presidents reached out to me and said hey, would you mind running from the board? I was like, like me, I don't know anything. And he was looking for people that were kind of younger and had different ideas and maybe didn't have some of the same experiences that could bring new things to the table.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:29

So, put my name in the hat.

Jason Burns: 7:31

This is probably back in 2009 or 10. And so you know, 13 years later, I'm still on the board and proud to be the first African American president of the CLDA board and my tenure in my presidential tenure in here in February, but I'll stay on as the immediate past president for two additional years. So the association has been for me personally, for my personal growth, professional growth, relationships, the networking, the money that I've saved, the opportunities that we've gained. For my business was 36 years old before we sold it, so to my three decades worth, almost four decades worth of education information. You know, certainly I benefited greatly from it. My family has, our business has, and so it's a pleasure for me to give back and give my time and volunteer our efforts to help other companies, you know, realize the same benefits. We'll probably get into this, but some of the vitamins, as I call them, that the CLDA can provide to your business to help you sustain yourself for the long term.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:35

This might sound like a dumb question, so forgive me, but what is the difference between the last mile and final mile? Are they the same thing? They are.

Jason Burns: 8:45

I think that I would say those are synonymous. So last mile, final mile you'll hear those kind of used interchangeably. You also hear first mile, because a lot of our members are on the first mile of the shipment, and so it's interesting. You know, when I first came in, we called it courier companies, and I remember losing a large bid opportunity years ago in the RFP kind of debrief. Someone said, well, you guys are just a courier company, you can't possibly do all the things we're asking you to do, and so that was probably 2010, maybe and it wasn't long, I think in 2012 or 2013,. We changed our association name it used to be the Messenger Courier Association of America, mcaa, and we've rebranded it to the CLDA Customized Logistics and Delivery Association, because I think as a sector, we started realizing that we were getting pigeonholed into thinking many shippers think we could only do one or two things right All documents, letters, envelopes, bikers but the RATC is at that point in time we had become more diverse and we're expanding to multiple verticals and we thought the name change would help us to brand ourselves and to attract a larger audience for our members to serve. So, so.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:04

Yeah, that's super interesting because if you were to say courier, I'm thinking you know my time back in, you know in my executive assisted days where I would need something, you know an envelope shipped to a lawyer across town. Or you know auto parts, you know random things that you would need, you know shipped around town. But that makes a ton of sense when you're thinking about customized logistics and I'm curious as to you know the customized logistics part of it. Is it really just custom per shipper that you're dealing with here, that maybe your members are creating best practices and procedures around, or what does, I guess, customized logistics entail?

Jason Burns: 10:43

Yeah, it really is. You know, we hired a company when we were going to the rebrand to survey our members but also our members' customers, and so we probably spent three, four months really doing some deep diving into it. The top word we asked them to describe how would you describe your delivery partner? And the word that came out was customized, and so it made us. We had never really thought about it before, but it's true. The reason that a company for the most part uses a member in the CLDA or a final mile or last mile company is because they're offering some level of customization to that scope of work. It could be hey, we need a late night delivery because we need it to be picked up from the lab when the last person is seen. We need you to inject a freight into us, you know, do sort and set and then reroute it and deliver it out on local routes. We may need you to hand over and relay a package from, you know, one carrier to another carrier. So, whether it be time of some level of change to the product or to the freight, or just the fact that we will actually design routes in our scheduled business around our customers' needs and their time frames versus, you know, typical kind of standard national competitors. They will pretty much run on their operating systems right. So if you don't meet their time, it kind of SOL In our world. We're going to ask the customer, hey, what time do you need us there by? And we will customize that whole experience to your needs. Now what I see also happening in the industry is as final miles becoming more popular and critical in supply chains. You do see our members also evolving to their offer. I would say some of them are hybrid of a true custom experience versus you know an experience where you can kind of, you know, be a part of a route chain or a network. So, whether it be pool distribution or some you know e-commerce, retail routing, sort of the middle mile stuff that our members do, that probably looks a little less customized than some of the local you know truly kind of final mile hotshot on demand stuff that happens in our world today. So which is a good thing? I think it's a good thing because it helps us to provide, you know, more solutions to our customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:10

And so you, I was reading, or I think I was watching, a video that you guys had sent over. You're just kind of giving like an overview of the CLDA, and I believe you've been around since 1987. Is that correct?

Jason Burns: 13:22

That's correct, just in the end.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:25

And so I would imagine, like as you were talking there, that lots of things have evolved and changed since the association was, you know, originally established. Can you kind of give us a maybe like a high level view of what some of those big evolutions have been in this space over? I mean not even just taking sort of like since 2020 out of it, what were some of those big ones? And then, after 2020, how are maybe some of your members, you know, finding solutions?

Jason Burns: 13:54

Yeah, I wish I had. I have a picture in my house of me I have an older brother in our old company's dispatch room and it was literally a wall with like a carpeted wall and had this little like a little plastic, like liners, and you had an index card and someone called in and you were to write down the information and like the car would just slide across the wall based off of the status of the shipment, like so, like called in, you know in status, picked up and delivery, deliver, and then go to POD and billing, et cetera. And it's me and my older brother with you know old walkie talkies with a big map on the wall and my dad's in there with pointed. So that's like my earliest memory of like the career business. This is probably back in, I don't know, maybe the 90s, early 90s and most of our companies that that's really where they come from. These, you know, the association was started back in 87 by a handful of career guys who really didn't know what they were doing and wanted to try to establish best practices, wanted to try to understand hey, you know who are good customers and you're a market who may be a customer of my market. It was really at a hotel and he kind of got around the table and had a few beers and a few cocktails and and and lo and behold, that was the, the impetus for the, the, now the CLDA, which is now more than 3000 members. So but but the big ways, I would say, is Probably early 90s technology came in. By the first time we had Operating systems where it went from that manual kind of dispatch process and wall to actually being in In some type of computerized, automated system where you can communicate with clients and communicate with drivers. Then I would say Check 21 was another big point in our industry's history where a lot of our comes. At that time we're doing mostly work for banks and financial institutions and and when they change the regulations around that, that sector really kind of, kind of kind of went away and it forced our members to evolve and get into More. Parcel shipments kind of started to start getting to what we now call e-commerce and retail deliveries. And then I would also say probably, you know recently here, with what's happened with, you know some of the labor things right, with a b5 and things that nature Obviously you know a lot of our members utilize the independent content of business model. So We've seen some you know some some different changes and shifts, particularly in certain markets or certain states where you know Legislations little more contested than others. You'll see different business models evolving in our space to Really keep up with the growing demanding needs of our customers and also to help keep their cost out right. And so we, you know, see how they we spend a lot of time and resources advocating for the proper use of the independent content of this model. So a lot of changes, a lot of things coming up, excited about the conference because we're gonna go through another wave of Technological technology changes coming up here in the next few years. So it's exciting times for us.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:00

Yeah, I can only imagine, Especially, as you know, technology has entered in the scene and, as you were talking about, all the the different legal and you know Regulations and things like that that you have to keep up with. That's another aspect of what your association helps with is that you're You're also an advocate for, for all of your members and you actually go to like Capitol Hill and I don't. I would love for you to explain, like, how that works, like how do you decide this is going to be something that is pivotal to our members and we need to go talk to somebody on Capitol Hill. Like, do you just book a plane ticket and just show up to the hearing? Like do you have meetings? Like how does that work?

Jason Burns: 17:38

Yeah, I wish it was that easy to get me. You know, I'll say first it started with the vision of One of our presidents in the past, probably about ten years ago now. So to Really we want to get on the offense right. So we felt as a industry and association we were constantly on defense, right, constant kind of way in the sea where the punch were coming from and figured out where it was when we're die, which one we're trying to fight back on. We started a government affairs committee about ten years ago. That led to us also creating a, an advocacy fund where members can contribute to these kind of government affairs efforts and that put us in position to have some resources to stay Okay, we want to play offense a little bit here. So we work with a lobbyist firm who specializes in kind of our Errors of interest and has relationships on Capitol Hill. So we stay abreast of all the latest and greatest issue that's coming up down a pipeline, kind of what stage development they're in, and then our government affairs committee beats, typically on a monthly basis it could be more often that, depending on what the issue may be. And these are some of your more experienced Experts. I would say in the final space. A lot of them are owners of larger companies. I've been involved in our association and just have a really good Handle on the issues and really what's important and what could potentially lead to a larger issue if we don't address it now, so that there's a steering committee inside there that really does allow the groundwork and understanding there what we need to go after. And then About once a year we have to modify with COVID. But once a year we do a big kind of a March on Capitol Hill where we bring a lot of our members out and we they go talk to their state delegates or their representatives about the issues that's happening in the homes in hometown and how some issues can affect us on a federal level, and and then sometimes there's a case or two that may be out there that we say we'll put some resources behind it. We actually go and advocate on their behalf and use some of our Legislative resources to help them fight that battle, because we think it's it's it could be home for our industry if we don't do that. And so a lot of our members Benefit from these efforts, like it's when you think about the average member of CLD most of the small businesses, right, they don't have the resource to go out there and advocate. Most of these are owners who are, you know, maybe maybe just getting from being driving the truck themselves or driving the vehicle themselves, and so you think about making payroll. They're thinking about trying to, you know, get a sale. Yeah, they don't have the ability to say, hey, let me look 30,000 feet up and see what's coming. And so we play a critical role for those small business owners, and it's one of the most important things that we do is to advocate on behalf of our industry.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:22

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Jason Burns: 21:24

Yeah, I think the one now is. There's a proposed Department of Labor rule change which and I'd be concise here so basically, during the Trump administration, there was a rule change that I would say lean more favorable to Companies using properly using even say that we're properly using the independent country, this model. There's some proposed rules now Coming from the Department of Labor that would make it almost impossible to properly use that business model, and so we've spent a lot of time leveraging our resources to advocate We've. You know, there was an open common period we also participated in that. I personally got a chance to speak to the office of management and budget About a month ago and kind of share my personal story and our associations history on this issue, and we hope, you think, that that's gonna make some impact here. But that's probably the biggest thing now is looking at the proposed rule changes for the Department of Labor and how that could essentially raise the bar so high on what the requirements would be that It'd be virtually impossible to try to comply with that and and from an economic impact standpoint, we believe it would not only, you know, hurt our companies, but but you know, our customers and their customers, you know, because to comply with these things. You're talking about significant increase in and costs and spend to them. So, but we've, we've, we've, we've been keeping our eyes glued on this issue and you know, fingers crossed that we get some positive news here next in the next few weeks.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:58

Now, in addition to you know some of these, these, I guess, government regulations that have a chance to come down. What about just sort of like overall Industry things that are going on? What's? What are the big story lines that are affecting? I mean, obviously we have the yellow bankruptcy, that kind of threw, you know, the whole like LTO world and into a tizzy. How was that? It has that impacted any of your members, good or bad? What are some other I guess sort of big ticket story items, that that your members are paying attention to?

Jason Burns: 23:28

Yeah, I would say that it's probably an indirect impact on us. You know the things that I see happening out there right now. One of me start with this. I think it's from a growth trajectory. Final model is on track to grow 20% each year and to get something 120 21 billion dollars by 2030 the last report I read. So it's it's a fast-growing, you know market. A lot of it is driven by e-commerce. So I'll be home. Covid kind of, you know, accelerated that, that growth trajectory. But what I see coming up in the next you know year of the years, shippers have realized that they need to diversify their carrier networks. Right, I think that somebody's you know a fortune news of bankruptcies is happening, ltl space. I think it's for shippers to say, hey, you know, we got to pick our heads up the sand a little bit here and say are we truly giving ourselves the best advantage when it comes to serving our customers from a, from a delivery standpoint? And so, you know, most people don't know that our members, we actually provide a lot of the same services that you get from, you know, larger carriers, whether it be national parcel carriers, whether it be regional shipping carriers. We do a lot of that stuff, maybe not a natural footprint per se, but certainly within a state or within multiple states in the region. And so, and a lot of times, our pricing is just as competitive and I can almost guarantee you our service is going to be superior to A lot of those folks in many cases. So I think what I've seen and hear from our members that they're getting more opportunities at these, you know, e-commerce, small parcel RFPs and beds and shippers are now saying, hey, we need to have, you know, a multi-prong approach to how we service our customers, and that's driven by continued pricing freezes from some of the national carriers, is driven by Consumer behavior, patterns and changes there, and I think it's driven by you know technology and the fact that we'll talk more about this in our conference a lot, but our sector has really gone a long way in terms of adopting technology that we think is going to position us to win those opportunities down the road. So, in the invisibility, being able to service multiple verticals, so you can have companies doing pharmaceuticals and auto parts and understand the different indices and metrics you can track to provide visibility and compliance and nothing, just visibility across the board from you know drivers to dispatch, to your billing systems and integrating that stuff back in.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:05

So that's going to boat well for our industry and so we want to encourage our members to come to make those investments and I think that it almost sounds like, because it I was going through some of my pre-show notes and you had mentioned how the CD CLD can give you the vitamins to help your final mile business grow. It sounds like that's exactly what's going on here. Is that you're giving them access to this kind of information? What's going on within the industry? What's going on at the government level? You know, procedure level, things like that and then giving them those tools to go off and flourish? Is that the vitamins that you're referring to, or am?

Jason Burns: 26:41

I off base. You got it. That's the vitamins. Did you take your vitamins for?

Blythe Brumleve: 26:46

I did. I did take a multi vitamin this morning. I had to search for it, but my ginger shots and my vitamins, both of them?

Jason Burns: 26:52

why did you take their vitamin to?

Blythe Brumleve: 26:54

prepare myself for these holidays because, for folks who may be listening to this in like early January where we're currently recording in the. In the middle of the holidays we got a lot of social functions and I got to have this immune system. There you go in proper shape.

Jason Burns: 27:07

There you go so. So vitamin, as you say, it's really thinking about in the future. Right, think about how do I prepare myself, how to position myself, how to make something strong enough, healthy enough to face whatever challenges coming down the road, unlike a pain pill which is just trying to solve the problem right now. So I give you an immediate answer to a problem or not, may not really solve it, prepare you for anything coming down the road. So what I tell prospective members, even our current members, when we have this conversation, like, look, our value proposition to you is really a below the line proposition. Right, we're not here just to just to drive sales to your top line. We want to help you understand that middle part of the P&L, how you can, you know, achieve success there, because that's going to impact the bottom line. So we spent a lot of time webinars, educational sessions, you know, shipper focus groups, carrier focus groups. We have a quarterly magazine that we put out there, you know, giving you a lot of data, information, bringing in speakers, mentors, whatever you need to prepare yourself for what's coming down the road. That's what we want to be for you. Government affairs out we talked about that. So, so, yeah, we view ourselves as the vitamins for the final mile and so, no matter where you come in again, most of our members are some small business probably. You know sell five million dollars. It's probably the bulk of our companies. They have a lot of needs, right, a lot of needs, and they're still learning a lot, and so we view our world there. But also, as you continue to grow, we have some companies that are, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars in top-line revenue and so we have to find that value proposition for them to. So so we've been successful at not only just meeting you where you are but helping you to get to to the next level, and unfortunately, we've had a lot of members that have been successful to give back and provide that insight and value back to the smaller companies to help them grow. And the good thing that you know in our space what we'd have you know people call it a very incestuous kind of industry but in our space we we really do a good job and I think every time I go to college I'm really proud to see new members go there and say, matt, I never thought I'd be to come here and actually talk to this person, whether they, you know, thought this person may be for 30 minutes. They really tell me everything about the business, like it's not really competitive. We really believe in trying to help out the next company, so that kind of camaraderie that we built a part of our culture. It's really, it's really special and I hope people listen to this, this broadcast, and come check it out in Vegas, coming up here in February okay.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:45

So as you were talking, I was remembering back to an interview that I had just heard with one of your members that was saying that while he was at one of the conferences or you know anytime something that within his or within the industry is going on, what he does is he's able to contact technically competitors but they're not in his local community. He's able to contact them in other states and they're able to have that honest conversation, that honest analysis and be able to give each other advice and not have to worry about somebody kind of taking, like locally, their, their business opportunities. Is that kind of the case for a lot of your members, or they is it kind of, you know, unique, where you have some that are just local, some of our national.

Jason Burns: 30:28

It kind of sounds like maybe a mix of both yeah, from a geography, because you have a little bit everything I think we see now with. You know, there's been a lot more consolidation in the space. You see, you know a lot more regional companies. I was a couple of national companies if you want to find national right, I mean states but there's some certain companies operating, you know, 15, 20, 25 plus states around the country, but no matter big or small, you're right, I think that the real secret sauce of what we do is we do these really unique shipper to carrier and carrier to carry around table discussions in our conference. We also do kind of offline too, where you can sit down and meet with someone that is, you know, would be your competitor, albeit they're in a different state and so obviously you have a much more open conversation with them. One of the things that I learned early on was every time I traveled whether it be, you know, for work or just personally I would go visit another CLD member company and just say, hey, can I come by for an hour, look at your warehouse, have a conversation, grab lunch, and I'll pick up so many nuggets of information on those visits, and that's really kind of an extension of what we do at our conference. Right, you can really sit there and pick someone's brain very openly and in a safe environment. Now, obviously, there's sometimes this conflict, this there's, you know neighboring businesses, so you'll avoid those. But for the most part people are willing to share because I think that what happens in our spaces, this may this is not a CODA pitch, this is Jason Burns here to be clear but I think we've often, often, been viewed as like a step child supply chain. You know, final mile, last mile, if you're called it, is the most difficult part of a company supply chain. Right, there's not a lot of volume being aggregated there and a lot of custom deliveries, a lot of residential deliveries, a lot of, you know, individual business to business deliveries that have some unique component to them. So it's difficult and it's cost. It's historically been more costly. Now I think because of that, because of the structure of that, our members have kind of fan together to say, hey, you know what we want to continue to build and promote what we do to get the respect that we think we deserve. In Final Mild A lot of it was on display during COVID. I mean, I remember companies stepped up to the call and we were delivering anything and everything under the sun, mostly medical supplies, vaccines, things that were needed for the emergency world dealing with, but it wasn't for Final Mild. In that time, a lot of drugs, the right age, the Walgreens, the CVSs the way your samples got tested were through our companies and so a lot of people don't understand it. But I think that COVID really did help to open the eyes of many shippers in the supply chain and we've been able to capitalize and the message now is hey, we're just not a one-trick pony, we can do a whole lot more. Just give us opportunity to do that.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:31

And I think that that is a perfect opportunity because it's very well said about what happened over COVID. I think the overall, just sort of, I guess, a census of the American population and maybe just globally, really understood. Okay, if something is happening over here in this part of the world, it's definitely going to impact my shipments here. The giant cargo ship is stuck in the Suez Canal, then it's probably going to be impacting my shipments and then also, like you said, with COVID, drug testing and things like that. That's something that's all handled through those last mile deliveries and even you start to see a little bit of it, especially around the holidays, where you see the really nice things, the little baskets that are left out, free snacks and free drinks for the UPS and the FedEx drivers. But there's a lot of couriers like independent contractors too that are helping a lot of those big brands make those deliveries and it sounds like a lot of those folks are going to be coming together at your upcoming conference. It is the final mile forum happening at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I think you called it earlier, the show like Love and Logistics bringing that back together. It's happening February 14th through the 16th. What can folks expect from this conference, because I was looking through the agenda and it looks like you got some cool stuff going on, like the tour, the Hoover Dam, and then you know you're of course, you're like conference speaks and or you know keynotes, things like that. What are some of the favorite parts you're looking forward to?

Jason Burns: 35:01

Yeah, so this year's conference is going to be in Vegas. You said, and I think this year is navigating disruption tech and the final mile, and so, again, you asked me earlier about what have been the key kind of milestones in our space historically. We think we're in one now, right? So a lot of things that I've kind of talked about previously on this interview, combined with new technology, ai. I was going to talk about AI right now. So we want to do two things at this kind of this one educate our members about, hey, what are the available technologies out there today, and all the assets of your business, whether it be risk management, whether it be sales, whether it be in operations and finance, how can you, how can you leverage some of these tools that are out there to achieve a higher level of success? And then, two, I think we also want to speak to the broader supply chain community, say, hey, this is the new final mile. We are investing in technology, we have members that are educated, that are looking at data trends, forecasting ahead, and how can we position ourselves to better serve your needs and your customers needs? Because the one thing we know is that, from a growth standpoint, from what's happening across the country. Our member companies are really in great positions geographically to service a lot of those needs, and so we just got to figure out how to continue to build those bridges, to create those opportunities and continue to sustain that going forward, and so that's really the message of the conference. But I'm looking forward to obviously getting together with all of our final mile carriers. We've got some really good panel sessions coming up. Jim Tompkins is going to be our keynote speaker this year. We've got sessions on AI, telematics new, new, new technologists out there. We're going to do something. We have some fun, we do a lot of networking. This is, I said, we mix in logistics and love here. So it is Vegas, it is Valentine's Day, it's right after the Super Bowl, so it'd be a lot of festivities happening there. So we like to have a good time but also party with the purpose Right. So I think our member carriers really look forward to those carrier to carrier, ship to carrier kind of round table discussions that we've become known for. I typically host a session that's called the Final Mile 360, where we try to bring some of the best and brightest executives in the final mile space together, talk about trends and issues and things that's coming up down the road next year and then we have you there. You'll be there also to help us talk about really helping them come to understand how can they leverage technology to better market their services and speak to their audiences, their customers, internally, externally, about what they do, the data they have to keep the wheels of commerce moving.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:55

Yeah, absolutely. I'm super excited. This is going to be my first, you know, clda conference, so I'm super excited to check it out, especially in Vegas, one of my favorite cities in the world, and so definitely looking forward to that. Hopefully my liver will be well rested and prepared for Las.

Jason Burns: 38:13


Blythe Brumleve: 38:17

I need to go ahead and like ship them in advance to the hotel so that I can just have them there. I am curious. You mentioned shippers a couple of times coming to the conference, and that, to me, is one of the bigger things I think a lot of conferences should be focusing more on is bringing the shipper perspective, because all carriers want to learn from different shippers. I'm curious what kind of shippers are you having there? What kind of discussions, I guess, do you anticipate happening between the shippers and the carriers? Can you give us a little insight on that?

Jason Burns: 38:50

Yeah, so we just found out this week that we're going to have kind of the trio of pharmaceutical shippers at our conference this year. So a lot of our companies do a lot of work in the healthcare, healthcare logistics space. So, amerisoba, cardinal McKesson, those shippers will be there and be able to share their insights of what they're seeing happening from their side and, obviously, hearing from our carriers about what they can do to improve and what we can do to improve. There will be a number of e-commerce kind of retailers there and we try not to overshare who. We got a couple of surprise guests there, but we typically have about, I would say, 20 to 25 shippers that attend our conference and they're not just there. It's a fly on the wall. They're actually engaged. They're engaged, they're talking to our members. We introduced them before the conference so members have an opportunity to go meet them and share their services they can offer to them. But really, the thing that we try to do at our shows is not making a sales pitch but making a learning opportunity. We really think that if we can pair the right groups together to learn, to educate in a two-way environment, that's where we all achieve the best results. So while you can go network and market and find a next sale, we really want you to be thinking about okay, how can I learn more about this shipper or this vertical so that if I jump into it or if I'm in it and I want to find a way to squeeze two or three more points out of this business, I'll have that opportunity to risk it and have that thoughtful conversation about what I'm doing or may not be doing, to, to, to realize those, those games.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:42

Yeah, and I imagine too that the shippers are there too as well to to learn what's going on in the market as a, you know, in addition to the carriers. You know, carriers always want to learn and brokers, too, they always want to learn, you know, from the shipper perspective. But I imagine it's a great learning experience for a lot of those shippers who are in charge of transportation and finally have a seat at, you know, the executive table and be able to to share their insights. So I is that a safe assumption as well.

Jason Burns: 41:08

It is. It is and it ties into a recent study that far I did. I said 59 percent of retailers believe they have to diversify their carrier networks in the next next five years. I'm going to point to one of the trends we talked about earlier and I think because of that you see them being more actively engaged and evolve and really wanting to understand how can we work together better again to give them the best advantage they can to service their customers, because there's so much change in their world too, and a lot of times I call the meatloaf syndrome right people just keep doing the over, the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, and you've got to kind of get get outside of that, that, that in the box thinking. So we invite those opportunities and that's really been one of the the reasons we'd be able to keep shippers coming back to our conferences, because they don't feel like we're there just to to sit there and sell them and get a speed dating contest. They really get opportunities to engage and get some more thoughtful conversation going. They can take back to their teams and and hopefully we can, you know, realize some mutual synergy and benefits there.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:17

Well, that's I mean also. It sounds incredible. So I'm excited to hear from the shipper perspective too, because even just looking at my own, you know sort of podcast data people love here. My audience loves hearing from the shipper perspective. So it'll be interesting to bring some of those insights from the the final mile forum over to the, you know, the podcast audience and hopefully, you know, get some more folks out there to to register and attend the conference. And speaking of which, where can folks you know register for the conference, possibly become a member of the CLDA? All that good stuff.

Jason Burns: 42:51

Yeah, so real simple. Go to our website is cldaorg. There you can click on the conference registration information. You can learn about our new membership. We do a pretty steep discount for your first year membership with us by half off the membership price. That's a really compelling thing that to take advantage of and just see the other things that we've been talking about that we do. If you're interested, we have a for our members. We have a library that we keep allowed the old information articles you know, podcast, webinars, information we have. You can see some legal documents. If you want to come in and understand, hey, how do I need a quick sales agreement or I need a quick agreement to have with the driver? Right, we provide some, some basic forms for you to put that into your arsenal. So, and then there's also a really cool thing on our website. So all of our members are part of our kind of carrier network and you can go in and look at our director and kind of find a a final mile delivery company. You know, across across the country we have a few international members who, if you find yourself needing to help out a client on the market, you can quickly access that and get a good sense of overview of that company's profile, what they do and how you can work with them. So yeah, so check us out online. Check us online social media link, then we're there. There's a early bird deadline by january 3rd, so you get 100 bucks off if you register for the conference before january 3rd and our membership renewals are due at the end of the calendar year awesome I'm going to make sure I put a note of that in the show notes and I'll add all of those links in the show notes as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:34

But real quick, you know. Or lastly, I should probably say you know, is there anything else that you feel like is important to to mention about the clda? Just, you know, maybe a final mile in general, or last mile, you know I guess those terms are interchangeable, now that I've learned from this episode. Um, anything else that you think the audience should be aware of?

Jason Burns: 44:53

well, I think, when you, when you think about final mile, you know, think about, um, all the errors that we've touched right. So, when you go to a doctor appointment, you, you draw blood, uh, when you go to the grocery store, you're picking up some grocery items. When you go to the drug store and you're picking up medication for your child. When you order that new, brand new tv, uh, and you want to get it, you know, to the house as fast as possible. Uh, when you order a jacuzzi and you need three, four guys to come and drop it off and go over the back balcony with the jacuzzi to, to, to get it installed, um, you know anything and everything that you could possibly probably touch from a, from a tangible standpoint, uh, I'm assure you that some former fashions probably touched some final mile. Uh, member or a company provider and, uh, we really, you know, believe that we are critical to, um, you know, keeping the wheels of commerce moving in american beyond, and so, um, what I ask of anyone listening to this, this, this, this webinar, is to one first, if you interact with those folks, thank them. It's a. It's a very difficult job. A lot of companies, you know, provide a lot of employment opportunities, whether it be, you know, employee drivers or independent contractors, business owners, uh. So thank them for their hard work and service, particularly those hard, difficult times, uh, but also, um you know, continue to to use our services right. We, we, we, we, you, believe strongly in what we do from a service standpoint, and so we're just excited for the continued opportunity to grow as a sector, to work with larger shippers and to really show what we can do as we continue to advance ourselves up to the supply chain. So two cents.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:36

That, yeah, that very well said. I was like that's a perfect mic drop moment In this interview. I'll be sure to put all those links that we talked about in the show notes, as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile, in case people want to get in touch with you and then also register for the conference final mile, for I'm happening on Valentine's Day Logistics and Love in the Sin City, so it's going to be a good time for sure, and, jason, thank you so much for joining the show. This is awesome.

Jason Burns: 47:05

Thanks, Mike. I appreciate you having me and looking forward to catching up with you?

Blythe Brumleve: 47:09

Yes, absolutely. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on DigitalDispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.