What freight companies can learn from the Yellow bankruptcy with Adam Wingfield
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Today we are joined by none other than Adam Wingfield, founder of Innovative Logistics Group, who shares his engaging journey from being a truck driver to a business owner and educator.

Our conversation takes a deep dive into the implications of the Yellow freight bankruptcy, shedding light on the deregulation of the freight industry, the impact of COVID, labor issues, and the intriguing role of social media in their public battle with the Teamsters. We also cast a critical eye on the necessity of financial acumen to survive in the freight industry, highlighting the pitfalls of over-leveraging capital, and stressing the importance of knowing how to run a business, especially in the freight sector.

As the freight industry landscape continually evolves, Adam shares invaluable insights on how small carriers can navigate their way through the challenges they face and leverage technology to establish their credibility. He also discusses the potential of digital tools in creating a digital resume for carriers and how platforms like LinkedIn can amplify the voices of small carriers.




Are you experienced in freight sales or already an independent freight agent? Listen to our Freight Agent Trenches interview series powered by SPI Logistics to hear directly from the company’s agents on how they took the leap and found a home with SPI freight agent program.

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Everything is Logistics is a podcast for the thinkers in freight. Follow the podcast to never miss an episode.

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Adam Wingfield: 0:00

LinkedIn presents.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:10

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Glythe Bromleve, and I am happy to welcome in for the second time ever to my podcast, Adam Wingfield. He is the founder of Innovative Logistics Group and we're going to be talking all about the yellow situation, but also everything that he's got going on, because he's been in this industry for a while. He's one of the smartest people that I follow on social media when it comes to anything like freight related, so I'm excited to dive into this conversation today. So, Adam, welcome back.

Adam Wingfield: 0:45

Thanks for having me again, Glythe. It's good to see you again.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:48

Absolutely Now. For folks who may not be aware, we were just kind of joking about this before we started recording, but the first time I chatted with you it was at the PCS Software Conference and it was my first time doing mobile recording like on-site recording. So I was dealing with cell phone issues, wi-fi issues, battery storage issues, but I basically had to position a cell phone on top of a Coke can in order to get it to record properly, and then we had about I think 13 minutes was the exact time that I had to fill and you nailed it. It was one of the best conversations I have honestly ever had and you covered so much ground in that 13 minutes. So I'm happy to have you back in a little bit more of a conversation where we can talk a little bit longer than 13 minutes.

Adam Wingfield: 1:36

Glad to be back. Glad to be back. That was an incredible showing of just versatility and just making things happen, and this is a legitimate, true story. So you had to be there. You had to be here.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:49

Yeah, and it was also the first conference I think back for a lot of us because of COVID and all. So it was just one of those like we're just going to figure it out and I think that that's kind of the story of freight, the story of logistics and the story of you know, hopefully you figure it out, but sometimes you don't. And before we get into the yellow situation, give folks a little bit of an understanding of your career background.

Adam Wingfield: 2:12

So I started off as a driver. You know I started off as a company driver. As soon as I was old enough to get my CDL, I went to Schneider and I went to their training school and I got my CDL license to drive and track the trailer. I was always intrigued by it. I always loved it. I was, you know, it's kind of like one of those things that was my long-going passion was to always be in the industry. And a couple of years later I purchased my first truck, became an owner operator and then I really you know that's when the light bulb came on and the eyes opened up a lot wider that you know the industry has a lot of components in it and you know a young kid, you know behind the wheel of a truck and you know just kind of getting out there and understanding that I didn't realize how much business was involved to it at that time. So that really really kind of fueled my fire to make sure that I get out there and help folks to understand it and help folks navigate through it. So that was kind of just the foundational start and principle behind it that as years go by and my fleet grew and I start learning more and more about the business and I start seeing other people's fail. It really was a pain point for me, you know, because of my passion is to make sure that people are successful, especially in trucking, because I love it so much. And you know, what I wanted to do is put a compelling program together, put a compelling team together. I just really focused on helping folks navigate the right way through it with all of the stuff that's going on and all of the directions that are out there. So that kind of gives them a little background of me and just a really, really small nutshell.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:36

What was the, I guess the moment that you decided that you were going to because you're not a driver anymore, correct, You're? Just you know a business owner and educating others within the industry right.

Adam Wingfield: 3:47

Yeah, I retired. I retired from behind the wheel a long time ago, but I did put a million miles on the highway. So you know that was a lot of experience, a lot of blue color experience, and I always told myself I wanted to learn from the inside out. I wanted to start a trucking company from the inside out. I didn't want to get into it without knowing the intricacies and I didn't want to get into it without you know, navigating through the adaptions that needed to happen. But when I came outside of the truck and I really started seeing it more often than the executive level and supporting executive level companies, I saw how much opportunity that I left out on a table even within my own fleet, and I'm able to take those things now and install them into companies as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:24

And what were some of those things that you noticed, that you didn't realize as a driver?

Adam Wingfield: 4:28

Man, just the power of networking and relationships. That was so impactful. Because even as a driver, you know it's kind of like. I kind of like make it as a parallel to a corn maze. Like if you've ever done Halloween, you know you get into a corn, you know little corn maze where you got to navigate through and get to the end of it. But you know, as a driver you're in that corn maze, you're just trying to figure it out. You know you're going by the ebbs and the flows of the road and when you do have that much time to really think you know, you really don't see it from a big picture. However, if I'm in a deer stand and I'm trying to help you navigate through a corn maze, I can say, hey, blythe, no, don't turn left here, turn right Now, keep going straight, take two more steps, go right. And that's where I started seeing things more of a enterprise level and seeing it as an enterprise level, I'm wanting to help people see things at a higher level too. I want to see people help think, people see through from a scalability perspective. So, just looking at it from a big picture, establishing better relationships, going out to different events, even though it might not be trucking related events, those business networking events. I started to notice how that was a big connector for me, because you may be introducing yourself to someone who you know. For instance, I met a local city councilman one time and we were just out in a networking event and he was just talking about this huge billion dollar project that they were working on in the city and they needed logistic support and they were looking for consultancy or services or logistics companies that can help support that. Well, I wouldn't have known that if I was just sitting in a truck stop and just kind of chatting back and forth about you know, this broker doing this or this person doing that. So it opened up my eyes, most importantly, in the power of people, the power of networking with people. That was the number one thing that I identified. And obviously the whole tech side really getting involved with tech on that side and showing how important that is to separate yourself from other carriers, because it's such a competitive landscape and when you're able to identify those niches that you can specialize in and the differentiators that you can provide, it makes you a step ahead of the rest. And I didn't see that. I'm just going to be honest, I didn't see that until I really stepped out and looked at it from a higher lens and then there was no one that was talking about it at that time. There was no direction. Then I mean, to be honest with you, we didn't have GPSs, right, we had Randy McNally Atlases, so we didn't have. I mean, you got to think about that time. But now that we are in the area of technology and technology is becoming so much of a part of what we do, using the power of that technology and leveraging it in our own businesses is something that I'm really really, really held in on that right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:01

What about the drivers, I guess, that say that it's too much technology? You're taking away the skill set of the driver when they have to pay attention to all of these different tools that some drivers are very good, that they don't necessarily, they feel like they don't necessarily need those tools. What is sort of the balance, I guess, between using the tools and ultimately just always relying on them?

Adam Wingfield: 7:22

There's always over leverage, you know, and there's over leverage in everything, you know. There's over leverage of technology, there's over leverage of financing and, just like you said, there's something that you know that can get out there and it can manage and adapt. But when you have, for instance, when you have, insurance companies and I've seen several insurance companies that require technology in the cab, they require in-facing cabs, they require safety monitoring, so they were to acquiring on those things to help lower their risk you know it's all about really kind of communicating the why and really, when it comes down to technology and the speed of technology, the most important thing that we're doing is we're really trying to just help people understand the speed that it's coming and explaining the why behind it and really trying to get them to get that buy-ins. But we run into it all the time. You know you got. You know there was a making carry that made an announcement last week that they were installing dash cams as a primary focus in their fleet and they were moving. 30, 40, 50 percent of their fleet is going to be on in-facing dash cams by the end of the year. So it's moving very quickly and they're doing that because of the risks that are associated and involved with it, and they're trying to just get this thing more in line with being a really true federally mandated industry, and safety is really, really important.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:37

Yeah, it's almost like one of those things where I think for a lot of folks they're fearing the anxiety of like tech and robots and AI like all taking over and I think it all plays into like that sort of larger fear set. When you break it down a little bit more, it's like well, you know, especially when it comes to like marketing and sales and like you know chat. GPT, things like that. I definitely want to ask you about that later on. But it's one of those things where it's like you can either use the tools and use them to your advantage or you know it's the cat is out of the bag, like it's not. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. It's one of those things where you have to adapt to these certain situations and these certain requirements and these, I guess, evolutions of technology and where innovation is headed. And I think you know, with that being said, it's, you know, going into one of the bigger companies, the largest trucking company that has, you know, ever gone bankrupt. That was yellow. They officially filed for bankruptcy this week. It's kind of been in the works for, you know, a few weeks now, maybe months. For folks who may not be aware of the entire yellow situation, how did we get here?

Adam Wingfield: 9:46

You know, I think that really kind of boils back, it starts over. You want to go back to deregulation in the 80s and you know yellow was around for a very, very long time. I think they were about to hit 100 years this year 99 years. So when you go back to the deregulation that caused a lot of increased competition that yellow may not have seen before and you know, as they kind of adapted to that, may adapt it to their overall competition, that became a major part of it. And then, when you dropped in COVID and you dropped in the relief that they received from COVID, that $700 million relief that they received from COVID, and the inability to really kind of go back, and number one, when you have the government saying, hey, oops, you know, we weren't supposed to give you guys that money which could tell you that they may not were necessarily qualified for a variety of reasons. And now you become over leveraged in financial ability, now you over leverage your available capital, and that was one. And then you also got to look at it too. Labor issues are always going to be a major component of the industry. You know whether any blue collar industry is going to have labor issues. But when you have a company that is managing their labor through a union, it becomes. It becomes much more complex and in some cases it becomes much more convoluted. So now you've got a third party that's saying, hey, listen, you know we want this now. And instead of having those independent relationships, that internal human resource process, that kind of leaves it into a third party's hand. And I'm not, you know, I'm not going to say I'm for or against unions, but you have to understand what happens when you bring a work as union into an organization. You got to look at the pros and the cons and things that can happen out of it. So you add that onto that and then you look at their overall debt load, right. So you got to think about all of the acquisitions that they took over the last several years. They acquired a lot of companies and they acquired some, some big companies over the, you know, over that period. And when you acquire companies and you're not leveraging that, you're not able to do that. I think all of that kind of came down to a I hate to say, a perfect storm. But man, we were some somewhat, some north of 30,000 people that were affected and we're talking about 14,000 tractors and 40,000 trailers and 22,000 drivers. And these are just you know. Obviously these are, you know, not official numbers, but from what I've, what I've seen, it's impacted a lot of people and I think that when you had all of these things working and then on top of the lower demand that we're seeing and you know, and now you've got customers that when I talked about the competition part, when you hear customers saying something about bankruptcy, now you got customers say, hey, I might want to move my freight somewhere else, Even though they were given a 30-day extension on a default. When you have that, you have your customers running from that perspective. I think that that's usually a rush of people. There's no way to come back from that. I think that that's how he got to that point.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:40

Was it really just the customers? That was the final nail in the coffin for them leaving.

Adam Wingfield: 12:45

I mean, if you look at it from that perspective, they lost an incredible amount of freight. They made the announcements when the teamsters said hey, this is what's going to happen if we don't tighten up Now. Your customer is like whoa. When that happened, part of one of the yellow statements that they released to the public was a catastrophic loss in customers. When you think about that word catastrophic, when you think about demand and volumes especially in this particular case, in order for me to pay back alone, I have to have receivables to do so. If my customers are leaving and I'm talking about catastrophic if you use the word catastrophic to describe any type of circumstance, we're talking about a major, major dominating effect. When you don't have those customers in place to be able to go back and make a repayment on something like that, you can see where that would cause that to almost be a paid place of no return. At that point, the executive team made the decision and say there's no way we're going to be able to come back from this. Here's the best thing that we can do at this point. I think that that's what we got to.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:53

Why do you think that they played this? I guess it just felt like such a public battle. It was almost looking at your parents getting divorced and you have a front row seat of every personal detail that's going. Why did it play out so publicly?

Adam Wingfield: 14:08

Man. I'll tell you Blight and I'll be honest with you social media is a gift and a curse. Some people over-leveraged their power on social media and I'm not saying that that happened in this situation. But if you look at some of the tweets and I know you're very active on Twitter, I'm active on Twitter as well but when you look at the back and forth and when you look at some of the posts and some of the rhetoric that was taking place, it was some really, really aggressive rhetoric. I understand that part of it was perhaps for them to be able to go in and get a little bit more leverage, but it was quite a battle and it was quite, a very, very public situation. I hate that sometimes social media provides a platform in that realm to where it's kind of like gloves off and people forget about handling things like that amicably behind closed doors and it just got messy. It really did.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:03

I worked at an asset-based 3PL about 12 years ago and it went out of business after five years and a very similar not very similar, but a lot of the situations that happened publicly. It very much reminded me of what was going on back then, where executives were having a lot of closed door meetings, an entire intermodal department got laid off. We had outside financing that came in to try to save the company. There were a lot of moments that it felt like a disaster, but there were also moments of hope, moments of okay, this company can actually be saved, I don't have to switch jobs, I don't have to worry about finding a new job. It felt like a lot of that was happening here with the yellow situation, where the final couple of weeks I've seen a couple posts from a few executives that are essentially trying to hire some of the top talent that worked at yellow. They said basically, the last couple of weeks it was a lot of confusion and a lot of hope and it felt very similar to my situation, except for social media was very much in its infancy. This was very, very early on, so we didn't have a lot of that playing out in public. I wonder if yellow maybe could have been saved if it wasn't for social media, a lot of people acting as sources, a lot of people acting as reporters. Do you get a sense of that feeling, or do you think that this was just eventually going to happen so?

Adam Wingfield: 16:31

it just kind of reminds me of being on an airplane A pilot is going to go through the worst turbulence and he knows it's going to happen, but he's not going to say all right, everybody, it's time for you to get scared. All right, everybody, it's going to be a terrible ride. You might feel a few bumps here and there. It's going to be a little choppy. What they do is they try to lower that angst. To be honest with you, I don't think that social media was necessarily kind of like the nail in a coffin, but I do feel like the rhetoric and I do feel like, like you said, you got so many people reporting and you got so many people put pressure on you. You got so many people posting drivers upset, and it does weigh in. It does weigh in because of the reach that social media has put out there. But I think the demise of yellow, whether public or private, was inevitable just because of some of the decisions that were made at the executive level. And the executive level decisions that were made they're people too, at the end of the day. I know that and I feel very, very sorry that they had to make those decisions, because now you're talking about affecting so many people, and it was so many hardworking people that got affected. There were no pensions that were lost. I looked at the severance package and I was like, wow, you're working in 27 years and you only get a two-week paid severance package. It was just a nightmare for folks. But at the end of the day, I don't feel like social media was the nail in the coffin, but it certainly wasn't helpful. Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:06

I like that you brought that up, because that was exactly what happened in my situation, where we but it wasn't social media related, it was one person from another company telling me hey, we're hearing that you're running out of runway and you need to start looking for another job. I told my brother, who also worked at the company, and then, of course, that starts going around to everyone and it creates a form of panic and fear. My boss had to pull me aside and tell me you can't tell people stuff like this because it's going to incite fear among the employees. Really, it was the nail in the coffin for that situation where the executive leadership team choosing to leave and to go somewhere else. That was sort of the end of the line for us and it just felt so very similar and I could not imagine being one of those employees and seeing the different social media messages, seeing my job, my career, my livelihood being turned into memes which that's another social media aspect of it too where it's like, oh God, that would just kill me if I was in their position and I would see people making I mean, it is the internet. So to each their own, but that was one thing that I was very consciously like I'm not going to make fun of this situation because the people mostly affected are the ones that have nothing to do with the decisions that were being made.

Adam Wingfield: 19:25

Absolutely, absolutely.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:28

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Adam Wingfield: 21:28

I think that the yellow freight situation has opened a lot of people's eyes up to the overall. Hey you know what? Nobody is exempt from the cause and effect of poor oversight within the market, and particularly with your own company. It's alive and well. In conversations that have been taking place with clients and other folks for decades now, one of the things that disturbed me the most and I even had a conversation with a recent person who was saying I was just making sure that every load that I got was paying at least 202 a mile. Then we go into the breakeven analysis and take a look at exactly what it calls to operate all the equipment. Their breakeven analysis had them come in at 227. If you're running in that 227 in order for your truck to make money and in your mind you're thinking that you're doing well at two bucks, then that's a huge problem. What's going to eventually happen is you're going to do those things I talked about earlier. You're going to over leverage capital, over leverage available capital, because you're trying to have that capital continue to fund your business with the hope that rates turn around and not really understanding. Hey you know what? This whole time I was running my trucking company at this operational point, when it actually cost me to operate this company. My whole strategy was wrong, my whole focus and approach was wrong, and those are the decisions that can ultimately put you out of business very, very quickly. I think that for me, why it's so important that education and it's so important that our narrative is just really teaching people how to run a business. Thank you, and I say that with the utmost respect to anyone but just because I can cook a cheeseburger or I can make a pizza doesn't mean that I can start up a successful franchise or a successful restaurant. The business components have to be the overarching theme and then everything else is just kind of the layer on the cake, and what we have to do is we have to get into the economical side from that perspective, we've got to look at the professional side and we've got to get better at business acumen. And that tweet was really focused on really just opening up the awareness that the overarching acumen for business as from that perspective, and the financial acumen that's required to run a trucking company is oversight to so many people Because, again, like you said, what they do a lot of education is I'm going to get on Facebook and I'm going to join a Facebook group and I'm going to say, hey, what do you guys think about this load here? And then you're going to have 100 people comment on it and say, hey, no, don't take that. You need to take it for $7 a mile or sit the truck down and shut it down. You got people getting information from so many different directions that they really don't know where to go and unfortunately, I see that all the time Me and my team, we see those things happen. I'm talking about 100s of times a day where people are misguided. And you got to look at the statistics. At the end of the day, 80% of trucking companies that start within two years fail 80% eight out of 10,. We have 51,000 trucking companies go out of business this year. So you're talking about that. These folks are not just going out of business because this is the market. The market is part of it. Your overall spot market is part of it. But people are going out of business because they didn't know what to expect coming into. They weren't prepared for the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows. So that tweet was really, really, really guided and directed to get people to wake up and start focusing on their business, because without the business, none of this other stuff would take place.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:13

And I'm glad that you brought that up, because during COVID and during the 2020, 2021, we saw so much freight hitting the market, but we also saw a lot of fly-by-night trucking, experts selling courses and creating informational products in order to sell people, to get into the game, and I've almost like a pyramid scheme for a lot of these folks. What were the lessons that, or what are the lessons that you teach to sort of counteract that quick, easy money? What are some of those line items, those break-even points that most people are missing from their business, that they're not calculating for?

Adam Wingfield: 25:52

So one of the things as a strategy, one of the things that we teach on any break-even, is that every mile matters. Every mile matters. So when I say every mile matters, every mile that that truck rotates, every time that that tire makes one complete turn, it has to pay everything from an amortization standpoint. What I mean by that is that everything that you have, every expense that's associated with that truck, regardless of what that load pays, regardless of if you're moving in dead head every time the tire rotates, your costs are being paid for, right. So when I say that, I'm saying over that 12 months you have everything from your fixed expenses, which is your truck payment, your trailer payment, insurance. Those are your fixed. But then it's also paying for all your variable expenses. It's paying for things that people don't consider, like your factor and fees, right, typically, on a year on one truck, your factor and fees on average is about $7,000. But yet when an owner operator goes in and he's looking at that P&L and looking at that cost assessment, when you're looking at a load in this overall totality, usually what an owner operating a small fleet owner considers is fuel, driver pay and maybe a couple other exoscerails and that's it and they say, okay, here's the net. And I'm gonna tell you, one of the things that aggravated me the most is when I saw these fly by night course creators and gurus on the internet and on social media during the pandemic. You would see them post in rate cons and they would post a rate con from a CH, robinson or TQL and the rate count would be like 2,600 bucks and they would put $2,600 minus fuel, minus driver pay, total profit. And that is absolutely the wrong answer. There's so much more that is associated with an income item, because with every income item you have to associate the expense items with it as well. Net profit is net profit. It's at the bottom of the barrel, it's the last thing. You as a business owner, you as an owner operating, get paid last, after everything is considered. So when we talk about a break-even analysis and we talk about the importance of understanding what that looks like, everything has to be in consideration prior to you saying, okay, you know what, here's my profit. So our message has always been you know, the tire turns every. The tire turns is what causes the business to turn. And the thing that we really really saw during a pandemic is we saw people take advantage of the market from that perspective. We saw people getting into the business brand new, fresh. We saw people that were experts, that just got in a truck in after a year. Right, and one season doesn't make you an expert. One good season doesn't make you a good expert, and then one bad season doesn't make you a failure. And what we're wanting to make people understand is that you have to see the full scope, you gotta have some experience into it, and there's a difference when you speak from experience versus speaking from opinion.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:44

Facts. Yeah, very well said and I'm sure for a lot of these folks, you know, for a lot of these business owners, they're trying to find where those opportunities are to not only break-even but make a little bit extra during these hard times. So there are any sort of, you know, low hanging fruit opportunities that they could be looking for in their own financial statements. Or is it just as simple and as hard as just figuring out that break-even point?

Adam Wingfield: 29:10

I think one of the things is and I don't and we talk about the break-even point, we're not wanting to get that misconstrued with telling people they need to operate at the break-even point. What we're doing is we're telling people to understand exactly what that is and then you focus on the next item that we preach, which is your operational run rate. That operational run rate is like, say, if I say, hey, blythe, you know just from a forecasting or just from a long-term perspective, what are your goals? Well, you know what? My profit goals are 20%, right? So if your profit goals are 20% and your break-even point is $2, then you know that your operational run rate would have to be 20% of $2, so that would be 240. So now Blythe knows that, at the end of the day, every opportunity I have to secure freight at 240 or above will keep me on track with my goals and my visions for my company, for my independent you know, my independent company, for my fleet, whatever that may look like. So we want to really teach the importance of the break-even. The break-even is your base, it's your floor, it's your foundation. You know. Your break-even is how you build your house. Your operational run rate is your fixtures, your dishes, you know all of the other great stuff that you put on the top of it. I want people to understand and respect both. I want people to understand the importance of understanding why the break-even point matters, but also from a business owner and you're a business owner as well you understand like, hey, we can't plan for tomorrow or Friday, we're planning for. Okay, all right, now we're in Q1 or 2024, what are our goals for Q1 or 2024? What are our goals for Q2? What are we looking at? What customer relationships are we setting ourselves up for? And I want small carriers to have a big carrier mindset when they're doing these things, when they're going out and they're building these relationships and they're focusing on that financial literacy and acumen within their business. So that's the reason why we're so, so strong on the break-even point, because it's getting them to see where their foundation is, it's getting them to understand that their foundation's changed. But, most importantly, it's giving them that floor that they can build their goals off of and it's giving them that floor that they can establish their projection. Now, if I know where my break-even point is now, I know I can say, okay, cool, all right, you know what? I wanna make a 15% profit in Q1. This is how we're gonna do it. Okay, 15% profit in Q1, now I've got a book at 230 a mile. I gotta make sure that at the end of every week I'm gonna win some, I'm gonna lose some, but at the average I need to be at 230. And if I'm not at 230. Then next week that means I've got to book more, I've got to book a higher rate so I can help bring myself up to that average. So it's all about teaching them that part, and I think that that's the most important thing is teaching them the business side of it. And then also, you know, to be quite frank, it's teaching them to get off of spot market reliance and starting to focus on building their own direct, their own customers, their own afraid examples, to where they don't have to focus so much on the ebb and the flows of the spot market.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:11

And so what I guess is maybe some of the lessons learned, not just from yellow but from everything that you just mentioned. The market is what it is. You know there's predictions that it's going to be better in the Q4, that it's going to be better especially in 2024. So our business is going to be able to survive this you know sort of, I guess, economic turmoil until those things pick up. Or is it still very, very plausible that you can survive as a small carrier if you're doing everything that you said? You know you have your operational costs and then you have your profit margins that you want to go after. Are those things realistic in a market like this?

Adam Wingfield: 32:52

They're realistic, they're not easy. They're realistic but they're not easy because you know we're at the mercy in a spot condition. You're at the mercy of whatever happens. So when yellow went out, right, so what that is going to do obviously is going to increase demand on the LTL side, which is going to increase demand on truckload side. Just be yeah. Obviously it's a cause and effect and that was something that nobody predicted. So the spot market is so unpredictable. And when I think about that and I think about, you know, the small carrier and the plausibility of being able to survive these marketplaces. You can, as long as you know where your floor is, as long as you know how to be able to control your variable costs, because the only thing that you can control are your variable expenses. Somewhat you're fixed. You can control that somewhat, but once you purchase that truck, your truck payment is what it is, your trailer payment is what it is, your insurance is already is what it is, but being able to know how to lower your variable expense footprint because that's what you can control, I can't control the spot market. You know where I can control it. There's nobody that has a crystal ball Like I say okay, guys, january 17th it's on, it's carrier go season. Nobody's going to be able to tell you that, because nobody knows when a yellow freight is going to file for bankruptcy, when a sell-a-down is going to file for bankruptcy, when COVID becomes a pandemic. Nobody knows that stuff. So you got to focus on the preparation and you got to focus on making sure that you demand control over your own business and become I tell you, and I say this all the time you're going to be the CEO of your company. You need to act like it. You need to act like it with integrity and you act like it with an intention, because there's things that you're going to be able to control within anything, but those things that you can't control. You got to be able to focus your attention on the things that you can, and I think that plausibility is yes, it's absolutely there. We still have small carriers out there that's fighting and scrapping and still staying in the game. How long they're going to be able to do that, it all depends. We don't know what's happening out in Ukraine and what that's going to do with fuel prices. We don't know if we're going to see a spike like we saw in November and December last year, when diesel prices went through the roof. We don't know that. So the small carriers that are really trying to stay into it we got to make sure that we stay in tune with every single line item, every single day. Every mile per hour, every mile per gallon matters, and we've got to teach these small carriers out here to focus on that, versus on oh my God, the brokers out here that screw us or, oh my God, the government's out here to take us all out of business. Listen, we can say that all day long, we can get back and forth with the opinions on that all day long, but the fact of the matter is you need to know your business and you need to run it like you're the CEO of the company.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:35

And you had mentioned just now about these carriers getting off of the load boards, getting off of the spot market. Where are you seeing some, I guess, moments of success for businesses who are doing that? How do you reach out to a customer? How do you develop a relationship with a broker rep? What do those steps look like?

Adam Wingfield: 35:57

Yeah, I love it because here's first of all, you got to remember your brokers are your customers At the end of the day. That's one of the things that I see. A lot of small carriers don't approach the conversation like that. If Blythe's the broker and Blythe's providing me freight and I'm moving freight for her, blythe is my customer. I have to nurture that relationship. Whether or not, and regardless of all the noise out here is, oh yeah, blythe's the broker, the broker's out here to screw the small carriers. Well, in this instance, blythe is my customer and I've got to provide Blythe with exceptional customer service. I got to make sure I pick up on time, I got to make sure I deliver on time, I got to make sure I over communicate and I got to make sure to ask for feedback, right. So I got to ask her how did I do? What can I do to get better? What can I do to make sure that I'm positioning at the top of your mind to be the one that, if you came across a really, really good lane, I would be the first person that you call? Because I'm going to tell you this that market freight is a broker's last option period. That's the bottom of the barrel. That's the dirtiest of the apples. It's putting it on a low board and, hoping to carry it with integrity, takes it off the low board and gets it from point A to point B. That's the fact of it, and here's the thing. A broker's a third party. In the media area, shippers rather work with brokers, especially because they have the fingertips on all the capacity. That's the way it is. So, instead of getting caught up in the whole whether it's propaganda or whatever you want to think about it not just nurture a relationship. Blikes a broker, but guess what? Blikes are still a person and she's a cool person. I like talking to bright. Those are the things that we have to get through to folks' head. That's number one. Number two is and from a success standpoint, I did an Instagram Live about a month ago and I got on a live and I was just talking about things like making sure that you're treating your brokers like customers, getting on there and focus on digital freight matching services like Emerge Technologies, getting out there and making sure that you're doing things such as going to networking events that might not be trucking related, and I'm not talking about going out to these conferences, I'm talking about the networking events that in your area, in your cities, in your towns, where you can go out, and if anybody is in this zip code, they know exactly what Adam does. And what you see and you realize a lot of times I talked about this on stage about a year ago is that you see folks that run trucking companies in these towns, in these cities but have no idea who the shippers and manufacturers and distributors. They have no idea, no clue, who these people are. And you think about that. How can, if you come in and Charlotte, you can't come to Charlotte and people don't know what I do, because I'm getting out there. I'm going to networking events and one of the things even when I started really getting on the educational side of trucking, I was at every single networking event and I was the only person in trucking at these networking events. There was small business networking events and I'm talking to people, letting them know exactly what I'm doing. So there's two things I'm doing. I'm bringing about awareness, so they're like well, well, I didn't realize that that's an option. And number two, I'm making connections, because now these folks, when they have these conversations, these large scale environments, they're like wait a minute, I'll talk to this guy the other day. I have his card and that's exactly what he does. Let me connect you with this person. So really focusing on connections. But one of the things, blife, that I see people struggle with is they struggle with basic communication. I hate to say that. It reminds me of my children. I love them to death. But when these cell phones and tablets and all these things became part of our norm, the new norm is not hey, blife, how you doing? Let's meet for coffee and let's have a conversation. The norm now is just being on Twitter and seeing what everybody else is saying, or being on threads or whatever they call it, or being on Facebook and really not being able to go out and communicate. So I see a lot of people who feel entitled. Because I've got a truck in their trailer with 53 feet of space, I'm entitled and you should give me your dedicated freight. Well, I'm sorry, buddy, that's not how it works. You and a million other trucks out there. I have the option. You tell me why I need to choose you versus anybody else. The way that happens is that first I've got a nurture relationship. It would be like if I would send you mentioned email marketing and how chat GBT has helped email marketing. Could you imagine if I just in one email just say, hey, buy this for me. You need to buy it right now. That's not how it works. Sometimes it's a four You're in sales, sometimes four, sometimes five points, sometimes six, sometimes seven Different contact points that you're making and nurture that relationship and I'll never forget. This is a story that I will never forget. I was coaching a customer and she had nine trucks. She was in the Dallas area and she was on the spot market and we were trying to get her off the spot market. And one day I was just watching her, we was just talking on the zoom and she was in her kitchen and in the back of the kitchen she had to. She was like hold on for a second, I've got to pull this out of the oven. And so she goes to the oven and she pulls some cookies out of the oven. I'm joking. I was like man, I can smell those cookies all the way over here. I was like you should leverage that. So you know what she did. She went to the Pepsi place and it was like a Pepsi shift where that was in her area and she started connecting and networking with the, the folks over at the Pepsi facility. Well, fast forward to story. So one Friday she baked cookies and sent them over to the office Guess what? That Monday she was meeting and she crew her dedicated lane through Pepsi because she just just Became a human for a second, you're a human at first. Right, act like it. You know I'm saying act like, act like this is not new to you to be able to Communicate, and you know, the crazy thing is is that at the end of the day, it's a knot about what you know, it's about who you know. Right. But how do you get to who you know? How do I know, how did I know brought blame? Well, I got to open my mouth and talk hey, how are you doing? What do you do? Hey, this is what I do. That element is missing. It's missing because I feel that the internet has put a lot of pressure on people and I also feel that People just forgot there. You know, it's almost like that whole social, social Distressing that we've experienced over that year. Covid Became an ideology that we're now social, distressing ourselves from each other and it's really getting in between us is getting in between our ability to be able to work together. That's kind of how I feel about that situation.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:14

I I noticed, when you were listing off the things that you know they, these carriers, should be doing, that you didn't really mention email marketing. You didn't really mention social media. You mentioned going out and networking, baking cookies, doing something nice and sending that over to a company. Those are the things that are going to make you stand out, because everybody is can email, market, email, email and social media anybody can do that. But those little things that you're talking about they take a time investment. But they also take, you know, I guess a Personality investment is maybe the phrase I'm looking to use, because you're right, when you go to some of these networking events and you're not a social person, it can feel a little awkward. But the only way you're gonna get better at it is if you keep going and you keep practicing and you keep Polishing up those social media skills, and not in a digital sense, but in the personal, in person sense.

Adam Wingfield: 43:09

You know you mentioned something about polishing and one of the other things that people are not doing these days. They're not developing themselves right. So a lot of times that what they want to do is they'll buy a truck, buy a trailer and they're focusing on okay, hey, you know how do I go get on this low board, I'm gonna do whatever, but they don't start developing those things within themselves that they're not good at right. If you're not good at networking or you're not, you, like CEOs, have to talk. You have to talk regardless of your CEO Of one truck and one driver or a CEO of 30,000. You have to have that leadership development. You have to constantly develop yourself as a person and you know that doesn't necessarily mean that all I'm gonna do is look at YouTube videos, motivational speeches. That means sometimes I might have to do things such as I might have to buy a book, or I might have to enroll in a college Course on communication, or I might need to do, you know, join a local thing that'll help me speak like toastmasters or whatever that may be. You have to continuously develop yourself and, as a small carrier, I don't care if you're the CEO of one truck or the CEO of a 50,000, i'ma come at you with the same exact message, and that messages is that without that self-development and without professional development and progression, there's gonna always be a byproduct of regression, and that regression could eventually cause the demise of your company. And that Demise your company can be the demise of your vision and I don't want that to happen. But we have got to take the entitlement glasses off. We got to take the the entitlement feeling that, hey, just because I have this and just because everybody is saying that, like, I'm different and you have to operate with that level of intention, integrity and just focus.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:51

Yeah, because no one else is gonna come do it for you.

Adam Wingfield: 44:53

Nobody's gonna save you exactly, and I do.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:56

You haven't learned that lesson over the last Few years. I you know you better learn it quick. So if you were to get your CDL today, what would you do differently, if anything, versus when you first got it?

Adam Wingfield: 45:10

If I was gonna get my CDL today, what would, I doubt is man? That's a great question. Well, I think for me. I think that for me, knowing what I know now, the only thing differently that I would possibly have done that I Didn't do the first time is really, really just appreciate those, those moments that I was out there, and appreciate even for the lessons that I law learned. You know it is a lot of. I had a lot of mistakes. You know a lot of heartaches and some things that you try to put on a. You know the back mirror, but you got to understand it's not perfect and I think that I still hold my CDL to this day is probably, you know, one of my most prized possessions, because you know I look at that license every single day and I look at, you know, the things that I got as a as a result of it. You know and I don't. You know I don't directly attribute my success solely to my CDL, but my CDL opened up a door for me and once I got into that door I was able to grow and expand and a lot of different thoughts I just wanted a narrative that you see now also on social media is like, hey, everybody, go get your CDL and make a lot of money. Well, I'm just gonna tell you that just not how it works. You know it's, it's hard work, it's sacrifice. You know it takes a mental toll on you, but once you open the door there's a lot of other rooms that you can go in once you get in the front door and you don't have to just stand in the four year like everybody else. I'm the one that didn't stand in the four year. I got in there. I stood in the four year, I was hey, but then I went to the other room and I'm like you know what? I like this room better and that would really. You know, that's really kind of accelerating me, but I but you know that they go back on the question I just felt like you know, my decision when I got my CDL was was was partially, obviously, because I always had the desire and commitment to want to be involved in the industry. It was also a moment for me because I lost both my parents and I was struggling with depression and and it was also a moment for me To help focus on my mental health and and I tell people, you know, all the time, you know, I have my CDL saved my life, you know, especially when you think about the, you know just the thoughts that I had and the dark thoughts that I had and things like that. It really, really saved my life. It really allowed me to see the world for what I, what I saw. It allowed me to really grow up, you know. It helped me grow up, become a man, become a decision-maker. It helped me make Believe in myself, you know, and believe in the ability to accomplish things and and I, just to this day, man, I, you know, I think that for me personally, it was, you know, having my CDL changed my life, you know, allowed me to, you know, live the life that I'm gonna be able to live, and and I, just, I, just I couldn't, you know, I couldn't imagine my life without it.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:43

I just couldn't imagine my life without a CDL and it's led to some incredible opportunities, as you kind of hinted to or towards. And you have a couple things. So you have the, the trucking meets. Train your train. You will course which train You're. Am I saying that right? Train you, well, yeah.

Adam Wingfield: 47:57

Yeah, good.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:59

But you have a new course with them. You also have a partnership with the Carolina Panthers. How did these partnerships come about and what do you hope to gain from them?

Adam Wingfield: 48:09

So I think that for me you know I built my business on and on just just mutual partnerships really, hey, life where you doing okay, well, I do this. So we should compliment each other, and Every, every approach that I have is very strategic. I'm always consistently looking To improve the value that we provide for our clients. Do strategic partnerships because you know what, you may be great at this but you may not be great at that. Let's find somebody that's great at that with the end goal Is to make sure that the customer, to make sure the client, gets the best experience possible. I am so passionate about our clients and I want every client that touches innovative logistics to get the experience that they will get nowhere else. And the experience that I'm looking for is success Right, I want my clients to come to us, regardless of where they're at what stage at, and get success. And so you know when we got, you know when the when the pants is reached out to us and the other partners reached out to us. You know the alignment and vision was just just to help small businesses become successful. My heart is always small business focus, you know I. You know when I go out to these little small business. You know they might have like small business Saturdays. I'm that guy that walks the entire room and buys something from every single table. I don't care if they're selling this, I don't care if they're selling that, I'm buying it because I love small business. And you know, when you support small business, you support in somebody that's trying to take care of their kids college You're. If you're supporting somebody who's just trying to believe in themselves and trying to put you know Something out there, that they had a deep passion and desire to do so. When I reached out and I focused and look at these partnerships, I appreciate partnerships that have small business at the top of mind. I appreciate partnerships that are focusing on taking care of a small guy. This industry is dominated by small carriers. You know, if it's Schneider, jb Hunt, swift and all those Larger entities decided today, you know we're not gonna move any more freight today. We're taking the day off. You know who's gonna come up and who's gonna step up to the plate ABC trucking with two trucks down there in Ellary, south Carolina, those are the companies that's gonna stand up and those are the companies that move our country forward and I am so passionate about that when, I Never forget, I was in a truck stop and you know, early on in my career and I just remember just seeing the faces of folks and just seeing just the you know they're on the back. Then we didn't have, you know, the low boards on the half, we didn't have D18 truck stop and all that good stuff. We didn't have that. And they're standing on there at the wash and dryer and they're looking at the screen it's a you know a television screen with a load and a broken number on there and just seeing them just get on there and they're rushing to the telephone and trying to get through the first, and then just looking at their face. You know, hey, I was just trying to get home this, spending the weekend with my son because he's got his final baseball game and and just seeing their faces, you know this disappointment, discourage, man, man, it just, it just. I just love people and I love to see people successful. And the things that come out of my mouth when I'm talking about this business. I'm not gonna tell you everything that you want to hear. You gonna hear some things come out of my mouth that you're not gonna agree with, but one of the things that I'm gonna always tell you is. I'm always gonna tell you the blunt, honest truth, and the thing is is that I want people to be successful, but in order to do that, I can't want it more than the next person. So our partnerships were we're very, very strategic for us to be able to provide the level of service and provide the expertise and guidance and the technology that's necessary to help our small carriers operate like large carriers, and that's where that's where that came in.

Blythe Brumleve: 51:47

And so it's a course with Trainiol that covers a lot of those things, and then I would imagine that it's kind of the same partnership with the Carolina Panthers.

Adam Wingfield: 51:56

So with Trainiol we have so many different courses. We have a profitability expert course is for coaches, like dispatchers or you know. You got brokers that are looking to be able to add a different level of service to their clients. We have a startup course which tells people from A to Z how to start a trucking company, all the way from branding, all the way from, you know, low going. The whole nine again covers this like 77 modules in that particular course and it's not even and I like calling the course because everybody is coarsed out, they're freaking out about courses because people are just trying to get rich off courses, and I get it, but it's a hybrid educational experience and when I think about it, of course we have our experiences in a VAT of university and it's like a college course. You have to submit assignments, you have to participate in discussion threads, you have to watch videos, you have to do research, right. So it's real courses. It's not a get rich course, it's not one of those. You know, hey, I'm just gonna put six modules in a course, tell you, get started Now. Everybody else still has questions afterwards. So we have a very, very, very, very broad range of different courses that we offer and with the PANTSIS partnership, it's really just that small business partner providing us with that platform to really partner with that, to be able to have visibility and people to see hey, you know what, this is the trucking industry. But since the trucking industry is mainly, primarily, small folks, these are the guys that you need to go see, these are our guys right here. These are who we're going to put our say hey, you know what, you guys are our guys, and I think that that's what we were looking for from that partnership.

Blythe Brumleve: 53:30

Very well said, and it's amazing to see you know your approach, going from a worker who's in the trenches to educating those who are also in the trenches as well. So it really gives you that firsthand insight that you know for a lot of the course gurus that popped up and you know I'll take talk in 2020, you know a lot of them are probably I mean, I don't want to guesstimate you know what they're going through right now, but this is that your education is an example of. You know we're going to take care, we're going to actually show you from experience years of experience of what to do and, most importantly, what not to do, in order to avoid these, a lot of these catastrophic mistakes. So, okay, we've talked about the yellow situation, we talked about the new opportunities that you guys are developing that are already here, but what about some other, I guess, big industry issues? Is there anything else that you want to shine a light on?

Adam Wingfield: 54:22

I think that compliance is another big industry issue. We see a lot of folks, you know, really just try to fall under the radar when it comes down to that. It's never been a small issue, but I think it's. You see it more and more now and you know, when you think about fraud and freight fraud and combating freight fraud, you see a lot of brokers that are very, very gunshot when it comes to dealing with small carriers. And on the other side, on the flip side, we see small carriers not doing the foundational things that you should do as a business owner to ensure you establish your presence in a small business and you give them that comfort that, hey, you know what, I'm a new business owner, but you can trust me to give me a shot. I'm not going to double broker your freight. So I think that about the one of the biggest things that we've seen is a lot of small carriers are getting told no. You know more than ever you know they're getting told no because, hey, you don't have enough experience, you don't have enough inspections, yeah, I don't trust you, and we're seeing that. You know that quite frequently now. So the whole narrative and the whole mindset was, you know, got to make sure that we avoid the way stations and scale hopefully scale how it's closed. But when you're avoiding that, you're avoiding your opportunity to be out and be able to showcase that you're all legitimate. And I think that that it's becoming more and more an issue, especially for the small guys that focus so much on the spot market and you see a lot of folks get stuck in places. You see a lot of folks that are not being able to to work with. I remember I was listening to my team explaining to me with a new client who was just so frustrated he was like six months in the business and he now he's just got his hands in the air. We were providing load services for him, try to help get them moving along. But you know, for every 10 calls that he's making the brokers on freight, you know he's getting told eight out of 10 times just because of not having enough inspections. So it's an issue. It's issue. It's issue because we're finding that a lot of three PLs are limited in terms of their, their, their outreach for mining their data correctly and they're just given the. You know, the first right of refusal, in their opinion, is no, and it's not given the small carriers the opportunity, which I can understand. They're trying to protect themselves and trying to protect their freight, protect the customer's freight. But I think that we need to come to a meeting table and we need to be able to sit down with these folks and say, okay, well, if this is not it, then what, what could we do? What could we what? What message could we get out to the small carriers that we can say, hey, do this, do this, do this, and then we can work together? But I feel like there's a wedge being driven and my messaging this year is really to start to hey, you know what? I'm getting ready to pull this wedge out and we're going to have to get to the bargaining table and sit down and really kind of talk about solutions instead of continuously focusing on a problem.

Blythe Brumleve: 56:56

What do you think of some of those solutions are?

Adam Wingfield: 56:58

I think that, just looking at tech, we're in 2023, why are we sitting there saying hey? Why are we saying hey? A inspection from a third party CVSA officer on a random Tuesday is going to say, aha, that's not a double broker. We have to use technology right. We are in the era of chat, gpt, bar, things like artificial intelligence and like real artificial intelligence. But again, this industry, as antiquated it may be, we just started using ELDs over the last 10 years, so we are so far behind the tech that it is just insane. We have got to get ahead of things. We've got to, we've got to be next step up. We're so reliant and I mean like we're still signing BOLs with hand, with your hand like what are we doing? I can super Rolex through through, through the, you know, through the mail, and I have to you know, have to sign for it. But these are the things that I'm. I'm struggling with us understanding. We've got the smartest and brightest people that we've ever had in trucking right. We've never had the brilliance in this area that we have because of the, the, the ability to use the tools that we have, to, the access to information. We have the most brilliant people in technology ever, but we operating just like we operated 20 years ago. We might as well just shut the load boys now and put them over to wash machine and stop. We were struggling with adapting technology and we're throwing things at the wall hoping it sticks, and I'm tired of seeing that. Let's sit down together and hear both sides. And when I was at the mats I remember there was a listening session and in the listening session, if you can hear the passion that was in the voices of those owner operators out there but you know what was not present there. The FMCSA was there, but brokers weren't there. I would love to be able to take that same approach and go to a broker conference and bring 50, 100 owner operators and let's sit in one room and let's talk about it then. And I challenge folks to make it happen.

Blythe Brumleve: 59:01

What about on the broker side of things, if they want to find those reliable carriers that you know that they also won't get, you know, I guess, fall victim to fraud or, you know, double brokering, what are some ways that they can find those really good carriers that just want a shot? Is there any hope for them right now, or is it more like upper management, that's, you know, bringing the rules?

Adam Wingfield: 59:23

It's more upper management. You know you got a lot of brokers that just, hey, this is what our compliance team says. You know our compliance team says we're not going to deal with it. Just give you an example here in Kansas City, you know I've got a couple of clients with large you know, with large fleets and one of them has a significant size fleet and I met with him yesterday when I landed and the nicest him and his team, the nicest group of people you ever come across, face to face, met with them. They're hungry, they want to make things happen. But then when you look on from a broker perspective and how they view that carrier, it's just I'm not going to disclose on the sources that they're rated upon, but it's, it's you can see that the wedge is there, that personality that's saying, hey, you know what, there's an exception to the rule. Hey, let me escalate you to someone else on the team and let's give you another vetting, another part of the vetting process. You know it's almost like they don't have the opportunity. Carriers don't have the opportunity to prove themselves like they did before. How to heck am I, as a carrier, going to prove myself to you as a broker when you just use a system, okay, well, the system says that I'm this. Okay, well, let me prove to you why you should be able to work with me. Let me give you what do you need, what do I need to do? And a lot of times they don't have answers, they can't tell you. They're like, well, just get some inspections? Well, that's not. Let me tell you something Get an inspection. Number one that's not part of the FMCSA requirements. You know when I'm talking about the CVSA inspection, right, but number two it is 100% randomized. So you may, you may not. If I'm running a lane and I remember for a long time between South Carolina and Georgia, there was tons of construction and the two ways you know the there were several waystations that were along that construction line, that were temporary clothes, just as a as a part of it. So if I'm running that for a couple of years and I got two years of experience in it in that particular lane, and I reach out to to Blythe and Blythe's like, yeah, I can't use you, you don't have enough inspections. You got to prove to me that you're worthy. Well, blythe, I've been running a dedicated lane between here and Georgia and the scale house has been closed. How am I supposed to get a CVSA inspection? Well, I don't know, just tough deal with it. That's exactly the message that's out there right now. That is the message. We've got to get better at it. We've got to figure out a better solution, and that solution is we got to provide them a platform to prove themselves. Give me a prove it platform, show me a prove it platform. And then I'll say you know what, I'll take that to the small carriers and we're going to make sure that, hey, you know what, we're going to get the business form the right way Now. We're going to make the prove it platform done the right way Now. Okay, now let's sit down and let's talk about it.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:02:01

It almost feels like there, with all the data that is in this industry. I don't know why that's not able to be verified, that you know a certain MC number has run this lane for this many years. Is that just not available or the broker's just not looking for it?

Adam Wingfield: 1:02:17

This technology for that. If you plug into an ELD API now from a carrier and that carries running this, you know motive ELDs for the last two years. You know exactly what that truck has been going over the last two years. Pull a log history, pull it if the data, you can get all that information. But it's used not to either that shoes, not to, or they just don't have someone in their ear saying hey, look, you say he's not valid here. Let me show you the if the data. Let me see you give you his last four quarter if the bills to show you how hard he's been running over the last four quarters. Now now tell me that we don't you know. That's. That's where I say that there's. There's more conversation that needs to be had.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:02:52

Is there almost maybe like a digital resume for some of these carriers, kind of, you know, take ownership of this issue and almost make like a online resume? Maybe, you know, using their website or something like that, where they can list all of their you know partnerships or accomplishments? Or you know, here's literally like my ELD data. You can download it right here. Is there anything that they can do to take sort of ownership in their own hands?

Adam Wingfield: 1:03:16

Right now, the only thing you really can do like you said you spoke about creating that brand appearance right, getting that website up, making sure you don't have a Gmail address, make sure you have your own private domain. You spend money on a website, you spend money in your presence, you got social media information showing that you're legitimate, you know, and then getting the getting that part out the way. But as far as digital tools, there's no digital tools that are carrier friendly. That's going to say, hey, you know what if they come with this digital tool here, guys, they're not, they're not a double broker. They have legitimate trucks, they are actually running trucks. And so I just see so many. I see technology not carrier friendly. I see a lot of and I don't want to say broker friendly, because that's not fair to to the brokers either but I just don't see a lot of carrier facing data that says, hey, you know what if Adam's trucking? Because you know the crazy thing about this, check this out. Like if I started trucking company, if I chose to say I'm gonna start Blythe's trucking today. Me, adam, 23 years of experience in this industry, been driven more miles in reverse than some people that pull forward. Have seen success at every level. If I started trucking company today called Blythe's trucking and I go out get my MC number and I started MC, you know I'm gonna get told no, that I'm not. I need to. I need to get more experience. That's how the software and that's how their technology today is pointed. It is, it is, it is not, it is not mined to where it provides exceptions and there is no Proobit platform that's out there.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:04:43

Day, it just feels like the the deck is stacked against carriers and and what can you do except for just take ownership of your own financials, take ownership of your own brand, especially in a digital atmosphere. And then it kind of sounds like, you know, get out once you do those things, get out there and start networking and making those connections yourself and just hope that they don't have you know sort of a compliance department. That's that's going to. You know, bring the hammer down on carriers that don't meet the necessary you know sort of book requirements, for is that a safe assumption?

Adam Wingfield: 1:05:13

That's a safe, absolutely absolutely.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:05:16

All right, switching gears a little bit to the final part of the show because I have a few rapid fire questions for you. You kind of hinted at it early. You know Twitter and threads. Do you have a favorite social media platform that you like to use to get your message out?

Adam Wingfield: 1:05:32

You know, I like Twitter, I do.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:05:34

I like Twitter. Yeah, or X, yeah, x, I like that platform.

Adam Wingfield: 1:05:42

That's not what my primary following is at. You know, my primary following obviously is on Instagram and I've got a pretty significant following on LinkedIn. But I love X because I'm able to connect with people from just so many different industries on a more relaxed level, versus like I'm on LinkedIn and I'm like this and I'm sitting like this and I'm using proper words and I'm making sure I'm doing spell check and all that stuff, but on Twitter I can just let it fly and it's no judgment zone. So I like, I like, I like Twitter X, whatever you call it, but I like that platform a lot. It provides me the opportunity to do those things and really get a really true full scope of my day. Like I might comment on a catch that was thrown from Bryce Young, or I might be able to look at who the hornets just signed and make a comment on the mellow, and then at the same time I'm talking freight, so I can be free on that platform.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:06:37

Yeah, for sure, I definitely think. When threads launched, I was like I don't know if the Instagram community is ready for the kind of Twitter energy that's about to be brought here. Yeah, I don't think they were.

Adam Wingfield: 1:06:47

I don't think they were ready for it. It's just such a kind of like a squirrel type energy that you get on Twitter. Twitter is absolutely a squirrel environment 100% All right.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:06:58

what platforms or digital media strategies should more freight companies be taking advantage of?

Adam Wingfield: 1:07:03

LinkedIn. 100%, 100% LinkedIn. You'll find the most decision makers, the highest of the highs, the biggest voices, the biggest LinkedIn period, like if you really want to be heard. Like I said, you got to sit up, you got to button your shirt, you got to make sure you come correct you. But 100%. I don't see enough owner operators on LinkedIn. I don't see enough. I tell you there's one that I follow, Dan. I know you probably follow him as well, but he's got it right. I am and Ingrid. I love following their content on LinkedIn because they're so just charismatic, they're so unique, they're so intentional and they do such a good job of getting out there. And you've got so many people, whether it be 3PLs, whether it be. I saw one time, I think, one of them it was a broker that made a comment on Dan's post and he was like oh, I'm sorry, I can't do it because I've already got my dedicated customers and it's crazy that so many others don't do the same thing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:08

I know With Dan in particular. I think he's not a podcast listener. We've tried to get him to become a podcast listener, but he's not going to do it, maybe we can convince him with this conversation. All right, the next to last question Favorite software tool you use every day that you can't live without.

Adam Wingfield: 1:08:28

Slack, slack. Well, I sort of got to, can't live without Slack man and I, you know, shout out to Slack, shout out to Slack.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:36

What do you love about Slack?

Adam Wingfield: 1:08:38

Everything the fact that I can communicate with my team, I can communicate with clients, I can do video shots, I can integrate everything with it my emails you're dependent on the title of the email. It just makes everything one alert and one notification and it allows me to make things so much easier for myself, but also from a communication tool, it allows me to communicate better. It allows me to communicate and touch my clients. It allows me to communicate, touch with my team, be able to provide direction and things like that, man, but like 100%, I couldn't live without Slack.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09:08

All right. And then, finally, I can't let you go without talking a little bit of AI. How are you using? You know you mentioned chatGPT earlier. I think I've seen a couple of tweets about you using Claude, which I really love. How are you using different AI tools?

Adam Wingfield: 1:09:24

So we're using it, just you know, just really now we're in a testing phase of being able to use it to make the client experience better. We use it to help the efficiency and in operations and we're using it in bots, so we're allowing bots to do certain work for us. That really kind of streamlines workflows, make things more efficient, let the decision makers focus on making decisions. That are focusing on tasks. So there are a couple of things. You know I'm here at the recruiting conference and I'm not going to tell them, but I've got a presentation tomorrow that I'm a surprise and want to know how to really put chatGPT and the old recruiting experience and be able to write better driver ads, being able to communicate better with what potential driver recruits, being able to actually recruit drivers because it's like email marketing right. You got to, you got to nurture them, you got to recruit them, and I'm going to show them on how to use automations and things like that or how to do so.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:13

That's awesome. Is there going to be anywhere where we can catch that presentation, maybe after the fact?

Adam Wingfield: 1:10:18

So I'm going to have my cell phone in a tripod posted up in the back of that room and I'm going to definitely make sure I'm going to live stream it, or either that I'm going to throw it on YouTube once I get done.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:28

Heck, yeah, we'll be sure to link to it in the comments and in the show notes, just to make sure that people are aware that they can watch that kind of content. So I guess, last question, anything that you feel was important to cover that we haven't talked about in this conversation.

Adam Wingfield: 1:10:45

You know one thing and I've said this in my network before I think that you do such a great job of organic conversations and I don't know how you do it being able to ask the right questions through the entire. You're an amazing interviewer and I'm not just saying that. I just want the public to really see that. We can sit here and talk all day.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:04

Seriously, I just looked up and I was like oh, an hour and 10 minutes.

Adam Wingfield: 1:11:08

We can talk all day and they say that when you love what you do, it's not work, or when you're having fun, time flies us and it's like that in this conversation. I really want people to go back and listen to, versus me saying what did we miss? Why don't you go back and hit rewind on this? Go back and listen to some of those points. Especially my own operators and small carriers are looking to get off the load board and really secure a dedicated freight. Don't skip over that part. Go back, listen to that. Go back and listen to my brokers. Go back and listen to the part where we talked about let's get down to the table and let's do a better job of vet and carriers. Let's come up with more strategies. Let's take the gloves off for a second. Let's sit down and let's have conversations, Open our eyes, open our ears and look at it from a different lens and perspective. I want you to go back and listen to the fact that I've got 23 years of experience in this industry. If I got 23 years of experience in this industry and I started trucking company, tomorrow you're going to tell me no, I can't haul your freight, there's a problem and you need to come up with a solution so that we can do a better job together 100%, so they can listen to this free education and then, when they're ready, to kick it up a notch and come over to Innovative Logistics Group and learn even more of what they need to do to run not just a trucking company but run it profitably. That's right. Thank you so much.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:12:21

Absolutely. Where can folks follow more of your work, follow you All that good stuff.

Adam Wingfield: 1:12:25

Follow me on LinkedIn at Adam L Wingfield. You can follow me on Twitter at Adam L Wingfield. You can follow my company on Instagram at Innovative Logistics Group. You can follow me on Instagram at Adam L Wingfield. You can follow my company on Facebook at Innovative Logistics Group, and you can go to our website, which is wwwinnovative logisticsgroupio. Thank you.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:12:46

That was awesome. 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 you 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.