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    Small Biz Club: 5 Questions To Manage Profits

    Andy Ahern recently contributed to the Startup column over at Small Biz Club with 5 Questions to Manage Profits.

    In the article, Ahern does not shy away from the primary reason businesses exist: to make money. While a straightforward goal, the steps to accomplish that goal are not so simple. He encourages business owners to take a hard look at their team and themselves:

    “Companies fail because of people problems. Often, the biggest problem is the person at the top.”

    He continues to share insights about growth, tough questions to ask, and suggestions to improve.

    To read all of Andy’s advice, please read the full article on Small Biz Club.

    CFF Nation: How Technology Impacts Our Industry

    Finish Line, Andy Ahern

    Finish Line with Andy Ahern of Ahern & Associates

    In the fourth video of the “Finish Line” series, Andy Ahern discusses a topic of growing relevance and importance: technology. He talks about how technology has, is, and will affect the trucking industry.

    Technology, as Ahern notes, is crucial for small and larger businesses alike. Companies must leverage tech to their advantage. For example, using the Internet, owners can creatively attract new drivers, connect with trucking associations, improve efficiency, and much more. Owners must embrace technology and ensure that all employees do as well.

    For the full video and additional videos, be sure to check Finish Line on CFF Nation.

    CFF Nation: Preparing To Sell Your Business

    Finish Line, Andy Ahern

    Finish Line with Andy Ahern of Ahern & Associates


    The third video in the “Finish Line” series addresses an important milestone that many business owners must face, whether they are in the trucking industry or not. When it comes time to sell a business, many owners are not prepared, emotionally or financially. Ahern advises “the day you start a business is the day you should plan to exit the business.” He encourages owners to take a step back from the day-to-day routine and plan for the future of your business, your successors, and yourself.

    For the full video and additional videos, be sure to check Finish Line on CFF Nation.

    CFF Nation: Should I Buy Or Should I Sell

    Finish Line, Andy Ahern

    Finish Line with Andy Ahern of Ahern & Associates


    The second video of “Finish Line” with Andy Ahern on CFF Nation is titled “Should I Buy Or Should I Sell”. Ahern takes the opportunity to discuss a common issues that many business owners face. He encourages owners to prepare an exit strategy, something that many do not do. The reason is that the business does not end when their involvement with the business ends; it’s important to plan ahead and look at the larger picture for the health of the business in the long-term. Andy also discusses the power of audits and assessments to help business owners determine if they should sell their business.

    For the full video and additional videos, be sure to check Finish Line on CFF Nation.

    Andy Ahern IdeaMensch Interview

    Curious about our CEO and founder Andy Ahern? Through the podcasts and the Ahern Advisory, many of you have had a chance to get to know Andy on a business level. Andy had the opportunity to share some personal insight in an interview with IdeaMensch.

    In the interview, Andy shares about his inspirations, challenges, and lessons learned. Whether you are involved with the trucking industry or not, this is a great read about business and entrepreneurship.

    CFF Nation: Andy Ahern is Sticking Up For The Trucking Industry

    Finish Line, Andy Ahern
    Finish Line with Andy Ahern of Ahern & Associates


    In the first installment of “Finish Line” with Andy Ahern titled “Andy Ahern is Sticking Up For The Trucking Industry” we get some great insights into the trucking industry. Ahern discusses some of the problems that both drivers and companies alike are facing, sheds light on common misconceptions about trucking in America and more. For additional videos, be sure to check Finish Line on CFF Nation.

    Automation In The Trucking Industry – Fortune

    Andy Ahern, Founder and CEO of Ahern & Associates, Ltd., the premier consulting company and M&A transportation advisory firm, was featured in an article posted on Fortune.com on May 19, 2015. The article, titled “In Trucking, a Little Automation Saves a Lot of Money”, highlights the subject of fully automated trucks and partial automation systems. Although fully automated semi-trucks are still at least a decade away, the benefits are coming today that include enhanced human driver performance and overall efficiency.

    To illustrate, the article presents Andy Ahern as an industry analyst and expert who states, “60% of wasted truck fuel is caused by driver over-acceleration; for instance, hitting the gas on the way down a hill, only to have to brake to slow down at the bottom.” As part of the automation campaign for the trucking industry, Continental AG’s eHorizon system works to prevent that waste. It uses a database to plan acceleration and braking and plan acceleration decisions before a human would even be able to see the hill around a bend.

    The Head of Product Management for Continental, Robert Gee, says that eHorizon reduces overall fuel usage by about 3%, which equates to $2,000 worth of fuel for a single truck each year. In trucks manufactured by Scania AB, 16 million gallons of fuel have been saved by using the eHorizon technology since 2012, equaling $62 million in savings.

    The American Trucking Association says that there are 2.4 million semis on the road in the USA, and if this technology were to be installed in all of those trucks, $4.8 billion annually could be saved in fuel costs. In turn, the U.S. Energy Information Administration claims that burning  a gallon of diesel fuel creates 22.38 pounds of atmospheric carbon – which means that this automated technology by Continental could also reduce truck emissions by 35 billion pounds each year.

    The article featuring Andy Ahern also mentions another way that automated technology could benefit the trucking industry in the near future, and it has to do with drafting – following closely behind a leading truck to reduce wind resistance. One of the major problems with this practice is that it is extremely dangerous, and a human’s reaction time is about a half a second, which isn’t quick enough to react to a braking truck that is just ahead.

    Peloton Technology is working on a system that would link adjacent trucks into groups of two or more that would follow a lead truck. Automated braking would allow trucks to respond almost instantly to speed changes along with a wireless communications link between vehicles.

    Andy Ahern often discusses concerns of the trucking and transportation industry in his regular podcasts and in his weekly newsletter, the Ahern Advisory; some of the most pressing issues discussed are those that industry automation is aiming to address, including safety concerns, rising fuel costs, an increasing shortage of drivers, and more. The evolution and advancement of automated systems for the industry provide hope for relief from many of these problems.

    Interested parties can listen to the discussions regarding the trucking and transportation industry with Ahern’s podcasts via the official Ahern & Associates podcast page, and information is also available via a free email subscription to the Ahern Advisory.

    Trucking & Transportation Industry Update: Speed Limiters, Drive-Cams, Healthcare Reform & More

    Speed Limiters

    The Department of Transportation is about to mandate the use of speed limiters. Speed limiters are also known as electronic control modules on certain trucks traveling across US highways. The rule would apply to trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds and trucks traveling on roads with a speed limit of at least 55 mph.

    The American Trucking Association has requested limiters on all new trucks, and the Safety Advocacy Group has proposed retrofitting all vehicles manufactured since 1990.



    Swift Transportation, the 3rd largest carrier in the country and the largest TL carrier, announced that it will be installing drive-cam systems in their 6,000+ company truck. These cameras will include forward-facing and driver-facing cameras that record and upload video clips before and after an accident, including hard braking and swerving.

    According to Swift, the tool will help correct any “at-risk” driver behavior.  The cameras will only upload recordings of critical events in the 10 seconds before and after.  Implementation will begin next month.


    Legal Fiends

    Some portions of the legal profession are starting to focus a substantial amount of their efforts on the trucking industry. Some of the commercials by law firms that are being televised are absolutely absurd, and remind me of “panhandlers” in the 1920’s. Unfortunately, these commercials are allowed to air, so you need to be very cognizant of the new DOT safety requirements and HOS regulations.

    The American Trucking Association has contributed money to promote the positive image of the trucking industry, but it is my recommendation to anyone in the trucking industry to contact their local trucking association and speak with the association members to continue to create positive images about the industry.


    Economic Update

    Get ready for the next big test under the Affordable Healthcare Act. The expanded directive mandates that companies with 50–99 full-time employees offer Affordable Healthcare Insurance or pay a penalty.  The company change may prompt a reduction in hours as employers strive to stay under their 30-hour limit that defines a full-time workload.

    As operating costs continue to increase and the federal mandates continue to cut into productivity, hundreds of trucking companies are shutting their doors each quarter. Although many of these companies are small, collectively, they encompass as much as a large, multibillion dollar motor carrier.According to Avondale Partners, in the first quarter of 2014, 390 carriers with 10,650 tractors shutdown.

    In the fourth quarter of 2013, 335 carriers with 7,775 trucks went broke. The combined fleet was bigger than that of some of the largest truckload carriers in the country. In the year ending 2014, there was approximately 970 trucking company bankruptcies; of those 970 trucking companies, they operated more than 21,000 trucks.

    This demonstrates the impact of the FMCSA requirements are having on our industry. The driver shortage continues to worsen. Besides the mandates by the DOT, the Hours of Service mandates, the new drug testing laws, and the installation of cameras, in addition to the upcoming e-logs and mandated speed limiter laws, are all causing many of the younger generation to look at alternatives to trucking to develop their careers.

    The next mandate coming down the road will be an increase in auto liability limits for trucking companies, and that will further impact the availability of drivers.

    Trucking & Transportation Industry Update: Consolidation, Lawsuits & More

    Consolidation continues to be very active this year, due to a variety of reasons: CSA compliance, Hours of Service, e-logs, the speed limiters, the cost of equipment and plaintiff lawsuits.

    Many small to medium-sized trucking and logistics companies have made the decision that they want to protect their net worth, while they can.  The continued pressers of consolidation, rules and regulations, and continual government intervention, have prompted many to sell.

    Freight companies expand services to meet demand.  More and more transportation companies are broadening their services to offer both asset and non-asset based businesses.  The larger companies feel that they can control a larger segment of the shipper’s revenue by offering “one-stop shopping”.  Many of the larger carriers started with a very small, non-asset based business, and developed it into a separate operating platform.  However, for small to medium-sized freight brokers or logistics companies, to consider purchasing assets which increase their debt load and exposure, would not be a good idea in today’s environment.

    Plaintiff lawsuits are on the rise.  Ahernrecently did a study of 39 lawsuits that showed staggering results.  With pending legislation to increase the auto liability limits for truckers that is just another way for plaintiff lawyers to increase the settlements for their clients.  Until such time as there are mandatory regulations placed on the private passenger components of the industry, it will be very difficult for many trucking companies to survive.  A truck can be parked on the road, in a safety zone, and if they are hit by a third-party, they can still be held liable.  Too many trucking lawsuits today are based upon empathy and not fact.

    Driver turnover still continues to be an issue.  Throughout the first quarter of 2015, driver turnover continued to be an issue.  Despite all that the industry has done to attract attention to the next generation, we are still short approximately 35,000 – 40,000 drivers in our system; and within the next 10 to 15 years, that shortage will increase to 200,000+ drivers.  Although there are many experts that say they can solve the problem, the problem really is one of attracting the next generation, based upon their wants and needs.  There is no single solution; but ultimately, the trucking industry will find a solution to the problem by changing the dynamics of their operations.

    In reference to Mergers & Acquisitions, Radiant Logistics closed the purchase of Canadian-based Wheels Group.  The acquisition combines 2 North American logistics companies with Radiant being based in Bellevue, Washington.

    FedEx makes a bid for TNT.  In a recent release, FedEx stated it intends to buy Dutch package and freight carrier TNT Express for $4.8 billion, in an effort to bolster its operations in Europe and challenge US rivals.  UPS, Inc. and Germany’s Deutsche post DHL Group.  This is an all-cash acquisition that will be funded through FedEx’s available cash and debt.

    Industry executives scold Congress for indecision.  Executives from 4 of the largest US transportation companies directed a clear message to federal lawmakers: do what’s needed to support infrastructure improvements now or risk real damage to the economy and competitiveness down the road.

    The American Trucking Association stated that the federal government has failed to comply with a Freedom of Information request, for transcripts of deliberations about the use of hair testing to detect drug use in truck drivers.

    Trucking & Transportation Industry Update: Driver Shortage, Speed Limiters & More

    • Overall, the trucking industry has shown growth and stability in recent years. Despite news of job losses in March, which we responded to, some companies are increasing rewards for employees. CR England increased its pay scale starting March 19 for company team and experience drivers. While the average increase for a team with more than six month of experience was 26%, the exact size of the increase will vary based on several factors, such as driver tenure, length of haul, etc. CR England also announced bonuses for select drivers and contractors earlier this year.
    • The Celadon Group also announced pay increases and promotions within its senior management along with new hires. These changes made by industry leaders CR England and Celadon will certainly affect other companies and inspire raises elsewhere.
    • Despite that good news, the driver shortage continues to get worse according to a new study in Transport Topics. The aging workforce, rising market demand, and drop in recruiting of young hires continue to affect the industry. We have discussed the importance of Driver Recruiting & Retention in multiple podcasts as well as in the Ahern Advisory. According to the American Trucking Association, there is a current driver shortage of 35,000 drivers per year, and an additional 240,000 drivers will be needed by 2023.
    • In other news, the new speed limiter law is set to go into effect in July of this year. The rule will apply to trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds and traveling on roads with a speed limit of at least 55 mph and will be governed at 65 mph. The American Trucking Association has asked for limiters (also known as electronic control modules) on all new trucks, as many fleets already limit the speed on their trucks with electronic governors, and the ATA also continues to challenge the FMCSA, in reference to Hours of Service and compliance issues.
    • Last week, a bill was introduced in the Senate, titled, “Investment and Transportation Act”.  This is a highway funding bill which would use a Repatriation Tax of 6.5% to shore up the struggling highway trust fund. The bill’s text has not yet been produced, but the general consensus is that the 6.5% rate would incentivize companies to move their foreign earnings, State side.  In essence, this means that roughly $2 trillion in earnings by US companies would be eligible for the incentive.
    • Diesel prices also jumped, ending a 5-week string of price drops.  The US average price is now $2.78, which is 1.191 lower than the same week last year.

    Acquisition Targets for 2nd Quarter of 2015

    Each quarter, I provide the needs of Ahern’s clients so that my readers can determine if they are ready to “begin the process”.  2014 was a very profitable year for many Carriers, but also a very challenging year.  The 1st quarterof 2015, has been very active for my firm; as such, our clients have advised us of their needs through August of 2015.


    In each instance, Ahern has been retained in an advisory capacity to introduce clients to parties interested in selling;


    CLIENT 1: 

    Client 1 has been in business since 1949.

    • They are primarily a provider of logistics solutions for agriculture, construction, energy, manufacturing, mining and oil refining.
    • Revenues exceed $800MM annually.
    • Client interested in expanding their operating “footprint” in the “light asset” business models.
    • If you are a freight brokers, or 3PL focusing on agricultural bulk commodities, energy, mining or other niche markets you are a company that would be of interest.


    CLIENT 2:

    A long-time client, whose revenues are in excess of $300MM annually.

    • The client has been in business for 60+years;
    • Client is primarily a “light” asset based business;
    • Company is involved in TL, LTL, Freight brokerage, Intermodal, and Van;
    • The client is willing to look at companies that generates $3MM-$40MM of annual revenue and will look at some company assets;
    • Client is only interested in acquiring transportation companies that are located in the State of California.


    Additionally, if you have warehousing in California, and if it can be consolidated into one of their warehousing facilities, that’s a plus.


    CLIENT 3: 

    An existing Ahern client that is looking to expand their operating “footprint”.

    • They like to acquire companies whose revenue are in excess of $50MM;
    • They like to acquire them as an investor company and grow the business; will acquire at least 50% or more of business.


    CLIENT 4: 

    This is one of the largest transportation providers of supply chain solutions, and domestic transportation services in the United States.

    • They are active in all forms of freight distribution.
    • They are looking for freight brokers that generate $15MM to $150MM annual revenue.
    • Company must have strong operating margins.
    • Must have a good diversity of business.

    In all cases, the business must be non-asset based.


    CLIENT 5: 

    This client is an Ahern long term customer;

    • They are one of the top flatbed providers in the country;
    • The target companies are $10MM – $40MM of annual revenue;
    • They are looking primarily for owner/operator flatbed companies;
    • The company can be profitable or nonprofit able;


    CLIENT 6:

    A well-established Transportation Company, operating primarily vans, looking to extend their operating “footprint” throughout the United States.

    • Client currently operates approximately 600 tractors;
    • They are willing to look at trucking companies that are marginally profitable;
    • They want to acquire the assets of the business and pay for the customer base;
    • They can move quickly; and
    • They want the management to continue to stay and assist in growing the business.


    CLIENT 7: 

    A well-established trucking company that has been in business for approximately 15 years, currently operating 450 trucks.

    • They are looking for a TL, Van, OTR Carrier;
    • The Carrier must operate east of the Mississippi;
    • The primary lanes are IN, KY, IL, LA, WV, GA, and PA;
    • The average length of haul should be 300 – 400 miles;
    • They are looking to acquire companies that have 30 – 100 trucks and can close quickly.  


    CLIENT 8: 

    An existing Ahern client looking to acquire specialized flatbed carriers that generate at least $100MM in annual revenue; company must be:

    • Profitable.
    • Possess excellent management staff.
    • Management staff wants to stay and assist in growing the business, and;
    • The company must historically demonstrate growth and strong profitability.

    Any asset trucking company that’s looking for a strong financial partner, this would be a good “fit”.


    CLIENT 9: 

    A Flatbed Carrier whose revenues approximate $85MM, and growing.

    • The clients average length of haul is 500 miles;
    • Their primary traffic lanes are: AL, MS, IN, IL, OH, PA, NJ, TN, and GA.
    • They are looking to acquire companies that are $5MM-$30MM in annual flatbed revenue.
    • Client is looking primarily for asset based businesses, but will consider a non-asset based Flatbed broker;
    • The client focuses on generic movements of metal products.


    CLIENT 10: 

    Well-recognized Transportation Company, whose revenue exceeds $1 billion, annually;

    • Client is looking to establish ownership of companies with revenues of $150MM, and over;
    • They are willing to acquire 50% to 60% of the business; and
    • Established a formula, so that when an owner is ready to “exit” the business, they are willing to acquire the balance of the businessat a predetermined formula.
    • Refrigerated Carriers;
    • Flatbed Carriers;
    • Van, OTR Carriers; and

    The client will look at;

    • Asset or non-asset based business, but their threshold must be $150MM of revenue and over.
    • Strong earnings EBIT/EBITDA a must.
    • Strong management a must.


    CLIENT 11:

    Client is a bulk commodity company looking to expand itsoperating footprint.

    Prefers companies that generate:

    • $15MM – $40MM of annual revenue.
    • Company must have good earnings and strong management.
    • Client will allow seller to retain some ownership if desired.

    If your company is a fit with any of the above clients, or you know of a company, please contact Andy Ahern/Brian Haley at (602)242-1030, or email: ahern@ahern-ltd.com





    “Teaching may be compared to selling commodities. No one can sell unless somebody buys”                        (Author: John Dewey)

    Transport Topics: Trucking, Logistics Acquisitions Expected to Continue in 2015

    Following a strong 2014, expectations for the trucking industry in 2015 are mixed – some expect continued growth, while others remain wary. In a recent article from Transport Topics, CEO and founder Andy Ahern offered his insight, stating “There is a lot of activity. I don’t know if it will reach everybody’s expectations.” Ever the realist and an industry figurehead from nearly 30 years, Andy knows that factors, such as the aging driver population and increased regulations may take a toll on growth trends.


    If you would like to print the article, please click here. You can also subscribe to Transport Topics for the most up-to-date information about the transportation and trucking industry. For more information about Ahern & Associates, please see the Services we offer.

    Acquisition Targets for 4th Quarter of 2014

    Each quarter, I provide the needs of Ahern’s clients so that my readers can determine if they are ready to “begin the process”.  2014 has been a very profitable year for many Carriers, but also a challenging year.  The first 3 quarters of 2014 have been very active for my firm; as such, our clients have advised us of their needs through December 31st of 2014, as well as the first quarter of 2015.In each instance, Ahern has been retained for the following searches: 

    CLIENT 1:  This is a family-owned company that generates in excess of $750M of annual revenue.  The client is a company that has been in business for approximately 65 years;

    • They are well recognized in supply chain management solutions;
    • They have a diversified list of customers, including Electric Power Generation Companies, coal production, oil refining, train, chemical and other industries.

    Our client currently has over 200 locations and more than 3,000 employees, and growing.  This client is looking to obtain freight brokers and logistics companies that focus on trucking, train transport, and trans-loading expertise.  Focuses on agriculture, construction, energy, manufacturing, mining and oil refining;

    • Client is looking to acquire companies with revenues between $20M – $50M of annual revenue.

    CLIENT 2:  Has been in business since 1949;

    • They are primarily a provider of bulk aggregate materials and utilize dumps and pneumatics;
    • They focus on food, energy, chemicals, manufacturing and construction;
    • They are interested in expanding their operating footprint;
    • The customer profile consists of Fortune 500 companies, comprising 80% of their revenue base;
    • They have multiple distribution centers throughout the United States;
    • They have multiple-year contracts, and long dedicated contract for services;
    • CSA compliance is a must.

    They are also willing to look at small freight brokers that generate $3M – $10M of annual revenue;

    • They are primarily looking for companies in the Midwest.

    CLIENT 3:  This is a very successful P.E. client, looking to grow their specialized heavy haul division;

    • They are looking for niche companies in specific geographic areas;
    • Revenue must be between $20M – $100M of annual revenue;
    • The company must be profitable;
    • Management must be willing to stay and continue to grow the business.

    CLIENT 4:  This client has established a platform company.  They are looking to acquire carriers that are specialized bulk haulers within the 11 Western states;

    • Client desires management to stay and continue to operate the business;
    • Client will pay a multiple of EBITDA;
    • A normal transaction can be closed within 90 days;
    • Client is looking to acquire companies with revenues between $15M – $50M of annual revenue.

    CLIENT 5:  A repeat customer that Ahern has done a substantial amount of work for, many years;

    • They are one of the top flatbed carriers in the country;
    • They want to continue to expand their operating footprint;
    • The target companies they are looking at are $10M – $50M of annual revenue;
    • They are looking primarily for owner/operator flatbed carriers;
    • The company can be profitable or unprofitable; and
    • Management must be willing to stay.

    CLIENT 6:  A well-established, trucking, over the road operation, operating primarily Vans, looking to expand their operating footprint throughout the United States;

    • The company currently operates approximately 550 tractors;
    • They are willing to review companies that are marginally profitable;
    • They want to acquire the assets of the business and pay for the customer base;
    • They can move quickly; and
    • They want management to continue to stay and assist in growing the business.

    CLIENT 7:  A continuing customer of Ahern’s, which is always looking for a unique business;

    • They like to acquire trucking and logistics companies whose revenues are in excess of $75M – $250M of annual revenue;
    • They acquire the business and establish them as a platform business, and then continue to grow the business;
    • The client is willing to pay a multiple of EBIT or EBITDA;
    • The client is willing to acquire a percentage of the stock in the business: grow the business, provide financial strength, as well as management strength; and
    • The client will allow the Seller to retain some ownership in the business.

    CLIENT 8:  A well-recognized company, whose revenues exceed $1 billion, annually;

    • They are looking to establish ownership of companies with revenues of $150M and over;
    • They are willing to acquire 50% – 60% of the business, or more; and
    • Establish a formula so when the owner is ready to exit the business, they are willing to acquire the balance of the business at a predetermined formula.
    • The client will look at Van, over the road carriers, flatbed carriers, and refrigerated Carriers;
    • They will look at asset or nonasset-based businesses, but their minimum “threshold” is $150M of revenue and over.

    CLIENT 9:  A well-established trucking company that has been in business approximately 16 years, and currently operates 500 trucks;

    • They are looking for a truckload van, over the road carrier;
    • The carrier must operate east of the Mississippi;
    • Primary lanes are Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, West Virginia, Georgia, and Pennsylvania;
    • Average length of haul should be 300 – 400 miles;
    • They also have an over the road division that has secured three-year contracts, tied directly to the automotive industry;
    • They are looking to acquire companies that have 50 – 150 trucks;
    • They can close quickly; and
    • An ideal location would be in the state of Missouri.

    CLIENT 10:  Very well-respected freight broker and logistics company that has been a client of Ahern’s for some time;

    • They are looking to acquire freight brokers whose revenues are $30M – $200M;
    • Company must be profitable;
    • Management must be willing to stay;
    • They are willing to pay a multiple of EBITDA;
    • They are involved in TL, LTL, intermodal, expedited flatbed, and refrigerated;
    • The client can move quickly.

    Any freight broker or 3PL provider that is looking for a strong financial partner, this would be a good fit.

    If your company is a fit with any of these clients, or you know of a company, please contact Andy Ahern at (602)242-1030, or email me: ahern@ahern-ltd.com

    QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”  ( Unknown)

    Pursuing a Career in Consulting? Andy Ahern Offers Advice for Success

    Andy Ahern CBS Local

    There are more than half a million consultants who work in the United States – consultants can help in big ways with making sure a company stays on the right path, whether it be with finances and accounting or with human resource management and planning.

    Andy Ahern, CEO and Founder of Ahern & Associates, spoke with Gillian Kruse during a recent interview for CBS Local’s Let’s Get To Work segment and shared sound advice, tips, and information for everyone who is interested in consulting.

    Education and Early Beginnings

    Andy Ahern received a double major in business and business education – he had always wanted a career in sales and marketing, but also wanted to empower others that he interacted with to achieve more than just what was considered “average expectations”. Ahern founded Ahern & Associates in 1987, and since then has been involved in almost 500 trucking and logistics transactions and more than 400 operational assessments, successor plans and business plans.

    “Responsibilities are a moving target because they keep changing,” he explains. “100 percent of my focus is in transportation logistics and warehousing.” His primary role with Ahern & Associates is to work with sales analysts as they analyze companies that are preparing to expand their operating model, sell their businesses or want to pass their business on to the next generation.

    So what is his secret to success?

    “You need to stay ahead of the curve; you need to keep breaking ‘the model’; you need to surround yourself with people who are much more competent than you’ you have to be an effective listener…and you must continuously embrace technology,” he states. The success of Ahern & Associates is something that he attributes to his team applying themselves daily to these very things.

    Consultants often take on the role of supporters, educators and motivators for members of their team and company employees, and it’s important that receiving a sound education as well as following Andy Ahern’s advice be done to make a great start for anyone pursuing a consulting career.

    For more information on Ahern & Associates, contact us today.

    Why Benchmarking Alone Isn’t Enough for Proper Cost Analysis

    Benchmarking Isn’t Enough for Proper Cost AnalysisCarriers in the trucking industry today are actively looking for ways to combat the rising costs of operating their businesses, but they often do not fully understand proper benchmarking, cost analysis, and profit management are intertwined. Without understanding true costs and using benchmarks as just that – benchmarks – carriers and owners will struggle to effectively analyze and reduce their costs.


    A popular, and possibly overly-stressed, component of profit management is benchmarking. Although it is certainly important for carriers to review industry averages in comparison with their own costs and profits, many may use these averages – or benchmarks – without proper conjunctive analysis and without fully understanding their costs and profits. For a trucking company or logistics provider to be profitable, owners must understand their cost of purchased transportation and expenses need to be in line with desired profitability. Using only industry averages to gauge business successes can not only be inaccurate, but can also be ineffective and even damaging.

    The following categories represent a major portion of a carrier’s operating cost; the average cost per mile for the industry over the last year, according to industry experts is as follows:

    • LTL – $1.79 per mile
    • Specialized – $1.73 per mile
    • Truckload – $1.51 per mile

    In addition, experts figure that on average:

    • Fuel costs represent 39% of a total carrier’s cost
    • Driver wages represent 26% of costs
    • Payments on leased/purchased trucks and trailers represent 11% of costs
    • Maintenance repair was the next most expensive line item expense

    Do you know how your company fares against these figures? If you are looking for ways to reduce your costs but don’t understand a comprehensive breakdown of those costs, benchmarking won’t be a useful tool by itself.

    Fortunately there are several sources on benchmarking information available, two of which include the American Trucking Associations and the American Transportation Research Institute. The ATRI provides an analysis of operational cost of trucking and update the report once each year; the report is available online on a donation basis. The ATA can also provide you with specific materials on the subject.

    Benchmarking Isn’t Enough for Proper Cost AnalysisProfits

    While benchmarking is a valuable tool to gauge costs and profits overall, it is critical to also utilize effective profit management skills as well. In order for a business to be successful, you must plan your expenses to your profits, treat every truck as a profit center, and know prior to dispatching every truck whether or not you’ll make a profit each time it is dispatched.

    One of the reasons why benchmarking alone isn’t enough to properly measure profits is that there are constant changes that influence the industry and affect costs and profits. Furthermore, each change that comes about impacts every business in a unique way; no two businesses are exactly alike, and fluctuations in the industry are never going to impact two companies in exactly the same way. Some of those changes come about as a result of changes in laws; currently, there are more than 20 laws pending that will impact the cost of transportation – not to mention CSA compliance, Hours of Service, e-logs, and changes in other areas as well.

    Focus on the Future, but not at the Expense of Today

    Regardless of how your numbers stack against benchmarked industry averages, it is important to not only think about the future, but also to deal with the complexity of today. Today there are too few drivers, costs are rising, and staying ahead of the technology curve while being one way to grow a business is often overwhelming. Staying on top of today’s developments in the industry will provide you with a roadmap to the future. With sound awareness of benchmarking and diligent, accurate profit performance management, you will be on the right path to a continually profitable business not only today but in the future as well. For help with effective cost analysis and management for your company, contact our leading trucking and transportation consultants for help.

    Three Steps To Keep Your Trucking Company Ahead of the Curve

    Trucking companies seem to continually face pressure to continue to be profitable, compliant, and stay ahead of the curve. While we’ve covered many ways in which trucking business owners and transport consultants can try to remain profitable or improve their bottom line, we wanted to delve into three specific ways that trucking companies need to adapt in order to stay ahead of the industry and remain profitable, not only surviving, but thriving in a challenging economy.

    From political pressure to physical resources, we’ve outlined three ways that can help trucking businesses streamline their processes using technology. While technology can also be expensive for a business, it can also be a liberating process that can help provide resources to streamline procedures for maximum efficiency.

    Take Trucks to the Cloud

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and other cloud-based solutions allow drivers and operators to integrate everything in the cloud, and often offer bespoke, customized solutions depending on the needs of your business. This means that a business owner and a driver can automate and reconcile nearly every link on the supply chain directly from a tablet or mobile device straight from the road, if necessary. Rather than relying on extensive paper trails, the cloud helps businesses to become more efficient by automating or at least streamlining the process. ERP can help business owners better communicate with every member of their team and make important processes become second-nature. Solutions to help streamline things like accounting and supply chain management, as well as improving communication and accountability range from Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce, but can be instrumental tools in improving business efficiency.

    Use Proprietary Software

    We offer a suite of proprietary software created just for the trucking industry. Rather than just focusing on general business procedures like those outlined above, this software helps trucking owners address concerns specific to their business, like revenue per mile, revenue per load, and more. By using Financial IQ, we have helped trucking businesses take their revenue to new heights by addressing some issues business owners didn’t even know they had. This is an incredible way to help your transportation business stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of the technology.

    Mobile Friendly Communication

    With federal regulations and changing hours of service arrangements, it can be difficult to ensure employees and truckers keep all of the logs and information they need. Instead, leverage mobile apps or mobile friendly employee platforms to ensure that drivers are able to stay in constant communication. This can cut down on time and communication by ensuring you take advantage of tools and infrastructure that are already in place!

    For more information on how your trucking business can benefit from technology, contact us today.

    Highway Hero Award Highlights The Good Truckers Do

    Trucking and Logistics Industry Show
    The Mid-America Trucking Show is one of the largest trucking shows in the USA.

    Far too often we forget about the great things that are happening everyday in the trucking industry. We get caught up in the complexities of new regulations and day to day operations that we forget to look for that silver living.

    This month, the silver lining at the Mid-America Trucking Show was the Goodyear Highway Hero Award of 2014. The Highway Hero Award brings recognition to the extraordinary feats of bravery and selflessness present in the trucking industry. This year’s winner was one Ivan Vasovic, a truck driver based in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

    This past October, Vasovic risked life and limb to save a fellow truck driver who was trapped inside a burning truck. Despite the extremely treacherous situation, Vasovic dove in to pull the injured truck driver to safety. When the heat became too much to pull the driver to safety, Vasovic poured water over himself and went back to save the truck driver for good.

    Vasovic is just one of the many other Highway Hero finalists who have committed great acts of bravery. That is part of what makes the Goodyear Highway Hero Award such a great thing—it celebrates the everyday truck drivers of America who are out there doing extraordinary things. It reminds us that we work in an incredible business with lots of heart. If people still have any doubts about the integrity, dedication, and altruism among trucking businesses, they need only look at some of the many amazing Highway Heroes, and the countless other highway heroes who are go everyday under the radar.

    Truck Drivers’ Satisfaction Remains Strong in the Face of a Difficult Economy

    In the past, we have talked about the driver retention problems that most companies are facing, and how driver retention is one of the biggest concerns in the industry today. The times have not been particularly kind to trucking businesses over the past year: the Hours of Service regulations have exacerbated truck driver shortages, weather conditions in the United States were abysmal thanks to one of the hardest winters in recent history, and new young truck drivers entering field were few and far between when compared to other years in the past.

    Trucking Fleet in AmericaLuckily, it looks like the trucking industry has held onto their drivers for the time being. Stay Metrics is an organization that has been holding satisfaction surveys of drivers in the industry since 2012 in order to better understand driver retention rates. According to their latest report, despite an extremely turbulent year—both economically and politically—driver satisfactions has remained steady when compared to past years. The news is extremely promising, and has shown that trucking businesses have been able to keep happy one of their most valuable assets: their drivers.

    As always, in order to overcome these challenges and maintain a strong workforce of truck drivers, trucking businesses must continue to treat each and every one of their drivers as profit centers, because that is exactly what they are. Without the hard work and dedication of each driver, a trucking business would make absolutely zero profits. When you invest in your drivers and raise your offered wages, you are increasing the likelihood that you will improve retention rates of a highly skilled and profitable team of drivers which is essential to each and every trucking business.

    Do Trailer Tails Actually Work? Should I Invest in Them?

    A topic that has been appearing in the news a lot lately are something called trailer tails. These gadgets are placed on the rear end of a truck in order to help reduce aerodynamic drag, and it claims to help fuel efficiency by as much as 6% when driving at freeway speeds. A New Mexico trucking business recently refitted their entire fleet with these trailer tails, ordering over 3,000 in total.

    In the news, it was recently claimed that 200,000 trailers are predicted to be outfitted with trailer tails in the next 3 years. (Now of course, this figure becomes a little less persuasive when you realize it comes straight from the manufacturers of the trailer tails themselves.)

    With the new government fuel efficiency mandates on the horizon any technology that tackles fuel efficiency obviously has its eyes set in the right direction. However, to say that all transportation and trucking companies should adopt trailer tails for a competitive edge would be premature and naïve.

    Firstly, trailer tails are the not newfangled ideas. Side skirts and under trays for trailers and trucks have existed for years, and have been shown to work by utilizing the idea of reducing drag while moving.  Secondly, although trailer tails may be beneficial for certain types of companies, whether it is right for your business or not depends on your exact circumstances and future goals.

    · Does your company have a lot of surplus funds? Installing trailer tails are not cheap in any way. Each trailer tail costs around $2,000 and some $200-300 for installation. You also have to factor in opportunity cost—your fleet will be out of commission for a certain time period as the vehicles are being refitted, and that is money you are leaving on the table. Add in any replacement and upkeep/maintenance fees for the trailer tails, and you have quite an impressive bill at the end of the day.

    · What kind of conditions are your drivers traveling in? Driving thousands of miles with a gigantic flappy tail is all well and good when you’re in Hayward, CA, but if you are driving through hilly routes and extreme weather, the cons of an extra component begins to outweigh the pros. When a driver starts to experience high winds, rain, and snow, the trailer tail becomes just another item on a long list of things for a driver to take care of; the driver has to fold in the tail or else snow and ice can build up and cause problems.

    · Do you travel across different countries? For some countries such as Canada, the usage of trailer tails is still being disputed, and cannot be deployed. If you have to go across into their roads, what are you going to do then? Not only that, but there are size regulations to be considered, and can vary widely from state to state and country to country.

    All in all, on the surface it seems that this is exactly the type of technology the industry is talking about when they talk about adopting new technology in order to gain a competitive advantage. However, it is much more important to make smart decisions with the interests of your exact company in mind than to jump on the latest band wagon.

    Fleet Owner Feature: “Sticking Up For Trucking”

    Last week, Sean Kilcarr of Fleet Owner teamed up with Andy Ahern to put together a great article entitled “Sticking Up For Trucking.”

    Ahern discusses some of the misconstrued assumptions about the industry and the people that make up the trucking sector, safety in particular. By providing hard statistics, Ahern illustrates that the transportation industry is much safer than people sometimes think. Trucks account for a very significant percentage of freight in the US and continued regulations – which all trucking companies need to be aware of – are aimed at keeping the industry safe and efficient.

    The ATA’s Top 10 List of Critical Issues Facing American Trucking Businesses

    This past month was the American Trucking Association’s Management Conference and Exhibition in Florida, an annual conference held for over 10 years. A major component of this conference is the annual Top 10 Critical Issues List, which surveys members of the trucking industry including political figures, market suppliers, business executives, and the truck drivers themselves. All of these different parties were asked to voice their main concerns regarding the trucking industry in the present, and in the future. Consequently, below is the 2013 list for the Top 10 Critical Issues in Trucking:

    1. HOS Rules

    2. CSA – Compliance Safety Accountability

    3. Driver Shortage

    4. State Of The Economy

    5. Electronic Logging Mandate

    6. Truck Parking

    7. Driver Retention

    8. Fuel Supply/Prices

    9. Transportation Infrastructure, Congestion, And Funding

    10. Driver Health And Wellness

    From this list, you can glean some valuable insights about what transportation and trucking companies as a whole is affected by, and what issues keep us all up at night. Concerns about CSA, which ranked the biggest concern last year, were knocked down by the Hours of Services regulations which have been shaking up the industry since its implementation this last summer. HOS rules and the CSA issues are not surprising contenders, as these are all fairly recent regulatory changes that are causing tons of unforeseen changes in businesses’ predicted timelines.

    What interests me more is Driver Shortages/Retention. Since 2005, this issue has come up regularly in the top 10 list, proving itself to be a long-term problem for trucking companies. Although a considerable amount of control is out of the average man’s hands in regards to federal regulations, driver retention and shortages are a much easier issue to address on a smaller level, which begs the question—what are you doing to fix this problem?

    The Government Shutdown: What It Means For You, Transport, And Trucking Companies

    As the government shutdown in the capital continues to drag on into its second week, it is important for us to take the time and recognize what the government shutdown spells out for trucking businesses, and how it is affecting other trucking-affiliated organizations.

    Unsurprisingly, the government shutdown has had a direct and immediate impact on the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board). As a government agency, the NTSB has had its employees furloughed for an undeterminable period of time, and have since been unable to inspect and report on fatal crashes and collision, such as the most recent accident in Tennessee that killed 8 and injured nearly twice that.

    Beyond government-affiliated agencies, the government shutdown has made the trucking industry take a recent nosedive. As an industry as a whole, considerable movement for trucking businesses depends on government agencies and their daily agendas. With the government at a standstill, the work that businesses would normally receive as a result of government activity has all but halted.

    In a less direct manner, the government shutdown has negatively affected the trucking industry by both laying off government employees as well as reducing consumer confidence. The combination of decreased disposable income and decreased consumer confidence in the face of legislative instability has created a sharp decrease in demand across all markets. Obviously, this has led to a noticeable drop in business for the trucking industry. With no immediate answer as to when the shutdown will end, trucking businesses should remain optimistic while keeping a close eye on their business’ operations to stay afloat in these uncertain waters.

    Although we hope that this shutdown will be short-lived, it is absolutely in your best interest to keep a tight grip on your business’ reins until this shutdown comes to a close.

    Green Technology and Trucking Businesses

    Over the last few years, we have seen “green” and “clean energy” technology just about everywhere. Absolutely everything is getting this makeover: from Tesla cars to even tanks meant for military use. As for the trucking industry, there have been significant movement to install V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology to trucks used in the industry.

    If you look at other industries that have undergone a “green revolution,” such as the HVAC industry, you can see that the government is incredible supportive of this, offering rebates for technology deemed “energy-efficient.” A similar future may lie in the cards for the trucking industry as well. There are already hints of government support for green trucking: the company responsible for V2G trucking technology recently received a $3 million grant by the California Energy Commission to continue on with their good work.

    As with all vehicles, trucks used for long-hauls have a certain level of emissions which affect a city’s air quality over time. In neighboring California, the trucking industry was already attacked for its pollution. Businesses had to modify or change their fleet to ensure it met a certain level of clean energy, and many small trucking businesses in California were completely thrown off guard by these changes in rules and regulations, and found themselves in the red.

    Being aware of all the changes that are affecting the waters of your business, regardless of what industry you are in is important. As the country continues to push onwards to a more “environmentally conscious” world, trucking businesses have to do their due diligence and stay on their toes. Keeping an eye on industry trends, and possible changes in legal rules and regulations can mean the difference between life and death for your business.

    Trucking Businesses Rely On Driver Retention, So How Do You Do It?

    Last week, the ATA’s president and CEO Bill Graves made a speech addressed to trucking businesses’ executives with the message that the trucking industry is not properly compensating its drivers. Although the demand for truck drivers is predicted to be around 2 million by 2022, with the current rate of available truck drivers, there will only be 1.7 million truck drivers available which translates to a massive shortage ranging in the hundreds of thousands.

    America’s trucking and freight drivers work extremely hard, transporting essential goods across thousands of miles in the United States, for very little pay. How “little” of a pay are we talking about?

    Back in 1990, a normal truck driver made about what equates to $900 of today’s dollars in a week. Fast forward to today—the average truck driver makes around $800 a week. That means that our drivers today are getting paid less than what truck drivers made over twenty years ago. Although part of this phenomenon is the reality that the length of a usual route is declining due to a variety of factors, the declining length of hauls is not the only reason.

    As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, the secret to driver retention boils down to creating a company culture and relationship in which each of the truck drivers know they are being appreciated and that good work will be rewarded. Besides monetary compensation, other aspects ensure that your drivers feel like an integral part of the company, such as making sure you make yourself available to them, listening to their concerns, and acting appropriately in response.

    Increasing the payment given to drivers is certainly the first step to stopping the shortage of truck drivers in America, but be advised that the art of keeping a team of loyal and hardworking drivers goes beyond more than just money.

    The Present and Future for Trucking Businesses

    With July having come to a close, Cass Information Systems has recently released their Cass Freight Index Report for the month of July, and the news is not exactly inspiring. The number of shipments for July 2013 is down 3% from the number of shipments made the same time last year, and is down 2.3% from June 2013. This is part of the general trend for transport trucking companies this year: only two out of the seven months in 2013 have shown improvements in shipping volume compared to the numbers in 2012.

    This report is hardly surprising given the sluggish recovery of the economy and the changing regulations that trucking businesses are undergoing right now. Although the official unemployment rate is pegged at 7.4%, some studies have shown that the more accurate rate of unemployment is closer to around 14% which better fits the anecdotal evidence from the public. In addition, there have been many major court rulings which have introduced industry-wide regulations that are changing the way businesses operate, and not all companies are handling the changes well.

    The message here is clear: it is still a long way off before trucking businesses will fully recover, and now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Now more than ever, it is important to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and watch your operations diligently. As frequently mentioned in our newsletter and podcast—trucking is a pennies business. Knowing or not knowing where each of your dollars is going can very well spell success or failure for your business.

    It is now more important than ever to recognize all the strengths and weakness in your current business model. Company Evaluations are crucial for the struggling business right now, because it could be years before the trucking industry picks up again.

    If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail: The Importance of Having a Transportation Business Plan

    In our recent video podcast, our CEO Andy Ahern discusses the importance of having a business plan. Far too often, Ahern will speak with struggling trucking businesses and discover they have absolutely no business plan. When pressed for a business plan, the most common answer is to “make money”—strictly speaking, increasing revenue is not a goal. A business plan has distinct objectives and goals that are designed to increase the company’s value, and make it appealing to potential buyers. All transport trucking companies should be looking at a new transportation business plan every year or more, but 9/10 trucking businesses fail to have any written business plan at all.

    Creating a business plan with explicit goals and objectives is essential for a company’s success. A detailed business plan can help businesses find the weak points in their operating model, and make the necessary adjustments for the next quarter to be more successful. It’s extremely difficult to monitor progress without any detailed goals to work towards.

    The lack of a transportation business plan can also be felt by every single one of your employees and will dampen even the most proactive of employees. If there are clear goals that employees know they are working towards, not only will they work better but you will receive a better understanding of your employees. It is through clearly defined goals that business owners can deduce which employees are an or a liability to their company. Having employees that are proactive and creative is what is ultimately going to help your business grow, and make your business irreplaceable.

    For all of Andy’s insights, watch the podcast here: Ahern & Associates – Business Planning.

    ATRI’s New Fatigue Management Initiative

    The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has just launched a new website for the North American Fatigue Management Program NAFMP.com which is meant to educate the general public and other industry members on fatigue management, and how it affects the entire transportation industry. The NAFMP website is said to be the culmination of over a decade’s worth of research and testing, and aims to become the main resource for individuals to learn and solve the issues of driver fatigue.

    The website comes as an alternative to the hotly discussed Hours of Service regulations, by offering “real solutions” to the issue. The website carries online courses on driver fatigue, with ten different modules that are accompanied by tests and quizzes. These modules are targeted for individuals with varying roles in transportation, including executives, drivers, safety managers, and more. The modules range anywhere between thirty minutes to three hours, and are all available through their website.

    NAFMP.com is an interesting site: the website can be read entirely in French or English, offers PowerPoint presentations with and without audio narration, and a ROI calculator tool on their website. The issue of driver fatigue is a hot topic for everyone, as it holds repercussions for everyone from the drivers all the way up to business owners. Although the hard work behind the NAFMP website should be applauded, the real merit of the website is yet to be seen.

    E-logging & New Regulations

    There are a lot of changes on the horizon for the trucking industry that will affect transportation companies all around the country.

    This week, the Department of Transportation received a proposal for an electronic logging rule that will affect almost all motor carriers. The proposal, which could come as early as this November, would make it mandatory for almost all carriers to install and use electronic logging devices, to ensure the exact hours of service in compliance with new federal regulations. As a result of new federal regulations, starting this July truckers will be allowed 70 hours of driving per week, compared to the 82 hours a week from before. These new regulations were made to decrease the number of fatigue-related accidents, and is a factor in the recent shortage of drivers.

    This is just one of the many changes that will be affecting the trucking industry in the coming months. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently had his successor named as North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx by President Obama earlier this year. This change in leadership will no doubt cause some waves in the trucking and transportation industry.

    How to Create a Successful Salesperson

    Having an effective sales team is an important priority for all businesses, from the biggest fortune 500 companies, to the smallest local businesses down the road. In our recent Ahern Video Podcast, Andy Ahern, trucking consultation luminary and CEO of Ahern & Associates draws on his years of experience creating sales programs for businesses to explain what makes a successful sales person.

    For skeptics who believe that sales people are born not made, Ahern challenges that assumption by claiming that the exact opposite is true. In his experience, with proper management and leadership, any business can have an effective sales team.

    The first important step for a business manager in improving a sales team is to create specific goals and objectives, and then implement a time frame to accomplish those objectives. By setting very clear and distinct targets, the sales team will better understand what they are trying to accomplish.

    Next is to keep challenging the sales team. Placing the sales team constantly in a new and unfamiliar situation, you are teaching the sales people to ask questions and think outside the box. Being comfortable asking questions, and forming creative solutions are important skills that all too many sales people lack.

    Lastly, is to teach the sales team how to listen effectively. It doesn’t matter how good your service or product is, if you are not able to connect how that fulfills what the customer wants. Too many sales people just talk about themselves, without learning anything important about their customer.

    Get all the details in the video podcast from Andy Ahern, truck expert of over 20 years.

    Being Money Smart in the Trucking Industry

    In today’s rough economy, it is important for all business owners to know exactly what their financial situation looks like. From our years of experience in the trucking industry, we have seen many transportation companies stagnate and fail to address their long-term goals and profitability. It is important for trucking businesses—as with all businesses—to carefully take a look at how they are running operations and what that means for their finances.

    Now, it’s not easy keeping accurate records of costs and profits. Traditional bookkeeping can be laborious and time consuming, and many standard money tracking programs are poorly suited for the needs of a trucking company.

    This is why we’ve create the Financial IQ software. Financial IQ is a profitability software program that was created to address the specific needs of those in the trucking industry. The program can be customized for truckload, less than truckload, and brokerage businesses.

    Financial IQ pulls information from a business’s balance sheet, and profit-loss statement to provide clear financial information that shows whether a business is making money or losing money. The program analyzes a wide variety of metrics, to show you what a business can do to improve profitability and cash flow.

    We’ve made Financial IQ extremely powerful in the insights it provides, but we have also made it extremely easy to use.

    Find out more about the program at the Financial IQ page.

    Learn All About Buying & Selling Businesses

    This month, we have released a press release regarding the “sales boot camp” we’re holding this year. We held this boot camp last year, and are very excited to bring the event back for 2013.

    The event has limited spots for attendees, simply due to the nature of the seminar. It is a day-long event, in which participants will learn everything necessary to sell, or buy a business in the transportation industry. Attendees of the event will actively learn about everything you need, whether you are buying a business or selling a business.

    At Ahern & Associates, we have had years of experience working through business deals and finding businesses for sale in the trucking and logistics industry so you can rest assured that you are being taught practical, real-life experience about the transportation industry. Regardless if you have no background in business sales, or have years of experience, attendees will walk away with great advice about how to handle your business.

    You can learn more about the seminar by reading the Press Release.

    Why transportation and logistics companies rely on Ahern & Associates

    Hundreds of transportation and logistics companies rely on Ahern & Associates each year as a resource for information and problem solving. From the small independent company that is looking for transportation software to larger companies that need help from an acquisition firm, companies that need assistance know that they can rely on Ahern & Associates.

    The reason for our success in the industry lies in the fact that our company is based on relationships. Understanding who our clients are and what they need allows us to serve them in many ways.

    Despite a still sluggish economy, Ahern & Associates has had a record setting first quarter for 2013. Our clients have issued a record breaking 11 letters of intent during this time in regard to a merger or the acquisition of a company process. While many of these deals have closed very quickly, one client experienced only a two-week period between his initial call and the issuing of the letter of intent.

    Central Freight Lines, Inc. of Waco, Texas is one of our clients that was recently able to expand in to the Nashville, Tennessee area. While they had considered this expansion for some time, the complexity of the local market and other barriers in place held them back. Ahern & Associates was able to draw upon extensive experience and industry relationships to find the right match for Central Freight Lines, Inc. A Nashville company, Circle Delivery Service, was deemed the right fit for Central Freight Lines needs. By purchasing specific assets from Circle Delivery Service, Central Freight Lines was able to expand to the Nashville market with relative ease.

    We assist transportation and logistics companies in finding solutions that include business valuation because of death, divorce or the need to get out of business, as well as mergers and acquisitions. Each week, thousands rely on the information contained in the Ahern Advisory, an industry-specific newsletter, as well as our podcasts. Contact Ahern & Associates today to discuss your needs.

    The Secret to Driver Retention

    In a recent Ahern Advisory newsletter, Andy Ahern answered the pressing question of how to retain drivers and how to attract and manage quality drivers. The lack of drivers is a serious problem, with the estimated driver shortage for this year set at around 80,000, a figure that seems destined to rise in coming years. Besides the shortage of drivers, the turnover rate for drivers is exorbitant—it’s not uncommon for companies to have a driver turnover rate of 100%. This translates to companies having to renew their entire driver workforce each year.

    The heart of this problem boils down to this—drivers aren’t leaving jobs, they are leaving relationships. Drivers have one of the harshest jobs in the world, and being under appreciated by their management and peers can push drivers to leaving. Appreciation for drivers starts at the top, so you should be actively throwing support behind your workers. This means you should be actively showing gratitude to your drivers and their families, and listening to their thoughts and concerns.

    It’s vital that you set your company so that it’s attractive to workers. Doing so not only helps retain drivers, but also draws in new employees. This means having benefits for your workers, good pay, and job stability.

    Truck News: “In search of the big deal”

    Harry Rudolfs discusses the 2012 year for TransForce in the recent article for Truck News titled “In search of the big deal“, which features Ahern & Associates CEO and founder, Andy Ahern. Andy contributes to the discussion with insight about Canadian companies doing business in the US and also the push to do business with Mexico as well. Canada in particular is seen as a stable market and a viable option for expansion.

    To learn more about Ahern and Associates, visit our Services page.

    Trucking Info: 10 Ways to Cut Business Costs

    Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine recently featured Andy Ahern in an article titled “10 Ways To Cut Business Costs” in which Deborah Lockridge discusses ways for companies to maximize profitability and ensure they are running as efficiently as possible.

    As consultants for the trucking and transportation industry, the advice suggested by Andy rings true across other industries as well. In short, Andy emphasizes monitoring budgets closely and outsourcing when appropriate.

    The Bleary Economic Recovery Process

    Despite the bleary economic recovery process, there is still no clear indication of a recession. Yes, it could happen! Many analysts believe it will happen and I believe a lot of that has to do because there are not enough positives to give consumers the competence to spend more.

    Everybody keeps relating to Japan, but it’s important to understand that;

    1. America isn’t Japan.
    2. Spending hasn’t stopped cold, as it did in the 1990’s.
    3. US labor markets are more flexible.
    4. Certain manufacturing gains are helping the economy stay afloat.

    Last, but not least, we haven’t had a natural tsunami or a nuclear meltdown. There is much concern about the global economy. Some analysts are predicting that U.S. banks can be in trouble if Greece defaults on their current debt.

    I, personally, believe that US banks can absorb a default by Greece, but it certainly will hurt if the crisis grows. French banks have the most exposure to total debt at $56.7 billion. The exposure for U.S. banks is $7.3 billion, compared with $136.3 billion for Europe.

    An orderly default, restructuring a chunk of Greek debt, would be less risky. Banks in Europe and US have enough capital to deal with some of these losses. Unfortunately, if the process moves much quicker; Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain could have some substantial problems.

    2011 Merger Mania

    I’m constantly asked if 2011 is like 2005 and 2006 – the answer is a resounding no!

    1. 2011 is very active.
    2. It’s certainly more active than 2010 – 2009, but;
    3. 2005 and 2006 were monumental years for the financial industry.

    In 2005-2006, that was a period when the largest buyout record was set and surpassed several times with 9 out of the top 10 buyouts at the end of 2007 were announced in an 18 month window. In 2006, Private Equity firms purchased 654 US companies for $375 billion. This represented 18 times the level of transactions closed in 2003.

    Additionally, Private Equity firms raised $215.4 billion on investment commitments to 32 funds, which surpassed the previous record set in 2000.

    IANA to offer pair of webinars…..

    The Intermodal Association of North America has scheduled 2 September webinars in its “Stay Informed” series. One will examine multimodal supply chain options and the other will look at the US environmental protection agencies, Smartway drayage program.

    The first of the webinars is slated for Wednesday, September 22, 2011 at 2:00pm EST. The second webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 2:00pm EST.

    To register for the Smartway webinar; you may register athttps://www1gotomeeting.com/register/143781200.

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