Convey More

Convey More

Back Office Revolution

By |September 6th, 2019|

john-schnobrich-FlPc9_VocJ4-unsplashWhat is back office automation and how has it helped Fastmore move forward into the future?  We know that business processes are being recreated and automated.  To ensure that we can keep up, we need to change the way that we work, and when you think about it, even our workplace.  None of us are strangers to technology, since it is at the forefront of everything we do in business, today.  How technology has helped shape back office automation for Fastmore logistics, has been an interesting process to see over the last few years.

As the Financial Controller, I manage the accounting and compliance departments at Fastmore.  With the addition of Hubtran, in the recent years, we have been able to simplify and streamline the processes for our carrier and customer invoicing; eliminating the tedious tasks for our back office.   Hubtran helps our accounting department to keep everything organized, expediating the paperwork process, while keeping our days sales outstanding (DSO) numbers to a minimum.  Automation makes our day run smoother and allows our teams to dedicate their time effectively, while providing for a better customer and carrier experience.

Technology in the Workplace

In addition to Hubtran, which we utilize for our accounting department, we have introduced automation to our compliance department.   One of the compliance department’s responsibilities is carrier screening and on-boarding.  Registry Monitoring Insurance Services (RMIS) is the tool we have adopted to guarantee a faster and streamlined process when it comes to carrier screening, and on-boarding.  RMIS allows us to set up our own algorithm and modifiers, that will monitor our carrier’s performance, the quality of the carrier, carrier vetting, and on-boarding for our carriers. RMIS helps provide the peace of mind that will save us time and reduce risk by streamlining the compliance process.

The way we think forward, is to keep up with technology advancements that will impact our industry.  As a team and company wide, we continue to ensure that we have best practice standards.  To an extent, automation is becoming the holy grail of every industry, worldwide.   When we embrace the changes that can make our workplace and work day efficient, effective and productive, we provide the best customer and carrier experience.

Our goal, as a growing third-party logistics company, is to continue to integrate technology to help us automate our processes to become an agile and efficient workplace. We value our employees, and by introducing technology to assist with back office automation, we can set ourselves up to efficiently scale as an organization, while making everyone’s lives a little easier.

Chris Dicintio

 

Media Release – Chicago’s Best & Brightest Companies

By |July 25th, 2019|

ChicagoBBWin19_RGBElk Grove Village, IL (July 25, 2019) Fastmore- a Top 75 U.S. Logistic Brokerage, that specializes in providing comprehensive multi-modal transportation services, ranging from expedited shipments, to less than truckload moves, located in Elk Grove Village and Chicago – was recently named one of Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. This is the company’s first time earning a spot on the list. The Best and Brightest, administered by the National Association for Business Resources, is an awards competition providing the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase their best practices and demonstrate why they are an ideal place for employees to work.

One of the main purposes of the program is to raise the benchmark for company practices implemented to improve the work environment for employees. As part of the competition, each nominee completed a questionnaire on their human resource practices, and employees were given a survey to provide thoughts and opinions on working at the company. The 2019 winners were selected by an independent research firm that evaluated each company’s entry in the following categories: communication, community initiatives, compensation and benefits, diversity and multiculturalism, employee education and development, employee engagement and commitment, recognition and retention, small business, recruitment and selection, and work-life balance.

“Receiving this honor is great, but we still know that there is a lot of work to be done. Fastmore is committed to enhancing the employee experience and meeting employees where they are in their lives. We will continuing to engage with employees, and find ways to improve our work environment,” said Katie Dykstra, Chief People Officer. She continued, “It’s amazing to be named among some very elite and innovative companies when it comes to human resources and employee practices.”

The 2019 winners will be honored at an awards symposium and gala on September 16, 2019, at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel. During the event, elite category winners will also be announced.

About the NABR
The National Association for Business Resources (NABR) advocates and represents small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States. NABR specializes in providing businesses the benefits, programs, services, and assistance required to operate as efficiently and successfully as possible. Best practice solutions are available to members in the areas of human resources, healthcare, legal, transaction, compliance, marketing, and office services. For more information about NABR and its offerings, please visit https://thebestandbrightest.com/ or call 1-866-321-1822.

When We Fail, We Rise Again: The Growth Mindset

By |June 28th, 2019|

zac

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill. 

What is success?  How do we define failure and more so, how do we learn from it, and adapt with a growth mindset?  When you interact with salespeople all day long, you will probably hear a lot of the same things.   Who landed the biggest deal?  Who has the best pitch?  Who has the most clients?  I will admit that I’m a salesperson too, and I love talking about these things. 

I started my journey as a sales representative with Fastmore in 2014. During that time, I experienced good times, great times, along with some months where it seemed like nothing was working.  I was able to learn, develop, and grow, by receiving support from my peers and mentors.  I moved into the role of Customer Sales Manager in 2017.   Over time, working with my team, I’ve learned to reevaluate how to judge success.  Failing can be a beautiful thing, it is all relative to our perception of it.   

 Success and growth mindset 

 When you have the appropriate support system in place, along with a growth mindset that can position you to improve all the time, then I believe you can truly succeed.  When a company works to help individuals in the organization to progress, advance in their roles, take on more leadership capabilities, and constantly evolve their skills and thought process, they will thrive. 

The logistics industry is cyclical.  We get to ride the wave along with the highs, lows, and everything in-between. It all depends on where we are in the cycle.  How we can strategize to manage the effect of the market and how we band together to keep a positive mindset regardless of circumstance.  Take for example the current state of the market.  In January of 2018 the market spiked due to the Electronic Log Device (ELD), and driver shortage panic, followed by rates bottoming out in October of 2018.  Recently, capacity has been diminishing due to rising insurance costs, maintenance fees, increasing fuel costs, and Department of Transportation (DOT) enforcements.  To get through this period, it is important that we readjust our strategies, maintain open communication, and coach our people to help them navigate the market.  When we focus on the coaching and development of individuals in our organization, we foster success, and ensure that we position ourselves to always be ready for those highs and lows.   

We don’t always discuss our failures, or more so, we don’t like to openly discuss them.  Who fell on their face?  And who stuck to the process, dug deep, and still came out empty handed? If we admit that we fell on our sword, we seem to believe that this means we are weak.  If we never admit to failure, or learn from our mistakes, then we will never be able to get up and try again.  It is the getting up, the positive mindset, the motivation to continue regardless of the struggles, that allows us to reach our full potential. Our shift to an organization with a growth mindset is one of the exciting changes we will be bringing here to Fastmore. 

Strength to overcome 

Ask yourself, is this you?  Are you willing to look yourself in the mirror and accept your journey for what it is – an opportunity to grow?  If your answer is yes, then I want to work beside you.  Fastmore is a place where you can make mistakes, you can fail.  You will have people here who will pick you back up and strategize as to how to improve for next time.  That is why I’ve been here for 5 years, and I will be here for many years to come.  Yesterday we may have won, lost, or drawn. Regardless, I know I’ll be coming in tomorrow, surrounded by people who are ready to get in the ring and fight.  After allisn’t that what success truly looks like. 

  

Zac Socha 

Building for the Future

By |May 31st, 2019|

 

paul 2Maximize Today and Dominate Tomorrow

This year has kicked off with some exciting, new, initiatives for Fastmore.  In April, we shared our growth plans with the entire organization.  I understand that our initiatives impact our culture, so it is key that the organization is properly aligned. Our culture speaks directly to how and why we get things accomplished. We work daily to make sure our company’s values and focus is represented in our actions. By sharing our vision, it unifies our message of taking ownership when things don’t go to plan; collaborating creates better solutions; and security/compliance ensures our customer’s peace of mind. Our uniques empower our people, our customers, to maximize today and dominate tomorrow.

Fastmore is currently shifting to more of a forward-thinking work culture. We want to create a systematic way of fueling future performance, rather than examining what happened in the past.   To achieve these results, we are examining better ways to communicate and give open, honest, feedback in real time. Actions speak louder than words at Fastmore and aligning behaviors to desired results will propel Fastmore to the next level. As we move through this year of change, I want to speak to our building blocks and how we plan to overcome adversity.

Investing in our People

People first, period! Our #1 asset here at Fastmore is our people, and the best way to support our people is by building a strong foundation and giving them the best tools. Our recent growth spurt was not immune to the inevitable growing pains, but we have a resilient bunch with a can-do attitude.  It is my responsibility, as the COO, to provide them with the best technology and structure, so my team can make the best decisions for our customers.

Earlier this month, we rolled out our proprietary transportation management system (TMS) to rave reviews. Our former system couldn’t keep up with the ever changing Fastmore landscape. We needed a more robust, agile system with increased visibility. “Charlie” (cool name huh?) enables us to contextualize and nuance the data while improving overall analytics.  The dashboards provide real time information which allow us to be nimbler in a very fluid market.  Also coming in June, we will be rolling out a Learning Management System (LMS). This is important because it directly speaks to our Agility core value on how we proactively develop and grow our people, so they can respond to our suppliers and vendors.  The efficiencies gained from both systems is hard to quantify, but I do know our employees can do so much more with a whole lot less sweat.

To continue growing at our current pace, we need to build a foundation that supports our people and delivers results to our customers. Charlie has been implemented, now we can focus on learning/developing, seeing opportunity potential in every moment, individual failures and successes.

Our people come into the organization with a ton of energy, grit, and a willingness to learn. They have the spirit to take on the freight world. We provide them the tools and skills to conquer their goals.  Communication is paramount.  We are creating a platform where open, honest feedback is the norm. Together we will monitor progress, offer continuous learning, and examine performance data. Our managers emphasis is on the future production rather than assessing past performance.   If everyone focuses on behaviors over outcomes, then long term success will be better than projected. A properly developed performance management system will drive engagement, innovation, and teamwork.

This year we’ve faced some obstacles and have learned from every one of them.  We don’t see these obstacles as failure, but as opportunities for improvement. We will fail when we stop trying. Hard work and overcoming adversity is in our DNA, so I’m not too worried about failures. I’m looking forward to our future.

Paul Van Bergen

Employee Engagement in the Workplace

By |April 23rd, 2019|

In January, I started my journey with Fastmore Logistics as the Chief People Officer (CPO).  At Fastmore, our people are key to our success, which is why we are dedicated to building our people strategy and developing our company culture. To achieve these goals, we focused on a few initiatives during my first 90 days: employee satisfaction, company culture, and talent acquisition.

How we engage our employees in the workplace is optimal for the company’s culture and proven success. During the employee engagement process, we must understand how we can meet our employees where they are in life, ensure there is a work/life balance, understand what our employees need to learn and grow, help them with career paths, and create a work environment where employees can thrive. To meet employees where they are at in their lives, we must consider benefits and perks, flexibility with work/life balance, continuing education, and improving the technological resources available to them. When we do this, we show our employees we care about who they are as individuals.

Part of our people strategy is to listen to our employees. When we listen, we learn, and we create opportunities to grow, so one of the first initiatives I rolled out was an internal employee engagement survey. It was great to see so many employees participate, with over 70% of them providing feedback. It was a milestone for the company too, as it was the first time Fastmore had participated in an engagement survey. It helped us as an organization to determine what we are doing well, and where there is opportunity for us to learn and grow. We will continue to use this feedback and eventually follow up with another survey in 6 months.

This year we also introduced the manager development program that is focused on building skills and knowledge to help people become leaders. The program was mandatory for our current managers, but we have opened it up to anyone that was interested in learning management skills. We are thrilled to be offering this program as we’ve seen over 31% of our employees participating. We kicked off the program with a book club. For this month’s book, we chose “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Dr. Travis Bradberry. After completing the quiz, reading the chapters that were associated with the score, we had an open discussion where our employees revealed their emotional intelligence score and what strategies they were going to commit to so that they could increase their score. Hearing our employees speak about the challenges they are trying to overcome professionally and personally created a bonding atmosphere. I’m looking forward to checking in with everyone at our meeting next month to hear about how those strategies have been working in their lives.

Another initiative we focused on was simplifying processes while allowing employees to conduct their jobs efficiently. To accomplish this, we focused on building a Learning Management System (LMS) to allow the capability for concise and relevant training sessions. Currently we are having our new hires and managers test out the LMS before we roll out company wide this summer. In the meantime, Fastmore is also revamping its new hire training to meet all our employees’ development requirements and knowledge base. We are excited to be taking a more active approach when creating content for long term learning and presenting these materials in a format that is accessible from anywhere.

By thinking outside of the box, we can provide solutions that have not been offered before and we’re looking forward to embracing the people driven changes coming in 2019. Stay tuned for even more exciting changes that we will be rolling out soon!

If you want to learn more about us, check out our other blog posts on Convey More or our social media.

Katie Dykstra