SemiCab is revolutionizing the way goods are moved through Orchestrated Collaboration™. With our proprietary cloud-based Collaborative Transportation Platform, we achieve the scalability required to predict and optimize millions of loads and hundreds of thousands of trucks, nationwide. To orchestrate collaboration across shippers and carriers, we use real-time data from EDI and API integrations with TMS partners. By combining that data and using AI/ML predictions and advanced optimization models, our platform builds fully loaded round trips that strip out empty miles from the supply chain and create a more efficient network.
Both shippers and carriers gain benefits from our platform. Carriers who dedicate some or all of their capacity to SemiCab get predictable income that empowers them to grow their business without a large dedicated sales team in place. But don’t take our word for it. Check out what Scott Noerr, owner of Noerr Trucking, has to say about his operations, his challenges, his goals, and how he’s working with SemiCab to expand his business. As the leader of a nationwide carrier that’s been in business for almost 100 years, Scott has a wealth of expertise in freight, warehousing, and tech and his finger on the pulse of what’s next for the industry.
NOERR TRUCKING - BACKGROUND
Noerr Trucking has been in the transportation and distribution industry since 1927. Over the years, the company has offered nationwide trucking services with 11 terminals connecting Pennsylvania to California, Florida to Washington, and everywhere in between. They’ve also provided warehousing operations, including pack solutions for multiple companies since 1967 under Norlin Warehousing, and hauled a myriad of commodities including joining the Marcellus oil and gas boom in the early 2010s.
Scott took over operations in 2006, and the business has since gone through various changes to enable them to continue providing warehousing, distribution, and transportation services throughout the northeast. Today, Noerr Trucking has 10 trucks that offer last-mile white glove delivery services for several manufacturing companies as well as packing with daily shipping solutions for multiple small startups and some international conglomerates. Their fleet is composed mostly of sleeper cabs but is adding day cab units on contracts. They’ve grown from a one-truck operation to a team of 15 today, with plans to add 10 more employees and trucks in the coming year.
Q: How many trucks do you run and how many loads are you carrying each week?
A: At the moment, we have 10 trucks focused on last-mile and wholesale delivery services. We’re currently running eight consistent (soon to be 12) lanes for SemiCab, focused in the Northeast, primarily New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. We have the flexibility to go anywhere, but we’re concentrating on a 200-mile radius.
With proper scheduling, each unit is capable of covering 3 deliveries a day - we typically run out of service hours before drive time. With SemiCab’s technology and our consistent communication with shippers and receivers, we are working to streamline that process to provide optimum efficiency for all parties involved. With five units dedicated to SemiCab, we average two a day, with the current pinch point being appointment times.
Outside of SemiCab we fill in extra slots from various vendors and have dedicated lanes we carry for local delivery services around the state. Typically each truck covers a minimum of two loads a day, with some of the dedicated 3PL services making as many as 10 stops a day to different clients.
Q: How do you typically find loads?
A: I’m all about creating and fostering relationships, and that’s traditionally how I have handled finding loads for Noerr Trucking. I search out shippers who I believe are a match for how we do business and work to meet with their management and make sure we all feel we can benefit from working together. From there, we set terms we are both comfortable with for the foreseeable future. As you can imagine, this kind of load sourcing can be very time-consuming. That’s one of the main reasons working with SemiCab was appealing to me. Having utilized multiple load boards and the broker market during our expansions, it becomes a daily fight back and forth to maintain profitability.
Q: Describe how you and SemiCab are working together?
A: At this point, we’ve dedicated five of our 10 trucks to SemiCab for a daily rate plus fuel expenses. With those trucks dedicated to SemiCab, we know we’ll always make a certain amount of revenue, they keep those trucks booked, so we don’t have to. This gives us the comfort of predictable income. I don’t have to change anything about how I run my business, I actually have more time to focus on other things. SemiCab is responsible for finding the loads, I’m in charge of providing the trucks, scheduling the drivers, and maintaining my equipment.
Q: How is this relationship unique?
A: SemiCab is willing to take the risk of keeping the trucks I dedicate to them running. They’ve committed to us and have said, “We are paying you $X/day per truck plus expenses whether we give you loads or not.” There is no back and forth. It alleviates the issue I have always had when working with a broker or a load board. You'll see a load on Monday that offers to pay you $900. By Thursday afternoon, you’ll see the same load needing to be covered for Friday, and they are now offering to pay you $1500. You realize that the broker was holding back $600 because they figured somebody would take it for less. In my opinion, it’s not a fair or efficient way to do business.
Q: Why does dedicating trucks to SemiCab make sense?
A: The traditional model has brokers or shippers publishing loads with a rate. And, as a carrier, that's the number I have to use to cover all my costs. The brokers and shippers are throwing numbers out there, based on a desired profitability for them, but the numbers don't consider a truck’s true costs. The hard costs don’t fluctuate. There is a lease cost, tires, dispatch, cell phones, tracking, insurance, and more, but these numbers are fairly static. With them in mind, I know what I need to be profitable. The only cost that REALLY fluctuates is fuel.
With SemiCab we have a contract for a daily rate plus fuel expenses. The rate is built around my true costs and a bit of profit. This agreement puts us in a business relationship where Noerr Trucking is providing full coverage service, essentially, as a contracted carrier, to SemiCab, which operates as if they own the trucks. They handle all the paperwork with the shipper, insurance queries, and guarantees. There is complete transparency between us both and I think it's a much more efficient and honest way to do business.
Q: How does this model change your business?
A: It consumes a lot less energy. There is no fighting back and forth, no inconsistency. I don't have to worry about where our next dollar is coming from, who I need to bill and for what, and who's going to be running where. That alone is worth agreeing to a set rate versus riding the market looking for more.
I also have the stability I need to grow my business. There's something to be said for people that are aggressive and want to go out and make as much as they possibly can. But at the same time, we look for profitability that allows us to plan for expansion and be consistent. I’m looking to expand and enjoy all of the good that comes along with running a solid business. With predictable profitability on our end, we can grow exponentially.
Q: What are your goals for the future? How will SemiCab help you achieve them?
A: My first priority lies in keeping my drivers happy, committed, and paid well. With predictable revenue, I know I can provide my crew with higher pay, exceptional benefits, and schedules they can thrive in. I want to continue adding trucks to get to a size that’s large enough to provide those benefits to as many drivers as possible locally, but not so large that those benefits start falling by the wayside and people become a number. I want our growth to be a boon for the area we’re in and the community we serve.
By working with SemiCab, I can better plan that growth. I can look at the year and know what I am going to make each month. I know when I can make another purchase. This helps with equipment forecasts, especially in a market where trucks are hard to find, and for employment and hiring timelines too. In addition, a consistent revenue stream looks better to the bank and creditors should we choose to seek debt service. The banks don’t appreciate peaks and valleys, but rather steady, even if slow, increases.
Q: How would you describe SemiCab to a colleague? And would you recommend working with them?
A: The SemiCab team has created software that I wanted to develop myself years ago. To me, Semicab is an excellent dedicated logistics service that commits to carriers and shippers and guarantees coverage. Better than a broker, one that handles more than just posting a load, and provides the back-end services that all smaller carriers like myself need. When a carrier dedicates capacity to SemiCab, they are guaranteed a service unlike any other broker I’ve worked with. SemiCab dedicates itself to you as a carrier, enabling us to do our job - which is delivering the freight.
SemiCab is working with reputable shippers, shippers who smaller carriers would have a hard time contracting directly with. If more shippers around the nation were to adopt this model, I think the transportation industry as a whole would be able to eliminate a lot of volatility and waste, while substantially growing small businesses.
Would I recommend them? Absolutely, and I’m hoping to continue to grow with them as well.
If you’re a carrier looking to grow business, you can join the SemiCab community here.