Industry Innovation: July 14, 2017
Fuel’s Carrier Connection: Strong Relationships, Secure Freight
By: motto

By creating a large network of carriers with lanes crisscrossing the continent, Fuel’s exceptional team equipped with leading-edge technology continues to increase efficiencies.

Finding the best, most reliable and dependable carriers has been a critical factor in Fuel’s success over the years and will remain essential as the company continues on its mission toward a better supply chain. Fortunately, Fuel has a distinct advantage in this regard, built right into the structure of the company.

A Hybrid Approach

“The beauty of the Fuel model is that we are a hybrid,” says founder Rob Piccioni. Fuel is a broker connecting carriers with clients and Fuel owns and operates its own trucks.

By managing its own fleet, Fuel understands in a very real way what it means to be a carrier, responding to whatever micro and macro trends are affecting the economy or specific sectors at any point in time.

“We know what it is to run your own equipment, to buy trucks, to hire drivers, to buy fuel. We understand those issues,” says Piccioni. “That makes us better on the logistics side, it makes us better on the brokerage side.” That deeper knowledge and understanding helps them identify the best carrier partners, an ongoing process at the company.

Commitment to Operational Excellence

Fuel’s carrier compliance team focuses entirely on identifying potential partners and evaluating each prospect to ensure they meet Fuel’s exacting service standards. “We go through a serious process of vetting each and every carrier,” says Piccioni. “We do a credit check, a criminal check on all the principals of the company. We obviously do a lot of reference checks…We make sure their safety records are in line with our standards as well as those that the client asks for.”

A detailed portrait emerges revealing just how reliable the carrier has been and is likely going to be moving forward. All permitting and licensing on trucks and trailers is checked and C-TPAT certification confirmed. “And we do site visits to validate everything,” he says. That dedication to getting the best, most reliable carriers is just good business, and good business ethics. But Piccioni took it a step further and ingrained that commitment into the Fuel business by becoming the insuring party on all loads Fuel contracts for.

“Whether it goes on my equipment or with one of our partner carriers, there is one insurance policy that covers that whole interaction with our customer,” he says. “It puts a lot more pressure on us to make sure these carriers are properly vetted and screened prior to them hauling any freight for us.”

Growing Together

While passing all of the Fuel tests isn’t easy, making it into the Fuel network brings significant rewards. “We want to award good carriers and grow with them,” says Piccioni. “We have one owner operator that started with us about five years ago with three trucks… He’s up over 220 trucks today and we have probably 85% of his capacity.”

Working with Fuel makes it easier to grow because Fuel can find the lanes that make the most sense for each truck in the fleet of that carrier, day after day and week after week. “If they are operationally sound and we can add them to our network, they are making money and we are giving them exposure to our clients that consist of fortune 500 companies, public entities, government organization and much more that coexist and grow in our network through operational excellence and network efficiencies,” says Piccioni.

“We can give them a lot of options on a lot of different lanes, on a lot of different times. They don’t need a sales team. They just focus on what they do best.”