Rising fuel prices have made vehicle transportation more challenging than ever. Auto auctions have been hit particularly hard because they generally require transportation for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of cars each month. In addition, auctions that move vehicles to different locations around the nation can have even more challenges due to limited carrier access. Most auctions have local carriers that they work with on a regular basis, but usually do not have carrier contacts in other parts of the country. To find carriers in other regions, auction transportation staff members often make numerous phone calls, desperately trying to find someone in another part of the country to move their vehicles. This, of course, also means that they generally have no access to competitive bidding outside their local area, this at a time when competitive pricing is more important than ever.
Wendy Martin, transportation coordinator for Brashers Northwest Auto Auction in Eugene, OR, struggled with this issue for years. She began her auction career ten years ago with Brashers and has worked in vehicle transportation for the past five years. On average, she transports 500 vehicles per month and some of these hundreds of cars need to be moved to locations outside of Ms. Martin’s immediate area. Although moving vehicles out of the Eugene region was a regular part of her job, it was the least enjoyable part by far. The mere thought of having to move a vehicle out of her local area filled her with dread because she knew what a time-consuming, frustrating process she had to look forward to. As Ms. Martin herself puts it, “I can’t tell you how grueling the whole process was. Often it would literally take weeks to get the vehicle moved, sometimes with little to no profit. It was definitely my least favorite part of the job.”
If she needed to move a vehicle from Eugene to San Francisco, for example, she would have to think of someone she might know in the area. If she could recall someone, she would then find a phone number and try to reach them. If she reached them she would then ask if there was any possibility that they would have their truck in her area in the next few days. Generally the first carriers she contacted would not be in her area in the near future. So, Ms. Martin would then have that driver recommend another carrier who might be in the area and begin the process again. Often, after phone calls made over a number of days, she would finally find someone who would be in the area, but would not be able to move the car at the price she needed.
As Ms. Martin increasingly needed to move vehicles to different parts of the country, she sought a solution to help her connect with carriers faster and more efficiently. She also knew that access to more carriers would mean more competitive pricing. The problem was she wasn’t sure where to find such a service. Then a colleague told her about CentralDispatch.com, an online system that connects carriers with auctions and dealers nationwide.
Ms. Martin learned that she could access literally thousands of carriers across the country because the majority of major carriers in the U.S. are members of CentralDispatch.com and even though carriers have had to raise their prices to cover their increased costs, there is still room for competition. Ms. Martin found that using CentralDispatch.com would give her access to as many carriers as possible, hence the most competitive bids.
She decided to try the service and after using the online system for over a year she now says, “I don’t see how I could live without it.” Now Ms. Martin has no more difficulty moving vehicles around the nation than she does in her local area. She simply logs into CentralDispatch.com and posts the information for the vehicle(s) she needs transported and the price she wants. Interested carriers then contact her, often within minutes. “Before, if I needed to move a vehicle to Washington State I would have to make phone call after phone call after phone call. Now, they call me. I don’t have to waste my time chasing people around any more; now they chase me!”
In addition, since all the nation’s major carriers are members, Ms. Martin knows she is getting the most competitive pricing. If the first or second bids are not low enough, she simply waits for more bids. In the past this was impossible because her primary difficulty was finding a single carrier available in the area.
According to Ms. Martin, the system is great for everyone involved. “I get to find carriers around the nation to move my vehicles quickly and efficiently and carriers get notified about potential vehicles to fill their loads. Part of my frustration in the past was just knowing that there were carriers waiting to fill their trucks in the locations I needed to move vehicles. They would have liked to be in contact with me just as much as I would have liked to be in contact with them, but we just didn’t have a way to find each other.”
Ms. Martin also refers her dealer clients to CentralDispatch.com because the system is as beneficial for dealers as it is for auctions. She views recommending the site as a part of her customer service, “My dealer clients frequently ask for suggestions for carriers and I always recommend CentralDispatch.com. They are grateful for the suggestion and I always receive positive feedback about their experiences.”
She also uses the system to check carriers insurance and certification. In addition, contracts can be managed online and printed directly from CentralDispatch.com. Ms. Martin also takes advantage of the carrier rating system. Auctions, dealers, and carriers can rate each other and share their experiences, good or bad, with other members. This is especially important when dealing with carriers that she has not previously worked with. By using the ratings, she can learn about a carrier’s history before entering into a transaction with them. She uses CentralDispatch.com to manage the entire transportation process from beginning to end and as a central online location for record keeping and documentation.
Wendy Martin solved the difficulties of accessing carriers outside of her local area and getting competitive bids. Before, transporting vehicles far from Eugene was painstaking, time consuming, and filled her with dread. Now with CentralDispatch.com, moving vehicles across the nation is no more difficult than moving vehicles across town. According to Ms. Martin, “I can now do overnight what used to take weeks to accomplish. It’s literally changed my life!” For more information, please visit www.centraldispatch.com.