In a world full of options, Bay & Bay Transportation aims to give its customers more: more services, more capacity, more security and more quality under one roof. For over 50 years, Bay & Bay has been working toward combining 3PL brokerage capabilities and services with a fleet of 500 company-owned trucks. Rising to the top in both categories, Bay & Bay is a top 40 freight broker, a top 250 truckload carrier, and one of the top 20 fleets to drive for by the Truckload Carriers Association.
“We give our customers the best of both worlds,” says Bay & Bay COO Chip Smith. “It’s the security they need and the available capacity we control, as well as resources encompassing multiple modes and tens of thousands of fleets.”
By combining a full fleet with a well-connected brokerage service, Bay & Bay is able to offer its clients practically limitless options to fit their unique transportation needs.
“While our fleet side is constrained to where you can send 500 trucks at any given time, on our logistics side—which includes rail intermodal, highway truckload and LTL services covering North America—we really are unbound. I’ve got 30,000 different fleets under contract, all qualified and able to help,” says Smith.
This is especially beneficial for customers with varied needs who rely on Bay & Bay as both a carrier and a broker. “Customers find it really valuable to have a one stop shop that gives them access to all the capacity that they need, and gives them options and different mode considerations in one spot,” says Smith. “We do this with high quality levels of service and controls; it doesn’t really matter what part of the company is moving the freight for a particular customer. They have one point of contact, yet the resources of all these different modes and capacity sources.”
Focusing on safety
“By and large we’re dealing with small carriers. We’re aggregating all this capacity for our shippers, and they expect us to vet the carriers properly so we control the risks, rather than picking any carrier that happens to post a truck available,” Smith explains. To ensure that Bay & Bay is able to provide the highest quality carriers to its clients, the company maintains rigorous standards.
“It begins with the contracts we have with our carriers as well as with our shipper customers. For a carrier to meet our compliances, there’s a number of steps they have to go through beyond just having an adequate safety rating,” says Smith.
The company looks at much more than carrier safety ratings to make its assessments, from insurance levels of carriers to extensive background checks. Bay & Bay also holds its own internal operations to the same rigorous standards, going above and beyond to give clients peace of mind that their cargo is in good hands.
“We carry quite a bit of insurance beyond what any normal carrier or even most brokers would carry—so we have the vetting of the carriers up front to begin with, then we have their insurance, then we have our additional protections on top of that,” says Smith.
Investing in technology
“Our assets are primarily the drivers and the trucks,” says Smith. “On the logistics side, our assets are the information and the information management systems we’ve selected.”
Bay & Bay has made significant investments into technology to support those information-based assets, including the creation of its proprietary BOSS system built to monitor every aspect of the company’s load management and customer management. Based in the cloud and fully integrated with the company’s CRM from Salesforce.com, Bay & Bay’s BOSS system is able to handle an array of vital functions.
“We have all kinds of portability, report writing functions, and other benefits because we have a robust base platform,” says Smith. “Because it’s based in the cloud, we can operate from virtually anywhere we can get internet access. Even if we have a power outage or the phones go down, we can operate with just a cell phone and still conduct business with our carriers and customers.”
As Smith explains, the significant expense of an in-house program like BOSS is well worth the cost for the safety net and convenience that it provides. “It gives us an advantage in the market that is hard for any of the canned packages available to brokers to copy,” he says. “The cost to develop BOSS was well over a million dollars and it never ends—you’re in the IT business forever once you’ve developed your own software—but we think it gives us a leg up on everybody else.”
Bay & Bay is looking forward to more rapid growth in its future. “Last year our brokerage grew 41 percent,” says Smith, noting that while this year has been tough, the brokerage side of the business is still up 15 percent.
“Right now, we anticipate being a $180 million company, but five years from now we could easily be $300 million, with about $200 million being our freight brokerage and the balance being our assets,” says Smith. “Assets were 70 percent of our business five years ago, and now it’s 50/50 with our brokerage—so there’s a shift toward 3PL services that complement what we can do with our own assets.”