Innovation, opportunity and growth – it has been a phenomenal year for ChassisFinder. The online chassis reservation platform experienced record growth nationwide in 2017 with a stunning 50 percent increase in chassis on-hire during peak in 2017 versus peak in 2016. In addition, Milestone saw an unprecedented 612 percent increase during peak in 2017 versus peak in 2016. Responding to market demand, the company continues to open depots across the country, most recently in Southern California and the Greater Boston area.
And more exciting things are to come.
“We look forward to carrying this momentum into 2018,” says General Manager Jason Anderson. He shares the key to his team’s success, the biggest challenge facing the industry and what he looks forward to in the coming year.
Tell us about your role as General Manager of ChassisFinder.
My first responsibility is to approach equipment owners and let them know why they are at an advantage to put their chassis into the ChassisFinder system or pool. Secondly, I do a lot of work in continuous improvement of our platform. This year, there was an enormous effort put into the system to make the platform more flexible and dependable for our vendors. Thirdly, I engage in a lot of customer service. I get plenty of inquiries. Even when I’m on vacation, I take my cell phone with me. The fourth role and responsibility I have is building TrailerFinder. We’re planning the launch for Q1 2018 and always looking ahead for future opportunities for improvement.
Tell us more about the concept behind ChassisFinder. How does it work?
It was envisioned to be a “Hotels.com” for chassis. If you need a chassis and you need to shop by price, by quantity, by availability, you could find all those attributes for all the equipment you need.
ChassisFinder has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in 2017. What do you attribute that to?
Better autonomy. Consumer confidence and a strong retail sector this year. We’ve seen a general improvement in the economy across the economy. We have a lot of good people at Milestone that I work with on a daily basis and a strong commercial team to move ChassisFinder forward. They’ve made some very strong deals that were short term and were booked through ChassisFinder.
What are the advantages to an online booking portal?
Customers can book equipment in less than a minute, 24/7. It’s possible for them to pick up a chassis in a few minutes either coordinating with dispatch or making the reservation right from their phone.
Before ChassisFinder, what was the typical way to find a chassis?
The old way was calling someone, negotiating a price, getting approved, signing a contract and finally dispatching a driver. Now, the trucker could sit outside a gate, lease a chassis on their phone, and pick that up in a few minutes. Also, all of the equipment in ChassisFinder is practically brand new – that’s another advantage.
New vs. Refurbished
Let’s talk about the advantage of brand new equipment vs. refurbished. What are the pros of using new?
Old remanufactured equipment is still old. There is risk of older equipment failing. Whether I am the truck driver or the trucking company, I have too much at stake to risk my business or my reputation on an old remanufactured piece of equipment. Older equipment costs more to maintain and remanufactured chassis may not require modern safety amenities such as tire inflation or anti-lock brakes. With a brand new chassis, there is little to no M&R. Plus, you can’t put a cost on peace of mind.
What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?
Not knowing what the steamship lines are going to do with their chassis. Best case scenario: they decide they don’t want to be the chassis business and ChassisFinder vendors reap those benefits.
What’s required in building a good team?
Persistence, intelligence and industry knowledge. If you have a desire to work hard, constantly learn and foster new ideas, you will do very well in this business.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I like helping new customers understand what an asset ChassisFinder is for them. How it can change their business because they are not obligated to sign a term lease for a year or more.
It helps them be more agile. It boosts their business. I like helping new customers realize that and to help them to use ChassisFinder to transform the way they do business.
What does the future hold for ChassisFinder? What things are you excited about?
Our growth has been phenomenal in 2017. Moving forward, we need to add new vendors and bolster our customer base. It’s hard to tell what’s next for ChassisFinder since we change gears pretty fast. We’ll probably see more automation and back-office improvements. One thing is for sure, we are very excited about getting TrailerFinder online in 2018.