Ron Massman is always on the lookout for ways to reduce the carbon footprint his business leaves on the environment.

So he’s quite proud The Dependable Cos. is using 5,300 solar panels to produce as much as 70 percent of the energy his business uses at its 1.5-million-square-foot corporate headquarters and warehouse in Los Angeles. “It was an investment, of course, but it’s something we felt was the right thing to do,” says Massman, CEO at the full-service logistics provider. “We have more than 50,000 square feet of office space. It’s really reduced our energy costs.”

The effort to go green is just one area where Massman is constantly looking for ways to do it better.

Doing it right
The Dependable Cos. provides less-than-truckload service throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, full truckload service throughout the western United States, and harbor drayage and international ocean/air service to Hawaii and Guam.

Massman’s father founded the company in 1950, and he has been in the business since 1964. Massman says the basic premise of what his company does remains the same. “Customers want their goods delivered on time, damage-free and with a courteous driver,” Massman says. “That’s probably not ever going to change. But all the things that lead up to it and afterward in terms of information — that is a big change.”

One of Massman’s key business partners in managing all that information is Freight Management Inc. Through his Dependable Highway Express Division, Massman looks to FMI as a resource for additional business. When there are issues with an account, FMI acts as a liaison between The Dependable Cos. and FMI’s customers to resolve problems quickly. “They are very easy to work with,” Massman says. “With some larger accounts, they have an onsite person there to help manage the movement of the freight.”

Working together
A good relationship between a broker such as FMI and a carrier such as The Dependable Cos. can be profitable for both parties.

“For some carriers, brokers are an extension of their sales force,” Massman says. “The larger ones have a large array of customers that many carriers may not ever have an opportunity to secure. But through relationships with brokers, they might be able to get that kind of business.”

Massman says there are brokers out there who will try to squeeze carriers to a point at which there is very little profit left to be made.

“Other brokers recognize that carriers need to have a marginal profit in order to continue to provide good service and upgrade trucks,” Massman says. When it comes to selecting companies to do business with in the logistics industry, similar attributes are important no matter which side you’re on.

“A shipper needs to be very careful of who he is dealing with to make sure they are financially sound and have a strong carrier base and strong relations with those carriers,” Massman says.

A strong partnership such as the one between The Dependable Cos. and FMI is a great asset.

“FMI historically has maintained an excellent record of account retention while adding business to its base from established accounts,” Massman says. “This relationship has been a very positive factor during the economic slowdown.”