Never Stand Still

Discussion in 'LTL and Local Delivery Trucking Forum' started by Mike2633, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Road Train Member

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    bankruptcy happens real slowly for a long time, then all of a sudden.
     
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  3. Mike_77

    Mike_77 Medium Load Member

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    I know what I’m about to say falls under the heading of industry lore and maybe even conspiracy theory... It is my belief that at the time that video was produced the highest Ievels of Condolidated Freightways leadership were playing a long game, they planning to kill off old CF one way or the other. I think they believed the best way to drive shareholder value in the future was to cultivate Conway, Menlo and Emery, and to one way or the other rid themselves of their old unionized legacy carrier CF.

    As far as the airplanes are concerned, I get their desire to innovate and differentiate themselves in the marketplace with airfreight service. After all the noose of trucking deregulation was starting to tighten and they were looking for diversification. Where I think one could level criticism at the leadership was how sloppy the airfreight business was handled.

    I don’t know if the C-suit was being payed above industry standards for that time, so I will not comment on that.
     
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  4. Mike_77

    Mike_77 Medium Load Member

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    One other thought on this. It seems to me that the book reveals a certain degree of negligence on the part of the board of directors. I don’t feel the C-suit leadership was made accountable for their many blunders.
     
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  5. speedyk

    speedyk Road Train Member

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    Yup, that's about what went through my mind while I was watching it.

    Bloomington seems an odd terminal to use for an investor video. Wonder if they were trying to keep the underlying motive hidden from the union by pretending to shoot a training film, so they picked a small terminal out in the middle of cornfields.

    If so, they likely underestimated how observant rural people are. If there had been a TTR back then, there likely would have been a post about it on here.
     
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  6. Mike_77

    Mike_77 Medium Load Member

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    I know many ex CF drivers who claim to have been suspicious about the leaderships motivations at the time of Conway’s creation. These concerns were expressed to the companies leadership,the corporate leaderships response to these concerns were adamant, Conway was always going to be a regional carrier (a side show), and CF would always be the core of their business .

    The rest is history.
     
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  7. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    I was reading in the Con-Way book about the start up of Con-Way and when they started putting Con-Way into action CF thought that they would get in trouble with the union for "double breasting." I got a feeling they knew what they were doing.

    They CF Inc. Always claimed CF was bad on short hauls and that Con-Way was for short hauls. Of course by the mid 1990s Con-Way figured out they could all interline with each other next thing you know you saw CSE and CCX interchanging in Maryland circa 1995-1996.
     
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  8. Mike_77

    Mike_77 Medium Load Member

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    I don’t buy the company line, I strongly suspect there were other long term motives. So rather then CF Inc pumping a bunch of money into a new startup (Conway), why not spend those resources to restructure the existing LTL (CF) company so it works better? Like I said before I believe the leadership had long term plans to rid themselves of CF. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall listening to CF Inc’s C-suite backroom discussions during that era.
     
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  9. Mike2633

    Mike2633 Road Train Member

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    You know what you're right. You hear all the time about CF never had money for new equipment and all there trucks were always beat, but they had no problem no problem at all building new terminals for Con-Way and buying trucks for Con-Way hell they had no problem buying that disaster Pennyan Express and then throwing all of Pennyan Express Equipment out and buying new equipment for that failure. Of course they said "Well we specked Con-Ways equipment the same as CF's that way if there was ever a problem at Con-Way there trucks could be easily integrated into CF."

    Of course and maybe it's just me, but Con-Way had nicer newer looking trucks then CF. Hell CF was running stuff form the 1980s way into the 2000s while Con-Way had stuff from the 2000s in the 2000s. Of course by that time CF had already been spun off what was it 1996 they spun off CF.

    They always said CF's hub and spoke system was bad for short hauls, but then they said Con-Way later on late 80s and 1990s was tasked to do longer hauls and was inadvertently competing with CF. The whole thing never made sense to me and I always thought CF Motor Freight and Con-Way were redundant. I always thought why would one LTL company start up another LTL company under the same parent company and have them compete head to head with each other? It's like Subway they over franchised and have stores competing with each other talk to any franchise consultant and they will tell you don't buy a Subway franchise.

    I think between the union, bad economy of the 1990s and CF just being an old no frills business management was board with all that and wanted out they were interested in new things and like Speedy said they squandered money on stupid business and Emery Air Freight which ended up being kind of a crappy investment for CF. Now Emery did make CF some money in the 1990s, but Emery was a mess of bad air freight mergers and ding dong stuff like that, I mean CF was not TNT Corporation and TNT certainly was I think probably better run CF wanted to do it all, but TNT actually did it all and did it all very well. I think TNT management just had different philosophy then CF.

    People give CF a lot of credit and they deserve it a lot of folks say is there anything CF couldn't do and for a time here in the US CF did it all.

    Now later on though world wide TNT did it all CF not so much. TNT had deeper pockets for one and wasn't putting the burden of everything on one business. With CF everything they wanted to try different the beast of burden always fell back on CF Motor Freight to pay for it all.

    TNT was not looking for TNT Holland to pay for TNT Reddaway. I think that was a major difference between the two companies.
     
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  10. speedyk

    speedyk Road Train Member

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    The legacy of unions vs management goes back before trucking existed. Back to mining and railroads and wobblies and Pinkerton strikebreakers. The violence got sublimated but it remains burning and destructive under the surface like Centralia, PA,

    That smolder appears to have adversely affected CF's judgement and mindset.

    An example from right now is how it's affecting UPS contract negotiations as they argue over the same old bones rather than reinventing their relationship. That's another company that's chipping away at its good thing like CF did.

    Workers tend to want (or think they want) a steady paycheck and bennies and retirement locked in. Even if they are bored to pieces hanging on to the prize slot they waited for and wish they could change.

    Changing market conditions? That's the company's problem. For a while.

    CF faced and did what other companies faced and did, but running a three-legged race tied to legacy agreements, practices, and internal conflicts, distracted from clarity by a submerged war with their own people.

    TNT appears to have used their acquisition power to try markets and labor arrangements without getting overly involved in one type; that habit of putting their identity on anything and removing it just as quickly showed fluid and fluent sorting and discarding practices. They eventually grokked how hidebound Reddaway and their other US LTLs were and decided to cut them loose after trying to make something out of them, like CF did with Penn Yan.

    Except that TNT got something out of it by fostering USF's origination somehow (I'd like to know more about that) rather than just cutting them off to die and losing money just to spite some labor people like CF did.

    TNT seems to have had a mentality that tried to make every move profitable. They moved on from bad deals better, had more experience with breakups than CF.
     
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  11. Youngtrucker19

    Youngtrucker19 Light Load Member

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    For those saying you need more for ltl, depends of what kinda ltl use to do ltl in straight trucks otr. Made good money but you have to stay gone awhile to do it.
     
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