When Rock Deschaine decided to expand his freight brokerage business, he knew just the place to look for agent trainees. During the summers, Deschaine—who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War—visits the Brooke Army Medical Center in nearby San Antonio to let the injured vets know they haven't been forgotten.
"I felt real close to those guys in the hospital and it had an effect on me," Deschaine said. "Many of them received life altering injuries so severe that returning to the workforce meant constant stares, or the inability to do what they once could easily."
"They tried to find jobs for the wounded vets, but many employers did not want to accommodate them," Deschaine said. "Then I got to thinking: these guys can run a business from their home."
Putting wounded warriors back to work
Deschaine began working with the non-profit Wounded Warrior Project in San Antonio to find prospects for his business, Deschaine Logistics, Inc. He recently brought on two disabled veterans and is currently recruiting for more. They work as independent agents from their homes and operate under Deschaine's DOT authority.
"Putting these guys back to work makes them feel empowered and productive—that they can once again provide for their families," he said. "Even if they are missing limbs or confined to a bed all day, they can still succeed."
There's little upfront cost for the disabled vets. All they need is a phone, a computer with internet access, a fax, and the ability to negotiate with shippers and carriers. Deschaine trains them and he is the one responsible for the $75,000 broker bond, the liability and cargo insurance, and other fees and licenses required for the business. Deschaine's wife, Shannah, helps with accounting and back-office support for the brokerage, which launched in May of 2014.
The right tools for the job
Learn more about DAT Keypoint
One essential tool for both Deschaine and his agents is his transportation management system (TMS). He recently purchased DAT Keypoint Anywhere, a web-based TMS that was designed specifically for brokers who want to get up and running fast. DAT Keypoint Anywhere does not require IT support or hosting on an in-house server. Deschaine pays a low monthly subscription fee, and his agents log in from home.
Previously, Deschaine used a different TMS, but it did not interact well with his QuickBooks accounting program or the DAT load boards. DAT Keypoint Anywhere handles operations, accounting, and reporting in a single system—replacing QuickBooks and providing seamless integrations with DAT products and services, eliminating the need to enter information more than once.
Deschaine and his agents use DAT load boards for posting loads and searching trucks, and DAT CarrierWatch for validating and monitoring carriers' safety and insurance information. Deschaine added the optional Agent Module, which gives him visibility into each agent's progress while allowing them to work securely with their own customers.
With the efficiencies gained through using DAT Keypoint Anywhere TMS, Deschaine gives his agents the ability to move more loads in a day. That, in turn, helps him grow his business.
"Our goal is to put 10 wounded warriors back into the workforce by the end of 2015," he said. "We don't want our veterans to be forgotten."