Business as a Force for Good

Employees enable our work, our community matters, and the earth sustains us.

Normal business at JetCo involves a continuous cycle of challenging ourselves to be better. After reflecting on ways to improve our impact on our employees, our community, and our industry, we decided to pursue B Corp certification.

What is a certified B Corp?

Certified B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. B Corps “Envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.” Members of the B Corp community are tackling some of the most pressing global challenges and building a new economy that benefits all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

What is B Corp certification?

B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. It evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impacts its workers, community, environment, and customers. From supply chain and input materials to charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves a business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.

Why is JetCo Federal getting B Corp certified?

  • It will make us better. What we like about B Corp Certification is that it will not just acknowledge what our company excels at now—it commits us to setting goals for improvement so that we create more positive social and environmental impact.
  • We win the right way, because our stakeholders deserve it. This is one of our value statements. We are passionate about doing things the right way. By doing things right—with all stakeholders in mind—we believe that certified businesses like ours can solve social and environmental problems.
  • We want to stand out. The B Corp seal instantly communicates that a company is a verified leader when it comes to positive impact and empowerment. The third-party validation that comes with B Corp Certification will be another feather in our cap to help JetCo Federal stand out in our industry.

How do we measure up?

Certified B Corporations must achieve a minimum verified score of 80 points on the B Impact Assessment. According to B Lab, which administers the program, the median score for “ordinary businesses” is 50.9. After completing our B Impact Assessment, JetCo Federal scored 54.4.

We have to say, when we read that our score was “ordinary” it felt like a compelling kick in the ass. Over the next several months we will be working as a team to achieve specific goals to earn those extra needed points. Because we don’t settle for ordinary. We want to be a force for good.

Volatility in The Freight Market

Of the major factors that make a logistics operation successful, managing volatility in freight markets is one of the most important. Volatility manifests as fluctuations in supply-side availability, or as customer demand, or as an external event (like a pandemic). It has immediate and substantial impacts on costs, and can be a major source of profit drag.

For logistics managers, mitigation isn’t straightforward. Simply pricing in the risk would make rates unsustainable, so organizations have to adopt more sophisticated strategies that adapt to market conditions. At JetCo, we have built our strategy on three pillars:

Organizational Resilience

When freight demand is strong, redundancy in the supply chain helps smooth spikes in pricing or dips in availability. Also, by actively developing multiple transportation options, opportunities to find efficiency naturally develop as demand eases.

Trusted Networks

Delivering to highly-secured or difficult-to-access locations demands a high level of trust and respect between companies and logistics partners, but organizations doing business commercially can benefit from developing trusted relationships as well. The freight market has an enormous amount of human capital, companies that recognize that as a place to invest real resources will find that it pays dividends in a volatile market.

Expert Resources

Resource diversity is key to active management of market uncertainty, and finding ways to multiply expertise internally and externally is a powerful way to mitigate risk. At JetCo, we utilize a mix of resources, including our own logisticians, brokers, and best-in-class technology platforms together to predict and mitigate market uncertainty.

In the past several years, the freight market has been severely tested by swings in demand due to general shifting industry in the United States, the ongoing pandemic, and technology. Through the application of these strategies JetCo has been able to maintain a 99% on-time rate for shipments. For more information on how we manage through volatility in the freight market, view our capabilities.

Transformation in Government Contracting

I think we can all agree that the year 2020 was fundamentally disruptive for both people and business. Much has been, and will continue to be written on it; I suggest this McKinsey survey for a wide view on the scope of the transformation. Even the typically circumspect Federal contracting industry has not escaped the acceleration into new modes of thinking. Beyond pandemic factors, a new administration and the implementation of long-term initiatives like the Cybersecurity Maturation Model Certification (CMMC) are also having a major effect on the contracting landscape. Below are a few of the changes to look out for in 2021 and beyond:

  1. The Executive Order on America’s Supply Chain

This is new as of late February, and I expect to have a deeper look in the coming months, but this has the potential to transform how the government purchases in fundamental ways. There are already several statutory preferences for acquiring domestic products like the Buy American and Buy America Acts, but those laws don’t extend to the production of those products. This executive order builds on several others by directing agencies to submit capability reports that detail current production capacity, gaps, and recommendations for building resilience in their supply chains. It is likely that those reports will be directive for both agency interpretation of the FAR in the short-term, and potentially for Congressional action in the long-term.

  1. The Rule of Two

While small businesses are eligible to bid on most open market solicitations, the government recognizes that the reality of unrestricted competition may reduce access for small business concerns. To protect the diversity of the contracting pool, set-aside programs mandate acquisitions from small or diverse businesses. These programs are balanced by exceptions that allow the government to make awards when small businesses cannot fulfill certain requirements, as determined by market research. One commonly used test in the research process is called the Rule of Two: For contracts under a certain threshold, the government must utilize a set-aside if there are at least two small businesses who could reasonably bid and offer a fair market price.

Recently, the discretion to apply the rule of two was litigated in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, with the COFC ruling that it is required when set-aside obligations apply. This decision provides significant clarity for small businesses, and is expected to have wide-ranging implications for contracts under $250,000.

  1. Adoption of Commercial Business Practices

Less visible is the general adoption of commercial business practices across government acquisition practices and operations. In the Department of Defense especially, public/private partnerships have resulted in significant efficiency increases and cost reductions via trial programs. The visible success of these efforts within DoD and other agencies will likely fuel further exploration of contractor integration “inside the fence”. In these scenarios, contractors often become responsible for performance goals rather than specific requirements, allowing the government more access to best-in-class commercial processes and technology. As these programs continue to develop, look for more opportunities through industry day connections and other networking events.

Separately, each of these have the potential to shape industry outlooks, combined with the underlying push toward a more digital economy they will have outsize impact on contracting for 2021 and beyond.