Fleet Owner

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Superior fleet solutions (July)

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Savvy turnaround sets fleet on winning path.

by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Fleet Owner, July 2015

Three years ago, the privately owned company formerly known as Hickory Springs Manufacturing changed its name to HSM and began a dynamic transformation of corporate rebranding and reinvigoration. A new CEO with dynamic and visionary leadership came on board, organized a new management structure and team, and set forth a strategic plan to reposition the 71-year-old company for sustainable success.

With 2,500 employees, 50 manufacturing plants in 17 U.S. states and China, and 38 domestic shipping locations, Hickory, NC-based HSM specializes in foam, metal, wire, converting, and fiber products.  It provides the latest integrated solutions and systems for furniture/bedding markets, as well as rapid-growth fields of commercial/transit/school buses, heath care and government services. 

Transportation is a critical component of the company’s success.  Its long-standing private fleet underwent revolutionary change with the hiring of a seasoned new leadership team headed by Richard Derian, director of corporate logistics, who has over 25 years of senior logistics experience in the marine and furniture industries, and Della Hensley, CTP, corporate transportation manager, who has more than two decades of for-hire carrier and private fleet experience.

New trailers were the most visible signs of change. “We purchased 200 new trailers with our new logo and set up a structured replacement program to add more trailers every year,” Derian says.  “Our trailers are an important value-added feature because these serve as on-site mobile warehouses for foam and fiber products at the customer’s locations. This arrangement saves customers the need for permanent warehouse space, but also gives our trucks more drop-and-hook possibilities.”

Utilization of private fleet capacity has grown dramatically in serving the company’s 100,000 truckload shipments each year.  About 65% of these loads are now delivered by the private fleet. The remaining 35% of loads are handled by outside carriers.  “Three years ago, these percentages were reversed,” Hensley says.  “Our fleet of 130 drivers and 140 tractors has experienced a 300% growth in backhaul revenue along with a 10% reduction in overall operating costs.” 

And installing an advanced data management system allows for greater visibility for management and drivers alike. “Capturing this data gives us a great competitive advantage over outside carriers and has helped justify and grow the private fleet.  Our cost accountants love it,” Derian says.  “This greater reliance on the private fleet has helped control costs, give better service, and provide more flexible, dependable transportation solutions as compared to outside carriers.”

Drivers are given priority attention.  Many drivers have long years of service; the average tenure ranges from 15-18 years.  “Our drivers see a much better company,” Hensley says. “We have very competitive pay and benefits, and work hard to help every driver find the lifestyle balance that’s right for them.”

Other important changes were initiated as well. Office space was renovated; professionally trained support staff was hired; driver paperwork was reduced; new uniforms for staff and drivers were introduced; and communication with drivers was improved. “We take every opportunity to say ‘thanks,’ ” Hensley says.

“We have executed a turnaround for lasting change,” Derian notes. “The private fleet is seen as a differentiated value—and a vital resource of superior fleet solutions.” 

Sustainable Solutions (June)

UNIFI Manufacturing in Greensboro, NC, is a leading producer of multi-filament POY, textured and staple polyester, nylon-textured yarns, recycled PET chip, and premier value-added yarns. Since 2007, UNIFI has become a global leader in offering transparent and certifiable    read more . . .

Better Ingredients (May)

Last year, Papa John’s Pizza celebrated its 30th anniversary and was recognized as # 1 in customer satisfaction among national brand pizza companies. The company’s enormous success remains driven by read more . . .

“Best Drivers in America” (April)

By reputation within the industry, working as a truck driver for Walmart’s private fleet has always been viewed as one of the best jobs to have – a company with outstanding pay and benefits, an industry-leading read more . . .

Biggest and Best (March)

This year’s NPTC Annual Conference scheduled for April 26-28 at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza and Duke Energy Convention Center is on track to be the largest, best-attended, and greatest read more . . .

Productivity Boost (February)

The National Private Truck Council has joined the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a group of shippers, motor carriers and their associations seeking to increase truck weight limits.      read more . . .

Premier Safety Culture (January)

Founded nearly 20 years ago, Sentinel Transportation is a national model of exceptionally high safety management standards and operational practices.  The company’s 750 employees, including 650 drivers and 400 tractors, operate out of 40 terminals. Sentinel provides specialized         read more . . .

Higher Education (December)

Leading private fleet management practitioners and supplier partners will gather in Jacksonville, FL, January 17-21, 2015, for the Private Fleet Management Institute (PFMI) in what promises to be the best program in the event’s two decade-long history. Since the event has a         read more . . .

Raising the Safety Bar (November)

Praxair Inc., which traces its roots to 1907 when it became the first company in North America to commercialize cryogenically separated oxygen, is the largest industrial gas supplier in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. Its products include           read more . . .

A Star Behind the Wheel (October)

In conjunction with its annual National Safety Conference, NPTC is pleased to recognize a unique group of some of the nation’s top private fleet drivers.  They are recognized as such by being selected as an NPTC National Driver All-Star.  The program, which is now     read more . . .

Setting The Standard (September)

Started by C. L. George over 90 years ago in a modest country store outside of Springdale, AR, George’s Inc. began as a one-truck operation hauling live poultry to major cities in the Midwest. Today, the fourth-generation, privately held company has grown into a highly successful producer of read more . . .

Safety Summit (August)

The annual NPTC National Safety Conference, scheduled for September 11-12, will again be held near the Washington Dulles International Airport at the Dulles Hyatt Hotel. Check out NPTC’s home page at www.nptc.org for details about hotel reservations and conference registration.

Designed to optimize return  read more . . .

Their Own Fleet (July)

Mid South Baking Co., headquartered in Bryan, TX, operates a successful regional commercial bakery, producing and delivering an enormous number of fresh quality products each day to thousands of customer locations and distribution centers throughout read more . . .

A Winner – Again (June)

Attendees at  NPTC’s 2014 Annual Conference felt that this was perhaps the best overall event in the Council’s history.

“This was a great show and more spectacular than ever. Everyone seemed pleased,”  commented an attendee.

“All the speakers were  phenomenal and the food was incredible,” said another.  “A great job of creating natural…opportunities for vendors and fleets to interact.”   read more . . .

Driving ‘Helpful’ Customer Service (May)

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Ace Hardware began as a small chain of independent hardware retailers that decided to come together to achieve consolidated buying power and market advantage.  Today, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry with more than 4,850 . . .

Medical Coaches (April)

Alliance Imaging, a division of Alliance HealthCare Services, is the largest premier provider of advanced diagnostic imaging services in the United States, with more than 1,000 hospital partners and other health care clients located in 46 states.  In addition to  read more ....

Building a partnership (March)

Privately owned since 1847, Orgill is the world’s largest independent hardware distributor with more than 6,000 customer accounts in all states, 10 Canadian provinces and 50 countries.  Listed in Forbes as one of the ....

Core values (February)

The Britt Hunt Co. was founded in 1992 by young entrepreneur and family business visionary Britt Hunt. The company started in the Nashville area as a distributor of Hunt Brothers Pizza and has since evolved over the past ....

You Must Be Present to Win (January)

Planning for the NPTC 2014 Annual Conference scheduled for April 13-14 in Cincinnati, OH, has been in the works since last summer.  More than 1,000 attendees and 175 exhibitors are expected in the world-class exhibit hall, which will be packed  ....

It’s Always Good at Hood (December)

It is rare these days to find a company in America still operating after 160 years, and even more rare for one to still be independently owned and operated as a family  ....