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Shifting Gears

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Driver pool enhanced by high-performing warehouse associates.

by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Fleet Owner, May 2016

Headquartered in Naperville, IL, KeHE Distributors LLC (KeHE) distributes natural and organic specialty and fresh products to retailers across the U.S. and Canada. In the past three years, KeHE has grown rapidly through both organic sales increases and strategic acquisitions.

An employee-owned company with close to $5 billion in annual revenue, 5,000 employees, and 16 distribution centers across the U.S. and Canada, KeHE services over 12,000 customers (including 45 of the largest 100 retailers) with more than 30,000 locations and carries over 70,000 SKUs.

KeHE prides itself on its track record of rapid and seamless customer supply-chain transitions. The company’s success in this area can be attributed to its experienced and dedicated transition team and collaborative approach. In one recent consolidation of two national retailers, the KeHE team completed the conversion of over 1,300  stores with over 8,000 new SKUs in less than 60 days, all while maintaining fill rates of over 91%.

To perform at this level, transportation and the private fleet are critical for driving corporate objectives, which include excellent customer service and cost-effectiveness. KeHE’s transportation operation has doubled in the last 24 months and includes 549 professional truck drivers, 448 Class-8 power units, and 695 multi-temp refrigerated trailers.

Recruiting and retaining quality drivers helps the company keep its competitive edge in the marketplace, yet the availability of drivers with more than two years of experience has diminished over the past few years.

To increase its talent pool of drivers, KeHE’s transportation program, called “Shifting Gears,” was designed for associates who work in the company’s warehouse operations. Eligibility is determined by several factors, including a clean motor vehicle report. KeHE employee candidates attend a certified CDL-A training school and after they graduate participate in a six-week- long KeHE Finishing School.

The company accommodates work schedule changes for the employees to attend the CDL school and pays for their training. With 12 months of active engagement in the program, KeHE has successfully transitioned 70%  of these employees into full-time professional truck drivers—often doubling their salaries.

When these drivers join the private fleet team, they begin a path of continuous improvement in safety, quality, and efficiency prescribed for all KeHE drivers. Safety coaching and a customized development for each driver has resulted in a 50% reduction in paid claim costs during the past 24 months. KeHE customers value the proactive delivery notifications on the timing of load arrivals, which are made possible through real-time visibility with onboard computer systems.

To optimize efficiency, the company uses state-of-the-art software to generate routing solutions that maximize load capacity. KeHE has a centralized team whose sole purpose is to eliminate empty miles through sourcing third-party freight.

The company’s transportation organization manages both inbound and outbound freight operations and constantly measures alternative pricing. From an efficiency perspective, KeHE’s transportation managers are measured on their transportation costs; if they find lower-cost alternatives, they are empowered to make changes.

KeHE leaders see this as another way to making its “We Serve To Make Lives Better” mission more than a slogan. Operating an efficient private fleet is a significant contributor to this success.

Aaron’s Fleet

Aaron’s Inc. is the nation’s leading sales and lease-to-own retailer of furniture, home appliances and accessories, computers, and consumer electronics. Founded in 1955 and headquartered in Atlanta, the company has more than 2,000 company-operated and franchised stores in the . . .  read more . . .

Tone at the Top

Founded in 1982, Dallas-based Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics is widely recognized as one of the best diversified transportation businesses in the United States. Under the innovative and visionary leadership of founder and CEO Daryl Flood, the company has a long-standing reputation for hiring quality people  . . .  read more . . .

A Model Convention

Over the past 15 years, the National Private Truck Council’s annual conference has become the centerpiece event and premier marketplace crossroads for the private fleet truck industry. Each year, the conference grows a little bigger and provides more value than the year before.

The annual conference has steadily grown in overall attendance figures  . . .  read more . . .

The Best People

Since its founding in 1968, Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. has expanded through both internal growth and acquisition of established wholesalers. It is now the country’s largest wine and spirits distributor, operating in 35 states and  . . .  read more . . .

Gold Standard

At its founding and from the time of its charter class graduation in 1993, the National Private Truck Council’s Certified Transportation Professional (CTP ®) program’s guiding vision was to create a widely recognized and respected   . . .  read more . . .

Be Remarkable

Founded in 1921, Coborn’s Inc. started as a produce market in Sauk Rapids, MN, and has grown to 52 grocery stores in five upper Midwest states under a family of brand names including Coborn’s, Cash Wise, Marketplace Foods, and Save-a-Lot stores. In addition, the company provides a home-delivery operation with $36 million   . . .  read more . . .

Prime Grade Fleet

Part of a privately held family business of integrated companies started in 1946, American Foods Group provides highly dependable on-time delivery of the freshest beef to foodservice, retail, and international markets. The company ranks as the fifth largest beef producer in America, shipping over 4 million lbs. daily.   . . .  read more . . .

A Higher Calling

As disciples of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strive to follow the biblical admonition to feed the hungry. Welfare services—helping members in need with basic life necessities—became a cornerstone of the Church’s mission at its founding . . .  read more . . .

Safety by the numbers (August)

The opening general session of this year’s National Safety Conference will highlight a report on a year-long study that just ended. Titled The Efficacy of Active Safety Technologies and Policies within Private Fleets, the report was sponsored by NPTC and conducted by the . . .  read more . . .

Superior fleet solutions (July)

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 ...   read more . . .

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 . . .