August 5, 2016

HEAVY HAUL OVERHAUL.

Heavy Haul is rolling out a new transportation model to solve inefficiencies born out of inconsistent fleet configurations, a lack of coordinated dispatch and limited efforts to develop drivers. The new model ensures efficiency, customer service and driver development measure up to Western States’ standards.

The first order of business was to implement a dispatch team to coordinate transport demands, ensuring trucks are kept full and customers are taken care of. “In the past, virtually anyone could place an order, which made it really difficult to ensure our trucks were fully utilized before looking to outside haulers,” Steve Huling, who led the project along with Scott Dabney, said. This disconnect in communication caused work to be pushed to third-party haulers while sometimes Western States’ drivers sat in the yard. For perspective, about 60% of Heavy Haul’s expense has traditionally been generated by third-party haulers. With the dispatch team in place to use vetted third-party haulers at our discretion, that 60/40 split should reverse to favor Western States’ drivers, keeping more money in house and allowing us to better control the customer experience. This simple change by itself projects to shift over $1M to in-house operations.

Additionally, drivers will be placed into three categories to maximize efficiency in the flow of equipment and components. Territory Drivers will focus on long-haul, cross-territory loads, while Regional Drivers will primarily serve the region in which they live. The big change comes from the addition of Route Drivers. Initially, one each will be based in Spokane and Pocatello, circulating throughout our territory every week. Stops at each branch along their respective routes will expedite store-to-store transfers and meet the demands of our component rebuild centers.

Finally, the new model will be more proactive in ensuring consistent training for company drivers. Annual training will be expanded beyond the confines of D.O.T. regulations to be in alignment with Western States standards for service, safety and development.

With all these positive changes, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill. “It’s exciting,” Huling said. “It’s not just about a single person working better — this is about giving people the right tools to be exceptional.” And he’s right. Giving employees everything they need to succeed is part of the innovation that drives Western States forward. With change like that, who wouldn’t be excited?

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