Best Logistics Group
Before entering a business relationship, the five most important questions any customer has are: “Who? What? Where? When? How?” Best Logistics Group asked itself these questions when the company first began in 1986 and uses them everyday to deliver world-class logistics solutions.
Best Logistics is a single-owner, privately held business made up of six individual operating companies, including three fleets to cover all transportation and logistic needs. These companies are:
- • Best Dedicated, which provides dedicated trucking services to increase efficiency in the supply chain;
- • Best Specialized, which offers heavy haul and oversized load transportation;
- • Best Global, which is an integrated network of international transportation and distribution services for ocean and airfreight;
- • Best Distribution, a warehouse distribution facility, also housing Best Logistics headquarters;
- • Best Cartage, a short-haul dry van fleet that engineers customized supply chain solutions for maximum fluidity;
- • Best Logistics, which offers freight management and domestic brokerage to a diverse client base.
These companies work in tandem to deliver the best-of-the-best transportation and logistics services. “No matter where the customers’ needs may apply in the supply chain, we will be able to provide a solution,” Vice President of Sales David Thrailkill says. “When you combine that with the tenure and loyalty of our associates, it’s a pretty powerful combination.”
Best Logistics has grown over the last 30 years with a focus on three key values. First, the people it hires are the backbone of the business and literally drive its success. Next, the company strives to develop lasting relationships with its customers, treating them as partners rather than clients. The company tries to solve their problems and understands that all needs are time-sensitive due to the nature of the business. Lastly, the company has pushed success due to its overwhelming capacity to provide logistics solutions for customers. Through its brokerage, Best Logistics has alliances with 25,000 partners that it uses to meet customer needs.
With a newer focus on growing the company externally, the company is actively seeking acquisitions that could compliment the business. “We’re niched; we do specific things for specific people,” Roy Cox, executive vice president, says. “We’re looking for business units that will complement the platform we already have in place.”
Best Logistics looks for quality, long-term arrangements, whether it’s working with suppliers, customers or its associates. “We want to be the business of choice,” Cox says. “We try to partner up with our suppliers, just like we do with our customers. We don’t think it’s good to go out and change for the sake of change. We want to make sure we create mutually beneficial relationships for everyone involved. We’re dependent upon our suppliers so that we can support the end-user. It’s a strategic alliance.“
Best Logistics has found that people join in these relationships and alliances because the company is well known in the industry and consistently demonstrates the values it holds.
“If you’re known in the industry as a company that can be trusted and known for ethics and values, it’s going to go a long way in ensuring our success,” says Richard Hepler, director of HR and safety. “I’m very proud of where I work and I think our associates would say the same.”
Hepler feels as though the company has a moral responsibility to the company’s associates because they make everything possible. He describes a time where one of the company’s original drivers was suffering from cancer. Everyone took time to visit him in his home and even took him for a ride in his truck. “That meant the world to him,” he says. “That’s the type of thing companies don’t have to do, but that’s always been part of our culture.”
Because of the company’s dedication to its people, it was acknowledged for being one of North America’s “Best Fleets to Drive For” in 2011 and 2012 by the Truckload Carriers Association.
Ahead of the Curve
A philosophy of Best Logistics is that if you’re not on top of the ever-changing nature of technology, the change will pass you by. This belief is what drives the company to stay ahead of the curve. “We’re entrepreneurs; we just happen to be in transportation,” Cox says.
Many business practices have changed since the company first began, but by utilizing the available technology, the company has become more efficient and able to serve its customers better than ever before. Additionally, Best Logistics is embracing technology from the drivers’ standpoint, implementing scanning technology and onboard video technology to track and communicate when its drivers are on the road, all in real-time. Customers have the ability to interface and access the data Best Logistics stores. If customers want to know where their truck is and when they can expect it, the company offers this information with complete transparency.
“We’ve had customers use the data we can provide to improve their efficiencies,” explains Thrailkill. “It goes back to that whole idea of partnering. Our customers expect a great deal from our telematics platform and we are able to successfully exceed their expectations.”
Economic struggles are always a driving force when implementing new technologies and practices, such as the ever-changing cost of fuel. The company started a contest to see how much fuel efficiency its drivers can accomplish, the cost savings benefitting both the company and its customers. The company established a baseline for what each driver averaged every mile per gallon for the first six months of this year. Then, throughout the next six months, they will attempt to improve upon that average. The drivers are divided into six different categories across Best Logistics’s fleets based on the type of operation where they work. The driver in each category that improves his MPG the most over his baseline will win $1,000. The six winners will then be put in a random drawing for a chance to win a 2015 Chevy Silverado.
“It’s one of those situations where everyone can benefit from it,” Hepler says. “It boosts company morale and gives everybody a chance to improve our productivity. Folks can win something pretty nice out of it as well.”
The company recently invested a significant amount of capital for more advanced in-house technology with McLeod software for better transportation management. It implemented this solution throughout all of its divisions and, as a result, has made significant strides in its goal to become a completely paperless company.
“We’re driven to streamline our efficiencies and become more productive and profitable,” Cox says. “We have an ideal blend of young forward-thinking associates complemented by tenured team members with decades of logistics experience. We’re willing to embrace any type of opportunity. We’ve all got an entrepreneurial spirit and we take that throughout our entire organization.”