This month’s featured carrier is Sloan Transport of Jackson, MI. Sloan Transport is a second generation flatbed, specialized, and dry van carrier, with 40 company-owned trucks out of Michigan and hundreds of owner operators throughout the United States. Jim and Tawna Sloan started the company in 1982 with one truck that Jim drove. Today, the company is run by their kids, Brandon and Melissa.
Brandon Sloan, one of the owners, generously gave me his time to share his thoughts on the trucking industry and provided a little background on Sloan Transport.
What makes your company unique?
We strive to treat our employees, drivers, and customers like they are a part of our family. We also understand that a healthy home life for our drivers helps to create a happier, more efficient driver. This ultimately reflects on our level of service. We stay conscious and mindful of our drivers’ family needs and remain flexible with their schedules to ensure sufficient home time. With that, we maintain a high level of pride in our work, with a relentless effort to provide complete customer satisfaction. Our sensible, honest approach to business helps cultivate and maintain long-term relationships with our customers. We are an agent for five major North American flatbed truck carriers. Our capacity is plentiful, and we can supply equipment of almost any type, anywhere.
How do third party logistics providers (3PLs) impact your business?
Our first big experience with a 3PL started 18 months ago with C.H. Robinson. We were able to collaborate with C.H. Robinson’s Traverse City, MI, office, helping one another maintain a level of service that was highly beneficial to the customer and everybody involved. Through that relationship, we have been able to expand with them into other lanes and opportunities that we might not have been involved with otherwise. The overall impact is growth. It has been a great experience.
When working with a customer for the first time, what are your expectations?
I expect our team to make sure that we are able to help the customer communicate exactly what their needs are so that we can execute accurately and efficiently. If we can help them the first time, chances are, it won’t be the last time they call.
If you could change one thing about the transportation industry, what would it be?
Rates. The trucking industry as a whole is operating on rates that are three decades old. Meanwhile, our costs have more than doubled. The trucking industry is currently facing one of the largest labor shortages our country has ever seen. With trucking competing against other trades for labor, we need to be able to bring more to the table as an industry, and that means more money and benefits to make trucking a more attractive option for these men and women. Until then, we will continue to struggle. Moving into the future, the whole industry needs to collaborate to move in this direction.
What should the general public know about the trucking industry?
The general public needs to know how incredibly important trucking and the average driver is to our everyday life. Without the men and women driving these trucks down the road, we wouldn’t be able to buy something as simple as milk (as well as every other thing we use on a daily basis). Be courteous toward truckers on the road. If you see a semi holding back eight car lengths behind the car in front of them, there is a reason. Please don’t cut in front of them. They are doing this for the safety of everyone.
What industry or technology innovations have improved efficiency within your business?
– GPS tracking for the real time position of units
– Electronic tender and electronic record of loads moved for particular customers, which makes it easier to reference past loads, track rates, etc.
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