Spady Transport is a family-owned and operated trucking company that provides transportation and distribution services throughout North America. The company was started in 1998 by Margaret and Darral Spady – a couple whose expertise and passion for customer satisfaction, as well as commitment to safety and reliability, has enabled them to grow into a leading authority in providing dry van transportation.
They are a CTPAT, PIP, FAST Approved, CSA and Smartway Certified Company with satellite equipment and full EDI Services.
“Everything within this business I learned and then set up and implemented,” Margaret says of the company’s origin. “It’s been hands-on from beginning to end to get to where we are now.” Her husband Darral used to be an owner-operator, as well, and has an invaluable depth of knowledge about the equipment. He trains the new owner operators thoroughly before they go on the road.
The Spady’s family ownership and hands-on attitude is what sets their company apart from the competition. Unlike larger, more corporate entities, Spady Transport is capable of making things happen immediately – the owners are always available to authorize expenditures and make decisions. With other companies, the corporate structure tends to be more fractured, with decisions needing to climb more rungs of management to be made.
Not only that, but Spady Transport has trained their employees to make those calls themselves, and trusts them to do so. “We’ve got a hands-on team atmosphere here,” says David Holyoke, General Manager of the company. “We believe in empowerment.”
“I firmly believe every company needs to have a firm foundation,” Margaret adds. “We have a set of core values that the company is built on.” Those values include honesty, integrity, and respect for all individuals. “Our owner-operators are our partners in business. We don’t look at them as just drivers out there. They actually work with the customers, and help us run the business doing that.”
By taking that approach, Spady Transport has been able to form strong relationships with owner operators – some of whom have been with the company for over 10 years. That kind of retention is uncommon in trucking, David explains. “Usually, the attrition level in the industry is remarkable,” he says. “We don’t have that issue here.”
“We also want to build win-win, enduring relationships with our customers,” Margaret continues. “That means we have to empower our employees – teach them, train them, and empower them to make good decisions.”
When the company started, Margaret was the one doing all the dispatch, invoicing and all the sales – pretty much everything other than the driving, she says – so she has the ability to teach anyone exactly how she wants the processes and procedures implemented. “So I believe we have a pretty high standard of employees here.”
To help manage those employees, the Spady’s recently brought in David Holyoke, their General Manager. David has been in the transportation industry since 1988; starting in the courier business and moving into trucking in 1997. In the past, he worked as the Western Regional Sales Manager at Highland Transport, the biggest truckload company in Canada, and more recently at Concord Transportation as Western Linehaul Manager. David has invaluable experience in both sales and operations and he is now putting it to use for Spady Transport.
By having the right people within the company, Spady Transport is better able to satisfy their customers. “We still have some customers now that we dealt with right from day one, when we started out,” says Margaret. “Our approach to customers is to exceed expectations – always go the extra mile, and be honest with them.”
That last part is important, because many companies will tell a customer they can handle a load, even if they do not have the equipment available. Their solution would be to simply delay. Spady Transport, on the other hand, has always made it its mission to be very clear up front about their capabilities.
“Being straightforward with the customers has really built a trusting relationship,” Margaret says. “I never need to come up with stories, and say ‘Oh it broke down,’ or ‘We couldn’t get it there.’ Once you start those stories, they never end. So I’ve always been very adamant about saying ‘Yes, we have a truck’ or ‘No we don’t.’ And if there is a delay, there is a genuine reason for it.”
By managing their business at a high level, and delivering on what they promise, when they promised it by, Spady Transport has attracted “marquee accounts” – companies like Toyota, Krueger and Samsung all do business with them. “We managed to get ourselves in there many years ago and retain them, and do really good business with them,” Margaret says.
Spady Transport’s relationship building extends to government as well, and their interaction with government on both sides of the US-Canada border is very positive. David says most companies do not share the level of communication they have with either country. “We endeavour to be exceptionally compliant,” Margaret explains. “We cooperate in any way we possibly can with requests from either the US or Canadians. We are involved in the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism and the Partners in Protection programs and we take these very seriously.”
This is important, because Spady Transport’s reach is wide in both countries. According to David, they will go as far south as Florida, and the Mexico border in California and Texas. They will also go as far east as New York. “We’ll go if it makes a profit,” David says.
“We have the flexibility to adjust to the customer’s needs,” adds Margaret.
Overall, Spady Transport prides itself on being a company that can compete at the highest level, despite being a smaller company. “We’re right in there with the big boys, even though we’re a smaller company,” says David.
An exciting future
Over the fourteen years they have been in business, Spady Transport has grown tremendously. According to David, that growth shows no signs of leveling off. In fact, that is why he was brought on board – to help the company grow and expand. “My personal idea about this company and where it can go is unlimited. We really have the potential to be a 50 truck company within three years. We have the financial resources to do that, and we have the brains and the people. It’s quite exciting to be here with these opportunities.”