Charles Kettering, an ingenious American inventor and engineer, once said there is a simple, fundamental distinction between a problem and a solution. The difference “is that people understand the solution.” When it comes to concerns involving transportation and logistics, there is a Michigan company comprised by people who not only understand solutions, but diligently deliver them on a daily basis.
At Load One Transportation and Logistics, the company mantra is “the future belongs to those who deliver.” Their success has been built on providing complete transportation and logistics solutions, today. Based in the Detroit, Michigan, suburb of Taylor – Load One operates a state-of-the-art operation. Combining the asset-based trucking side of their business with the flexibility of their non-asset based logistics divisions, they offer more effective solutions to their customers.
“Load One is an industry leader, and is constantly breaking new ground in the industry,” says President John K. Elliott II. “Our service team ensures our customers always get their best solution – whether that solution is in house asset based, third party, or a blended solution. We have the knowledge to get the job done.”
When it comes to the transportation industry, Elliott has a family history dating back generations – his grandfather owned trucking companies, and his father was an industry executive – so he knows what he’s talking about. “I was baptized in diesel fuel, and brought up in the industry,” he jokes. “My first job was to sweep up trailers. I really learned by starting out at a summer job working in the shop. When I got to high school I got to move into the wonderful world of operations and dispatch as a clerk.”
After he graduated college, Elliot went into aviation management for about two years. He delved back into the trucking industry after receiving an offer from a company that he just “couldn’t refuse,” he says. In January 2003, he struck out on his own and used all of his experience to successfully launch Load One.
Load One Transportation and Logistics differs from the competition by offering a full-service of transportation and logistics services including air charter, air freight and cargo, ground expedite, truckload, partial truckload, flatbed, drop-deck flats, temp control, intermodal management, and more. “We offer a truly full-service, one-stop shop for our customers,” Elliot says. “By transforming ourselves from just being a trucking company into a solutions provider, we try to never say no. We offer customers a solution for everything.”
The range of service offerings provides their customers with complete solutions that their competitors cannot offer. The vast-array of options means more customers come to them as their one-stop transportation partner. They provide more coverage and more load opportunities than most of their competitors. As a result, they’ve been named as one of the fastest growing companies in Michigan for a number of years.
“We’re a little unique because we offer a number of different services, and often times it’s us bringing together a blended solution to try to meet client’s needs,” Elliott says. “It’s really about being a solution provider, and how you provide a solution to the customer. It may involve five different things.”
Load One strives everyday to deliver for their customers, owner operators and employees. It is this commitment to operating a professional, safe and caring company that has been the key to their success. They offer one of the finest and experienced operations and sales staffs in the industry. “We can’t succeed unless they all succeed,” he says. “That’s the only way we will grow and maintain loyalty and still try to be something similar to other companies, yet different.”
With a management staff of 120 (and combined industry experience that exceeds 300 years), they are well-versed in all aspects of transportation management. Comprised of five distinct operating groups, Load One’s service teams act independently and collaboratively to ensure their customers get what they require.
“We have a great leadership team here,” Elliot says. “A good number of them have been with us for quite a while. Our turnover inside the office is extremely low. They are a very dedicated and loyal group of individuals.”
“I instil my beliefs, vision and focus into the company by working and mentoring my senior management,” says Elliott. “They, in turn, work with our managers to keep those beliefs and vision alive throughout our entire organization.”
Load One’s commitment to excellence is also evident in their extremely low owner operator turnover rate. Many of the fleet owners started with Load One as a single-unit owner, which provides customers with a more experienced and knowledgeable driver, thus resulting in a higher service level. In fact, they maintain a much higher hiring standard than most carriers.
“Our goals this year are to try to get to 20 percent in annual turnover. We sit below 40 right now,” Elliott says. “We have an extremely low industry average and that’s because retention is a much bigger thing to us than recruiting.”
One of the reasons Load One has been able to retain most of their 400 drivers is because they offer an extremely competitive compensation package that is “one of the best in the industry,” says Elliott. Happy drivers, in this case, helps equate to happy customers. “We get lots of compliments from our customers that say our drivers are extremely professional and super helpful. As much as we have sales people, most drivers are really the face of the business, because that’s who the customers see more than anybody.”
At Load One Transportation and Logistics, technology also plays a critical role in how they provide their solutions, and deliver their services. They are a 24/7 365-day operation that is cloud-based and utilizes a “complete virtualized” platform – right down to the desktop so that an employee can access their network and data in real-time from home or from an outside office. “With the expedite industry, you have to be everywhere. I might have a shipment that comes from your hometown tomorrow and then I may never get one again for a year,” he says. “We have to partner and work with a number of other expedite companies.”
“Our software is integrated with a number of other leading expedite carriers where we can turn around and say to them, ‘You have a truck there. We can see it in the system. We have a load available to go from A to B,’” he adds. “We see everything that is happening with that carrier in real-time.”
Bigger and better
Looking ahead longer term, Elliott sees Load One Transportation and Logistics continuing to grow, regardless of conditions of the current economy. They will position themselves to take advantage of all market opportunities, he says. They have been able to weather the economic turmoil through eliminating inefficiencies and placing more focus on their most viable and profitable sectors.
“We run a very solid financial ship so that we are able to capitalize on some opportunities where competitors may not have been able to make capital expenditures,” Elliott says. “Our growth will continue to expand into new facilities, and we’re going to continue to make a great organization even more robust so that we can do what we do now, but do it bigger and better.”