Despite the impacts of the economic recession, Southeastern Freight Lines says its on-time and damage-free service is at a record high.
The motor carrier industry is struggling with reduced services, layoffs and other impacts of the economic slowdown that affect performance levels, says Southeastern. “So far this year, [Southeastern Freight Lines] met its scheduled delivery 99.2% of the time, exceeding the company record of 98.95% of last year,” the company said. In addition, the company averages 455 shipments before a claim for damage is filed, exceeding the company’s record of 345 shipments per claim last year. The company is also setting records in driver safety, pickup and delivery (P&D) cost, dock efficiency and load average.
“The foundation of Southeastern’s success is trusted and reliable service, and this is achieved first and foremost through our commitment to our employees,” said Mike Heaton, a senior vice president for Southeastern. “We attribute this success to excellent employee morale, which is at an all-time high.”
Last fall, Southeastern executives developed a “Keep Our People Working Task Force” to determine how the company could continue its practice of never laying off an employee. Strategies include finding creative ways to give everyone enough hours as well as reducing expenses—all conducted with a commitment to not erode customer service, says Southeastern.
Heaton said that the company is committed to avoiding layoffs and is perhaps the only company to avoid layoffs in the LTL trucking industry. Employees recognize and appreciate the company’s commitment, resulting in an even greater focus on operational excellence and customer service goals. “The company’s leadership founded the company almost 60 years ago on the core value of being committed to our employees, knowing that in turn, they will take care of our customers. That heritage continues to benefit our company and customers today,” he said.
Southeastern has continued to invest in the future, says Heaton, such as expanding service into Mexico and providing customers with “real-time” shipping status reports. Investments in dock management systems reduce labor costs and increase efficiency, making the company very competitive in pricing.