Heavy Haul – Less Truck, More Bucks
Back in 2008, one of our customers had a bit of a weight problem—an 80,000 lb. weight problem, to be precise.
Due to the heavy nature of the company’s products, their loads were hitting the 80,000 lb. legal weight limit before our trailers were fully loaded. Looking for a way to maximize efficiency and legally fill the trailer, we developed a solution that has become a cornerstone of our trucking business: The Keller “Heavy Haul” program.
The premise is simple: if we are going to haul more weight, our tractors and trailers need to lose weight. With that in mind, we began working with our tractor and trailer manufacturers to reduce the overall weight of our tractor-trailer combinations. After 12 months of work on the project, we were able to reduce the tractor-trailer combination weight by 22%; thus allowing us to haul up to 53,000 lbs. per trailer. For our customer, this translated to 4 additional pallets of product per load, which ultimately reduced their fuel costs, bill of lading costs, and dock time (not to mention environmental savings).
Since the aforementioned pilot program, we have duplicated our Heavy Haul efforts with numerous manufacturers over the past 6 years with overwhelming success. As part of Keller’s strategy to offer its Heavy Haul services to all interested customers, the entire trucking fleet is now Heavy Haul-capable.
Shrinking Time, Saving Dimes
A local manufacturer of industrial-size electrical panels was incurring heavy expenses due to inefficient loading practices. The size and shape of the customer’s freight could not be accommodated by a standard van trailer, and traditional flatbed tarping methods did not provide sufficient protection from the elements. The customer’s response was to shrink wrap each item individually, which added significant time to the loading process. In light of our customer’s concern, Keller stepped in and went to work on a solution.
After thorough research, our solution was to invest in Conestoga trailers, as they provided sufficient protection from the elements without the added hassle of shrink wrap or tarps. Keller’s investment, in the long run, ended up saving our customer one man hour per shipment—by reducing total loading time by nearly 29%. In addition to significantly improving our customer’s bottom line, this reduction in loading time made the customer’s supply chain vastly more efficient.
Flex-ing our Muscles
At Keller Logistics Group, we pride ourselves on being resourceful, flexible, and responsive. And we’ve never needed to put that on display more when a beverage bottling company came to us with a unique offering. Peak seasons deplete their available warehouse space, and they wanted us to provide this flex warehousing to accommodate this. And to top it off, this was not needed at just one location, but four separate locations across the country, three of which were places where we weren’t currently operating.
This opportunity would never have presented itself if not for the relationship we have developed over time with this customer. Our first warehouse expansion outside of Ohio was for this customer. And our Trucking and Freight Solutions affiliates have provided both regional and dedicated service for them for years. The summation of the solutions we have provided in the past led them to trust that we could develop and implement a solution for them.
So off to work we went, researching the areas and strategizing how we could solve this problem. We were able to secure warehouse space next to each of the four locations and received the peak inventory, all in under 60 days! And if that wasn’t enough, Keller Trucking was also able to interview, select, coordinate, and direct outside carriers for each of the locations to provide shuttle service – and this was done within 14 days! By flexing our muscles as a ‘True Blue’ solutions provider, this customer has been able to confidently flex warehouse space with us as their seasonal demand dictates, without worrying about reliability and stability.
Freight Solutions that Tru-ly Work
When Keller Freight Solutions says they want to solve problems, they truly mean it. At the core of any strong business relationship is an understanding of customer needs and tailoring a solution that benefits both parties. No better example of this exact thing has taken place with a fastening solutions company in northwest Ohio.
The issue this company was facing, being in a somewhat rural area was reliable service at a fair price. Every company claims to provide this, but they just weren’t seeing the results. At long last, we were given a chance on one inbound lane. Due to the proximity of our location and our commitment to service and relationship building, we were able to save them time and money on the lane almost immediately. That led to more short haul business, both inbound and outbound, and then to outbound long haul freight to California.
Over time, however, it became apparent that the long hauls took a toll on driver and truck availability and price. Freight still needed to get to the customers nonetheless. Since we had developed a strong relationship with them, we were asked to devise a solution to overcome the issues they were facing. And through other Keller Freight Solutions relationships, we were able to secure intermodal transportation for the freight. This implementation not only was just as reliable, but actually provided the customer a cost savings of 25% on this lane.
Keller Answers the Call – In a Big Way
It all started with a phone call late in the evening. We did not know at the time that on the other end of the line was a local multi-billion dollar soup and beverage manufacturer. They needed help the following day with some shuttle moves from Napoleon, OH to Toledo, OH. Happy to oblige and display our ability to quickly respond to customer needs, we agreed to help. Fast forward to today, and this company enjoys a solid relationship with three affiliates of Keller Logistics Group.
Keller Trucking completes daily shuttle runs for the customer, as well as daily regional lanes to the east and southeast United States. Keller Warehousing & Distribution stores and ships over 500,000 sq. ft. of space with them. And with the acquisition and formation of Keller Packaging, we repackage a wide variety of their products to create end aisle displays, shippers, and club store combo packs.
The diversity of services Keller Logistics Group offers has created a strong partnership with this customer. Close proximity to their largest manufacturing plant in the world, combined with our agility and responsiveness to their ever evolving needs makes us an ideal partner for not only today’s, but tomorrow’s needs as well.
If You Build It, They Will Come
In the mid-90’s, Keller Trucking’s business was supported over 95% by only two customers. It became quickly apparent that to sustain the business long-term, that had to change. And one of the first companies to help spark that diversity was a local insulation and roofing company. After obtaining our Canadian Operating Authority, they became interested in us delivering glass marbles to their production facility in Montreal. It wasn’t much, and the drivers weren’t thrilled about it, but it was something. And through that small start, we were able to become aware they were using significant warehouse space outside of their production facilities.
It may have seemed crazy at the time, but that is the moment we decided to build our first warehouse – without any contracts or promises to fill the space. But by then, the relationship was strong enough for them to dip their toe in the water. By 2000, we built another warehouse to satisfy their increasing demand.
Through it all, we have maintained close relationships with Keller Trucking and Keller Freight Solutions as well. We even run the daily shuttles for their Defiance and Waterville facilities now, and continue to grow the relationship. What started as a strategic vision and a little faith turned into an opportunity. And for us, one opportunity is all we need to prove we will stop at nothing to provide services that benefit the customer in as many ways as possible.
On the Fast Rack to Savings – If It’s Racked, It Can Be Stacked
Due to their unstackable, oddly-shaped freight, our client was paying two trucks to handle loads that could easily fit into a single trailer. We knew that if we discovered a way to more effectively utilize our trailer space, we could cut the number of our customer’s loads in half and greatly reduce their shipping costs. Always seeing opportunities rather than obstacles, Keller went to work on a resolution.
The result of Keller’s work was a racking system for the inside of our trailers, whereby the customer essentially had access to two levels of floor space.
Ultimately, this racking system cut the number of daily trucks needed in half, and saved the customer over $360,000 within the first year of implementation. As part of Keller’s strategy to remain flexible in the face of customer adversity, we continue to offer these specialized trailers to interested clients today.
Big Fix for a Big Three Automaker
A local Big Three automaker was relying on an outside warehouse vendor to feed its JIT process. In addition to the vendor’s hefty price tag, the automaker was experiencing intolerable delays in service and inadequate space for the massive amount of inventory needed to feed its vast fluctuations in production. When the automotive giant needed a supply chain remedy, they looked to Keller.
After months of tireless research and collaboration, we devised a plan to provide product on-call; and thus eliminate the automaker’s reliance on the outside warehouse vendor entirely. We purchased eight axle vans to accommodate the freight and set up a system to run product direct from the supplier. This shuttle required 24/7 staffing, and even went so far as to entrust Keller employees with the responsibility of monitoring and maintaining inventory levels at the automaker’s plant. Overall, our shuttle saved the automotive giant a substantial amount of spending and eliminated the unbearable delays that they had previously encountered.
Heavy Haul Program with Added Value
Keller Trucking has developed a relationship with the nation’s leading manufacturer and distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone. During the course of that relationship, we have incorporated specialized solutions for this company that set us apart from other carriers.
Following the success of our pilot heavy haul program, we identified this customer as a target heavy haul prospect due to the weight of the products they ship. After discussing the program options, we implemented a heavy haul program with the customer that only charges heavy haul rates for loads that exceed a predetermined threshold, instead of every load. The implementation led to an immediate transportation cost savings of over 10% to the customer.
In addition, when one of the stores we deliver to was unable to unload the product upon arrival, we created another solution when other carriers could not. Our driver on this dedicated route takes off his truck driving hat after arriving at the store and puts on his forklift hat, and unloads the product for the customer! Our continued commitment to this customer’s overall success and efficiency has helped solidify Keller Trucking as a go to carrier for any special needs this customer encounters.
Keller’s Canadian Convertibles – Going Off the Rails
Due to weight restrictions, our client had been receiving product from Canada via rail. This was far from ideal, as the client had to purchase an entire trainload just to make a shipment happen. Even worse, once an order was placed, the delivery often took months. When the client needed to move to a JIT schedule, they gave us a call.
After intense research, we decided to obtain our Canadian operating authority and build customized, open-top doubles that would allow us to pull heavy across the US-Canada border. These modified doubles were actually van trailers that had the roofs removed to allow for crane loading. By creating this highly specialized equipment, we reduced the client’s delivery time from months to a matter of days, and helped them make a legitimate transition to a JIT supply chain.