LEADERS: Day & Ross’s Doug Harrison on reducing waste and growth in a tough market

Q: You were named president of Day & Ross General Freight about a year ago and later COO of the Day & Ross Transportation Group. You have extensive experience on both the carrier side and the shipper side. What is your vision for the company going forward?

 Harrison: I was very pleased to be approached about joining Day & Ross. We are in an exciting phase of our companies history looking at how to grow our revenues and service offerings. We have a broad base of current services that reach across not only transportation but include a range of logistics services as well. Building on sixty years of success and with the backing of our shareholders we are in the early stages of developing a five year strategy focused growing our geographic reach and service offering throughout the supply chain. Since we are one of the largest Canadian Transportation and Logistics firms we have a great base of success to leverage and build upon. Using a balanced scorecard approach we will measure our ongoing success through a number of key metrics focused on our team members, our customers, our culture and our strategic initiatives. We will invest capital to make acquisitions, grow our service offering, invest in our facilities, equipment and technology as well as ensuring we are always looking forward in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Q: You recently opened the doors to a new facility in Victoria. Please elaborate on its features and how you see it improving your service in that area.

Harrison: We continue to grow our coverage as part of our overall service strategy. While our roots began in the Maritimes we have grown today into a national transportation and logistics services provider with services in all regions. We continue to invest heavily in our network, whether it be facilities, technology, equipment and of course our people who are critical to our growth and success

 Q: Any further plans in the near future for expansion of your network?

Harrison: Absolutely, we have completed the first steps in an aggressive growth strategy that will focus on providing even greater value to our clients, including; high levels of service, investments in technology, quality systems/continuous improvement programs and overall customer service. Customers are focused on service providers who have the capabilities and plans to be able to meet their needs today and in the future, who provide solutions and continuous improvement programs. We feel that this is an excellent time to leverage our strength as one of North America’s largest transportation and services providers.

Q: You also provide coverage of the US and Mexico through partnerships, can you elaborate?

Harrison: Yes we have an exclusive partnership relationship with R&L carriers. R&L provides various transportation and logistics services and is one of the largest LTL carriers in the USA. We provide a seamless approach to our cross boarder customers and leverage both companies’ significant coverage and service offering. This has been one of the fastest growing segments of our business.

Q. Day & Ross is moving its customers to paperless invoicing. What prompted this move, how is it progressing and what’s in it for your customers?

Harrison: We are in the final stages of deploying what we call “field operations”. This technology is a hand held device that allows for POD’s and other delivery documents to be provided through a paperless system and gives our customers access to documents through our web portal. While it is a part of a move to minimize paper it is also a significant green project in that the handheld will give real time shipment delivery status and also ties into our dispatch system allowing for optimization of routing and deployment of our fleet. We continue to investigate other ways to make information available on a timely basis and eliminate paper. This initiative was backed by a $7mm investment in developing this technology as well as training and deployment.

Q. The company is in the fifth year of its journey towards the elimination of waste. How has the focus on lean transformed the company? Why should  your customers be excited about what has been achieved?

Harrison: We began to use lean a number of years ago and it has been quite successful in eliminating waste, improving service levels and improving customer satisfaction. We have numerous cross functional teams looking at business processes, and working with our customers and employees to eliminate “waste” or non value added processes. I think what is exciting is also watching our employees work closely together in cross functional teams to improve our organization. For our customers this means being able to provide high levels of service, formal onboarding processes for new lanes or services, and being easy to do business with. In many cases our lean teams work directly with our customers teams to eliminate waste and redundant processes.

Q. Day & Ross General Freight operates LCVs. What is the size of that operation and do you see it growing?

Harrison: We do operate LCV’s in both our truckload segment and LTL segment of our business. LCV’s are a good way or reducing fuel consumption and the number of vehicles operating on the road. We use LCV’s through many parts of the country primarily for movement of freight between our terminals (linehaul). Our LCV drivers meet a higher level of qualifications and training due to the size of these units.

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