Moyes Wows Fleet Managers at Truck World Opener

TORONTO — He called it “The Wonderful Republic of California.” And said “what California needs is about 50 trucks that will just idle all the time. The air coming out of the trucks will be cleaner than the air going in.”

It was 9:00 a.m., and if any of the 300-plus industry leaders at the Truck World 2012 Fleet Managers’ Breakfast hadn’t yet downed a second coffee, they wouldn’t need it.

Their morning wake-up jolt would come from the man at the podium.

The speaker was Jerry Moyes, founder and CEO of one of America’s largest carriers, Swift Transportation. And as one might expect of a trucking powerhouse and father of 10 adopted kids, Moyes wasted no time in schooling the rest the room.

Lesson one: Watch your costs. Lesson two: See Lesson One.

From one end of a company to the other, Moyes said, carriers who keep close watch on all their expenses are the carriers who will win the day.

For example. Carriers should maximize their insurance-rate deductibles. It makes for a safer fleet. And faster legal settlements.  Moyes offered actuarial proof.

Also, use your CSA score to win customers. Compare yours to that of your competitors.

And measure your drivers one against the other; reward those who save fuel and find out why the others haven’t. You might be surprised. Moyes said his company found one driver who’d pilfered some 17,000 gallons of reefer fuel.

But be warned, Moyes said. Monitoring can lead to lost productivity.

“Onboard computers are going to create problems,” he said, citing a situation in which a shipper contacted a Swift dispatcher saying that a dock was open and the load had arrived but the Swift driver was waiting across the yard and had run out of hours.

Moyes was born into trucking in Plain City, Utah. His father moved the family to Phoenix and started Swift in 1966; its primary lane meant hauling steel between the west coast and Arizona.  By 1990, Swift had grown to a $125-million carrier with 800 trucks.

Today, Swift generates over $3.4 billion in revenue and operates over 16,000 trucks.  Swift’s terminal network has grown to over forty full service facilities in both the continental United States and Mexico.

Swift has also been through an unusual number of iterations: At first it was a private family company that went public in 1990.

In 2007, Moyes purchased the company back in a complicated $2.4-billion deal and then, in 2010, had a second public offering.

It was evident at the Fleet Owner’s Breakfast that Moyes takes his own advice “Watch your costs” very closely.

He thinks drivers should be better compensated and trucks spec’d with keeping drivers satisfied.

He’s an advocate of driver-monitoring technology that lets carriers conserve fuel but not of state-financed safety incentives.

 “There’s a lot of tax incentives to encourage carriers to voluntarily adopt different safety systems. I’m not sure we’re totally support of that. The industry needs to stand on its own and these things will pay for themselves.”

Moyes said Swift is testing 16 natural gas-powered trucks, and said the success of the program depends on the density of the refueling infrastructure. At the moment, he said “natural gas is not a viable option.”

On capacity, Moyes said the recent recession has forced carriers to be very disciplined when it comes to purchasing new equipment.  “We’re very, very conservative about adding capacity. If anybody does buy a truck, we’re going to shoot him.”

(For a complete report on Moyes’ Trucking 101 as well as on Truck World 2012 in general, watch for the June issue of Today’s Trucking.)

Truck World runs to 5:00 p.m.  Saturday April 21 at Toronto’s International Centre.

 

 

             

 

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