Growing with brand integrity
Business View Magazine interviews representatives of ReedTMS Logistics for our focus on Top Supply Chain and Logistics Companies in America.
ReedTMS Logistics is a family-owned and operated third-party logistics provider (3PL) that has earned a fine reputation over its 20-plus years in business. The firm provides brokerage, produce transportation, asset-based services, freight management, and dedicated services, all delivered with a 24/7 support network. Each year, ReedTMS manages over 85,000 shipments for more than 600 customers from a variety of industries using multiple transportation modes. No matter what you’re shipping, they have you covered. Internally, the company is focused on creating an outstanding environment where its people can grow, develop and, in turn, deliver on the expectations of customers.
Reed Transport is the non-asset-based operation of ReedTMS Logistics, offering brokerage, produce transportation, and freight management services throughout North America by leveraging a network of over 27,000 active motor carriers. TMS Logistics is the asset-based operation of the company, offering dry van, refrigerated, blanket wrap, and dedicated/private fleet services delivering superior, on-time performance through a strong team, quality equipment, and effective use of technology.
Business View Magazine asked ReedTMS Logistics CEO, Jason Reed, Chief Sales Officer, Jordan Strawn, and National Sales Manager, Matt Castriotta for insights into their company’s strengths, challenges, and plans for future growth in the ever-changing trucking and logistics industry. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
BVM: Can you tell us about the formation of ReedTMS Logistics and its evolution?
Reed: “My father founded ReedTMS in 1996 and I was the first employee. He basically started the business to work for himself. He’d been in transportation his whole life, more on the air freight and LTL sides. Then, he got an opportunity to get into truckload brokerage – he was kind of a pioneer and pretty much figured it out on his own, but he needed a partner in crime, so he hired me. From his background in air freight, he converted a lot of those customers from air to expedited ground. Fast forward to 2005; we’d become a viable company with 25 employees. My dad retired, we hired my brother (our current President), and we started in to invest in infrastructure, employees, technology, and went into growth mode, reinvesting a lot of our earnings back into the business. In 2017, we closed the year out with $150 million in revenue and we’re continuing to grow. In 2018, we’ll be up another 40 percent on top of that.
“We’re domestic in 48 states – primarily, truckload. We have two business units – a logistics arm and a truckload sister company. Our total number of employees combined is between 250 and 300, with about 120 on the logistics side and the balance in trucking. We’re running, roughly, 95 power units and 500 trailers in the fleet. It’s a really high trailer to truck ratio. That gives us the ability to do a lot of dedicated private fleet services for our customer base. The biggest piece of our revenue is grocery retail and food service. We do business with a lot of large grocery chains from the northeast down to the southeast and mid-western states. Second behind that would be the food service companies – hauling perishables and dry goods to their distribution centers in the most highly-populated U.S. states.”
BVM: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Reed: “We’re not just a 3PL, not just a motor carrier, we’re a combination of the two, and highly focused on service. We’re not a low cost provider, but we give competitive pricing. We’re not a tech innovator, however, we do have cutting-edge technology. We consider ourselves a relationship-based, asset-based 3PL, targeting customers who are willing to spend a little more on service because that’s our focus. And our technology is as good as, if not better than, everyone else’s in our sector.
“Creating efficiencies and keeping up with the changing technology are key goals going forward; being able to do more with the same head count; reading data to help make better decisions and forecasting; using data initiatives and analysis; streamlining the process; and making sure you get technology efficiency that can drive automation. The guys that are ahead of the pack in that are going to be in a more competitive position in the long term.”
Strawn: “We like to find solutions and that’s how we best service our customers. We’re large enough to provide services in many areas of the industry, but also small, and nimble, and privately-held, where we can adapt and do things differently than larger companies of our same makeup. We don’t try to force customers into what we do well, we just try to find out how to do well for them. Branch expansion is important. We’re finding that putting people in other parts of the country is helping us identify more capacity, new niches, and changing the way we’ve always done business. It’s about growing through branch expansion, but still having a large center of gravity here at headquarters, making sure we keep things consistent throughout our company.”
BVM: What is your marketing strategy?
Reed: “It’s a focus on brand integrity and having the entire organization aligned with our principles and values – how we do business, how we go to market, how we represent ourselves in front of our customers, our carrier partners, and our vendors. We want to do things one way. And that’s the ReedTMS brand.
“We start at the local university level, recruiting talent here in Florida and close to our other branch locations. We’ve gotten into some nice little niche verticals, hauling football equipment to the games at some large universities, and working with the university in a plan to co-brand marketing on our trailers and social media. That’s really helped us take off on the customer side, as well as the recruiting side. It’s a true differentiator for us. We’re really getting in front of a lot of faces through social media and it’s helped us ‘exponentiate’ our presence in the marketplace. For a company our size, our reach is much larger than bigger companies.”
BVM: Is it challenging to retain drivers and skilled labor?
Reed: “Everyone’s facing the same dilemma and there’s no secret sauce to combat it. A lot has to do with internal training. It’s important for driver managers to have better relationships with drivers and a higher understanding of the drivers within their team, so they can realize the challenges they’re facing and coach them through it, and that helps us with driver retention. Sometimes, it’s down to benefits. Every driver’s a little different with what makes them happy and wanting to stay with your organization. The market is so competitive right now – the construction industry and other markets are competing for the same labor.”
Strawn: “We’re heavily focused on our employees. Some people talk about it. We live it and do it. Our driver retention is better than most, but obviously there is room for improvement. Our employees come first with us. We’re creating a foundation of training and growth opportunities. Our number one objective is to develop a solid environment for people to grow and service our customers. That’s what’s going to take us into the next era.”
BVM: What are the most important points you’d like to share about ReedTMS Logistics?
Castriotta: “One thing I’ve noticed about ReedTMS in the time I’ve been here is the focus on hiring people with experience from other top-tier companies. And that thought-leader mentality of having the best fit for whatever position we’re filling. The efficiency is led by each department head focusing on their function and making things better. We have a melding of the industry with the key personnel we’ve picked up.”
Reed: “We’ve created a dynamic culture here. Very employee-centric. We want people to have fun. You can do that and work hard at the same time. After all, happy people are productive people. It’s a circle of trust. You create a great environment and they give back by producing and caring. If you show people you care about them, it’s amazing how much they care about you as well.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: ReedTMS Logistics
WHAT: Family owned/operated third-party logistics provider
WHERE: Tampa, Florida; Cedar Grove, Wisconsin
WEBSITE: Visit Website
October 23, 2018 – ReedTMS Logistics was announced as a prestigious winner in the Recruiting category of the 2018 Optimas Awards by Workforce Magazine, a Human Capital Media publication. The awards program, celebrating its 28th year, recognizes companies achieving successful measurable business outcomes through visionary and impactful human resources initiatives. Altogether, more than one hundred companies applied for this year’s Optimas Awards.