Seldom do I write about products and even less about specific companies, this time is different though, this time a company I have dealt with for a couple of years has achieved what is just the beginning of a very successful future.
I first visited Steve’s Livestock Transport in 2018 when I was invited to perform a workshop related to the Driver Retention Masterclass now a TCA offering to the industry. I remember it well, here was a group of people led by Bill Rempel the COO (Chief Operating Officer) who I had met with the evening before for dinner. During dinner, Bill explained to me that the company had in excess of 90% turnover and that this type of turnover was unsustainable by the company for any ongoing duration of time. One of the main reasons I came to find out was that the company typically invests in excess of $20K per driver for training, much of it pertaining to how to deal with livestock and all the complexities of ensuring North America’s food security is not compromised, no simple task.
At the time we were talking approximately a fleet of 150 drivers and Owner Operators, so this is easy math at that turnover rate the training cost alone of this mid-sized fleet was in excess of 2.7 million dollars leaking from the company annually. To add to this my experience, suggest to me that this number is typically doubled when the inefficiencies are added in from each department. It looks like this maintenance and the wear and tear on vehicles, sales and the service failures that come with high turnover, operations and continuous acclimation of new drivers, safety and accident/cargo claims that come from an unstable workforce and lastly administration with the continual training of new people on company paperwork procedures. A little harder to measure, yes just as impactful on the bottom line, absolutely and typically more so, not to mention the cultural impact on people.
Steve’s is located in beautiful Blumenort Manitoba, this could possibly be the flattest place I have ever been to. This is where your dog runs away, and you can still see them the next day, in fact, the whole town can see them, and maybe the rest of the province. Fine Dining in Blumenort consists of a Boston Pizza and a Smitty’s, two of my favorites, my friends this is small-town Manitoba at its finest. Their license plates proudly read Friendly Manitoba and believe me it is, and they are, almost to a fault I would come to find out.
The fine people at Steve’s are and have been stuck on how to deal with driver turnover for some time, they simply are totally frustrated on how to get unstuck. This is not a new situation for me to come across since I have been in the Driver Retention Coach position for the past couple of years. My workshop included about ten people from various departments and I was impressed with their dedication and openness to my ramblings. Telling these folks that the people they were hiring didn’t want to fail, they didn’t come to the company to eventually have to go home to their families and tell them they were let go or quit. Telling them that this situation needs to be taken personally was not lost on them.
They totally got the concept of telling a driver that you can’t hire them because they are not a good fit for the company shows much more compassion than having to deal with their departure a few months down the road. So, they started working through the DR Masterclass material and implementing the strategies, forming the committees and making incremental gains. They started at the beginning by building a firm foundation. They started to showcase their exceptional safety record, they formed a group of people that were charged with communicating to all persons involved with Steve’s and those that weren’t the good things that happen in the business and in the industry. They started to formally measure expectations of all drivers that came on board, home time, and pay, they started to recognize superior performance and amazing things their people do for other people, on the road, in their communities, and in the workplace. They also helped those that needed it and helped those who had the ambition to be the very best at whatever their passion was.
This effort was well thought out, but still, execution stalled, and I was asked to come back to Blumenort for another workshop, which I gladly did, no one in their right mind would ever pass up a trip to Blumenort and to spend time with thee friendly folks. After a short time spent on site, we were back on track and again seeing incremental gains as time went on. So, you can imagine my frame of mind when I received an email from Mr. Bill Rempel, now the CEO Chief Executive Officer just a few days back. Here I what I received,
Ray, the party is on! I am so thrilled about this award and I am even more thrilled to see how excited our management team is.
You see this company that was crowding 100% turnover had morphed itself into an award-winning business and dropped its turnover by 65% over a two-year period. This takes determination, this takes persistence, this takes commitment from the entire leadership team and all the fine people inside the walls at this company. So, congratulations Steve’s Livestock Transport named a “Top Fleet Employer by Trucking HR Canada! “
I’m proud of you folks well done and you know I have to say, now the grinding starts we need to not only maintain the momentum but drop that turnover even farther but is the time for celebration take a short break to reflect and when we’re done that you will by your nature, I know you’ll get right back at it.
Congratulations on this award and the many that still to come your way,
Regards and Safe Trucking