From Home Furnishing Business
Southerland Expands Transport Fleet
Southerland Transport, a wholly-owned company of mattress manufacturer, Southerland, is expanding the number of trucks in its fleet and updating the technology in those vehicles to improve customer service and give their drivers a better work experience. Over the past few months, 14 new trucks have been added to the fleet, bringing its total number to 51.
“Providing strong customer service is one of our core values,” said Jeff Wisocki, vice president of transporation for Southerland. “These investments in our fleet continue to improve and deliver great value to our customers by reining in costs and improving customer service. It also differentiates us from other manufacturers who contract deliveries to common carriers where they do not have the same level of control over the fleet.”
Regarding the technology aspect, Southerland has added a GPS system to the vehicles that automatically updates the Southerland Transport team in real time on the exact location of the trailers and provides detailed insight into the shipment arrival so dealers can better plan for deliveries. To ensure greater safety for drivers, which always is a major focus for Southerland Transport, the new trucks are equipped with cruise control with space distancing, lane departure warnings in case a truck drifts outside of its lane, and blind-spot monitoring which sounds an alarm when it detects activity in a truck’s typical blind spots.
Southerland Transport’s long-standing policy of having the same driver deliver to the same route has successfully established an added layer of rapport and customer service. “We get letters from customers saying what a great driver they have, which is very gratifying and has shown us how that relationship is another key factor in customer service overlooked by many in our industry,” Wisocki said.
To attract new drivers to join the team and reduce turnover, Southerland Transport also provides benefits that have enhanced its drivers’ quality of life. These include a comprehensive and very affordable health insurance package, and work schedules that allow drivers to be home on weekends and one or two nights a week. For overnight trips, the company has designed and manufactured high-quality, all-foam latex mattresses that fit into the truck cabins, and custom-tailors them to fit each driver’s preference for firmness. These elements have created a workforce in which drivers have stayed with the company for 10 to 15 years, and which has ensured customers that Southerland’s deliveries will be consistently on target.