Transportation Department focuses on safety and providing top-tier customer service
May 31, 2019
Whether for routine maintenance and unplanned outages, our clients’ customers rely on them to be on time and reliable to deliver the power they need to make their homes and businesses operate. Solomon Corporation’s Transportation Department provides value to our customers by making sure equipment gets delivered on time, sometimes in conditions that aren’t great.
Due to the nature of the business, the department makes every effort to be very agile during emergency situations. We work closely with scheduling and sales to make sure priority work is shipped on time. In addition to our own drivers and equipment, we also partner with Doug Bradley Transportation in Salina to provide additional resources, not just during emergencies, but also during the busy summer months, to ensure we meet and exceed our customers’ demands.
New manager, new priorities
Bob Baird has just been named Transportation Manager. He’s been working for Solomon since 2001 in roles including Laboratory Director, Environmental Manager and most recently, Reclamation Manager. He will now oversee the department, which consists of 18 drivers, seven dispatchers, and one DOT Compliance Coordinator. Solomon Corp maintains a fleet of 30 semi-trucks, including field service/teardown trucks, route trucks, and approximately 150 trailers.
“My first priority for the department is to develop and document standardized work instructions for the dispatch team,” Bob said. “This provides a framework to operate within to ensure that we’re flexible enough to meet changing shop schedules and optimize routes to run more efficiently. We’re also working on a driver’s handbook to ensure consistent application of company policies and procedures for all of our drivers.”
We run approximately 80 routes per month out of our Solomon, Kansas location. On average, our drivers travel as many as 10,000 miles each month, and collectively cover more than 3,000,000 miles annually. Bob said his long-term goal is to reduce transportation costs for the company by utilizing better optimized routes, fewer empty miles, and more fuel-efficient fleet vehicles.
“We plan to replace four older vehicles this year to help realize better fuel economy across the fleet,” Bob said. “We’re also working with Mike Janda, our Business Development Consultant, and Ryan Kooser, who does data analysis for the Sales Department, to develop software to help us determine standard routes and provide additional opportunities for Sales and Procurement when we have less than full loads scheduled.”
Drivers go above and beyond
Drivers are the backbone of the Transportation Department. “We look for someone that not only has several years of experience in the trucking industry, but someone who understands the value of delivering top-tier customer service everywhere they go,” Bob said. “We also want drivers who focus on safety and environmental compliance. Customer service, safety, and environmental compliance are the three traits of a great driver.”
All drivers carry HAZMAT endorsement on their CDL due to the potential of PCBs in the equipment we transport. Our drivers are required to have three years of on-the-road experience. “One-quarter of our drivers have more than 15 years of experience with Solomon Corporation, and on average, our drivers have 11 years of experience hauling transformers for us,” Bob explained.
Environmental compliance is paramount to the service we offer our customers. “Our drivers represent the front line of defense by recognizing and mitigating oil leaks when transformers are loaded and during transit,” Bob said. “They’re also responsible for making sure equipment is properly manifested, helping to keep Solomon Corporation and our customers in compliance with environmental regulations.”
Providing value to customers
The Transportation Department plays a major role in providing value to Solomon’s customers, as well as the diamond-level service the company strives for. We often receive positive feedback about the level of service they receive from our drivers.
Bob shared a recent example of providing the best in customer service. “Our site contact at Springfield City Utilities was very appreciative of Steve Ferris and his ability to maximize load space,” he said. “It reduced freight costs, as well as the administrative cost of creating manifests for multiple loads.”
Solomon Corp transports electrical equipment on step-deck, flat and double-drop trailers, with and without side kits. We also have the capability to haul oversized loads as much as 78,000 pounds and 14 feet tall. We have a transportation presence in nine states, which gives us the capability to deploy a truck almost immediately to deliver and pick up electrical equipment anywhere in the continental United States.
For more information or to request a quote, visit us at www.solomoncorp.com or call 800-234-2867.