Building Relationships

Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Trucks can go nearly everywhere and represent the most efficient and effective way to move goods. In 2015, the trucking industry accounted for over $726 billion in revenue and represented six percent of employment in the United States, carrying over eighty percent of inland freight volume, on average…
Trucking plays a critical role in the movement of goods and commodities, and since 1980, TSD Logistics has been doing its part to help its customers’ raw materials and products get to where they need to go, safely and on time.

TSD Logistics has built its success through a consistent focus on building long-lasting relationships as a dependable freight and logistics services provider. Headquartered in Texarkana, Texas, the company provides a range of bulk transportation and supply chain services like transloading, warehousing, drayage, port, and cross-border services.

“We began in the LTL sector, less-than-truckload services, and we had just five trucks in the beginning, but four years later, in 1984, we began serving the industry that became the backbone of our business, and, matter of fact, it’s still our main service today. We began serving the tire and rubber industry,” said President and CEO Ryan Berry.

At that time, TSD Logistics started hauling carbon black which was previously only transported by rail. While rail could offer less expensive rates per pound because of the volume rail hoppers could hold, the time required to ship the goods was much longer than shipping by truck.

TSD Logistics designed and built the original carbon black hopper trailer, the first over-the-road trailer of its kind with a railcar configuration designed to match the unloading systems of its tire company customers. Specialized trailers have become the bulk of its business.

“We kind of created the space for over-the-road transportation for bulk carbon black. In 1984, we built the first prototype. It worked well, and by 1986, we built six more and kept responding to customer demand. The prototypes worked so well, Goodyear asked us to build thirty of them, and they wanted to put them to work exclusively hauling raw materials of carbon black to their facilities,” explained Berry.

Word spread fast, and the fleet continued to expand. By 1995, the fleet had three-hundred carbon black trailers, and by 1996, TSD Logistics was hauling more than 8,000 loads a year of raw material to tire producers across North America. By 2015, the number had grown to 18,000 loads of bulk materials.

Together with its partner carriers, TSD Logistics brought experience, unmatched customer service and the capacity to deliver every load. It has grown to become one of the largest, most recognized carriers in the United States.

As it has grown, TSD Logistics has invested heavily in the technology that powers its operations. Trucks are equipped with cameras and other systems to optimize safety and communication. Real-time tracking of its trailers allows customers to know where their cargo is.

“We invested a significant amount of resource into technology, internal transportation software, as well as satellite tracking on every truck and trailer that interfaces with in-office software, and our customers also have access to a portal where they can log in and see their pickups, deliveries, and stats on their shipments anytime,” said Berry.

The online portal has helped to improve efficiency and accountability. It offers customers peace of mind knowing where their shipment is and when it will be delivered. Customers can see up-to-date load information, invoices, and so much more.

The professionals at TSD Logistics understand that when a shipment is delayed, it could result in the halting of a whole production line, which could cost its customers over a million dollars a day in lost production. There is a lot at stake which drives TSD to keep its promises.

“We don’t have a lot of direct competitors because our niche is so specialized, and our equipment is so specialized, and our customers have come to depend on it. If we tell them something, they believe it, and we execute on it,” explained Berry. The company does this even if it means taking a loss on a load to do so. “We value the long-term relationship more than profitability on any given load.”

The secret to TSD Logistics’ success is, has been, and will continue to be, relationship building. “We really value relationships, and that is with our employees, our drivers, and with our customers,” Berry noted.

The company was built on strong moral values and believes in honoring God by acting in an ethical way in all its interactions. “We’re still a company that focuses on people, doing the right thing. That has been a winning recipe, a winning formula for us for thirty-five years. Over the last thirty-five years, a lot of trucking companies have come and gone,” explained Berry, with carriers both large and small falling to changing regulations and market conditions.

TSD Logistics strategically hires the best drivers and treats them well, which results in a positive work culture that breeds success. “We take care of our drivers because we realize our drivers are the lifeblood of the business. They are the ambassadors of our business,” says Berry.

“We’re constantly hiring the best, training the best, and reminding our drivers how important they are,” he noted. TSD maintains a low turnover rate.

A strong employee culture is supported by a culture committee, as well as a six-member driver council that represents the entire team. It meets on a regular basis to communicate issues and strategize ways to improve. “We’re very intentional about our culture,” Berry stated.

Safety is another important component of the positive culture at TSD Logistics. Safety begins at the top and permeates the entire operation. Safety training is imperative to keeping drivers well-informed of Department of Transportation requirements, and safe performance is rewarded.

In trucking, there are drivers with very impressive driving records of a million miles and more without a preventable accident. TSD Logistics currently has sixteen such million-mile drivers and four drivers who have achieved two-million-mile milestones. From training to regular inspections, a good safety record is no accident.

Account managers and expediters in the logistics division at TSD Logistics have completed the Transportation Intermediaries Association broker class. Account managers are recognized as certified transportation brokers by the association, and drivers are trained in industry best practices during orientation and take what they have learned with them as they grow with the company.

TSD Logistics is committed to both the community and the environment. Efforts are undertaken to raise awareness and financial support for local and national charities through TSD Cares. From Watersprings Ranch, a Christian-based long-term residential home for abused, neglected and abandoned children, to the American Red Cross, ALS Association, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, Make A Wish Foundation, Wounded Warriors and many more, the company’s philanthropy is as impressive as its market performance.

TSD Logistics is also dedicated to environmental sustainability as a SmartWay Transport Partner. This US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administered effort that was established in 2004 to improve fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impacts of the industry, bringing business and government together towards a common goal.

Though the company has had great success already, Berry believes there is still untapped potential to take advantage of in the market both at home and abroad. “Demand for our service is expected to increase over the upcoming years, and there are new tire plants coming alive in North America and the U.S. especially, being built over the next five to ten years.”

“We have started discussions for operations overseas. That’s something I think we can expand to, I’d say, relatively easy, considering it’s never really easy to transition to a multi-national corporation overseas, but I think there is an opportunity there, and we are exploring that right now.”

To capitalize on the growth potential in the market, TSD Logistics will have to carefully scale up its resources to ensure it can meet the needs of its customers while maintaining financial stability in the wake of growth.

The goal at TSD Logistics is simple: control a greater percentage of the raw material supply chain in the markets it serves. “I do think that, over the next five years, we can double the size of our carbon black division. We’re already making plans to do that as far as acquiring assets and building equipment and those types of things, are concerned. We’re already making plans to do that,” said Berry.

“We can offer a competitively priced alternative to rail with much better reliability and service,” explained Berry. TSD gets materials where they need to be, reliably and on time, keeping its customers’ operational and reinforcing the long-term relationships on which the company’s success was built.



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