Carrier Profile: Thompson Emergency Freight Systems
Thompson Emergency Freight is a Canadian-based expediting company with headquarters in Windsor, ON. Founded in 1986, this privately-owned company specializes in Canada/US international expediting.
With an office/administrative staff of 45 people and a fleet of 170 owner/operators, Thompson Emergency Freight delivers expedited freight throughout the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and most of the states East of the Mississippi River.
The company's main areas of operation include Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, Canada.
As is customary in the emergency, time-critical freight business, the company operates on a 24/7/365 basis. Since the company's founding, it has outgrown two company facilities and is are now on the third headquarters building.
The company is proud of their unusually high retention rate for the trucking industry in general and expediting in particular:
"Over 75 per cent of our contractors have been with our company for 6 years or more," says Fleet Manager Steve Ouellette. "Our owner/operators are some of the most professional, customer- oriented people you can find in this industry."
Greg Feeny, Thompson's Director of Recruiting, confirms this: "Because of the level of professionalism of our contractors, many of our long-time customers don't even call other expediting companies for freight quotes; they know that their freight will be delivered on time because they know our long-term drivers and that they get the job done."
"We couldn't operate this business without them."
When posed the question, 'What are you looking for in a prospective contractor?', Feeny tells us, "A person who is self-motivated with good business sense. They are running their own business out of their own truck which requires a certain entrepreneurial spirit."
Feeny continues, "I would advise a contractor against becoming a 'freight philosopher' and waiting for that one golden run. It's usually best to accept that first load because you never know where that one might lead, especially if the truck winds up with multiloads."
Steve Ouellette expands on the answer to that question, saying: "Thompson is looking for someone with a vehicle which is a 1997 model or newer, someone who is accident- free with a clean CDL and we look for someone who is customer-oriented with the ability to safely deliver on-time."
"Our contractors are Thompson's representatives and always in the public eye; because of this, those customer-service contractors are our company's best salespeople."
Thompson's specialty is just-in-time automotive and assembly- line type freight transported between various manufacturing plants and their suppliers. Fleet dispatch is accomplished with a first in/first out system with NO forced dispatch.
Communications between driver and company are handled with cell phones and pagers. The company requires contractors to possess CDL's with a Hazardous Materials endorsement.
Greg Feeny tells us that he tries to give prospective contractors a real-world projection of potential income: "There are many variables, but I attempt to give them a realistic, middle ground of revenue potential. A great deal depends upon the contractor and how he runs his business."
Thompson Emergency Freight's dispatch also functions as the contractors' relations department and Feeny says, "We truly do have an open door policy, regardless of the contractor's concern. Any question for dispatch is answered on a priority basis. They work very hard at resolving any problem that the contractor might have."
Thompson allows a service life of 5 model years for cargo vans and 7 model years for straight trucks in their fleet.
With overstaffing of a company's fleet a concern for many expediters, Feeny tells us of Thompson's policy: "We voluntarily put a freeze on 'hiring' in the slow times. It's to the benefit of our current contractors when we do this, especially with our multi-loading of trucks."
"For example, except to fill a vacancy caused by attrition, retirement, etc., we didn't add any trucks to the fleet for 3 months one year."
Thompson provides the insurance coverage when the vehicle is under dispatch with the contractor providing the bobtail and collision insurance when empty.
"To my knowledge, we are the only company that has arranged for health insurance, single or family coverage, which the contractor can purchase at competitive rates," says Greg Feeny.
"Also, I'm unaware of any other expediting company which covers the contractors' tolls as we do." Thompson Emergency Freight is expanding a little further into the Southern areas of the US, but is still recruiting in the traditional "hotbed" areas for expediting.
Feeny tells us of his company's newest expansion: "Our tractor-trailer division is a brand new program and I want to tell those Class 8 owner/operators, if you've got a tractor, we've got the trailers! We're looking for 1996 or newer equipment, tandem axle with sleepers. The driver must have a relatively clean driving record."
Fleet manager Steve Ouellette tells us that the most enjoyable part of his job is: "Seeing the success of our contractors and the great business partnership that we enjoy with them."
Director of Recruiting Greg Feeny states: "The best part of my job is that I get to meet our current and prospective contractors. I know what other companies in this business have to offer and I enjoy presenting our package with it's features. I believe in our company and in what I'm doing."
Thompson Emergency Freight is also currently recruiting 22-24 foot straight trucks.
Recruiting phone numbers:
Gregg Feeny - 1-800-416-1043
Ken Stanton - 1-888-818-3449