Retention is Key at Miller Truck Lines
By Eric G. Braun, Senior Writer, USRW
A sign of a successful company can be measured by its employee turnover, retention and reputation in the industry. Happy employees make for happy drivers, and that leads to success for all involved--in theory at least. If only it were that easy. However, here is one of a few companies that is known for its employee retention and successful recruiting.
Meet the Miller Truck Lines Family, (MTL), a role model of successful recruiting and company leadership. Miller Truck Lines is family owned and operated by James and Bonnie Miller, along with their sons; Jim, Don, and Bobby. Miller Truck Lines was incorporated in April of 1983, and has gained respect and loyalty throughout the industry. The MTL management team has assembled a staff of dedicated transportation specialists that understand supply chain logistics, just-in-time (JIT) and truckload dedicated freight. The transportation services include refrigerated, dry van, tanker, flatbed, and a regional wrecker service.
Their recruiting guru is Sara Carter. This Director of Recruiting has a vision of what she looks for in a potential candidate and that’s “Honesty. In recruiting, looking for the honest fit is so important. We have high expectations and look for the right fit.” Compromising and settling is not in the Miller manual.
Being able to hold onto valued employees when there are always changing dynamics in the economy and industry, is a challenge for all employers, but Sara explains how they manage that issue. “We keep it at about the 400 mark, and when things change, we shift people and transfer people to meet the needs of the company. By transferring some tanker employees to refrigerated, and some flatbed to environmental, we don’t have to reduce fleet size and can keep hiring and training new people."
Sara gets it. She realizes that longevity is one of the successful elements and the secret to preventing a lot of other problems or issues. This allows everyone to concentrate on success and continually look forward without all that turnover baggage holding them back.
There’s no smoke and mirrors or key selling point; compensation and benefits are average among the industry. The company is looking to offer a 401K plan, but that’s a work in progress as the employee interest gains steam. Being diversified also allows for different options instead of downsizing.
The Miller website states “We pride ourselves on maintaining our diversified status to better serve our customers. We make it our business to understand the rigors of our customers', jobs and deliver service that outperforms the competition. We back our service with a staffed network 24/7, and because our company is broadly diversified, we can leverage our technologies to create advantages across the board.”
It’s not all about the employee either. Having a successful company like this takes good leadership among the management team. Jim, the founder, is in his 80’s now, but can’t sit still, so he still comes in everyday, as do his three sons who run the company. All three sons didn’t forget where they came from as all three still maintain their CDL Class A license.
We asked Sara what advice she would offer to other companies that struggle with retention and turnover. “Be honest. Tell drivers your expectations and challenges, show them you will do what it takes to get the job done and so they will too."
We welcome Sara, The Miller family and its employees to the Road Warriors Family!
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