Food companies, including Weston Foods, Schreiber Foods, and Tyson were among 12 companies that earned top Shipper of Choice awards this year
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when consumers were panic-buying food products, Weston Foods, a family-owned company headquartered in Etobicoke, Ontario, stepped up to recognize its carriers that were on the frontlines delivering essential goods throughout Canada and the U.S.
As businesses and states sought to curb the spread of the Coronavirus and closed rest areas and truck stop restaurants and restroom facilities, Bryan Connell, manager of frozen transportation, distribution and warehousing of Weston Foods in the U.S., said he alerted their 3PLS to the dire conditions truck drivers were facing out on the road.
"We notified them that these drivers can't even pull over to use the restroom, take a shower or find a meal," Connell told FreightWaves. "We let them know that if a Weston Foods load showed up a little late, not to mention it to the driver, but to send us the bill. Most of our 3PL Warehouse we partnered with took a step further and waived late fees altogether for our carriers during the pandemic. Some ever had had water, snacks, hand sanitizer and clean portable restrooms waiting for drivers who couldn't go inside and use their break rooms because of COVID-19"
Their focus on carriers is one of the reasons Weston Foods was awarded a top spot in this year's FreightWaves Shipper of Choice Awards.
Weston Foods works with a network of around 40 carriers that deliver private label food products across Canada and the U.S.
"I think the carriers will remember that we appreciated what they were doing for us to deliver these loads and that COVID-19 didn't impact our service to our customers," Connell said.
Global dairy giant Schreiber Foods, headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was again named as a top Shipper of Choice.
Employee-owned Schreiber Foods produces cheese, yogurt and other dairy products and has more than 30 facilities globally, including 14 locations in the United States.
Educating employees about hours of service and the tight clock truck drivers must follow is essential to building carrier relationships.
"A driver might say he's running tight on hours, and our team actually understands what that means," said Peter Andrews, Schreiber's supply chain manager for transportation, in a FreightWaves article about being a Shipper of Choice in 2019.
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest food companies with 141,000 employees globally, posting more than $42 billion in sales annually.
As a way to say thank you to its 116,000 employees and truck drivers that are "feeding the nation" during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tyson announced in March that it plans to allocate approximately $60 million in bonuses to eligible "frontline workers and Tyson truckers."
Tyson has a fleet of approximately 2,900 drivers and 2,700 power units.
Shipper of Choice winner Tyson Foods. Photo: Jim Allen/Freightwaves
What Makes A Shipper of Choice?
Sponsored by Transflo, the FreightWaves Shipper of Choice awards recognize the top shippers out of 400 firms nominated by FreightWaves readers on social media. The winners, announced during FreightWaves LIVE @HOME in May, were ranked in four categories: Best Overall, Facilities, Efficiency and Availability.
Nominees were asked to complete a survey addressing operational data, including dwell times, overages/shortages and damages, hours of operation, communication protocols, and facility attributes including the availability of showers, bathrooms and break rooms for drivers.
Click here to learn more about Transflo's new Electronic Bill of Lading for Shippers.