Tuesday, September 18, 2018Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

Liberty Linehaul

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Canada's Elite Fleet

When Liberty Linehaul says it’s “Canada’s Elite Fleet,” they mean it. Not only they do they have some of the best truck drivers in North America, but they offer high-value specialised services, such as time sensitive and blanket wrap service, and transporting hazardous materials, and. Liberty is one of a handful of Ontario companies to achieve "premium carrier" status, focusing on niche market service tailored to the individual requirements of customers.

Headquartered in Ayr, Ontario, Liberty drivers travel all around Canada and the United States.  On top of driving, the company also handles warehousing and logistics.

“There’s a lot of diversity in what we do,” says Brian Taylor, Liberty Linehaul President and CEO. “A lot of companies have shied away from those types of services.” For this company, specialised service means specialised customers. “We try to get a customer that needs our type of offering,” explains Taylor. “There are a lot of low-end trucking services that offer easy-on, easy-off services where anyone can do it. That type of customer isn’t usually a good match for us. We like working with someone who is looking for tougher work that comes at a higher price, because trained people come with higher pay rolls.”

Choosing the right people
Carrying their reputation of “white glove” service is no coincidence. Liberty is very choosy about their drivers, making sure to select people with more than just the right license. 

“The biggest thing is attitude,” says Taylor. “We look for people who are engaged in the job and are doing it because they enjoy it, not because of the paycheque. The truth is, we have high expectations of our drivers. We want them to enjoy interacting with customers and tackling challenges. Our worst guy is someone most companies would kill to have.”

“It works both ways here,” Taylor continues. “When you have high expectations of people, they have the right to have high expectations of you. If we treat employees with respect and provide open communication, they come to work wanting to do a good job. It’s give and take.”
Taylor realizes the value in having a good relationship with his drivers. In fact, he moved his office from the administration floor to the primary building to see more drivers. “Those guys are more connected to our customers than anyone,” he reasons. “They understand the whole circle. I love to talk to them about what the deliveries were like and the potential growth of our accounts because they have solid suggestions. We empower them to do things, and I think people like the challenge and responsibility.”

Starting as a mechanic, Taylor remembers the pre-CEO time of his life. “I have an understanding from all sides,” he says. “I know what it’s like to be in all positions, so it’s important to me to treat everyone like a human being.  We understand that how we treat people is how they will treat our customers.”

Open to new things
Liberty Linehaul is a company that appreciates fresh air in the industry. Whether it’s the next generation of workers or the latest of technology, the company is open to new things.   

“There have been a lot of exciting changes in the industry,” says Taylor. “Technology has changed drastically with satellites, electronic engines, anti-idle devices and GPS devices—all of which help in our business. Now that information is easier to access, it’s a lot easier for our drivers to find what they need. Work is safer and more efficient with GPS devices. The more the driver has to assist him in knowing exactly where he’s going, the better. Now there are so many things that can save empty miles; it’s just a matter of giving the driver the tools to do their job.”  

Liberty has always maintained a new fleet and stayed on top of technology. They have gotten involved with other research companies to test new things on the trucks. “It’s a balance between being the guinea pig and costing a lot of money,” Taylor laughs. “It helps because I’m training my technicians on new technology before it comes out, so they’re up to date. It’s something to take advantage of.”

He’s probably right, especially if it means becoming an industry leader and getting that competitive edge. For an issue like the environment, for example, Liberty makes sure they are moving forward in all things green. Fuel efficiency in technology has also been a beneficial change to counter-balance fuel costs. “The younger generations are concerned with the environment too,” says Taylor. “It’s becoming more important to be responsible. Employees want to be a part of a company that’s forward thinking. It makes the work more meaningful.”

Keep on truckin’
For Liberty Linehaul Inc., the short-term goal is survival. Like most companies, Liberty is in cost-savings mode. Having said that, Taylor isn’t worried; actually he’s excited. “I enjoy what I do,” Taylor chuckles. “I like coming to work. I know there are challenged right now, and it might sound crazy, but I am excited. It’s a challenge! If you make a mistake, you’re dead. It gets the adrenaline going.”

It’s his positive outlook that allows him to think ahead to the future in which Taylor plans to diversify the company a lot more. “We do some third-party logistics work where we manage some freights for customers,” he explains. “We don’t haul all of it; we use partner carriers. In the long-term, however, I would like to build part of the business with warehousing and managing. I think we can do more for our customer. Sometimes we’ll see someone use a third party to run their warehousing operation and when we deal with that third party, they’re so inefficient. The bigger part I can play in the logistics chain, the better I can serve customers and the more costs I can drive out of the system. It’s about creating efficiencies.”

Diversifying means growth, which Liberty is open to as long as it’s organic. “We’ve never grown for the sake of it,” says Taylor. “We’ve always tried to maintain the quality we have. As long as we have good people and the right customers, I’m happy.”

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