Since 1965, Aim Integrated Logistics customer Jade Sterling Steel has distributed superb steel bars and wire rods. For this Midwest-based company, there’s only one thing stronger than the durable, long-lasting steel products they deliver: Their dedication to customer service.
So, when leadership at Jade Sterling Steel began looking into dedicated fleet options, they had one thing on their minds: their customers.
Several parallels can be drawn between Jade Sterling Steel and Aim. To name a few: Both are headquartered in Northeast Ohio. Both have been in business for more than five decades. Both deeply value their employees along with the strength and experience they bring. And, most importantly, both have an unwavering commitment to the businesses who utilizes their goods and services. So, when they went shopping for dedicated fleet providers, Aim Integrated Logistics was a no-brainer.
For the uninitiated, a dedicated fleet service (also known as dedicated contract carriage), at its most basic, provides businesses with trucks and drivers. However, Aim Integrated Logistics is unique in that it elevates this basic principle. Our Integrated experts work hand-in-hand with customers, engineering unique solutions that increase efficiency and maximize profitability. So, rather than force businesses into a specific, pre-determined model, Aim Integrated Logistics builds the model around businesses and their specific needs.
Jade Sterling Steel investing in dedicated contract carriage was a big, uncertain leap. After all, they’ve been successful for decades, so why fix it if it isn’t broke? However, two key factors pushed them to shake hands with Aim Integrated Logistics: The desire for more control and consistency with their deliveries as well as Aim Integrated Logistics’ Test Drive offering.
Let’s start with control and consistency. Prior to partnering with Aim, Jade Sterling Steel relied solely on freight brokers to deliver their products nationwide. While this is a perfectly feasible option, it does create the potential for breaks in your supply chain that are beyond your control.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, trucks are either late or can’t make it at all on occasion,” Jade Sterling Steel’s CFO, Matt Griswold, said about relying solely on freight brokerage, “and then we can’t fulfill our promises to our customers. And, unfortunately, in many of those instances, it’s completely out of our hands because we’re relying on trucks that we have no control over.”
A dedicated fleet, if nothing else, is about control and consistency. It gives businesses the peace of mind knowing a truck and driver are primed and ready to make deliveries on time, every time, fulfilling those crucial promises to the customer. It’s a simple, yet important equation: more on time deliveries equals happier customers. For Jade Sterling, that elevation of control and consistency resulting in increased customer satisfaction has been the best aspects of their partnership with Aim.
“When we can send the same driver into a customer who knows what the customer likes and doesn’t like, and they recognize the face, it makes a big difference,” Griswold said. “Especially at some of our processors too: When we take steel in there, they know the [driver], and they’re more likely to get them in and out, which just means we’re shipping more steel that day.”
“I don’t think that we knew how positive a reaction we would get from our customers, but our customers absolutely love seeing the same face from Jade.”
Beyond control and consistency, Griswold cites controlled cost and efficiency as some other key benefits to having dedicated trucks and drivers through Aim. Even beyond that, Griswold appreciates that even though the drivers are technically employed by Aim, they’re essentially members of the Jade Sterling family, wearing Jade Sterling apparel and driving Jade Sterling logoed trucks.
Aim Director of Marketing, Jessica Deane, and Jade Sterling Steel CFO, Matt Griswold, discuss what Aim Integrated Logistics' dedicated fleet service has meant for the renowned steel manufacturer and its customers.
Aim Integrated Logistics’ Test Driver program was mentioned above as a major contributor in Jade Sterling’s decision-making process. This pilot program is designed to be the ultimate try-before-you-buy. It gives shippers the opportunity to put the keys to their operation in Aim’s hands and get a true sense of the value our dedicated fleet service delivers.
And that’s precisely how it worked for Jade Sterling Steel:
“[A dedicated fleet] is a pretty big leap,” the Jade Sterling CFO said. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know. So being able to go through the trial and see the good, and obviously what bad might be out there, before locking into a longer-term deal definitely gave us comfort that we could sign a long-term deal knowing what we’re going to get.”
As it stands now, Jade Sterling operates a hybrid method of distribution, using Aim trucks and drivers as well as freight brokers. As the Aim-Jade partnership has progressed, they’ve added additional trucks and drivers to their fleet with plans to add more in the future. As this demonstrates, the process can be a slow, comfortable easing into the waters of dedicated contract carriage. Aim is all about flexibility, and our experts will work hard to develop custom solutions that support a business’s profitability and overall longevity.
When asked whether or not Matt Griswold would recommend Aim to shippers who might be struggling with their driver capacity, managing their risk or their operating costs, he responded: “Yes, absolutely.”
“It’s a great, great way to have control over some of your distribution,” he added. “We hope to continue to grow this [partnership]. We think it’s working really well. I would be surprised if we don’t add a few more [trucks and drivers] in 2022 just because it’s worked out so well.”
If you're considering dedicated fleet options, our unparalleled experts would be happy to look at your specific operation and engineer an optimized logistics solutions for how you do business. Reach out to email@example.com to start the conversation.