All State Express, a leader in expedited deliveries, started almost out of nowhere and quickly grew to fill an important niche. After graduating from nursing school in 1989, Sherri Squier was working as a nurse manager at Forsyth Memorial Hospital. On the weekends, she went to the office to get caught up on paperwork, and Spencer Squier, who worked in the office next door, would come in to wash the cargo vans for the company he worked for to earn extra money.
One Saturday, Spencer Squier was asked if he could handle a specific delivery that needed to be taken immediately. The following week he started handling the delivery needs of Coram Healthcare in the afternoons when he would get off his other job. After two weeks, he realized that this new job had some potential for growth and rewards.
The deliveries were needed because Coram Healthcare was struggling to find a reliable courier service, Squier recalls. It was such a bad situation, in fact, that nurses were routinely sent back to Coram’s office to pick up the medications and supplies to take to the patients’ homes. This was not cost-effective.
In 1996, therefore, the medical courier delivery company founded by Spencer Squier started supporting the American Red Cross in North Carolina. It then added Duke Hospital as a client and grew from there. To diversify business, it added over-the-road trucking for longer hauls beyond its 250-mile radius. The Squiers were engaged in 1996 and married in 2001.
Today All State Express is the fourth-largest long-haul expedited fleet in the United States, with the third-largest expedited tractor fleet operating more than 200 trucks.
“We have grown our tractor fleet at a time when the expedited market is flooded with expedited cargo sprinter van-type vehicles and straight trucks are becoming increasingly rare,” she explains.
“Because of the capital intensity of operating tractor-trailers, not everyone is able to grow a tractor fleet as we have done,” Squier adds. “The greatest advantage of operating tractor-trailers is that freight can be found for decent rates nearly everywhere in the U.S. to maintain profitable velocity of these units.”
Its customers consist of both Fortune 500 and medium-sized companies across North America, many of which are suppliers in the medical, pharmaceuticals and automotive industries where expedited delivery and low inventory levels are the norm. All State Express customers often utilize just-in-time inbound supply patterns and require a capable provider to deliver without fail.
The company utilizes the latest technology for success. Sylectus web-based transportation dispatch software, for example, has been helpful to the company, according to Squier. “It’s hard to believe, but when All State Express started, everything was handled manually,” Squier explains. “Now, I couldn’t even imagine doing it all manually. It would be just impossible.”
All State Express customers love the level of visibility they get with the system, she says. In addition to updating vehicle positions, including trailers at least every 15 minutes, All State Express assures clients receive all needed information in the preferred format via website access, EDI interface, email alerts or text alerts.
“We have a seamless process of visibility from the moment we are dispatched until the load is delivered. Should we have to broker any loads, we have technology that provides the same visibility of the partner units as with our own fleet, with position updates at regular intervals,” according to Squier.
Like many in the trucking business, the biggest challenge facing All State Express is driver recruitment and retention. “We feel our biggest challenge within the industry is in recruiting driver talent that is capable of delivering safe, outstanding and reliable service to our customers,” Squier says. “We have to be very diligent in making sure that we are hiring drivers that have a solid track record in safe operation and dependable service.”
In spite of this significant challenge, however, Squier reports All State Express continues “to steadily grow our fleet because we are being recognized more and more as a leading provider in this industry niche and we continue to provide our driving force an optimal combination of miles and rate per mile.”
The future is bright for the fast-growing certified woman-owned business. It projects growth of 20 to 25 percent this year.
“We have a growth strategy based on basic fundamentals,” Squier explains. To be successful and maintain sustainable growth, All State Express emphasizes safety and training to deliver outstanding service. It plans to continue to steadily and selectively grow its operating fleet.
“Our goal is to achieve steady, conservative growth over time, to eventually succeed in becoming the first- or second-largest asset-based provider in time-critical transport,” Squier says.
“We will do this if we are successful in continuing to be a profitable, quality-focused provider of choice for our customers and a company of choice for our drivers and owner-operators,” she adds.