The competition is stiff when it comes to attracting and retaining truck drivers because the available pool continues to decline. Paramount Freight Systems, however, believes it’s one step ahead with its business practices that are hard for drivers to resist.
Paramount Freight Systems, based in Jeffersonville, Ohio, was founded in 2008 and provides expert long-haul, expedited, dedicated contract and regional truckload carrier services in 48 states. The company offers the ability to analyze and calculate each customer’s transportation needs, warehousing options in convenient locations and strategic scheduling concepts.
The company transports high-value and hazardous materials using 100 percent owner/operator truck drivers. “We have a lot of dedicated freight, so the drivers can pick and choose what they want to do,” Director Trent Dye says. “We have a lot of flexibility and that’s the biggest thing that sets us apart.”
When working with Paramount Freight Systems, its customers can expect on-time service, safe drivers and quality performance, Dye says. “We have built a good program and structure where we can grow year after year and have a good ratio between freight and trucks,” he adds.
The shortage of truck drivers is a real problem for trucking companies and Paramount Freight Systems sets itself apart by being transparent and honest with its drivers. “We don’t have a lot of empty promises like some companies,” Dye notes. “We do what we say we are going to do. If a driver gets a freight lane that is not good, they know it up front.”
Although it’s a truck driver’s market right now and every company is going after every available driver, Paramount Freight Systems maintains its recruiting standards when hiring. Drivers need to have at least one year of experience, no more than two moving violations in a two-year period and have a clean background. “We are pretty stringent – we don’t just hire anyone,” Dye says. “We have a lot of high-value freight, so we dig deep into drivers’ backgrounds. Instead of just having a paper report faxed over, we pick up the phone and call someone to get even more information than what’s available on paper.”
Because Paramount Freight Systems offers flexibility, has an abundance of freight and drivers choose their freight lanes, the owner/operators get great miles per week and can be home every weekend or when they want to be, Dye explains. “Capacity is at an all-time high and we are seeing an uptick on direct customer freight versus hauling freight through a third party, so we are able to get better rates per mile and pick and choose what we do in terms of freight lanes,” he adds. “That comes with better-quality options for the drivers.”
To ensure its truck drivers stay happy, the company focuses its resources on retention rather than recruiting. Paramount Freight Systems provides internal training and also holds honest discussions, such as conflict resolution. “If a driver wants to leave us, we want to make it a difficult choice for him because it’s a good place to be,” Dye says. “We are homing in on retention versus anything else.”
In January, the company began hosting monthly conference calls for drivers to participate in a large open forum discussion on any topic. “The floor is open to any issue they want to talk about,” Dye explains. “I was worried about it at first, but I am really surprised with the ideas that have been brought up month after month. We are then challenged to put those ideas into practice and the more that the drivers see it is helping the company and them, they become more involved and give more great ideas.”
Paramount Fleet Systems was named one of the Truck Carrier Association’s top-20 carriers for the past four years and named best overall carrier by the association the past three years, Dye says. “There are a lot of things we do to get that and that’s voted on by drivers.”
Customer service is always a top priority for Paramount Freight Systems and the company continues to look for ways to be more efficient. iGlobal LLC, based in Ocala, Fla., provides the company in-cab touchscreen scanners and computers that enhance drivers’ mobile communications. With this technology, drivers have the ability to scan their paperwork, upload it to the company’s network and send messages to other drivers or the home office.
“Drivers now don’t have to go find a truck stop or keep a bunch of paperwork with them,” Dye says. “It saves them and the home office a lot of time. We can also bill customers within 20 minutes, instead of waiting for the paperwork to come back to the office. Cash flow is king and because we are able to bill weeks ahead of what we could before, that helps us out quite a bit.”
In the future, Paramount Freight Systems will continue to grow at a pace that the company can handle while providing exceptional customer service and a comfortable company culture. The company’s ultimate goal is to be recognized as the elite transportation company in North America.
“We will grow smart and profitable, and we also want the company to be a place for truck drivers to thrive and grow,” Dye says.