Rudy Buchheit, like millions of other Americans during the Great Depression, needed to find a way to make a living for his family. With only his truck and work ethic behind him, Buchheit began hauling agricultural products from southern Missouri to market in St. Louis for local farmers in 1934.
On the way back to his home region, Buchheit would haul dry bulk and other goods his customers sorely needed to run their farms and businesses. His efforts proved popular enough that he founded a trucking company dedicated to the needs of the local community.
More than 80 years later, Buchheit’s company – now known as Buchheit Logistics – has access to a network of more than 1,000 tractor-trailers transporting goods throughout the central United States. Although its fleet and resources have greatly evolved since its origins, its founder’s original philosophy remains intact.
“We refer to it as ‘Rudy’s Way’: to get customers’ products where they need to be on time, in good condition and at a fair price,” says Ron Gjerstad, president of the Scott City, Mo.-headquartered company. “Our vision today is to be a best-in-class and innovative logistics provider offering unique material-handling solutions both in raw materials and finished goods.”
Buchheit Logistics is an asset-based third party logistics provider specializing in warehousing and freight management solutions customized to its customers’ needs. Services include inventory control, vendor management and reporting, labeling and customized shipping services, rail replacement transportation and more. The company manages a million square feet of warehouse space in Missouri and Pennsylvania.
Buchheit Logistics services are complimented by its transportation fleet of four types of equipment – end dumps, hopper bottoms, dry vans and flatbeds. The company transports dry bulk products and finished goods.
“Our market is broad, with both national and international clients,” Gjerstad says. “Our logistics group handles imports as well as domestic products for a full range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to smaller local businesses.”
The company’s customers often look to it to provide both transportation and warehousing/freight management services. “Our team collectively has more than 400 years of logistics and transportation management experience, so it is not unusual for us to offer a solution to clients that utilizes different modes of transportation, different equipment types or different or unique processes,” Gjerstad adds.
Buchheit Logistics regularly invests in new trucks as well as technology to enhance its operations. Within the past three years, the company has replaced the majority of its trucks and significantly grown its trailer fleets. Recent technology upgrades include mobile communications, driver comforts, and greenhouse gas reduction enhancements throughout the fleet.
Within its warehouse operations, the company has adopted a number of technologies including warehouse management and inventory-tracking systems. “Technology encompasses everything we do,” Gjerstad says. “We use warehouse management systems specified by our clients as well as our own, so we’re adept in numerous platforms.”
Pride in Employees
Like most of its peers, Buchheit Logistics is facing the challenge of hiring and retaining quality drivers. “Being a family value-based company, we’re able to compete aggressively by paying competitively and offering a comprehensive benefits plan including sign-on and performance bonuses,” Gjerstad says.
The company recruits from the Armed Forces veterans’ community, a practice that recently earned it the state of Missouri’s Flag of Freedom award.
Buchheit Logistics’ employee training processes include monthly online training for both driving and operations personnel, consisting of timely topics such as equipment maintenance, winter driving, hours of service regulations and more. “Our people can take these training courses whenever it is convenient to them; they don’t have to come into the office or miss any business activities. We’ve made training accessible and scalable,” Gjerstad says.
The company’s emphasis on training is paying off. Buchheit Logistics’ drivers are regularly recognized as “Drivers of the Month” by the Missouri Trucking Association for their safe driving records. “We are proud of our driving team, and regularly celebrate their success and recognize them publicly,” Gjerstad says.