The complex puzzle of a trucking operation
An operations department is a critical component to most companies, but for a trucking business it can be described as a department that thrives on putting complex puzzles together. Kelly Kittmer, Director of International of LTL Operations at The Erb Group of Companies explains, “It’s almost like a chess match. There are so many moving components to a trucking operation, and we must be critical thinkers. We coordinate drivers, customers, perishable goods, dock workers, and equipment. The list goes on.”
Kelly has worked with The Erb Group since 1999, moving through various positions and recently started a brand-new role in the company. She adds, “Our LTL operations demand increased during the pandemic for several reasons. After looking at our profitability streams, we realized we needed dedicated resources focused on LTL. My position was created to further enhance this aspect of the business, with an emphasis on cross-border operations.”
Today, The Erb Group has a team of 45 LTL drivers. “I hope to bolster this roster of drivers, to allow us to support more customers looking for this service. I believe word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. It’s integral to source the right drivers. By scheduling more 1-2-1’s with my team members I can really see what is needed to improve. It’s a ripple effect. If I focus on supporting my dispatchers and planners, it will ultimately improve our driver’s experiences. Which hopefully, in turn, will encourage more drivers to recommend Erb to others on the road.”
Furthermore, Kelly is aiming to see 10% Year-over-Year financial growth for LTL operations. “The LTL service allows us to work with several customers to ship products at the same time. It’s a profitable source of revenue for us.”
The operations department is constantly evolving. “We need team members who are problem-solvers and can keep agile during complex situations. If you’re a person who thrives on multitasking, then you’ll fit right in. At one moment, you can be knee-deep in a problem and then your phone begins to ring with another challenge. It’s very dynamic but also rewarding when you can find solutions to those challenges.”
At The Erb Group, we offer multiple career pathways for team members to reach their goals. Kelly explains, “Someone can start out as a dispatcher and then decide to become a driver. We recently had a dispatcher graduate from the company’s Entry Level Driver Training Program.”
Kelly continues, “There is also so much rich history at Erb and a commitment to its employees. Not every company offers an EFAP or matches your TFSA. While a job in operations can be complex, it’s important to have work-life balance. We have committed to evolving and allowing certain positions to be hybrid. Keeping that open mind has kept our team happy and thriving in a balanced work environment.