(Chris Devlin) #1

CONTENT FROM OLD DOMINION


Trucking,


Transparency,

and Trust Company culture — and

a legacy built on promises — can be credited for

growing revenues in a competitive sector.

officers fan out to the company’s 235
service centers to brief 23,000 employees
on company performance and to account
for spending decisions in every category.
“We tell them exactly what we’re going to
do with the money and exactly how much
we’re giving back to them,” says chief
operating officer Marty Freeman. “That
really sets the tone that we’re an open-door
company.”
Consistency helps reinforce a culture
of trust and transparency. Managers have
been sharing company performance
insight with employees since the 1930s,
Freeman says. And because workers share
in the profits in the form of a discretionary
match to their 401K, they’re incentivized to
go the extra mile for each of OD’s 85,000
customers. “As a union-free entity, we’re
allowed to be flexible because we can
do things that some of our competitors
can’t,” Freeman says. OD is what’s known
as a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier that
derives 97% of its business from business-
to-business relationships. Customers value
OD’s flexibility, especially when they need it
unexpectedly to keep a promise.
Example: Late last year, a major cruise
line had a ship ready to leave Miami the
next day when it realized the vessel needed
an emergency shipment of life jackets be-
fore departure. Its closest supply was two
days away in Jersey City, N.J., and loading
thousands of life jackets onto an overnight
cargo plane wasn’t feasible.
OD came up with the out-of-the-box
solution that the cruise line needed. Multiple
teams of drivers joined forces, bypassing
their usual East Coast stops, in order to ar-
rive in Miami the next day. It was a schedule
that OD’s LTL competitors could not have
matched.
“We delivered the life jackets in time for
the ship to leave with its passengers on it,”
Freeman says. “That’s a prime example of
our flexibility in helping a customer keep a
promise.”
OD’s nimbleness isn’t limited to just the
road. At the company’s headquarters in
Thomasville, N.C., a non-siloed corporate
structure means customer feedback flows
swiftly from sales to operations, and im-
provements get addressed in short order.
Looking forward, OD plans to stay
ahead of economic trends that have
customers needing more from their LTL
carriers. And nurturing a culture and legacy
that prioritizes delivering top-notch service
will keep it a leader in the field.■

THE FIERCELY COMPETITIVE TRUCKING INDUSTRY HAS


long been grappling with driver shortages, unpredictable fuel costs,
and razor-thin margins. So when a mature trucking firm notches
double-digit organic growth, observers want to know how. At Old
Dominion Freight Line, executives say the answer lies in its culture.
The 85-year-old company saw its revenue increase by a
whopping 20.4% last year, to top $4 billion. Many factors played a
role, but one seed planted long ago appears to be bearing fruit: a
workplace marked by exceptional trust in employees and flexibility
toward the customer.
At OD, trust begins with management. Each year, 32 corporate