“We have plans to continue our growth through our partnerships. With that in mind, I have hopes that we will be having this discussion in two years, and Blair is over 1,000 trucks and continuing to meet the needs of more partners. You meet people and learn their needs. If you can fulfil their need, you make that commitment to walk beside them.” ~ Nick Allen, President of Blair Logistics
Birmingham, AL – When customers purchase wood, most understand that it comes from a sawmill before it arrives in the lumber yard or big box store, but few likely think about how it actually got from the mill to the shelf.
That’s where Blair Logistics, located here, comes in and helps make sure that lumber and many other products get from point A to point B, thanks to a network that includes hundreds of flatbed trucks.
Nick Allen, President at Blair, explained how CEO, Jay Bowling, who already had an extensive background in trucking, grew the business from its humble beginnings in 2009. “Jay started with just 12 owner operators. He and Travis Nobinger would head up the operations at Blair after Robby Pike and Scott Smith, founders of PS Logistics, opened the doors and expanded their company,” he said. “Blair has grown from 12 contractors to where they sit today at over 800.”
The contractors are hired by the company as owner operators or lease purchase operators, while Blair provides them with customer loads, offering connections that span the 48 contiguous states. In addition to Birmingham, the company has terminals in Indianapolis, Indiana, Memphis, Tennessee, Hope, Arkansas, Dallas, Texas, Houston, Texas and Valdosta, Georgia. Allen said the network is designed to help the contractors be successful. The team works collaboratively to help connect the contractors to the customers.
Blair’s top priorities are safety, partnership and customer service. “We do this in the most efficient and economical ways possible. We do this by using the latest technology to ensure every load is picked up and delivered on schedule. We believe we have the best contractors in the industry. We keep them safe and deliver greatness,” Allen said.
“We have 50 people working in operations at Blair, between the customer service representatives, the fleet managers and the terminal managers, they are all here to help you get the loads that you need to be taken to where they need to go. So, from the moment the load is put on a driver, they will then stay in touch with the driver manager throughout their transit from pick-up to drop-off,” said Savanna Windham, marketing manager.
Blair has connections with customer representatives across all 48 contiguous states, making it easier for forest products companies to get in touch with a driver to haul loads that are ready to go. “We love seeing our customers. We like to take them to lunch and really get to know each other,” Allen said. “We really want our customers to have someone that they know on a personal basis that can be their go-to.”
Forest products make up a sizable piece of the company’s business. The company has been awarded top carrier consecutively for multiple lumber shippers. Their reputation has been built on superior customer service.
It’s not just relationships and consistency that help Blair stand out to their customers, it’s their safety precautions too. “We have a very talented executive team that works very hard to make sure that everyone is safe,” Allen said.
Windham added, “The safety team works directly with the customer. They will come and spend time with them as each customer has specific securement needs, and for certain mills there might be some safety specifics that our contractors will need to know. So, not only does the safety team work directly with the customer but with our contractors as well, making sure that we are following all of the procedures that the customer expects.”
Each contractor working with Blair goes through a rigorous three-day orientation process in Birmingham to ensure that they have the proper equipment and know-how to safely load, haul and unload the lumber.
“We do extensive securement training with all our contractors. We have safety functions in place to ensure the load securement meets Blair requirements as well as any shipper’s specified requirements. Contractors send pictures to their driver manager who analyzes the load to confirm that it is being secured and tarped properly,” Allen said. “That way our customers are not getting a damaged load. If a load needs to be tarped, we are going to make sure it happens.”
The company has also worked to build ties with the industries it serves through multiple association memberships. Allen added that continuing to make these types of connections will be instrumental to the company’s future success.
“We have plans to continue our growth through our partnerships. With that in mind, I have hopes that we will be having this discussion in two years, and Blair is over 1,000 trucks and continuing to meet the needs of more partners,” Allen said. “You meet people and learn their needs. If you can fulfil their needs, you make that commitment to walk beside them.”
Allen also pointed out, it is the people of Blair Logistics that have driven and will continue to drive the company’s success. “They work hard. I think we give them a good foundation so that they understand their importance in what we do here at Blair. Our employees know our priority is to take care of the contractors. We have been blessed with the growth, but we’ve been blessed because we have been surrounded by people who are very strong and compassionate about their jobs,” he said.
Blair Logistics is a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association, the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, and the Southern Forest Products Association.
Learn more at www.blairlogisticsinc.com.