Q&A with Willy Schmidt: How One Idea Powers his Company Forward

What do you think of when the word “strong leader” comes to mind? Maybe you think of a leader as being a forceful person who finds it easy to make tough decisions or you picture a person who can stand in front of a room and confidently command orders. But do you picture somebody who is an extraordinary listener? Someone who values your opinion? Willy Schmidt pictures just that and a recent initiative himself and his partner, Bernard, developed is proof that Willy means serious business about his capability to be the leader in listening.

Willy and Bernard sent out a company-wide message. The request was clear. All they wanted was one idea that could help the company in some way.

I have asked Willy a few questions about this initiative and what it meant to his company, Willy’s Trucking Services.  Below is the conversation:

 

What gave you this idea..to ask for an idea?

“During meetings, I would notice I wanted to listen to what people had to say just as much as I wanted to do the talking. It made me realize there was an opportunity there to make everyone feel like they had a voice. Offering a reward company-wide for a great idea from a team member made sense and as soon as we put that on the table, we realized we had also picked up on the needs of the drivers; one being that they weren’t really being heard. ”

When all of the submissions came in, did you instantly see the one that you thought was a winner or were there many winning ideas to choose from?

Looking through the submissions, Bernard and I got the ideas down to a top 10 and then from there, we cut it in half. Then we decided on the winning idea; it was such a good idea and so simple that no one is even thinking about it, yet it’s so powerful.

So, who is the winner??

Our driver, Tim, submitted an idea that said: “Take a moment”. To us, “take a moment” could mean all kinds of things. It can be used by our drivers on the road, by our marketing team, by operations and management- the list goes on. It is so simple yet is meaningful in all sorts of ways.

All of the trucks have that decal on the doors now, right on the outside of the door, by the door handle. They all see that quote when they are going in and out of the trucks. We even have it on the side of our BBQ trailer! You also have to think, because it’s on the outside of the trucks, it’s not just us benefitting from this either. Sitting in traffic someone else could look over to our truck and see this quote. They could think to themselves as well “Hmm, take a moment”. It’s not just for us.

That’s fantastic. Would you recommend this method to other business owners and entrepreneurs? 

By all means, I would recommend this…The drivers are the people out there and they have the most time to think on the road. Reach out to your team and let them know you’re listening.

Tim H

 

What do you think about Willy and Bernard’s idea? What are more ways to grab genius ideas from your staff members? Share with us below!

 

Author: Melodie Mills

 

 

 

More Reasons to Drive into Digital

        In a recent survey by PwC, only 28 percent of the transportation industry can claim a high level of digitization today. Fortunately, embracing innovation has always been at the forefront of Willy’s Trucking Service. This is why we are pleased to announce that we will be implementing a new computer software system, Transport Management Software, or TMW. The TMW shipment management system will enable us to greatly improve the visibility of key data that helps to deliver our customers’ freight with greater efficiency and reliability. The advantages of digitization are many, including:

  • More Efficient

The new system has the capability to supply superb performance in the amount of energy that we use when printing and performing other office functions. The new system contributes to a more productive and environmentally friendly office overall.

  • More Productive

Our old systems had a tendency to be unproductive. There were unacceptable levels of redundancy in tasks and connectivity. The time delay between data entry and actually printing the documents that are needed prior to the freight leaving our dock was a deterrent to productivity. The new system does not suffer from this disadvantage.This will improve overall productivity in the movement of freight.

  • More Secure

The new systems will allow computers to benefit from additional protection by making sure that they have the latest defensive solutions that will help limit the threat posed by hackers and malicious software.

  • More Speed

The new system will allow customers faster access to the information required relating to their shipment, billing and invoicing. Greater overview of a shipment’s progress through the freight system is something many customers have been asking for.

  • More Environmentally Responsible

The new system will allow us to become as paperless as possible through electronic manifests, BOL’s and digital signature capture for POD’s greatly reducing our impact on the environment.

As we work through any potential integration issues and become accustomed to the new system we would like to thank all of our customers, vendors and employees for their patience and cooperation as we work to provide improved service.

 

Best Practices for Successful Freight Delivery

Best Practices for Successful Freight Delivery

Choosing the right Company to ship your freight with should always be about the quality of service you expect. The fact that we have been in business for 10 years tells you we have had a lot of practice in shipping and receiving and once your order is placed with us, you know it is going to be in good hands. Here are a few simple things you can do to assist us in making sure your shipment arrives on time, in the correct location and in the best condition.

Ensuring your freight gets to you.

  • Calling in your order early in the day -This is very helpful for us to arrange for a pickup. One customer scrambling to get in a shipment last minute can possibly result in multiple other shipments being delayed.

 

  • Collecting specific information- Collecting detailed shipment information really covers a lot of things. It helps us decide the type of equipment needed, when it’s going to be ready for pickup, and who we need to talk to at the shipping office. Knowing who to call if and when we need to confirm details about shipments also helps us be more efficient.

 

  • Knowing your expectations- If you need a shipment delivered by 6:00 AM, it’s helpful for us to know that. Take the time to share the detailed information so we can meet and exceed the expectations.

A good percentage of service failures are the result of missing information and details that could have ensured perfect delivery. Even though it takes a few minutes to answer the same questions every time you call, having your shipment delivered to the right destination at the right time with the right equipment is totally worth it!

It wouldn’t be a celebration without an awesome give-away, would it?

 

Last weekend Willy’s Trucking Services celebrated a milestone with our social media- we hit 2000 Likes on our Facebook page!

Well, we all know it wouldn’t be a marketing milestone without a sweet give-away to go along with it… That’s why we partnered with Travel Gurus in Edmonton to give all of our friends a chance to win $250 worth of travel credits and a Go-Pro!!

Head on over to our Facebook page for more information!

https://www.facebook.com/willystrucking/2000-likes-give-away

End of the Year Letter: Willy’s Trucking Services 2016

When reading this years end of the year letter by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, one paragraph really resonated with myself and Bernard. “In many ways, the founding mission of Google back in ’98—“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”—is even truer and more important to tackle today, in a world where people look to their devices to help organize their day, get them from one place to another, and keep in touch.“ As a transportation company that operates in logistics and daily routes, we may not have the details of products in common with a tech giant like Google, but we see a similarity in an importance in company vision. Google’s vision back from 1998 has endured and even as much as Google has evolved, they have always remained the same in what they aim to provide for their users.

Staying true to our company vision allows us to hold steady through uncertain economic times, unpredictable markets and everyday trials and tribulations. As we reflect on 2016 and stare headlong into 2017 we wish to pay tribute to some of our rewarding moments of company growth, community involvement and collaboration within our team.

2016- A year of breaking new ground, building upon what we harbour and reaching out to those in need.

May 2016- In what was the worst year for many Fort McMurray, Alberta residents, it was also a year of seeing what the province of Alberta is undoubtedly made of. Alongside dozens of other community leaders, Willy’s Trucking Services assisted in lending our services to help deliver much-needed goods to evacuees. Our depot managers reached out to Bernard and I right away to organize vans and trailers, drivers and volunteers to deliver thousands of donations collected from the Peace River region. We couldn’t have been more proud of our team!

May 2016- A much-anticipated opening of Willy’s Trucking Fort St. John also took place in May of 2016. Taking our time to find Jim Lequire to operate the F.S.J branch has proven to be well worth it as Jim consistently brings his genuine nature, work ethic and enthusiasm to the workplace. We are delighted to drive into 2017 advancing our growth in the Fort St. John region and beyond.

July 2016- Part of successfully expanding your company is ensuring the development happens without a strain on your team that already exists. Enthusiastically, in the summer of 2016 Willy’s Trucking welcomed Roland Krebs into our organization in Edmonton. Roland has transported years of experience, expertise in client relations and business development and an overall great personality to the Operations team. Enlisting Roland was assuredly a highlight to 2016.

A few more events to be noted:
-Social media success: in January of 2016 our Facebook page hit 1000 “Likes”. We are pleased to share our story with the public and look forward to connecting with more people online in 2017.
-5 Years of Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce members: Shelly Sorensen and Alan Krahn accepted a certificate on behalf of the company for 5 years of Membership with the Chamber of Commerce in Grande Prairie. Thank you for a great 5 years and more to come, Grande Prairie!
-Company Campout 2016: In August we held our annual Company Campout. Many of our personnel and their families joined us to celebrate a Canadian summer including some swimming, fishing and BBQ’ing some of the catches of the day. Looking forward to more festivities with the Willy’s Trucking team in 2017!

Best regards, Willy Schmidt and Bernard Dyckvision-statement-pic

4 Reasons We Use Social Media As A Communication Tool

Your business has probably already figured out that using Facebook for marketing is essential in 2016, but what about within the company? At Willy’s Trucking Services, we are a big fan of utilizing social media as a communication tool within our organization. Here’s why:facebook-logo

– Communication in multi-location organizations is not always easy. Different geographical areas, crunch time at different times of day, time zone differences; these all present challenges. Facebook was suggested by one of our team leaders quite some time ago as a means of communication, and was actually implemented as a private Facebook group with our team leaders. More recently, a private group was also created and is available for everyone employed by our company. Between the two Facebook groups we find that a lot of general business information is shared and seen by everyone as they have time in their schedule. Of course, there’s the ‘connectedness / social’ element too, with pictures of puppies and inspirational quotes. Facebook groups have become a well used and well liked means of communication in our company.

– Most of our employees have access to either a smartphone or a mobile device, and are already connected on services like Facebook of their own accord. This makes implementing a “Facebook communication” method rather cost friendly for everybody.

– We’ve asked that all our team leaders be connected with the private Facebook group for us to be able to keep them informed with general business information as it is available and to collectively share what we know. Our second group is optional, with over half of our current staff having joined. As we continue to grow the company, participation in these groups will be encouraged more. Keeping communication up to date is an important part of the company’s success in keeping our team well informed which in turn keeps the morale high.

– Many people are already used to connecting with this service and for that reason it seemed like a natural fit. Features like ‘Expressions’ / ‘Who has seen the post’ / ‘Pictures and Videos’ / ‘Notifications’ / ‘Facebook Live’ and others make this tool very useful, efficient and productive.

Does your company use social media this way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Company Update: We Are Hiring!

Willy’s Trucking Service was proud to announce our expansion into Fort St. John and now we are excited to build on our branch, beginning with hiring a Regional Sales Manager.

 

If you or someone you know would like to apply, please follow this link for more information on the position and how to apply.

 

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/cap/view/171655523?pathWildcard=171655523&trk=job_capjswillys_trucking_map_2016_a

Company News: Willy’s Trucking Service Opens Depot in Fort St. John, BC

Earlier this year Willy’s Trucking Service began their daily routes into Northern British Columbia with stops in Dawson Creek, Cache Creek and Fort St. John. Willy’s Trucking Service is pleased to announce we have officially opened our branch in Fort St. John.

The depot is located at 10529 269 Road Fort St. John.

Telephone: (250) 785-2364Willy's Arrow Right Orientation (2)Willy’s Trucking Service is proud to be Western Canada’s leading transportation company. We offer daily routes across Alberta and Northern British Columbia. 

Company News: Willy’s Trucking Service has expanded into Northern British Columbia

As of April, 2016, Willy’s Trucking Service’s will beginwillys_trucking_map_2016_a providing service into the following areas:

Fort Nelson

Charlie Lake

Fort St. John

Hudson’s Hope

Chetwynd

Tumbler Ridge

Dawson Creek

Pouce Coupe

And continuing our service into:

Peace River

Grimshaw

Grande Prairie

Valleyview

Fox Creek

Whitecourt

Edmonton

Calgary

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone in the Peace River region and beyond who have been working so hard to make this expansion possible. We are very excited as a team and as a Western Canadian, locally owned company to bring this expansion into fruition.

  • Focus – You need to remember that business, along with life, is a series of peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows. When business is prosperous it is easy to visualize your goals and follow that tunnel vision needed to reach them. On the flip side, following a downturn in the economy and seeing numbers changing because of forces out of your control can be detrimental to your focus. In these times you need to look towards the long term and “ride the storm”

 

  • Finances – Where can you tighten up? There are a few different avenues that you can take in order to keep the company  moving forward and it won’t be easy- mostly when it comes to cutting hours and pay but what you are able to learn from these difficult decisions is how important it is to communicate. Be honest and open with your team, informing them of exactly where you stand and why you are making the choices that you are.

 

  • Flexibility – Find a need, and fill it. Now is the time that forces your creativity, promotes diversifying and gets you pursuing leads. The times of being too busy to take on new work aren’t present and you may need to take different actions for the next while, not knowing how much longer that next while will be.

 

  • Creativity – This goes along with flexibility and diversifying.  Your creative juices really flow when you know that you aren’t just day-dreaming, you are really striving to make a connection between ideas and reality. 

 

  • Endurance – When the easiest attitude to fall back on is “negativity” it can take everything you have to remain poised and remain positive. As a leader, it is absolutely essential that you set the standard for enduring this time. Keep optimistic, surround yourself with your closest friends, family and mentors and keep moving forward. Not only will your company thank-you for it, but the community as a whole, who needs your leadership now more than ever. 

Do you have any strategies you and your team have adapted to lead through an economic downturn? Share them in the comments section below.