For Scott Wheeler, it’s all about continuous improvement. “Our mission is to be better tomorrow than we are today,” says Wheeler, executive vice president and corporate chief executive officer of Daseke Inc. “Daseke is more than a group of trucking companies. It is comprised of companies with strong management and highly personalized customer service skills, companies with excellent expansion opportunities and that offer diversity in a range of specialized equipment.”
A provider of flatbed, open-deck and specialized trucking capacity in North America, Daseke, headquartered in Addison, Texas, consists of Smokey Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie Corp., J. Grady Randolph, Central Oregon Truck Co., Lone Star Transportation, Bulldog Hiway Express, Hornady Transportation and The Boyd Companies, including Boyd Bros. Transportation, WTI Transport, Mid Seven Transportation and Boyd Logistics.
Collectively, the Daseke companies offer services including truckload, partial load, over-dimensional and large project moves and full service logistics in 49 states plus Canada and Mexico. Open deck trailers operated by the carriers transport everything from wind turbine blades, aviation parts, construction and agricultural heavy equipment, structural steel, pressure tanks and oil field equipment to a variety of construction materials.
Since 2008, Daseke has been building its operation by merging in what Wheeler refers to as “the best of the best.”
“We are a trucking company with different fleets that serve regional or industry vertical needs,” he explains. “Our operations are analogous in that they are all terrific companies with terrific leaders. We are able to work together to identify best practices and ideas that can be implemented in all of our operations to bring more value to our customers.”
Through that collaboration, Wheeler notes, the Daseke companies also identify and eliminate things that have a less than optimal impact on each of the operations. “Our most impactful collaboration is unstructured and less formal,” he adds. “We talk to each other regularly, not just in formal meetings, about things like specifications, technical issues and costs. We support each other’s operations with a nationwide network of facilities and maintenance locations.”
Daseke companies operate autonomously, but are increasingly finding synergies when it comes to consolidated purchasing.
“That’s especially true for consumables like fuel and tires, as well as truck wash and other services,” Wheeler relates. “In terms of equipment, we are also accelerating that activity when it makes sense to take advantage of any benefits that come with a larger scale operation.”
Collectively, the Daseke companies operate more than 3,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers. About 1,100 of its tractors are International models. There are also 650 Kenworths, 200 Peterbilts and a mix of Freightliner, Mack and Volvo units. The trailer fleet primarily consists of Reitnouer, Fontaine, Great Dane and Utility models.
“To a great extent, our customers’ needs determine our specs,” Wheeler states. “In one case, for example, we might be hauling large but lightweight aviation parts and in another we’re handling extremely heavy loads. Additionally, beyond brand, model or specs, what are important to us are relationships. With suppliers it’s not just transactional. We need to work together to find long-term solutions.”