Demand for quality drivers to move freight is at an all-time high. In this post-pandemic economy, manufacturers are witnessing record backlogged supply chains as baby boomers retire, fewer young recruits are entering the trucking industry, and technology continues to advance. The driver shortage has caused issues across the industry, due to record high trucking demand and drivers facing stricter regulations, like speed limiters and shorter driving windows. With a lack of trucks and equipment as well as disruption to the supply chain, the cost for typical household products and appliances has skyrocketed. For shippers, issues like these have highlighted the importance of maintaining a long and happy relationship with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider for support during any potential disruptions. A 3PL provider can help shippers deliver exemplary service to consumers by managing transportation, warehousing and fulfillment, and cross-border logistics during any market conditions. This is a story about a long-lasting partnership between TA Services and Gerdau…
Gerdau Long Steel North America (“Gerdau”) is a subsidiary of Gerdau S.A. Gerdau is a leading steel producer who focuses on transforming recycled scrap metal into new steel products. The Gerdau team values building a better future for the steel industry. TA Services originally began a partnership with Gerdau when they were called Chaparral Steel in the 1980s. Once Gerdau acquired Chaparral Steel in 2007, they continued to utilize TA Services as their 3PL provider due to the well-established relationship that had already been forged. The origin of the partnership with Chaparral Steel was initially TA Services helping them move freight. Over time, the relationship grew and today, TA Services provides Gerdau with a variety of added 3PL services including in-plant mill services, materials management, trucking services, safety monitoring and topnotch customer care.
The TA Services Difference
Location, Location, Location
One of Gerdau’s many locations is situated directly across the street from TA Services just south of Dallas, Texas and has around 1000 employees. This location was the foundation behind their dedicated partnership that was founded on a handshake in 1986.
Any time Gerdau needs additional resources, TA Services is there to provide a solution. Gerdau has utilized their own trucking company and drivers to complete local and regional deliveries, but TA Services provides extra coverage that core carriers do not, extending Gerdau’s service area exponentially. It’s a win-win for both companies.
Flexibility and Extra Coverage
TA Services and Gerdau established their customer relationship in the 1980s and have worked closely together ever since on local and regional deliveries. With driver schools shutting down at the height of the pandemic, and therefore a lack of available drivers, TA Services has stayed closely aligned with Gerdau’s needs and efficiently covers difficult lanes for them when these shortages occur. One of the biggest changes in the relationship over time has been TA Services’ ability to step in and support Gerdau’s freight by being a flexible partner. According to Chris Bullard, Mill Logistics Manager at Gerdau, TA Services’ service and delivery ratings are some of the highest in the industry and some of Gerdau’s own customers specifically request TA Services’ drivers to deliver their product.
Safety First: A Core Shared Value
Gerdau and TA Services strongly value safety in the workplace. TA Services ensures that all of their drivers feel safe during operations. One example is that OSHA guidelines require fall protection to be put in place at 6 feet. Gerdau takes this a step further, installing fall protection at four feet instead for the safety of their employees.
When TA Services first partnered with Gerdau over 30 years ago, it was common to see drivers on top of their trailers chaining down their loads. Chris Bullard, who has been with Gerdau for over 25 years, states, “The best way I’ve described it is that you can go to one of our safety meetings and if you put on a blindfold, you wouldn’t know if it’s our meeting or TA Services. They are a trustworthy and insightful partner!”.
Long-term Outcomes for Gerdau
Over the last couple decades, TA Services has been proud to assist Gerdau with a wide variety of unique requests and services. These services include on-site material management for real-time melt shop management, railcar loading, safety management (i.e. driver fall protection monitoring and inspections), internal transfers/shuttles, and on-site manpower for special projects. To sum it up, here are 3 things that Gerdau has benefitted from with the TA Services relationship over time:
- Market Insights: Lately, freight rates have been particularly volatile and Gerdau leans on TA Services to gain insight on market trends and potential disruptions. TA Services utilizes their knowledge of these trends to help Gerdau receive the best freight rates possible and capacity to move their loads safely and on-time.
- System Integration: Internally, Gerdau works with TA Services to pre-stage and pre-load their trucks. TA Services is integrated with many of Gerdau’s systems and are equipped with their own loading equipment and operators, which has increased product output for Gerdau. TA Services is currently working with Gerdau to develop a secondary checkout process for drivers during the preload process.
- Trust: All the secrets cannot be revealed here, but there are a variety of other projects in the works that are a collaborative effort between the two companies. Gerdau relies on TA Services to bring ideas (big and small) to the table and together they decide what is worth pursuing and what will bring the most benefit to the business. TA Services always has Gerdau’s best interest at heart!
A Partner Who Has Your Back
Like many industries, the challenges logistics and transportation providers will face in the years ahead are unknown. However, with a long-standing 3PL partner, companies like Gerdau can overcome any industry challenge, ensuring timely, reliable, and high-quality logistics services.
TA Services provides Gerdau with ideas for new implementations along with market research so that Gerdau is aware of any issues that could affect their business. TA Services is always willing to take on new tasks for Gerdau as this partnership continues to grow.
The future is bright when you have a partner who looks out for you and TA Services plans to make ship happen for Gerdau for many years to come!