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Blowing the doors off: West Memphis trucking operation stays in touch with its drivers.

Schneider National Carriers has taken the open-door policy one step further.

Its massive West Memphis trucking operation has a no-doors policy.

A recently completed expansion, which cost $6 million, gave the complex additional office space, a cafeteria, a lounge area and an exercise facility for drivers. The maintenance shop was expanded for their trucks.

What wasn't added was doors, according to Ray Gabriel, a team operations manager.

"The showers, the lounge and the offices are all connected," Gabriel says.

The West Memphis terminal is the base for almost 925 drivers.

"Jan Gross |the operations center manager~ doesn't even have an office with a door on it," Gabriel says.

The terminal is one of 10 that Schneider, based in Green Bay, Wisc., operates across the country. Only six of the terminals offer the extensive services the West Memphis complex offers. Those services include a laundry and a company store.

By providing for truckers' needs, Schneider officials believe they can save truckers time and save customers money.

"We're literally a mini-truck stop for Schneider drivers," says Gabriel, who has been with the company for five years. "We like to view |the terminal~ as a non-threatening, friendly area for them."

Gabriel, 34, joined Schneider when the company was moving its Dallas operations to West Memphis.

Transportation Hub

West Memphis is a popular site for truck terminals and truck stops since Interstate 40 (a major east-west route) and Interstate 55 (a major north-south route) meet there.

"We found 1-40 and 1-55 to be the crossroads of America," Gabriel says. "We relocated so we could do a better job of managing our drivers. Dallas was always the end of the freight line."

The almost 925 drivers are overseen by 24 service team leaders, who report to Gabriel and another team operations manager. The two team operations managers then report to Gross.

"The service team leaders are the front-line managers for our drivers," Gabriel says.

Service team leaders ensure that truckers are paid correctly, that their vehicles operate at peak performance and that drivers have enough time off the road.

"They're in charge of making sure drivers get the level of support they need," Gabriel says.

Schneider has hired additional drivers, service personnel and cafeteria personnel since the expansion. The West Memphis terminal is capable of handling as many as 1,000 drivers, according to Gabriel.

Schneider was founded in 1938 by Al Schneider as Schneider Transfer & Storage Co. It is the largest privately owned truckload carrier in the country with more than 11,000 employees serving customers in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The company, now headed by Al Schneider's son, Don, has a fleet of more than 6,000 tractors and 14,000 trailers, which travel more than 3 million miles per day.
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Title Annotation:Schneider National Carriers' no-doors policy
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 13, 1992
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