Proudest moments: Best Fleets award, response to pandemic source of appreciation for Boyle Transportation

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Mark Padlo and Chelsea Douglas
Team drivers Mark Padlo and Chelsea Douglas display their creative face masks they wore during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy: Boyle Transportation)

Boyle Transportation Co-President Andrew Boyle smiled and walked to the podium during Truckload 2020: Orlando – TCA’s Annual Convention – on March 2.

His company — Boyle Transportation — had just been called as the overall winner in the small carrier category of the 2020 Best Fleets to Drive For competition put on by the Truckload Carriers Association and its partner CarriersEdge.

“At that point, I called it the proudest achievement in our company’s history,” said Boyle during an interview in late April. “Then, just a few weeks later we stared into the abyss of this COVID-19 crisis and every day since has been the proudest moment in our company’s history.”

In part, the pride comes from his company’s long-time role in the trucking industry.

“Historically most of our business has been in the defense world and now the two verticals we serve are the government defense world and life sciences, which includes pharmaceuticals and health care distributors,” shared Boyle. “The trucking industry as a whole plays a vital role in our nation’s economy and the role has become even more pronounced in this crisis. What our company does is a little more important so far as we are either transporting life-saving medicine or critical military material to support military service members. We’ve been called upon by many makers of medicine to deliver COVID-19 related products to sustain life.”

Boyle Transportation was founded in 1971 when Andrew’s parents — Tom and Elisabeth — purchased the authority of an existing carrier.

Today, the company is headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, with service centers in Bloomfield, Indiana; Kiowa, Oklahoma; and Yorktown, Virginia.

For the past 17 years, the company has been managed by Andrew Boyle along with his co-president and brother Marc.

The Best Fleets to Drive For contest begins with the naming of the Top 20 carriers based on nominations from company drivers and independent contractors. From that group, a winner is chosen for both small carrier and large carrier categories.

2020 marked the sixth consecutive year Boyle Transportation has been among the Top 20, but it is the carrier’s first overall win.

The fact that the Top 20 and overall awards are the result of driver nominations makes the honor more special, Boyle shared.

Boyle has 133 drivers and all work as teams.

“This is a people business and what is especially gratifying and motivating and stimulating about this great industry is that we have the unique capacity to create good blue-collar jobs. The cool thing about the Best Fleets to Drive For program is that it helps us determine whether we are simply creating jobs and whether we’re creating good jobs,” Boyle said with pride. “It provides very comprehensive, systematic methodology to help guide you to high achievement in terms of creating a good work environment.”

Boyle Transportation values include quality, safety, and security.

“We have a very simple philosophy. We invest in great people, those people perform exceptionally well for our customers and in turn the customers will want to continue to do business with us,” said Boyle.

Quality, safety, and security require a lot of attention to detail, Boyle pointed out.

“Everyone throughout the company from Marc and myself, our management team, our maintenance staff, professional drivers and administrative staff have to adopt and embrace a concept called continuous improvement. People who do well here consider themselves high achievers and professionals. If someone gets a job offer to work with us, it’s a pretty big achievement and I tell them that because you are here you are good but we need you to embrace the chance to get better.”

Each week, Boyle management, drivers and administrative staff get together as a cross-function team to see where the company came up short and where it can do better.

“Sometimes we talk about customer service. Sometimes we’ve had to invest in different specifications on equipment and we offer our drivers a chance to give input. Sometimes we talk to them about how they score on things such as safe driving and attention to detail,” shared Boyle.

Boyle’s driver compensation program is significantly different than most in the industry.

“We basically provide drivers a weekly wage at a very significant rate. It’s not based on mileage but on quality, safety and security measures,” he added.

There is a guarantee that ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 per person per week.

“We’re not talking about a minimum wage type of pay, but rather pay based on how you execute on your attention to detail matrix and safe driving,” added Boyle. “In addition, we have safe driving incentive compensation and we pay them more with an incentive to get inspections. Then they get a quarterly incentive compensation.”

As a result of its philosophy, Boyle said the company had gone to great lengths to invest in the safety of its teammates, including:

  • Distributing care packages of protective and cleaning equipment, including 280 hand sanitizer bottles, 5,000 gloves, and 1,300 masks;
  • Minimizing contact at pickup and delivery through new protocols and engaging customers to work with the carrier in implementing those new protocols.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning services at terminals;
  • Paying for motel use while laid over at its Bloomfield, Indiana, service center;
  • Developing a process and procuring recommended materials to disinfect trucks; and
  • Establishing a relationship with a telemedicine service and network of 14 urgent-care facilities at truck stops.

“Obviously, these are all massive costs that cannot be recouped from our customers, but they are consistent with our philosophy to invest in our most important assets — our people, so that our people can perform well for our customers and those customers in turn will continue to do business with us,” said Boyle.

The overall small category winner contest was sponsored by TruckRight.

Visit bestfleetstodrivefor.com for more information about the contests.

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