Some carriers have a goal of growing bigger. At Mattawan, Michigan-based Ralph Moyle, Inc., the goal is a little different: to grow better.
The company, which operates a fleet of 78 tractors, serves mostly food and beverage customers in the upper Midwest, providing trucking and warehousing options.
“We are situated next to three manufacturers of beverages,” explained CEO Ashley Moyle Kordish, who is the granddaughter of company founder Ralph Moyle. “It made for a very easy transition, where we’re able to take stock right off the line, put it onto a shuttle trailer, and then shuttle it right over to our warehouse. Then we take over the process for customers from there, loading up trucks and sending their orders out.”
With a cycle of service that takes the customer’s product from the production line to storage to retail delivery, one might think the company already covers all the bases — but there’s more.
“We do a little bit of tanker going into beverage manufacturers — not very much but we dabble in it,” Kordish remarked. Tanker deliveries represent another way the company adapts to provides services needed by its customers.
Although most of the company’s freight runs are regional in nature, trucks are sometimes dispatched a little farther.
“We do go south as far as Georgia, and we recently got a load to Nebraska, and we haul to Boston,” Kordish said. “We don’t go to other countries.”
Like many carriers, Ralph Moyle would like to hire more drivers, Kordish says. Unlike most carriers of its size, however, the company operates its own CDL training school. The training is divided into three phases with the first being a basic CDL school. Phase 2 is spent on the road with a driver-trainer and ends with testing to verify learning. In Phase 3, drivers are dispatched solo — but are under the watchful eye of support personnel who can help as needed.
“We’re very particular about making sure our drivers are getting the best experience possible and that they’re getting trained really, really well,” she explained. “So, we only have about three (students) in our program at a time.”
The company also has a driver-finishing program for new drivers graduating from other CDL schools.
“We’re very, very particular about our drivers and we don’t hire those that don’t measure up, even if it could hurt us a little bit to not have that driver,” Kordish noted. “If they’re not going to be a good fit, we’ll pass.”
Ralph Moyle’s training program is evidence of the record of safety performance and management at Ralph Moyle, she added.
“The fact that our insurance company lets us do that, I think speaks a lot. They trust us enough with our safety record to allow us to do that,” she shared
As for Kordish, her training at Ralph Moyle began at a young age.
“I’ve been around the trucks since I was a kid,” she said. “I would sweep out trailers. I drove forklifts. I worked in our shop. I changed tires. I did dispatching and billing.”
Kordish credits her grandfather, Ralph Moyle, for his role in building the company. She says his story is remarkable.
“He started out at 13, but because all the other men in the area were off at the war, they needed to get grapes and stuff to Welch’s,” she explained. “The fact that he was able to grasp ideas at such young age, and then have it blossom to this incredible company that helps our community and does our best for our employees — I just think it’s a really neat thing.”
In the beginning, company founder Ralph Moyle delivered loads himself, working to grow his customer base by providing great service.
“He was an incredible businessman who found some incredible opportunities and he knew when to grab on and go with it,” Kordish said. She credits her grandfather, along with current co-owners — her father, Jonathan Moyle, and her uncle, Michael Moyle — for the values by which the company operates.
Those core values of “Commitment, Integrity, Safety, Sustainability and Teamwork” are listed on the company website. Kordish says they have always been a part of the company but weren’t always discussed as being at the core of the culture.
“It was just identifying them and starting to put them up on the walls, and really voicing that they were there,” she said.
Ralph Moyle has adopted modern aero technology for its fleet and uses super-single tires. Trucks used for shorter runs are equipped with a 6X2 drive axle configuration that includes a liftable axle. Trucks on longer routes are spec’d with the traditional 6X4 configuration. Kordish related how tire tread made a difference in traction on the 6X2 tractors
“Our first winter with them was an adventure,” she said.” We quickly learned that we needed a very aggressive tread on the tires so that our drivers can get in and out of the snow easily.”
The company hasn’t invested in technology like electric and autonomous vehicles … yet.
“We’re pretty quick to jump on to new technology when we find sustainable ideas, so I could definitely see us taking advantage of it in the future,” Kordish explained.
There’s another side to Ashley Kordish, too.
“I do love animals. I have horses and a cat,” she said. “Any driver that’s gonna have an animal in the truck with them, I tell them they have to come by and let me love it.”
As for her grandfather’s dream, she said, “I’m really excited to be able to continue his legacy and really just help it blossom some more.”
Click here to read more about Kordish.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.