Finding the Right People
Dan Horton says daily operations at Southern Tank Transport, Inc., are now running very smoothly. He gives a considerable amount of the credit to Trincon.
The consulting and advisory firm offered solid advice about improving Southern Tank’s operations in several areas, noted the Southern Tank President and COO.
Most importantly, Trincon helped the company forge new hiring procedures that significantly boosted the quality of the management team. And, having the right managers with the right qualifications in the right jobs has taken a great deal of pressure off Horton’s shoulders, he said.
Would he recommend Trincon to other transportation companies? “Absolutely,” said Horton. “I already have.”
Southern Tank traces its roots back to 1934 when the George A. Rheman Co. was formed as the house carrier for Exxon. It was the first trucking company in South Carolina to transport a bulk load of gasoline.
Today, the company operates a fleet of 280 trucks, handles seven to ten thousand runs per month, employs 430 people and has eight terminals in seven southern states from the Carolinas to Texas.
“We had grown quite a bit. We had acquired another company and we had a tremendous increase in insurance costs at exactly the same time that the industry was struggling. We got Trincon in and they helped us identify some of the problem areas that we had,” said Horton.
The Southern Tank president said Trincon offered much help in improving the company’s costing practices and centralizing many operations in a single location. “Customers are now calling one place rather than eight different locations and we can control our costs better,” said Horton.
But, what really pleased the Southern Tank executive was Trincon’s help in creating a new hiring program for key managers.
“I hadn’t changed my hiring practices in years,” said Horton “Duff (Trincon President Duff Swain) really helped me see where we had problems in management. It was a situation where I was constantly putting out fires.”
“With his help, we took a whole new approach to hiring people, which absolutely helped our bottom line,” he said. “Now we do an assessment to make sure they (management candidates) have the tools to do the job. We do that with every hire since Duff came in and we are real pleased with the results. The quality of the people we have now has improved dramatically.”
And, Horton said, he particularly enjoyed working with Swain.
“Even when he’s wrong he’ll make me think about things I haven’t thought about. There’s no emotion in his suggestions. He is looking at it from a total business perspective, playing the devil’s advocate, if you will,” said Horton.
“Duff challenged me on a regular basis — sometimes to the point where I would get annoyed.”
“But, he’s good to work with and he’s reasonable,” added Horton. “We like him.”