If there was a single focus throughout Saia’s 2017 annual conference, in a word, it was “people.” Whether it was referring to customers or employees, it was abundantly clear that it’s the people involved that make Saia the growing company that it is. “Quality comes from two places: quality culture, quality people.”
These were the words from Vice President of Operations, Central Paul Peck, whose passionate opening speech set the tone for the weekend and segued into the upcoming themes and events of 2017. Over the course of two days, a lot of items were introduced, strategized and planned. However, a handful of topics stood out as the biggest endeavors of the incoming year.
While it wasn’t the first time Saia’s expansion to the Northeast was mentioned, the plan to open four new terminals in the second quarter of 2017 – in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA and Newark, NJ – was the primary topic of conversation. Bob Newton, the new regional manager for the four locations, received his formal introduction to the crowd of over 500 Saia team members. The expansion to the Northeast will give Saia direct coverage in 38 states and will continue to position the carrier as major player on a nearly national scale.
New Customer Offerings
As always, customer focus was a major theme as several new client-centric offerings were announced. Along the lines of customer service, the plan to pivot to a regional customer service approach was introduced; the basis being to give customers a more local and familiar link to their freight.
Also, new to Saia for 2017 will be the role of the customer service specialists. As part of a direct effort to find solutions for customers with unique needs, this role will be responsible for handling any special freight requirements. Not only will this additional role empower customers, but it will free up Saia’s account executives, leading to more efficient and speedy service resolutions throughout the company.
Finally, other customer offerings coming are liability insurance availability and major credit card acceptance for payments. Once in place, Visa, MasterCard and Discover will all be accepted.
Saia’s investment in itself has always been a point of pride, but in 2017, the company is going to a whole new level. During his address to attendees, President and CEO Rick O’Dell announced that in 2017, Saia will have invested over $200 million back into itself, a new record for the company. This total includes spending in areas such as customer service and satisfaction, infrastructure, and safety. Saia’s commitment to include Lytx driver facing camera systems in all of its new 2017 trucks is just one example of those safety investments.
The investments also include marketing, where the company is pushing to make the Saia name more nationally recognized. O’Dell was very excited to mention the company’s appearance at the Atlanta Motor Speedway where Saia is featured in turn three with their own billboard. With the focus on people, employees and customers alike, the annual conference succeeded in setting the tone for the year ahead. To follow up on Saia’s initiatives, be sure to visit Saia’s InfoIntersection where you’ll find more blogs, articles, infographics and videos.