CANADIAN SHIPPER: What do you see as the top trends that will drive company strategy in 2016, whether on the human resources, economy, regulatory or other fronts?
ANNE MCKEE: Our strategy remains steadfast: “To provide professional commercial trailer solutions throughout Canada with fast, customer-friendly service”. We have been in business for more than 50 years and understand the cyclical nature of this business environment. In every economy we know how essential it is to be customer-centric. Currently the uncertain economy is creating pain points for many of our customers. It is critical that we act as appropriate business partners; keeping the fleet in great shape to avoid downtime, driving out costs and keeping rates affordable. 2016 challenges will include dealing with equipment affordability and reliability. The affordability relates to the exchange rate – over which we have no control. The reliability is partially driven by the changes to the equipment specs due to regulatory demands. A 2016 opportunity is harnessing the potentials of some of the new technologies available to drive out cost through operational efficiencies. The technological advances are quite exciting.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: What are the top challenges that have changed the way you approach your business and can you elaborate on how these challenges may evolve?
ANNE MCKEE: One of the top challenges is equipment reliability. This isn’t a slam on manufacturers and OEMs. The changing regulatory environment is creating needs for consistent changes in equipment components. New products can have unforeseen issues that end up in failures and warranty. Warranty is taking more time than ever. We now have an early alert system when we believe we are starting to see a trend of repairs. We are working to get ahead of failures before they become a side of the road issue for our customers.
It is also now more important than ever that we approach training rigorously. ‘Excellent employees’ is a key part of our strategy. Service maintenance employees are more than half of our employee base. Ensuring that this group receives the right training delivered the right way is essential if we are to have a safe, reliable operating fleet. Our Super Wizards national tech challenge has definitely provided our technicians with a great way to compete, learn and have fun.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Do you think that the collaborative environment amongst supply chain stakeholders is improving, and if so, what are the major factors behind the improvement?
ANNE MCKEE: I do believe the collaborative environment amongst supply chain stakeholders is improving. There have been greater opportunities for dialogue – which can lead to better understanding of the challenges faced by all.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Can you discuss any new products, services, launches, etc. you hope to roll out in 2016?
ANNE MCKEE: Trailer Wizards doesn’t stand still! 2016 will see additional maintenance facilities and trailer yards added to our network. We have been listening to our customers and ensuring we are where they need us to operate. For instance Brandon, Manitoba, Lethbridge, Alberta and London, Ontario are several areas where we have grown our presence after listening to our customer’s preferences. As well, we will be continuing our operational excellent drive with the continued roll out of cloud technology to improve efficiency, productivity and our ability to service our customers.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Any other milestone achievements within the company you would like to highlight?
ANNE MCKEE: Trailer Wizards continues to grow to support our customer requirements. This year saw the opening of a 28 bay facility in Edmonton. Yes – during a downturn. We can proudly say the bays are all busy. We have an amazing group of technicians in Edmonton who provide top quality work. That is an achievement in the current Alberta economy!