Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Offering more than the other guy

| February 06, 2009

Overdrive’s 2007 Trucker of the Year, two-truck fleet owner Henry Albert, knows that other independents, as well as bigger fleets, can do what he does. And in the current environment, ranking behind the competition isn’t a good idea.

 

“The amount of freight available is falling away at the same rate as trucking companies,” said Albert, who this week stopped for a breakfast at the T/A on I-59/20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where Overdrive is based. Senior Editor Todd Dills joined us. If Albert were having to rely on brokers, he’d be getting “beat up” badly on rates, he says, but years of building good relationships has allowed him to maintain rates with his five main shippers and 38 others.

 

There’s a lot that Albert has done to earn that loyalty. Check our cover story on him to get the full picture.

 

A few ingredients of his success are evident at a glance. He still wears the uniform shirt with the Albert Transportation logo. Where most guys would have an open collar, he’s got a necktie. Shippers notice, and are impressed.

 

His current reading: “Value Migration: How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition,” by Adrian J. Slywotzky. I’d bet that not too many of his colleagues are plowing through a book published by Harvard Business School Press.

 

There’s another book I noticed, sitting alone on a shelf in the sleeper of his Freightliner Cascadia: a paperback dictionary. So what’s the deal with that? Albert says he likes to keep his paperwork free of embarrassing misspellings.

 

Habits like these are a pain in the neck, whether you’re driving a truck or driving nails for a living. Thing is, they work because they help set you apart from the competition.