Kenny Stevens started Stevens Trucking in 1979 with a single hotshot pickup truck that hauled oilfield tools in the Oklahoma oil patch. From there, Stevens Trucking has grown to more than 350 tractors and 1,600 trailers serving the automotive, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, retail and other industries.
Interview with Cole Stevens, Stevens Trucking chief strategy officer.
How have you innovated solutions to solve your own needs?
At STC, we tend to have to innovate on a daily basis. With 2,000-plus pieces of equipment and over 400 employees, things tend to change rapidly in our line of work. We are currently designing our own in-house software program that is custom to the hub/spoke model that we use for our truckload services. We think innovative tools like this can give us a competitive advantage over others while also putting great tools into our employees hands.
Why is it important to be nimble and responsive in the trucking industry?
Trucking changes by the second, so being an agile company is honestly the key to success in our business. Many people don’t even realize this, but truckload freight actually trades futures like many other commodities do. So in a business that runs on other commodities (produce, fuel, consumer consumption, etc.) it is safe to say that the fastest company wins, as we like to repeat in our meetings.
How have the needs and solutions changed in the trucking industry in the past decade?
We feel that the trucking industry may be one of the fastest changing and innovating industries in the past decade. E-commerce solutions and last-mile delivery services, coupled with the vast digitalization of the entire industry, have driven rapid change over the past 10 years. In the truckload space, customers used to just want their freight within the same delivery day. Now they want it on-time down to the minute. Some of this consumer demand is driven by visibility capabilities as well as the advancement of smartphones, while others are running leaner DC and warehouse operations due to events like COVID. It has been quite the whirlwind, but there hasn’t been a boring day at the office over the past 5-10 years, that’s for sure.
Is AI or remote driving part of your strategy?
Absolutely AI is a part of our strategy moving forward. We currently use AI to diagnose issues with downed equipment, to anticipate things like traffic changes and to help plan our drivers best available hours of service to be able to work. Many people think that AI is something new, but it really is a driving machine behind lots of solutions that are already in place today.
LOGISTICS INNOVATOR FINALISTS:
Shane Kempton, Phase 2 CTO