May 16, 2017 5:00 PM, EDT

Averitt, Old Dominion Rated Top Carriers in Mastio Survey of Shippers

Averitt by Averitt Express; Old Dominion by John Sommers II for Transport Topics
Averitt Express and Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. are the country's highest-rated privately held and publicly traded less-than-truckload carriers, respectively, according to a survey of more than 2,000 shippers in the United States that Mastio & Co. conducted last year.

The Mastio Quality Awards were handed out in December, but the release of the survey data provides a detailed look at the scores for 26 regional and national LTLs based on polling conducted last summer and autumn.

Shippers ranked their carriers on a scale from 0 to 10. Mastio counts a 9 or a 10 as a promoter, a 7 or 8 as passive, and a 6 or below as a detractor. The net promoter score is the difference between the promoters and detractors.

“In the travel industry, a Hilton or a United will ask you, ‘How likely would you be to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?’ That’s exactly what this is. It’s a dashboard metric that shippers can use,” said Kevin Huntsman, vice president of sales for Mastio & Co.

Averitt President Wayne Spain told Transport Topics that the first-place result demonstrates the hard work and dedication of its employees. The LTL carrier, which ranks No. 31 on the Transport Topics 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, received a score of 85.5%.

“One of the key driving forces behind our ability to provide shippers with reliable, on-time service is communication. We view our shippers as partners and truly believe that maintaining an open line of communication ensures that we are working together towards the same goal,” Spain said.

Huntsman agreed that the top-scoring carriers differentiate themselves based on the quality of interactions, ease of doing business, timely responses to questions and effective troubleshooting.

Behind Averitt on the list were Standard Forwarding (a division of DHL), A. Duie Pyle, Dayton Freight Lines and Ward Trucking. Dayton Freight Lines ranks No. 58 on the for-hire TT100 and A. Duie Pyle is No. 73.

“Despite the industry consolidation to create national carriers, shippers still value a regional carrier that can deliver a quality next-day service product, competitive pricing and responsive customer support," Ward Trucking Chairman and CEO Bill Ward told Transport Topics. "Regional carriers are more nimble than national carriers and can react much faster to the ever-changing shipper’s needs.”

Among the national less-than-truckload carriers, Old Dominion, No. 11, received the highest score at 78.5%.

“The investments we make in our people and our infrastructure are designed to ensure that we keep our promises to our customers. We continually strive to improve our customers’ experience and create an environment in which they want to do business with Old Dominion,” said Chip Overbey, senior vice president of strategic planning at Old Dominion.

FedEx Freight (of No. 2 FedEx Corp.), ABF Freight (a division of No. 12 ArcBest Corp.), and XPO Logistics, No. 3, received scores between 62% and 67%, above the 60% average.

Saia, No. 25, received a 59.4% score. YRC Worldwide, No. 5, received a 50.4%. UPS Freight (part of No. 1 UPS Inc.) earned a 49.6%.

“YRC Freight values the perspectives of its customers and uses various types of ‘listening posts’ to understand what customers value. Participation in the Mastio Customer Value Analysis is just one of those sources of input,” the company said in a statement to TT.

YRC also pointed out that its score improved 4.2 percentage points year-over-year and rose at a faster rate than the other carriers in 26 attributes in Mastio’s survey. The company outlined initiatives emphasizing the “customer-centric culture,” including employee training, accelerated LTL service and making the website more user-friendly.

Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc., No. 16, earned a 14.5% score, the second-lowest in the survey. However, Huntsman noted Roadrunner has been one of the fastest-rising performers in recent years.

Grant Crawford, president of Roadrunner Freight, told Transport Topics that he’s taken several measures since last year to improve performance and expects a marked improvement in the 2017 survey, which begins in the next couple months.

Among them were an update to the company’s service standards, a new customer advisory board and faster service in more than 200 service lanes. In addition, Roadrunner centralized the customer service operations in Akron, Ohio, rather than individual call centers at each office, based on a recommendation from Mastio.

“Historically, Roadrunner has been viewed as an economical choice. But in my opinion, there’s no reason why you cannot tie quality to an economy of choice. That’s our battle cry under my leadership,” Crawford said.

Central Transport, owned by Michigan’s Moroun family, came in last with a negative 4.8% score. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.