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Monday | 21 March, 2011 | 3:18 am

Simplified logistics

By Julie Sammarco

March 2011-Ruan Transportation Management Systems (RTMS) and O'Neal Steel Inc. recently have entered a partnership where Ruan has become O'Neal's dedicated contract carrier. Ruan will provide transportation and logistics support for the nation's largest family-owned metals service center.

As a dedicated contract carrier, Ruan, the company that created the wireless technology RedTrak to help drivers receive and share data, will be able to offer operating efficiencies, route optimization systems, focused attention on safety and regulatory systems, investment in the latest technology, resources for driver education and training, and ultimately, better customer service.

For O'Neal, the partnership allows the company to better manage its transportation costs and focus on its core business of providing a wide range of metals and specialty metals. O'Neal will be able to lower risks, reduce overhead and costs, and eliminate associated insurance, maintenance, procurement and disposal costs.

"One of the most important functions and greatest expenses we have is delivering material to our customers," says Holman Head, O'Neal's president and CEO. "We were looking for a more economical way to operate our transportation function without sacrificing service and quality or adversely affecting our employees. After extensive analysis, one company stood head and shoulders above the rest, and that was Ruan."

What brought O'Neal to Ruan
The partnership, finalized in December 2010, was a perfect match according to Joe Ulrich, vice president of sales at Ruan. He says the combination of the severe volume drop during the 2008 and 2009 recession, O'Neal's internal restructuring and the visibility and resources of Ruan in addition to several other occurrences made these companies a perfect match. Ulrich also states that taking on the O'Neal delivery workforce has made O'Neal one of Ruan's top 10 customers.

Now that the industry is beginning to pick up, the scalability Ruan is able to offer O'Neal is important. "We wanted the flexibility to be able to scale up quickly and scale back depending on business conditions," says Mitchell Harrison, vice president of operations at O'Neal. "Historically, when you run a private fleet, if you need to increase capacity, you add trucks and drivers on a permanent basis. With Ruan's flexibility, we will be able to scale the business needs without making that hard capital investment."

What to expect
During the next six months, O'Neal will be migrating its delivery workforce to Ruan, which will continue to use O'Neal's equipment and uniforms and generally serve the same customers. "Our goal is to make it seamless to customers and vendors," says Harrison. "While there will be a lot of changes internally, from an external point of view, I would imagine that there won't be a lot of differences."

Both O'Neal and Ruan believe this agreement is favorable. "We are very pleased to provide dedicated contract carriage to O'Neal Steel," says John Ruan III, RTMS chairman. "Our expertise is in transportation and logistics, so we see the value when a company wants to focus on their core competencies. As a family-owned business as well, Ruan understands the importance of being client-driven, employee focused, and maintaining a culture that creates innovation."

"I think [Ruan] is a great choice," Harrison says. "I don't think there is another company that we met with through this whole process that can provide what Ruan can provide." MM

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