Our Business Strategy vs. COVID-19: Faith Over Fear

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Greg Syfan, President

Throughout our four decades in trucking and logistics, we’ve faced many obstacles in business. But never anything like the pandemic of 2020.

A lot has happened since COVID-19 entered our lives back in March. We’ve seen many lives and businesses come to a virtual standstill. Ports, warehouses and distribution centers shut down for several weeks, leaving our trucks idling without loads.

At our headquarters in Gainesville, Ga., we stopped all business travel and closed our gates to visitors. Despite all our precautions, several of our team members – including some of my own family – came down with the virus and had to quarantine.

While hotels, airlines and restaurants were shutting down, our company had to figure out how to operate as an “essential business.” Particularly in the shipping of food and CDC supplies, we had a moral duty to our customers and the American public to keep on trucking.

From crisis comes opportunity

Around the time that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a shelter-in-place order for our state, my wife Lynn and I happened to be participating in a weekly online devotional series entitled Faith Over Fear. The message seemed so well-timed that I wanted a way to share it with our team, customers and drivers. They say there is opportunity in every crisis, and that was the motivation behind creating our own devotional series about choosing Faith Over Fear.

The title was also appropriate because my family has a lot of personal experience in Faith Over Fear. Back in 2015, my 2-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that spread to her brain. Thankfully, she survived but the ordeal taught me the wisdom in trusting God to take care of problems beyond our capacity.

Working with our ad agency, we developed and sent out our first Faith Over Fear message on March 20th, then another on the following Friday. We weren’t really thinking about a long-running series, but response was so favorable that we kept it going. Before we knew it, we had shared nearly 40 messages ranging from stories of faith from the history books to my family’s own personal story of surviving cancer.

Passing it on

At Syfan, I’ve always said our business success is a blessing that we use to pass along to help others less fortunate through our time, talents and donations. That’s the true inspiration behind our Faith Over Fear series, and I hope it has brought a sense of peace and reassurance to all who have received it in their Friday morning inbox. Blessed to be a Blessing.

If you are interested in receiving our weekly Faith Over Fear messages, please join our mail list.

OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY INITIATIVE FOR DRIVERS AND CUSTOMERS

When the COVID-19 crisis began earlier this year, it was imperative for Syfan Logistics to protect its drivers and keep communities safe while delivering food, medicine and other critical supplies.

To ensure this happened and continues to happen, we implemented a few simple, common-sense practices from the pick-up point through final delivery in the everyday shipping and receiving of goods.

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Steve Syfan

When a truck driver arrives at a food facility to pick up a shipment, he or she typically has two primary interactions. First, the driver must pass through a security gate with proper authorization. Typically, this does not involve the driver leaving the truck, but it sometimes happens.

Next, the driver enters the facility’s shipping office. It is here where the interaction becomes potentially dangerous in the spread of a communicable disease like COVID-19. Often, the office is crowded with other drivers from multiple regions and states who are verifying their loads and receiving their load
or unload instructions.

On the other end, similar interactions occur with the receiving of the goods at a warehouse or distribution center.

Across the United States, thousands of these deliveries happen every day – following protocols that have been entrenched as standard practice as far back as the early 1980s.

We advise our drivers, when possible, to simply stay in their trucks –whether they are picking up a load or delivering it to the receiver.

The whole process of following verification and safety rules on each end of the shipment can still be done easily without close personal contact. Some standard practices, such as checking proper sealing of the trailer, can be done by the driver just outside the shipper’s or receiver’s location to avoid another potential exposure.

We have worked to keep our drivers in their trucks to help them stay safe during the pandemic.

We have some customers whose operational procedures necessitate drivers leaving their trucks during delivery or pickup. In those situations, our drivers wear masks and gloves before leaving the truck and follow CDC social distancing safety suggestions while interacting with the customer.

Changing these existing over-the-road shipping protocols were not costly or over-burdensome. We communicated with our drivers and customers that the intent was to protect the health of everyone involved in the shipment of food and supplies, including the end consumer.  All it takes is one sick driver or employee to infect and shut down an entire plant, so this simple safety practice also protects the financial bottom line.

We further communicated our safety message in a podcast interview conducted by Inbound Logistics and for an article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Our hope is to spread our company’s safety practices throughout the shipping industry. With everyone following along in their own individual and company roles, it adds up to eventually beating the pandemic and keeping America’s economy running.

Steve Syfan is the Executive Vice President of Syfan Logistics. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

SYFAN OPERATIONS BACK TO FULL CAPACITY

Despite a challenging year due to the pandemic, Syfan Logistics’ operations are back to full capacity while continuing to closely follow CDC guidelines and safety restrictions.

One of our biggest investments in safety was the installation of a thermal scan temperature monitoring system at the entrance of our main building to screen temperatures of everyone entering. We also have reopened our gym for team members while being extremely cautious about wiping down high-touch surfaces and sanitizing throughout the day. Syfan upgraded its HVAC to allow the maximum amount of fresh air ventilation to keep fresh air coming in.

Visitors and vendors are now allowed (mostly by appointment) inside Syfan headquarters, and our sales team is beginning to travel again to selectively meet with customers. Inside, our team members continue to be cautious with wearing masks and social distancing as we work together toward more normal operating conditions.

“We are trying to be smart and cautious in practicing all these safety measures – from our building to out on the road with our drivers – to ensure the safety of everyone,” said Steve Syfan, Syfan Logistics Executive Vice President.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Steve at [email protected].

Power Only Team Drivers Needed – Partner With Syfan For Peak Season

The last thing you need during the peak holiday season is inconsistent work and unreliable shipments. As a Syfan Power-Only Team partner, we take over the hard work and find the loads for you.

Sign on with Syfan this peak season for steady work and a weekly paycheck.

Your commitment to our team program will provide 4,000 to 5,000 miles a week of drive time, while single drivers can count on 2,500 to 3,000 miles. We will also get you there and back with round-trip loads. You will finish where you start, and all loads are drop and hook. In addition, we provide options for much longer routes this year — such as Atlanta to Los Angeles and back. 

For your convenience, schedules will be sent weeks in advance.

If you are interested, call 855-287-8485 or email [email protected].

Employee Spotlight:
Candice Carlson

Candice Carlson has been the Executive Administrative Assistant at Syfan Transport and Syfan Logistics for close to five years.

“What really impresses me is how Syfan supports their team. There is a big Christmas party every year, a men’s outing, a ladies dinner/shopping event and food trucks to kick off football season,” she said. “It’s a special place to work.”

Candice is married to Randy and the couple has three children together and five grandchildren. In her spare time, she likes to watch college football and basketball.

Candice’s favorite movie:
“White Christmas.”

Candice with her dog, Molly.

Feeding Our Team Safely While Supporting Local Restaurants

To protect the health of our team members and support the ‘Eat Local’ movement, we have been catering meals for our shifts during the pandemic.

At Syfan Logistics, we have always felt led to support local businesses in our hometown community of Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia – especially our local restaurants, who have been hurt economically during this ongoing health crisis. For several months, we have provided lunch from Monday through Friday and breakfast on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“It keeps our team members from leaving and returning to our office, which limits their exposure. Also, it’s a good way to support local restaurants,” said Syfan Logistics Executive Vice President Steve Syfan.

We feature these local eateries in our social media and hope that our friends and customers across America feel led to show the same support for their local restaurants and businesses. Meanwhile, let’s hope our waistbands don’t expand too much from our show of support!

Our list of favorite neighborhood restaurants that we support in Gainesville-Hall County:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Talmo Market Grill
  • Longstreet Cafe
  • Southern Baked Pies
  • Chicken Salad Chicks
  • Firehouse Subs
  • In Between Deli
  • Wild Wings Cafe
  • Honey Baked Hams
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Atlas Pizza
  • Collegiate Grill
  • Alpha Gyro Grill
  • Moonies Texas Barbecue
  • Haydee’s Cafe
  • Olive Garden
  • Jack’s Old South BBQ
  • Burger Shake
  • Johnny’s Barbecue
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • Sumo Hibachi and Wings
  • El Sombrero
  • Loco’s Grill & Pub
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs
  • Scott’s Downtown
  • The Coffee Shop at Lawrence Pharmacy

Syfan Logistics Named to List of Top 100 Transportation Logistics Companies

For the seventh year in a row, Syfan Logistics has been named one of the Top 100 third-party logistics companies in America by Inbound Logistics magazine, a national trade publication covering the transportation industry.

To compile the list, Inbound Logistics’ editors research, conduct personal interviews and evaluate information about logistics companies from around the country to determine the country’s Top 100. The honor is awarded based on criteria such as operational excellence, innovation, network of customer relationships, and quality of services.

“It’s always a tremendous honor to be named to the Inbound Logistics Top 100 3PL list,” said Syfan Logistics CEO Jim Syfan. “Our team prides itself on the service it provides our customers. We thank our professional staff and all of our loyal customers for this award.”

Inbound Logistics is the transportation industry’s leading trade magazine targeted toward business logistics and supply chain managers.

“Every year, leading third-party logistics providers of all shapes and sizes submit their credentials, hoping to match their solutions with our readers’ business logistics needs,” said Felecia Stratton, the editor of Inbound Logistics.

SYFAN LOGISTICS SPONSORS NATIONAL EFFORT TO STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Our company is helping sponsor Truckers Against Trafficking, a national effort to stop human trafficking.

With more than seven million truckers on the road, drivers are a network of eyes and ears across the country that can spot suspected incidents of human trafficking. Truck stops and rest areas are often frequented by traffickers looking to sell their victims.

Truckers Against Trafficking believe that if the trucking industry is empowered with education and equipped with tools to fight human trafficking, it would be quick to mobilize against this crime. Members of the trucking industry could be everyday heroes in the course of their jobs and make a significant impact against this widespread criminal activity.

Syfan Logistics and our drivers urge others in our industry and elsewhere to keep your eyes open and get involved to put a dent in human trafficking.

SYFAN TAKES PART IN CHAMBER’S #SERIOUSBUSINESS CAMPAIGN

Syfan Logistics was honored to participate this past spring in the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s #SeriousBusiness campaign to promote health practices in the workplace and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Our company joined other businesses across our region, where the transmission rates of COVID-19 have been especially high in comparison to the rest of the country, in an ongoing public awareness campaign urging people to follow office safety protocols recommended by health experts. Each business filmed its own video, which was distributed by the local Chamber and the Northeast Georgia Medical Center through emails and social media.

In our video, Syfan Logistics President Greg Syfan described a long list of safe practices designed to protect Syfan team members, customers and drivers. In addition. he talked about how we have stepped up prayers and contributions of food to help so many people affected by the virus.

The overall goal of the Serious Business campaign is to build awareness while focusing on safe business practices to keep our economy moving.

To view our #SeriousBusiness video, click here: Syfan Logistics #SeriousBusiness video

Greg Syfan discusses how the company is keeping Syfan team members, customers and drivers safe.