Why We Never Say ‘No’
Our Customer Relationships Set Us Apart
|Steve Syfan, Exec. VP
In addition to getting most of us sick, COVID changed a lot of business plans – from restaurants and the travel industry to healthcare and manufacturing.
While we’ve also had to adapt with new business practices, Syfan Logistics has benefited from a lot of new business, too. For the first time in our 40-year experience, for instance, we recently started hauling live birds and rendered byproducts for the poultry industry. This required a much different skillset than hauling refrigerated perishables, which is one of our longtime core strengths.
Faced with a shortage of drivers, one of our poultry customers asked us to equip our trucks with wet kits to allow us to ship grain for the first time.
By pushing us out of the norm recently, these challenging jobs have tested our longtime policy of never saying no to a customer. But we have come through with flying colors.
Some business experts might say you should stick with your primary business model and turn down any new business that is outside your focus. However, we learned a long time ago that customers don’t like to hear the word “no.” On the other hand, “yes” will open doors and strengthen relationships.
We had another customer, a poultry processor, who came to us with a seemingly impossible job that threatened to shut down their entire operations if we couldn’t pull it off. In fact, several other trucking companies had already turned them down.
The company was desperate to haul away containers of foul-smelling poultry waste that sat in limbo at their processing plant due to the shutdown of a nearby rendering plant. It was an incredibly difficult and unpleasant job with an equally impossible deadline. We still said yes. For the next three months, we successfully pieced together 14 truckloads a day, six days a week, to ship the waste to two different states several hundred miles away.
I admit there have been other jobs that we simply could not pull off. However, instead of responding with a no, we go the extra mile to find someone who can help.
This “never say no” attitude is what builds relationships – strong relationships – that will endure over time. Which is what our company, Syfan Logistics, is all about.
EXPANSION PROJECT SHOULD BE FINISHED BY SPRING 2023
We are making progress on our expansion project with a completion date sometime after the first quarter of 2023. We are removing four of our service bays in order to add two floors of office space. The project adds back three new service bays at the end of our building. We will have space in the new addition for up to 140 new team members.
Inbound Logistics Names Syfan Logistics To Top 100 3PL List
For the ninth consecutive year, Syfan Logistics has been named one of the Top 100 third-party logistics companies in America by Inbound Logistics magazine.
“It’s always a great honor to be named to the Inbound Logistics Top 100 3PL list,” says Syfan Logistics CEO Jim Syfan. “It’s great recognition for our team members who work tirelessly to provide solutions to help companies meet their transportation challenges.”
Inbound Logistics’ editors research, conduct personal interviews and evaluate information about logistics companies from around the country to determine the magazine’s Top 100. The honor is awarded based on criteria such as operational excellence, innovation, network of customer relationships, and quality of services.
“When choosing the 2022 Top 100 3PL Providers, Inbound Logistics editors examine the levels of investment that drive innovative logistics solutions,” Inbound Logistics Editor Felecia Stratton said. “World-class 3PLs offer new and more efficient ways to wring every ounce of productivity from enterprise operations. Inbound Logistics is pleased to recognize Syfan Logistics for making the investment in the solutions and expertise that empower logistics, supply chain, and transportation excellence for customers in 2022.”
Steve Syfan Honored on Georgia’s Most Influential Leaders List
Steve Syfan, our Executive Vice President, has been named to the GEORGIA 500 – The State’s Most Influential Leaders list, a publication of Georgia Trend magazine.
GEORGIA 500 highlights leaders in major industries and organizations who impact the state. Selection is based on extensive research, nominations and interviews.
Appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp, Syfan formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the state’s lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses. It aligns workforce education and training with in-demand jobs and new markets for Georgia products. The agency also promotes the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music, and digital entertainment projects.
Syfan also was recently appointed to the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority by Gov. Kemp. The development authority provides administrative oversight and support for the Lake Lanier Islands Management Company, a private company that manages the year-round entertainment destination.
Steve Syfan with Governor Brian Kemp
Syfan has more than 35 years of expertise in the logistics and transportation industry, a key driver of the state’s economy. Syfan Logistics employs more than 400 professionals and operates throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico.
He is a national leader in the transportation and logistics industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked to improve driver safety through an initiative that kept drivers in their trucks during delivery and pick-up.
Employee Spotlight: Kim Wilkes
Kim is one of our longest tenured employees, dating back to our days at Turbo Transport (our original Syfan company). She started work at Turbo in 1998, then joined Syfan Logistics when it was founded in 2011.
Kim has served as assistant controller for Syfan Logistics and Syfan Transport for the last two years. She began her career at Turbo as a staff accountant and moved up at Syfan to become senior staff accountant.
“I love the family-oriented atmosphere we have at Syfan and the people I work with,” Kim says.
She grew up in Cornelia and currently lives in Clarkesville. Kim and her husband, Chris, have been married for 25 years and have a son and daughter.
When Kim is not working, she likes to travel as time allows. One of her favorite trips was a cruise to Alaska to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary. She also enjoys hanging out with her family and friends.
Driver Spotlight: Robert Brown
Driving a truck runs in the family for Robert Brown. His dad and brother both drive, while Robert has been a trucker for 24 years.
For three of those years, Robert – a resident of Smith Station, Ala. – has driven for Syfan Logistics. And he loves being out there on the road.
“I enjoy the flexibility of setting your own schedule,” Robert says. “I get to see the country. I’ve been to every state over the years, and I’ve seen some beautiful places.”
Robert especially likes driving out West. Silverthorne, Colo., west of Denver, is one of his favorite places.
Robert and his wife, Dottie, have one daughter and two grandchildren. They recently built a pool and have spent their spare time enjoying it this past summer. They also love taking trips to the mountains.
Our Internship Program Draws Students from Area Colleges
For the past five years, our Syfan Internship Program has given college students an introduction to all aspects of the trucking and transportation logistics industry.
Our goal with each group is to provide experience and an awareness of the opportunities within our exciting industry. While it benefits the students, our program is a huge benefit to us as well in screening potential new members of our team.
In today’s tight labor market, our internship program has grown to become a key component of our hiring strategy. We have had interns accept full and part-time positions across all departments, including operations, sales, IT, accounting, HR, and marketing.
Working throughout the region and Southeast, we have drawn students from the University of North Georgia, University of Georgia, Young Harris College, Georgia Southern College, University of Tennessee, Appalachian State, and Piedmont University. We welcome these interns as our next generation of Syfan team members.
In addition to working with our company, our interns do volunteer projects. Our 2022 group volunteered at the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.
Chronicling Our History As A Family-Owned Business
It was “lights, camera, action” around our offices recently for the filming of our company history and the Syfan family’s leadership in the trucking industry.
Starting back in 1984 with the founding of Turbo Logistics in a small trailer near the Gainesville, Ga. train depot, the video follows the growth of the Syfan companies amid changes within the industry. Today’s Syfan Logistics company numbers nearly 400 team members.
A long and short version of the video covers the company’s success and challenges over the past four decades as well as its culture, values, and Christian business philosophy. The video, which primarily will be used during orientation of new hires, will also be posted on the Syfan website for public viewing.
Bring your tissue – this inspirational story brought to life on video is sure to produce some tears.
The original Turbo Transport office was a trailer near the Gainesville train depot.
Threat of U.S. Rail Strike sent Shippers to Our Door for Help
Throughout August and September 2022, an impending railroad worker strike threatened to dislodge our nation’s already fragile supply chain. That’s when a couple of major shippers turned to our company to prepare for the worst.
Fearing shipments of auto parts and perishable items could be left stranded inside rail cars, a major car manufacturer and a foodstuffs producer enlisted our company to begin unloading rail cars as union negotiations seemingly were breaking down.
Syfan was proud to be among a network of top nationwide logistics firms entrusted to coordinate rescue recovery shipments with the Class I rail company, food producer, and automaker to keep the country’s supply chain moving – just in case. Fortunately, the rail strike was averted just hours before a deadline with a tentative deal brokered by the U.S. government.
Syfan’s existing relationship with our two shipper partners, in addition to our longtime experience with rescue recovery loads for a Class I railroad, gave us a leg up on other companies. We were able to leverage our industry knowledge to create a successfully coordinated plan.
In times of crisis, our Syfan team thrives on challenging projects that allow us to showcase our strengths and “never say no” approach. We particularly take pride in accepting difficult jobs on short notice and finding solutions for all parties.
Syfan was able to provide supply chain relief to our customers and the railroad by delivering hundreds of loads of auto parts and foodstuffs throughout the weeks leading up to the pending rail strike.
Along the way, our 24-hour in-house dispatch team was in constant communication with the shippers and railroad, providing transparency and regular updates. In quick turnaround assignments like this one, it is vital to keep customers informed to avoid confusion and surprises.
Taking on difficult jobs such as this is a key component to what makes Syfan such a dynamic player in the logistics industry.