While many small fleet owners rise from the driving side of the industry, Brian Wcislo started his career through trucking management and facility ops.
After graduating from Ohio State University with a double major in transportation logistics and accounting, Brian started his career at Stevens Transport. The daily challenge of figuring out how to move 500 trucks a day out of the northeast when there were no outbound loads honed his ability for creative problem-solving. He later joined UPS building facilities and handling logistics and operations for them in Texas.
“I understand how freight moves across the country and how the rates are distributed,” Brian said. “I have a perspective that others may not have.”
Brian started his trucking company, Innovations Express, in 2016. Currently, his outfit keeps 10 drivers rolling full-time: 8 company employees and 2 owner-operators. His time in trucking has been invaluable, but he also credits technology and a team of outstanding drivers as huge reasons for the company’s rapid growth.
How Uber Freight levels the playing field
“Uber Freight has really opened the door for small carriers to capitalize on minimizing empty miles, shopping for the best rates through technology, and just giving us that competitive advantage that wasn’t there before,” said Brian. “Uber Freight has allowed us to compete with bigger carriers on a head-to-head, lane-to-lane basis.”
Brian cites how he uses technology to keep his trucks rolling profitably by avoiding deadhead miles. For example, one of their customers has a daily contract to move shipments between Dallas and Missouri. They use Uber Freight to find return loads to Dallas when they don’t have a backhaul scheduled or experience a last-minute cancelation.
Booking loads is just one of the benefits that Innovations Express gains from using Uber Freight. “The transparency, rate data, and how freight is shipping is invaluable to carriers,” Brian said, noting that it can help boost the bottom line in a number of ways. “Now that we can minimize empty miles and connect the dots, we can compete with the Stevens, the Nationals, and the Schneiders, even though we have only 10 trucks.”
The drivers of success
Brian believes a fleet’s effectiveness is created by the individuals behind the wheel. “Really good drivers—that’s the name of the game in this business,” he said. Trucking has a history of mistreating drivers and that behavior has been costly to the industry. Drivers that feel appreciated, he knows, will perform better. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have good drivers over the years. They perform at a high level for our customers, and we get rewarded with better rates and better lanes.”
One way a good driver improves the company’s bottom line is by helping to keep the truck in top condition. Part of that is ensuring regular maintenance is performed, but in between those scheduled checks, the driver is the one making sure the truck is running properly. This not only helps to keep costs down, it helps maintain safety. “Our drivers are doing a good job because our CSA scores reflect that,” he said.
Finding good drivers isn’t easy, of course. When looking to add to his team, no matter if it’s a new hire or working with an owner-operator, Brian looks for motivated individuals and avoids job hoppers. “I want a team player,” he said. “They need to be willing to help out other drivers and help me out when I get in a bind, just like I help them out when they get in a bind.”
The road ahead
With the right technology and a team of great drivers, the future looks very promising for Innovations Express. “In 5 years, I want 50 trucks,” Brian said, regarding his goals. “We’re experiencing triple-digit growth every year, so there’s no reason why not.” The views expressed in this post are solely those of the individual being featured. Experiences may vary.