The End Of A Once Great Company To Work With: Anderson Trucking Service (ATS)

Discussion in 'Report A BAD Trucking Company Here' started by seawind, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. seawind

    seawind Medium Load Member

    May 8, 2009
    West Tennessee
    This is going to sound very familiar to many of you. However, we never thought it would happen here at ATS.

    As I sit here waiting for a load (again), I find I have a lot of time to write. It pains me to write this. I waited for many years to work here. When they started hiring in my area, I jumped on the opportunity. (I did not know it at that time, but it was to be a very bad decision). So, here's what is actually happening at ATS.

    "Mr. Anderson" (God Rest His Soul), is rolling over in his grave. He started this company and his son (Rollie) helped him grow it.

    Brenda and Brett Anderson (2 of the grandchildren) now have controlling interest of ATS. They voted against their father (Rollie) and their brother (Scott) at the end of last year, and booted their father out as CEO. Rollie is now in charge of International loads as has a token position as Chairman of the Board. Rollie was not perfect as CEO, but he did seem to care about the drivers. Brenda and Brett, do not.

    The severe cut in driver earnings is of course, the number one problem. ATS has been skimming 35% off the top before offering their L/O's and O/O's a load for a while. Now they are doing it to the subsidiary companies. It seems, they want to eliminate the percentage option from the L/O's and O/O's. The mileage based pay system is horrible and most of L/O drivers are quitting. Many of them are earning less than the company drivers (like me). The L/O's are on a one year lease. When it come time to renew their percentage lease, we anticipate one of two things will happen: Take a lower percentage or accept the mileage program. Both "options" suck.

    Customer Service Reps (CSR's) are idiots. They can' be trusted to acquire even the most basic information we actually need. Instead, we get garbage info that has nothing to do with nothing. It's like asking a CSR for the weather forecast and getting the sale price of melons at the market. Huh? Our CSR's constantly give us the wrong info and never verify anything. We send them corrected info and nothing ever gets changed to help drivers who arrive in the future. Sound familiar?

    More and more, load times are "8 AM." Without telling us, we are being sent on more "cattle calls" to shippers and receivers. No actual appointment. We can't plan our day if we wait a long time to load. Our 14 hour day is shattered.

    Load Planners do not seem to understand their job: plan loads. There is an increase in the number of times we are showing up to load with an unacceptable trailer. I have been sent hundreds of miles after arriving at a customer, to get the proper trailer. Then, ATS claims we arrived late for the load!!! What?

    The personnel who work in "breakdown" are totally unqualified to even answer the telephone or respond via QualComm. My personal experience is extensive with them. Here is a simple example: I am (once again) broke down at a customer. There is a bad problem in the air lines of the trailer. I can't release the trailer brakes. Clearly, I am stuck at the shipper. I communicated with "Tammie" and another moron about the problem via QualComm. In short, I was told to bring the trailer to Petro for repairs 3 times!!! Each time I told them, THE TRAILER BRAKES CAN NOT BE RELEASED!!! They got mad and refused to talk to me any more. They thought I was stupid. Wow. I refused to drag the trailer to the Petro, so I am being uncooperative. Really?

    Another example of the outstanding work done by "breakdown" was when I broke down on the road. I got safely off the roadway and was not in danger of being hit. However, after contacting them about my engine failure, them left me there until the next day!!! They forgot about me!!! They blamed me for not sending another breakdown message the next morning to remind them about being stuck out in the middle of nowhere. When I called Dispatch, my phone battery died before they could answer. I was on hold forever.

    Which leads me to this: night and weekend dispatch is only ONE PERSON!!!! NO JOKE!!! They cover every division of ATS themselves!!! 1,500 tractors.

    The maintenance department has been hobbled by the younger Andersons. They are now doing only the least expensive maintenance, PM's and D.O.T. mandatory repairs. They will refuse to do preventative maintenance that is needed because they want to save money. However, they will pay big bucks to have us towed and do expensive repairs later to correct the simple problem we tried to tell them about earlier.

    The biggest problem here is now a complete lack of ethics. Company policies are changed on a whim. Our insurance is with crap carrier and costs us more. The dispatchers seem to have less access to basic info they had earlier. Also, when we call in, we noticed they are not able to talk freely. All calls are being recorded (as I have been told).

    As we watch the destruction of a once great company to work with, I feel bad for "Mr. Anderson." ATS is becoming another sad story in transportation. The kids in charge are doing everything to hose the drivers and bumped up the value (profit margin) of ATS. We speculate, since they are doing all the wrong things, they must be setting up the company for eventual sale. Everything they are doing is classic bad decisions prior to sale.

    If we wanted to work for scum companies like: Heartland, J.B. Hunt, Werner, Swift, Knight, Auto Truck, PTL, etc., we would gone there.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  3. stayinback

    stayinback Road Train Member

    Jan 24, 2014
    Oh Darn....Iwas hoping you were going to say they are going out of business..........

    Ive called their brokerage dept on a few loads...never liked the way they talked to me (As if I was just a driver or something) Plus the rates were an eyesore to say the least

    Yeah...They are Better off Just saying "Goodnight" and Shut it down for good, Instead of Hurting you guys

    Sounds like Brett and Whoever his sister is are "in it to win it" for themselves
    seawind Thanks this.
  4. STexan

    STexan Road Train Member

    Oct 3, 2011
    Longview, TX
    The entire industry is changing rapidly for virtually all segments of the trucking industry but especially the truckload carriers, and they all have to adapt and they have to adapt fast ... it's how they respond that is the cause for much of the angst the op'r speaks of. Most any carrier today is going through a change in how and where they operate and in virtually every case, it's more profitable from the carrier top brass perspective, but more of a PITA from the driver perspective, those who deal with hard,cold realities the changes require.

    But another reality is that too often, a new "upper management perspective" comes into play (often the kids come up in the business), and the idea of more gross revenue and less miles (and costs) is seen as achievable, and how this affects the driver income and morale is of little concern.
    seawind, 48Packard, MrEd and 2 others Thank this.
  5. loose_leafs

    loose_leafs Road Train Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Old Man River, MN
    This is the same old story of how a 3rd and 4th generation company goes to hell in a hand basket:

    1. 70 years ago, Great grandpa gave heart heart and soul through literal blood sweat and tears just to earn and honest dollar and employ a few people. Turning wrenches on his 2 or three truck operation, running probably countless night trains himself. He and his wife served as CEO, CFO, head dispatcher, safety and compliance director, payroll, accounts payable and receivable etc all by themselves. Today big companies probably employ over 100 just to do the job of these two.

    2. 45 years ago, his kids helped the company grow and prosper, having learned from their father's work ethic.

    3. 20 years ago, the grand kids of #1 were pretty much thrown into wealth privilege. They still had some appreciation and pride in what their grandfather accomplished and strived for. But they somehow convinced #2 and #1 above to take off their rose colored glasses and "get with the program" (EPA Smart way, speed-limiters, Quallcom, Elogs, EZ Pass, Pre Pass) This is the era when most companies start losing touch with what made them great and begin treating their employees as cattle.

    4. Today, the great grand-kids come to sit down in an office chair, completely out of touch with what the trucking industry or workforce in general is all about. They are born filthy rich, and their only motivation is to make themselves and the company richer, and so what if it means stepping on drivers to get there. Truck drivers are a dime a dozen after all. "And why would a driver have a problem with an in cab camera? It's the fricken work place after all, I have every right to watch their every move because I don't trust them farther than the end of the parking lot, no matter how much experience they have." They even have the nerve and gall to post Christian statements and family value oriented statements all over their trailers and billboards across the country, and all over the internet.

    The bottom line, if a company has more than 50 to 200 trucks, they don't care about you. I don't know why that is so hard to understand, and why people expect any more from a mega-carrier.

    FLATBED Road Train Member

    Know a guy that runs 75 trucks , great long time business and customer base , decided last year to take time off prior to retiring let the KIDS get a feel for running things , 4 weeks later a customer tracked him down in Alaska to tell him to get back running things or say goodbye to 75% of the loads he handles. He found out the KIDS started power tripping the day after he left and upset a lot of people. He got things back in order saved the business and when his oldest son asked how much of the business he was getting when his Dad retired he was told AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BUY AT THE AUCTION :)
  7. Clintonstain

    Clintonstain Light Load Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    From what I've seen there is a Three Generation Rule to trucking companies:

    First Generation: Had the discipline to work crazy hours and to save. His life is ruled by values and principles. Taught these things to his kids at an early age through hard work. They GROW the business.

    Second Generation: Raised by First Generation so they've got some discipline. They don't want to be as hard on their kids as their parents were with them and want their kids to like them. They MAINTAIN the business.

    Third Generation: Has all of the money and none of the integrity. Raised in private schools and resent having to work in trucking. At ####tail parties they tell friends they are in "logistics" with one pinky in the air. Couldn't care less about the drivers. They RUN THE BUSINESS INTO THE GROUND (or sell it so that they can continue their party lifestyle).
  8. Lonesome

    Lonesome Mr. Sarcasm

    Dec 15, 2007
    Northern Indiana
    My company must be the exception. Started by a guy in 1956, two sons took over in the mid 70's. One grandson and great grandson now in charge.
    Company is stronger than it's ever been, keeps growing and growing.
    seawind Thanks this.
  9. Sublime

    Sublime Road Train Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    Twin Cities, MN
    There are always exceptions to the rule. ;)
  10. seawind

    seawind Medium Load Member

    May 8, 2009
    West Tennessee

    Basically, the same crap has happened to me again at J.K. Hackl (out of Sun Prairie, WI). It takes 5 people to manage about 60 drivers. Really? May sack it all and go back at owning my own business. O/O is sounding better all the time.
  11. seawind

    seawind Medium Load Member

    May 8, 2009
    West Tennessee
    Consider yourself lucky. I hope all is well. After spending a lot of time researching companies and asking questions, I decided to go to work for J.K. Hackl last year. Big mistake. It all started OK, but we all got screwed in January 2015. J.K. Hackl never disclosed an important piece of information critical to my decision making process. Just weeks before I got there last year, the company took a poll from the drivers. They were asked to choose between a pay raise or decent medical insurance. Since the majority of the drivers had wives with good insurance where they work, they took the pay raise. New drivers got screwed.
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