Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 1, 2013

Growing and Growing

TLD Logistics happy to call Crossville home


CROSSVILLE — TLD Logistics came to Crossville in 2010. Since that time, the company, based in Knoxville, TN, has seen its presence in Crossville continue to grow, adding new jobs and increasing its business.

“We started with a small building next to Dave Kirk Automotive and, within two months, were out of space,” said David Jones, president.

TLD Logistics Services is a subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho America, Inc., (TAI) which is a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Toyota Tsusho is a world-wide company serving every continent.

TLD Logistics was formed four years ago to expand TAI’s assets in transportation. The company began with revenues of $35 million. This past year the company recorded revenues of $100 million. Over the next three years, the company hopes to double its business.

“We have a great relationship with Toyota and handle a lot of Toyota manufacturing and supplier business,” Jones said. “Wherever there is a Toyota manufacturing plant, we’re there.”

The company has locations in Georgetown and Owensboro, KY; San Antonio, TX; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; and Houston, TX; and employs more than 440 people. But the Crossville location is set to become the company’s largest terminal, Jones said, and the location is a perfect fit for the company’s goal of diversifying its transportation business.

“We were so dependent on automotive transportation that we redirected our focus into other non-automotive areas, such as the food industry,” Jones said.

Jones said the company has set a target of 50 percent automotive business and 50 percent from other industries.

That’s what first brought the company to Crossville in 2010, when it received a contract with Flowers Foods for shipping its products.

“We’re trying to grow and grow. We looked at the business attached to our different locations and Crossville just kept coming back,” Jones said.

That’s because there is a variety of manufacturing industries within a 30-mile radius of Crossville. Also, the terminal has easy access to Interstate 40 and to Interstate 75 to the east and Interstate 65 in the west.

“We try to go after companies that will be a good partner with us,” Jones said. “Crossville is lucky to have so many long-term industries. They’re not going anywhere. We seek those companies out.”

Safety is another priority for the company and Jones said it looks to do business with companies that share that value, pointing to the robust safety programs in place at companies such as Flowers Bakery and CoLinx.

“Those are the kind of people we want to do business with,” Jones said.

The company is also committed to ensuring its drivers are safe. A mobile driving simulator, representing a $250,000 initial investment, will visit each TLD Logistics terminal. Drivers will be trained on driving safety and fuel economy. But Jones wants to share that technology with local schools, offering a curriculum in safe driving and tractor-trailers.

“It’s a big investment, but we’re convinced it will help our drivers to be safer on the road and help kids be safer, too,” Jones said. The curriculum discusses the differences between passenger cars and tractor-trailers, which can’t stop quickly and have large blind spots. The short presentation explains how to safely share the road.

The local workforce and the community leaders were other assets that set Crossville apart from the competition.

“We have a good local employee base here and we’ve had very good experience here hiring locally,” Jones said. “And the government officials have been easy to work with.”

The Crossville terminal is managed by Roger Whittenburg and Michelle Whittenburg is the supervisor. The trucking business requires 24-hour, seven day a week scheduling, and the maintenance shop runs two shifts. Plans are to add a second operations supervisor and add personnel to handle some dispatching. Currently, 80 people are employed by TLD Logistics, but that will increase in about eight weeks to 100 to 110 employees. When TLD Logistics came to Crossville in 2010, it began with 28 tractors and 110 trailers. Now, the company has 72 tractors and 170 trailers. By April 1, the company will add another 25 tractors and 60 trailers.

“And that’s just with existing business. This is getting so big so quick, we’ve got to add more people,” Jones said. “This will be a self-sustaining operation that handles everything that  goes through this area.”

While that quick growth is welcome, Jones said the company had underestimated how quickly it would grow. The challenge has been managing growth in a sustainable way to ensure continued success.

“Planning ahead is a value of our parent company, so we are always looking at our long-term and long-range plans,” Jones said. “With the growth we’ve experienced, we’re a little behind on that.”

The company purchased property in the Interchange Business Park off Hwy. 127 N. from the city of Crossville, and Jones said the local government officials, Chamber of Commerce and community leaders were great to work with. He also likes that the location offers room for expansion in the future, something he expects they will need.

The new terminal on Interchange Dr. has been in operation for about six months. Plans are to move the temporary shop facility, which offers on-site fuel and maintenance, to the terminal location.

“It’s a big job keeping all of our equipment up and running,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of space in the park and we’re already thinking and planning ahead.”

n A Salute to Industry series is a project of the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce to feature local industries and businesses.