Nestled in the farm fields of Iowa is the leading carrier of farm machinery in North America. Warren Transport, Inc. has been in business more than 65 years and has grown and developed to become a driving force in transporting specialized equipment and machinery.
History & Growth
Warren got its start in 1949 when three brothers, by the name of Warren, moved to Waterloo. The siblings went there specifically to haul John Deere tractors fresh off the assembly line to their intended destination. Warren proved itself to be a dependable carrier for Deere, and that relationship helped the company grow. “Essentially we've never said no them and that’s kind of what’s grown our business along with theirs,” Corey Vesely, Warren's director of maintenance and inventory, said. Warren started with six trucks and ten trailers, delivering to three states. Today it has expanded to include thirteen terminals across the US, plus two locations in Mexico. The company hauls for John Deere and also runs for other big name equipment producers like Case, Caterpillar and New Holland.
Unique Business Model
Warren has two divisions – flatbed and van. The flatbed trailers haul large commodity like farm, construction and forestry equipment, while the enclosed trailers move smaller products like parts and supplies.
The company is unique because it is 100 percent owner-operated, meaning Warren does not own the semis. Instead, the company contracts drivers who run their own trucks. This compares to a more typical trucking model where the vehicles belong to the company, and people are hired to drive them. “We've had a lot of loyalty. We've had a lot of great contractors that have allowed us to continue that way of business," Vesely explained.
Warren is a desirable place for veteran drivers, allowing the company to be selective when deciding who to contract. Its unique business model lets drivers be their own boss, while still being connected to loads and fleet perks. Drivers can also set limits about where they are willing to travel. Some won’t go west of the Rocky Mountains, others won’t go east of the Mississippi River, and some will only drive to specific states and regions.
Warren knows these preferences before dispatch schedules a run. “That’s one of our goals to get them loaded, keep them safe and get then home so they can be with their families,” Vesely said. Each driver is responsible for their own maintenance and supplies. However, Warren offers some incentives to help with those costs. Contracted drivers can access fleet discounts through select fuel and service providers.
The company also inspects each truck and offers a maintenance account program, allowing drivers to put aside a set amount of cash per distance to be used exclusively for upkeep and repairs. “Over time they have kind of built that bank account so to speak,” Vesely said. “So it’s not so hard on their pocketbooks.”
Warren provides specific instructions to its contracted drivers to ensure they are using the right load securement tools and are properly tying down what they are hauling, all while following state and federal guidelines. Warren creates custom tiedown methods for different types of commodity. Those instructions are then explained in manuals the company provides to each driver. Warren also encourages drivers to call when they have questions or need further instruction.
“We will create a tiedown procedure, a manual showing, with pictures, how to do it so we don’t damage product,” Vesely explained. “Using the proper chain or using the proper corner pieces or winches or whatever it may be.” Hauling heavy pieces of machinery requires reliable securement equipment.
Warren trusts US Cargo Control to help keep those loads safe across thousands of miles. The company purchases securement supplies like transport chain, binders and straps from US Cargo Control. Warren values USCC customer service and product quality, including the fact that each item is carefully and clearly labeled with the working load limit and grade of chain. “With US Cargo, it’s very clear,” Vesely explained. “It’s on the banding, it’s on the straps, and the grade of chain is on there.” Warren uses US Cargo Control 3/8 and 1/2 inch chain, lever binders and ratchet straps with a chain extension, including the premier heavy-duty BlackLine ratchet strap with a chain extension.
Vesely says Warren likes the flexibility US Cargo Control provides, whether flipping through the catalog or calling to get ahold of a specific securement items not currently carried. “We’ll say ‘hey can you guys get this stuff’ which you have been very responsive in being able to do for us,” Vesely said.
What Makes Warren Different
Warren has built its business on commitment to service and safety. You can actually see its impressive safety record when visiting company headquarters. An entire room at is adorned, top to bottom, with colorful plaques and shiny awards dating back decades. The company has earned fourth place or higher in the ATA National Truck Safety Contest for 18 of the last 19 years. Warren knows why it has experienced success in the past and why it will continue toward the future. “Our safety, driving records, our contractor responses and our responses as a company -- committing to something then exceeding those expectations,” Vesely explained.