Hirschbach Motor Lines: A question of service

From the December 2014 issue.

On the quest to keep fuel consumption as low as possible, Hirschbach Motor Lines has come up with a strategy that is both practical and effective.

In modern-day North America, running a trucking fleet that is both profitable and productive is all about keeping costs in check. But with the nation’s persistent driver shortage pushing wages up and the fuel price all but stagnating, the only way to save money is to make smart equipment choices.

Hirschbach Motor Lines, a transport company based in the far north-west of Illinois, has met the challenge head on. Following the example of Ray Hirschbach, who founded the business in 1935 and started off in the dairy business before pioneering the idea of transferring bananas from shipping containers into refrigerated vehicles to keep them fresh, the company is renowned for having an innovative edge – especially when it comes to procurement.

Now helmed by Brad Pinchuk and Tom Grosjean Jr., Hirschbach Motor Lines is still involved in the banana industry today, but it also diversified over time to remain competitive. A masterly stroke, in that regard, has been the establishment of dedicated fleets for key customers – an area now accounting for about a third of the entire Hirschbach business. The remaining two thirds of the business account for classic ‘over the road’ trucking, with each vehicle being out for two or three weeks at a time, covering typical long hauls between pick up and delivery.

But, it’s the dedicated fleet side of the business that has grown the fastest since Ray Hirschbach’s Eureka moment, with many a client remaining true to the brand for years or, in some cases, even decades. Quite often, long-standing customers would also rely on Hirschbach’s expertise to operate their warehousing and loading operations, according to Hirschbach President, Brad Pinchuk.

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