Arthur Almeida

Interview by
Published on
January 25, 2022

In this episode...

Arthur Almeida is a Load Planner at FreightWorks while daily dealing with the delicate balance of honoring commitments to drivers, valuing client expectations, and ensuring company profitability in the midst of it all. Chemours is a strategic partner of our company and he’ll share the strategic efforts to ensure this customer relationship continues to build on its recent designation as “Gold Carrier of the Year.” It’s a free-flowing conversation unpacking the complex world of trucking and logistics and our FreightWorks values expressed in daily decisions by front-line staff. Enjoy the conversation!

Arthur Almeida

Arthur Almeida is one of FreightWorks' Load Planner


I have drivers that often you know come and say I've worked for five-six different companies but I never had a company where if I call in and say my mother just went to the hospital I got to get home asap they'll let me that had 500 miles to get home you know which I'm not saying we do it every time and for every case but we have done that before just because we know the drivers are people and they're humans just like we are and they have needs they have families they have a life back at home and we try to

life by the mile delivered by freight works is your 30-minute weekly podcast adventure you'll hear the hearts soul and passions of those who keep america moving join us we're ready to roll it's another exciting episode of life by the mile delivered by freightworks i can't tell you how much you're going to enjoy this time with arthur almeida he is a load planner here at freightworks in addition you have been one of the best people to help us get guests on the podcast and for that i'm really grateful and you know what i want to quickly tell you this life by the mile delivered by freight works of course is delivered on podcast platforms everywhere but it's also a youtube channel so make sure you hit that button and subscribe and push this out on your social media it's our opportunity to share the colorful and often chaotic world of trucking and logistics in america so arthur welcome thank you yeah you know what whenever we have anybody that's on the front lines of our work i always offer a prayer and say god please don't let anything happen over there while you're here for 30 minutes so but you felt uh good enough to be able to come over today yeah i think we'll be okay okay now we have people that watch this podcast and listen to it that are out of trucking and logistics and many people that aren't and so i want to start out by asking the question what is a load planner so i've been asked that question many times and the best way i can think of putting it is basically the operation department we got the customer which is represented by the customer service department yeah we got the drivers which are represented by the driver managers and somebody's in the middle and there's somebody in the middle which happens to be the load planner and customer service rep reps are representing the customer needs and the customer demands you got driver managers uh representing driver demands and you got the load plan which basically represents freight works and i'm basically looking in the freightworks best interest right right and so uh as a load planner you're going to be the one that's trying to be sensitive to what the driver wants and needs and what the customer needs which means that you need a lot of wisdom correct yeah and usually those two demands they go in opposite directions and so explain that like give a real situation that that would reflect that tension because i've often thought you live load planners live in the in detention right right that's very accurate actually um something that happens every day is a driver may be sick and you know which happens they're humans and they call and say hey i'm very sick and i don't feel like i can drive today and their load might be due that day or then the following day right so you're under pressure you're under pressures and they may call and say i'm sick and i can't deliver exactly so as we if we follow closely safety guidelines we cannot pressure a driver to drive when he doesn't feel like it's safe to do so so and we got the customer on the other hand saying i need my load there tomorrow right now production is going to shut down right it's going to be millions of dollars worth of loss if you don't get that load there and you got this problem in your hand and myself as a person of faith i often ask god what to do and many times i see him come through where my natural mind didn't think was possible and sometimes you just have to make a move that's not very profitable for freight works but in order to satisfy the driver demand and the customer demand that happens and most of the time happens on our dime well and and it's true isn't it that uh and by the way we're going to get into your story in a minute too isn't it true that because relationships are so important freight works there are certainly times where you'll make a decision where it's not profitable for great works but you want to preserve the relationship with the driver and preserve the relationship with the customer correct that's that's very accurate actually i've learned a lot with josh farmer when discussing our projects with him correct and he would say now we need to go ahead and do that and obviously it was we were taking a loss at doing it but we're always looking at the long-term goal which is keeping our drivers and keeping our customers well and you know what when a driver knows that you're willing to sacrifice now you can't do it all the time you can't monogram a job for a driver and respond to everything that they want or need but if they know that you're going to listen they know that you're going to adjust they know that you really care they're going to be motivated to stay right that's that's correct that's correct i have i have drivers that often you know come and say i've worked for five six different companies but i never had a company where if i call in and say my mother just went to the hospital i got to get home asap they'll let me that had 500 miles to get home you know which i'm not saying we do it every time and for every case but we have done that before just because we know the drivers are people and they're humans just like we are and they have needs they have families they have a life back at home and we try to attach to their needs as well well and you know one of the things that i remember i think it was misty that i was interviewing on the podcast and and i was talking about the fact uh customers and clients they want to know that you feel their pain right they want to know that you know that there's a consequence to not delivering on time right that's that that's very accurate actually misty and i work very closely we're on the phone multiple times every single day and the main reason why is because i manage the commors account which is fray works largest customer right and misty is the customer app for commerce so we work so you're a team we're a team we work very closely and really the team includes them i mean it's a very unusual relationship isn't it oh yes very very much so so misty and i are working very closely we have camours which camorrs i must say they're very down-to-earth customer you know where they understand their drivers sometimes have things that happen in their lives that they just can't get the load there as expected as planned as opposed to other customers we might have dealt with that are like you send them a picture of the driver stopped on the side of the road with five feet of water with the roads flutter and they just respond get the load there and it's kind of like you know um commodore is not like that at all they understand that we have truck drivers that we have real road conditions we got to deal with every day and they're very understanding which makes my life easier not that i'm not going to try not to deliver the load on time i'm going to try just as hard but they understand that things do happen and we still get you know most lows deliver on time just a quick analysis last year we did 2707 loads for commodores alone we had only one carrier controllable late delivery of all those loads that is just phenomenal and i had the opportunity as somebody that's learning trucking and logistics you know we launched this podcast and i told josh and joyce and jordan i don't know anything about the industry so i'm learning with every podcast that we have but i had the opportunity to sit in on that zoom call where freightworks was awarded the gold carrier of the year and i could just sense there's a very unusual close relationship there isn't there oh there is definitely we have operations call with camours with um her name is donna actually and misty and i get on the call and we discuss any issues we might have had issues we see coming up for the following week we discuss low volume for the she sends us a projection every thursday morning usually thursday afternoon we have the call that gives us some time to kind of look over the the projection we discuss if we think we'll be able to cover all the loads on the projection if we try to make any changes shift dates so we we have that call and we go over you know any issues and specific loader might have had and and sometimes we just talk about our family you know our lives and she knows us very well we know her very well and that kind of build it like a not only a work relationship but on a personal level as well arthur talk a little bit about what that commors relationship is like in a week like how many loads how many trucks how many places can you can you paint a picture for the viewers and the listeners about the complexities just in one week so within one week we're usually hollowing on average around 70 loads per week for camours alone so 70 trailers that's 70 loaded trailers yeah all those lows are are full truck loads 43 000 pounds plus um and it's it's it's important for me to remind the listeners that that's for commors alone which is the head hall which is the main load for the account which that does not include all the back hauls that we our drivers for that account do so let's say we're picking up in point a taken to point b we have a backhaul that got to bring that truck when he's in point b back to point a to get a next load right which point a happens to be most of the time uh mississippi and past christians mississippi or maybe ten five percent of the time picks up in near johnsonville tennessee which is on the west side of the state of tennessee between nashville and memphis um but yeah most of the time i would say we're probably doing somewhere around 150 to 160 loads a week between had haul and back haul for commodores alone now we have line hall drivers which are actually the drivers that move the freight long distances and we have the local drivers which attend to our local needs both in gulfport mississippi area and then we have local drivers in north carolina where we deliver a lot of loads for commodores we have local drivers up near carlisle pennsylvania which are the main the three main places where we are dropping our loads that's like the ecosystem that's like the solar system of correct we have loads for them that also go towards texas kansas but those volumes are very low we don't necessarily have a lot going on that way so usually a driver that takes a load that way he's delivering the load himself as opposed to if he's coming to north carolina or going up to the northeast he's dropping the load at our drop yard for a local driver to deliver it that way we can keep the line hard driver happy he doesn't have to sit under a load to wait because he's paid by the mile and that way he can drop it and get on one next load and start heading south for example describe a situation where you had to have it on you a real life situation where you had to have an unusual number of recoveries i mean where you had can you give an example like what's the record number that you've had and explain to people that don't know what i'm asking what i'm talking about so this goes back to the when we first started where we talked about customer demands and driver demands when we're trying to attend to both demands that's when load relays come into play where let's say we have a driver sick in montgomery alabama and the load is due in pennsylvania let's say the next day and it's let's say it's the morning of the day the loads dude the next day and i the driver that driver can't drive and that loads got to get there so what happens is from montgomery to where we deliver around carlisle lebanon i'm going to say it's probably around 800 miles um 850 miles that's not feasible for a solo driver if you're doing one driving shift without taking a 10 hour dlt break so what happens is i would have to find another driver that can take the load from where he is to another point within that route and then find a third driver that can take from that point up to the delivery it's like the pony express it's like a relay exactly right so that hap that happens very often um it used to happen a lot more when we were our capacity for the account was running a lot tighter and now we've got some new drivers we have some assets we do and most of the time we're we're not dealing with that as much as we used to a year or so ago but you've got to be able to turn and pivot quickly right you never know what's going to be on the other end of the phone that's correct we have to deal with situations everything can be just as calm right now and then we get a one phone call from one driver and then five plans from five different drivers change because of that one driver that had a situation well and you know what having a little office just off from where all of you are it also seems like sometimes it's contagious like there'll be a calm and people are talking about how are things at home and what will you do on your upcoming break and then all of a sudden the phone will ring the phone will ring and you've got situations all over the place you get along pretty well as a team don't you oh yeah we get along great we look out for each other and we definitely do we have each other's back so to speak where you know if a driver calls in and he's trying to um you know basically say you know my driver manager did this and this and this and when we were there when it happened for example and we were like no we were here we know what happened this is what happened and we can explain to the driver what actually happened it helps to keep all the stories straight correct which is which is good now for people that don't know explain what comorse does so come ours well they have they actually have a line of products that they produce but it's a lot i mean yeah several different chemicals they're in the chemistry in the chemical industry but the product that we haul for them is titanium dioxide so they were under the titanium technologies division officer that's a hazardous material well it does not require placards so it's not considered hazmat um so we usually which they usually ship in what they call super bags or they're huge two thousand pound bags on pallets and we ship to this several different facilities as uh exalter which is auto makes automobile paint uh it's a substance that's used to make paint and several different other

it's um core element it's a binding element it is it gives pigment to the white color in most paints automobile or just regular wall paint so we delivered to cheryl williams benjamin moore all those big paint companies all along the east coast and we also camour is also shipped to the west coast which my fleet doesn't necessarily cover those lanes but they also ship out of mississippi going to firmly nevada or sometimes california and different places like that's our terminal output firmly that's our terminal out yeah yeah so basically um titanium dioxide delivering to several different customers that are commoris customer and we have a direct relationship with those customers ourselves to set appointments we give them etas there's any delays that keeps them very happy not only with us but with camours as well now explain to people uh when it when it comes to load planning uh what what kinds of lead time are you looking at typically so typically we are looking at 48 hours for lead time on loads they are sometimes when there's production come behind and we have to deal with a shorter lead time and most of the time that's where the relationship goes both ways because there's some time that we might call comores up and say hey my driver got sick this is what happened and we know we might not be able to get the load there tomorrow or whatever and they're very understanding and then the other times come around where they say they call us up they're like hey this load here production just released this product we have to ship this today we gotta deliver tomorrow within a couple hours notice and if we can't accommodate all possible we're more than more accommodative to you know say yeah we'll do it for you we'll go out of our way to make it happen well and and really when you have a relationship like freightworks has with coors these are strategic relationships they're they're not transactional correct and so you're able to problem solve together and you're really it's one plus one equals ten right you're working together to achieve their objectives and hours and uh and so there are times where we need to depend on their good graces too right definitely definitely happens happens very often where we not only work very well with chores like the corporate office but we also have really really good relationships with the shipper mainly in mississippi we have our terminal manager down in gulfport he has great relationship with the shipping clerks the warehouse manager down at the plant he they're they're very good friends uh we get along great you know sometimes they'll come up and say you know we're slim food today we need we need you can you guys go ahead and put a trailer in the door which yeah most of the time they have a yard jockey that does that work but you know we're more than glad to help him out and put a trailer door to expedite you know things getting our load out the door or whatever you know arthur if you were to explain to somebody who's listening or watching who may say you know that commerce that sounds like an interesting opportunity a driving opportunity what would you tell a driver what are some of the advantages of being part of a team like that of course freightworks can't monogram every job for every driver and has a lot of different kinds of loads that it takes but for comore specifically what would you tell a driver if they're out there watching and they're saying that sounds interesting what would be the benefit of being a part of a team like that so most compliments we get from drivers that currently do the job is that it's mostly dropping hooks so there's very little downtime explain to people that don't know what that is drop and hook is when you basically are dropping the loader trailer and you hook up to an empty or vice versa and there's no it's just real smooth very smooth there's no downtime where you're actually sitting at a dock for five six hours waiting to get loaded that that happens but not all the time it's actually very minimal um most drivers love that where they're basically picking up at commodores where it's supposed to be pre-loaded they're taking one of our drop yards most of the time they drop it and now we have it down to a science where our back hauls are our customer a lot of them are customer back hauls where we already have drop trailers at their shippers so you're working on so we can drop and hook there and get back down okay so it makes it very smooth makes pickup very flexible which sometimes when you have a hard appointment it's things happen traffic accidents on the road driver gets sick and weather and it makes hard for us to meet a specific time as opposed to when you have a drop in hook facility we have a whole day 24 hours spent to pick the load up and still make the delivery on time if you're a driver and you're listening or watching or you know a driver who may have interest in freight works make sure you just consider driving for freight works go to our website life of the you're going to find opportunities there to get more information call go to our website and you'll learn more now let me let me go ahead and segue into another part that's really important because freightworks of course is a diverse family of employees and drivers many different backgrounds and the like but we share the fact that we have a faith commitment and arthur i'd just like you to share a little bit about your personal background and then i want to ask you some questions about how faith informs you in the middle of all of the messes that you have to deal with sometimes so tell us a little bit about where you're from and and the like sure i was actually i was born and raised in brazil i've been coming here since i was nine or ten years old back and forth every summer break i had i always came about twice a year ever since i was about that age yeah um when i was 19 i believe was 19 when i moved here and i went to college for a couple years and i ended up getting married after i was here for a couple years and therefore i was able to apply for a permanent resident wonderful status with the immigration services so as soon as i got my workers permit from them you know josh farmer which is the president gave me a call and he's like you know i heard now you're able to work do it would would you consider working for us and i was like i don't know much about trucking never been in industry before but uh he said let me give you a day or so to pray about it and just give me a call back and let me know and the following day i gave him a call i said yeah i feel like that's it for me so he was like okay great we arranged start date and that's how we've begun um i actually started working in brokerage which is basically the easier way for me to explain it would be when we're moving freight works freight in somebody else's truck so what i do is on the asset side we move freight works freight and freight works drugs right what we're doing with brokerage it's free works freight but we have to find a partner carrier a third party to remove the freight force and do it consistent with freight works quality and commitments yeah so that's where i started that's where i first started getting there i was being trained with daniel it's been here for a while and then within a month uh joyce came like i think you need to go to joyce our vp of operations yeah it's like i feel like you need to go over to you know to work on our asset side so i started working on the uh in dispatch i was basically at the time just learning how to enter orders in the system you know cloud mcleod yes in the cloud i was just basically learning the system learning mcleod um learning basic rules of trucking what lumper was i didn't have no idea what that was or i learned pretty quickly after i was here that lumpers aren't necessarily liked by drivers correct yeah so you have to learn these things by experience so you were you were on that side and then you moved into load planning yeah and then after i was doing that for about a couple months um as joyce again our vp of operations came to me and said you know i feel like you have potential to you know be a load planner it's she said it's not rocket science there was her exact words but she said it's uh it can get a bit complicated sometimes especially when you're dealing with something that's not setting schedule where you're doing you know a and b and back to a and b every single week you're doing whatever and you have to basically like a puzzle that you have to put together every single day and every single day is different and it's such a tremendous uh advantage to have a vice president of operations in joyce who's done all of this before she has right yes yeah and i i said to her and by the way we need to encourage her she's so busy we haven't had her on yet so that's right make sure we encourage her but i said to her you know what everywhere you've grown you've helped mentor some people along the way which is the mark of course of stellar uh leadership and so well let's talk for just a minute um about how your faith informs your work i mean you're in the middle of a lot of pressure you've got the customers and you've got the drivers you've got the driver managers you're in the middle of a lot of pressure how does god help you with that every day definitely it's it's it's got a lot of pressure some days more than others uh so when everything is going smooth and everybody's doing what they're supposed to you know you don't feel like you're putting that and that's part of a lot of pressure but the time that i learn from the most is the time where everything is falling apart and everything is going wrong and you got drivers calling in saying i can't do this because such and such and then five minutes later got another driver and it's all backing up it's all backing up and it's like i have a i have a driver doing this then i have a recovery option the recovery officer calls and said i can't do it either because of this and you feel all that pressure piles on you you're watching the solutions disappear exactly and you've got customer service on the other side saying the customer still wants to slow tomorrow there 6 a.m and sometimes like i said in the beginning all i can do is just stop for a minute step away from my desk and say god show me what to do right because i'm i'm out of options and he does and he does every time you know you settle down and he shows us what to do and a lot of times you know it we have i go to joyce or josh and say listen i i don't see an asset option to recover this load and and you know just to keep our long-term commitment with our customers they'll say you know we have to take a loss a financial loss but we'll have to find a carrier a partner carriage get the load so we can get the load there on time for our customers and folks i want to say this real quickly freightworks is a company that's diverse there are people of faith and people that don't have that same path but the leadership of this company and the frontline people and many of the drivers are all people who find their solace their security and their direction in a relationship with jesus and we want to say that because the reason our company keeps its promises is not just because we're committed to key promises it's a biblical value the reason we care about drivers and their families is because it's a biblical value and so if that seems attractive to you make sure that you subscribe to this youtube channel and make sure you kick the tires and see if this is a place for you to work now let me ask you this if somebody was younger in the business and considering load planning what would you tell them are good ways to learn and get ready for those kind of responsibilities or is it the kind of thing where you have to jump in the pool and learn by swimming so yeah i think that's a very good description of what happened to me i actually after i was in dispatch for a couple months i actually started working under the load planner here at the time um i worked with him for about eight months basically under his wing i was what i call junior planner basically i didn't make really any decisions i would basically go to him and he would basically tell me what to do and sometimes i would just watch him how he solved problems how he would come up with situations and how he would where he would go what he would do when things came up and how to solve it um that's that's that was another thing so i worked with him for eight months i learned a lot and then he ended up leaving and that's why the opportunity opened up for me to be you know the main load planner for the account i got about 48 trucks on my fleet now so it's it's a lot of responsibility that i i feel every day when i'm i'm doing this you know i know all of our livelihoods are can depend on you know on what i do every day i negotiate rates with with brokers on a daily on a daily basis all of our back hauls that we actually do with brokers i have to negotiate rates customer loads are a little different they're usually sat back on track but i i definitely take my job seriously every day and one thing too that i i think it's very important for people to understand um load planning is something that it's not a formula there's no way you can sit in a classroom and just start correct right you can't start teaching it on in a classroom it's something like you said you have to jump in the pool and learn it yourself by doing it well it's interesting because the people i've known that have been flight instructors or pilot instructors they talk about the day where they get out of the cockpit and they say it's your time to take it up alone right now so you've had that opportunity i know a lot of times the time always goes quickly when it's a flowing conversation and it's been that way arthur it's been so great and you know and now you get some affirmation for having taken the time to come so all of our guests on life by the mile delivered by freightworks get the opportunity to take something home with them so you get to choose between a freightworks one cap this of course is freight works one studio that we're in a life by the mile cap or as many people do we have a genuine yeti mug it's got the great works one logo the seal there and like by the miles so it's your choice what would you like i'll go with the mug yeah you know what uh we're learning pretty quickly that the mug the caps are great drivers like caps may be a little bit more so this is uh with appreciation for you taking the time and i just trust that as soon as the camera stops and you run back over to your station there that nothing has happened that requires you to do the things that you described today this is uh arthur and uh he is a load planner and a dear friend and we're so grateful for you listening in today life of the mile delivered by freightworks it's on all the major podcast platforms make sure you subscribe hit that subscribe button you'll get notifications of new episodes which we do two times a week typically upload them on tuesdays and thursdays i'm your host which maltby and we look forward to having you back thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to this channel by clicking here we'll see you there

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