Joyce Siqueira is VP of Operations at FreightWorks and has helped build this fast-growing trucking and logistics enterprise from the ground up. As she’s developed departments, policies, people, and procedures it's been with a single focus on making life for drivers, more pleasant, and safer. They are the #1 customer of the company. In this episode, a seasoned leader helps unpack and share those elements of the FreightWorks culture which sets us apart and explains how our values and convictions shape everyday decisions. For anyone wondering about how all the intricate gears of a trucking operation come together, this is a great podcast tutorial. Listen and learn!
Joyce has been in the trucking industry since 2014 when she started with FreightWorks. Learning from the ground up with planning, driver management, safety, recruiting, customer service, maintenance and accounting, she understands what it really takes to move truckload freight.
we we move mountains to achieve even small victories um and that has set us apart for our customers we have a very strong direct customer base because of what we do to execute a load for a customer welcome to life of the mile delivered by brakeworks one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories propelling drivers i need to do something industry all here right now this is life with a mile delivered by freightworks i'm your host butch maltby this is the 80th episode since we started in september of last year make sure folks that you subscribe like share and engage engage that's how we grow the audience here and you know it's only appropriate on the 80th episode to have joyce sakura vice president of operations you were involved in the decision to launch life by the mile you're the one that helps be the glue that keeps so much of what brait works is together joyce and it's a delight to have you here and even though it was a group effort when we came up with life by the mile i was the one who suggested the name it's a great record it's a great name and you know it really reflects what freight works and what transportation and logistics and trucking is all about it's it's live it's been a fun effort by the mile and uh and you know we started out by saying we didn't really know what we were doing we prayed we took hold of it and we said god help us and so here we are at episode number 80. we are and we didn't know what we were doing in trucking either so but here we are so we're still going joyce let me uh let me start out by asking a question that i've asked you before but it bears repeating because we've got new viewers and listeners how did you get into the work that you're doing um that's a big question so education uh background is engineering uh engineering technologies a bachelor's degree from western carolina university um my husband and i actually went to school together uh which was a lot of fun quite challenging while we started a family logistics was always my favorite thing um i remember watching the brown ups trucks i drive down the road when i was a little girl thinking how did they know to stop at my house you know so i was always intrigued with that that makes you different i was intrigued with logistics and um i actually missed the logistics class in our course i never took it because it was on a night i couldn't i didn't have uh child care so that was um a little bit of disappointment maybe it's okay because i got to learn it once i got here but um josh offered me a job semester before i finished my josh and took him up on it actually we talked about it for about six months before my workload could allow it because my school schedule is too heavy and i said sure let's try this so here we are today that was 2014. right and joyce one of the things that's so interesting is that you really have moved up the ladder and as you did you trained people that took your place so you really have touched virtually every part of the company haven't you just about now uh tony our director of maintenance uh told me once when i asked him about learning a little bit of maintenance he said you leave that to me spare yourself from the effort so i haven't touched much on the maintenance side but the rest of it i've pretty much gotten gotten a feel for starting driver management there was three of us sitting in dispatch when i first started jordan was doing most of the planning then myself and chris davies who is now our maintenance manager and um everybody did everything i backed up planning we all managed drivers we all did customer service we all did after hours on call we helped with payroll jumped into accounting department for about six months solid at one point just i've done a little bit of everything i really enjoyed it and you seem to also enjoy though helping train and coach and mentor people that along the way have taking on responsibilities that you have i really like to teach you yeah talk talk about it it's one of my favorite things to do talk about that um i like teaching um the dispatch gives me a hard time now because i don't teach any of the new dispatchers i let see let's do that um and silas gets to claim that he was the last one that i taught so silas is our dispatch manager now and does a great job uh trains are new people coming in um but one of my favorite things to do is train uh and to learn so my drivers really were very instrumental in teaching me trucking you know starting this i mean what did i know about trucking i just it's like when people ask me today what do you do for a living you know what do you do at freight works what does freight works do i'm like what we deliver loads you know because to really get into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to deliver a load would take me like three hours so um learning trucking uh really was amazing and i mean i still i learned something new every day um even now um but i really liked the interaction with the drivers learning what goes on on the road um i'd ask them all sorts of questions what was it like driving that slope and you know tender weather and you know in the middle of the spring when the snow started to melt and you know so getting getting their perspective on things i thought was just absolutely fascinating um i really have enjoyed it and then of course passing all that knowledge to the next person has been both a joy and a challenge joyce if you had to describe the ecosystem or the solar system if you will of freight works all the different things every day that have to come together touch on the different departments and and just how you have to really make that harmonious you know as god directs you out how does all that work every day try not to leave anything out or anybody out operations is basically the hub of which the drivers are the boots on the ground the tires that rolled down the road um without what they do none of the rest of it matters so uh with that being the hub of course the driver managers are the direct contact to the drivers um and they are they are the concierge service for the driver whether it's planning their their schedules helping them with their time management making sure they get home from the next home time helping make sure they're on time for the next load whatever they're the main interface with the driver next to them here to them is the planners so the planners are basically the ones working out the chess board they get loads either from the customer service department or they go and book broker load spot loads off the board and then they take all the loads and the different trucks and when they're available and they draw the lines connect the dots customer service is the support on the other side so our driver managers basically their customers are the driveways are the drivers and customer service supports the customers so customer service and the planners work very closely together to make sure that we're not taking freight that we can't handle as well as taking as much afraid as we need so they're the ones interfacing with our direct customers then of course behind the scenes is accounting billing accounts payable payroll that's a whole other level then keeping financials getting to the financial management besides that obviously we've got the marketing team um the it team keeps everybody moving um recruiting making sure the seats stay filled maintenance make sure that the trucks keep rolling um it's it's quite a integrated effort and really i heard someone say one time that there are a lot of um daily tensions that you have to kind of manage not problems that you always solve right there's a there's a check and balance there there's a check and balance to everything so you have a customer that needs something and you have a driver that has certain limits and you have people that need to advocate for both the customer and the driver right absolutely um and that's where it gets fun and dispatch um so as the company grew we just divided responsibilities very uh distinctly between the driver manager and the planner just to preserve that check and balance so the customer service department basically looks after the customer the driver manager looks after the driver and the planners look after the company so those are the three czech mountains so yes there can be tensions between them but it's all good-natured um we keep everything um we're all on the same team right we're all fighting the same battle right um so not against each other but with each other so um it it's fine and and there are a few places i think every week i've noticed that you see more unity than when the friday lunch menu goes out right and everybody it doesn't matter what side of the company you're representing in that moment you know that the company's getting your lunch yes uh so every friday josh provides us all lunch which uh has been a blessing uh we picked when we started doing this we picked fridays just because fridays are the busiest day we're just everything's kind of going up in flames all at once um and everybody needing to take a lunch break on friday um just cause more stress to the effort so yeah we're like just feed everybody at lunch so that's where it started well i'd like to tell people it's logistics informed menus you know you've got all the numbers and everything there it looks like you've got a load planner that came to uh offering the menus it's a one let's take a look at logistics you know we've had a lot of conversations josh jordan you me and others about this thing we call the freightworks distinctive and so many companies out there talk joyce about home time you're going to get it equipment we've got it compensation yes we've got that to benefits and the like feels like everybody kind of says the same thing it's hard for us sometimes to explain the freight works difference can you paint even if you have to paint with a mop and just describe what it is that makes this company special we talk often on the podcast about the fact that it's not just what we do but why we do what we do and while everybody is not a follower of jesus or somebody that is faith driven the bedrock and the foundation of this company is that but can you describe for people what makes freight works different absolutely so um whenever i meet our new orienteers or drivers in uh orientation um one of my first things i'm explaining is just the basis of the company our mission our values et cetera um so i explained to them you know we are our family owns i still think we're smaller we act like we're small whether we're small or not um company and we're based on christian values this is a christian company and right behind that i was explaining it doesn't matter if you're christian or not doesn't matter to us you know if you have faith don't have faith that's fine but just know that that's what we're based on and that's how our decisions are made and it really it really solidifies the entire company um even in talking about like the checks and balances between the different departments and stuff um because we all work out of a oneness we're all working towards the same goal we're all working because we love what we do we love each other we're going to get along at the end of the day i'm not going to go home mad at you or i'm not going to go home letting youtube be mad at each other so we get everything worked out and it really it it having that atmosphere in the office then carries to the drivers um i explained an orientation to the drivers i said none of my dispatchers will ever raise their voice they will never curse at you they will never get mad at you i ask for you not to do that to them so even though tensions get strong this is trucking things go wrong um everybody calm down let's work this through together and we make the decisions to the best usually for the best interest of the driver if at all possible within the customer's constraints and keep moving now let me ask you this joyce we're all so different in that we have strategic customer relationships uh talk a little bit about that i mean folks like dole and c'mores just talk about those relationships because you're right in the middle of managing those as well we we move mountains to achieve even small victories um and that has set us apart for our customers we have a very strong direct customer base because of what we do to execute a load for a customer
we won't hesitate if it means renting a truck if it means rearranging three schedules if it means staying late so we can solve a problem it's no problem we're going to we're going to fix the problem and because the customers see that level of dedication there is a relationship there it's not i'm in it for the money and you're in it for the money those aren't the customers we really care to work with we want to work for customers that see our effort see our service see value in it um we're not the cheapest carrier out there but we're not trying to be we're trying to be the best and um and the customers see that level of effort and it really it strengthens our relationship with them and a byproduct of that is that you're involved in conversations with customers key customers where you're talking about what can we meaning they and us do better together right i mean you're dealing with their top leadership and management yes um we have monthly or quarterly calls with most of our largest main customers and um of course we're always asking if there's places that we can do service better you know we're watching our metrics we're presenting to them and actually it was uh it was kind of nice last month one of our biggest customers called us and said that they were going into a meeting and they wanted to know what their facilities could do better for our drivers um so yes there is definitely there's a give and take it's a relationship well and what's also interesting it seems is that with these customers we've got a deepening relationship with them we get to understand their culture they get to understand ours and we end up making decisions with an appreciation for both entities right it's not just what's a win for us correct yes there's definitely we'll come to the table together and um and everybody figure out how to make this work you know uh one thing that drivers will sometimes say is that management is insulated from what they deal with and that's not true here at freight works i've had so many drivers say you know what joyce is my friend they've got joy stories josh stories i've only been here about a year and i'll be in the driver's lounge this is really my office and because i'll have a a shirt on of this kind people come up and say my truck's not fixed will you take care of it but uh but but really it's a company that never wants to create distance with leadership right absolutely not um and you have stories oh i have stories and i want you know what i want you to share a couple of stories some of them i can't share well i'll share some thoughts that you can the ones that you can that just reflect the fact that here's the vice president of operations you've grown up in the company you know how it works but still there's a relationship with these drivers so give us a couple of stories sure um it's hard to decide where to start um
i was actually asking raj our recruiter earlier because he was a driver when i was a driver manager um so i i hollered at him this morning and i said um butch wants me to do a podcast this afternoon wants me to tell some driver stories i said i want to i really want to share how my drivers taught me trucking i mean i learned trucking from my drivers um and um and i said i don't think many of our stories we can share he's like oh no there's most of them we can't share so we came up with a few that we uh that i probably could but uh he reminded me of a couple times um one he got lost in florida trying to find a coca-cola delivery plant and uh he was the driver for us a driver for us a solo driver um downtown and i cannot remember which city if i had to guess it was tallahassee or pensacola it was in the panhandle northern part and um calls me a little bit distressed he had missed his turn the gps was trying to take him the gps was lost at this point because it was renting downtown a bunch of runway streets and stuff and i said sure so let me see what i can do to help you you know zoom in on the map figure out where he was figured out the best route that a truck could actually take and helped him get to his receiver so doing fun stuff like that you know it was i really enjoyed it i liked being concierge service for the drivers um jim may is our terminal manager out in reno uh he's he's a retired meteorologist from the navy so he came to drive for us uh i'm not sure how long after he left the navy but um he was driving through the midwest i think coming up through missouri and heading up to the northeast um coming out of california that way and he calls me one day and he says um joyce i see something something something kind of clouds i i can't say it he said it in scientific terms right okay they're clouds right ahead of me you know i want to know what the weather's like i'm like jim you're asking me for the weather report and he's like yeah i said um i'm a little not qualified right you're the you're the meteor meteorologist right in the navy in the nation asking me for a weather report exactly and uh he says joyce is i don't have my maps he said you got a computer i'm like okay okay sure of course i'm happy to help but i'm felt a little um i'm prepared so of course pull up noah and look at the maps and said i see this i see this i look at the radar in his local area tell them where the storm's going et cetera et cetera et cetera so he chooses a different route and he gets back on that night and calls me he says yeah that was great i looked at the maps and everything else that was the right decision and i'm like that's great good glad i could help and and joyce isn't it true so often the drivers want to know you notice me you know where i am you care and it's the call or the touch that's not expected i i managed about there about 20 something trucks 30 drivers we keep a fairly low driver manager to driver ratio i think our average right now is about 21 uh trucks to the driver manager um and at my time i managed the most of our group and um you could have woke me up at two o'clock in the morning and asked me where so and so i could have told you that fast within at least half a state depending on how fast they were moving but i i knew where they all were like they were my children not that i treated them like children but i was concerned for them like as if they were my children well i'm gonna say this in the most respectful way you are kind of a mother in in in in a good way i mean everything positive about mothers that anybody has ever thought or experienced in their life joyce you really try to apply that i think what you do i've had some call me mom who are older than me but in a good sense they were they were just giving me a hard time now talk a little bit because this is so important to many of the drivers we're a pet friendly company absolutely can you describe that we actually had a new driver that said that was a key consideration they love animals here can you talk about that oh we love animals we've we've got little doggy treat bags and handkerchiefs and stuff for driving orientation who come in with their little furry family members we really enjoy their pets as much as i'm not as close to it anymore as i used to be but we knew all the drivers pets names it dispatch i still hear you know conversations about pets and stuff i'm like which one's that and somebody's like oh that's so-and-so's you know dog or cat or whatever so um yeah they're they're as much part of the family as as the rest of us are and that's a little different because there are a lot of companies where that's not the case yeah not here not here not here talk a little bit about what you're seeing with the new drivers that are coming through you know we we have a diverse group that come through we have men women teams solos talk a little bit about what what we see we've got a very strong driver group our drivers they definitely consider themselves the few the proud we've got all walks of life men women couples um ages eight all sorts of ages uh mother daughters that drive together best friends that drive together brothers that drive together um then you know uncle brings his nephew they drive solo i mean we've got different family links and all sorts of different connections right and and so in that respect it really is a family and even things that we have done here like the driver lounge explain that that's more than just a nice kitchen explain what was behind that uh so having a driver lounge here uh which whenever we build into terminal i'm sure is going to put this one to shame but uh we did what we could with the facility we had and we're pretty proud of it i mean the drivers really like it we get a lot of good reports that it's one of the best that drivers have seen or you know they feel it the most at home most welcome that they've been in other places we've got the nice bunk house for them to stay in if they um have their truck in the shop or if they need a place to land of course we've got the laundry facilities showers bathrooms and all that um and then in the main lounge area full featured kitchen uh we've got drivers that come in i'm sure you've seen from sitting in there that they'll cook a works week weeks worth of meals yeah you know and you get everything ready to go out on the road on the in in the truck and um we've got some pretty amazing culinary uh creations that happen in that kitchen um some of our drivers are just amazing hooks um then of course a pool table and lounge area so um drivers really enjoy it they enjoy some r r working off the road and it's a way to show drivers we really care about you in tangible ways now joyce the other thing that i noticed at mats when we went there the mid-america truck show but elsewhere is that you've developed an increasing number of professional relationships out in the marketplace truckers against trafficking women in trucking with ellen can you talk a little bit about some of those different groups or count just we're involved not just with our drivers but we're involved in the industry so take us on a little tour of that absolutely um i find trucking amazing because of the people in it um the drivers of course i i always still talk about my drivers to anybody um even when i go to different places uh like i'll go to the mcleod software annual user convention and i'll be talking to somebody about something and they're like well what did drivers think about i'm like let me just call one and i'll pick up the phone and call one of my drivers i'm at a convention they want to know such and such and whatever what's your take on this and people like you called the driver i'm like that's who we're all here talking about anyway just exactly yeah call them and ask them their opinions so i work closely with um cloud software and different things i spoke on a panel at their conference last year which is where i happened to be introduced to ellen voy of women in trucking uh she's dear friend we've got speak together twice she's a lot of fun to speak with i must say we've done two panels together and really enjoy her she's she's she's a fireball for what she does she really she's she's got full of energy and um word count i started you're probably almost two years ago now um and you were talking about having that connection not losing the connection between management and the drivers and i was i was at a place that we were growing different driving managers coming in dispatch had changed staffs you know there's always driver turns so you know it's not the same drivers that were here six years ago you know when i was in the front lines and i was feeling like i was losing a little bit of a touch of how are we really doing for the drivers and um and i'd hear it from different aspects you know i'd hear from the recruiters that say oh my drivers are calling me back and saying this the driver manager would say oh the drivers are saying this planners would say this other thing maintenance would say another thing and different things i'm like i want to know from the driver so when i found word count it really solved all that for me um because it's the driver clicks the link gives us a score one to ten which is really my barometer and how we're doing and then free form they can tell me anything they can tell me what they have for breakfast they can tell me that they love their driver manager that they hate their driving manager they love their last load they hate their last load they can tell me anything and it's anonymous if they want it to be yes of course they can sign their name but some do some don't but it gives me an actual feel for where how are we doing and what problems we have how do we solve them etc um it gives me an opportunity to give them a message back if i don't have enough detail you know if they say bad communication okay where was it was it with your driving manager was it with after hours was it with maintenance was it was with payroll tell me what area do i need to focus on um but the thing that surprised me the most we launched it and we got extremely positive responses i was expecting kind of to get you know sandblasted and it was actually the opposite we got a lot of positive responses of course some negative and different and constructive stuff that we needed to work on and we have um but i've really been impressed with um how much encouragement that platform has brought because even as the positive comments come in i send them back to the you know they'll give kudos to one of the driver managers i send that straight to that drive manager and to the team you know and say hey good job on this and it's it's really it's really reinforced our culture what what would you say to drivers that are out there considering the possibility of making a change and why they ought to consider freight works um because we love what we do as far as drivers out there looking to see if this is a good company for them somebody who works hard wants to do things honest straight up um this is the place for you i mean we're we're we are honest we're transparent we do what we say say when we and we mean it we work hard i remember joyce i had not been here long and i talked to a driver and i asked him why are you here why do you stay and and they recounted the story of a life situation where somebody died or somebody was sick and we recovered a load and blew him somewhere and and and basically what they said is i will never forget i will never forget that prey works dropped its need for profit in the moment to care for me and joyce that was that many times that was such an incredible reflection of values and it's not just what we do it's why we do i mean i do tell you countless stories of different things i mean life happens to everyone and having a life on the road is hard i mean there's just no two ways about it i mean i have incredible amount of respect for our drivers i could not do what they do you know and to be away from home like they do to miss events like they do to not be there when a parent is sick if something's going on there's no way i could do it so i have a whole lot of respect for those who can i mean it's like i used to work at a hospital years and years ago and i never worked in nursing i was always on the administrative you know clerical side and somebody asked me why i didn't go to nursing i said i can't do that but i have a whole lot of respect for those who do they've got to graze for it that's great um but when something happens in their lives we're going to bend over backwards to take care of them i remember one situation one of my drivers called me was a sunday morning at two o'clock in the morning and he said um my son just had a car wreck and they don't know if he's gonna make it he lived in upstate south carolina he was probably about missouri um heading up towards i-80 and um and i said and i knew where my drivers were i was on call that weekend um and i said i got somebody who's not too far from me pulled my computer i had them relayed off within about probably took about an hour and a half two hours to get the other truck to him i said you stop where you are i don't go any farther this truck will come to you we really the low life got him home his son made it thank god but um he was actually a little more of a difficult driver he wasn't he didn't want to be as most of our drivers we get along great and some i have a little bigger tip on their shoulder when they get here it takes a little longer to wear it off that wore that off he he and i worked fabulously together after that um any any we find a lot of times that drivers come here who've been in different companies that weren't they weren't treated with respect right they were used abused felt like they were done wrong you know their payroll was messed with different things there's there's a big lack of trust between a lot of the drivers that come here and just a company not necessarily us but just a company in general and we inherit that we inherit that from them coming from other companies and it takes sometimes a few weeks for them to realize that that's not how we are you know we're honest we're up front this is you know we're going to treat you like we treat you know our brother you know this is we're all one family here and um and sometimes it takes six months or so before somebody really gets settled down and realizes that no we're not against you you know we're working with you i have heard incredible stories joyce that taken in their sum reflect what freight works is all about i've heard people say i my financial life was a disaster and at freight works i was able to work through that i've heard people say there was a life-threatening situation and freight works was there for me i've heard people say my marriage was going to fall apart and somehow being here the stability helped me or i had a wayward child so it's not that we're a counseling center but we are a place that cares about the circumstances they feel like it is some days but we're a place that cares we we care and and and and we listen and when we say that uh we want to make sure that you know brightworks is not a perfect company but it's a company that's built on biblical foundations and we're committed to get better by the week by the day joyce segura is the vice president of operations i hope in this time today you've had the chance to get a feel and a flavor for what makes freight works different this is life by the mile it's our twice a week podcast and we want you to subscribe make sure that you get that notification bell make sure that you also push this out to other people it's our way of celebrating not the company but celebrating this great grand group of people that we call america's truck drivers we hope that you've enjoyed this time i sure every time i talk to you joyce we don't get the chance to do this we need to do this more we need to do this more and uh and in the doing of it we hope that you find freightworks a place that you'll find uh worth the uh consideration if you're a driver that's looking for a new home typically this is the place where we offer you a gift but you're the person that signs off on the invoices through these things so we're gonna save the inventory thank you senator help our bottom line and uh joyce come back don't make it so long next time i'll try not to make sure you check us out two times a week life of the mile delivered by freightworks
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