After more than two decades of running its regional lessthan-truckload businesses as separate operating companies, Con-way Freight announced last month that it would combine them into a single operation headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. The company claims the change will streamline processes and improve operations among regions.
John Labrie, who became president of Con-way Freight in July, says that in recent years, a growing percentage of the company's business has required handling by two of the three operating companies. "We were always fighting ourselves trying to do that," he says. "We came to the conclusion this year that we had to make this move to streamline processes in order to become easier to do business with and eliminate redundancy and waste."
The three operating companies—Con-way Freight-Central, Con-way Freight-Southern, and Con-way Freight-Western—had operated separately since Con-way was formed 24 years ago as part of what was then Consolidated Freightways. A fourth regional carrier, Con-Way Eastern, shut down some years ago. Most of that business was absorbed by Con-way Freight-Central.
Labrie says the consolidation should be largely transparent to customers and that most customer-facing and service center operations will remain unchanged. Some jobs in back-office and support functions have been eliminated in California and Texas, but more than 100 new jobs have been created in Ann Arbor. Con-way has offered current employees the opportunity to relocate to Michigan.