LEADERS: Wes Armour on the evolution of Armour Transportation Systems

by Canadian Shipper

CT&L: With the recession a few years behind us, a slow but hopefully durable recovery is placing the emphasis once again on growth. What are the most important steps Armour Transportation Systems has undertaken the last couple of years to enhance its services and network?

Armour: Over the past couple of years our focus has been on three key areas: cost reduction, developing a more effective rate structure and strategic acquisitions.  On our freight rate structure, we adjusted our rates to ensure we are getting paid for what we do.  The rates became depressed during the recession and we had to work hard to get them back in line with today’s economy.  In the area of cost reduction, we reviewed all of the departments within our company and made significant changes so we could become more efficient.  We were able to move people to different departments within our company that better suited their skill set, resulting in a more productive and enthusiastic employee.  Getting the right people in the right jobs was a key focus for 2012.  Our on-time delivery improved and we reduced line haul costs by using short-sea shipping, intermodal and LCVs.  We continued to upgrade our fleet with more new fuel efficient and reliable trucks.  During the recession we continued to grow through strategic acquisitions and purchased O’Meara’s Transport in PEI and Hillman’s Transfer of Sydney, NS and Way’s Transport Limited of Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  We also continued to heavily invest in technology to better improve in our ability to mine data out of our current system.  This new technology allows us to dig deep and know our exact costs in all areas of our operation, which has allowed us to make better decisions by knowing where our costs really are.      

CT&L: Any near-future plans for further service and/or network enhancements you can share?               

Armour: As previously mentioned, we will continue to grow through strategic acquisitions.  Most recently, our company acquired Way’s Transport Ltd., which was founded in 1976 by Clyde Way.  Way’s will continue to operate under the Way’s Transport Ltd. name as a division of Armour Transportation Systems.  The Way’s fleet is comprised of over 150 pieces of equipment, specializing in general freight services including dry van, flatbed, refrigerated and container moves, with freight facilities located in Corner Brook and St. Anthony, NL.  We welcome this highly respected family business to our group of companies. In 2013, we will be expanding our logistics warehousing facility in Dartmouth, NS to include an additional 100,000 square feet of cross-dock and storage space.  This expansion will allow us to service both domestic and Halifax port customers as well as meet the logistics demands of the mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

CT&L: Do you see Armour Transportation continuing to grow organically or will mergers and acquisitions become an increasingly important part of your strategy?

Armour: I see our company growing through a combination of both.  We will continue to grow through strategic acquisitions that fit our company.  However, we will not make an acquisition just for the sake of making one – “if the shoe doesn’t fit, we’re not buying the shoes.”  We will also continue to grow organically by attracting new business.

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