Automated Logistics Systems Goes the Extra Mile
When you think of an “epic experience,” what do you think of? A luxury vacation? Skydiving? Riding in a racecar?…What about work? Automated Logistics Systems (ALS) strives to provide both their employees and customers with what they’ve coined as an “epic experience.” Nick Schaefer, VP of Operations & Sales, dives deep into the business behind ALS and the company’s core values that are ingrained into each employee’s day-to-day.
ALS began as Parker & Motor Freight, a direct asset freight company. Since its origin, the company has grown expansively in recent years, and its growth is only continuing. They specialize in 3PL Managed Services, Freight Brokerage, Contract Transportation, Mexico Cross Border movement, Specialized Project Management, Consolidation, Warehousing and Supply Chain Network Optimization but there is so much more than getting goods from point A to point B.
ALS is big on its core values, implementing them into its employees day-to-day. Starting as a family-owned business, it continues to stand firm in its values, just as a family would. They prioritize recognizing their teammates as they showcase their core values. For this reason, ALS has over a 90% retention rate. ALS has a goal to add 50 employees by the end of this year, and 75 in the next three years. Roles available will include inside/outside sales executives, account managers, carrier sales, operations, tracking/operations, accounting and more. The ALS team is proud to have such close ties within the Jackson community, with many of their employees originally being from the area. Many of their hires are based on referrals, and don’t always require a degree or experience. There is endless opportunity and size in the freight industry, beyond the sizes of semis. Freight alone is an $875 billion industry.
The work culture at ALS is evident through their morning meetings, where employees connect with others at the Grand Rapids location, as well as those in Laredo, Texas, and Monterrey, Mexico. In these meetings, they recognize each other’s sales and operations accomplishments, get real-time updates on how they’re doing, and instill a “gladiator” mentality. For ALS, gladiators aren’t reserved just for movies or epic plays. Nick shared that the gladiator mentality is someone who is a lover, hero, and neighbor, and provides an internal ethos that encourages employees to keep persisting and growing in their own areas of expertise, while still being challenged. Each ALS employee works with what is called a performance plan, or epic journey, to ensure that they have goals structured for them, and are set on a path that aligns with company growth.
Joe Parker, President of ALS, expanded on the gladiator mentality. It’s part of their internal brand, rather than something that the community or other businesses recognize them for. A gladiator is something they embody each day they come into work. “There is a natural work ethic found in Jackson,” Joe explained. “Something I like about Jackson is that it a has neighborly feel. Once you come in, it’s a very close-knit community.” He continued to share that the atmosphere is similar within ALS; no matter how shy or closed-off as a person you may be before you enter, you’ll quickly come out of your shell after being surrounded by the team and positive environment at ALS, which boosts your confidence and shows you how much you are capable of achieving.
Incoming and existing employees have a lot to look forward to with the future of ALS. The new headquarters will be located at 3000 Blake Road, at the old Jackson College Maher Campus. Construction is underway, and they’re hoping to have some teammates in the office this summer. They plan to be fully equipped with a café, weight room, and game room. To oversee this fantastic new facility, they are looking to hire a facilities manager.
Joe shared his excitement for the new headquarters, and he explained that this location is symbolic in the state of Michigan. The building is one he always drove past, growing up in Grass Lake and one that he dreamed of filling out. “When you leave Jackson, it’s the last symbol you see,” he said, “It’s like the face of Jackson for people who may normally not drive by.”
Despite their growing size, ALS is known for being highly client-centric. They very much consider themselves to be in the service industry, assisting companies of all sizes with their freight and transportation needs. With their new Jackson headquarters, they hope the future holds more exposure for them within the community. They already actively sponsor, give back and are looking for further opportunities to get involved in the growth of Jackson.