Providing warehousing and logistics services from its head office in Edmonton and a secondary location in Fort McKay, Fort McKay Logistics is a growing and ever-evolving presence in the warehousing, transportation, procurement and supply chain business. Today, the company has the capacity and expertise to move goods from anywhere in the world by air, marine, rail, and truck.
As Chief Executive Officer of the Fort McKay Group of Companies, Mathieu Leger, says, “By choosing Fort McKay Logistics for your supply chain management needs, not only are you supporting our business, but you are also supporting the community of Fort McKay First Nation. Chief Jim Boucher of Fort McKay First Nation sits on the board as chairman of Fort McKay Group of Companies and is dedicated to the business that helps to support the Fort McKay community. Profits made by Fort McKay Logistics go back into the community of Fort McKay to support community centres such as the Heath Care Centre, Youth Centre, Radio Station, and the brand new, state of the art Riverside/Sonisipihk/Des k’e gah Care Facility.”
Today, Fort McKay Logistics is the first Fourth Party Logistics (4PL) Aboriginal supply chain management service provider in Canada. “We are a ‘one-stop shop’ service provider for our clients,” says Leger, “whereby Fort McKay Logistics is a preferred vendor of choice to source, negotiate and select materials from suppliers; transport and store material; and deliver to the end user when requested.”
A history of growth
Fort McKay Logistics was founded in 1994 with one truck and three employees in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It began as a mail delivery and shuttle service for Syncrude Canada and served in this capacity for more than ten years until 2008 when it entered into a phase of growth that has continued ever since. In 2012, the company expanded into Edmonton, and in 2014, it was awarded the Integrated Supply Chain Management contract for one of its leading clients, “allowing our business to grow over night,” shares Leger. “We went from 134 employees to 232 employees in 48 days of operation.”
Never content to stand still, in 2015, the General Manager of Logistics had a vision to grow the company into a 4PL company. Since then, the business has built its capacity and introduced a new procurement division. In service of this growth plan, in July of 2016, Fort McKay Logistics entered into a Vendor Buyer agreement that enables the company to acquire and sell goods supplied by qualified Chinese manufacturers, and in 2017, the business successfully attained ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Just this year, Fort McKay Logistics was ranked #317 on Growth 500’s Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2018.
Today, the company has 356 employees across the Alberta oil sands. Its primary distribution center in Edmonton totals 100,000 square feet and maintains nine acres of land for storage of materials in a secured, gated facility. The business also has a cross dock warehouse in the Fort McKay Industrial Park, located 48 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The team services all of the Alberta Oil Sands locations, including plant sites north and south of the city of Fort McMurray.
Guided by values
As a division of the Fort McKay Group of Companies, Fort McKay Logistics provides its services primarily to customers operating around the Fort McMurray area, and it has been built on a strong foundation of principles established by the parent company. Since its establishment, the company’s primary mission has been to serve its community by providing a range of supply chain solutions to customers throughout its territory in a way that respects traditional values. The company prides itself on setting the standard for Indigenous business success in Canada, and has contributed to building the foundations on which the nation’s future rests.
“Fort McKay Logistics is known for being a family-oriented company that strives to meet and exceed the demands of our clients,” says Leger. The company’s leadership believes in developing cooperative relationships that let all stakeholders have a voice, including not only the company’s employees and customers, but also the communities within which it operates. Safety, of course, is key to a positive work environment and, as Leger says, “Our leadership is accountable for providing a safe work environment for every employee. We believe that safety is everyone’s responsibility and can only be achieved through the active participation of all employees.”
To this end, Fort McKay Logistics maintains a robust safety program, as highlighted on its comprehensive website. The company has attained a certificate of recognition from Alberta’s Partnerships in Injury Reduction, was voted most improved contractor in 2010 by Syncrude, and “introduced a new program called E-Compliance to allow better all-around access for everyone to access safety stats, complete observation and inspection directly in the field with the application on their mobile device,” all in service of creating a safer work environment for both employees and the broader community.
A breadth of services
Fort McKay Logistics’ supply chain services cover everything from warehousing to transportation and many other related services. “Our business model includes the purchasing of goods, owning material, repackaging material for end users, transportation, warehousing, freight forwarding, transportation management, rate negotiations, and contract management services,” Leger explains. The company now also offers sourcing, negotiating, and selecting goods on behalf of clients, or as inventory for resale. These diverse services have made the company an asset to customers throughout its operating territory.
The company uses several sophisticated software platforms to manage its inventory and performs regular cycle counts and audits to ensure that the quantities that are recorded in the system accurately reflect what is available in the warehouse. Track and Trace software, for example, is used to provide users with comprehensive, end-to-end visibility of the packages they transport, from order input to final delivery, providing visibility, accuracy, flexibility and increased efficiency.
As well as implementing this software to manage its own inventory, the company also applies these systems to the management of its fourteen active site stores – essentially equipment warehouses that exist within oil sands facilities belonging to customers – and tool crib programs.
Tool crib management organizes and tracks tools so that they can be found when needed. These systems also prevent thefts and losses. Since site stores contain relatively high-value items costing upwards of one hundred dollars per unit, Fort McKay Logistics is responsible for maintaining the space and its inventory. When inventory runs low, Fort McKay Logistics will order and deliver replacements so that the warehouse – which operates 24/7 – is always stocked, and it cleans and organizes the space to be used effectively.
Its tool crib management services include everything from stocking to calibrating and even sending tools out for repairs. Customers that depend on the company to manage these onsite warehousing facilities can be confident that the inventory will always adequately support needs.
Fort McKay Logistics offers both less-than-truckload (LTL) and full-truckload (FTL) freight services. As an asset-based provider, the company owns a full fleet of trucks capable of transporting loads of any size to any location in Alberta, and through its network of logistics partners, to anywhere in North America. It has two dedicated transport terminals, one in Edmonton and another in Fort McKay.
The company has designed its less-than-truckload shipping service to share space between multiple customers which has enabled it to offer its shipping at a very competitive rate. These shipments can weigh as little as one pound or as much as twenty thousand pounds. The team also offers an “On Demand” service for customers who need a dedicated truck to get equipment and materials where it needs to be on very short notice.
The company also provides a dedicated fleet service for customers that want the benefits of having a full dedicated fleet of transport vehicles, but are not interested in taking on the risks and challenges associated with managing one. Fort McKay Logistics will recruit drivers to operate the fleet, a challenging prospect in the current labour market.
The company screens drivers to ensure that they are properly qualified and licensed to operate the equipment to which they will be assigned, and will provide compliance training so the customer can be confident that drivers will be following all regulations.
The company also runs more than three hundred line hauls every month. Trucks leave Edmonton at designated times, destined for Fort McKay to ensure all of the customers’ materials are delivered on time.
To effectively monitor and manage its fleet of delivery trucks, Fort McKay Logistics employs a sophisticated software platform called PeopleNet. Through this fleet management system, the company can track everything from the location of the vehicle and the speed at which it is travelling to its fuel consumption, engine diagnostics, and its maintenance needs. In the rare case of a collision PeopleNet’s Onboard Event Recording (OER) displays a complete reconstruction of the accident. This software gives the company a very clear overview of every aspect of its operation and permits it to improve continually in efficiency.
Combining all of these services effectively has made Fort McKay Logistics an invaluable resource to its customers. The company expertly manages the flow of both the material goods its customers need to send and receive, as well as the information its customers need to maintain control over their supply chains. Whether this is general warehouse labour, or helping customers with sourcing materials, the team is committed to helping customers solve problems.
After nearly twenty-four years serving customers in the Alberta oil sands, Fort McKay Logistics and the Fort McKay Group of Companies have earned their reputation for providing high-quality service at competitive rates. The team is looking forward to continued growth in the future, building on its current capabilities and keeping abreast of industry developments. As CEO Mathieu Leger says, “Fort McKay Logistics has a proven record of operational excellence and continuous improvement that has resulted in improved customer service.”
Visit fortmckaylogistics.com/ for more on this dynamic company.