Carrying the Load so Customers Don’t Have To

M.S.A., Inc.
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

M.S.A., Inc. is a transportation-services provider with a continental presence, a family culture, and the constant desire not to be the biggest but to be the best. Right now, when it comes to safely and effectively shipping legal, over-dimensional and heavy loads, it is second to none.

As a member of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA), M.S.A. Inc. is endlessly committed to delivering value for its customers, which has made it a respected name in the market, an achievement that means a lot to this family- and women-owned and operated company.

M.S.A. Inc. is a U.S. bonded carrier that services the United States, Canada and Mexico. As a trucking and logistics company it emphasizes safety, quality, dependability and integrity, traits that have been its focus since it opened its doors in 1992.

The result is that, although the leadership of M.S.A. Inc. might prefer to rate their success in terms of satisfied customers rather than sheer growth, in either case the company’s success has been remarkable.

“I’m not looking for huge growth in quantities. I take care of my drivers and their families and everyone who works for me is family. Without them, we can’t sustain our positive revenues and positive growth,” says Operations Manager ‘J’ Rozum.

Best and newest
Drivers at M.S.A. Inc. work with the most modern and advanced technology and equipment that makes the day-to-day challenge of a demanding job as rewarding as it can be. As Rozum says, “All our trucks are new. All our equipment is 2019 or newer, and we try to keep them updated with the best and newest equipment on the road, the newest tractors and newest trailers.”

In its commitment to on-the-ball service and delivery, the team at M.S.A. Inc. continues to grow its fleet and its team. Getting shipments where and when they need to be, and in the mint condition that the clients expect, sounds fairly simple, but requires a ferocious devotion to the task. Rozum says simply that his team “makes things happen.”

What sets M.S.A. Inc. apart its extensive capabilities and willingness to go the extra mile. Plus, in addition to its curtain-sided trailers; step-deck, double-drop, stretch-deck, split-deck and tri-axle equipment; mini-deck and multi-axle heavy haul trailers, it will customize trailers to adapt to the needs of unique project requirements.

Meeting customer needs
“We communicate with customers to find out what their ever-changing logistics needs are, and we adapt to their needs and we come up with ideas,” says Rozum. “A lot of our customers ship freight that’s oversized. We do a lot of curtain-side freight and we’ve adapted for our customers that are shipping over eight-foot wide freight.” And if this means building nine-, ten- and eleven-foot wide trailers to haul the freight, so be it.

M.S.A. Inc. is frequently contracted for large plant moves and retoolings and does a lot of auto-show work. Headquartered in Canton, Michigan, where auto manufacturing is a pillar of industry, it has built relationships that have served the company and its customers well.

As a service company, Rozum knows that the company’s growth is sustained by the level of service it provides. With customers in industry, the military, and power and energy, there is no room for error and M.S.A. Inc. safely delivers freight on time, every time.

The growth M.S.A. Inc. has experienced is evident in its expanding footprints, both geographic and physical. Rozum highlights its assets across the U.S.: “We just purchased fifty-five acres and built in Laredo, Texas, which services our Mexican customers. I’ve got a fifteen-acre yard in Nashville, Tennessee, twenty-five acres here in Canton, Michigan, which is our home base, and a small five-acre yard in Thomson, Georgia.”

He adds, “Everything is secured, paved, lit, there’s security guards.” M.S.A. Inc. keeps security at a high level – with camera monitoring and secure grounds – not just for the safety of their own assets, but for when they offer on-site storage to customers. It’s about peace of mind.

Driving ahead
Further to security, customers can depend on M.S.A. Inc. twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, as dispatch is always on duty. The company operates super-efficiently thanks to investments in electronic logs and tablets, to improve communication between drivers and dispatchers, and reduce the paperwork. Workflow and effectiveness improves, and the drivers can keep their minds focused on the road.

Further to ensuring the best in terms of technology and equipment, M.S.A. Inc. has a stringent hiring and training process which helps it to secure best-in-class drivers, despite the challenging labor-market conditions it faces.

M.S.A. Inc. is in the fortunate position that drivers actively seek employment with the company, lessening the pressure to advertise or otherwise market its vacancies.

Nevertheless, Rozum says that “with the difficulty of finding over-the-road truck drivers these days, every day is a challenge to find truckers to work the eighty trucks that we run.” He reiterates, “I don’t want to be the biggest, I want to be the best,” which means, he says, that the people he hires need to be the best.

Like family, like home
When these new hires come to M.S.A. Inc. what they find is a company with a commitment to a culture that’s positive and family oriented, much of which Rozum simply attributes to having open lines of communication.

That’s certainly true, but there’s also much more to it. M.S.A. Inc. invests in drivers’ facilities complete with showers, washers and dryers; a comfortable lounge with televisions where drivers can relax before or after a long haul.

The company also hosts cookouts and other community-building events in appreciation of the efforts of its drivers. It also offers a profit-sharing program which undoubtedly helps driver buy-in to the family-oriented company culture.

As Rozum explains it, it’s not doctoral-level psychology. “Treat people like you want to be treated and things fall into place.” He also notes that without hard work and the employees, none of M.S.A. Inc.’s growth or success would be possible.

Rozum acknowledges that driving truck is a tough job, and naturally his priority is to take care of the drivers who represent the company across the geographic expanses it serves. It also follows that these cared-for drivers will likewise take better care of the customers upon which the company depends.

Drivers can enjoy personal, professional and monetary opportunities for growth at M.S.A. Inc. and the goal is that at the end of the day they are fulfilled by their career.

“I’ve got a dedicated staff of people that love their jobs, love what they do, and the success of a completed job is more [reward] to them than any monetary value could be,” explained Rozum – though M.S.A. Inc. drivers are well compensated for the job they do.

Care, concern, and performance
The care and concern that the company has for its employees is reflected in its support for the communities where they live. From annual support to charities like Toys for Tots to its efforts to establish a Veterans’ Memorial Garden this year, M.S.A. Inc. gives back where it can.

For a transportation services provider, reputation and demonstrated performance is everything – and that’s exactly why M.S.A. Inc. continues to secure repeat business with customers: it is a dependable partner where integrity overrides profit. “I’m not here to make a buck,” says Rozum, “I’m here to make sure the service level is provided to our customers.”

In this interview, Rozum emphasizes again and again that the goal isn’t to be the biggest, it is to be the best. To do so he will have to keep the best people around him, which includes his family – parents Jerry and Marion who acquired and built the company, and his sister Lisa who serves as controller – and then of course the extended family of employees and drivers who continue to drive value and safely deliver results for M.S.A. Inc. and its customers.

There’s every reason to expect that he will do just that.

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