In Case Studies, CultureTalk, Leadership

Transportation is a tough business; challenges are many.

For starters, commercial carriers are on the front end of fluctuations in the economy and fuel, so when things go south, they are the first to feel it. They must comply with intense state and federal regulations that might leave your head spinning. Upfront costs include expensive equipment that takes time to turn a profit. And the industry faces a severe driver shortage; truck drivers are hard to find, and even harder to retain.

Enter Nussbaum Transportation.

A national truckload carrier, Nussbaum has evolved through numerous market changes and is now celebrating its 70th year in business. While the recent recession brought down less-stable trucking operations, Nussbaum has grown an average of 25% a year since 2008. In 2014, the company opened a state-of-the-art facility in central Illinois through which they operate almost 300 trucks, servicing some of America’s best-known brands, such as Caterpillar, Electrolux and Pella Windows.

People are taking notice.

In addition to multiple and repeat industry awards (Best Fleet to Driver For Finalist, Top 100 Trucker, Top 50 Green Fleets, Innovator of the Month and Fleet of the Year), Nussbaum trucks have been featured on national ads and videos for equipment manufacturers Freightliner and Wabash Trailers. Company CEO, Brent Nussbaum has become a media favorite and frequent panelist at industry events.

It’s not unusual for executives from other companies to call Brent requesting to learn his secrets about building a successful operation. But Brent isn’t keeping any secrets. He chalks it all up to the culture they’ve created at Nussbaum.

My father founded our company on a simple idea,” says Brent, “If you take care of your people, the rest will take care of itself.”

Corporate Culture in Action

That taking-care-of-people principle guides every decision at Nussbaum and over-time, it has created a company culture where employees, drivers, vendors and even customers are inspired to give their very best to the relationship.

While it can be hard to define, here are three examples of why organizational culture is so important and how it can be experienced at Nussbaum.

1) Technology, Equipment and Program Innovations

People who love their jobs are inclined to make them even better. Empowered to contribute in real ways, employees across the company have created enviable advancements.

  • The operations team has worked directly with equipment and parts manufacturers to streamline equipment in ways that save fuel;
  • The maintenance department helped spec an industry-first square-shaped maintenance building that maximizes space and minimizes equipment downtime.
  • The IT and HR department have joined forces to build a pay-for-performance system that adjusts measurements to real-time road conditions.

2) Buildings that Create Balance

What started as a conversation about how to expand the maintenance operation evolved into a beautiful new campus with some most architecturally unique buildings that central Illinois and the trucking industry have ever seen.

“We wanted to build a place where drivers and employees would feel comfortable, appreciated and – in this fast-paced industry – centered and calm,” says Brent.

This vision is expressed through every detail — from views of the pond to employee lounges that are stocked with fresh fruit each week.

3) Celebrating What They Stand For

Culture in action

Today Nussbaum is taking their people-first message to the streets, literally.

“I’m truly excited about this trailer campaign,” says Brent, “It beautifully portrays what we stand for here.”

New trailers with full-length photography have just been introduced as part of the company’s “Celebrating Faith & Family” campaign. Designed in partnership with Allegory and award-winning photographer Sean F. Boggs, the images were shot in Colorado and feature real families spending time together.

“We want to improve the lives of each person we interact with,” says Brent, “Regardless of the type of interaction, we want others to be in a better place for having done business with our company.”

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