Over the years, I have had the thrill of watching our customers and employees prosper. As the business climate evolves, we do too, by expanding our suite of supply chain solutions to meet new demands. This trend continued more than ever throughout 2023.
New Buildings Provide More Space for Our Customers
Nothing embodies growth like increasing the amount of quality space available to support our customers. In 2023, we expanded our Mt. Elliott St., Detroit location by 700,000-square-feet and moved into a new 300,000-square-foot facility in Brownstown, MI. This expansion provided us with the opportunity to add more than 25 new associates to the Evans family and to provide new and existing customers with valuable capacity.
Flexibility is critical to support growth. Many existing customers have expanded their partnership with Evans to support high inventory levels and high-volume throughput. Customers trusting Evans with their supply chain operations during critical growth periods speak volumes about our quality of service. It is reassurance that our dedicated associates enable Evans to continue to exceed expectations as a reliable 3PL partner.
New Partnerships & Technology
Evans Distribution Systems continues to diversify its new customer base as well. This year we onboarded customers from a wide variety of industries including solar energy, furniture, chemicals, building materials, and candy. Each new industry has unique requirements that challenge us to develop custom solutions. We have been able to develop people, processes, and technologies to meet new customer requirements.
In 2023, Evans introduced a drone-based inventory management system. The drones fly at night, to capture barcode images reconciling the data captured within our Warehouse Management System (WMS) to ensure the highest levels of inventory accuracy.
Alden Logistics, our asset-based transportation division, is in the process of implementing a new Transportation Management System (TMS), Trimble. The state-of-the-art software digitizes shipping documentation, thereby increasing accuracy and transparency. The driver tablets that connect to the TMS have made our drivers more efficient and productive throughout the day. Communication from our dispatch team to drivers and customers has improved since the soft launch. We look forward to realizing even more improvements from this software in the new year.
New Internal Developments
Evans implemented an in-house truck mechanic team in 2023 enabling our transportation division to expedite many of the repairs required to keep our fleet moving safely. The change has had a significant impact on our drivers who have relied on Evans’ support out on the road.
Ongoing training and development of the Evans team continues to be a top priority for Evans. This year, our quality team, working closely with Human Resources and leadership, has stepped up Evans’ online training program across all levels and departments. The training includes safety topics and educational videos that standardize our operations and processes. It also provides an excellent platform to maintain work instructions as customer requirements change. The company-wide training effort has been extremely successful, simultaneously supporting associate development and quality of service. These and other important quality initiatives will continue to be a priority in 2024.
We have also said goodbye to valuable team members who have been with Evans for 30+ years. Evans’ Chief Marketing Officer, Leslie Ajlouny has transitioned to part-time phasing into retirement after nearly 34 years at Evans. Additionally, several drivers from Merchants Forwarding and long-time forklift drivers retired in 2023. Retirements are always bittersweet. It’s hard to see valued team members leave, but we remain grateful for their contributions and friendship over the years and we are happy to see them enjoy well-deserved retirements.
As I look ahead to 2024, I remain enthusiastic and optimistic about our future. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication from our associates and the trust and partnership of our customers. We are all looking forward to another exciting year ahead!