Ocean State Job Lot’s private fleet reduces costs and improves safety

Ocean State Job Lot operates one of the largest distribution centers in Rhode Island, with 1.3 million square feet of storage space, 134 doors and 88,000 pallet positions. Founded in 1977, it is a growing, privately held discount retail chain with 153 stores in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The company’s private fleet, which is expanding as dependence on third-party carriers decreases, is a key contributor to its success. OSJL’s fleet consists of 70 CDL Class A drivers, 63 power units, mainly consisting of day cabs, some sleeper cabs, 588 dry vans, two refrigerated trucks, one flatbed and 88 container chassis.

“Our fleet oversees 100% of outbound shipments and manages 56-60% of inbound shipments,” said Jeff Smith, senior manager of transportation and logistics at OSJL. “During 2023, we made 16,975 deliveries, loaded 2,107 containers and coordinated a total of 3,000 inbound shipments, using a mix of our private fleet and third-party services.”

OSJL has approximately 5,600 employees and generates annual revenues of more than $800 million by offering branded merchandise at clearance prices. The company’s mission is to provide customers with exceptional value while supporting countless charities. Through its Charitable Foundation, it provides relief to the hungry, homeless, veterans and military families, animal rescue, child welfare, healthcare advancements, support of the arts and education.

Also see: Petty: A champion driver is building a private fleet

Giving back in many ways

The OSJL Charitable Foundation is a philanthropic leader in the retail industry. In 2023, the foundation supported 710 nonprofits through its Close to Our Heart program, which allows OSJL store teams to make decisions about local charities to support.

As part of the Three Square Meals program, the foundation provided millions of meals to individuals and families struggling with food insecurity. Through its Buy-Give-Get programs, the foundation partnered with OSJL customers to deliver a record 63,000 warm jackets to veterans and 36,000 backpacks to children of military families. The company donates pet supplies, pet food and cash donations to more than 190 animal welfare organizations through its To the Rescue initiative.

The OSJL Charitable Foundation also supports natural disaster relief, including hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, and is steadfastly committed to global humanitarian relief.

OSJL is committed to growing, developing and supporting its diverse and talented team. The company has been named a Best Employer four times by a renowned national business magazine, named the Best Managed Company in the U.S. three times by Deloitte, and a Sustainability Leader twice by Business Intelligence Group. It won the Rhode Island Trucking Association’s 2023 Fleet of the Year Award.

Building a safe fleet through dedication

Smith, a 20-year veteran of the Rhode Island Air National Guard, is widely regarded as an expert in fleet management. He has been actively involved with the National Private Truck Council for over a decade and regularly speaks at NPTC conferences and webcasts.

“I really enjoy being part of the council, which is one of my favorite organizations,” Smith said. “There is so much ROI available. The biggest value for me is the open network environment with hundreds of fleet professionals that I have met over the years. The benchmark reports are invaluable to our fleet operations.”

Ensuring safety is crucial. A dedicated transport safety manager was appointed specifically for the fleet, who also installed cameras in the cabins. In addition, a training initiative for master drivers has been launched and drivers are undergoing training using the Smith system.

“We implement a systematic equipment replacement schedule, establish a comprehensive accident investigation protocol and prioritize high-performance truck specifications such as disc brakes,” Smith explains. “Over the past year, our vigilant cost management in areas such as drayage, detention and demurrage has delivered savings of more than $1 million. However, our most important challenge ahead revolves around compliance with the 2027 EPA regulations regarding NOx emissions.”

The recipient of prestigious awards and accolades, including recognition for fleet management excellence, OSJL continues to grow, innovate and support its dedicated team.

Smith embodies this commitment and leverages his expertise and experience to advance the company’s fleet operations while focusing on safety, innovation and compliance. As OSJL looks to the future, it remains committed to its core values ​​of integrity, excellence and service, and strives to make a difference in the lives of customers, employees and communities.

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