Con-way Freight unveils unified operating model

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Con-way Freight Inc., a less-than-truckload freight transportation company and subsidiary of Con-way Inc., announced Wednesday, Aug. 22, that it will combine its three regional operating companies into one centralized operation headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., to improve the customer experience and streamline its processes. This move marks a continuation of Con-way Freight’s vision to deliver a single enterprise brand that creates maximum efficiency and offers customers a comprehensive service portfolio.

“This transformation will improve Con-way Freight’s performance by enabling us to anticipate and respond to customer needs more quickly and intelligently,” said John G. Labrie, president of Con-way Freight. “We are a great company that will become an extraordinary company by aligning and unifying management and processes around customers’ needs while improving our cost structure in an increasingly competitive LTL market.”

The company had operated under three units — Con-way Freight-Central, Con-way Freight-Southern and Con-way Freight-Western — since its inception 24 years ago. Under the old business model, each region had individual goals, practices and pricing models. Con-way Freight said the evolution into a new, centralized entity enables it to adopt uniform new processes and best practices designed to make the organization more responsive to the market and to customers throughout North America. The streamlined structure will reduce complexity, while the concurrent reductions in overhead will be leveraged into continuous improvement and innovation, Labrie said.

Costs for the reorganization are estimated to range from $12 million to $16 million and are expected to be incurred during the remainder of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008. Con-way will update its full-year 2007 guidance as appropriate to reflect the effect of the Con-way Freight reorganization, and the effects of its pending acquisition of Contract Freighters Inc., which is expected to close during the third quarter.

Labrie emphasized that under the unified management structure, the customer will continue to receive the same outstanding, industry-leading service product that has been Con-way’s hallmark since its founding. The high-performance reliability of Con-way’s proven LTL network model — underscored by the integrity and operational excellence of the company’s well-trained and highly skilled workforce — remains a prime differentiating factor and competitive strength for the company, he said.

“We have arrived at a crucial moment in our rich history that will position Con-way Freight to better meet the needs of the marketplace through vision, growth and operational excellence,” said Labrie. “The vital evolutionary step of improving our organizational model in this environment of ever-increasing competition will sharpen our execution and enable us to deliver the most nimble, forward-thinking, customer-responsive option available to worldwide customers.”

The parent company recently announced Labrie as Con-way Freight’s new president. Joining him on the new Con-way Freight executive management team are David L. Miller, chief operating officer; Michael D. Yuenger, vice president of finance; J. Edwin Conaway, executive vice president of sales; Sean M. Devine, vice president of engineering; Manoj Chopra, vice president of pricing; and Scott J. Engers, vice president of employee relations.

Miller becomes chief operating officer from his former position as president of Con-way Freight-Central. A 30-year veteran of the trucking industry, he joined Con-way in 1983 as a freight operations supervisor. Prior positions included vice president of strategic planning and president of Con-way Freight-Southern.

Yuenger has served as vice president and controller of Con-way Freight since 2005. An executive with more than 20 years of transportation industry experience, he joined the Con-way organization in 1991 as controller of Con-way Freight-Central.

A 20-year Con-way employee, Conaway has served as vice president of sales for Con-way Freight since 2005. Previous positions included president of Con-way NOW and vice president of operations for Con-way Freight-Southern.

Devine joined Con-way Inc. as vice president of engineering and supply management earlier this year. Prior to that, he served as vice president of consulting services for Emptoris, and provided consulting in support of Con-way’s procurement transformation and other strategic initiatives.

Dr. Chopra joined Con-way this month from RadioShack Corp., where he was director of pricing, demand planning and strategic analysis. His career experience includes senior positions with FedEx Services and i2 Technologies.

Engers joined the organization in 1984 as vice president, corporate counsel and assistant secretary for Con-way Transportation Services. In 2005, he was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel for Con-way Inc. He serves on the board of directors of the American Trucking Associations’ Litigation Center and is a member of the California and Michigan bar associations.