For Tractor Supply Co., the peak sales season begins in March and flows through June. Traditionally, the company’s five distribution centers handled the freight surge by flexing up trailer capacity. Until this year, the company had limited means to determine if its DCs actually needed more trailers, says Todd Kane, carrier operations manager.
Requests for more trailers are handled by the corporate office in Brentwood, Tenn. Tractor Supply Co., the nation’s largest retail ranch and farm chain, leases all its trailers. The company contracts with a third party to transport its freight from suppliers to the DCs en route to more than 750 retail stores nationwide.
This year, the company accurately determined that only one DC actually needed more trailers, and not because sales had dropped off, Kane says. The company manages its trailer fleet by using the trailer monitoring service provided by its trailer leasing vendor, Xtra Lease. St. Louis-based Xtra Lease offers an untethered trailer management service from Qualcomm at no extra cost, says Steve Zaborowski, the company’s senior vice president.
“We were finding trailers all over the U.S.,” Kane says. “Some had been sitting on our property for four to six months.”