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Rob Penner, President & CEO
December 23, 2015

President: Base Rate Increase Adds To Total Compensation Package


President and COO, Rob Penner, addresses the company at Bison's Annual Awards Dinner. President and COO, Rob Penner, addresses the company at Bison's Annual Awards Dinner.

Bison will make another major investment in our Company Drivers beginning January 3, 2016, increasing base rates across most of our fleet. Owner Operator increases will be announced in the first quarter.

The pay increase comes at a time when many companies in our industry are holding the line in an attempt to manage costs. We’re doing the opposite, raising pay to make sure we attract and retain the best Drivers in the industry and keep them productive.

More than just a simple pay raise, this base rate increase is another example of our commitment to providing an excellent total compensation package, ensuring our Drivers are able to maximize their earning potential at Bison.

There's More Than Just Base Rate

It's easy to market when you have a high base rate, as it’s the first number drivers see when choosing a carrier. But the base rate is irrelevant if drivers aren’t getting consistent miles or the corresponding accessorial pay to go with them.

We recognize base rate is not everything. If you pay top rate but don't provide miles, don't get drivers home or don’t treat them with respect, they’re not going to stay. Total compensation is important and providing steady work is critical. Our Drivers run 12,000 miles per month, whereas they might only get 10,000 with a competitor. 

rsz_base_rate_increase_graphic This is an actual Bison settlement sheet reflecting our new $0.39 base rate. As you can see, this Driver makes an additional $0.21 per mile in bonus and accessorial pay.

With a strong base rate and consistent mileage at our core, we have created a comprehensive pay for performance strategy. Built on incentives, our strategy provides Drivers with the opportunity to increase their income in a variety of ways.

Our pay structure rewards Drivers for doing more challenging work, providing them with opportunities to earn regional premiums, weekend and night premiums, long combination vehicle rates and more.

Our customers are willing to pay more for services like these and we’re happy to reward our Drivers for providing them.

For example, in the same 10 hours a prairie driver may run 600 miles, a driver in the Northeast may only be able to cover 400 miles. Clearly these two drivers need to be compensated differently. Bison understands that and has designed compensation packages that reward Drivers accordingly, ensuring they earn as much as they possibly can for the work they’re doing.

We balance base pay with all of the transactional pay and lane and premium pay to make sure that, compared to any driver in any other company doing what they’re doing, our Drivers will be the highest earning.

Impact On The Business

While this is a major investment for our organization, we understand that Drivers are at the heart of our business and see this as an important step to set the table for our next level of growth.

In investing in our Drivers, we continue to see the benefit of a stable, committed and happy fleet. We have the lowest turnover in the industry and it’s no coincidence that we are also the Safest Fleet in North America.

A dedicated team of Drivers is important to our customers as well, as it enables us to deliver the highest level of service. For many customers, our Drivers are the face of our organization. Having people behind the wheel that our dispatchers, planners, and customer service team can trust to deliver the load and understand the customer's requirements is key to our success.

Why Now?

As for why we’ve decided to do this in a soft market, when most organizations would do the exact opposite, the reason is simple: we’ve been able to create efficiency gains and we’re investing those gains in our people through increased wages.

As an organization, we chose to do this without expecting to get an equal return from our customers. We’re paying for this rate increase through efficiency gains. We’re going to continue to drive productivity, reduce maintenance costs, take the savings we generate internally and invest them in our Drivers.

The more efficient we can be, the more competitive we can be, the safer we can be and the better we can service our customers.

We said we would take cost out and we’ve taken cost out. We said we would share and now we’re sharing. Pay for efficiency strategies are here to stay.

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