Keeping Americans’ cars supplied with aftermarket parts and accessories requires hundreds of trucks and coordination. For more than 40 years, AutoZone has helped provide consumers with a place to find parts and more to keep their vehicles running.
With more than 400 tractors and 524 company drivers, AutoZone, North America's largest automotive parts and accessories retailer, is a 2023 FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year finalist. Those drivers help service AutoZone’s more than 6,200 U.S. retail locations. AutoZone is No. 497 on the new FleetOwner 500: Top Private Fleets list.
Catherine Gammill, AutoZone's director of supply chain transportation, credited her team for fulfilling the fleet's objectives to deliver from AutoZone distribution centers across the U.S. to its stores on time and safely.
"We do this with an amazing team of transportation professionals in our distribution centers and store support centers who manage rigorous schedules to deliver the right merchandise on time to our stores," she told FleetOwner before the awards presentation. "They train drivers on our safety culture so every 'AutoZoner' can go home the same way they came to work and always look for ways to be more efficient in every operation."
While many retailers turn to contracted freight services, Gammill said her company sees two advantages to running its own transportation system. “The first is that we have more control over the service we can provide the AutoZone stores,” she said. “Secondly, the fleet provides a cost advantage to using a third party to deliver.”
She referred to her distribution center team as “transportation stars.”
“Every DC has a team dedicated to delivering to stores and taking care of our drivers who are based at each of the DC locations,” Gammill explained. “They are the AutoZoners who make sure we meet our key performance indicators. We also have a small team of AutoZoners at the Store Support Center in Memphis who ensure the DCs are prepared to meet AutoZone needs and comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”
Like many successful fleet leaders, Gammill said safety is her team’s top priority. The fleet’s tractors have advanced safety systems, including video systems to coach drivers and improve operation behavior.
“We are also committed to reducing emissions by relentlessly working our routing and scheduling to reduce miles and consolidate freight,” she said.
AutoZone tractors use solar panels to help power their HVAC systems, and trailer solar panels help power liftgates. Gammill said that recent efficiency initiatives have saved the fleet more than 280,000 gallons of diesel annually.