“Challenging” might be too kind of a word for the complexities of moving freight and equipment across North America in the years following the pandemic. But CRH Americas, the 2023 FleetOwner 500 Private Fleet of the Year, shows how businesses that keep transportation in-house can thrive.
“If you look industry-wide, having a private fleet just keeps getting better every year—because we keep dialing in and peeling the onion back—as we try to improve both delivery metrics and customer service,” Randy Maddox, CRH’s mobile equipment category manager, told FleetOwner.
He credited his team’s work to improve its reputation on the outside and inside by working with drivers to create goals and design a desirable fleet that others want to work for. “Our private fleet has flourished in that aspect,” Maddox said.
CRH is one of the largest building materials solutions companies on the planet. With more than 75,000 employees at 3,160 operating locations in 29 countries, the company is an integral partner in infrastructure and commercial building projects in North America and Europe.
“In everything we do, people are our priority,” Maddox said. “Our safety-first approach is paramount for our drivers, including third-party drivers that pick up from and deliver to our sites, as well as all employees, our customers, delivery site personnel, and the general public.”
The global company has more than 65,000 pieces of mobile equipment, including trailers, forklifts, skid steers, and off-highway equipment. CRH has more than 18,000 vehicles in the fleet, including 11,000 commercial vehicles. It ranks No. 14 on the FleetOwner 500: Top Private Fleets of 2023.
“We also pride ourselves in the unmatched level of customer service our team provides and their ability to build enduring relationships,” he continued. “We know the number one metric year after year that reveals the reason people choose a private fleet is the differentiating level of customer service it provides, and we believe in providing the highest levels of customer service.”
He added that increased conversations with CRH customers, suppliers, and OEMs helped it prepare for "downstream challenges" the company and its private fleet faced. "Coupling all this information together allowed us to keep our fleets running without compromising safety," Maddox explained. "We worked together with our suppliers and our customers to find new and alternative ways to continue the high level of customer service they were accustomed to."
Maddox called his drivers and technicians "the lifeline, the blood of the transportation industry." He said the drivers are CRH's de facto marketing department. "They're the ones who see our customers," he emphasized. "They are the face of the company because they're delivering our product. We absolutely love our drivers, and it's imperative to listen to what their needs are."