During late 2011, in the midst of the already busy harvest season, LTI, Inc. Sunnyside service center set a new line-haul record. In a single day, drivers hauled 42 loads of milk, 13 loads of milk product and 24 loads of wine. “Drivers and equipment from other regions of the company assisted Sunnyside in a tremendous display of team work to serve our customers during the period,” says LTI, Inc. President Brad Williamson.
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Lynden companies once again provided salt to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to keep roadways ice-free and safe for motorists. This past year, a ship departed from Chile loaded with 58,000 tons of road de-icer salt and arrived in Seattle where the salt was transferred to an Alaska Marine Lines barge for delivery to the Seattle dock. “It is great to see all the planning and teamwork come together in a perfectly timed delivery, ready for the first of the winter storms,” says Cindy Sheehan, Alaska Marine Lines Customer Service Manager.
The salt is delivered to various locations across the state throughout the winter months. LTI, Inc. is filling early season orders from its Moses Lake, WA stockpile and the Lynden, WA service center has been coordinating loads from a supplier in Vancouver, BC. LTI, Inc. drivers are also hauling salt in dump trucks when they return from deliveries of magnetite to Salt Lake City. In the photo above, Western Towboat’s vessel Western 7 heads to Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle to deliver the first load of salt this season. Photo courtesy of Paul Maxwell
Late last year, Milky Way began using a new onboard computer program with customer Darigold that has revolutionized the way information is shared between dairy farms and milk processing plants. “From a customer service perspective, this is a game-changer,” says LTI, Inc. President Brad Willliamson. “This new process is improving data accuracy and visibility and significantly reduces the amount of time it takes for milk producers (farmers) to view their volume and quality information online after we pick up the milk.”
The new farm pickup system captures loadsheet data (producer, weight, milk temperature and destination) in the truck’s onboard computer and sends it back to Darigold’s IT system within hours. In the past, this process could take as long as 10 days and records were kept by hand in logbooks. Loadsheet errors have been reduced by automated validation, and the process for the field staff and lab to receive loadsheet comments has been streamlined by distribution via email. “A long-standing goal of Darigold has been to deliver accurate quality and component data to our producer base on a timely basis. Receiving this information is a value-add to our producers; they can react with changes on the farm that result in maximizing quality milk deliveries,” explains Darigold Director Kim Kennedy.
“This initiative has been unique,” he adds. “Its success relied on a true strategic partnership between LTI, Inc. and Darigold with mutual sharing of risks and benefits. To date, we have seen substantial improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of information flow. Darigold management is very proud of this accomplishment.”
According to Brad, Milky Way drivers are key to the program’s success. “It was a real change for them, and we are proud of the way they responded. Our continued success with this project depends on the quality data they enter with each pickup.” The new system was developed and tested by Lynden Inc.’s IT Department and Milky Way. It will soon be available to other milk and bulk commodities customers.
Photo: Whatcom County Milky Way Driver Dick Stacey.
For the past 24 years, Lynden Tank Company has designed, manufactured and repaired stainless-steel tank trailers and components for Milky Way and LTI, Inc. The customized tanks are used to haul milk and other temperature-controlled loads like wine, fresh raspberries and sensitive liquid and haz-mat chemicals.
“We pride ourselves on having one of the lightest-weight and safest trailers on the market and some of the most talented and creative people in the field on our team. No commercial tank manufacturer has gone as far as we have to allow maximum payloads while maintaining durability, quality and integrity for our customers,” explains General Manager Len Kilmer.
Once all components have been built, it takes approximately 200 hours to assemble a trailer. “We spend about 60 percent of our time building tanks and 40 percent on repairs, maintenance and on building ladders, fenders and running gear. It’s a kick to see a flat sheet of stainless formed, welded, polished and then rolled out as a sleek, new light-weight set of tankers,” Len says.
Lynden Tank offers on-site service to Milky Way and LTI, Inc. drivers who can pull up to the shop in Lynden and get repairs or maintenance taken care of on the spot. The company also builds, stocks and ships replacement components for the tankers to all Milky Way locations, and a certification from the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors allows Lynden Tank to inspect, test and repair pressure tanks to Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.
This spring, Lynden Tank is collaborating with Western Washington University’s Engineering Department on a project to test the aerodynamics of its tanks. A student is creating a 3D drawing of a Lynden tank for use with a computer program called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He is also building a model of a tank for use in a wind tunnel. The program will indicate drag on the tank and analyze possible modifications to help increase fuel mileage.
“This is a great partnership and is just one more example of how we continually work to improve our product and add value for our customers,” Len says.
The Lynden Tank crew. From left: Juan Borjas, Brady Johnson, Corey Clausen, Scott Williamson, Len Kilmer, Stan Lutts, Cody Matter, Bruce Bouwman, Doug Bouwman and Brian Zweegman. Photo credit: Heidi Doornenbal.
When a Wal-Mart customer in Kenai places a carton of milk in their shopping cart, that milk made its way to Alaska via Lynden Transport – at least since September of this year. Thanks to innovations in equipment, customer service and value, Darigold chose Lynden Transport to move its milk and dairy products supplied to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kenai.
The product originates from the Darigold plant in Seattle, which is the same facility Milky Way delivers raw product to from dairy farms in Eastern Washington and other locations.
“We knew from our relationship with LTI, Inc. on milk hauling that this new project would be handled with the same professionalism,” says Wayne Cottrell, Darigold Senior Manager Supply Chain-Logistics. “Lynden has shipped over 100 trailers to date without issue. They understand the local dynamics unique to Alaska.”
According to Lynden Transport Northwest Regional Sales Manager Russ Walker, many Lynden employees were involved in securing the business, including Lee Peterson, Charlie Mottern, Jerry Wendorf, Paul Grimaldi, Mike Oliver, Alex McKallor and Jim Beck.
The project required plenty of meetings and planning ahead of time. Russ went to Alaska in September with Darigold representatives to meet the Anchorage operations team of Blaine Ghan, Jered Post and Andy Collins. “The folks at Darigold were very impressed with the enthusiasm and willingness to get the job done right by the Anchorage operations staff,” he says.
To move the dairy products efficiently, Lynden designed a three-axle 28-foot refrigerated trailer with the K-beam system to allow double stacking of packages. The new reefers will be capable of handling 45,000 pounds of net payload. Lynden trucks the Darigold packages to the dock in Tacoma where they are loaded onto steamship for delivery in Alaska. Lynden then completes truck delivery of the products to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart stores.
In August the first test shipment to Fairbanks went off without a hitch, but the day of the actual changeover was not so smooth.
Darigold experienced an unusual mechanical problem, and product that was supposed to be ready at 10 a.m. on the day of the sailing was not ready until around 10 p.m. “We had five loads to pick up in Seattle and needed to have through the gate at the steamship lines in Tacoma by 11 p.m.” Russ explains. “Kreig DeYoung was working operations that night and somehow got it done. I didn’t ask how, but it was Lynden ‘can do’ spirit at its best.”
Lynden Transport will carry Darigold products to Alaska for the next five years, per the new agreement. Darigold products also move via Alaska Marine Lines barges into Juneau and Ketchikan from Seattle, and Brown Line hauls Darigold products to Costco stores in Washington and Idaho.