Chamber Honors Blue Ribbon Transport With Leading Business of the Year Award

Blue Ribbon Transport (BRT) was presented the Leading Business of the Year 2016 award by the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce today, in recognition of our impressive and continued growth as a dynamic logistics firm based in the City of Lawrence.

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Thank you to Cameron Starnes, Director of Economic Development, City of Lawrence for nominating us!  He did such a fabulous job capturing the BRT history and culture his nomination, we’re sharing it word for word!

img_5003“BRT was first incorporated in 1996 with only 3 employees and now employs 85 and is headquartered on Historic Fort Harrison. BRT was initially created as a traffic management entity for Caito Foods, but struck out on its own in 2004. Indeed, much of BRT’s growth has occurred in the last 5-6 years as it has harnessed logistics technology  in order to offer more affordable and more convenient freight logistics services to its clients. In 2010, BRT had 16 employees, which count had almost doubled to 24 by 2012, doubled again to 48 in 2014, and nearly doubled yet again to its current count of 85 employees in 2016.

BRT re-located to Fort Harrison in 2012, and took a creative and visionary approach to retrofitting a former mule barn to serve as its offices. No doubt there were numerous challenges in relation to tackling such a project, but BRT succeeded in re-making the former barn into a unique and vibrant business headquarters. While expansion plans are always sensitive, BRT anticipates its innovative approach to logistics will lead to future growth in the field. On the revenue side, BRT boasts double digit increases year over year, which has fueled its impressive employment growth.

Supply Chain Advantage is one example of how BRT’s focus on innovation continues to carry the company forward. Through its Consultative Supply Chain Design Team, BRT has been able to take its experience and expertise to the market in a consulting role to assess, analyze, propose, and implement supply chain solutions for its clients.

BRT prides itself on adding value to its clients’ businesses through being able to tackle and solve complex supply chain puzzles and maximize efficiency. Additionally, BRT is a proud member of the SmartWay Transport Partnership through the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which seeks to advance sustainability and carbon accountability in the logistics sector. According to EPA figures, SmartWay Partners have saved 170.3 million barrels of oil since 2004. BRT is also a member of the national Transportation Intermodal Association, and was recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal in 2016 for its impact on the local logistics market and as a Top 100 Third Party Logistics and Cold Storage provider in 2015 by Food Logistics, a national publication.

Importantly, BRT is also an engaged and valuable community partner, participating in Greater Lawrence Chamber events including community clean up events, Toys for Tots, and military support efforts. Moreover, BRT has hosted a blood drive, contributed to the Belzer Middle School Clothing Drive, provided Christmas for a Belzer family, sponsors the YMCA, contributes monetary support for the Children’s Car Seat Program in Carmel, Indiana, and participates in the March of Dimes, Indianapolis Alzheimer’s event, and Parkinson’s Disease events.

While the City of Lawrence certainly appreciates the growth and economic benefit BRT brings to the City, it is important to point out that BRT is also a company that gives back to the community through financial contributions and volunteerism in support of a wide variety of worthy causes.

The City of Lawrence is proud to be the home of Blue Ribbon Transport, as well as home to several of its employees. In recognition of its history in Lawrence and its innovative and growing business, we are once again very pleased to nominate Blue Ribbon for the Leading Business of the Year award.”



Ready, Set, FSMA!

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“We at BRT are fully FSMA compliant and are taking steps to stay ahead of our competition”
Trisha Monroe – Senior Optimization & Implementation Consultant, Supply Chain Advantage

Customers in today’s society are educating themselves on food safety and regulations in regards to their local supermarkets. What they may not be aware of is supplier, transportation, and warehousing procedures that the product must go through before it gets placed on the store shelves. With recent health recalls (Dole, Blue Bell, etc.) the US Government and the FDA are cracking down hard on food suppliers and implementing FSMA. By April 2017, the majority of all food suppliers will either need to be on board with these safety regulations or close their doors and noncompliance can lead to major penalties. The real struggle is not the process, but the regulations that need to be met.

FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) transportation compliance will be in full effect as of April 2017. FSMA will focus on larger transportation companies and work their way down. Majority of large transportation companies are changing current procedures. From research and studies, researchers found that more than 50% of companies are undertaking these major steps utilizing internet resources, while nearly 30% are seeking external guidance. Once FSMA is rolled out, all parties involved in the supply chain will be held accountable. Vendors, shippers, receivers, and carriers will all need to maintain documentation that detail any time product is handled, all temperature recordings throughout the life of the product, as well as the use of clean and sealed trailers. Documentation is a key factor in meeting FSMA requirements. In fact, FSMA compliance requires that all documentation have the ability to be provided within 24 hours in the case of an audit by FDA. Luckily, most companies say that they can currently retrieve documentation within the time frame, and half of all companies foresee the ability to be audit ready when FSMA is enacted.

What does your company have set in place? For example, Blue Ribbon Transport(BRT), a 3PL organization based in Indianapolis, IN, is fully FSMA compliant and is taking steps to stay ahead of their competition. With partnerships ranging from large produce distributors, large dairy manufacturers, to SQF Certified (Safe Quality Food) storage facilities, BRT knows the industry from supplier to end customer. Blue Ribbon Transport holds its carriers to a higher standard and provides a customer satisfaction guarantee. In addition to this groundwork, Blue Ribbon also offers consulting services regarding FMSA compliance as a resource for its customers. Ultimately, companies will need to do research, understand the new procedures, and ask the questions before FSMA goes live. Food safety regulation changes are on the horizon, and everyone must be on board when FDA puts them into effect.

Trisha Monroe – Senior Optimization & Implementation Consultant, Supply Chain Advantage



Director of HR, Jamie Meyer, Explains BRT’s Engagement Committee

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When and why was the engagement committee formed?

“As BRT continued to grow, the leadership team wanted to ensure that the company never lost sight of employee engagement nor the importance of employee morale.  The engagement committee was formed in 2015 and holds representation of all the company departments.”

What is the primary role(s) of the engagement committee?

“The main purpose for this committee is to vet through all employee suggestions, decide and manage company and community events/involvement and serve as the leadership team’s sounding board on decisions that may affect employee morale or how a decision may impact employees.   The committee also helps management prioritize what’s important to employees as far as change/improvements.”

How does a BRT Employee become a member of the committee?

“The Director of HR is the chair of the committee.  There is a member of the leadership team that rotates into or out of the committee each year.  This allows the leadership team to stay engaged & further understand any challenges employees may be facing.  The members are representatives of all BRT departments to ensure the “voice” is heard from the entire company.   In January, the members can either accept their seat for the upcoming year or choose to rotate out.   In the event that someone chooses to withdraw, a message is sent to all employees for interest.  All interested employees must submit a brief statement on why they would be an asset to the committee as a member.  Once the statements have been collected, the committee makes selections (based on department, statement, & current performance).”

What activities has the engagement committee planned for the employees of BRT?

“The engagement committee plans diverse activities for our employees to participate in inside and outside of the work place; during and sometimes after business hours.  Our activities range from company lunch pitch ins, community involvement, contests, family picnics, and recognition events.  Details and pictures of many of our events can be found on our company blog under the title BRT Culture and on our Facebook page.”

How has having an engagement committee in place impacted the moral & office culture at BRT?

“The engagement committee has a goal of 80% of employees having a “thumbs up” morale!   Depending on the current events of the business, we have seen this number average around that mark for the past 2 years.  The committee is recognized as a great way to get involved and the employees really do feel like the company listens to their needs.

Although the committee will sometimes decline a request, employees are at least given a voice.”

Based on feedback from your employees, are you aware of any other company in your industry or outside your industry that has a dedicated group of employees to volunteer to meet and plan activities for the rest of the employees?

“Although many companies do have an “engagement committee”, it is very apparent that BRT’s committee has a true pulse and vision.  The committee meets bi-weekly and their work doesn’t go unnoticed….. this is especially noticed by employees that have worked with other companies before joining the BRT family.   Companies may have an employee event once a year, but BRT holds an event or opportunity to support the community once per month!!  We are very proud and blessed to have a company that truly gives to employees.  Whether it be NIKE company polos at 30 days of employment or annual tickets to the Indiana State Fair, we focus on family — both external and company!!”