Herreman Keeps Loads Rolling

May 8, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
Print
Text Size:
A A
GRAND HAVEN — Donn Herreman knows cargo. In fact, you could even say he’s a “master.” The executive vice president of Cargo-Master Inc., a third party logistics firm in Holland, has been in the business for the last 15 years.

Cargo-Master was founded in 1978 in Dallas, way before Herreman decided to come on board. It wasn’t until 1993 that Herreman opened a Spring Lake office with only five people. That year the company posted $7 million in revenues and then soared up to $15 million last year.

But Cargo-Master isn’t the only company Herreman has taken to the top. From 1986 to September 1993, Herreman ran Northland Express Transport where he more than doubled its gross sales.

Today, Cargo-Master employs 20, deals in 65,000 truckloads a year, brings in nearly $100 million in gross sales and has outgrown its Spring Lake office and moved to Grand Haven.

Now, with two partners, Jack Rhodes and Doug Clark, in Dallas, Herreman runs the Grand Haven office from which the third party logistics company operates.

“We broker loads to companies. Basically we have contracts with about 1,500 truck companies; we hire these trucking companies to pick up and deliver loads from various companies across the country,” said Herreman.

Cargo-Master ships dry, refrigerated, flatbeds and food products to many companies. “We ship a lot of food products, juices for Minute Maid, Old Orchards — and our largest customer is Perrigo Co.,” added Herreman, referring to the Allegan-based manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

But a lot has changed in 15 years, too.

For example, Cargo-Master is now conducting business on the Internet. With this new capability, truck companies can go to the Web site, www.cargo-master.com, and look at available loads.

“This way they can see what is available and where it needs to go. Sometimes there are drivers who are taking a load to California but want something to bring back. They can go on our Web site and see what loads we have available and that way get paid for their drive back,” Herreman said.

Herreman feels his company’s biggest advantage is the fact that it can customize loads and delivery for customers. “We can adapt our way of doing business for our customers. If they want us to transport one load a year or 100 loads a year, we can work that out. We make our living in transporting products,” he added.

Besides customization Herreman said customer service is another key point of the business. “Our customers are No. 1 and we demonstrate that with things we have to offer. For example, competitive pricing. We are able to do this because we have contracts with so many different trucking companies that we are able to call one if the other can’t do it. We will never miss a load,” assured Herreman.

Although Herreman runs the Grand Haven office, there are numerous offices across the country, which also keeps prices down due to close travel from any of the office locations.

“For us the lakeshore has been a great advantage for many reasons. One (is) the great people we have been able to choose from for employees. There is a highly skilled work force over here and they all share our views on business strategy,” said Herreman. “The second is the close proximity to other cities. We are just up the highway from Holland, Grand Rapids and Chicago. The third reason is because this area is growing by leaps and bounds in the business proximity. We feel we can stay and be successful here for years to come.”

Living in Grand Haven all of his life, Herreman is one to know how the area has truly changed. While business occupies most of his time, he still makes room for such passions as basketball and other sports. “I also play a lot of golf with my wife and children, and support the area sports teams,” Herreman said. “We are involved in the community, are a part of the community, and I think that helps us to know our customers better. They are the people we want to serve to the best of our ability.”           

Recent Articles by Katy Rent

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus