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2021 Shipper of Choice Profile: Shaw Industries Group Inc.

Carpet, flooring giant has been a force in the private fleet world for decades

Shaw Industries is a Shipper of Choice, and a Vendor of Trust (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Presented by FreightWaves, in partnership with ArcBest, the Shipper of Choice award recognizes the manufacturers, distributors and retailers who do the best job of keeping the American economy moving by fighting driver detention, providing accessible facilities and understanding what it takes to remove inefficiencies from the supply chain.

Anyone with carpeting, flooring or synthetic turf — which is mostly everyone — has quite possibly done business with Shaw Industries. Founded in 1967 and based in Dalton, Georgia, about 75 miles northwest of Atlanta, privately held Shaw is a $6 billion powerhouse with operations across the world. It is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), the conglomerate controlled by the legendary investor and businessman Warren E. Buffett.

Shaw operates a private fleet of 800 power units, placing it within the top 60 private fleets in North America. More than 60% of those trucks are day cabs that make 10 to 15 deliveries per day to end customers, said Dean Orem, the company’s divisional vice president of global logistics. The rest are over-the-road and local interplant fleets, Orem said.

Truckload dominates Shaw’s transportation mix, with the company outsourcing 90% of its 2,000 weekly TL loads to its network of carrier partners, Orem said. Most of those shipments move from Shaw’s large hubs to its regional distribution centers. The company is not a big user of LTL and has cut back on rail service for its intermodal loads due to an increase in service issues, Orem said.

Decades of reliable service have earned customers’ trust in Shaw. So much so that many customers give Shaw’s drivers the keys to their stores so products can be delivered before the stores open for the day, Orem said.

In the wake of the global supply disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaw and its suppliers will engage in more U.S.-based manufacturing, Orem said. In addition, Shaw will broaden its supply sourcing base to lessen its reliance on a small group of countries, he said. 

“We are actively looking to make what is already a very agile supply chain team even more agile, while at the same time hardening it against disruptions,” he said.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.