SIMPLIFYING THE FIRST AND LAST MILE FOR OUR BAP CUSTOMERS
As a short line carrier, Patriot Rail & Ports has the unique opportunity to understand and support our customers’ businesses every day. We help our customers through the most crucial part of their product’s rail journey, the first and last mile. The work is hard, but the relationships we develop with our customers makes it extremely rewarding. At Patriot, we strive to make every one of our customers feel like their cars are the most important ones. We love what we do and pride ourselves on being easy to do business with while we do it.
We simplify doing business with our company in many ways. We maintain flexibility with customer requests when possible. We communicate effectively and often to ensure we are on the same page with our customers. Finally, we put the right people in place and give them the resources they need to do their job.
Nick Tharp, Patriot’s Assistant Vice President of Transportation, recognizes the value of our teams on the ground. “Our Operations Managers in each location ensure our effectiveness,” he says. “They not only meet with customers face to face, but they also get on calls for special projects often. They treat their location as their own business unit.”
That sense of ownership makes a big difference in how our teams interact with and service our customers.
People Make It Easy to Do Business with Patriot
Matt Mavrinac is our Operations Manager at the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway (BAP) in Montana. Matt is a do-it-all railroad (and military) veteran who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He embodies the ownership mindset Nick Tharp was speaking to.
Matt leads his team by example and always makes sure customer needs are met or exceeded. He makes sure his customers know him well, have his cell phone number, and are entirely comfortable using it. If a customer has an issue, they know to call Matt first.
Leading a lean operation, Matt is aware of every aspect of the BAP. He can quickly provide a solution if a Patriot’s customer has a need that can be accommodated by the BAP.
Our Flexibility Makes It Easy for You to Do Business with Patriot
Class I Carriers have a rigid schedule to keep. It is understandable considering the distances they cover. The train runs, and if you miss it, hopefully, there will be room on the next one. The BAP refuses to operate this way. Of course, we must work within some parameters, but we make every effort to accommodate our customers.
When a local mining company, who is a primary customer of the BAP, was having difficulty getting cars back from port, we ended up with a pileup of cars all at once in the yard. They still needed to move the product, so they requested additional runs. Instead of merely saying no based on time and speed restrictions, the BAP team came up with a solution to get cars to the mining company without impacting other customers’ business.
Special projects are not uncommon for the BAP. Many customers take advantage of the railway’s large storage yard. Car owners often don’t have space for large scale maintenance, but the BAP does. One customer needed to paint 150 cars. Patriot and the BAP team determined their exact needs and made every arrangement and accommodation so they could get the job done.
If a problem can be solved safely, Patriot will always find a way to do so. Or, as Nick Tharp says, “We have the capability so we will go to whatever extent is necessary to accommodate a customer’s request.”
Communication Makes Doing Business with Patriot Easy
Matt Mavrinac takes great pride in knowing his customers well. He went to school with some of them. They all have his cell phone number if they need it. Healthy relationships make for smoother interactions.
If there is an issue or question, customers know to call Matt first. “If they run into a problem on the rail side, they call, and we hash everything out,” Matt says. “If I can’t answer their question, I can direct them to the right person who can.” Customers enjoy knowing they have a point person who doesn’t let problems linger.
On the flip side, if a train is interchanged to BAP that requires extra switching and may cause a delay, Matt makes his customers aware that their cars may be running late immediately. This effective communication breeds goodwill and builds an even stronger customer relationship.
We appreciate our customers at Patriot Rail & Ports. We are more than their rail carrier; we are their partner in advancing their business. As their partner, we strive every day to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with us. To do this, we keep communication strong and deliver creative, innovative solutions to solve our customers’ problems.