Learning from Failure

Few want to discuss failure. Yet, failure is part of life—and business. It’s how we manage the tipping point that proves our mettle and helps us grow and improve best practices.

In our 45 years’ experience in logistics, we’ve never lost a priceless piece of art, damaged delicate equipment, or failed on an unusual project. At worst, we’ve encountered delays due to route changes beyond our control, or inclement weather. We still consider those wins because we keep our clients informed every step of the way. Every challenge is an opportunity to refine our tools and processes.

Refining the Process: Boat Hauling

On a recent shipment for a corporate executive, our driver contacted us the day after loading with a dreadful message: the captain’s chair was missing. There were no loose bolts, nor any indicators of transit issues. His best guess was that it had blown out or was stolen overnight while the drive team slept.

We notified the sales agent immediately. She worked to locate a replacement so that we could explain the situation with a solution ready such as “The seat was lost, but we have located a replacement.” But a replacement seat was nowhere to be found.

The agent called the shipper with the bad news and was surprised to hear, “There never was a captain’s chair on this boat.” While we were embarrassed not to have noticed that detail during loading, we were very relieved!

The failure was not having reviewed the photos taken by the driver during his initial inventory. This simple step would have provided clarity and saved unnecessary grief. We now study and log inventory photos from drivers at the start of every assignment so we can easily reference a visual manifest and ensure misunderstandings like the missing captain’s chair do not occur.

Want to know more?

To learn more about this project, and about how we can handle your specialty projects, call us at 800-545-2899 7AM to 6PM ET, Monday through Friday, or email blog@safewaylogisticsus.com.

You can also download this tear sheet for more information about the Safeway Logistics Specialty Flatbed Boat Transport Solution.

Rocket Sled to Washington, D.C.

On August ninth, Safeway Logistics’ Flatbed Transportation embarked on the historic task of transporting the Sonic Wind 1 rocket Sled (all 8,000 pounds of it!) 1,924 miles from Alamogordo, NM to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

There it will be prepared for display in the upcoming exhibit “SPEED” at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Dr. (Col.) John Stapp manned the sled repeatedly to test the effects of acceleration on the human body. He set a ground speed record of 632 miles per hour, and provided invaluable data which resulted in development of safer tools and practices for the U.S. Air Force and, ultimately, NASA.

Where has the Sonic Wind 1 been?

The U.S. Air Force entrusted the sled to the Smithsonian in 1966. Since that time, it remained at the John P. Stapp Air and Space Park at the New Mexico Museum of Space History.

Until Safeway Logistics had the honor of handling the safe loading, transport, and delivery of the precious cargo.

Want to know more?

To learn more about this project, and about how we can handle your specialty projects, call us at 800-545-2899 7AM to 6PM ET, Monday through Friday, or email blog@safewaylogisticsus.com.

Specialty Flatbed Turnkey Team Coordination

A major client approached Safeway with a unique request:

– Arrange a crane to load a modified 20’ display container from a lot onto a flatbed

– Transport container on an air-ride flatbed to a major metro distribution center

– Arrange a crane to offload the container from the flatbed

– Secure a generator to power up the container and open the display

– Inventory the contents and identify reconditioning issues

– Draft an SOP for total display management

– Replicate the setup and teardown for a pending U.S. concert tour

Each service requirement came with challenges that had to be overcome. That’s where the Safeway Logistics team working in unison makes it all happen transparently to the client. From arranging the cranes to navigate both grass and gravel lots, to managing the labor, to having the right power for the container to drafting the SOPs…we make it look easy with a single point of contact.

Safeway Logistics Announces New Yard Management Services

Safeway Logistics is now providing our clients a specialized yard management service that includes:

  • New yard hostler equipment with hydraulic 5th wheel to minimize time to move trailers and maximize efficiencies
  • Experience Drivers with industry knowledge of best practices for yard management solutions
  • Existing solutions include
    • Period lot checks and trailer inventory reporting
    • Management and reporting of aging and/or underutilized equipment
    • Sweeping out of empty trailers
    • Identifying and reporting on returned trailers with excess material
    • Assisting in unloading the material on returned trailers, if requested
    • Yard clean up including looking for screws, nails and/or other debris
    • Any housekeeping items for trailers such as sorting ratchet straps, E-track bars, and load bars
Safeway Logistics Yard Management Solutions

Safeway Speciality Flatbed Services – Description of Services


  • All owner-ops, highly experienced professionals
  • All trailers are 48’ to 53’ step-decks, several with conestoga tarp systems
  • Service all 48 states, limited service to Canada
  • No Mexico-direct service. No hazmat
  • UIIA interchange allows us access most steamship containers, Long Beach and LA ports
  • TWIC cards held by drivers
  • We specialize in “special” loads, projects, unusual shipments that demand high-quality.
  • On-time delivery exceeds 99.8%, claim-free delivery is 99.9%. We do what we say we will
  • Riggers are involved in many of our loads so being on time is mandatory. Our loads are many times crane off-load and roof installed. Others are forklift unload at site requiring flatbed only, on-time delivery is critical as well, every time!
  • Examples of products that we typically move are Medical MRI’s, Machinery, Trade Shows, Projects, High-Value Equipment, Art & Sculptures, etc.
  • Only air-ride truck and trailers to reduce/limit road shock to product
  • Single-drop flatbeds preferred to limit load and unload lifting height
  • Fully-equipped with nylon straps and/or chains for proper DOT cargo securement
  • Day and time specific loading to meet shipping schedules
  • 24 hour pre-calls to shipping to confirm load day and time
  • Day and time specific delivery to meet rigging and install schedules
  • 24 hour pre-call to consignee contacts to inspect/confirm route and time
  • Ability to adapt to and comply quickly with short-notice changes in shipping


Flatbed Transportation by Safeway Logistics

Flatbed Transportation by Safeway Logistics

Distribution of Hospitality Equipment

The Challenge:

Our client had a project that requires distribution of between 1 to 3 coolers to over 600 locations across the country.  The challenge was managing 600 different delivery providers, coordinating the inbound transportation, maintaining process and controls to manage OS&D (over, short, & damage) and getting all the service providers on board to complete the delivery properly, bill the service request in a timely fashion and working closely with our client to get over 600 new vendors accurately into their system for payment.

The Solution:

Safeway Logistics offered a single point of contact solution.  The client communicated their requirements and provided a spreadsheet with all the destination points.  We managed our service providers and secured not to exceed rates to allow for accurate budgeting while staying within the scope of work.  We worked closely with our client on the roll out schedule and Safeway Logistics managed every detail of the delivery coordination and execution.

The Results:

The program was a huge success.  Over 600 locations delivered as scheduled by our service providers throughout the United States.  Each provider  worked diligently to receive the product and completed the OS&D procedure as outlined in the scope of work.  During each scheduled delivery, our team set equipment in place, along with racking installed as required and lastly plugged into power.  Each delivery was completed with the debris removal and photo was taken of the equipment in place showing a recorded temperature.  Thus, validating that the product was cooling as required.  We then provided documentation including a signed POD, confirming the product was successfully delivered, damage free and on time.  This project was perfectly managed without a single service failure of any kind.

Safeway Logistics Fleet Augmentation Solution (Short Notice Transportation)

Safeway has developed a solution to support the largest windows and door manufacture in the US with an on demand fleet augmentation solution by leveraging the Safeway fleet of professional Drivers and over 600+ Agents in the U.S.  On multiple occasions, our client has been able to successfully tap into our qualified Driver talent pool wherever they do business with little or no advance notice.

As a leading provider of specialized handling transportation and warehousing, Safeway has been able provide clients with customized solutions, meeting their ad hoc driver / tractor requests around the US.

The benefits of our solution have included:

  • Short notice and on demand _MG_0136private fleet support when Drivers or tractors are not available
  • Reduced cost and customer frustration with using other modes of transportation such as shipping direct LTL to cover immediate deliveries.  This strategy was used previous to having the Safeway solution in order to allow time for the private fleet to catch up once the Driver(s) are operational again
  • Safeway providing a Driver that is qualified and knowledgeable in best practices for handling special products.  This has proven to provide a more consistently satisfied customer experience

In addition to the benefits above, there likely is additional time savings for our clients management team in having a single point of contact to resolve any unexpected staffing gaps quickly and efficiently.   Whether they need Drivers for just a few hours or for weeks, Safeway has delivered a value added solution that has been proven to provide consistency in maintaining efficient operations and customer satisfaction.

Load Shifting and Load Recovery Services

In the event of improper loading, bracing or load securement, cargo may shift in transit, creating a potentially dangerous scenario for the transportation company, its driver and other nearby motorists. Safeway Logistics provides a comprehensive load shift and load recovery solution for some of our largest clients.

Load Recovery Examples

Load Recovery Examples









In many cases, it is very costly to deadhead drivers hundreds of miles to rework a load that has been refused due to the load shifting. Costs also include paying driver detention as they wait for the load to be reworked and loss of revenue from the deadhead return trip to the consignee for another attempted delivery. Another costly scenario is utilizing a mobile recovery unit to rework the cargo. Costs include the portable equipment and the round-trip miles to the waiting driver, which most likely is not in close proximity to the recovery unit’s location.

Safeway Logistics provides low cost, load shift correction solutions at any one of our 700+ warehouse locations. Capabilities include restacking, repacking, re-palletization, reloading and proper load re-securement. Our equipment at all locations includes: forklifts, pallet jacks, dock plates or dock levelers, banding equipment and all packing equipment from pallets to boxes to stretch wrap.

Load Recovery Examples

Load Recovery Examples

Safeway Logistics is also able to provide reverse logistics where product needs to be shipped back to the shipper or final mile delivery services where the same Driver and truck are unable to make the redelivery. Each of our existing warehouses owns tractors, trailers and box trucks that are all in operation today. Because we have so many existing locations and trucks, we are able to support our clients wherever or whenever they have a need.

Submarine Transportation

“Specialty Flatbed professional Sean Duprat was tasked to safely transport a highly specialized, optional manned military submarine from the Navy League’s 2015 Sea-Air-Space Exposition from National Harbor, MD to Panama City, FL. Although the item is quite unusual, basic boat hauling techniques were deployed for safe transit. It’s important that the vessel (sub or boat) be independently secured to its own trailer, and then we secure that trailer independently to the flatbed. We use the same techniques for all boats-on-trailers that we safely transport for all our agents. The only difference is this boat (sub) eventually sinks.”