Matt Reilly, who earlier this year was named the chief executive officer of Tuscaloosa-based Randall-Reilly, says “the sun is going to shine” on the U.S. economy over the next year or so.
“We are projecting that the market will continue to be very strong both in terms of the overall U.S. economy in GDP and the businesses that we’re in, so I think it’s really a good time to be in the business and just to be in business more broadly,” Reilly says. He replaced Brent Reilly, who became board director. Matt Reilly is not a member of the company’s namesake family.
Reilly has more than 25 years in technology and business services and has been CEO of three companies. He spent 11 years in various roles at Accenture and is on the board of Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
“We predict that this current environment, which is really conducive to growth, will actually probably last for at least a year or longer. So, people should feel good that the sun is going to shine, we think. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think the sun is going to shine for probably another year or so before the market changes,” Reilly says.
That is good news for Randall-Reilly, which started as a publishing company in 1934 and has since undergone “a couple of evolutions,” Reilly says. The company moved from print publications to analyzing data that helps the trucking industry find talent, as well as operate more efficiently.
Clients today include trucking, truck drivers, construction, agriculture, machine tools and various other industries, and the company provides strategic data, media and marketing services to 4,000 clients. There are 144 companies within Randall-Reilly LLC, with 3,375 total employees across all of its locations.
The company generates $46.56 million in sales, according to Dun and Bradstreet.
Reilly says the company “is built on the idea that we’re going to help transportation companies like trucking and other companies that produce equipment, find talent and maximize their balance sheet. We’re going to help them recruit drivers, identify drivers and take data and analytics and help them make more money by selling used equipment or new equipment at a higher price for more profit.”
However, the nation’s trucking industry is facing some issues. The most serious —
a driver shortage — is hitting at the same time freight volume is setting records.
Truck driver turnover is about 100% yearly, Reilly says, “which means that on average, if you have a hundred drivers in your fleet, you’re going to probably have to hire approximately a hundred drivers every year. Our business is about using digital and social media and analytics, identifying potential drivers who fit the needs that you have, producing ad campaigns and other media that attracts them to properties that we own, and then apply online for jobs so that we can help match the supply and demand in the industry. So, we help companies in transportation find the right drivers and the right skills and then bring them through the process.”
To make it happen, his company works with drivers and trucking company owners.
“We have to interact with the drivers to get them to proceed through a process to fill out a form to become qualified, to submit their information, that sort of thing, and then we interact with the companies who have their requirements — how many people they need and where they need them and that sort of thing,” Reilly says. “So basically, if you think of the two divisions, we’re in the talent business and we’re in the asset business.”
They’re also in the equipment business.
“We’re actually analyzing a lot of different information about assets, like in the construction industry, and looking at what the asset prices are,” Reilly says. “If you’re a Caterpillar dealer and you own a Cat dealership, you understand how much that trade in should be worth and what you should sell something for. We give you that insight.”
If a letter sent to Congress earlier this year by several of the country’s supply chain leaders is any indication, Randall-Reilly’s services will be sorely needed. The message cited the impact the driver shortage is having on the transportation of goods and consumer prices.
The letter says 70% of the nation’s freight is carried by commercial trucks, and while demand is projected to increase over the next decade, the threat posed by the driver shortage stands to disrupt the continuity of the supply chain. This is especially problematic as the nation and the economy recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter also says that according to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately — a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028. In fact, when anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 millionnew drivers over the next decade, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year.
The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the truck driver shortage, and the temporary closures of state DMV’s and truck driver training schools dried up the already fragile pipeline of new drivers entering the trucking industry, according to the Commercial Vehicle Training Association.
Despite the driver shortage and the office challenges during the COVID-19 shutdowns, people still needed to eat, Reilly says, so trucks had to keep getting goods to grocery stores.
Earlier this year, Randall-Reilly acquired Central Analysis Bureau (CAB) of Lakewood, New Jersey, which provides risk assessment tools and data for the transportation insurance industry.
“CAB essentially allows us to enter the financial services space by offering insights about companies in terms of their performance and health insurance companies and make better decisions that are involved in the space.”
Another issue the trucking industry faces is “chameleon carriers.” Those are companies that have been put out of service for any number of reasons — safety violations, poorly maintained vehicles, financial problems — but reopen under a new name with a clean record. CAB lists chameleon detection among its products.
As for future growth or acquisitions, Reilly says, “We have a lot of things going on. The two ways that we grow are to build new assets on our own or to look at assets that others have that might be a good fit. So, we are always sort of involved in discussions on a strategic level if it might make sense and fit into our portfolio.”
This story appears in the June 2021 issue of Business Alabama magazine.