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Angie Wieck, Published May 04 2014

Revved up, rolling On: Great Plains Transport expands in Mapleton, adopts cutting-edge tech

Mapleton, N.D. -- Bob Holland’s motto is, “You got it, a truck brought it.”

The statement is quite true considering nearly everything consumers buy at a store was delivered there by truck.

Holland has made his living in the trucking industry for 35 years. He bought his first Peterbilt in 1977 and has grown the company to a fleet of 100 today.

He recently moved his company, Great Plains Transport, into a new 27,800-square-foot facility in Mapleton.

Holland has plans to continue to grow the operation. He intends to add 25 trucks and 35 additional employees within the year.

Family business

Trucking is truly a family affair for the Hollands.

Bob Holland said he knew from the time he was in seventh grade that he wanted to work in trucking. His father, Vernon Holland, and uncle Glen Holland were both truck drivers.

His new headquarters is located next door to Holland Enterprises, a trucking firm owned by his brother Dennis Holland and managed by nephew Chris Holland.

Prior to its construction, Great Plains Transport leased space from Holland Enterprises and a facility in West Fargo.

Bob Holland’s son Mike joined Great Plains Transport in 2011 as the company’s general manager. He oversaw the construction of the new facility.

Among its features are:

  • Nearly 7,000 square feet of office space.

  • A large lounge featuring a big-screen TV, kitchen and laundry facilities for truck drivers.

  • Two private sleeping quarters for drivers.

  • A large shop with floors heated by waste oil.

  • A bay for washing trucks.

    Industry changes

    Over 35 years, Holland has witnessed a lot of changes in the trucking industry. He takes pride in being at the forefront of technological advancements.

    Today, all Holland truck drivers use electronic logbooks to record their hours, which prevents drivers from falsifying the number of hours they drive, and thereby improves safety. Electronic logbooks also save time for office staff by eliminating unnecessary paperwork.

    Holland trucks are also equipped with Qualcomm satellite tracking that allows Great Plains Transport and its customers to track loads.

    The system also tells them if there has been a hard braking event or if the driver has been speeding. An email is sent to the company if either occurs.

    Great Plains Transport also equips their trucks with Meritor OnGuard Collision Mitigation Systems that aid in the prevention of rear-end collisions.

    The system detects objects ahead and measures the truck’s position in relation. It warns the driver of possible rear-end situations and, when appropriate, will apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a collision.

    Mike Holland said such technology eventually pays for itself in avoided accidents and insurance company savings.

    CFO Dan Fetsch said using the latest technology also makes the company more attractive to customers.

    “Technology is the name of the game now,” Vetsch said. “They want to know where their product is. They want to know what temperature it is at. … It’s all stuff to help us keep an eye on it and serve our customers. That’s what it comes down to.”

    The company’s latest improvement involves installation of TrailerTails to the rear of their trucks to improve fuel efficiency. TrailerTails reduces the drag and improves the stability of trailers, resulting in fuel savings of more than 5 percent.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter

    Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501