Virgil Siedhoff Sr., owner and founder of Siedhoff Distributing, bought a truck in 1954 and started delivering milk in glass bottles door to door. He could not imagine then how much his business would grow over the next five decades. Today, the company has three separate divisions: dairy distribution, trucking and truck repair.
Siedhoff Distributing remains a family business with the five Siedhoff children – one son and four daughters – being an integral part. “When they were growing up, the kids would come in and help out wherever they could,” Siedhoff Sr. recalls. “They seemed to take an interest in the business and today they all work in the company.”
Siedhoff grew his business over the early years, buying out small distributors that wanted out of the business, which enabled them to expand the company’s reach into the wholesale deliver.
By the late ’70s, the company no longer delivered door-to-door and instead focused on wholesale distribution for its growth, always keeping customer satisfaction a priority. “We weren’t always the cheap guy on the block,” Siedhoff admits, “but we always offered the best service. We figured if we treat people right and give them good service, that will win in the long run.”
Siedhoff was right, and his company continued a steady growth. In 1981, Siedhoff Distributing joined Prairie Farms Dairy, a cooperative that distributes milk from more than 700 producers in 14 states. “A lot of our growth came because of our relationship with Prairie Farms,” Siedhoff explains.
Today, Siedhoff Distributing’s Dairy division covers a 50- to 60-mile delivery radius from its headquarters in Union.
Siedhoff’s Trucking Division started in 1987, and Siedhoff Jr. was a big part of the growth of the trucking division, which went from one tractor to it current fleet of 45 tractors and 60 refrigerator trailers. Covering 33 states, the trucking division has taken a slow and steady approach not to jeopardize the level of service the company is known for.
The growth of its fleet led Siedhoff Distributing to develop its third division, the repair division. “As we continued to grow we outgrew our shop, so in 2005 we built a new shop,” Siedhoff Jr. explains. “Our fleet was on the road during the week and we did the maintenance when they were back on the weekends. We also had some local businesses that were looking for maintenance on their own fleets and they came to us. This helped to keep our shop busy throughout the week,” he says. Now outside repairs account for over half the repairs done in the shop.
The four-bay drive-through truck centers are prepared to service any type of repair. The work quality performed at Siedhoff’s repair shop has increased the demand for its services through referrals from satisfied clients, without the need to advertise.
Technology and Management
Technology innovations have slowly entered the fiber of Siedhoff organization. The trucks are tracked with a GPS system installed on board that is connected to the main office.
The company has partnered with PeopleNet, a GPS tracking service, to help it monitor its deliveries and stay in compliance with DOT regulations using electronic logs. “That technology has helped us become more efficient,” Siedhoff Jr. explains.
The employees at Siedhoff Distributing are considered part of the family. The third employee the company hired back in the ’60s still works there with 46 years of service. The fact that many employees have been with the company for more than 15 years ensures that they are invested in its success. “These people have seen the hard work and dedication to service that helps continue to grow the business, and they are always willing to do their part for continued success,” Siedhoff Jr. says.