by Jerry Gregoire

CIO 20/20 Honorees–Leadership Profile: Don Schneider of Schneider National

Oct 01, 20022 mins
IT Leadership


Schneider National Inc.

If it weren’t for the Packers, Green Bay, Wis., would be famous as the headquarters of Schneider National, the largest full truckload carrier in North America and possibly the world’s leading consumer of the pumpkin-colored paint that makes its trucks so familiar.

Schneider National is the only place that Don Schneider, 66, has ever worked, besides the military. The company was founded by his father, Al, in 1935, when he sold the family car to buy his first truck. Don joined the company full time in 1961 after graduating from the Wharton School of Business. He assumed leadership of the business in the mid-’60s, at a time when annual sales were about 2 percent of the $2.4 billion they are today. Since then he’s done more than any one person to shape this industry.

Schneider National hit CIOs’ radars in the mid-’80s as the first truck line in the world to install two-way satellite communications and positioning systems in all of its 6,000 trucks?a $30 million flyer. It has continued to lead the way with groundbreaking improvements in its e-business infrastructure, fleet management, in-cab technologies that monitor and reward driver behavior to maximize equipment life, and employee retention technologies like Touch Home, an in-cab e-mail system to help drivers stay in touch with their family from the road.

As the largest carrier in a crowded industry, Schneider still has only about 3 percent of the market. The opportunities for competitive advantage boil down to customer service, operating efficiency and a motivated, energetic workforce. To do these things better than anyone else, Schneider understands that it’s not enough to embrace technology, you’ve got to get it in a headlock.

Schneider spends more on technology than any of his competitors. That makes him most CIOs’ idea of the perfect boss?one who understands the value of leading with technology, uses his money to invest in it and has the guts to give it a try.