The company began in the late 1950’s with John R. Murphy operating the Shreveport Syrup Company, the producer and distributor of Johnnie Fair Syrup. He began warehousing sugar for himself and other manufacturers of syrup. In 1964, he founded Murphy Bonded Warehouse, LLC.
In 1976, John Murphy sold his interest in the corporation to W. Wade Sample and Marshall L. Martin. Wade Sample owned approximately 66% of the stock and Marshall Martin approximately 33%. Marshall Martin was elected President of the corporation and Wade Sample was Vice President and Treasurer.
In 1986, W. Wade Sample purchased the shares owned by Marshall Martin and became the sole shareholder. At this time, Wade Sample was elected President and Marshall Martin became Vice President and Secretary. Mr. Martin resigned as an officer of the company in January 1990, and now is serving in a consulting role. W. Wade Sample is currently President.
In 1995, Tim Hewitt and Virginia Lewis were elected Vice Presidents and Virginia Lewis was also elected Secretary.
When Wade Sample purchased the company in 1976, it had approximately twenty (20) employees, $350,000 in annual revenues, four (4) used bobtail trucks, two (2) used tractors, three (3) used dry van trailers, and operated 100,000 square feet of warehouse space.
Today, approximately twenty (20) years later, the company has approximately forty-five (45) employees, $5,000,000 in annual revenues, fourteen (7) new tractors, sixty (20) modern 53 foot trailers, and operates over 750,000 square feet of warehouse space. Several important decisions and strategies facilitated this record of successful growth.
First, the company chose to develop and implement a competitive salary and benefit package to attract and retain capable and motivated employees to the company. It instituted a defined benefit pension plan, a 401-k plan with company matching contributions, and incentive and profit sharing programs.
Secondly, to increase profitability, it designed and implemented a five-year budget and a productivity improvement system. These procedures generated significantly more accurate managerial reports, by facilitating an improved focus on growth and profit objectives.
With a dedicated employee team of service professionals and with a clearer picture of profitable growth opportunities, the company redefined its competitive advantages to achieve greater success in the market place in three (3) areas. First it chose to manage the transportation function by using full service leases on all tractors and trailers. By obtaining highly predictable unit operating costs and avoiding wide fluctuations from unforeseen maintenance failures characteristic of small and mid-size trucking companies who own and maintain their own equipment. The company was able to expand its operations profitability.
Second, it also chose to adapt a new financial strategy in the warehouse function by converting all its long term building leases to mortgage financed purchases. The company’s decision was adapted when real estate prices and interest rates were at cyclical lows in this region. Its decision to become an equity participant in the real estate, instead of only a lessee, for the same relative financial risk, was made more successful by the economic recovery from 1988 to the present.
Third, the company chose to decrease its almost sole dependence on a single customer whose long term growth and even stability was doubtful. At the time of acquisition, in 1976, 50% of the company’s revenues came from five cigarette manufacturers. By careful and deliberate focus of its sales and marketing efforts, the company was able to survive the economic downturn of the late 1980’s and to find three new customer groups, forest products, consumer durables, and industrial raw materials, that now provide over 75% of its revenue. This final development has given the company a more diversified and predictable customer revenue base.
Significant Events and Adversity
The company has faced adversity and has successfully conquered each of these challenges.
First in the late 1980’s, when Shreveport and the surrounding area was suffering the dramatic economic collapse caused by declining oil prices, banking failures, and personal and corporate bankruptcies, the company experienced severe insolvency. This problem was caused by unsuccessful expansion into over-the-road trucking. The company met this challenge by designing a strict financial recovery plan with the aid of its CPA. This plan included immediate termination of all risky trucking routes, honest and optimistic negotiations with every vendor to obtain longer credit terms and daily meetings with all employees to describe the problem, to explain proposed solutions, and to communicate all progress and developments.
These efforts were successful as the company recovered from an 11% loss in 1989 to a modest profit in 1990 and solid profit in each successive year to the present.
The second and third challenges existed at the time of acquisition. The company was experiencing significant economic pressure from two internal sources. Both of these problems were identified and strategies adopted to eliminate them.
The company’s hourly warehouse workforce was unionized and labor relations were poor with detrimental affects on morale and productivity. The company adopted an open to way dialogue with these employees to identify and improve work issues. These long-term efforts were successful when 4 years later the union was decertified and the company became non-union.
The third challenge problem was internal shrinkage of products. The company stored cigarettes and liquor, and it experienced significant shortages of product with devastating economic cost in employee morale and payment of claims. This problem was overcome with careful work from all employees, by teamwork and commitment to a common goal!
Examples of initiative in the areas of national interest, service to the community, and compliance to civil rights
Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes the chance to offer employment to all qualified individuals, and has made improvements necessary to accommodate the disadvantaged or handicapped. The company has also taken an aggressive position to help the under privileged and needy.
In 1992, Murphy evidenced its civic responsibility and concern for the less fortunate, by aiding the victims of natural disasters. Its employees participated in the disaster relief efforts from Hurricane Andrew, by donating supplies and providing equipment to deliver the donations.
Again in 1993, the company and its employees came to the assistance of the flood victims of Iowa and Missouri. The company transported a 40,000 pound truckload shipment of donated bottled water from Shreveport to Des Moines, Iowa, a distance of over 700 miles to help aid the less fortunate.
The company again demonstrated its civic commitment as recently as the summer of 1998, by co-sponsoring the summer day camp at the Carver Branch of the YMCA for forty (40) children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc. aided in the support of an evangelistic mission to Kiev, Ukraine in October 1997 for its accountant, Jim Newton.
Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc. donated Windows based PC’s with CD and multi-media based capabilities to the Life Share Blood Center for use in their facilities.
Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and is committed to community development at every level. Participation includes charitable contributions, and service on committees and boards for the betterment of our city and its citizens.
Murphy has also been active politically to support legislation that we feel will protect our business, our employees, and our nation. We are committed to support the leadership of our State.
W. Wade Sample is the President and Chairman of the Board of Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Mr. Sample received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia. He received has Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas in Austin. While attending the University of Texas, He was admitted to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
After graduating from the University of Texas, Mr. Sample joined International Paper Company in New York in its corporate finance department where he managed its financing of pollution control facilities at its various plants with industrial revenue bonds. Later he assumed the responsibility of plant controller at the company’s non-woven facility at Easley, South Carolina.
In 1976, he purchased controlling interest in Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc. and since that time he has acted as its Chief Executive Officer. The company currently operates over 750,000 square feet of warehouse space with approximately 45 employees.
Mr. Sample is a native of Shreveport and is actively involved in business and community affairs. This involvement includes such civic organizations as Rotary, The Greater Shreveport Economic Development Foundation, the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
He traveled to Japan as a member of the Shreveport-Bossier Japanese Trade Mission. The Mission visited seven cities meeting with representatives of major Japanese banks, trading companies, and industrial companies to present the advantages of using Shreveport-Bossier as a cost effective distribution hub in the United States.
His professional associations include the International Material Management Society (IMMS), International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), The Warehouse and Education Research Council (WERC), and The Council of Logistics Management (COLM).
Innovativeness of Service and Commitment to Quality
Murphy Bonded Warehouse, Inc. and its employees are proud of its commitment to provide quality service to its customers. These efforts have been recognized by several customers and vendors.
In 1996, the company received the OUTSTANDING QUALITY OF SERVICE AWARD from Ameripol Synpol Corporation, the world’s largest domestic producer of crude synthetic rubber, located in Port Neches, Texas with annual sales of over $500,000,000.
Murphy also strives to provide a safe work area for all its employees. In 1994, The Louisiana Workmen’s Compensation Corporation recognized these efforts by presenting its “SAFE WORKPLACE AWARD” for “Recognition of Your Commitment to Safety”.
Murphy also receives frequent letters of praise or commendation from its customers, such as: