Generations of Customs Expertise
Strong family values and superior technology have earned this small-sized Customs Broker its big reputation in the industry.
John F. Kilroy Co., Inc. began in 1932, operating from a single office in downtown New York. Although the company was a successful Customs Broker for three decades, the company’s greatest period of growth would begin in 1965, when Kilroy’s founders gave Vito Pipitone the chance to lead the business.
“My father bought the business, opened an office at JFK airport, and started Kilroy’s freight forwarding department in addition to Customs clearance,” says Angel Pipitone, Corporate Secretary of John F. Kilroy. “I joined the company in 1980, my brother Michael started in 1984. Since my father passed away in 1996, we’ve shared the company’s management responsibilities.”
Assuming the Pipitones simply inherited the company would be incorrect, however, since being heavily involved in the company’s daily operations was and is part of Kilroy’s company culture. “We didn’t step immediately into management positions,” Angel explains. “As my father worked his way up into management, he knew it was best that we did the same. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of what you will be responsible for managing later. On a daily basis, we’re directly involved with our customers, our agents, and U.S. Customs. We avail ourselves to any issue that may arise. We are available to our clients twenty-four-seven.”
The strong family work ethic has led Kilroy to continued success and growth. Despite being a small-sized company, Kilroy operates with a worldwide network of agents, handles forwarding from all over the world, and performs Customs clearance through any port in the USA.
“What sets Kilroy apart is our willingness to use the best technology available to better serve our customers,” Angel explains. With this dedication firmly in mind, the Pipitones realized their previous system would not be able to quickly and easily handle Customs entries in the US CBP’s new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). “Our old vendor wasn’t going to upgrade our existing software for the ACE requirements,” Angel recalls. “We felt it was time to upgrade to better technology.”
The Pipitones considered five different systems before making their ultimate decision. “From our research, Cargowise had the best technology we can use to best service our customers,” says Angel. “It has taken us exactly where we wanted to be.”
Seamless, cloud-hosted operations were also a priority the Pipitones wanted in Kilroy’s next system. Angel recalls that “Hurricane Sandy really opened our eyes to thinking about our operational capacity.” Her brother Michael, Kilroy’s President, further explains that “with cloud access, as long as you have internet service you can log on, perform jobs, and let operations continue no matter where you are. The system gives us that flexibility. It changes the dynamics of our office and operations altogether.
“The CargoWise One system has everything,” Michael continues, “including integrated accounting, which is crucial for brokers. In a lot of the other systems we looked at, the accounting was added through a separate program, but WiseTech Global had integrated everything. As an experienced broker, I can say it does a great job dropping documents from an email straight into a shipment.”
Angel and Michael can easily list CargoWise One’s automated notifications and the customer web portal for online tracking as important benefits, “but the ease of setting up and accessing reports is probably the biggest asset for us and our customers,” Michael explains. “We can create ad hoc reports in all different kinds of customized formats.”
Both Pipitones agree that John F. Kilroy’s customers (some of whom have stayed with the business for over 80 years) appreciate the company’s family values just as much as the technological advantages it provides. Michael says, “My daughter Danielle just started at Kilroy, and Angel’s daughter Diana has been here three years. Having our kids working in the business is a great asset. Our customers know the continuity will always be there.”
John F. Kilroy is vibrant and aggressive, according to Angel Pipitone. “And we plan on continuing that mindset and growing every year. We demand a lot from our software, like our customers demand a lot from us. We chose CargoWise One because WiseTech Global understands that.”