Staying Connected for Global Expansion
With every office united by the same powerful technology, Logistics Plus has found its way to even greater worldwide success.
Logistics Plus began in 1996 as an inbound routing center for GE Transportation, a division of General Electric Company, based in Erie, Pennsylvania. “When we started, any hiccup in the supply chain could be fairly easily overcome,” says Jim Berlin, founder and CEO of Logistics Plus. “We were only an hour away from what they called the ‘Golden Triangle.’ Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland. We operated off of spreadsheets. We rarely used software to solve problems.”
As GE expanded, so too did the role Logistics Plus would play in the manufacturing-giant’s organization. Berlin recalls, “GE globalized the base of their manufacturing vendors, so we opened eight offices around the world to help them bring product to the U.S. and we kind of grew from there.”
The company’s expansion would not stop at eight offices, however. Over time, Logistics Plus spread to thirty offices across the globe, and the company faced new supply chain challenges on a much larger scale. According to Berlin, having multiple regional sites following different standard operating procedures was holding the company back from its potential. Today the company has over 50 offices located in more than 20 countries around the world.
“As the supply chain lengthens, the risk becomes much higher,” he explains, “and the cost of failure becomes much higher as well. Making sure business runs smoothly becomes difficult to manage from five or ten thousand miles away.”
Logistics Plus needed a solution that could connect their offices, with visibility over every link of their expanding supply chain.
“WiseTech Global products gave the whole business the ability to see and manage all aspects of any particular shipment.” Berlin says the company found significant reductions to time lost consolidating data, and huge gains in overall data entry efficiency. “The first office originates the file and the second picks it up without having to re-key it all. That’s a major advantage. That’s the reason we invested in rolling out the software in our overseas offices, so we’re all on the same platform.”
Not only has finding the best software helped them overcome the challenges of rapid expansion, Logistics Plus is constantly finding new ways to use the software’s additional functionality. “One of the things we like about the application is the continuous improvements to the system.” Berlin says that as markets evolve, WiseTech products evolve right alongside them. “We started out using the platform for logistics, we now use it for warehousing, we use it for all of our corporate finance, and we are able to use the same platform for our customs brokerage company.
“The system lets us operate live and see information in real time. Because we’re familiar with the system, it’s quicker and easier to get offices up and running. It’s easier to chain them together in the system.”
Having all the integrated functionality the company needs in full operation at its global sites guarantees Logistics Plus will have a true multinational impact.
According to Jim Berlin, the story of Logistics Plus’ expansion is nowhere near its last chapter. “We’re an aggressive company.” Berlin says, “We’re heavily focused on development in the Middle East right now. Some of the offices we’ve recently opened are Logistics Plus Dubai and Logistics Plus Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and we have currently pending registrations in Angola and Qatar. We’re also looking at Northern Africa in terms of aggressive growth.
“It’s a developing market. Operations are booming, but it’s a logistically challenging place to do business in, from bureaucracy and customs. It requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, a lot of creative solutions.”
Jim Berlin has full confidence in Logistics Plus and in the software that gives it the advantage. “We know our markets. Wherever we go, we compete and beat some of the much larger competition there. We do what everyone else does, only we do it better.”