Just In Time Shipments – Mark Kummer of Mid America Logistics

Mark Kummer, President of Mid America Logistics

Mark Kummer, the President of Mid America Logistics, grew his company’s revenue $26.8 million in 2014 to $53.4 million in 2017, a 99% increase, and to around $116 million in 2018.  

Mid America Logistics is a full-service logistics company.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Mark shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Attracting and retaining talented people by offering a specialized career track and uncapped total compensation.  
  • Developing proprietary technology that lowers transportation costs and improves on-time deliveries (which is crucial for just-in-time and continuous process manufacturing).  
  • Providing shipment tracking and cost transparency to their customers, which allows their customers to plan more effectively and better appreciate the value of their service. 

Mid America Logistics Interview - (computer generated transcript) (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Mid America Logistics Interview - (computer generated transcript)" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of every sprint, and today we're speaking with Mark Kummer, the President and CEO of Mid America Logistics, a full service logistics company. Welcome to the call Mark.

Mark Kummer: Thank you.

Malcolm Lui: Mark, you grew your company's revenue from $26.8 million in 2014 to $53.4 in 2018 a ninety nine percent increase, and in 2018 you're going to hit around $116 million. But before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro and talk about how your company differs from the competition?

What they do ....

Mark Kummer: Yes. So we are a full service trucking logistics and supply chain TechNet technology development firm. Effectively we enable technology to move just in time shipments across North America. So by enabling technology and developing algorithms we're able to match or optimize trucking our asset base trucking division sourcing carrying capacity from logistics and move truckload shipments from point A to B from any two points within our

Malcolm Lui: And how would you say you differ from your competition

... and how they differ from the competition.

Mark Kummer: Would definitely be from a technological standpoint. And the fact that we're optimizing algorithms in in and around just in time shipping industries i.e. inbound manufacturing highly perishable food products pharmaceuticals et cetera within those divisions within those industry verticals we're able to develop history shipping patterns even down to whether traffic patterns based on time of day etc. to optimize routing and end costs tied back to how to move a shipment to optimize shippers supply chains. And it's really been focused around highly sensitive service areas and areas where typically commodity brokers and other transportation companies don't try to focus because they consider it more difficult or requiring heavy investment

Malcolm Lui: So from the way you're able to apply your technology to help with the planning of the joystick side of things. Does that mean that you are able to provide shipments that are more on time than your competition and or at lower cost.

Mark Kummer: Yes. Absolutely. I mean when we are optimizing how we route shipments we break it down not only to a typical point A to B Lane we actually break it down based on time of year time of day based on historical traffic patterns weather weather forecasts in the future and by optimizing that and even tie back to gas prices along routing we're able to optimize whether it be cost and or delivery time typically both is what our clients are looking for

Malcolm Lui: Fantastic. So at the end of the day is there service also less expensive than your competition

Mark Kummer: I would say it is within within the side of the business we're on typically. I hate to use the term you get what you pay for but for what we call you know our shippers call from this line standpoint hop shipments we're able to minimize those costs and service delays at the end it's not just through the actual price that we're charging a client it's through the elimination of service failures which ultimately lead to claims or penalties for late shipments. That's where we're off to their vendors that's where we're optimizing it's not only just from a price standpoint which we do but it's also from a service level standpoint which ultimately is a much higher cost the risk side of that is much higher cost than the actual price of the ship

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Definitely. I mean you can essentially put a huge kink in their whole supply chain process again and deliver your goods on time

Mark Kummer: Absolutely and if you shut down a very large industrial manufacturing plant and let's say that they're running low on Tier 1 supplier inventory those shipments need to get there on time because the consequences can cost tens of thousands of dollars a minute. So the you know the ultimate cost is shutting down a manufacturing plant or not moving essentially having a whole entire truckload areas or flowers not deliver on time where they could spoil which runs about a quarter million dollars for a total loss on the on a truckload of flowers. So those are the areas that you know where you really achieve your savings is is eliminating and mitigating risk

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. Now you double your business in three years from twenty seven million in 2014 to 53 million in 2017 and 2018. He doubled it again. Can you share what the three biggest drivers that allowed you to double your sales. Not once but twice since 2014

Talent, their biggest driver.

Mark Kummer: Ultimately it's talent. I mean hiring the most experienced and the most knowledgeable people in the industry I would say has been the biggest driver of that when you bring in knowledge base and tech and developing our technology would be the second have those two components combined the product the service sells itself at the end of the day. Typically we start small with the client. Usually it's one or two shipments as a test testbed or one or two regular lanes from there. They understand how we differentiate ourselves in the market and we actually deliver on what we promise and that we are different than the fifty thousand other transportation brokers in the market because we do do things differently. Furthermore by the fact that we run a Justin Time asset division we have we take it from the perspective of a hotshot trucking company almost. It's embedded in our culture and that's all shrouded around a culture of safety as well. So by with all those things combined it really provides a full service offering. Furthermore we're actually very transparent with our clients do we provide we're very transparent even on our costing and the margins that we set which also differentiates us markets as well. Many many many clients don't do that. They're looking for you know lots of our competitors. Ultimately just throw out a price based on the market we're willing. We want a long term partnership with our clients which means listen we're in a commodity market. Commodity prices are public. I just sit to try to hide that or try to mask it in some convoluted pricing scheme is nice. And that's one thing that I would say not only because of our people and our technology we're comfortable enough with our service that we're willing to be transparent about our costing in our margins as well

Malcolm Lui: Right. So just to recap on my notes I have the three biggest drivers for your SAS success would be people and the talent that they have. That's number one. Number two the technology allows you to optimize your route both for making time deliveries and for minimizing your transportation and fuel costs. And the third one is this being transparent on your costing with their clients. Since you're looking to have a long term relationship with them

Mark Kummer: And service as well. Our technology. We've gone out and built a multitude of different real time tracking systems and we're never going to lie to a client about where a truck is. We're never gonna see a truck is broken down when it does not. The common common little trick in this industry we are fully transparent. If we do in the unfortunate or an unusual event that we do have a service failure or something that is running late. That was a control instance we're gonna be transparent about it. It's important that we have a two way honest relationship with our clients and we consider that that is shrouded in the culture of this business.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Can we go a little bit deeper into each of these three categories. You talk about having the best people with the best talent the best experience. Can you share how you go about finding them and retaining them.

Mark Kummer: Absolutely. So every single one of our employees is tied to two different components. Number one is the actual performance of the control essentially control performance about how we transport goods. So in other words if we have control both events where whereby our employees are doing everything they can to move something timely and safe from point A to B. That's an incentive incentive that any operator or salesperson in this organization is tied to the second component is tied to growth and margin. We have an uncapped commission structure so we share in the earnings with our employees which typically automatically attracts and kind of creates a natural recruiting cycle because words got out in the market that we're not just you know another broker that only incense revenue. It's based on service and it's based on profitability and that's what protects our our business model from from potential losses. And and she essentially hedges us in the market from losing money. So by incenting that service that's a client driver promotes long term relationship. And then on the profitability side every single one of our employees has some sort of profitability component tied to them. And we don't cap it. It's not a fixed bonus. It's based on our growth. So there's really unlimited potential and we mean what we say. And we're also very trends just like we're transparent with our clients. We're transparent with our employees. We don't sit in the executive room and come up with initiatives and roll them out. We actually have user groups or committees within our division. Anytime we have a policy change or a workflow change or anything else an organization we actually get the frontline the frontline team members who are involved with a select group who will come in and and provide their feedback to so everyone has input into major decisions in this company not just myself and

Malcolm Lui: So when you say you have uncapped bonuses at the end of the year you know how big cannot bonus be relative to their salary.

Their uncapped compensation structure

Mark Kummer: We have we have a few employees who are making five times their base salary. Those are a couple of our high performers who have gone out and gotten some very nice lucrative accounts but it's not uncommon for our employees do they have a very healthy base salary. But at the same time if they do grow their business significantly they're participating in a share of those profits. But I think the largest of the top of my head is about seven and a half times their base salary. That's an extreme case obviously. Typically what we like to see is you know within two years whether it be sales or operations. They're making one and a half to two times their base salary

Malcolm Lui: So even the operations people can potentially double their salary in a good year

Mark Kummer: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we have career padding here. So we have three kind of distinct career paths within our an operations group. So each one of our accounts is assigned an account manager. So that's not the salesperson. That's someone who is assigned anywhere from our large accounts one. And sometimes they get a system. So give you an example our top five accounts all have a dedicated account manager to that specific account. Our three largest accounts they're actually an assistant or two assigned to that account manager. Do nothing but the rating the relationships and can communicating and conveying information. Furthermore they're also watching out and predicting any any issues that might take place during the lifecycle of the shipment as well. So it's a full service named process you're dealing with the same person every day. And it's not a salesperson right. Listen this job is to go out and and recruit new clients and bring them into the fold account managers and people who operate are the ones who you know they're good at that and they're establishing relationship and we get to know the account. Oftentimes you see our competitors will rotate contacts in order to preserve the account because they're afraid their employees are going to leak. We have a different mentality by keeping that same account manager getting them ingrained with the account making them a subject matter expert in a named account. I mean that is the best way to maximize performance mitigate risk and create a true partnership. And at the end of the day by keeping that person there and making the investment and then with our client it keeps us in check because it essentially says hey you've got to treat this employee well and pay them fairly and reward them for their performance. And and it keeps it to market too. So it's a natural fact in keeping client service high maximizing income and keeping our employees happy to

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Mark Kummer: Keep our career tracks. We have people moved from operations into account management. We have people moving account management backed operations sales that account management so we've got three different levels on on the account management operations and sales side of the business. So there are defined career tracks as well

Malcolm Lui: Nice. And what's the retention rate. What. Somehow. How much staff turnover do you have. Q.

Mark Kummer: But we got a little under 20 percent this year. So it seems typical. My goal ultimately once we fine tune and we've been growing a lot as well would you be would be to have about 10. I would like to have about less I've the seems like a more healthy rate. And that's that's a combination of involuntary and voluntary. By the way the euro is going to have unforeseen instances where you know some some things don't work out culturally. But 70 percent the way the background check marks and you someone's resumé so to speak is you know that's that's kind of a checkmark system. 70 percent of our decision base when we go decide to hire a candidate is based on culture. So

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Mark Kummer: We don't. The other thing that we differentiate ourselves in the business we're not just going and hiring people in the industry and we're not just hiring kids out of school we will hire professionals who might have been in a in a service based business business business environment before that fits really well in our business because they know they're not bringing in potential bad habits or or you know operations ideas from a commodity based environment you know because we are so just in time in technology focus we really want to groom and develop our staff around our platform and our culture

Malcolm Lui: Right now is the 20 percent staff turnover is a typical in unit industry or is it considered low average high

Mark Kummer: I would say it's it's a little bit below average. But you know you've got some brokers out there you know kind of the theme is lots of people are bringing kids large classes out of school. I was in the private equity world for a while and I saw many many brokers out there even trucking companies with their sales force as they turn over 50 percent per year. We don't do that. And we also don't intermingle sales with operations to me and our business. It's a conflict of interest right. Someone who's paid on revenue and someone who's. You know measured on performance of moving things safely from point A to be on time. Are two different worlds. And so we really differentiate. That's why we have the account management sales and operation separated within our business

Malcolm Lui: Right. Makes sense. The second one. Technology. Technology plays a big role in your business. With all your tech that you are using to do a plan the shipments to maximize the timeliness of them and to minimize the costs. Now with technology all delivered in-house or are there some relatively off the shelf software that you can acquire. They can buy that you just customize your needs

How they developed their technology

Mark Kummer: Actually our team this is is solely proprietary. So everything that we do from an operations standpoint has been developed in the roundup. One of our managing partners who joined the company doing the initial two partners in 2011 and is back is from the UK. He was an executive at a large one the largest financial content firms. He had developed a global commodity space trading systems. He did when he saw an off the shelf system that they had when he joined the company. He was frustrated because it didn't do optimization. It was kind of you had to squeeze square pegs in round holes especially with the type of business they were developing. I mean they were focused they initially started this business and perishables highly sensitive perishable shipping flowers and berries. Right. So what he did is he started building out essentially a real time real time effectively like a trading platform almost. That's what he designed it around. And from there he developed it around the industry. So over the course of the last eight years it's been in development it's seven years it's been in development. We have both we have procurement systems we actually this year are starting to offer a managed freight solution targeted to clients with under 50 million dollars of spend. And the reason is that if you look at the market lots of smaller and medium sized businesses don't have optimal TMI systems or TMI system at all. They're there working with Excel. They're working with access which in our world is a manual process. So what we do is you know for if someone spends has over

Malcolm Lui: Something

Mark Kummer: A million two million spend we will provide them licenses to a a standalone posted team system that they can use to procure what they can even run it. They can run spot quotes. They can run a load board and actually go out and have that shipment and we're not even requiring them to be exclusive with us. A lot of our competitors larger competitors in the managed freight sector they you know they are going after the big fish and they want exclusivity. Right. What we're doing is we're saying listen we're transparent on our pricing. If we're making over x amount we'll provide you a team. And you can use our competitors and that says we're fine with that. We actually have five installs currently with five beta clients. These are longstanding clients. It's worked well we've used them to provide feedback to optimize that system. And so we're actually going to start monetizing the software this year of the monetization will be coming through freight but it'll be driven by our tech offering our technology for free or or if they don't want to use us. We are willing to we do have licensing options as well. If they would prefer to sell

Malcolm Lui: Okay so free if they continue doing business with you on the freight side. And if they choose not to do it on the freight side you'll sell them a subscription to your platform. You get fantastic for the third third driver of your of your success. The transparency on that descent to what degree of transparency are you providing. And can they see things down to the mean. I can see when a truck was last had last had their tanks stowed up and is a go down that low or the more bigger picture

Mark Kummer: We don't we don't. Unfortunately the systems that you know the smaller and within our trucks we can provide the same data that we see through we use a third party within our own trucks these omni tracks are ask which tracks fuel speed et cetera if they were operating on our own trucks we'd be able to provide that. But with our our technology we're typically relying on a third party interface or an interface that we built that goes essentially either gets installed to their cell phone or is sent back by a page tracking link every 30 minutes. So we would provide them kind of the rule of thumb is what we see and know our intelligence will be equal to your intelligence so you tell us what you want and here's what we can provide and we will give you that. The other key piece of transparency is costing and pricing. So once again we're in a commodity market. Free trade is a commodity market right. And the one question I ask for years and years and years is how is the driver shortage effective. And I've always I've always said it doesn't matter. And the reason it doesn't matter. I mean. Is it a problem is it driving a price. Yes but does it matter to our business and your business. No. Because once again it's a supply and demand environment with less drivers. Prices go up and things adapt accordingly. And drivers pull typically pull off the roads during certain times of the year. There's a seasonal business as well which drive up prices.

The value of transparency

Mark Kummer: And if we have a transparent discussion about what the market's doing over the course of a year we will. If you would like a committed flat rate to essentially hedge we can provide you that we'll show you what we think our cost will be. We'll show you approximately what our markup would be compared to market and lock in a price from there. So essentially were when we're doing pricing we're giving the dial of transparency back to our clients tell us what you want to know and we'll be provided we'll be more than happy to show it to you it's not uncommon in a couple of client meetings during the last few months. I'll pull up our TMF system and essentially show them cost and certain lengths and I will. We know our our sales people are trained to say listen here's what we think we're going to pay. Here's what we're going to make but at the same time if we slip into another market where it's less favorable to us we want to have that same transparent conversation with YouTube. I mean that's that's a way it gives. It provides our clients the intelligence to keep their CFO as their CFO those or their CEOs abreast of market market swings and changes that could could potentially save on costs or potentially increase costs. Right. Because if we're going back to a client saying listen our prices the commodity market has come down. You know that that essentially keeps all the other carriers in check too.

Malcolm Lui: Yet.

Mark Kummer: So

Malcolm Lui: Now is there any particular data that your clients would like or that you would like that you're just not able to acquire right now given your

Mark Kummer: I would say

Malcolm Lui: Software.

Mark Kummer: Actually the data that my my initial answer would be exactly the data you suggested before the fuel levels the fuel levels are actually important especially on heavy in the beverage industry where they typically will max out the weight of the trailer. They will require. They want to see those tanks full when they come to come in. So those types of mechanical data whether it be Miles since last service on the tractor that's moving the shipment. So essentially it's over twenty five thousand miles since its last in service. There's a significantly increased chance that that truck could break down to fuel levels as you mentioned before to see as well. Because keep in mind that if a you know with a new LDA compliance being increased this year we're we're feeling that everyone is feeling at trucking companies and drivers are still trying to figure out how it all works. We know and an educated an educated shipper would also know that as well. They might want to see how many hours has a driver been on a road. Right. Are they over their hours. Are they in compliance. So I think compliance will be the biggest thing and visibility into that I see that is where where transportation technology is poised to go. And obviously with those you know the rules it's really fueling it's really fueling the industry to move towards driverless technology or drivers as technology drivers have been our drivers have been somewhat resistant.

Mark Kummer: And this is pretty much across the board because they think they're smarter than the computer. But at the end of the day. Because you've got a reduction of drivers because you've got increased technology development et cetera. That is what I believe is going to drive driverless you hear a lot of people saying driverless it could be out the next three to five years it's going to be much it's going to be longer than that. But the driver assist technologies are becoming pretty intuitive. And then furthermore the amount of data that we that shippers and and trucking companies and third parties or brokers would like to see back from that equipment is increasing at a very fast rate. So to me while we're a little bit limited today within the next three or four years I view that a lot of that tractor and driver data will be fed back in real time and our clients are going to want want to start seeing it and that's how we're designing our infrastructure to be ahead of the curve on that.

Malcolm Lui: Right now I can see all these factors that you just provided the the having people that know what they're doing. Having technology that gives you a better service. Having transparency I can see how your your clients your customers would be keen on using your service. Now how do you help your sales team find new clients.

How they find new clients

Mark Kummer: So we typically what you see within a salesperson they've typically had background or have a what we prefer is what we always ask the question what industry are you passionate about. As an example right. So we have just as an example one one example off the top of my head. We have a gentleman in one of our remote offices that has had a passion for automotive its entire life. We actually and then ironically enough we have one of our branch managers. His whole background is and is working with tier 1 automotive suppliers within the supply chain. So when we hired this person we actually married them up and and you want to talk about keeping an employee happy. They always wanted to sell into the automotive industry. They never knew how well what's in transportation. Everything needs to move practically in any any commodity or or tangible based industry. So we paired them up and now we not only do we have a happy sales rep we can train them around how we conduct how our supply chain works our way. And then furthermore they get to follow their passion and sell within a vertical but they have passion about. So to me someone who has passion about a certain vertical that really drives where they sell.

Mark Kummer: Now we talk about how do we provide. How do we provide them. A lot of it some of it is based on previous relationships. Some is based on previous relationships. Also we provide a significant number of lead development tools so linked in ironically enough the Sales Navigator product has been very very very successful for us. Probably one of the most successful development tools I've ever seen in the market. So you know the old days of you know going to like a DMV database or you know opening up the yellow pages. It's not specific anymore. Our most successful lead develop people who develop leads we really hone in on do the research first figure out what the who the client is learn the business model before you pick up make the phone call. Right. Because you want to make sure it fits in our business model and b you're going to sound more educated to the client which is obviously going to not only give us a a an image of credibility but it's credibility that can actually be delivered because that's the way our business works.

Malcolm Lui: Has a bit of a slow and manual process.

Mark Kummer: It is but at the same time the metrics speak for themselves. I when I was in the private equity world I saw many you know it's called you know what they call dialing for dollars right where you're required to make 150 200 phone calls a day. And I can I've got data to show you know someone who's making twenty five research smart calls a day compared to one hundred and fifty to two hundred volume calls is more successful and delivers not only more accounts but they get deeper into those accounts and develop long term relationships and that's what's key here we're not just trying to get our next shipment. We're trying to develop the relationship. It sounds slow and steady but as we started that process I came I came into the business in late 2016 officially became president CEO second week in 2017. We're running about 43 million. And when we did that we adapted the process and the company culture was already that way as well. It took a little bit of time from 2017 through 2018 to get it but after that year cycle those sales cycles are churning and now we're seeing the benefits of those because the awards we're getting you know with a small client it's not just one shipment a week. Let's say they ship 10. It's a small client ship. Let's call it 10 shipments a month. We're getting five or 10 of those shipments not just one a month. Right. That's what we're aiming for we want to create a partnership not just trying to get a shipment to get our volume up for the day.

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK. And now what about on the marketing side. You do anything to make it easier on your sales seem so that when you reach out to their to their targets the ones that they research digging go. Oh yeah I heard about a minute Mid America before you know what are you guys doing there.

Mark Kummer: It's interesting you mentioned that if I had to identify an area of development for our company I would say it's marketing. Obviously we were redoing our web in our positioning this year and our social media has been a little bit slow but we brought in one of the executives that we brought in this year. She's got a a a kind of a Bible portfolio of recruiting and training and brand development that's her background which is an interesting background because usually you never see those two together. So she's developed she just started a couple months ago. She's developed a full scale marketing plan can be rolled out in 20 19 cents you're going to be doing a library. I wouldn't call it rebranding but a repositioning of how we sell the market. Right. Because when we're on the phone with our clients for saying one thing but the way we've portrayed that's the market is separate. Furthermore we've done a lot of public service has been an avenue for us to get our name out in the market so we pick will our are our team picks one need based events of a year this past year it was the California wildfires the year prior to that was Hurricane Harvey. And essentially we reach out to all of our clients and our potential clients to say we'll provide free transportation so we do it a little bit more from an ethical standpoint than a sales standpoint right now. But we are investing dollars back into social media development we see that as the largest one of the largest the fastest growing paths to development. And then also getting involved with networking and trade shows to advertise the return on advertising in this market is is lower and we don't have enough scale at this point to invest in a full scale advertising campaign. So we're going to target social media networking targeted networking and then some trade shows which have seen a resurgence here in the last three or four years.

Malcolm Lui: Right now I think part of the challenge is from what you share with me is that you work with lots of different verticals. How many different verticals do you think your company has been involved in over the past year.

90% of their business comes from 5 verticals

Mark Kummer: So our top to 90 percent of our revenue comes out of five verticals. So we can lump perishable food into perishable food including produce into one automotive pharmaceuticals retail and then automotive. So did it hit automotive. Yeah. Those are the those are the five top that hit the 90 percent of our revenue. The rest is it is more so typically. And keep in mind we have we have seven offices now. So each one of those office typically specializes in the vertical. And then our largest national accounts are centralized in our Charlotte based our enterprise operations center which is based in Charlotte North Carolina. So each one of those offices typically carries a specialty within a vertical and that's naturally happened over time. The other filler stuff is has been longer based relationships or new accounts that have been developed. So

Malcolm Lui: Right. So much so from a marketing perspective. You talk about a number of verticals like perishable foods produce auto pharmaceutical retail and I imagine even within that space there are striations right. Different kinds of perishable foods different parts of the auto supply chain on the farm aside I imagine depending where you

Mark Kummer: Pharmaceuticals.

Malcolm Lui: Are in the supply

Mark Kummer: Yes. And you know an interview here I'll give you an example. So you can different you can break that out within. You know it's interesting because you can apply the principles of how we were founded i.e. perishable Justin Time shipping to each one of those verticals we specialize in. Right. So there are degrees of parish ability. You're absolutely right. And also within produce and some of the perishable products they're highly cyclical we get wild swings in the market. Right. Versus automotive is typically not cyclical unless they have a plant rework for a couple of months but usually there it's pretty much steady state across. The key is when we started with the business we have 43 million as Iris business. Our goal is to make that less cyclical as possible so we have stability throughout the year. As an example

Malcolm Lui: Right now will you have a different marketing different marketing message for each of the verticals

Mark Kummer: It all goes back to one core message and that is is that technology drive just in time shipping and by getting the scale and depth within called the more premium or higher margin based shipments the more sensitive shipments we have enough scale to essentially be able to offer that technology driven solutions back to those less sensitive verticals. So our marketing hasn't. What we can identify and we'll probably train specific people on specific verticals. It all comes back to one common message everyone's looking for the same thing. They want to see the example the case studies the white papers and the examples that feedback to their individual industry. So from a marketing standpoint have we broken it out by industry not publicly or not. Not from them not from that space but the overall theme has worked well for us as we grow and we get more scale and more market have the ability to invest more in marketing dollars will do so. But going back to our core theme and and applying a white paper I mean listen we got our first automotive account by walking through a a pair highly perishable supply chain back to automotive and actually built in the KPI is that an automotive industry looks that we could tie directly back to a highly perishable ship and it has equal consequences back and forth. And I mean that's the key. If you can parlay that back in that's what opened the doors to that industry. So I could call it an odd. It's not a it's not a typical approach but but it worked well. And from a service standpoint we delivered

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. And at the same time I find that having new ideas from other industries and considering them for your own especially if your competition isn't doing it can really have huge benefits. Right. Because you're not. Not everyone is going after the same thing. You're doing something different. Right now he does it. If you're on the marketing side knowing does it make you stand out at the same time. It means that you're not all going after the same fish right. You're calling your fishing a different part of the pond where there are a lot more fish available and it just makes sense to consider different ways of attacking a problem

Why they deliver value creatively and differently from everyone else

Mark Kummer: A 100 percent. And any other thing that you know I you sense in industries I mean it is a highly highly competitive business you know 550000 registered trucking companies I think there's like 50 thousand around 50 thousand brokers in the U.S. and you know you've got you know hosts of various pieces of technology everyone has kind of this standard could they get they get old habits die hard. Right. And when you when you repeat the same things over and over rather than trying to find a more creative solution or do something different you're not going to do it you're just a commodity player in the market. So I think naturally that's kind of why we've done that from a marketing and positioning standpoint is Let us try to figure out a more creative way that can deliver value to your bottom line rather than just moving something you like us and send it to us when when we're our price is right. Right. It's

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Mark Kummer: It's a different approach.

Malcolm Lui: Three nice questions for you Mark. Say one of your ideal clients ideal prospects some somebody you work with they're driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour and a C A C A Mid-America logistics billboard. They're only going to see it for five seconds that's the reason by what message do you want on that billboard.

Mark Kummer: Quality. Quality professionalism and transparency and I would also put Justin time in there too. So if it hits those four things we deliver we deliver shipments on time. We provide transparent data. We we do so professionally and and and we do so with integrity. I would take those those sport for things that would need to I would like Captain

Malcolm Lui: Right. There's a company have a slogan a phrase a motto along those lines but that

Mark Kummer: Go on our site. We have we published our mission. We put our mission vision and values statement. The interesting part of that development we just did it close to a year ago. We literally picked a lottery of staff members lock them into a room for a full day and said What does this company mean to you. And where do you see this company going based on them based on on the message your training your development et cetera. They came up with us. So we had things in there such as like modder hoist and you can go on the Web site to see those and you know those values really reign true in everything this company does. Everyone in our company knows our mission vision and values. They proudly put it in as the first two slides and any presentation as an example. And you know it's it's not to say it's it's. We've we've made it infectious in a good way in a positive way across this company because those five words truly drive everything we do and how we conduct business and want and define the clients we want to work with

Malcolm Lui: Right. For sure. Two more questions for you. Who are your ideal customers. I know you talked about a bit and maybe you can recap it again. And what's the best way for them to reach you.

Mark Kummer: Are ideal clients are ones that are not shopping on a commodity price based basis are looking for long term relationships whether it be in a large scale or a bid. In other words we're not the we will participate in bids and bid on on lands that we know we are subject matter matter experts and can deliver on with transparent pricing and we will commit to a price for a full year you'll never have to worry about us. So anyone who's bid based will be with time sensitive shipments. We want transparency and consistency and pricing down to that small medium sized client who's looking for a partner who's going to be dealing with the same person every day who gets to know your business within that realm. I can tell you the verticals that we've been very successful in perishable food automotive manufacturing retail and then and then also one area that we probably haven't is just general distribution imports and blowing out distribution that's that's been an area which we've been looking to expand into. While it's bigger it's been more of a commodity based market which is why less energetic retail as well as a retail vertical is relatively new. But I see that as the largest growth opportunity walking into 2019 in 2020. Because as we've said we're starting to develop synergies within our kind of five core verticals. So you know we're looking for clients. The profile is not necessarily industry based as much as it is. We don't want to be you know one of 100 people that you're going to you know just blow out rates to the lowest personal wins. We want to be the person that you partner with both on either on a contractual basis or on a spot basis that you know you want to know what you're getting in what transparency

Malcolm Lui: Right. You got to be a partner. You don't want to be just a simple vendor

Slow and steady is consistent and reliable

Mark Kummer: Exactly. And people have asked me all the time or if you take constructive criticism to say well you know you're not you know you alluded in your questions like How do you how do you develop business and you know do you think that's a slower way to get business slow and steady is consistent and reliable and that's building a foundation rather than just throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping stuff steps. That's not that's not a way to build a long term business that develops value for clients and equity value for shareholders.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah it's also kind of when you mentioned this slow and steady. Kind of reminds me of a book I was reading about golf read about how you want to learn how to do your swing. Slow and steady at the beginning and then as you get proficient but then you start speeding it up.

Mark Kummer: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Try to maintain

Mark Kummer: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: That efficiency. You don't want to go full speed right right off the bat

Mark Kummer: I mean people people drive this business at the end of the day. Right. And you know one thing that I take a lot of pride in and I've seen a lot of different transportation companies from the private equity side is is the first company I walked into where I saw the diversity I get. We have 50 percent males 50 percent females in a very male dominated industry right. We have people from all walks of life who speak natively multiple languages. I think we've got 14 or 15 different languages spoken naturally in the house. We have we have people you know who have who born in other countries to coming in different from rural areas to highly urban areas. I mean when you walk in this business lots people are surprised and they're like this is a transportation company. And one thing that I have learned here is diversity also within the cycle and the diversity I'm talking I'm not just talking about sex race educational backgrounds a combination of everything diversity can come in all forms. And when I meet people here I mean it's in that I see the people we're hiring the people were attracted to coming to this business. It's really a cornucopia of of of different backgrounds different exposures both on the business and personal side. It's really neat actually I'm I'm convinced although we can't it's difficult to measure that. I'm convinced that's been a major driver to our talent and in turn our growth here in the last four years.

Malcolm Lui: I mean at the very least at the very least having a diverse employee base. I mean you just get different ideas and different perspectives. Right.

Mark Kummer: Hundred percent because there's so many you know when you go into a lot of larger trucking company it's not just companies you see. You see the backgrounds that people switch between the same large ones. Right. And it's the same ideas the same philosophies and not to say it's stale but this is an industry that that changes slow and is very manual and very antiquated and a lot of different ways. And by bringing in some new perspectives with tight end the key is we have blends of industry expands but you see a lot of these technology startups or these app startups and they can't figure out why they're not getting traction in the market it's like well they're just going strictly outside the market. Right. You know we've got a nice balance of industry experience and non industry experience plus diversity to bring those ideas in. And you know so it's it's kind of a check and balance on the whole thing.

Malcolm Lui: Right now what's the best way for your ideal clients to contact your firm.

Mark Kummer: Yep. Couple different ways they can. They can write email is contact at MIT and logistics dot com. They can call our main line which is 6 3 6 2 2 6 or 7 7 0 or they. Those are the two different ways they can get in contact with us.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us today Mark in Shanghai you accelerated your company's high value sales

Mark Kummer: I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Mark Kummer, the President of Mid-America Logistics about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing high value sales companies, or to hear how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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