EKA Delivers Embedded Transactional Insurtech Solutions to Supply Chain Customers

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SALT LAKE CITY, March 21, 2023 

EKA Solutions Inc, the industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management platform, EKA Omni-TMS™, today announced it has begun to deliver online embedded transaction based insurtech solutions to both EKA Omni-TMS and non-EKA TMS carrier, broker, and shipper customers.

“EKA in strategic collaboration with its risk management partner, Lockton, and its insurtech  partner Redkik, has begun to deliver the vision of changing the process of purchasing and consuming insurance services by supply chain customers, and risk underwriting by insurance carriers.” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc. “During this first phase of disruption, the strategic partnership delivers embedded on-demand cargo risk coverage solutions to supply chain customers on a per shipment basis and elevates the customer experience to the next level.” Adds, Singh.

To learn more about these disruptive solutions, contact Steve Weiby, EKA’s Chief Operating Officer, at Steve@go-eka.com.

EKA & Redkik Collaborate to Deliver On-Demand Transactional Insurtech Solutions to Supply Chain Customers

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Read the original article at PR Newswire

EKA Solutions Inc, the industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management platform, EKA Omni-TMS™, today announced a strategic collaboration with Redkik, Inc., to deliver transaction based insurtech solutions to EKA freight carrier, broker, and shipper SMBs beginning in Q1 2023.    

“There is no greater industry need than reducing risk at every level of the supply chain for customers – so EKA and Redkik are kicking off this new year by taking action,” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc. “This strategic collaboration will enable transformation of risk management and consumption of risk coverage products by supply chain customers, and risk underwriting by insurance carriers based on customer usage and risk levels in an affordable, convenient, and variable cost basis.”

“Together with EKA we are combining our visions for an optimized supply chain to offer solutions for the industry’s actual needs without shortcuts. Through this strategic partnership, we are streamlining the process of purchasing insurance with modern and efficient technology that will undoubtedly transform how the industry views insurance products,” said Chris Kalinski, Founder and CEO of Redkik, Inc.

About EKA

EKA Solutions, Inc., provides a transformational cloud-based SaaS digital freight ecosystem management platform, dFEMX™, to manage customer’s freight businesses and enable synchronous integration with key service providers to deliver services. Also, EKA provides the Smart, Unified Platform EKA Omni-TMS™ for – Virtually – Everyone. It empowers small and medium size broker, carrier, and shipper businesses to operate from quote-to-cash with affordable and best-in-class digital tools, enabling the higher performance demanded in tomorrow’s supply chain. For more information, visit: https://www.go-eka.com

About Redkik

Redkik is a global software company with the mission to simplify and improve the insurance industry for all parties within logistics and transportation. Utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning, Redkik’s technology can generate instant quotes backed by leading insurance companies based on actual data sets, providing lower risk and higher coverage for any type of shipment.

EKA Insights Interview: Frank Adelman

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EKA Insights Interview: Frank Adelman

By Arune Singh

Life rarely works out the way you expect.

Some people try to fight that change, but then there’s the truly successful ones who learn to ride the wave of unpredictability.

The latter describes Frank Adelman, Chairman of Transflo, who has been in the transportation logistics industry for over thirty years and has seen the industry change at a seemingly unimaginable rate.

Picture provided courtesy of Frank Adelman

Today the EKA Insights Interview series continues with special guest Frank Adelman,  who recently spoke to us about his perspective on the evolution of the trucking logistics business. The transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.

EKA: Well, Frank, let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been in my industry for just over 20 years and that feels like a lot. But you’ve been in yours for 30 and that is uncommon in today’s industry-hopping environment. How did you get started in transportation logistics? And what kept you there?

Frank Adelman: Great question. I always tell people, once you get in transportations logistics you can rarely get out. I’m living proof of that.

I graduated from University of Tennessee and went to work at a sizable bank here in Nashville called First American Bank. And I got a call from a friend of mine who was working at Comdata, who had a new kind of thing called a debit card. You have to understand that this was in the really early 80s before any of us were using ATM cards. 

But I didn’t go to college to become a sales guy, y’know? I’m above that, right? Then he told me what his commission check was for the month and I said “okay, who do I talk to?” [laughs]

That led me into a really nice kind of opportunity, not just there with Comdata but also in the transportation supply chain that’s such a huge, complex ecosystem. I looked at the industry as an opportunity to really make a difference, which is what we all want when we’re young and starting out and  was blessed enough to accomplish that. 

So, I got into this in the early 80s and I haven’t looked back.

The industry has changed so much in that time – you’re talking about the advent of debit cards and now you’re working with some cutting edge technology. As I researched your career more, I think one constant theme of your career is adaptability. With that in mind, what do you think has been the biggest change to deal with in the transportation logistics industry over time?

I think, first of all, that our society is pretty adaptable. If you look at us over the last 20 years, now we’re connected to any and everything we want to today and that wasn’t the case back when I started my career.

Transportation is an industry that thrives on and has a huge appetite for efficiency. It’s because of that they’re not necessarily in the high tech software world and instead you have to grind to keep your head above water. Trying to do it all more efficiently has led to some really interesting technologies – some of them are real good, some of them aren’t earth-shattering but they do the job.

And I think the biggest mistake that a lot of technology companies make in this marketplace is not realizing that the best technology doesn’t necessarily win. If you start from a truck driver and work your way back up to the company – your freight broker, your factory companies or financial institution – it’s really where the rubber meets the road. If it doesn’t work there and it isn’t easy for those driver employees to adapt, then you’re gonna have limited success.

So, you really start at the basic level and work from there because this is an industry that’s certainly embraced technology, but it’s been a survival move to ensure they’re not losing out and are able to stay out in front.

Now, at the risk of making you feel a bit older, I remember being a child when fuel cards were becoming popular and it seemed like such a huge paradigm shift. What do you think has allowed you to be so ahead of the curve with technology in your career? I’m sure part of your answer is the people you’ve worked with, but is there anything else?

I wouldn’t ever claim that I’m smarter than anyone else – certainly there’s a lot of people in the marketplace and I think it really does come back to talking and understanding your customers. What are their problems? Where are their solutions? What are the pain points? Who is addressing those things best? And can those issues be addressed in a way that a larger share of the market adapts and embraces them?

Knowing that you’re focused on the driver experience and efficiencies for them, what do you think is the next big tech opportunity for the transportation logistics industry?

We’re really at an inflection point today because companies are getting really good at capturing data and it’s data that I would refer to as “Intelligent Automation.” That’s where there are those decision support tools, grabbing lots of data and making those “make or break” decisions. I think we’re just at the front end of machine learning.

And, in fact, at Transflo we spend a lot of resources there today because we process over one hundred billion worth of freight bills through our platform. That means we are at one of those kinds of obvious places where we ask what we can do to use that data to help our customers more so that they’re not working from a notepad anymore. Even if they’re working from a computer they don’t necessarily have that inherent decision-making process that will drive them to the next level. So, I really think that this kind of Intelligent Automation with deep, deep machine learning is really going to thrust a lot of activity into the forefront in the very near future.

Earlier you mentioned the desire to help others and that’s something that’s been on all our minds during the pandemic. With all the changes in the world, how have you adopted your management style to meet the challenges of today?

It’s a good question given the last few years in the remote workforce. That’s been a bit of a struggle for an oldtimer like me but I’ve always felt like my management style has been about embracing an individual on a personal level as opposed to treating people like they’re just here to do a job every day. The caring and nurturing of your workforce is what lets them look at you like a partner and not as a Boss. They have to respect you and trust you, so I think there’s a lot you have to do as a manager to get there.

Over the years, I think that the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you have to equally manage the peaks and valleys because your employees follow you.

And they’re looking at the bad situations – how do you react? It can be a serious situation but you don’t need to panic.

I think when you’re younger you do try to be a bit of a hardass and then you learn how to treat people as individuals so they respond the best.

I would just caution those remote workers  that, for the only who’re aggressive, is that to make a name for themselves, then they’ve got to figure out a way to be top of mind for executives as someone who has more to offer outside of their daily routine and one Zoom call per week. 

It’s difficult, but let’s face it – the biggest and best companies are struggling with the question of how do we bring employees back? How do we nurture them? How do we make sure they’re adapting to our culture? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that and I think we’re all learning to move forward in this new world.

As someone who’s 40, I’m not quite young and not quite old, but I’ve really learned to enjoy remote work. But I’ve noticed there’s a set of muscles that don’t get developed, which is especially evident when I work with people who are terrified by phone calls. Do you find that there are similar skill sets getting lost or deprioritized in this new world?

I think a lot of it depends on the job, right? For a new employee coming into the work environment where they’re learning from peers on how to respond to different situations, it’s easier to stick your head around the cubicle to ask a question as opposed to trying to schedule another call with someone.

I will say, this is all a bit crazy for me, but when someone calls me to do a conference call without video I look at them like they’re ancient. We don’t do that! [laughs] And that shift has happened in such a short time. I think we’re going to wake up in another two or three years and discover a lot of new pluses and minuses about remote work. 

On a related note, I think there’s a greater amount of uncertainty and anxiety we’ve seen compressed into the last few years. If you have people coming to you because they’re overwhelmed by change, what advice do you have for them?

I’d say, you know, that I don’t know more than anyone else – I deal with those same kinds of issues. 

The fact of the matter is, a lot of us allow our lives to get more complicated than they need to be and, I hate to say this because I know I’ll sound like my father, turn the dang TV off. So much of the content has no goal beyond throwing negative stuff at you.

Go back to the basics and the fundamentals – those things don’t fail. 

And don’t sweat the stuff that doesn’t matter.

I know there’s a lot of people that drive hard and it’s great they do, but don’t let the stuff that doesn’t matter interfere with the things that do. Sometimes we just outthink ourselves.

If you stuff back to those fundamentals and those basics, I think that in business we can embrace those and be successful without having to invent something new. Look, it’s tough because we are getting hit with a lot of new stuff. The answer is all about showing empathy for people and recognizing they’re more than a seat in a job.

It’s your organization and it’s them as human beings that you care about, but that has to be genuine because they’ll figure out if you’re not. If they’re gonna lay it on the line for you then give them the nurturing they need and maybe kick them in the rear end when they need it.

Absolutely. Thanks again for joining us.

You’re welcome.

EKA Insights Interview: David L. Summitt

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By Arune Singh

That’s something David L. Summitt learned at the age of 20, when his father William R. Summitt passed away and left his son to take over the Bestway Trucking company.

In the ensuing nearly 40 years, Bestway has seen a plethora of changes (as detailed on their website), transforming into Summitt Trucking LLC and rapically scaled its business to provide nationwide services, with a particular focus on taking care of their drivers.

Today the EKA Insights Interview series continues with special guest David L. Summitt, who recently spoke to us about his path to leading  Summitt Trucking and his vision for the Company.

EKA: Let’s start with something a bit more existential – people are always talking about finding their purpose these days. We hear about that a lot in a world that feels like it’s changing more than ever before, so finding that purpose can be difficult. Did you feel like you found your purpose back in 1985 when you took over the family business or is that a thing you felt you had to do?

David: My father died unexpectedly on Christmas in 1985. A day or two later, after we buried my father, my mother looked at me and said, “I’ve got a sixth grade education, two mortgages, here’s your dad’s keyes, don’t let me lose the house.” I already had a full-time job somewhere else, so I had to step into this role and figure out how to allow her to keep her house.

That may not be the kind of purpose that people think about when we ask the question of ourselves, but that is definitely a specific goal and a very specific purpose – to take care of family.

I’m an only child, ain’t nobody gonna take my momma’s house. I was destined to make sure that didn’t happen.

I was roughly 20 years old, and I walked into a room where I had two partners and, you know, pretty much all of our drivers were in their 40s and 50s. It was a very hard thing to learn. I wasn’t respected – but you don’t get respect, you earn it. I had to work twice as long and twice as hard than most people to get that respect because I was my father’s son, right? And you just have to exceed their expectations.

Do you feel like there’s a disconnect today with how that idea of earning respect is viewed by different generations?

Yeah, absolutely. We see it all the time. 

The older generations grew up with our grandparents and parents either being in the wars or some horrific recessions that they had to overcome. And my children, who are somewhere between 23 and 33, didn’t experience a lot of that. They’ve seen Mom and Dad go to work, come home and life was good. They played sports, went to school and got to have their fun activities without the same kind of trying moments that make people stand up and either do it or not.

So there’s a lot of entitlement in this generation and I don’t do really well with things like that because I think if you earn what you work for, it’s yours. You deserve it. If you don’t work, then you’re not deserving of as much, right?

Absolutely – I think it’s definitely generational. I’m 41 this year and I work with a lot of folks younger than me. There are different standards – some of which are great, but the idea of certain work that needs to be done and some uncomfortable situations to get through already seems like it might be old-fashioned to some.

I watched a motivational speech by a gentleman named Simon Sinek, who I have a great deal of respect for and I think it was called “Millennials, How I Broke The Internet.” I thought that was an interesting title and the first question was about millennials and entitlement. Simon immediately goes into “I don’t know that you want me saying what I really believe here because it might hurt a lot of people’s feelings.” And he went on to say that, you know, when I was a kid and I played ball, if I came in first, second or third, I might have gotten a trophy or a ribbon or something. But he said today whether you win, or you lose, every single person on the team gets the exact same award. 

And what we’re doing is we’re teaching our children that for one, two, and three, it’s no better, you’re not going to be treated any better, than anybody else if you work hard. That means for those that are on the bottom, “wow, I’m actually not good. I don’t deserve this that they’re doing anyway.”I feel ashamed or that I shouldn’t have it. 

So we’re teaching some kids some things that probably, you know, they’re learning differently than we did.

That leads me to my next question, which is about people succeeding or failing – whether on the diamond or something else. Sometimes life throws you curveballs when you expect to succeed or expect your life to go a different way. You’ve dealt with a lot of ups and downs in your career, leaving the company and then returning to make Summitt Trucking what it is today. What advice do you give people when they come to you for advice in dealing with the unexpected?

Well, there’s a few things and it depends on the severity of course.

But when you do get those curveballs, you can whine, cry and complain, or you can do something about it. I’ve always been one of those kinds of guys that feels like I’ve got all these employees working for me and they expect the paycheck – they’re counting on me. 

It’s not just the husband or wife who works for me – they probably have a spouse and maybe two children. So you multiply the number of employees by four, which means if you’ve got 100 people working for you then you’ve got 400 people depending on you. I take that to heart.

I’m one of those kinds of guys that sees there’s a door in front of me and I try to find a way either around it, over it or blow it up. You have to find a way to get to the other side. And to do that, you have to have passion for what you’re doing. If you don’t have passion, you’re missing out on a large part of what it takes to get things done.

When people think about passion these days, they often talk about it as though it has to ignite every aspect of their soul. Whenever I’ve been interviewed for jobs, I always say it’s about creating a better quality of life for my wife and our family. That’s my passion and it trumps any other aspect of the job.

Absolutely. I’ve had situations where people have come and said, “Dave, I really don’t want to go, but I have this opportunity.” We sit and talk and I would look at him and say, “Look, if that’s what’s best for you and your family, please go do that.”

I don’t care if you are the single best employee I have – sincerely, I want what’s best for our employees. I’ve repeated that over and over and over. And with that, hopefully, I’ve gained the respect of a lot of our people who are comfortable enough to come talk to me. 

The single most rewarding thing for me in the last few years was with my daughter Danielle who’s 23 and had just graduated Purdue with an HR degree. She came to me and said, “Dad, I don’t want to work for you. I don’t want to get into the family business.” 

So I said, “That’s fine. How can I help you succeed?”

She said not to worry because she’s got a job starting Monday – so she graduates on Friday and has a full time job on Monday. But she goes to work and it doesn’t work out. It wasn’t right for her and that night he was terribly upset. I said, “Danielle, don’t worry about it. It’s your first day out. You’re going to be fine. You’re a smart young lady. You’re driven so just be patient.”

Next day, she calls me and says, “I can’t stand the thought of having this degree and sitting at home. I know you need some help. How about I work part time to help you?”  So she comes in and a month later she’s still here. She’s at the door, got a little tear in her eye and says, “I think I owe you an apology.”

I ask, “Why is that?” and she said, “You always told us as we were growing up that you had two families. And I would just get really mad. You don’t have two wives, two sets of children, you know, what are you talking about?” And she said, “But I’ve been here 30 days, and I would like to become full time. And I don’t think I ever want to have another job in my life. This company is truly like family. It’s like cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters that you work with. It’s just amazing.”

That’s beautiful. I think that a big part of that family and the people who matter to you are the drivers, right? Your website mentions “meeting and exceeding” their needs, but what does that mean to you in practice?

In all honesty, I drove a truck for three and a half years and I don’t think that makes me a truck driver right now in today’s world. 

Back then you had paper logs, loose regulations and safety protocols. And, maybe four logbooks. I’m not saying that was legal or you should do it, I’m just saying that’s how some of them operated it.

And with all that today, you’re demanding electronic logs, scanning documents and you’re demanding that they know the new DOT rules but there’s no real way for them to be communicated unless we communicate to them. There’s no classes that they can take or online subscriptions that really keep up with these things. You have to pick your information here and there, then put it together and then we send it to them, right? 

We’re asking a whole lot of a driver, whose average age is probably 59 years old. Well, I’m 58, I never went to college, my dad died, I wanted to be an attorney. But I ended up being a trucker, and I’m proud of it – I actually have passion for it. 

But you’re asking a 58 or 59 year old person to learn how to do things they’ve never done, then operate in a country where maybe they don’t feel safe if they have to park their vehicle, or they’re worried about getting a ticket, or they’re worried if they run one minute over on the load.

We literally had a situation where a driver was pulling into a restaurant because the driver was out of service – he needed a break, right? He had like one minute when he came off the ramp. And he’s kind of timed it that way and a little tight. But he’s pulling in and because of the way the truck was parked next to him, he had to make adjustments and he got a citation for it. You know, a lot of the DOT officers, I respect them, I think they’re great people, I think they do a good job. And they help keep our interstates and highways safe, right? 

On the flip side of it, some of them have not been given the education that they should get. And then they come out on the road and we end up with confusion over what a driver should or shouldn’t do. It becomes very complicated, right? But, in my opinion of a truck driver, when you look at what that driver has to go through where they eat, where they sleep, where they take a shower, the risks that they take to avoid accidents, congestion, acts of God – I could just keep rattling these off.

At the end of the day, we’re paying these guys, you know, two years ago, maybe in the 50s. Today, maybe in the mid 60s, maybe 70. And in all honesty,  those guys ought to be making 100 grand a year. If we want to attract people who have the technology, technological skills to do what we’re asking them to do, have the motivation to go do that job every day and fight this traffic and the congestion and so forth, then we should pay thrm well.

But our industry – and it’s nobody’s fault, in particular, not one person, no governmental person – it’s just the way it’s been. Our industry has allowed the drivers’ wages to remain lower than where I think they should be. And as a trucking company owner, how do I get that up? I can only do what my customers will allow me to do. And after I take everybody’s wages and expenses out of the business, there’s only so much leftover, so we try to give back as much as we possibly can. I would really love to see our industry shift to where we’re actually taking care of these people and paying them more than what we are today.

Why do you think these drivers remain so unappreciated or misunderstood by folks at large? It feels like the pandemic should’ve made it clear how important these folks are to everything but there’s still a disconnect.

Well, COVID made it really clear when it became an emergency, when the drivers didn’t have a restroom, and it was a hard time just getting fuel. And they couldn’t even get a sandwich. So you’ve seen the US citizens come out to rest stops with food and drink for the drivers because they knew the important role they had. 

And these drivers stepped up big time when everyone else was at home in their house, scared to come out, or not allowed to come out. These drivers were rolling up and down the interstate and we didn’t have a single drive that said “I’m not going to do it.” They actually felt really proud of what they were doing. They stepped up and they worked harder. 

So in that particular case, yes, they were given some consideration for what they’re doing. But as soon as that emergency situation ended, they went right back immediately to the people driving an 80,000 pound rig that’s very noisy, takes up a lot of room, you know, “you’re following me too close,” “I don’t like the fumes I mean” – the list goes on and on in regards to what the general public thinks of drivers.

But it is a necessity. And it is an underappreciated necessity in respect to the driver, right? Those drivers do a wonderful job, and they need to be compensated accordingly. And we’re doing the very best we can. I think all of our competitors are doing a pretty great job as well. And that driver is the key to everything. That’s the reason why I have a paycheck. I really think as a nation, we probably lost a little respect for these folks. And you know, let’s face it, there are great and wonderful grabbers in our industry. What we’ve got to do is figure out how to help these folks become better at what they’re doing. 

I agree they’re truly essential workers. If drivers just stopped driving, I don’t think folks fully realize the domino effect it would have on their lives and how the world would stop in just a few days. 

Yep. I don’t know if that’s a week or two weeks, or how long it actually is in reality. But I guarantee you stores would have empty shelves and I would only get worse until drivers were back out.

You’ve answered a couple of questions I had, which brings me to one of my last questions – do you have a list of the top three core fundamentals to your leadership and vision for Summitt?

You know, I’ve worked 40 years of my life. And I think I’ve worked very hard with passion, trying to make sure all these folks are taken care of. I’m actually taking my entire management team as we speak, and enrolling them in some personality survey type experiences where we can learn how to better work with each other, along with coaching skills on how to better react and talk to each other. 

And culture starts in this chair, and then it goes down a level and then down a level right until it gets to every single person in this company. My role is to make that happen. And I’m working very hard to see that it does in the way that I want it so I think having the right culture is a real key part of this.

Number two is succession planning so that if something would happen to me or one of the directors that this company keeps moving forward, and without hesitation. That needs to be a seamless transition so that our people are taken care of because I had the unfortunate situation of selling my business to a company that I don’t think did the right things with that, they’re no longer here. That’s the reason I came back – I actually had to look in the mirror every morning and see my bank account had some money in it while our people that helped me be successful, didn’t. 

And I honestly couldn’t live with that. 

So that’s why I came back under the name Summitt Trucking.

So the morals, ethics and culture fit into one bucket and the succession plan fits in another bucket. With the way the world is moving, we have to be continually updating our processes, procedures, looking at the technology and making changes where needed so we can stay ahead of the curve. Once you get behind that curve it;s very hard to get in front of that again. I’ve been there, it takes a lot of work and diligence and just kind of putting it on the line without fear. 

That all brings me to the last question. You’ve mentioned rebranding the company and putting your name on it. What did it mean to put your name on the company and make it clear that you were in charge of it again?

I’m actually a low key guy and I’ve really liked flying below the radar.

Our company was named BestWay Trucking and my dad named it that way in 1982 because all the shipping documents that came out said “Ship the BestWay.”

You have no idea how many phone calls we got from people based on that name, so it was a very successful way of doing business.

When we closed our business and sold it to another party, my wife and I were at home when it went out of business. I looked at her and I said, “You know, I’m struggling. I’m having a hard time knowing that  all these people that helped us be successful are hurt, and we need to go try to help somehow.: And she looks at me and she says, “I know you’re gonna do it. And I’ve been thinking about it.”

She mentioned that the BestWay logo had a diamond, with a truck within the diamond and “BestWay” below it. So she suggested that I put some mountains on there to represent a summit, with “Summitt” below the Diamond since it’s got the same number of letters. That way when anyone sees the  Diamond they’ll see my name.

And we went from zero to 125 trucks in twelve months thanks to her thought right there.

That’s amazing. 

Well, that’s how it happened. 

There’s days I’m really proud to have my name on that side of that truck. 

And there’s days where I wish it said something other than my name. [laughs]

Well, I think that sense of accountability you have is part of what makes the company so successful. Thanks so much for the time, David.

EKA Insights Interview: Patrick Thomas

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By Arune Singh

In life there are few guarantees – and there’s even less in business.

That especially true for Patrick Thomas, President of RSI Insurance Brokers and one of Insurance Journal’s 2021 Agents of the Year, whose sole focus is following through on the promises they make to every client.

Founded in 1989 by Patrick’s father Ben Thomas, RSI has become “one of the premier transportation insurance agencies in the country” by ensuring they always deliver best-in-class support and services in an industry where the unexpected reigns supreme.

The EKA Insights Interview series continues with special guest Patrick Thomas, who recently spoke to us about his path to RSI and his vision for the insurance industry.

EKA: I’ve always thought that business is truly driven by relationships, no matter what you do – marketing, insurance or anything.  But I also find it’s hard to build good long term relationships with the way the world is and at the pace of life. I’ve seen you speak about how RSI prides itself on relationships, but how do you balance building deep, honest relationships with also needing to hit financial goals? It feels like those ambitions are often at odds in today’s world.

Patrick Thomas: You made a really complicated statement – we live in this world of hyperactivity and the demands become so much more as time progresses. It’s hard to balance that equation of success in relationships. But what I think we all tend to forget is that it’s the relationships that lead, promote and grow that success. Sometimes we take that for granted. And where we start is just from a point of sincerity, that, for us, business is personal, right? So from the get go, we make it about a relationship, because we’ve been a family owned business and we have friendships within our organization that have spanned decades of time with generations of family. It’s important to carry that message not only with whom we hire, but in how we help our clients. We want to help people that want to help themselves and start that from a point of sincerity leading to a point where we have an intimate relationship and understanding of a clients’ operations, as well as some of the challenges they face, whether they are political in nature, legal in nature, or just general business environment issues. 

You mentioned wanting to understand your clients and I think that’s reflected in your hiring practices where you value diversity – to the point that you have a staff who speaks over ten languages. Where did that prioritization of diversity come from? Was it something purely practical to connect with a wider audience or was there something else that motivated it?

I would love to say there was one specific agenda that we were looking to achieve and that this was a purposeful outcome, but a lot of it just naturally occurred over time.

I always challenge assumptions that no matter what we do or for how long we’ve done it, it’s a healthy process for us to challenge those habits so we can push the boundaries for success beyond where they’ve been before.

That’s kind of my approach to business – taking something that’s been good and making it great by challenging these historical assumptions to figure out where and when improvement is appropriate. That’s been paired with diversity in our office because I like challenging who we hire and where we hire from. Great minds can exist anywhere – they don’t solely exist within the confines of larger corporate structures, or in academia, or in any particular industry. I like bringing in perspective from outside the industry and creating this collective perspective that is much greater than it could be for any one of us individually.

So, in challenging assumptions and bringing in a group of talent with different perspectives, it just kind of naturally happened that we had hired people with very diverse backgrounds who spoke the languages that were in common with our clients. It’s not like we’re looking to hire nine people from nine different backgrounds, so that they could fulfill different ethnic or cultural diversity requirements of our clients, it was just that we wanted to be different. 

Look, I have grown up in insurance where it’s a male, Caucasian dominated business that grew very old and very boring. It was suits and ties and big wood offices…and it was everything I didn’t want to be. I saw an opportunity to shift the business into feeling more relevant, evolving and adapting into something that was cool and better than the county club it had been. It was a chance for us to help people in different communities, whether it’s first generation immigrants, or family businesses and again, drive their success forward along with our own.

You’ve touched on this a bit but I think when people hear “diversity” they aren’t necessarily opposed but think “Well, I want to hire the best person for the job” even when they know there’s an inequity in the system. So for the folks reading this who believe in what you’re saying but don’t know how to do it without feeling like they’re excluding anyone, how can they get started on diversifying their business in both ideas and other vectors of identity?

It starts with leadership, right? The leadership has to understand that no matter what decision you make, there is always going to be a component of winners or losers, or people that are included and people that are exploited. Because there’s no way to possibly solve all the world’s problems or to make a singular choice that is all encompassing. It just doesn’t exist. 

I think we put an unfair pressure on ourselves from the start by saying that we have to achieve a sense of perfection. Really, we’re working within this social experiment where all we’re doing is tinkering with the recipe to figure out how we can do it better. I think if we start there and take the pressure off ourselves then we can learn over time and can have room for failures as we start to figure out what works. It’s a much healthier starting point.

And then it’s just about making choices. You pick the right person, the right candidate or right strategic plan in the moment for the things that you’re trying to achieve. I think if you’re trying to do that and you’re challenging assumptions then it’s going to lead you to different kinds of choices than you’re making now. That naturally segues into components of diversity and taking advantage of the news ideas that arise.

Part of challenging assumptions is bringing in a different perspective, right? If I went to a particular school and only hired people from that school, we may not have a difference of perspectives and it would be harder to challenge those assumptions because we’re all like-minded and that’s not the environment we want to create. We want to create an environment where if you have an MBA that’s great but if you don’t have any formal education at all then you’re just as capable to come to table with an idea or an execution for us to implement. And I’m happy to hear both.

You mentioned that insurance wasn’t the kind of environment you wanted to be in because you wanted, for lack of a better term, a different vibe. So, how did you know that RSI was right for you and that you were choosing your own path, instead of just following the path laid out for you?

Initially, I didn’t – I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be in advertising or a computer programmer – I’ve dabbled in both things but failed miserably. But what I realized through time was that the important thing to me was the connection that I made with the people that I do business with, so sales became a natural next step. I had an intimate relationship with our business given that my dad started it, which made it all the more meaningful and carried a weight that resonated differently. I’m one of the few people that gets the chance to work with my dad and to work in an organization that I witnessed grow from my infancy to my adulthood, helping to make the legacy a better story than the point I entered it.

It gave me a personal connection to the business and a chance to make RSI the way I wanted, imparting my entrepreneurial vision for what it could be at a level where it might not be possible in a larger organization. It would be a different challenge.

At the same time, starting something on my own would be a daunting task too, because while I think I’m capable of starting a business from scratch there are risks involved in the learning curve and financial stress that are just different.

For people on the outside looking in, they might hear your vision for insurance and have a hard time squaring with their view of the industry which isn’t always charitable, to say the least. They don’t think of insurance companies as being on their side or being honest brokers with them. So you probably walk into conversations with clients who have misconceptions of the business and I’m curious how you’re trying to change those.

Yeah, excellent point and I think about it all the time. Nobody starts a business with the idea that they want to buy insurance. That’s not number one, or number two, or number three on their business plan. It’s an afterthought, right? And people will experience different elements of risk, and they’ll finance it in different manners through, again, their own experience. But again, most people don’t build a business thinking that they’re going to have an allocated budget and they’re not excited to spend it on insurance. It’s a product you buy that, and frankly, hope you never use, which is really weird. It’s just odd, right? Buying insurance maybe isn’t all that different from going to a mortuary. And I’m not trying to paint a grim picture that insurance is death. But, again, we’re selling a product people hope to never use until they have to and when it works, they’re so thankful they partnered with the right people because it could be the difference between financial success for the individual or the business. It’s complicated. It does have a lot of stigma to it that people aren’t happy with the outcomes of claims getting paid or the timeliness to it, or the transparency in the process. 

And they’re absolutely right, because the historical experience has not been a pleasant one. It’s one that’s been stale because it’s failed to advance. That’s why I look for opportunities for us to figure out how we create transparency, better predictability, and a better customer experience because business is personal to us. We want to have a customer centric business plan and business model. If it doesn’t fulfill the client’s needs first, we go back to figuring out the solution that does and then go try to implement that idea. That’s a big change from many of our competitors and the historic industry practices where companies hope to collect all your money, hope you’d never get to use it when you file a claim, and then maybe increase your rates with the hope you’ll just tolerate it. Because people don’t like change, they tend not to push back and the insurance companies win seven or eight times out of ten.

So when we pair that perspective with our own personal POV, our knowledge and the business strategy then we’re going to do things differently by challenging the assumptions that have existed in the industry. Now we have a fighting mentality for the personal paying the bill and because of that perspective towards  the client it allows us to win and win differently than other companies.

As part of winning now and in the future, EKA advocates for all businesses to “tech up” and I imagine you believe the same is true in insurance, with technology playing a role in reducing risk and costs for your clients. What role do you advocate technology should play in their businesses?

I’m a huge proponent of technology and all things related, but I also recognize that it can be overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out where to start. The good answer is “anywhere” and then adapt to it from there, figuring out what works for your unique set of needs and implementation plans. We try to get clients to use anything they can whether it is a low cost, easy solution for something like telematics transparency that’s rewarding and produces good ROI to get them started. The economics in the trucking business allow for investment in technology to help people get to where they can have better utilization, better transparency and bring increased safety to their driver population. And that’s ultimately what we want, right? We all just want to do more and to do it better.

For our trucking clients, doing more and doing it better is driving more miles with greater fuel efficiency, with less interruptions and less days. Because if they’re doing all those things, they’re spending less money on the fat then they’ll have more operational margin to either sustain the business or reinvest in themselves.

That’s wonderful and very antithetical to what we often experience with insurance, where you’re actually helping your client spend less money in a time when it seems like costs are rising in every area of business. Even though we’re all sick of those emails beginning with “in these uncertain times,” it seems like the world is only getting more unpredictable for all of us. What do you think business leadership in the logistics industry can do to provide stability up and down their businesses, from the boardroom to the frontline workers like drivers? 

That’s a hard question, right? Because there’s so many external influences that leaders have to adapt to on a daily basis. But what I think leaders can do is create a sustainable vision for their business and their enterprise, joining hands with the groups of labor that aid them in that plan and make them a party to the success. It becomes a strategic mindset for a leader, whether you’re an insurance agency or a trucking company, to say “we are in this together” and find a path forward that includes progress for all participants. 

It also probably needs to include a financial component as quality of life is a big and relevant concern today where the entire world has learned offices don’t need to exist in the same way they once did. But while so much of the world has the ability to work from home, trucks still have to continue driving and there’s more challenges in competing for that driver talent.

So whether it’s the technology or autonomous trucks, or semi-autonomous trucks or quality of equipment rate or paid benefits, or even just changing the conditions that they work in today, I think we have to be mindful what the business evolves to so that our plan fits in a modern world, because driving from coast to coast at the lowest cost is probably not the solution. Not many people want to do that job anymore because it’s hard and there’s other opportunities elsewhere that impact how we recruit, train and retain talent.

Absolutely. Now, speaking of changing offices, I know that after this conversation you’re switching from land to sea to reel in some big fish. So, for a city guy like me who doesn’t know anything about fishing, any advice for what I should look to reel in and any rookie mistakes I should expect to make?

I’ll be a bit ambiguous in my answer, because I think it applies to you a lot of things, whether it’s fishing, business life, relationships or anything.

Fish for something you think you can catch, right? It’s not about me, and it’s not about what I want for you. It’s about what you think you want for yourself. So, find a fish you think you can catch. And regardless if you catch it or not, just enjoy the experience. Don’t have the expectation that you’re going to get out there and catch the biggest or the most impressive or whatever fish is on your mind. I think you just want to enjoy the experience and the journey. If you get to catch a fish, no matter what type it is, that’s a rewarding bonus. If it’s something that you can experience and share or hold personally for yourself then it’s your own token or reward and that’s great. 

But just don’t don’t have expectations that aren’t real. Just enjoy the process. That’s the most you can do. It’s just a journey. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it’s greater and better than you think it could be. 

And sometimes it’s nothing at all and that’s okay, because you still learn from it all.

Well, that  got more philosophical than I expected. I figured you were going to tell me I had to catch a 20lb mackerel or I would be a failure [laughs].

Fishing is like baseball and golf. You know, most people fail most of the time and low scores win.

On that note, thank you for your time, Patrick.

Thank you.

EKA Insights Interview: Ryan Farrell

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By Arune SIngh

The only thing harder than being first…is being second.

Meet Ryan Farrell, who in 2020 became only the second President of Wilson Logistics in the company’s nearly 40 years of existence.

Though he initially joined Wilson Logistics in 2015 as the Chief Financial Officer after working at top companies from JB Hunt Transport Services and Maverick Transportation, Farrell was hand-picked by Founder & CEO Darrel Wilson (whose EKA Insights interview is here) to lead the company into the future.

With over seventeen years in the transportation industry, Ryan is charting the course for Wilson Logistics in perhaps the most uncertain and unpredictable times imaginable. 

The EKA Insights Interview series continues with special guest Ryan Farrell in both an unedited video interview and in a written transcript below (which includes some edits for clarity and flow).

EKA: When I look at your career, it’s full of ambition – but sometimes achieving the things we want come with unexpected challenges. What surprised you most about becoming president of Wilson Logistics both in the positive way and maybe in ways that you didn’t expect?

Ryan: The first thing that pops to mind is the timing. I was named President of Wilson Logistics right before COVID hit [in 2020]. Becoming president of an organization that’s only had one leader in its history has its own challenges but then when you throw COVID into the mix, it’s kind of baptism by fire, if you will.it was a crazy year but I’m still working with the same people I’ve been working with for a very long time when I was CFO and that helped the transition..

Having the title of President is a tremendous honor that also comes with another layer that is the expectations of you. While I wouldn’t have chosen the first year of COVID to take the reins of the company it also provided a lot of learning experiences. I can’t look back and say we made every decision perfectly but I think we did very well given the information we had.

I got introduced to more sides of the company than I had been responsible for in the past and I came out of that respecting Darrel even more as I got deeper into the company, deeper into his head and his thinking. 

You know what they say, “With great power comes great responsibility” and you feel that a bit more with the title in place. 

So, if that makes Darrel your “Uncle Ben” for all those Spider-Man fans out there, was there one big piece of advice he imparted that’s helped a lot? IS it like a US Presidential transition of power with a letter left behind?

Well, it’s more of a co-leadership as Darrel hasn’t stepped away and we’re in the trenches together I can learn how he does things. There wasn’t a single piece of advice that’s helped as much as learning more of his leadership style.

A lot of what he does is throw out the overanalysis and says to take it back to the nuts and bolts. If we’ve got the right nuts and volts and if we’re doing everything right getting from Point A to Point B, then we’re servicing our customers right. And if we’re making a certain amount of money at the end of each week to pay everyone, then you’re 99.99% of the way there.

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees because you’ll get the smartest reports in the world, down to the finest level of detail. And that’s not going to help you to make that decision that you knew in your gut that you’re going to make anyways. So, a lot of times that stuff gets in the way and just adds more complexity. The thing that I’ve learned from Darrel was that you can be too smart for your own good sometimes and it’s all about getting the nuts and bolts right.

As you’ve spent these last few years in the trenches during such an unpredictable time, especially for the logistics industry, what do you think the successful leaders during this period have in common?

I think a certain level of compassion is needed from every leader.

You know, we weren’t a company that traditionally allowed people to work from home – we’re a Mid-Western trucking company, so if you’re not at the office then you’re slacking off, right? That was the mentality so we had to learn to be more flexible and if you didn’t put your employees first then you probably didn’t come through the other side with a workforce like we did that believes in you and is willing to get in the trenches with you. 

So I’d say that flexibility and compassion are key.

Do you think the kind of compassion that people need has changed as the pandemic has continued?

Some of that is driven by generational changes as well, so it’s not just the current situation even if that did maybe put it into hyperspeed. I think I grew up on the cusp of it.

When I went to college and came out the other side, I expected to work 50, 60, 70 hour a week to prove myself and that was just it. The idea of work/life balance would have to wait until I was a little bit further in my career. And I’m not saying that was right, but it was the expectation I had in mind.

Over the years we slowly started seeing work/life balance become more important than pay and then especially during COVID, when everyone took a big reset and asked “what’d really worth it?”

At the same time, we have a lot of frontline workers because we have truck drivers and truck driving isn’t something you can do from home at least not until you have trucks piloted by drones or whatever. 

So you can’t just completely change your corporate culture but you’ve got to add that layer of flexibility. And I think every business needs to learn from this without allowing it to dictate your culture. If you weren’t a work from home entity then you can’t go fully work from home because it just won’t work. Everyone’s got to change with the times but you can do it in a way that honors the roots of the business that you’re in.

Absolutely, you’re talking about purposeful adaptation and that dovetails well into the next question. You’ve talked about shifting generations and shifting work habits, so how do leaders best bridge that divide? What does successful mentorship look like today with such diverse workforces and viewpoints?

I think it comes back to valuing people.

If you look at our workforce, we’re headquartered in Springfield, Missouri and it may not be known as one of the most diverse places in the world, but we’ve got people from a variety of backgrounds and with very different points of view. One thing we’ve always prided ourselves on is that at the end of the day that we don’t care if we agree on every social or economic issue, but we do care about what we do during our time together. Do you treat others with kindness and respect?  Do you do your job in a way that you believe you can go home and hold your head high that you did your best that day? And as long as you’re willing to say yes to all of that then I think you’re a valuable employee.

I think that’s something that is cross generational – valuing people for their input and for being good people. And we keep doing that so we have a diverse driving population and we have a diverse workforce.  You need to show people, no matter their generation, that they are valuable to you and you’re willing to listen to them.

The other part of it is that it can’t just be one- way – I need to be able to listen to input because that’s when I’ll know where I may need to change. That’s the kind of company we all want.

That kind of compassion makes me think of my conversation with Darrel where he pushed back against the idea of failure because we learn something from everything we do. So there’s a bit of compassion you need towards yourself too. On that note, I’d love to hear about the greatest challenge in your career and what you’ve learned from that.

I’m overly analytical and everything, I’ll say that, so when you asked about my biggest challenge the first thing I’m going to is “my own head.” And, really, in all honesty that’s it.

I’m my biggest challenge because I’m a perfectionist by nature.

I believe – maybe my employees would say differently – but I believe I extend a lot of grace when it comes to failure. Because like Darrel said, really, it’s just an opportunity, we shouldn’t even call it failure the very few times is their true failure. It is a learning opportunity. Now, if you have two of the same learning opportunities, maybe that second one was failure, right? 

There’s two things I tell everybody – first, if you’re coming into trucking and you like it, then you might just be a little crazy and second, if you make it beyond a year you’re definitely crazy and here for life.

And I also tell people that everybody makes mistakes, so we all get to make that mistake once. That’s your learning opportunity, especially if it’s a big deal. If that happens again, then we talk.

So, you know, for me, it is extending that same grace to myself, because I like to hold myself to a higher standard. And so if I don’t meet that standard, it does not go over well with me. So I’ve had to learn that obviously I can’t do everything perfectly. I’ve had to learn to accept that move on and learn just like everybody else. That’s the self-talk that goes on with my overly-analytical brain.

The other side of all that is comparing myself to Darrel, who is a completely different person than me. He is an operator through and through, right? I’ve come up through a different area of transportation so I just haven’t had the same experiences and I do things differently. So, trying to compare yourself to former leaders, others in results, is a big mistake and one that I have definitely been guilty of myself. 

Darrel and I complement each other well because we have two completely different styles. But we expect the same thing at the end of the day, and we try to get the same result. 

It sounds like you and Darrel encourage each other to be the best versions of each other and find the intersection of those strengths, which sounds like the perfect recipe for working together. That has to be especially powerful in such chaotic times. So, what are the changes that you think we need to see for the industry not just to survive but also to thrive as we move forward?

The first thing is elevating the driving job and that’s something that’s been said for years. But it was a heartwarming moment when you say non-trucking publications in 2020 list frontline workers and truck drivers were on that list alongside doctors and nurses.

We’ve got to elevative the job of truck drivers. It is the backbone of this country. You can talk about all the automation you want, and I am all for it, but to think we’re getting away anytime soon from needing a driver is probably a mistake. 

And we’ve got to invest into technology as trucking is not known for being an industry full of bleeding-edge technology. That’s a long-term payoff and I don’t think you can find anything short-term we’ve got to change in general

It’s no secret that a lot of people are struggling with driver recruiting these days – even the White House is talking about it and they’re putting out apprenticeship programs. The funny thing is that the same strategies are there for most people from a recruiting standpoint – providing the best equipment and more home time than anybody. It really comes back to us as an industry to make the shift to elevate the job. We’ve got to look throughout the industry, see where the bottlenecks are, and  as an industry come together to solve these issues, otherwise, we’re gonna have supply chain constraints for the next however many years.

As an industry, we’ve got to get more bleeding-edge technology, we’ve got to value the employees that are already there, we’ve got to be able to attract new talent – into the office and into the seat – and we’ve got to make everyone work together.

That’s the other thing – as a company we’ve got to make sure everything in the office is in service of that driver because drivers are servicing our country. That also has to take into account safety and you cannot compromise just because we’re feeling the pressure of our customers and because everybody has loads on the dock. Our safety practices have to be as good or even better than they’ve ever been. So, really, I think it’s about holding ourselves to a higher standard as an industry just all across the board.

I think we’ve all become accustomed to two-day shipping from Amazon and often don’t understand how things get to us, especially when there are delays. If you could impart a lesson to folks about truck drivers and their role in the industry, what would it be?

Imagine being over the road away from your family for two weeks at a time, not in your bed.

Imagine a cold snowy night, and the only thing you can think about is being back home next to your family or nervous about where you’re going to pull off, because every lot’s full and you’re coming up and your hours of service are winding down.

Then there’s the motoring public that are breaking right in front of you. And you know  if you accidentally hit that car then people will think you were distracted by your phone. 

 So you just think about the millions of decisions that these people have to make every day to keep us safe while on the road, while also managing the expectations from hours of service from safety. 

And it’s easy to get distracted in our cars, right? I know, when I drive from here to the office, I’ve got a thousand things on my mind and  it’s tempting to pick up that phone and text or it’s tempting to make that phone call. 

And you know those tight turns you make in your car? Well, they’re doing it with 53 feet, right and that is a hard job. It demands a lot out of them. And as a president of this company, and CFO, I honestly wish I could pay them 20%, 30%, 40% more. The problem is that there’s this grand balance of things and in order to do that, I’ve got to get my customers to pay more. But if I do that above my peers then I won’t get the loads anymore and I won’t have anything to pay the driver. 

And so for the most part, drivers are underpaid. They’re overworked. And it’s just not a job that most people would jump toward. There’s some drivers that do love the life on the road, so I don’t want to paint it as all negative because there is still that sense of American adventure out there and getting out over the road, seeing the country and all that. But at some time you got to get in the city and deliver that load too so it’s not all just shooting down the highway. 

Again, it comes back to empathy. Would you do the job? And if not, why? Well, they deal with that every day. 

They have to deal with it so we don’t have to.

Right. Exactly. 

That’s a great place to leave it today, Ryan. Thanks for joining us today on EKA Insights and for your time.

Thanks so much, I appreciate it.

EKA Solutions opens insurance and risk management subsidiary

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RMX Software will provide analytics-driven insurance platform

Grace Sharkey Wednesday, January 5, 2022

 EKA Solutions opens an insurance and risk management subsidiary. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Freight management system EKA Solutions announced Wednesday it has established RMX Software LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company that will provide a risk management platform for its carriers, brokers and shippers looking to reduce customer losses and insurance costs by leveraging analytics.

EKA Solutions founder and CEO JJ Singh told FreightWaves it was important for the company to provide a risk management platform because while technology is becoming more advanced and trucking companies can ensure safer driving, insurance costs keep going up. 

Singh said carriers could lower costs by having insurance carriers underwriting risk on a usage basis but they would need real-time transparent risk management platforms in order to do so.

“Technology is here to enable a trucking company to optimally route a truck based on route risk. Our RMX platform provides this end-to-end [visibility] solution to both the trucking company and the insurance carrier to do this,” said Singh.

Using the RMX platform, carriers and their supply chain partners will be able to find real-time customer risk management information to deliver to their insurance companies to be able to underwrite that risk on a usage basis in a timely manner, enabling carriers to make quicker yet intelligent business decisions when it comes to risk.

“The RMX platform will provide real-time connectivity to truck telematics and video data and  seamless integration with driver, truck and route risk-related databases. More importantly, it will optimally blend risk, operational and financial data, and operational workflow processes to  deliver new and timely risk data streams, analytics and tools to various risk coverage and  management stakeholders to transparently measure, manage and underwrite risk,” said Mark Walker, the EKA Solutions and RMX Software president and chief data officer.

The new platform is available to all users of EKA’s Omni-TMS as well as non-EKA TMS users looking for a risk management solution for improved insurance coverage.

EKA Combats Supply Chain Risk with New Technology

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Jan 05, 2022, 09:07 ET

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — EKA Solutions Inc announced today it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary, RMX Software, LLC, to empower freight carrier, broker, and shipper SMBs, as well as insurance brokers, wholesalers, and carriers to tech up in the midst of the global supply chain crisis. As part of EKA’s industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem for carriers, brokers, and shippers, RMX Software will provide an intelligence-driven platform to enable transformation of risk rating and risk management.

“RMX Software, LLC., is a technology and data company whose clear and present mission is to enable transformation of how risk is managed by supply chain customers and how risk is underwritten by insurance carriers based on customer usage and risk levels,” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc., and RMX Software, LLC. “Benefitting from EKA senior management deep experience in risk management and the insurance business, RMX digital SaaS platform is designed to enable significant reduction in customer loss ratios and cost of insurance and to simultaneously improve insurance carrier competitiveness and profitability,” added Singh.

“RMX platform will provide real time connectivity to truck telematics and video data, and seamless integration with driver, truck, and route risk related databases. More importantly, it will optimally blend risk, operational and financial data, and operational workflow processes to deliver new and timely risk data streams, analytics, and tools to various risk coverage and management stakeholders to transparently measure, manage and underwrite risk,” said Mark Walker, President and CDO for EKA Solutions, Inc., and RMX Software, LLC. “Also, in the foreseeable future, RMX platform’s flexibility will enable development of new coverage products to help mitigate new and emerging supply chain customer risks.”

About EKA

EKA Solutions, Inc., provides a transformational cloud-based SaaS digital freight ecosystem management platform, dFEMX™, to manage all the customer’s freight businesses and working capital services. As part of the dFEMX™ Offering, EKA provides the Smart, Unified Platform EKA Omni-TMS™ for – Virtually – Everyone. EKA Omni-TMS™ is designed to transform the transportation and logistics industry. It empowers small, medium, and large size broker, carrier, and shipper businesses to operate from quote-to-cash with affordable and best-in-class digital tools, enabling the higher performance demanded in tomorrow’s supply chain. With real-time information, EKA Omni-TMS™ enables brokers, carriers, and shippers to provide visibility and transparency as they fluidly trade across an expanding and verified network with key, trusted partners. For more information, visit:  https://www.go-eka.com

For all other inquiries:
Arune Singh

SOURCE EKA Solutions, Inc.

EKA’s carrier TMS helps small and medium companies gain productivity, visibility

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How Westech Logistics and E.J. Freight acted as TMS design partners for their own operational growth

Corrie WhiteMonday, December 13, 2021

Shippers want versatile performers and top-notch carriers in their supply chains ⁠— a fact underscored by the last 20 months of capacity shortages. But nearly 80% of freight in the U.S. is hauled by carriers with fewer than 100 trucks ⁠— carriers that often couldn’t afford the technology that would help them look and act like larger carriers in the digital marketplace. 

Westech Logistics, a small trucking company in Oklahoma, launched four years ago as an oil field operation, but when that industry took a hit at the outset of COVID-19, it made the transition to traditional freight with its 30 trucks. With that transition came the growing pains of finding loads and establishing relationships with new customers.

“We went from needing about two people to bill, dispatch and everything else to needing four people to handle the same amount of work,” said Sergio Stoesz, VP of operations at Westech Logistics. “We were not using a TMS before. We were keeping track with Excel spreadsheets and folders. With the additional growth hauling different freight, we saw that we were spending more time on billing, finding loads, which was using more manpower. A few months ago we started looking for a TMS. That’s how we found EKA.”

Small companies are often left behind with fewer software options, Stoesz said. Some of the larger TMS providers cost four times what EKA charges and without as many features. 

According to EKA’s founder, J.J. Singh: “The costs carriers have to pay are too high. It is our intent to reduce all these technology costs. You pay for only what you use. We have the incentive to help them grow their business, and we grow as they grow. We make it affordable and easy for the driver and dispatcher to work together. We’re trying to take out as many redundancies in these services as we can to reduce the cost of the technology stack.”

In relationship with EKA, Westech Logistics was able to influence feature designs. Since its operation is owner-operator based, each settlement requires a manual deduction of insurance and other fees. EKA created an upload portal for Westech to easily create the loads. 

“It reduced working time from maybe two to three hours to about a 10-minute process,” said Stoesz. “When we brought a few of our concerns when we started about how things would work, they immediately addressed them, adding new features to EKA, which really helped us feel comfortable with switching. Before I settled in EKA, I tried out about 15 different softwares.”

EKA easily integrated with Westech’s previously established providers like KeepTruckin’ and Quickbooks, which created a more unified platform for operational visibility, the ease of remote work transitions, as well as a reduction of errors ⁠— like sending the wrong documents to customers or entering data into the wrong cell. 

“When you are trying to juggle so many different programs, you miss stuff,” said Stoesz. “That’s one of the biggest things we have noticed is our decrease in errors has been insane. We went from making a few a week to maybe one or two a month, so that’s just been fantastic and it’s also helped give our dispatchers more time to solidify relationships with customers and to work on finding better paying freight.”

Every carrier operation is different, and for those that also act as a shipper and broker ⁠— EKA allows users to alternate between brokerage and fleet management in order to perform multiple functions and roles as needed. 

Originally established to support the transportation needs of its poultry distributor, E.J. Freight has grown from six to 25 reefer trucks since February 2020, as well as added a power-only program on its logistics side. That growth, which EKA played a significant role in bolstering, came from targeting new customers in existing lanes.

“The folks who started EKA have a very deep understanding of the freight environment and multiple different aspects of transportation,” said Puneet Bawa, VP of operations and finance at E.J. Freight. “Their knowledge is far more than just trucking operations. A lot of our relationships stem through EKA, like our use of Transflo and a fuel card. We were able to save over a couple of hundred thousand dollars in fuel costs this year compared to last year, just in discounts.”

In terms of onboarding and training, EKA provided E.J. Freight with a sandbox version of the platform in which to practice and plan. Like Westech, E.J. Freight’s feedback drove improvements and tweaks in the final software product. 

“Our makeup in the office is very diverse,” Bawa said. “We have folks that are interns all the way to folks that are in the twilight of their careers, and everyone’s been able to use EKA. It’s very user friendly, interactive. We could just look at the system and know where every driver and where every truck is.”

EKA Logistics Capital Offers Financial Services for Small-Business Supply Chain Companies

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December 8, 2021 • by Heavy Duty Trucking Staff 

EKA is branching out into financial services to complement its cloud-based Omni-TMS.

EKA Solutions, which provides a cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem, will offer working capital financial services to small-business carriers, brokers, and shippers.

The wholly owned subsidiary, EKA Logistics Capital LLC, will offer services beginning in January 2022 to “further help SMBs compete with their much savvy competitors,” said J.J. Singh, EKA founder and CEO, in a news release.

Services will be competitive to large factoring companies. EKA will offer receivables financing of an entire customer receivable portfolio. Or, it can offer receivables financing of select shipper receivables or on a single shipper invoice basis.

EKA announced its Omni-TMS cloud-based supply chain platform in 2018, designed to allow brokers, carriers, and shippers to easily assign and track loads, including back-end billing and financial functions. It has since added a number of functions and features, including private freight marketplaces for larger companies, features for carriers using independent contractors, mapping tools, load-matching, and most recently pricing data.

“EKA’s freight management and working capital solutions and services workflow processes have been optimally melded for highest seamless productive user experience and to accrue lowest customer lending costs,” said Mark Walker, president and CDO, in a release. “The result is a highly efficient and effective open loop automated receivables financing and payments digital platform for any carrier, broker, and shipper.”