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
arune@go-eka.com

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.”

EKA Logistics Capital Unlocks Financial Services for Supply Chain SMBs

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SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — EKA Solutions Inc, the industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem for carriers, brokers, and shippers, today announced that it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary, EKA Logistics Capital LLC, to provide working capital financial services to carrier, broker, and shipper SMBs beginning January 2022.

“Given the rapidly growing freight volume processed through the EKA Omni-TMS™ Platform, it is timely for EKA to elevate and accelerate its contribution to empower SMB freight carriers, brokers and shippers to capture dual benefits – not only use the EKA Omni-TMS to digitally manage their freight management operations but also to digitally consume and manage working capital services,” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc. “The combination of EKA leadership teams’ deep financial services experience and the best-in-class financial services platform enables EKA to deliver working capital solutions and services that further help SMBs compete with their much savvy competitors,” added Singh.

Designed to tech-up carriers, brokers, and shippers for the future of business, EKA Omni-TMS™ platform is a native cloud-based SaaS TMS that has become the company’s signature solution product and has earned EKA the prestigious FreightTech 100 award.

“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. The result is a highly efficient and effective open loop automated receivables financing and payments digital platform for any carrier, broker, and shipper,” said Mark Walker, President and CDO.

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
arune@go-eka.com

SOURCE EKA Solutions, Inc.

Related Links

www.go-eka.com

FreightWaves SONAR data integrated into EKA pricing tools on transaction fee basis

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New Omni-TMS™ cloud-based platform integrates fluidly with world’s leading freight pricing data platform

 EKA Solutions Inc. is now offering FreightWaves SONAR freight lane and market trends pricing data. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

EKA Solutions Inc, an industry-leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem for carriers, brokers and shippers, announced that it is now offering FreightWaves SONAR freight lane and market trends pricing data. That data is melded with innovative decision support tools to EKA carrier, broker and shipper transportation management system (TMS) subscribers in a transformative manner – on-demand and on a transaction fee basis. 

Designed to add to the tech stack of carriers, brokers and shippers for the future of business, EKA Omni-TMS™ is a native cloud-based SaaS TMS that is the company’s signature solution product and has earned EKA the prestigious FreightTech 100 award. 

FreightWaves’ Travis Rhyan explains features of SONAR SCI.
(Photo: FreightWaves staff)

Travis Rhyan, Chief Product Officer at FreightWaves, said, “FreightWaves is proud to be working with EKA to provide SONAR data to EKA’s Omni-TMS™ subscribers. Those subscribers will have near-real-time data to improve their decision-making abilities.”

JJ Singh, CEO of EKA Solutions

“EKA’s fluid real-time integration with FreightWaves SONAR platform provides EKA carrier, broker and shipper TMS subscribers with freight lane pricing and market trends data in an on-demand, affordable and “pay only for what you use” transaction fee basis. Affordable pricing data coupled with intuitive decision-making tools help EKA customers make smart pricing decisions just like their larger competitors,” said JJ Singh, Founder and CEO of EKA Solutions, Inc.

EKA & FreightWaves Unveil Innovative New Pricing Tools

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New Omni-TMS™ Cloud-Based Platform Integrates Fluidly With a Leading Freight Pricing Data Platform

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — EKA Solutions Inc, the industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem for carriers, brokers, and shippers, today announced that it is now offering FreightWaves SONAR freight lane and market trends pricing data melded with innovative decision support tools to EKA carrier, broker, and shipper TMS subscribers in a transformative manner – on-demand and transaction fee basis.

Designed to tech-up carriers, brokers, and shippers for the future of business, EKA Omni-TMS™ is a native cloud-based SaaS TMS that has become the company’s signature solution product and has earned EKA the prestigious FreightTech 100 award.

“EKA’s fluid real-time integration with FreightWaves SONAR platform provides EKA carrier, broker and shipper TMS subscribers with freight lane pricing and market trends data in an on-demand, affordable, and “pay only for what you use” transaction fee basis versus the traditional monthly subscription model. Affordable pricing data coupled with intuitive decision-making tools help SMBs make smart pricing decisions just like their larger competitors,” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc.

“EKA’s innovative integration, workflow processes and decision support tools are optimally blended to deliver all critical freight pricing and market trends data to a EKA TMS user in an optimal form and manner and right at the point of pricing decision making.” said Mark Walker, President and CDO. “This enables the user to make informed pricing decisions in a seamless productive manner.”

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 including freight exchange and third-party 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
arune@go-eka.com

SOURCE EKA Solutions, Inc.

Related Links

www.go-eka.com

EKA Introduces Touchless Freight Trading and Execution

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New Omni-TMS™ Cloud-Based Platform Features Transform Carrier, Broker & Shipper Efficiencies

SALT LAKE CITY, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — EKA Solutions Inc, the industry leading provider of cloud-based integrated freight management ecosystem for carriers, brokers and shippers, today announced the introduction of touchless trading and execution between trusted partners that use the EKA Supply Chain TMS.

Designed to tech-up carriers, brokers and shippers for the future of business, EKA Omni-TMS™ is a native cloud-based SaaS TMS that has become the company’s signature solution product and has earned EKA the prestigious FreightTech 100 award. You can discover more about EKA’s solutions by visiting www.go-eka.com.

“EKA’s touchless solution enables supply chain participants – carrier, broker or shipper – using the EKA supply chain Omni-TMSTM to benefit from the highest level of real-time automation when trading and executing loads with their trusted freight partners,” says JJ Singh, Founder and CEO for EKA Solutions, Inc. “As a result, each trading partner benefits from the lowest cost of handling a load, superior customer service, and sustainable revenue, profitability and business growth.”

“EKA’s innovative and best-in-class solution will help carriers, brokers and shippers using Omni-TMSTM to integrate and automate all trading and execution life-cycle workflow processes between them, from load tendering to booking to load tracking to invoicing and settlement, in a touchless manner with manual handling limited to exception events,” said Mark Walker, Investor, President and CDO.

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 including freight exchange and third-party 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
arune@go-eka.com

SOURCE EKA Solutions, Inc.

Related Links

www.go-eka.com