FROM THE START
ProTrans International’s founder, Craig Roeder, is a true entrepreneur. While working at a logistics company in 1993, he had an idea that would benefit both the company and their customers. By combining partial truckloads of manufacturers’ raw materials onto one tractor-trailer and charging the customer for only a portion of the cost of the line haul, both the company and the customers saved money.
However, the company focused on volume truckloads and didn’t want to delve into such a small niche.
Craig didn’t want to be just another of the over 4,000 trucking companies in the United States. He figures that being number 4,001 wouldn’t really be unique and encourage new customers to try ProTrans International. Instead, his vision consisted of a logistics company. All the movement of freight is handled by partner carriers. We coordinate the movement, they move the freight.
Craig truly believed in the value of consolidating and decided to branch out on his own. ProTrans International was founded in 1993 to provide freight consolidation services from suppliers in Midwestern states for delivery into El Paso.
Now he had the daunting task of convincing partner carriers, employees, and customers to believe in him. While operating out of a trailer, he was able to use his years in the business and his networking skills to start developing all three elements.
“We only did weekend lanes, meaning we picked up materials on Thursday for a Monday delivery.” Craig himself would drive from Indianapolis to Chicago every Friday to load up the trailer. Often he would travel to El Paso to make sure the shipments arrived.
GROWING THE BUSINESS
In the first quarter of 1994, we acquired a large customer and exploded from two consolidated truckloads per week to two full trucks a day. In order to accommodate this burgeoning growth, staff had to be hired and trained at various centers throughout the country. Craig was able to attract young talent and experienced veterans by his excellent sales skills and the promise of a unique opportunity.
Craig had a specific growth plan to establish a presence in the US/Mexican border towns. New Service Centers were added by customer requests as they wanted us to be located close to their suppliers and manufacturing plants. As soon as we sold an account that brought traffic to El Paso, the floodgates were opened and ProTrans International’s sales skyrocketed.
Along with the consolidations, we started booking full truckloads. This made it easier for our customers as they only had to work with one transportation company. With this added volume, we were able to provide additional price breaks, giving us an additional edge on the competition.
With all this growth, we needed complex systems to manage all the traffic. No generic program was sophisticated enough to meet our needs so we decided to develop our own. An Information Systems department was formed to meet all of our technological needs. They wrote our own customized program, ProTrack, that coordinated the actual movement of shipments. Since the growth of ProTrans was quick moving, ProTrack no longer fit the needs of our customer and our developers created Optimiz. Optimiz, our advanced Transportation Management System (TMS), is a proprietary logistics management software that not only ensures your materials move flawlessly from one point to the next, but also provides the control and visibility you demand to effectively manage shipments from end to end.
Through customer focus groups, performance reviews, and daily operations, we learn what the customers need for further efficiencies. Because we desire to keep our customers satisfied, we have been adding services over the past few years. We now offer managed returnable containers, outbound distribution, Supplier Malls, Global Inventory Visibility system, and border crossing services.
At the time of ProTrans International’s conception, manufacturers had very limited options for managing shipments of their supplier’s goods. Now, we provide customers with creatively engineered solutions. Our success is directly attributed to the dedication, perseverance, and flexibility inherent in each member of our team. Our commitment to recruiting, developing, and maintaining a high-quality workforce will continue to drive our success. And lastly, our ongoing utilization and enhancement of technology and communication tools will only ensure that we provide our customers with essential and advanced resources.