Smart business choices and an innovative software partnership fast-tracked this North American trucking company to exponential growth within a few years. Here’s what they did right.
By Janet White Bardwell
It all started in 2010 with three former owner-operators, one truck, and one big idea. Now trucking company Gigg Express Inc. has 75 employees, 400 drivers and owns 400 trucks that travel across North America - including into Mexico. Offices in Toronto, Texas and Michigan, and terminals in McAllen, Detroit, Laredo, El Paso, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Montreal and Windsor round out the acquisitions.
Now that’s exponential growth.
Expansion of this magnitude in the transportation industry is impressive at the best of times, but under conditions of rapidly evolving technology, endless regulatory red tape and volatile fuel prices, Gigg owners Gagan Sangha, Gurjinder Singh and Gurvinder Virk had their work cut out for them. “Luckily all the blocks have fit into place perfectly for us so far,” says Sangha, president at Gigg. “Of course there have been challenges, but we believe everything falls into place as it should. We learn what we need to and move on.”
Looking for Gigg-type growth? Here’s how:
1. Work a Niche.
As the business experts say, small businesses succeed when they solve a problem, fulfill a need, or offer something the market wants. Gigg Express nailed all three requirements by taking on the jobs no one else wanted. “Not many companies were doing Less-Than-Load jobs at the time so we started taking those on,” says Sangha. As well, Gigg went the extra mile to provide door-to-door deliveries to Mexico. “Many other transportation companies offer service only to the Mexico border, and that really made us stand out from the pack,” he says. “Our mantra is: ‘Make one call, we do it all,’ and our customers respond to that.” Gigg also specializes in FTL, expedited/emergency solutions and warehousing.
2. Pick the Right Partners.
By 2011 Sangha knew the next step in growth was transportation management system (TMS) software. The choice was Trans Plus Systems Fleet Manager Professional. Gigg Accounting Manager Rasbir Sekhon says Trans Plus has a reputation in the industry for quality and adaptability. “Also, they are known for partnering with the maximum number of fuel-card companies, which is very important as we are constantly negotiating different fuel contracts and we need our software provider to be flexible.”
Signing on originally with just four user licenses and 15 truck licenses in 2011, Gigg now has 60 user licenses and 400 truck licenses. “Trans Plus partners particularly well with companies like Gigg Express,” says Trans Plus CEO Dave Wright. “As a new customer they appreciated our hands-on training and our approachable and personalized support—they are not just a number here. In response to their growth, we have proven to be agile enough to attend to their specific needs. We listen to their challenges and offer up solutions that are sustainable and can be implemented quickly.” Gigg’s Sangha agrees. “The way Trans Plus software is designed has allowed us to quickly adapt to change. They have really catered to our needs.”
3. Grow Smart.
Expanding the breadth and depth of the Trans Plus software solution was also a natural progression. In June 2011, Gigg started its TMS journey with Trans Plus software’s corporate license, the accounting integration module, mileage integration module and document imaging module. As the company grew, Gigg took advantage of the numerous add-on modules Trans Plus offers, such as:
• the ACE/ACI module, which simplifies the submission of e-manifests;
• the communications interface, which provides integration to satellite tracking and communications; and
• the Freight Assist Module, developed and hosted by Trans Plus, which allows Gigg to provide their customers with delivery status information and documentation securely and efficiently through a link on the Gigg web site.
Most recently Gigg has partnered with Trans Plus on a number of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) projects. Trans Plus’s integrated software solution and knowledgeable business analysts tackle the complexities of this request from customers to ensure seamless EDI capability.
4. Keep a Laser Focus on Dispatch.
Information is power, and Gigg prides itself on providing customers with a direct line of communication with the dispatch team. In a tech-addicted society, keeping customers in the dark just doesn’t work. “The dispatch department has benefited most from Trans Plus’s software solution,” says Sekhon. “They are on the front line and their blood and sweat make things happen. Trans Plus really allows them to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.”
Gigg also understands that the success of a TMS software is only as good as the knowledge of those using it. As the dispatch team grows, Trans Plus trainers are often on-site to give dispatchers hands-on refresher training.
5. Prize your People.
When asked if he has any advice for companies experiencing similar growth, Sangha says as the numbers grow, remember who makes it all happen. “People are the biggest asset a company can have. Taking care of our team has always been our priority,” he says. “Our drivers and the people working in our offices make everything happen. Building a business is about creating something that’s going to make a real difference in people’s lives. That’s essential for survival in such a competitive industry.”
In addition to smart decisions and partnerships, Sekhon says the secret to Gigg’s rapid success also come from good old-fashioned elbow grease. “There are days I will arrive in the morning and it’s obvious the owners have never left the office,” she says. “Pure hard work has gotten them where they are today.”