From Startup to Inc. 5000 in 5 Years

Hybrid Transit logoFrom a cold start in 2005, Hybrid Transit has established industry credibility and grown revenues at a pace that has earned the business a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies for five years running.

The company was started in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with industry veterans Robert Helgens, John Miller, Gerald Moore, Brian Helgens, plus three employees.

Credibility is king

Within a month of starting the business, Hybrid began using DAT’s broker TMS, DAT Keypoint®, based on a strong referral from a trusted industry colleague. Since then, DAT Keypoint has served as the firm’s production software and database.

The TMS has helped Hybrid overcome many challenges. “The two main ones play on the word ‘credit’—credit-worthiness and credibility,” said Miller, who serves as chief executive officer.

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Carriers are concerned about credit-worthiness: Are they going to be paid? Hybrid had capital to meet carrier expectations in the critical first year, resulting in solid reviews on key industry websites.

Shippers, on the other hand, are focused on credibility: Would Hybrid be around in another month or year?

“Being organized reflects credibility, and Keypoint has always helped us stay organized,” said Miller. Organization includes the ability to manage a transaction effectively, capture contract and insurance information, ensure rates are structured appropriately, and evaluate historical data.

TMS keeps back-office staff lean

A mainstay of Hybrid’s business has been its focus on the agricultural market, from feed-grade to food-grade products. Transporting basic commodities, where volumes are relatively stable, provided a key advantage during the economic downturn that began in 2008. In November 2008, Hybrid also launched its Air Freight division, which provides cost-competitive air and expedited service worldwide.

Today Hybrid boasts 42 employees, including 34 in operations and 4 in accounting. DAT Keypoint’s efficiency keeps back-office staffing requirements low even during rapid growth. The TMS’s flexibility let Hybrid scale from a few thousand transactions a year to the 2015 projected volume of 30,000 transactions.

To ensure each employee at Hybrid can view transactions in real time and access customer profiles, each desk has two monitors. One monitor always runs DAT Keypoint. Integrated into the TMS are products that further increase efficiency: DAT load boards for posting loads and searching trucks, DAT CarrierWatch® for monitoring carriers, and DAT RateView™ for checking current market rates.

A bright future

With a straightforward system like DAT Keypoint, new employees can learn to use the software effectively during their initial onboarding. State-of-the-art tools also help Hybrid recruit good employees, essential for a company located out of the mainstream, in Iowa.

Although Hybrid started in the spot market, today most of the company’s business is under contract. That confirms Hybrid’s high customer satisfaction.

“Our success goes right back to those two words: creditworthiness and credibility,” said Miller. “We meet that on both sides. We’re going to stay around a long time.”