When River Place Logistics of Raleigh, North Carolina, launched in 2009, the founders encountered a problem they hadn’t anticipated—the credit crunch that followed the fiscal crisis. The bank required the principals—Tully Davis, O.B. Moss, Wes Summer, and Boe Davis—to put up their houses as collateral for a loan. But the foursome weren’t worried, thanks to a combined total of 75 years in the transportation business.
“The productivity with Keypoint has been fantastic.”
Founder, River Place Logistics
In just four years, they’ve grown the company to 11 Operations personnel and one agent, who have increased revenues from $12 million to $22 million a year. They’re supported by two Accounting personnel who work a combined total of 70 hours a week.
The secret to such high revenues with such low overhead? Keypoint transportation management software (TMS) integrated with DAT Load Boards. As Boe Davis said, “The productivity with Keypoint has been fantastic.”
Relying on Relationships
The idea for River Place originated with O.B. Moss and Tully Davis, who worked at L&M Transportation, and Wes Summer, from L & M Companies. As much as they enjoyed their jobs, Moss realized they had the potential to achieve even more by starting their own firm. The men turned to industry veteran Boe Davis, who was happy to take on a new challenge with the new company.
In four short years, (left to right) O.B. Moss, Wes Summer, Tully Davis, and Boe Davis have turned
River Place Logistics into a successful brokerage.
Today River Place is a non-asset-based brokerage that ships across the country. The company frequently loads trucks in Virginia and the Carolinas, and sends them to California and the Northwest. They then load the same trucks with produce for the return trip to the East Coast. River Place works with many owner-operators who appreciate knowing in advance that they’ll be hauling both ways, year-round.
“We view the carriers as just as important as the shippers, because without both you’re not going to accomplish anything,” said Moss. “When we started, we felt we had good enough relationships on both sides that we could open a company. We’ve proven so far that we made the right decision.”
Getting a Jumpstart with Technology
From the beginning, the team recognized that they’d need technology to succeed. They immediately chose DAT Load Boards as their go-to for load posting, feeling that the slightly higher cost would pay off in more reliable carriers.
And once they saw the capabilities of the Keypoint software, they looked no further for a TMS.
From the start, the Operations team felt Keypoint met their needs perfectly. “The system works great,” said Moss. “Entering the orders, entering the carriers, it all just flows so easily.”
He particularly likes the capability to vet carriers online and get the information he needs immediately.
|At a Glance|
River Place Logistics
But Boe Davis wasn’t as enthusiastic about the Accounting package. “I wasn’t familiar with total flow-through systems and having the Operations and Accounting integrated,” Davis explained. “Once I understood what Keypoint could give me instead of trying to force it to do what I wanted, I became a raving fan.”
Boe Davis particularly likes being able to close out the books and know P&L within a day. “Keypoint gives you a very good, honest, accurate picture,” he said.
To date the only addition River Place has made to the Keypoint package is the agent module. But Moss said he believes it’s time for River Place to take advantage of other options, especially the Imaging suite.
Meeting and Exceeding Goals
River Place carefully breaks down the percentage of expenses for every part of the business—a certain amount to sales and dispatch, a certain amount to overhead, hopefully with an amount left over to shareholders. Due to Keypoint, Boe Davis has been able to keep overhead well under targets, according to Moss.
At a meeting of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), Moss learned of another benchmark: A brokerage was doing well if it produced $1 million a year in revenue per employee. River Place produces almost $1.7 million per employee, a noteworthy achievement.
In addition to solid income potential, River Place offers employees the opportunity to buy ownership in the firm after two years. Moss believes strongly that the staff should feel like they’re a part of the company, not just working for it. River Place also pays employee healthcare costs and matches up to 3 percent on simple IRA retirement plan.
One other measure of the company’s success goes back to the original loan. All four founders still have their houses … “unencumbered, by the way, so we’re in good shape,” said Boe Davis.
Categories: Best Practices and Benchmarks