Since 2019, brothers Chris and Kyle Bland have served as First Call’s CEOs through a rush of exciting changes and driven substantial business growth across the country.
Here, the Bland brothers discuss how FCL is primed to scale with a rebranded assets division, expanding warehouse capabilities and plans to help partners safeguard supply chains through innovative technology.
Combining Complementary Skills
Scaling a 3PL through a period of unprecedented global supply chain disruption is no easy task. Fortunately, by the time the Bland brothers arrived at First Call Logistics in 2019 they had already gathered a wealth of industry experience to help them navigate the notoriously tumultuous logistics business. Both brothers agree their differing skill sets allowed them to quickly strike a healthy balance for success.
“It’s a perfect blend,” Kyle says, “with Chris coming from the customer side and myself from the carrier side.”
Chris and Kyle each built their business on the foundation of genuine interest in their customers’ needs. While larger 3PLs often lack a personal touch, FCL remains true to its well-regarded concern for customer service – even as its operations spread across the country.
“First Call is completely service-oriented,” Kyle says. “We can pivot to anything our customers need. Even if a truck needs unloading on the street – we’ll figure it out.”
A 3PL Driven By Internal Growth
Under Chris and Kyle’s leadership, First Call expanded from seven employees to more than 50 in just three years. With established offices in Indianapolis, Louisville and Atlanta, the company recently expanded west to an all-new location in Irving, Texas. First Call’s Irving facility includes new office space as well as 48,000 square feet of dry storage. The facility is strategically placed in the heart of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area – the most centrally located large urban area in the country – complementing FCL’s sister facilities offering warehousing solutions in Indianapolis and Louisville.
First Call Warehousing Locations
First Call’s continued expansion also means major opportunities for upward mobility and accelerated career paths for its internal hires. In fact, hiring, training, and up-leveling talent internally is core to the Bland brothers’ long-term plans.
“Growth in a smaller company means higher-up positions will open up in the near future,” Kyle says. “You might see a VP spot open up that prefers to hire internally, the type of position that might take ten years to find elsewhere.”
Offering Assets-Driven Partnerships
Partners in search of a quality 3PL find the most cost-effective solutions often rest with logistics firms in charge of their own assets – which is a major reason why First Call Logistics recently rebranded its assets division, FC TRANS. The division currently services brokerage clients with 20+ in-house drivers, with plans for future expansion to 50+ drivers by the end of 2023.
Warehousing services are also expected to play a key role in the company’s future. Now with facilities in Indianapolis, Louisville, and Irving, First Call’s strategically located warehousing capabilities can serve more partners than ever before throughout peak season.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for customers to carry, warehouse, and distribute,” Kyle says. “Warehousing services are the next logical step in making that vision a reality.”
Leading the Way with Shipment Visibility
Chris and Kyle elected to take a spare-no-expense approach to transportation management systems (TMS), enabling the creation of a custom FCL customer dashboard and user portal. The TMS is fully integrated with warehouse software and Salesforce for maximum freight visibility and user-friendliness.
“I’ve never had so much access to industry tech as working here,” Chris says.
First Call’s strategic investment in its people and technology grants partners complete supply chain visibility while minimizing the risk of communication or coordination errors.
“The biggest service you can provide is visibility,” Chris says. “We’re pairing it with industry-best transportation. Everything is tied in with our TMS so you can get real-time data for inventory.”
Real-time freight visibility prevents overspending on raw materials and helps eliminate order fulfillment issues. It also allows fast responses to supply chain disruptions — an ever-looming concern in today’s frequently-disrupted economy.
The Bland brothers see their commitment to industry-leading tech and in-house assets as an opportunity to ally with the greater trucking community. Identifying unforeseen issues as they occur (like when freight shifts in transit) is essential to ensuring freight is delivered safely and on time without causing drivers unnecessary hassle.
“At the end of the day, truck drivers are just trying to get home to their families,” Chris says. “Some retailers will push appointments a whole week if you miss it. Every place is so understaffed that there’s not a lot of forgiveness.”
Armed with a bevy of new talent, newly-integrated warehousing services and a fleet of assets offering transportation services, First Call is pacing for 100M in revenue by the end of 2022 – and still plenty of room to grow.
Are you interested in how First Call Logistics can support your business with warehousing services? Contact us today!