Companies looking for logistics services typically don’t want to waste a lot of time seeking out a different provider for each component of their supply chain operation. The more services a transportation service can offer to customers, the better, and that’s why customers throughout the Southeast, the Midwest and the Deep South turn to Milan Supply Chain Solutions. Executive Vice President Amy Cowen says the company’s ability to provide multiple services along the supply chain has helped it thrive after a recent restructuring and sale, and is the backbone of its success in serving customers ranging from retailers to manufacturers to the petrochemical industry.
The company has been serving the Southeast since 1969, when it was founded as Milan Express with one truck and one trailer providing LTL trucking services out of Memphis. Over the years, the company acquired other carriers to build itself into a LTL provider with more than 1,000 trucks and 34 service centers throughout the Southeast and Midwest. In 2011, the company made the decision to sell off the LTL side of the business to focus on its current truckload and warehousing and distribution divisions. In September 2014, HCI Equity Partners, together with management, invested in the company to provide growth capital and rebranded the company as Milan Supply Chain Solutions.
When the company focused on truckload services and warehousing and distribution, Cowen says, Milan Supply Chain Solutions went “from famine to feast” and has strengthened its position in the marketplace. As the company continues to focus its attention on providing customers with a complete suite of services for their logistical needs, she adds, Milan Supply Chain Solutions is on track to become even bigger in the near future.
According to Cowen, the main piece that makes Milan Supply Chain Solutions a go-to partner for many customers is the fact that the company simply provides the most complete logistics services in the region. “One thing that separates us is we have the total package,” she says.
The company provides truckload services through its fleet of 400 trucks that service more than 20 states within the company’s service area. Milan Supply Chain Solutions says its trucks are equipped with satellite tracking to provide customers with the most accurate, up-to-the-minute tracking of their shipments wherever they may be.
On the warehousing and distribution side, Milan Supply Chain Solutions’ facilities are located in the heart of the Southeast in western Tennessee, placing it within a one-day drive of more than three-fourths of the major markets in the United States. Its four warehouse and distribution centers total more than 925,000 square feet and offer customers bulk and rack storage capabilities. Cowen says the company’s warehousing and distribution services are among the most complete in the industry. “From a warehousing standpoint, our advantage is that we’re flexible,” Cowen says.
Senior Vice President David Dallas says the company’s distribution capabilities and size make it an ideal partner for many customers because of the flexibility it can offer. He says Milan Supply Chain Solutions occupies a sweet spot between being a small company and a major player. “We are large enough to provide capacity without having to be so large that our customers are not important to us,” he says.
Renewing the Labor Pool
Dallas says the biggest issue facing Milan Supply Chain Solutions is coping with the aging driver pool and the effect that has had on recruiting qualified drivers. One of the biggest obstacles the company has to contend with in this regard is the fact that the Department of Transportation requires commercial truck drivers to be at least 21, making the trucking industry something of a last resort for many young people when starting their careers. “We are working on new ways to try to attract young people into the trucking industry as a career,” Dallas says.
Milan Supply Chain Solutions expects to continue building on its success by expanding the services it provides its many customers. Dallas says the company has achieved one of its major strategic goals by expanding its distribution capabilities into middle Tennessee, and it hopes to have distribution facilities in the state in the near future.
Cowen says the company has high hopes for the future as more potential clients switch to third-party management of their warehousing and distribution operations. He notes that Milan Supply Chain Solutions offers an all-in-one solution.