Focusing on People
Now in its 26th year of business, ICAT Logistics has grown from a small outfit into a global player and top Baltimore-area workplace. ICAT Logistics has a total of 18 locations around the United States with several partners located in Asia. The global logistics solutions provider focuses on people: serving clients by turning their problems into solutions, while supporting and developing their teams internally.
“One of the reasons that we have had consistent growth is that we have been adding the right people to the team,” says Nicole Reed, Marketing Supervisor. “When we hire, we figure out what the person’s greatest strengths are and apply them to the job role so they can thrive in their position. We also onboard growth-oriented agencies. Our ICAT agencies are our partners and are committed to the ICAT model. We provide a great customer experience that not only retains and grows our customer base, but creates a word-of-mouth scenario so our current customers will tell others about the service we provide.”
“It’s a people investment,” Echo Clayton, Corporate Operations Administrative Manager, agrees. “We invest in our people and support each other, and that extends to our agency partners and customers. We want everyone to succeed; we want to see our customers succeed, and that comes through when we work with different people.”
ICAT Logistics has five core values posted on the wall of its Elkridge, Maryland head office, which consist of loyalty, passion, commitment, respect, and integrity.
“What sets us apart from other companies is that our employees truly live by them,” says Reed. “We look for those core values from the moment we start the hiring process. It’s an integral part of our vetting. We really dig down to make sure that those values are present in anyone who joins the ICAT team.”
Upon completing a multi-step hiring process, new recruits to the growing team are evaluated on a quarterly basis for incentives, such as tickets to an event or donations to a charity of the employee’s choice. Incentives were created based on input from the ICAT Logistics family, who were asked which rewards they would prefer. Additionally, employees are provided with ongoing, hands-on training to help them continue developing in their roles. Training tools include an interactive sales platform, a leadership group, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities.
As a result of its thriving corporate culture, ICAT Logistics has been named a Baltimore Sun Top Workplace for three years in a row, as voted for by employees. Clayton reveals that creating a positive workplace environment is something that starts from the top.
“The owner, Rick Campbell, is a great leader to work for. He takes the time to talk to each one of us, one on one, and everyone else here is the same way. They ask about your day, know about your family, and take the time to discuss your obstacles at work. Everyone pitches in and asks questions like, ‘how can we improve things?’ and, ‘how can we improve ICAT overall?’ We take the time to invest in the people here and not just the company; that is where ICAT excels. Technically, we’re a service provider, but we’re more of a people company than anything else when it comes down to it.”
It certainly helps that ICAT Logistics’ management team, beginning with CEO Rick Campbell, operates under complete transparency. “We know what the company’s goals are throughout the organization,” says Reed. “We have an open-door policy. You can just walk into somebody’s office and start to talk to them about a challenge you are facing, or if you need help on a project. We’ve created a family-oriented, comfortable culture where you can ask anybody’s opinion on anything.”
Working together, the ICAT Logistics team recently completed a fun and challenging project for a big New York City wedding planner. ICAT was asked to transport all necessary items (everything from DJ equipment to bug spray) from NYC to Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean within a week. There was a narrow window to set up in four different venues, and almost no place to store items. ICAT accepted the challenge.
“One of our offices moved a huge wedding shipment to Saint Barts,” Clayton recalls. “They weren’t able to charter a plane, because Saint Barts doesn’t have a major airport, so they chartered to Saint Martin and then they went by ocean carrier from Saint Martin to Saint Barts. Everything got there on time for a very successful wedding, and everyone was very pleased.”
ICAT Logistics even sent someone down to Saint Martin to make sure that everything was loaded off and set up correctly. “We were very hands-on for that particular project,” says Clayton.
The company has helped clients of all industries and sizes find their perfect solution. It grows at a steady 20-percent rate year after year, and last year celebrated its quarter-century anniversary with a party at the Baltimore Aquarium that honored ICAT Logistics’ more humble beginnings with old photos that showed how the business has grown and changed over the years.
“We were incorporated in 1993, and we had our best year as a company last year. We are consistently growing. The Small Business Administration states that 30-percent of new businesses fail in the first two years of being open, 50-percent fail during the first five years and 66-percent during the first 10. Only 25-percent of companies that start out as small businesses actually make it 15 years or more. So it is a pretty big accomplishment for us,” says Reed. And the best years are still projected to come, particularly as both domestic and international business opportunities expand.
Moreover, for the last 10 years, ICAT Logistics has been a proud SmartWay partner. SmartWay is an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) program that helps companies advance their supply chain sustainability. “The partnership has given us the opportunity to expand our green initiatives to our customers and our partners. We’ve been able to use it as a selling tool, because people are more conscious of their carbon footprint,” says Clayton.
The topnotch employer decided to join the program after a couple of customers began inquiring about it. “We took the time to learn about SmartWay and it was a good fit for us and a good opportunity. We are very conscious of the world around us as a company, and it gave us a chance to expand that,” Clayton describes. “We have heard from current customers that the reason they chose us is because we are a SmartWay partner and the reason why they didn’t go with another logistics company is because they weren’t affiliated.”
Joining SmartWay has also inspired ICAT Logistics to take its sustainability practices to the next level in other aspects of the business beyond the voluntary, public-private EPA program. “We have a recycling program now, and have gone paperless in several of our offices. We encourage our offices and our operators to use SmartWay vendors because that also reduces our overall carbon footprint. Being environmental is important in this day and age. Not only do we want to do our part, but we want to help others to do their part,” says Clayton.
Other ways that ICAT continues to evolve are through email marketing or letter mailing to encourage new business. In a digital world, many clients are impressed by the personalized touch of an old-fashioned letter, a sign of how well ICAT Logistics takes care of its customers. But the most effective growth method is relationship-building and word-of-mouth.
This spring, ICAT Logistics will continue to focus on internal development to better serve its customers, as it prepares for another year of growth. “It is really an inward focus, particularly at our corporate headquarters – how we do things internally and how we can ultimately create the best possible experience, not only for our customers and vendors, but also our agency partners as well. We are looking at our processes, and we’ve seen how to become more efficient and effective,” Reed remarks.
“We are focusing on people, growth, and our customers. We want to see our customers and partners succeed. That is our goal for the year – to do what we can to make sure that everybody is getting that opportunity,” Clayton concludes.
Regardless of your industry or company size, ICAT Logistics is here for you. To learn more about its logistics solutions – or to join its ever-expanding team – please visit www.icatlogistics.com.