Hope for the Developing World
Logistics is a simple word used to describe the complex processes of coordinating and moving equipment, items and inventory of all kinds, and even people from one location to another. Through worldwide networks, logistics companies deliver urgently needed medications and disaster relief to nations in need in the developing world – and no one does it better, faster, and more efficiently than Logenix International.
Widely recognized as one of the world’s best logistics experts, Logenix International specializes in disaster relief, global health programs, infrastructure and development projects, contingency operations, and security. The company often tackles high-profile projects in challenging locations like Africa, Afghanistan, Haiti, Syria, and many other places affected by natural or human-made disasters.
Logenix International has its world headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia and international headquarters in Dubai, with offices in London, Abuja, Amsterdam, Kabul, Karachi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Its roughly one hundred staff members provide valuable, in-depth, firsthand knowledge that comes from decades of operating in over 140 developing countries.
Although created in 2001, the genesis of Logenix International goes back to 1986. After studying liberal arts and economics and graduating from prestigious Villanova University, Logenix’ now-Chief Executive Officer Ron Cruse got a job in logistics in New York before being transferred to Los Angeles.
The firm for which he worked then was awarded one of the first major contracts in Saudi Arabia as the country’s cradle-to-grave healthcare program was starting, and the young Cruse spent much of his time running around the world trying to get hospital supplies. This soon led to him travelling to East Africa, where he saw firsthand all sorts of problems with goods from the United States and other governments being stuck in port.
As he gained experience, Cruse travelled to global hotspots. In Washington, D.C., he became involved with aid development work and “started a company more out of moxie than brains, and the developing world has been our strength ever since 1986.” This company, Matrix, was then recognized in 1991 by INC. Magazine and listed as 81 on INC’s list of ‘500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the U.S.’
Just a year later, he organized one of the first U.S.-Russian joint venture companies, shortly after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, delivering equipment critical for the nuclear reactor modernization of Chernobyl and even transporting weapons dismantlement equipment under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program to former ‘secret’ cities of the Soviet Union.
“In 1992, the former Soviet Union blew up,” says Cruse. “I got in there before anybody else – the first Russian-American joint venture – and won every contract in there for the DOE (Department of Energy) and all of the Chernobyl revamping and modernization.”
At the time of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown on April 26, 1986, some sixteen other plants just like Chernobyl had to be taken from analog-to-digital with early warning devices. Cruse was the only non-Russian speaker who knew Ukraine and Russia’s infrastructure and rail system. He and his company were making deliveries to all the cities in the former Soviet Union. “It was a really crazy Wild West time,” he says.
After the sale of Matrix in 1996, Cruse left the new company in 1998 and then founded Logenix International, Inc. in 2001.
Logenix International has taken on projects relating to U.S. government activity and has been involved in massive humanitarian relief efforts such as the rebuilding of Afghanistan and Iraq. The company specializes in getting the medicine, machinery, and equipment urgently needed for rebuilding to locations quickly. Its work garners praise from clients and the press, including Forbes, the Washington Post, World Trade Magazine, and Advanced Logistics, which wrote: “For most logistics professionals, getting supplies and equipment in and out of remote, war-torn, or disaster-stricken areas is a nightmare. For [Logenix], it’s a typical day’s work.”
Many Logenix customers are well-known and respected government agencies and organizations involved in humanitarian and rebuilding efforts around the world. It serves private and public groups, including The World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), agencies under the auspices of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and many others.
“We’ve put together a worldwide network throughout the developing world that’s hands-down more effective in every country than anybody else has.”
Logenix International’s many connections did not happen overnight but result from many decades of hard work by Cruse and his dedicated and experienced team. Developing trusted networks spanning the globe has enabled the company to establish on-time delivery standards, particularly for the medical and farming customers in the developing world, and new standards for cost-effectiveness.
“There are all sorts of factors and costs if your paperwork isn’t right, and you can run into some large cost mistakes,” states Cruse. “What we’ve done with our team and training is pretty much eliminated those. It’s not cookie-cutter. There is a huge information-gathering network from around the world to solve problems, and we are gathering information on a daily basis. We are heading towards ninety-eight percent on-time delivery for large customers for pharma deliveries, so it really is an exponential improvement, as well as lowering landed cost which is important to everybody.”
While Cruse says landed cost – the total cost for products or shipments once they arrive at their destination – is important, he emphasizes that communication with clients is vital, particularly when operating within war-torn nations or areas with civil unrest. In South Africa, violence has led to trucks requiring additional security, and this added cost must be articulated to customers. “Speaking from knowledge and making clients aware is something we consider to be a huge part of what we are all about.”
The company transports colossal power generation machinery and small but critical life-saving medications. Throughout South Africa, Logenix played a critical role in delivering and distributing microbicide gels for groundbreaking HIV research on pallets with specialized keep cool blankets. The gels research, preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to baby during childbirth, was a major breakthrough.
Medicine often requires temperature control, and the company’s experts have transported everything from blood and tissue samples to products from test and treatment kits and clinical supplies that prevent the spread of disease throughout Africa and countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. The work Logenix has become most known for – and where it has really out-performed all the largest 3PLs – is operating global health supply chains for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis eradication. “We make thousands of deliveries annually to over 65 countries and have set new evolutionary standards for critically important on-time deliveries,” says Cruse. “The medicines and cargo originate from all over Europe, India, and China – requiring the operation of a 24/7 operational control tower to integrate and manage the outstanding performance from our global network.”
Working with the Zambian Ministry of Health (MOH) on the Zambia Integrated Systems Strengthening Program (ZISSP), Logenix was responsible for transporting backpack aspirators which vacuum mosquitos, helping to limit the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria. Similarly, its logistics services distributed 100,000,000 bed nets to prevent malaria throughout Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and other countries.
Logenix has provided door-to-door logistics services in Haiti following the devastating earthquake, delivering transformers, wooden poles, construction materials, and more to see power restored. And in Liberia, Logenix arranged eighty-ton cranes used to deliver multi-million-dollar transformers and generators weighing eighteen and twenty tons each to support building and installing a ten-megawatt power plant in the West African country.
While these and other enormous construction projects require precise planning and coordination of machinery and materials, Logenix is always up to the task, like in Afghanistan where large generators are required to power equipment, turbines, water plants, and more. “If it’s important and there is a supply chain and it’s in a tough area, we’ve got the background to have done it in most places,” says Cruse.
Cruse is proud of working with men and women who have the right stuff, some of whom have been with the company for twenty-five years. The company trains differently than anyone else in the logistics industry. Employees must have an interest in ongoing learning and be able to solve problems. “You’ve got to get the right people, because there are so many disparate areas,” he says.
Cruse has visited about ninety countries to date and documented his many experiences in the 2008 book, Lies, Bribes & Peril: Lessons for the Real Challenges of International Business. He is proud of the business he built from the ground up and believes in motivating others.
Advocating a culture of excellence is even done in small ways with inspirational slogans posted around the office. One of Cruse’s favorites is from Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy, in which Durant sums up the views of Aristotle: “We are what we do continually. Therefore, excellence is not an act. It’s a habit.” And the habit is certainly practiced here.
Logenix welcomes the challenges of today and tomorrow. One of the biggest, says Cruse, will be developing the capabilities to properly handle temperature-controlled phama deliveries throughout the world, as many locations do not yet have this ability, particularly for medication in developing nations.
“Not only are we bringing evolutionary change to logistics and supply chains throughout the developing world, but we are focused on continuing to improve that,” he says. “A lot of companies look at us from a size perspective and think there are a lot of other larger third-party logistics (3PLs), but throughout my career – and many of the senior staff who are with us – we have outperformed most if not all of the world’s top fifty 3PLs to the developing world, and we continue to do it. It started in 1989 winning contracts against some of the big guys all the way to the work we are doing today with pharma and infrastructure work in the developing world, and we are still outperforming in a major way many of the largest worldwide 3PLs.”