January is often a time of reflection and resolutions. We recently sat down with Jon Teraoka, the CEO and founder of W.I.S. Logistics, and asked him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

With needs evolving and the current COVID-19 pandemic, how does W.I.S. Logistics stand out and appeal to those looking for 3PL logistics services, whether that is LTL, Truckload or other logistical services?

In 2020, the marketplace for truckload exploded and that cascaded into other services like LTL. With the pandemic, many smaller companies went out of business, but the manufacturers kept on producing. This resulted in trucks and drivers becoming scarce everywhere.

Our strong group of core carriers paired with our great service helped W.I.S. Logistics stand out. That was something we learned in the 2008 financial crisis. You need to have reliable business partners as it allows you to keep having partners when challenges arise. It is good to maintain those partnerships and then it doesn’t matter what the upheaval is, they have our back. We utilized our resources well.

2020 was a year of upheaval. Could you share an experience in the past year that demonstrates that and how W.I.S. Logistics responded?

Two things come to mind. First, since we are based in Wisconsin, we are used to having snow days and had already created a system for remote work. We took that part of our business and within a week magnified it so all of our people could work safely at home and we had systems in place to ensure that the work could get done. That original “snow day” system was meant for a day or two and now it has been months. I’m proud of how quickly we made that switch and still provide outstanding services to our vendors and clients.

Second, a number of our larger accounts had essential needs for the current pandemic market. This required some adaptation as our clients needed more equipment, trucks and services to meet the production needs of their clients. We had to stretch ourselves and expand to meet those needs. Angie Blattner, General Manager of Truckload and LTL Services, saw this early and due to that insight, we were ready to meet that additional work. Pretty soon into the pandemic, we began to train more people to handle a variety of levels, urgencies and expanded work. This gave us a large collective group (9-10) to help secure trucks rather than the 2-3 people who did this work before. We were actually able to gain more business because we were the only one able to meet our clients’ needs.

As we begin 2021, what are some of your goals for W.I.S. Logistics in this next year?

We want to expand our marketing capability. That is a piece to the path to our future and is needed to better reach current and new clients.

Second, we’ve just hired a number of new people to provide greater range with our logistics and broker chain. Continuing to invest in the right people and developing current employees will help us cover more business and provide the best service to our clients.

Third, business is going to continue to grow and expand. This, paired with a supply chain that has all kinds of issues, means we need to continue to find new ways to move our clients’ business. The supply chain has problems and truckers have a finite amount of equipment, trucks and drivers. We’ll need to look beyond what we’ve done before by bringing in new partners and more carriers.

Finally, we will invest in a new operating system to carry us into the next 5-10 years. Right now, we are still researching, but this will be a large element of our 2021. And most importantly, it will help our clients even more.

You are proud of the culture at W.I.S Logistics. How would you describe the most important values of the company?

Our culture is based upon five important values: Service, Family, Responsible, Driven and Happy. These values are who we are. And all are vital to our success and culture.

This is a small, family-owned business and that is how we operate. We treat one another like family. This doesn’t mean that we take excuses from one another, but we treat each other well, do what’s right and hold one another accountable.

The driven value is apparent in the values of our people. They are always trying and continue to excel. I’m always impressed and amazed at how they keep getting better. We take responsibility for our actions. It is easy to talk through values during our reviews because our people match them.

One other value I’d like to comment on is the Happy one. This makes us different from other companies. No one wants to work with a grouch or a downer. Our customers want people who offer solutions and inspiration. That’s something that W.I.S. Logistics can offer.

It’s that time of year for resolutions. Is there a personal goal that you want to achieve in 2021?

One of my personal goals is to get back to the gym on a regular basis. I love to bike and lift weights in the morning. A good morning workout makes me feel solid and ready to work and just sets the pace for the day. It has been tough to not have that as part of my routine as much with the COVID pandemic.

On the flip side, 2020 gave all of us a lot more time to reflect on who we are and what we can be. What do our customers see? I think we’ve done a good job, but hope that we can get back to “normal” in 2021, while continuing to excel in our service.

That reflection also showed me that going out has become more special. A year ago, you wouldn’t have known the difference, but we were so busy with stuff that we didn’t slow down to appreciate and enjoy it. I hope I don’t forget that in 2021. I don’t have to be busy all the time and it is good to have more balance. I think that’s a lesson we all can learn from being forced away from normal activities in 2020.