Logistics innovation begins in the Kenco lab

3PL’s in-house Innovation Lab is using current technologies to create solutions

In the world of third-party logistics providers, Kenco Group is a familiar name. In business for more than 60 years, the company includes Kenco Logistic Services, Kenco Transportation, Kenco Toyota-Lift, Kenco Management Services and JDK Real Estate. Kenco offers integrated logistics solutions that include distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management, material handling services, real estate management, and information technology.

Kenco Group manages over 90 distribution facilities and has over 200 clients. It is the largest women-owned logistics company in the U.S. That gives it a strong position within the industry to build on, and Kenco has done just that with its Innovation Lab, a separate division within the company that seeks out innovative logistics solutions for both its own operations and that of its customers.

“About two years ago we decided to invest in this group because we were always getting requests through RFPs that included changing technology in the industry,” explains Matt McLelland, innovation research manager of the Chattanooga, TN-based firm. “We decided we wanted to take positions in products. We go in and educate customers on things that will affect their operations, for example, either next week, next month, five years or 10 years.”

The Innovation Lab team is just three people: McLelland, Kristi Montgomery, vice president of innovation, and Trever Ehrlich, creative solutions manager. But it answers directly to the CEO, giving it a level of autonomy and the speed necessary to react to customer inquiries.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.