LYNC Logistics, a freight brokerage based in Chattanooga, cut the ribbon on its new headquarters last Friday afternoon and celebrated the event with champagne and cake. President Cindy Lee spoke to her brokers on the steps of the building after the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce read a proclamation. LeBron, a golden retriever who serves as LYNC Logistics’ Chief Happiness Officer, was also on hand.
The new space has additional room for a pod-like organizational structure; spacious, glassed-in conference rooms; and a recreation space. FreightWaves sat down with Keith Gray, VP of Operations; Mathew Soloff, VP of Sales; and Brent Goldberg, EVP and CFO to talk about LYNC’’s growth story and plans for the future.
In 2014, LYNC did $800k in revenue as a small asset-light division of a trucking company, but by 2017, it was pulling in $12M. Insurance and compliance expenses borne by small fleets eventually meant that it made more sense to divest the trucking operation and continue to grow the brokerage. LYNC expanded from 24 to 40 brokers this year and has plans to grow to 50 brokers over the next six months. The brokerage does a little bit of everything, but executives said that LYNC is particularly good at sourcing hard-to-find flatbed capacity thanks to its brokers, which have expertise in understanding the unique requirements of special freights.
Unlike brokerages with a single point of contact, cradle-to-grave model, LYNC pursues high-volume contracted freight accounts with large shippers because it believes its structure allows LYNC to provide customer service that outperforms that of a segmented service model.
While it’s true that small and mid-sized shippers have trouble sourcing capacity in a tight market, very large shippers need very superior service levels to keep high volumes of product moving through their networks, the company believes.
“We want someone to take a new account and build a team around it,” said Goldberg. LYNC executives said that the brokerage’s communication and service levels made it easy to build trust with shippers and turn small accounts into larger ones. An example of this is when a broker began handling volumes for Coca-Cola and expanded his team to six brokers as the account grew.
Brokers with growing volumes can choose when to expand their teams and have full control over who they hire.
Goldberg said that early on LYNC preferred to hire experienced brokers to help the company grow quickly, but now prefers training new brokers itself in the LYNC way of service. Initial training lasts about a week, and then is followed up by a rigorous training program at an employee’s 6-month anniversary. Employees are closely supervised on a key account until their 6-month mark. LYNC believes that employees learn better by true hands on training due to the ever-changing nature of brokerage.
The national freight markets are soft compared to the summer, Goldberg said, but all that means is LYNC’s brokers finally have a chance to catch their breath.
“We’re always selling,” Goldberg said, “and when capacity loosens, that means we have more time to call shippers.”
“Brokers are the Salesforce for owner-operators,” added Gray, who said that LYNC uses MacroPoint and robust lines of communications with owner-operators to give their customers visibility into where freight is located with a continually updated estimated times of arrival.