Josh DeKoninck may be relatively new as the GM of LTL, but he's an industry veteran with a fresh perspective on maintaining client relations and boosting employee morale — qualities that directly align with the values of IL2000.
DeKoninck came onboard with LTL three months ago. In his own words: “I couldn’t be happier.”
Prior to IL2000, he honed his industry skills for 11 years at Dayton Freight Lines’ Detroit facility, where the carrier handled pickup and delivery for roughly 600-800 different customers daily.
“At IL2000, we work very closely with our clients. It's a different foundation. It's more of a relationship,” he shared.
The 1999-founded IL2000 is growing exponentially. DeKoninck said the company is at the cusp of “breaking out to the next level, while hiring quality talent across the board.” As the company rapidly expands, client relationships remain a core focus.
Relationship-building is central to DeKoninck’s approach to business and life. He describes himself as a “servant leader,” meaning he lives by his core values of trust and respect. That translates directly to how he supports his team at IL2000, and how he manages client relationships.
“You have to build a foundation of trust and respect with your employees, and in order to do that, it requires one-on-one conversations to learn more about the employee,” said DeKoninck, who asks them about their families, hobbies, and what makes them tick. This greater insight into their individual personalities allows him to support his employees in unique ways, as well as challenge them to excel.
DeKoninck is a firm believer that “if you take care of your people, everything else will fall in line.” High employee morale means team members are fully present in their daily operations. “The customers can hear when you’re smiling on the phone; they pick up your enthusiasm,” DeKoninck said.
That’s what DeKoninck appreciates most about IL2000. The company is committed to delivering tailored and stellar customer service and building lasting relationships.
IL2000 is on the leading edge when it comes to software and technology, but it is really that client-focus, that customer service, and ultimately that client satisfaction that they’re going to get when they choose IL2000. -DeKoninck
Speaking of software, the company’s state-of-the-art transportation management system with a user-friendly interface allows IL2000 and clients to go online and view detailed information as relates to shipping location, transit, and destination. The client also has the power and autonomy to log in and book the shipments themselves.“We can actively track and trace and follow and give updates and have that response to our clients,” DeKoninck said.
DeKoninck added that IL2000 internal strategy meetings constantly address improving services and client satisfaction. “We also have daily meetings with our clients. The thing I love about those interactions is when you hop into those meetings, we have a representative for every industry our clients operate in,” DeKoninck said.
For IL2000, it’s not about getting clients. It’s about keeping them.
“We’re not just looking for any and every client that is shipping product. It’s a relationship. We’re looking to build a foundation; we’re looking to build a lasting 10-year relationship with those clients, and I think that that’s very important as we continue to grow, as clients continue to search for their logistics solutions.” -DeKoninck
Setting the Gold Standard for Logistics Management
Just two weeks into his job with IL2000, DeKoninck was blown away by how smoothly IL2000 handled a large client integration and implementation. Daily meetings with the new customer allowed for a seamless transition from their previous third party logistics company to IL2000. The company was impressed with IL2000’s support, as well as its software, reports, and data to streamline logistics, identify any “hiccups,” and deliver cost savings.
“Logistics is a very cost-centric area. There's a lot that goes into selecting the carriers, securing the pricing, getting the tariffs all set up, and then organizing those carriers to come in and make the pickups when the shipment is ready,” explained DeKoninck.
The biggest issue facing the industry today, according to DeKoninck?
“It’s Supply and Demand 101 – understanding and managing the supply and demand cycles,” DeKoninck said. “Companies, carriers, and the overall industry need to utilize experience and data to build a game plan that meets their staffing demands while continuing to run an efficient operation with a high-quality of service and product.”
DeKoninck offered a high-level perspective:
- From the carrier side, primary challenges are equipment and maintenance costs.
- Industry-wide, staffing is a big concern, including driver shortages and getting quality young candidates into the driving workforce.
- Mother Nature and the elements play into some of the operational hindrances.
“Most importantly, successful companies must continue to work to increase their overall employee happiness and morale,” DeKoninck stressed. “ You can try and squeeze numbers and try to save costs here and there, but if your people aren't happy, you're not going to provide an efficient service, and you're going to lose people.”
With DeKoninck on board, that’s unlikely to happen at IL2000. The way he prioritizes team and client relationship building is definitely making an impact.
“I love the service we're providing to our clients and I believe that we're having explosive growth already. We're growing by about 25-30%,” DeKoninck said. “ I'm excited about the future of IL2000 and the expansion that we're going to continue to have, onboarding more clients, and how we are helping to shape the industry and deliver a quality service that is needed.”