Oct 20, 2012 Washington DC
As every courier company owner in Washington DC knows, the additional security restrictions at buildings in the Washington DC area, post 9/11, have drastically affected the way deliveries are made in the Metro DC area, changing the way every courier company operates. Couple this with the fact that the industry itself had been shrinking due to the rise of internet based technologies that allow for electronic delivery of information, and I decided that it was time to consider merging or selling my courier company. For several years I had been approached periodically by Gil Carpel, CEO of Washington Express (WEX), to consider a possible Private Label Agreement between my firm, Apple Courier Inc. and WEX. In 2009, the timing seemed right as the economy was declining.
To be honest, I was looking to step away from the industry anyway and other factors, led by the economic downturn, seemed to align and help me make the decision. Looking back at some of the benefits and challenges we have encountered over the past three years as a private label partner with Washington Express, I can honestly say that, overall, I made the right decision. Under this Private Label Agreement, WEX handles all of the daily operating functions of my business, but we continue to use the Apple brand in all interactions with the clients, including invoicing. Some of the challenges I have had are ones that you would expect. My feeling of losing control of the company that I had worked so hard to build over the years, to the inevitable changes in personnel that I had worked together with for so long, to my adjusting to how decisions were made in a larger , more structured company like WEX. All of the above took some getting used to. Being the sole owner of Apple Courier, it was easy for me to make business decisions on my own, whereas WEX has a more ‘team-based’ decision making process, often requiring meetings and discussions to come to a final consensus. This can be frustrating as it often takes much longer to make a decision, but I have learned that delaying decisions isn’t always a bad thing as getting more opinions about a decision before it is made can mean better decision making.
The biggest benefit I have found from partnering with WEX is their amazing attention to detail and to customer satisfaction, both for their existing customers and for the new Apple customers they had acquired. Customers are communicated with regularly, via email, letters, as well as through personal visits from WEX Account Managers. WEX seems to always know what is going on at a client account as well as who to contact with any issues. Another thing that our Apple customers appreciate is the technological benefits they have received since we partnered with WEX. From electronic order entry of orders, to email proof of deliveries with electronic signature transfer, to paperless invoicing. All of these are at a cost-savings to WEX and which they pass back to customers in the form of providing more information to clients and without their having to make a phone call. Overall, I found that entering into this Private Label Agreement with Washington Express has been a great benefit both to myself but, more importantly, to my clients.
Kevin Gilead President, Apple Courier Inc.