SEKO Logistics doing it their way – Exclusive interview

Mergers and acquisitions continue to pick up in the logistics market as providers look to expand their reach geographically as well as by product. So far this year we’ve seen some large acquisition announcements such as FedEx and TNT, XPO Logistics and Norbert Dentressangle and Kintetsu Worldwide Express and APL Logistics.

Meanwhile, SEKO Logistics is taking a different approach to expand its business. It recently announced that the private equity company, Greenbriar Equity Group, made an undisclosed investment in the logistics company.

Ti chatted with SEKO’s CEO, William Wascher, about why the company decided to go this route versus other options in order to expand the business. According to Wascher, this move was primarily for financial purposes and a chance to completely align its three largest businesses, US, UK and Hong Kong into one as well as to accelerate its overall five year plan.

It is an ambitious plan and included are initiatives to break through the $1bn revenue level and to issue an IPO for further growth opportunities. In fact acquisitions are not being ruled out. Wascher noted that the company had always grown organically but with rapid changes occurring in the market, it was time to speed things up.

When one listens to Wascher, one gets the sense this is not the typical logistics company. Founded in 1976, the company has offices in forty countries and is seeing growth in not only the usual geographies but also such locations as Africa and Russia.

Among its key verticals is Home Delivery which Wascher cites as among the largest in the industry. In addition, its Med-Tech vertical is growing thanks to changes in the healthcare market. This group is trained in handling medical diagnostic equipment – cleaning, repair and other white glove services. But, perhaps its biggest and fastest growing vertical is omnichannel. Through a 2014 equity stake in e-commerce company Metakinetic, combined with its Red Hot Penny Marketing firm along with its warehousing and fulfilment capabilities, SEKO Logistics notes it is able to provide end-to-end services for retailers such as building storefronts and managing off-shore retailing. One such example is its partnership with Australia Post to provide a US presence for Australian e-retailers. Delivery time for this service is only two days.

As for the outlook of the logistics market, it was very interesting to listen to Wascher talk with much enthusiasm on virtual warehousing. “The industry is close to this but it comes down to the technology and the 3D printing concept is helping.”

And finally, when asked what makes a successful logistics provider in today’s environment he said, “You’ve got to be strategic, in-tune with people’s habits, demographics and technological advances. Most important, you’ve got to be open to change.”

SEKO Logistics is among quite a few logistics providers looking to break through that $1bn revenue mark. The competition is tight but Wascher describes SEKO Logistics as a “trendsetter” and this will likely set it apart from many other providers that are close to it in terms of revenue and thus, result in the success the company is striving for in this rapidly changing market.