When ICT Holdings got into the freight business two years ago, it faced what Patrick Sacor, chairman and CEO, calls a “diversification” issue.
“The real trick in the freight world now is how to maximize diversity of service yet also maximize efficiency at the same time,” he explains. “Transportation is typically a very low-margin business, so you need to diversify your reach in order to build revenue, but you must also keep a very tight rein on expenses.”
The question, then, seemed to be how to get wildly disparate services—everything from truck sales and leasing to logistics, freight, even truck and trailer maintenance work—to function together as a single business entity under one roof.
“In this industry, you want to have a lot of options, especially when it comes to maintenance,” Sacor says, which is why ICT decided to operate its own maintenance shop within its “all-in-one” freight facility concept.
“The logic is that doing it ourselves would help us control costs and improve on-time delivery service for our own trucks,” he points out. “Eventually, we’d also be able to offer maintenance service to the public as well to further lower our cost profile.”
ICT brought its “all-in-one” vision to life earlier this year after purchasing and then overhauling the former 23,000-sq.-ft. Chicago Select Trucking building in Glendale Heights, IL. This created what Sacor calls a “freight hub” for all of ICT’s freight transportation-related companies: ICT Logistics, ICT Leasing and Truck Sales, ICT Services and Repair Center, ICT Transport (dry van trucking), ICT Refrigerated, F&F Transport (a flatbed carrier), and ICT Real Estate.
Sitting on five acres located less than one mile from Interstate 355, a major transportation artery, Sacor says the facility collects all aspects of ICT’s freight support matrix into one facility, providing what he calls “end-to-end” transportation services.
“Our Glendale Heights location will also be the flagship for the ICT brand as well,” he notes. “Eventually, we want to create hub branches across the country based on the Glendale design.”
ICT’s Glendale location includes 20 service bays, one wash bay, and a secure truck parking yard, Sacor says, staffed with 10 technicians, one head technician, and a general manager dedicated to just the maintenance operation.
“We can handle most maintenance needs for our fleet and eventually for outside customers, including light body work,” he points out. By having its own maintenance and repair operation within the facility, Sacor says ICT expects its maintenance-related costs to be only about one-third of what they would be otherwise.
“We should also be able to go to a customer and show them we can provide better on-time delivery because we can control the maintenance on our equipment,” he adds. “As we expand, this model will help us improve those on-time factors as well. The next satellite branch we’re looking at opening will be in Arkansas, allowing us to not only create long-haul ‘drop’ locations to swap loads and thus help improve home time, but also as maintenance/repair locations so our trucks and others can obtain service where their loads are being turned over.”
That multifaceted approach, he says, will be one of the key factors in ICT’s growth plans. “Our feeling is if we’re going to have facilities like this support our freight, logistics, truck sales, and leasing operations, why not offer the maintenance for the equipment as well, right in the same building?”