Today transportation systems are limited, fragmented, and siloed.
Having a “connected” TMS that impacts an organization’s financial decisions, supply chain operations, purchasing, customer service, and even sales is unheard of. Having a technology leveraging Artificial Intelligence rather than business-based rules to manage Small Parcel, LTL, Truckload, Intermodal, Air and Ocean shipments is not unthinkable.
In this interview with CEO, Founder, Brad Hollister, let’s get to know more about how SwanLeap has transformed the way people shop.
Tell us about the company.
Founded in 2013, SwanLeap is leading transportation, consulting, and technology firm specializing in supply chain best practices and cost reduction strategies.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
Our greatest struggle out of the gate was that people didn’t believe us. Things had been done one way for so long, that what we were proposing seemed impossible.
Which was the point that triggered the growth of the company?
I don’t think we can look to one single, solitary moment in time but there were certainly contributing factors that came together to build momentum. Gaining the trust of our first customer, Rogan’s Shoes was a huge moment for us in proving the concept. I also think the time and effort we put and continue to put into thought leadership and helping educate folks, long before we had something to “sell” to people, helped us to gain a voice in the conversation that was ready to be heard as SwanLeap began gaining traction.
How have the company graphs changed since the foundation? Can you share a few statistics?
Inc 5000 rankings: No. 190 (2020), No. 35 (2019), No. 1 (2018), No. 55 (2017)
What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
Customer-focused; we listen to our customers and their needs and deliver a technology solution that scales as they do.
Architected in the cloud, SwanLeap is a singular platform to connect all areas of a business’ supply chain.
What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
- Comprehensive Transportation Management Solution
- Transportation Management System (TMS)
- Freight Payment & Audit
- Transportation Marketplace
- System Integrations
- Deliver true visibility, speed, and control.
SwanLeap differs from our competitors because of the age of our technology. Architected in the cloud, SwanLeap is a singular platform to connect all areas of a business’s supply chain.
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
We build and grow in response to our customers’ feedback. As customers identify needs or new ideas for features, we partner with them to develop a solution. The last thing we want to do is solve a problem no one has to develop a solution no one needs.
Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?
The biggest things coming down the pipe from SwanLeap at the present are our Dock Scheduler, Control Tower, and Analytics platform. The SwanLeap Dock Scheduler facilitates carriers scheduling appointments and shippers managing the flow of their docks, insulating them from detention charges. The SwanLeap Control Tower features a map and calendar view with the status of all inbound and outbound shipments. Coming out in October 2020 we will release our all-new SwanLeap Analytics platform. From fully customizable dashboards with data visualizations to granular reports of shipping data, this robust platform will support business intelligence for companies of all sizes.
What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
Do the best by the people that believe in you.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
Mr. Brad Hollister is the chief executive officer of SwanLeap, America’s fastest-growing private company. Under Hollister’s leadership, SwanLeap delivered an unprecedented 75,660.8 percent growth in revenue in the past three years, catapulting the 5-year-old software company to the No. 1 spot on both the 2018 Inc. 5000 list and the Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
A life-long entrepreneur passionate about improving the world, Hollister is the catalyst behind SwanLeap’s next-generation technology. With extensive experience in transportation, logistics, and supply chain, Hollister’s leadership and institutional expertise solidify SwanLeap’s position as the leading provider of end-to-end transportation technology. Hollister is a guest lecturer for the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a sought-after speaker on the advancement and disruption of the transportation industry.
Do the best by the people that believe in you.
What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
- No 1 on INC 5000
- 4-time honoree in INC 5000 top 200
- International speaker
How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
In the early days, it was easy to be involved in the life of our employees. As we have grown, that has become harder to do well. Hiring a leadership team that reflects our organizational values of empathy, integrity, innovation, and collaboration was an essential part of me trusting that our team is going to be led and cared for at the highest standard. Our team is unique in many ways.
Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
I love the way our clients make us better. We didn’t set out to build a product for ourselves, but a product for our clients. Because of our approach to listening to the needs of our clients, we have created such a healthy environment of partnership and collaboration with each of our clients. Our clients are our best ideas.
Can you tell us which your favorite book is? And your favorite part of the book (if any)?
The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
One person who you admire the most?
Jason Swanson. Our CTO and co-founder; we’ve been through a lot and he’s been a perfect business partner throughout the journey.
Whose business story do you find the most inspiring?
Steve Jobs, Apple
Which is the most inspiring quote you have read?
All leaders have a series of quotes that set them apart from each other. I think that getting inspiration from a variety of sources depending on the moment that you are in is important. In this season I find myself returning to this quote from Steve Jobs: “When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world.
Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up of people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Constant vigilance- a need or a strategy? Please share your views.
Both. You need it to stay ahead of the competition as a business and build both effective strategy and vision as a leader.
It’s a rat race out there. How do you cope with that?
Do the best that you can at every given moment. Make the best decision you can at the moment you can. You can’t beat yourself up over mistakes. Fail forward.