AIT Worldwide Logistics invests in its operation and culture to develop long-term relationships with its global customer base.
By Staci Davidson, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing
When AIT Worldwide Logistics was established in 1979, it was because its founders believed there was a better way to serve clients. The company has remained solution-oriented since that time, growing into a global operation that provides clients with custom services to help ensure the profitability of their businesses. AIT is dedicated to improving clients’ supply chains, which can mean moving heavyweight cargo around the world, enabling just-in-time warehousing or delivering goods directly to a consumer’s front door.
“AIT’s extensive worldwide network, operational expertise and flexible solutions define our company even as we continue to grow,” President and CEO Vaughn Moore explains. “We have the size and buying power of the majors with airlines, trucking and ocean vessels, as well as more than 50 offices globally. We have the scale, but we like to keep the unique factor, in that we are able to be solution-oriented and customize programs to the needs our clients have. We enjoy building strong relationships with our clients rather than asking them to plug into a pre-established logistics solution.”
Moore has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, and was president of AIT when he led his team in executing a friendly leveraged buyout of the company in 2012. The goal at that time was to grow the company, and that remains Moore’s focus, while maintaining the type of culture that allows AIT to grow.
“The overriding goal was to become a globally recognized industry leader, therefore, we have to continue providing solutions and options that support worldwide shipping for our customers,” he says. “Geographically, worldwide locations are necessary. In addition, we require new intellectual capital for long term growth that blends both the experience and talent those joining the organization.”
AIT has offices in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico and the United States, enabling its clients to operate in the global marketplace. And while the company continues to open new offices to better serve its clients – the newest offices are in Reno, Nev. and Qingdao, China – more global development is on the horizon. AIT believes its business is built on the level of service it provides and that comes from more than geographic diversity.
The company’s vision is to “become the global logistics provider respected for delivering a world-class experience.” AIT is demonstrating its place as a global provider with new locations and complete freight forwarding solutions – ground, air, ocean, clearance, warehousing, specialized services, etc. – but it also aims to act strategically with respect to clients’ supply chains. The company is achieving industry respect by the way it relates to teammates, customers, partners and even competitors, and it is delivering world-class experiences by being far more than transactional. In recognition of its efforts, AIT has received the Quest for Quality Award from Logistics Management magazine nine times, and is has been accredited as Best in Class Independent Freight Forwarder USA by the Global Institute of Logistics.
“The overriding challenge for culture is that it’s an ongoing thing,” Moore says. “It’s a balance, and you have to work continually to reach what you want in that balance. As many accolades as we have, there are times when things get out of balance. You have to listen to the feedback you receive. When a company is growing, you have to figure out how to adjust to change, honor the culture and passionately value your teammates. I’m proud of our culture and proud of where we are, but I know we have a ways to go.”
One of AIT’s main cultural initiatives is earning customers’ trust, and it’s doing that through proactive communication. The company believes the maxim “if I call you it’s an explanation, if you call me, it’s an excuse,” and strives to remain proactive with clients at all times, regardless of the situation or service involved.
“Customers tend to take bad news well if you deliver it early,” Moore notes. “In our industry, you are only as good as your last shipment, and if you’re just operating from a transactional mindset, your customer base will bounce around. We want to build up trust over time so we can have long-lasting relationships with clients and weather the storm together on any circumstances that occur.”
“Our best investment is in our people,” he says. “I want to invest in the right type of people and bring the best ideas and talent to the organization. My advice is to never be afraid to hire people who are better than you. It makes my job easier knowing we have the best of the best in our company that I can rely on. They give their all and bring their level of expertise to us, and that can be a very powerful impact on the company.”
AIT Worldwide Logistics takes pride in being a global operation, but it works to have a positive impact on its communities through AIT Cares. Established in 2012, AIT Cares encourages all AIT teammates to give back five hours of service in their communities on an annual basis. This ends up being more than 4,700 volunteer hours across the AIT network, and it can involve a range of activities, such as participating in a charity walk or working at a local soup kitchen. Through this program, AIT sponsors employee involvement in charitable events, impacting hundreds of organizations.
“Actively engaging in our communities is a core value for AIT. We average 140 different charities each year (that we know of) where teammates give time and talent to share their passion by supporting local causes,” President and CEO Vaughn Moore says. “Our flagship organization is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – we raised $63,000 for them last year and we are again on track as a Silver National Team in 2018. There is a direct correlation between our success and what we do to give back.”