PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES (March 25, 2021) – After a “roller-coaster” year for the logistics, shipping and trucking industry, Pittsburgh-based Elite Transit Solutions found itself poised for big hiring plans and expansion into two new cities.
In July 2020, Elite Transit Solutions had 60 employees, and due to the pandemic, it temporarily froze hiring. Since then, however, the company grew to its current 107 employees, and Mike Johnson, CEO of Elite Transit Solutions, said Elite plans to increase its headcount to about 200 employees by the first quarter of 2022.
Elite Transit Solutions creates a transportation management software platform called Chameleon to streamline the process of booking truck drivers and communicating throughout the journey from manufacturer to store.
“We have been able to utilize the unfortunate stuff going on in the past year to our advantage,” Johnson said. “We have been able to grow through that.”
Johnson moved from Florida in 2014 to headquarter Elite in Pittsburgh. He said the company will remain headquartered in Pittsburgh, but in April will open offices in Chicago and Charlotte. The company will open in a WeWork coworking space in Charlotte and a temporary office in Chicago until it builds out main spaces.
In 2020, the company moved about 51,000 truck loads. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, Johnson said Elite is on pace to move about 85,000 truck loads this year. He declined to disclose the company’s revenue.
To understand that growth, Johnson explained the ups and downs of the past year.
“The supply and demand were majorly impacted in the last 12 months or so, just from buying patterns from the general public,” Johnson said. “Obviously, we know about the whole toilet paper fiasco about a year ago. … When all that panic buying happened, it was the first time the network we support was really put under the gun.”
In the past, logistics and trucking companies typically dealt with impacts to regional supply chains. For example, if one area of the country experienced a hurricane, that led to an increased need for supplies.
“The thing with the pandemic was that it was like the hurricane hit the whole country,” Johnson said. “Every portion of the country needed more supplies.”
In that early March-April 2020 timeframe, Johnson said the pandemic stressed the supply chain. However, when stay-at-home orders began to settle across the country, the industry saw just the opposite.
“The panic buying had built up all the supply that was needed in that period, so then there was the direct opposite effect where no one bought anything,” Johnson said.
However, in that “roller coaster” fashion, demand “skyrocketed” again in early July. Johnson said some truck drivers went out of business during the first dip in demand and did not come back into the business. However, a surge in online shopping led to a shortage of trucks.
“Long story short, that has gotten increasingly worse,” Johnson said. “Retail season in the fourth quarter became one of the busiest for us, but one of the most impacted we had ever seen. … We thought there was going to be a softening of that coming into the new year, and it’s only increasingly gotten worse because people’s behavior is now toward online ordering.”
The shuttering of driving schools during the pandemic also led to a shortage of newly trained drivers.
Yet, both the challenges and opportunities presented to the logistics and trucking industries during the Covid-19 pandemic made space for companies to adopt technologies like Elite’s platform.
“We are taking it from a regional smaller business in Pittsburgh to more of a national presence,” Johnson said.
About Elite Transit Solutions (ELITE)
Founded in Pittsburgh, PA, in 2013, Elite Transit Solutions (ELITE) is a recognized third-party logistics (3PL) leader in revolutionizing the freight management logistics industry. ELITE delivers innovative technology solutions that minimize waste while elevating service and value for customers in food and beverage, OEM, industrial, and chemical companies. The company has been honored on the Inc. 5000 list for three consecutive years as one of America’s fastest-growing companies and has received numerous additional industry awards such as Food Logistics’ Rock Stars and Top Green Providers, Best In Biz, and the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Fastest Growing Companies. Visit elitetransit.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (878) 999-2880.