Peter Coratola scales his customer service ideas into success at Ease Logistics

Peter Coratola, president and CEO of Ease Logistics Services & Transportation Consulting, is a 2018 Columbus Smart 50 honoree and Sustainability award winner

Peter Coratola started Ease Logistics Services & Transportation Consulting in 2014, using his service model from another third-party logistics company.

“There’s a lot of deficiencies in this industry, where customer service is preached and response time is preached, but it’s not really followed up or gets diluted as the company grows,” he says.

The president and CEO learned to understand cash flow to control growth and to trust his employees. He’s also learned his ideas resonate with customers. Ease Logistics hired 15 people in the past eight months and is earning more than $25 million in annual revenue.

Quick response

The No. 1 differentiator is a two-minute response time, even if it’s just acknowledging Ease Logistics is working on the problem.

“I always thought the biggest thing you could do for a customer when you handle logistics is save them time,” Coratola says.

Ease Logistics has second, third and weekend shifts, spending 20 percent more on employee overhead than its competitors. But the company has a high retention rate because — unless it’s a severe problem — when you’re off work, you’re truly off.

“No matter what time of day it is, on any day, there’s a minimum of five people in the office,” he says.

It was hard to justify a third shift two years in, but Coratola has taken calls 24/7. What he didn’t predict is it would generate revenue — employees work on tasks like pricing and finding capacity, and build relationships with customers’ second and third shifts.

No cold calls allowed

Ease Logistics is split into three departments with account managers as the point of contact. But the one department that’s missing is sales because Coratola never wants people to dread hearing from his company. Although, he may add targeted business development at some point.

Coratola started with two food and beverage and three automotive customers. By word of mouth, that’s grown to 18 food and beverage and 21 manufacturing — customers like Wendy’s, Boar’s Head, Honda and General Motors.

“It was a hell of a risk, especially when you’re starting out, (to) tell people, ‘Don’t worry about sales,’” he says.

Ease Logistics has turned away business to maintain its service level. It’s a fine line to walk, he says, especially with referrals. But current customers, every time, respect the company for knowing its limits.