If you've been to a supermarket lately, you are probably painfully aware of the shortages that are so readily apparent on the shelves. It doesn't matter which supermarket you go to or where you are located around the globe, the shortages abound. What used to be as simple as running to the corner market and picking up the items you needed, today requires a tremendous amount of thought, effort and time. That is where companies like Project44 come in. As one of the premier logistics companies in the business, Project44 is helping to address these issues with supply chain shortages. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to dive deeper into what this company is all about, here are 20 more things about them you might not already know.
1. The idea for such a company was born out of personal experience
Jett McCandless is not just the CEO of Project44. He’s also the company’s founder, something that came from decades of first-hand experience with issues in the national supply chain. For him, these are the same issues that he has seen for at least the last 20 years. As a matter of fact, he has always been rather astonished that more supply chain shortages didn't happen more frequently before. According to him, the way the system is set up has caused it to be inherently flawed. Part of the reason that he created his company was to openly address those flaws and find real time solutions that would get products to customers more quickly without alienating those directly involved in the supply chain itself.
2. They are centrally located in the United States
The company made a conscious decision when it started back in 2014 to find a location that would allow it to be centrally located in the United States. As a result, they ultimately chose Chicago for their headquarters. The reason that this was so important is because it gives them the opportunity to address supply chain issues equally, regardless of geographic location. Choosing the right location for a company is always important, but it takes on an entirely new level of importance when that particular company centers around logistics in a market that is already exceptionally challenging.
3. They also have associates working all over the globe
In addition to their centrally-located headquarters, they have team members that work all over the globe on their behalf. It would be virtually impossible to do everything from only one location, especially given the global nature of most businesses these days. As a result, they have associates working in major cities across the United States and around the globe in an effort to address issues and find solutions to those issues as quickly as possible. The idea is to identify something that could potentially go wrong and then address it before the consumer ever experiences any shortages because of that particular issue whatsoever.
4. They use a tool called the Advanced Visibility Platform
This is a tool that allows them to handle everything digitally, in real time. They are able to see exactly where everything is at any given point. The software that they use also gives them the ability to see whether or not there are shortages in certain locations, thereby allowing them to divert some of the items that they have access to, to those particular locations as needed. In short, the system is designed to keep everything moving as quickly as possible while still working in the most efficient manner.
5. They are the only company of their type in operation
Currently, they are the only company in operation that utilizes these exact techniques. While there are certainly other logistics companies out there, their methods have a tendency to be a bit more dated than the ones used by Project44.
6. The company has already acquired at least three other logistics companies
As a matter of fact, they have recently acquired some of the biggest and most well known logistics companies in operation. Among them are ClearMetal, Ocean Insights and Gatehouse Logistics. The acquisition of these companies gives Project44 the opportunity to operate in a manner like never before. Considering how well they have performed in the past, it is rather exciting to see what they will be capable of with these additional resources at their fingertips. One major difference is that they have already acquired an additional contract with Amazon. They already had a contract to handle all of their land-based logistics. Now, they will be handling their ocean-based needs as well.
7. They’re an award winning corporation
As a result of their efforts, they have won a number of important awards over the years. In addition to those awards, they have also secured more funding than any other company of their type in history. More will be discussed about that later. The thing that one must remember is that they are clearly doing things differently from other logistics companies because they are getting results that are very different from anything that has existed in the past. This proves that they are looking at the supply chain problem in a different light as well.
8. They came about their name in an interesting manner
They actually got their name from the first major highway bypass associated with Route 66. Decades ago, Route 66 was practically the only way to get supplies from one point to another in the United States. However, the road was woefully inadequate. It didn't take long for it to become congested with other traffic. In addition, the road simply wasn't built to handle large vehicles such as trucks that were transporting massive amounts of supplies. Eventually, Highway 44 was built as a bypass, thereby speeding up the supply chain. That is how Project44 ultimately got its name.
9. The company describes itself in a very visual way
In fact, members of the company have referred to it as the “connective tissue” in the supply chain. When you stop and think about it, connective tissue is probably one of the best descriptions anyone could ever give to a logistics company. In reality, that is precisely what they do. They connect all of these different points throughout the globe so that supplies can be accurately sourced and then distributed to the proper locations.
10. They operate so that they are completely transparent
One of the things that they are doing differently is allowing anyone who wants to see their financial statements. Furthermore, they don’t just provide those financial statements to people when it is convenient for them to do so. They don’t provide only a few select documents for people to view. Everything they have done from the time the company was formed to present day is available. They have always said that they want to do business in a completely transparent manner, and they are doing exactly that.
11. They’ve raised more than $442 million since they launched in 2014
Remember all of those awards they’ve won? What about the fact that they have been able to raise more capital than other company of the same type in history? Since they launched just seven years ago, they have managed to raise $442.5 million. That fact alone is absolutely staggering.
12. They have had to prove themselves over the course of the last year and a half
No one could have ever really imagined what the world would look like as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were supply chain shortages in the past, the inherent issues associated with the global supply chain have never been more evident than it is right now. The company has had their mettle tested, there is no doubt about that. They have also proven that they have what it takes to deal with these supply chain shortages and come up with innovative solutions that allow their customers to continue to get the products that they need in the most timely manner possible. Logistics has always been a challenging field but given the current times, it has become something that could arguably be considered an art form, one that Project44 excels at in almost every conceivable manner.
13. They’ve also dealt with major supply chain shortages unrelated to public health
In addition to the supply chain shortages that they have continuously been forced to deal with as the direct result of the pandemic, there have been other major issues that have adversely impacted the supply chain as well. One of the most notable issues was the inadvertent blockage of the Suez Canal when a major freighter became stuck in the canal for days on end. No other boats were able to get through, effectively grinding the supply chain to a halt. The company was directly involved in finding solutions to work around this problem until the canal could be opened back up.
14. They’ve turned thinking ahead into an art form
In order to stay ahead in any business, you have to be able to learn to think ahead. The team at Project44 have certainly learned how to do exactly that, often taking in all the current information they can gather and then making predictions about how the supply chain could potentially be affected in the future. The surprising thing is that they are eerily accurate with their predictions. It proves how well they understand the business, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of variables that can affect logistics at any given moment.
15. They may go public in the near future
Officials at Project44 say that they have tentative plans to go public on Wall Street within the next couple of years. If things continue to go as planned, it may be possible to publicly trade this company within the next 36 to 48 months. Of course, nothing is certain this far out, but the company is looking at plans to be publicly traded in the relatively near future.
16. One key to their overwhelming success involves automation
A fully automated supply chain is one of the key components to their success, something that they are more than happy to discuss with anyone who is willing to listen. It would be virtually impossible for Project44 to do the work they do without fully automating the supply chain. By using digital technology, they are capable of tracking every peace, every item, in real time. This also allows them to get ahead of any potential issues and then address those issues accordingly. Without automation, it would simply not be possible to streamline the process to a point that allows it to be this effective.
17. It all started with a job answering the telephone
It may be hard to believe that the company might potentially cease to exist if it hadn't been for McCandless getting a job answering telephones at a local logistics company more than two decades ago. As it turns out, he ended up handling a lot of complaints from consumers who weren't happy because the supply chain simply wasn't working. It was then that he started coming up with ideas to correct those issues, many of them the same ideas that he employs today.
18. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at project44
In part, the company exists because McCandless has always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In fact, many of the people on the team there have something of an entrepreneurial spirit. It is what has allowed Project44 to overcome hurdles and experience such a great deal of success.
19. It’s all about making things better for consumers
For McCandless and his team, it really is all about making the consumer happy. However, there is something even more important at stake. Some of the supplies the company handles include medical equipment and other necessities that people need to stay safe and well. Without them, lives could potentially be lost. This is what drives the entire team to keep forging ahead, even during challenging times.
20. It also reduces the strain on suppliers
The company’s practices also reduce the strain felt by suppliers. This in turn allows them to focus on what they do best, leaving the supply chain management in the hands of the professionals at Project44.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee