Colorado Logistics CEO:
Why we just made our 4th acquisition in a year
The following content is provided by the Denver Business Journal: Colorado logistics CEO: Why we just made our 4th acquisition in a year.
Megan Smith grew up on the floor of her family’s business warehouse.
“My father and grandfather were instrumental in the transformation of the third-party logistics world,” Smith said. “Some of my first memories are cruising the warehouse floor on a forklift while sitting on [my father's] lap.”
She now is the CEO of Edwards-based Symbia Logistics, which just completed its fourth acquisition in a year, on the heels of opening a 52,000-square-foot e-fulfillment center in Aurora in January.
Last week, Symbia Logistics acquired Chicago-based iD Commerce + Logistics (IDC), a company specializing in third-party logistics and e-commerce fulfillment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Currently Symbia Logistics has 1,380 employees and 25 locations.
“We plan to continue to grow as we implement our growth strategy and scale up our team,” Smith said. “With potential acquisitions, we may have 1,500 by next year.”
As a third-party logistics provider, Symbia Logistics moves products from manufacturers to buyers. Her family purchased Pallet Management Services from the previous owners in 2014 and rebranded it as Symbia Logistics in 2016.
Below is a Q&A conducted with Smith via email about her company and her background:
What is the goal of Symbia’s recent acquisitions? Our goal is to provide low-cost parcel distribution within one day to the contiguous 48 states. The recent acquisitions of Mountain States Logistics, Nevada Distribution Services, Innovative Fulfillment Solutions and our latest acquisition of iD Commerce + Logistics gets us closer to this goal. These four acquisitions have helped us broaden our capabilities in supply chain management, logistics and e-commerce fulfillment within niche industries, such as health and beauty products, which is now done out of our Chicago, Reno, Kansas City and Aurora facilities. All of this gives us an edge over our competition.
What are your goals for the next year or two for Symbia? Our goal is to continue to develop an e-commerce fulfillment network that supports a one-day shipping cycle. In order to achieve this, we will need to secure a location in the southeastern United States.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of being in logistics? My favorite part of the logistics space is that it is changing on a daily basis. With the Amazon effect taking hold of our lives, both the B2B and B2C side of logistics is adapting and changing with consumer demands. My least favorite part of the industry is to see people cutting back on quality to save a dime. There are a lot of alternative fulfillment startups and logistic options out there that might be cheaper but they can’t fulfill their promises. This puts a growing business at risk as it scales.
How and why did you get into this industry? This industry is full of exciting challenges and opportunities. After opening a brick and mortar boutique in 2006, I saw firsthand the birth of e-commerce and what that meant for retail stores. Having made that transition, this industry now runs in my veins and to be on the forefront of the evolving retail/e-commerce landscape excites me like none other.
What would surprise someone about working in this industry? The amount of opportunity for women and minorities to make a sustainable living is great. There is a serious talent gap in supply chain/logistics and so much opportunity. You no longer need a college degree to make a decent living. Supply chain and logistics offer stable pay and growth for both women and minorities in what had previously been considered a low paying, male-dominated industry.
What’s been the most surprising lesson you’ve learned in business? The most surprising lesson I’ve learned is that when you own a business, you make incredible personal sacrifices necessary to be successful. I’ve learned you save money for the business before yourself and to surround yourself with the right people. It is the ultimate "you live and learn" scenario.
What would you go back to tell your 21-year-old self? Don’t sweat the small stuff; you are doing big things!
What’s been your smartest career move? My smartest career move has been finding and focusing on a niche and differentiating myself from the crowd.
What’s your favorite spot in Denver for a business meeting/coffee/lunch? Stella’s Gourmet Coffee and Such; I started going there with my best friend in high school. Fast forward to my early years in entrepreneurship and my boutique, Unity Boutique, was located across the street. I continue to choose Stella’s as my ‘spot’ because it is a staple and always feels like home.
What is your favorite small town in Colorado to visit? Paonia. It has the most amazing fresh peaches, adorable downtown, great food and the wine scene is exploding.
What career would you choose if you weren’t in your current job? Country music singer. I spent my early childhood years in Georgia and was deeply influenced by artists like Dolly Parton, Ruth Brown and Reba McEntire.