It takes special ingredients – and special people – to deliver the success and growth that distinguish the ICAT Logistics Detroit office.
Today’s company traces its roots to a four-person suburban Detroit office opened in 1994 by Dan Cser as the first agency in the Baltimore-based ICAT Logistics network. The network was created the previous year by Rick Campbell, a friend and former colleague of Cser. Since its founding, the network has expanded to 19 agencies that serve the needs of domestic and international clients.
“We have a secret sauce: Planning and great logistics,” explains Cser, who launched the agency 25 years ago near Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Precision planning and skilled logistics are baked into the corporate culture of ICAT Logistics Detroit. The winning mixture also includes communications, creativity, collaboration, teamwork, innovation, knowledge, focus, flexibility, follow-through and a passion to understand and meet customer goals and expectations.
“It’s been a win-win arrangement since the beginning,” Cser says.
Customers are the beneficiaries when ICAT Logistics Detroit combines the power of its partnerships with the Detroit team’s commitment to client service. The results: Specialized shipping solutions, anytime, any size, anywhere, on time and on budget.
After a decade with other logistics and freight forwarding companies, Cser opened his agency in Detroit – a center for industry and international trade. As the son of an U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant, Cser had a global perspective shaped by living in France, Germany, Taiwan and the United States. In addition, his father’s experience in nuclear missile sites taught Cser an appreciation for process and precision.
ICAT Logistics Detroit built its early business in freight forwarding for the automotive and printing industries. It adjusted its strategy as digital advances reduced demand for shipping hard-printed publications, such as catalogs.
The trend demonstrated how changing technology affects freight and logistics businesses. At the same time, Cser recognized that digitization and evolving technology would make shipping and logistics faster and more efficient. He applied that lesson to sharpen the company’s focus on custom, international shipping, which is led by Chris Cser, Dan’s brother.
“When we chose to go international, we knew we had to get up the learning curve,” Dan Cser recalls. “We added to what we already knew by seizing every opportunity to learn more about international trade, the players, the rules and regulations and all the tools and technology essential to the task. Our team became subject matter experts.”
For Cser, deep-dive-learning was familiar. He began his logistics career some 35 years ago when he was offered a position with a shipping company. It was a sink-or-swim situation, with his new boss pointing to a room full of books about the business.
“Go read them all,” Cser remembers being told.
He did, demonstrating a willingness to listen and learn – qualities that are evident today in the ICAT Logistics Detroit relationship with customers. Many of the company’s customers have remained with Cser’s firm for more than three decades.
As the Detroit agency grew, so did its expertise and reputation for handling large, complex freight. Devising shipping solutions for oversize, overweight and oddly shaped shipments is a company specialty — from bulldozers and cranes to multi-ton dynamometers, jet engines and assembly line components.
“If it’s big and ugly and you don’t know how to move it, call us,” says Cser.
The company’s growing team of problem-solvers has arranged for 747s, trains, boats and semi’s – whatever necessary – to handle daunting shipping demands.
“Our operations people are outstanding. They get excited when we have a big challenge” Cser says. “The bigger, the better.”
How big? The team once arranged to ship 1.5 million pounds of bricks from the U.S. to Spain for a customer to rebuild a furnace. On another occasion, ICAT Logistics Detroit engineered the safe and timely delivery of a 42-ton package – 30-feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 10 feet high – to Shanghai from Detroit.
Such logistics mastery – repeated time and again over decades – has given the company a global, can-do reputation.
Currently, trade wars and tariff tensions are disrupting global supply chains and shipping. At ICAT Logistics Detroit, market uncertainties are met with the company’s’ characteristic calm, confidence, agility and adaptability.
“It’s another curve ball,” Cser says. “We are always prepared for changes and unpredictability.”
As it has done for 25 years, ICAT Logistics Detroit is staying ahead of the curve.