Fighting Coronavirus with FleetUp: An Interview with HWCE’s Gary Governale
When coronavirus hit New York City, the region’s brokers were inundated with shipments of masks, gowns, and personal protective equipment. They needed to transport it all to nursing homes and hospitals – and they needed to do it quickly. In the middle of America’s worst pandemic since 1918, New York’s brokers turned to a partner they could trust – HWCE.
For 35 years, HWCE has been one of the East Coast’s most dependable expedited transportation companies. Their President, Gary Governale, got on the phone to talk to FleetUp’s Ted Carmichael about how they became the go-to transportation company during the coronavirus crisis.
Ted: Brokers don’t give their most important contracts to just anyone. When they needed a reliable partner to transport PPE, why did they choose HWCE?
Gary: We’ve had expedited services for a long time. Recently, we started using FleetUp’s Trip Share tool. We charged a premium for our service, so we felt we had to be able to give our clients more than last-minute delivery. After we installed FleetUp’s ELDs in our trucks and on our trailers, we were able to send Trip Share to all of our clients. It showed them exactly where shipments were and gave them reliable ETAs.
The first time we used Trip Share, it was with a regular client named Carrie. As soon as that shipment was delivered, she called us and said, ‘This is wonderful! I wish every shipper used it.’ Trip Share helped us communicate and build really strong relationships with our customers.
Another turning point was when we started doing more in the sports and entertainment industry around New York. It made us a lot more noticeable.
For example, we’ve had new customers contact us and say, “I noticed you at the Barclay Center after the NBA draft. We’d like you to haul our gear, also.” Delivering to stadiums and Broadway helped us grow our reputation and our business.
That’s how we got to the point we were at in early 2020. When the pandemic started, the industry trusted us. Everyone knew we would do the job right.
Ted: How did your business change when coronavirus came to New York?
Gary: People started coming to us right away. They would say, “Last month, we had a shipment that everyone said would take 2 days to deliver. You delivered it overnight. Now, we’ve got a planeload of gowns coming into the airport. We need you to handle it fast.”
For the last 3 months, a lot of PPE equipment has been coming in from China. A lot of that is coming into JFK and Baltimore airport, being moved for FEMA. Whenever you’re working for the government, they’re always looking for updates, asking, “Where’s our freight? How soon will it be here? Where is it now? When is it going to be delivered?” But when we use Trip Share, they don’t have to ask us anything – they can find GPS location and ETA by clicking the link we send them.
Easily accessible real-time data is incredibly valuable because there’s such huge urgency, especially in nursing homes. In New Jersey, there have been almost 13,000 coronavirus deaths, and more than a third of those have been at long-term care facilities. The nurses and doctors taking care of people at nursing homes really need this equipment. They count on us to get the job done.
Ted: What’s the key to becoming your clients’ most trusted transportation service?
Gary: A lot of new transportation companies make a lot of promises just to get business. Then they can’t keep those promises. We refuse to make that mistake. Whatever we say we’re going to do, we do it. Come hell or high water. We’ve lost money on loads just to keep our word. Companies rely on us, because they know that once they give us a load, the next time they’ll hear from us is when we say, “It’s delivered.”
And at this point, we’re all about FleetUp. It has really improved communication with customers. Because we can share real-time GPS location, ETAs, and more, we don’t ask them to just trust our word – we give them real-time information, so they can see what’s happening themselves. That’s real trust. It’s a big part of the reason we’re able to maintain such strong business relationships.