The ‘new’ XGS has bold ambitions

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XGSXpress Global Systems (XGS) is known for bringing innovation, efficiency and scalability to the shipping and distribution of flooring products. As the company embarks on 2023, it is aiming to provide best-in-class service to the flooring industry—on the same scale as the big national LTL companies like Old Dominion. Two ways they hope to achieve this is through excellent service and communications and learning and understanding the customer experience.

FCNews publisher/editorial director, Steve Feldman, recently sat down with John McGill, SVP of sales and customer service, and Kayleigh Reeves, director, marketing and brand experience, to discuss XGS’ ongoing efforts in the flooring industry.

Since you started with XGS (March 1, 2022), what have you determined to be some areas of the business that need the most improvement?

John McGill: Visibility and communication are the top two things. We brought on Tiffany Utecht to lead customer experience. If you look at it from a revenue perspective, she’s interviewed probably about 50% of our revenue from an account standpoint. She’s met with top accounts, small accounts. She interviewed Delta customers coming out of the 2021 acquisition because we heard how great Delta was from a customer service perspective and wanted to replicate that—or learn from it.

And then the other piece is shipment visibility. Not just about ETA tracking but where is the customer shipment in the supply chain? How can they see it? How can they use our tools to help plan from a staffing perspective? If you think about a local retailer, one of the big value props we offer is that you don’t have three or four mill trucks showing up constantly to make deliveries. Everything is on our truck. You put it all on XGS; we’ll consolidate here. For example, Steve’s Carpet World in New York has one XGS truck showing up. That store owner now can have one person unloading and not have one person having to stop their work 10 times a day to get on a forklift, get off the forklift and do all that work.

Reeves: We now have it down to GPS. The shipment’s out for delivery on our portal; you click on the GPS and a map pops up and you can see that truck moving across the map.

Is that something the customer wants and is not receiving out there?

McGill: If you look at our immediate competition in terms of regional flooring carriers, it’s best in class by far. The big LTL carriers—the Old Dominions of the world—have similar technology. We’re bringing that level of best-in-class service now to the flooring industry. In the past our sales team would focus on getting another stitch of freight or another load, and now our sales team wants to find out what does your supply chain look like and how can we serve your needs.

Are there any other steps that you’ve taken to help further improve visibility and communication?

McGill: We’re going to realign our customer service department so there’s a specialized level of customer service for our top accounts and a specialized level of customer service for our retail accounts. You’ll see us launch that in early Q1.

Are the biggest pain points for customer service speed of delivery and cost?

McGill: Well, price is always going to be an issue and inflation hasn’t helped. Every time we renew a warehouse deal our costs go through the roof, and our customers are starting to feel that pain. Driver costs are up, too. It’s up to us to go to the customer and show value; we’re training the sales team on that right now. “The price might have to go up X, but I can offer Y in terms of value to help offset that.”

You have some retailers that are really pushing us to be faster because they’re scared of losing a sale. If you’re in L.A. with us in one of our warehouses you can close the sale today. You put the order in today, it’s delivered tomorrow. If we’re not delivering on time we’re not doing our job and they’ll find someone else to go do business with. We’re bringing that best-in-class service to the flooring industry.

What do you do better than your competition?

McGill: One thing is the breadth and depth of the network. We have 42 locations across the country. If you look at our immediate regional competition in terms of the flooring companies that move freight, no one has a network either the size of ours or the depth of ours. We’re hitting about 95+% of the zip codes across the country. Two is obviously service. We wouldn’t have been in the business for the last 36 years if we didn’t have quality service.

What’s your biggest challenge today?

McGill: There’s a lot of folks coming after us right now. And so, it’s us upping our game to stay ahead of the game.

And I think the economy’s going to be probably our biggest challenge in ‘23. We’re going to have to outpace our competition and not use the economy as an excuse for not growing.

Is one of your biggest challenges right now increased costs and passing them on to the customerand getting them to under why?

McGill: I think we’re beyond the “why.” The problem now is I don’t think our customers can pass on what they used to be able to pass on six months, 12 months ago. If inflationary pressures continue to go up that’s going to be a huge challenge for us in the coming year.

Are your manufacturer partners and retailers equally important to you?

McGill: We look at it holistically. If you think about XGS of two or three years ago, it was primarily focusing on the mills’ business in North Georgia and moving freight out of North Georgia. But if you look at the investment we’ve made since I got here, really in the last nine months, it’s actually been in local field sales. It’s getting someone in L.A. that lives in L.A. and someone that’s in Michigan that lives in Michigan actually calling on those local retailers. That’s where we’re making the investments.

When I talk to a dealer for you, what is the advantage XGS provides?

McGill: It’s the speed of service to market. It’s better than others and our reach is better. There’s no one else from a flooring transportation perspective that has anywhere near the reach that we do. We have ample space to grow about 20% in warehouse space in the next two years. And those investments are already planned.

Do you see more acquisitions on the horizon?

McGill: I think that’s always on the table. But for right now— we made the Delta acquisition [in 2021]. We had the 7 Hills Transport acquisition [also in 2021]. The 7 Hills and PCD [Pacific Coast Distributors] businesses are fully integrated into the business. Right now, we’re focused on finishing the integration of Delta.

Long-term goals?

McGill: We’ve branded ourselves as being the carrier of choice for hard-to-handle freight. And we’re getting pressure from customers to do more cabinets and vanities. Our network is set up to handle that. We’re known as the largest flooring transportation supply chain company but about 10% of our revenue comes from non-flooring related items.

The other thing is we can work with buying groups to get to that local retailer and bring them a level of expertise. As we get in with the CCAs and Starnets of the world, we’ve got all these solutions available to them.

The biggest thing for me is making sure people know that the [substandard] service levels and standards that might have happened in the past are gone; it’s a new XGS. We’re large, we have the ability to service companies across the country and every zip code, essentially, but we’re still small enough and nimble enough to know how to service that small retailer to the big box store.

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Jan. 9/16, 2023

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