Poised for Growth, Pillow Logistics Takes Flight
For 35 years, Pillow Logistics has provided courier services to healthcare companies and commercial businesses around Indiana. In 2019, the family-owned business invested in their team. Company leaders, Eddie and George Pillow brought on industry veterans to bolster the current crew and to bring a fresh perspective to Pillow Logistics. Snapshot 2022, the leadership team’s investment in the future paid dividends over the last two years which saw the most rapid growth in the company’s 35 years.
While most businesses shut down in the Spring of 2020, Pillow Logistics’ team was called upon to step up for their medical and healthcare clients. Some of the work for Pillow’s clients came to a complete halt. However, the majority of Pillow’s client base is in the medical field–which sustained the initial economic blow.
“During that time we created a partnership with Eskenazi Health. We were also the drop off point when healthcare providers were short on PPE. So, our firm on the far east side of Indy has great reach within our community,” explained Eddie Pillow, President of Pillow Logistics.
While Pillow’s team was truly working 24/7 for their medical clients and donating their time to the local community, the newest team members were hard at work to adapt to the ever-changing business environment.
“Overall business needs have evolved with the pandemic. The main thing is flexibility. We’ve evolved as customers have evolved. We were always a 24-hour business and now we truly need 24/7 staff to meet healthcare and distribution clients,” said Eddie Pillow. “It was a great pivot point. The needs of customers changed, and bringing in industry vets allowed us to be successful. We had intelligent people responding to the needs of our customers. Matt and Allan are part of a senior leadership team that poised us for growth even before COVID hit.”
In 2019, Matt Straub and Allan Distil were hired for their longtime logistics industry know-how. So, when their existing business climate changed, they pulled on years of past experience to adapt and grow.
“We believe we are industry experts in this market,” said Matt Straub, Executive Vice President. “Eddie, Al, myself, and George have over 100 years experience between us. We had to adjust
from B2B and now B2C. This was a changing period for the company. But pre-COVID to today, we’ve grown over 200% in the driver base, with over 120 drivers in central Indiana alone. We’ve been able to invest in people, a new software platform, and also made the investment in the purchase of our new building in Indianapolis.”
Just in the last year, Pillow’s team has moved into two new locations–one in Indianapolis and another in Kentucky. They’ve expanded their service area from a small operation around the Indianapolis metro area to the entire state as well as parts of Kentucky. These locations allowed Pillow’s clients access to same-day services–an offering that proved to be in high demand the last two years.
Pillow’s Services Expand
Since 2019, Pillow’s new team members have expanded upon current offerings to provide clients with better visibility, larger coverage radius, and better customer service. With same-day delivery services in high demand, the Pillow team upgraded their software to provide clients with better tracking and ultimately the safety to know their order is on time.
“I liken this to ordering a pizza–these days you can track that in real time. So, if a multi-million dollar healthcare company is your client, you need better visibility for something like a ventilator. We’re offering visibility better than that pizza and making sure we’re bringing professional drivers to each job,” said Eddie Pillow. “Hospitals don’t close during inclement weather and people get sick. We need reliable drivers when conditions aren’t ideal.”
Part of Pillow’s software expansion has to do with handling drivers and their assignments.
“Transparency is more in demand for medical clients. That’s why we invested in this technology,” said Matt Straub. “I would also say that having a qualified driver, background checks, drug screening, and continuously monitoring contract drivers is important. We get notice of any change in driver history and what caused that change.”
Pillow’s team of drivers is made up of independent contractors who can be identified with their uniform and company emblem.
“We have an efficient model that allows us to pay higher-than-average wages to drivers and still give competitive costs for clients,” furthered Straub. “Some business models build business off the back of the driver. We don’t do that–we pay our fair share. I’ve worked for the largest privately owned courier and I know we pay better.”
One of Pillow’s premier healthcare clients is their region’s Quest Diagnostics. Eddie Pillow and Matt Straub agreed that their most recent project with the client was a case study for how new growth, operations, and new technology have come together to give the best experience.
“For Quest, they said our integration was the most professional and successful they’ve ever seen. Our software has the unique ability to combine API and EDI [two logistics industry
metrics],” said Straub as he was seemingly handling an issue in real time during the interview. “Everything is happening right now. Just in the last five minutes we need to add stops to routes. We handle those requests as they come in. Our software can take the job, automatically give it to the driver, and jobs aren’t at risk for being late.”
As the team continues to innovate and expand, the outlook for this Indiana-based courier service is bright. After starting with one single hospital client in Indianapolis 35 years ago, the business has grown to encompass clients across Indiana and Kentucky that need delivery and storage of medical equipment, office supplies, and more.
“Reflecting on the first 32 years, Pillow was always a strong family-owned courier company. But in 2019, Eddie and George invested in new people, talent, technology, and our contractor relations methodology. There had been growth, but it was within the same customer base. My knowledge of industry was outside the four walls of Pillow, bringing in different types of work. I make suggestions on how we can do that work differently,” finished Straub.
Today, businesses looking at another option for delivery that is customized can find leaders and industry veterans at Pillow Logistics. The team guarantees customer service and a focused approach on the specific services they provide.
“Now after these changes over two years, we went from a small central-Indiana courier to now touching the four corners of the state and more,” said Eddie Pillow.