The logistics industry champion

The logistics industry is deemed as the next sunrise industry in this country. Visionary EUGENIO S. YNION JR. has foreseen this day to come as he builds his empire around the logistics ecosystem.

And all it takes is a sheer determination to champion this industry and to show the world that Filipinos excel in this category by providing an end to end digital software solution that creates full transparency, cost competitiveness and efficiency.

LOGISTICS

With his growing business, Ynion formed Yngen Holdings Inc. for his ventures in shipping and logistics, marketing, food, and technology. The subsidiaries of Yngen Holdings are bound by synergy and driven by progression. This progressive roster is composed of the following companies: Le Soleil International Logistics Co., Inc., Le Soleil Shipping Agencies, Inc., Fil-Port Express Brokerage, Inc., Yngen Properties Inc., Yngentech, Inc., Yngen Datacom Corp. and Shiptek Solutions, Inc.

Le Soleil International Logistics was founded in 2003 to address the demand for a total logistics solutions provider. The company provides custom solutions for clients by shipping local and international export, as well as importing cargo via air and surface routes. The firm's own tractor heads and closed vans are the lifeblood of its operations.

The company continues to expand its warehouse services to suit the increasing requirements of clients. It is now one of the leaders in supplying and moving ISO Container Tanks for petrochemical and foodstuff liquid cargo for some of the Philippines' largest companies.

Registered with the Philippine Shippers Bureau, Le Soleil operates as international freight forwarder, non-vessel operating common carriers, cargo consolidator, and break-bulk agent. Its customized service has made them the first choice of many clients.

"It's all about lessening the client's concerns, not adding to it," says Ynion.

XLOG

As prime mover in the logistics industry for more than 20 years, Ynion brought his logistics business closer to customers with the creation of Shiptek Solutions Inc. in 2016.

Shiptek is a product of Ynion's obsession to help the logistics industry shift to digital solutions. Shiptek is a software development company driven by the goal of digitizing supply chain management and at the same providing employment opportunities to Filipinos. It provides a comprehensive suite of shipping and logistics services and solutions.

Shiptek's pioneer product is XLOG, an end-to-end digital platform that aims to provide shippers with an integrated and complete suite of essential logistical tools for a seamless supply chain process.

In putting up XLOG, Ynion gathered an all-Filipino software developers' team.

"I asked them if they can do it, how much it would cost me and from there it was smooth sailing," says Ynion. He realized that developing a software for an end to send logistics solution takes a long time and requires a lot of capital.

"It took years to develop because it is not easy, but it is all worth it because companies can now save a lot of money with this integrated online platform," says Ynion, noting that logistics firms are incurring losses because of inefficient and patchy online transactions.

The XLOG software is changing the way logistics is done by pioneering a solution that consolidates shipping, trucking, brokerage and warehousing services into one cloud-based platform, maximizing the unlimited capabilities of digitalization. With this, shippers gain access to fast and cost-effective online booking, end-to-end shipment monitoring, and easy transaction management.

Others may look at it as a marketplace, but for Ynion, XLOG is a venue that offers full transparency in the entire logistics industry.

"To me it is full transparency in all the logistics chain where all suppliers can converge, you can see the trucking companies, the brokers and shipping lines down to the containers and even finance in one platform," says Ynion.

Likewise, service providers have full visibility of the shipper's end-to-end transaction process, from booking to delivery. The full transparency allows them to perform functions relative to the shippers' needs such as real-time invoice uploading and communication sharing where messages on the platform cannot be deleted, for increased accountability.

By creating an account at https://web.xlog.net/, and following a few simple steps, users can immediately have access to a myriad of services offered by XLOG, catering specifically to their unique business needs and preferences.

Shiptek's commitment to delivering efficiency and logistical simplicity is further evidenced by XLOG's capability to accelerate the quotation process, from 3-5 days to 1.5 days.

Currently, Shiptek is working on incorporating AI analytics for the enhancements in the pipeline such as tracking and identifying behavioral trends which will improve campaigns, pricing and development of new services. It makes logistics transactions seamless.

So far, logistics players like the major international shipping lines and truckers are already onboard.

"XLOG has already achieved its purpose to provide full transparency to all suppliers. You can see our trucking companies moving containers. We see our bookings for ships, we can see our brokers how they manage their documentation and pay our suppliers through our payment portal. So, I can say we have already achieved what we were set out to do," he adds.

This makes the Philippines ahead in digital logistics with other countries, which are still in the process of coming up with their own integrated digital logistics platform.

"They are still looking for the most cost-effective platform in the market and how to streamline their operation. I strongly believe we already have this solution written by Filipino software developers," Ynion proudly says of his all-Filipino team.

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC

Ynion shared that they did not even prepare a feasibility study for this digital logistics platform. All he knew was they have to create a solution to address the logistics suppliers' needs and make the supply chain profitable.

With that, he expects logistics players to become profitable because an investment by a shipping company to establish a single line alone already costs a billion dollars. If that line can make only a million dollars in profit, then that is not a good business proposition.

So, the overarching idea is how to help these shipping firms, truckers, freight forwarders, brokerage firms improve their margins.

"We have not even done our homework of computing the returns to our investments, we just assumed that when customers are happy, they will also make us profitable," says Ynion.

Ynion does not even think of competition believing they are in the right direction. They are on target along with the growth of the logistics industry.

"This would be the first Filipino digital logistics software in the world so we can promote globally that Filipinos can actually do it and probably of the same standards if not better than other countries," he adds.

GROWTH

"Logistics has always been a part of our lives. Without logistics the economies of the world will stop. That's why we are always bullish but there is a need to emphasize there are more opportunities in digital logistics to advance the industry," Ynion points out.

He particularly cited the shipping industry's need to equitize profit. "I want the shipping industry to be profitable because without them we are going to perish, some cargoes are perishable goods and must be shipped immediately. It cannot wait for 40 days," he adds.

While his overall logistics business is definitely a profitable one with very healthy returns annually, he has higher goals for XLOG.

"I want to see XLOG to be like the Facebook for logistics industry," says Ynion, who started as a salesman of the country's largest shipping lines such as Evergreen and Maersk. He sees XLOG to be a must have for every logistics company.

LESSONS

According to Ynion, he decided to go into business after working with the world's largest shipping firms and as a medical representative. He realized that while he was a good employee, he hated office rules like reporting protocols and observing an 8-hour work schedule.

"But I was meeting my targets and even voted as top salesman because I was doing beyond my targets," he adds.

But going into logistics was not easy. There were years when they experienced hardships and collections were hard to come by, not even enough to pay for salaries of their workers. But those were the days. Now, its track record speaks for itself.

"When your customers are happy, they will always help drive your business," says Ynion.

Definitely, Ynion is looking at further expanding its footprint. If that happens, they would like to start in the US. XLOG is now registered in Singapore to pave the way for a regional and global operation.

This year, Ynion expects growth to be very fast because the impact of the trade war between China and the US could drive containers' shift to the Philippines.

There are lots of lessons to learn in business, but Ynion places credibility, integrity and reputation at the top. To him, credibility means honoring your word. That's why if he promises to be there, he will have to be there.

Integrity is doing business appropriately, or simply doing the right things. All these will sum to one's reputation in business.

As a businessman, he also realized the need to get the right people and making them understand the role they play.

THE BARANGAY CAPTAIN

Unknown to many, Ynion is the barangay captain of San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna, not because he loves politics, but because he believes this is the best way he can effect change and help as many people as possible. It has been his nature to always look out for others.

"San Pedro is a poor city compared to Alabang, but we are more or less relatively affordable and cost effective," he explains why it is practical to locate in the province.

With his two sons already onboard in the business, Ynion is a bit more relaxed as he attends to his other job as barangay chief.

"I am still overseeing them and happy to say they are doing the right decisions," says Ynion, an economics graduate from the University of Santo Tomas.

He devotes more of his time now for public service with his company serving as the channel for all their corporate social responsibility programs for his barangay.

They have created the Sabak Foundation, which will share in the company dividends to fund programs for the upliftment of the poor in San Pedro City like free education and medical services.

That is why it is important for his business to thrive because the cost of failure is high. Last year was a good one and this translates to higher allocation for his barangay projects.

Being a barangay captain is his way to be able to execute the company's philanthropic deeds. This soft spot for the poor can be attributed to his humble beginning in Bacolod.

Among the local conglomerates, Ynion looks up to the Aboitizes for their standards and values.

"We have the same values, we share the same passion in excellence, and especially in taking care of their people, they pay them well," adds Ynion. He does not know the Aboitiz family members personally, but admires them for running a family business professionally.

He has no formula for success, just "Grace of God because nobody has the right formula for success, but everything is a blessing."

Ynion is not a religious person, but he came to realize the power behind every time he wakes up each morning.

"The first idea that came to my mind was - that probably is God. You have a problem and the following day you wake up with a solution so who put that solution? Perhaps God, I don't know so success could be a grace of God," says Ynion.

He does not even consider himself successful nor intelligent enough to become one. All he wanted before was to be able to pay his credit cards because as a regular employee he was only earning P15,000 a month that can hardly make both ends meet.

"I don't think I am successful. I don't see myself as such because my goals are getting higher. I would like to hire more to be able to make a difference in people's lives like the truck drivers. So, we have a higher purpose," he adds.

He has been thinking of new business that would help him hire 30,000 instead of the current 520 employees only.

To calm his restless mind, Ynion devotes some time to gardening where he is trying to propagate tropical plants and grow organic food believing that a sustainable lifestyle means growing and cooking your own food.

The Bacolod boy who came to Manila for greener pasture after high school where he dabbled as taxi driver at night and a baker, among other odd jobs, is proud to have learned from his mistakes.

That is why he would encourage the young to learn from the mistakes of others because it is doubly hard to learn from your own mistakes, but he stressed, "Do not be afraid to make mistakes, enjoy life and embrace it because there are always challenges and ups and down that you have to face head on."

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