Customer Spotlight: Damien Hutchins, Co-Founder of Rollzi
For us at REPOWR, 2021 has been a year that we’ll never forget.
As we reflect back upon an unforgettable year, we can’t overlook those that have supported us throughout our journey. We’re especially thankful for customers like Rollzi and many others. We’re proud to Roll with Rollzi.
Meet Damien Hutchins of Rollzi
Rollzi brands itself as: A Full Truckload Carrier, optimizing operations and network planning to deliver rate stability, low shipping cost and incredible service.
Rollzi’s model focuses heavily on utilizing cutting-edge technology to ship with less waste.
Behind the Scenes with Damien Hutchins
REPOWR: How long have you been driving trucks / had your CDL?
- Damien: I got my CDL in May, 8 months after I started the company. I realized I needed to be able to take trucks and trailers to the shop, reposition assets, transport last minute loads myself… Without a CDL, these type of operational tasks were a bit of a liability and just inconvenient. I also have always really wanted to drive a truck!
REPOWR: What is your prior work experience?
- Damien: I spent most of my career in operational roles at Tech companies. First in directory-style web platforms, then oil and gas economics software, a cannabis media platform and finally a digital freight network. I had always wanted to get into trucking tech, but there just weren’t any good options earlier in my career. In 2018, a digital freight network started in the same city I was working in and I made the move to that company to run the Brokerage team.
REPOWR: What led you to start your own trucking company?
- Damien: I’d always wanted to get into trucking. Some of the companies I’d been working for measured success by CPM, or how many eyeballs might have seen an online advertisement. It wasn’t tangible and I had a hard time drawing a straight line to any real impact. In trucking it’s really easy to end the day knowing that the load your truck delivered, filled the shelves of a store. It feels good to know exactly what my role in the economy is.
REPOWR: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a startup trucking company?
- Damien: I think the biggest challenge for me is the fragmentation. There are so many trucking companies, shippers, freight brokers, freight forwarders, consolidators etc. that making meaningful change is really difficult. For instance, if I wanted to move to a completely paperless environment, I would need to convince shipping facilities, receiving facilities and brokers to all move to a paperless system and make the requisite investments. There are definitely some players that are forcing those changes and we will always haul goods for those players at a discounted rate to account for the added efficiency, but ultimately it will take a wider effort to advance the industry.
REPOWR: You’re a technology-forward trucking company, so how are you leaning on tech to optimize your operation?
…and how does tech shape Rollzi’s vision?
- Damien: I love this question! I really believe that all companies should be tech companies. Everything from which lanes and loads we take to how we compensate employees stems from our use of technology.
- Damien: Before landing on which lanes, loads, type of equipment or drivers I would employ, I looked at technology. I looked at what was being funded and what it could do, what the trucking tech landscape would look like in 5 years from now and built my strategy around those learnings. I am constantly asking ‘why’ and looking for technology solutions to eliminate waste. Wasted time, miles, operating expense. I think it’s easy to assume that other companies must already have the answers, but once Venture Capital gets involved things start to move incredibly fast. So keeping up with the tools that are available and thinking deeply about how to use them becomes very important.
REPOWR: What vision or big dreams do you have for Rollzi?
…and what big goals or milestones do you have?
- Damien: Of course I have growth targets, efficiency metrics and financial goals but the bigger goals are: changes in perception and behavior.
- Damien: I hope to turn the role of the truck driver into well-paying skilled role that does more than operate a truck. Our drivers have well defined career paths that can lead them to roles in Sales, Marketing, Accounting or Leadership. Because of advancements in tech-assisted driving, knowledge-work is becoming possible from the cab of the truck.
- Damien: My second big goal would be to change the way shippers think of transportation. There are some shippers that see a lot of opportunities in their logistics operations. I’d like to see companies make big strategic decisions due to the increased efficiency and cost savings that Rollzi can offer. Maybe some distribution center location planning, freight forecasting tech, or more efficient loading and unloading processes. There are a lot of things a shipper can do to make the whole network more efficient and I hope to provide the right incentives to move the ball forward.
REPOWR: What is your biggest challenge from a day-to-day, operational standpoint?
- Damien: One of the hardest things to plan for is mechanical issues. There are so many things that can and do malfunction when you’re moving so much weight and logging so many miles every week. Trucks break-down without warning in the middle of a shipment hundreds of miles away from a shop and can cost hours or days. This impacts the current load, the next load, the relationship with both shippers and the driver. The issues are compounded with our current supply-chain constraints because parts are increasingly hard to come by.
REPOWR: Is there a certain shipper or customer that would be a “bucket list” customer for you?
- Damien: We are based in Seattle, so many of the local businesses build applications, but there is some manufacturing as well. I’d love to bring aviation or truck parts into the area for Paccar or Boeing. I think that’s something we could really be proud of and aligns well with our mission and values.
REPOWR: What are you passionate about outside of trucking?
- Damien: I enjoy travel, the outdoors, technology and cars of all types. So one of my favorite activities that combines it all is taking my adventure motorcycle deep into the mountains for a weekend camping trip. I love the idea of getting everything I need to live comfortably packed onto a motorcycle and then using the latest in backpacking, navigational, communication and off-road tech to get as far from civilization as I can get.
REPOWR: How did you come up with “Rollzi”?
- Damien: Like a lot of companies it was not our first choice. We started the name-checking process with our legal team and found it incredibly difficult to identify a good name that’s easy to say and spell over the phone. Then we thought about available URLs that weren’t too similar to any other transportation company… This process wasn’t as easy as it might sound like. So over the course of two days we finally hit on Rollzi, checked the URL, did a little deeper search to see if it was used for anything else and found it was clear. Trucks roll…so it was close enough for us.
REPOWR: What impact has REPOWR had on Rollzi’s mission and overall success?
- Damien: As a company with a mission of reducing waste in the supply chain we love aligning with other great companies that share our values like REPOWR. This year especially, it‘s been tough to find trailers for our trucks. At the same time there are trailer pools that have latent capacity, as larger companies have planned their fleets for the peak shipping times. So I love the opportunity to help increase the trailer utilization for other organizations. It helps us both, while possibly reducing the need for a few additional trailers to be built and stored.
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