Not everyone has suffered equally during the last year. PCS Software, a Houston-based transportation management software provider for multimodal, truckload, intermodal, freight brokerage and other transportation companies, had just the kinds of insights companies needed to deal with the supply chain and other nightmares of the Covid era.
Chung Wong took the CFO reins at PCS as the pandemic was raging. We asked him how he took advantage of the opportunities, and what lessons he learned about the finance role going forward.
What attracted you to the CFO position at PCS Software?
I became part of the PCS team as its CFO during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Joining the leadership team of a transportation management software company during this public health crisis presented many unique opportunities. At the time, the entire logistics space was beginning to be scrutinized by investors and innovators, and you could see demand growing for our type of solution.
From my perspective, making the move to PCS not only meant joining a growing business and advancing my career, but it also represented being a part of something bigger. Our customers rely on PCS to get their jobs done, which in turn, keeps the economy moving.
Did you approach your role differently because of the pandemic?
2020 was actually a growth year for us—more than 80 percent of consumer goods must be trucked across the country, so there was major demand for our solution to help carriers and shippers amid panic buying and stockouts. Despite the growth, I was cautious about taking on new investments and instead of expanding our footprint into several different markets at once, we took a more incremental approach. I’ve also become more sensitive to customer payment status and working with customers behind on payment to create reimbursement plans.
This past year brought on significant changes for the business. A case in point: PCS acquired UltraShipTMS shortly after I joined. The company grew 100 percent in terms of manpower, through acquisition and hiring.
What are you hoping to accomplish in 2021?
In the year ahead, PCS’ focus will encompass investing more in its people and technology. The talent pool for PCS has grown tremendously, and we have the luxury to bring on more great individuals to help us continue executing on our strategies and delivering great customer service.
We want to build the right company culture, and for us that means recruiting for core values, not just skills. We want to work with people who possess great integrity, will tackle problems head-on and collaborate to solve challenges.
How do you do that?
Our goal is to develop new team members’ skill sets and continue growing the company from within. We started offering leadership training, for example, sending employees to a local college to participate in a special curriculum designed to help them lead their teams. To me, this sets PCS apart from other employers.
And other plans ahead?
On the technology front, our product refocus addresses customer needs. This means doubling down on contactless, cloud-based technology and data-driven intelligence. Central to this innovation is security. That continues to be our top priority.
From a finance standpoint, I’m evaluating how we increase revenue through our offerings and pricing models. Additionally, I’m focusing on cost-cutting initiatives for our customers to help them improve their revenue and reduce their carbon footprints. We are committed to helping them become more profitable.
What advice would you give to other finance leaders?
Covid-19 forced finance leaders to act fast—revising outlooks, safeguarding critical resources and adjusting operations to maintain business continuity. Despite continued challenges posed by the pandemic, finance leaders and their organizations must prioritize strategic investments to drive long-term efficiency and free up working capital.
For example, finance leaders should work with colleagues across departments to identify how solutions like AI-driven automation technology are implemented to streamline processes and reduce operating costs. Putting in place resources that make an immediate impact to the bottom line, and continuing to create long-term revenue opportunities, is what finance leaders should focus on to grow their organizations in 2021.