Universal Screens/US Motions with Andrew Fonesca & Joe Cerda feature #11 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"Together Thursdays" feature #11: Universal Screens/US Motions presented by KLS, freight company.
Some Background on Universal Screens/Us Motions
For this week's "Together Talks" campaign KLS had the fortune to interview Andrew Fonseca, production manager, and Joe Cerda, head of sales. Universal Screens is a manufacturer of Universal Screens, an exterior motorized shading solution. Its exterior motorized shading solution features an RTS motor for simple operation, an exterior housing for protection, and a zipper-track side channel system to allow the end-user to completely enclose an area and keep it free from bugs and debris. They also manufacture a manual, crank shading solution called Arion. US Motions is a fast-growing company, serving customers all over North America.
The company originally started as a distributor of the product in 2010 with Joe Cerda and Shawn Culbertson. Shawn is now the CEO. In 2013, US Motions was able to purchase the rights to the manufacturing of the product and move production from Florida to Texas. As a result, they were also able to sell nationwide. With 3 years of experience on the selling side, it was a seamless transition for Shawn and Joe to continue to grow the business.
In 2013, their first full year, the goal was 1,200 units sold. They hired 3 others, the company had 5 employees in total. They estimate they did between 500-600. But they were not deterred. They saw the demand, they saw the opportunity, they knew if they built it the right way, the results would follow. Fast forward to the start of covid and they were between 5000-6000 units being sold. Last year they were just short of 11,000! And the goal for 2023 is 12,600. Just incredible growth from the company!
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We asked what was not only the cause of the growth but the continued ascension. The answers were twofold, but with a great amount of overlap. The culture of the company and the excellent customer service. The company now has 48 employees and the word both Andrew and Joe kept mentioning was family. It is a close-knit group, that all pull together to make sure everyone is operating to the best of their ability. Their strong culture has resulted in a low turnover rate. Also, they have modified their hiring strategies over the last two years to make sure they are putting individuals in the right roles and making sure there is synergy. They said it is important that each new hire fits the company values to keep the train moving in the right direction.
The customer service aspect is what they said differentiates them from competitors. The products are pretty similar with small variations. But when a customer has a question with US Motions they actually speak to someone. They don't have customer service hotlines, they said they never want the customer to receive "the corporate feel." On top of that, the amount of knowledge of the product and completion from start to finish means there is no problem they haven't encountered. That is why they have such strong relationships with nearly 400 dealers!
They also mentioned how strong their process is. Most installs for similar products require 4 people and can take up to 4 hours. Their products require 2 people and can be installed within 2 hours!
Recently the company introduced its new mascot, Guffy as part of their QC Motto: One Plug. "All it takes is one plug to derail an entire install."
Like most companies, US Motions had a 5-year plan. They just entered year 2 and it is already out the window. The company has grown 312% YOY! That is how well this company is currently performing. In 2021, they relocated to a larger warehouse. They have already begun to outgrow that and are looking to expand once again to keep up with demand and growth. They mentioned that at the end of the 5-year goal they want to hit 22,000 units sold.
We asked both Andrew and Joe what they enjoy most about working at US Motions. Joe stated seeing a job through. "The final product when one of our dealers posts a $4M home that has our shades on it, just puts me in awe every time." Andrew followed with, "There is never a dull moment, I'm never bored. We are constantly trying to improve our products, processes, and training. There is always something new for me to learn and challenge."
We also followed that up with asking Andrew his favorite singular moment and he told us about when they relocated to a new office. "We were worried we might get behind schedule, not be as efficient, our customer service might lack. But everyone picked up right where we left off, nobody missed a beat. Right then I knew we could keep growing and scaling this thing."
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Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
KLS is ecstatic to have conversed with Andrew and Joe to present this week's "Together Talks" campaign. US Motions is a wonderful story and an inspirational growth company. We are excited to watch them continue to grow and expand their reach in the coming years.
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Universal Screens/US Motions with Andrew Fonesca & Joe Cerda feature #11 of Together Talks
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, a freight company is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign "Together Talks" if you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
Our precise and reliable effort.
We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.