Insights That Led to the Launching of The Custom Companies, Inc.


The Custom Companies, Inc pic
The Custom Companies, Inc

Perry Mandera guides The Custom Companies, Inc., and provides a host of transportation solutions that meet the needs of clients across North America, including Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In early 2016, Perry Mandera was interviewed for The Custom Communicator newsletter on the occasion of the company’s 30th anniversary.

Recounting his reasons for wanting to establish a firm that has grown from five to 600 employees over the years, Mr. Mandera described wanting to create a “one-stop-shop” approach that would simplify the lives of shipping managers. This related to sales management experience taking calls that often indicated that clients would be interested in an expanded range of services under one roof.

These insights led to the idea of “One Call Does It All” being taken successfully to the transportation marketplace. As Mr. Mandera remembers it, there were numerous obstacles in the way of attaining specific goals during the first decade. Primary among them was simply convincing customers that their full range of transportation needs could be met by just one group of companies.

The Custom Companies, Inc.’s First Employee Recounts Early Years

The Custom Companies pic
The Custom Companies

As the founder of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera provides coast-to-coast transportation solutions spanning air and land. Perry Mandera’s firm celebrated 30 years in the business in 2016, and the company newsletter featured an interview with him and the firm’s first employee Dianna Ryan.

Joining the company in 1986, Ms. Ryan was there as operations expanded from a small freelance basis to more than 600 employees. She recalls that there was on ethos of accomplishing everything necessary “to get the job done” in the early days, even if that entailed 14 hour workdays.

There was a tight-knit aspect of operations, where personal competencies were strongly valued, and she worked to create company norms and best practices from the outset. Ms. Ryan has witnessed firsthand the organization’s transformation into a departmentally structured company with checks and balances at multiple levels. She speaks about her position remaining extremely challenging and values how Mr. Mandera encourages thinking outside the box.

The Custom Companies, Inc. – Three Decades of Sustained Expansion


The Custom Companies pic
The Custom Companies

As president of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera leads a trusted provider of transportation services throughout North America, as well as Hawaii and Puerto Rico. A recent company newsletter focused on Perry Mandera’s success in growing the company over the past three decades.

Established in 1986, The Custom Companies began as a two-door Elk Grove Village operation and grew sustainably through its focus on quality service that fully delivered on client expectations. Organic growth has been supplemented with strategic acquisitions, beginning with CDN logistics, an over-the-road carrier, in the late 1990s. In 2001, the firm added Custom Global Logistics’ air freight services to its family and in 2012 it acquired ATS and Circle W, which added refrigerated and flatbed transportation capacities. In 2015, Tri Air Transportation was added to the corporate footprint.

Today The Custom Companies maintains a nearly 500,000-square-foot facility in Northlake, Illinois, that has 400 dock doors. In addition, it has a 250,000-square-foot facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, that ensures highly responsive service across the West Coast. Mr. Mandera describes his future vision for the company as strategic expansion that conforms to economic and industry trends.

The Advanced Logistics and Technology of The Custom Companies, Inc.

The founder of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation industry. A member of the Board for the Illinois Transportation Association, he was named one of the top 100 American transportation executives of the millennium. Since founding The Custom Companies in 1986, Perry Mandera has grown the company to annual sales that exceed $200 million.

Focused on providing the safest, most reliable transportation services available, The Custom Companies serves all points of North America, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico, via truck. Additionally, it can reach any point on the globe through its expedited, trade show, and special handling division, Custom Global Logistics, and its direct mail distribution division, Choice Direct Logistics.

Thanks to its expansive and ever-evolving technologies, The Custom Companies stays on the forefront of the global transportation industry. For instance, its Cheetah Dispatch software allows real-time, GPS-enabled tracking from every driver’s satellite-enabled tablet. In conjunction with the company’s dock and warehouse management systems, clients can track their inventory from storage to shipment to delivery with a unique barcode in a paperless environment. Clients may also receive detailed analytics daily, weekly, monthly, or on demand via The Custom Companies’ web portal.

KIDSS for Kids, Inc.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Perry Mandera, founder of The Custom Companies, a full-service transportation firm, has accumulated a lengthy record of supporting charities that assist children, including KIDSS for Kids, Inc. The acronym stands for Kindness Is Doing Something Special. The nonprofit organization acts as a fundraising auxiliary for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Through the generosity of Perry Mandera and his foundation, Custom Cares, along with other supporters, KIDSS for Kids ensures such Family Services Department programs as music therapy, art therapy, and school services continue.

The nonprofit entity also helps to fund a developmental specialist in the neonatal intensive care unit. Recent fundraisers to help reach the organization’s $4 million commitment included the 16th annual Aon Step Up for Kids, which took place in January 2013. The Family Services Department provides enrichment, educational, and support programs for seriously ill and dying children and their families, and most of the offerings are not covered by insurance.

Perry Mandera Discusses The Custom Companies, Inc.

With terminals in Los Angeles and Chicago and distribution centers throughout the country, The Custom Companies, Inc., provides clients with high-quality transportation of goods. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008-certified, The Custom Companies dedicates itself to customer satisfaction. Clients can receive real-time information from its service centers regarding delivery, scheduling, and tracking.

Featuring domestic and international options, this firm offers a myriad of services. Its less-than-truckload division handles thousands of shipments every day, and The Custom Companies coordinates traveling so that the items are handled as little as possible. More extensive moving jobs require full truckload services, and the firm works with more than 1,000 truckload partners to ship its clients’ packages. This company also provides local cartage, dedicated contract cartage, and warehouse facilities.

About the Author:

The founder of The Custom Companies, Perry Mandera has led the firm since its inception in 1986. In recognition of his achievements, he was named Executive of the Year by the Italian American Executives of Transportation, was elected to the Illinois Transportation Association’s Board of Directors and included on its list of Top 100 American Transportation Executives of the Millennium, and earned the Leonard Schaller Businessman of the Year Award.