Friday, February 6, 2009

GHY Named One of Canada’s 50 Best-Managed Companies

Giving Customers the Human Touch
(Philip Quinn — Financial Post)

The creation of post-9/11 Fortress America made it imperative for exporting and importing companies to find a way to efficiently handle the reporting requirements for each shipment of goods. That tangle of red tape creates business opportunities for a company such as GHY International, which can trace its roots back to 1901.

“We are a service business to importers and exporters,” says Richard Riess, president and CEO. “We’re involved in executing the transactional reporting to the governments of Canada and the United States on behalf of importers and exporters. For every movement across the border, there’s a requirement to report a minimum of 30 to 40 pieces of information on each of those shipments.”

GHY has invested in state-of-the-art technology that allows it to seamlessly communicate with its customers and customs offices in the United States and Canada. It also prides itself on providing its customers with the human touch.

“We offer the best of both worlds: As companies look at their options for trade services, they’re looking for partners that can deliver all the important technology-based solutions but also maintain close personal relationships and accountability for performance,” says Reynold Martens, executive vice-president.

Growth in the past five years has been phenomenal: In 2003, the company had$1.9-billion in total trade under management; that increased to $5.2-billion in 2008. “We can, from our location here, clear shipments at any port in North America,” Mr. Riess says.

The company’s slogan is “One Border-One Broker,” and it has cleared shipments for such Top 500 companies as Arctic Cat, Nygard International and Unilever Canada. For its major clients it has a program called MARP (Major Account Relationship Program), which emphasizes taking a big-picture perspective and planning ahead rather than reacting to everyday operational demands.

“The way we manage our business is in teams of individuals, six at a time, who have varying levels of experience. But it all starts with an account management consultant who has five technicians who work with him,” Mr. Riess says.

To keep up with the growing demand for its services, the company has opened new offices. “We’ve expanded our locations to include Vancouver, a partnership in Calgary, an office in Toronto and our U. S. head office in Pembina, N.D.,” Mr. Martens says.

Manitoba Firm Added to Best Managed List
(Martin Cash — Winnipeg Free Press)

Manitoba companies made another good showing in the annual list of the 50 best-managed companies in the country with two new entries on the 2008 roster — Genesis Hospitality Inc. and GHY International.

The program has been in existence since 1993 and is managed by the professional services firm Deloitte & Touche. It provides an independent evaluation of the management skills and practices of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $10 million. Rick Soenen, Deloitte’s Winnipeg partner in its private companies services group, said the new entrants are characteristic of the province's diversified economy with companies from just about every sector finding their way on the list year after year. The effects of the economic downturn that started to take hold of the economy in late 2008 will probably be more evident in next year’s program.

GHY International — Founded in 1901 by George. H. Young, the great grandfather of CEO Richard Riess, GHY International is probably one of Winnipeg’s many unknown jewels.

Now run by the fourth generation of the original founder’s family, it has grown with the global economic trend towards ever-increasing trade flows, especially between Canada and the United States. GHY has about 110 employees mostly in Winnipeg, although the firm also has offices in Emerson, Toronto, Vancouver and Pembina and Fargo, N.D. Customs brokers consolidate all the information in the supply chain and provide the compliance reports required by authorities at both sides of an international trade.

The company does work for more than 2,000 companies, including big-name Winnipeg firms like New Flyer Industries, Nygard International, Bristol Aerospace and E.H. Price.