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Joining the family business, especially in an industry I did not study, can be hard, but the reward has been more than I could have imagined.

Established in 1994 and headquartered in Miami, FL, Overseas Cargo, Inc. (ShipOCI) is a third-party logistics provider (3PL) specializing in refrigerated cargo, cross docking, ocean freight, trucking, rail, air, and inventory tracking for worldwide supply chain management solutions. With a combined team experience of more than 100 years and a network of warehouses strategically located in North America, Central America and Asia, ShipOCI is highly dedicated to delivering cost-effective supply-chain solutions to customers worldwide.

BusinessInterviews.com:  What inspired you to join ShipOCI?

Shani Atapattu:  I was inspired to join ShipOCI because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of such an innovative and technologically advanced logistics company. A techie at heart, I knew that getting to work in a small company I was going to be able to really immerse myself in the field and better understand logistics through personal attention and care that I could not get at another company. Joining the family business, especially in an industry I did not study, can be hard, but the reward has been more than I could have imagined.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share with our readers?

Shani Atapattu: I consider every time we are able to book business a success. For example, recently, one of our customers offered us new business in a trade lane that we were not previously shipping in, giving us even more opportunity to expand our reach and continue to grow our business.

BusinessInterviews.com:  What issue does your core product help solve and how so?

Shani Atapattu: At ShipOCI, we specialize in getting your products from point A to point B in a timely and efficient manner by providing solutions, not excuses. Everything we do as a third-party logistics provider is to ensure that our clients are taken care of from the moment they begin using our services through final delivery. Much of this is made possible through our proprietary web-based supply chain software and service solution, RapidLink. Through live data, RapidLink gives our customers the ultimate visibility by allowing them to see exactly where their shipment is at any given time. The mantra of RapidLink is to deliver a result greater than its input.

BusinessInterviews.com:  What has been your biggest business challenge and how have you met that challenge?

Shani Atapattu: One of the biggest business challenges I’ve faced as Vice President is learning how to manage employees in all areas of the company, from sales to IT. Understanding what every employee is responsible for, setting clear expectations, and knowing ultimately what continues to drive our business.

BusinessInterviews.com:  What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?

Shani Atapattu: One of the most exciting things on the horizon for ShipOCI is our continuing development in the shipment of pharmaceuticals. According to recent data, South Florida is the second largest market in the United States for the shipping and storing of pharmaceuticals. This arm of ShipOCI is growing rapidly due to our increasing knowledge and education about what it takes to transport pharmaceuticals.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Where do you envision your company in 5 years?

Shani Atapattu: I would like to see us diversifying into other markets and expanding our reach beyond South Florida. It is my goal to be a real player in other markets by continuing to expand our services and grow our operations.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.

Shani Atapattu: My biggest role model has been my boss, who also happens to be my father. He has taught me to never settle; once a benchmark is reached, it is time to set another in its place. One of the other important things he has taught me is how to read with intent and purpose to better understand regulations, laws and the future of our industry. Most importantly, he taught me how to be my own person and rely on myself in a business atmosphere.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?

Shani Atapattu: To me, success is not just about money. I consider myself successful when I look around and see that my staff is efficient and continuing to grow. When my staff can come up to me on their own and tell me about a problem and their solution, even before it arises, I consider that a win. It lets me know that I have a dependable staff that I can back 100%. By being self sufficient, it also gives me the chance to focus on other things that will continue to benefit the company and my employees.

 

BusinessInterviews.com:  How do your competitors view you?

Shani Atapattu: Competitors view ShipOCI as a cutting edge company that does things differently, while doing them extremely well. Competing with established logistics companies, we have a trusted name in the market that customers continue to come back to for the total logistics solution.

 

BusinessInterviews.com:  What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?

Shani Atapattu: It is one thing to have an idea, but it is another to execute it and understand how it is going to work. People forget that you need to know how to manage your money, pay bills, etc. in order to back your idea. Additionally, I would tell others that it is not for the faint of heart.

The best advice that I can give is to diversify your customer base because it can change from one day to the next. If you know how to organize your finances, then you can take those bad days and turn them into good days. Another important thing to remember is that while the customer is generally always right, you also have to know when to say no if the requests are unreasonable.

 

BusinessInterviews.com:  What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?

Shani Atapattu: The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is going all in with ShipOCI, when it wasn’t an area that I had much experience or knowledge in. I could have taken the easy way out by working in another company or industry, but then I would not have been a part of building ShipOCI to what it has become today. In turn, I’ve received the biggest reward – success.

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