GTA GSM Serves the Cannabis Industry and Delivers PPE to North America
GTA GSM’s recent initiatives have included changing its operations to better service clients in the era of e-tail.
A cargo-handling company needs more than warehouses and equipment to provide reliable services. It also needs the right people with the right attitude.
Toronto-based GTA GSM employs “the best team I could have ever imagined to accomplish what we need to do,” Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director Brian Potvin declares. “We have a staff dedicated to doing everything for the client.”
GTA GSM started its logistics operation in 2015 and offers services such as warehousing, cargo screening, trucking, and the handling and storage of active/passive pharma products. Its clients include Garda World, which operates a contract on behalf of the Bank of Canada as well as multiple companies in the cannabis market, such as Auxly Cannabis Group Inc., and Metro Green.
In addition, the company has a partnership with Chapman Freeborn, a global air charter company. GTA GSM says this has allowed it to manage most of the charters of personal protective equipment (PPE) coming into North America to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With the use of the Antonov AN-225, which is the largest aircraft by weight, length and wingspan in the world, “We did over 30 charters in the month of May,” Potvin recalls, noting that number will increase in June.
A Reliable Network
GTA GSM’s recent initiatives have included changing its operations so that the company can better service its clients in the era of e-retail. “If I can get a package in a day from Amazon, why can’t we do that with commercial goods?” Potvin asks.
“We’ve taken that approach,” he continues, explaining that GTA GSM has formed partnerships with four Canadian airlines. The company also has partnered with the Irving Group, which is the owner of Midland, a trucking conglomerate with more than 7,500 assets.
“They do all of our ground moves,” Potvin says. Midland has access to more than 10,000 additional trucks that it can put into use at any point. “We’ve been able to facilitate a network that can transport goods across Canada.”
GTA GSM also has implemented a technology platform within the network that allows its clients to upload their point of origin and destination and choose which level of transit they prefer. “You’re not just given one set of options based on the assets that the company has,” he notes. “They get to pick the best transit and best cost that fits their clients and their needs.”
The platform also provides the customer with the ability to track the shipment, monitor its temperature and receive proof of delivery, which can come in the form of a photo. “Everything we touch is an insured, traced product,” Potvin says. “It’s very similar to what Amazon has done.”
A Balancing Act
Like so many, GTA GSM has felt the effects of COVID-19 on its business. Due to air capacity restrictions in Canada on overnight traffic, “We have to be very flexible and our clients have to be flexible in terms of transit times,” Potvin says.
Thanks to the company’s partnerships with Air Canada and WestJet, GTA GSM has been able to utilize daytime flights. “We’ve been very successful balancing out the traffic,” he says.
Potvin predicts that GTA GSM’s focus on COVID-19 will continue in the coming months as it continues to transport more PPE into North America. These products will not only be used by hospitals and healthcare workers, but also retailers and office workers as their workplaces re-open.
Many of these spaces, he explains, require their employees to wear face masks. “We’re developing a trade route and supply chain for them to get theirs on time,” Potvin says. “We’re diversifying our networks and routing to bring in these much-needed products from anywhere.”
Potvin takes pride in the fact that GTA GSM has had zero turnover in its staff, a record it wants to maintain as it grows. He credits his employees’ loyalty to the company, its vision and the work environment they have collectively created, “all of which is a benefit our clients experience on a daily basis,” he says. ”This unique and collective work culture allows for our staff to benefit from a fair amount of freedom.”
For example, “Everybody dictates their own schedule within reason, but primarily this is done for the benefit of our customers, because some customers are in different time zones,” he says. “Each team member has their own client base, and as long as they’re making sure the clients are pleased with the work that’s being done and meeting their needs, this is what will make us even stronger and more viable as a company. Happy employees make for happy customers.”
“As a team we have all worked tirelessly in order to be that one solution our customers want and need, however none of this would have ever happened without the dedicated leadership from Mario D’Urso, our chairman,” Potvin explains. “Mario has enabled all facets of our business to receive the tools and funding necessary to fulfill our client’s needs. He has taken pride in being directly involved with many client meetings as well as being directly involved in all seven divisions of the GTA Group. Mario D’Urso is the heartbeat of our organization.”
GTA GSM is a company that emphasizes its highly collaborative work environment where every individual is valued, and communication is a top priority, and as a result it has benefited from its dedicated employees. It allows for ample flexibility with personal time off for their families and any other issues that arise. “I’ve found that by providing a highly adaptable environment, the company and its employees both benefit. When it comes to taking time off, the staff are extremely careful so that his/her absence does not disrupt our fast-paced operation,” he says. “The teams’ ‘we are all in this together’ motto, speaks volumes to the amount of effort and pride they put into their work when it’s needed.”
Able to Assist
Potvin sees a strong future ahead for GTA GSM, which will continue serving clients in the cannabis industry. “It’s been a strong aspect of our business since it began,” he says, but asserts that the company can serve a plethora of other markets.
In addition to its work with PPE products, “We handle seafood shipments on a business-to-consumer level for next-day delivery,” he says. “We’re able to assist any manufacturer that wants to deliver a five- to 10-kilo package to a customer’s door.”
GTA GSM also provided fulfillment services for retailers and is taking technical steps forward with drone deliveries of small packages to large populated areas. “This has been six months in the making,” Potvin says, explaining that its drones can land on the rooftops of commercial buildings and condos to make deliveries.
Although the largest drone can currently carry 400 pounds of payload delivery, he predicts that this number will increase. “There’s a lot of new technology coming out,” he says. “In three years, we’ll be at 11,000 kilos.”
Potvin continues, “2020 has shown our industry, in particular, that quick, and efficient adaptation is an absolute must. Strategic partnerships are key, coupled with the extraordinary efforts and dedication from the entire GTA Group. We continuously strive to be the best single solution for our customers because of our multifaceted partnerships.”