LOGISTICS holds a great set of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. But, no startup success comes easy.
It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and a gregarious personality to survive in this quite complicated business. And when you have all these, plus a lot more positive traits, you are a sure winner in any business venture. This was what Guilbert Purcia, owner of Purcia Transport Systems Inc., believes.
“If you want to grow big in the transport and logistics business, you’ve got to go the extra mile. You’ll be dealing with a lot of people. Some are easy and difficult, so when you go beyond what is expected of you, they become your loyal clients,” said Purcia, who revealed he had zero background in business when he started.
A native of Camarines Sur, Purcia tried his luck in Cebu when he was invited by a college friend to work for him. He immediately grabbed the opportunity knowing he had to help his parents, who are both farmers, get out from poverty.
After learning the ropes in the logistics and transport business as an operations boy, Purcia took the risk of opening his own. He knew it was only through business that he could make his dreams and the dreams for his family come true.
“I am more inspired and determined now because I know I am working for my dreams,” he said.
In January 1990, Purcia decided to prove to himself he could also do it in the cargo business, not minding the hardships he would encounter along the way.
“Putting up Purcia Cebu was not an easy one. I had to ride jeepneys and tricycles just to visit clients. I had to borrow vehicles of my father-in-law and hire trucks at the Plaza Independencia.
“I had to close my office if I was not around and just rely on the paging system at that time,” he recalled.
Purcia ran the business single-handedly. All he had was the strong network he was able to build when he was an employee, and the gift of gab.
And his hard work and determination paid off.
Since its inception, Purcia Transport Systems Inc. continuously developed and established itself as a “one-stop shop” for local and international services for airfreight, seafreight, brokerage, trucking, exhibition, personal effects/household removals and project shipments of all shapes, sizes and commodities from origin to site.
“Through hard work and determination to succeed, we were able to carve a good reputation in the industry that exceeded our own expectation and even that of our peers,” he said.
Purcia is a member of Aircargo Forwarders of the Philippines Inc. and of WCA Inter Global Logistics Network that widened its horizon and enabled them to work worldwide.
After Cebu, Purcia brought his business to Manila to cater to a wider clientele.
What was your first job?
In 1985, I started off as driver, helper and document processor with LEP International now called Agility. On that same year, I transferred to Airlift Asia as I was given a chance to be their sales staff. While with Airlift, I enrolled in Speech Art Center to improve my English communication skills. A year after that, in March, I was asked to join Hecny Forwarders Inc. to open and handle the Cebu branch. It was very challenging as I was competing with my seniors and mentors within the industry. I had to recruit my team and train them. With sheer determination and hard work, I made it. I made Hecny get clients and earn good money.
Who inspired you to get into business?
I saw the immense opportunities when you own your time and when you become your own boss. It’s not an easy graduation from an employee to business owner, but it is worth taking the risk.
I was also inspired by the success stories of big conglomerates like the Aboitiz Group. They started from scratch, and they worked hard to be where they are now. And what’s impressive about them is the fact that they chose to grow their empire here, which in turn generated plenty of job opportunities for Filipinos. I realized that if they were able to make it, then there’s no excuse for any Filipino not to do the same.
When did you realize this was what you were meant to do?
Getting into the cargo business requires only a minimal investment. It’s not really the capital that you need to have, but you’ve got to work hard on building your credibility and maintaining your integrity in this business. Your ability to get along with everyone is also a plus. Your investment here is your wit.
Why did you pick this type of business or industry?
No product will reach your home without logistics, without the cargo business. No matter what your business is, you will need people that will bring your goods from point A to B and making it happen, delivering them on time, gives me a sense of fulfillment. It makes me feel I am part also of their growth, of their success.
Right now Purcia Cebu has 17 people with three trucks and two service vehicles. We expanded the business to Manila and it now has 32 people with five trucks and a service vehicle.
Despite the slowdown on our exports, we are still doing good. We keep good clients that value peace of mind over cheap rates. We serve them day and night seven days a week.
Where did you get the training/s you needed to succeed?
My vast experience in my corporate jobs taught me a lot in running my own business. I didn’t start with big roles and had no background in business. All I had was that big dream to become successful and the goal to help others, who were like me, become successful too.
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
This business is not for the faint-hearted. I say this because you will deal with different kinds of people, and the bureaucratic processes. So you have to deal with them properly. In 1993, when we opened Purcia Manila, I faced serious challenges, but I did not quit. I never surrendered to life’s difficulties. Instead of feeling down, I became all the more motivated to resolve the issue. In 2013, we tried our luck with project cargoes. We were lucky to get Guimaras and Navas’ windmill projects, which paved the way for us to cater to more similar projects.