Even with more than 50 years of experience, we understand every day and every situation presents new circumstances and challenges. We are constantly learning, adapting, and improving—always starting with the changing needs of our customers.
DSC Logistics was founded as Dry Storage Corporation in August of 1960 by James A. McIlrath, with an initial capital investment of $10,000 from Roy E. McIlrath, Jim’s father, who became the company’s Treasurer. The founding customers were Ocean Spray Cranberries, Dixie Sugar, Chicken-of-the-Sea Tuna and Diamond Walnuts, and the McIlrath family used products from those companies to create a cornucopia centerpiece for Thanksgiving that year.
In the first 20 years, the company expanded its locations in the Chicago region and added trucking to the portfolio by acquiring Steve J. Dunne Cartage Co. and founding Remlo Transportation. While both warehousing and transportation were transactional in nature, Jim focused on meeting changing customer needs by “doing a better job tomorrow than we did today,” an early foreshadowing of the company’s eventual transformational culture. Ann McIlrath Drake joined the Advisory Board of Directors in 1984, and the company expanded to new geographies and customers with the acquisition of Gulf Atlantic from Consolidated Foods in 1987.
Named Chief Executive Officer in 1994, Ann worked to consolidate the conglomerate of 22 autonomous companies into one entity – with one name and identity – operating as “one great company: DSC Logistics.” The company’s new logo and brand symbolized the move to nationwide logistics, with a Promise to Customers of handling their product “the way you’d handle it yourself.”
Under Ann’s leadership, DSC Logistics evolved from a public warehousing company to a leading provider of contract logistics services. Recognizing the value of a national network to customers, DSC expanded to both coasts. This early geographical expansion was key to the company’s ability to provide strategic solutions.
In parallel with the growth and evolution of DSC, the outsourcing trend in logistics was growing, as businesses were becoming more and more interested in outsourcing logistics to third-party providers (3PLs), seeking to focus their own resources on core competencies such as manufacturing and marketing.
With the increased success and interest in outsourcing came the emergence of network outsourcing models, with customers partnering with fewer providers across their entire supply chain to implement more comprehensive supply chain strategies. Many customers sought to consolidate smaller warehouses into larger logistics centers, and to shift to longer-term, multi-site contracts. During this period of significant growth and unpredictable change, DSC adopted a sense-and-respond transformational strategy and culture to position both customers and employees to be ready for anything!
DSC became expert in recruiting and developing top logistics talent, with a focus on analysis, engineering and technology expertise. During this period, DSC focused on integrated Warehouse, Labor, Transportation and Yard Management Systems (WMS, LMS, TMS, YMS) and augmented its industrial engineering talent pool. This combination of expertise and capabilities enabled differentiated, dynamic solutions in response to complex supply chain challenges.
As a result of geographical expansion, its leadership development journey and focus on strategic responsiveness, DSC emerged as a leader in the design, implementation and management of sophisticated large-scale, long-term, outsourced logistics operations.
DSC’s scope of capabilities evolved further as the company progressed together with key customers, and developed the DSC Partnership Process: a joint framework and system that enables the dialogue, planning and progress required to achieve customer business goals. DSC’s emphasis on Transformation and Partnerships remains core to the company’s strategy and value proposition today.
In 2010, DSC was named Lead Logistics Partner (LLP) by three global companies. As Lead Logistics Partner, DSC began to provide and manage customers’ total supply chain solution, across the entire supply chain. This included the sourcing and management of additional networks of third party logistics providers to support customers’ business needs.
The transition from contract logistics provider to lead logistics partner elevated DSC’s focus to include holistic, end-to-end supply chain management and strategy. This shift to a broader scope and role was a natural fit with DSC’s culture and vision; to address it, DSC recruited for and cultivated six key strengths essential to the company’s ability to deliver strategic value to customers: leadership, collaboration, information, execution, flexibility and integrity.
With the shift to LLP, Ann and DSC leadership began to see new possibilities for consulting with customers to reduce total supply chain costs and leveraging the supply chain as a business strategy for competitive differentiation.
Entrusted and empowered by Fortune 500 customers with the responsibility to drive supply chain innovation and facilitate growth and change, DSC invested in and evolved its network modeling and data analytics expertise. Also during this period, DSC’s supply chain consulting capabilities emerged. The company’s engineering capabilities continued to evolve, and DSC became a thought leader in layout optimization, engineered standards and productivity optimization. DSC formed a dedicated Business Process Integration team, forging a specialized collaborative project management approach to large-scale start-ups.
As DSC’s strategic partnerships and human capital investments grew, DSC customers increasingly requested assistance with business scenario modeling, preparation and planning for mergers and acquisitions, new product introductions, and large-scale network initiatives, such as system and process implementations.
Today, DSC is a leader in transforming logistics and supply chain management into a critical business strategy based on collaborative partnerships, innovative thinking and high-performance operations.
The company’s consultative approach and commitment to providing Dynamic Supply Chain Leadership has brought key strategic customer relationships to a new level of integrated business planning. At this level of strategic integration, DSC participates “at the table” with customers, assisting them side-by-side in business planning cycles, alongside their C-level leadership, and working cross-functionally to create results and inform strategic business decisions.
The framework of DSC’s partnership process combined with a promise to uphold high standards of integrity, responsibility and accountability, based on open communication, collaboration and trust have led to true partnering and leadership.
The digital transformation during this period is taking DSC Logistics – and the supply chain industry at large – to new places. DSC is making ongoing investments in technology, tools and talent to leverage new insights in business intelligence and analytics that help customers predict change and plan for the future. As the company’s technology journey continues, the capabilities, possibilities and opportunities are more exciting than ever.
Since Ann became CEO in 1994, the company has grown to five times its size, and continued to transform its business model based on core values and a long-term partnership approach. It is poised for continued growth. Whether a customer’s need is execution or strategy-based, whether a customer is seeking a trusted logistics center management provider or a network modeling consultant, DSC’s mission remains the same: to achieve customers’ business goals through the management of change and information in the supply chain.