Outsourcing Dispatch Offices to Macedonia
When Boris Panov began a career in U.S market logistics in Macedonia, he was not sure whether it was a fit for him. Then, four and a half years later, he is flourishing. In this article, I chat with Boris about his career and how he was able to tap into networking by amassing more than 24,000 LinkedIn followers.
How did you get into logistics?
For Boris Panov, logistics is more of a lifestyle than a job. When he first got an offer for work, he was reluctant. “As time passed and I got training, I went deeper and got much more involved in it,” he said. Boris currently works for Superior Dispatch Services as a logistics manager in Macedonia.
What are your working hours?
To work in American logistics is attractive and potentially lucrative for Macedonians. You have to know English and be willing to work American hours, which could pose a challenge. Boris starts work at 1 pm Macedonian time and finishes at 11 pm from Monday to Friday. During weekends he is only available remotely through his phone. Superior Dispatch Services also has morning and night shifts; they offer 24-hour support.
Are there a lot of dispatching officers in the Balkan region?
“When I started, there were only two companies,” Boris said. “Now, every third person is selling freight.” The last three years have seen an increase in the number of logistics companies in the region covering Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. Now the companies in the area are closer to 100.
How did you get started on LinkedIn?
“It was my wife. It’s her fault,” said Boris. “I thank her every day.” He joined LinkedIn to assist his wife with an Upwork project. When he became more familiar with the platform, he realized it was different from Facebook or Instagram. He liked that he could select the audience and the content he wanted to see. So he started building a following, and when he posted his first meme, the feedback he got spurred him on.
Do you think LinkedIn is a powerful tool?
It is always nice to have humor in logistics, which can be stressful. What Boris has done is impressive. Right now, he has over 24,000 LinkedIn followers. The platform is an excellent place to network. “When I post some interesting stuff, at least 3 to 4 people reach out to me regarding a job,” he said. “It has also helped me build my business side.” We both agreed that LinkedIn is mighty in connecting players in logistics, and more people should utilize it.
Are most of the truck drivers Macedonian?
“We have 100 trucks on the road, and only one guy is Macedonian, two are Serbian, and everybody else is American,” said Boris.
Is the Macedonian language close to Serbian?
Serbian, Bulgarian, Croatian, and the language spoken in Montenegro are pretty similar. “We can understand each other. Maybe not a hundred percent, but if we speak, we can understand each other,” Boris said.
What is your perspective on Freight brokers?
Boris prefers to work with people he has built relationships over the years. “I’ve got like five guys who can cover my all trucks,” he said. He told me that such brokers get the first option, and if they cannot fill the trucks, he looks on DAT. It shows how meaningful relationships are in this industry and how you can utilize LinkedIn to develop relationships.
Any bad encounters working with freight brokers?
Boris’s most significant problem with brokers is that some sell loads with missed appointments or false information. This motivated him to identify brokers who are honest and trustworthy. Finding out that a broker gave you wrong information often happens when it is too late and is a waste of time.
Are your drivers picky about loads?
“Most drivers don’t want to do heavy freight, and most of the freight that we handle is not heavy,” said Boris.
Do you deal with primarily owner-operators?
“We’ve got owner-operators, lease-purchase operators, and company drivers,” said Boris. He told me that most drivers are owner-operators, and perhaps 20% are company drivers.
How can people reach you?
“They can reach me on LinkedIn at any time. I need an MC number to check out their company,” said Boris. “If my company allows me to do business with them and if it fits our plan, then we’re always open.” He is always happy to interact with his LinkedIn followers.