The Silicon Review
Technology companies that sustain their success over time typically have a few things in common: great products, dedicated, engaged employees, and a laser focus on meeting their customers’ needs. When PDI first opened its doors in a small Texas town in 1983, the software startup had just 10 employees. Today, PDI is the leading global provider of enterprise management software to the convenience retail, petroleum wholesale and logistics industries. The company has over 700 employees, offices in eight countries, and solutions supporting more than 1200 companies operating over 100,000 sites around the world.
Despite its recent growth, in many ways PDI remains the same company it was nearly 35 years ago. “Our mission is and will continue to be helping our employees and customers thrive,” says Jimmy Frangis, CEO, PDI. “We do that every day by cultivating a great work environment for our employees and delivering the solutions and services our customers need to be successful”
Expanding the Enterprise
In recent years, PDI began expanding its solution portfolio through heavy investment in research and development (R&D), along with acquisitions that increased its global footprint and capabilities.
“Retailers run complex, multi-faceted businesses with stiff competition and thin margins, and we’ve historically done a great job helping them automate operations, increase productivity and optimize their inventory,” says Frangis. “However, we saw a huge opportunity to better meet the needs of petroleum wholesale and logistics businesses.”
Since it began implementing its growth strategy in 2016, PDI has made two retail-focused acquisitions, including The Pinnacle Corporation’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) assets to further penetrate the market, and the DataMax Group to better serve small chain operators. The company also made five petroleum wholesale and logistics-focused acquisitions.
“Acquiring FireStream helped us expand our wholesale capabilities and effectively address customer challenges like manual processes and purchasing strategies, delayed time-to-cash and credit issues,” says Frangis. “We also significantly improved our domestic and international logistics management portfolio and capabilities in planning, dispatch, in-truck and mobility with the acquisition of Intellifuel, Lomosoft, TelaPoint and most recently TouchStar.”
Logistics are a costly, resource-intensive part of the value chain, and companies are increasingly seeing pressure on their margins, which makes the need for efficiency, inventory visibility and operational control even greater. As a result of its recent acquisitions, PDI is now poised to help.
“Logistics companies are a hugely important part of the fuel supply chain, and we’re in a great position to ensure their success as they tackle the challenges of managing a mobile workforce,” says Frangis. “Our cloud-based, enterprise logistics and mobility solutions are providing the tools and key insights customers need to make data-driven decisions that benefit their business and bottom line.”
PDI solidified is foothold in mobility logistics with the acquisition of TouchStar, which, in addition to telematics and dispatch solutions, specializes in mobility applications. Frangis says PDI’s mobility software not only eliminates paper processes and improves communication, but it’s also designed to integrate every part of the logistics operation.
“Logistics is one of those areas our customers have been asking us to invest in,” he explains. “I’m excited we can now offer them a truly connected logistics experience, from order to dispatch to delivery. That’s going to improve productivity and efficiency across their organization.”
PDI’s mobility capabilities aren’t relegated to the logistics industry. In fact, the company is addressing the business demands of a growing mobile labor force on multiple fronts.
“For wholesalers, our mobile applications deliver alert messages directly to their phone or email that allow them to respond instantly to issues that arise in their business,” says Frangis. “For convenience retailers, our mobile, Wi-Fi-enabled inventory and workforce management tools deliver real-time inventory accuracy and ensure their employees can provide the best store-level experience for their customers.”
Frangis says PDI’s ability to effectively serve customers in multiple parts of the fuel supply chain with varying business models is what makes the company so unique.
“We deliver value to every part of the fuel supply chain, and it goes beyond mobility,” says Frangis. “We want to be the partner of choice for retail, petroleum wholesale and logistics companies around the globe, and I believe our portfolio has the ability to satisfy the complex needs of customers in each industry.”
Mapping the Road Ahead
PDI turns 35 this year, but the global software company that opened its doors those many years ago shows no signs of slowing down.
“In the days ahead, we’ll continue to deliver solutions that help customers transform their business and thrive in a digital economy, while solidifying our position as a global leader in enterprise management software to the industries we serve,” Frangis says. “It’s imperative that we work to expand and enhance our solution portfolio in ways that make us a trusted partner for our customers now and in the future.”
To that end, PDI recently acquired Excentus, a Dallas-based provider of full-service loyalty technology and marketing services. This latest addition to PDI’s portfolio will deliver further value to customers with an integrated, unified view of pricing and promotions to help optimize their business.
When reflecting on the values that contributed to PDI’s longevity and reputation in the industry, Frangis says it always comes back to relationships.
“Customers remember how you treat them,” he says. “PDI has a 35-year history of delighting customers and treating people right. We do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and we do it every day.”
Meet the CEO
Jimmy Frangis, CEO
Jimmy Frangis joined PDI in 2016 and is responsible for setting the strategic vision and direction for the company. As CEO, he brings more than 20 years of experience in retail software. Prior to PDI, Jimmy served in various leadership positions at NCR Corporation, including vice president and general manager of the global petroleum and convenience retail business. Prior to joining NCR, he held multiple leadership positions at Radiant Systems. Jimmy began his career at Arthur Andersen and holds a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Georgia.