In May, Titan Solutions turned 10 years old.
It has grown from a simple idea to a company known for its innovation, excellence, and technology driven supply chain solutions.
To celebrate, we sat down with Paul Collins, CEO, to answer 10 questions reflecting on the past decade, his experience, and the company as a whole.
Here’s what he had to say.
1. This year we celebrate Titan Solutions 10th Anniversary. A huge business achievement. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
What comes to mind is that when we started, we did not have a product or service or even any customers. All we had when we started was a dream to transform the supply chain industry. When I look at the last 10 years and see what we have achieved with the infrastructure that we have in place, the technology we are using, the talented people and partners we employ and the customer base that we work with, it is amazing to see how much we have done in a short period of time.
It has proved to me that I made the right choice 10 years ago to take the risk and start Titan Solutions. Our growth shows that there is a demand for digital supply chain and what we can offer but it is up to us to take the advantage and deliver it. We will continue to put ourselves out there and build credibility within the industry through our capabilities with the aim of becoming a brand leader for supply chain solutions.
2. What made you start Titan Solutions? Where did you draw inspiration to start and build this incredible business?
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset. When working as part of senior leadership in a variety of global multinational companies, I felt I had to work within certain boundaries and was limited in terms of those companies’ willingness and ability to deliver truly differentiated services offerings. While I learned a lot through my career, it didn't always provide the opportunity to harness digital to innovate supply chain. As I was getting older, I thought time is running out for me to figure out how can we do this in a different environment and in a different way. But most importantly, how are we supposed to demonstrate this new way of working to customers.
Now, back in 2011, Ireland was in its depth of a recession. I remember, naively, approaching the local enterprise office looking for support to start Titan Solutions. I still remember the woman sitting opposite asking how much revenue are you expecting within the first two years. I responded with about two or three million and she looked at me as if I crazy, telling me ‘This is going to work’.
That made me more determined, and I thought, I am going to prove you wrong. In hindsight that was probably was one of the best things to have happened as I gave up a full-time, secure executive position during the recession to pursue a “dream”. It lit a fire inside me when I was told my dream was not going to work, that it was too aspirational. In that situation, it was more about the heart and not the mind. I told myself yes, we can do this and yes, it can be achieved through determination, hard work, believing in your product, believing in yourself, and what we were attempting to do. Fortunately, my vision is now a reality, and I am grateful of the support from the various local enterprise bodies who have been a crucial sounding board as well as knowledge and financial support.
3. What were your visions in 2011 and how have you met them or even surpassed those visions?
I think the greatest deliverable that we have achieved in the past 10 years is that we have built a sustainable business that includes talented people, technology, processes, partners, and a strong customer base. Titan is not built around one individual; it is built around a series of truly innovative and flexible teams specializing in those markets we service today including e-commerce and medical devices. It was the realisation that we are looking for individuals who are entrepreneurial, risk takers and have adventure within their DNA.
The vision in 2011 was to see if I could convert my dream to do things differently into a business opportunity. And I am happy to say that 10 years later the business is not about me and my dream anymore. The business is the team of people who have come together to grow Titan, who believe in our service offering, and want to drive the business forward. To that end, the pandemic has brought home the power of teams as we switched to virtual office and readjusted our working arrangements to ensure continuity of services throughout. This I feel amply demonstrates Titan’s coming of age as a micro-multinational, a new breed of digital savvy supply chain service provider offering a complete service stack across our connected network of service partners.
4. In what different ways have you grown Titan over the past 10 years?
I thought we would only ever operate as a freight forwarding company based in the west coast of Ireland. I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that we would be working with global clients to solve supply chain issues from multiple offices around the world. I would have told them that that would be too adventurous.
One of the greatest things that we have done in the 10 years is the relationships we have built with both our customers and our partners. We have become a trusted external resource for businesses by applying simple solutions to complex supply chain issues that fit each client’s unique business needs and that equip them with the processes they need for future growth.
5. What do you see as Titan’s biggest accomplishments since its start in 2011?
I would say the unique position we have created in the market - we recognised a demand in the supply chain market for a single point of contact between customers and their carriers. Titan Solutions is categorised in the market as creative solutions selling and what that means is we have brought together lots of technical programmes under one umbrella and can offer an end-to end solution.
Our unique value proposition is to take a control tower view of the supply chain in its entirety, whereby we do not break the supply chain into parts or divisions and just concentrate on that one functional area. We look at the wide range of divisions and bring them together. That is anything from manufacturing, to delivery, to returns or to whatever part of the process needs to be addressed. We provide complete end to end supply chain connectivity and visibility so that our customers can sense and respond to every more demanding customer expectation within the accelerating digital economy.
6. What is your favourite part about your job? What excites you most?
One thing that always excites and surprises me is working with customers to solve their supply chain challenges. It is always something unique and different. I love the task of discovering how best to support them.
For example, we took on the challenge to work in the medical sector to support an emerging new market. And in a short period of time, we can say that we are working with one of the biggest players within this market. However, I must confess that this did not come about through any great design and architectural planning. Life is about a bit of luck, being in the right place at the right time. But it is also being able to build that relationship with your customer and being open to opportunities for innovation. And thanks to the push and determination of our team, we developed and introduced a new technology solution to support the emerging IVD market within Europe, and we are probably one of the first in Ireland to be doing this.
The aim is for Titan to continue to grow and be strategically important to our customers rather than being just a service that they can acquire from us.
7. What other CEO’s do you look up to and who has inspired you to have the work ethic that you do? Who is your business role model?
The two I really admire are quite conflicting individuals, Jack Welch GE, and Michael O’Leary, Ryanair.
When you look at Michael O’Leary, he took over a business that was loss making and he radically transformed that company to be one of the biggest, most profitable companies in Europe. He took a risk when nobody else thought about taking risks in 2010 and he did it again during the height of the pandemic. You must admire the approach of what he does. He does not care about what people think, he cares about what is best for the business.
While he may have his fans and fair share of critics, Jack Welch is another standout whose ideas and writing played an important part in my formative years in management. For me, I admire both of them and what they have done. I try to marry a combination of the two; Jack Welsh for his industry leadership focus and Michael O’Leary for getting us to think differently and take risks.
8. What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received?
I think the best piece of advice I got from anyone was, it is not about you.
My dad said it to me when I first started Titan Solutions and it was said to me again a few years later by one of my colleagues and good friend. It has always stuck with as a great piece of advice because we are quick to forget about the people who surround us and that we cannot do it all ourselves. We must trust in other people and understand that you cannot manage every aspect of a business. You kill the entrepreneurial energy that we are looking for, and you do not allow people to take that opportunity to take the business forward and grow.
9. What is your most memorable career moment?
I’m fortunate enough to have had a very productive and rewarding career. During the telecoms boom managing a high-volume plant operating 24/7 to managing the largest EU distribution centre in Europe at its time and be part of the leadership team in sustaining the future of a flag ship company in the Mid-West region of Ireland. It is difficult to pick just one thing – but as I reflect, it is probably the part that I played in developing and implementing the plan that proved instrumental in the decision of one of my previous employers continuing to operate and prosper out of Ireland. Staying fresh is the exciting challenge for the future
10. Where do you expect to go in the next 10 years? In what ways do you expect to grow?
I expect us to build upon the industry recognition that we have already achieved and continue to be recognised as digital supply chain innovators and leaders within the markets we serve. I would like our brand to be more well-known and to be seen as trail blazers who are willing to take a different approach to solve complex challenges.
Titan Solutions was established by Paul Collins with the initial goal of being a single point of contact between businesses and their shipping providers.
Today, we have transformed into a global company that leverages our People, Processes, and Digital Supply Chain technologies create an ecosystem that shares end-to-end information in real time to create a more visible supply stream across each touch point of the value chain.
We work with global clients on applying simple solutions to complex supply chain issues that equip them with the processes they need for future growth.