Complete Innovations came to the market with a vision of transforming the courier service industry through the use of innovative technologies. Tony Lourakis and Andrew Merisanu developed their first software solution to address the growing demands and challenges of the courier sector in 1998. This software would become the idea behind the products offered by Complete Innovations. The Canadian Business Journal spoke to Tony Lourakis, the founder and president of Complete Innovations about the company, its solutions and outlook for the future.
With entrepreneurial spirit and a dream to build his own software company, Lourakis started working on this first courier software while still in college. Behind the idea to focus on the courier service was a simple observation of the industry at that time. “I had the opportunity to see the inside workings of a courier service in 1998. The service was very different from what it is today. The dispatches were done over the radio, and there was a lot of paperwork associated with the deliveries’, it was a very manual work. This led us to create our first application that dispatched couriers electronically, and priced and billed for the services automatically.” The project was a success. Lourakis liked the courier software idea as a business niche as well, and his market research showed that thousands of courier companies across North America did not use any form software solution. Courier Complete – the flagship product of Complete Innovation – was launched in 2000, landing its first client within weeks.
Lourakis and Merisanu had never looked back, and today Complete Innovations continues to grow and expand its solution offerings as well as its global presence; the company has been recognized as the fastest growing provider of industry-leading mobile workforce based solutions in Canada. Complete Innovations delivers three customizable technology solutions to its customers: Courier Complete, Fleet Complete and FuelFast.
Courier Complete improves operational efficiencies with rich features such as automated customer management, remote order entry and delivery tracking, real-time driver dispatch and management, and much more. The product provides clients with a streamlined approach to day-to-day business operations, reducing administration and operational costs.
The company developed Fleet Complete, its second product, as a management solution for daily operations of fleets, assets and mobile workers. Launched in 2004, Fleet Complete increases efficiencies and also reduces driver risks. Fleet Complete currently manages tens of thousands of drivers across North America.
“Using this solution, our clients have gained accurate operational control over their resources and assets in the field. They can monitor average speeds, stoppage times, breaking patterns — everything related to the vehicle operation. This solution is considered a global leader in the GPS Fleet Tracking sector,” says Lourakis.
By using the GPS technology, the Fleet Complete solution can be also used to track movable assets such as trailers and containers. However, the fleet and mobile asset management represents just the tip of the iceberg, because any company that operates a mobile workforce can utilize the product. “This solution can be used by any companies that have vehicles in the field, for example plumbers, electricians, construction fleets, limo companies, and so on, so this offers vast opportunities to utilize our product.”
Complementary to the company’s two core products, Complete Innovations also developed the FuelFast solution. FuelFast provides a fully automated fuel management system. The system records the fuel quantity, date and time of every fuel transaction, fuel type, dispenser number, vehicle ID, and even odometer readings, engine hours and more optional vehicle information, protecting the company vehicles from unauthorized usage of refueling services.
Behind the Technology
While Complete Innovations focus on fleet efficiencies, the heart of the company lies in its software solutions. The company employs 100 people and over one-third of this workforce is directly involved in research and development. The company spends several million dollars annually to work on new service solutions. “This is quite a big undertaking and investment on our part, however, ‘innovation’ is in our name, and that’s how we are set up — we innovate and enhance our products constantly, with focus on bringing new features that will benefit our customers, and help them to be more efficient.”
To simplify the product use for its clients, the company runs its own servers in a TELUS data centre, and the software provided to clients is hosted on servers of Complete Innovations. Providing service in this manner eliminates the need for installation of software across the client’s network or setting up hosting servers by the client. “Because our service is hosted in this manner, basically all our clients have to do is to sign up for the service without running their own server.” To maintain its servers and provide a secure environment for clients’ data, the company works with firms such as Tuor Networks to keep the centre’s performance and security working at the top level.
As a technology company that seeks to advance its R&D, the company has been facing difficult times seeking the right talent, mostly due to a supply and demand talent issue in the Toronto market, as the City of Waterloo has been growing as Ontario’s technological centre. Thanks to help from a leading Toronto based staffing company, Waterford Staffing, Complete Innovations has been able to find the talent needed to continue its product advances.
As far as technological challenges go, the main challenge relates to the wide variety of platforms available in the market — Apple, Android, PC, etc. “This variety had significantly changed the way we develop products in order to support these various platforms, but we are finding ways to deal with it. Namely, we have been working with Motorola, and we have been using their RhoElements Suite to deal with this issue,” says Lourakis.
Lourakis disclosed a serious secret about the mobile workforce management market —companies with technology for mobile workforces have only 20 per cent penetration, meaning that 80 per cent of companies still do not have technology in their vehicles or in drivers’ hands to make them more efficient and safe.
“This is due to the fact that this technology did not widely exist 10 years ago, and only the last three or four years started taking off, so what I see as the future is mass adoption of these technologies, and the penetration rising from the current 20 per cent, to 60 to 70 per cent, and we are positioning ourselves to capture this upswing. We have the most market share in Canada, with our partner Telus reselling our products across Canada. While we are still small in the U.S., we have an exclusive partnership with the AT&T to resell our product across the U.S. Looking at the market from this broad perspective, I think we should be able to become one of the top industry players within the next two to three years.”
With a bold plan – and the technology, product range and distribution to support it – the company expects to ‘deliver’.