Discovering a new industry niche to fill is quite possibly the goal of every company, and Al Fisher of Tantara Transportation has carved out his. Tantara offers a wide array of services as a fully-licensed, Department of Transportation compliant company…
Since each industry has its own unique requirements and challenges, the company is equipped to deal with the time-sensitive and unpredictable aspects of moving trade show displays, concert tour gear, store fixtures, sporting event equipment, and prototypes. And this is just the beginning of the flexible services provided by its employees and fleet of air ride vehicles.
Tantara now offers a wide array of transportation solutions but was built from a more modest company. Starting in 1983, under the name of Computer Carrier, it handled the transportation of computer mainframes and new computer office systems, and Al was able to get in on the ground floor of the industry. As many companies were moving to a digital environment, Computer Carrier was there to deliver the sensitive new equipment and perform regular installations.
“I would put on a three-piece suit in the morning to make sales calls and then change into a uniform in the afternoon to make deliveries of computer components to my newfound clients,” said Tantara Transportation President Al Fisher.
The computer equipment in those early days was often large and cumbersome, but that was soon to change. “Servicing the computer industry was the core of the business, and as technology advanced and the products became smaller, we needed to expand our service offerings into other markets in order to evolve in the changing economic climate,” said Al.
Computer Carrier was rebranded Tantara Transportation Group to serve more clients in more industries, and a new era of expansion began. While the company runs like a well-oiled machine now, its growth was not without challenges.
“Establishing a true identity,” was the first of these, according to Al. “It’s easy when you start out to say, ‘We’re going to do this, and we are only going to do that.’ Then the reality of the logistics world sets in, and you’re going to do whatever the customers are asking, as you don’t want to lose a single customer when you’re starting up. So it’s easy to veer off the path that you’ve laid out to what you want to be. We started out as a technology transport specialist, then found our true calling as something more than that: a company that supports all phases of a business as it relates to its use of physical technology and the logistics that it takes to ensure not only our success but our clients.”
As the company continued delivering highly sensitive computer mainframes, these clients would inquire as to what else the company could do for them. “The true calling of what we wanted to be was right in front of us: a white-glove, special-products carrier,” said Al. Seeing itself as a hands-on, full-service company allowed Tantara Transportation to adapt and grow with each new client.
A huge source of pride for the company is its tradeshow transportation services. It had already been dabbling in this service, but things really took off with the 2010 acquisition of Sunset Transportation in Las Vegas. With the assets of Sunset now added to the Tantara fleet, the company now had an established footprint in a city that is host to an impressive number and range of tradeshows. As Tantara took over tradeshow transportation services in a major market, it opened the doors for the company to put its tradeshow division front and center in amongst the already diverse selection of client services.
As tradeshows can be a circus unto themselves, it is extremely valuable to have a company like Tantara Transportation where the essentials are both understood and met. Ensuring the timely arrival and retrieval of a booth and audiovisual equipment can make all the difference for clients that deal with the hectic tradeshow world.
Another source of pride for Tantara Transportation is the drivers who make all of the company’s services a possibility.
“We are always recruiting the best of the best. Our drivers are our partners and the key to our continued success,” said Al.
Since its in-house drivers so frequently interact with the clients, it only makes sense that Tantara Transportation strives to hire the best and continues to update the equipment they have to use every day. It has added applications that give drivers access to vital shipment data and has improved on the fleet of trucks as just part of its ongoing commitment to forward-thinking business practices.
“We have always operated as a family-first company. When I started out, it was just me, and as we grew, I always said, ‘let’s make a little money and just have fun.’ It was a silly little saying I guess, but it really was about having fun and making a little money. It should be fun to go to work, not a miserable experience that you dread waking up to each day. I have drivers and employees that have been with me for over thirty years now. Our average tenure is eighteen or more, so they’ve become more than just staff, their family, and that’s what we like to instill in each employee as they come on board. We know they have a life outside of work, and all of us are at different points in our lives, and we’ve always made sure that a person’s family comes first, and we work to make sure each employee is treated like family,” said Al.
Going into the future, Tantara Transportation will continue to focus on the human element of both its employees and its clients. As technology continues to change and the demands of the client become more complex or time-sensitive, the company holds fast to its philosophy of standing by its word. It was built on handshake deals and going beyond anticipating the needs of a client to actively looking for new ways to expand its services based on those needs. As large-scale data centers demand experienced transportation and large brick and mortar stores fade from existence, Tantara is actively seeking new avenues of business.
“More and more technology that was once on-premise is now located at a third-party hosting site. This impacts our business model as a technology transportation provider, as our current customer is no longer the one who maintains and necessarily supplies the equipment, as it’s handled by the hosting site. All of this leads to the question of who’s the customer that we are servicing. So one of our long-term goals is to bring both our customer and their vendor into the fold and provide the logistics service to all parties involved with our client,” said Al.
With 2019 in full swing, Tantara Transportation is looking forward to carving out a new niche or two while continuing to offer its trusted selection of client services. As Al puts it: “We are in the relationship business. Our strength lies in our commitment to service our clients.”