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VOL. 123 | NO. 25 | Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Katt Worldwide Logistics Touts Growth

By Eric Smith

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NIMBLE AS A KATT: Katt Worldwide Logistics employees prepare laptop computers for a client in Katt's warehouse at 4105 S. Mendenhall Road. The full-service logistics company has launched a marketing campaign to increase exposure and market share. -- Photo By Eric Smith

With hopes of raising its profile and its market share, Katt Worldwide Logistics has launched an advertising campaign that includes the standard magazine placements as well as a different sort of tactic for the industry - billboards.

Katt, a full-service, Memphis-based logistics company, has planted a billboard sign along the westbound leg of Interstate 240 between Lamar Avenue and Airways Boulevard.

The colorful sign, with a cutout of the company's cheetah logo atop it, looks out of place among the typical highway billboard fare touting the Tunica casinos and University of Memphis basketball.

But Katt's directors expect it to draw the attention of the thousands of people who drive this route every day, especially those who visit Memphis for business.

"They land at the airport, and as soon as they get off their plane they get into a car or a cab or a limo," said chief operating officer Mike Kattawar Sr. "They go down the highway and, boom, there's our sign. It gives them an introduction to who we are."

Bigger things

Katt Worldwide introduced itself to Memphis' vibrant logistics community when Mike Kattawar Jr. launched the company in 1999 as a small trucking outfit that could tap into Memphis' position as "America's Distribution Center."

It didn't take long for the company to expand into warehousing, air freight, ocean freight, intermodal and staffing services for the city's myriad distribution and transportation needs. As usual for a nascent company, marketing took a back seat to merely operating the business.

Katt Worldwide Logistics

Full-service logistics firm
Founded 1999 by Mike Kattawar Jr.

But Katt has flourished under Kattawar Jr.'s leadership and the company continued to grow throughout its early years. It now boasts 250 full-time employees plus 2,000 temporary workers through its staffing service.

And Katt regularly has expanded its headquarters at 4105 S. Mendenhall Road, knocking the walls out three times in nine years and swelling to 10,000 square feet of office space plus another 107,000 square feet of warehouse space. Additionally, the company manages 3.5 million square feet of warehouse space and has clients throughout the world.

With all that success, the company could afford to boost its marketing in hopes of growing exponentially. It now plans to put two or three more billboards somewhere in the city, likely something to specifically promote the company's air freight and staffing divisions.

"The company has grown so quickly that now we have the capacity to do much, much larger and bigger things," said co-chief operating officer Jerry Kattawar (Mike Sr.'s brother). "As we reach out to a broader market, we are now prepared to take on that market."

A story to tell

More than anything, Kattawar Sr. said the increased marketing comes from his son, Kattawar Jr., the company CEO and founder who hopes to boost the company's image.

"It's a vision he has to put our name out in front of people as soon as they arrive in town," Kattawar Sr. said. "There are a lot of logistics companies that are in business today. We think we have a lot to offer, so we are advertising to show people what we do, all the services that we offer.

"We're trying to tell the story of who we are and what we do through signage and marketing."

Though Katt is one of the largest logistics firms in the city, the new campaign is aimed at taking an even bigger bite out of the seemingly limitless distribution opportunities that arise in Memphis even during economic downturns.

"Being a new and growing and young company, we have yet to grow into our market share," Jerry Kattawar said. "A lot of the mature companies have their market share, so if the industry shrinks, then they shrink a little and suffer. But in our case, we're young and growing, so even though the economy could shrink some, we'll continue to grow. That's what we see happening."

Focus on China

Katt Worldwide is also poised to grow its presence in China, the manufacturing nexus of the global economy. Mike Kattawar Jr. and Jerry Kattawar will travel to China this month to meet with CEOs of companies and try to enhance Katt's warehouse and distribution centers and air freight and ocean freight there.

"There's so much going on in China," Jerry Kattawar said. "And us going to China will allow us to do China-to-Europe, China-to-Australia."

The company soon will unveil a new Web site (www.kattworld.com) and will continue seeking ways to bring more revenue through its variety of services and variety of locations.

"Corporate is growing, the sales and revenues are growing," said Mike Kattawar Sr. "We've been real blessed and real fortunate. Our customers are good to us and true to us, and we thank them for that. We're looking for other customers to help us grow in different areas and different parts of the world."

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