Kenco Logistic Services Marks 60th Anniversary

Kenco Logistic Services, one of the most respected names in the third-party logistics (3PL) industry, today observed the launch of its business 60 years ago, on August 1, 1950.



“Today’s Kenco is a sophisticated, privately-held company dedicated to ongoing, robust investments in information technology, smart people, and state-of-the art sustainable facilities,” says Andy Smith, president and COO. “We have focused on operational excellence, providing the best possible service to our customers at the lowest total cost. Our culture places the highest value on people and strong customer relationships. We are proud of our heritage, and we enthusiastically embrace the changes that are always making Kenco a better business partner and a great place to work.”


Kenco has made many advances along the way. The most significant of these is its development of contract warehousing in the 1960s. “Jim Kennedy, Jr., who was one of Kenco’s founders, recognized that Chattanooga’s largest warehouse user, DuPont, was relying on a patchwork group of public warehousers, focused mainly on keeping direct costs low,” recalls Gary Mayfield, CEO of Kenco today. “Its textile plant had thousands of employees, producing huge volumes in bales and boxes that needed to be stored. Jim pointed out to his customers at DuPont that it would be possible to lower total costs and improve customer service with a long-term contract under which Kenco could make investments for greater efficiencies and better service.”

Kenco’s 1964 contract with DuPont is possibly the first agreement of its kind, and many of its terms continue today. “There have been changes in corporate structures, supply chain strategies, and people, but much of the language we established then is in use today,” says Mayfield.

Kenco started with just two employees—brothers-in-law Jim Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Smartt, Sr.—at the Chickamauga Warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn. Their initial capital was provided by James Kennedy—Jim Junior’s father—who also served as president of the company. “The building was an old knitting mill,” says Gary Mayfield. “The initial plan was to continue in the textile business, but the founders soon discovered they could make good money storing inventory that was on hand when they acquired the building. From that, we found a path that led us to today’s nationwide 3PL.”

“I’m particularly gratified that a fourth generation of Kennedys have joined the company,” says Kennedy, III. His sons, Will and James Kennedy, joined Kenco in May of this year. Will is a project facilitator and James is an administrator at one of the Kenco distribution centers.

The Kenco group of companies has grown beyond warehousing to include high-level supply chain management solutions, such as distribution value-added services, real estate, material handling, and transportation. Kenco currently has 100 facilities and 25 million square feet of warehouse space in 30 states and Canada.

About Kenco Logistic Services
Kenco Logistic Services is one of the nation’s leading third-party logistics providers (3PL), managing over 100 facilities and 25 million square feet of warehouse space in 30 states and Canada. Kenco currently provides logistics services for many industry-leading, Fortune 500 companies such as Cummins, Honeywell and Whirlpool. Kenco specializes in facilities and services for the pharmaceutical, apparel, automotive, food, textile, and appliance industries.