MSTS’ culture of reinvention is evidenced in its growth. The Overland Park company now has 558 total employees, and its revenue doubled during the past four years. In the second quarter, revenue rose 30 percent.
"It’s unusual for a 40-year-old business to have successfully navigated the multitude of technological shifts and survive," MSTS CEO Brandon Spear said. When the company launched in 1978, the internet didn’t exist, and neither did personal computers. It began as a fuel card provider for fleet owners, helping them shift away from cash and find a more efficient system for tracking fuel use among drivers. At the time, it was a novel offering. MSTS also developed the first live electronic authorization of a credit card from a truck stop.
Now, MSTS is a global provider of B2B payment and credit solutions for the transportation, airline, retail and manufacturing industries.
“There’s always been a culture of innovation,” said Senior Vice President Martha Salinas, who started at MSTS 20 years ago. “I think we’ve been able to adapt because the company also has a very in-depth belief that you innovate by solving problems, by deeply listening to your customers’ needs.”
Its latest offering, credit-as-a-service, aims to fill a gap for small to midsize players that sell a B2B product or service. Their relationships with customers traditionally have relied on cash on delivery or payment via credit cards.
But letting companies use credit cards to pay doesn’t build brand loyalty and can complicate tracking purchase orders and invoicing, Spear said. Credit-as-a-service offers payment flexibility, helps clients go after bigger customers and drives repeat business.
“In essence, the common thread is it’s all about finding a problem in an industry and then figuring out how we can bring the technical and process capabilities we have to bear to solve a problem for that industry,” Spear said.
Picking an opportunity
Identifying the next opportunity to pursue is a mixture of science and art, said Spear, who paraphrased Henry Ford: “If I only listened to customers, we’d still only be riding horses today.’” They must balance listening to customer feedback, staying abreast of market trends and identifying pain points in an industry where MSTS can leverage its expertise to offer a solution.
MSTS doesn’t always get it right – that’s why it keeps a couple of irons in the fire to mitigate risk, he said. Part of innovating also is knowing your strengths. Last year, the leadership team defined the company’s four core competencies, which now serve as its North Star.
“When you think about where you want to expend your energy and invest, it needs to be in competencies that make you unique,” Spear said. “If it doesn’t leverage those core competencies, then it’s not something we should be doing.”
Fostering an innovative culture
MSTS leadership doesn’t shy from frank conversations on difficult topics, and they don’t take it personally if their idea isn’t picked. It’s a concerted effort to have open communication, which in turn fosters innovation, Salinas said.
Leadership, for example, took personality assessments to more effectively communicate with one another, and they underwent an extensive review process, garnering feedback from employees, peers and managers to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
A focus on continuing education and bringing in leadership training coaches to empower employees also fosters innovation. Just as the MSTS executive team needs to grow, so do employees, Salinas said. MSTS hosts hackathons and biannual town halls to keep employees updated on key initiatives.
“Like anything that’s related to change, you live and die on how successful you are in communicating and having everyone understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and how you’re going to execute it,” Spear said.
In the Press
By Leslie Collins – Staff Writer, Kansas City Business Journal | Jan 31, 2019
MSTS' new credit-as-a-service offering for small and midsize businesses is resonating in the market and helped the Overland Park company reach a new industry.
Buoyed by reports of record 2018 holiday spending, analysts predict more retail growth in 2019, particularly in the evolving small and midsize business (SMB) sector. Advanced technologies have introduced SMBs to a big-brand experience and new set of challenges.
When it’s time to pay up, commercial buyers may be in for a pleasant surprise when purchasing online. The launch of Amazon’s Pay By Invoice feature last year opened the door for more flexible B2B payment schedules.
The expectations of B2B buyers are evolving. Today, buyers are looking for the same ease and convenience Amazon delivers for B2C transactions. Satisfying such demand, however, isn’t as simple as developing an online presence.
Don’t think of them as mere podcasts — though PYMNTS certainly does a lot of podcasts, discussing with payments and commerce experts the hottest topics of the day, with each conversation not only digging into the past and present but having an outlook toward the future.
Today’s business world is one of rampant change. While technology is driving much of this disruption, evolving customer expectations are dramatically altering the face of the financial services, payments and fintech industries.
MSTS, a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider, today announced that its innovative Credit as a Service solution is now available to mid-market and small businesses.