Land Air supports rapid business growth and increases revenue with the facts system from carrier logistics
When Land Air Express of New England first implemented the Carrier Logistics FACTS™ transportation & logistics solution back in 2001, the company was bracing for the inevitable trucking recession. Believing survival and success would hinge on running the most efficient and strategic business possible, the company chose to invest in technology. The decision paid off almost immediately. By replacing its outdated manual system with FACTS, Land Air automated its entire operation, eliminating upwards of 10 full-time positions off the bat. The organization was able to easily absorb the surge of business from other carriers that were not able to weather the storm while regaining profitability.
Fast forward twelve years and Land Air Express of New England has done far more than just survive; it has grown to become one of the premier carriers in the Northeast. Where the company managed eight terminals in 2001, today it has 14 terminals strategically located throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. The company has more than tripled its revenue from 25 million in 2001 to an estimated 80 million by the end of 2013. Employee count has more than doubled from 350 employees to 765. And through its association with the Reliance Network, Land Air has extended its virtual footprint to cover all of North America.
One thing hasn't changed, however; the company still relies on the FACTS system to manage its state-of-the-art business. Based on the Progress® OpenEdge® application development platform, FACTS is a completely integrated billing, accounting, and operations management system designed specifically for the contemporary multi-mode freight organization that services several modes of transportation. The application drives every key process of a transportation company from dispatching to accounting. "When we first implemented FACTS in 2001 we did so because we needed a far more robust and scalable solution," explains Dave Bush, Director of Business Processes for Land Air Express of New England. "The system has lived up to our needs and expectations, supporting our growth and enabling our success each step of the way."
Today, Land Air is using the FACTS system to support almost every aspect of its business. The company has automated its business processes across its operations – from administration, to route planning, to dispatch and customer service. With the ability to generate thousands of custom reports, the company has complete visibility across operations and access to the data it needs to manage its bottom line. FACTS' track and trace functionality, reports and analytics, and entire customer service suite is fully integrated into the company’s web site, providing customers with real-time access to account, order and delivery information via the Web.
Bush says the company just recently upgraded its entire mobile platform to support tablets in all of its drivers hands in the near future. "It's been a huge hit, giving us even easier access to all of the great features FACTS has to offer. We are just scratching the surface right now, but see tremendous efficiency gain potential."
Growth through expansion
Perhaps the most significant change in Land Air's business since it first chose FACTS is its affiliation with the Reliance Network. The network, comprised of eight leading regional transportation companies, provides seamless, across the continent, LTL, truckload and supply chain freight services with a single source of accountability. If one of Land Air's customers needs freight moved outside of Land Air's coverage area, Land Air can work with one of its regional partners, on behalf of its customer, to meet that request. FACTS has been essential in this endeavor, enabling Land Air to integrate its transportation and logistics solution with those of its partners through heavy utilization of electronic data interchange (EDI).
"In 2008, the economy was sinking fast and customers were shipping less," explains Bush. "This network was really one of the only areas through where we realized any growth. It provided exponentially more geography to target without adding the cost of brick and mortar terminals, trucks, trailers and employees. FACTS enabled us to scale from 14 terminals to hundreds of virtual terminals easily. All the while our system gives our customers the perception that we have the entire physical infrastructure in place. Our customers always work directly through us, no matter where their shipment is headed or which carrier is physically moving the freight. They can access all of their information through our website and receive real-time updates as well with ease. This enables us to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, providing our customer base a regional touch, yet a national reach."
Scalability, visibility and improved productivity
Even though Land Air's business has continued to grow over the years, it hasn't had to match that growth with a commensurate increase in manpower due to the efficiency and productivity afforded by FACTS. "Because the system has automated and streamlined so many aspects of our business, we've been able to generate more productivity from our existing resources. And with real-time access to detailed information on every aspect of our business, we can make decisions quicker, faster and better."
For example, with FACTS Land Air can view its entire operational footprint, gaining a real-time comprehensive view into where every single driver is and their status. "With this information we have a complete view of the current state of our physical operations. And we know when we can allocate drivers to take on new business. It helps us continually move our business forward and maintain a high level of customer service."
Flexibility to customize delivers significant ROI
When Bush joined Land Air in 2005, he quickly identified one area for improvement that could deliver dramatic returns to their business. The LTL business is all about weight and space consumption on the trailer. The more something weighs, the more space it takes up, the more it costs. But when Bush first joined Land Air there was no formal process in place for weighing or measuring their customer's freight. Rather, customers supplied the weight and dimensions of their items and Land Air charged accordingly. But the unfortunate truth is many customers don't have a formal process to ensure accuracy either, and in many cases, are forced to guess at weight and dimension. Even small discrepancies, over time, can add up to big losses.
With the help of Carrier Logistics, Bush was able to implement an aggressive weight and research program. In 2006 this feature did not yet exist within FACTS. But working closely with Carrier Logistics, they were able to modify the system to accommodate the program. "We have added over $3,000,000 in net revenues just by deploying that new feature; it has become a big part of our daily operation. We aren't charging our customers any new fees, rather, we are simply charging for what we are due, much like the post office when you hand them a package. By closing that gap we have added millions to the bottom line."
Facts a competitive differentiator
Bush says FACTS was the best solution Land Air found in 2001, and it has continued to be the best at various checkpoints along the way. "Every couple of years we take a look at what's on the market, but time and again FACTS is the best fit for our business."
The FACTS system has and continues to enable Land Air to stay more nimble than its competition, says Bush. "In comparison to our competitors using an in-house system, I really believe that FACTS gives us the opportunity to be more relevant and stay more current. Carrier Logistics is focused 100% on this system, so they tend to stay on top of the new trends in the market while modifying the system to help us stay one step ahead of our customers' needs. In this business it is all about being faster and better while keeping costs low. And I believe FACTS helps us do just that."
About Land Air Express of New England
With fourteen terminals strategically located throughout New England, New York and New Jersey Land Air Express is positioned as the premier carrier in the Northeast. From Jamestown, to Jackman to JFK, Land Air offers next day direct service to every point served. The Spencer family maintains that the secret to their success is their diligent dedication to service and superior customer relations. That same dependable service and dedication to the community that Fred Spencer started in Burlington 45 years ago is proudly available today throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. As a member of the Reliance Network, Land Air Express is uniquely positioned to provide seamless dependable service throughout all of North America.
About Carrier Logistics Inc.
Carrier Logistics Inc. (CLI), Tarrytown, N.Y., has been a leading transportation and engineering consulting firm and a pioneer in the development of system technology and freight management systems for the trucking industry for over 40 years. CLI is the premier transportation software provider to less-than-truckload, combined LTL and truckload, package delivery, and bulk liquid carriers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. www.carrierlogistics.com