How a Leading 3PL Improved the Customer Experience with Real-Time Visibility

AFS Logistics chose project44 for its ability to provide visibility over all its clients inbound and outbound shipments.

When AFS Logistics LLC’s shipper customers began asking it to track all their shipments, the third-party logistics company based in Shreveport, La. started looking for a technology partner to provide visibility of shipments in transit. After comparing project44’s technology with a competitor, AFS chose project44 for its visibility platform.

Chet Richardson, president, LTL at AFS, said project44 was selected because it could provide in-transit visibility of shipments, document retrieval, and electronic bill of ladings (eBOLs). Additional reasons for selection were project44’s logistics expertise, topnotch customer support, and its Application Programming Interface (API) technology that enables one-to-many connections between shippers and carriers.

We chose project44 over its competitors because it had better less-than-truckload systems and it was able to meet the need to give information on all shipments. In the previous configuration of our transportation management system (TMS), our clients had to book their shipment in the TMS to have visibility. project44 was able to provide visibility to all our clients’ inbound and outbound shipments, whether they were booked through our TMS or not.

Chet Richardson
President, LTL at AFS Logistics

Streamlining Communications and Operations

AFS has been working with project44 for the past year. The third-party logistics provider (3PL) offers a portfolio of services to over 350 clients, which include manufacturers, retailers, consumer goods producers, medical, and automotive. AFS’s services include less-than-truckload, parcel, audit, and transportation management.

By using project44 for shipment visibility, AFS was able to streamline both communication and operation workflow. project44’s platform automated their clients’ redundant and laborious tasks, including shipment order recognition, quoting, booking, dispatching, tracking, document retrieval, and shipment reporting. project44 also enabled AFS to electronically provide its clients with shipment status notifications and delivery exception reports so they didn’t have to rely on phone calls or emails to keep clients informed about the whereabouts of their shipments.

The use of the eBOLs replaced the need for paper documents, eliminating the manual work of document retrieval and reducing the possibility of human error. “The electronic bill of lading standardizes information and gets it into a common format,” said Richardson. “Getting billing into the system early allows for better network planning.”

As a result of workflow automation, Richardson said that project44 eliminated “process waste.” “We no longer have to make multiple phone calls or manual interventions,” he said. “Things like that took a lot of time where as now, you can do it electronically.”

Giving Shippers the Option of Volume LTL

With tight capacity in the trucking market this summer, AFS saw its clients unable to find carriers for load pickups, especially at competitive rates. The 3PL decided to help its clients by offering them Volume LTL as a shipping option for moving freight. “In tough times like today, Volume LTL gives shippers an alternative means to move their freight,” said Richardson.

Volume LTL is used for shipments that have too many pallets for standard LTL, but not quite enough to require a full truck. It generally consists of shipments anywhere between six and 16 pallets and weighing between 6,000 and 20,000 pounds. For shippers who can’t find the services of a truckload carrier, Volume LTL allows them to tender loads by filling a carrier’s underutilized trailer space. It also eliminates the potential for LTL carrier overcharges due to accessorial charges associated with LTL capacity load rules. “It gives clients capacity at rates competitive to or better than truckload,” said Richardson.

project44 provided the API technology to enable electronic communication between AFS, LTL carriers, and shippers to book Volume LTL pickups and provide real-time tracking of the shipments in transit. “project44 API gets us carrier quotes in seconds so our clients can book their shipment with a carrier,” said Richardson. “Our clients leverage project44’s API dispatch capabilities for booking, creating the electronic bill of lading and tracking and tracing from pickup to delivery. They also gain the benefit of utilizing our Freight Audit and Payment capabilities for more accurate invoicing.”

Delighted Customers

Richardson said that project44’s advanced transportation visibility platform has enabled AFS Logistics to provide better customer service, leading to a higher client retention rate.

Our clients’ feedback has been very positive about our tools, our reporting, and system notifications. In these times of supply chain disruptions, project44 allows visibility into what’s taking place in a client’s logistics network.

Chet Richardson
President, LTL at AFS Logistics

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