An Interview with Simple Logistics: How automations can eliminate errors without eliminating a human touch.
In the past, the complexities of full-truckload automation were off-putting to many companies. However, the plethora of supply chain disruptions we’ve all experienced in 2020 and 2021 have made logistics automation a must moving into the future. Companies who can’t, or won’t, make technology improvements are having a hard time keeping up with the competition.
Jim Caine, Vice President, General Manager and Jeff Paul, Vice President, Administration of Simple Logistics, give their vision of how they apply technology at their company in order to stay ahead of the pack.
Q: How have you seen technology change over your career working in logistics?
Jim: Not only has technology advanced, technology offerings have allowed us to create a more flexible, collaborative work environment. Team members can effectively work remote when needed. They can stay connected to other team members in the moment and successfully team up to keep the company moving forward. Video calls, messaging apps, phone systems, a more robust TMS and others allow them to remain in the loop on the latest strategies even while not being physically in the office. All of this enables our people to make informed, autonomous decisions while being flexible if needed. Plus, we now have top quality tech-based products to offer our customers and carriers to make their lives easier as well – without limiting relationships and communication.
Jeff: When I first joined Simple Logistics, our TMS was a standard one and every time we got a new shipper or carrier opportunity, we would scramble to quickly hire and train new team members. Now, with an enhanced TMS and some automated processes, our current team can elevate to new roles, take on more responsibility, and be more effective in their daily activities.
Q: What are the opportunities that arise when you use technology in the work you do?
Jim: There are certain tedious tasks that can be automated in our industry. We say “when you automate, elevate” in reference to elevating the responsibilities of our people. Our commitment to technology and automation over the last few years has allowed us to focus more on developing customer relationships and finding more high-quality carriers to match freight lanes.
Automation has not replaced our people, but rather elevated them to focus more on the human elements. This has boosted our on-time performance, carrier options for tendered freight, and competitiveness in the market. Plus freed up time to move more loads per person which doubled our growth in 2021. It’s put us in the conversation with the giant brokers in the industry and helped us achieve premier carrier status.
Jeff: The newest technology is going beyond automation and into machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI). With this new AI, our automation tools have learning tendencies and habits. This enables our processes to become more effective day in and day out. Having a strong connection with your IT team or provider allows for innovation. We have a great partner, listening to our needs, and helping provide out-of-the-box solutions.
Q: We have all seen how technology can negatively impact a customer’s experience if they only talk to a machine when they call in to a company as an example. How does Simple Logistics balance out the benefits of technology without some of those downsides of tech?
Jeff: Everyone has had a frustrating experience where they try to reach a company by calling in but it takes 10 minutes to reach an actual person. Our goal with technology is to avoid that type of situation here at Simple Logistics. By adding in more technology, we have actually been able to improve the customer’s experience because our employees have more time to spend on the personal relationships instead of tasks that can be automated. The customer and carrier will still talk to a real person when they call in and actually get more time to build integrative relationships. It’s also allowed us to greatly improve our culture as we can focus on people development and not just performing the same tedious tasks day in and day out. This means our employees have more time to also work on their professional training and growth and to have a great work/life balance. Happy employees make for better service as well.
Jim: We take a lot of things into consideration when vetting a new tech offering. Of course we want to “make it SIMPLE” but if it steers us away from our values and focus, we don’t do it.
Q: What are some of the future technology integrations we may see in our industry?
Jeff: The tech offerings in transportation are growing daily. I look back at the last 18 months and it’s crazy to see where technology has gone. There’s no saying where it can truly go, money is being pumped into the transportation technology marketplace and the sky is the limit. Simple Logistics is continuously investing in technology to stay at the forefront of this movement.
If you want to work with a team dedicated to your customer experience, and making sure your freight is running smoothly and on time, then call us at 855-354-6753.
Work with a team who will streamline and simplify your logistics, we do the complicated stuff for you!
Hours: 24/7/365 Phone: 630.385.7400 Address: 1750 East Main Street, Suite 160, St. Charles, IL 60174