In a recent webinar co-hosted by FreightWaves and Trucker Tools, Axle Logistics’ Vice President of Logistics Shawn McLeod spoke with Trucker Tools’ CEO and Founder Prasad Gollapalli about the company’s strategic approach to technology innovation and implementation. The webinar, entitled Ultimate Tips on Where To Start Your Technology Voyage, centered on the processes and tools that Axle Logistics uses to maximize its return on investment with new technology. In the webinar, McLeod offered insight into the methods the company uses to measure technology ROI and how its technology roadmap is designed to foster future growth and profitability. McLeod also detailed how Axle Logistics’ partnership with Trucker Tools has helped the company maximize employee productivity and enhance the service it provides to shippers.

Axle Logistics’ Starting Point: Efficiency

“In the beginning, your goal should be to get what you need,” said McLeod. “You want to be efficient. That’s our number one goal – how can we do more with less. It is important to start streamlining your bid processing and your pricing processes. As you grow, it’s harder to communicate with everybody, so you have to be able to have the tools necessary to do that. The key to everything is to reduce your errors and in our part of the industry, the third party logistics broker side of the industry, you want to reduce the noise. Our job is to make sure that problems don’t reach the customer, the shipper or even the carrier. Having the tools there that are automated and keep you up to date on what’s going on with the shipment or a certain internal process is important.” 

According to McLeod, Trucker Tools was the very first technology company to align with Axle Logistics’ goals around real-time freight visibility. The company found Trucker Tools to be a good fit because many of the company’s carriers already were familiar with and using Trucker Tools’ free driver app, the carrier component of the visibility solution. Trucker Tools’ load tracking platform also integrates with Axle Logistics’ TMS, which aligned with the 3PL’s goal of increasing operational efficiency. Ultimately, said McLeod, Axle Logistics’ goal with technology is to continue to grow and provide top notch customer service — and to provide a high level of service, you must be able to reduce internal communications between your teams so that you can respond quickly to customers. 

Dealing with Roadblocks During on Your Technology Journey

According to McLeod, one of the first roadblocks Axle Logistics encountered when the company first started its technology journey two years ago was carrier adoption of digital load tracking technology. He said that just getting drivers to download a new app and accept the tracking initially was a challenge. Trucker Tools’ support team worked with Axle Logistics’ carriers to help them better understand digital load tracking and carrier adoption has increased significantly since then. 

McLeod noted that a common roadblock for 3PLs is one that is often self-inflicted —thinking that technology’s purpose is to automate your entire operation, which ultimately can be counterproductive. For Axle Logistics, the goal with technology isn’t to take away the human interaction because that is an important part of relationships with customers and carriers. The goal is to use technology to interact much more with customers and carriers. Another frequent roadblock is not knowing where to go next on your technology journey and what tools and solutions to implement next. According to McLeod, part of why Axle Logistics’ relationship with Trucker Tools has been a successful one is due to the collaborative nature of the partnership.

“There are so many different ideas out there,” McLeod stated. “Prasad, you and I have spoken a great deal recently and you’ve been a huge resource to me in terms of who I can talk to about different ways to do certain things. It just comes down to really understanding where we can use technology to continue to build relationships in the industry.” 

“There are so many different ideas out there,” McLeod stated. “Prasad, you and I have spoken a great deal recently and you’ve been a huge resource to me in terms of who I can talk to about different ways to do certain things. It just comes down to really understanding where we can use technology to continue to build relationships in the industry.” 

Measuring a Technology’s Return on Investment

“You have to give your teams the tools to be efficient,” said McLeod. “I went out to the floor and I went to every single employee and asked them how many hours each day they were spending on track and trace. Every person here on average spent two and a half hours on tracking and tracing. We determined that with Trucker Tools’ freight tracking, we could reduce touching a driver three times to make sure he’s loaded to one time just because it’s automatically updated in Trucker Tools’ system. That’s a huge cost savings to me because they’re not only calling that driver one time, but now they’re able to make two extra sales calls.”

Axle Logistics also measures ROI by how many new customers it lands each month, but perhaps more importantly, the success of a technology is determined by how customers respond to it. McLeod shared that Axle Logistics continually asks its customers what the company can do better with technology and once a technology is implemented, asks for customer feedback regarding the efficacy of the solution. 

For the rest of the conversation, watch Ultimate Tips on Where To Start Your Technology Voyage. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ real-time freight tracking platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.