Eastern Connection (EC), the largest regional transportation and logistics provider on the East Coast, has teamed with Carrier Logistics Inc. (CLI), Tarrytown, N.Y., to streamline its freight management system.
Eastern Connection, based in Woburn, Mass., has installed CLI’s FACTS system designed to meet the parcel carrier’s needs for operations management and accounting.
“We need to go the extra mile at Eastern Connection,” says Jim Berluti, Eastern Connection president. “We compete with two of the biggest companies in the world – FedEx and UPS. It’s not enough to be as good as they are – we have to be better. And the first place where customers notice if we’re better is in our IT system.”
Faster processing is one way the new system shows customers the Eastern Connection advantage, according to Berluti. The new system has reduced monthly billing processing time from 12-18 hours to just one hour and saves six hours on the time required to upload 28,500 transportation orders a day, says Dennis Villano, vice president-IT at Eastern Connection.
“The system replaces an older system that no longer meets our needs,” says Villano. Eastern Connection needed more storage capability and faster access to files, he says.
“With a computer system as up-to-date as this one, a customer can look at the latest invoice online or see a delivery report immediately,” Villano says. “There’s no need to use phones or emails. Drivers can scan and submit delivery receipts from the delivery point and the customer can determine that delivery has been made in real time.”
The Carrier Logistics system has proved efficient and flexible in presenting Eastern Connection’s rates, he added. Unlike other systems, it readily accommodates the rating mathematical formulas Eastern Connection uses, which are complicated by the need to accommodate same-day, overnight, and logistics rates.
The system, reports Villano, is part of Eastern Connection’s marketing approach for bringing in new customers. Eastern Connection is experiencing excellent customer acceptance of its newly enhanced via-the-web customer services such as invoicing, order entry, and real-time proof of delivery, says Berluti.
Eastern Connection uses the new system for both accounting and such operating needs as route analysis and vehicle dispatch. The system enables shippers to access rates and track and trace shipments on the web.
The system saves man-hours for Eastern Connection, and the savings go straight to the bottom line, says Berluti, who reports that return on investment was less than six months.