From 2013 onward, Celadon continued to take big strides in customer service. It created a Customer Experience group to provide red-carpet treatment to new customers and to existing customers in need of extra attention.
The Customer Experience team bridges the gap between multiple aspects of Celadon’s business. The sales and pricing departments interact with this group to onboard new customers. The group then will transition customer accounts to CRAs and other analysts in a commodity sector.
In November 2013, Celadon implemented a new software system called Load Analyzer that gave analysts visibility to all freight in its entire network up to eight days in advance. The software, from Manhattan Associates, gives recommendations for what customers and loads to solicit in order to move trucks into areas where they are needed to satisfy customer lane commitments.
The tool shows CRAs and other users the operating ratios of loads along with profitability and service metrics to prioritize their calls. Everyone in customer service, no matter their title, is expected to solicit five loads each day and 25 a week, Howard says.
Celadon also created a dedicated team of Freight Analysts called Market Makers whose primary responsibility is to solicit loads three or four days out. With the help of this advance planning group, Celadon has been able to reduce layovers – defined by the number of drivers who have hours to run prior to 8 p.m. but are not assigned loads.
Two years ago, Celadon had 300 layovers per day on average. Today it has three, Howard says. Other results from using Load Analyzer, measured from January 2014 to 2015, include:
- A 33 percent decrease in broker loads by replacing them with direct customer loads; and
- 9.6 million miles and 10,306 loads won through solicitation.
In the next few months, Celadon plans to create income statements for groups at the commodity level, Meek says. “We’ve always done a great job getting focused on profitability,” he says. “This is one more tool to get them excited.”
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About the award
Commercial Carrier Journal’s editors recognize innovators throughout the year and select one for special recognition as Innovator of the Year. Innovators considered for the current award were those recognized in the magazine in 2014.
Innovation in any aspect of the operation is eligible for recognition. To qualify, the carrier must operate at least 10 power units in Classes 3-8 and maintain a satisfactory safety rating, if rated. Selection of innovators for recognition is at the sole discretion of CCJ’s editors.
This year’s award was announced and presented at the CCJ Innovators Summit, a networking event for current and previously recognized innovators held Feb. 4-6 at the Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys. Representatives of innovative trucking operations updated one another on their initiatives.
The CCJ Innovators program is sponsored by Freightliner Trucks, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, PeopleNet and Shell Lubricants. For more information on the program and links to previously recognized innovators or to fill out the online nomination form, go to www.ccjinnovators.com or contact Jeff Crissey, CCJ editor, at 800-633-5953.