Crowley sought to bid on the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) largest surface transportation contract to date. The type and scale of this project was a first for Crowley, requiring it to establish a new department to support the work and partner with a transportation management system (TMS) provider that could address the complexity and demands of the contract, specifically the execution of the LTL and freight optimization requirements. This project was made even more challenging with the addition of new DoD expectations regarding the frequency and type of communications from Crowley, along with new requirements for freight tendering.
When considering TMS providers, Crowley’s approach included the question “How do we accomplish the unknown?” This contract was full of “firsts” for the DoD and for Crowley; the new demands and new business approaches made it imperative to find a fundamentally different kind of TMS that could be responsive to these unknowns.
Crowley found what it needed in 3Gtms, a Tier 1 TMS provider. Partnering its own logistics expertise with the power and flexible architecture of the 3Gtms system, Crowley’s DoD bid was successful and its contract with 3Gtms was one of the TMS industry’s largest agreements announced that year.
“Because of where they were in the lifecycle of their TMS, 3Gtms was willing and able to update the product, revise the roadmap and be open to suggestions on how to make the TMS fit our LTL and automated dispatch needs,” explained Shiju Zacharia, senior director at Crowley.
With 3Gtms, Crowley has a powerful, multi-modal TMS to serve as the backbone for all forms of the DoD’s surface transportation activities at vendor facilities and military installations. Specifically, 3Gtms is responsible for managing shipments of MRO (maintenance, repair and operating) supplies to 64 military locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
3Gtms configured the TMS to meet over 200 pages of DoD requirements and conducted eight workshops to test and verify that the system would deliver what Crowley needed, including delivery dates, tracking and tracing, the ability to accept different EDIs, and manage different equipment types to load and configure. 3Gtms conducted teaching and training sessions with the Crowley team on the new approach to managing freight and to support change management efforts.
In addition, 3Gtms configured new capabilities specific to Crowley and DoD needs:
- A carrier portal that enhances traceability and allows carriers to send incident communications and reports with less manual work.
- Improved AR/AP capabilities to meet unique requirements, such as AR based on attributes of customer order rather than load.
Throughput and KPI Success
Crowley is currently handling 70,000 transactions per day and will eventually reach up to 1,700 orders per day. With 3Gtms, the company has not missed a single deadline or government requirement – despite new and changing demands throughout the project.
- Every key milestone has been met, including all contract requirements and each go-live date.
- Achieved monthly on-time response targets at the enterprise level for each site and mode.
- With an unmatched data model and unique integration tools, Crowley slashed errors in the status of shipments from 25 percent to 1-2 percent.
Transportation Control Tower & Process Automation
With 3Gtms, Crowley has leveraged a Transportation Control Tower approach to successfully execute DoD requirements. The 3Gtms system integrates and manages different data types flowing in from multiple DoD systems, shippers, carriers, mobile applications, financial systems, emails and portals. Crowley now has a single point that provides full visibility into the flow of data and the tools to act
on the data.
- Drive in-line process improvements
- Automated exception management that lessens the need for manual intervention
- Proactive, advanced notification of issues
- Intelligent workflow creations that drive carrier management
This comprehensive, real-time visibility platform supports Crowley’s ability to meet the DoD’s communication requirements and allows the DoD to slice the data to get answers regarding order information, truck location and more.
The DoD’s new conditions for freight handling created a learning curve for the department itself and resulted in varying levels of data quality. But with the 3Gtms system, Crowley was able to address the data challenges. For example, 3Gtms automatically corrects and reports mismatched or incorrect information, thereby allowing the order to keep moving smoothly through the system.
A True Partnership
The scale and complexity of the project has led to a tight partnership between Crowley and 3Gtms. That sense of partnership is shared by both organizations.
“3G has a team on site with us and we work as one single team within the installation,” explained Bob Weist, vice president North American transportation at Crowley Logistics. “I think that’s why our
results have been so successful. In addition, this is the only IT software project I’ve been a part of where the software worked as designed on initial implementation and met all of our timelines.”
“When our people are on site, we’re treated as one of the team and that’s a big credit to Crowley’s culture,” said Mitch Weseley, CEO of 3Gtms. “From the project teams to the CEOs, we are in regular contact about the work and provide feedback to the entire team as one. This is rare, and it is a key enabler of the overall success.”
Crowley put the flexibility of the TMS to full use, working closely with 3Gtms to configure the system according to their project needs. “3Gtms has gone above and beyond on the business process side
and on the technical infrastructure side to satisfy key government requirements. I don’t think we would’ve been able to put this together if not for the flexibility of 3Gtms’ solution framework,” said Zacharia.
Weist added, “We have a happy customer in the DoD and have had a true partnership with 3Gtms throughout the entire process. This project has been one of our company’s greatest successes because of 3Gtms’ ability to address our needs and the speed of their work. I am certain that no other TMS system could have performed this effectively.”
“3Gtms is an invaluable partner by helping us expand our reach and growth. The entire team’s level of performance is rare among IT partners – and it’s been a breath of fresh air,” said Thomas B. Crowley, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Crowley.