USFreightways Targets "Last-Mile" Delivery

Adopting Descartes solution for routing and scheduling to improve customer service, cut costs

Waterloo, ON  February 12, 2003  USFreightways is set to use a logistics solution from Descartes Systems Group in a bid to improve customer satisfaction while managing "last-mile" delivery costs in its U.S. operations.

An operating group of national and regional North American carriers, USFreightways transports some 5 billion pounds of freight per year. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Ill.

USFreightways will use Descartes' Routing and Scheduling solution to gain in-the-moment visibility of shipment status, helping the company to quickly respond to customer inquiries and potential delays in deliveries. Descartes said the solution also would help USFreightways enhance its customer responsiveness by enabling collaboration between multiple customer service representatives, drivers and dispatchers with synchronized information about delivery status.

Doug Waggoner, senior vice president of strategic marketing at USFreightways, believes the Descartes solution will provide a critical link to improved customer satisfaction. "The customer service value that we anticipate is significant," said Waggoner. "We will now have the opportunity to provide our customers with accessible 'real time' shipment status and the assurance of continuous tracking to guarantee delivery. Those elements are not mere enhancements, but rather 'must haves' in the freight business."

Dynamic pickup and delivery route management, along with the improved outbound and linehaul planning, are two components that Tom Van Dam, vice president of process integration at USFreightways, considered equally promising. "Descartes Routing and Scheduling, combined with mobile technologies, will allow us to move data ahead of freight and therefore send info immediately from the point of pickup back to outbound and linehaul operations," said Van Dam. "The options are quite impressive; we can improve driver management via graphical mapping support, which enables our dispatch supervisors to view the relationship of the drivers and tasks within a route."

Manuel Pietra, Descartes' co-chief executive officer and president, noted that today's highly competitive transportation market is prompting carriers such as USFreightways to seek ways to provide ever-higher levels of reliability and service to their customers.

Descartes has been on a roll recently, announcing deals with media giant AOL Time Warner, which is set to use a logistics connectivity solution from Descartes to manage communications with its transportation suppliers, and less-than-truckload carrier Old Dominion Freight Lines, which signed up to use Routing and Scheduling in a bid to strengthen its customer responsiveness.

In other news out of Descartes, the company today announced the appointment of Bruce Gordon as senior vice president of products and technology, as well as Evros Psiloyenis as senior vice president of infrastructure and support.

Gordon, who will work on product development, has 20-plus years of experience in the high-tech industry and 12 years of dedicated experience in the retail sector, where he held roles ranging from the management of distribution and logistics departments through to branch manager. Prior to joining Descartes, Gordon held general manager positions with Oracle and Dun and Bradstreet, leading teams in Australia and New Zealand.

Psiloyenis comes to Descartes with more than 20 years of international management experience in marketing, sales, customer support, operations and product development. Previously Evros worked with such organizations as KPMG, International Paint, Burmah Castrol, iDirect and Softvision Group. In the early days of pen-based computing, he worked on applications for logistics and trucking for Royal Dutch Shell, Pepsico and Philip Morris.

Both Gordon and Psiloyenis will report to Pietra.

For more information on fulfillment, logistics and other demand-chain solutions, see the article "Demand Management," the Global Enabled Supply Chain Series article in the December 2002/January 2003 issue of iSource Business.