Integration Cuts Costs for 3PL

Trimac links dispatch and billing systems to customers, streamlining order fulfillment processes

Sunnyvale, CA  October 28, 2002  Third-party logistics (3PL) services provider Trimac is using an integration platform from Vitria to streamline its order fulfillment processes, helping the company to cut costs while improving customer service.

Founded in 1945, Calgary, Alberta-based Trimac provides services in highway transportation of bulk commodities and 3PL services.

The company has used Vitria's BusinessWare platform to integrate its dispatch and billing systems with those of its customers, a move that has helped to increase the adaptability and responsiveness of Trimac's customer-facing systems while improving process accuracy and reducing operating costs, according to Ted Barnicoat, chief information officer at Trimac.

"The transportation of bulk products is a difficult, low-margin business, so customer dissatisfaction can quickly translate into losses for us," said Barnicoat. "The key to success for trucking companies is efficiency, which we've dramatically improved through the use of [the Vitria platform]."

By integrating with its customers, Barnicoat explained, Trimac has streamlined the order fulfillment process, driving down costs while helping to increase customer satisfaction. "In addition, we can now ramp up new customers with unique process requirements much more quickly and with fewer difficulties on their end," Barnicoat added.

Trimac is using the Vitria solution to provide order visibility across its national dispatch operation centers. As a result, new orders and order changes are posted directly to its order board. Dispatchers in any of Trimac's terminals across North America now receive an audible and visual signal that a new or changed order has arrived within seconds of the customer's communication.

The 3PL has estimated that implementing the integration platform has helped its cut order fulfillment costs for customers from the roughly $25 spent on traditional phone or fax orders placed through a dispatcher to about $5 per Web order.

Trimac evaluated the needs of its customers and produced an e-business strategy that would automate and streamline the entire order fulfillment chain between the companies. The 3PL has worked with its customers to determine specific implementation metrics, against which Trimac reports on a monthly basis with an analysis of how well the integration project is working. Once the integration is complete, Trimac monitors the order flow to make certain that its systems and those of its customers are meeting service-level expectations and to ensure that any problems are quickly identified and resolved.

Lehigh Inland Cement, one of the first customers to conduct business electronically with Trimac through the Vitria system, has shared in the benefits of the new process, according to Carleen Schaefer, manager of logistics for Lehigh Inland.

"Before consolidating systems with Trimac, we were constantly duplicating our efforts by creating orders in our system that Trimac would have to manually enter into their system," Schaefer said. "By integrating our order and dispatch systems with Trimac's, we have been able reduce order discrepancies by more than 50 percent, expedite the billing process and improve our customer service."