Moving 3PL to the Web

Third-party logistics provider taps NTE for private online community

Downers Grove, IL  January 10, 2002  A Texas-based third-party logistics (3PL) firm is using a private online community built by logistics solution provider NTE in a bid to capture a larger share of the $50-billion U.S. direct mail business.

The NTE-powered private community manages online the collection, pricing and quotation, rules-based execution and visibility of shipments for Direct Logistics, a company that helps bulk mailers take advantage of U.S. Postal Service discount incentives.

With the Direct Logistics solution, its customers can transact online using an automated pricing and execution process. Until now the process was entirely manual, requiring phone calls, faxes, e-mails and spreadsheet calculations. Now via the Internet, Direct Logistics customers enter the specifics of their mailings, such as shipment attributes, destination points and delivery requirements. NTE's commerce transaction capability calculates the postage discount, trucking costs and net savings to customers, then accommodates electronic tendering and real-time execution with trucking companies to move the mail.

"Our productivity has taken a gigantic step forward," said Glenn Lemons, Direct Logistics president and CEO. "We've shaved administrative tasks, streamlined labor-intensive processes and actually reduced our transportation expense, while substantially expanding our scope. The best part is the technology is super-easy to use, which makes it simple for our customers."

About a year ago Direct Logistics began working with NTE to more efficiently buy and manage freight transportation in an e-marketplace using NTE's Exchange service, which brings multiple buyers and multiple sellers together in a member-based online community. The specially designed private community is an enhancement to the previous application.

The private community features a branded, password-protected commerce transaction capability called e-Truckmail, accessible at the Direct Logistics site. NTE built and hosts both the commerce transaction capability and the public Web site. Advertisers who are members of the community use e-Truckmail to move their bulk mail using carriers with which NTE has negotiated competitive freight transportation rates on behalf of Direct Logistics.

The NTE solution provides for such services such as status reports, analysis and financial settlement for Direct Logistics, its customers and suppliers.

"Our Web site used to be an information repository, our processes were manual, and our geographic reach was limited," Lemons explained. "Thanks to NTE, we now have the visibility and bandwidth to be within fingertip reach of bulk mailers across America."

"The Internet, when teamed with an online marketplace, can be a strategic transaction and management tool," said Jim Davidson, NTE president and CEO. "The Direct Logistics community can be easily and quickly adapted to virtually any organization in America whose business provides freight transportation services."

Formed in 1994 as the pioneer in online logistics, NTE is currently developing private communities for several other companies whose collective freight transportation expenditures exceed $250 million. The provider says that the communities should result in improved vendor management, order and shipment consolidation, rate management, carrier selection and tendering, visibility and reporting, and financial settlement. These communities could serve as catalysts for other transportation-dependent firms seeking to streamline labor-intensive processes, reduce procurement costs, improve service levels and enhance supply chain visibility, Davidson said.