Several years ago, Mays Chemical, a midsized national distributor of food chemicals and raw materials, found itself at an increasingly common crossroads. Its transportation manager was set to retire, taking with her that hard-earned and hard-to-transfer tribal knowledge about the ins and outs of Mays’ supply chain. 

At the crossroads of legacy processes and the digital freight market, Mays had three full-time employees in the transportation department who each managed $1 million in freight spend and roughly 1,300 loads. Every day, to track its 30 to 50 daily shipments, the team still manually printed shipping reports, which were apt to change three or four times a day. 

Without the ability to compare and contrast quotes, Mays still relied on tribal knowledge and previous shipment history, continuously booking the same carriers on their lanes. Limited visibility made it difficult to update customers on shipments in a timely manner, as well as benchmark operational trends or plan for the future. 

“They had very limited visibility into their freight network,” said Brad Young, director of digital transformation at Red Technologies, during a recent webinar. “They had to visit three or four different websites trying to get an LTL update of where the freight is and when it will deliver. On the truckload side of things, this would require them to either call or email their provider, just to find out the ETA for pickup or delivery. They had a lot of different avenues to explore just to get the common question answered: When is my freight going to be delivered?”

Mays Chemical decided to partner with Red Technologies, the sister company of its brokerage Spot Freight, to mitigate these pain points. The company now has visibility to access rates from multiple providers before booking, and in the first year of integration, it saved around $100,000 in costs. Mays was also able to reallocate the working hours of two team members to other departments, while maintaining the $3 million freight spend and averaging about 4,000 annual loads. 

“Red TMS has given me and my team the visibility into our transportation spend like never before,” said George Hughes, vice president of supply chain at Mays Chemical. “It has streamlined our shipping department’s operations and increased transparency within our supply chain.”  

Before accomplishing any of this, Red Technologies sat down with the entire Mays team across departments ⁠— transportation, purchasing, sales and customer service ⁠— not only to communicate what the TMS could accomplish for them, but to understand each group’s perspective of the current ERP system and how the TMS could potentially streamline everyday processes. 

“We wanted to see the time they’re spending setting up an order and getting over to the traffic department for them to plan,” said Young. “We drew up the implementation between Red TMS and the Mays Chemical ERP. We discussed what data was going to be sent into our TMS and what data needs to be populated back into the Mays ERP. By having a firm understanding how the two systems would talk to each other, they were able to accomplish a full system integration. Honestly, it starts up front with system integration. If you don’t get that right, everything else after that isn’t going to be a hundred percent accurate.”

The successful integration allowed Mays to reduce its manual order entry processes, avoid duplicate orders and benefit from data-driven analytics. Young’s team was also able to make improvements in Mays’ routing guide maintenance, instant less-than-truckload and truckload quoting, freight optimization, as well as load tracking and visibility.

“The questions that we constantly ask ourselves: How can we make them better? How can we make improvements to Mays Chemical within their supply chain? Mays can now track its carrier performance, such as on-time pickups and on-time deliveries, as well as acceptance and rejection percentage. All of this data that we are providing allowed Mays to make actionable decisions with real-world data.”

Making decisions using this data, instead of relying on a gut feeling, Mays is able to hold carriers more accountable to maintain compliance. Red TMS connects with drivers through the Red Driver Mobile App, as well as through ELD tracking through project44. Additionally, customers have the option to set themselves as a “watcher” on a shipment and receive real-time email alerts anytime the status of the shipment changes. 

“Once they’re booked to a shipment, we see the automated tracking come over via our Red Driver mobile app or via our ELD integration through project44,” said Young. “This cuts down on the amount of time that we would need to call to get updates from the driver or even from the dispatcher. This allows the drivers to focus on their core job duty and that is safely moving products from Point A to Point B.”

To learn more about Red TMS, access the webinar here.